World of Warships

Development blog


Changes to Aircraft Carriers and AA - Closed Test

Greetings, Captains! Back in December we announced our plans to implement significant changes to Aircraft Carriers. We hope you're ready for more news, because we have a boatload of info to share! As a reminder, we'll be conducting our first major closed test on April 16th to try out these updates, so certain details can and will change as we move through the testing process.

With that out of the way, let's get down to business!



First, some key details. As announced previously, the core of the new concept boils down to significantly changing the way that carrier aircraft operate while traveling and attacking.


Similar to the current implementation, traveling (also now known as "high altitude"), is the state that aircraft will spend the most time in as they traverse the map. What will be different? While traveling, aircraft:

  1. Will not spot enemy ships.*
  2. Will not be targetable by regular AA fire.*
  3. Will not deplete their boost.
  4. Can be spotted by enemy ships.
  5. Cannot attack enemy ships or drop ordnance in any way.

*Exceptions apply. See section "Defensive AA Fire"

This means that Aircraft Carriers must rely on spotting from teammates in order to identify targets. Carrier squadrons will also have access to a new consumable called Active Reconnaissance. While active, this consumable will provide an indicator if/when aircraft are within range of enemy AA (similar in appearance to the "Spotted" indicator) and will also show if an enemy has used their updated Priority Sector (see details further down). Note that this consumable will not provide actual spotting or minimap indicators and will not work if the enemy ship has its AA turned off.


We've talked about traveling, but how do you actually interact with enemy ships now? Similar to the current implementation, Aircraft Carriers must start an attack run. While conducting an attack run, aircraft:

  1. Will spot enemy ships.
  2. Become targetable by AA fire.
  3. Take significantly reduced damage from AA for the first few seconds of the attack run.
  4. Will deplete their boost as usual.
  5. Can attack enemy ships.

Compared to the current implementation, there are some additional key differences: preparation time for attack runs has been increased, to prevent them from simply starting an attack run right above the ship and avoiding most of the AA. Planes will, however, not have reduced maneuverability during the attack preparation time, which will make it a bit easier for the carrier to strike when there are no allies nearby to spot the target. Additionally, attack runs will only consist of one attacking flight, while the rest of the squadron will remain at high altitude and will not receive AA fire (more on this later). Any planes that are destroyed in the attack run will not be replaced, meaning that shooting down planes will directly reduce the damage dealt by the attack. If the entire attack flight is destroyed, the run is aborted.


While not controlling aircraft, Carriers will now be able to manually control their secondary battery. In the case of carriers with mixed secondary armaments, they will control the largest caliber guns. They'll become the Main caliber ones. While operating aircraft, all guns will be aimed & fired automatically as usual.


So those are the key changes for how Aircraft Carriers will operate! What about surface ships? We also have some substantial changes coming to the way that surface ships interact with aircraft through their anti-air batteries. First up...


We mentioned earlier that aircraft in travel mode will be un-targetable by AA. Well, here's the exception! While Defensive AA Fire is active, your AA batteries will be able to target enemy planes even while they are flying over you at high altitude; however, while active, planes at high altitude which are under fire will be able to spot you in return. With these changes, we're also renaming this consumable to "Barrage Fire."


Priority sector is receiving some major changes and will be renamed to "Active Concealment." Similar to the current priority sector, Active Concealment can be activated with the press of a button and takes effect within your anti-air range. When activated, it will instantly deal a certain % of the squadron's health in damage when it enters the AA fire. Additionally, Active Concealment will cause enemy aircraft within range to become unable to spot, making aircraft reliant on teammate spotting. The effect will also negate the damage reduction that planes receive in the first seconds of their attack run. However, it is important to note that this should be used preemptively and not reactively, as the effect will only trigger on enemy planes if they enter your AA while the effect is active. If the planes are already in the AA zone, and the effect is activated, it will not block their ability to spot, will not negate the AA damage reduction, and will not apply the % damage to the squadron; good timing will be critical to effective use of this ability. 


We're not done just yet! All surface ships will receive a new passive way to deal with enemy planes targeting you while there are planes in your AA zone. Passive increase is a meter that will charge up while your AA is shooting enemy aircraft. Your progress is not time-limited, meaning that even if your AA does not shoot enemy aircraft for a certain period of time, progress will stay the same and not decay. But once your progress reaches 100%, the passive increase will be automatically activated and you will receive the following perks for a period of time: 

  1. A bonus to AA damage.
  2. A bonus to the damage caused by Active Concealment (formerly Priority Sector)
  3. A reduction in Active Concealment cooldown.

Additionally, this passive increase:

  1. Will not reset if you disable your AA.
  2. Will last for several minutes.

We decided to go with an automatic activation of this feature due to the extended length of the action time as this is supposed to serve as a defensive tool. The effects of this passive mechanic should strongly disincentivize aircraft carriers from relentlessly focusing a single target. We've already introduced several other active changes for players and we want to avoid a scenario where, for example, all players in an attack path activate this simultaneously and almost instantly destroy the attack flight, as it is supposed to serve only to disincentivize constant attacks from the Aircraft Carrier over a longer period of time, not as a general deterrent. 


That's all for now! We hope you're as excited as we are to see these changes enter testing and look forward to updating you as we continue to work on and test the concept.


Please note that all information in the development blog is preliminary. Announced adjustments and features may change multiple times during testing. The final information will be published on our game's website.