Reasons and goals of changes
Aircraft Carriers in World of Warships were always different from any other ship class because of their specific game control. It was needed to bring diversity to the game and to highlight their unique role in a battle and real life. However, over time, it had become clear that their exceptional role causes several issues such as:
- High difficulty in mastering and because of it – an excessive gap between experienced players and beginners who may be excluded from a battle without a chance to do something about it.
- As a result, low class popularity and no stable presence in battles.
Nevertheless, there was an excessive impact on a battle because of the several reasons:
- possibility of scouting using several squadrons interfering with destroyers, detecting the enemy team and actually blocking initiatives and unexpected maneuvers.
- possibility of dealing critical damage to almost any target in a short period of time, especially on high levels;
- Combination of aircraft carriers’ features and AA defense working mechanics resulted in a situation where it’s impossible to shoot airplanes down (for example, average destroyer chased by a squadron) or quite the opposite case where planes can be destroyed immediately (Des Moines with full AA defense set). Shooting down several planes has almost no impact on a game. Moreover, confrontation between an aircraft carrier and its target comes down to “AA Defense Fire” activation and attempts to maneuver which are easy to counter using several squadrons.
- Counterintuitive difference between automatic and manual attack which work very differently, and doesn’t imply any smooth skill growth suggesting a very “high bar” instead.
- The main gameplay doesn’t look attractive to most of the players because its main feature is managing several squadrons with a top down, ‘bird’s eye’ view . In other words, the gameplay is “cut off” from a main battle and fixed on micromanagement.
- Moreover, there is a big question when it comes to “AA defense ships” and “AA defense sets”: if there are not enough aircraft carriers and its playerbase isn’t stable, why spend your modernizations, skill points and consumables on AA defense.
These issues had been considered in different periods of time due to your feedback, and we tried to find a solution using partial changes and upgrades. However, at some point it turned out that we needed some integrated approach and “rebooting” the whole class using an innovative concept which will consider all initial issues and challenges. That’s what we would like to achieve:
- Adequate “complexity curve” of aircraft carriers which implies smooth skill growth;
Enjoyable gameplay that will:
- Be attractive for most of the players;
- Give more space for resourcefulness of aircraft carrier and its targets as well;
- Create a balanced, integrated class that will enrich the game without ruining it for others;
- Increase aircraft carriers’ popularity and enhance AA defense ships.
Main differences of the new concept
The Squadron is still the main combat unit for aircraft carrier players, the only difference is that you control only one at a time. This decision will solve several issues like excessive spotting and damage potential, and too much micromanagement that can be mastered only by a minority of players. This raises the question: will it be entertaining to play with only one squadron?” The answer is positive here because now it’s a direct squadron’s control:
- In our new concept you can control your squadron directly using WASD keys or mouse. There are options for speeding up and slowing down (forcing engines or shifting to planning) when turning.
- Player will maneuver among explosions of AA defenses shells while attacking a ship and choose the right moment and direction to launch torpedoes, bombs or rockets (more info about that below);
- An attacks success will depend on the player’s skill. The player will have the ability to plan their moves and due to that increase the attacks efficiency. For instance, if you plan and start an attack run with torpedo bombers in advance, the torpedo spread will be narrower, in contrast to a rushed attack, when your target is too close, then the spread will be wider;
- Player uses only several planes instead of a whole squadron while conducting an attack. Upon attack completion, the aircraft that have expended their payloads go back to the aircraft carrier automatically. This allows players to have several attacks using one squadron, select different targets or eliminate one target with several attacks.
- When a squadron is used up, another selected one takes off instantly and player will shift between them without any extra waiting;
- All squadrons are focused on damaging ships: torpedo bombers, bombers are well known among our players, but we plan to add attack planes equipped with aircraft rockets;
- Fighters will become an ability: player will be able to call them on a squadron’s position and after some time they will come for patrolling. Spotting enemies’ planes they will try to draw them into battle and destroy them. Fighters’ direct control hasn’t been planned because we would like you to focus your attention on ships attack not other planes.
- Aircraft Carriers can no longer become ‘de-planed’ and redundant. According to our new concept, your reserve of planes is unlimited. However, throwing them into combat thoughtlessly and recklessly will increase the preparation time for the next flight.
AA defense workings
After adding new gameplay and direct control of a single squadron, we also wanted to implement improvements to the operation of AA defense. Current mechanics can just basically identify plane loss in a kill zone with some probability. Our new concept has some essential differences:
- Every plane has its own HP, they can be damaged and shot down individually;
- Planes entering the zone of close range AA defense (consisting of mostly machine guns) will be guaranteed to suffer significant damage.
- Long and medium range AA defense will aim at planes and automatically fire at them. For the player it will be obvious that some zones of AA defense are better not to fly into. As the players planes fly into those areas, they will be likely to receive some damage.
- Instead of the previous click on enemy’s squadron (that put priority on it), players will be able to shift between left and right sectors of AA defense. The selected AA defense sector gets a fire intensity increase whilst the other sector sees it decrease. Thus, player can face enemies‘ planes with a hail of fire from one side but the other side will be more vulnerable for the attack; it’s worth mentioning that switching sectors is a very important tactical element because it may take tens of seconds.