I've already been analytical. I've placed the cold hard facts out there and let players decide for themselves what issues I raised mattered most to them. But I won't lie to myself and say it was anything other than a rush job -- a frantic attempt to get the review out while Alabama was still new and topical and the ranting against her high citadel was still fresh and new. I liked Alabama when I first played her. My review is cautiously favourable towards her. I'm writing this to nuke that lukewarm impression.
Let me remove any pretense of moderation or objectivity.
♥ I freakin' love this boat. ♥
And that's coming from someone who is, at best, rather indifferent to American Battleship designs. It took me a while to really nail what I loved about her. I mean, don't get me wrong, I've had some awesome games and some real lemons too, but the former far outweighs the latter. There are some premiums that Wargaming lets me preview that are fun at the time but unlikely to tickle my fancy after play testing them. Then there are ships like Alabama that just tick all of the right boxes. And here they are:
- She has excellent anti-aircraft firepower.
I dunno why I'm such a stickler for anti-aircraft coverage, but it always puts a smile on my face to shoot down enemy planes -- even if it's just a spotter aircraft. I suppose it comes down to a matter of control. Alabama denies same tier (and lower) CVs the use of airspace in her general vicinity. She hoovers up a ton of experience and credits when she gets to exercise her 40mm and 20mm flak guns. Her AA firepower is on par with that of North Carolina and it upgrades handsomely with proper modules and skills.
- Alabama's guns hit hard and they behave.
After so many games in the Warspite, I'm very comfortable with low-velocity guns. So that's no drawback for me. Inside of 16km, her AP shells end worlds when they strike enemy Battleships. She's lethal to everything else at all ranges. But combine that with excellent gun handling and it's a match made in heaven for me. Her turret traverse, while not quite German in its alacrity, is above and beyond anything I would normally expect out of the USN. I have her kitted out with Mr.Seagal which improves her rotation speed from 4.5º per second up to 5.5º per second which is amazing. It's easy to shift fire, especially while under manoeuvers... which brings me to my last point.
- Alabama is hella-agile.
I don't use the Steering Gears Modification 2, yet Alabama still turns beautifully. Oh, she's not as nimble as my beloved Warspite, but she's close -- she's very close. Unlike Warspite, she's reasonably fast too, meaning I can push when I need to and press an advantage or retreat from danger as needed. She constantly surprises enemy warships expecting her to take much longer in the turn than she does. The wiggle and bait tactics I use with Warspite to tank with my belt armour work beautifully with Alabama. And while I wouldn't take her into close quarters with a German Battleship, she outbrawls her American counterparts and some IJN battleships hilariously.
But Mouse, you cry. What about her high-water citadel!? I don't care. Warspite had a high water citadel with less protection for the first year that I played her and that never stopped me. People are, frankly, making mountains out of molehills. Yes, it's a weakness. But it doesn't define the ship. Her speed and handling does and it's fantastic. Alabama is not a fragile ship, especially if you play her to her strengths.
I cannot endorse this ship strongly enough if this iteration survives testing intact.
Edited by LittleWhiteMouse, 20 March 2017 - 02:58 AM.