I played my first few games yesterday evening. I was not able to play enough battles to unlock the high tier CV’s but was able to play the Ryujo and the Ranger so here are my first impressions of the low tier carrier play.
The first game took a little getting used to. As I don’t play carriers in their current form I had nothing to fall back on – good news mostly in this case. The controls and attack timing is where there was a learning curve. My first game was not a very successful one as far as damage goes. W-A-S-D controls the movement of your aircraft squadrons, however, if you pan with your mouse left or right and stay at that bearing long enough, your aircraft will go towards that direction as well without pressing A or D. In this, I did find a bug. If in your haste to turn the aircraft in a direction while they were taking off, say left (holding A key), once they have finished that automated process, they would be stuck in a left turn if you release A and would only go straight if you held D. The fix for this, I found, was just to initial a left turn manually with A to reset that. It was annoying though.
Games 2 and 3 were both better as the learning curve seemed to be easier than that of the current CV play style – the point of this rework. There was still some getting used to doing dive bomb drops, such as when to initiate the first part of the attack but both games we won. Damage was better, just breaking 70k, but still have some learning. Things to mention though, unlike random battles versus players, the bots (both teams were mixed with bots and players) would bunch up, or just derp into each other making for very big AA bubbles. This made attacking many of these ships difficult due to the AA as many planes would get chewed up on approach so I might only get 1-2 drops out of a possible 3+. The AA feels annoying as the CV player, though not crippling at the lower tiers, but down right insufficient as a regular ship player thus far. Further, due to the capability of constant barrages from a single squadron in a short window, if you are focused, you will be hurting.
Overall the play wasn’t too bad. Even for a non-CV player though is was a bit boring and, at least with the Ryujo with DW torps and AP bombs, striking destroyers and doing notable damage (attack squadrons with rockets could strike them but only do 1-2k on average) was difficult. Further, with only one torpedo strike possible, cross dropping destroyers is now impossible. As CV’s were the bane of a destroyers existence when they were in a battle with cross drops and perma-spotting in the current configuration, this would be a welcomed change for many DD mains. Though they can still spot, and still attempt to make strikes (from what I have experienced so far), their time will be much better suited to striking larger,less nimble ships.
Things that I feel are certainly broken – the ability for AA to be knocked out while having infinite aircraft, the movement and otherwise control of the actual carrier while you have squadron in the air, and the apparent inability to effectively strike certain ships. Also, if more than one carrier exists per team at higher tiers, as they did during Beta, the power that CV’s will have will be magnified significantly. Any ship will get focused by multiple and relentless attacks that will likely be coordinated, allowing for the selected removal of nearly any ship from the game in the first minutes – AA capabilities aside. Late game, as AA has been knocked out on other ships from HE fire, the CV will be the most powerful ship on the map. The counter? Welcome back CV sniping and the flanking destroyer whose sole purpose will be to kill the CV’s.
These impressions could change as I get more play time in, particularly with the Midway and the Hak. However, I see them only becoming more critical based on what I have played so far and seen from other testers. I’ll try to get a video or two up of my mediocre game play.