I’ve had some time to explore the second public test and play around; a few things in the patch notes were worded strangely or not even mentioned at all, so let me cover that – and show some pictures I took.
Here’s what the commander skills window looks like now, with the new skills as well as Last Stand down at tier 2 so it’s more accessible. The patch notes stated that Superintendent wouldn’t increase the number of battleship/cruiser Repair Party charges anymore; this is false, it still affects Repair Party. The issue was that it also showed Damage Control Party in the UI, which is of course couldn’t have any affect on.
The Manual Fire Control skill genuinely makes secondaries scary: in my North Carolina, I got into close range with a Gearing and dropped him from full health to nil with secondaries alone, netting me the Close Quarters Expert achievement. Secondaries used to hit maybe 10% of the time even if you were right up close; now with this skill I’m seeing about a 50% hit rate, which is huge.
Here’s a shot from an Iowa game I played. I noticed two things in this match, one of which I took a picture of right here: the font for your rudder position and your current speed seem to have been enlarged. It looks a little weird to me, but I’m pretty sure this is meant to be a change intended for people with huge 4K monitors. I’ve got a 1920×1080 monitor, so the bigger fonts look a little strange, but not too bad. It’d just be better if there some some “UI scaling” option in the settings menu.
There were two Tier 8 carriers on each side in this match, and I wasn’t running a full AA configuration for my Iowa. Despite this, I ended up shooting down 29 planes, and probably could’ve taken down even more. That may be a tier of difference between me and the enemy carriers, but planes were absolutely melting. I played a bit in the Lexington as well, and noticed the same, though with two tiers of different, as I stumbled into a Tier 10 match. I’m not sure how things are at tiers 4-6, but at this level planes are getting destroyed left and right. The answer to this seems to be either skill – if you can manage it – or attacking with larger groups of planes, coordinating with allied carriers – if you can actually manage that. If the enemy ships group up, you’re even worse off.
On the bright side, the American manual aim for dive bombers hasn’t really been nerfed; alt-attacking with your dive bombers still gives you an accuracy boost, though you need pretty good aim to ensure your target doesn’t just slip away from your manual aim.
The bombs do more damage, too, at tier 8 and up, which is nice I suppose. They really do appreciably damage now, but unfortunately are still at the mercy of RNG. You’ll still find plenty of occasions where your bombs, even if they’re manually dropped on a big fat battleship, miss their mark completely. Unlike torpedoes, which are almost entirely based on skill and precision, dive bombers are based on hope and prayers.
As far as my thoughts go, that’s it. I like the new changes to commander skills, the new camouflages (as seen on Iowa and Lexington above) and the improved dive bombers, but from the perspective of aircraft carriers, patch 5.3 feels like a huge letdown
It was supposed to be a great AA rework – but it seems the rework has mostly been in favour of the ones suffering from aircraft attacks, not the ones launching them. Carriers are still the most punishing class to play, and still don’t get bonus XP/credits for shooting down enemy aircraft.
I guess we can always hope the next patch will be better… right?
Source: World of Warships patch 5.3 public test, iteration 2