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  1. It's double-header time! The following is a review of both Belfast and Belfast '43, the tier VII and VIII British premium cruisers. These ships were provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes -- I did not have to shell out any dollarydoos to get access to them. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.10. Please be aware that they may change in the future. Belfast is a total meme. I am delighted to see that Belfast '43 is being added to the game. Belfast is an important museum ship and it's so unfortunate that her premium had to be retired. She is the poster-child for unbalanced premiums so it's nice to see that Wargaming is correcting the lack of Belfast with what is ostensibly a more balanced version. Now I could just review the new one but I know I'd be hounded by the need to constantly compare the two. And if I half-butted the comparison, there would be tons of questions and comments asking that I follow up. So to correct this, I'm going to review both ships at the same time. So consider this an update to the old tier VII Belfast while simultaneously evaluating the newer, tier VIII version. God, Belfast is such a meme. Azur Lane went so far as to predict this too with Belfast and mini-me clone version of her. No, I don't get it either. Comparing Belfast to Belfast is going to get confusing in a hurry. In order to try and keep things clear, I will be not only referring to them by their tier but I will also colour code them. The discontinued tier VII premium cruiser will be referred to by Belfast (T7) while the newer, tier VIII version will be referred to by Belfast '43 (T8). Quick Summary: Two British light cruisers with the best combination of vision-control consumables in the game. Belfast '43 (T8) has slow-firing but harder hitting guns. Belfast (T7) is a meme-ship whose over-the-top performance has transcended not only World of Warships but in Azur Lane too. Shared PROS British cruiser with access to both AP and HE rounds. Improved acceleration. Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 8.91km. Access to a Smoke Generator AND Surveillance Radar AND Hydroacoustic Search all at the same time. (!) Shared CONS Very light cruiser armour profile with very thin hull plates that are easily overmatched. Enormous 6mm "hole" in citadel roof that's easily overmatched by any AP shell of any size. Does not have the same style of AP rounds as the rest of the British light cruiser line. Poor fire chance per shell for a 152mm round of only 9%. Horrible gun firing angles, necessitating giving a full broadside to bring all of her guns to bear. Bad gun traverse speeds of only 7º/s. Only a modest top speed of 32.5 knots. Not a good training ship for British light cruiser commanders. These two ships are defined by three things: (1) They're hard to engage but squishy if you can hit them. (2) They have an excellent combination of Vision Control consumables. (3) They have HE shells. Their game play is largely defined by taking station near an island, deploying smoke and HE-spamming the snot out of anything that comes within range. As if this wasn't bad enough, their combination of detection consumables makes them an absolute nightmare for destroyers who cannot dare to operate in their vicinity. Belfast's Hydroacoustic Search and ridiculous rate of acceleration keeps her safe from most torpedo strikes, nullifying one of the greatest risks to sitting in smoke while her Surveillance Radar ensures that any destroyers operating in the area quickly regret their life decisions. Ostensibly this is balanced by their poor fragility and gun handling, but the high concealment and agility of these ships coupled with their Smoke Generators makes even drawing a bead on them in the first place quite difficult. This combines with ballistics that are favourable for making use of island cover that further off-sets any deficits to survivability. All of the above strengths and weaknesses apply to Belfast '43 (T8) with the addition of the following: Belfast '43 (T8) Specific PROS High HE alpha strike for a 152mm armed ship from improved HE shell damage. Can single-fire her torpedoes. Small turning circle radius of 680m. Very short reset timer between final cloud dissipation and reactivation of her Smoke Generator. Starts with an extra charge of her Smoke Generator for a maximum of 5 charges with Superintendent. Can stealth-radar (albeit with only a 90m window at most but still). Belfast '43 (T8) Specific CONS Small hit point pool of 38,400hp. Long reload of 10.5s on her main battery leading to poor DPM and fire setting. Torpedoes are short ranged at 8km. Horrible anti-aircraft firepower for a tier VIII cruiser. Few charges of her Hydroacoustic Search and Surveillance Radar. Short duration on her smoke clouds. Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Belfast '43 (T8) appears to have a balanced armament between AP & HE shells and her torpedoes. However, she pays for her triumvirate of consumables with nerfed weapon systems. Her main battery guns have a horrid reload time. Similarly, her torpedoes are much too short ranged to be used easily. Her AP shells suck, so that just leaves you with HE. Finally, as good as her consumable-combination is, they are limited by having either fewer charges (radar & hydro) or shorter duration (smoke), making it a challenge to manage them properly over the course of a full match. All of the shared merits and flaws listed at the top of this section apply to Belfast (T7) with the addition of the following: Belfast (T7) Specific PROS Fast, 7.5s reload leading to good DPM. Access to British light-cruiser energy retention, bleeding almost no speed in a turn. One of the few tier VII cruisers with Surveillance Radar. Has access to the 5th upgrade slot -- a rarity for tier VII ships. Belfast (T7) Specific CONS Only has 25mm of HE penetration. No torpedo armament. Long rudder shift time for a tier VII cruiser at 9.6s. Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Belfast (T7) is a different beast to Belfast '43 (T8) despite their similarities. This is largely owing to the differences in matchmaking -- Belfast (T7) gets to pick on tier V ships when matchmaking is being kind. Moreover, she's a rockstar at her tier giving up little while enjoying all of the same (but better) consumable benefits of the tier VIII newcomer. What's more, she fires three seconds faster per salvo and that makes a world of difference whether its stacking fires on an enemy battleship or lewding on a lolibote that you've flashed with her radar. Finally there's the extra agility Belfast (T7) enjoys. Her improved energy preservation means that Belfast (T7) is overall faster on average despite the two ships have the same top speed. This gives her a better rate of turn than her tier VIII-self despite having a larger effective turning radius. Just from the PROS and CONS list alone, you can clearly see that Belfast (T7) is much stronger (and easier to use) than Belfast '43 (T8). Bumping Belfast (T7) up to tier VIII would add on a low hit-point flaw but she would lose the slow-rudder shift as her 9.6s rudder shift time is on the slower-side of average for that tier. Belfast (T7) is, in fact, more than good enough to be a tier VIII cruiser with nothing changed about her. This explains why she was retired in the first place. So the question becomes not if Belfast '43 (T8) is a good enough replacement for Belfast (T7), because she's not, but rather if Belfast '43 (T8) is a good enough cruiser at to be worth picking up for anything but her name and history. Options Consumables At a glance, the first obvious difference between the two ships is that Belfast '43 (T8) can take a Catapult Fighter and Belfast (T7) cannot. But there's much more to it than that. Both ships share the same Damage Control Party. It has a 5s active period, a 60s reset timer and unlimited charges. Belfast '43 (T8), being a higher tier, has improved range with her Hydroacoustic Search over Belfast (T7) but with fewer charges. Belfast (T7) has a 3km torpedo detection range, 4km ship detection range, 100s active time, 120s reset timer and three charges to start. Belfast '43 (T8) has 4km torpedo detection range, 5km ship detection range, 100s active time, 120s reset timer and two charges to start. This deficit of one charge of her consumable is odd as most cruisers begin with three. Belfast (T7) has the much easier-to-use (and arguably better) Smoke Generator compared to the the new fish. Belfast '43 (T8)'s smoke is comparable to that of British destroyers, having more charges and a fast reset timer but with the smoke lasting for much less time. Belfast (T7)'s consumable is active for 15s with each 600m radius cloud lasting for 103s. It has a 160s reset timer and starts with three charges. Belfast '43 (T8)'s consumable is active for 15s with each 600m radius cloud lasting for 40s. It has a 70s reset timer and starts with four charges. Like with their hydro, Belfast '43 (T8) has improved range with her Surveillance Radar over Belfast (T7) but again, with fewer charges. Belfast (T7)'s radar is active for 25s and detects ships at 8.5km with a 120s reset timer and three charges to start. Belfast '43 (T8)'s radar is active for 25s and detects ships at 9km with a 120s reset timer and two charges to start. Only Belfast '43 (T8) can swap her radar for a Catapult Fighter. I dunno why you'd do that but hey, it's an option. Belfast (T7)does not have access to it all. Belfast '43 (T8) deploys three fighters which are active for 60s that patrol a 3km radius around the ship. It has a 90s reset timer and three charges to start. I think it's pretty easy to declare Belfast (T7) the winner here when it comes to her consumable options. Still, it would be foolish to deny that Belfast '43 (T8) has an excellent consumable suite, giving her some of the best tools possible in the game for vision control. Upgrades With Belfast (T7) being able to fit five upgrade slots like a tier VIII ship, the ideal upgrades between the two ships are identical. With both ships having improved acceleration, they cannot take the Propulsion Modification 1 upgrade in slot 4. The only apparent option in the second slot comes down to what you can afford. Surveillance Radar Modification 1 is optimal, adding another 5 seconds to the active period of their Surveillance Radar consumables. If you cannot afford that but have access to a Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 upgrade then equip that instead. Each of these cost 17,000 in the Armory so default to the former if you can afford it. If you can't pick up either one, then take Engine Room Protection. So the optimal build is: Main Armaments Modification 1 is slot 1. Surveillance Radar Modification 1 in slot 2. Aiming Systems Modification 1 in slot 3. Steering Gears Modification 1 in slot 4. And finally Concealment System Modification 1 in slot 5. Captain Skills There are effectively two builds for the Belfast-twins. They differ on whether or not to take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) to increase their penetration or to build for increased fire chance. Belfast '43 (T8) benefits more from the penetration provided by IFHE than Belfast (T7) due to how the skill scales with tier. Thus, the higher-tiered ship is more likely to build for IFHE but either build can work for either ship. Well this is a colourful, confusing mess. But there's a method to my madness. Start by picking one of the two skills in the yellow squares at tier 1. Next, hoover up the light blue circles. After that, decide if you want increased HE penetration with IFHE or increased fire chance with Demolition Expert. You can take both, but it's hella expensive. The remaining skills circled in red are nice to have. Use them to pad out your remaining available points. Camouflage Between all of the camouflages available between the two ships, they share identical bonuses. 3% reduction to surface detection. 4% increase to enemy dispersion. 10% reduction to service costs. 50% increase to experience earned. Belfast '43 (T8)'s Type 10 Camouflage. Belfast (T7)'s Type 10 Camouflage. Belfast (T7) received an additional camouflage through the Azur Lane crossover. In general, the Azur Lane camouflage disappoint me. World of Warships Blitz the crossover-skins had some fun geometry changes to the model too. Still, this one is at least nice and striking, even if it's just a skin. The best thing about it is that for my purposes, it's the easiest way to differentiate between the two ships in this review when I use screenshots. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 152mm/50 guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Belfast (T7) Secondary Battery: Eight 102mm/45 guns in 4x2 turrets. Belfast '43 (T8) Secondary Battery: Twelve 102mm/45 guns in 6x2 turrets. Belfast '43 (T8) Torpedoes: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers with one launcher per side mounted in the hull between the funnels. Belfast (T7) has the Union Jack on top of her B-turret except with her Azur Lane camo. Belfast '43 (T8) has AA mounts on top of her B-turret instead. Belfast '43 (T8). Note the differences in reload time, HE penetration, IFHE penetration and HE shell damage. Balancing ships is difficult. "Murder your darlings", an often quoted phrase stolen from Hollywood, has made the rounds in game design. The premise is simple enough: Identify what you like best about something you've made and then remove it from the design entirely. Such design elements will tend to lead projects astray and create complications further down the line. The darling in Belfast (T7)'s design, I am convinced, is her access to HE shells. At the time of her release back in the autumn of 2016, it was this feature which made her stand out more than any other from the British light cruiser line. Belfast (T7)'s HE shells did make her unique, but they ultimately broke and doomed the project. To be clear, HE in of itself isn't unmanageable. Belfast '43 (T8) is Wargaming's attempt to correct some of the earlier problems of Belfast (T7)'s design while still keeping access to HE shells. In my mind, it's a lot of extra work to accommodate something that was already out of place, long long ago. The time and energy could be better spent elsewhere and left us with a premium that was better suited to training British light cruiser tech-tree captains. As it is, Wargaming tweaked Belfast '43 (T8)'s HE shells to conform to the numbers they wanted to see. These changes are so odd they will understandably cause you to second guess her performance and potential. Fool me once, shame on you Belfast (T7)'s main battery firepower conforms entirely to light-cruiser norms. Her twelve 152mm guns behave exactly as you would expect. They fire a shell with modest damage output, with a rather floaty ballistic arc over medium range. To compensate, they have a high rate of fire. This seems simple enough. The only real oddity here is their rather poor fire chance per shell. If you line up the guns from most of the other 152mm armed light cruisers, Belfast (T7) looks pretty normal. Her 7.5 second reload fits in snugly between the long, 10 second reload of Mogami 155mm, the stately 8 second reloads of Soviet guns from ships like Shchors, Chapayev and Irian and the blistering quick reloads of Cleveland (6.5 seconds), Ochakov (6.1 seconds), Mainz (6 seconds) and München (5 seconds). However, only Mikhail Kutuzov is an apt comparison for Belfast (T7)'s ability to spit shells down range. Gun performance stats from patch 0.5.12.1 back in October of 2016 back when these were among the few 152mm armed contemporaries of Belfast (T7) at the time of her release. Mikhail Kutuzov, Budyonny and Chapayev all ditto'd Shchors's shell performance but with reduced DPM in Budyonny's case. Belfast (T7) and Mikhail Kutuzov can cycle their guns for long periods of time without interruption. Their Smoke Generators are the great facilitator, increasing their chances to not only find uninterrupted periods where they can spam HE to their heart's content but also survive longer within a match to do it over and over again. While ships like Cleveland or Helena can mathematically spit out more DPM, the survivability of these other ships is far more limited. It's easier for Belfast (T7) to take full advantage of her DPM potential and do it for more of a given match than it is for comparable cruisers. Belfast (T7) puts out a lot of damage mostly because she can take advantage of situations other cruisers can't. While others have to fish for cover or worry about dodging, she can just hold down her left mouse button. Her angry smoke clouds easily bully other ships, creating 15km zones of control. The only limit to Belfast (T7)'s potential is HE penetration. The changes to HE penetration and the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill hurt tier VII light cruisers in a bad way. It's hard not to feel like this was an attack specifically against Belfast (T7) to reign her in. Without the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) skill, Belfast (T7) cannot directly damage a long list of ship hulls. Taking IFHE shortens this list considerably. However, she still cannot directly damage the hulls of tier VIII+ battleships even with this skill. Furthermore, IFHE neuters her fire-setting chances, hurting her efficiency against these high-tier chunguses (chungi?) . Thus, whether you choose to go with or without IFHE is up to you -- both styles are viable and both have their drawbacks. Presently, it feels like tier VII ships get pulled into higher tiered matchmaking more often (though who knows what the actual math is on that) so I tend to steer away from IFHE on Belfast (T7) for the moment. This hurts her efficiency against cruisers, but I tend to focus on accosting lolibotes and burning battleships so this works out well for me. Overall, Belfast (T7) is as crazy-efficient as any tier VII light cruiser could hope to be. Her Smoke Generator allows her long periods of time where she can cycle her guns with near impunity. Belfast (T7)'s fire arcs are both varied and crappy. That would matter more if she had to wiggle and dodge, but she doesn't. You have to love how naively optimistic Belfast (T7)'s design is. "Sure! Give it better-than-average damage output for a tier VII light cruiser. Never mind all of the stealth and smoke advantages she has! It will all work out!" There have been so many lessons learned over the years... I apologize for these crappy graphs. I borrowed them from my München review and didn't bother to spruce them up. The IFHE+ and Max categories are assuming that the ships are using the Demolition Expert skill, both fire-improving signals and, in Flint & Atlanta's case, using the Basic Fire Training skill as well. The base 9% fire chance per shell pumps the brakes on Belfast (T7)'s ferocity somewhat. She merely ends up being a better-than-average fire setter overall for a tier VII cruiser rather than a high-roller like the other lights... at least until you remember that she can park and hold down her left mouse button with little worry of reprisals. Fool me twice, shame on me Alright, so Belfast (T7) proved we can't have nice things. Wargaming tried their best to make sure that Belfast '43 (T8) didn't repeat this travesty. Their solution? Nerf her rate of fire into the ground. Belfast '43 (T8) has a terrible rate of fire for a tier VIII light cruiser. It's a half-second worse than the fifteen-gun Mogami 155mm's 10 second reload. That's right; Belfast '43 (T8) has a 10.5 second reload. As you can imagine, this puts her DPM numbers into the toilet. When slinging her AP shells, she has worse potential DPM than most of the heavy cruisers at her tier which is downright terrible. Normally, when your DPM is that bad, they give the ship some form of compensation for this. For example, Atago & Mogami 203mm have greatly improved dispersion and kick-butt torpedoes. Then there's Amalfi who has a long list of advantages including high speed, agility, SAP shells and her Exhaust Smoke Generator. Finally there's Albemarle and Cheshire which have ... uh ... Wait. Wait. Hold on, I can do this. Finally there's Atago & Mogami 203mm which have greatly improved dispersion and kick-butt torpedoes! So as you can see, Belfast '43 (T8) is going to be leaning pretty heavily into her other advantages. Thankfully, this deficit is somewhat mitigated when it comes to her HE shells. Wargaming artificially boosted the shell damage of Belfast '43 (T8)'s HE rounds, up from Belfast (T7)'s 2,100 max damage to 2,450; a 16.7% increase. Belfast '43 (T8)'s individual salvos thus hit harder. It's not a lot harder, mind you (especially once you account for the 0.33x penetration damage modifier), but it is harder. When you then rank Belfast '43 (T8)'s HE performance up in a DPM chart, she sits above all of the heavy cruisers but behind all of the lights. On paper, this feels right -- especially given what we've learned about Smoke Generators on cruisers. Iwaki Alpha, Mikhail Kutuzov and Belfast (T7) ruined the gimmick for everyone else. Still, it's hard not to feel like this penalized reload is just plain punitive. It's painful and prevents her from playing to the same extremes as Belfast (T7). Belfast '43 (T8) is nowhere near as good of a destroyer hunter, for example. The opportunities to pack some loving onto lolibotes is fleeting and her long reload often limits such molestations to a single broadside slap rather than a repeated, fast-cycled spanking. Though her alpha strike on her HE shells is improved, Belfast '43 (T8)'s HE shell performance isn't improved so much that your singular volleys will guarantee a mauling. At best, you're looking at 9,702 damage per broadside to a destroyer compared to Belfast (T7)'s 8,316. Yes, it's more damage, but it's not "call you daddy" kind of damage. These problems are further compounded when it comes to Belfast '43 (T8)'s fire setting. While her HE shell damage is improved, her fire chance remains the same ol' unfortunate 9%. With that shackled to her 10.5 second reload, her chance to set fires drops from "worst of the light cruisers" to Cheshire levels of bad. Mother truckin' CHESHIRE LEVELS OF BAD, ladies and gentlemen. ARGLBARGL!!! If you take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells on Belfast '43 (T8) you can largely forget about farming fire damage even if you pad everything back up with Demolition Expert and signals. You'll be lucky if you get one fire to stick on permanently against high-tier targets, to say nothing of two. Your opponent has to already have their Damage Control Party severely taxed before you'll stick blazes onto their hulls. This is not a ship I would recommend building for just fires -- it's too much of a gamble with her poor fire setting characteristics. Despite this, it would be a mistake to skip taking IFHE on Belfast '43 (T8). Unlike Belfast (T7) she has the higher base penetration number (30mm) to allow her to abuse any target she comes across, so the direct damage is worth it. You might be thinking, "oh, but her torpedoes surely balance things!" NO. NO! Go gargle some liquid nitrogen and shut your hoarfrost mouth! Forget her torpedoes. At 8km and with only a pair of triple launchers, Belfast '43 (T8)'s torpedoes will not carry the day unless your opponents are idiots. If something big enough drives within range of your fish, you're either playing co-op or things have gone to poop. They are weapons of desperation, no more and no less. Arguably, the only good they do is to allow Belfast '43 (T8) to keep up in close-range firefights against other cruisers, compensating for her horrible reload. That's at least until you remember that most other cruisers will be spitting out fish too. It's a damn good thing Belfast '43 (T8) has those improved HE shells because her AP shells and torpedoes are liabilities. Belfast '43 (T8)'s fire arcs are closer to uniform but still crappy. Her torpedo arcs have an 88º fire angle starting from 50º off her bow. This is also crappy. Belfast '43 (T8)'s DPM has a lot to be desired. With her 3,100 damage AP shells and 10.5s reload, she has some of the worst AP damage output of any of the tier VIII cruisers. The boosted damage on Belfast '43 (T8)'s HE shells allows her to keep ahead of the heavy cruisers, but she still ends up with one of the worst HE damage outputs of any of the tier VIII light cruisers. Think Ochakov-bad. Use islands and her smoke to give her more time to cycle her guns. Bruh. Role Models Despite their differences, Belfast (T7) and Belfast '43 (T8) have the same role. Their primary job is to make destroyer lives miserable. Their secondary role is to harass anything else that comes into range with HE spam, either from angry smoke or from the cover of islands. Belfast (T7)'s longer lasting smoke and higher rate of fire makes her better at this, but Belfast '43 (T8) holds her own mostly owing to her higher HE penetration. Belfast (T7) is better at putting the hurt on bigger ships with fire stacks while Belfast '43 (T8) is more focused on doing it with direct, penetrating hits. The ballistics of their guns facilitates camping islands. It's not quite American in terms of their arcs, but they are pretty damn floaty. This is good news given how much broadside these ships need to show in order to bring their weapons to bare. Both have terrible fire arcs but that largely doesn't matter unless they're out in open water (which they shouldn't be). Overall, I'm pretty disappointed with both of their armaments. In Belfast '43 (T8)'s case it's because her torpedoes are too short ranged and that long reload isn't fun to play with. It's not terrible, but it's not fun. In Belfast (T7)'s case, it's because she's overpowered. She could have just had the same semi-AP shells of the rest of the British light cruiser line and this whole mess could have been avoided or at least mitigated. Boo-urns, I say. Belfast (T7) need not apply. Belfast '43 (T8) only. VERDICT: Belfast (T7) overperforms, but no surprises there. The IFHE changes have at least turned her from a "brainless, spam HE at everything and hoover up stupidly-big damage" to a "brainless, spam HE at everything and hoover up only modestly-big damage." Belfast '43 (T8) is supposed to have a more balanced armament between torpedoes and her AP rounds, but she's utterly reliant upon her HE shells in order to compete so that kind of undoes anything interesting about her weapons. Defence Belfast (T7) Hit Points: 35,700 Belfast (T7) Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 13mm/10mm/19mm/19mm to 51mm Belfast '43 (T8) Hit Points: 38,400 Belfast '43 (T8) Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 16mm/13mm/19mm/19mm to 51mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 114mm belt. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 4% Please note the difference in scale at the bottom of these two charts. I know someone will complain if I don't point that out. I needed more room for Albermarle's "anti-fail" mitigating drydock. There's not a whole lot to say here. Belfast '43 (T8) doesn't have a lot of hit points for a tier VIII cruiser. It's not a catastrophic deficit by any means -- she just doesn't have a lot. Belfast (T7) has fewer still, but she sits a tier lower so the gap isn't as pronounced. Neither ship has access to heals via a Repair Party (could you imagine if they did?) so that really puts them behind the health-pool front-runners. Given their poor fire angles of their guns, they tend to show a lot of broadside. Their 114mm of belt armour is good enough, with only Belfast '43 (T8) being vulnerable to citadel hits from HE rounds, but that's only from HMS Thunderer (love you, boo! ♥). Still, unlike some of the more recent British cruisers, their citadel does not match the 'hump' of their belt armour, laying flush just over the waterline. At least they have that going for them. These ships have two pronounced flaws to their protection scheme, with one exacerbated by the poor fire angles of their guns. First, Belfast (T7) and Belfast '43 (T8) have only 13mm and 16mm worth of extremity armour respectively. This is easily overmatched by every battleship calibre gun they will face. Belfast (T7) is particularly vulnerable as her 13mm extremities can be overmatched by even 203mm AP shells making every heavy cruiser a very pronounced threat. Belfast '43 (T8) has it better against other cruisers, with only the 234mm and 240mm guns of Cheshire, Drake, Goliath and Henri IV capable of doing the same. The second flaw has to do with their citadel armour layout. On both ships, there is an enormous, 6mm "hole" over top of the machine spaces. If an AP shell of any caliber punches through the belt, it can easily overmatch this roof-armour and enter the citadel without contest. Thus, even shots aimed too high will still land citadel hits provided they drop through this large opening -- the 6mm plate only prevents AP shells smaller than 85mm from overmatching. It's not going to happen all of the time, but this second bite of the apple will generate a few more citadel hits that would otherwise ricochet if the armour was thicker. Because these ships have to present so much broadside to fire their guns, this vulnerability over their machine spaces can be exploited more often. These are squishy ships. HE of nearly any calibre hurts. AP will wreck them in short order. Their fragility is meant to be a key flaw in World of Warships. However, given their stealth, ballistics and smoke, this isn't as much of a pronounced weakness as it might otherwise be. If you're dumb enough to sit out in open water and try and trade with another cruiser (or battleship for that matter) you get the spanking you deserve. Belfast '43 (T8)'s armour layout is almost identical to her tier VII counterpart. There are subtle differences here and there, like around the steering gears (not pictured) but other than the differences in super-structure and extremities, they're functionally the same. You can clearly see that 6mm hole in her citadel roof that matches the raised 114mm belt section. Her turrets aren't likely to resist damage with 102mm front plates, 51mm side plates, roof and (mostly) 38mm barbettes. Belfast (T7) is very soft-skinned. Even destroyer-calibre HE shells are more than capable of direct-damaging her even without IFHE. VERDICT: Soft and squishy, just like her Azur Lane design. Agility Top Speed: 32.5kts Belfast (T7) Turning Radius: 730m/740m Belfast (T7) Rudder Shift Time: 9.6s Belfast (T7) 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 6.7º/s at 31.8kts (!) Belfast '43 (T8) Turning Radius: 680m Belfast '43 (T8) Rudder Shift Time: 9.9s Belfast '43 (T8) 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.9º/s at 26kts I have Edinburgh (and Belfast (T7) who clones her agility performance) listed here at a 740m radius. Her calculated radius is technically 736m or so. Normally Wargaming tends to round up when generating in-port stats but not always. So 730m or 740m is technically correct. I could go back and fix this graphic to have her overlap with Bayard and Baltimore but screw it. The best thing about Belfast '43 (T8)'s handling is her small turning circle radius relative to the other tier VIII cruisers. British light cruisers are weird. This should come as no surprise. The physics-defying, flying-saucer behaviour of British light cruisers is pretty infamous at this point. They bleed almost no speed in a turn and can, in fact, accelerate flat out with their rudder hard over in ways that appear to defy all logic and reason. Belfast (T7) conforms to these insane-norms, largely cloning Edinburgh's performance. Where most cruisers can only preserve up to 80% of their speed with their rudder hard over, Belfast (T7) preserves almost 98%. This gives her an excellent rate of turn, making her far more agile than her other manoeuvrability characteristics would imply. Furthermore, this ship has ridiculous acceleration. It's better than having the Propulsion System Modification 1 upgrade installed on a comparable ship which is probably why Belfast (T7) can't take it. Combined with her Hydroacoustic Search consumable, it's exceedingly difficult to catch Belfast (T7) with a spread of torpedoes while she's parked in smoke short of deploying a wide net in the form of a "wall of skill" from multiple salvos coordinated from several ships. The only drawback Belfast (T7) has, really, is her relatively sluggish rudder shift time. But seeing as she doesn't have to choose between taking Propulsion System Modification 1 and Steering Gears Modification 1, she can always choose to improve her rudder, so it's not real drawback there either. She gets the best of both worlds. The only place where Belfast (T7) lacks is her top speed. This makes dictating engagement distances a constant worry, especially given her lack of torpedoes to shoo-away bigger ships that she can't burn down quickly enough. It's not a crippling flaw by any means, but it's worth keeping in mind. Now, if you were hoping (or expecting) Belfast '43 (T8) to conform to the same behaviours as her predecessor, you're mistaken. The only element she inherits is the improved acceleration (and the inability to mount Propulsion System Modification 1). Belfast '43 (T8) behaves like a normal cruiser in all other respects to her agility. She may appear to have a smaller turning radius, but this is a booby-prize -- Belfast (T7)'s larger turning radius is an artifact of her preserved speed in a turn. When she was released, Belfast (T7) was advertised as having the same 680m turning radius as Belfast '43 (T8). However that derived value assumes that a cruiser only turns at 80% of her 4/4 speed, so it had to be corrected to its current value (which is, frankly, still off by 10m -- it's closer to 740m according to my tests, but whatever). So Belfast '43 (T8) has the tighter turning radius, however this only applies at 4/4 engine power. Things get ... well, they get weird at other engine settings. Belfast (T7) is the more agile ship with a tighter turning radius AND better rate of turn at all other engine settings. Here's a quick look at the other tier VIII cruisers with a top speed of 32.5 knots and how they compare to these two ships: Problems circled in red. Belfast '43 (T8) bleeds too much speed at all but the 4/4 engine settings in a sustained turn. Though this is true for almost every engine setting, it's especially pronounced at 1/2 and 3/4 power. Belfast (T7) (and Edinburgh) behaves better than its 730m (or is it 740m?) in-port turning radius would suggest at all engine settings, but this really stands out at 4/4 power where it bleeds almost no speed at all. Cleveland and AL Montpelier bleed too much speed at 4/4 engine power. The effects of these other engine settings are not likely to apply often in the average game of World of Warships. All you need to know is that Belfast '43 (T8) has worse performance than she should while Belfast (T7) has better-than-average performance at all engine settings. In short, other than in acceleration, Belfast '43 (T8) has worse agility than she should. Without the energy preservation that Belfast (T7) enjoys at 4/4 engine power, Belfast '43 (8) is otherwise unremarkable short of her small turning circle radius for a tier VIII cruiser. Belfast (T7) is the much better ship, agility wise with a laundry list of strange benefits. VERDICT: The improved acceleration is wonderful to have, especially for camping the relatively small smoke banks that these ship generate with the short action time of their Smoke Generators. Belfast (T7) has the standard, British light cruiser physics-defying engines while Belfast '43 (8) is pretty normal. Anti-Aircraft Defence Belfast (T7) Flak Bursts: 3+1 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Belfast (T7) Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 91dps at 90% accuracy (82dps) Belfast (T7) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 255.5dps at 90% accuracy (230dps) Belfast '43 (T8) Flak Bursts: 3+1 explosions for 1,260 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Belfast '43 (T8) Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 80.5dps at 90% accuracy (72dps) Belfast '43 (T8) Medium Ranged (up to 2.5km): 80.5dps at 90% accuracy (72dps) Belfast '43 (T8) Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 143.5dps at 85% accuracy (122dps) Some of this makes sense to me and then some of it doesn't. The part that makes sense to me is where Belfast (T7) has better AA power than her '43 counterpart. She is, after-all, a more modernized version of her earlier self, so I can stomach her having improved AA power if only from that aspect. What doesn't make sense to me is the incongruity between the number of dual-purpose 102mm guns and the amount of sustained AA DPS and flak bursts between the two ships. Logically Belfast '43 (T8), with her twelve 102mm guns, should produce more long-range AA DPS and flak explosions with her larger battery of large-calibre weapons. Instead, Belfast (T7) not only has more DPS but she generates the same number of explosions AND those explosions individually hit harder too. I suppose I'm forced to chalk it up to some nebulous hand-waving towards Belfast (T7) having improved AA detection systems or some such nonsense. The only consolation is that at least Belfast '43 (T8)'s long-range AA woes are at least consistent with those found on her tier VIII sister-ship, Edinburgh. Suffice to say, Belfast '43 (T8) doesn't have good AA firepower. She lacks access Defensive AA Fire (thought that's honestly a bit of a booby-prize in the current meta when forced to choose between it and Hydroacoustic Search) and she doesn't have the raw numbers to ensure her own safety. Then again, that's not something that Belfast (T7) can easily boast either, so it's not like Belfast '43 (T8)'s predecessor has an enormous leg up or anything. The only real bummer is that Belfast '43 (T8) has to deal with tier X carriers on occasion which will never (ever) go well. Overall, Belfast '43 (T8) is a decided downgrade from what Belfast (T7) can do. She's even a downgrade from Edinburgh and most other tier VIII cruisers, only having better AA power than the Japanese heavies. Word will eventually get out that Belfast '43 (T8) is an easy mark for carriers. While you could take her Catapult Fighter to provide some protection, it's not worth losing her Surveillance Radar for what little deterrent a fighter actually provides. The values here have been adjusted by the weapon accuracy (90% for large and medium calibre guns, 85% for small) and then sorted by the formula DPS x [ range -1km ]. This provides an approximate ranking system for effectiveness of AA, valuing longer-ranged mounts than shorter ones. If you're looking for Belfast '43 (T8) she's third from the bottom -- just beneath Anchorage and above the two Japanese cruisers. Yeah, her AA is that bad. Most of these ships have the option of increasing their sustained AA DPS by 50% through the use of the Defensive AA Fire consumable, but not all of them will have it due to having to choose between it and Hydroacoustic Search. The exceptions are Cleveland, Montpelier, Ochakov and Wukong which will always have it and Edinburgh, Belfast '43, Anchorage, Irian and Amalfi which cannot take it at all. For those curious, Belfast (T7) would sit just beneath Wichita on this chart, so slightly better than Edinburgh. VERDICT: Belfast (T7) has decent (but not great) AA firepower. Belfast '43 (T8) has poor AA defence for her tier. Their Smoke Generators are arguably your best protection against planes, but you should be understandably reluctant to use that unless your life depends upon it. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 11.34km / 8.91km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 7.16km/5.8km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 5.28km Maximum Firing Range: 15.42km I dunno what this is or where it's from, but it's pretty apt at describing Belfast's monstrous refrigerator (Vision Control). This is the reason that Belfast (T7) is overpowered. There's a lot to cover here, so let's get stuck in. Angry Smoke Clouds Smoke Generators on cruisers, particularly HE spamming cruisers, is highly contentious. The only thing worse than being on the receiving end of an endless torrent of HE spam is aircraft carriers. ... ... Huh? Oh, right. HE spam from smoke is pretty awful too. The two Belfasts have different strengths when it comes to their Smoke Generators. Belfast (T7) has easier to use, longer-lasting smoke. Belfast '43 (T8)'s smoke is much (much!) shorter duration but it comes off cool-down very quickly -- from 15 seconds from the dissipation of your last smoke cloud to as little as 8.2 seconds if you double stack Jack of All Trades with the November Foxtrot signal. Thus for higher-skilled players, Belfast '43 (T8)'s shorter duration smoke is less of a liability as it's more likely to be available when they need it. For less expert players, the (much) shorter duration of her smoke makes it much more dangerous to use as they're more likely to be caught out when it dissipates. This said, I do believe that Belfast (T7) has the better smoke. Though Belfast '43 (T8) has an extra charge, Belfast (T7) has more overall time in concealment. When you account for the bonus charge provided by Superintendent, Belfast (T7) has as much as 472 seconds worth of smoke cover per match (just shy of 8 minutes or just over with an X-ray Papa Unaone signal). Belfast '43 (T8) has only 275 seconds (just over 4.5 minutes and just shy of 5 minutes with an X-ray Papa Unaone signal) in a best-case scenario. But let's put this math into terms that really matter: the number of salvos each of these versions of Belfast can fire from smoke. As discussed earlier, Belfast '43 (T8) has really crappy DPM owing to her long reload. Let's assume our Belfasts are moving at 1/4 speed and open fire the moment they activate smoke, targeting enemies spotted for them by allies. Here are the best case for the number of salvos fired without being detected with a single charge of smoke: Belfast (T7) - 16 salvos (192 shells) Belfast '43 (T8) - 6 salvos (72 shells) It's not even a contest. Belfast '43 (T8) doesn't spam HE from smoke so much as take a few pot shots before scuttling away. Belfast (T7) meanwhile can sit comfortably and commit Dresden-style war crimes on anything that happens into range. Thus, Belfast '43 (T8) is much more dependent upon using island cover and kiting in open water than her tier VII-self. This doesn't make Belfast '43 (T8) bad by any stretch -- smoke of any kind is a very powerful consumable. Being more flexible with the use of open water and island terrain can lead to more longevity, given that firing into smoke has become a lot more common of a player skill since Belfast (T7)'s introduction back in the Fall of 2016. However, the knowledge on how to pull this off successfully is less likely to be found in a lower-tiered lobby. Furthermore, Surveillance Radar and long-ranged Hydroacoustic Search is much more prevalent within Belfast '43 (T8)'s matchmaking, while Belfast (T7) may end up being the only ship on either team with radar so she need not contend with it as often. So, the theory goes with Belfast '43 (T8) being less dependent upon smoke, her performance will somehow make feel more fair, balanced, earned, legitimate, or whatever other buzzwords people want to assign to her reduced smoke-crutch. The simple truth is that her smoke is worse. You need to do more work in Belfast '43 (T8) to get the same kind of potential as Belfast (T7)'s easy mode. Thus, Belfast (T7) has the better smoke. What's more, she has the better matchmaking which makes said smoke all the more advantageous. Belfast '43 (T8)'s smoke is strong, but Belfast (T7)'s smoke is game-changing. Showing Ark Royal how it's done If Belfast (T7) was simply an angry HE-spamming smoke cloud, she would still have garnered a lot of hate. Mikhail Kutuzov generated similar amounts of ire (and similar amounts of being pulled from the stores). But what makes these ships such monsters is their trifecta of lolibote hunting Vision Control (refrigerator) traits. Namely: Low surface detection to close with her targets to get close-to or inside of Surveillance Radar range. Hydroacoustic Search to neutralize torpedoes or charge smoke. Surveillance Radar to scatter the roaches. For a destroyer, these things are a nightmare. There is little to no warning before they're detected and once they are spotted, you risk being in Surveillance Radar range. Belfast '43 (T8) is more dangerous in this regard, having a long-ranged, 9km consumable than Belfast (T7)'s 8.5km radar. Belfast '43 (T8) is one of the few non-Soviet cruisers capable of stealth-radar, but her window for doing so is exceedingly small (less than 100m). Still, if she's detected it means that whatever ship is doing so is within her Surveillance Radar range which is a hella dangerous situation for any lolibote to be in. While there is a small chance that Belfast (T7) shorter range might not reach out to whatever destroyer that's lighting her, it's again a small window -- a mere 400m grace. The big difference between the two ships is what they can do once they have lit a target with Surveillance Radar. Again, Belfast '43 (T8)'s crappy DPM rears its ugly head and prevents her from being the god-tier lolibote molester like Belfast (T7). At best, Belfast '43 (T8) is getting off three salvos against a destroyer lit by Surveillance Radar with one of those being fired blind. Belfast (T7) gets three guaranteed salvos and maybe a fourth chasing the DD after it disappears. The only consolation here is that Belfast '43 (T8)'s higher alpha strike per salvo helps reduce the gap somewhat, but it's still around a 4,000 penetration damage advantage to Belfast (T7). Finally, it needs to be repeated but Belfast (T7) is one of the few ships armed with Surveillance Radar at all at tier VII. This alone is a huge advantage. Both ships are excellent destroyer hunters. Belfast '43 (T8) looks more attractive grace of her improved Surveillance Radar range, but Belfast (T7) wins out overall for the combination of higher DPM without giving up much of anything in the exchange. She's simply more capable given the opponents she faces due to her lower tiering. Mister Horse The presence of these ships forces your opponents to play differently. Belfast (T7)'s presence is more pronounced, precisely because of all of the Vision Control (refrigerator) advantages she brings to the table for a tier VII ship. She is visible less often owing to her longer-duration smoke. She's able to do more damage and start more fires from concealment. Finally, she's just as capable as Belfast '43 (T8) at sniffing out lolibotes. Belfast (T7) is a priority kill if she's on the enemy team. Yes, sometimes she's an easy mark -- particularly if she faces an opponent who knows how to blind fire into smoke and RNGeebus says . But I certainly don't like that gamble. These ships both have amazing refrigerators. VERDICT: God tier, the both of them. Belfast (T7) wins out, mostly because she's only tier VII. Killing destroyers wins games and these things are purpose-built to make their lives short. Final Evaluation Long, long ago in a fondly remembered patch from many iterations before, Wargaming wished to add a new cruiser line to World of Warships. This was in the before-time, back when the game only had American, Japanese, German and Soviet cruisers -- and even then, only a single line for each nation. This was before Inertial Fuse for HE Shells existed, when four-stacks of fires were an ever-present danger and a single flooding critical could doom a ship. It was a time of a cross-drops and inpenetrable smoke that even a battleship could fire from undetected. It was a time of fresh optimism as the third battleship line ever had just been introduced and German ships were actually good. And so it was the British light cruisers were added to World of Warships and with them, a whole slew of odd features. Repair Parties across half the line. SAP shells before SAP was a thing. No HE rounds. Single fire torpedoes. Improved engine performance. Weird, short-emission time smoke. And with this new release, Wargaming needed a premium. Belfast (T7) was to be that premium. She would resurrect elements of the earlier design iteration of this weird and wonderful British light cruiser line. She kept the HE that had been nixed from Supertest from the tech tree line. But to do so she had to sacrifice almost everything else that made the British light cruisers unique. No SAP. No torpedoes. No heals. They gave her extra detection consumables to compensate and assumed the job balanced and done. Well, we all learned how that turned out. Reception was everything from "it's good" to "it's too good" and she'd only get better over time. Belfast (T7)'s legacy would be to remain on sale for 12 months before being pulled for being too popular (for obvious reasons). Moreso than almost any other over-performing premium in the game, she became the face of "pay to win" in World of Warships, earning the justifiable moniker "Payfast". This was a sorry fate for such an important museum ship. Belfast (T7) has enjoyed a long reign as an overpowered premium. She has survived well over the years with only two major hits to her dominance. The first was matchmaking. Gone are the days where tier VII ships enjoyed being top-tier in most of their games. With the sale of tier IX premiums, the higher tiers are so well populated that she gets dragged up far more than down. The second blow came with the changes to HE penetration and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. She was stripped her of the ability to directly damage tier VI and VII battleship hulls without IFHE and tier VIII and IX battleships even with IFHE. Cruiser armour improved too. Her HE shells shatter against a wider range of targets she faces than they once did. Though her efficiency has been hit and hit badly, I don't think she's been brought into line. Belfast (T7) is still ridiculously capable. Her presence upon the enemy team forces players to change the way they play until she's neutralized (or recognized to being played poorly). Which brings me to Belfast '43 (T8). I'd argue the best thing about her is her consumable combination, but even that's nowhere near as dominant as her predecessor. Higher tiered matchmaking sees to that. The prevalence of Surveillance Radar, the crappier quality of her Smoke Generator and horribad reload ensures that Belfast '43 (T8) doesn't ditto Belfast (T7)'s performance. But this is still a ship to be wary of, especially if you're muckin' about in a destroyer. Belfast '43 (T8) simply isn't the nightmare to larger ships the way Belfast (T7) used to be. She's still unpleasant to face. Angry smoke clouds and HE spamming islands aren't fun to deal with if you're in a battleship. They're not much fun for anyone to deal with frankly. She is still a serious threat to any destroyer, but that's not unique to her. Any Surveillance Radar light cruiser at tier VIII+ is something destroyers need be wary of. Still, Belfast '43 (T8) doesn't make my cut of ships I'd go out of my way to play. She's a museum ship, though, with lots of history to her name. In competitive, her smoke and radar will ensure she's got some legs to her, but she's not going to be a monstrous repeat of Belfast (T7). I'm not entirely convinced her slow reload will keep her in line. It just takes her longer to farm the same kind of damage Belfast (T7) used to. Belfast '43 (T8) has potential -- you just need to put in more work. That'll be a turn-off for some (and understandably so), but a blessing for others that want such performance gated behind a higher skill wall. Overall, I have to say I'm happy that Belfast '43 (T8) is now available, if only because she's such an important ship historically and as a museum ship. This iteration lets people taste the same style of game play as Belfast (T7) can do, but with fewer tears of justifiable rage coming from your opponents. In PVE modes, Belfast '43 (T8) even manages to be the better ship, if only because she has torpedoes and bots are dumb. Belfast '43 (T8) really only has one major failing, honestly. She's a horrible commander trainer for the Royal Navy Light Cruiser line. Here we are, four years later, and we still don't have a good Royal Navy light cruiser premium for training up commanders. The Belfast-twins use HE, necessitating the use of Demolition Expert or Inertial Fuse for HE Shells -- skills useless on the tech-tree light cruisers. That just leaves the heavy-cruiser premiums. Exeter is powerful, bless her heart, but the penatlies of playing low-tiered ships hurts her earning potential. London does it a little better. But again, you may be tempted to take Demolition Expert on these ships. That just leaves Cheshire, bloody-monkey-sucking CHESHIRE as the de facto "best" British light-cruiser trainer among the cruisers. CHESHIRE, Wargaming's apology letter for the two years of Royal Navy battleship HE spam, as the only cruiser-premium worth training British light cruiser captains. What the Hell!? Welp, let's hurry up and wait. Maybe Plymouth will rescue us all. Somehow I doubt it. She's not likely to be accessible to everyone even if she does tick all of the other boxes. The worst thing about Belfast '43 (T8) is that she has kept Cheshire relevant. For those unaware, LittleWhiteMouse hates Cheshire and hated reviewing her. That Belfast '43 (T8) forced Mouse to remember Cheshire's existence is a crime for which she cannot be forgiven. It pisses her off so much she starts referring to herself in the third person. In Closing Heyo! ♪ Double-feature over! I hope you all enjoyed this detailed look at the two ships. I hope my colour coordination helped differentiate the two for you. Thank you very much for reading and thank you so much to my patrons for making these reviews possible. 
  2. So Zerra recently posted a video going on about the effect the IFHE and armor rework was going to have on tier 7 light cruisers, especially Belfast and Atlanta, and how they are going to be useless. I could not follow him. I already knew Atlanta was going to be in the minority of ships still needing to run IFHE after the rework via @Notser, but there were so many numbers being thrown around I couldn't follow it. I know something in my gut told me the math was off, but I couldn't put my finger on why. Does anyone have any answers on this?
  3. In this post, I am going to lay out my honest opinion on what I would do if I were in WG's position right now, as of February 2020, given my understand of the game, how much I have played it, and what I have discussed with other players. I understand that not everyone of you are going to agree with me, and much of what I am going to suggest is going to be controversial....but I am more than happy to hear out your opinions and thoughts in the comments below! A without further ado, here goes..... 1.) Place HMS Belfast at Tier VIII. This is so that she is on par with her sister ship, HMS Edinburgh, as I think that it is unusual that Belfast, which is better than Edinburgh in many ways (access to HE shells, radar AND smoke combo, and is a premium ship with premium economic bonuses) would be a tier lower than her. Plus, having Belfast at Tier VIII would mitigate her over-powered-ness, and would save Tier V ships from being bullied by her (Belfast as a Tier VII can be put into Tier V-VII matches) 2.) Do a USN battleship split. I would keep the original USN battleship as is (USS South Carolina, Tier III ---> USS Montana, Tier X), but starting at Tier V New York I would make a split. The split would be something like this: USS Nevada (Tier V) USS Pennsylvania (Tier VI) OR a pre-WW2 modified USS Tennessee (Tier VI) this would go in tandem with how Tenessee's sister USS California is being made a Tier VII premium, with WW2-era modifications) USS Maryland or USS Washington (Tier VII, Colorado-class ships) USS South Dakota (Tier VIII) or USS Washington (Tier VIII) ??? (Tier IX)? [Maybe USS New Jersey or USS Wisconsin (but how to differentiate them from USS Iowa and USS Missouri without making Iowa and Missouri more obsolete?)] Tillman battleship (Tier X) ----> Just to clarify that I myself am debating on the best setup for the USN battleship split, but I am settled on the idea that the Tier V ship ought to be USS Nevada, as she was of a class similar to the New York-class, and is a brand new ship class not yet introduced into WoWS. 3.) Nerf Kremlin. I find that her armor and her high hit-points pool is ridiculous. I would certainly reduce her hit-points to be BELOW that of Großer Kurfürst so as to preserve the uniqueness of German BBs of higher the highest hit points of all other nation's battleships, and as a nod to efficient German engineering. As a historian, I find it infuriating that the RU BBs in the game somehow are BETTER in their engineering design to that of the American, British, and German battleships. I would also make Kremlin slower in her acceleration, as she is a bit too fast, and I would reduce her armor so that she is more vulnerable to being targeted. Of course, I do not wish to nerf Kremlin to the ground and make her plain useless.....but I would like to see her be a bit less OP so that other battleships are made a bit more viable again, such as Yamato and Montana. Speaking of which..... 4.) Buff IJN Yamato and USS Montana slightly. Yamato I would make her have a better hit-point pool, so that she is a bit better on survivability. Montana already got a buff to her Repair Party which is nice, but I think that she too, should have a slight hit-point increase. I would also increase the range of Montana's and Yamato's secondary guns so that their secondaries are a bit more useful. 5.) Increase the secondary range of ALL battleships across the board, except German BBs, French BBs, and other BBs that already have great secondaries (i.e. Georgia, Massachusetts) I find it ridiculous that more battleships have base secondary ranges of 5 km or less. I understand that this is made so that DDs and crusiers have a chance to rush in and sink a battleship with guns or torpedoes, but like really? 4km or 5km? You might as well not have ANY secondaries at that point because they will barely fire off a few rounds before that rushing DD/cruiser is on you and torpedo-ing you to Davy Jones's Locker. What I would so would be to increase the base secondary ranges by 2-3 km (making ranges range from 6-8 km instead of 4-5 km). That way, at least you can feel good that your secondaries are firing at the enemy, and with flags, and captain skills you can try out secondary builds on battleships that are not really the best at it. Like, why not try out a secondary built on your IJN Nagato? Or on your HMS Iron Duke? Maybe it can be fun! But with base 4-5 km range, it sucks. It is not worth while to utilize a secondary built unless you have 6-8 km which is more useable. I would love to make Tier VII and below battleships (excepting the Germans and French of course) have longer range secondaries. 6.) Nerf Smolensk. Make her citadel larger, increase her gun reload, lower the time of her smoke dispersion.....these are changes that I would definitely make so as to mitigate her overpowered-ness. 7.) Nerf Russian radar. I would either (1) lower the range of Russian radar to 11 km or (2) I would lower the time duration of the radar. 8.) Add more Tier II battleships into the game. IJN Mikasa is special in that she is the only pre-dreadnought battleship in the game (so far). If I were in WG, I would definitely add more pre-dreadnought ships because (1) many of them existed….so.....no paper ships, but REAL ships would be added into the game! (2) Why not add more diversity to Tier II gameplay? So many players complain that high tiers (Tier VIII-X) are stressful, so why not make the second-to-lowest tier a bit more attractive to play? Furthermore, additional battleships can be added to each of the battleship tech tree lines. So instead of having battleships start at Tier III, have them start at Tier II. In other words, add a Tier II battleship to the German, American, Royal Navy, Russian, and French battleship lines. After all, the cruiser lines start off with Tier I cruisers then move on to Tier IIs before then splitting into destroyers (beginning Tier II) and battleships (beginning Tier III). 9.) Make there be more Clan Battles and Ranked Battles at Tiers II, III, IV, and V. We have seen there be one Tier VI ranked sprint, a couple of Tier VII ranked sprints and ONE Tier VIII Clan Battle. The Tier VIII Clan Battle in particular was well appreciated by thousands of players because it was a break from the usual Tier X Clan Battles that occur in 99% of Clan Battles. But what about the other Tiers Tier VI and below? Why not make THEM also into Clan Battles or Ranked Battles? After all, there are plenty of Tier V premiums that players have in their ports that they would certainly like to use in competitive game modes besides just Random Battles. Tier III and Tier IV premiums also exist...so why not have also be given more purpose by creating a Tier II, III, IV, or Tier VI Clan battle/Rank Battle? In addition, by creating a Clan Battle/Rank Battle that is Tier V or below, it might compel experienced players who have been stuck in Tier X-land to actually go back to playing the lower tiers and...who knows? Maybe rediscover a appreciation of the lower tiers (unless they already have a appreciation for the lower tier ships) since we all were once rookies at playing WoWS...we all had to sail our way up from Tier I all the way to Tier X. Now....the only issue that is to be had with a Tier II, III, IV, or Tier V Clan Battle/Rank Battle is that a lot of rookie/newbie players are usually at those tiers, and they might ruin the gameplay and fun that the experience players are trying to have with participating in those events. My solution to that is to add a in-game system that checks to see how many Random Battles you have played in WoWS. If you have played 1000 less games, then you are not eligible to play in the lower-tier Clan Battle/Rank Battle let's say. Or the condition could be that you have to play in 200 game or more in Tier VIII or higher ships before you can be granted access to lower tier Clan Battles/Rank Battles. That way, there is a separation from the rookie players from the experienced players, and the rookie players will not ruin the games of the experienced players. If the rookie players want to participate in the competitive events, they need to play higher tier ships AND play enough games in them---therefore becoming "experienced" players in the process. 10.) Add Italian battleships in the game. This is the final point I am going to make, and that is Italian battleships. SAP shells with battleship guns might prove interesting and make said Italian BBs VERY unique in their play style compared to other BBs. Honestly, I am not that all familiar with the history of Italian battleships, but it would be something like this: ??? Tier II ??? Tier III ??? Tier IV Conte di Cavour (Tier V, sister ship to Guilio Ceasar) ??? Tier VI ??? Tier VII Littorio (Tier VIII, sister to Roma) ??? Tier IX ??? Tier X Let me know your comments below!
  4. I just thought it might be interesting to see if anyone actually get these ships that are dangeled in front of us to tease us to buy any of the Christmas containers. Of the whole list I choosen these four (Missouri, Musashi, Benham and Belfast) since imho I think these are what the mayority of the playerbase would consider the "Jackpot win" out of them all. Many of these are considered really rare and in some cases a bit OP. For instance I didnt include Kutuzov since its not really that OP/broken any more with likes of Colberts and Smolensks in the game. So I just wanna know, in the name of transparancy, who if any have actually gotten these mighty four out of the boxes. And I would like to see either a picture of when you got the ship (im guessing many would take a screenshot of a thing like that) or atleast a screenshot from the ship in your port with close to none XP on it. Thanks!
  5. So, as you guys may have seen, Wargaming will be holding a 24-hour Charity Stream for Save the Children beginning on Thursday 19th at 12 PM EST. Now, if you donate a certain amount of money you get to choose a reward package. These include posters, torpedo plushies , commemorative flags, mousepads and of course most of the "Banned/OP" ships. Bare in mind, there are only 3 "packages" available and they unlock at a specific time. This means that only 3 people will be walking away with each ship For $100 USD you can choose Fujin, Giulio Cesare, Imperator Nikolai, and Kamikaze For $200 USD you can choose Musashi, Kutuzov, Kronshtadt, Missouri and Belfast. Aside from ships you can also pay for Camouflages, Clan Doubloons and Divisions with Jingles and AtotheK101. So, What I'm getting down to is what do you guys think about this package system? Is it crappy of WG to yet again put these ships through a large pay wall with only a few people being able to get them, or do you think that this is a good idea for getting as much money donated to the charity . Please put your opinions down in the comments below! Here's the link to donating, you can view the rewards and prices after entering an email: https://donate.tiltify.com/+world-of-warships-community/charity-ship/rewards
  6. Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed in this post reflect the version of the ship as she appeared during the testing period. These are subject to change before release. The following is aimed at new(ish) players looking to find a little more information about various ships from events, for premium currency or for real-world cash. The goal is to allow players to make an educated decision before parting with their time and money and to find premium vessels that suit their chosen style of play, whether that is competitive, cooperative, or simply for fun. The idea here is to elabourate on information not commonly available through reading statistics and provide some (heavily) biased anecdotal evidence to encourage or dissuade you from making your purchase. The usual disclaimers apply: everyone knows the Matchmaker clearly loves me because I spend money so that's why I occasionally get really good games, not because I have any particular skills of note. Other articles in this series: Ships for Doubloons: Smith, Sims,Atlanta, Texas, Saipan, Tachibana, Atago, Ishizuchi, Aurora,Molotov, Mikhail Kutuzov, Emden, König Albert,Tirpitz, Campbeltown, Warspite, Limited Release Ships: Fujin, Kamikaze, Katori, Yubari, Gremyashchy,Leningrad, Diana,Murmansk, Krasny Krym, Imperator Nikolai I, Anshan, Lo Yang, Marblehead, Indianapolis, Arizona, Prinz Eugen,Scharnhorst, Dunkerque, Blyskawica, Belfast Gift & Reward Ships: Albany, Arkansas, Flint, Iwaki, Mikasa, Arpeggio of Blue Steel Ships: Kongo, Kirishima, Haruna, Hiei, Myoko, Ashigara, Nachi, Haguro Non Premiums: Gneisenau, Bismarck, Iowa,Isokaze, Bogatyr Condensed Reading: Mouse's Quick Summary of Premium Ships Without further ado: The Swiss-Army knife of destroyer mutilation. Quick Summary: A stealthy, Light-Cruiser gunship with a large number of consumables and an additional module upgrade slot. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of this review. Patch & Date Written: 0.5.12.1, October 12th & 13th, 2016. Closest in-Game Contemporary: Cleveland, Tier 6 American CruiserDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class/ Similar Role / Unique At her core, the Belfast is a gunship. She has no torpedoes to speak of and she's armed with twelve 152mm rifles. This makes her, at least superficially, quite similar to the Cleveland in terms of play style. But once you add in all of the weird quirks she gets -- like which modules and consumables she can and cannot arm herself with, the Belfast quickly becomes her own beast. Some may want to point to other smoke-launching cruisers like the Kutuzov or Flint but she's much further apart from these ships because of her limited armament which largely dictates her play style. Maybe she'll find a closer analogue when the Royal Navy joins World of Warships in force. But for now, the Cleveland is the closest ship to which we can compare. PROs: Reasonably durable for a cruiser with 35,700hp and 114mm belt armour. The Belfast can stealth-fire with the proper setup of modules and camouflage, even without a 15pt Captain. Fast rate of fire at 8.0rpm and second highest DPM of the current 6" (150mm to 155mm) armed light cruisers. Good AA armament. Depending on your module & skill choices, the Belfast can have as low as a 8.7km surface detection range. Depending on your module choices, the Belfast can have a rudder shift as low as 4.6s. Has access to Radar and Hydroacoustic Search at the same time. She has access to a Smoke Generator with a longer-than-standard smoke duration. She can mount up to five module upgrades. She's currently the only tier 7 with access to this fifth slot. CONs: Very limited ability to deliver high alpha strikes. For a cruiser, she has a low base chance to start a fire at 9% per shell. Slow turret rotation at 7' per second. No torpedo armament. Low top speed for a cruiser, limited to 32.5 knots. Stock rudder shift is on the slow side at 9.6s. No access to Defensive Fire. No access to Propulsion Modification 2. Smoke Generator creates a tiny amount of smoke before shutting down -- enough for up to two smoke cloud Wargaming continues to outdo themselves in the quality of their models and textures. Can it truly be happening? Is the Royal Navy finally going to be joining World of Warships? Wargaming may just be initiating another Royal Navy tease. We've had the Warspite. We've had the Campbeltown. Now we have the HMS Belfast joining the game. This long awaited ship is a delight to see in game. The model is absolutely gorgeous, representing the post-war refits of this historic vessel. With her inclusion we now have a Battleship, Destroyer and Cruiser in the game. What's next? The Ark Royal? Who can say? But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Lert will be joining me today providing a comparison to some of the Belfast's rival cruisers in the Rivals sections. NoZoupForYou will also be joining us to provide his voice talents to our project. I even got them both to fill in the 'Recommendations' section, so enjoy! Thank you, Zoup! The Lertbox Once again LWM has allowed me space to express my thoughts and opinions about an upcoming premium ship, and this time it's a very interesting one. The HMS Belfast is the first premium Royal Navy cruiser, and possibly even the very first Royal Navy cruiser that you can get your hands on. As such, she will set expectations for the Royal Navy light cruiser line, when it comes out. Belfast as she appears in this game is a tier 7 light gun cruiser with a lot of interesting tricks up its sleeve. It's one of ten Town class cruisers, and she appears as she was after her 1959 modernization, which saw her superstructure rebuilt, lattice masts added and her torpedo armament removed. The premium camouflage Belfast carries is her 1969 museum-ship color scheme. Departing from the usual Lertbox style of direct stat comparisons I will write opinion pieces about how she in my experience compares to Cleveland and Indianapolis, the two ships she'll be most likely compared to. Options There's a whole lot of weirdness going on with the options for the Belfast. First of all, she has four consumables but no choices to change them out for something else. You cannot swap out Hydroacoustic Search for Defensive Fire, for example. In fact, she doesn't get access to Defensive Fire at all, which should surprise some people. Her Surveillance Radar is on par with the American version found on the Atlanta and Indianapolis, with an 8.49km range and 25s active period. Her Hydroacoustic Search is also the standard version found on other nations (as opposed to the souped up version found on the German ships). But it's her Smoke Generator that's truly the odd duck. The deployed smoke has a longer duration than most other nations (103s vs 85s) though it still falls short of the American (121s). However, there's only a 7s window to lay smoke clouds, limiting the Belfast to making only one or two "puffs". Another fun bit of weirdness for the Belfast is that she has five upgrade slots instead of the normal four found at tier 7. This extra slot gives her access to the Concealment, Target Acquisition System and Steering Gears modifications which are gain the normal purview of tier 8 and higher vessels. The Belfast seems to trade for this by being unable to equip Propulsion System Modification 2. Beware of sitting stationary in your tiny amount of smoke. Overall, the module upgrade options are phenomenal for the Belfast, allowing you to choose between excellent agility or improved concealment, depending on your preferred style of play. Consumables: Damage Control Party Hydroacoustic Search Smoke Generator Radar Module Upgrades: Five slots. Does not have access to Propulsion Modification 2 for it's fourth slot.Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Firepower Primary Battery: Twelve 152mm rifles in 4x3 superfiring turrets in an A-B-X-Y configuration. Secondary Battery: Eight 102mm guns in 4x2 turrets mounted amidships. If you strip away all of the toys on the Belfast, what you're left with is a no-nonsense gunship. She doesn't have torpedoes, so she's entirely reliant on the performance of her guns. This may look like a crippling flaw as the Belfast has some of the worst alpha strike potential of any 6" armed cruiser from her individual shells. Indeed, the Belfast is largely bereft of any ability to deal large amounts of damage in a single attack. Her weapons do not have great muzzle velocity either leading to a lot of hang time and necessary lead to land hits and precluding her from using AP against enemy cruisers until she's quite close. But this is all compensated for by a good rate of fire. When measured against other Light Cruisers in and around her tier with a similar armament, she comes in second for AP and HE DPM which is nothing to sneeze at. Just always keep her lack of torpedoes in mind when looking at these numbers. Gun performance comparison between 150mm to 155mm armed Light Cruisers The gun handling of the Belfast is reasonably comfortable. Her turret rotation is slower than I would want at 7' per second (25.7s for a 180' rotation). This value is similar enough to some of the Soviet cruisers like the Mikhail Kutuzov and Shchors and better than that of the upgraded Cleveland. It's not fast, but it's passable. Your shell flight time will always be on the long side, however. These are not the high velocity shells found on the Soviet cruisers or the Mogami's 155mm. They share a lot similar flight patterns to the USN Cleveland, so you're going to struggle a bit to hit anything but large or predictably moving ships at range. You can expect to see up to 11s lead times while stealth-firing, which this ship can manage at ranges from 14.5km with Concealment Modification 1 or 13.3km when combined with Concealment Expert. While the ship's range is nothing impressive at her tier, she is sneaky enough to easily get within range to be able to engage targets without risk of early detection. While this looks like good news, it's that low chance to set fires that really hurts the Belfast and precludes her from ever being considered an optimal fire-starting gunship. In the practical sense, when engaging other capital ships, her damage potential falls away if she cannot start sufficient blazes to give enemy Battleships pause. So she's rather RNG dependent in this regard. This is very important to keep in mind as the Belfast can (and will) go up against the more heavily armoured Battleships at tiers 8 & 9 where plating in excess of 25mm will result in zero-damage hits from her high explosive rounds. Still, the 9% fire chance is passable. It can do the job. It's just not optimal, especially when compared to her competitors.. Like all cruisers, her secondary armament is pretty forgettable. It has some good traits, though. She has a 5.0km base range with them and they fire 20rpm. But this isn't like you'll win a war with them. I did finish off a Leningrad with my secondaries, so that was cute. But I wouldn't expect this to be the norm with her. Overall, her guns are very well suited to putting the hurt on lightly armoured ships. Combined with other features, her weaponry seems almost ideally designed to make destroyers balk at being anywhere within 10km of a Belfast. She will also give pause to other cruisers, while being passable (but not ideal) for harassing Battleships in between interdiction missions. I'm not in love with her guns. They are decent though and they do the trick. Just don't expect miracles or fast results. You'll be dodging torpedoes a lot in the Belfast -- mostly because your guns, concealment distance and consumables make you an absolute nightmare for enemy destroyers. Rivals: The Cleveland Let's get the obvious comparison out of the way. At first glance Belfast comes across as an up-tiered Cleveland with added toys. This isn't an unfair assessment, as they share many attributes. Both are 32 knot, agile light cruisers with twelve rapid fire 6" guns. Neither have much armor, but both have a module layout that makes them a bit more survivable than their tier- and class mates like Budyonny, Shchors and the like. Both have a generous bag of hitpoints. Cleveland is more durable though. Her hit points last just a bit longer because of her lower tiering, and her citadel is notoriously difficult to hit reliably. Belfast feels a bit softer when under fire, mostly due to her citadel area being considerably longer than Cleveland's. The Cleveland is more agile with a faster rudder shift and a slightly tighter turning circle. Also, Cleveland gets a defensive fire consumable that Belfast doesn't, making her a nightmare for enemy carrier jockeys. Finally, Cleveland will theoretically light more fires per minute than Belfast. Where Belfast beats out the American fighting lady though is in pure volume of fire, 96 shells per minute verses Cleveland's 90. She has a higher base DPS on her AA, higher DPM on her guns and that very valuable fifth equipment slot which can fit either concealment to make a very stealthy cruiser or rudder shift to make her more agile than Cleveland will ever be. Also, the added value of smoke and radar can not be denied. It might not be fair to compare a tier 7 CL to a tier 6 one, but Cleveland is slated for an up-tiering when the CA / CL split happens, and since Belfast and Cleveland share so many play style elements the comparison holds. Belfast is by far the more versatile ship. Maneuverability Top Speed: 32.5 knotsTurning Radius: 680mRudder Shift: 9.6s The Belfast has a bit of a sluggish rudder shift. That's the bad news. The good news is that she can take two module upgrades to mitigate this, dropping it down as low as 4.6s which is downright awesome. With just the first module, you'll be looking at a 7.7s rudder shift time which is still a bit clunky but manageable. With her fair turning circle, she has a lot of hustle in her bustle. The Belfast doesn't get down to American levels of cruiser wigglyness (Zoup told me this was a perfectly cromulent word), but it's still more than sufficient to throw off the aim of enemies at range if you keep your patterns irregular. So, if you take a module or two to tighten up the response time of her rudder, the Belfast will feel very nimble with her handling. This compensates somewhat for her only modest top speed which is again, downright American in that respect. The 32.5 knots is the same legwork found on the Pensacola, Atlanta, Flint and Indianapolis. This lags well behind the more fleet footed Soviet and Japanese cruisers. As such, it will be impossible to run down all but the most complacent of destroyers. You'll also have a hard time fleeing from a fast Battleship that's intent on closing with you. There are few things more frightening than an Iowa bellowing, "Get in me belly!" while it chases your Belfast. Fire and maneuver is the name of the game with the Belfast -- tossing evasive maneuvers in between salvos. This isn't a ship with which you'll want to ever be caught stationary. Wargaming seems to be going out of their way to discourage this. First, they've removed the option to take Propulsion Modification 2 which would provide her with a lot more startup agility when caught sitting still. Second, her smoke screens are pathetically small requiring her to be at a near dead stop before activating or she risks slipping out of her tiny bank of fog. This makes her an easy target just before deploying her concealment and should make many a Belfast player think twice about using it this way. DurabilityHit Points: 35,700 Citadel Protection: Up to 114mm.Bow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 13mm each.Torpedo Damage Reduction: 4% The armour setup on the Belfast is a bit of a mixed bag. She has 114mm belt armour, which is rather good for a light cruiser, and certainly well above what we might see on her Soviet counterparts. Unlike ships like the Budyonny or Shchors, her citadel is at or below the waterline of the ship. Combine this with her 35,700hp and she's looking rather well protected -- or at least as well protected as a cruiser could be. And that's really the catch, isn't it? You cannot expect the Belfast to repulse Battleship caliber firepower, especially not at tier 7+. They will happily oblige you by emancipating your ship of it's hp poolt with a storm of 380mm+ shells. Don't give them the opportunity if you can at all help it. Use your agility and your stealth as your defense. What this level of armour plate will actually provide is reasonable protection from small-caliber (180mm or smaller) guns trying to throw AP at you. This can be rather commonplace as you close in with enemy destroyers and cruisers that will switch ammunition types if they think they can catch your broadside. Use your rudder, force those bounces off your angled sides. It is fun to note that the Belfast does have some small anti-torpedo bulges, providing a 4% damage reduction. Once you plug in Damage Control System Modification 1, this jumps up to 7%. It's not great by any means, but hey, cruisers should rejoice with any little durability bonuses they can claim. The angled belt armour of the Belfast bounces a 210mm AP round from a German Yorck-class cruiser. This is an uncommon occurence. Even bows on, the Belfast's prow is overmatched by 203mm shells or greater. Be very careful when engaging heavy cruisers at point blank range. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 11.3km Air Detection Range: 8.1 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 8.7km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +4.56km (vs 15.4km gun range) Don't let these numbers fool you. Like her rudder shift time, the Belfast's concealment rating is something you can play with right out of the box with module choices. This is an either-or choice, though. You can either have gorgeous rudder shift or improved concealment rating, as they both take up the 5th module slot. This is very important feature to remember. With Concealment Modification 1 and her premium camouflage, a starting Belfast with a fresh Captain will have a 9.9km surface detection range and nearly a 1km window from which it can stealth fire at enemies from open water. Any Atago player will tell you the wonderful merits of a cruiser that's able to sneak within 10km of an enemy ship. This opens up the door for all sorts of clever play, including interdicting enemy destroyers and sneaking onto caps the enemy thinks are reasonably covered. Once you add a 15pt Captain with Concealment Expert, this range drops down to 8.7km which is just outside of the Belfast's radar range. This can quickly spell the doom for an enemy DD that's not paying attention to enemy team lists. It can find itself with a rapid fire light cruiser at point blank range, hammering it with salvos of 152mm with no easy way to escape. Hydro will sniff out any desperate torpedo drops. Radar will keep them lit even if they attempt to blow smoke. Her concealment allows the Belfast to contest capture points in Domination maps, especially from destroyers that have outstripped their support. In my test games, this became a rather common occurrence. Often happening not just once but twice in several encounters. Even without a 15pt Captain, I was comfortably able to pull off ambushes against lower tiered destroyers, like IJN Minekaze, Mutsuki and Kamikaze-class destroyers that often risked getting within 8km to launch torpedoes. USN and Soviet cruisers that popped smoke and began firing from within the cover of their concealment were simply ringing the dinner bell for my Belfast to come feast. Good times. This same concealment rating is also the Belfast's best armour when facing off against enemy cruisers. She has one of (if not the) best concealment ratings for her tier bracket. When you don't want to fight something, silence your guns and turn away. You're almost like an oversized destroyer in this respect. This ability to drop back into stealth is imperative given the rather modest top speed of the Belfast. You'll need to plan your escape at an early juncture if the enemies are pushing your flank aggressively. Lastly, special mention should be made towards the Belfast's Smoke Generator consumable. It's ... well, it's odd. It does not create a lot of smoke, but the smoke that it does leave down lasts longer than that of the Soviet or IJN ships. You have a little over a minute and forty seconds worth of concealment from the Belfast's smoke but you're not likely to get more than two smoke clouds out when you activate the consumable. It seems that Wargaming intends that the Belfast's smoke to be used primarily on the defensive rather than offensive role. This is further paid evidence to with her lack of the Propulsion Modification 2 -- slowing to a stop in your own tiny smoke screen is all well and fine, just be aware that you're not going to be able to get up and go in a hurry afterwards. Rivals: The Indianapolis Ah, the other tier 7 premium cruiser with a gimmick, this being radar in the Indianapolis' case. Here the difference is that the Belfast is a light cruiser and Indianapolis a heavy cruiser, armed with very potent 203mm guns. These USN 8" rifles have a very unique attribute: they are better at defeating angled opponents by virtue that they have a wider angle to work with before autobounce starts becoming a thing. This makes the American 203mm AP very dangerous to soft cruisers like Belfast. In a pure gun duel, I would imagine a smart Indianapolis drive to defeat an equal-skilled Belfast driver. The Belfast can't run away from the Indianapolis, so any duel between them comes down to using the environment and concealment versus gunnery skills, and the best the Belfast can do is try to not get shot too much. But these ships don't fight in a vacuum, and 1v1 fights are rare. Indianapolis' radar has proven itself a very useful piece of equipment, and Belfast gets access to an equally potent one. But where Indianapolis has to choose between hydro and defensive fire in one slot and radar and a fighter in the other, Belfast gets to use hydro, smoke and radar at the same time. It's hard to say which is the 'better' ship. They serve distinct roles. Indianapolis is better at putting the hurt on battleships and annoying carriers, Belfast is better at ferreting out destroyers, both can put the hurt on cruisers. But where Belfast might rely on a combination of HE spam, fire-hosing and some AP damage, Indianapolis can get away with relying on AP more. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 102mm / 40mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5kmAA DPS per Aura: 72 / 140 The Belfast does not get access to the Defensive Fire consumable. This isn't a matter of having to choose between it and Hydroacoustic Search -- it's simply not an option at all. This immediately precludes the Belfast from being a dedicated anti-aircraft escort, which is a bit of shame because she has some rather impressive anti-aircraft firepower. When you compare her to the other tier 7 cruisers, her AA DPS is quite respectful -- the second highest overall. 224dps - Flint 212dps - Belfast 207dps - Pensacola 202dps - Indianapolis 182dps - Yorck 177dps - Atlanta 153dps - Shchors 151dps - Myoko Of course, there's a lot more to AA gunfire than raw DPS. Having it concentrated in the large caliber AA guns is important for a start. This is what makes the Atlanta and Flint so dangerous -- having enormous 127mm dual-purpose batteries. The Belfast does alright here, having 5.0km reach on her 102mm batteries with good DPS. She backs this up with the always reliable 40mm Bofors at a good defensive range of 3.5km. If the Belfast did have access to Defensive Fire, she'd be an absolute monster for enemy CVs. Without it, she's still a target to be respected but she won't be causing any form of disruption to aircraft groups. I was frequently shooting down a half dozen same-tier planes in games where there was an enemy CV present with only Basic Fire Training to improve my ships gunners. To this end, if you fancy playing the role of a makeshift AA escort, keep close to the ships in need of protective cover. Just be aware that you will never reach the same levels of anti-aircraft firepower as Defensive Fire spikes the DPS of the ship in question up tremendously when active, on top of its other benefits. Without Defensive Fire, even Dive Bombers present a serious threat to the Belfast as she has no way of disrupting their drop patterns. Her AA defense is good overall, and you can expect to seriously punish any groups making their attack runs against you. But you're still going to have to weather their drops. Overall Impressions Skill Floor:Simple/ Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling:Low/ Moderate / High / Extreme The Belfast looks complicated, but she's really not. For all of the confusing mess of consumables and modules, the Belfast is, at her core, a light cruiser gunship. It's all about avoiding the attention of warships bigger than you while picking on those that are smaller. Even a novice player can take her into a match, rig her for concealment and do reasonably well farming HE and fire damage off of enemy capital ships at extreme range. The meta for her is making destroyer lives miserable and bullying capture points which is a high-risk, high-reward style of play but one that can quickly decide a match when done correctly. The Lertbox Belfast is perhaps the most versatile ship in the game at this moment, depending on captain skills and equipment fitted. You could go for a ballerina build and bring her rudder shift down to ridiculous levels, or go for a concealment build and have an almost comically sneaky little cruiser. Her AA is formidable even lacking a defensive fire module and properly specced she can function as AA escort, but she can just as easily ferret out destroyers trying to hide inside their smoke screens, while sitting comfortably in her own. She can even lay down a strategically placed puff of smoke to help conceal her team. During playtesting I found that a very effective tactic was to appropriate a friendly smoke screen in or near a cap and popping my own when it started running out, thereby extending the duration of the smoke screen by a considerable margin. Not many people dare attack a smoke screen that threw as many shells as these did, as well as intermittent torpedo fire from the friendly destroyer which laid the original screen. One misses defensive fire and her fire chance is a bit low, but were those present she'd be overpowered at tier 7. I can't stress how potent the combination of hydro, smoke and radar available without having to choose between them is. It's enough to elevate what is basically a very potent tier 6 ship up to tier 7. Mouse's Summary: The Belfast is the Inspector Gadget of warships. You have a gizmo for most situations, especially when facing destroyers. You'll have to pick between awesome rudder shift and awesome concealment. The lack of Defensive Fire and a high-alpha strike attack keeps her from being immediately overpowered. Best played patiently with a slight aggressive streak where DDs are concerned. The Belfast makes me miss a lot of things. I miss Defensive Fire. I miss being able to deliver high alpha strikes. I miss going fast. But if she had access to any one of these things, she'd be overpowered. The Belfast is a very comfortable ship to play. Once you wrap your head around the fact that you're not going to kill any big ships quickly, it gets quite easy. Avoid being spotted by capital ships. Get wiggly when you are spotted. Punish destroyers that over extend. That's about it, really. Where she gets very interesting is all of the wonderful tools you have to make destroyer lives miserable while not quite having the absolute optimum load-out to do so. Out of the ships presently available in the game, it would still be hard to argue that the Belfast is probably the best destroyer hunter out there. And that's what the Belfast truly embodies -- it's the destroyer hunter that we've all been wanting. Radar is fun and all on an Atlanta or a New Orleans, but neither ship can risk getting in close to make use of it to counter the Udaloi, Bensons or Blyskawicas out there that are sitting in their smoke screens and dropping pew pews on our team. The Belfast can risk it. She's got the tools to get in. She's got the tools to quickly isolate and punish the enterprising destroyer. And she's got the tools to get out afterwards. Top on my wish-list to make her even better at destroyer hunting would be a little more speed. It's just not there. Her 32.5 knots means that you're relying on destroyers making mistakes more than actively pursuing them. Hear that, DDs? It's your own darned fault that I'm making a mess of your ships with my Belfast. That the Belfast is so good at putting the hurt on over extended destroyers is likely going to make her a high priority target when word gets out. The mere presence of this rapid fire cruiser near a cap point can lock down any attempts by the Red team to ninja cap. It becomes suicidal for an enemy destroyer to venture anywhere near the Belfast's zone of control without big guns backing her up. This ship may shake up the current Random Battle meta somewhat. It's certainly going to make playing the lone-wolf destroyer much more difficult. The Belfast counters the Minekaze just as readily as she does the Udaloi and I was very happy to see that consistently in play. The only thing that would make me back off from a destroyer would be a Battleship lurking in the area. But if this capital ship was distracted or more than 14km off from my area of engagement, I was still going to eat me some destroyer goodness. When it came to pelting bigger ships with her guns, the Belfast wasn't anything special. She bombards predictably moving capital ships about as well as you can expect. She'll set a fair number of fires but not a whole lot unless your enemy plays dumb. This can make trying to accumulate high damage totals a bit of a challenge, but it's again just a matter of patience and picking your targets. Your enjoyment of the Belfast will largely be determined if you can make these 152mm guns work. Like many light cruisers, you're dependent on fire damage to maximize your output against Battleships. They're perfectly suitable for blowing up enemy light cruisers and destroyers, however. Would I Recommend? Heh, this is one of those ships that I feel like it doesn't matter what I say, people are still going to grab it. It's the first Royal Navy Cruiser available in the game. On top of that, it's a Premium Cruiser leading the release of the Royal Navy Cruiser line, so people will be wanting to grab her for a training analogue for their Captains. To top it all off, she's a museum ship. This is a difficult ship not to recommend, with the only caveat of course being that if you don't like mid-tier cruiser game play, this ship will not sell you on it. ForRandom Battle Grinding: Mouse: The Belfast is a good Random Battle boat. She can cap and defend. She can harass big ships. She can interdict and assassinate destroyers. Her big weaknesses are, of course, competently played Battleships. You'll also have to worry a bit about good carrier and cruiser players, but not nearly as much as the big capital ships trying to delete you. As she's designed to pick on destroyers, she nets quite a healthy sum of credits and experience for even small damage totals off these fragile boats. When pressured by enemy BBs, however, her performance really starts to hurt as I had to go gun silent to avoid getting obliterated. This in turn really affected my rankings and experience gains. The other thing to consider is that if you go premium consumable heavy (and you can go really heavy in the Belfast), you'll eat into your earnings very significantly which will hurt the rate at which you're grinding credits. Lert: Yeah, Belfast is a fun and comfortable, reliable if fragile, very versatile ship. Smacking destroyers around is not only a lot of fun, but nets you a nice amount of credits and XP as well. Zoup: I find the Belfast to be highly enjoyable in random battles. Despite this, I don’t find that I’m putting the amount of damage out that I would like. I attribute this to the fact that the Belfast has a low burn percentage. It isn’t really a ship that you want to go toe to toe with against Battleships unless their attention is already occupied by other ships. Against other CLs, its more than capable though, with HE or AP. The Belfast has a specific mission, and that is to aide your team by being a destroyer’s worst nightmare. And that is exactly what the Belfast is. You get all the normal goodies that come with premium ships and premium ship camo, but the most important thing is that you have a trainer for the RN cruiser line. I don’t see myself playing the Belfast exclusively over and over in randoms, but I will definitely play it often. It’s fun and offers something different from the other ships in the game. For Competitive Gaming: Mouse: The Belfast would have been a very interesting choice in Season 4 of Ranked Battles, when tier 7 was the top. I don't think she would have been capable of toppling the unfortunate meta that resulted in that season, but she certainly has the concealment and spotting tools to have upset the occasional game. Her lack of any high alpha strike limits her somewhat and her fragility would make her a rewarding target that would no doubt get her focused early when lit. Lert: I can only imagine what havoc a ship as versatile as Belfast would've wrought on the tier 7 portion of the previous ranked battle season. It's almost like this ship was made for competitive play. While she lacks the firepower of larger gunned ships, competitive play ensures that there are teammates with said bigger guns ready to pick up the slack, while you concentrate on spotting and intercepting destroyers and other cruisers. Zoup: The jury is out whether or not the Belfast would have succeeded in the Tier 7 battles from previous ranked gameplay. I’m going to go out on a limb though and say that it would make a good competitive ship. For this basis, I am going to point to the Atago and its stealth capabilities. I believe that it’s the 8.7km concealment that will make the Belfast a valuable ranked cruiser if we ever go back to Tier 7. Its stealth combined with hydro and radar allow it to both cap while defending against enemy destroyers. It has the ability to remain hidden from larger ships by use of low surface concealment and smoke. While it may not have torpedoes and the healing capabilities of the Atago, I feel it is ultimately the Atago’s concealment which helps it to excel in ranked gameplay. The same likely will prove true for the Belfast. Only time will tell. For Collectors: Mouse: She's a museum ship. She's also gorgeous. Absolutely, yes. Lert: This is a storied ship that still exists as a museum ship you can visit to this day. How storied, you ask? She participated in the battle that sunk Scharnhorst as well as being part of the escort fleet to the carriers that launched an attack on Tirpitz that saw the latter disabled and immobilized for several months. Though Belfast never fired on Tirpitz, she did on Scharnhorst and it was her fire combined with that of Norfolk and Sheffield that turned Scharnhorst into the waiting jaws of the heavier task force that eventually sank her. Zoup: This one is easy. Absolutely. She’s dead Sexy and I still remember seeing her sitting on the Thames when I vacationed in England back in 2012. She will be a must buy for many. For Fun Factor: Mouse: The Belfast is a very comfortable ship to play. She has the same foibles as most cruisers -- notably the fragility when Battleships are looking at her. So if that doesn't appeal, I would keep away. But as a light cruiser enthusiast, I really enjoyed her. Lert: She's very comfortable and versatile. You can adapt her to almost any role you could conceivably want a light cruiser to play. If you like cruisers, you'll like Belfast. Zoup: You can customize the Belfast to your hearts desire in more ways than most ships. She's fun to play for the ability to live on the edge of danger with her awesome concealment and destroyer destroying capabilities. Care must be taken though. You're still a cruiser. If you hate taking damage or like to show your broadside often, this ship will make you pay for it. This ship plays like a big destroyer that lacks torpedoes. The fun factor is there indeed. The question is: How long will the novelty of the extra module last, or is this what we should expect with the RN Cruiser line as a whole? Outfitting your Belfast isn't complicated as she doesn't specialize for any role other than "make a destroyer's life miserable" very well. You can try and make her an AA cruiser but she'll never really compete with dedicated AA escorts. Outfitting your Belfast Unlike other cruisers, there aren't multiple builds for the Belfast to allow her to accomplish different rolls. Without access to Defensive Fire, she's never going to be a specialized AA escort. This isn't to say you can't try and improve her anti-aircraft firepower -- it's just not going to have the same effect as it might on a Soviet or American cruiser, for example. Recommended Modules The list of modules to equip your Belfast are pretty straight forward. Do keep in mind that she gets five module upgrade options instead of the normal four found at tier 7. For your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is probably the best choice. This will help keep your four turrets in the game. However, as a Light Cruiser, you have to contend with detonations more frequently than a Heavy Cruiser or Battleship. So Magazine Modification 1 isn't a poor choice. I was detonated once during playtesting by a Fuso AP shell without this mod equipped. For your second slot, you have three choices. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is arguably the most optimal. This will tighten your shell fall and give a slight bump to your secondary performance. Anti Aircraft Modification 2 isn't a great choice but it certainly has its merits. This will extend your AA umbrella up to 6.0km which may cause a CV Captain to pull his planes back. I wouldn't count on it though. Lastly, Main Battery Modification 2 will accelerate her turret rotation from 25.7s for a 180's rotation down to 22.3s. This will cost you some of your DPM, bringing your rate of fire down from 8.0rpm to 7.6rpm. For your third slot, Damage Control System Modifcation 1 is the best choice. They're all pretty terrible really. For your fourth slot, Steering Gears Modification 2 is optimal. This will reduce your rudder shift time from 9.6s to 7.7s. And finally for your fifth slot, there are two interesting choices. Concealment Modification 1 is arguably the best choice. This drops your surface detection range with camouflage from 11.0km down to 9.9km. This will also allow you to fire from stealth at a range of 14.5km. Alternatively, if you want to give her destroyer like turning, take Steering Gears Modification 3. This will reduce your rudder shift from 7.7s to 4.6s. Recommended Consumables You don't have any consumable options for the Belfast, short of deciding if you're going to pay for the premium versions or not. Out of these, Damage Control Party is hands down the best one to take as a premium, as it will help mitigate fires and other critical hits. Taking premium versions of Surveillance Radar and Hydroacoustic Search really only come into play when facing multiple destroyers for an extended period of time. This will reduce their reset timers from 3 minutes down to 2 minutes. Keep in mind that stocking up on premium consumables will quickly eat into any earnings you're making and with four consumable slots, if you went all out, that's a 90,000 credit deficit you need to make back each and every game. Recommended Captain Skills From the first tier, Basic Fire Training is the best choice. This will give a boost to your AA firepower as well as accelerating the reload of your secondaries. From the second tier, you have a choice. Expert Marksman is nice for accelerating the turning speed of your main battery. WIth as much maneuver as you will be doing in the Belfast, this can assist with keeping your guns trained on target, or at least hasten bringing them to bear when re-engaging. Alternatively, Last Stand will help keep your ship operable when taking critical hits to the rudder or engine, which happens often enough in Light Cruisers. From the third tier, there are two very good options. Vigilance will help with spotting the torpedoes launched form the Destroyers you will be pursuing. Alternatively, Superintendent will provide an extra charge for three of your four consumables which is also handy -- especially if you're not taking the premium versions. Unlike most cruisers, it's Demolition Expert which is the hands down best choice at tier 4 for Captain Skills. This will bump up your chance to start a fire with your main battery from 9% to 12% which is huge. Advanced Fire Training is reasonable, but be aware that the AA power of the Belfast will forever be held back by her lack of Defensive Fire. This 20% increase to your range can get her reach out to 7.2km with assistance from the Anti Aircraft Modification 2. In addition, this will bump up your secondary gun range to 6km from stock or 6.3km with Aiming Systems Modification 1 which will come in handy when you're using radar and hydro to flush out destroyers. Finally, at tier 5, Concealment Expert is your best choice. This really puts the Belfast's stealth rating at whole other level, dropping her surface detection range to as low as 8.7km and allowing her to fire from stealth at a range of 13.3km.
  7. Dear Wargaming, I would like to ask for more transparency on your future plans for the CV rework and future premium changes like Guilio Cesare. This information can be vague, but please define the goals at the very least. What is the goal for the CV rework? What is the goal and criteria for balancing ships like Guilio Cesare? What happened to Arcs or Qurterly updates? It would be nice to see a Waterline episode on Guilo Cesare and future CV rework plans is all I am asking for. So please make it happen and you all agree with me simply say aye. regards, Landedkiller
  8. So the whole USN cruiser line split and so, so much radar out there these days, I'm curious if you still feel the Belfast (aka Payfast) is still a massively OP ship. I just asked if "you FEEL" which of course has nothing to do with statistical values. If you see one in a match, do you find yourself FEELING its going to be tough match, oh noes a Payfast, etc, etc? Nothing serious - just curious. Have fun with the poll.
  9. This is a shot in the dark and it has been said that Belfast will not return because of it's abilities (but they did say the same about subs not being in the game) and since radar is the new meta, is there a chance of Belfast returning? It may be strong but with more ships with radar or strong hydro. These two consumables, defeat its ability to sit in open water without someone using radar to kick it out. Yeah, it has it's own radar and smoke and hydro but if you were to change the radar for a spotter plane and down tier it, you would get the Perth; put it under the Pan Asian flag and remove the citadel and you get a Pan Asian Destroyer. Two nations have similar abilities and they're still on sale (looking at you Loyang). Just food for thought WG.
  10. I must be mis-remembering things... for some strange reason... elitism? I dunno - but the Belfast was "removed" with the general consensus, perhaps even official statements being made, that eluded to her never being sold again. Once again we see never say never. But I don't remember for sure if it was removed for good. What's disgusting is how cheap they're peddling her. So now every one and their brother, sister, cat, dog and goldfish can buy a Belfast. Hurry before the sale ends... 10 days? Hint - she's a shadow of what she used to be as the engagements she enters has many a cruiser that can out gun her, out range her and oh yeah, send torps at her. Still... hope against hope... they could give us a torp option in the future for simply "balance". The population now is only going to grow... or will it? Will people want an older ship like her or will it be something newer that catch their eyes? Time will tell.
  11. ArmouredCarriers

    Replacing Belfast

    So we won't be seeing Belfast in the premium shop anymore. She's been taken off the market as she's OP and not Russian. So... the RN tree could probably do with a replacement premium at Tier 7. I'm thinking one of the Town Class, preferably batch II (with better pretected main turrets). But when it comes to names, I'd like to see HMS Sheffield, even though she's batch I. Shiny Sheff was a busy ship. Being batch I may also make her fit at T7 alongside her smaller step-sister Fiji. The Crown Colonies were cut-down Towns, with pretty much exactly the same armament on a smaller displacement. So how would we distinguish her from Fiji We could give her the same attributes as Belfast ;) But seriously ... why not? Put Sheffield in her 1945 config and she has two less twin 4in mounts than Belfast, as well as three less 6in guns and a smaller displacement. Gimmicks could be balanced by making her less nimble than Fiji, along with her more vulnerable main armament and bigger size.
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