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Everyone's aware of the current state carriers are in. However aside from "nerf" "buff" and "remove" there aren't many sophisticated ideas on how to improve carrier gameplay. Well, a long time ago, in a test phase far far away, I made a post about how to improve, or better to say remake carrier gameplay. That post has since been lost in the void of time and space, however, the idea is still there. Some of the major issues of CV gameplay are: Aerial Superiority (Fighter loadouts) being ineffective compared to bomber loadouts A huge difference between rewards for bombing and shooting down aircrafts Aircraft/RTS controls being way too basic There are other minor issues and some major issues that will be fixed in 0.4.1, however the above mentioned problems will remain even post-0.4.1. (For example the tier difference of fighters will be fixed in the next patch) Rewards for Shooting Down Aircrafts Now fixing the rewards for shooting down aircrafts isn't much of a problem. Atleast that's what one would think, however the reason why (I assume) WG hasn't just simply changed the rewards is that while supporting allies with AA fire is encouraged it shouldn't be the main job of certain ships. There are a few possible options to avoid players to just run around other ships the entire battle. 1.) Only Buff Rewards for CVs The obvious 08/15 option is to only buff the rewards for CVs, making Aerial Superiority (AS) more appealing, while AA support for ships keeps being a secondary action. With the upcoming changes in the MM this should work well, since the current situation of one team having a CV while the other one doesn't won't happen anymore. The obvious downside is that AA support for ships won't be further encouraged. This could be countered by giving the Clear Sky achievement a corresponding flag that's valuable enough to be sought after. The obvious choice would be a flag, which increases AA/Fighter strength, however keeping in mind that these flags are supposed to be valuable enough to encourage players to actively try to get them something better is required. My suggestion would be a combination of the exp and credit flags with far lower bonuses. For example instead of 50% exp and 20% credits, this flag grants 10% exp and 5% credits... of course it stacks with the other flags(!). 2) Minor Reward Buff This buff would also grant better rewards for ship AA. The downside obviously is that the reward can't be increased too much, since the idea is still to have ship AA to be a secondary role. Aside from that, most things mentioned under 1) also fit here. Personally I find option 1) to be the most appealing, especially in connection with the upcoming changes in 0.4.1. And in combination with the other things I'm about to suggest below. Reworking Aircraft Gameplay Now this is the real deal. And since I'm not sure where to start I'll just pick a random point and move on from there. First of all... Focus on Aerial Superiority He who conquers the skies, wins the battle. During alpha a CV with the fighter loadout could devastate any bombers launched by the opposing CV. Obviously this ability was negated somewhat if the enemy CV had the hybrid loadout, or negated mostly if it was also running the fighter loadout. Generally you could say that during alpha fighters were the most important aircrafts, since they could render the opposing CV completely useless, all while dealing some damage to ships with it's dive bomber squadron. Ever since CBT started this changed, it changed to make CVs 100% about bombing targets, while Aerial Superiority became worthless. It's impossible to achieve Aerial Superiority in low/mid tiers, since all fighter loadouts lost 1 fighter squadron. This in return translates into the CV being unable to cover the entire map, thus bombers can and will fly through the holes inside the fighter protected area and launch their attack. In my opinion we need to see a return to the previous fighter focus. In order to do so several changes have to occur, giving the player better rewards is only a placebo, and the new ability for fighters to make strafe runs (Patch 0.4.1) will not change anything. (It's a useless ability that will get your fighters killed against any somewhat decent player) Instead what I'd prefer to see is a return of the old fighter loadouts. (3 Fighter squadrons for US CVs, equivalent amount for JP Cvs) However that's not all there is to it. Fighters need to have a much easier time obliterating unprotected bombers. However simply giving the fighters more damage would once again only be a 08/15 way to improve the situation. Which brings me to the next point. Height System Aircrafts usually operate on different heights, depending on their mission and position. A squadron of torpedo bombers will try to fly as high as possible to avoid detection, but prior to engaging it'll have to drop down to a few meters above the sea to drop torpedoes. Likewise fighters will attempt to gain high altitudes, not only to avoid detection, but also to dive unto their targets, the most favourable position for a fighter. Thus I suggest the addition of manually adjustable heights for aircrafts. These should be pre-defined heights in order to keep the game easy to control. The following heights serve as an example, I kept the number of heights as low as possible to once again keep the controls simple, while the gameplay becomes deeper. Sea Level This is the height the game uses for aircrafts when they launch/land and while they attack ground targets. It's also used for torpedo bombers, which will have to fly down to this height far before engaging their target. At this height AA guns get an accuracy bonus due to targets being easier to hit. (See below on how to get your torpedo bombers through AA despite them being easy targets) Dive bombers will have an easier time due to attacking from a hard to defend against angle, plus coming in with high speed and thus being able to escape faster than torpedo bombers. Standart Level The currently used flight height for aircrafts and also the height aircraft will go to after launching or attacking ground targets. Aircrafts are still below the clouds and can be spotted easily, in return they can also spot enemies without a problem. Unlike torpedo bombers, dive bombers don't need to get down to the Sea Level before launching their attacks. They can, thus, attack from any selected height. AA guns will still do considerable damage. (About as much as they do now) Above the Clouds Up here is where things start to get interesting. Ships can't spot aircrafts at this altitude and likewise aircrafts won't be able to spot ships. However if aircrafts or ships get spotted by other means they can be targeted. Additionally to this ships can decide to open fire into the clouds with their AA guns, this however will reduce their concealment greatly, and while the AA guns fire into the clouds they obviously can't deal with other threats. Accuracy for AA is also greatly reduced. Dive bombers can still start their attack from this altitude, however they will take longer to reach the perfect height for their attack run, hence will be inside the enemy's AA fire for a longer period of time. High Altitude Aerial combat often revolves around getting higher than the enemy to easily get into a favourable position. This height is a potential 4th one, however it might make the game too complex. My idea is to only let high tier (VIII+) fighters operate at this height. After gaining experience on low and mid tier CVs the player should be able to handle a 4th height. AA guns won't hit targets at this altitude. Bombers can't reach this altitude since they're too heavy. (Realistically they could, it would just take forever and WoWS is not a realistic game, so...) And now for the major plotpoint that makes these heights and usage of them so important. Fighter Dive Bonus Fighters diving on targets will get a damage bonus. Depending on the target they dive upon the damage will vary. Bombers being caught in a dive attack will take severe damage due to their bad maneuverability. Fighters will take higher damage, however it will come down to making the difference of 1-2 additional aircrafts lost rather than 1 aircraft lost for each side in a regular encounter. (Both squadrons being of the same strength) As you might imagine this is a huge point. Fighters will be capable of obliterating cocky players that refuse to cover their bombers or gain altitude. This change alone should (theoretically) cause a major shift towards Aerial Superiority. The majority of CV gameplay will now happen far above any ship and both dive bombers and fighters will become far more important. Meanwhile torpedo bombers will be the mid-/endgame game changers when ship AA won't be as much of a problem anymore, because... Strafing AA How to deal with the improved ship AA? What to do with your fighters after obliterating the enemy's air forces? Simple, order your dive bombers and fighters to make strafe runs on the target's AA to open a path for your torpedo bombers. So here is the first prototype on how this could work. Dive bombers will automatically open fire with their guns after dropping their bombs, dealing low to medium damage to the target's AA armament. In addition dive bombers can be ordered to focus on enemy AA, translating in lower damage/fire chance from bombs but far higher damage to enemy AA armaments. Fighters can be ordered to launch strafing runs to damage/destroy enemy AA. Since they lack bombs and their guns are equipped for anti-aircraft rather than ground attacks they'll do less damage than dive bombers. They will use a lot of ammunition while strafing, which is why it should only be considered while the enemy fighters are downed or busy elsewhere. Torpedo/Dive Bombers The original torpedo bomber squadron should be a hybrid squadron. I.e. instead of launching them with torpedoes they should have the option to launch with bombs instead. Changing the loadout will add +5 seconds to the resupply, in the beginning of the battle/prior to the first launch the change will be instantaneous. The bomb loadout will be weaker than the official dive bomber squadron's and torpedo bombers lack the guns to deal additional damage to AA armaments. This way torpedo bombers won't be useless early game, however sneaky/clever players can still try to utilise torpedo bombers early game if they find a way to get past the enemy's aircrafts/AA. Dive bombers won't be able to mount torpedoes. Possibility to mount small bombs on fighters while reducing the fighters' speed. Final Conclusion I probably forgot to mention a thing or two again. Sadly I don't have access to the old post of mine, which I could've expanded upon instead of re-writing the whole thing with the addition of the experience I gained post OBT. Lastly this is a very basic prototype. Obviously it lacks exact numbers, however the general/basic idea of making carrier gameplay more interesting, while raising the bar, while keeping it as simple as possible to understand should come across. Personally I think the upcoming changes in 0.4.1 are not enough, and I also don't think that WG will keep it at that. They've already mentioned nerfing JP CVs among other things. However, like I mentioned above... that's the 08/15 way to do it. A complete remake of the system would be the better choice in my opinion, and if anything right now is the time to do it. The game is still fresh and major changes to the gameplay need to happen prior to the full release that will eventually knock on the door. Anyway, that's me writing a gigantic wall of flesh words. If you've read it all, ggwp. If you've skipped past all the annoying letters and words... Mfg Retia