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So it has apparently happened guys. The strongest ship so far will end up in the best players hands. (I will 100% get this myself) Stalingrad is apparently in her final form now. And looks basically better than ever. Enjoy the read. And to those who get it on release: Enjoy. You can now sealclubb at T10. "ST. Soviet Cruiser Stalingrad Tier X Basic visibility changed from 18.72 to 18.12 km. Visibility during firing in a smoke from Main Battery has been reduced from 15.58 to 14.87 km. “Defensive AA Fire” consumable has been added to the extra slot: Number of charges: 2 (Defensive AA Fire l) and 3 (Defensive AA Fire ll). Reload time: 240 (Defensive AA Fire l) and 180 (Defensive AA Fire ll). Duration: 60 seconds. AA damage increase: +100%. These are final changes and soon this ship will be added to the Arsenal for steel exchange. We would like to sum up and anounnce the cruisers final statistics. Stalingrad is a heavy cruiser with an impressive 305 mm caliber and significant combat capacity – 72 450. The ship has two types of ammunition: High-explosive (HE) and Armor-piercing (AP). HE characteristics: Initial velocity – 950 m/sec; maximum damage – 4500; chance of fire – 33%. AP characteristics: Initial velocity – 950 m/sec; maximum damage – 9200; Reduced shell arming threshold – 34 mm; improved ricochet angle settings: automatic ricochet happens at 65 degrees and possible ricochet may happen at 55 degrees. Reload time – 20 seconds, Sigma value of 2.65. The ship has the same dispersion ellipse as Graf Spee. It’s more than an average cruiser has, but less in comparison to a typical battleship. Maximum firing range - 20 350 meters. Armour – 25 mm. It’s worth mentioning that armour of casemate and the forward armour belt is 50 mm and with good citadel armour. This gives good potential to avoid damage from cruisers high-explosive shells and even ricochet the biggest shell in the game (460 mm) at acute angles. Number of charges of “Damage Control Party” is infinite. “Repair Party” restores 33% of citadel’s damage. Fire duration – 45 seconds. Detectability radius of Stalingrad is comparable to that of battleships at tier X. The large citadel is the same as that found on the cruiser 'Moskva'. All of which makes Stalingrad players carefully pick his battles and choose his maneuvers wisely. The Cruisers ballistics allow effective fire at any distance with a high chance of penetration. The unique dispersion ellipse gives this ship pretty high accuracy but at the same time is less efficient than that of any other tier X cruiser. The main goal for Stalingrad is to fire against heavily armored targets with armor-piercing shells which deal a lot of damage. Due to reduced shell arming threshold and high-explosive shells this cruiser may battle with other ships as well. It’s worth noting that reduced shell arming threshold has been reduced from 51 to 34 mm and that allows shells to arm at light and medium armored targets and deal more consistent damage. It looks like Stalingrads guns have everything needed to make this cruiser a versatile ship, however, its reload time is 20 seconds. To reach maximum efficiency, having a relatively low damage per minute and requirements to its commander, this cruisers owner should chose targets wisely and keep their distance. “Defense AA Fire” gives Stalingrad protection from aircraft attacks for a long period of time. It also increases bomb dropping zone and torpedoes of the enemys aircraft for a minute, though does not give a boost of AA efficiency like other ships with similar consumables. After using this consumable cruiser will be vulnerable to aircraft because of the cooldown of 3-4 minutes. In summary, this cruiser could be effective against any ship class: the amount of HP allows it to fight against battleships, its armor-piercing shells will frighten any cruiser, and destroyers and aircraft carriers can be countered with consumables like “Surveillance Radar” and “Defense AA Fire”. However, players should be attentive to the battle situation. In unfavorable circumstances Stalingrad won’t be able to change position quickly because of weak maneuverability characteristics and the large dimensions of her hull. It will also important to pay attention to close combat situations where Stalingrad is especially vulnerable because of her large citadel and poor agility."
I've had a discussion with Sake78 in the recent thread about AA where he said that CVs should be put in the regular meta instead of having their own place outside of it. After grinding strike Bogue for a bit I came to a realization: what really seperates CVs from other classes more than anything else is not AA or being able to attack a ship regardless of the distance to it. It's fighters. Fighters seperate CVs from other ships simply by being an ability that only ONE ship in a team has and that is only meant to counter ONE ship in the enemy team. And the main problem lies in fighter loadouts. They reduce the damage output of both the people who play them(because they barely have any planes to do damage with) and the people who play against them(due to getting planes shot down), causing overall CV average damage to go down. This creates a meta where especially at mid-tiers CVs are quite UP when one of the teams has an AS CV and are completely OP when neither team has an AS CV. When I recently played strike Bogue, I noticed that I was often unable to do more than 30k dmg when up against an AS Bogue, but when up against any other t5 CV it was usually a 100k+ dmg game. And here my suggestion comes in: remove ALL fighter decks and balance CVs based on the stats produced after the change. It's most important at tier 5 where CVs don't really have resupplies and AA is extremely weak. Weak AA makes AS Bogue the only thing that can counter other CVs at that tier and low amount of resupplies makes AS Bogue actually somewhat effective at it unlike higher tier fighter decks. But on the other hand, CVs at tier 5 are completely OP if an AS Bogue isn't involved. At higher tiers however I don't really care whether I'm up against a fighter deck because I know I will still be able to do tons of damage. CVs will never have a "normal" place in the meta as long as fighter decks exist. Of course there are many other problems with CVs such as the current AA system which should imo be completely reworked as well as US CVs really needing to be fixed, but I would consider this to be even more important than those points because right now CVs need to be balanced in a way that they can still do some damage when facing an AS CV which makes them somewhat OP when not facing one(again, more at mid tiers than at high tiers, but the problem still exists in this way at high tiers).
First warning: this post is likely quite long - read it at your peril! Second warning: the poll is to find out how CV playing players play their CV - don't tell me that the poll is missing options because CVs are 'gay' or 'like an RTS game' or 'worse than arty' because... well because I don't care. If you really want to discuss how useless CVs are then you can make your own thread. Ok, onto the thread proper. I essentially want to discuss the different loadouts, their pros and cons whilst tying together my musing and various opinions I see. The reason I am making this thread now is that I have seen what seems to be a fairly substantial shift in the number of people playing strike CVs (particularly USN) and I want to find out why people who have moved to this setup have done so and what it means for teamplay. As you will see I will add some pros/cons that often see people using as justification for their choices and then attempt to debunk them and I'll highlight these with italics. It may also include some anecdotal evidence and I welcome people proving me wrong Disclaimer - my max tier CV is kind of 7 (bought the Lex today but not played it!) so I haven't much experience of the highest tiers except in my BBs facing them (obviously only occasionally since it is rather quiet up there!). Also, I'm a bit of a balanced loadout fanboy, but this thread should explain my reasoning. Air Superiority Pros Easiest to play Best for protecting your team Best for spotting Best for teamplay Cons You cannot do much damage You are at the mercy of your team mates utilising the benefit afforded them by your planes You don't get much XP for shooting down planes You can't have sufficient air cover everywhere all of the time All of this translates to you losing more games <---this is the anecdotal bit! I've already highlighted 2 pros as perhaps not being all that proponents of AS claim but even the top one isn't so much a reason for choosing it - you shouldn't want easy, you should want good. I think the reason people choose AS is mainly because they lose in dogfights to AS players and instead of learning to deal with them they join them... and if they kill a lot of planes they translate that to helping the team - and it isn't the same thing. Particularly if you fight another AS CV and most of your 40 plane kills are fighters then it hasn't protected your team from anything really! Then there are the cons. Your damage output is fairly woeful regardless of the enemy CV - even if the enemy is strike and cannot shoot your bombers you cannot do very damage to reduce the number of enemies you face. On top of that it is very hard to kill an entire attack wave even if they bunch up. And it is too easy for other CVs to split up and get around your defences. Killing most things is not good enough when your entire loadout is aimed at preventing damage from planes - it is your raison d'etre. If you specialise in controlling the skies then you should be able to lock it down and the reality is you can't - I certainly don't fear AS in my balanced config. As for the spotting, once you have killed an enemy attack wave you need to re-arm otherwise you will be unable to defend the next wave successfully and that is bad (see the point above). This reduces your ability to spot for your team as the reality is for most of the game you will be chasing enemy planes as opposed to spotting DDs for prolonged periods. And from tier 6+, or definitely tier 7+ the CVs have too many planes for you completely stop them from being a threat and until you do that you cannot become a dedicated spotter. You also read people saying that from a BB perspective AS is great because they keep you alive but most people posting that are probably good enough to make use of being alive. I could keep alive a platoon of battleships but if they are all 48%ers then are they going to use that gift and get us the win? Probably not... As I mention in con #5 I think this all translates into a lower win rate than other loadouts and this is mainly because you remove yourself from equation deciding who wins and given the number of bad/average players you cannot afford to be a passenger. Balanced Pros Jack of all trades* Usually an equal mix of fighters/TBs/DBs Good (strong) damage potential Ability to protect your strike force, yourself and friendly ships using your fighters Cons *Master of none! Reduced damage potential (strike squadrons) compared to strike and potentially a smaller number of squadrons As I mention above I'm a big fan of the balanced loadout. It allows you to deal out significant and game altering damage, protect yourself, protect your team (to a certain extent) and protect your strike group thus maximising the damage it can deal. You can neutralise AS - by this I mean you can engage their fighters when you want to to stop them getting your strike planes. Hell, often against bad ones you can out kill their planes and you certainly don't need to worry about being sniped. Against strike you can be a PITA whilst knowing your strike planes are safe. Against balanced if you are decent you can outperform them. The downsides are that you are weaker at both killing planes and doing damage than the specialised roles. In the USN line you operate with 1 less air group although this is either 1 less fighter or 1 less DB so the TBs remain the same. Strike Pros Massive, game winning damage potential Cons Probably the most difficult loadout to master Hard countered by AS CVs Limited AA defence for your team i.e. you either kill the enemy CV or it is free to operate how it pleases Limited self defence capability Biggest gamble I've only thought of 1 pro, but it is a biggie. You take the huge damage potential offered by strike and use that to force wins. You are basically taking a lot of responsibility onto your shoulders to carry your team and out-damage their CV. I have seen it described as almost being a game of 'chess' since you either have no fighters or a very weak fighter force. This can mean that when facing anything except another strike loadout you have to be very careful, and very sneaky, if you want to succeed. It is all about misdirection and potentially sacrifice of part of your strike force in order to get as much damage done as possible. Your ability to protect your team, and in turn yourself is quite limited. You can only stop their planes by taking out their CV... and this seems to be a very common goal of a strike CV. It makes sense, because if you are not taking losses to enemy planes it of course improves your damage output. But, on the flip side it usually takes quite a long time to get to their CV since your protection from enemy planes is nearly non-existent which forces you to take a circuitous route to avoid your planes being spotted until it is too late. You need to do this because if you do get spotted it is quite easy for any non-strike setup to ruin your attack, which wastes too much time. Over the weekend I have seen 2 occasions where the enemy planes made their attack run on my CV at around the 15 minute mark... and both failed. The first one tried a second run at the 10 minute mark and in total had 1 torp hit and maybe 4 bomb hits... not even half my HP and in neither case did I have AA protection. And again, if huge damage is your raison d'etre then spending 10 mins trying to CV snipe is not a good use of your time. Surely? Ironically the strike loadout finds CV sniping easiest when fighting another strike loadout which is when the threat to your own planes is at it lowest. And most of the problems I mention here are what I see when locking down strike loadouts in a limited fashion using my balanced loadout - a strike loadout can multiply these issues. As I say above strike is the hardest loadout since you need to be patient and good in order to succeed but perhaps in world of bananas/tomatoes that is enough. Strike loadouts work because most of the time your opposite number just isn't that great. This means that you can force wins most of the time and push your win rate and average damage up and just absorb the odd frustrating lockdown. My belief that with 2 good players the strike players loses to the balanced player most times. The teamplay issue I have mentioned it above but people often use the teamplay issue as a big argument for AS loadouts. The argument is that by killing lots of planes they are stopping their team taking damage. They also mention spotting which as I've mentioned above isn't as easy as is claimed because a lot of the time you are chasing enemy planes or rearming. Not to mention the fact that all 3 loadouts are capable of spotting. However, these people ignore the fact that balanced loadouts can kill plenty of planes and do damage and that the massive damage strike squadrons can do. Also, not only is the damage you do a huge benefit for your team (less for your team mates to do) you can also direct it to important locations relatively quickly - there are caveats to that which include enemy planes and floating AA platforms, but it doesn't stop the fact that you can open up a flank, or change a 1v2 to a 1v1 or 2v2 to a 2v1 by smashing up a ship. I have lost count of the number of times I have saved a team mate or tipped the balance of several engagements in a match. Sometimes it obvious when you save a team mate by taking out an enemy ship but often people come into contact with a half dead Tirpitz and have no idea that the reason for it being half HP instead of full is the CV who but a spread of torpedoes into its belly. That being said, CV play can be relatively selfish anyway. If anything directly affects your own survival you stop what you are doing and deal with it but that is no different to any ship - just perhaps more noticeable on a class with such force projection. If I had to list priorities for my fighters in order of importance it would probably look like: Keeping me alive Keeping my strike force alive i.e. helping it onto target Spotting enemy ships on our cap Keeping friendly ships alive (highest importance going to friendly CVs). This might include spotting Added to all of this there is the job of re-arming so that they are ready to do those jobs and what it means is there is limited help to team mates. This all means that I might leave a BB to spot a DD on his own or I might not be able to stop a CA getting nuked, but if I'm doing my job properly then in the end I should increase our team's chance of winning and as such I'm doing my job even if it requires your death. A final thought Going back to my reason for making this thread - the increase in strike CVs and then tying it to their only AA defence being CV sniping... it makes me CV snipe more. I don't usually pick it as my strategy but if the enemy CV is intent on my demise then the safest course of action for me is to stop them being able to hurt me...