A huge problem people have with the CV rework is the absence of proper interaction between carrier players. There was a time when carriers had direct control of fighter squadrons, able to set them onto an enemy aircraft, have them escort surface ships, or be manually designated to strafe a small area to deal massive damage to any enemy planes in the way. This major aspect of CV gameplay was removed by WG with the given reason that CVs had way too much to micromanage for the class to be easily accessible, hence why it was changed in the rework to be a simple button to drop a fighter patrol.
However, I've been thinking of a way to reintroduce manually controlled CAP fighter squadrons to the game so that carrier can actively protect allies from enemy squadrons, which also helps reduce the amount of overall spotting/action on both sides since the CV will be spending more time actively defending allies instead of looking for targets to strike. This implementation shouldn't have any issues regarding micromanaging either, since it follows the mechanics of the rework
How it would work?
In the current implementation, fighter squadrons already follow attack squadrons, unseen from above. This is why fighters can be instantly dropped on a location without them needing to fly from the carrier. In my suggestion, the 'R' key will be rebound from the engine boost refill to a 'rotate' squadron action, which will swap the formation and control of your attack squadron to the escorting fighter squadron, and vice versa. The camera will pan backwards and upwards, and player control changes
Controlling and using fighters
Now with player controlled fighter squadrons, they can actively seek out enemy planes to try to shoot them down. Holding down the left mouse button would fire the machine guns of your squadron. Rather than having a boost ability like regular attack squadrons, the bar is replaced by an overheat gauge, which would recharge similar to the boost bar. When the machine gun is firing, it will do continuous damage to any enemy planes within the squadron's boundaries depending on the amount of fighters remaining in the squadron. Obviously carrier fighters will have much higher continuous damage than surface ships, making them the most reliable protection against fighters
But what are these boundaries I speak of? An overlay similar to the torpedo launching system will display in front of fighters in 3D space (so it doesn't conform to landscape), though it will only display the edges rather than fill in the entire area like torpedoes do. Any enemy planes within those boundaries will take damage. Since carrier planes in a squadron actually have individually calculated hitboxes for flak purposes, it's possible to only be hitting half of a squadron with fighters.
Much like torpedoes, these boundaries will have a wide and a narrow spread which can be cycled by pressing "1." The wide spread casts a larger net, but does less continuous damage than the narrow spread.
You may have noticed I said that fighter squadrons don't have a boost. Instead, they have higher base speed and maneuverability than every other type of attack plane, since they don't have any heavy ordnance. This means that attack squadrons will have to use the boost to flee fighter squadrons. This also turns the engine cooling consumable into a defensive one, used to get away from fighters. This also will discourage players from using that consumable to approach surface ships faster since they may need it to retreat, reducing the strike potential and a little bit of early game spotting.
This also means that a fighter squadron could theoretically always catch up to an attack squadron given enough time, but that's something the player will have to gauge whether or not it's worth it to do that and give up time targeting surface ships or not. If they decide it's not worth it, they can always drop fighters like before.
This will still be a part of the game. Fighters can still be dropped to a position using the 'T' key and they will patrol around the area dropped for a given amount of time (personally I think this time should be increased by at least 50%). However, when the fighters are dropped, you can ctrl+click on an allied ship and the fighters will circle around that ship. Since these are carrier-based fighters, they will offer even more protection than ship launched fighters.
Dropping fighters will prevent you from accessing the ability to rotate between your attack squadron and fighter squadron, so it gives the CV player a choice: guaranteed protection for an allied ship or the ability to control it yourself for potential interceptions and use them multiple times
To prevent this mechanic from being abused such that escorting fighters could potentially reveal an undetected ship's location, when fighters are escorting a ship, they won't become visible to the enemy team unless the ship they are escorting is likewise spotted
Other important mechanics
Right now, fighters are limited by consumable use. With the change to making them player controlled, fighters will be put onto the same plane regeneration mechanic that every other plane type uses. Hangar capacity of fighters will also have to be larger than the other 3 types, since they are launched every single time a carrier chooses an attack squadron. This also ensures fighters will still be available late game so that an enemy CV will have a harder time bullying 2-3 ships as opposed to being spread thin across 12
Whichever squadron you are not currently controlling will be immune to AA damage of any type because they are flying above the controlled squadron. To prevent this from being abused after dropping a surface target, the 'R' key will have a 30 second cooldown before being able to be used again. Also, while the fighters and attack planes are swapping, there is a brief period where both squadrons are susceptible to AA damage, discouraging you from using this above enemy ships and keeping it a more defensive mechanic
The HP bars of fighters will be displayed above the one of the attack squadron you sent out. Whichever squadron is not being used will have the HP bar become an outline rather than a solid bar (similar to minimap spotted ships), also to indicate that it's immune to damage
Attack squadrons would also have the ability to go into "intercept" mode by pressing '2,' swapping their armament to the machine guns. Attack squadrons, however, would have far lower DPS than dedicated fighters. They also do not have the ability to focus the targeting spread with their machine guns. This part is really only there so that CV-CV interaction isn't lost when fighters are dropped.
Depending on the attack squadron, they will also have "secondary" armaments in the form of tail guns, which will do minimal continuous damage in a, say 1km, max aura. This is really only for the sake of having it (kinda like Haida's secondary gun), but it could be a nice surprise in finishing off an enemy plane that happens to have 10 HP left
The "Shot Down by Fighter" ribbon would have to have its payout in XP/credits buffed significantly to further incentivize carrier players to actively defend allied targets from enemy planes
'R' cycles control between attack squadron and fighter squadron
Fighters do continuous damage when the left mouse button is held to enemy planes caught in their targeting spread, with an overheat mechanic instead of a boost
Fighters travel faster and are more maneuverable than attack squadrons
Fighters can still be dropped on a position like before, but can now be assigned to escort a selected ally
Fighters become an active part of the "regenerating" hangar, rather than being relegated to a mediocre consumable
Attack squadrons gain limited capability to shoot down enemy planes
CVs regain the ability to actually, you know, fight other CVs with this proposed change to fighters. Not only that, but a CV's job becomes split between defending and attacking, reducing the overall influence a CV has against surface ships since ideally, they will be spending half their time intercepting enemy planes. Heck, they could even use this to more effectively take out enemy spotter planes if the chance arises. This also creates actually functioning no-fly-zones, since player controlled fighters combined with surface AA will heavily prevent an enemy CV from actually getting off a strike on that location
Thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Let's keep the discussion clean!
Source: Original link
© Post "Reintroducing CV – CV combat interaction: A suggestion for a different approach to carrier-launched fighter squadrons" for game World of Warships.
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