I've played all the the main line CV's on the PTR.
In general both T4 CV's are equally bad and will be a big roadblock to anyone wanting to play CV. No fighters, no TB's, both just have basic rockets and DBs.
At this tier the AP DB's from the IJN are actually sorta strong, but the HE DB's are still useful.
Tier6 both lines start to come into their own with some clear differences besides AP vs HE DB's.
IJN TB's stand out as strong dependable work horses. USN TB's just lag behind while having comparable numbers. The DB's really start diverging though, IJN remains rather similar to Tier4 with just better planes, the damage is increased and this helps keep them going but in comparison the USN DB's get a 3rd plane in their per attack which really starts showing the USN slant towards DB's.
Then Tier8 happens and seemingly any sense of balance goes out the window.
Both have comparable rockets, but then USN get a second rocket option that has less rockets, more damage/pen giving them a very unique option. USN also gets a 3rd TB per attack, and while retaining 3 DB's per attack, their DB's now get 2 bombs.
Meanwhile not much changes with IJN. They see mild improvements on rockets and TB's but otherwise keep similar numbers and still being limited to 2 TB's per attack just doing marginally more damage. They do finally get a 3rd DB but their AP bombs themselves remain rather similar with a minor damage increase.
At this point IJN DB's start seeing real issues with overpens, and this continues into TierX.
Then tierX happens. USN keeps the variety of rocket types both of which have superior pen. The special "heavy rockets" get 68mm of pen which is TierX BB HE pen. Effectively the heavy rockets are performing almost like a more reliable/faster HE DB that hits for less damage with a better rate of fire. For almost all intents and purposes eating a heavy rocket salvo is almost comparable to eating an HE salvo from a TierX BB.
USN move up to 3 TB's per attack wave, which also carry 2 torps per plane giving their attack waves 6 torps which as this point is basically trumping anything the IJN TB's can put down. USN DB's keep the 3 planes/2 bombs DB's, but their bombs get some solid performance increases notably 67mm of pen which as noted above is basically TierX HE BB pen but with more damage and fire chance than any sort of BB HE.
Whats TierX look like for IJN? They get a few extra rockets per plane, a slight damage increase but have the lowest pen of any rocket. The "swarm" rockets for USN basically out compete the IJN rockets, while the USN heavy rockets give a unique setup entirely which is seemingly better than either the USN swarms or the IJN rockets. This overall leaves IJN rockets in a pretty meh position.
IJN has TB options now! They can keep basically the same TB setup they've had since Tier6 with some basic upgrades to overall damage but 2 planes per attack still so 2 torps per attack compared to USN's 6. Their other option is to get long range torpedoes with a nearly twice as long arming range where they can use 4 planes with 1 torp per attack, this is less for attacking a ship but more so for area denial (seemingly) basically think long range shima torping.
For DB's they still have only AP, about 1k extra damage compared to Tier8 but still 3 planes per attack. At this point if you can citadel a BB you can get around 8k damage, meanwhile I can semi reliably get 10-12k damage attacks with USN DB's are this tier and probably set a fire or two in the process.
I'll also finish this up by covering the general bullshit of the IJN DB aiming system compared to USN. The IJN AP DB's have a very oblong/oval shape targeting system for DB's not does this reinforce having to hit front to back (or visa versa) but its also a bigger and less RNG friendly aiming system. USN DB's on the other hand have more or less a circle/mostly round targeting system which is small regardless of shape. This allows them better approaches from the side (and turning slightly mid dive) and also a much more RNG friendly setup. Not only this as covered above by Tier8 USN DB's are dropping 6 HE bombs per attack wave which have good pen, good accuracy as noted, and solid damage and fire chance. While the IJN AP DB's have a worse aiming system, get lots of overpens, have less bombs per attack wave, and in general are just seriously under performing.
The only real redemption I see for IJN DB's at this point is possibly attacking other CV's since there seems to be rather limited windows of being able to flood/fire them so potentially you could snipe out an opposing CV assuming you RNGesus is kind and you don't overpen for days.
IJN TB's come out of the gate very strong, but by Tier8 and X they have generally dropped off compared to USN counter parts simply putting more torps in the water. They do have a gimmick as TierX potentially with their long range variant, but considering how WG has nerfed stealth torping, shima style torping and so on if this is ever seriously relevant it will probably be nerfed into the ground.
Rockets start off rather comparable between the two lines. Though by Tier8 and the heavy rockets showing up for USN they just seemingly invalidate IJN rockets by comparison. Of note here the USN heavy rockets do have a longer aiming time making them slightly harder to use but if that is problematic for your rocket needs the USN still offers swarm rockets that compete on rather equal footing with IJN rockets.
Another note, Fighters are seemingly completely identical between both lines at the same tiers. Same durations, reloads, fighter numbers, radius etc.
So at this point assuming you arn't playing Tier4 because its shit all around. Why would you play IJN at all outside of Tier6? Tier8 and X are both seemingly heavily USN favored. Tier6 isn't even really IJN favored, you just see a real split between DB focus and TB focus.
At TierX let IJN have 3 normal TB's per attack (so you have 3 torps vs 6 torps per attack wave).
At Tier8 let IJN have the option of 3 long range TB's per attack, effectively similar to the 4 long range TB's at TierX and this would give them a direct comparison for USN's heavy rockets vs swarms at both tiers.
In general tighten up the AP DB aiming pattern/circle. It should not be nearly the size of a battleship at maximum tightness. Without hitting citadels the AP bombs are useless, and without a tighter aiming pattern they can't remotely reliably citadel meaning you are better off using rockets or TB's almost all the time.
Increase IJN rocket pen values. There is no reason to let both USN types of rockets have superior pen to IJN's only rocket option, it does NOT have the fire chance, damage, or anything else to make up for the pen difference. This will also help make being stuck with AP bombs less of a problem if those rockets can actually semi-reliably pen things besides super structure.
As a general aside less focused on ship vs ship balance. I think the restoration time on planes as a whole should/could be increased. At basically all tiers of play I can often times keep one particular plane type up nearly all the time so long as don't go full yolo suiciding squads into cruisers. If this is being balanced around 2 CV's per team, with some AA cruisers in mind it might make sense but anything less than that and the restoration time just seems way to fast especially at lower tiers.
I still have mixed feelings about the rework in general, but I figure we are stuck with it so we might aswell make the best of it we can. To that end it seems like the IJN line is more or less getting shafted all around compared the USN.
© Post "CV Balance on the PTR" for game World of Warships.
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