Better late than never I suppose but here is my final review of the CV rework.
First off, I did not get to accomplish with the testing what I wanted to both in battles and videos (sorry). However, I was able to get a good idea of the effects that the rework will have on the game – in its current form – and I am not impressed. As the rework is two parts; CV control changes and AA mechanic changes, I will break this review into its respective parts offering the pros and cons for each, and where applicable, suggestions for change from where I am sitting.
As a non-CV player, it was nice to be able to play a CV and quickly get a grasp for the controls, at least in a basic form. Within a couple of battles I was able to do consistent damage to enemy ships and even get a few kills. The nuances of the controls once in attack mode was something that took a little longer to learn, specifically that of the dive bombers as the movement controls seemed nearly unresponsive once you went into attack mode. Thus you needed to line up almost perfectly for a successful drop. Further, with both the torpedo bombers and attack fighters, getting the lead right for the ships took some figuring. Unlike with the current CV model, where players would have had time to figure out lead with the auto-drops, that does not exist here and there is no indicator or even time to target clock to help adjust. This will likely mean that new players will need to spend more time practicing ‘instinctive’ drops to become effective than with the current setup that has the auto-drop feature. So for the CV Rework:
- Easy to learn the basics
- Less multitasking required
- Lots of damage stacking potential
- Control of CV while controlling squadrons was insufficient, particularly while under attack
- Maintenance (damage control or heal) was impossible while controlling squadrons
- Controls for dive bombers once in attack mode was seemingly cumbersome and inaccurate
- Estimation of lead for torpedo bombers was difficult without any previous experience
- Estimation of lead for Attack fighters was difficult if attack from the bow or stern
- Significantly less effective against destroyers
- Wasn’t always obvious when it was your Aircraft that was spotted or your actual CV
- Create or allow for hybrid squadron control – RTS and first person with the ability to switch between the two depending on requirements
- When in RTS, squadrons can be left in a sector to control the actual CV as you would any other ship.When in first person mode and an attack is initiated, cannot switch to RTS mode and vise versa
- Create a lead scale and time to target clock similar to that of main battery guns with both X and Y gradients for attack and dive bomber squadrons and just X for torpedo
- Allow this interface to be disabled/enabled and the GUI to (eventually) be changed in the settings
- Make RTS drops less accurate and reliant of initial angle of attack vs first person drops which, unless scattered by defensive AA or fighter plane, to be more accurate with less of a difference between initiating the attack and the final attack column or ellipse
- RTS drops can remain an all or nothing attack while first person will remain 2-3 planes attack from the squadron per attack. Alpha strike and RNG vs Precision and DoT
- IF multiple CVs will be allowed per side, only one squadron can be in the air at a time. IF only one CV will be allowed per side, only two squadrons can be in the air at a time and only one can attack via RTS, the other must attack with first person controls
AA Mechanic Rework
The lack of ability to select and focus single squadrons as a ship was sorely missed. Further, the selecting of sectors of fire was not very intuitive or useful due to the time requirement and the fact that only port and starboard were options with no option to focus bow or stern. This is of particular concern as both attack fighters and dive bombers are most effective when attacking from the bow or stern. A more important concern, however, is the fact that AA can be knocked out but CV’s have unlimited squadrons. With the current HE meta, at least on the NA server, this is probably the biggest issue as a ships ability to protect itself will diminish over time while a CV’s attack power will only increase. This is NOT balanced for your typical random team battles. So here are the pros and cons for the AA rework:
- The visuals for flak and machine gun fire are excellent
- The raw damage that flak clouds can do is a nice touch
- Being able to see the effect that your AA has with HP indicators on the planes is helpful
- Sectors of fire, while still in need of work, is a nice concept
- Diminishing AA capabilities of ships with unlimited attack capabilities from CV’s
- Limited sectors of fire for AA selection
- Inability to focus a single squadron via Ctrl + Click
- Increase the sectors of AA fire to 4 – Bow, Stern, Port and Starboard, with half ship increments. Similar to the current with just port and starboard where the midline of the ship determines the break in sectors
- Allow for control click to not only automatically select a sector of fire based on where the squadron is (will not move with the squadron however), but will also further boost DPM of AA towards that squadron by X% (15% perhaps) across all sectors (this boost will automatically follow the squadron).
- An example: A squadron is coming in from the port side, regardless of range, and you Ctrl + Click that squadron. The port side sector of fire gets boosted automatically (150% DPM on port, 50% on Starboard, and 75% DPM for stern and bow) with a 15% boost to DPM (total of 165% DPM before Def AA if squadron stays in the port sector) towards that squadron alone. The selected squadron moves towards the stern sector of the ship. The AA sector boost stays on the port side, but the 15% follows the squadron to the stern, allowing for 90% DPM.
- Initial selection of sector, whether via Ctrl +Click on enemy squadron or use of the hot keys, is immediate. Subsequent sector changes are subject to a cool-down that begins at the time of the previous change, say 20sec, i.e. if you boost the bow sector and then immediately try to change to the port, that change will take place in 20sec. This cool-down is proactive meaning that if you wait 20sec or more before you try to change the sector, it will change immediately. Further, if on cool-down, your selection will be remembered and will change without further interaction once the cool-down is up.
- Either, buff the survivability of AA mounts on ships, or preferably limit the amount of aircraft that a CV can hold.
- If limiting the amount of aircraft that a CV can hold is chosen, some extra balancing of the actual aircraft might be necessary. Examples can be that the American aircraft have higher HP pools to account for them being historically more durable than the IJN planes, while the IJN planes are more maneuverable and faster due to less armor and weight.
As this was just a beta test, there were a few bugs that I noticed. One was on occasion I would take large amounts of damage, as if going through a flak cloud, when none was there (or rendered). The most annoying, however, was the one described in a previous article. If, during take off from the carrier, you had the A or D key pressed in haste to make a turn towards a direction before
Other minor bugs included not rendering containers in port until they were opened and not always indicating when the CV was spotted vs the squadrons.
Overall Beta Test Experience
Though I did not get the time to spend on the CV rework that I would have liked, overall it was enjoyable. There were a number of things that they could have done better such as more time to test and better introduction into the changes that were made. An example of this was the sectors of fire. I didn’t find out this actually existed until a few days in, and some (who get to play more than I do) didn’t find out until even later. This, and other pieces of information about the changes would have been nice to know before the beta even drops. A quick guide, either video or written on the site, would have been sufficient. Just throwing players into a beta such as this without all the necessary information detracts from a comprehensive test in my opinion. Though I understand the necessity of learning as you go, the lack of time that we had to test made these quieter changes harder to test and fully understand their impact. Perhaps the next test will include a better introduction than this one.
I know this is a long review but I tried to be as comprehensive as I could given what I was and wasn’t able to supply in terms of gameplay and footage. Time just hasn’t been my friend lately. I hope this will suffice for the majority of you as to the current status of the rework and what you could be looking forward to if it stays this way. I really hope it doesn’t