Now, I'll begin this with a disclaimer: This post isn't really meant to be serious, just throwing an idea in the air as food for thought. I think a second rework is likely to cause more problems than it would fix, so I don't see WG doing anything like this anything soon. Also, no matter how messed up the rework is, it is still vastly more balanced than the RTS model.
However, if we were to try and revamp the CV class once more, what would it look like? Keep in mind that this post is just the ramblings of a player who knows nothing about game design.
The main problem with carriers, from my experience, is the fact that it feels like they're playing an entirely different game from any other class. This means that, no matter how balanced WG makes them, people will still see CVs as a class that exists entirely to ruin other people's games. With RTS CVs, they were playing an entirely different genre of game while dominating the battle from all angles. In the rework, meanwhile, CV players often feel like they're playing their aircraft rather than any ship.
So, what would it look like if we tried to make CVs play like any other ship?
The basic gist of it is that a CV player, under this system would operate their ship with WASD throughout the entire game. When they wish to launch a strike, they aim their mouse at a point within range (I know, range!) and click. That's it. Just like any other class. Once a strike is launched, it is treated as fired ordnance and the player has no further input on its actions.
Strike aircraft would behave in many ways like very fast torpedoes. They have a certain detectability range that's a little longer than torps (3-4km, probably), and once they're spotted, they're spotted for good. Then, once the aircraft is 1-2 km from the target, it will begin to drop its ordnance automatically depending on the type of planes.
Aircraft Carriers would have access to two types of strike aircraft in the same way that surface ships have two types of ammunition: Dive Bombers and Torpedo Bombers. The primary difference between the two is the way they conduct their bombing runs. Dive Bombers drop in a vertical ellipse parallel to the direction of flight, while Torpedo Bombers drop in a horizontal line perpendicular to the direction of flight. Your choice of strike planes depends on what type of ship you're targeting and whether you expect them to be broadsiding or angled, much like a battleship's choice of ammunition.
The damage from each strike is potentially very high, comparable to the values of old RTS carriers, but can be mitigated in several ways:
The flight time of these aircraft is very long, and if you suspect that a carrier has launched planes at you, it is possible to simply not be where they expect you to be. This is the same technique BB players already use against torpedo-armed destroyers. The strike will then go harmlessly past you because the CV player has no way to change its trajectory.
Of course, AA is an effective solution. The effectiveness of AA will be stronger than it is under the current rework.
Now, you may wonder about the fact that I made aircraft stealthier than most ships' AA ranges. That is because, if the spotting range was any longer, air strikes would be trivial to avoid. Do not fear, however. Just as there is Hydro to spot torps, there should be an equivalent consumable to spot aircraft.
Allow me to introduce Air Search Radar: it replaces DFAA as an alternative to Hydro for most cruisers, and assures the detection of every aircraft within a certain radius (probably 6-8km). Perhaps it might give an AA boost as well, but that would be a matter of balancing. This consumable would allow you to use your full AA range to shoot down enemy aircraft, as well as providing warning to allow your friendly ships to dodge incoming strikes.
But what about fighters? I imagine those being treated as a separate type of armament (bound to the 3 key like torpedoes and not under the same cooldown as the main armament). Fighters can be sent to any point in range, but rather than make a strike, they will circle around the area much like the current iteration. These fighters cannot spot ships, but they can spot aircraft.
Finally, treating aircraft as normal ordnance would allow for some of the more interesting hybrids that had been impossible up to this point. Things like Hyuuga, Tone, and I-400. I just think that would be cool.
Thank you for listening to my crazed delusions, feel free to tell me why exactly you think this would never work, and if any of you have similarly wild ideas, please share them in the comments below.
TL;DR: What if carriers shot planes just like other ships shoot shells/torps?
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© Post "A Harebrained Idea for a CV Re-Rework" for game World of Warships.
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