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Grathew

Phase 4 Graf Zeppelin Testing

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To put the TLDR; at the top: these two versions of Graf Zeppelin feel good, even if deep water torpedoes from the air are still dumb, the dive bombers seem very all or nohing and the fighters are glass cannons.

Now to go into a bit more detail the two current test 1 and test 2. As WG has named all of the different phases test 1 and test 2 I’m going reference them as (testing round).(ship number) so we have 4.1 and 4.2 currently, last round was 3.1 and 3.2 etc. with the ‘release version’ being 0.0. So these current versions have 1 by 9 fighters, then three strike squads, 4.1 has 3 by 5 dive bombers with AP/HE option and 4.2 has 2 by 5 deep water torpedoes and 1 by 9 AP/HE dive bombers.

At first glance the sole fighter squad seems a bit weak, but 9 or 10 aircraft seems overpoweringly strong despite the underwhelming tier 7 aircraft. I haven’t found that to be the case though. The “strafe” is possibly over powered as I cleaned a full 34 aircraft off of an enterprise in one pass once. Could he have avoided it? Yes. Should he lose everything to a mistake? Maybe? It comes down to the fact that the BF109Ts have almost unuseably low ammo counts. Even with dogfighting expert and the fighter buff module installed you get at most 2 full strafes either attack or break out before your guns are dry. Will your nine or ten fighters strafe down everything in the sky, yes they will. Can they hold their own one on one yah they can. Can they win air superiority over AS Lexington, Shokaku and Enterprise? Maybe, it comes down to how you use them and when and where you strafe. I can comfortably win 9 v 14 when fighting an AS Lexington if I manage my strafes and choose when to engage properly. I have yet to go up against an AS Shokaku but I think the results will be similar. I will win if I get to determine when and where I fight. Which I should be able to do with my high speed fighters, however if I don’t or over extend the fighters I’ll get obliterated. In this way the GZ fighter squad is similar to Essex’s lone fighter squad on the 1/1/3 load out, powerful but not invincible or unstoppable. All in all I think we finally have a GZ fighter load that rewards skillful play from both carriers.

Moving on to the torpedo bombers, other than the fact I can’t hit cruisers which feels contrived I have no problems with them. Although I would recommend attacking in the direction of travel as it helps maximize hits. Or using auto drop from about a midships drop point. Ironically enough it would then be better to turn out from GZ torpedo attacks, but don’t tell the battleships I said so.  All in all they feel tougher than on 3.1 or 2.1 which is nice and the torpedo damage is just as punishing to battleships.

Lastly dive bombers, much like the torpedo bombers I don’t have much to say. They are good, I suppose the AP bombs from 3.2 were as good but I didn’t really test them that much and the HE bombs feel oddly inaccurate. But I suppose that’s just life with dive bombers. The 4.2 9 aircraft squad however feels rather all or nothing, I’ve yet to get anything other than a 2 hit one fire or 8 hit three fire attack when using it. I should try the AP bombs with it but I like the anti DD ability that comes with the HE bombs.

All in all I like both of these GZ although I do favor 4.2 better than 4.1 due to the flexibility of anti BB torpedoes and HE bombs to damage the smol boats. Yet the full AP load out on 4.1 is funny. So yah both are good, fighters are glass cannons I’ve wanted, and she’s got enough punch to be a threat.

 

Tips for anyone playing either of the test GZs, use your fighters as bomber bodyguards and use their speed to out position hostile aircraft to wreck squads with strafes. Watch out for AS carriers as they can overpower you, or out maneuver you due to having an extra squad of fighters. 

For fighting these test GZs focus the bombers, if they don't escort the bombers jump on them. Tag team the fighters to force strafe out, spit up your fighters to minimize losses and jump back on them if they go to reengage. 

  • Cool 1

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I thank you sir for the progress report on the German carrier

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AS Lexingtons are very difficult to deal with...  at least for another week or two.

Edited by Lord_Zath

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The GZ continues to suck and will until legitimate tier VIII fighters up to the task of fighting others at tier in a click match results in 60 40 kill rate if first to click or 40 60 if second to click.  The gimmick of down tiering and increasing the number of fighters is pure [edited].  Get it right or withdraw the ship

 

EIther make the GZ a legitimate tier VIII carrier or make it a V with a ton of planes.   Current fighters probably loose to a Langley.

And yes I am irritated that despite pleas for legitimate fighters on this ship since day one War gaming is playing games trying to game the system rather than produce a legitimate tier VIII product that I spent considerable real money on.

I will be looking long and hard before I purchase another ship.

Edited by diddlyv

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4 hours ago, Grathew said:

So these current versions have 1 by 9 fighters. 

 

That's... Interesting.

 

I'll be watching/

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At first I did not like the idea of one giant fighter squad. Thinking people will just strafe lock me but It actually not turning out to be as bad as I expected. The Giant squad makes quick work of engagements + strafe is devastating and if you are tangled in a fight and see a strafe coming strafe out into his strafe and will devastate them as much as you.  

Unlike the other phases this one  can hold its own against a enterprise none of the other phases could do this, and a couple well placed strafes you will wipe all enterprise fighter. Against a AS Shok  we still don't stand a chance but I think this will be fixed in usn CV rework with they take away all AS builds giving the ijn just  2 fighter squads which can end in a stale mate.

 

Even though I feel Test two is balanced Test one outperforms in damage in game after game.

I feel if given both options both of theses will work the only tweak I strongly recommend to give a 3rd playstyle is  upping secondary's to 11.7 KM like Trip/Bismarck's This allows people to make a strong sacrifice  on the Test one build they Can A take the fighter  hp  module buff which is needed to compete or go secondary's and HE bombs to be a real up close support carrier with secondary / HE DD killer. 

That slight buff will allow for 2 play styles for Test one

Secondary/HE  bombs= DD killer support carrier

Air support/ AP Bombs= BB killer

 

T

 

  

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Give the devil its due if you can get to the target with Torps and AP bombs you can sink ships handily but the fighters are not up to snuff

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@diddlyv The fighters are fine, they take a good amount of skill to get the most out of them but they are more than effective. Sure they can't go one on one against other carriers with tier 8 planes but you never should have to go one on one due to the amazing speed those BF109s have

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Fighters can do work 

Spoiler

shot-17_11.14_12_07.45-0524.thumb.jpg.d7e7f1ec1121cd39b5354e6b74be5ae4.jpgshot-17_11.18_08_40.36-0247.thumb.jpg.47e395da6a6f2dbc1fdea08ac2ec4c0d.jpg

 

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The large fighter squad (9 planes, or 10 planes w captain skill) are a double edge sword. They can hold their own in their initial engagement, BUT BUT BUT.  If that squad gets killed, you have few reserves because the total fighters have not gone up.  Also, I noticed the hp on these Phase 4 fighters is actually lower than the hp on the original (0.0) GZ fighters.

 

If you are an expert on fighters, you probably are not an expert on manual bomb/torp drops, because you only have so much time to devote to each squadron. I found the GZ 4.2 torp autodrop would frequently misdrop (lead the enemy ship too far, and only get 1 or 2 hits). My manual torp drop would frequently get 4 of 5 hits, and sometimes 5 of 5 hits, and devastate the enemy BB or CV. Alas, I obviously focus more on the strike force than my fighters.

 

I would still prefer better endurance from my fighters (e.g., FW-190s), and better speed from my bombers (Stukas were shown to be obsolete during the Battle of Britain, and only remained effective in the Eastern Front as long as they had air superiority). The FW-190 also had a bomber version. If the GZ had all FW-190s, the player should be able to select which ordnance to use during the game.

  • If he finds himself against an Enterprise or Air Superiority CV, he could go 2-x-x or 3-x-x.
  • If he found he was up against a large force of Tier IX or X BB's (4 or 5 of the monsters), he could opt for x-2-x or x-3-x.
  • If he was overwhelmed with 5 or 6 DD's, he could opt for x-x-2 or x-x-3 or x-x-4 with HE bombs.
  • As the game evolves, he could change the ordnance load accordingly since this is done in the hangar bay, NOT in port.

Another option would be relatively small squadrons of ME-262's (tier X or XI). This would put the GZ on par with the Saipan, dominating their opponents in air-to-air combat. Because they would be overwhelming, I would give them a small ammo load to force them to return to re-arm after one long strafe. I would also make their landing pattern time longer to make them susceptible to enemy air attack when they are most vulnerable (unarmed and committed to land)... just like the real land-based ME-262's were.  Once the ME-262 was committed to landing, only the aa from GZ and nearby ships could counter-attack the enemy fighters (dilemma: do the ships use their defensive aa against the fighters attacking the ME-262, or do they wait to use their defensive aa when enemy torp/dive bombers attack?).

 

I do feel Phase 4 is superior to the prior versions. The boat and ordnance are great. I just wish they would bring the aircraft (all of 'em) to the appropriate Tier VIII level. German engineering was at the "cutting edge", unless der Fuhrer sabotaged the endeavor. If the GZ was ever outfitted, it would have had der Fuhrers endorsement.

 

You have my two cents.

Edited by TexasViking1955

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@TexasViking1955  So a tip for using the auto drop with the torpedo bombers is line them up so they are attacking from about beam on so they lead the torpedoes themselves. That way if they turn in, like you would to dodge any other torpedoes. They eat three or four of the torpedoes from a squad. Meaning that if set right and the AA isn't too thick you can "one shot" any BB with the torpedo squads. If it survives you bring in the dive bombers to burn it to the ground, even though the bombers rarely get more than two fires it is often enough to get rid of what ever hit points the battleship had left. 

As for the fighters over all I found that using them to spook the hostile carrier is as useful if not more useful than their damage. Sure the single pass damage is amazing but they have no staying power. Personally I would like more DPS rather than staying power. It's a 9 aircraft squad with each plane having better fire power than the A6M5s they are going up against. Game balance says lower DPS for the GZ fighters but  it just bugs me that one of the best armed aircraft in the game has lacking damage output. The option of Me-262 would be interesting for sure but I feel they would be to easy to wreck with a small squad. Remember that the smaller the squad the more 'squad hp' for lack of a better term each aircraft has. For example Saipan once you take down one aircraft the other two are roughly 80% as healthy and a lone aircraft is about 60% as healthy as the full squad. Now this applies to all squads which is why GZ's big squad has less hit points overall as each aircraft will take less from the squad. Making losses of two or three aircraft not that problematic. 

I agree with the Stukas too slow argument. But it does often work out in my favor. As I can launch them and start them on their way and by the time the fighters are airborne and catch up the Stukas still haven't gotten into any danger. Then I escort my bombers with the fighters leading to spot the unfortunate victim or the hostile CAP squad, either way if it's bad for my bombers I can turn them around before they get into trouble.  

 

Lastly the point that carrier captains should be able to choose what to equip their bombers with mid battle. While I agree from a player stand point, my computer science degree would like to point out that it could be quite difficult if not impossible with the current state of the game to make that change. Besides how would one even remotely attempt to balance that from a game stand point? Imagine the uproar from the battleships or destroyers if they changed it so that GZ could switch between deep water torpedoes, HE bombs and AP bombs as the captain saw fit. One pass a DD sees three torpedo squads delete his friendly battleship then next pass he expects them to be torpedo squads but nope they are all HE bomb squads and he gets deleted. The cruiser laughs at the DD that got deleted just to get one shoted by AP bombs the next strike. If there was a skill counter to carrier aircraft other than evade and hope he screws up I could see Wargamming looking into it but until that day I doubt we will ever see such a change come to the game, coding issues aside. 

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Deepwater torpedos are a snare and a delusion, pretty much forces you to take HE bombs so you can at least touch CL/CA/DD in the endgame where needed.

 

Likewise, if you could split on 1-0-3 setup and take say 1HE and 2AP flights (as an alternative loadout) that would also be an improvement, as the inability to effectively hit shipping reliably with AP forces your hand to take HE if you desire max effectiveness.

 

FIghters are still meh. If they were T8 so did not just melt when the inevitable uptiering happens then they'd be soso and understandable, as it is, meh. 2 6-plane flights at T7 I would comprehend or the current 9-ship at T8, or better still 2 6-plane T8 squadrons. However, the lack of ammunition and actual fire power output is awful. Yes there should be a challenge, but at the moment its just woeful.

Edited by hjp766

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I did really well with the 1 fighter and 3 db and he bomb load, the fighter squadron was awesome for me, Id lock one enemy ff up and when the other came Id strafe out into him. the ap bombs were disappointing though, i felt like the elongated drop circle for ap bombs was better where you had to line up bow to stern for your drop

Edited by JamesZ28

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