I was a unicum CV player prior to the rework, mostly known for being a Ryujo seal clubbing asshole after the premium CV's came out and ruined T7 and 8 CV games and high tier CV play being pretty dull in general with an extreme focus CV sniping. I was looking forward to the rework, and I'm glad RTS CV is gone because ultimately I felt it was flawed, out of place, and could not realistically be balanced so long as the ability to so dramatically out micro and outplay the opposing CV remained due to being able to control multiple squads.
I played heavily all 3 PTS cycles, and have continued playing CV's heavily since the rework. I have a 60%+ winrate in all CV's (except Midway) and the new RN CV's since I don't have them all yet. With an overall winrate on CV's post rework at 63%, over 270 games total on reworked CV over 100 of which are on the Lexington. These stats are not to brag, but to show that I actually know how to play CV's, I'm not just some Tier10 stat padding whore, and that my experience with CV's is very extensive and not based off a few outstanding or horrible games.
For other ship classes I manage around a 55%+ winrate, and play BB and DD extensively while not playing Cruisers much and honestly having close to a 50% winrate on cruisers. Again this is to show I'm not just some one trick pony or that I am coming at this overly harshly from a CV only perspective.
I'm going to start off by bulk listing some changes I want to see before then breaking down the reasonings for them individually below that.
CV's should never have more than 3 attack waves per squad. Changes to reduce the importance of sacrificing attack waves need to be taken. Fighters need to be summonable remotely. Rockets need further tweaking. Torpedoes need reduced chance to damage/take out Engines/Rudders. CV's need to be able to attack other CV's effectively, especially past the 10min mark. CV deck armor needs reduced even if it means unrealistic armor layouts. AP DB's need increased maximum accuracy, but take longer to get there. Flak/AA in general needs to be more effective vs faster planes. As you can see theres basically going to be a novel below this, so prepare yourself or just consider the above paragraph a TL;DR or my primary concerns.
CV's should never have more than 3 attack waves per squad. This is pretty multifaceted but its because of 3 major issues. If AA is not strong enough to prevent a CV from carrying out 4 attacks on it then AA is too weak. Squads with 4 attacks (if they can use all 4) are providing significantly more spotting compared to squads with 3 or less. Squads with 4 attacks create a larger skill gap in CV gameplay because a good player will sacrifice an attack wave after launching the squad and therefore increase their plane reserves (effectively) while still having an effective squad that less skilled players will not do and will run out of planes even faster compared to their already poor AA mitigation.
This is an issue most prominent on IJN CV's which have 4 attack waves on their Rockets and/or TB often times. Though it also shows up on USN DB's for Midway as an example. This would overall in most cases be a nerf to high skilled CV players, though possibly a buff to Shokaku and Hakyu twin dropped torps, especially if they perhaps move to a 3/6 or 3/9 drop configuration instead of a straight nerf. Though its a nerf I feel is generally warranted, and again it helps reduce the skill gap.
Changes to reduce the importance of sacrificing attack waves need to be taken. This sort of dovetails into the above idea of making sure an attack squad never has more than 3 attacks per squad. Realistically an aircraft squad if attacking a single target needs a realistic possibility of actually carrying out 2-3 attacks vs their single isolated target. That the optimal situation should NEVER be sacrificing an attack wave after launch to minimize plane loses. This creates a larger skill gap between CV players, and most important it should be an AA vs Plane durability balancing metric. Exactly how this is accomplished can be multifaceted and can include AA nerfs, plane HP buffs, squad size adjustments (buffs or nerfs), whatever it takes to get it to a place of balance.
Fighters need to be summonable remotely. Fighters are already of questionable usefulness, but the concept of sending your attack squad to the other side of the map to summon fighters only to fly back to the otherside of the map to actually attack the proper target is simply unrealistic and not going to happen. What this often means is you end up in situations where the optimal play is for the CV to encourage and help "a dog chase its tail" where two blobs of ships chase eachother in a circle around the map. CV's need to be able to provide their weak flank fighter support while still providing damage support to the proper locations.
Ideally this would be something you can do from your Hull. Such as press 4 and have a reserve of fighters you can send to a location on the map where they orbit like now. It could have reserves and regeneration like other squads. This would also further minimize the use of fighters in a scouting role so you can't put a fighter over a DD hiding in smoke without leaving your squad, going to hull and sending a fighter squad which has a travel time and by the time they get there the DD and smoke have properly moved on or done something else instead for directly enforcing fighters as a defensive tool for allies.
I'm not suggesting "controllable fighters" like how the attack squads work, but using the same regeneration/reserve mechanics with a point and click on the map. While removing the fighter consumable entirely.
Rockets need further tweaking. With the changes to rockets and spotting in a recent hotfix rockets have become in general much less impactful and require much longer attack runs (and straighter attack runs). This not only made them harder to use, it also meant they have to spend more time in AA and more time in AA flying straight which means not only did their damage potential get reduced and more skill was added to use them their durability was also greatly reduced.
My primary suggestions to help mitigate these issues would be to reward longer attack runs by letting accuracy increase more rewarding those long attack runs this would reward skill some AND naturally lead people to favoring longer attack runs. I would also consider increasing durability across the board for rocket planes, their durability was previously balanced around being to aggressively bob and weave making short attack runs now they have to loiter in AA much longer so compensation in the form of an HP increase makes sense. Even if the accuracy changes are considered too much (and they are introducing more player skill) the durability increase needs to be strongly considered because as ideas above suggested a squad needs to realistically be able to carry out its attacks vs an isolated target with proper play to that end rocket planes with their nerfs cannot do this reliably from my experiences especially for IJN rockets (Ryujo primary culprit here!).
Torpedoes need reduced chance to damage/take out Engines/Rudders. TB's in my experience are most frustrating for players not when they get a flooding but when they take out a rudder or engine forcing a ship to sit there and get bombarded by non-CV's and feel exceedingly helpless. Its generally rare for a BB to lose its engine when getting shot normally, its a VERY normal occurrence when getting attacked by TB's and this can feel horrible assuming you damage control a flood or fires, then get your engine taken out and are left sitting there helpless and getting blasted. TB's already have reduced flood chance compared to normal ship torpedoes, why not reduce their engine/rudder disable chances aswell?
That said this is probably going to end up being a pretty heavy handed nerf to TB's, and naturally they will probably need some compensation in the form of increased damage direct damage and or increased flood chance (especially with the new weaker flooding mechanics). Or if just straight tweaking damage is too much, perhaps increasing accuracy or speed so they are more reliable in getting hits even if those hits are doing less.
This can might also need to apply to AP DB's aswell, though I'm hesitant to suggest nerfing AP DB's as is.
CV's need to be able to attack other CV's effectively, especially past the 10min mark. Right now at basically almost all points during a game a CV attacking another CV is very hard/wasteful. This is a GREAT thing for the early game by it effectively preventing CV sniping from being a thing. That said its a very BAD thing when later on in the game you end up with the CV's left alive with 1-2 other ships and those CV's need to finish off the other ships and have a staring match as neither can effectively harm the other.
Realistically after say 10 minutes or so the auto self defense fighter just needs to be gone, regardless of it its used all its charges. This prevents early game CV sniping, be allows later game CV vs CV gameplay to occur and prevents situations where late game CV's are avoiding eachother and focusing weakened and worn down ships instead of taking out the real threats (the CV's).
Ultimately I think the self defense fighter needs mechanical changes to allow this to occur. It should be stronger early on, and then progressively get weaker until around 10min when its ultimately just gone and the CV needs to use its own fighters to protect itself and/or rely on hiding and movement just like every other ship type. Preventing late game CV stalemates needs to be a higher priority.
CV deck armor needs reduced even if it means unrealistic armor layouts. Right now Tier10 CV's have armored decks that shatter all HE DB's and rockets outside of small weakpoints that cannot be reliably targeted to say nothing of the strong AA defenses they already have. These same CV's also have short duration fires by default AND a strong automated damage control that further reduces the impact of such weapons even further. For reference these armored decks are thicker than battleship deck armor, and even if that is realistic it needs to strongly be reconsidered. Boosting up the penetration values of rockets and HE DB's is also a non-viable option because these weapons do NOT need stronger damage capabilities against high armored targets outside of CV's. This makes torpedoes the only viable option to attack CV's which naturally further makes attacking other CV's all that much harder again… this could be fine at Tier4 for some training wheels to new players but at Tier10 this is just stupid.
AP DB's need increased maximum accuracy, but take longer to get there. AP DB's are seriously underperforming compared to HE DB's. AP DB's are the more "skill oriented" DB option, and thats a good/fine thing. The problem ultimately is that they cannot be accurate enough to allow the skill to actually show through. Personally I favor allowing AP DB's to get a tighter aiming circle combined with taking longer to get to that maximum tightness allowing well lined up DB strikes to be more effective and less RNG oriented. If that is too much "creating a player skill gap", then I would suggest increasing the damage of overpens and normal penetrating hits while keeping citadel damage the same… I'm not sure if thats actually possible but it seems the only option to help bring AP DB's as more useful options than the bottom tier weapon type you don't want to use unless you have to.
Hosho's AP DB's are actually very useful and usable because they have increased accuracy compared to the rest of the higher tier CVs.
Flak/AA in general needs to be more effective vs faster planes. Speed is too strong of a defensive benefit to aircraft vs flak. They can fly through areas with flak faster, potentially take 1-2 less flak bursts due to fire rates compared to slower planes, and because they are so fast they can also attack more often and reduce travel time between CV and target. Speed is much too strong of a benefit, and while it should be a benefit ultimately Flak needs to better consider an aircrafts speed with its aiming and spread. If this is a limitation in terms of the Flak/AA system perhaps reduce their HP and/or give slower planes an HP increase so that the speed difference is not as strong of a benefit.
This is an issue mostly highlighted by premium CV's like Graf Zepplin and Indomitable which have planes faster than Tier10 competitors at Tier8 which allows them to preform much better than their slower counterparts without needed compensation for those benefits.
Overall I think these changes would reduce the skill gap, increase player enjoyment in terms of using a CV, make being struck by a CV less frustrating. Its compensating some of the heavy handed nerfs without undoing them/while still letting the nerfs do their desired things while also balancing some issues that really haven't been addressed.
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© Post "Comprehensive CV Changes" for game World of Warships.
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