Before I start off with this small little guide I have put together, I would like to say that I am a fairly average carrier player and in no way consider myself to be the "best".
Controls: So let's start off with controls as some you may be having trouble with this.
As a carrier you won't be focused on your ship the entire time so its not a bad idea to use auto pilot. You do this by having your carrier selected and clicking anywhere on the map, but remember that using autopilot will cut your speed in half, even if it is set to full.
You can also set multiple way points by holding LEFT Shift down and clicking anywhere on the map after you've set your first way point. This seems to only have a max of 5 way points as I couldn't set anymore after that.
Select your squads and press F for them to take off.
Pressing F while said squad is in the air will cause said squad to return to the carrier. (This is mainly used to refill fighter squads low on ammo and numbers. Also to prevent the enemy carrier from getting plane kills.)
Right Click on Mini-Map to jump to a sector.
Double Press the number of a squadron to jump to said squadron
Ctrl + A selects all Squadrons.
Left Alt + click allows you to manual bomb.
Left alt + click with fighters to strafe enemy planes. (Use only against swarm, as it uses up ammo quickly.)
Left Shift allows you to zoom in on your ship. (Like of in the way a battleship or cruiser sees their ship)
If you press the F key while holding down the SHIFT key, your carrier will become the last way point for your planes.
Positioning: You do not want to stay in the back, you want to stay near your team. (Generally a good 5km away from them.)
Reason being is your planes rearm faster.
Your team can help you if you're attacked by planes or these evil ships we call destroyers.
What will generally happen if you stay in the back:
You will be found and you will be sunk.
Grouping aircraft: Grouping your planes is almost always the most effective way to take down enemy ships and fighters.
You do this by having multiple planes launched. Select a squad and have it follow another squad. Have your other squads do the same. Now select all your squads you want grouped and click to where you want them to go.
Torpedo Bombers: Generally with Torpedo Bombers you want to manual drop.
To manual drop hold down the alt key and then click when you're ready to drop
After pressing alt, you'll notice a green long rectangle, this is the path your torpedoes will take after dropping.
If the rectangle gets wider It's because a Cruiser above tier 5 is using their defensive fire and you will have to wait a while before you can get a perfect drop on said ship.
You can always adjust where your Torpedo bombers drop, but if they enter the dotted circle (also know as the circle of doom or the point of no return) you can no longer adjust and your planes will go drop their payload.
Dive Bombers: Generally you want to use auto with these guys except maybe on carriers.
Always want to drop your bombs from a ships front to back side to get the most accurate results. You want to try and set people on fire as much as possible with these,
Now, For when you have more than one dive bomber squad, it is not always best to send them all in at once.
Send one squad in and set them on fire.
Wait until they repair, when they do send your other squads in and watch him burn alive.
Remember if you can't kill your enemy (other carriers specifically) then you can disable him and give him a slow painful death.
Fighters: These things, obviously, are used to shoot down enemy aircraft.
When fighting other fighter you generally want to group fighters and go after one fighter squad at a time.
Do not do this when attacking bombers. Send one squad each to attack a separate bomber.
Do not attack planes that have already dropped. Attack planes that haven't dropped and are about to.
Planes that have already dropped move faster than those that have not. (faster than most fighters)
It is not always best to chase down returning planes.
Most carriers like mid to high tier carriers carry lots of planes and shooting down returning planes only really makes them rearm faster. (Attack them until they have one or two more planes left in a squad then disengage; This way you are slowly draining them of planes while at the same time causing them to have a longer rearm time)
Who to attack and who not to attack:
Well, first you need to Assess the enemy team. The carrier is not always the greatest threat.
Which ship on their team poses the greatest threat to yours. Pick and choose.
Carriers: Slow at lower tiers and fast at higher tiers. They have the largest turn radious in the game and are the easiest ships to kill with aircraft, unless they are guarded by fighters of course.
Battleships: These things are slow and have a "okay" turning radious, They can be really easy to hit if you practice enough. These things along with carriers are generally your number one target.
Cruisers: EDIT: To kill a cruiser using auto drop or to atleast hit one. send a torp bomber to launch at its back ( torping front he front will cause your bombers to derp out and launch a messed up spread in current version) and one to launch at its side. They much launch around the same time. You may not get the kill on the first try but will get a few hits. To manual drop, is the same way as torping a battleship, but be aware at higher tiers cruisers have godly AA and you planes will drop like flies.
Destroyers: Generally want to hit these guys with dive bombers as they can do a insane amount of damage to them if a bomb hits. Auto dropped torps can work too, but a experienced Destroyer captain will most likely dodge them. Do not attempt to Manual drop a destroyer unless he's beached himself or is afk.
To torp a destroyer, you must hit him from multiple angles as he wont be able to dodge all of them and all it takes is one to kill him. Only use this if:
1. He is the last player left alive.
2. Is chasing you down.
3. Is the greatest threat on the enemy team left alive.
4. He is camping in your cap.
EDIT: This is pretty hard and is not recommended after the spreads got nerfed into the ground. Not impossible though.
Where to approach a target from: Where you approach a ship from is very important as a carrier, I have seen a lot of players just aim their torps at the front of the ship and complain because they didn't hit anything.
For battleships, you can either group your planes and hit him on his sides or if he's turning and has decent AA, you could use one torp bomber to drop on one side as a diversion and the other/s to hit on the other side.
For cruisers, depending on how many tbs you have, you usually want to hit them from two or three angles, (one at the back/front and one on each side. or one at the back/front and one in the side.) If you only have one tb then you should prob try to manual drop him.
For destroyers, since plane AI was nerfed it is best to use the same tactics as the one with cruisers.
For carriers. Full broadside if you can.
Skills: I wont go too in depth into this, but for skills you want to get what suits your play style. For bomber load out players, get skills that decrease the time it takes your planes to rearm.
For fighter load outs get any skill that will help your fighters.
Other skills that i find are very useful is Situation Awareness, this skill can be the meaning between life and death if there's a destroyer chasing you that you don't know about. Or if there's planes coming along the borders of the map.
For your last skill always get air supremacy for the extra squad member.
Other roles of a carrier: A carrier's role is not only to torp/bomb enemy ships to oblivion or to annihilate another carrier's planes. (Think of it as a command ship.)
You are also the eyes of the fleet, you will see things that others may not. Do not be afraid to tell your team of the incoming danger, even if they prob do know about it. It may just save their ship and in the long term, yours.
Carrier's are also the best ships to issue commands (focus fire or pings on the map) to your fleet. Carrier's see everything, they see the weaker ships that others do not, they see the ships that are the greater threat. You get the point.
EDIT: It should be noted that I haven't played this game since April, so this guide is likely out of date due to changes made to carriers since that time.
Will I update this in the future? I can't say for certain, I currently lack the time and motivation required to play this game. Maybe when they release a carrier line for another nation, I may be motivated to reinstall the game and try them out, but until then, this guide will stay as it is.