Since the CV rework I've been playing fairly little besides CVs, because the surface meta just seemed demotivating. But since I got my 80th game in Audacious yesterday to enter the wowsnumbers player ranking, I figured it was time to return to the surface once more – sincerely trying to make the best out of the new situation.
My first choice after some consideration was Hindenburg. I figured it would be one of the most resilient ships against the CV meta. As a CV I mostly did not care too much about Hindenburgs. They tend to position savely, are reasonably beefy, and usually neither the easiest target nor greatest nuisance, so I rarely focussed on them.
What actually changed for the Hindenburg?
People play more passive and blob up more – a logical consequence of having to stick together for AA protection. For a Hindenburg this means that you also have to play more passively, since even such a tanky cruiser can't afford staying too close to a big blob of firepower. This dramatically lowered my overall damage output, averaging 98k dmg compared to my previous average 145k – maybe that's just a bad streak, but it felt insanely hard to reach my old average even in very long matches.
Even though CVs did not deal much damage to me overall, they can still deliver occasional painful strikes. In one game I was fighting a bunch of BBs that forced my angling, meaning I had no more way to even try dodging the incoming Haku AP bombs which struck me for 20k (even though I was in the center of our AA on that flank, but the first strike of a full squadron is almost impossible to deny). This forced me to back off much further than I normally would, since I just no longer had the health to fight from close up.
I took many fewer opportunities to play aggressively than I used to. There were multiple situations where I would have loved to push out, but decided against it because the threat of getting spotted or struck by the CV worsened the risk/reward ratio substantially. Even with def AA and fighters you will always get hit by at least one wave, which you often just cannot afford if you already put yourself at a positional disadvantage by moving towards the enemy. I noticed it was a lot harder/riskier to press kills for this reason.
Games snowballed like crazy when one CV found more success than the other (whether that is through skill, uneven AA between teams, or opponents giving up easy kills). Of course WoWs was always snowbally. But even if your team drops far behind you still usually have some options to fight back, and be it just by kiting away. In a CV game however this game state means you get permaspotted and dwindled down by CV harassment, making it a whole lot more frustrating.
These games did not actually end faster than in previous metas because the surface ships begin the game in much more cautious positions, but they feel even more inevitable and annoying.Загрузка...
On the advice of some friends I started with range module to respond to the passive meta and fit a fighter plane, but I got annoyed by how little damage post nerf Hinden does with this setup. After a few games I switched back to reload/spotting plane, with which I was much more satisfied. As I said, direct CV damage was never much of a concern. The only issues are spotting and the occasional poke, against which it doesn't really matter how much AA you have.
I gave up my beloved hydro for def AA. This made for another factor that discourages aggressive pushes, since I was more vulnerable to torps and had less ability to threaten DDs. But without def AA it would be even harder to move up against the constant spam of planes, so pushing smokes with hydro would not really be an option anymore anyway. And the general positioning was so passive that torpedoes were not much of a concern – besides how many Shimakazes pick 20 km torps now.
I didn't bother with any of the AA modules, since DPS was a far greater concern for me than planes.
The permanent CV matchmaking of course gives a good reason to consider full AA, but I don't see Hindenburg gain much worthwhile from it. It essentially just allows you to split off further from your team, but Hinden never was great in that role due to her slow speed and it won't actually help you deal with enemy blobs. I always found she did pretty well in relatively central position as a "pocket battleship", and in that spot AA just isn't much of an issue.
CVs don't threaten Hindenburg much, but force a much more passive playstyle. You now win more games by surviving the CV better than the enemy does, rather than through your own damage output and aggression. Despite my hunch that Hinden would probably be pretty resilient to the CV meta, I found that her new gameplay is both less impactful and less fun. You deal less damage, find fewer duels and fewer opportunities to be aggressive. And snowballing games snowball in a much more frustrating way by through permaspotting and the added damage from the CV even while kiting.
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© Post "Exploring the CV meta one ship at a time. Part 1: Hindenburg" for game World of Warships.
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