I had an epiphany last night, where I was finally able to articulate to myself what the issue is facing the gradual decline in quality in gameplay in WoWs.
I know it's the hip thing to shit on CVs, and I won't argue or dismiss the indisputable fact they are the most powerful ship class in the game, but they're emblematic of a wider problem – not the problem itself.
The problem, you ask? The power curve.
The power curve in WoWs can both refer to the increase in power between tiers, but also between newer vs older content – and this combined effect has produced a deeply unsatisfying game. Allow me to expand on this;
WG designs its games to function as a gradual exponential power curve from T1 to T10; i.e. the increase in performance between tiers is supposed to be largely the same, with a small increase at the higher tiers, where the difference between T10 and T9 is more pronounced than T1 and 2, but is supposed to still be manageable.
At release, this was largely true outside of individually poor ships (such as Izumo vs Yamato), and remains true for much of the early game content; USN BBs, the now buffed Izumo vs Yamato, IJN CAs, etc.
However, each change to the game since then has resulted in wider and wider power curves, as to make newer content more attractive, it has to perform slightly better than the old, or so goes the company logic. It's not applied evenly, which is why the issue isn't extremely obvious – and we instead focus on certain over-performers like the Belfast, Harugumo, Kremlin, Sinop and so on.
However, when you take a step back and look – especially at the high tier ships where the tier power curve and age power curve intersect, there is a distinct trend where new dominates, and the old languishes. Sure, you still see plenty of Yamatos in T10 battles, but that has more to do with it being the only "real" T10 in the game, but it's the Haks, Midways, Harugumos, Henri IVs, Stalingrads and so on which dominate those games; all, for the most part, fairly "new" content released well after the initial tech trees were completed.
CVs, by virtue of being the newest thing on the market, and WG having a vested interest in seeing more people play the class, have amplified this issue. You can see the tier power curve escalation more evidently with them; a T4 carrier is basically just for spotting, and a little bit of opportunistic damage, while a T10 carrier flies with impunity through the center of the enemy fleet dealing enormous, constant damage while spotting the whole team. It's the same escalation you see from, say, an Akizuki to the Harugumo – the higher tiers end up much more imbalanced than the low.
Even if CVs end up perfectly balanced, we're just going to go back to being melted by a Harugumo behind an island, or out-BB'd by Kreml – or god help us, Slava- in every situation with its stalinium armour and ammunition. The fundamental structural issue at work isn't going to go away.
While I know they are increasingly different beasts, take a look at World of Tanks – how many tanks do you see from when the game was young still played aside from a few fan favourites like the KV-2? The progression and development model is close enough to warrant a few sidelong glances and wonder where we'll end up here.
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