So I've been playing a lot in the last few days, lol. As expensive as my ship is, I haven't quite had the nerve to dive in to the caliber of airplane-toting opponents I'm likely to face. To answer some more questions:
--I have discovered that the carriers come equipped with just a single dive-bomber, in the hopes that you'll spend real money on cooler planes. I confess I broke down and bought a few planes just to see how they work.
--Torpedo planes are nasty hitters, but crazy vulnerable. Fighters are worthless except against other planes. Bombers do decent damage and then die. Unless you have a huge massive swarm of planes, they're only marginally helpful if you make them fight on their own. Instead of building a whole new carrier, I just removed a couple of side guns and added runways to the side of my raft. I haven't protected my runways so they get taken out early in any fight, but most of them die immediately after / before dropping their payload anyway.
--The best use of planes is as a distraction from the boat, and you should keep a decently armed boat to serve as a distraction from the planes. In my experiments, neither fares very well when fighting on their own.
--The Mk45-5 looks to be a crazy overpowered gun. A ship with a very high armor rating can shrug off the shots, but any vulnerable ship parts will break down quickly. It does 1045 damage every two seconds, compared to the 46cm's 2500 damage every 20 seconds. If you're hitting 1000 armor average, that's only 45 actual damage * 10 shots, or 450 damage in 20 seconds, compared to the 46cm's 1500 actual damage. But if the armor average is only 700 or so, that becomes 345 actual damage per shot for 3450 actual damage in 20 seconds. And then, of course, you have it's handy AA capacity. Sadly, I have not invested in these yet as I'm trying to build my bomber fleet.
--The aiming mechanic is definitely frustrating. You have to lead your targets to account for shell travel time, which I'm cool with. The challenge is in figuring out how
exactly to lead them, which is very difficult. Here's basically what I've found--if you zoom in and shoot, your shots will arch high and take a while to get there. If you zoom out and shoot, they'll go on a more direct path. So when your target is within 7 km or so, zoom out and give them a broadside--you get a line of shots moving very rapidly, which gives you a really good chance of a hit. And with the big guns, even a few hits have a real impact. Once you hit their engine, they can't dodge your shots any more.
--I don't know how much multiplayer you've done, but your opponents there will not have the same accuracy as the computer. To make up for their lack of originality, the AI opponents seem to have an uncanny ability to hit you no matter how fast you go or how hard you try to avoid their shots. So I don't bother anymore.
--Since I haven't invested in any AA guns, I also have precioius little skill at defending against airplanes.
--Real missions would be great. What would be greater is if they took the whole thing to space....
When I finally finish buying my house and have the funds to fix my laptop, you can fully expect this level of analysis with BR's systems.