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  1. So, if you can follow me through all this, and have an open mind, and treat things as they are and how they make sense both historically and from a gameplay standpoint, maybe, just maybe you can entertain changing your mind. I know this ended up being quite a read, but if you're not willing to stay with me and read all the way through, please don't just flippantly say consider this a stupid or crazy idea: Intro So, the USS North Carolina, the first USN Fast Battleship in the USN Battleship Line, marks a huge change in both mechanics and gameplay style for the USN BB Captains. As it stands, she's at Tier 8, with the MM range of Tier 6's to Tier 10's. Some would argue this is a perfect fit. Others, and myself, feel there are problems. I intend to present a coherent, compelling argument that this ship is in fact more appropriately tiered at 7 as opposed to 8, and this would improve gameplay not just for those play as the North Carolina, but those playing against it, and, importantly and often forgotten, playing with one on your team. Stats Yes, I'm getting this out of the way first, because it establishes a baseline from a gameplay standpoint in a numerical method. https://na.warships.today/vehicle/4282333168/North%20Carolina https://eu.warships.today/vehicle/4282333168/North%20Carolina https://ru.warships.today/vehicle/4282333168/North%20Carolina https://asia.warships.today/vehicle/4282333168/North%20Carolina On all four (4) servers, the North Carolina is the single worst preforming Battleship in all major categories other than two: Plane Kills per match, and survival percentage. She out damages the Tirpitz, by a very small amount, which I feel can be accounted for by 1) The Tirpitz (derptiz) is the poster child of a Wallet Warrior boat and thus has a high amount of players using it with little to no experience at Tier 8 and thus likely to not "get" the gameplay at this stage, and 2) I also think the Tirpitz, and I say this not owning one, needs a slight buff to dispersion as well, as I feel she under preforms compared to his brother (historically they were refereed to as "he's" for a fun fact) at tier. That aside, can we explain these two statistics that favor the North Carolina? Well yes, easily, and additionally can show that this is not a valid way to justify her current stats/tiering. First, the Average Plane kills. Yes, she has the highest at tier. Well we all know the USN "Flavor" is great AA. Fine, that's great. Well for one, it's not really appreciably higher. The Bismark comes in close behind her on all four Servers, and we have all experienced that CV's are not appreciably difficult to deal with as a BB at the high tiers. Even the Amagi, with the notoriously "bad" AA is generally able to deal with at Tier CV threats. So, does this justify a T7 BB at T8? I don't think so. As it stands, regardless of future planes CV's represent a non issue, even at higher tiers. There are just far too many counters to them and they just don't factor into most matches. They are, unfortunately, uninteresting, consistently being the least played class on the majority of players profiles. So having an excess of AA power does not truly factor in to the overall 'meta' of the game. Additionally, the ideal situation would be that a BB is directly countered by a CV. Giving the USN BB's excessive AA flies in the face of this and would naturally break this desired situation and thus is not an appropriate "flavor" to poses. Second, the survival rate. The go to is that, face in, she is neigh immortal to all but the biggest guns (although the 'overmatch' mechanic seems to often forget the citadel hits are seldom what kill bb's and that it's the bug bites that are problematic but I digress), but if this was the cause of her high survival rate, then her win rate would at least break the 50% mark. Well, on only one server, RU, is that the case. And just barely at that. So that means the North Carolina, across the board, is usually on the losing side, and yet survives. To me, that's a huge problem. That means she spends most of her endgame matches, running away. Well why would that be the case? One could suppose a few possible reasons. 1) That the North Carolina spends most of her time at max range and thus is out of harms way, even on a loss, allowing a losing survival, 2) That thing's rapidly go bad for a North Carolina and necessitates running and thus putting her in a tactical position where she is more difficult to damage and thus is seldomly receiving large hits and thus survives a loss, and 3) That she is perceived as either largely ineffectual or overly difficult to damage and is thus ignored by the enemy in favor of other targets that represent greater threats and more reliable targets. Lets look at each of these in turn to see the implications. 1) That the North Carolina spends most of her time at max range and thus is out of harms way, even on a loss, allowing a losing survival This is very often the case for many BB's. And while some (the Amagi for example) can excel at this, the North Carolina most certainty does not. If we accept this idea as the premise, it is a VERY poor way to play the North Carolina and it shows through in the stats. On 2/4 servers she is the lowest damaging BB at T8, and on the other two she is the second lowest (3rd place that is) with only the Tirpitz slightly inferior. Similarly, on all four servers, she has the lowest main battery hit percentage (accuracy), despite German BB's supposedly having poor accuracy. So, if the cause for her high survival at tier is that she is sitting at the back sniping, this means that she is largely ineffectual in the battles where this tactic is utilized as she lacks both the accuracy to land hits, and thus has effectively the lowest damage in so doing. 2) That thing's rapidly go bad for a North Carolina and necessitates running and thus putting her in a tactical position where she is more difficult to damage and thus is seldomly receiving large hits and thus survives a loss This situation is also an all too common occurrence. We often see North Carolina's turning away to leave a fight. But what is the implication of this should this be the cause of her high survivability rate? Well it means that she is simply, more often than, not, inferior to the ships she is seeing in both staying power (thus necessitating a retreat) and damage output (losing a DPS race), something established in part 1. With her given range of tiers 6 to 10, this likely falls with her at tier opponents and higher ranking opponents correct? Not so for reasons we will get into later, but suffice to say if this is the cause of her survivability it squarely puts the blame on seeing opponents that far outclass her. 3) That she is perceived as either largely ineffectual or overly difficult to damage and is thus ignored by the enemy in favor of other targets that represent greater threats and more reliable targets This too, as the bow on meta implies, may be the cause for her survivability rating being high. I reject this, in both its forms, as her win ratio, on 3/4 servers being sub fifty percent, suggests she is typically losing the match. Now if that's the case, the suggestion is that, due to her higher survivability rate, she often finds herself alive, losing, and alone. If going bow in, thus negating the majority of damage, is the cause of her survivability, this would be predicated on her not getting flanked. If she's alone, that is unlikely. And it goes without saying (well it won't, but we'll get to that) that taking shots on the broadside in the North Carolina is largely inadvisable. So if she's living at the end of a match, it's not because she isn't damage while playing close to the enemy, as she would likely be quickly flanked and destroyed by a superior surviving enemy. What about being perceived as a ineffectual threat? Well, I can't speak for others, but if I see a Kutz, or an Amagi, or a DD, or almost any other threat next to a North Carolina, I'm not likely to prioritize the North Carolina. Similarly, as supported by her very low Main Battery Accuracy rating, if I'm in a position where I must choose someone to show a broadside to, say being flanked by an Amagi and an North Carolina, I'd rather show it to the North Carolina as she is less likely to hit home. This is based on not perceiving her as a threat compared to her at tier ships. Frankly, I'd rather show my broadside to a North Carolina than a Nagato simply because the Nagato will actually hit me for sure. So which of these is likely the cause of her high surviability? In reality, as is often the case, it's likely all three in some combination of each other. But the real question is, does it matter, and thus is appropriate to have such a ship at T8 with that being circumstances. Given that 2 and a half out of these 3 possible causes are predicated on her being ineffectual to your team, either by ineffectually sniping at long range, which she is ill equipped to do, or turning and running at first contact, this is an anti-teammate ship. Even if she is perceived as a non-threat, or a too tough a nut to crack, this is also a non-teammate ship as a primary responsibility of a Battleship in game is to tank damage and under either of those conditions, she's not fulfilling that role. So, it can be established that in all other categories, the North Carolina is inferior to her peers, and two ways in which she is not inferior, are either of no consequence, or have negative conotations that effect both the gameplay of the North Carolina herself, and the team on which she plays. But this is not the only part of the North Carolina that's problematic from a stats point of view. My thesis is that the North Carolina fits better at Tier 7. Are there numbers to support this? Indeed there are. Let's, briefly, look at the stats of the Tier 7 battleships: https://na.warships.today/vehicle/4286527472/Colorado https://eu.warships.today/vehicle/4286527472/Colorado https://ru.warships.today/vehicle/4286527472/Colorado https://asia.warships.today/vehicle/4286527472/Colorado Suffice to say the Colorado, for the same reasons dictated above for the North Carolina, is the most under preforming Battleship at T7, across all 4 servers. I say this loving the Colorado. I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and say that some of her negative stats maybe influenced by her pre-buff state. But the Colorado, for these purposes, is going to be ignored and is a separate issue for a separate day. Lets treat, for argument sake, Tier 7 as just the three other Battleships; Gneisenau Scharnhorst and the Nagato. If we placed the North Carolina, completely unchanged, into Tier 7 how does she stand up stats wise? Well quite well honestly. For WR she is still the worst (assuming you ignore the Colorado) on three out of four of the servers (with Nagato slightly under preforming the North Carolina on the RU server). But this is a bad number to look at as the assumption is she would win more at T7. How about damage, the real important stat for a Battleship. Well on all four servers she would still be inferior to the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau but would eclipse the Nagato by, in some cases, as much as five thousand damage per match. Now that's a problem, as it would potentially cause a snowballing effect correct? Move the North Carolina to T7 and she now puts the Nagato into the same position the North Carolina was in at T8? Wrong, and here's why. The Colorado in fact has a higher armor amount (343 mm) than the North Carolina (305mm and 282mm) on both her transverse bulkhead and her belt. This means that it is, paradoxically, easier for the T7 Nagato to outdamage, even a bow on, North Carolina, than she can a Colorado. It is not leap of logic in the least to assume that should the Nagato see North Carolina on equal tiering, no changes to either ship, she would increase in average damage rather than what she is capable of against the Colorado. In all other stats compared between the T8 North Carolina and the T7 Battleships, the North Carolina is consistently inferior, but in a much more minor way, than the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, other than the same way she "excels" at her current tier 8, which, as established, are likely symptomatic of her miss tiering, not a genuine sign of ability. So from a stat point of view, the North Carolina, sans Colorado, is, statistically, very much in line with the desired statistics of a T7 Battleship. But these are just the raw gameplay numbers, does she, gameplay ergonomics wise, fit at T7? Lets see. Ship Characteristics So, it can be, at least argued well, that the North Carolina statistically preforms like a T7 battleship, but does she look like one? Lets look at her against her current peers at T8 first. Guns are the obvious first choice. To look at. Well... not great to start. While yes, she has 16"/45 (406mm) guns capable of a max AP damage of 13100 and HE damage of 5700 with a 36.0% fire chance and a max dispersion at max range, with the upgraded FCS Mk8mod2, for a range of 23.3 km, of 293m dispersion. That sounds great right? Well I would argue not. The Amagi, with her 16.1"/45 (410mm) with a max AP damage of 12600, HE max of 6500, and a 30.0% fire chance, and full FCS Upgrade range of 19.9 km, for a dispersion of 227m. Now the go to responses given this matchup is that the Amagi does less damage, with less range, and although her accuracy is far above that of a North Carolina, these other two features make up far more. I do not accept that premise and the aforementioned stats do not support that assertion. As established before, the North Carolina makes for a poor max range sniper, and its dispersion stats support this as well, so take that as wrote. But what about the damage difference? Surely her shells do more damage thus she should out damage the Amagi? Well she doesn't. And in 3/4 cases by a large (8000 dmg) gulf between her and the Amagi. Why not though? Because her guns are just not accurate enough to land hits at any range to do consistent damage and thus put her on par with the other T8 battleships. Let me set a hypothetical. If I put a 20 inch monster gun in the game, but gave it a 400+ meter dispersion, would it really mater? Surely it can out-pen any armor in the game, and its Alpha strike would be scary, but if it can't hit the target it really doesn't matter. That is the case of the North Carolina. And this has been acknowledged by Wargamming in the past, who did, mercifully, buff her accuracy slightly. And while this was appreciated, it wasn't enough to remain competitive at T8 as she still has the lowest average accuracy essentially across the board. So despite having appreciably higher damage potential, that potential is inevitably squandered at her tier due to her other problems. How about against the other T8 Battleships? Tirpitz and Bismark? Well right off the bat she beats them with their 380mm Guns, with a max range of 21.2 km, Max AP damage of 11600, HE at 4400 and 34.0% but the Germans, which are supposed to be inferior at range fighters, designed to 'brawl' have only a 276m dispersion. Furthermore, both the German battleships and the Amagi can equip the ASM1 which decreases max dispersion by 7%. This is what makes the huge difference for the North Carolina in terms of both damage output, and general versatility as the accuracy is poor at all ranges and the lack of the upgrade effects her abilities no matter how she is played. It's also worth mentioning that while possessing 1 extra gun (read: Not turret) than the German BB's, she is missing a gun compared to the Amagi. So in short, not only does the Amagi have better accuracy to start, she has more rolls to get shots on target. To me, this alone is a problem with having the North Carolina at Tier 8 with her unacceptably lower accuracy rating. What about penetration? Well from the penetration study thread: North Carolina's Amagi's Bismark/Tirpitz's And the thread itself which Fnord_disc did a magnificent job: http://forum.worldofwarships.eu/index.php?/topic/59528-armor-penetration-curves/ From these you can see the North Carolina is, relatively speaking, consistent with being middle ground. Slightly worse than the Amagi, slightly better than the German BB's. But despite this, she under preforms than them in Damage. Why? Well the dispersion accounts for a great deal of this, but I would argue, is also because of the fact she has fewer turrets to roll dispersion rates on. With only three turrets, that's three turret rolls for accuracy, and while yes, I know that's not exactly how it works, the data supports that this is at least partially the case as, with 5 turrets on the Amagi and 4 turrets on the German BB's, they all have, in some cases by a wide margin, much higher accuracy ratings. Additionally, it is far less suicidal to bring your full guns to bear which brings us to the next feature, Armor. Now, I appreciate the mis-modeling of the citadels for USN battleships is a purposeful design choice for balance. And, unlike most USN BB fanboys, I actually have no problem with this. Where I do have a problem, and once again assert that the North Carolina does not belong at tier 8 is that her armor is not even in the same ballpark as effective as her peers at T8. Take it as wrote that the overall armor scheme of the German BB's is superior, and while yes, it absorbs more normal pens, Citadel hits are no something that can be consistently achieved in any BB, and all the more difficult, to near impossible, to achieve in the aforementioned inaccurate North Carolina guns. Not impossible, I've done it myself on occasion, but it is not something that can reliably be reproduced and thus must be considered the exception, not the rule. That's fine though, lets look at the Amagi though, because forging super high armor in the German BB's is what it should be. They are brawlers and they can't have a glass jaw to brawl. But as far as roles are concerned the Amagi and North Carolina are more in line with one another. At face value, the Amagi seems inferior to the North Carolina, where the North Carolina has a belt of 305mm and 282mm for her Transverse both fore and aft, and a lower belt of 165mm, all this to the Amagi's 254 Belt (same at all levels) 229mm Transverse fore and 152mm aft and fore lower. But, baring the lower transverse bulkhead fore and aft (at 152mm), these are not the Citadel armor. These are in fact the plane armor values. This ignores that her citadel deck is an additional 114mm fore and aft, and an additional 70mm amidships, and citadel slopes an additional 102mm fore and aft, and and additional 95mm amidships. What these means is, even ignoring the fact they are angled along the full length of the citadel, at her least, amidships, she has 349 mm of belt armor over her citadel up to 356 mm. This far outclasses the North Carolina and the even the Bismark, although the higher Citadel on the Amagi and the thinner deck vs. the Bismark's makes this tradeoff less problematic in the German vs. IJN matchup. But the North Carolina, who on the lower belt has almost 100mm less armor than the same location on the Amagi is far outclassed in armor. But then, that's the point right? American ships are glass cannons, great AP damage (if they can hit) and yes great face armor, but, relatively speaking, paper thin armor on the sides and thus risky to ever even think about showing a broadside. And in 99% of circumstances, I wouldn't have a problem with this, but given the punishing nature of this situation when even mid tiered again the Tier 9 battleships, the North Carolina cannot hold up. Even a well angled North Carolina can be over matched by some of the Tier 10 guns, which she does see regularly. The same cannot be said of an Amagi and likewise the characteristics of a German T8 BB aids in it's survival. Despite, ostensibly, being a Battlecruiser, the Amagi is significantly more tanky than the North Carolina, and while the historical context (which will be explored later) can attribute to this, I feel it serve all the more to show she is a T7 masquerading as T8. HP, for the North Carolina, is effectively equal to that of the Amagi, with 300 extra HP on the Amagi being, essentially, worthless in a BB vs. BB matchup where an overpen from either strikes for more this amount. The Bismark is superior to the other 3 but again, brawler, makes sense. How about "secondary" characteristics? Well, at 27.5 knots, vs. 32 knots in the German and 30.0 knots in the Amagi, the North Carolina is decidedly the slowest by a step margin. Her rudder shift is on par though, at 17.5 second unupgraded (which is how we must analyze these ships, however this does assume fully upgraded according to hulls and research tree items where "choice" doesn't factor in), equal to that of the Amagi, and slightly inferior to that of the German, which makes sense given their brawler nature. The 760m Turning radius is perhaps her greatest asset, a full 110 m and 90 m superior to her at Tier competition, Amagi and Bismark respectively. And this is not nothing. It greatly aids in her utility but, as the aforementioned stats section shows, not enough apparently to even begin tipping the scales. So with that in mind, lets now take a step down and look at the T7 Battleships, minus the Colorado. Well, vs. the Nagato we see the Nagato has an upper belt of 229 mm and suprise, the same 305mm belt of the North Carolina. She does however also have the internal citadel vs. the space filling upper citadel model that the North Carolina has, and this has, at a minimum 76mm additional Armor amidships up to 289mm armor fore. And, interestingly, she has the same 282mm transverse fore bulkhead that the North Carolina has. So in reality, her true minimum armor thickness along her belt is 289mm at the very front, to 381mm amidships, to a max of 594 mm of belt armor in the limited space towards the front of the ship, all angled I might add. So armor wise, in many ways, the Nagato is in fact superior to the North Carolina, but in VERY subtle ways that give her a flavor of her own. Not,I repeat, not in ways that just genuinely outclass her as the Amagi does. How about the Gneisenau? Well we all know her armor scheem is in fact superior to that of her older brother Bismark, but it bears laying out at a thin 45 mm Upper belt, compared to the North Carolina's equally bad 32 mm armored upper belt, A mid belt of 350mm, automatically making her sufficiently tankier against mid belt/waterline hits than the North Carolina, and a lower belt of 260mm vs. the North Carolina's lower belt of 165mm. The 150mm transverse of the Gneisenau is much lower than the 282mm transverse of the North Carolina, meaning bow on vs. 16" guns is not the Gneisenau's strong point, but with currently two other T7 BB's with the exactly the same guns found at T8, she is doing fine as consistently the second place scoring T7 BB. So, it can be safe to say, in a vs. North Carolina situation, the Gneisenau (and Scharnhorst, who possess the exact same layout) is not appreciablly any different than the current situation faced from Nagato or Colorado 16" guns. So what about those guns? Well this is where things get even more interesting and, frankly, insulting. Getting the obvious ones out of the way; the Nagato's guns are exactly the same in all aspects to the Amagi's, in damage, penetration, and even possessing a slight range advantage over the Amagi, while, surprisingly, remaining at approximately the same dispersion, 230m in the Nagato and 227 in the Amagi. This is why the jump from the Amagi from the Nagato feels natural. How about the Gneisenau? Well with 254 m dispersion on the Bismark, and 258 m on the Gneisenau they are in fact, barely noticeably different from their older brother. However, I also, having played through her, appreciate that she feels more inaccurate. And I also feel, that this is not appropriate for her tier. Despite the fact she out damages all but the Scharnhorst at Tier 7, I do agree her guns feel a little too inaccurate, especially considering she has only 6 of them. Now full disclosure, I do not own the Scharnhorst so I have no experienced the 11 inch mountings on her in any way other than those found on the Graf Spee, but I do agree that on a 1 to 1 comparison, this feels unfair... that is until you consider that she already sees the same 16" guns found on the North Carolina that are found on the Colorado and the the same 16" on the Amagi as the ones found on the Nagato. So, couple with the fact she is by a decent margin the best preforming T7 Battleship, I do not feel that the Scharnhorst will be left wanting should the North Carolina be placed at T7. Secondary characteristics? Well Gneisenau tops out at 32.0 knots, 830 turning radius, and a 20.6 rudder shift, and Nagato 25 knots, 770 m radius 13.7 rudder shift. Hmmm this sounds familiar? 27.5 knots, 760 m radius and a 17.3 rudder shift for the North Carolina. So while slightly faster, the Nagato turns faster. If that's not a more appropriate balance I don't know what is. Now comes the ship feature that would require a nerf; AA. Yes, the North Carolina's AA is *significantly* better than than the T7 peers. Even forgiving national flavor, this would be, truly, unacceptable at that tier and would require a rebalance. But I feel rebalancing AA down to appropriate levels, something I feel is likely coming anyway during the CV reword, is a much simpler solution than trying to continue making the North Carolina work at T8. So what's, in summery, been established here? Well that from a ship characteristic standpoint, in gun, armor, and secondary features, the North Carolina VERY closely resembles the T7 Battleships, while being largely inferior to her counterparts at T8. This is further back up by the stats present at T8 and the comparison down to T7. But there's another part to this proposal; if you put the North Carolina at 7, she's potentially seeing Tier 5 battleships now? Is that a problem? Knee jerk says, "Hell yes." But is it? Lets look that over: I would say, no. The reason? Well as it stands, the same guns at T8 are currently on the T7 battleships for all 3 trees. That means, as it stands *now* Tier 5 BB's are already "seeing" the T8 armament. So I question he assertion that a T5 would stand up to an NC's guns any less than it currently does from a T7 Nagato or a T7 Colorado or a T7 Gneisenau. How about armor? Well as we've established not only is the Armor found on the North Carolina strikingly similar to that found on the T7 battleships, it is in fact less than the armor found on the current USN T7 Battleship, the Colorado. The Colorado has higher armor values in all equal places to the North Carolina, and additionally has a lower, smaller citadel. This means if you're in a New York right now facing a Colorado, should be, in every sense of how this game's mechanics work, easier to deal with the North Carolina as she is only superior in range, slightly, and speed, but not in a way to which you don't already face in the likes of the Nagato or Gneisenau. So what I think has been found here is that, hypothetically, if the North Carolina was moved down to T7, with only AA changed, she would not dramatically alter gameplay for other players. In fact, due to her trading armor for speed in the Colorado, she may in fact be easier to deal with than the current boats that see the T7 MM range. Her characteristics are far more in line of that of a T7, in armor and firepower, and likewise has secondary features such as speed, turning and size, much more appropriate of that of a T7 Battleship. But does this make sense to do? Yes it may work, she may be a better fit at Tier 7 than 8, but is there a reason or reasons to do this? Lets find out. Historical Context So, does it make sense to see the North Carolina at Tier 7. Lets, for argument sake, take it for wrote that you agree at this point to one degree of another that the ship fits stat and performance and feature wise at T7, but does it make sense for her to see this new range of opponents. This is important. Although not a sim, this is a historical game and the elements within should reflect that. So lets see what we have here. As it stands, the North Carolina can see, as Battleship Opponents, the New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina itself, Iowa, Missouri Montana, Warspite, Fuso, Nagato, Amagi, Izumo, Yamato, Bayrne, Gneisneau, Bismarck, FdG, G.K., Scharnhorst, and Tirpitiz. What I'm purposing would remove Yamato, G.K. and Montana from that list, and replace in New York, Texas, Konig, and, importantly, Kongo. Why is Kongo so important? I hope in 99% of cases I don't have to explain this but that's an actual historical matchup where Battleships actually shot at Battleships. And hold your horse, yes, I know the North Carolina (Specifically her sister, Washington) sank the Kirishima, it is worth noting that the Kongo-Class effectively disabled the *newer* South Dakota. To not allow this matchup is akin to putting the Nelson or King George V class in a way that cannot see the Bismarck. Likewise, the design era of the North Carolina fits in with whats going on at Tier 7. If we consider the premise that the first fast battleship class was the Queen Elizabeth class, to which we have a member in game, with a speed of 23.5 Knots, then the Nagato, second slowest T7, at a max speed of 25 knots, only two short of the North Carolina at 27.5, is a fast Battleship. As it stands, T7 is where the gameplay shifts. You start seeing the significantly powerful T9 ships and, for battleships, they shift to fast battleships. Except the USN, who maintains the standard type dreadnought and super dreadnoughts into tier 7. This seems very out of touch. Each country has their respective first Fast Battleship at Tier 7, except the USN. If you put the North Carolina at Tier 7 the pattern completes and T7 becomes the intro tier to top tier gameplay. I feel for a historical sense, and pattern sense, the North Carolina makes far more sense to be at T7 than T8 as it allows the USN to have parity, not superiority, but parity to the other represented nations.This leads to game balance. Game Balance So this is all fine and good. But does it work? Would moving the North Carolina down to T7 break the game and hurt other players good time? No. I do not agree that it would. In fact, I think it would enhance it. What are some of the primary complaints about Battleship players in general? That they hide in the back, they don't push, when they do they run at first damage, their guns can 1 salvo kill cruisers forcing them to hide. We've seen it a thousand times. Regardless of where you stand on those issues, those are, at a minimum, the perceived issues. Well, as we've established, at T8 the North Carolina is the worst performing battleship, and her performance can be tied to certain play styles and those playstyles, unsurprisingly, go in line with these complaints; snipping at max range (and not doing enough damage to warrant it), running at first contact, thus ensuring the North Carolina's survival but at the expense of teamwork, or simply being too weak to completely contribute to the team. That means, on the whole, she is a drag on the team. By the numbers, on 3/4 of the servers, seeing a North Carolina on your team means you are more likely to lose, than win, given her sub 50% win rate on 3/4 of the servers. This is anti-teamwork. This is exactly what you don't want a ship to be. Moving her down to Tier 7 would go in a far ways to reduce this problem. A somewhat less threatening environment of T7 means the North Carolina can "come out of her shell," her more comparable ship-stats and features make her more comfortable at this tier, again, encouraging less passive play, and, her speed, to me, makes a big difference. As it stands, I find it annoying to have Colorado's on my team. Not just because it under preforms, but because they can't keep up. The Nagato can keep up the fleet, Schanhorst can blow past some Cruisers, but the Colorado gets left in the dust. That means she ends up being forced into a passive role, whether the Captain wants to or not. This excuse is not viable on the North Carolina at Tier 7. This is supported anecdotally in game where when the North Carolina is Top Tiered, they push harder than most. Even when top tiered in the Colorado, rarely are they ever leading a charge, by no fault of their own. So putting the North Carolina at Tier 7 means you are more likely to have teammates that can greater contribute to the team. You could have USN BB's that keep up with a push, or don't get left to the sharks in a withdrawal. So does this potential move screw up the balance of the other ships? Lets look at that. Starting with the low hanging fruit of Destroyers, this is important. This is not a discussion of how DD's are currently functioning in an overall sense against Battleships, but rather how would things work if you placed the North Carolina at Tier 7. Well I would argue the North Carolina is easier to deal with for a destroyer than the Colorado is. Faster rudder shift and tighter turning circle makes it far easier to dodge torps in the Colorado, likewise being almost 2/3 the length means there's much less ship to hit. Additionally, paradoxically, the North Carolina has a lower torpedo protection rating, 21% vs. the 37% on the Colorado. So not only is she easier to hit, the torps will do more damage against her. Likewise, considering more often than not she is face in, while broadside/angled Colorado's are common, you actually face fewer guns against a North Carolina than a Colorado, 6 vs. 8. Add to that the lower accuracy, which I would not buff or nerf should she be lowered to T7, means overall, a much easier battleship to torp than the Colorado. Her speed even plays against her, as it's much more likely to get a North Carolina to over extend than a Colorado, who is stuck in the rear of a formation at 21 knots. How about Cruisers? How would they be effected. I would argue no worse, no better. The Compared to the Colorado, the North Carolina has the exact same guns with more or less similar performance ( a little more inaccurate but not overly appreciable). The damage, effective range, and penetration is identical, so a CA in the T7 range now is no more threatened by a North Carolina than a Colorado. Additionally, I would argue since the current setup has Flamethrower as the primary role of the mid tier CA/CL's, the North Carolina is preferable to face than the Colorado, again because she is bigger, faster, and thus more likely to be ahead in a charge, and yes, her fire resistance would have to be reduced to be in line with the other T7 battleships, she makes for a much more reliable target than the Colorado. CV's are the only problem point. The NC has an impressive AA suite and this would be the one area requiring a nerf. Range, overall DPS, and a number of factors would have to be imposed to give T7 Range CV's a chance. This could be done at the same time CV's get their rework. Again though, assuming an AA nerf, she would be easier for a CV to deal with than the Colorado, given the Colorado's tighter turning, rudder shift, and smaller size, to say nothing of noticeably better torpedo protection, a balanced AA suit would make her a better target for CV's than the current T7 USN BB. Moving Forward Lastly, from a balance point of view, what happens moving forward. Lets say your on board, WGing is on board, and an effective way to put her at T7 is found and is decided to be done. What happens next? How do you make this shift work? What goes at T8? What happens to the Colorado? Well there's a plan for that and I'm sure a number of you can see where this will go. I purpose two USN Battleship lines. This is something many have asked for and has always made a large degree of sense. Moving the North Carolina to T7 makes this work. I don't agree that the Colorado needs to be moved to T6, that would be unfair, and there is an easy way to give her the little boost she needs to be a bit more competitive at Tier 7. Create a second USN Battleship line, with the Nevada Class at Tier 5 (first USN Super Dreadnought), the currently implemented Pennsylvanian class at Tier 6 (a la Arizona), the Colorado at Tier 7 with a new C hull, that of the West Virginia. Back on the main line the North Carolina at Tier 7, and the South Dakota at Tier 8. No hold on, hear me out on this. You can still have the Premium Alabama at Tier 8 and have this work. WGing has given us an out to do that. Make the Alabama (non-ST) a T8 Premium unlocked the same way as the Missouri works, and give her the same radar upgrade but no Aircraft facilities. The line ship, South Dakota, gets the Aircraft and no radar, and the slightly different appearance the South Dakota had. I'm not going to do the same full analysis of the South Dakota class here as an appropriate T8, but suffice to say the features of the current Alabama, as seen in the extended tree, with a slightly thicker Armor belt, and an internal one like Iowa's at that, only needs the same lower citadel the Iowa deserves to bring her more in line with the other T8 Battleships. Give her better accuracy than the North Carolina and she can act as the improvement that she's supposed to be. Add to that her smaller, more maneuverable size, and she has advantages that the other T8 BB's don't and allows her to have some flavor of the line all of her own. Conclusion So, what have I tried my best to establish? That from a performance standpoint, server stats across the four servers suggests that the North Carolina is under performing. Her win rate is below the ideal 50% threshold, her damage and accuracy rating is lower than all of her competitors, but when factored into the T7 lineup, she doesn't dominate, but competes in a much fairer way. Her characteristics, especially armor, maneuverability, and gun performance, are far out of line at T8 but fit almost suspiciously perfectly at T7, again, not in a dominate way, but an on par way. She 'belongs' at Tier 7 from a historical and gameplay standpoint, and as far as balance is concerned benefit both players playing as her and against her. Finally she allows for some much desired additions in the form of the South Dakota class added in at T8, West Virginia Hull C for the Colorado, and a similar Premium/Tree ship dynamic for the South Dakota and Alabama as the Iowa and Missouri. I know that many people will knee jerk at this idea, but a few things to keep in mind when you formulate a response; there is precedence for this, the reshuffling of the IJN Destroyer tiers. Also, I thought long and hard how best to phrase these but I'm open to the idea that I missed, overlooked, or simplified something, so before you bang out a response, please at least extend the same courtesy to me that you think out thoroughly an objection or counterpoint to anything here.
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