This post is mostly a response to the following post: https://www.reddit.com/r/WorldOfWarships/comments/ardin5/wargaming_lead_game_designer_response_to_cv/
I actually thought that the lead dev's responses made sense, and just wanted to write a bit regarding my experience.
I have played CVs a bunch before the rework, and basically gave up, because it was a shitshow (I reached T7 US CV, was half way to T8).
I was not sure about the CV rework, but reserved judgement until I tried it out.
I loved it once I tried it out. I am not a big RTS player (terrible at micromanagement), so it suited me very well. In general, I really like playing turn based games (my favourite wargame is probably Gary Grigsby's War in the West, and my favourite RPG also happens to be turn based: Shadowrun Returns). Maybe that's why I didn't mind the "separation" of ship movement and airplane movement?
Also, using the airplanes is exhilarating: especially when you are attacking, and losing planes while trying to desperately line up your shot. Just fantastic.
I have some number of Lexington games, and I have fun regardless of which tier I am playing against. I don't find the airplane losses to AA to be awful, as I do the following to manage:
Early on in the game, especially when facing T10s, or T9s, I'll dump some of my planes by attacking the sea, to have a smaller squadron. This way, I do not have unnecessary losses when my squadron runs into full-strength cruiser AA (e.g. fire rockets at a DD, but the planes not attacking have moved deep into enemy territory).
Try to attack so that I have a quick getaway option behind an island, or away from the enemy team post-attack. Generally, the planes that made the attack will still be lost, but I can save other planes.
If there's a fellow CV, try and stick with their squadrons (i.e. try and attack the same or close by targets), to spread out the damage we take.
Before attacking BBs with heavy AA using dive bombers/torp bombers, attack them using rocket planes to destroy as many AA guns as possible. On a similar note, try and attack enemies that have already taken a significant amount of damage from HE shells (i.e. usually those attacked by your team's cruisers), as they will have weaker AA. I think few players try to take into account the fact that your team and rocket planes can help to destroy AA guns on ships.
Avoid attacking ship groups larger than 2: basically, lone ships should be the primary target. It's worth noting that a ship isn't really "lone" unless its at least 6 to 7 km away from another ship (roughly AA range of the other ship).
The above lessons were learned after a lot of plane losses, but I had to either adapt, or keep attacking what in my mind felt "most satisfying", only to suffer awful losses.
Furthermore, I do not think DDs are severely affected by plane spotting, except for by fighters:
Usually don't want to stay near a target for too long, and you have to get very close to DDs (3km ish) before you can spot them, so they are well within the AA bubble of supporting ships. Quick in, quick out is necessary to conserve planes.
Lone DDs are much easier to handle (I definitely feel very safe attacking them), but its very hard to do consistent damage to them. Maybe I am not too skilled, but with rockets I can do reliable damage against broadside BBs/CVs, but 5 rockets against a DD is a "good hit", for me. Thus, I mainly do chip damage, and here, spotting does rule. I can spot the DDs because they are lonely, and I can stick around. Still, my urge to attack is too great, so they are rarely spotted for a long time.
Caveat to the last point: maybe a more disciplined CV player would be willing to stick around for longer, without damage, especially in clan games? Also, fighters against lone DDs are good for spotting, which may be cheesy.
In general, I do quite a lot of spotting damage, and this is because I can stay at a safe distance away from BBs, while spotting them. In general, I cannot use fighters to reliably spot, as they have to be pretty close to a ship, and they get shredded super fast (try it: they will not last more than 2-3 seconds), unless they are facing nothing more than weak DD AA.
Regarding F-spam: I used F key a lot initially, because I thought that is how it was supposed to work. I never knew it was an "exploit", as I thought I was paying the cost of foregoing that attack completely. When F key no longer resulted in quick plane escape, I had to change tactics (see above), but I do fine. There was definitely a learning curve though, and while my planes were still getting shredded as I was gathering experience, I found it very annoying.
Finally, another reason I am fine with CV ship control being via autopilot is that I have never died because of DoT or avoidable damage. When I do die, it's because I am caught way out of position (team has moved to a different side of the map, as the game progressed, and I failed to pay attention). I have never felt "oh god, I wish I could control the CV because I could have totally survived that!".
My list of suggested improvements is quite small:
Make CV spotting work like the upcoming rework of radar against DDs?
Give players a better idea of their friendly AA bubble (basically, how they are aligned with respect to their friendly ships), so they can make well-informed decisions regarding their positioning (i.e. should I move away to get an awesome shot against some enemy ship, given that I will lose X amount of AA protection, or where should I position my AA cruiser to cover the most allies)?
Make fighters more useful for providing AA cover, and/or just take away their surface ship spotting ability?
Refine CV autopilot, so that I don't crash into islands when I just want to position behind them. To be honest though, I am not having much of an issue with it, as I learn how to use the system: I just have to put my destination markers farther away from an island than I would "think". Perhaps my greatest issue is the direction the CV chooses to sail in (forwards, versus backwards). Sometimes, for small shifts in position, I find that the CV is moving backwards to maneuver, which can make the small position shift take a long time.
My in game username is antiprion, if people want to check out stats. They are pretty mediocre (I'm a mediocre player), but I have been having lots of fun.
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