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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: Atlanta, Texas, Tachibana, Atago, Ishizuchi, Diana, Aurora,Murmansk, Molotov, Mikhail Kutuzov, Emden, Tirpitz, Campbeltown, Warspite, Blyskawica Limited Release Ships: Fujin, Kamikaze, Katori, Yubari, Gremyashchy, Krasny Krym, Imperator Nikolai I, Anshan, Lo Yang, Smith, Sims, Marblehead, Indianapolis, Arizona, Saipan, Scharnhorst, Dunkerque Gift & Reward Ships: Albany, Arkansas, Flint, Iwaki, Mikasa, Arpeggio of Blue Steel Ships: Kongo, Kirishima, Haruna, Myoko Condensed Reading: Mouse's Quick Summary of Premium Ships Without further ado: The Tier 6 French Battleship Dunkerque "Battlecruiser 2: Revenge of the Battlecruiser" Quick Summary: A lightly armed and armoured battlecruiser with eight 330mm guns mounted between two quadruple turrets on the bow. The ship is fast, her reloads are quick and her muzzle velocity is excellent. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of writing this article. Patch & Date Written: 2016.07.30 & 2016.08.12, Patch 0.5.9 to 0.5.9.1 Closest in-Game Contemporary: Molotov Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Despite the superficial similarities to the Izumo, the Dunkerque has much more in common with the play style of the Soviet premium cruiser, Molotov. Both are fast, fragile vessels with more speed than agility. Yet they both rely on engaging enemies at range with hard hitting alpha strikes from high-muzzle velocity weapons. Both are unable to conceal themselves. They are gunship support vessels, relying on clever use of speed and turning to keep themselves safe from reprisals. PROs: All of her guns are mounted on the bow, making it easy to maximize firepower. Fast turret rotation of 5' degrees per second. Good rate of fire with a 28 second reload. Excellent muzzle velocity on shells of 870 & 885m/s between AP & HE. Good HE performance with 4800 alpha strike and 35% chance of starting a fire. Excellent range of 18.2km which can be extended with a float plane. Secondaries have a 5.0km range Fast with a top speed of 29.5 knots. CONs: All of her guns are mounted on the bow. She is unable to fire to the rear. Turrets are very vulnerable at close ranges. Losing one halves her firepower. Ship ripple fires 4 guns at a time. Lowest alpha strike and Armour Piercing DPM of any of the tier 6 Battleships. Very weak belt armour and citadel protection of only 225mm. Small secondary gun battery compliment with highly restricted arcs. Poor overall AA defense. Sluggish handling, with a large turning circle of 730m. Very large surface detection range of 16.4 km. The first of the French Navy warships has arrived in the form of the Dunkerque. This all-bow mounted gun design will be something we see repeated in the Richelieu-class and may become something the French ships are known for. Once more into the breach. Today Lert and I will be looking at the first French warship to join World of Warships -- the Dunkerque. She's an odd ship, a true Battlecruiser in my opinion and she needs to be played as such to get the most out of her. I had a lot of success with her right out of the gates though speaking with other contributors, this wasn't something that was universal. This prompted a long discussion about her merits and flaws and I'm happy to share them with you today. Lert will be joining me, providing a voice of moderation to my more emotionally enthusiastic descriptors. You can find his contribution in the separated (and ostracized!) Lerboxes. Take it away, grumpy-kitty-man! The Lertbox Once again LWM has graciously allowed me some space in her review to post my own thoughts about an upcoming premium ship. This time a ship that I had some trouble getting my head around, but which after a dozen battles or so finally started to 'click'. It's the first French ship in the game, and it offers a unique and unprecedented playstyle. But then, it wouldn't be properly French if it didn't have some quirks to set it apart, would it. For this review I will be comparing her to Fuso, New Mexico and Warspite. Options There are no surprises with the Dunkerque. If you were hoping for some unique French flavour to be found in her consumables or modules, I didn't find any present here. The only option she has unique to Battleships at tier 6 is the option of swapping out her Spotting Aircraft for a Catapult Fighter, but that's hardly enough to get excited about. She does not get access to the Artillery Plotting Room 1 Modification. That remains American only.Her Damage Control party conforms to the standard we've seen so far for German and Russo-Soviet Battleships. This provides a 15s immunity window and a 120s / 80s reset timer. Similarly, her Repair Party is also standard, restoring up to 14% of her maximum base HP per charge. Consumables: Three slots Damage Control Party Repair Party Your choice of a Spotting Aircraft or Catapult Fighter. Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard options. 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: 330mm in 2x4 turrets mounted in an A-B superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: 130mm in 2x2 turrets in wing mounts, and 3x4 turrets on the stern. The most defining feature of the Dunkerque is the layout of her primary battery. She has only two turrets but they sport four guns each. At 330mm, these are the smallest caliber weapons found on a Battleship at tier 6. You could be forgiven for expecting them to have a bunch of excellent traits to justify her matchmaking weight. The Bad News Let's get the bad news out of the way. The Dunkerque is not going to be wracking up big damage totals as quickly as her peers. She's an eight-gun Battleship with a lot of short comings in terms of firepower. The Dunkerque is competing head to head with twelve-gun, Super-Dreadnoughts like the New Mexico-class, Fuso-class and the Arizona. The Bayern and Warspite may also only have eight guns, but their shell caliber is much larger at 380mm. While the Dunkerque has an accelerated reload to help prop up her DPM, this isn't any faster than the Fuso's. At 28s per volley, she doesn't really gain any ground n the DPM race. The Dunkerque's armour piercing DPM weighs in at a theoretical maximum of 166,300hp, while the twelve gun Dreadnoughts all top well over 215,000hp. Even the Jutland veterans manage over 175,000hp with their eight guns. To put this into perspective, the tier 5 Kongo with a 30s reload manages 163,200hp. The Really Bad News On paper, her secondary compliment looks like it can take up some of the slack from her primaries. With a total of sixteen 130mm rifles mounted in some impressive looking turrets, they have an excellent range for their tier of 5km. However, the angles at which they can fire are horrid. All of the quad-mounts are facing the stern and will only engage enemies once they clear well past 40' off the bow of the Dunkerque. This is hardly ideal with her primaries all mounted forward. It's best to forget any pretense of her secondaries helping at all. This leaves only a pair of 130mm rifles off each side (each in a dual mount) that will attack enemies coming from the front. The Really, REALLY Bad News I was hoping to see the Dunkerque's 330mm turrets modeled with their historical compartmentalization when it came to taking damage. Without going into too much detail, the big quad-mounts were divided into two pairs of guns so that a single hit to the turret wouldn't deprive their ship of half their firepower. If modeled correctly in World of Warships, while the ship would have two turrets, it would take four separate critical strikes to knock out all of her guns. Except it isn't present here. I heard rumours to the effect that the game engine couldn't handle half of the turret being knocked out at a time. I don't know the truth of this rumour but it sounds feasible enough. Hopefully this could be remedied in the future, the same way AA mounts couldn't be mounted on turrets previously. As it stands, the Dunkerque's 330mm turrets can and will be knocked out wholesale by single hits. Though effectively immune to 203mm batteries head on up to (and including) point blank range, even the 283mm rifles off of the Scharnhorst are capable of catastrophically damaging the Dunkerque's turrets. As you'll want to be facing bow on to enemies to minimize her profile, your gun mounts often take the brunt of the punishment. Don't be surprised if you lose a turret. Don't be surprised if you lose both turrets if you end up in close-range encounters with enemy Battleships. The main batteries of the Dunkerque are not compartmentalized. Critical hits will temporarily damage or destroy the entire turret, not two guns at a time. Why Can't I Quit You? Yet for all of these faults (and some minor ones besides), the Dunkerque's gun batteries perform very well. The first thing you'll notice is that she has rather fast turret traverse. At 5' per second, she'll complete a 180' rotation in 36 seconds -- except that she never really has to complete a 180' rotation. With all of her guns mounted on the bow, adjusting fire takes mere moments. Tracking targets or acquiring a new one is a breeze. And let's emphasize this. All of her guns are on the bow. Short of wiggling your tush at the enemy, you can always fire all eight guns at a target. This is something the other Battleships can't boast -- not without risking exposing themselves to return fire and getting spanked. The Dunkerque can point her snout right at the enemy and confidently unload all eight barrels with every reload cycle. My feeling is that while she may not have the same theoretical DPM as her competition, it's far easier to maximize the DPM of the Dunkerque than say the Fuso, Arizona or New Mexico. And it gets better. Her shell grouping is downright fantastic. Unlike recent German Battleships, the Dunkerque's dispersion is very kind. On paper, she has the same linear value as the German warships, however the concentration of all four guns in close proximity combined with what appears to be a very favourable sigma variable means that her shells seem to stick together in flight and land in tight clusters. You can (and should) equip Aiming Systems Modification 1 to further capitalize on this great accuracy. With very little flight time from her high velocity shells, you can try taking pot shots at even elusive targets like dodging cruisers and slippery little destroyers with surprising levels of success. At 9,700 damage per AP shell, this is punchy enough to really thoroughly gut a target that you hit. While it pales compared to the 380mm of the Bayern or Warspite, it's less than 1000hp behind the New Mexico and Arizona. This is enough to make a cruiser suffer a significant emotional event when you disembowel him with a single hit. With her accuracy, it's rare that it's lone shells that strike the target in this manner. With some good aim, you will readily print yourself some Devastating Strike medals. Against heavily armoured or angled targets, you can reach for her fantastic HE shells. With 35% per shell to start a fire, the Dunkerque's HE volleys are something to be respected, especially with their 28s reload. Stacking fires is childishly easy and you can force higher tiered Battleships to turn away when sufficiently scalded. The Lertbox Artillery: Dunkerque has eight 330mm rifles, in two quadruple turrets mounted up front. While historically these turrets were subdivided into two groups of two barrels per turret separated by a thick armored bulkhead, in-game this is not the case. These turrets behave as two quad-barrel turrets, and getting one turret knocked out means you lose half your firepower. Further bad news comes in the form of having the lowest theoretical DPM in class and tier, significantly behind Warspite even. Finally, their dispersion is nothing to write home about either. Fortunately that's where the bad news ends. Dunkerque turrets have the best traverse time in class and tier, and the guns reload the quickest of the four battleships in this comparison. Also, because of the way the guns are mounted, the shells leave the ship in a nice tight cluster which negates a part of her bad dispersion. Finally, despite all the major caliber guns being up front, this French fighting lady has remarkably generous 'over the shoulder' shooting angles. Still her low alpha damage and low DPM means Dunkerque loses this category. New Mexico comes third, with a powerful set of 14" /50 guns, but the range and dispersion let her down. Warspite comes second in this category with the power of a heavy 15" and very accurate punch, but the sheer range and volume-of-fire of Fuso gives the fighting Geisha the win here. Dunkerque: 1 pt Warspite: 3 pts New Mexico: 2 pts Fuso: 4 pts Secondary firepower: On paper Dunkerques secondary battery is not bad with a total of sixteen 130mm guns, but the way they're mounted mostly in the rear gets in the way; the arcs are just horrible and superstructure often gets in the way, precluding the secondary turrets from acquiring targets. Plus, the use of quad turrets means that a single hit to a secondary turret can seriously cut into your backup firepower. Warspite shares the same 5km base secondary range that Dunkerque has, but boasts a more intelligent layout of her eight 102mm and eight 152mm guns. New Mexico has the familiar mid-tier american 127mm guns divided into anti-surface and dual-purpose guns, but they only reach out to 4km base. Fuso brings to bare an impressive set of eight 127mm guns and a further fourteen 152mm cannons. She wins this category, despite these guns only having a range of 4km. Dunkerque: 1 pt Warspite: 3 pts New Mexico: 2 pts Fuso: 4 pts Summary: Great gun handling with a fast turret rotation and good range. Easy to maximize firepower and keep all eight barrels singing. Only modest alpha strike potential from AP. HE is decent. Lowest potential DPM. Guns are very accurate with excellent shell grouping. The potential of her secondaries are limited by poor gun arcs. Losing a gun halves her firepower. Ill suited to brawling other Battleships. The Dunkerque can make a very dangerous opponent for destroyers that get too close. While her secondary armament is light and poorly arranged, her main battery is very easy to bring to bear. With good HE shells, excellent accuracy and tight shell grouping, enterprising destroyers can find themselves taking several penetrating hits at a time. This poor Minekaze made this discovery to her cost as did the Kiev the Dunkerque sank moments before with the same trick. ManeuverabilityTop Speed: 29.5 knotsTurning Radius: 730mRudder Shift: 14.0s The Lertbox And this is where the good news begins. Dunkerque is the most mobile and agile out of these four ships. Despite having the second largest turing circle, her high top speed and par rudder shift means she feels very agile, and can flex across the map far better than the other ships. And now the bricks: Warspite is second despite a relatively pedestrian top speed, but the best turning circle of the four and par rudder shift. Fuso comes third with a fair-to-middling top speed, but it's her turning circle that lets her down, combined with the fact that Dunkerque will easily race past. New Mexico is last, at this tier a 21 knot top speed just doesn't cut it anymore. Dunkerque: 4 pts Warspite: 3 pts New Mexico: 1 pt Fuso: 2 pts The Dunkerque has a really good top speed. And it will get you killed on occasion. At 29.5 knots, she's the fastest of the tier 6 Battleships. This isn't by a small margin either with a 4.5 knot advantage over her closest competitor. This exceeds all of the 7 Battleships as well with the exception of the Scharnhorst against which she can claim near parity. It's important to keep the engagement range up in the Dunkerque when there are enemy Battleships present. The flip side to this is that you do want to get closer to cruisers and the occasional destroyer to ensure their demise. It's very tempting in the Dunkerque to find yourself a good gunnery position and then cut the engines. Bow onto the enemy, with your finger on the rudder for little adjustments, you can easily seesaw back and forth at 1/4 to 1/2 ahead and then alternate with reverse to throw off the aim of your opponents. Players of the North Carolina will recognize this maneuver. With all of your firepower mounted on your forward decks, it's easy to see the merits of not moving if you don't have to. Smart opponents will punish you for this though. As a Battlecruiser, her speed is supposed to be her armour and there will be times you will need to open up the throttle. While her straight-line speed is excellent, her handling is best described as poor. With a similar turning radius and rudder shift to the Fuso, she doesn't corner well or quickly. The one consolation is that she will not out turn the traverse of her guns. Still, when engaging enemies at the limits of her range, even this poor agility can throw off the desperate return-fire of your opponents. The Dunkerque pursues a fleeing Cleveland-class cruiser through the narrows of the Two-Brothers archipelago at nearly 30 knots. DurabilityHit Points: 52,600Citadel Protection: Up to 225mm.Bow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 25mm each.Torpedo Damage Reduction: 27% The Lertbox Here again Dunkerque shows herself to be a ship of extremes. She is by far the softest of the four ships on trial here, possessing the lowest hit-points, the thinnest armor and the second worst torpedo belt. But it's worse than that. While on paper her armor should be better than that of Kongo at tier 5, in practice it feels a lot worse. Dunkerque can't tank hits to save her life. Kongo's armor is troll. Dunkerque's armor is paper. Anything more than 20 degrees off a bow-on position, and Dunkerque's armor starts falling apart versus 14" AP, with 15" AP and bigger just being able to sail clean through the tin foil and into the gooey bits inside. New Mexico is the other extreme. Tough, tanky, hard to take down. She is followed by Warspite which retains her troll armor and good hit-point pool, despite her healing potion having been nerfed before. Fuso takes up third place. Despite being the healthiest of the four ships, she has the second thinnest armor and a lot of holes in it you can exploit when she's angled to your fire. Dunkerque: 1 pt Warspite: 3 pts New Mexico: 4 pts Fuso: 2 pts So ... 225mm of belt armour. That about summarizes the fragility of the Dunkerque. Think of the Dunkerque like a tier 6 Kongo and you get a better appreciation of how much damage she'll take from various sources. You can bounce battleship shells off her belt with some angling and the 25mm of bow armour is proof against most 356mm rounds thrown at you. The landscape of tier 6 battles is changing, however. 380mm will soon be the new normal, found on the Bayern as well as the Warspite. Like the 410mm guns found at tier 7, these can and will overmatch the 25mm sections of your bow and deck and result in penetrating hits, regardless of the angle. It's worth speaking again about the vulnerability of her turrets. The casemates have a maximum of 225mm of armour, which makes them rather vulnerable to Battleship caliber shells. Thankfully, the front face is rather small -- little taller than the gun barrels themselves and the roofs of the turrets are sloped. However, torpedo strikes hitting the bow or midships can also knock them out as the blast damages the barbettes or ammunition magazine. She has poor torpedo mitigation so be very conscious of this. Sitting stationary, bow onto the enemy is just asking to get plastered by these large caliber shells or long range torpedoes. This is where the speed of the Dunkerque becomes key and you'll need to keep the distance open to give yourself time enough to shift and dodge incoming fire -- or at least minimize the damage it will do. Concealment & Camouflage16.9km Surface Detection, 12.0km Air Detection You're not hiding this ship. Battleships generally have poor concealment. However, there's poor concealment and then there's poor concealment. In her matchmaking spread (from tier 5 through to tier 8) only two Battleships have a larger surface detection range, and that's the Fuso & Nagato. The Colorado comes close at 16.7km. Why is her poor concealment a big deal? The Dunkerque will usually be one of the first ships spotted. Short of having a Fuso beside you, you can count on being the first target lit on your team. This means that every gun on the enemy team will be pointing at you from the onset and you need to take defensive measures immediately until more of your team engages and fire disperses among your allies. The hail-mary shots from every Battleship will be heading your way early on in the match, so take care. Her large surface detection range also makes it easy for stealth-gunships -- those boats that can sit in open water and fire without being spotted, to pick out the Dunkerque. Short of clever use of terrain, you'll never be sneaking up on anyone. The Lertbox Warspite wins, New Mexico second, Dunkerque third, Fuso last. It's as simple as that. Dunkerque: 2 pts Warspite: 4 pts New Mexico: 3 pts Fuso: 1 pt Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 130mm, 37mm, 13.2mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.2km, 3.0km, 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 54dps, 12dps, 40dps Time for some more bad news: The Dunkerque has rather poor anti-aircraft defense. As a Battleship scuttled in 1942, she never received the upgraded AA armaments that became commonplace later on. Think of her like the Arizona ... but worse, which is definitely saying something. She does have some good range with her 130mm dual-purpose secondaries and they're pretty punchy for their tier but her smaller caliber weapons really let her down in either DPS or range. You could attempt to bolster her poor numbers by heavily investing into anti-aircraft buffs -- most notably, Basic Fire Training, Advanced Fire Training & Manual Fire Control for AA Armament from your Captain skills. This would boost her 130mm DPS from 54dps to 130dps at 6.2km against targets that you manually select.. Still, even coming in the 650hp pulses every 5 seconds, the Dunkerque will not be likely to shoot down more than a plane or two before competent CV players complete their attack runs. This will murder any planes that loiter around her and is worth considering. You can also prop up her flagging AA power with the choice to use her Catapult Fighter instead of a Spotter Aircraft. I have found these to be very handy in helping relieve some pressure off my Dunkerque, but these aircraft never last long in the face of a concerted attack. Still, this is a pretty heavy investment to nudge her AA rating from "poor" to barely acceptable. Still, when working with other warships, you can surprise yourself by racking up a good number of air-kills this way. The Lertbox Dunkerque's AA is just a hair above 'terrible'. She has the lowest DPS at all ranges out of the four ships on trial here. Warspite's is better, but only just. Fuso manages to beat them both, by a very small margin, but the clear winner here is New Mexico. Not that this surprises anybody... Dunkerque: 1 pt Warspite: 2 pts New Mexico: 4 pts Fuso: 3 pts The Dunkerque burns after being struck by American dive bombers. She was unable to shoot down any of the attack planes as they made their approach, but she shoots down two before they escaped with the help of her Catapult Fighter. Overall Impressions Mouse' Summary: Interesting guns, both in gun layout and performance but hampered by low overall DPM. Prefers to engage at range and very vulnerable in a brawl. Poor armour protection. Losing a gun halves her firepower. Good speed, poor agility and impossible to hide. Meat on the table for enemy CV attacks. The Lertbox Adding up the numbers: Dunkerque amassed 10 points Warspite gathered 18 points New Mexico scrounged 16 points Fuso tallied 16 points So, Warspite is the best and Dunkerque is hopelessly outclassed? I'm sure LWM will consider half of that statement undeniable truth and to anyone trying to play Dunkerque like a typical battleship the second half would ring true as well. Dunkerque can work, in the hands of a skilled player who understands her intricacies and follies, and in certain situations. But in the hand of the average player, this French ship will fold and collapse like a house of cards. She also really doesn't hold her own against tier 7 and 8 battleships. Dunkerque is a showpony. Warspite, New Mexico and Fuso are workhorses. If you drive Dunkerque like she was made out of glass, you can make her work. 'Play her like Molotov' you'll hear people say. I'm more tempted to say 'play her like a tank destroyer in WoT'. Park her next to a rock to protect your flank, keep your bow pointed at the enemy and let the rest of your team go first - because if you get focused, you die, and quickly so. Present the smallest target, keep map features between you and any flanking enemy, and Dunkerque might even reward you with her unusual play style. Objectively, there's not a lot to like about the Dunkerque. She pays a very big price for having all of her firepower easily accessed upon her snout. Bad armour, bad handling, bad camouflage, bad anti-aircraft guns, bad secondaries ... bad, bad, bad. So why the heck do I love her? I think it's a simple case of the comfort level that comes with the ease of use of her guns. Unlike other Battleships, I never found myself fighting with her guns. They turn well (and they never have to turn much). And the shots go where you point them. There's little to none of this wonky fire where shells go flying everywhere, so it gets pretty easy to stack appreciable damage with her. And for that, I think I was willing to forgive a whole lot. When you compare her gun handling to other Battleships, it's hard to find one that has the same combination of good turret traverse with good accuracy and a good range and a non-punitive reload. Playing the Dunkerque was relaxing for me, like lying on the beach at Marseilles. Her carry potential really isn't there, let's be honest. She specializes in murdering cruisers and when those targets dry up, she's a little out of her element. Though she's classified as a Battleship, she's truly a Battlecruiser at heart. Her guns can out-range and out-muscle any cruiser she might face. And she's got the speed to out run the Battleships she can't outfight. It's a bit of a delight to see that this original design brief for a Battlecruiser is alive and well in the Dunkerque... even if it is a little underwhelming overall. If this style of play doesn't appeal, I would keep clear of her. Would I Recommend?Yeesh, this is going to be a tough one to recommend. For Random Battle Grinding: Mouse: Maybe? You'll get your money's worth here. Her accuracy and gun handling will make farming the damages (and thus the credits and experience) easy enough. At tier 6, you're not going to recoup tons of credits. Also, keep in mind that as a Battleship, you're likely going to be running with at least one premium consumable, so that's going to eat into your earnings. I found her a delight to play, but she doesn't have tremendous carry potential. So that in turn is going to hurt those looking to pad their win rates. She can do very well, but like the Molotov, you need to do well early with overwhelming ad strategically placed damage to effect a win. Lert: No. She requires a silken touch and a captain who pays constant attention. Plus, she gets her face pushed in by tier 7s and 8s. For Competitive Gaming: Mouse: No. I wouldn't recommend the Dunkerque for things like Team or Ranked Battles. She takes damage too easily and losing one turret to a single torpedo or volley of shells will really set your team back. There are much better ships at her tier. Lert: Oh hell no. For Collectors: Mouse: She's the first French ship in the game. That's novel enough for many to grab her. She didn't have an illustrious career, so that tarnishes her worth, but at least she's a historical vessel. Lert: Yeah, sure. Dunkerque offers something no other ship in the game offers so far. For Fun Factor: Mouse: I would pick her up for this alone. Her guns are a joy to use -- so much so that I am willing to forgive a whole lot of her flaws. I'll be putting a lot of play time into the Dunkerque. Lert: Maybe. She can be rewarding if you treat her right, but is very unforgiving of mistakes. In defense of the base, this badly damaged Dunkerque pursues and destroys an enemy Myoko-class cruiser. While the IJN warship is faster than the Dunkerque in a straight line, she made the mistake of turning to launch torpedoes which allowed the French ship to keep within close range and finish her with two salvos of her 330mm rifles. Outfitting your Dunkerque Recommended Modules There's thankfully few surprises here. It's an absolute necessity that you equip Main Armaments Modification 1. You need to do everything you can to prop up your main battery. If you lose even one, you're in very rough shape. Take Aiming Systems Modification 1 for your second slot. None of the others are worthwhile. For your third option, I take Damage Control System Modification 1. I keep hoping they'll make these choices more interesting for Battleships, but until they do, this module is the only one worthwhile. And for your fourth option, you have a choice. I would strongly recommend Damage Control System Modification 2 to reduce the amount of time a fire burns. You can opt to take Steering Gears Modification 2 to reduce her rudder shift time from 14.0s down to 11.2s. Recommended Consumables As a Battleship, taking a premium Damage Control Party is always a sound investment. This reduces her reset timer to 80s from 120s which can be the difference between life and death when fires and flooding begin stacking. You can expect a lot of pressure from aircraft attacks, especially when facing higher tiered CVs so proper use of this consumable to mitigate damage is imperative. There's less need to take a premium version of her Repair Party. I usually favour doing so with my Battleships for the shorter reset timer (80s from 120s). The extra charge is nice but often not needed. For your third slot, you have the choice on which to take. Both are rather good options. Her Catapult Fighter helps with her AA defense. They also have a long air-time which can help with spotting incoming torpedoes. Alternatively, her Spotter Aircraft plays to the strengths of her main battery and it's unlikely you will ever play a game without an opportunity for very long range shots. Recommended Captain Skills The Dunkerque uses a fairly standard set of Battleship skills for her tier. The first skill I would grab for the Dunkerque is Basics of Survivability. Your secondaries are poorly placed and your AA power is overall lacking to make Basic Fire Training a first choice, but it's decent enough for a follow-up. For your second skill, take Expert Marksman. This will reduce the time it takes your guns to rotate 180' from 36s down to 31.6s. At tier three, there's always the debate. Superintendent gives your Repair Party an extra charge. I would only take this if you're good at disengaging with the Dunkerque to give yourself time to use all of the charges. Vigilance is very handy for helping spot torpedoes, especially with her poor handling where every second counts. Lastly, High Alert is probably your best choice to give you a faster reload on your Damage Control Party. At tier 4, Advanced Fire Training should be considered the best choice. Your AA guns and secondaries will reach out to 6.2km (with Aiming Systems Mod 1). This can set you up to take Manual Fire Control for AA Armament and make her dual purpose 130s really put the hurt on attack craft and maybe bluff your way out of being picked on. This will preclude you from being able to take a tier 5 skill, however. At tier 5, Jack of All Trades is your best choice. This reduces the reset timer on all of your consumables which is helpful. Concealment Expert looks nice, but combined with camouflage this will only reduce your surface detection range to 14.1km which is better but not really amazing.
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 elaborate 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. Without further ado: The Facilitating Squid. Quick Summary: A shorter ranged, sneakier Leander-class Cruiser with HE shells and a weird smoke generator consumable. Patch & Date Written: 0.5.13.1, November 2nd & 3rd, 2016 Closest in-Game Contemporary: Leander,Tier 6 British Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class/ Similar Role / Unique The HMAS Perth was a modified version of the Leander-class cruiser. The primary difference was an improved propulsion system. In game, this is easy to see with the different funnel layout with the Perth having two to the Leander's one. Here's a quick summary on how the two ships vary: Hull: The Perth has an improved armour scheme but less overall hit points. Weapons: Perth has access to HE shells. While she has AP, her fuse timers and arming thresholds are nowhere near as forgiving as those found on British cruisers. Her ricochet angles are less generous. The Perth is also shorter ranged. AA Guns: Perth has a mid-war AA armament and lacks 40mm Bofors or Vickers pom-poms. She's quite vulnerable to aircraft attack. Agility: Perth has slightly faster rudder handling. Stealth: Perth is marginally stealthier with a 200m surface detection range advantage over the Leander. Fun Stuff: Perth's smoke generator is unique. PROs: Though she's based on a British cruiser, she has access to HE shells. She has a powerful torpedo armament, capable of doing nearly 62,000 damage per salvo. Torpedoes may fire individually. The Perth is wonderfully agile with a small turning circle of 640m and decent rudder shift time of 7.6s. Very wiggly. She has good concealment, starting with a 9.8km surface detection range with her camouflage. The Perth uses the British spotter aircraft consumable. This lasts for a full three minutes per charge as opposed to just 100s. Her Smoke Generator is active for 90s, generating smoke the entire time. This allows her to lay more smoke clouds than any other ship currently in the game. While the individual clouds don't last very long, this thing poops out smoke for days and allows her to remain mobile while staying concealed. CONs: She cannot be used to train British Captains. The HMAS Perth is the first of the Commonwealth ships which count as a separate nation. She's very squishy, with a small hit point total and insufficient armour to provide any kind of protection from large caliber (203mm+) shells from heavy cruisers or battleships, which can overmatch her bows and deck plating with their AP shells. The Perth does not have access to the special British AP shells. She uses normal fuses and detonators, making her AP perform more akin to standard cruiser guns. These are the same weapons as found on the HMS Belfast. Her HE performance is modest at best with only a 9% chance to start a fire per shell. Short ranged main battery at 12.8km. This makes engaging certain ship types exceedingly dangerous especially at close range. She is incapable of firing her main battery from concealment in open water, even when fully upgraded for stealth. She must make use of her consumables or terrain to be able to attack without being spotted. Her turret rotation speed is on the slow side at 7' per second. The Perth has a poor AA compliment and does not get access to Defensive Fire. Welcome to another Premium Ship Review -- the ever evolving series where the format subtly shifts and guest authors abound. Once again, Lert and NoZoupForYou join me in looking at this newest helping from the dry-docks of the Wargaming devs, the HMAS Perth. Lert will be providing his views in a versus series while Zoup summarizes the Pros and Cons above. Both gentleman offer their recommendations below too so you know you've got a more diverse set of opinions when basing your own decisions on whether to make your purchase. On with the show! The Lertbox Hello and welcome to yet another Lertbox portion in a LittleWhiteMouse review. I've long since given up trying to figure out why she keeps letting me do this, but here we are. Today we'll be talking about the HMAS Perth, a modified British Leander class light cruiser, sailing under the Australian flag. In this game, she's a premium ship for the newly introduced Commonwealth nationality. I will be writing a few short opinion pieces about how Perth compares to Cleveland, Molotov, Nurnberg and Belfast, which I believe to be a decent cross-section of direct competitors. Mouse has already written about how she compares to Leander herself. The Perth shares much in common with the Leander-class, at least superficially. But the manner in which you use her guns and smoke will largely define this new premium vessel. Options, Upgrades & Consumables The Perth doesn't have a lot of options, but she does have an interesting consumable. Her Smoke Generator is unique. It has an enormous up-time, continuing to create new smoke clouds for an astounding 90s. To put this in perspective, this is three times longer than the previous front runner, the American tier 10 Gearing-class Destroyer (30s) and four and a half times longer than standard destroyer smoke generators (20s). The downside to this smoke is that it each cloud she creates only lasts for a mere 10 seconds. This precludes anyone else from trying to park in her smoke while still allowing the Perth to use her consumable offensively. She can do this by cutting her speed down to 1/4 and walking slowly, generating new smoke as she moves. In this manner, she remains unseen for up to 100s which is consistent with most smoke screens. Thus the Perth has a very unique manner in which her consumable is used, allowing her to keep partially mobile. Very fun. In addition, she has access to the British Spotter Aircraft consumable. For any other nation, the normal duration for this consumable is 100s. The Perth's spotter aircraft lasts for 180s -- a full three minutes, just like those of the UK tech tree. Note that between her spotter aircraft (which allows her to fire from concealment in open water) and her smoke generator, the Perth can cycle offensive actions against enemy ships without being spotted. Proper management of these consumables is key to keep out of harm's way. Consumables: Damage Control Party Hydroacoustic Search Spotter Aircraft or Catapult Fighter Smoke Generator Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard cruiser options.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: Eight 152mm rifles in 4x2 turrets mounted in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Primary Battery Fields of Fire (AB & XY): Front: 294', 290' Rear: 294', 288' Secondary Battery: Eight 102mm rifles in 4x2 turrets amidships by the rear funnel. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers, one to each side. The Perth is armed with the same 152mm rifles -- and more importantly, the same ammunition as the HMS Belfast. While her gun handling is identical to that of the Leander with a 7' turret rotation speed, it's this difference in ammunition that's quite telling. The Perth does not have access to the "improved" armour piercing shells of the Royal Navy. She has a standard fuse-time, ricochet angles and detonator threshold rather than the more sensitive, deep-biting and fast-exploding shells found on the British Cruisers. You will see a lot of over-penetrations against lightly armoured targets with your AP shells in the Perth and ricochets when they strike at oblique angles. You're forced to make dynamic ammunition choices in the Perth depending on your targets. Like the Belfast, the Perth's HE shells are considered modest at best. While they're superior to the HE shells found on the 150mm rifles of the Nurnberg, they're far and away inferior to the six-inch shells found on the American Cleveland, Japanese Mogami, or the Soviet Budyonny, Shchors, Chapayev & Mikhail Kutuzov cruisers. The real downside to these shells is their low chance of setting fires for a cruiser-caliber shell at 9% per hit. Combined with a smaller number of rifles, the Perth isn't an ideal firebug. DPM values for tier 6 cruisers. The Perth isn't last! But she doesn't have the alpha strike capabilities of the other low-DPM cruisers. Where the Perth's main armament really hurts is their range. She comes with a 12.8km maximum reach which is downright punitive at tier 6. This creates a lot of problems for the ship and greatly reduces her survival chances when facing large capital ships. She has a reliance on two of her consumables to safely engage dangerous opponents: her Smoke Generator and her Spotter Aircraft. With her spotter, her range increases to a more manageable 15.36km. This will allow her to stealth-fire at targets from open water from ranges starting at 14.4km and as low as 13.4km with a 15pt Captain using Concealment Expert. But it's her smoke from which most of her damage can be safely inflicted. It does require a player to keep an eye on its active period and plan an extraction vector before the smoke wears off. Using these two properly can largely mitigate her range deficiency, but each can be countered and leave the Perth dead in the water. While her guns are on the lower scale of muzzle velocities, their short range ensures she's not penalized by very long lead times. Like the Belfast, her AP shells can penetrate up to 118mm of armour at 10km so pick your ammunition types accordingly based on what you're facing. Like the Leander, whatever perceived disparities of the Perth's main battery are propped up by her torpedo armament. The Perth has the same upgraded armament of the Leander with two quadruple launchers off each side, mounted just behind the rear funnel. Like British cruisers, the Perth may fire in a salvo or launch her torpedoes individually. With an 8.0km range and 61 knot top speed, these are wonderfully hard hitting fish at over 15,000 damage per. The only downside to them is their range is a little lacking. Making use of her torpedoes necessitates getting in "danger close" to the enemy. This increases the skill threshold needed to do well in the Perth, maybe beyond the level at which many players will be comfortable. The Perth sits inside a cap circle in the early minutes of a match, smoke deployed and steaming ahead at 1/4 speed. Her guns are hammering the approaching Red Team, lobbing high explosive shells onto the bows of Battleships and cruisers. The Perth can often find herself as a front runner -- taking position of caps and strategic locations to put early pressure on the enemy. Just make sure you have an escape plan in mind before engaging. Your smoke will only last so long. Rivals: vs Cleveland Cleveland boasts more hit-points, a higher RPM, better DPM, more range, a better armor scheme and a better hidden citadel. On the surface, Perth is really the underdog here, and that's how you should approach this theoretical duel. You're not entirely without options, though. Your float plane gives you a nice boost to your range, your smoke is very tactical and can give you an edge and your torpedoes force the Cleveland to stay at range. Both ships boast a similar top speed and agility but Cleveland has four additional guns with roughly the same ROF, and a better fire chance on her HE shells. You're not going to win a direct gunnery duel, but you can use your smoke to conceal yourself, while having your floatplane up to keep eyes on the Cleveland. If she starts getting too close, dissuade her with torpedoes, all the while keeping your fire up. A duel between a Cleveland and a Perth is not an easy fight for the Commonwealth ship, nor is it a foregone conclusion in the Cleveland's favor. Maneuverability Top Speed: 32.5 knotsTurning Radius: 640mRudder Shift: 7.6s She handles like a dream. Once you drop Steering Gears Modification 2 onto the Perth, her rudder shift time drops down to 6.1s. This gives her a destroyer-quality handling making her feel very responsive. She definitely a light cruiser when it comes to her agility -- nice and wiggly. It's easy to reverse course and throw off the aim of ships that are expecting you to move predictably. She also dances to torpedo beats like a champ. Speed wise, it's a bit more mixed. While not terrible, there's nothing impressive about her 32.5 knot top speed. However, unlike other cruisers, I found myself quite often sailing at 1/4 engine power to take full advantage of her smoke generators. Out in the open water, though, her 32.5 knot speed is nice but she's running up against fleet footed ships such as the Scharnhorst-class. While you can be more reactionary with her great handling, don't let yourself get run down by aggressive opponents. Rivals: vs Molotov Molotov has more powerful guns, higher range and a higher top speed, but is decidedly less agile and has a slightly weaker armor profile than Perth. Also, the Russian's torpedoes are short range self-defense ones, not even on the same level as the Australian's exploding fish. Plus, the Molotov does not get smoke, and is visible from much further. Approaching a Molotov requires patience and luck. Your AP will wreck a Molotov from the side, but be aware that she'll do the same to you if given half a chance. Fortunately, Molotov's 180mm AP is not quite big enough to overmatch your bow armor, so neither ship can lolpen the other. I am tempted to say 'Approach the Molotov', but with the Russian ship's far superior speed this is easier said than done. The best way to engage a Molotov is to approach using stealth, then use your torpedoes to funnel him into showing you his broadside, and smacking home a salvo or two of AP. Use your smoke to disengage the now wounded Russian or finish him off in a slugging match. While he has the bigger guns, you have the better agility and both ships have similar DPM so a slugging match tends to go to whoever manages to wound the other first. And as far as that is concerned, Perth holds some pretty strong aces with its concealment, torpedoes and smoke. DurabilityHit Points: 27,100 Citadel Protection: Up to 100mmBow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 13mm (immunity up to 180mm AP shells) There's no way really to sugar coat this: The Perth is really lacking in survability and protection. She's on the low side for her hit point totals for a tier 6 cruiser -- she sits just above the Nurnberg in second last place. But it's really her armour values which let her down. The Perth has 13mm of bow and deck armour. This is sufficient to protect her from Light Cruiser caliber AP fire. Shells up to (and including) 180mm will bounce when she angles but anything larger will easily overmatch her. While she does boast an impressive 100mm belt armour, it's a significant challenge to find ways to put this to work for you. Expect to take frequent module damage and to lose weapon mounts. In short: don't expect the armour of the Perth to hold up under fire. Her citadel, while on the smallish side, has a section that sticks up just over the water's surface which runs from beneath her first funnel to the aft superstructure. While this would be difficult to hammer at close ranges, shells with a slight arc (such as those from a Battleship shooting at 12km out) will easily slam home. This vulnerability becomes especially pronounced due to the short range of the Perth's weapon systems. Like the USS Atlanta, she has to get very close to deal damage -- close enough to be inside the optimal firing ranges of Battleship and Heavy Cruiser caliber guns. It's imperative, therefore, to make good use of her concealment values in conjunction with her consumables and agility to avoid damage. The Perth plays a dangerous game with a New York-class Battleship. Using the island, she approached within 4.0km of the American and crept out using smoke at 1/4 speed to unleash a point blank assault using high explosive shells and individually launched torpedoes. The fish of the Perth can deliver monstrous alpha-strikes, ideal for putting down unwary ships that get too close. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 10.1km Air Detection Range: 6.9km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 8.62km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +4.56km (vs 12.8km gun range) I'm of two minds about the Perth's concealment rating. It's so good, yet at the same time, it's not quite good enough. Right out of the box, the Perth has a 9.8km surface detection range with her premium camouflage. I rubbed my hands with glee when I saw this value and prepared myself to write a "Perth is overpowered" review (that changed when I saw her weapon ranges). The Perth is forever doomed to have a stealth rating that's on the cusp of excellence. She's sneaky enough to navigate from point A to B without being spotted, but she's not sneaky enough to engage enemy targets with her weapon systems without giving her position away. Perhaps I shouldn't be too critical. Ships like the Molotov would give up their left propeller shaft for this kind of stealth, but this lack of range really hurts the Perth and makes her challenging to play -- at least until you factor in her consumables. The gimmick of the Perth is her smoke generator, which is the complete opposite of the one found on the Belfast. The Belfast suffers from performance issues when it comes to her smoke, being able to (at best) create two clouds before her generators give up the ghost. These clouds will last for 103s, so it gives this higher tier British cruiser plenty of time to park her butt and pew pew to her heart's content. However, they're not going to provide significant cover for friendlies, nor are they going to be of much use in trying to escape. The Perth, by contrast, can create a maximum thirty-one clouds of smoke when moving at full speed with a signal flag to improve her engine performance. Individually, these clouds only last for 10s which makes them useless for parking inside. The Perth must keep moving while laying down smoke. So too must any friendly ship looking to take advantage of this. The values work out to the following: Forward Speeds 10 clouds @ 1/4 speed (8.1 knots). Maximum of 2 clouds active -- usually just 1. 18 clouds @ 1/2 speed (16.3 knots). Maximum of 3 clouds active -- usually just 2. 30 clouds @ 3/4 speed (24.3 knots). Maximum of 4 clouds active -- usually just 3. 30 clouds @ 4/4 speed (32.6 knots). Maximum of 4 clouds active -- usually just 3. 31 clouds @ 4/4 speed + signal (34.1 knots). Maximum of 4 clouds active -- usually just 3. The Perth herself cannot make more than 1/4 speed and remain hidden within her smoke. Any ships wishing to enjoy concealment with her have to be right up on her stern. Being more than a ship length back will mean that they may end up being detected intermittently as one cloud dissipates around them as each new cloud is laid down. It's possible for the Perth to provide smoke cover for larger ships by matching their speed as best she can and dropping smoke immediately in front while following their path. This will preclude her from taking advantage of her smoke herself if this requires her to move over 12.5 knots, but it's a tactic worth keeping in mind. Still, I would not expect most of her allies to appreciate the nuances of her smoke and I can foresee the Perth's smoke generator causing friendlies some grief as they try to take advantage of it only to have it disappear around them. Players of the Perth will need to communicate directly, "Make 1/4 speed and follow me close while I lay smoke" to ensure that their team gets the most out of their consumables. I must say I was disappointed to see that her premium camouflage was of the standard type found on tier 6+ ships. While I am hoping that this will be changed before release (and fed such information back to Wargaming), I am not holding my breath. The HMAS Perth counts as a Commonwealth ship and not a British ship, she's useless as a Captain Trainer. To this end, I would have preferred to see some additional effect found on the Perth's camouflage, such as the Anshan's bonus free-experience modifier or even a Captain Training bonus such as the one found on the German Prinz Eugen. Moving at full speed while deploying smoke, the Perth is able to provide concealment for this Gneisenau as she opens fire without the German Battleship having to slow down. Unlike destroyers, she can maintain this level of concealment for over a minute and a half. This can be up to four and a half times longer than normal smoke. This is much easier for a Battleship to remain within than trying to stop suddenly to take advantage of a cloud dropped in her path. With this setup, the Perth can still provide vision for the Gneisenau against enemy Battleships at range without worrying about being seen herself so long as she keeps her guns silent, while protecting her allied BB from return fire. Rivals: vs Nurnberg The German tier 6 cruiser is a DPM monster firing very fast shells with a very flat arc. She has a vicious set of torpedoes reaching only two km less than Perth's. In a straight-up duel, she'll pummel Perth and take home the win. She's about as fast as the Commonwealth ship too, and not that much less agile. Plus, she has a far better range on her guns. The only benefits you have is better concealment, longer range torpedoes, smoke and better agility. So how to fight a Nurnberg in a Perth? Use destroyer tactics. Use concealment. Use islands. Ambush her with your torpedoes. Use your hydroacoustic search to warn you of return torpedo fire. Harass her when she's distracted, then pop smoke sneak off into stealth when she turns her guns on you. Use your longer range torpedoes to funnel her, try to force her to make a mistake. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 102mm, 20mm, 12.7mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km, 2.0km, 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 38 / 7 / 11 Access to Defensive Fire: Not available. There's not a lot of good news here, but let's start with what's available. The Perth has the same dual-purpose 102mm rifles found on the other mid-to-high tier British cruisers. These have some rather nice teeth, being both long ranged (5.0km) and doing a fair amount of DPS per mount (9.5dps). These lack some of the hitting power found on other dual-purpose turrets, such as the American 127mm (15.17dps) or the German 128mm (12.36dps), but they'll do -- especially for a mid tier ship. Where the Perth is let down is the lack of decent medium-caliber AA guns to back this up. Most of the British cruisers will follow up on these 102mm rifles with 40mm Bofors which are a splendid anti-aircraft weapon. But the Perth does not get access to this or even the Vickers 2pdr pom-poms. So while the Perth can deal a good initial slap to enemy aircraft as they wander into range, her umbrella doesn't appreciably increase in damage the closer you get. Overall, this leaves her dangerously vulnerable to enemy aircraft -- particularly dive bombers. She's nimble enough to make attacks by torpedo planes difficult but there's little defense against well aimed dive bombers, especially from ships like the Saipan. Seeing eight Skyraiders angling against you is truly a frightening prospect in the Perth. Keep a wary eye to the skies. You don't have access to Defensive Fire to break up attacks. You're not likely to have a Float Plane Fighter to assist you. If you're caught out by yourself, you deserve what's coming. Rivals: The Belfast Notice how I didn't say 'versus' here, because a Perth versus a Belfast would not be a fair fight. However, many people will compare the two, as both are 'British' premiums, and both are light cruisers. Besides, they're only one tier apart. So on the surface of it they should be comparable, right? Here it's the consumables that define each ship's playstyle and role. Both are 'support ships', yes. But where Belfast is an exemplary destroyer hunter, Perth is less so. She doesn't have radar, limiting her use in that role. Her short gun range is balanced out by the long duration on her scout plane and her hydroacoustic is useful, but she simply doesn't have the tools to counter smoke that Belfast has. Where Belfast is more a ship that pushes aggressively in front of her team and spearheads the advance, Perth is best served escorting larger ships and lending her fire to theirs, giving concealment where necessary. The Perth's worst nightmare: Skyraider Dive Bombers from the USS Saipan. Struck by three bombs, she burns from bow to stern. The Perth has very little in the way of AA defense and enemy carriers should take full advantage of this. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple/ Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low/ Moderate / High / Extreme The HMAS Perth reminds me oh-so much of a French auto-loader from World of Tanks. For those not familiar, these vehicles have, instead of a steady rate of fire, an ammunition drum that allows them to dispense an enormous amount of damage in short order. They then have to suffer through a very long reload timer as the magazine gets replaced. During this time period, they are defenseless. Many players die in this interim, managing only to dispense the 4 to 6 rounds in their first drum before burning up in a greasy fireball. The Perth has a similar affliction. I'm convinced any player will be able to make decent use of her up to and including the duration of her active smoke generator. What will separate the successful players from the non-successful will be how they play the Perth during this cool down period when they have no smoke and the enemies want them dead. If they have over extended and didn't plan an extraction path, they'll be stuck with the 10,000 to 30,000 damage they managed while their smoke was up and then get sent back to port. Maybe they'll get a flag capture in. Maybe they'll take out an enemy destroyer or get lucky with their first drop of torpedoes. But it won't be consistent. For those that plan ahead, the sky becomes the limit. This is the real trick with this vessel. She has a rather high skill ceiling. She can be used to support friendlies so long as you're daring and sociable. Her torpedoes give her the chance to do some frightening damage against enemy capital ships and she's a very real threat to enemy destroyers. As the teams thin out, the Perth becomes more viable, especially if she's still got her consumables handy. Her stealth rating provides all sorts of advantages, allowing her to ninja caps and support friendlies without being spotted in return. Her smoke can allow her to dictate who gets seen and when. Finally there are her ammunition choices. Earning Witherer medals isn't beyond the scope of the Perth with clever use and combinations of her single-fire torpedoes and high explosive shells. The Lertbox Perth is an escort ship. Not a ship to fight others in a straight gun fight in. She doesn't have the super AP that Leander gets, she doesn't have the radar and volume of fire that Belfast gets, she doesn't have the raw DPM that Nurnberg gets or the alpha smash and speed that Molotov gets. What she does have are solid but unremarkable guns, solid but unremarkable speed, solid but unremarkable torpedoes and a very interesting smoke screen. If you're okay with letting other people have the limelight and supporting your team from the shadows, there are worse alternatives than Perth. But she's not a good ship for glory-hounds, and her carrying potential is limited. She's not a bad ship, just not a very remarkable one with big shiny features. Mouse's Summary: The Perth is a squid. She squirts all of the ink. She's a challenging ship to use to influence the game. While she can remain hidden, her offensive power is a bit lacking outside of her beautiful torpedoes barring recklessness on the part of the enemy. As a support ship, she can selflessly use her smoke to cover larger ships without them having to slow down for well over a minute. Coordinating with team mates is key. This can be quite powerful when used correctly but may be outside the scope of pick up matches in Random Battle games. The Perth is super squishy against anything outside of enemy destroyers and some light cruisers. You're not going to win duels if you trade blows. Let's get to the meat of the matter: The Perth is going to be a difficult ship to love -- which is weird, because I liked the Leander when I played her. While delighted to see the British Commonwealth represented in the game (and hoping this means the HMAS Australia and HMCS Haida are on the horizon) I am very frustrated to see that British Captains cannot be trained on this vessel. I held my breath and hoped to see some further motivator applied to her camouflage to make the Perth an immediate must-have such as bonus credit earning or experience gains -- you know, something to buff her appeal. There wasn't anything during testing. When I asked my contacts at Wargaming, they didn't believe that there would be any immediate alternative camouflages when she was released. So take that into consideration. Game play in the Perth didn't enamour me early on either. On the surface, the Perth doesn't have a lot of teeth. She only has the eight guns and that mediocre AP and HE fire from the Belfast. Well, maybe that's not fair: I do love her torpedoes. While they don't have the range or hitting power of the IJN, they are something nice and I really missed having those when I played the Belfast. Success in the Perth comes down to proper management of your consumables. Assuming you're using premium consumables (and you'll want to use premium consumables), you've got 1 minute and 40 seconds of concealment from smoke with a 2 minutes and 40 seconds of down time while it resets. Use this time to open up the range and then activate your spotter aircraft. This will provide you with 3 minutes to continue dropping shots on target. Wiggle your tush to dodge any return fire if you can't get out to stealth range. Once this cools off, you'll be once again ready to use smoke for another minute and 40 seconds worth of killing. Your plane will be back online in 4 minutes. So you'll want to yo-yo between medium-close to medium-long range to take advantage of your consumables and keep your weapon systems active while avoiding reprisals. It's kind of a fun dance to do when you're doing it right. But misstep and everything goes to poop. The Perth isn't like the HMS Belfast where you're absolutely dominant against one particular class. She's not as good of a destroyer hunter, though she is capable enough in the right hands. She's certainly got sufficient DPM to put the hurt on any underage ship that lets her within 7km. But like the Belfast, the Perth really begins to struggle when facing other light cruisers or heavier ships. Then it becomes absolutely necessary to properly cycle smoke, especially if you can't get off an ambush with your fish. Where she really shines is when you can coordinate with one of your team mates, preferably in another cruiser and let them make use of your smoke while you do the same. A simple message like, "My smoke's ready. Slow to 1/4 and keep within 0.5km of my stern," is usually enough to allow another player to take full advantage. Teamwork is OP in World of Warships after all. So what's all this mean? Is the Perth a bad ship? Well, no. She can perform. She can support. You're just going to have to work harder at it than say, the Molotov or Belfast. She's not going to be an easy ship to recommend though. One of the neat side effects of the Perth's smoke is that it ships begin sailing in close formation to take advantage of it. This ends up looking really cool. Here, the Perth leads a Fiji-class cruiser as they engage enemy Battleships without being spotted in return. Would I Recommend? The Perth is a difficult ship to recommend because it's pretty unforgiving. I maintain that anyone should be able to do some damage, maybe even sink a ship on occasion in her so long as they use their smoke consumable properly. She's going to frustrate a lot of opponents who don't anticipate her continuing to move when her smoke is laid down instead of puffing a couple of clouds and parking stationary within it. How players manage the transition between smoke clouds with largely determine their success rate. Those who like the Leander will probably enjoy the different take on the same class that is the Perth. I had a great time testing this ship. ForRandom Battle Grinding: Mouse: Eh, no. First and foremost, the Perth cannot be used as a trainer short of her own dedicated Captain. There are no other Commonwealth ships. In addition, she's premium consumable-hungry. I can't stress enough the importance of taking at least two, maybe even all four slots as premium versions, so this will eat into her credit earning potential. So for credit earning and captain training, she gets two strikes.When it comes to earning experience or completing missions, my feelings are mixed. My damage totals usually sat between 40,000 and 90,000 in the Perth. I only managed a single 2000+ base experience game, with most sitting between 1,100 and 1,300 on a win. This often wasn't enough to top the team roster on the results screen. To be fair, I did win far more than I lost. Still, I would pass on her specifically for those interested in finding a ship to grind for experience, training, credits, signals or mission rewards. Lert: No. There are other ships out there with better characteristics for grinding. She can't train British captains, her credit earning potential is on par with other tier 6 ships and she doesn't earn more XP than them either. Zoup: For me, I can't imagine myself using this ship too often in battles. In many ways, its quite similar to the Atlanta. Sadly, its not a lower tiered version of the Atlanta because it lacks the fire-starting capabilities of the Atlanta, along with the rate of fire. I enjoy the Atlanta despite its shortcomings and lack of range. The lack of range for the Perth hinders it significantly, in my opinion and at Tier 6, the Molotov offers a much better premium option than the Perth. For Competitive Gaming: Mouse: Let me be honest: there are better ships for this. She doesn't have great hitting power short of taking advantage of the bumbling incompetence of your enemies. And while the Perth can be used as a support vessel, it's of a very limited fashion. She'll be forever vulnerable to dive bombers and she's super squishy. Her smoke, while amazing, kind of makes her a one-trick pony. You have to risk a lot to get the Perth to perform and any competitive team will punish you for the slightest misstep.Lert: I would say no. Her mediocre speed, low gun range and lack of primary firepower hold her back in a way that a decent set of torpedoes and interesting smoke can't really balance out. Zoup: I could possibly see the Perth being used in competitive gaming as a high risk high reward ship for capturing points. It's torpedoes have the range to provide denial of swaths of sea and if DDs wander to close, it will give them a bad day. The problem is once its spotted, if any large ships focus fire, the Perth won't last long. Highly skilled players will likely make use of the Perth in ranked, but I doubt it will be a go-to ship. For Collectors: Mouse: Hells yeah. Commonwealth represent! Lert: It's the first Commonwealth ship in the game, and worth nabbing for that reason alone. Time wil tell what other Commonwealth ships will eventually make it into the game. She's also a storied ship, having fought at Java Sea and survived, only to be torpedoed and sunk at Sunda Strait. Zoup: I think the ship is collectable. It's the first Aussie ship in the game and has a very noted history to it. With that, it meets the criteria for a collector ship. There is a market for it. More so than some of the previous premiums, like the Lo Yang. Though popular, I doubt the Lo Yang was purchased for its service history. So yes, I think the Perth will be collected. For Fun Factor: Mouse: I really had a lot of fun in this ship. I think it was because it prompted some of my team mates to work in close support with one another to make use of her wonky smoke. But that stayed with me. There was also the fun of using torpedoes and fires to really put the hurt on enemies. Yeah, it was a blast. Of course, I do like the Atlanta, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt. If you enjoyed the Leander? The Perth will suit you. If you didn't? Best to steer clear. Lert: Maybe? She's a support ship, not a glory-hound. She does a thankless job, and is adequate at it. If this is something that appeals to you, then yes. Perth won't let you down. Zoup: Meh. It's not great, but it's not bad. It can be fun, but it's not always fun. It's nice having a lot of smoke, and you can shred ships that get too close. However, it works both ways, and ships will shred you as well. Like I mentioned earlier, this is a risk and reward ship. You have to be deliberate. If you are playing too deliberate, you aren't having as much fun as you could be. The Leander with the Perth off her rear port quarter. These two ships share many similar characteristics but the differences in their ammunition is the most telling. They work very well in support of one another, shortening the window in which they have no cover from smoke. Outfitting your Perth Recommended Modules The Perth has four module upgrade slots. Given her poor AA values, there's not much point in trying to prop it up. This leaves a single, optimal build for the Perth. For your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is your best choice. From experience, I can say that she loses weapon mounts frequently. I had my torpedo tubes destroyed several times and my guns temporarily knocked out regularly. Alternatively, if you're horrified by the possibility of being detonated, Magazine Modification 1 will help you considerably. I was not detonated in my test games with the Perth but you never know... For the second slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 provides its usual benefits. This is less useful on a cruiser than a Battleship, however. A good alternative is Main Battery Modification 2. This accelerates her turret rotation by almost a full degree per second at the cost of her reload speed. As the Perth will be throwing herself about often in order to dodge fire, this can help keep guns on target. For your third slot, as ever, Damage Control System Modification 1 is the only really vaguely decent one. Hint-hint, Wargaming. For the fourth slot, take Steering Gears Modification 2. This will improve your rudder shift time from 7.6s down to 6.1s. As the Perth is rarely (if ever) stationary, this depreciates the value of Propulsion Modification 2 so I would avoid it. Recommended ConsumablesThe Perth can be a very premium-consumable hungry vessel. The merits of taking a premium Damage Control Party are pretty self evident. You don't have a lot of hit points to spare and even a single fire can eat away at far too much of that precious health (especially if there are dive bombers hunting you). Taking a premium version of her Smoke Generator is also a pretty obvious move. This increases the charges from 2 to 3. More importantly, this reduces the reset timer from 4 minutes down to 2 minutes and 40 seconds, which is huge.Of the other two consumables, it's a little more open ended. To keep the Perth's guns singing at range, it may be worthwhile upgrading her Spotter Aircraft to reduce the reset timer from a punitive 6 minutes down to 4. This will allow you to easily use it three times within a match as opposed to just twice. On most other ships I couldn't recommend this with a straight face, but on the Perth? It's quite valuable. I would avoid taking a Float Plane Fighter of any description. You'll need the extra range well over the small boost to AA defense the fighter might provide. Lastly, there's Hydroacoustic Search. This is a very situational consumable so you can probably afford just the standard version if you find your credit costs are running high. The premium version reduces the reset timer from 3 minutes down to 2 minutes. Recommended Captain Skills The choices for the Perth's Captain Skills are fairly straightforward. As she's the only ship within her own nationality (go, Commonwealth!), you don't have to worry about these skills pairing up nicely for an alternate vessel. From the first tier, it's actually difficult to recommend Basic Fire Training because of her poor AA values. Still, this does provide a little bit of help and it's certainly the strongest choice at this tier. This will provide a boost to her secondaries too and the Perth does end up in sub 5km fights often enough. From the second tier, both Expert Marksman and Last Stand have a lot of value. The latter is obvious enough -- your engine and steering gears are almost as vulnerable in the Perth as they would be in a destroyer. The former provides a 10% boost to your turret rotation speed, changing a 180' rotation from 25.7s down to 23.4s. This really helps given how much you'll be throwing the ship about. If you've taken Main Battery Modification 2, this will combine to reduce her turret rotation to 20.6s for a 180' turn or 8.74' per second. From tier three, grab Superintendent right away. This provides an extra charge of your Smoke Generator. Note that you should keep an eye on your play style before taking this skill. If you're using the premium consumable already and not running out on your matches, then there's no point on taking this. Alternatively, Vigilance is a great skill for helping spot torpedoes early. At tier four, Demolition Expert is wonderful. This will increase your chances to start fires from 9% to 12% per shell. Beauty! And finally, at tier 5, Concealment Expert is the most valuable. This will reduce your surface detection range from 9.8km down to 8.6km. Keep in mind this will not allow you to stealth fire either your torpedoes or your main battery from open water. Alternatively, Jack of All Trades is interesting because it reduces the reset timer on your Smoke Generator, from 2 minutes and 40s with premium to 2 minutes and 16 seconds. For more articles in this series, please visit: LittleWhiteMouse's Mega Ship Review Guide A special thank you to NikoPower for providing access to the Perth, PigeonofWar for answering my questions and to Lert and Zoup for their contributions to the article. Also, a big thanks for the support offered by KJar, Argh_My_Liver, EroSun, MagisterAurelius and "Large Handsome Dog" (you know who you are). They helped keep me sane while trucking through the writing process. Lastly, a very special thanks to AfroSquirrel for that one game we ended up together in testing that was super fun to play.
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.