With the recent increased attention brought to CVs by different CCs I'd like to share my opinion on them as a class with you as well. I recently had a lengthy discussion with one of my friends who plays carriers extensively. I believe he and I reached common ground and I'd like to share with you what we concluded.
To start one has to acknowldege that both sides in this conflict aren't always truthful, somewhat spread missinformation and try to depict each other as the villain. This thinking can't lead to a discussion or an actual agreement, therefore I find it necessary to start seeing the different nuances this topic contains. The players are not at fault, the game design is.
In my opinion the interaction between Carriers and Surface Ships is terribly flawed. Not because there is no counterplay, but the way this counterplay is implemented seems to be root of all evil here.
1. Problem: Feedback
Actually angling and turning your ship, AA itself, grouping up, Focus-Sector, DefAA and Fighter, worsen the performance of a CV player considerably (not every ship in the same way, more on that later), but the feeling of accomplishment is never really felt by the surface ship, it seems more like just damage mitigation and never retaliation (e.g. CV strikes you once, loses all his planes in the process, which would be a bad trade for him, but still feels like you are off worse, bc you couldn't change the outcome).
This feeling is created by the fact, that fighting planes is hindering you to achieve your main goal in a round (Goals: Play Objective->Win, Kills, Damage) and therefore becomes unwelcome or even hated. The design goal would need to be that depleting the squadrons of the carrier becomes a game objective in the players mind. This would happen if e.g. you could see some kind of progress bar of how many planes remain watching it decrease. Additionally one would need to be compensated for their troubles, by increased XP and Credit gain for plane dmg/kills or maybe even counting plane dmg as regular dmg so you could watch a number rise.
2. Problem: Being Unfun/Frustrating
The question stands, why is the counterplay unfun? – Pressing three or four buttons at most is not really engaging gameplay.
Whilst one may say that radar is also just the press of a button. This judgement misses a crucial point. You need to bring yourself into an advantageous position to use it. On the other hand a CV just comes by from time to time so you can press your buttons again and hope that your AI gunners/pilots do their job for once, which means feeling somewhat helpless because you are at the mercy of RNG injected game mechanics.
Turning and angling is actually quite effective, if you are able to do so. If not you have a problem. You have to stop whatever you were doing and try to angle your ship while not showing broadside to the enemy. This is especially frustrating if you worked hard to get into the position you are in and then being forced out of it. Even worse this may happen multiple times per match. Another problem is, that carriers tend to attack ships, that are already in a lot of trouble (e.g. flank collapsed, teammates died) adding to the frustration.
Additionally there is no single ship hard countering CVs, which means, if you find yourself without friends, your counterplay is not really a deterrent, and the carrier will visit you. Some ships have terrible stats, to damage planes or evade their armaments (Montana-Ruddershift, Yamato-AA). All these different factors lead to frustration and even hatred.
3. Problem: Denying Roles of Surface Ships
I often hear that surface ships should group up as a way of teamplay and if they don't it is their own fault for refusing to play together. This argument is flawed. First of, teamplay in WOWS is usually based on the assumption that each player fills the role their respective class provides. (e.g.: DD-obejective, spotting | BB-alpha_strike, crossfires | CA/CL-dmg, utility)
Their roles usually come with a certain relative position on the map, which would usually drive them out of mutual AA support range. Therefore players choose between AA defense and properly filling their role, which necessiatates them to compromise.
Both are teamplay, if a player fails to do their duty, others have to work harder/suffer in surface combat. But the aforementioned are perceived differently. Most, likely find playing to the strength/role of their ship fun and not doing so (AA defense) the opposite. Players are not refusing to play as a team, they are refusing to play boring and (in their mind) goal hindering teamplay, but who can fault them for doing so? This is a game, not work or a school assignment. Wanting to have fun is understandable here, and therefore expecting them to do the opposite will naturally be met with opposition.
4. Problem: Incentivise Bad Play/Unfun Games
All the mentioned things above lead to bad play on the carrier as well as on the surface ships side.
CVs are forced to play scummy. Just target the ships that are already weak, help on the flank, that is already winning, bc there are less enemies, ignore the strong enemy flank, because you would suffer too heavy losses. This leads to the fact, that a losing side loses harder and has a worse time than necessary.
The surface ships tend to form lemming trains/AA death blobs, that give up all mapcontrol and is likely to lose a match.
This leads to this possible example, that most of you will likely have lived through already: You as a player, who is able to play reasonably well, observe that your team abandons all map control and lemmings into one cap. To mitigate the enemy crossfire you split of the main force and try to hold a flank on your own / with very few others. But if a carrier is in play one thing will most likely happen. The CV focuses you, the one one the weak flank, and tries to kill you as hard as possible, because from his point of view you are the only viable target. You die and have no fun at all. Your team dies, because they get crossfired and have no fun as well. The enemy CV has no targets left can't do anything afterwards, has no fun. The enemy team, besides a few lucky captains, and your CV have no fun either, because round ends too fast and most will feel like they didn't do anything. In conclusion everybody loses, no one has fun. This may sound like an extreme example, but this happens to a certain extent from time to time.
Another problem is with the attitude WG adopts, that "CVs are fine". Apparently they are not. Each time carriers are mentioned it devolves into a heated derailed discussions. A thing WG needs to learn is that: what matters are not statistics or spreadsheets, its how the community feels. If the community says to a majority (atleast the ones that are vocal) that CVs are not "fine", then that is the case. Stats can be used as a guideline, but we are talking about a product that tries to sell fun to players. That means spreadsheets, that say something is balanced, but this balance is not felt, mean literally nothing.
This would be my go at the current problems with CV Surface Ship interaction. Mind, that I left out multiple things, e.g. spotting, which I find horrendously unbalanced and should be addressed immediately, but I think this was discussed enough already. So thank you for your time reading this wall of text and have a good day.
TL;DR: CV Surface Ship interaction is flawed because of missing player feedback, unfun/frustrating mechanics, denial of surface ship roles, it incentivises bad play and creates unfun games.
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