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Found 56 results

  1. The following is a review of Brandenburg, the tier VIII premium German battleship, was sponsored by my patrons on Patreon who helped me afford this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.11.4. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. The purpose of this review is to support the players, not the company behind the product. Isn't Brandenburg just a better Odin? That was my initial thought when I heard Brandenburg's announcement. I appreciated that they were different animals, with Brandenburg being derived from concept work leading to the Bismarck-class. However, it's hard not to see parallels between the two. I was worried that Brandenburg would make her obsolete. Then I remembered that Odin was already obsolete upon release and stopped feeling bad. WELCOME TO MY REVIEW OF BRANDENBURG! ♫ I started this review on March 20th, 2022. I had a lot of tier VIII battleships in my backlog, so I was using Atlântico's upcoming (at the time) release this as an excuse to try and clear out some of these neglected vessels. My usual turn around time for a review is about two weeks so long as I do absolutely nothing else during that time period. Updating my tier VIII battleship database would speed up the review process for subsequent ships by a few days. With this in mind, I was certain I could get a couple out before unlocking Atlântico. Brandenburg was the first one up and I planned to queue up Borodino and Constellation afterwards. It was going to be a hellish six weeks, sure, but knocking out four reviews in that time would be so worth it, at least so long as nothing went wrong. And oh boy did things go wrong. I got immediately sidetracked by projects like: ... pointing out all of the bad copy in Wargaming's premium shop and Armory. ... working on that AA catalogue I started back in January. ... putting time in to work on some related art projects with @Chobittsu. ... continuing to play with submarine damage models and depth charge mechanics. ... surviving COVID. So ... yeah, it's been a trip. I'm terrible at planning. I set myself some outrageous goals that don't allow for any leeway should things go wrong. I then proceed to beat myself up for not being able to fold space and time itself to meet said deadlines. Before we get started... You're going to notice a slight change with some of the graphs in this review. I experimented with trying to cut down the bloat that's ever increasing in World of Warships. There are thirty-one tier VIII battleships in World of Warships presently with more on the way. Rather give everyone eye-strain trying to compare them all in individual graphics, I cut things down to the tech tree battleships plus the other German premiums. This reduces the count down from thirty-one to twelve which is a lot more manageable. Now I'm not entirely happy with this and I recognize the flaws. For one, it shapes impressions. A given premium might stack really well against the tech tree ships but still be a poor offering compared to its peers. For another, these graphics have proven to me to be a quite helpful snapshot about the meta at a given point in time. Missing data points will make that harder to track in the future. Finally, it feels like I'm wussing out. I'm sure I could make thirty-one data points fit, gosh darn it, if I just tried a little harder! Oh well, what's done is done. Just thought you all should know. Please leave me some feedback on your thoughts and ideas. PROS Dispersed, heavy armour scheme and full icebreaker bow. Thick turtleback citadel. Good gun handling. Surprising accuracy for a twelve-gun armament with 1.8 sigma. Powerful secondary battery with improved accuracy, good fire arcs, long range and 1/4 HE penetration. Good top speed of 32.5 knots and fast rate of turn. She has torpedoes! CONS Small hit point pool for a tier VIII battleship which also compromises healing. Poor anti-torpedo protection. Short ranged at 18.5km. APPALLING FIRE ANGLES. [edited] ME, THEY'RE BAD. Small calibre AP shells lack overmatch potential and penetration. Unlike most other high-tier German battleships, she lacks Hydroacoustic Search. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme What happens when you take a brawling battleship, give it bad guns and chain it to a small hit point pool? You get a YOLO disaster waiting to happen again and again and again. Brandenburg is a bad battleship for inexperienced players. Her guns seem trollishly designed to punish new players. Her bad AP performance and her bad fire angles force inexperienced players to flash their broadsides and get themselves killed. Without a big hit point pool, they die in a hurry. The only bit of saving grace here is that at least she comes with a German battleship protection scheme, but even that seems flawed. This thing is fast too, so it's easy to over-extend and get sent back to port for being the easiest thing to shoot at. Experienced players can do a bit of flexing with Brandenburg, showing off their in-game knowledge on where it's best to change up ammo, how to optimize her with commander skills and when and how to brawl. I'm not saying she's going to be a successful ship because of this -- Brandenburg, like a lot of 2021 ship releases, punishes players for trying to play her as designed. It's just that an expert player can get a bit more out of her. Options Nothing too surprising here, other than what's missing. Brandenburg doesn't have access to Hydroacoustic Search. Otherwise, you'll have to choose whether or not to specialize in brawling, but that's an easy choice to make. If you want to win, you'll avoid brawling. If you want to be cool, brawling is the only acceptable answer. Now, you're not some kind of sensible LOSER, are you!? Options Brandenburg's Damage Control Party is perfectly normal for most battleships. It comes with unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. It's active for 15 seconds. In slot two, you get a standard Repair Party for a battleship. It heals back up to 14% of the ship's health over 28 seconds, queuing 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It has an 80s reset timer and starts with four charges. In Brandenburg's third slot, it's choice time with either a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The Spotter Aircraft comes with four charges, increases her main battery range by 20% for 100s and has a 240s reset timer. Her Catapult Fighter launches 3 aircraft which stay on station, orbiting the ship at a range of 3km for 60s. It comes with three charges and has a 90s reset timer. Upgrades Let's go down the list! Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Damage Control System Modification 1 goes into slot two. It's choice time. If you're cool, you'll take Secondary Battery Modification 1. If you're smart, you'll take Aiming Systems Modification 1 instead. You're not one of those smart people are you? Let's hope not. Damage Control System Modification 2 is the better choice at slot four. You can take Steering Gears Modification 1 if you prefer, just be aware that fires are going to hurt all the more. And because I know you're super cool, you're going to compromise your fire setting in the commander skills section in order to build for secondaries, right?2 Finally, grab Concealment System Modification 1 because Wargaming still hasn't gotten around to giving us a competitive alternative in slot five, making it a non-decision for most ships. It's just a dumb 2M credit tax at this point. Commander Skills There are obviously two commander skill builds I'll champion. The first is the basic survivability build. Memes aside, this is hands down the optimal build for Brandenburg as it emphasizes fire resistance. But that's boring. A brawling build for Brandenburg plays up to the novelties (and stereotypes) of the German battleship line. As a less than optimal build, there's a lot more leeway on what you pick and choose for your backup skills -- the idea being that you're already compromising on optimization, so you may as well just try out some fun and weird combinations. Still, the general idea is to emphasize your secondary strengths. Beyond the obvious Manual Secondary Battery Aiming and Long Range Secondary Battery Shells you want to look at grabbing either Demolition Expert or Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (or both). The latter-most skill is contentious given that it compromises the fire setting of your entire armament. It's really only worthwhile if you intend to throw Brandenburg into brawls on the regular with high-tier battleships (though it does help with high tier cruisers too, especially with amidship hits). So you may want to hold off on IFHE. Boooooring. Tasty! Camouflage Brandenburg was sold with two camouflage options, Type 10 and German Eagle. They provide identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. This is the only screenshot I took of Brandenburg's German Eagle camouflage and it's terrible (the screenshot, not the camouflage). The camo was only available in a bundle when the ship was initially sold and I have not seen it made available since. I didn't pick it up at the time and it seems I've missed out. Brandenburg's base Type 10 camouflage is a striking black, white and grey. It's quite handsome. I am not a fan of the alternative palette for her Type 10 camouflage. You can unlock this via completing portions of the German Navy Collection under your Profile tab. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 305mm/56 guns in in 4x3 turrets with an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Twelve 150mm/55 guns in 6x2 turrets and twenty 105mm/65 guns in 10x2 turrets. The large calibre guns are set on the main deck with the 105mm guns superfiring on one deck higher. The secondaries are divided evenly down each side. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers mounted behind the funnel on either side of the ship. Brandenburg has crappy guns, but she gets a lot of them and they're reasonably accurate. Gun Calibre, Penetration & Reload Time Brandenburg has small calibre guns for a high-tier battleship. Her 305mm weapons are the same as those found on Odin. For 305mm guns, her shells have good ballistics and penetration, but that's only for a 305mm gun. You're not contesting battleship belt armour at battleship engagement distances with her AP rounds, for example. You're also missing out on overmatching anything greater than 19mm with her AP rounds. Her individual hits aren't particularly powerful and her HE shells suffer from the usual German affliction of dealing less damage per hit than similar shells of their calibre. It's the quantity of shot that's supposed to make up for all of this, but even here, Wargaming pulled their punches. This is a recycled graphic pulled from my Odin review. Odin and Brandenburg have identical AP penetration performance. These numbers are approximate and pulled from wowsft.com. Brandenburg's AP penetration isn't great. She largely loses the ability to contest battleship belt armour outside of 12km if there's even a bit of angling going on. You want to throw AP shells as much as possible with Brandenburg, even against soft targets. Unlike other nations, her anemic HE shell damage is so much lower than her AP shells that they're only competitive when her HE is guaranteed to deal full penetrating damage. If a target has been partially saturated, her overpenetrating AP rounds will put out more hurt. This limits the optimal use of HE rounds to the following situations: (1) Against targets you cannot hurt at all with AP. (2) You're trying to start fires. Even against submarines at periscope depth, Brandenburg's AP will deal more damage. The only catch here is that Brandenburg's AP shells just don't have the bite needed to work against heavy armour. So you're forced to HE and suck up the damage disparity. Allow me to elaborate. For the longest time, I have held that 30 seconds is the standard reload time of battleship guns. This isn't necessarily true, but it's been an unspoken standard for a number years. So much so, that you could safely predict that any new battleship being added to the game would have it. Wargaming has begun to deviate from this standard. This largely began with the Soviet battleship line. Where once the odd ship with a weird reload added a little variety to a tech tree line, we're seeing slow or faster reloads defining and entire swathe of releases. Still, I find myself trained to look for a 30 second reload on any new battleship Wargaming adds. When the number is greater or lesser, it shapes my perception of its intended performance. For ships to match the 30 second reload output with a smaller armament (be it number of guns or smaller in calibre), I expect to see a faster reload. If an armament is especially large or hard hitting, then I expect to see a slower. So let's look at where Brandenburg's armament and reload sits: 22.5 seconds - Zieten with 3x2 406mm 23.0 seconds - Odin with 3x3 305mm 25.0 seconds - Famous & Historical Monarch with 3x3 381mm, Vanguard with 4x2 381mm 26.0 seconds - Bismarck & Tirpitz with 4x2 380mm 26.5 seconds - Brandenburg with 4x3 305mm 28.0 seconds - Gascogne with 2x4 380mm 28.6 seconds - Chamapgne with 2x3 406mm 30.0 seconds - Amagi & Kii with 5x2 410mm, North Carolina, Alabama & Massachusetts with 3x3 406mm, Constellation with 4x2 406mm, Richelieu with 2x4 380mm, Roma & AL Littorio with 3x3 381mm and Atlântico with 5x2 381mm 31.0 seconds - Borodino with 2x3 406mm 33.0 seconds - Ignis Purgatio & Ragnarok with 5x2 410mm, Vladivostok & Lenin with 3x3 406mm, Flandre with 3x3 380mm 34.0 seconds - Vittorio Veneto with 3x3 381mm 40.0 seconds - Kansas with 4x3 406mm This looks reasonably competitive, at least until you account for all of the flaws with her shells. I'm still balking that they didn't give Odin the same 20 second reload as Scharnhorst and Brandenburg's 26.5 second reload feels like more of the same mistreatment. Brandenburg isn't a particularly hard-hitting ship. Or rather, her guns just don't scale well against higher tiered targets and other battleships. Overall, her 26.5 second reload time isn't a flaw, per se, but it's not a strength either. It seems carefully measured to ensure she's reliant upon her other weapon systems. More on that later. Brandenburg's potential AP DPM looks great. But this doesn't account for the woes of dispersion, penetration, firing angles, auto-ricochet checks, etc. The POTENTIAL is there, sure, provided you've got an opponent willing to make things easy for you. Short of picking on lower-tiered cruisers or inside of brawling scenarios, the potential is difficult to realize. Like most German battleships, her HE shell DPM falls off the rails. I'd like to make a big deal about her improved HE penetration but Brandenburg's 76mm penetration just isn't impressive when compared to the 68mm being tossed around by most of the American, Soviet and Japanese battleships at this tier. So yeah, Brandenburg has good HE penetration for a 305mm armed battleship but that's only for a 305mm armed battleship. When stacked against the 406mm guns or the 1/4 HE penetrating 380mm/381mm guns from the Royal Navy and other German ships (and nevermind the Italian SAP shells), Brandenburg's HE looks crappy. It would be a struggle to call any of the tier VIII battleships "good" fire starters. King George V is pretty much the gold-standard of this for mid-tier battleships and she comes out just shy of 10 fires per minute before you account for things like accuracy (cut that number down to a third) and fire resistance (reduce it again to two thirds its initial value). Once reality sets in, you're looking at about two to three fires per minute for KGV. Apply the same approximates to Brandenburg and you come out at nearly two. This is probably the most reliable way for her to attempt to stack damage against enemy battleships. But unlike the British, don't expect a whole lot of direct damage to accompany Brandenburg's HE spam. There are tricks to make these guns work. HE spam is one such way. Your direct damage numbers will suffer, sure, but they won't suffer as badly if you simply stuck to AP rounds the whole time. You can try the whole "aim higher" with AP, hoping to bullseye the upper hull and superstructure of enemy battleships at range, but dispersion will troll you outside of near brawling ranges, so that's not entirely reliable. Brandenburg's guns are just not fun to use and you have to overcompensate a whole heck of a lot to get those numbers to stack. Gun Handling & Accuracy While Brandenburg's reload time is only ever going to be decent, her accuracy isn't as bad as I was expecting for a twelve-gun armed ship. 1.8 sigma isn't terrible. In fact, for a ship with as many guns as she has, it's higher than I thought it would be. Coupled with American battleship dispersion and a twelve-gun broadside, she isn't as likely to get trolled by RNG(eebus) as ships with fewer guns or worse sigma. This ultimately comes down to feels -- Brandenburg's salvos feel reasonably accurate even if their dispersion describes her as being only average. It's rare that a well aimed shot isn't going to yield at least a handful of hits. Brandenburg is good at putting warheads on foreheads at least so long as you ensure that all twelve guns are firing. And this is the other issue -- getting all of those guns firing. And maybe this helps explain some of my gripes with her reload. Brandenburg's arcs are HORRIBLE. For those unaware, I have a bias against crappy firing angles. Outside of PVE situations, Brandenburg when she fires all twelve of her guns. She's unable to angle correctly against return fire while doing so, which opens her up to taking some pretty bad hits in return. As you'll see in the Durability section, Brandenburg doesn't have a lot of hit points and she cannot afford to trade them away for the modest returns another six guns bring. Without a fast(er) reload on her guns and without good firing angles, her DPM suffers appreciably. So that paper DPM value shown before falls even further into the toilet. One of my standard dispersion tests. This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso bot. Brandenburg is using Aiming System Modification 1, while the Fuso is completely stock and without camo. Shots are coming in from right to left with the Fuso effectively bow tanking. At 1.8 sigma and German dispersion, Brandenburg's gunnery feels "average", at least until you remember she has twelve guns and a quick(ish) reload. Volume of fire lends a sense of accuracy all on its own and Brandenburg ends up feeling more accurate than she actually is, even with a full secondary build. The HORROR. Main Battery Gun Summary Brandenburg has crappy guns, but she gets a lot of them and they're reasonably accurate. I wish I could say she had good fire angles or that they reloaded fast enough for that not to matter, but they don't. I found these guns to be incredibly frustrating to use, especially when facing same tier or higher opponents. The AP doesn't hit hard enough. And even when you do land some good hits that don't ricochet or shatter, they just don't do enough damage. Every time I reached for HE, it felt like I was giving up and begging for fires that usually didn't come. Brandenburg's gunnery takes a long time to stack appreciable damage. Brawling battleships are cool It's a good thing she's a brawler. She's designed to supplement her damage by creeping into secondary range (where possible) and spraying enemy ships down with a torrent of cruiser and destroyer-calibre HE. Up close, the deficiencies of her 305mm AP penetration falls away too and they become a lot more threatening. She's fully capable of blowing out the machine spaces of any enemy battleship with a vulnerable citadel and her twelve gun broadside ensures that it will hurt. The threat of her torpedoes makes even other heavy weight brawlers take notice. This is where she belongs. This is where she demands respect. And for a German battleship, her secondaries are contenders for the best out of all of them with better firing angles and more DPM and FPM than most. Combined with improved German secondary accuracy, 1/4 HE penetration and more guns than other German battleships, Brandenburg has some of the best brawling armaments at her tier. Check it out: Some notes to keep in mind: Massachusetts, Atlântico and Brandenburg have the same DPM when brawling, kiting or firing broadside. Zieten has the same DPM when brawling or kiting. Before you get too excited and run out and buy a Flandre or Kii, I remind you that DPM charts are not the be-all, end all. The majority of Flandre's damage comes from 100mm secondaries that only have 17mm of penetration and no improved accuracy (Gascogne has this same problem). A lack of improved accuracy also plagues Kii on top of having only a range that caps out at just shy of 10km with all buffs. Brandenburg combines good range, good penetration and good potential damage on top of solid firing arcs. She's the total package. The only thing we could ask for more would be a further improvement on her already improved "German" secondary accuracy or upgrading her 105mm to 128mm like Odin so that she can pen battleships without needing IFHE. Spreadsheets are not cool So Brandenburg has better secondaries than the other tier VIII German battleships, right? That's what the numbers say? Good, cuz I couldn't tell. Seriously, this is one of those cases where my notes on how a ship felt to play did not reflect the data I collected afterwards. I should explain -- my process for writing these reviews is to play the ship, take notes while doing so and then as questions come up, look at the ship's stats to try and understand where the feels are coming from. At no point in my play testing of Brandenburg did her secondaries stand out in any appreciable way from other German battleships I've played. I seriously thought her secondaries were bog-standard for a German brawler. It was only as I put together the graphics for this section that I said "wait, hold up" -- she has more DPM and better fire angles? Huh! So why didn't it come up? You'd think counting an extra pair of 105mm would have tipped me off. While I was conscious of them, they weren't anything to get terribly excited about. I liken it to the extra 100m Odin has on her secondary range. It's nice but it's not game changing. It was the same case for her firing angles. They're good, sure, and better than most of the other German battleships. But there's still that ugly deadzone straight ahead. Ultimately, this blasé attitude says a lot about how situational brawling is. In PVP, good brawls are so uncommon that they're an event when they finally happen. Thus, it's hard to get a good sense of value out of a secondary armament. This goes double when you've invested in them so heavily between skills, upgrades and consumables. And this is what it came down to: Brandenburg's secondaries didn't feel appreciably better than those of Tirpitz or Odin. So it was hard to care about them when the awesome experiences just didn't happen. So yeah, Brandenburg has good secondaries. But as far as I'm concerned, that trait is shared by all other German battleships so it's not a stand-out feature, so don't look at me singing Brandenburg's praises for her secondary potential as a selling feature of this ship over other German premiums. They all perform very much alike in this regard -- their potential is there, but it's so terribly situational. The pain and suffering that went into making this. Brandenburg was originally launched with bugged, asymmetrical secondary arcs on her forward-most 105mm guns. Those on her starboard side could fire up to 20º off her stern while the port side could only fire 30º off her stern. I've highlighted this difference with the two arrows in the graphic above. This was corrected with patch 0.11.4 with her port side now mirroring her starboard side (they can both shoot 20º off her stern now). Brandenburg's secondary arcs are okay. They're not great. At least she can bring all of her weapons the bear 30º off either her bow or stern, so you can use those to help ensure you're auto-ricochet safe in a brawl. I was going to ramble on about her torpedoes, but I think I can just summarize them here. Brandenburg's fish are short ranged but pack a comfortable punch, perfect for delivering a crippling blow in a brawl. The four she launches per side will not guarantee a kill on an enemy battleship unless they're already mauled, so keep that in mind. Her fire arcs are decent, able to launch 30º off her bow and just over that off her stern for a total of a 119º firing arc per side. Like other German battleships, her torpedoes are pretty fragile and have a habit of getting destroyed if she takes a lot of HE fire, so make sure they're still operable before committing to a joust. Summary Brandenburg may have crappy guns but she has good secondaries backed by short-range torpedoes. Firepower wise, she sucks if you can't get her into a brawl. If you can, Brandenburg's numbers jump tremendously. While you can all but guarantee this each and every time you take her out to a Co-Op battle, it's harder to ensure in PVP. I don't rate Brandenburg's firepower very highly. It's alright. When the stars align, it can be good. But you're setting yourself up for disappointment in PVP outside of those rare games where your enemies make the mistake of letting you brawl. VERDICT: Situational. Unreliable. Inconsistent. Durability Hit Points: 58,800 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 145mm / 50mm to 80mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 350mm belt plus 110mm to 120mm turtleback plus 45mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 23% Third from the bottom. A German juggernaut Brandenburg is not. Remember how players made a big stink about Odin's lack of health? Well, if you weren't around at the time, Odin was largely panned by the community for her tiny (52,800) hit point pool. Brandenburg has just 6,000 more. That's not a lot. That's like two more penetrating hits from battleship AP, and given Brandenburg's crappy fire angles, those penetrating hits are coming sooner rather than later. Brandenburg's hit point pool would be dead average for a tier VII battleship. And that's bad. That's very bad. Thus, Brandenburg suffers a lot of the same problems as Odin -- namely, not having enough HP left over to successful brawl when the opportunity finally arises in the mid to late game. Brawls always cost HP. Brawls can cost a lot of HP. And if you've already bled a lot of your initial health, it can be hella disheartening to not have the staying power to actually enjoy a good scrap. What might have been a game winning situation is now just a spiteful act of defiance before you're sent back to port. Even setting brawling aside, with the teething problems of her main battery guns, Brandenburg is just plain bad at trading. She doesn't have the health to spare to exchange body blows. This is partially mitigated by what appears to be a traditional German battleship protection scheme. Brandenburg has dispersed armour, including a full length 60mm icebreaker bow, thick upper hull and deck armour that will troll most HE (and some SAP!) thrown her way. This just leaves her (admittedly huge) superstructure and the tiniest portions of her bow and stern vulnerable and makes her largely proof against AP shells when angled. As for her citadel? I have ... mixed feelings... about Brandenburg's citadel protection. It's geometry is weird. It comes to a narrow point towards the bow. This creates some odd angles reminiscent of Yamato's octagonal citadel -- Brandenburg has similar "cheeks" that can theoretically yield citadel hits even when the ship is angled. Now, ostensibly, her turtleback should mitigate this. Unfortunately, I took a massive double-citadel hit early on when testing Brandenburg. Granted, these came from long range fire and double-granted, it was my fault for flashing that much side in the first place (gawd, I hate her firing angles). But given the tiers at which Brandenburg operates, most of what's going to be thrown at you from other battleships will be at long range so I got incredibly gun-shy after this. I couldn't play Brandenburg with the same confidence I could with other German premiums. I fully accept that this could have been an exception; an anecdote that biased me towards keeping a sharp eye out for repeat occurrences in a way I might not have otherwise fussed over. But it's definitely coloured my experiences. I'm aware that the odd citadel hit can (and do) happen with other German battleships so I dunno why this one shook me up as much as it did. I blame her fire angles. I'm always going to scapegoat her fire angles. Brandenburg feels squishy for a German battleship and I don't like that. Brandenburg has a dispersed armour scheme and odd citadel geometry I'm still torn if the latter is a blessing or curse.. Her citadel's 180mm tip is very thin. Combined with her icebreaker bow, this ship is incredibly difficult to citadel directly from the front when perfectly nosed in. However, that same tapering tip does make her more vulnerable when angled, in a similar manner to Yamato's infamous "cheeks" (though nowhere near to that extreme). Losing 25,000 health in a single salvo and these aren't even citadel hits. VERDICT: Squishier than her pedigree would otherwise suggest. Agility Top Speed: 32.5 knots Turning Radius: 820 meters Rudder Shift Time: 15.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.6º/s at 24.3kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 6.0º/s Brandenburg (8) joins the SoDak-twins (2), Constellation (10) and Champagne (12) as one of the best turning ships at this tier. This is largely thanks to her high top speed. Brandenburg has a great top speed, a decent (but not good) turning circle radius and a rudder shift time on the poor side of average. These latter traits obfuscate what is, in fact, a quite agile vessel as far as battleships go. Speed corrects a lot of issues with agility, especially when they're only held back by "average" values elsewhere. Brandenburg's good top speed and modest turning circle radius translates to one of the best rates of turn for not only the tier VIII battleships, but most battleships in the game. Let's talk more about speed. It is a tremendous advantage. Not only does it allow you to get where you need to be faster, a greater range of speed makes it harder for opponents to properly guess your ship's momentum and lead appropriately. It also allows for a greater degree of control while kiting opponents which is arguably one of the most effective solo damage-farming techniques in the game. Being able to control engagement distances is a duel-winning strategy (though not necessarily a match winning one). In one game I managed to run down not one but two destroyers that strayed too close. Despite fleeing after being lit, they were unable to open up enough distance to get themselves out of spotting range before my secondaries chewed them to bits. Brandenburg's speed ostensibly makes it easier for her to commit to a brawl and use her secondaries and torpedoes, though there's a catch here. While speed is powerful, it can also be dangerous. If you're not careful, you can find yourself over-extending and making yourself an easy target for enemy focus fire. It's important to temper Brandenburg's potential with caution. She doesn't have a lot of health and it doesn't last long under concerted enemy attention. Mind that throttle. Vary your course and speed and beware blind corners. Please keep in mind that I'm comparing Brandenburg's agility to other tier VIII battleships and battleships as a whole. Brandenburg's handling still sucks compared to a cruiser. She does not compare well to Warspite's handling either. You're not going to be able to juke incoming fire or easily thread the needle and dance to torpedo beats. Finally, you can forget about Just Dodging™ air strikes. Still, Brandenburg's handling is very comfy. Good marks here. VERDICT: One of the best at her tier. Under attack from a Kagero and an Asashio. It's a losing battle from the start, but Brandenburg's agility at least frustrated the two destroyers, completely avoiding four salvos before finally being taken down by a fifth. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 6 + 2 explosions for 1,400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.2km. Long Ranged (up to 5.2km): 192.5 dps at 75% accuracy (144dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km): 511dps at 70% accuracy (358dps) DPS Aura Ranges Total DPS by Range Effective Damage vs 186.2knot Aircraft Alright, let me try and talk about this without being snarky or going on a huge rant. Some facts: Brandenburg's large calibre AA is short ranged at only 5.2km. Brandenburg has the best AA values among all of the tier VIII German battleships. In terms of effective sustained AA DPS, Brandenburg sits just behind Kansas and slightly ahead of Kii, putting her solidly in the upper third for sustained damage output among tier VIII battleships. She generates a lot of flak for a tier VIII battleship, though not enough to make her stand out. The individual hits from her flak are fairly average for a tier VIII battleship. Because of her short main battery gun range, she is unlikely to be using a Catapult Fighter over her Spotter Aircraft. She does not have access to Defensive AA Fire, not no tier VIII battleship has that presently. Where my snark and rants will stem comes from the fact that as good as this all looks on paper, it's not enough to keep her safe. A hale and whole Brandenburg is an inconvenient target for tier VI carriers as the attrition rates will erode their hangar capacity eventually. Against higher tiered carriers, short of them obliging you by faceplanting into flak bursts repeatedly, Brandenburg cannot inflict casualties quickly enough to compromise their hangar capacity, never mind stop individual strikes. Her presence will not dissuade a CV on her own and owing to her short range, she is not a particularly good asset to help protect others. As such, when she is not top tier, she is a ready victim to air attack. She might pad her experience and credits earned with some air kills, but you cannot trust Brandenburg's AA defences to do anything to protect the ship in the current meta. And that's really all AA is for as far as surface ships are concerned: printing credits and xp in compensation for letting CVs have their way with you. VERDICT: Brandenburg is better at squeezing out rewards for being [edited]-slapped by aircraft than most at her tier. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.2km / 12.73km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 11.22km / 9.09km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 12.78km Maximum Firing Range: 18.46km Hydroacoustic Search. Bismarck has it. Odin has it. Zieten has it. Tirpitz (and her clone) does not. Neither does Brandenburg. This consumable has increased value as Wargaming works towards completing submarines in World of Warships. This comes not only for the ability to spot incoming torpedoes but also for detecting submarines that might be lurking nearby. German secondaries are excellent anti-submarine weapons provided their target is spotted and can be shot at. The general inaccuracy of these weapons isn't nearly as much of a problem as it is against destroyers when shells only have to land nearby to score damage. Thus lacking a Hydroacoustic Search is notable. As far as surface detection goes, Brandenburg's alright. She just barely manages to squeak into the top third within her matchmaking with her concealment. It's neither a tremendous help nor a significant hindrance. It's comfortable enough to be a non issue for most game play though you'll be hard pressed to turn it into a reliable advantage. Given her relative fragility compared to other German battleships, I would have preferred her to be a bit more sneaky, but as it is, her concealment is workable. I feel her lack of a Hydroacoustic Search more than whatever is going on with her surface detection. If I've counted, calculated and transcribed everything correctly (and I'm almost certain I have not), Brandenburg sits tied for 39th out of 110 battleships within her current matchmaking. This is sorted by columns, so 1-37 in the first column, then 38 to 75 in the second, 76 to 110 in the third column. VERDICT: Meh. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike from 0.5km to 10km (plus part of the bomb drop column) Number of Salvos: 2 Reload Time: 30 seconds Aircraft: Two Blohm & Voss BV 138C with 2,000hp each Drop Pattern: 3 bombs each dropped evenly over 1.1km column Maximum Bomb Damage: 2,800 Fire Chance: 21% Bomb Blast Radius: 300m Submarine game play is still ever changing. This section largely serves as a snapshot of how ASW worked at the time this article was published. No doubt further changes will occur before submarines get finalized. That said, Brandenburg and tier VIII German battleships in general have the best anti-submarine warfare load-out of their peers presently. Bismarck, Zieten and Odin sit at the top of the pile, combining the best air-dropped depth charges with great secondaries and Hydroacoustic Search to mitigate the influence submarines have on their game play. Brandenburg and Tirpitz have to make do without the consumable to spot fish and occasionally help sniff out subs. Now this doesn't make any of the German battleships good submarine hunters by any means -- it just means they're the best equipped battleships at their tier to fight back against submarines should they be called upon to do it. I've spent some time mapping out depth charge pattersn -- both from ships and aircraft and I'll probably publish an article a little later showing the coverage at a particular tier. VERDICT: She has the best battleship launched air strike at her tier combined with good secondaries. U-190 got too close to Brandenburg and pays the price. Final Evaluation I like Odin better than Brandenburg and I like Scharnhorst better than Odin. I think that sums up my feels about these "large cruiser" armed battleships. Short of dusting off snowflakes or whatever I'm required to test in the future, I'm not taking Brandenburg out. I don't like her guns. That's really all there is to it. Why would I want to play a ship where my primary way of interacting in the game is such a miserable experience? I mean it's a doubled-stacked turd sandwich with bad gun performance and bad fire angles. Blech. Brandenburg is just Odin-Two. The biggest difference between them is that Odin has Hydroacoustic Search and Brandenburg has more guns. There are other differences than that obviously. Brandenburg has more guns, more secondaries with better firing arcs but worse penetration. Brandenburg is faster and has better AA power and just enough more HP to fool you into thinking she might be a better experience overall. Odin is more stealthy and her guns fire faster and with much more comfortable gun laying. So pick your poison. I'm not convinced either ship is worthwhile. My honeymoon period with Odin has long since past -- as I feared in my review of her years ago, once her torpedoes became common knowledge and players became more familiar with her gimmicks, success became increasingly volatile. That volatility is alive and well with Brandenburg's game play too. It's that same feast-or-famine that so many brawling battleships struggle. It's hard to appreciate a vessel whose fortunes are so closely tied not only to what tiers matchmaker places you in but what kinds of ship you end up facing. The presence of a single carrier or a glut of torpedo boats or a brace of submarines and Brandenburg faces an uphill battle. And like most tier VIII premium battleships, facing tier Xs is never comfortable. Still, if you can manage to get her into brawls and win those scraps, her performance is fantastic. How frequently you can make that happen will dictate your success in this ship. If you can't tell, I couldn't make that happen often enough to put a smile on my face. So no thank you, Mister Brandenburg, you are not the ship for me. Of course, all of these complaints apply only to PVP game modes. In Co-Op, Brandenburg is a thug. Her guns still suck butts in there, unable to overmatch as the bots suicide charge, but at least her secondaries and fish can rip them open and help pad her numbers. Brawling in that game mode is guaranteed, so her success is all but guaranteed. Still, if you're going to buy a tier VIII German premium battleship, just buy Tirpitz. In Conclusion This one ballooned out of control. I spent way too much time fussing over getting a better understanding of AA and ASW mechanics that sidetracked me down several week-long exploratory tangents. I mean, I'm happy that I understand ASW and AA much better than I did at the onset and it's nice to be able to put into context how Brandenburg (and other future ships) will slot into this developing meta. But stack on some other projects and RL issues and the content drought really bugged me. I dunno which ship I'm going to review after this. I'm kind of "battleshippped out" at the moment. Maybe I'll poke Maya. We'll see. Speaking of other projects, you may have noticed that I changed avatars in my graphics. @Chobittsu did a wonderful job putting together this cute Fantasy Dwarf ship's captain per my request. Animating a bouncy version of her as a forum avatar is one of many things on my to-do list. Thank you all for reading and thank you so much for your continued support. ♥
  2. Hey all, Recently started up a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKRhs69P1wojb-JKVz7jLPg) which features weekly videos with my opinion on the ships I'm playing and some commentary (both the good and bad) of my gameplay. I'll add a post with each new video, so please scroll to the end for the latest iteration. This week's video features a game in the Tier V Hawkins. So come on over to watch me make some boneheaded plays and talk out of my aft porthole! Thanks and happy sailing! Caffeinicus
  3. The following is a review of Cheshire, the tier VIII British heavy cruiser. This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes. To the best of my knowledge, the performance and statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.3.1. Please be aware that the ship may change in the future. Quick Summary: A stealthy, but terribly squishy British heavy cruiser with a small battery of powerful 234mm guns. PROS AP shells can overmatch 16mm worth of armour, including the extremities of many lower-tier cruisers and destroyers. Good AP penetration and improved auto-ricochet angles. Excellent HE penetration, capable of directly damaging most battleship decks. Good gun handling with 10º/s gun rotation rate. Excellent AA firepower. No, really. Yeah, I'm surprised too. Stealthy, with a surface detection as low as 9.5km. British "portable dry dock" Repair Party, healing up to 40% of her health per charge before modifiers. CONS Only six main battery guns, greatly reducing her alpha-strike and DPM. Her "stepped" citadel presents a shell-trap for large caliber battleship AP shells. Only modest gun fire angles, leaves her vulnerable to return fire from AP shells. Mediocre range on main battery guns for so vulnerable a ship. Torpedoes are short ranged at 8km. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual/ CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme This ship doesn't do anyone any favours, new players least of all. Like the tier VII Pensacola of years prior, Cheshire is a lemon that will punish you for simply choosing to shoot your guns at the wrong time. As players become more familiar with the foibles of the British heavies, Cheshire (and her sister Albemarle) will become primary targets for the farming of easy Devastating Strike medals. For veterans, as appealing as the on-paper potential for this ship appears, in practice she's just too fragile to really feel worthwhile. You can do better in almost any other ship where skills like angling, island use, etc will serve you much better. Options Consumables There's nothing much out of the ordinary here short of her god-tier healing potion. Keep in mind that all consumables will be the premium version soon so I'm just listing those values. Cheshire's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with a 60s reset timer. It's active for 5 seconds and has unlimited charges. Her Repair Party heals back up to 40% of her health base per charge over 20 seconds. She starts with two charges with a reset timer of 80s. You have the choice between two consumables in her last slot. Both consumables start with three charges base. Her Defensive AA Fire is active for 40s, increasing sustained DPS by 50% and explosion damage by 300%. It has an 80s reset timer. Her Hydroacoustic Search is active for 100s. It detects torpedoes at 3.5km and ships at 5km. It has a 120s reset timer. Upgrades Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. In your second slot, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is optimal if you can afford it. Obviously this dictates that you'll be eschewing using Defensive AA Fire but that's okay. This will set you back 17,000 Coal . Otherwise, default to Engine Room Protection. Aiming System Modification 1 is really the only upgrade worth taking in slot three. You have a choice in slot 4 depending on how you like to play. If you prefer island humping, then Propulsion System Modification 1 is preferable to improve your acceleration from a standstill. Otherwise, Steering Gears Modification 1 is your best bet. ER MAH GERD choice in slot 5!? Well, it's not really. Concealment System Modification 1 is still optimal. But, for the sake of argument, let's look at Ship Consumables Modification 1 and how it affects her consumables: With this, her Damage Control Party will now last 5.5 seconds. Yawn. Cheshire's Hydroacoustic Search will increase from 100s to 110s (or to 132s if you have Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 installed). This is nice. It's not game changing, but it's nice. Her Defensive AA Fire increases from 40s to 44s ... which doesn't really help. The duration of Defensive AA Fire was never the issue, but rather the damage it does. And here's the juicy bit: Her Repair Party adds another 2 ticks worth of healing -- or between 4% and 4.8% of her total health depending on if you're using the India Delta signal or not. This amounts to an additional 1,700 to 2,040hp per charge used with an upper maximum of 6,120 additional hp with three charges blown. So, is that worth giving up Concealment System Modification 1? Heck no. But Ship Consumables Modification 1 isn't terrible. It's just that Concealment System Modification 1 is (still) too damn good. Captain Skills Cheshire isn't a very skill-hungry boat. For the first 10 skill points, take the usual suspects. Your choice of a tier 1 skill -- I prefer Priority Target to let me know when my doom is nigh. Adrenaline Rush is optimal at tier 2. Through my play-testing, I used Superintendent as my skill of choice at tier 3, thinking I would get to make use of my Repair Party's extra heal. And to no one's surprise, Concealment Expert rounds things off at tier 4. Pick and choose your favourites for your remaining points. Camouflage Cheshire has two camouflage options: Type 10 and Victorian White camouflage. They both provide identical bonuses: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% experience earned. I do like the camouflage schemes for Cheshire. She's a nice looking ship. Firepower Main Battery: Six 234mm/50 guns in 3x2 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondaries: Sixteen 113mm/45 guns in 8x2 turrets with four mounted each side in superfiring forward and rear positions. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2×4 launchers with one on each side mounted in the hull beneath the first funnel. Celebratory Pew-Pews Let's start with Cheshire's secondaries because they're largely forgettable. They are decent for cruiser secondaries. However, given that Wargaming has yet to implement any cruiser with kick-butt secondaries 'decent' doesn't matter. At least they have 19mm of penetration, so they're capable of directly damaging anything she faces. Their high rate of fire does spit out a lot of shells. But without phenomenal range or improved accuracy, they're just window dressing. I did kill a Dallas with one, so that was fun. The muzzle blasts off of Cheshire's guns are huge. Are 234mm guns worthwhile? This is the big question at the core of not only Cheshire's worth, but her higher-tiered sisters as well. What's the big deal with large-caliber guns on a cruiser? What can they do that faster-firing (or more plentiful) 203mm guns can't? What are their drawbacks? And finally, are they any good? In theory, a larger caliber gun provides inherent benefits over its smaller brethren. These include higher penetration values for both HE and AP shells, including energy retention over distance (which factors both into penetration and ballistics). In addition, the shells will individually cause more damage and have a higher chance of starting fires. The final benefit is that depending on the size of the shells, it's possible for their AP rounds to overmatch key armour values, ignoring ricochet mechanics. These benefits are typically off-set by a smaller number of barrels, a larger dispersion area, a slower rate of fire and worse gun handling. In summary, larger guns make it more likely that individual hits will cause significant damage but with fewer hits overall compared to smaller-caliber guns. Whether or not this exchange is worthwhile depends upon just how much these guns gain versus how much they surrender. For the sake of Cheshire's 234mm caliber weapons, we have a direct same-tier analogue to compare them to in the form of Albemarle's 203mm armament. Alpha versus DPM You would think that larger caliber guns, though fewer in number, would allow you to deliver more devastating volleys. The idea being that while you might not shoot as often, the fewer salvos hit harder. I wish that were the case. Let's take Albemarle vs Cheshire as an example. Citadel Penetrations (AP): 40,500 Albemarle vs 34,500 Cheshire Citadel Penetration (HE): 29,700 Albemarle vs 23,100 Cheshire Penetration (AP): 13,365 Albemarle vs 11,385 Cheshire Penetration (HE): 9,801 Albemarle vs 7,623 Cheshire Yeah, so that's a wash. A small bump up in gun caliber size does not provide an advantage in damage output on anything but a per-shell basis. So the increased shell damage does not make up for a three-gun deficit (though in theory it could make up for a two-gun deficit). Understandably, with a slower reload, the gap only opens up further. And it's not like Cheshire's reload is particularly slow either. Let me be clear, one of her gimmicks is the accelerated reload on her main battery guns. Drake and Goliath, using the same weapons, have a base reload time of 18 seconds. This can be modified down on these ships with the use of Main Battery Modification 3, providing them with a 15.8 second reload. Cheshire, meanwhile, boasts a 12.5s reload timer which is amazing -- this is a half second faster than Albemarle. So if there's any benefit to be found here, it has to be on how easily it is to make those shells deal damage rather than the damage potential itself. Cheshire's raw damage output values suck, so every hit needs to count. A cruiser with only six heavy guns has crappy DPM. Who knew? AP Performance Cheshire's AP shells are pretty good at ensuring they deal damage compared to 203mm AP shells found on Albemarle. I say 'pretty good' and not 'great'. There are three factors where they hold an advantage over her counterpart. She has high penetration. She has improved auto-ricochet angles. She has overmatch potential against a key structural armour value. ] Cheshire has Baltimore's AP penetration values with Japanese 203mm ballistics. Note that while Cheshire does have slightly improved auto-ricochet angles, they are not on par with Baltimore's. Her AP shells feel less effective overall because of this, even though they have about the same punch over distance. British 234mm AP shells have higher penetration than 203mm guns -- enough that it matters, but not so much where it's an advantage except at very close ranges. Like with HE shells, AP penetration values are important when they cross various functional thresholds -- like being enough to citadel cruisers at very long ranges or having enough to penetrate battleship belt armour at specific distances. Cheshire (and British 234mm guns in general) are capable of both of these things. Albemarle struggles but can still manage the former and is generally unable to do the latter. Understandably, this provides Cheshire with a bit more utility out of her AP shells -- at least in theory. That theory is much harder to put into practice. Punching through battleship belt armour is only possible at suicidal ranges -- well within 7km. At such distances, you're better suited to making use of her torpedoes rather than relying on the bite of her AP shells. I suppose every little bit helps, especially given that not all cruisers are capable of doing so. At least against cruisers, her AP shells are much more reliable, with enough extra penetration to contend with the relative increase in armour thickness due to angling. Of course, this only works up to a point. Curiously, Cheshire's 234mm AP shells have slightly improved auto-ricochet angles, though only slightly -- Cheshire's AP shells automatically ricochet at an angle of 65º instead of 60º though the chance for it to happen still starts at 45º. This runs contrary to the 234mm AP shells found on Goliath and Drake -- so it's something special found only on Cheshire. So it's less likely that Cheshire's shells will slide off before getting a chance to punch in, but only slightly. For example, 203mm AP shells normally have a 50/50 chance of ricocheting at 52º or so. That doesn't happen to Cheshire until about 55º. This a far cry from the American auto-ricochet angles, which on Baltimore run from 60º to 67.5º, This keeps Cheshire's AP from being a universal shell. Still, there are some targets that even angling against Cheshire will not avail them. Her AP shells can overmatch 16mm hull sections; an important armour threshold being found on the extremities and hulls of tier VI and VII heavy cruisers and tier VIII+ very light cruisers. It's also the armour value found tier VI and VII destroyer hull forms, providing the 234mm AP shells a whole range of targets where they need not wait for perfect broadsides in order to be effective. So that's kinda nice, if a bit of a niche superpower that 203mm AP shells can't pull off themselves. I did get a chance to put it to good effect against a Dallas in a brawl during playtesting which was nice -- he couldn't angle against me while I was able to smash shells down the length of his hull even when he angled. But that was one time in all of my play-testing. Matchmaking was part to blame in this -- being continually up-tiered meant that there were fewer targets where Cheshire's overmatch could be used, but even seeing an opponent I could overmatch didn't guarantee that I would have an opportunity to do so. These three elements make Cheshire's AP shells more useful than the AP shells of Albemarle though they don't stray into the potency of American Piercing shells which can be used a lot more often. So British 234mm AP shells are "more gooder" than Albemarle's 203mm AP shells, but I'd argue they're not good enough to make up for that alpha / DPM disparity. HE Performance The big numbers to concern ourselves with here are the thresholds needed to directly damage various parts of tier VIII+ battleships. These thresholds are: 1.) Their extremities (32mm) 2.) The upper hull and amidship deck of British & French battleships (32mm) 3.) The amidships deck of American battleships (38mm), 4.) The amidships deck of German battleships 50mm 4.) The amidships deck of Japanese battleships (57mm) 5.) The amidships deck of Soviet battleships (60mm). There is one thing, and one thing only to get excited over in regards to Cheshire's HE performance and that's her improved HE penetration. Cheshire has 59mm of base HE penetration as opposed to the 39mm she would be expected to have. This crosses an important (albeit, not crucial) threshold, allowing her to directly damage the amidship decks of many battleships along with the infamous extended armoured prows of Soviet ships. This, to me, creates a target preference for Cheshire . Specifically, she's better suited to hammering any vessel with extensive deck armour which includes most high-tier battleships (with the exception of the French and British) than most 203mm armed heavy cruisers. Cheshire is capable of stacking direct damage here where other cruisers will have their damage partially mitigated by shells that stray onto these thicker armoured sections. As nice as this is for Cheshire, it's a bit of a booby prize. While it does allow her to damage a wider variety of targets, when it comes to that DPM disparity mentioned previously, this advantage only comes into play in those select circumstances. HE penetration is a binary after all -- you can either penetrate or your shells shatter. There's no advantage to having more than you need. There's no point to Cheshire's 59mm of HE penetration when she's shooting up a destroyer or light cruiser. Thus, the only way her 234mm HE shells keep up with Albemarle's 203mm guns is through farming damage off of select battleships. That's really it. I've included the FPM of heavy cruisers using IFHE for the sake of comparison when trying to encroach upon Cheshire's massive penetration values (don't do this, it's silly). Overall, Cheshire is not a bad fire starter for a heavy cruiser. She's not great, mind you,but she's not bad. Cheshire may single fire her torpedoes like other British ships which is nice. I wish she had more range. These weapons are nice and hard hitting and could have done a lot to pad her mediocre gun DPM. But are they worth it? Heck no. Look, 234mm guns aren't terrible but short of pounding high-tier battleships with HE, Cheshire's main battery firepower offers nothing worthwhile. They didn't stand up to a direct comparison to Albemarle's guns and they're no rock stars, so where does that leave these things? Well, not in a good place. This isn't a ship that kills anything quickly, and that can be a real problem if she doesn't have the longevity to farm meaningful damage. To me, this means that the ship better have some miracle or gimmicks buried in the hull itself in order to make it worthwhile. Sadly, these don't materialize in her weapon systems. While Cheshire's six-guns are definitely a hurdle to overcome, I lay a lot of the blame with this ship's performance on her range. Her 16.1km main battery reach and her 8km range on her torpedoes makes maximizing Cheshire's firepower difficult. As you'll see in later sections regarding this ship, she just doesn't stand up to return fire. More range would have provided her with at least the semblance of being able to dodge. At 17.5km or more, I think I would have felt a lot more comfortable in this ship. 10km fish wouldn't have hurt either. In short, Cheshire's firepower is just plain bad. Her main battery guns can't keep up. Her torpedoes are too short ranged to be used in any role save that of desperation and cruiser secondaries are (still) not worth it. Like London, Cheshire's fire arcs aren't particularly good but at least they're consistent. For those wondering, "good" entails being able to fire 30º off the long axis of the ship, allowing the ship to fire while still giving her the best chance to take advantage of auto-ricochet mechanics. Still, Cheshire's 10º/s gun traverse is sexy. Verdict: Awful because she only has six guns. Also her torpedoes are too short ranged, but mostly because she only has six guns. Defense Hit Points: 42,500 Minimum Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm extremities with 30mm plating and deck amidships. Maximum Citadel Protection: 152mm belt armour Torpedo Damage Reduction: 19% With Cheshire's firepower woes, I was really (REALLY) hoping for some miracles in regards to her durability. I was an early optimist until I started playing this damn thing. Lemme show you why: [ Cheshire is a certified chungus. Look at that. Big healthy heals and a pretty chunky hit point pool to boot. Awesome! There's a whole lot to love here -- namely that Repair Party isn't a universal upgrade at tier VIII and just having one is a pretty solid advantage. Having a British "portable drydock" which heals back up to 40% of the ship's health per charge is amazing. In theory, Cheshire is built to outlast most of her contemporaries, which should largely make up for any deficits in her firepower. In theory. Cheshire's 30mm deck stands out -- normally tier VIII heavy cruisers only have 27mm thick decks. This does provide some benefits against small caliber HE shells from destroyers and overmatch protection against battleship caliber AP shells smaller than 429mm. That all falls apart when you realize that her protection scheme is a joke. Her citadel is specifically designed to maximize the number of citadel hits she takes -- I wish I was kidding. It's nigh impossible to angle Cheshire successfully against battleship fire of 380mm caliber or greater. Every incoming salvo is potentially world ending. She practically prints Devastating Strike medals for enemy battleships if they catch her out in the open, which means the best protection she could hope for is a big ol' rock to hide behind. The guilty party here is Cheshire's "stepped" citadel. Not only does this section sit up significantly higher (and let's keep in mind, the rest of Cheshire's citadel already peeks over the waterline), but the upright angles ensure that battleship caliber shells that are slamming down the length of the ship will still smack against the citadel if they're aimed high. Furthermore, it creates a weak point where ships capable of overmatching her 27mm upper hull can STILL dunk shots into her citadel when she's steeply angled where as other cruisers could at least content themselves that their belt armour will keep out the worst of it. And, while Cheshire does have some hull sections that can ricochet up to 381mm AP shells, her soft bow and stern provide openings that even these will get through. This isn't a problem unique to Cheshire, it's shared by Albemarle and to a lesser degree by Goliath. But spreading the pain doesn't make this any more acceptable. Kiting and dodging in open water a fool's errand -- any shots that come in are potentially lethal. When Cheshire is top tier, on the rare occasions where she's facing 356mm armed battleships (or smaller), surprise-surprise, she becomes a little monster. But banking on that kind of Matchmaking is a fool's errand for a tier VIII cruiser. I'm no stranger to playing squishy cruisers, but I'm used to there being some trade-off for it. Maybe the ship has excellent firepower. Maybe her consumables are amazing. Maybe she has excellent agility and speed to facilitate dodging. Maybe her Repair Party could come off cooldown very quickly? I dunno, I would expect something for all of Cheshire's woes. So here's the bad news. That 'hump' of Cheshire's stepped citadel is her Achilles' heel. It's too easy to hit and it makes angling in this ship next to impossible against high penetration AP shells. Oh, those thick citadel decks will also guarantee that AP bombs wreck you thoroughly. Verdict: Her Repair Party is amazing. Too bad she can't survive long enough to take advantage of it. Agility Top Speed: 34kts Turning Radius: 720m Rudder Shift Time: 10.5s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.8º/s On the whole, I have to give Cheshire decent marks here. Her top speed is respectable for a cruiser. Her turning radius isn't horrible. Her rate of turn is acceptable. The only real glaring flaw is her rudder shift time and even that's not irredeemable. Don't get me wrong, she could certainly be better -- but she's not terrible. The only thing that I wish she had was better acceleration, especially given her love of island-humping. That can be partially corrected by taking Propulsion Modification 1 but that would preclude her from fixing her rudder shift time with Steering Gears Modification 1. I certainly value the former over the latter given the current meta. Given Cheshire's firepower and durability problems, "respectable" agility just doesn't cut it. In of itself, Cheshire's agility would be fine for a heavy cruiser -- even good, but with everything else stacked against this ship, it's just not enough. I would kill for her to have British light cruiser improved engine power -- to make taking shelter behind islands easier or to facilitate dodging. I would love it if she was even two knots faster, to make running down destroyers or dodging in open water feel a bit more viable, but it's just not there. Man, I've gotten to re-use this graphic three times now. All the time saved makes me very happy. VERDICT: She's not terrible, but she doesn't stand out here in a good or bad way. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 7 explosions for 1,470 damage per blast Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 168dps at 90% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 2.5km): 228dps at 90% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 249dps at 85% accuracy Cheshire has some truly monstrous levels of AA firepower -- it's enough to grant her near immunity to tier VI carriers. This, of course, translates to merely inconveniencing tier VIII and X aircraft carriers. Cheshire will shoot down a lot of planes. Given that she's not starved for commander skill points, you could even go so far as to spend a few towards boosting her AA performance further if you were so inclined. This ship has to be good at something, after all. With apologies (still) to the colour-blind. Cheshire has arguably the best AA firepower of any tier VIII vessel. Unless it was show-stopping levels of air-defense, you couldn't sell me a premium based on its AA firpower, though. Verdict: Really good. Like, "make tier VI carriers cry" levels of good. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.1km/9.51km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 7.51km/6.08km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 7.5km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.1km Cheshire has good surface detection values. They're not great, but they're good. Any cruiser capable of dropping their concealment below the 10km range is really nice and I can't complain here at all about Cheshire's concealment values. Had this been paired with benefits anywhere else, such as agility, durability, firepower, good consumables, etc, I would probably be singing this ship's praises, but here we are. Cheshire doesn't interact well with smoke -- her 7.5km detection range when opening fire is scarcely better than her improved surface detection so she can't dare follow destroyers in to take advantage of their advanced smoke screens. Again, this further relegates this ship to humping islands and hoping against hope that she's an unappealing target. Verdict: Good, but not enough to save the ship. Final Evaluation I'm not going to mince words here. I hate this ship. I hate playing it. I'm glad this review is over. I'm not touching it again until Wargaming does something to improve her lot. Cheshire offers nothing, nothing of value. Her 234mm guns with their improved HE penetration could have been a very interesting armament but their performance stops well short of that mark. This ship needs more range, more agility and/or a faster reload before I would consider her to be a worthwhile investment. Even in co-op battles, while it's certainly possible to do well, you're not really gaining anything over taking out Albemarle instead. Yes, you might be able to get a few more HE penetrations on high-tier battleships, but you could get the same if you just stuck to peppering superstructures or the bows with 203mm guns. While overmatching the snoots of charging tier VI and VII bot-cruisers with AP shells is entertaining, it's not worth the price paid to acquire this ship. I'm sorry I didn't get this review out sooner. Keep well clear of this failure. Conclusion Reviewing Cheshire has been really taxing. My enjoyment of World of Warships was severely compromised with having to keep coming back to this damn thing. It's bad enough to play a bad ship, but it makes every little frustration just that much more poignant. Anyway, it's over, finally. I'm going to go do something else for a bit to recharge my batteries.
  4. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Repulse

    The following review of Repulse, the tier VI premium British battleship, was sponsored by my patrons on Patreon who helped me afford this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as patch 0.10.11. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. I've had my head down for over a month, working on a handful of projects (including, but not limited to tier VIII submarines, tier VI carriers and updating my databases). However, even I've noticed the growing hype surrounding HMS Repulse and it's prompted me to throw this together. There's good reason that Repulse is creating a lot of noise. I played the Hell out of her back earlier this year when she was in testing. She was a monster then. She's a monster now. To be clear, Wargaming has nerfed her since I was testing her. The following changes were made: Her reload time was nerfed from 26 seconds to 27 seconds. Engine Boost's speed increase dropped from 15% down to 10% down to 8% (from ~36.5 knots down to it's current ~34.3 knots when the consumable is active) Her main battery rotation rate was buffed from 3.33º/s to 6º/s. Having taken her out again (yes, I whaled all the way up to Marlborough for this review -- thank you, patrons!), this hasn't been enough to tone Repulse down. And, as this review will detail, I'm expecting her to receive another round of nerfs once the population at large gets a hold of her. For those tempted to throw money at guaranteeing getting a hold of her, this may be reason for caution. No one wants a ship they spent time and money on to get nerfed out from under them. So, let's get stuck in on why I see Repulse as being a potential problem vessel that Wargaming will have to reign in with future patches. Quick Summary: A soft-skinned battlecruiser (with surprisingly trollish durability) that has incredible speed and accuracy. PROS Long ranged with a 19.76km reach which can be further boosted with a Spotter Aircraft. She uses Graf Spee (battlecruiser) dispersion combined with 2.0 sigma, giving her excellent accuracy. Her 381mm guns can overmatch up to 26mm of armour with AP shells. Her 381mm guns have 95mm of HE penetration. Decent fire angles and good gun handling. Fast reload at 27 seconds. VERY fast with a top speed of 31.7 knots. Has access to an Engine Boost consumable. Her Repair Party queues up 60%/33% of penetration/citadel damage. CONS Soft skinned structurally, with only 16mm of extremity armour (!) Thin belt of only 229mm. Main battery is only six guns which makes RNG feel more punitive. Only modest AP penetration and inability to overmatch 27mm+ hull sections. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower. Enormous turning circle radius of 860m. Only three charges base on her Repair Party. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Repulse's appeal for new players is the simplicity of her main battery firepower. Her guns are long ranged and accurate. Her ammunition choices are simplified too, with newer players able to spam either AP or HE and generate reasonable results (though AP is preferred). The two strikes against her for inexperienced players are her speed (which can get her into trouble with over-extending) and her soft protection scheme. These will both spake people who like to play aggressively. However, a cautious player won't struggle overmuch with either one of these problems. For veterans, Repulse is a kiting-daemon. You have the speed. You have the stealth. You have the range. You have the accuracy. You have the overmatch. Play keep away and farm damage like a boss. Options Repulse's consumables stand out while the rest is fairly standard. Consumables Her Damage Control Party doesn't have anything unusual about it and is normal for a British battleship. It is active for 15 seconds and it has an 80 second reset timer. It has unlimited charges. It's her Repair Party which is unusual. While it does heal up to the standard 14% of her starting HP over 28 seconds (with an 80 second reset timer), like other British battleship, it queues up to 60% of penetration damage received instead of the usual 50% for most other nations. In addition, Repulse queues up to 33% of citadel damage too. However, unlike most battleships, Repulse only starts with three charges instead of four. We go back to normalcy with her Spotter Aircraft. This increases her range by 20% (up to 23.71km) for 100 seconds. It has a 240 second reset timer and it comes with four charges. Finally, she gets access to a unique Engine Boost consumable. This provides an 8% speed increase for 180 seconds with only a 90 second reset timer. Repulse comes with three charges. Upgrades Start your upgrades with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next up, if you can afford it you should definitely grab Engine Boost Modification 1 from the Armory for 17,000 . This increases the action time of your Engine Boost consumable from 180 seconds to a whopping 234 seconds. If you can't, default to Damage Control System Modification 1. Aiming System Modification 1 is the only upgrade worth considering in slot three. In slot four, you have the choice. Because of her vulnerability to fires, Damage Control System Modification 1 is arguably optimal. However, expert players may want to swap that out for Steering Gears Modification 1 to help with kiting at very long ranges. Commander Skills I wish I could tell you that it was worth having a unique commander for Repulse, if only to make things more interesting. However, you really can't go wrong with a standard battleship build that you're going to use for the British battleship tech tree line. It should look something like this: You're not going to need Grease the Gears given Repulse's very fast turret traverse, so I suppose that's kinda nice. But given that you probably picked it up to help with some of the awful traverse rates found on the rest of the Royal Navy line, it's not the end of the world. I much prefer Priority Target, but that's a personal bias. Camouflage Repulse comes with two camouflages, Type 10 and Snows and Stars. These are cosmetic swaps of one another with the following stats: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. Her basic Type 10 camouflage. If this looks familiar, it's because the devs gave it to HMS Hood for some reason. You can unlock this palette swap of her Type 10 camouflage by completing part of the "Naval Aviation" collection. The Snow and Stars camouflage is pretty terrible. Firepower Main Battery: 3x2 381mm/45 guns in an A-B-X superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Fifteen 102mm/45 guns with nine in 3x3 turrets with a pair straddling the first funnel and the final one superfiring over X-turret and then six single guns with three to each side. Let me get Repulse's secondaries out of the way first: They're terrible. She doesn't have enough of them, they're not accurate and they don't hit especially hard. The only thing decent about them is their range. Do not sink any upgrades, signals or skills into these things. Moving on. Repulse has some of the best, tier VI battleship main battery firepower. Here's why: Battlecruiser Dispersion + 2.0 sigma Nearly 20km worth of range 27 second reload 381mm AP shells with 26mm overmatching 95mm of HE penetration Good gun fire angles with 6º/s gun rotation But she only has six guns, Mouse, you might say. And you're correct to be wary of small gun armaments on battleships. Having only six guns means that Repulse has smaller alpha strike potential and lower DPM than her contemporaries (even with her faster reload time). This spills over to her fire-chance as well, making her one of the worst at her tier. One of the less appreciate drawbacks of smaller main battery armaments is that RNG feels more punitive with fewer guns. When firing with larger broadsides, having a pair of shells scatter wide is annoying but less impactful than it is for Repulse where every shell counts. The quality of her individual hits is an issue too. Repulse does not boast the high-performance Royal Navy HE shells, but rather a chimaera that uses the more modest baseline stats from HMS Hood (lower damage, lower fire chance) yet maintains the 1/4 HE penetration from Queen Elizabeth (95mm of penetration instead of 64mm). So her HE alpha strikes aren't terribly impressive and she's a poor fire starter. Repulse's HE would be largely forgettable were it not for the issues with her AP rounds which will force you to still use HE on occasion. Though the Royal Navy 381mm AP shells are capable of overmatching most targets up to tier VII, that doesn't quite reach the 27mm+ threshold found on many higher-tiered cruisers and battleships. Additionally, their penetration values are only good at medium to close-range and they're largely incapble of dealing with battleship belt armour at distances in excess of 14km. This complicates Repulse's gunnery if you're looking to maximize its efficiency, requiring that you aim more carefully, choose the correct ammunition and pick your targets. Thus, when Repulse is top-tier on those smaller, claustrophobic maps, her guns (specifically her AP shells) are much more impressive. When bottom tier, their efficiency falls away. Yet conscious of these drawbacks, the only other guns at tier VI I'd rather have are the 406mm off West Virginia '41 and I only say that by the slimmest of margins. Repulse's guns are hella-comfortable to use. Aim well, and you'll hit what you shoot at. Pick the correct ammo and aim at the right hull locations and you'll see consistent damage. What's more, between the ship's gun handling, long range and high speed, these guns are excellent for over-the-shoulder kiting, taking steady bites out of your opponents. Woe betide the cruiser that flashes broadside to Repulse up to (and including 20km) ranges. She can (and will) punish careless players spectacularly. Graphic dump time! Here's the bad news. In terms of raw numbers, Repulse's six guns just don't cut it, even with their faster reload. This doesn't tell the whole story though. You have to keep shell performance (penetration, overmatch) and accuracy in mind. Andrea Doria is the only tier VI battleship using SAP on the right graph. It's the same news when you look at her fire setting potential. It's not great but her accuracy helps ensure she gets more hits than these raw numbers would otherwise indicate. Royal Navy 381mm AP penetration obviously improves as you climb the tiers, but it's not exactly an impressive round when it comes to penetration. You want well in excess of 350mm of penetration to contend with most battleship belts (allowing your rounds to defealt some angling). Repulse doesn't have this until you get 14km or closer. Compare Repulse's dispersion (blue, on the left) with Ise's dispersion (peach, on the right). Both ships have 2.0 sigma. Repulse's battlecruiser dispersion gives her a tighter overall dispersion area, making those central-landing shells pack in even closer. Still, if you manage 25% accuracy in Fuso, you'd need to managed roughly 45% or better to keep pace with Repulse; which is a pretty tall order. The alternative is to get her guns in action for longer to compensate, and that relies on good positioning and survivability. Very comfy fire angles paired with a very fast (for a battleship) gun traverse speed gives Repulse brilliant gun handling. VERDICT: Their excellent accuracy and overmatch potential makes them deadly. Kite and kill. Durability Hit Points: 56,100 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 16mm / 16mm / 38mm / 26mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 26mm anti-torpedo bulge + 229mm belt + 102mm citadel turtleback. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 16% I've removed Repulse's 26mm anti-torpedo bulges to reveal the 229mm belt armour underneath. Note that normal tier VI battleships have 26mm extremities. Repulse has ... issues. I suppose it's kinda fluffy that a British battlecruiser has durability problems. In Repulse's case, this comes from two sources: Her extremities are VERY soft. Her citadel is vulnerable to overmatching from 380mm calibre guns or greater. The 16mm bow and stern sections of Repulse's armour makes her vulnerable, not just to AP overmatch (which I'll get into) but all calibres of HE rounds as well. Repulse's extremities and superstructure can be penetrated by HE rounds of 96mm or greater. So not only is every destroyer out there very happy to make your acquaintance, even the small calibre secondary guns off a lot of battleships are capable of plinking some damage off your soft snoot and butt. Combined with Repulse's horrid anti-torpedo protection, getting in close to enemy lolibotes is generally a terrible idea unless you're particularly good at blapping them with your main battery guns. Note that this issue isn't unique to her. Other tier VI and VII battleships may also contend with small calibre HE shells doing damage to them, but normally, the offending vessel must have the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells commander skill to do so. So from an HE perspective, Repulse's extremities are a weakness but not a glaring one. That actually carries through when you look deeper into her AP protection. While her 16mm extremities look like huge weak points, there's hidden armour geometry that prevents these from becoming an automatic pass to her citadel. To be clear: Repulse still takes massive amounts of penetration damage through her butt or snoot, but it's not always going to be catastrophic citadel hits. Repulse has a lot of these hidden armour plates, including a 76mm turtleback along the interior of her anti-torpedo protection and hidden decks. While Repulse's citadel is still vulnerable, the slope of her turtleback is enough to prompt (though not guarantee) ricochet checks for shells fired at close range, giving her some rather trollish survivability at times. Hits from further out are a much greater danger in this regard, but thanks to her agility and speed, these are easier to avoid. Still, playing catch with large-gunned battleships is generally a bad idea in Repulse. It's best to break contact or Just Dodge™ until you can disengage. Though Repulse is capable of recovering up to 33% of citadel hits (be they from bomb, shell or torpedo), it's not something you want to fall back on. It's not all doom and gloom here, though. Extremities asside, Repulse's amidships hull cannot be overmatched. If you can bait shots here while angled, she can ricochet and shatter stuff for days. Similarly, while she may have fewer charges of her Repair Party, she still retains that Royal Navy 60% penetration damage queue, on top of that 33% citadel damage queue I mentioned before. So clever play can help mitigate this damage, particularly if you fight at a distance to give yourself more time to avoid return fire. The 25mm armour plate over Repulse's machine spaces and the 26mm citadel wall is a big weakness against 380mm+ AP rounds which can overmatch. From gamemodels3d.com. The arrow is pointing to the hidden 102mm v-shaped plate protecting Repulse from overmatching AP rounds. This links up to the fore-end armour belt which is visible in port. Repulse's effective hit point pool looks pretty average. Her 60% penetration damage queue and 33% citadel damage queue does allow her to make better use of her Repair Party than the ships like Dunkerque through Mackensen. Unfortunately, she's only working with four charges of her Repair Party which gives her less overall health than her hit points would otherwise suggest. VERDICT: Bad, but not like "historical British battlecruiser" bad. Agility Top Speed: 31.7 knots Turning Radius: 860 meters Rudder Shift Time: 14.4 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.3º/s at 23.7kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 6.0º/s Repulse's turn radius is bad and her rudder shift time isn't good either, but thanks to being able to overtop 30 knots in a straight line, her rate of turn isn't horrid (but I wouldn't call it anything more than average). Though she needs a lot of room to come about, she doesn't take forever to do it, so that's nice. Better still, with her excellent turret traverse rates, she can't out-turn her guns which is a novelty for British battleships. High speed solves a lot of issues, though it's not without its own set of troubles. Repulse is made to kite and control the engagement distances. Between her own high top speed and her Engine Boost consumable, she's more than capable of outrunning just about any threat she faces (or running it down for that matter). Stack this onto her good main battery gun range, decent fire angles and her not-terrible concealment values and you would struggle to find a battleship better suited to dictating when she gets spotted by her opponents short of the smoke-on-demand Italian designs. On paper, she is theoretically capable of playing keep-away to such a degree that she should be capable of mitigating any of the aforementioned durability issues raised earlier. However, the reality is that her tier bites her in the butt. As nice as Repulse's top speed is, lower-tiered maps are often too claustrophobic for her to make proper use of it defensively. So while her offensive power shoots up when she's top tier, her defensive attribute granted by her speed is compromised to a degree. This can be mitigated somewhat by choosing where to fight, ensuring you have enough open water to take full advantage of her speed, but this does limit some corridors through which she can fight and avoid damage. This is much less of an issue on mid-to-high tier maps when facing against tier VII and VIII opponents. This is, in of itself, a mixed blessing given the increase of larger calibre battleship guns at these tiers, to say nothing of the reduced efficiency of her own 381mm battery. The final issue with her speed is that it's far too easy to over-extend in Repulse. Though she's fast enough to disengage, she's also fast enough to be the first ship spotted if you're not careful. Note that Novorossiysk is not included here. I did not have her unlocked to confirm her in-port turning data when I made this graphic. I have her now, but I'm not redoing this! VERDICT: I love her speed and I'll overlook her other agility woes because of it. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 1 explosion for 980 damage per blast at 3.5km to 4km Long Ranged (up to 4km): 28 dps at 75% accuracy (21 dps) Medium Ranged (up to 2.5km): 140 dps at 75% accuracy (105 dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 105 dps at 70% accuracy (73.5 dps) I'm not going to dwell on Repulse's anti-aircraft firepower very long. It's awful; some of the worst at her tier. All of her damage is focused around her 40mm pom poms and 20mm Oerlikon batteries which can only shoot when aircraft are on their final attack run. Thus, they're best described as a "revenge weapons", where any damage you're doing is after already suffering from the CV's predations. While this may end up netting you a kill or two against tier VI aircraft, Repulse stands no chance at dissuading the attentions of a tier VIII carrier. You're never going to deplane a CV with Repulse unless they deliberately orbit around your ship for minutes at a time. Though, this said, it's not like any of the tier VI battleships are particularly fearsome when it comes to their AA defense. Most are just practice targets for even mid-tier CVs. Thus, Repulse has to stick with her allies to have any hope of keeping CV-safe. This runs contrary to her preferred playstyle though -- where she takes up a flank and snipes. This leaves her dangerously vulnerable to aircraft attack. I suppose that's historically accurate and all but it makes for crappy game play whenever a CV is present and intent on ruining your day. VERDICT: Terrible. Just like the state of low-tier surface ship interaction with aircraft. Repulse's AA is so crappy, I couldn't even shoot down this single Bf 109 that didn't even know how to raise its landing gear. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 14.4km / 12.57km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.62km / 8.66km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 13.19km Maximum Firing Range: Between 19.76 and 23.71km when using her Spotter Aircraft Repulse pairs average visibility with excellent range. Combined with her accuracy over distance and her great top speed, Repulse feels far stealthier than her visibility attributes would otherwise indicate. It's only the presence of aircraft, submarines or aggressive destroyers that easily sniff her out. While a quick scan of the enemy roster will give an indication of how effective Repulse's ability to control engagement distances, the size of the map matters a lot as well. The ballistics of her guns do allow her to make use of island cover to a degree (though nowhere near as effectively as a cruiser might), these same islands can be her bane, concealing spotting elements and limiting her ability to kite effectively. Open water is truly where her home is and being able to dictate the range between herself and her chosen target is her bread and butter. VERDICT: Unremarkable concealment but good enough to make use of her speed and range. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike from 1.5km to 8km (plus bomb drop column) Number of Salvos: Up to two Reload Time: 75 seconds Aircraft: Two S.25 Sunderlands with 2,000hp per plane. Drop Pattern: 4 bombs each dropped evenly over roughly a 1.75km column Maximum Bomb Damage: 3,000 Fire Chance: 12% Nothing written here is going to last. We've already received word that with patch 0.11.0, ASW is changing significantly. I'm merely recording this for posterity -- Repulse's anti-submarine airstrikes were pretty good. Without knowing how the bomb blast radius is changing, I can't say for certain, but from the looks of the devblog, submarines are getting a whole lot more survivable against not only battleship airstrikes but gunnery as well. I'm taking you with me! Final Evaluation Repulse comes with a pretty hefty pricetag. If you don't want to participate in any of the dockyard missions, you're looking at a minimum cost of 20,400 doubloons. Alternatively, you can spend the dozens upon dozens of hours grinding to unlock her. If you're already planning to spend a lot of time playing World of Warships this holiday season, you can probably unlock her for free. Just be aware that this is a time commitment and any stages you're missing towards the Dockyard event's end will set you back 1,500 doubloons per. Repulse has a nominal value of 6,800 doubloons (including a port slot) -- so if you're shelling out more than for five stages, it's not worth the dollarydoos. Repulse is a great ship. She carries on the trend Wargaming has had as of late to reduce the theoretical damage output. In terms of balance, I think Wargaming's close, but I'm foreseeing this ship getting hit with the nerf hammer again before 2022 is out. A 28 second or even as much as a 30 second reload may be in the cards for this ship. It will depend how she fares in the wild in the hands of the community. I could be totally off base here, with her speed and survivability creating a perfect storm to make her newfish-bait wherein she gets herself killed way too early (and often) to bring the average score down. But it's hard for me not to see the potential here and worry. For those of you on the fence about opening your wallets, I would strongly caution you to expect the ship to get her efficiency reduced in some way. Instead of Repulse, I think the average player would do much better buying Warspite instead. Warspite trades a little main battery performance and straight-line speed for a slightly larger broadside, better secondaries (they're so good you can do a full secondary spec if you want), better armour and hit point recovery, better fire management and much (much!) better agility. Repulse goes fast and she snipes. Warspite can also snipe, though nowhere near as far. But she can brawl too. She's the better ship for all kinds of PVE engagements too if that's your thing. Repulse uptiers better, I'll give her that much, though the Grand Old Lady is no slouch. You might think Hood a better comparison to Repulse, but tier for tier, Repulse is so much better than Hood that it's no-contest. Here's the list of best to worst British battleship premium and reward ships in my opinion. Thunderer -- I'm biased. Warspite -- I'm very biased, but she's still amazing. Nelson -- ♪ Burn, baby, burn! ♫ Agincourt -- Are they ever going to sell you again? Repulse -- Repulse only rates this low because three of the above ships aren't even available anymore cuz of their performance. How bae-bote has dodged this bullet, I have no idea. Duke of York -- You're not terrible, but I hate what we had to lose to bring you into the game as you are now. Vanguard -- I hate your fire arcs, but you're better overall than Hood. Hood -- The CV rework butchered this ship. Dreadnought -- I want to rate you higher, but Wargaming has neglected low-tiers so badly that you're nothing but a bot-farmer. Marlborough -- Spoilers for my upcoming review! I'm happy to have Repulse in my port, but I am a self-avowed teaboo, so be aware of my bias. If you're a fan of historical British vessels, she's a must have and will serve you well. For anyone else, she's a good ship. Just be aware that her performance statistics aren't permanent.
  5. Wargaming doesn't just make fictional ships, it makes whole CLASSES of fictional ships! The following is a review of Giuseppe Verdi, the tier IX premium Italian battleship, was sponsored by my patrons on Patreon who helped me afford this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.11.2. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. The purpose of this review is to support the players, not the company behind the product. Posting this review is not an endorsement of current goings on nor is it a statement about them. Giuseppe Verdi was released at the tail end of 2021 without much fanfare. I had hoped to review her immediately following my look at Marlborough. I could piggyback a bunch of graphics I had done for the British-chonker and even sneak some of my earlier Marco Polo graphics to speed up production. But then I got it in my head that I should finally get around to properly evaluating anti-aircraft DPS for the sake of tidying up future reviews. The idea seemed sound -- produce an active database of relative efficiency of AA DPS in World of Warships. Little would I appreciate just how big of a job that would prove to be and as such, Giuseppe Verdi's review sat in a "not even halfway finished" limbo as the days rolled by. Following Dido and Canarias' review, I had a brief window to squeeze another review out before patch 0.11.2 dropped, so I've done what I can to get this out the door in a timely manner. As is becoming increasingly commonplace, I grossly underestimated just how big of a job this project would be and I've spent more time with Giuseppe Verdi than I thought. Given that she's a ship that was largely dismissed by the community when she first arrived, this attention is perhaps undeserving. However, I feel this time has been well spent. Giuseppe Verdi surprised me. I hope you find this review worthwhile. I'm not expecting this review to change your mind about the ship, but maybe you'll learn something new. Oh, and keep this copy by Wargaming in mind. This is how they advertised the damn thing. We'll come back to it later. Quick Summary: A short-ranged Italian battleship with nine 406mm guns with HE shells, SAP-firing secondaries and an improved Exhaust Smoke Generator. PROS Dispersed armour scheme High velocity shells and good AP penetration HE shells deal increased module damage. Good gun handling and decent fire arcs. SAP armed secondaries. Competitive agility for a high-tier battleship Improved Exhaust Smoke Generator CONS Exposed citadel with easily overmatched turtleback Small hit point pool for a tier IX battleship Wonky dispersion Anemic HE shells and poor AP DPM. Short ranged main and secondary gun batteries. Crappy AA defences Differences Between Sisters Giuseppe Verdi borrows heavily from Marco Polo. She has identical durability, agility, anti-aircraft and detection parameters. The primary difference between the two vessels comes in the form of their firepower. Giuseppe Verdi's guns reload faster but don't hit as hard and her secondaries are significantly improved. In addition, the two ships have different consumables. The specific differences between the two vessels are: Canarias is only the most recent victim of weird shell weight nerfs. Before her, Giuseppe Verdi was attacked! Marco Polo on the left and Giuseppe Verdi on the right. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme I struggled a bit on where to slot Giuseppe Verdi for inexperienced players. Her exposed citadel and advertised secondaries sounds like a recipe for disaster. I had to conclude that if you played her as advertised, you were in for a rough time. The moment you try and bring those secondaries to bear, you also expose Giuseppe Verdi's weaknesses. Her guns don't perform well. Her citadel protection falls apart. However, were you to keep Giuseppe Verdi at a comfortable distance, then her initial skill floor drops down to a Casual rating. There's nothing much to worry about there short of "don't flash your sides" and vary your ammunition as needs be. Giuseppe Verdi has a very high skill ceiling, almost enough to warrant an Extreme rating. The extra level of game play provided by her Exhaust Smoke Generator when paired with possible brawling builds is just that much more enticing for players with a broad knowledge of systems and mechanics in World of Warships, especially spotting and auto-ricochet angles. This is a battleship with just that extra bit of special sauce which allows you to outplay others with its expanded toolkit. Options There are a couple of things to keep an eye on with Giuseppe Verdi. The first is her improved Exhaust Smoke Generator, which is so far unique in World of Warships. The second comes down to how you choose to build her -- wether that follows your more traditional battleship build or if you go down the brawling-battleship rabbit hole. Consumables Her Exhaust Smoke Generator is weird. Damage Control Party is standard for an Italian battleship. It comes with unlimited charges, an 80s reset timer and a 15 second action time. Her Repair Party is also standard. It heals back up to 14% of the ship's health over 28 seconds, queuing 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It has an 80s reset timer and starts with four charges. Her Exhaust Smoke Generator is something special. I'll do a quick side by side comparison with the one that comes on Lepanto, the tier IX Italian tech-tree battleship, which we'll use as our "normal" version of the consumable. Like the standard consumable, Giuseppe Verdi's version starts with 3 charges and it has a 180 second reset timer. But after that, things deviate. Giuseppe Verdi's version creates huge smoke clouds, 1.8km across! Lepanto's are 1.02km across. Furthermore, Giuseppe Verdi issues smoke for longer, pooping out clouds for 60 seconds instead of 45 seconds. And finally, the clouds take longer to dissipate. Normally, Italian Exhaust Smoke Generator clouds disappear within 10 seconds of being generated. You have a bit more leeway with Giuseppe Verdi as they last 15 seconds. In her final slot, you have the choice between a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The Spotter Aircraft comes with four charges, increases her main battery range by 20% for 100s and has a 240s reset timer. Her Catapult Fighter launches 3 aircraft which stay on station, orbiting the ship at a range of 3km for 60s. It comes with three charges and has a 90s reset timer. Upgrades Let's do this! It's decision time. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Damage Control System Modification 1 is the only one that makes sense in slot 2. It's a shame she can't take some kind of smoke-making-better upgrade. You've got to choose your Destiny in slot three. The most efficient choice is Aiming Systems Modification 1, especially with how wonky Italian ballistics are. BUT, if you're going to be a CHAD-BRAWLER, then take Secondary Battery Modification 1 instead for the extra range and rate of fire. Damage Control System Modification 2 is the best choice in slot three. You can take Steering Gears Modification 1 instead if you want, but be prepared to burn. Still, for someone intent on brawling and knife fighting, it's not a terrible choice. Concealment System Modification 1 is still the only choice worth considering in slot five. And finally, you can choose between Main Battery Modification 3 to help with her shoddy reload or Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 to make up for her lacklustre range. Commander Skills Now OBVIOUSLY, the optimal build here is the same tried, tested and true battleship survivability-focused commander. You specialize in fire-resistance with your choice of skills at the lower, mandatory tiers. It's worth noting that for Italian battleships especially, the second tier Brisk is particularly effective. The extra jump in speed kicks in everytime they activate their Exhaust Smoke Generator, on top of the extended periods of time between their salvos owing to their longer (and sometimes downright punitive) main battery reload times. As a nerd that has spent way too much time twirling ships, I like the extra kick it provides to a ship's rate of turn. With Giuseppe Verdi's smoke lasting longer than other Italian battleships, she stands to benefit from this longer and getting her up to X knot top speeds is thrilling. It's like combining Engine Boost to your Exhaust Smoke Generator. Very fun. But SURELY you didn't come here for optimization; you came for AWESOME. I know your type. You're a Giga-Chad who plays a secondary-spec'd Montana. You're the Boss-[edited] who took Survivability Expert on your battleships. Well, Giuseppe Verdi will not let you down. Her SAP-firing secondaries are SCREAMING for a dedicated commander build to fully optimize the ship, citadel exposure be damned. Well, worry not my valiant, hyper-morphed blokes and lasses, I've got your needs covered. Brisk comes up once again as an excellent skill for this build. Secondaries don't increase a ship's spotting radius in smoke, allowing Giuseppe Verdi to close to knife fighting range while still delivering the hurt. Between Secondary Armament Modification 1, the November Echo Setteseven signal and the following build, she can yeet her shells out to a respectable 10.51km, making her a threat to anything she wants to flex on. Only Manual Secondary Battery Aiming and Long Range Secondary Battery Shells are truly mandatory for this build, leaving you with lots of options to play around. I'm a fan of pairing this with Concealment Expert and Emergency Repair Expert but you're free to pick and choose your favourites. Obviously, I'm biased towards a secondary build. You'll understand why by the time you get to my Final Evaluation, if not before with my Firepower section. Of course if you elect to use secondary build, that precludes Giuseppe Verdi from being an effective commander trainer for your other Regia Marina battleships. That's a significant strike against her and worth keeping in mind. Camouflage Giuseppe Verdi only has access to a single Type 10 camouflage. It provides the usual bonuses for a tier IX premium battleship: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. Giuseppe Verdi's base camo looks fine. It's helped that Regia Marina battleships look bloody gorgeous. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 406mm/50 guns in in 3x3 turrets with an A-B-X superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm/55 guns in 4x3 turrets and twenty-four 90mm/50 guns in 12x2 turrets superfiring over the 152mm guns. These armaments are spread evenly along each side of the ship. Main Battery Let's do things a little different this time and start with the main battery. There's a world of difference between Giuseppe Verdi's main battery firepower and Marco Polo's and it's worth reiterating them. Giuseppe Verdi has a faster reload by 5 seconds. Marco Polo is more precise with 1.9 sigma to Giuseppe Verdi's 1.7. Giuseppe Verdi's AP shells do 450 less damage and are lighter. Marco Polo has SAP shells, Giuseppe Verdi has HE shells. While it's nice that Giuseppe Verdi does not to have Marco Polo's 36 second reload, the rest of the changes suck monkey butts. I mean, I can accept having HE instead of SAP. It's a fair trade for the reload reduction. But, I have to ask just what the heck is going on with her AP shells? 450 less damage on a citadel (149 damage on a penetration) isn't a lot but that makes me wonder why it was even necessary. Now, I do like my consistency so incongruencies bother me more than they should. So I'm left scratching my head at this design decision. I think it points to Wargaming fussing with things that don't matter for the sake of making their "behind the scenes" performance-graphs look pretty. The same goes for a 31 second reload instead of the standard battleship 30 second reload. That smacks of Wargaming looking for optimization so someone can make their bonus rather than a design decision that's to the benefit of the players. That kind of change is a nuisance to players. Seriously, there's been a lot of this unnecessary fidgeting with stats away from established norms and I can't see the reason why. Giuseppe Verdi could have had a 30 second reload and 13,050 damage on her AP shells like her sister and it wouldn't have made an enormous difference -- her DPM would have still sat beneath Hizen's (freakin' Hizen for crying out loud). Wargaming could have bought back their numbers with something that players can't perceive anyway, like a 0.05 sigma reduction or whatever. When is Wargaming going to learn that messing with main battery performance is a sure-fire way to annoy their customers? Giuseppe Verdi isn't winning any prizes for sustained damage output. I'm aware I forgot Prinz Rupprecht. She's at the bottom of both. I'm not redoing these. Again, Prinz Rupprecht is missing, this time because I recycled this from my Marlborough review. She sits beneath Giuseppe Verdi and above Georgia. Speaking of annoying, let's talk about dispersion. Giuseppe Verdi's accuracy is ... well, it's not good. It combines the triple headache of French & Italian dispersion formulas AND Italian high-velocity vertical dispersion AND 1.7 sigma on top of that. Even if you do hit your targets, Giuseppe Verdi is likely to yeet her AP rounds clean through the broadside of a cruiser at anything less than 12km. Now, this is countered by the fact that her AP rounds retain a lot of energy over distance, so smackin' battleships for citadel hits at long range is totally in her wheelhouse... or at least it would be if she could reach out to 20km. You need to activate her Spotter Aircraft or install Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 in order to shoot that far. Her short range is a real pain in the butt sometimes, so ditch the Catapult Fighter and keep the other consumable on standby. You're going need it. If you don't, you'll have to install the range module instead and that's only going to push her DPM potential further down the list. Giuseppe Verdi's dispersion with 1.7 sigma on the left. Marco Polo's with 1.9 sigma (and minor ballistic changes) on the right. Giuseppe Verdi doesn't quite top the charts in terms of her AP penetration for a sixteen-inch gun but it's pretty darned close. She's a threat to battleship citadels up to 20km and beyond. A Curious Note Towards the tail end of this review, I noticed something weird in Giuseppe Verdi's datamined stats. This came from spotting a typo on one of my graphics. I got the HE damage value wrong, so I went back and double checked all of the info for her main battery HE shells just to make sure that I wasn't misquoting other stats. That's when this little value jumped out at me: "Alpha Damage 9,230" Now, Alpha Damage is weird. It's not the same as regular damage. That regular damage value for Giuseppe Verdi appears normal -- it's 5,700. It's the same amount of hurt that Iowa and Missouri spit out with their 406mm guns. Alpha Damage for HE shells is a bit of a holdover from the Closed Beta days where HE shells had a splash effect that could even damage ships on a near miss. To my knowledge, this may have had an effect still on modules (WG never gave me a clear answer on this as a Community Contributor). With the inclusion of submarines taking splash damage from near misses, it was something I had ear marked to explore when I could take submarines into the training rooms finally. So what does this value do? Well, frankly, I don't know. It could mean that Giuseppe Verdi will do more damage to submarines with her HE shells than she should. It could mean that she does more damage to modules (including exposed magazines of destroyers and some cruisers) than her contemporaries. Maybe it's more HE penetration against modules (they have a kind of armour -- module damage is hella weird). It could mean absolutely nothing and it's just a holdover from Closed Beta. Just be aware that she has more of this than Iowa and Missouri (4,620), Thunderer (7,730) or even Incomparable (7,800). I'll make some inquiries and keep you posted. [ Edit - This has been confirmed. Giuseppe Verdi does more module damage than other battleships. ] I'm borrowing this graphic from my Marco Polo review. The two sisters have the same firing angles. They're almost good. Almost. Main Battery Summary Giuseppe Verdi's main battery firepower sucks. She has bad range. Her AP shells have nerfed damage. She has only nine guns and yet she's stuck with an abnormally long reload. Her HE shells aren't SAP and they suck at starting fires. Her dispersion is also terrible. Her guns' redeeming qualities are decent fire arcs and gun handling, good AP penetration over range and you're playing with a larger calibre of gun than you normally can with Italian battleships. Seriously, that last bit is meant to be a selling feature of the ship and it makes me laugh. "Ooh, you get to play with 406mm guns!" Yeah, everyone else already does that and has been doing that since as early as tier VII. 406mm SAP with a bad reload was novel on Marco Polo. Nerfed 406mm AP with a bad reload is just a bad tier IX ship -- being Italian doesn't make that better somehow. Wargaming is obviously banking that her secondaries will make up the deficit. Her Secondaries Don't Make Up the Deficit There are four things I look for when evaluating if a ship's secondaries are worth upgrading into: Range: Look, you gotta have range. I don't care about the rest if a ship can't reach its target. Without range, secondaries are not going to come into play often enough to be worthwhile. The next three are all distant seconds to this first criteria. I cannot stress this enough: without good range, your secondaries suck. End of story. Dispersion: Dispersion helps put more hits on target for few shots. This can be counteracted somewhat by a high volume of fire (more bites of the apple) or meatier individual hits (good penetration / high damage or fire chance per shell). Penetration: Will my hits do damage when I get there? Like Dispersion, this can again be overlooked if the other two boxes are ticked . The idea being that if you don't have good penetration to hurt all targets, landing enough hits may pad the numbers through fires. Potential Damage: This category is kind of a catch-all. It combines volume of fire with fire arcs, shell damage and fire chance per hit. We're evaluating if the ship has the potential to deal a lot of damage -- pretty much, if all of the ducks were in a row, how much hurt can this ship dispense? A ship with poor potential damage may still be a decent contender for a secondary specialization if dispersion and penetration are present -- the idea being that you make up for the deficit by hitting more often and the quality of said hits being higher than average. We can look at a few examples: Prinz Rupprecht has arguably the best secondary battery at tier IX. She combines accurate "Massachusetts" level of accuracy with 1/4 HE penetration. Her 105mm guns fire quickly and her 150mm casemates hit like trucks. With nearly an 8km base range, the only marks against her are the poor firing arcs on her casemates and the fact that her 105mm can't quite penetrate 32mm battleship hull sections without dipping into IFHE. Still, she can do without and rely on fires to carry over the rest. Georgia is a step down from Prinz Rupprecht. Though she dittos the German battlecruiser's accuracy, she has slightly less range. Furthermore, her 127mm/38s don't have the penetration needed to contend with anything short of destroyers and very light cruisers. Dipping into Inertial Fuse for HE Shells allows her to engage cruisers, but this hurts her poor fire-setting ability when facing other battleships, forcing a choice. Her fire arcs, however, are excellent, ensuring she can bring her full secondary broadside on anything that creeps within range. Alsace has the range and massive volume of fire but she lacks everything else. Her penetration is infamously terrible with her 100mm guns unable to directly damage destroyers or the superstructures of ships at tiers VIII+ and her dispersion is just the baseline secondary accuracy which is awful. Still, she's one of the best potential fire starters. Marco Polo has absolutely nothing going for her. On paper, she can deal more potential damage than Georgia but her range is even worse. Furthermore, she inherits Alsace's penetration issues. The bulk of her fire comes from her 90mm guns and they can't hurt anything directly. She's only a modest fire starter and her accuracy is terrible. So where does Giuseppe Verdi fall on this spectrum? Giuseppe Verdi, Marco Polo and Friedrich der Große have the same brawling and kiting DPM. Pommern and Georgia have such good fire arcs that they can fire all of their guns whether kiting or brawling. Giuseppe Verdi's SAP ammunition provides tremendous potential, both through her theoretical DPM but also her high penetration. There's just one problem... SAP Armed Secondaries SAP secondaries are a game changer. On paper, Giuseppe Verdi's secondaries have more damage potential than Alsace's, which is pretty frightening. And this comes paired with high(ish) penetration. Her 152mm secondaries can smack 42mm hull sections and her 90mm can hurt up to 26mm. Pair this with (very) high damage per shell and she appears capable of front-loading some big alpha when her secondaries start singing. I was initially skeptical, expecting most of these shells to ricochet but her 152mm have VERY forgiving bounce angles. Her 90mm are less so, but still highly respectable. This was enough to make me curious. I could accept her not starting fires or damaging internal modules with these kind of stats (you're not detonating anyone with SAP). It stung a bit that her 90mm were stuck at 26mm of penetration -- 27mm would have been preferred to hurt ALL cruisers within her matchmaking, but I could deal with that, especially when her 152mm guns had been buffed with a slightly faster reload over those on her sister ship. Things were looking up. At least, they were until I looked at their range. Lemme dig up that meme I used on my Marco Polo review. There we go. With a 6.95km base range, Giuseppe Verdi's secondaries cap out at a modest 10.51km. That's a kilometre and a half shorter than Alsace and Prinz Rupprecht. That hurts. That sucks. What is it with these Italian battleship premiums post-Cesare being so close to good but fumbling at the last minute? Thus, Giuseppe Verdi ends up having excellent potential damage, good penetration, poor accuracy and, most damning of all, modest range at best, though I'm loathe to call it anything other than 'poor'. It's not that a 10.51km range isn't workable, it very much is, especially if you're a PVE-junky. Giuseppe Verdi's secondaries are boss-level badass in Co-Op and it's not uncommon to see her do in excess of 40,000 damage with her secondaries if you throw her headlong into jousting scenarios with a full secondary build. However, you can't expect this kind of regular performance in PVP where brawling scenarios are less common. Giuseppe Verdi doesn't pair these secondaries with a citadel profile that's healthy in a knife fight. That's not to say that there isn't some use for her secondaries in PVP, it's just not idiot proof the way it is on German battleships. Giuseppe Verdi's ace in the hole when it comes to making use of her secondaries is her Exhaust Smoke Generator. She can blink off people's radar, show up closer than people are expecting and saturate them with a hail of surprisingly damaging fire. This works best against destroyers and cruisers, obviously, and only select cruisers at that. But still, it opens the door for some fun, dynamic and aggressive plays that are so very dear to my blood thirsty heart. You just can't count on it being the trump card that people so often envision brawling to be. I really do like the combination of decent secondaries (I am loathe to say 'good') and an Exhaust Smoke Generator in brawling scenarios. So long as no one brings Hydroacoustic Search or a Surveillance Radar to the party, it's going to be amusing. I can't promise it will be game winning or even a good idea, but it will be amusing. After the disappointment of her main battery armament, having "amusing" secondaries is high praise. If you can fire all six of her 90mm guns at a target, you're showing waaaay too much broadside. Secondary Summary They're better than I initially thought. Their short(er) range is a pain in the butt and really hurts what could have been an impressive and novel armament. It would have been nice to see them reaching out to at least Georgia levels of range (7.5km) or getting at least German battleship levels of accuracy. Still, the way her secondaries synergize with her Exhaust Smoke Generator is a lot of fun, so top marks there. VERDICT: Giuseppe Verdi's offensive capabilities are only "okay". Her main battery firepower is pretty bad compared to her contemporaries and if you're not interested in a secondary-build, then you should probably stay clear of this ship. Durability Hit Points: 69,100 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 70mm to 80mm / 55mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 320mm belt + either 25mm turtleback or 50mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 27% Marco Polo and Giuseppe Verdi share the same hit point pool, which is really generous of them considering it's not very big. Giuseppe Verdi entirely clones Marco Polo's armour and hit point profiles. This means she has a tiny hit point pool for a tier IX battleship, a dispersed armour scheme and a highly vulnerable citadel. Giuseppe Verdi's armour is excellent for resisting cruiser calibre HE, SAP and AP rounds, even the latter two which may have improved auto-ricochet mechanics. Her amidships deck and upper belt are immune to HE rounds from even small battleship calibre weapons, being proof up to 330mm calibre guns. She can similarly shrug off the 1/4 HE penetration of 203mm calibre weapons found on the German cruisers. Similarly, all cruiser-calibre SAP rounds are patently incapable of damaging the ship in these places. This limits the effectiveness of these attacks to her extremities and superstructure. Given the difficulties of accuracy at range, the further away Giuseppe Verdi is from said cruisers, the more effective her armour becomes if only grace of dispersion. Even players who know what to target will find their shells occasionally straying and piffing off Giuseppe Verdi's thick plate ineffectively. Against battleship calibre rounds, she fares alright. She can bow-tank with the best of them, though she has to worry about the usual 460mm+ guns like everyone else. This all changes if she gives up a little too much side, however. Barring having an ice-breaker on her bow and stern, Giuseppe Verdi's external armour is excellent. The citadel protection of the Marco Polo-class isn't great. It's almost good enough. Almost. Against anything 356mm or smaller, it holds up well. Her turtleback is sloped steeply and it prompt ricochets (or at least ricochet checks) against most incoming rounds, deflecting them up and away from her magazines and machine spaces. However, at only 25mm thick, any larger AP shells simply ignores the armour entirely through overmatch mechanics. Similarly, ships with improved auto-ricochet angles like American heavy cruisers and battleships like Duke of York won't bounce off this plate. Granted these two ships in this specific example need to be extra close in order to get through her belt armour, but ships like Stalingrad and the Alaska-class do not. Exposing Giuseppe Verdi's sides is baaaad juju and it's just begging to get her sent back to port from the ensuing big citadel hits. That 25mm turtleback is just begging to be overmatched. It may as well be non-existant for any AP shells greater than 356mm. Flash her sides at your own peril. This raises the point on how it's generally a REALLY STUPID IDEA to bring this ship anywhere close to brawling distances against other battleships in PVP. Like, seriously. You'd have to be a flaming moron to want to engage in knife fights using Giuseppe Verdi and expect her to come out the better for it. Even her Exhaust Smoke Generator can't keep her safe at these ranges (and that won't save you from enterprising blind fires at a distance either, btw). Even if you don't get flashed by Surveillance Radar or sniffed out by a Hydroacoustic Search, the guaranteed detection range will ensure she gets lit. Barring "being the torpedo", you'll have to expose your sides to your quarry (if not their friends) and probably suffer for it. As good as her secondaries (potentially) are, Giuseppe Verdi's citadel protection should make you think twice about getting her anywhere close enough to use 'em. Or you can live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse. Up to you. Shut up. I look fabulous. VERDICT: Nice external armour. She doesn't have enough HP, though and her healing suffers because of it. Furthermore, citadel gets tapped too easily especially at brawling distances where WG wants her to be played. Agility Top Speed: 32 knots Turning Radius: 860m Rudder Shift Time: 16 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.3º/s at 24.1 knots Main Battery Traverse Rate: 5.0º/s Fourth from the top in bright, booger green. There's nothing really special about Giuseppe Verdi's handling. Her 860m turning radius looks decent. Her 32 knot top speed is good, but she's not the fastest at tier by a long shot. She lacks the Engine Boost consumable which makes Alsace, Wujing, Georgia and the Jean Barts so flexible. And finally, her rudder shift time is only kinda-sorta okay. Plug this all in and you get a ship that isn't exemplary in any one area, but she's not terrible in any of them either. And yet, she strangely feels kinda lame. This is largely owing to the empty niche at high tiers. We have fast battleships but we don't have any nimble ones. Put Giuseppe Verdi at any of the lower tiers and sure, her speed stands out, but her handling would be all kinds of meh by comparison. At tier VII, Gneisenau has a comparable top speed but scrapes off another 30m from her turning radius (and over a second from her rudder shift time), allowing her to manage a comfy 4.5º/s rate of rotation. The German tech tree ship feels fast and aggressive. Yet just a few different paraemeters undermines Giuseppe Verdi. The end result is that she only feels okay. There's room at this tier for Wargaming to play with agility as a perk if they wished. Something with short rudder shift time like Vanguard or Yukon would be welcome, especially if it came with something close to (or just below) an 800m turning cricle radius and around a 30 knot top speed. As it is, Giuseppe Verdi's agility misses the mark here. Because of this, I fell in love with the Swift commander skill in my play tests. Paired with the Sierra Mike signal and her Exhaust Smoke Generator, it gave her a top speed of 37.1 knots in a straight line and a maximum rate of turn of 4.5º/s over a 910m turning circle radius at a sustained turning speed of 26.6 knots (for those unaware, when you exceed your in-port top speed, your turning circle radius increases in size). Giuseppe Verdi can very comfortably come about 180º under the cover of her Exhaust Smoke Generator with time to spare. Furthermore, her Exhaust Smoke Generator ensures she can always have access to this extra speed on demand, allowing her to redeploy even from hotly contested fights. I know I'm making more of a big deal about her synergy with this skill than it perhaps deserves but I was delighted by this pairing and I'ma spread the word to mah peeps. Overall, Giuseppe Verdi's agility is "good enough", I suppose. It's not bad but there are better ships at her tier, like Georgia and Jean Bart. VERDICT: It's not terrible. It's not good either, but it's not terrible. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 6 + 2 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast at 3.5km to 4.6km. Long Ranged (up to 4.6km): 196dps at 75% accuracy (147dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 199.5dps at 75% accuracy (150dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 206.5dps at 70% accuracy (145dps) Range of Gun Types and DPS Combined AA DPS by Range Look, the only thing "good" going on here is the wall of flak that Giuseppe Verdi puts out and even that's held back by the pathetic short-range of Italian large-calibre batteries. You can count on anything short of dive bombers being able to engage an attack run before they have to consider dodging and that really undermines their efficacy. On paper, she has enough sustained DPS to do some damage to loitering planes (if they loiter), but in practice she's one of the softer battleship targets at her tier. You're pretty much hoping that enemy aircraft will run into a combined flak-wall or be out-muscled by Giuseppe Verdi's DPS paired with something much more frightening, like an American or French battleship. Here's how Giuseppe Verdi's sustained AA DPS holds up against the best three and worst three battleships at her tier. This is the approximate damage done by sustained AA DPS against a fictional, 186.2 knot squadron travelling in a straight line from max range to 0km over a ship. The colours separate the damage done by mount type, with darkest being the large calibre mounts, the medium being the medium calibre and lightest being the small calibre mounts. Iowa (5833) Missouri (5019) Jean Bart & Jean Bart B (4884) Marco Polo & Giuseppe Verdi (2948) Hizen (2157) AL Sovetskaya Rossiya (1914) Musashi (1198) Overall, your best AA defence is going to be to activate her Exhaust Smoke Generator if you come under concerted attack. Make sure you put the rudder hard over to Just Dodge™ any blind drops of rockets, fish, bombs, or Soveit easy-mode ordnance. VERDICT: Not enough so it's entirely forgettable. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.8km / 13.2km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 12.98km / 10.51km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 16.26km Maximum Firing Range: Between 19.12km and 22.18km (max of 26.62km with Spotter Aircraft) 52nd (or 53rd) out of 93 vessels listed here. Giuseppe Verdi (and Marco Polo) have concealment on the poor side of average for a battleship within their matchmaking (the average being an upgraded concealment of 13.05km). That's not surprising given that short of Roma (and her unfortunate AL clone), most Italian battleships tend to have unremarkable surface detection ranges. However, with very few exceptions, it isn't the raw concealment value that's the interesting aspect of a given battleship's vision control -- it's what consumables they bring to the table to shake things up that makes individual ships stand out. With Italian battleships, it's access to their Exhaust Smoke Generator consumable that's their defining feature here. This provides concealment on demand, at least so long as they haven't fired their main battery guns recently. That Marco Polo lacked this consumable at all was a big hit against her comfort-level which was admittedly already suffering due to her punitive reload time on her guns. Well, it seems that Wargaming has taken the Exhaust Smoke Generator Marco Polo should have gotten and added it onto her sister-ship, because Giuseppe Verdi's smoke is strange and powerful. It provides all of the usual benefits for an Italian battleship, giving cover to allow it to disengage and manoeuvre as needs be. With her great secondaries, you can also use it offensively, spitting ribbons of SAP fire into the faces of enemies that get close without being spotted in return -- at least until someone activates Surveillance Radar or Hydroacoustic Search or slips within 2km of her. Still, this can be enough to cause some amusing shenanigans, such as foiling early torpedo attempts and getting a leg up on damage done, especially against the impatient. It might be enough to protect her citadel against some opponents. Exhaust Smoke Generators are a selfish consumable by their very nature. They don't really provide smoke that can be shared by other ships unless you VERY tightly coordinate with a peer. That's nominally beyond the scope of trying to help some Random Battle buddy you meet in a one-off match. The Exhaust Smoke Generator clouds don't last long enough for another ship to hide in them comfortably. Trail behind an Italian battleship by more than a boat length and you're not likely to keep hidden, especially if you're struggling at all to match their exact course and speed. This is where Giuseppe Verdi stands out. Her Exhaust Smoke Generator can be shared. While most Italian Exhaust Smoke Generators create smoke circles that are 1.02km in diameter, Giuseppe Verdi's is a massive 1.8km. The extra duration of each individual cloud also ensures that it lasts long enough for a friendly ship to be able to follow in her wake. Finally, the extra emission time gives a bit more room too coordinate. While this may still be beyond the average player in a pick-up battle, it is enough to provide at least temporary cover and easily too. That can make all of the difference in a Random or Ranked battle. Still, I wouldn't go so far as to say that Giuseppe Verdi's Exhaust Smoke Generator is game changing. It's just that much more comfortable to use and it opens the door for some team play options that didn't readily exist before. Lepanto on top with a standard Exhaust Smoke Generator. Giuseppe Verdi's smoke is large enough to hide a small fleet inside, provided they can keep up. VERDICT: Bad unless you account for her Exhaust Smoke Generator. Then it's at least interesting, if not downright competitive. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike from 1.5km to 10km (plus bomb drop column) Number of Salvos: Up to two Reload Time: 30 seconds Aircraft: Two Kawanishi H8K with 2,000hp per plane. Drop Pattern: 3 bombs each dropped evenly over roughly a 900m column Maximum Bomb Damage: 2,800 Fire Chance: 21% Not much to say here given that submarines were largely a non-entity during my playtesting. I'm recording these stats for posterity and they're likely to change in the future. VERDICT: I'm not looking forward to when this section becomes relevant, if only because these reviews will get even more complicated. #MouseTroubles Final Evaluation Marco Polo, was entirely forgettable and short of Christmas events, I never see any reason to take her out. This is largely owing to Marco Polo's atrocious main battery reload time. Seeing that corrected with Giuseppe Verdi caught my interest, especially when paired with the missing Exhaust Smoke Generator. But when I became aware of the other gunnery flaws, namely the 1.7 sigma, the terrible range, the 31 second reload (for some reason) and nerfed AP rounds, my enthusiasm was dashed. I resigned that she would never be anything more than another forgettable offering from Wargaming, not worth a deep dive. I began framing this review as a quick comparison between the two ships. That was until I took a look at how Wargaming was promoting her. I told you we'd come back to this. What stood out to me was the claims of a powerful secondary armament. Now, I was aware of her development and how she had been touted as having SAP secondaries. But just looking at their range gave me reservations, to say nothing when datamining pulled up that her dispersion wasn't improved. But the more I looked and the more I played Giuseppe Verdi, I felt it wrong to be so dismissive. There was something interesting there. Oh, my forays into trying to make her secondaries work in PVP were largely disastrous -- I'm not about to tell you that Giuseppe Verdi is a good ship, don't you worry. But what I did find was that they were fun, especially in PVE. I don't usually focus on individual game modes much in my reviews but I think it's worth examining here with Giuseppe Verdi. If you are a co-op main, Giuseppe Verdi is a fantastic ship. Secondary-heavy battleships and battleships with torpedoes do extremely well in PVE modes and Giuseppe Verdi is no exception. If you're looking to scratch of some event mission that requires secondary hits, this isn't a bad pony to bet on. In PVP modes, she's only alright though. You can pull off some fun shenanigans every now and then the same way you could with say, Tirpitz or Odin. I just don't feel that her long range fire is good enough to warrant purchasing. Yes, it's nice to have an Italian battleship with 406mm AP rounds AND smoke. But given how heavy handed Wargaming has been to balance her, I don't think she's worth while. Similarly, close combat just doesn't happen often enough in PVP battles to allow you to enjoy what makes her novel. Her shorter ranged secondaries make that even more challenging -- you're getting less secondary incidental fire than you would from any other specialist and that's a shame. I want to like Giuseppe Verdi, but I cannot in good conscious recommend her for anyone that enjoys Random and Ranked Battles. She's not terrible. She's certainly more novel than her sister ship, but I'ma stick to my guns. Give her a pass if you're a PVP junky. Thanks for reading. Mouse out. <Sinister pasta noises!>
  6. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Florida

    ♫ Florida man, Florida man... ♪ Guess the tune. The following is a review of USS Florida, the tier VII American premium battleship. I did not pay for this ship. It was provided to me by Wargaming for evaluation purposes. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.9. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: A tier VII, prototype version of the North Carolina-class battleship with twelve 356mm guns instead of nine 406mm guns. She's highly accurate but her guns don't hit very hard, even for 356mm rounds. On top of this, she's super squishy. PROS Huge broadside of twelve 356mm guns. Solid rearward firing angles, well suited to kiting. Uses the improved battlecruiser dispersion instead of that of American battleships. Good range for a tier VII battleship, able to reach out to 21.6km with her APRM1 modification. Improved penetration on her AP shells for their calibre. Good anti-aircraft firepower, including access to Defensive AA Fire. Decent concealment. CONS Small hit point pool for a tier VII battleship. Softer-skinned than contemporary battleships with 25mm extremities. Vulnerable, high-water citadel with as little as 285mm worth of armour. A 33.5 second reload. Anemic damage values on both her HE and AP rounds along with poor fire setting. Horrible rudder shift time of 15.4 seconds. Has one fewer Repair Party charges than most other battleships. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Difficult New players beware. As easy as border-humping battleships can be, Florida asks a bit more of players in order to get her to perform. Neither her AP or HE shells are idiot proof, requiring players to be dynamic with their ammunition choices. That's bad enough, but even when you have the right ammo loaded for the right target, her anemic shells leave a lot to be desired, especially with so long of a reload. Even her good improved accuracy can be a bit of a turn off -- at least with bad dispersion even a poorly aimed shot might have something strike the target. Finally, this ship just feels cumbersome with sloppy handling, a slow reload and sluggish turret traverse. Her carry potential is limited. While expert players can flex a lot of their in-game knowledge to get more out of Florida's potential, her defensive limitations thwart most attempts to push aggressively. Her guns don't hit hard enough or fast enough and are foiled by even limited angling. Still, she's a nice support ship. If you want to play a more passive, supporting role, Florida works well, especially against CVs. Options Consumables Florida's consumables are a little weird. There are two items of note: Florida uses an American battleship version of her Damage Control Party. This has a longer-than-usual active time compared to other battleships, repairing critical damage and preventing fires and flooding for 20 seconds instead of the usual 15 seconds. It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard for a battleship. It queues up 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of everything else. It heals back 0.5% of her health every second for 28 seconds. Her consumable has an 80 second reset timer but only comes with three base charges instead of the usual four. Like the other new American battleships, Florida has access to Defensive AA Fire. This is active for 40 seconds per charge with four charges base. While active, this provides a 50% increase to sustained AA DPS and a 300% increase to flak damage. It has an 80 second reset timer. Finally in the last slot, you have your choice between a Spotting Aircraft or Catapult Fighter. The former comes with four charges and is active for 100 seconds, during which time main battery gun range is increased by 20%. It has a 240 second reset timer. Her fighter has the usual 60 second active period with three fighters patrolling around the ship. This has a 90 second reset timer and comes with three charges base. The big takeaways here are that Florida has access to Defensive AA Fire and her Repair Party has one fewer charge. Upgrades Florida's upgrade choices are pretty dull. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. It's arguably the best choice in the first slot. You can take the special upgrade Spotting Aircraft Modification 1 to increase the active time of her consumable from 100s to 130s but this doesn't exactly wow me. This upgrade will cost you 17,000 from the Armory. Unless you plan to hump the back-line regularly, you're better served increasing the survivability of your guns. Damage Control System Modification 1 is the best choice for slot two. Again, if you feel the need, you can take another special upgrade. This time, Defensive AA Fire Modification 1 is up for grabs at the same 17,000 cost in the Armory. This increases the active time of her consumable from 40 seconds to 48 seconds and reduces the reset timer from 80 seconds to 72 seconds. In slot three, Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 is really the only one worth considering. This will up her main battery firing range from 18.62km to 21.6km (her secondaries get boosted from 5km to 5.25km). Finally, in slot four, fire damage mitigation is still your best option so Damage Control System Modification 2 is your best choice. If you want to be a little more active in your dodging, then you can take Steering Gears Modification 1 instead. This will reduce her rudder shift time from an appalling 15.4 seconds down to 12.32s. Captain Skills You're not reinventing the wheel with Florida. Take the usual battleship survivability build. It's boring but it works. For variety's sake, you can swap out Priority Target and Expert Marksman for your tier 1 and tier 2 skills of choice. Some good alternatives are Expert Loader, Jack of All Trades and High Alert. Expert Loader in particular is a very good choice. I'm getting a lot of mileage out of this graphic. This speaks a lot to how badly the skill system needs to be reworked given how optimized skill choices have become. Camouflage Florida has access to two different camouflage patterns. By default, she comes with Type 10 Camouflage. However, They provide the same bonuses and are merely a cosmetic swap. -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. Florida's default camo is alright. I really don't like her alternative palette. It's a dull, elephantine grey in unflattering patterns. Florida's "Golden Eagle" camouflage has the same pin-up girl on her funnel as the camouflage made available for the new American tech tree battleships. I'm surprised by how much I enjoy this camo, though that may simply be because I'm not big on the other two. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 356mm/50 Mk11 rifles in 3x4 turrets in an A-B-X super-firing configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 127mm/38 guns in 6x2 turrets and 4x1 turrets. Huh! Neat! Let's start with Florida's secondaries, because they're kind of neat in a pointless, fun bit of trivia kind of way. Her secondary armament is divided into two gun types. The first is the twin 127mm/38 we're used to seeing on every American battleship. But these are supplemented by four single 127mm/38 turrets akin to what you might find on an American destroyer like Benson or Sims. This effectively gives her an eight-gun secondary broadside -- two fewer than you'll see on higher tiered American battleships like North Carolina, the SoDaks, the Iowa-sisters, etc, but it's right on par with California's battery. However, Florida manages to have the equivalent broadside to a ten-gun secondary battery like the higher tiered ships because most American twin 127mm/38 guns have an artificially lowered rate of fire and the singles have a boosted one. Check out this nonsense! Iowa & Missouri's secondary broadside: 10 guns with 6 second reload = 100rpm. North Carolina & Alabama's secondary broadside: 10 guns with 6 second reload = 100rpm. California's secondary broadside: 8 guns with 6 second reload = 80rpm. Florida's secondary broadside: 6 guns with 6 second reload + 2 guns with 3 second reload = 100rpm So there you go! Florida has a better secondary battery than California, equivalent to most of the other American battleships (but obviously excluding Massachusetts & company cuz theirs are souped up). Florida's secondaries are too short ranged to be worth specializing into. They also lack the accuracy buff that makes Massachusetts and Georgia such units. These twin factors are enough to discourage anyone from spending skills or upgrade slots on them, to say nothing of Florida's durability issues (which I will [edited] about at length below). Alright, that's enough fussing over what is little more than a curiosity. Let's get onto the meat of the matter. Big Guns Go Boom Make Squeaky-Toy Noises I don't like Florida's guns. They're perfectly adequate -- I'm not here to tell you that they're broken, bugged, under-performing or what have you. They're well balanced and put out the hurt reasonably well. In fact, they've got a lot of good things going for them including good(ish) fire arcs, good range, decent AP penetration values and that sweet, sweet battlecruiser dispersion. So what's my beef? Well, its' two things gentle reader: She has a slow rate of fire. Her shells suck moose-balls. The first element is symptomatic of American battleships as a whole, especially the new line of American battleships that Florida heralds. At 33.5 seconds per volley, Florida's reload isn't as bad as some of the others in the new tech-tree, but let's not mince words: It sucks to wait that long between trigger pulls. I can stomach this if the results for waiting are particularly amusing, however Florida's gunnery is an exercise in frustration for me because of my second gripe: Florida's shell hits are not satisfying. Florida's shells, both AP and HE, don't hit especially hard. Their damage values are lower than you might expect for a 356mm weapon. In fact, Florida's damage output on her AP and HE shells is most closely matched by those off the sixteen-gun Lyon. Lyon has only a 30 second reload, I remind you, 3.5 seconds faster than Florida with a four-gun advantage. Compare: American 356mm/50 (Florida): 9,500 AP damage, 4,750 HE damage, 22% fire chance American 356mm/50 (New Mexico, California): 10,500 AP damage, 5,000 HE damage, 30% fire chance American 356mm/45 (Arizona, New York, Texas): 10,300 AP damage, 5,000 HE damage, 30% fire chance French 340mm/45 (Bretagne, Normandie, Lyon): 9,500 damage, 4,700 HE damage, 26% fire chance Her individual hits just aren't doing as much damage as other American battleships. While she still has better broadside weight than the ten-gun armed New York-class, she's well behind the other twelve-gun armed American standards despite having a better reload time than all of them. This deficit in shell damage (combined with her slower reload) means that in terms of raw damage potential, Florida falls way behind, ending up in the bottom half of the DPM charts despite her large number of guns. Take these values with a pinch of salt. This is not accounting for such factors as accuracy, penetration, overmatch, normalization, etc. In terms of raw DPM, yes, Florida lags behind. She's also hurting when it comes to overmatching targets, especially when she's middle or bottom tier. However, her penetration is decent and her accuracy is good, offsetting these factors somewhat but only against select targets. More on this later. Look at all of this negative space! This is what happens when I scale the HE values to the same scale as the AP values. The order of ships shuffles a bit with German HE shells being terrible and British and Japanese HE shells doing more damage than you might otherwise expect for their calibre. Florida's HE performance remains unfortunate. However, given the troubles with her AP shells, you'll still be reaching for them often. Don't Trust DPM Charts The problem with simply looking at DPM charts is that it assumes everything is not only 100% accurate, but also that all shells perform equally when they strike a target. It patently ignores two crucial elements: How easy it is to hit a target. How likely your shells are to do damage if they do hit. As Roma so painfully demonstrated, you can have gorgeous paper stats but if you simultaneously struggle to (a) hit a target and (b) get anything other than over-penetrations, then your experience is going to be hella inconsistent. Florida has her own struggles, but at least she's very consistent when it comes to landing hits. Florida uses battlecruiser dispersion -- the same found on ninja-accurate battleships like Thunderer. Sadly, this isn't paired with a god-tier sigma value. Florida has 1.7 sigma competed to 1.9 of Thunderer or 2.0 of Champagne, so she doesn't feel quite so accurate as some of the higher-tiered snipers. The lower sigma means that the occasional shell will still fly wonky, though the smaller dispersion area means this won't be as wildly askew as other ships. In short: Florida's accuracy is good. You should land more hits per volley than her contemporaries which should help mitigate some of her DPM issues -- not all of them, but some. Florida (on the left) using a standard dispersion test. This is 180 AP shells fired at a stationary Fuso bot. Shots are coming in from the left to right (Fuso is bow-tanking). California is on the right with the same parameters. California uses American battleship dispersion with 1.9 sigma versus Florida's battlecruiser dispersion with 1.7 sigma. Florida feels appreciably more accurate than most other American battleships, though her lower sigma value will make her feel only slightly better than ships like California or Arizona. The difference in penetration performance between California and Florida is manifold. Their shells have different masses (555kg for Florida vs 680.4kg for California), different shell velocities due to different drag coefficients (0.271 for Florida vs 0.331 for California) and different Krupp values (2,945 for Florida vs 2,545 for California). AP penetration is more of a contentious issue for Florida. There's a stigma against lower-calibre guns for having poor penetration performance and this is largely undeserved. American 356mm AP shells, for example, have very good penetration and Florida's is improved even beyond this. She is capable, for example, of penetrating upwards of 400mm worth of plate at 15km. She has more than enough punch to land citadel hits against just about any broadside target, including some of the softer-skinned battleships up to ranges of 20km. So you don't need to worry about Florida not having enough teeth to citadel an Iowa in most encounters, should the opportunity arise. I stress the word opportunity, however. As nice as the raw penetration values are on Florida, she doesn't have a lot to spare once you aim at battleships in excess of 15km out. Using the usual tricks of aiming for softer sections of the hull can help, especially given Florida's reasonably tight dispersion to ensure good groupings. This helps somewhat, but again, angling is very effective against Florida's guns because she doesn't overmatch a whole lot of armour. Her 356mm AP rounds overmatch a maximum of 24mm worth of plate and there's a whole lot of structural steel within her matchmaking that's 25mm or thicker. Tier VI+ battleships, tier VIII+ cruisers all have a minimum of 25mm worth of structural armour. But that 25mm+ threshold crops up in other places, such as the decks and amidship hulls of tier VI and VII heavy cruisers and the decks of tier VI and VII lights. Having a working knowledge of which ships you can still punish when they angle helps immeasurably, but Florida is very often forced to rely on either aiming for over-penetrations through superstructures or resorting to her HE rounds. Ouch. I don't know why Wargaming decided to neuter Florida's fire setting so badly. I guess this will encourage players to reach for AP whenever possible. Keep in mind that these values do not include the fire resistance of their opponents nor the ship's accuracy. Fire resistance values against the opponents Florida usually faces is anywhere between 30% to 45% or so. So if you're managing to hit with 1/3 of Florida's shells against a tier VIII target, then instead of 4 fires and change, you're more likely going to see one per minute. Maybe. Sadly, Florida's HE are lacking. Their modest damage per-shell and slow reload might not be such a bad handicap if their fire chance was better, but her fire chance per shell is horrible. The 22% value she's shackled with is downright painful for such a slow rate of fire. Getting one permanent fire to burn is a feat, never mind doubling up. Her HE performance is so bad that I would happily recommend sticking with AP spam if it weren't for the aforementioned issue with angled and higher-tiered targets. It's stupid-important to be patient with your shots. Look for opportune targets where you can maximize her AP efficiency. You don't want to have to start spamming HE. Similarly, you don't want to force encounters where this is your sole option. Florida doesn't have the armour or hit points to facilitate trades against same-tier (or even tier VI) opponents. Blapping a full broadside of HE into an enterprising lolibote is hilarious, don't get me wrong -- her improved accuracy means that she easily can land four to six shells (or more!) against a destroyer at stupid-close ranges. But against any other target, her HE is just found wanting. If given the opportunity to fire nothing but AP, Florida does really well. Frankly, this is only going to happen if your opponents are idiots. You have to remain flexible with her ammunition choices. Keep the Expert Loader skill in mind. It's very handy for this ship if you're going to build a dedicated Florida captain. Enough Facts, Gimme the Feels I hate these guns. Lemme stress: They're fine. And I mean that in the same way I tell my significant other that "it's fine" when things are clearly not. It's all of the little things which add up to a bad experience for me. If you asked me to point at the one thing that bugs me the most about them, I'd probably tell you it's the 4º/s gun traverse, which seems stupid to complain about given all of the other issues. However, I think that this quibble illustrates my beef with Florida's gunnery as a whole. Her slow turret traverse is just that "one more thing" that feels off about this ship. No matter her advantages, there's always a big ol' butt attached. Florida has good AP penetration she has overmatch issues. Florida has good dispersion her sigma value is subpar. Florida has a huge broadside her shell damage is artificially low. Florida has decent fire arcs her turret traverse is slow. Florida can land a lot of hits with her HE shells she's terrible at starting fires. It goes on and on like this. Yes, yes, yes, this is all in the name of BALANS™, tovarish, and Florida's gunnery is balanced. I just don't like it. Florida's fire angles are decent. They're not good -- good is a 300º fire arc or more, but she's not as appalling as some of the ships I've dealt with recently. I just wish her turret traverse was better. Summary Big broadside, wussy shells. Guns are very accurate. You have to be dynamic with shell choice. VERDICT: You would think that for a sniper-battleship, her guns would be fun. But they're not fun. I didn't have fun at all with these weapons (except for maybe paddling a lolibote or two at very close range. Defence Hit Points: 51,800 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm extremities, 26mm upper hull & 37mm deck Maximum Citadel Protection: 285mm belt or water + 213mm belt + 56mm, 96mm or 140mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 26% Short Version Florida is pretty much a normal tier VII battleship with an exposed, vulnerable citadel and weak Repair Party. Florida's citadel layout tells you all you really need to know about this ship's durability. The TL:DR is that her citadel abuts against the exterior of her hull and it sits above the waterline. With only 285mm worth of belt protection, this exposed "T-section" of her citadel is stupid-easy to bullseye for waterline-aimed shots from enemy battleships. For 380mm+ AP shells aimed at her bows, her transverse bulkhead is almost as vulnerable. Irrelevant trivia time. There is a 16mm hidden plate dividing the upper and lower parts of Florida's citadel. The line of it can be found between her 285mm upper belt the 213mm of her lower belt Long Version The most pressing thing to worry about when playing Florida is her citadel. Unlike the other "sniper" battleships like Slava and Champagne, the "softness" of Florida's hull is barely a concern. The 25mm extremities which damn her higher tiered cousins do not apparently have a lower-tier equivalency. I was expecting Florida to appear with 19mm of extremity armour but she instead clones the higher tiered ship weakness with 25mm instead. Given that all of the other tier VI and VII battleships are rocking 26mm worth of extremity plate, the loss of a single millimeter is not that much of a drawback. At most, this makes Florida slightly more vulnerable to HE shells from small and medium caliber guns -- specifically 152mm HE shells from tiers VII and below do not need to reach for Inertial Fuse for HE Shells in order to stack direct damage against Florida as they would against her tier-mates. Similarly, Florida is vulnerable to 120mm HE shells with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. That's really the extent this soft skin provides in terms of vulnerability. Otherwise her superstructure, upper hull and amidships deck all conform to normal parameters for a tier VII battleship. If you swapped out Florida's 25mm bow and stern for 26mm versions, she'd be a perfectly normal tier VII battleship. Florida's artificial fragility instead comes from three sources. The most influential of these is her citadel placement and geometry. Any battleship with her citadel sitting high over the waterline and abutting against the ship's exterior has a big ol' weakspot that's pretty easy to exploit. That, in of itself, isn't enough to damn a ship. For example, Soviet battleships all share this weak point, but many (if not most) of them are considered super-tanky. Therein lies Florida's second weakness: she lacks any form of extended armour to assist with shattering HE shells and ricocheting incoming AP rounds. While her amidships deck is a respectable 37mm, her butt, snoot and upper hull are all highly vulnerable. 25mm and 26mm armour are easily over-matched by the oh-so commonplace 380mm+ AP shells found at this tier. This armour similarly doesn't hold up against HE spam from cruisers and some destroyers. Thus Florida is much more limited when it comes to tanking incoming rounds. She can bounce 356mm armed battleships throwing AP in her face for days but angle improperly or test your luck against larger caliber guns and she goes down in a hurry. The last piece of her squishy puzzle is her effective health pool. Florida's hit point pool is small for a tier VII battleship. Heck, it would be on the low end for a tier VI battleship. This isn't enough to damn her in of itself -- she's not so low that she's on Viribus Unitis levels of parody. But a smaller hit point pool means that she heals less penetrating damage with her Repair Party. While this has no impact on fire and flooding damage (as their damage amount scales with the starting hit points of the ship), 10,000 damage worth of penetrations hurts Florida more than other tier VII battleships. But there's more. Florida comes with one fewer charges of her Repair Party, so this deficit is felt even more. I wanna gloat like a happy teaboo, but Florida's health is just too appallingly low for me for me to brag with good conscience. Her lacking an entire Repair Party charge just feels mean. I have felt these three combined weaknesses acutely with Florida. I don't feel that they're enough to damn the ship, but they are very obviously weaknesses. Unlike the higher tiered sniper-battleships, Florida finds herself more often in claustrophobic maps where she cannot rely on simply out-ranging targets. She's asked to tank a lot more more than say, Champagne. Even when she does appear on larger maps, this comes with the threat of higher-tiered opponents and more overmatching guns so it's catch 22. Knowing which opponents you can face tank and which you can't are important. But so very often I was forced to show my cute butt and kite away when the pressure was on. Florida's not-good(ish) forward fire angles meant that firing all three turrets forward was just asking to have shells rammed into her stepped citadel. It was far safer to fight, firing over her shoulder with her forward turrets slinging shells to her rear. Being far more limited in what aggressive plays this ship can make hurts her carrying ability. Turning to fight will often just get you killed. It limits what decisive actions she can take. It's hard to be heroic if you're constantly forced to follow Sir Robin's playbook. VERDICT: She's squishy -- squishier than the usual tier VII battleship and they struggle a lot with durability. Florida struggles even more. Don't brawl. You'll die. Agility Top Speed: 27 knots Turning Radius: 760m Rudder Shift Time: 15.4 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.1º/s If Florida was a battleship from any other nation, there would be very little worth noting here. Her top speed of 27 knots is completely acceptable for a tier VII battleship. Her turning radius of 760m is decent. It's not amazing, but it's alright. Her rotation rate of 4.1º/s is again, pretty average. Her rudder shift time of 15.4s is the most remarkable thing about her and not in a good way. It's slow. Her 27 knot top speed has the illusion of meaning something only because she's an American battleship. All other American battleships from tier VII and below cap out around 21 knots as their top speed. With the nerfing to American Standard-type battleship agility with patch 0.9.6 Florida's speed advantage is even more pronounced. Were she a battleship from any other nation, her 27 knot top speed would be unremarkable. So yes, Florida is faster than Colorado or California. Big deal. So is everything else at this tier. Focus instead on her sloppy rudder shift time. She doesn't feel like she handles well because of it. Add on her modest turret traverse rate and she feels like a chunk-lord. Ships with stars have been changed or added since patch 0.9.6. VERDICT: Not as nimble as you might expect. Good enough, I suppose, but definitely not one of her strengths. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 5 explosions for 1400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 157.5dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 4.0km): 269.5dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 318.5dps at 70% accuracy I've sorted these by the formula of [ AA dps x { range - 1km} ]. It's not a perfect system but it does weight heavier, longer-ranged firepower over masses of short-ranged defence. I admit a terrible reluctance to call any battleship's AA firepower "good". This said, when a pristine Florida activates her Defensive AA Fire and doubles her DPS, she has good AA firepower. Florida's AA power is nice. Taken on it's own merits, her AA power is pretty fearsome when it comes to personal defence. In the support role, she's not bad either, with a sizable chunk of her AA power dedicated to long and medium range weapons. When her Defensive AA Fire is active, she can wipe out full tier VIII squadrons -- it's not contest here. A determined CV player will still be able to make a drop, but it will cost them everything. Carriers must anticipate that she will always have Defensive AA Fire ready and it's best to bait its use by ducking in and out of her 5.8km bubble and then waiting it out, even if she's not your primary target. Florida is effectively a no-fly zone for tier VI carriers because of this consumable and raw AA power combination which is a pretty impressive boast. Add on a catapult fighter and Florida duplicates this for tier VIII carriers too, at least until she comes under sustained HE attack. Most of her teeth come from her 40mm Bofors and 20mm Oerlikons, barring a CV being gracious enough to face-plant into a flak-cloud. These do not survive long under HE fire and even cursory smattering of HE rounds will quickly reduce the effectiveness of her AA and open her up to the potential of air-attack. All hail Florida's lord & saviour. VERDICT: Honestly, some of the best AA defence we've seen in a long time. I'm kinda shocked. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 13.86km / 12.1km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 10.08km/9.07km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 12.01km Maximum Firing Range: Between 18.62km and 25.92km Flordia's concealment values are pretty darned good. She doesn't quite get into that magical sub-12km surface detection range which is quite impressive for a battleship, but at least she gets close. Given her preferred engagement distance, it's pretty easy for this ship to drop off from detection range in typical encounters -- especially given her long reload. If she had a bit more grunt in her engines, controlling the engagement through use of her stealth would be a lot more feasible, but her 27 knot top speed just isn't enough to kite away from all of the battleships she faces, to say nothing of cruisers and destroyers. Florida's great range (especially when upgraded and modified with her Spotter Aircraft consumable) can work against her here, especially with those enterprising shots in the early stages of a match as everyone's deploying. While it can be super-tempting to try your luck against targets spotted early by your own lolibotes or Just Dodge™ simulators, you can all but guarantee you'll be spotted in return when you pull the trigger. With nothing else to shoot at, you can bet that every battleship on the enemy team that can draw bead on you will take a shot and given Florida's super-squish citadel, bad things will happen if they've got the range. Keep in mind that Florida's rudder is terrible so it's not like she dodges well. This is definitely a risk-reward element at play here, so be careful. VERDICT: Pretty darned good for raw concealment values, though she struggles to spot stuff on her own. It's too bad she doesn't have the agility to make better use of this trait. Final Evaluation When it comes to my battleships, I know what I like. Big, punchy guns are a must. I prefer durability to agility, but I need one of those two elements to be present. If a battleship can't manage these things, they've got a big, uphill battle to win my affections. Some of them still manage it. Scharnhorst, for example, doesn't have the main battery guns to wow me, but she still pulls off a win between her secondaries, fish and the combination of speed and tankiness. I've tried to keep an open mind while play testing Florida, but good gravy, my time in her has not been pleasant. I'm under no illusions that this is very clearly a me problem. Florida herself is a well balanced ship. I just hate her. She doesn't have any one element of this trifecta that I enjoy in my battleships. When Florida was first announced, I thought she would immediately obsolete California. I tore California a new one a few months ago for being not worth the asking price. While I do feel that Florida is a superior vessel to California, I don't feel that she's worth it either. Frankly, you're better served picking up Arizona at tier VI or even Alabama at tier VIII instead of Florida. Let me stress this: I don't think Alabama is worth the asking price either, but I would definitely recommend her over Florida. She's more reliable, if dull. The best bang for your buck for American premium battleships is Massachusetts and she's been one of the best premiums you can buy if you're shopping for one. Her primacy isn't challenged by Florida in the least. With Black Friday a little over a month away, if you're in the market for Massachusetts, then you might want to wait a month and grab it when her Black version goes back on sale if you like the cosmetic difference. I don't mean to try and sell you on other ships, my point is simply that there are a lot better choices for your time and money than investing in Florida. In closing, I should stress again: Florida is fine. She's not broken. There will be some people who really dig her sniper game play. I'm not one of those people. I like to have the option of getting in close and hitting people with my sword. Florida doesn't let me do that. In Closing Well, this accidentally turned into a much longer review than I had intended. I was originally just going to line up Florida alongside California, compare the two and then pull a surprise-reveal that they both suck equally. Instead, I learned last week that Ship Comrade, the site run by @Critter8 that has hosted my reviews since the first quarter of 2016 was going to close down. Instead of working on how to cleverly cast shade on anyone that enjoyed either one of these tier VII American premium battleships, I spent the better part of two days going through years worth of archived jpegs and text, reflecting on the years I've spent writing for World of Warships and all of the help, support and encouragement Critter8 provided me. I wouldn't be a Community Contributor (CC) if it weren't for Critter8. I'm not sure the WGNA CC-program would have even existed if it weren't for him. Back in 2015, before there was a Community Contributor program, content creators like myself worked unsupported by Wargaming in any capacity. The predecessor to the NA-CC program was Club Wargaming which promised the world and delivered nothing but a booger-green title on the forums. Club Wargaming included dozens of content creators which had sprung up during Closed and Open Beta, including some big names like @PhlyDaily. All of us were paying out of pocket to produce content or having to rely on donations from fans to get access to the newest premium content. Critter8 took exception to this. He had made Ship Comrade -- a fan site whose best early features included tracking Rank Battle progress and had one of (if not THE) first Captain Skill calculator. He took his fandom seriously and wanted a professional relationship with Wargaming to facilitate content production. He approached me about my frustrations with Club Wargaming and he took an active leadership role among the various content creators to approach Wargaming about our complaints. It was by his initiative that the WGNA CC-program took shape under NikoPower (of CorgiFleet fame). From those conversations, @iChase, @NoZoupForYou, @Notser, @TitiuBlack, Critter8 and I became the first NA-CCs in early January of 2016. While I could gush endlessly about everything NikoPower did for us, it was Critter8 who stands out as the leader we needed. He brought the six of us would-be professionals (with integrity) together. For me, Ship Comrade allowed me to greatly increase the quality of my reviews. This long format, like you're seeing here with Florida, was facilitated entirely by having my content written for Ship Comrade. Critter8 encouraged CCs like myself and @Aetam to host our content on his site. As you can imagine, writing for a web-page is much more forgiving than writing for a forum post -- it didn't have to all be written in a single sitting, for example. In going over Ship Comrade's archives, it was a treat to watch how my reviews grew in size and ambition. My early reviews were usually written in an afternoon and seldom held more than four or five jpegs. Florida's review has nearly thirty and has been written over the course of a week. I am endlessly grateful for the opportunity and help he provided for me. For personal reasons, he had to step back from World of Warships. As the CC program again got overhauled, Wargaming dropped his CC-status despite his continued efforts to host and support other CCs. Sadly, Ship Comrade was never a profitable enterprise. Donations helped keep the lights on for a time, but all things must come to an end. He ran the site out of his own pocket for over five years. I don't fault him in the least for retiring. Thank you for everything. And thank you all for reading. I'm going to take some time sorting and organizing some of my older reviews over the next week or so.
  7. The following review of Marlborough, the tier IX premium British battleship, was sponsored by my patrons on Patreon who helped me afford this ship. Yes, I whaled for this damn thing. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as patch 0.10.11. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Wargaming has gone out of their way to actively sabotage anything redeeming about Marlborough. I would like to say that this is the kind of design I would have cooked up if I was actively trying to troll the community, but I have to be honest with myself: I am not capable of coming up with something this frustrating to play. Marlborough's sins are many, though the base premise is one that is very appealing: Lots of guns big guns firing very quickly. It's a testament to how badly the ship is built that this core design gets mangled so thoroughly. Quick Summary: A tier IX battleship with an enormous battery of sixteen, quick-firing 356mm guns. She has poor fire arcs, poor gun handling, anemic AP and HE shell performance, horrid accuracy and bad armour. PROS Enormous battery of sixteen 356mm guns with ridiculous DPM potential and fire setting. HE shells have 89mm of penetration. Solid top speed of 31.5 knots. Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 12.07km. CONS Horrible citadel placement and protection. Highly vulnerable to HE spam with her homogenous 32mm structural plate. Poor anti-torpedo defence. Some of the worst battleship sigma in the game at 1.4. Only modest range. Awful fire arcs and poor gun handling. Terrible shells with anemic individual performance across AP penetration, HE damage and fire chance. Slow rudder shift time. Unlike other British battleships, her Repair Party only queues 50% of penetration damage. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Marlborough punishes players. If you try and use her as designed, you'll end up back in port very quickly. Her horrible citadel placement combined with terrible fire arcs means that if you open fire and the enemy shoots back, you're going to lose the exchange. And better still, she's just fast enough to get you into position to get spanked without enough agility or protection to survive attempting to disengage. This is toxic to inexperienced players who will find themselves getting smoked for playing the ship exactly as envisioned. How is that fair? Marlborough's carry potential is as mild as may. The surest path to reasonable numbers from this thing is to spam HE. But those reasonable numbers won't come quickly and you better know when it's safe (and necessary) to push. Marlborough doesn't do you any favours when it comes to outlasting the enemy and you're certainly not going to win any damage trades. Most of your game play in this thing devolves to bow tanking and hugging islands. Options The only surprises with Marlborough's options is how few (and crappy) they are. Consumables For instance: Marlborough only has two consumables. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a British battleship with a 15 second active period, unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard, but not for a British battleship, which often have all sorts of weirdness going on. Instead, Marlborough's consumable is akin to one you might find on a French, German or Japanese battleship. Marlborough's version comes with four charges base and an 80 second reset timer. It heals up to 14% on her maximum health over 28 seconds. It queues up 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage coming from torpedoes, bombs, rockets and shells and 100% of all other damage types. Upgrades I'm not a fan of using upgrades to band-aid over flaws, but on Marlborough, it's almost necessary. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, start building up your anti-fire regimen with Damage Control System Modification 1, though we might not go full hog here. You have a choice in slot three. Aiming System Modification 1 is generally going to be optimal, HOWEVER, Marlborough's fire angles are crap and her gun handling isn't good, so Main Battery Modification 2 isn't a bad idea. it will also save you a couple of commander skill points from having to purchase Grease the Gears. Priority Target is much more important for Marlborough, so saving those two points here is pretty important. Similarly, in slot four, Damage Control System Modification 2 is optimal for reducing fire damage. HOWEVER, Marlborough's fire angles are crap and her gun handling isn't good. Therefore, having the improved rudder shift time from Steering Gears Modification 1 isn't a terrible idea. Concealment System Modification 1 is the only consumable worth considering in slot five. You've got another choice to consider in slot six. Understandably, having an even faster reload is most appealing in Marlborough. Main Battery Modification 3 enables that, dropping her reload from 25 seconds down to 22 seconds. However, given Marlborough's fragility woes, standing further back from the action isn't remiss. Taking Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 increases her range from a modest 20.86km to a respectable 24.2km. Commander Skills I don't think anyone is really surprised I get to re-use this same battleship commander skill graphic yet again. Without improved secondaries, there's nothing really noteworthy here, so fall back on the standard battleship survivability build. Camouflage Marlborough came with two camouflages when you unlock her via the dockyard. They provide the usual bonuses for a tier IX premium: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. Marlborough's War Paint camo is the typical over-the-top patriotic style we've seen repeatedly in World of Warships. As garish as the War Paint camo is, Marlborough's default Type 10 camo makes it look downright appealing. Blech. This camo pattern is hideous. The alternative palette (unlocked through the Naval Aviation collection), tones down the Type 10's garish colours at least. Firepower Main Battery: Sixteen 356mm/45 guns in 4x4 turrets with an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Sixteen 133mm/50 guns in 8x2 turrets in superfiring pairs firing forward and aft down each side. Let's start with the obvious: On paper, Marlborough has fantastic damage output. Sixteen battleship calibre guns with a 25 second reload are a potential nightmare. With the right upgrade, Marlborough can reduce this to 22 seconds. Marlborough puts a lot of shells downrange very quickly and she has the potential to stack damage out faster than her contemporaries. This is the dream that Wargaming is selling, but it's not a dream that's easily realized. As we'll see, there are a stack of problems that get in the way, making this advertised gameplay challenging to achieve at best and downright frustrating to pursue. Marlborough is a case study on why DPM charts shouldn't be taken at face value. Problem the First Much ado has been made about Marlborough's poor dispersion but it's not as bad as players imagine. This lies solely at the feet of her 1.4 sigma which is among the worst sigma values in the game. Marlborough's dispersion values are otherwise normal for a British battleship, using the same horizontal dispersion values as most of the British, American and German vessels. Thus any accuracy woes the ship suffers must be laid at the feet of her shell grouping. So the question becomes just how bad is 1.4 sigma? Well here, judge for yourself: These are three of my "standard dispersion tests". This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a Fuso bot. All of these tests were conducted using the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade to reduce dispersion by 7%. The Fuso bot was stationary and lacking camouflage. Shots came in from right to left. Two of these dispersion tests were conducted with Marlborough's 1.4 sigma. One was conducted with King George V, who uses identical guns but has 1.8 sigma instead. The difference may be a little harder to discern than expected. Sigma is an often overvalued statistic among players and represeents only a trend, not a guarantee of better accuracy on a per volley (and per match) basis. Dispersion is highly volatile, even with excellent sigma parameters. Marlborough's poor sigma makes it less likely that shells cluster towards the centre of the target area, spreading them out to the same overall area as her contemporaries but more like a "shotgun blast" than ships with higher values. Still, thanks to RNGeebus, it's entirely possible to have good salvos with poor sigma and terrible salvos with excellent sigma. With how few salvos are often fired in a single match of World of Warships and how few key "match defining" shots are needed to make accuracy stand out for good or ill, Marlborough's poor sigma value generates vastly different experiences for players. Missing key citadel hits when the perfect broadside is available is infuriating and likely to stick in someone's head, especially with the knowledge that had the shells behaved, a Devastating Strike was guaranteed. I spent a few days combing over accuracy statistics of some of the better players who had unlocked Marlborough and compared them to how said players did in HMS Lion. The overall accuracy difference was about 1% to 4%. So Marlborough's accuracy is worse, but it's not worse on a level that would be readily apparent if you just went by number of hits. That's perhaps misleading as the quality of said hits will also suffer. There's an enormous disparity in player experience for having a salvo land three citadel hits versus one that lands three over penetrations through the super structure. So yes, Marlborough's sigma value is bad, but it's not game-defining terrible. It's a flaw that's worth keeping in mind, but I personally feel that the import of sigma is overvalued. Problem the Second Marlborough's TERRIBLE fire angles are why I hate playing her. It's no secret that I despise a ship with poor firing angles, particularly if it's paired with shoddy gun handling. Marlborough ticks both of these boxes and, as we'll later see in the durability and agility sections, compounds it with hilariously bad protection and sloppy turning. In order to fire all sixteen guns, Marlborough opens herself up to taking citadel hits in return from not only enemy battlehips but some high-tier cruisers as well. This danger is so pronounced that you can only cycle all your sixteen guns when the Red Team is too busy to shoot back. And so, her main selling feature is horribly compromised. In practical terms, Marlborough is not a sixteen-gun battleship. She's an eight-gun battleship, incapable of using her full broadside for fear of getting clobbered or beaching herself every time she does. For expert players, the big drawback here are her rearward firing angles. Marlborough cannot kite to save her life. In order to trade fire, her only option is to fight bow-in, preferably keeping an island to one flank to prevent crossfire. This severely limits not only her firepower but overall flexibility. Marlborough should be treated as an eight-gun battleship that can occasionally fire sixteen guns. Between her awful fire angles, poor protection and agility, she cannot take advantage of her full broadside unless the Reds are already losing or they're idiots. While bow-tanking at high tiers is nothing new, it is much more pronounced iwht Marlborough. Thus, I feel that it's this second issue, Marlborough's gun handling and fire arcs, that is the most damning for the ship. But we're not done trash-talking yet... Problem the Third Marlborough's AP shells are effectively non-functional. Alright, I'm exaggerating but Marlborough's AP shells are very bad. As 356mm rounds, they lack penetration necessary at this tier. Outside of 14km, they lose all ability to contest battleship belt armour and their ability to citadel enemy battleships falls away significantly closer. Given Marlborough's horrible fire angles, gun handling and protection woes, taking her into a brawl to be able to use her AP decisively is a loser-move. Firing at range means aiming for superstructures and the upper hull, but her dispersion makes that a bit of a crap shoot anyway. You would think that it would get better when facing cruisers but it's still a mixed bag. While she has the penetration necessary to land citadel hits against cruisers at just about any range, she lacks the ability to overmatch anything but very light cruisers like Minotaur, Edinburgh or Smolensk. I would have thought Wargaming would have at least gone so far as to give her AP rounds improved auto-ricochet angles to prop up their poor penetration values and lack of overmatch but it's not meant to be. This means that most cruisers can simply face-tank Marlborough's salvos, risking only taking over penetrating hits through their superstructure or turrets. And speaking of over penetrations, Marlborough doesn't even benefit from the short fuse timers of other Royal Navy battleships. Her 0.033s fuse timers makes over penetrations much more likely against cruisers, especially ships with a narrow beam like Ochakov and Smolensk. With her AP rounds being such poor performers, that just leaves her HE. Problem the Fourth So Marlborough is ostensibly relegated to being an HE spammer. With Marlborough's AP being so crap, I would have thought that Wargaming would have leaned more heavily on Marlborough's HE performance but that's not the case. Like Agincourt and Repulse before her, Wargaming has been nerfing the HE performance of newer Royal Navy battleship designs. But while Agincourt's HE was only gently nudged away from these higher damage and fire setting values, Marlborough's were thoroughly gutted. So while Marlborough is an HE spammer, she's a bad HE spammer, especially when you remember that between fire arcs and accuracy, you're not landing as many hits as her on-paper design would have you think. Those fearsome 10k+ salvos just don't materialize very often and Marlborough is usually only slapping targets for 3k at a time (if even that -- her individual shells usually strike for 480 to 1,584 damage). She's not even a particularly fearsome firebug. On paper she's the best at her tier. In practice, Alsace and the German battleships are more apt. Marlborough just doesn't get to fire all sixteen guns often enough (or hit often enough) to realize anywhere close to her potential. The best thing she has going for her is the increased HE penetration on her shells, but 89mm of HE penetration isn't that much more effective than the 59mm of HE penetration she would have otherwise had. There's a few decks and upper hulls that she can now directly damage that she might not have otherwise, but it's such a niche ability that it's not a merit worth considering. Marlborough's fire setting potential is the best at her tier though it's surprisingly only marginally better than that of Lion. This, of course, hinges on the ability to be able to fire all of her guns and hit stuff reliably ... which you won't. Problem the Fifth This last bit is just nit-picky but it plays into how inept Marlborough's base design is. The best way to counteract all of Marlborough's gunnery and durability issues is to keep her at range. From further away, she's a less appealing target. This, in turn, gives her more opportunity to take full advantage of her fast-reloading broadside. Her HE (crappy as it is) isn't affected by distance and her armour becomes more effective against AP rounds fired back at her. But, once again, Marlborough is held back. While her 20.86km range isn't terrible (it's average for her tier) there's two things to keep in mind. First, Marlborough does not have access to a Spotter Aircraft consumable to provide a temporary boost to her reach. Second, unlike most of the other battleships at her tier, Marlborough's performance improves considerably the more reach she has. When you're bad or your battleship is bad, humping the back of the map and farming fire damage is the way to go. If Marlborough had a few more kilometers of base range, then her design would work as advertised. As it is, taking Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2 helps band-aid a lot of her other problems. Secondaries They suck. Ignore them. Summary Marlborough is a ship that punishes you for trying to play her to her advertised strengths. Her guns are difficult to bring to bear. And when you do get guns on target, she's not going to land as many hits as you might imagine. And what few hits you do land aren't likely to be effective on a per-hit basis. Would that Marlborough's problems end here, but there's more problems coming that compounds her gunnery woes. Her dispersion is bad, but it's not as bad as you're imagining. She has a lot of guns and they do fire quickly, but it's rare you get to use all sixteen of them. Her individual shell performance sucks. Unless you can land a lot of hits, her salvos don't feel particularly strong. VERDICT: Wargaming believes that you should be punished for wanting to shoot Marlborough's guns. Shame on you. Durability Hit Points: 76,800 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 32mm / 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 381mm belt Torpedo Damage Reduction: 23% You could be forgiven for imagining that Marlborough's citadel layout mirrored that of Vanguard or the King George V-class battleships. But it's worse than that. It's much worse. While those battleships have citadels that sit at or just slightly above the waterline, Marlborough's citadel is hiked up to her nipples. The one (and only) advantage of this is that her citadel roof is made up of the 152mm reinforced deck found on most ships that's usually hidden by the armour viewer, making her immune to overmatching AP rounds that strike at a shallow angle. But, because her citadel sits so high (indeed, taking up the full height of her belt armour) the above advantage is irrelevant by making lateral hits against her citadel such an easy shot. I might have been okay with this if she had REALLY THICK armour, but 381mm of nearly vertical plate with no extra bells and whistles is pathetic at tier IX. Marlborough is dangerously vulnerable to citadel hits against her contemporaries at almost any distance. But it gets worse. Remember those awful fire angles we discussed earlier? If you try and fire sixteen guns at a target, their return fire can (and will) citadel you. Marlborough's fire angles are so terrible that incoming shells striking her belt will auto-pass their ricochet check a minimum of 81% of the time when she's firing forward and ALWAYS when she fires over her shoulder to the rear. It's never (EVER!) a good idea to trade fire with enemy battleships using all of Marlborough's guns. You'll give up huge chunks of your health if you don't simply die. Things don't get much better against cruisers or destroyers. Her homogeneous 32mm structural plate makes her an easy HE damage farm from heavy and light cruisers. Given her damage output woes, she's not likely to fare well in these trades. Incoming torpedoes from lolibotes and subs don't have to contend with very much anti-torpedo protection either. And if you're thinking "oh, well she's soft skinned because Royal Navy battleships get a good heal", stop right there. Marlborough has a worse heal than any of the other Royal Navy battleships in the game. So not only does she take more damage than other Royal Navy battleships, she doesn't recover health anywhere near as quickly. If you see Marlborough on the enemy team, know that she's an easy target. As an xp pinata, there's a lot to like with Marlborough. But playing her? She's a total drag. Marlborough's potential health is totally average. But when you combine this with her poor protection scheme, she's a lot more fragile than these numbers suggest. There are hidden armour plates in the bow and stern of Marlborough. Unfortunately, her citadel sits so high that any shells bouncing off these plates will just slam into her 305mm bulkheads and citadel her anyway. VERDICT: Bad, horrible and terrible. Agility Top Speed: 31.5 knots Turning Radius: 860 meters Rudder Shift Time: 16.8 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.2º/s at 23.5kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 4.0º/s I wish Marlborough's agility was enough to bandaid her other problem. Sadly, one issue sours the experience. Let's start with the good: Marlborough's top speed is great. 31.5 knots is very comfortable at this tier. Similarly, her 860m turning radius isn't terrible; it's better than a lot of the other high-tier battleships, so I've got to give her a pass here as well. These two factors combine to a 4.2º/s rotation rate when she's at top speed which isn't stellar but it's okay. Unfortunately, this is enough to allow her to out-turn her turrets, but I've already complained enough about that. So you're probably wondering where the issue is. It's her rudder shift time. 16.8 seconds isn't appalling but it's pretty bad. And given her fire angle woes, her lack of torpedo protection and her citadel vulnerability, it's just that much worse. Marlborough feels like she handles poorly. Just Dodging™ isn't in her repertoire and you can forget being able to swing her butt out and back in order to flash her guns and avoid return fire. If she had Vanguard or Yukon's rudder shift time, I might be more forgiving here but given what Marlborough needs, her agility just doesn't deliver. Two things to note with this graphic. First, Giuseppe Verdi's agility is assumed -- I have not tested it yet. She appears to have the same agility as Marco Polo (I suspect her agility performance is cloned) but until I get my hands on her, I won't know for sure. The second item to note is the lack of data for Prinz Rupprecht. I have not unlocked her yet to test her. VERDICT: Close but no cigar. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 3+1 explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 6km Long Ranged (up to 6km): 80.5 dps at 75% accuracy (60 dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 528.5 dps at 75% accuracy (396 dps) There's not much to say here. Marlborough doesn't put out a lot of damage overall. She's pretty crappy when it comes to how many flak explosions she generates (even if the individual hits are beefier than many at her tier). The best that could be said about her is that she has good reach with her long-ranged batteries so she can support her allies decently. But she just doesn't generate the numbers needed to make any CV player balk. VERDICT: A whole lot of meh. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.36km / 12.07km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 11.94km / 9.67km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 13.35km Maximum Firing Range: Between 20.86km and 24.2km when equipped with Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2. Marlborough's concealment is good. As it stands presently, Marlborough has the tenth lowest upgraded surface detection of all of the battleships within her matchmaking spread. She ends up with a surface detection around 12km which is very comfortable and about on par with a lot of cruisers she faces. With her guns silenced, she has little to fear from being spotted by larger ships, with only the usual culprits of submarines, aircraft carriers and destroyers being able to routinely outspot her. In late game settings, this gets quite powerful, particularly when she needs to disengage. It's unfortunate that she cannot pair this with good kiting fire angles, but such are the woes of her design. There are two other flies in the ointment. The first is her relative lack of range with no ability to boost it short of taking a 6th-slot upgrade. The second is a lack of any bonus detection consumables. Though the days are long gone where orbiting aircraft could help sniff out threats, consumables like Hydroacoustic Search aren't unheard of on a fair number of battleships and Marlborough goes without. Overall, her concealment is one of the few straight-up good things about the vessel. Marlborough has excellent concealment for a battleship. VERDICT: Good, but not good enough to save the ship. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike from 1.5km to 10km (plus bomb drop column) Number of Salvos: Up to three Reload Time: 75 seconds Aircraft: Two S.25 Sunderlands with 2,000hp per plane. Drop Pattern: 4 bombs each dropped evenly over roughly a 1.75km column Maximum Bomb Damage: 3,000 Fire Chance: 17% I'm again merely reporting this for posterity's sake rather than speaking towards its efficacy. The Royal Navy battleships have some of the better airstrikes in the game at this stage in testing. But with overhauls planned, who knows how things will change in the future? VERDICT: Don't know, don't care until things get closer to final. Final Evaluation Welcome to flavour country. Like the tobacco industry, Wargaming will tell you their product is well researched and fine for consumer consumption. This is despite their own evidence that players do not enjoy ships with compromised main gunnery performance. Playing Marlborough isn't likely to give you cancer as far as I'm aware. It just feels like it. This is a bad design on Wargaming's part. The amount of arrogance or ignorance needed to think that it's a good idea to [edited]-slap players for playing the ship the way they promoted her is just astounding. The worst thing is that Wargaming is patently aware that frustrating gunnery isn't received well by the player base, yet they go out of their way to cook up this mess. I'm glad most players I've encountered seem aware that this ship is poorly designed and are keeping away. I really wish Wargaming would stop jerking us around with bad products like this. But let's talk about what a "bad" product means in the context of this game, because invariably there's going to be someone that enjoys this ship -- whether by it's own merits or simply to because they're an unrepentent hipster that can't help but find enjoyment in things panned by the community. It's important to appreciate that unlike her sister game World of Tanks, bad premiums in World of Warships create the illusion of being redeemable. Any ship in the game is capable of damaging any other. It was a meme back in the day, but you could take a tier II Umikaze into tier X matches and with a bit of skill, still pull of some surprising numbers. This addage holds true for Marlborough. She's a bad ship, make no mistake, but she can still generate numbers. Fire and HE spam are the great equalizers after all. All it takes is someone stubborn enough to sit behind the helm and keep trying and Marlborough will eventually deliver. What makes Marlborough bad is the amount work needed to get the same results as other ships. Meanwhile, your team is forced to carry harder to make up for your ships deficits. This isn't an insurmountable ask by any means given how World of Warships is designed. But Marlborough is still a liability. This is obviously in the context of PVP modes. Bots are dumb and you can make nearly anything work in Co-Op. It wouldn't take much to make Marlborough less punitive to play. Wargaming can't do much about her fire angles without clipping into the ship's geometry, so that's a wash. But they could do one of or any of the following: Drop her citadel down another deck. Give her an improved Repair Party. Increase her range by 2.5km. Give her Duke of York's improved auto-ricochet angles (60º to 75º) on her AP shells. Give her King George V's HE rounds. Improve her rudder shift time dramatically. Improve her gun handling dramatically. Even the addition of only of these would vastly improve the experience of playing Marlborough. Some are admittedly powerful (KGV HE, I am looking at you) and might necessitate further balancing measures. Preserving her as-advertised 25 second reload might necessitate giving up range, speed and concealment. I would happily sacrifice those to make her a better gun platform. Main battery performance is the key aspect of game play for battleships in World of Warships and Wargaming screwed it up bad with Marlborough. You shouldn't feel like you're fighting with the ship in order to fire her guns -- especially not with a vessel that comes with a $200 price tag. Shame on you, Wargaming. Mouse out.
  8. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Dido

    The following is a review of Dido, to tier VI premium British light cruiser, supported by my patrons on Patreon. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.11.1. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. The purpose of this review is to support the players, not the company behind the product. Posting this review is not an endorsement of current goings on nor is it a statement about them. It's been a while, and not for the lack of trying. I have a half-finished Giuseppe Verdi and Kearsarge reviews archived before I got distracted with mapping sustianed AA DPS (kinda important when talking about Kearsarge's planes). My AA project has ballooned out of control which I feared it might. I'm putting those reviews on hold to get a (relatively) faster one out. Now Dido is a ship that players have wanted for a long time. A quick forums search finds talk about these ships going all of the way back to the game's launch, with players eagerly looking forward to more "Atlanta-style" ships. This ship has definitely been one I've highly anticipated knowing how important it is to not only Royal Navy enthusiasts but also players in the Commonwealth nations where she might be used (with modifications) to represent HMNZS Bellona or HMNZS Black Prince. Wargaming seems to have developed allergies for rapid-fire ships over the course of 2021 (to say nothing of AA specialists), with ships increasingly having longer and longer (and unfun) reloads and Dido's implementation obviously suffers from this new design direction. I was expecting Nürnberg levels of rapid-fire. Instead we got Dallas with much weaker guns. The silver lining (supposedly) is that they gave her smoke. So let's see if reaching into the Box o' Gimmicks™ has saved us from unfun design choices. Quick Summary: A fragile British light cruiser with ten, slow-firing destroyer-calibre guns. She's agile with good concealment and boasts a Short-Burst Smoke Generator. PROS Small citadel. Large battery of ten 133mm guns that fires both HE and AP. 360º traverse on rear turrets. Powerful, single-fire torpedoes. Excellent acceleration and decent agility. Good concealment. She has smoke. CONS Tiny hit point pool. Very thin citadel protection, vulnerable to even 203mm AP overmatching. Uses cruiser dispersion instead of destroyer dispersion. Slow firing for such small-calibre guns. Low HE and AP penetration. Clumsy main-battery firing angles. Bad anti-aircraft firepower. No access to Hydroacoustic Search. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Dido has a nice, comfortable skill floor for inexperienced players. Park in smoke, apply HE to faces. Displace. Rinse and repeat. For veteran players, there's a lot to know. Map awareness, map positioning, proper smoke use habits, commander skill builds, ammunition juggling, using and abusing concealment, etc. They'll all serve you well here and help pad some of the ship's obvious weaknesses. Dido's carry potential is somewhat limited, however, by the issues with her penetration and damage output. She just doesn't hurt things quickly enough for bold plays barring a torpedo strike, so this is a ship that requires patience, caution and even more patience. Options The most variety you're going to find in optimized Dido builds comes from commander skill selection, and that's mostly focused around whether or not to take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells or to emphasize fire setting instead. One of these is a bad idea. Consumables Dido's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser. It comes with unlimited charges and a 60 second reset timer. It is active for 5 seconds. Her Defensive AA Fire consumable is standard for a non-American cruiser at this tier. It starts with three charges and it has a 40 second active period and an 80 second reset timer. While active, it increases sustained damage by 50% and quadruples flak explosion damage. Dido comes with a Short-Burst Smoke Generator reminiscent of that found on Belfast '43 and British destroyers. However, it's very much its own beast with no direct clones that I could find. It starts with five charges and emits smoke for 15 seconds. However, the smoke clouds only last for 35 seconds each (Belfast '43's smoke lasts for 40) . Her reset timer is also longer than her tier VIII cousin, with an 80 second wait time instead of 70 seconds. Upgrades Not much variety here. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Engine Room Protection. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is the only upgrade worth considering in slot three. And finally, Steering Gears Modification 1 is also the only upgrade worth taking. Commander Skills Why haven't you taken Heavy HE & SAP Shells yet? YOU MUST TAKE HEAVY HE & SAP SHELLS for Dido. There's no reason not to. Take it now. NOW. Have you done it yet? Okay, good. Now we can talk. You're going to want to pair that with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells along with the usual light-cruiser suspects of Concealment Expert and Last Stand is also recommended. You've got some wiggle room after that. I highly value Priority Target and I wanted the extra charge of smoke with Superintendent (though you're not always going to get to use it). With such as a small hit point pool, the extra 2700 (or 11% total) hit points from Survivability Expert is worth taking, though you could trade one of the latter two for Adrenaline Rush if you wanted. Finally, I had a point leftover which I dropped into Grease the Gears. Here's some of the skills I'd consider but didn't have room for in my current build: Gun Feeder - On more than one occasion, I wish I had this skill when the flat broadside of a cruiser finally presented itself. Demolition Expert - Nice to have, but expensive at two points. Adrenaline Rush - Mentioned above. Radio Location - See Demolition Expert. This would be nice to have but it's too expensive given Dido's priorities. Of course, if you're only playing Co-Op and scenarios, than other than Heavy HE & SAP Shells, your choice of skills doesn't matter much. Camouflage If you unlock Dido through the Gibraltar Pillars event, she comes with two camouflage options. Her Type 10 and Atlantic camos are palette swaps of one another, providing the identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. This is Dido-s standard Type 10 camouflage. If she's put on sale on the regular later, this is the paint scheme with which she'll come. You can unlock this alternative palette for her Type 10 camouflage through completing a specific part of the Naval Aviation collection. For early adopters, they also received this Atlantic - Dido camouflage which is nice and striking. My guess is we'll see this as a purchasable option for and estimated 1,000 doubloons or 6,000 community-tokens for later-comers if they become available separately. Firepower Main Battery: Ten 133mm/50 guns in 5x2 turrets in an A-B-C-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers on wing mounts straddling the rear funnel. Dido barely survives a ram attempt from Kijkduin, using her powerful torpedoes to sink the cruiser just before impact. Dido has better rearward than forward torpedo arcs. Torpedoes Let's start with the fish! Dido has surprisingly powerful fish for her tier. This is owing to her using the same torpedoes found on the tier VIII destroyer, Lightning, giving her quite a heavy punch. Their 8km range means you're not stealth firing at anyone barring extreme kiting situations or using concealment to setup a torpedo attack. However, their individual hits are devastating. A full broadside of her torpedoes will sink just about any cruiser she comes across. BUT (and I stress this but!) three torpedo hits aren't enough to take down any of the battleships she faces short of Viribus Unitis, so don't suicide charge anything that's not already damaged. Like other British cruisers and destroyers, Dido can single fire her fish which is welcome. It's just a shame these aren't a little longer ranged. Oh well, they're good at what they do when you are able to use them. Those these may be destroyer calibre, they do not have a destroyer's rate of fire. Tech Tree versus Premium I'm honestly surprised Wargaming chose to release another premium with destroyer-calibre guns, to say nothing of a whole tech tree lined based on the armament, without first addressing player concerns about their performance. Firepower wise, specialized cruisers are in a rough spot since the commander skill rework a couple of years back. Wargaming has made improvements, but super-cruisers and cruisers with destroyer-calibre weapons had their efficiency severely reduced. Ostensibly, Dido's arrival long after the rework (nevermind a full Pan Asian line dedicated to this armament choice) means that Wargaming has designed these ships with these deficits in mind. Ostensibly. Maybe they're couching their implementation with the promise of future fixes. I dunno. I can't hold their feet to the fire like I used to. These teething troubles are still apparent with Dido's gunnery and it takes a careful hand (and careful skill choices) to fix these issues. She's not quite a comfortable gunnery platform -- she gets close, but her weapons are far from the fun weapons of Atlanta and Smolensk, for example. As a premium version of Rahmat, the tier VI Pan Asian tech-tree vessel, it's natural to want to compare her and Dido. There's a lot of give and take between the two ships. Dido has better range than Rahmat, with a reach of 14.1km to Rahmat's 12.496km. This is a huge improvement. Rahmat has better fire angles on her Y-turret with a 270º arc compared to Dido's 268º. Minor, but still. Rahmat has the better rate of fire, reloading in just 7.5 seconds to Dido's 8.5 seconds. This is pretty big. Dido's shells have less drag and thus better ballistics. This is important. The reduced drag gives Dido's AP shells better penetration too. This is not so important, as we'll cover. Dido's AP shells have longer fuse timers of 0.033s instead of 0.025s. This is more of academic interest than practical. This all translates to Dido being a more comfortable platform to engage targets at a distance, which is good, but you pay for it with overall damage output. Of course, besting Rahmat's range is like bragging that your ship is faster than New Mexico. It's a pretty damn low bar to hurdle. Dido is short ranged, make no mistake, but she is the longest-ranged of any of the smoke-bearing cruisers at this tier barring Trento. Between having to choose between range and rate of fire, I'll take the range, especially when paired with Dido's improved ballistics. I'm not happy about Dido's rate of fire, especially when paired with her penetration woes. This isn't a cruiser that kills things quickly. Dido's DPM is middling. Her lack of penetration makes it very difficult to realize these numbers, however. It should be noted that Dido (and Rahmat) can boost these listed numbers by 10% by taking the Heavy HE and SAP shells commander skill, which they totally should. This bumps up Dido's AP DPM from 180,000 to 198,000 and her HE DPM from 134,118 to 147,530. With her guns being only 133mm in calibre, she doesn't suffer the accompanying concealment penalty normally associated with this skill. Dido's improved ballistics means that her AP penetration is lightly better than Rahmat's, even though they're using the same guns. This ballistic difference translates into Rahmat's shells taking 10.63 seconds to reach 12.5km. Dido's cover the same distance in 9.46 seconds and doesn't experience the same kind of floaty arc as Rahmat until a range of 13.47km. These arcs allow Dido to make good use of terrain cover to lob shells over islands. Dido's penetration isn't good. Her AP penetration is among the worst for cruisers at tier VI. Landing citadel hits against cruisers requires not only the enemy ships to provide a broadside to shoot at, but also specific armour thresholds. While something soft and squishy like Pensacola's 76mm belt over her machine spaces can be contested in excess of 12km, the 102mm plating over her magazines is proof until you get into sub-10km ranges. Dido's AP works well against lower-tiered and very light and scout cruisers but it's nowhere near reliable against higher tiered ships. The long fuse timer on her shells also makes overpenetrations more likely against soft parts like battleship superstructures. Her HE penetration doesn't get much better. Sure, the 22mm she starts with is enough to contest all destroyers and most (but not all) tier V, VI and VII cruisers she might face. This is also enough to hurt the extremities of tier V battleships and the superstructures of the remaining vessels. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells greatly expands the targets she can directly hurt, being able to smouldering HE holes into any cruiser she might come across as well as opening up the extremities of tier VI and VII battleships as well. Pair this with the Heavy HE and SAP Shells commander skills and Dido's DPM starts to look respectable. This comes at the expense of setting fires, of course, but Dido's not a great fire starter to begin with. Even with a deep build into fire setting, she barely gets close to the stock-values of the 152mm armed ships. So I stress again: Take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells and Heavy HE and SAP Shells on your commanders or Dido's gunnery performance suffers. I'm not happy with this solution. It means that in order to be competitive, destroyer-calibre armed ships like Dido must pay a commander skill tax. If skills like these are so game-changing as to become mandatory, that's bad for the player-base. Players are punished if they don't take them. Dido is only ever a modest fire-setter. You can dump skills and consumables into trying to improve it, but you're only ever going to be as good as a stock Makarov. It's better to bite the bullet, take IFHE and go from there. British ships are notorious for having bad fire angles. Dido's forward fire angles are good for four out of her five turrets, but Y-turret sucks. Her rearward fire angles are pretty bad, though. There are two good points though: Her X-turret has phenomenal fire arcs and both it and Y-turret have a 360º traverse arc. Gun Handling & Accuracy Dido keeps up with the British tradition of cramming their guns in so tightly to their superstructures that it impedes their gunnery arcs. Her fire arcs are bad, with her Y-turret being especially awful. You can mostly ignore this when firing forward, with four guns capable of addressing very accute fire angles. It's just Y-turret that's nigh-impossible to bear without flashing your full broadside. Unfortunately, things are worse rearward, with her forward turrets having bad arcs. At least her turret traverse isn't painfully slow and her rear turrets can rotate 360º. So you're not going to be able to fire all five guns safely without cover. Being out in the open is just asking for trouble with Dido anyway, so use the crummy arcs as a bit of a reminder to get back into cover ASAP. Special mention should be made about her dispersion. Dido, like Rahmat, uses cruiser horizontal dispersion formulas; namely: dispersion in meters = {[(range in km) x 6.9]+33 } as opposed to the more accurate destroyer dispersion formula {[(range in km) x 7.5] + 15}. Wargaming has never been consistent with when it applies one formula or the other. Bogatyr and Krasny Krym, for example, use cruiser dispersion while ships like Atlanta, Flint and Smolensk use the destroyer version. The difference isn't huge, but it is noticeable -- especially with destroyer calibre guns that fire as slowly as Dido's do. Summary As a weapon platform, Dido is okay, but only okay. There's nothing novel about her gunnery. She's not like Atlanta or Smolensk or Colbert where a smaller calibre weapon brings the promise of a greater rate of fire. This is a shame, because spamming small calibre shells is a lot of fun. Instead, it's better to think of Dido as analogous to a 152mm-armed ship but with nerfed AP and HE performance. Her shells are bad; they can be made functional with the correct commander skill build, but that's more of a bandaid solution than a true fix. You can bring them up to a state of usability but they're never going to cross that threshold into being truly competitive. The same goes for her fish. They hit like trucks (which is awesome), but having only three isn't enough to make them a true trump card. Furthermore, her 8km range is only ever going to be okay and not great. She'd need another 2km onto their range to become something that could be used on the regular and another 2km beyond that to become a mainstay weapon. VERDICT: Very meh. Functional, but very meh. Durability Hit Points: 23,600 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 13mm / 10mm / 89mm / 25mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 89mm belt Torpedo Damage Reduction: 4% That's not a lot of health. I don't think anyone was expecting Dido to be anything but squishy. She's not a heavily armoured cruiser and as far as tonnage goes; she's quite small compared to her contemporaries. The only question I had was whether or not she would get access to a Repair Party consumable to pad these vulnerabilities and the answer is decisively: "Very no". As it stands, it takes as little as a pair of 381mm citadel hits to send her to the bottom. Fun! I'm not going to tell you that "Akchooally, dis is gud," cuz it's not. This sucks. This sucks moose balls. This sucks so much that it makes Survivability Expert not only a viable skill choice, but arguably a necessary one. The commander skill-tax on patching Dido's flagging performance gets more and more expensive (for those keeping track, we're up to 10 mandatory skill points). The only decent thing about Dido is the size of her citadel. It's a small target and in my playtesting, its small size has kept me alive just a little longer as players overestimate it's scope. So catastrophic ends, while still possible, are a little less likely owing to this small target. Of course, once word gets out and familiarity with this ship jumps up with exposure, this advantage will mean less and less. Most of us now know how to blow apart an Omaha-class or an Emerald, for example, despite their citadels being smaller than higher-tiered cruisers. That same kind of baseline knowledge will eventually disseminate down to Dido as well and she'll pop as readily as the rest of them. Still, you might be able to pull off the occasional troll manoeuvre. Angling in Dido is generally a bad idea as even 203mm AP shells can overmatch her bow and blow her machine spaces apart (incidentally 203mm AP can overmatch much of her citadel roof too, so dueling with American heavy cruisers is generally a stupid idea). Remember that at ranges less than 8km, it's better to show a full broadside to most enemy battleships than to try and angle against them, trusting that their AP shells don't have sufficient time to arm inside your ship. This doesn't work for shorter-fuse timers from AP shells, such as the 305mm rounds on König, Scharnhorst's 283mm or Yukon's 381mm guns, but go nuts on trying it out against other battleships. Just remember: flat broadside. Any kind of angle and you risk giving enough room for those shells to pop you good. Given Dido's short range, German secondaries ended up being something I dreaded facing. HE of just about any calibre hurt and it's important to keep a respectable distance away from anything bristling with functional (or semi-functional) secondaries. This dittos for HE spam from gunship destroyers, but they tended to keep a healthy distance from Dido's guns for the most part. So, yeah. Dido's durability sucks. No surprises there, though, so don't get hit. Dido is made of squish. Dido's citadel is much smaller than players might think. You have to aim beneath her funnels to score citadel hits. Otherwise, you're very likely to overpenetrate. Dido's citadel is shown here in yellow. Her magazines do not count as part of the citadel and are featured here in dark red. This image comes from Gamemodels3d.com.. VERDICT: Bad but not like, meme-worthy bad (which would be kind of redeemable). Shooting beneath Dido's turrets may disable them or even knock them out, but you're not getting citadel hits if you aim there. You can try baiting shots here by offering up a full broadside at very close ranges, trusting her thin armour to prompt overpenetrations from battleship calibre guns. Agility Top Speed: 32.3 knots Turning Radius: 580 meters Rudder Shift Time: 6.5 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 6.9º/s at 25.8kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 10.0º/s Dido does not have all of improved agility characteristics as other British light cruisers do. Still, Dido has some pretty good agility according to her in port stats. She has a tiny turning circle radius and a good rudder shift time. However, the tech tree British light cruisers and destroyers have improved engine performance, given them much better handling than their stats alone would otherwise indicate. Dido gets a half-measure of this bonus. She accelerates much faster than normal ships. However, she doesn't get the improved energy retention in a turn, decelerating to the normal 80% of maximum speed when she comes about instead of retaining 97.5% to 98.5%. You can see this here in the time it takes the tier VI cruisers to each 30 knots. The percentage in brackets is how much 30 knots is relative to their top speed, with the idea being that the closer this is to a ship's maximum speed, the longer it will take them to accelerate. 10.0 seconds Dido (92.9%) 10.5 seconds Perth (92.3%) 10.8 seconds Leander (92.3%) 11.3 seconds Mysore (94.9%) 22.9 seconds Dallas (92%) 23.8 seconds Molotov (83.3%) 24.3 seconds Budyonny (85.5%) 24.5 seconds Duca d'Aosta (82.0%) 24.9 seconds Trento (85.5%) 26.5 seconds Aoba (85.5%) 27.0 seconds De Grasse (89.6%) 27.5 seconds London (92.6%) 27.9 seconds Huanghe (90.6%) 28.8 seconds Pensacola (92%) 29.8 seconds Kijkduin (90.6%) 30.8 seconds Canarias (90.6%) 32.1 seconds La Galissonniere (96.8%) 32.1 seconds Nurnberg (93.8%) 32.1 seconds Makarov (93.8%) 35.5 seconds Devonshire (95.5%) It's obvious looking at this that Dido, along with Perth, Leander and Mysore, has much improved acceleration over their peers. She's hitting 30 knots while they're struggling to make 10. Even when her rivals are equipped with Propulsion Modification 1, their acceleration just doesn't compare. Here's a few examples of the same test, but this time equipped with the upgrade: Dallas: 20.8 seconds (2.1s faster) Budyonny: 19.2s (5.1s faster) Nurnberg: 26.9s (5.2s faster) Duca d'Aosta: 19.4s (5.1s faster) (Note: There's something weird going on with Dallas). So other than that, there's nothing too surprising going on here. Dido's not especially fast (she's not slow either). She has a good rate of turn, but not outstanding. Her turning circle radius is nice and tight, which is great. She doesn't get top marks in this category (Perth and Leander are a thing), but she's pretty damn good. Dido combines the small turning circle radius of Huanghe and Rahmat with the improved acceleration of Mysore, Leander and Perth. She does not have the improved energy preservation of the latter two, though, which would have spiked her rate of turn from 6.9º/s up to 8.4º/s! VERDICT: On a scale of one to awesome, Dido is super-great. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 2+0 explosions for 1,260 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.2km Long Ranged (up to 5.2km): 63 dps at 90% accuracy (56.7 dps) Medium Ranged (up to 2.5km): 63 dps at 90% accuracy (56.7 dps) Short Ranged (up to 2km): 94.5 dps at 85% accuracy (80.325dps) DPS Aura Ranges Total DPS by Range Effective Damage vs 186.2knot Aircraft Dido's AA firepower stinks worse than unwiped monkey butts. And I take issue with this. Dido's 133mm only have a 5.2km range and this makes me grumpy. 'What's the big deal?' you might justifiably ask. After all, the dual purpose guns on the KGV-class, Famous & Historical Monarch and Yukon all share the same range. It's that consistency which is bothering me. You see, Rahmat, using the same guns, gets a 5.8km range. Yeah! No consistency there. In the Pan Asian cruiser's case, I imagine it's to make the 133mm guns feel like a 100% upgrade over her 113mm weapons. Can't have the upgraded guns making her AA worse now can we? I also take exception to Wargaming's game design in regards to large calibre anti-aircraft firepower. It's been troublesome and busted since the rework back in 2019 and no iteration has worked sufficiently to my liking. It nerfed the Hell out of Hood's defensive AA rockets. It made Atlanta's AA power go from top tier to bottom. It makes Dido's AA power terrible in game, despite having a good track record historically. This is not the first ahistoric gameplay element to marr World of Warships but given the sorry state of surface ship to aircraft interaction, it's infuriating to me that Wargaming still hasn't ressurected the AA-picket ship role that has been gone since patch 0.8.0. Dido was a chance to amend this and they didn't take it. I'm not surprised they didn't. The whole CV rework reeks of incompetence three years on. Dido's AA, when paired with Defensive AA Fire will shoot down a plane or two so long her small and medium calibre AA guns are still intact (these will break as soon as you get hit by HE). She doesn't do enough damage, nor does she spit out enough flak bursts for any specialization into this role to be worthwhile. So don't bother. A few HE rounds between the funnels will strip her of most of her small and medium calibre AA and there's nothing you can realistically do about it. VERDICT: Ahistorical and laughably bad. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 10.54km / 9.2km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 5.78km / 5.2km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 4.43km Maximum Firing Range: 14.1km There's good and bad here. THE GOOD Low surface detection Upgraded aerial detection matches her long-range AA battery range Smoke! THE BAD Cannot stealth-fire torpedoes No access to Hydroacoustic Search Each smoke cloud only lasts 35 seconds (a max of five salvos) It's the lack of access to Hydroacoustic Search that stings the most. Especially because her Defensive AA Fire is so bloody useless when paired with her abysmal AA values. Parking in smoke out in open water is just asking to get fish shoved up your butt, which is an embarrassing and carpy way to go out. I found myself prefering to keep smoke on standby while using islands as my prefered way to keep out of sight. Using smoke if spotted by aircraft or by an unseen vector became the better play. I even used it to help flush out a destroyer in a Ranked Batlte which was much more useful than parking in it. If Dido did have hydro, she could make some aggressive plays on occasion and behave a little more comfortably in open water, but it's not meant to be. Overall, she's good here. As limited as her Short-Burst Smoke Generator is, it's still very handy to have and it will help you win games. I'm just being bitter. Islands make better waifus than smoke. VERDICT: Good save for lacking hydro Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Depth charges Number of Bombs per String: Five Number of Strings Carried: Two (may be increased to four with Depth Charges Modification 1) Reload Time per String: 40 seconds Drop Pattern: Rolled off rear deck in a line. Maximum Bomb Damage: 5,000 (estimated 2,567 damage) Fire Chance: 20% At the time of writing, submarines have been removed from public testing. I'm merely recording the data as it exists. It may become relevant later. Without Hydroacoustic Search, taking on subs is going to be a bad idea with Dido. Drop order of Dido's depth charges. Final Evaluation So Dido's good. Not great, but she's good. She's a cruiser with smoke that exists in an environment that's not saturated with Surveillance Radar and claustrophobic maps with lots of islands to shoot over. She'd have to be pretty terrible across most metrics not to do well. I'm not a fan of her given her lack of Hydroacoustic Search, mostly because I like bold-aggressive plays at low and mid-tier matches and not having the tools to dig out lolibotes sours me to the whole experience. Go figure, I don't have fun when my own idiocy gets me justifaibly blown out of the water for over-extending. Her lack of AA performance also bothers me considerably more than it should, admittedly. I wasn't looking for her to be god-tier when it came to shooting down planes. I just expected her to be better than bloody Molotov and Leander for crying out loud. But such isn't meant to be. Sucks to be me and have my preferences, I suppose. I admittedly haven't played her as much as I should, what with trying to get some Ranked Battle time in and poking at Canarias too. Still, the more I played her, the better things were turning out. I'm very curious to see how the community receives her. I personally feel her tiering holds her back. Wargaming just isn't incentivizing playing mid-tiers enough and they really should. I think it's a riot, but that's just me. Speaking of preferences, London is the better buy when it comes to tier VI premium British cruisers. She's much more reliable and nasty. In Closing I want to talk a little about what goes into making one of these reviews and just how much of a time investment these are. This one graphic demonstrates it quite well, I think. It takes me about two hours to put together one of these twirling graphics, assembling it through assets I make by hand with MS Paint and a calculator and then importing them over to photoshop to piece together in layers. That's already a lot of work, but it's only scratching the surface. There was no template for this. I had to make it. That took a lot of trial and error and a lot of botched attempts. I listened to feedback from my readers and my peers on how to improve my earlier results until I could create something that would show with a reasonable level of accuracy, how individual ships performed in a way that cut through the obfuscation of in-port statistics. I'm reasonably happy with how these turned out, though the number of ships at a given tier is making them too cluttered, so I will have to pair them down to only the relevant ships. But that still doesn't speak to all of the work that went into this, because there's all of the data collection that went into it as well. Simply timing ships twirling isn't all of it either (as arduous a task as it is keeping that database up to date). That ignores all of the testing and head scratching and math that went into figuring out how the in-port stats were created in the first place. This was further complicated by just how many ships had incorrect values listed in port too which created further hurdles. I have over 100 hours of recorded twirling data in my archives. 100 hours spent watching ships twirl in circles. And this is just for one graphic, I remind you. This has been repeated for other elements as well, be it detonations and module damage, smoke emission and ship hit boxes or god knows how much time I've lost trying to map dispersion. I'm not getting that time back short of using the data to share information. And I'm just speaking about my own time invested in these. @Lert and @Chobittsu are right there beside me, listening to me grumble. They provide feedback and suggestions, art and editing. To be able to speak confidently about any one aspect of a given ship's performance -- something I can back with actual provable stats -- takes time. It takes more time than you might assume from some throwaway DPM graphic or a funny little blurb about moose-testicles or an Angry YouTuber "meh". These reviews stand upon a a mountain of 'behind the scenes' work, an investment of a bunch of time about a video game that, let's be honest, hasn't treated me well over the last couple of years. It's hard producing these reviews. It's a lot of hard work that's built upon a lot of other work done in the past. Every new ship that's added to the game increases the workload. The last time I reviewed a tier VI cruiser, I didn't have to worry about Rahmat, Canarias, Dido or Kijkduin. Now I have to make sure those ships are covered too. I say this all not to complain, but to express my gratitude. The only thing that makes all of this time spent worthwhile is that you all see value in what I do here. For that, I am forever grateful. Thank you for reading.
  9. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Agincourt

    The following is a review of Agincourt, the tier V British premium battleship. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself; I did not pay to get access to this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.4. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Summary: A slow but stealthy WWI era Dreadnought armed with fourteen 305mm guns in seven turrets (!) and a powerful secondary battery. PROS Dispersed armour scheme with an icebreaker bow & stern and resilient upper hull and amidships deck. Comfortable forward fire angles for most guns and that gorgeous Friday 360º turret traverse. Massive broadside of fourteen 305mm guns. Improved HE penetration. Powerful, accurate secondaries with long range and increased rate of fire. Tiny surface detection. CONS None of her armour is especially thick, making her easy to damage with battleship AP if not perfectly angled. Painfully long 36 second reload. Horrible main battery dispersion with 1.5 sigma. Terrible ... nay, craptacular AP penetration. Reduced HE damage. Slow and cumbersome. No anti-aircraft firepower whatsoever. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme For an inexperienced player, Agincourt is a bit of a rough ride. This is all down to her horrible rate of fire. At 36 seconds, a missed volley is downright painful and this is further complicated by the poor performance of both her AP and HE shells. You might aim properly but still find everything shatter or ricochet. There are further challenges with trying to manage her poor armour values and sluggish handling. At least they don't need to worry about managing AA defence as she doesn't have any. Admittedly, Agincourt's skill ceiling all comes from managing the brawling side of things. If you ignore that potential, then her skill ceiling is no higher than Moderate. But Agincourt fully encourages you to get your brawl on and it's a lot of fun. Agincourt embarrasses a full health KGV in a joust with a Devastating Strike. Options One of the nice things about reviewing lower-tiered ships is that there are fewer options to worry about. Still, there's quite a bit of weirdness going on here so pay attention. Consumables Her Damage Control Party is standard for a British battleship. It is active for 15 seconds, repairing all critical damage and removing fires and floods. It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Agincourt's Repair Party is strange only in that it's perfectly normal. It lacks the additional damage queue normally found on British battleships nor does it heal an additional amount. Instead it queues up 50% of penetration damage from shells, bombs, rockets and torpedoes, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of everything else. Each charge heals up to 14% of her starting health over 28 seconds. She begins with four charges and an 80 second reset timer. Upgrades Business as usual here. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Then take Damage Control System Modification 1. For your third slot, you have a choice between main battery optimization or going with some secondary craziness. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is generally optimal for your main battery performance though there's a good argument to be made for taking Main Battery Modification 2 to reduce the time it takes to switch aim between targets. HOWEVER, the Agincourt does very well with a secondary specialization (yes, you read that right), so taking Secondary Gun Battery Modification 1 is the start of that magical journey. Commander Skills There are two builds worth considering here. The first is your typical fire resistance specialization. Start with your choice of Emergency Repair Specialist (1) or Gun Feeder (1). That's 1pt spent. Grease the Gears (2) is next. That's 3pts total. Basics of Survivability (3) is the first of our fire-mitigation skills. We're now up to 6pts. And Fire Prevention (4) caps us off. That's 10pts. From here, you're encouraged to pick skills that again emphasize survivability and main battery performance where possible. Good skills include: Emergency Repair Expert (4), Concealment Expert (4), Adrenaline Rush (3) and Priority Target (2) along with doubling back for the tier 1 skill you skipped. The second build is a brawling spec. You want to pair this with the Secondary Gun Battery Modification 1 upgrade for maximum effect. It starts pretty familiar with either Emergency Repair Specialist (1) or Gun Feeder (1) again but we also toss on Pyrotechnician (1) as a tertiary option (in both meanings of the word). That's 1pt spent. Grease the Gears (2) is still the best option, though Priority Target (2) is equally good for dealing with low-tier lolibotes, so it becomes a choice here. Now we're up to 3pts. Long Range Secondary Battery Shells (3) is the first major deviation we're seeing. Grab it. This is 6pts spent. Finish this off with Improved Secondary Battery Aiming (4). And that's 10pts. From here, grab a mix of survivability and gun performance skills along with doubling back for some of your favourites you had to pass over. Good skills include: Emergency Repair Expert (4), Concealment Expert (4), Adrenaline Rush (3). Fire Prevention (4) and Basics of Survivability (3) still have their place but you'll have to make some compromises somewhere. It is worth mentioning two controversial skills for Agincourt's secondary build. These are Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (2) and Swift in Silence (4). The former will make Agincourt's 76mm secondaries capable of directly damaging most tier VI and VII destroyer extremities, along with buffing her 152mm secondaries to be capable of doing the same versus tier VI and VII battleships. This comes at the cost of gutting their fire chance, which is a pretty stiff blow when dueling other dreadnoughts, especially with the prevalence of dispersed armour schemes that even the improved HE pen on her 152mm won't be able to best. Still, it's hard to argue with more direct damage. As for the latter skill, I go into more detail in the agility section below. I'm not a fan. Camouflage Agincourt has access to two camouflage patterns, Type 9 and Veteran of Jutland. They are cosmetic swaps of one another and both provide the following bonuses: 3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells -10% to post-battle service costs +50% experience earned. You can unlock the alternative colour palette (the blue) by completing the appropriate section of the Royal Navy Destroyers collection. Agincourt's Jutland camo. Like the ship itself, this is only available from a loot box. Where's that puky emoji? Firepower Main Battery: Fourteen 305mm guns in 7x2 turrets in an A-B-P-Q-X-Y-Z layout. A-B are in a superfiring configuration. P faces forward, Q aft. Y-turret superfires over X and Z, with X facing forward. Secondary Battery: Twenty 152mm guns and ten 76mm guns. Fourteen 152mm guns are mounted in casemates in the upper hull, four mounted in casemates in the fore and aft superstructure and two deck mounts straddling the main bridge. Eight of the 76mm are mounted in casemates on the upper-superstructure with a pair of turrets one platform higher on the rear superstructure. Fourteen Guns and They're All Crap Agincourt's guns are terrible. Ostensibly she uses the same guns as Bellerophon and Dreadnought, the tier III British battleships. However, they somehow manage to be worse on a per-gun basis. Specifically, Agincourt's 305mm guns have a longer reload than her tier III predecessors, worse dispersion and gutted HE performance. Yes, you have fourteen of the bloody things, but they're terrible. Unequivocally terrible. If Oklahoma weren't a thing, Agincourt's guns easily takes the prize for the worst gun performance at her tier. Thankfully, they have two redeeming qualities. She has fourteen of them. She has improved HE penetration. The major issue facing Agincourt's gun performance is her AP shells. If Oklahoma's AP was bad, Agincourt's is worse. It's so bad you can't reliably penetrate battleship belt armour outside of 8km distances. This necessitates keeping a ready list in your head of what the armour thicknesses are of select battleships and, in turn, what ranges you can engage them. Does New York have in excess of 340mm of belt armour, or is it only 280mm? At what range can Agincourt citadel a broadsiding Izmail? How much relative armour does a Conte di Cavour have at a 50º angle? When in doubt, you can always aim higher and hope for penetrating hits but you're working against troll, 1.5 sigma dispersion. Now you could be forgiven for thinking that Agincourt's AP penetration woes would make her better at landing citadel hits on cruisers, but this simply is not the case. Unlike other low-tier, small-calibre guns, she does not have the shortened, 0.01s fuse timers ideally set to for dealing with the smaller breadth of low-tier cruisers. Instead she has the longer, 0.033s fuse timers that are better suited for plunging deep into a heavily armoured vessel in order to destroy machine spaces and magazines. Thus, Agincourt's AP shells work at cross purposes to themselves. She does not have the penetration to readily duel with other dreadnoughts and her fuse timers are poorly set for popping the thinner citadels of low-tier cruisers. About the only targets where this low penetration and long fuse timers work to her advantage is blasting shells down the length of bow-in ships you can overmatch. Waiting that painfully long 36 second reload, setting up for that perfect broadside shot only to watch everything thrown at your opponent over penetrate or shatter is heartbreaking. That's painfully commonplace. Agincourt has some of the worst AP penetration values at her tier. And just to make things more frustrating, she has abnormally long shell fuse timers too which makes over-penetrations against cruisers more likely. So they suck on both ends of the spectrum. The two differences between the HE shells on HMS Dreadnought and Bellerophon versus those of Agincourt. Graphic pulled from gamemodels3d.com which i cannot recommend highly enough for players looking to expand their knowledge into the more esoteric details of World of Warships. Things get a little better with Agincourt's HE shells, but it's not all sunshine, rainbows and puppies here either. You need only look at the difference between Bellerophon and Dreadnought's HE shells versus those Agincourt was dealt. Dreadnought's HE shells hit 18% harder than Agincourt's and have slightly improved fire setting characteristics. Thus Agincourt's broadside is the equivalent of a 12-gun British battleship, not 14. Agincourt's HE DPM is little better than Wyoming, the tier IV American battleship, though the differences count. Perhaps the best saving grace of Agincourt's HE shells is that they retain the 1/4 HE penetration of the British battleship tech-tree. At 76mm, the modest damage output of her HE rounds becomes much more formidable and she is capable of landing citadel hits on a whole list of cruisers within her matchmaking, including but not limited to such prominent targets as the American Omaha-class and Pensacola-class. Farming up some of those black ribbons with HE shells is very satisfying, especially after being repeatedly trolled by her AP, let me tell you. Guess which ammo you'll be relying on? Agincourt's a decent fire setter. If you can land the hits, a full broadside is quite formidable. The catch to that, of course, is landing those hits in the first place. Her dispersion isn't kind nor is her reload. There just isn't anything really redeeming about Agincourt's main battery firepower short of the number of barrels. That 36 second reload is painful in the extreme. Her 4º/s gun rotation is lame, but at least she cannot out-turn her turrets (even if you slap on a Sierra Mike signal and the Swift in Silence commander skill). Her fire arcs aren't great on the whole. Some of her gun turrets are amazing but in order to maximize her firepower, you have to expose a lot of broadside. Her ballistics are incredibly floaty, with her shells suffering from a heavy amount of drag. And finally there's that awful shotgun dispersion of her's which can foil even the most carefully aimed shot. On the flip side, every now and then you'll land this amazing, Devastating Strike and it will make you wonder why you can't do it more consistently. I'm not a fan of Agincourt's main battery guns, if you can't tell. You can make them work, don't get me wrong, but it's an uphill battle. Okay, making this graphic nearly broke my brain. Y-Turret is my favourite (TGIF! ♥). Not only does it have great arcs, it can also rotate 360º. So long as you keep P and Q turret masked, Agincourt's forward fire arcs are very good. Historically, these seven turrets were named after the days of the week, from Sunday through Saturday, fore to aft. One of my standard dispersion tests. This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km. Agincourt is equipped with Aiming Systems Modification 1. Shots are coming in from right to left with the stationary Fuso-bot effectively bow-tanking. Agincourt's 1.5 sigma makes her gunnery all kinds of wonky. Their low velocity has their shell fall angle coming in at a rather steep 17º angle. I Need a Hero! ♫ Agincourt's secondaries to the rescue. Low-tier secondaries have long sat in the shadow. This was largely owing to the old Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament skill which provided a 60% dispersion reduction to tier VII+ ships that designated a target for their secondaries but only a 15% for lower tiered vessels. For four skill points, it just wasn't worthwhile. That's changed with the skill rework, with low-tier battleships gaining the same flat 35% dispersion reduction as higher tiered vessels. So while high-tiered battleships definitely had the potential of their secondaries nerfed with the rework, lower-tiered vessels had their's buffed. But there's more to secondary performance than how well it synergizes with a particular commander build. There are four main elements to look for to see if secondaries are worth specliazing into: Range. This is the real kicker. If your secondaries don't have the reach, they're not of much use. A 5km base range is really the minimum I consider to be viable for secondary builds. Between skills, signals and upgrades, a 5km secondary can reach out to 7.56km which is outside of torpedo range for most destroyers, giving the guns some comfortable use. Most low-tier secondaries sit between 4km and 5km in reach. Agincourt's have a 5.5km base range, maximizing out to 8.32km which is very usable in lower-tiered matches. Volume of Fire. You need a lot of guns and/or a fast rate of fire to make a secondary build worthwhile. This simplifies to looking at the damage-per-minute potential of the base secondaries and seeing if they're putting out big enough numbers to make opponents balk. Agincourt has more DPM potential than a lot of the high-tier secondary heavy-weights. Yes, really. The reload on her guns is ridiculously short, with a mere 2.7 seconds on her 76mm and only 4 seconds on her 152mm guns. She puts out a lot of fire, very quickly. Penetration. Having a lot of potential damage doesn't matter much if those guns are incapable of directly doing any harm to the targets they hit. This is what largely damns a lot of high-tier French battleships. This is one area where low-tier battleships luck out. Structural armour plate at low tiers allows for even small calibre guns to be useful. Agincourt's 76mm can still directly damage the hulls of all tier IV and V cruisers and destroyers and even those of the very light cruisers at tier VI and VII. Her 152mm are a threat to anything but tier VI+ battleships and select heavy cruisers. Accuracy. The final piece of the puzzle is accuracy. If this isn't present but all of the others are excellent, then it can be overlooked. However, having this is definitely the icing on the cake. Agincourt has improved secondary accuracy on ALL of it's guns, not just the casemate weapons as found on ships like Warspite and Iron Duke. This gives her Massachusetts-style dispersion patterns on her secondaries. Agincourt's secondaries fall under the "accurate" category. Agincourt ticks all of the right boxes. Good range, solid DPM, workable penetration and great accuracy. I am firmly of the opinion that if you do not specialize Agincourt with a deep secondary build, you are doing it wrong -- or at the very least, you are missing out on one heck of a ride. While I can appreciate that some people do not find the AI driven guns to be entertaining, there is no arguing their efficacy on this ship. Fully tricked out, Agincourt's secondaries shred exposed destroyers and I've seen them make cruisers and battleships panic. As if their direct damage weren't enough, they're INSANE fire starters -- like Worcester levels of fire starting potential. If you've already been throwing HE shells from your main battery guns about, your secondaries will often find targets that have their Damage Control Party consumable on cool down, making for some easy damage as you move in to a joust. I cannot sing high enough praises for these weapons. Bring them into range whenever possible. You won't be disappointed. Have some perspective. Of the 452k done by Agincourt's secondaries, 330k comes from her higher penetration 152mm casemates. These can be buffed with IFHE to make them capable of damaging the hull extremities of anything within her matchmaking. If mapping her main battery guns nearly killed me, this turned me into a trigonometry zombie. This maps the fire arcs of Agincourt's secondaries with her 152mm in red and her 76mm in light blue. Agincourt's secondaries have most of their arcs weighted rearward. However, do not ignore the fact that she can still bring six of her 152mm guns to bear on a 30º angle forward, giving her a very meaty weight of fire on a brawling aspect while maintaining auto-ricochet angles. Go ahead and take IFHE if you want. She's got FPM to spare. Summary Terrible (HORRIBLE) main battery AP shells but decent HE. Long reload and wonky dispersion makes for very trollish gunnery. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it's heart breaking. If you're not spec'ing Agincourt for secondaries, you're missing out. Seriously. Durability Hit Points: 48,400 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 152mm / 38mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 229mm belt + 38mm turtleback + 38mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 14% Dispersed Armour The thickness of Agincourt's armour is a serious issue. In order to cram so many guns onto her hull, her armour was compromised, shaved down to the level of a WWI era battlecruiser. She simply does not have the overall thickness needed to repel battleship calibre AP shells at any range. Even heavy cruiser AP rounds become an issue at closer distances. Without careful angling, Agincourt surrenders too many hit points to high-penetration AP attacks. The thick plates covering the ship ensure that every AP shell that does best the armour will fuse for full damage. The only ray of sunshine here is that while she may not have thick armour overall, it is well dispersed which can be downright troll against certain attacks. For cruisers and destroyers slinging HE and SAP shells, Agincourt has only a few vulnerable areas, namely her bow, stern and her small superstructure. Everything else they throw at her will shatter or ricochet which makes Agincourt feel quite tanky. Similarly, these vulnerable points are the only areas where battleships can land overmatching penetrating hits when Agincourt angles correctly. With her icebreaker bow, waterline shots will simply ricochet off. It pays to keep her gun fire angles that we discussed earlier in mind. Unmasking P & Q turret will generally leave her vulnerable to returned AP shells. You don't want to nose in perfectly as this will bait shots into her vulnerable upper snoot and barbettes, but sit her at a slight angle. If you can unmask everyone's favourite day of the week (Y-Turret) then you're doing it right. Thus Agincourt's armour protection rewards player skill; both for the attacker and defender. Knowing how to exploit her weaknesses bipasses a lot of her strengths. Knowing how to properly angle her can mitigate a lot of incoming damage. Look at that lovely dispersed armour scheme. Agincourt's armour is excellent when angled in a close-range brawl, though it doesn't quite stand up to long-range punishment. Still, keep her angled and she'll serve you well, resisting AP, SAP and HE shells equally. Do it wrong and those thick armour plates will ensure that battleship calibre AP shells fuse and deal full penetration damage. Her big 19mm snoot and butt are obvious weak points. Citadel & Turret Protection Understandably, the issues with her thin belt carry over to a poor citadel protection scheme. In particular, Agincourt is highly vulnerable to 380mm+ calibre AP shells as there are sections of her citadel which may be overmatched; namely the walls of her boilers, machine spaces and the roof. Still, Agincourt isn't a free meal for overmatching weapons. There is a hidden 25mm and 38mm plate in her bow and stern that caps directly on top of her 102mm and 152mm belt respectively, along with her 38mm turtleback. While the 25mm plate cannot resist 380mm+ AP shells, the latter 38mm will foil shots that come in a bit higher. Her turtleback isn't a significant barrier on its own. However, if she is angled, it's one more plate that may prompt a ricochet and save her for from taking a citadel hit. And really, that's the best you can hope from Agincourt's citadel protection: to turn a catastrophic hit into merely a serious one. One of the things AP shells LOOOOOVE to fuse on are Agincourt's turrets. She has a lot of them and they act as catchers mits for battleship calibre rounds. This leads to a lot more damage than you might otherwise expect and it's definitely a weakness to exploit when going toe to toe against her. While their turret faces are a chunky 305mm in thickness, this isn't enough to repel anything but the longest range fire from the weakest guns out there. Furthermore, below deck, the barbettes of her P, Q and X turrets are just 76mm. Penetrating AP hits love arresting within these rings and blowing up your guns. Similarly, the roofs of her guns are only 76mm. While their slope alone is more than enough to see off AP and SAP shells, Royal Navy battleship HE can and will penetrate if you're unlucky enough to get hit there. This will deal HE penetration damage AND prompt a critical damage check and again, you may end up temporarily losing a turret. Because so much of Agincourt's deck space is taken up by main battery guns, they get hit often. This in turn means more critical damage rolls so be prepared to see more temporarily disabled weapons on this ship than you might otherwise be used to. That's okay, though. You have more where those came from. The last thing to touch upon here is that with Agincourt's citadel being so long (long, long maaaaaan! ♫) every torpedo that hits you will be causing citadel damage. Agincourt has almost nothing in the way of usable anti-torpedo defence. She floods easily and you're not healing back much (if anything) from torpedo hits. Agincourt's main battery turrets are not very well protected, with P, Q and X-turret having very thin barbettes. It is not uncommon for any of her weapons to be disabled or permanently knocked out over the course of the battle when trading fire with other battleships. Y and Z turrets mirror B & A's barbettes respectively. Furthermore, Agincourt's citadel has 25mm sections of it vulnerable to 380mm+ AP shells overmatching. Be careful when facing battleships with these higher calibre weapons. Do keep her hidden geometry in her bow to help protect from overmatching hits punching through her 19mm bow and stern. Also, there's a 38mm turtleback that runs from the 152mm plate in the fore to the one dittoed in the rear, adding to her citadel protection but it's angled incorrectly to prompt ricochet checks. Health and Heals The strangest thing about Agincourt's durability is that it's so normal. Royal Navy battleships have, since their introduction into World of Warships, had special Repair Party consumables. While the portable dry-docks of Nelson, Lion and Conqueror are perhaps the best known among the community, Warspite always healed back more damage per charge of her consumable while also queuing up more damage as well. Even Iron Duke queues up 60% of penetration damage. Agincourt doesn't have any of that. Her Repair Party consumable is completely normal, healing back a "mere" 14% of her starting hit points per charge (base) and queuing up a "mere" 50% of penetration damage. The only ships she has a leg up on are Soviet battleships with their reduced number of healing charges. So while she may have a comparable number of starting hit points to Oklahoma, for example, she has less overall healing potential. Similarly, while Iron Duke's theoretical hit point pool is smaller, the tech-tree battleship has more efficient heals. So there's nothing really worth getting excited about. Thanks to the smaller hit point pools of Conte di Cavour and Viribus Unitis, Agincourt has a better-than-average base hit point pool but that's nothing remarkable. Nothing too out of the ordinary here. For those wondering, Agincourt's maximum effective health is 2.61 Viribus Unitis while New York, the best of the bunch, has 3.05. Summary Agincourt's dispersed armour scheme is a mixed blessing. It's good against small and medium calibre HE and SAP but only good against AP when perfectly angled and useless when not. Her guns get knocked out often and this has a spillover effect leading to Agincourt taking more penetrating hits. Nothing special about her heals. VERDICT: Pretty average for a low-to-mid tier battleship. Better than some, worse than others. Agility Top Speed: 22 knots Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 13.4 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.8º/s at 16.6 knots While Agincourt may have a battlecruiser's armour, she does not have a battlecruiser's speed. This is a slow, cumbersome ship. Her only saving grace is that there are a lot of slow, cumbersome ships at tier V so she doesn't feel horribly out of place. This said, her turning radius is one of the largest at her tier. And while a 670m turning circle radius looks pretty good if you're used to higher tiered ships, this is pretty bad down here in the kiddy pool where islands are plentiful. When paired with her pedestrian top speed, this results in one of the slowest rates of turn for a low-tier battleship. Agincourt feels big and sluggish. What's more, she doesn't get anywhere quickly. This isn't so bad if she ends up on a low-tier map, but when Agincourt gets uptiered, you really start to feel this lack of flexibility. Maybe there's room for the new Swift in Silence skill? I want to be able to recommend it. I would love it if the skill was competitive for certain ships and certain builds, but it's so hard to justify. With it and combined with a Sierra Mike signal, Agincourt's speed gets up to an impressive 25.4 knots, which largely corrects any flexibility deficiencies. That's incredibly enticing. The catch is, of course, that she needs to go undetected in order for this to work. Put one aircraft carrier in play or end up on a flank with a concealed lolibote and her boost goes away. One of the major reasons I want the extra speed is to allow Agincourt to kite but if she's detected (or firing her guns), that's not going to work. Furthermore, the skill and signal combined do not significantly boost her rate of turn, upping it to 4.0º/s. This comes at the cost of her turning circle, jumping up Agincourt's radius to 730m. At four skill points, it's just not quite there in my opinion. Maybe if the speed was always on? Maybe if it provided more speed? I dunno. Agincourt has some of the worst agility at tier V. She's not only slow, but she has a large turning radius at her tier too. Granted, that 670m is pretty small compared to higher tiered battleships, but still, it gives her some of the worst handling at her tier by a noticeable margin, making her feel like one of the higher tiered thunderchunkers when she tries to come about. VERDICT: Crap. Arguably one of, if not the worst at her tier. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: None Long Ranged: None Medium Ranged: None Short Ranged: None There are two ways of looking at Agincourt's complete lack of anti-aircraft firepower. The first is to look at it as a crippling flaw. Any aircraft carrier that knows that Agincourt is bereft of AA defence can attack her with impunity; especially if she's isolated. Furthermore, tier VI carriers can drop fighters on top of her and keep her perma-spotted until she sails out of their spotting range. At her slow speed, this will take quite a while and it strips her of her stealth advantage. The general lack of long-range AA support at low tiers makes this quite likely and carriers can engage her confident that they will less planes than if they attacked one of her supporting team mates. Playing on the receiving end, it's a bit disheartening to know you're going to take repeat drops and it necessitates changing some behaviours. We already know that Agincourt is not agile enough to pretend to Just Dodge™ ordnance but if the CV player is in a hurry, they might flub a torpedo or bomb drop. But what's most important is to properly gauge when to use her Damage Control Party. Don't make the mistake of dousing fires too early or patching up floods you could just heal through. The second and cynical way of looking at things is that Agincourt's lack of anti-aircraft firepower doesn't matter. Few tier V battleships have any kind of anti-aircraft firepower worth getting excited about nor can they see to their own protection. In this sense, Agincourt dispels any illusions of counterplay against a carrier. There's not much anyway, so removing it entirely provides a more "pure" CV vs Surface Ship experience. Man, that's [edited]. And they said there's no such thing as a free lunch. VERDICT: There is now a level zero. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.24km / 10.69km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 8.7km / 7.83km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 9.35km Maximum Firing Range: 15.34km Upgraded includes the use of a camouflage providing a concealment bonus and the use of the Concealment Expert skill and Concealment System Modification 1 upgrade if available. Agincourt has no right being as stealthy as she is. She is the stealthiest battleship in her matchmaking pool. If she were a tier V cruiser, she'd be sneakier than half of them. It's a shame she's not a faster battleship because she could then take full advantage. The closer Agincourt can get, the better. Her armour just isn't thick enough to trade at range and her own AP shell performance is piss-poor until you're up close -- sometimes point-blank-range close. As it is, you can almost (almost!) get her to within secondary battery range before she's detected which is pretty hilarious. You need simply sprint the last 2.37km to start opening fire. Unfortunately, that 2.37km "sprint" is more of a wobbling bag of rancid liposuction meat gently rolling downhill. 2.37km is pretty substantial for a ship that can only manage about 22 knots; it takes her a full 40 seconds to cover that distance. Without the use of island cover, boxing your target in or your opponent making a mistake, Agincourt's not sneaking up on anyone this way. Agincourt's stealth is meant to band-aid a lot of other flaws. Bad AP penetration? Sneak up and get closer. Reliant upon secondaries? You can almost sneak into range. Poor armour protection from long range fire? Keep silent and go stealthy to mitigate it. I mean, Agincourt's stealth certainly helps but again, that lack of speed really makes it difficult to fully capitalize upon. It's only on those claustrophobic, island choked maps where this stealth + speed combination works in her favour and can be used offensively. In all other aspects, Agincourt's stealth becomes a purely defensive ability and used whenever she holds fire. Now this can be used to great effect by an experienced player. Disengaging at the right time will keep you alive, after all. But there are a whole range of "what ifs" that undo it -- the most simple of which being a shadowing lolibote or aircraft. Agincourt's stealth is a trait that's nice to have but it's hard to argue that it's especially powerful without speed to control engagement distances. VERDICT: Cool to have but not game-changing. Final Evaluation As Drachinifel has elucidated, Agincourt has always been a troublesome vessel. Her acquistion caused problems then and it's causing problems now. The only way to get Agincourt at her launch was through gambling through loot boxes. There was no direct sale offered. Using my press account, it took me 11 pulls before she dropped. That's 8,250 doubloons worth if I bought the crates individually. I didn't, I bought a huge bundle so it technically would have cost me 13,750 doubloons. That's the cost of a tier VIII premium for a tier V ship. While receiving dragon signals is nice, I have no practical use for any of the other contents from the containers. Ergo, these loot boxes are worthless to me but for the ship and the permanent camos. If I didn't get access to Agincourt via Wargaming, I would not touch this vessel with a ten foot pole. And that's a shame. This is a really fun ship. I've enjoyed Agincourt immensely and I highly recommend her for anyone that misses brawling in higher tiered vessels. But I hate loot boxes. I cannot and will not support them. So hard pass on Agincourt until she's made available by more conventional means. Thank you for reading.
  10. The following is a review of Haida, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 28th, 2018. I'm so happy, I'm crying. Quick Summary: A stealthy British gunship destroyer with a weird Smoke Generator and a single torpedo launcher. Cost: The equivalent of 5,600 doubloons. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.5.1 , June 20th, 2018 to June 28th, 2018. PROS Surprisingly tough for a tier VII destroyer with 15,700 hit points and large areas of 19mm armour. Enormous alpha strike on her HE shells and excellent HE DPM. Powerful torpedoes that hit for 16,767 damage and travel at 62kts. She can single-fire her torpedoes. Incredibly stealthy. Able to drop its surface detection down to 5.7km. Equipped with a British destroyer Hydroacoustic Search with a 3 minute (!) active time. Uses a Commonwealth Smoke Generator with a 90s emission time, allowing her to continue moving while staying hidden. The power (and comfort) of this ship spikes considerably with access to the Special Upgrades, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 and Smoke Generator Modification 1. CONS Poor gun firing arcs on A and Y turret. Horrible shell flight time and very high ballistic arcs at range. Struggles to do damage against larger targets with poor penetration on AP & HE shells and poor fire chance. Only armed with a single quadruple torpedo launcher with a long reload. Not especially agile with a modest top speed of 36.5 knots and a 630m turning radius. Her Hydroacoustic Search is very short ranged, scarcely operating beyond the auto-detection radius. Her Smoke Generator is selfish and difficult to use to protect allies. As a Commonwealth ship, Haida has limited use as a commander trainer. Good day and welcome to the Canadian Corner. I'm Mouse and this is my grouchy editor from across the pond, Lert, eh. HMCS Haida is finally here. Finally, Canadians will stop complaining on Reddit, eh? Well maybe. Haida and the Tribal-class took a while getting through development. It's not like there isn't a small bit of controversy regarding how well this ship performs. My fellow Canadian, iChase, quite rightly pointed out that she's not going to be a ship for everyone, y'know? Who was the hoser that thought up a gunship with bad guns, eh? And it's not like she's got a lot of torpedoes to fall back on. Anyway, let's get this review started. It's gonna be a long one cause there's lots to go over and I have to pretend I'm not fangirling all over the place. Before we go any further, make sure you look up several reviews before opening your wallets for this one, okay? Like hold your horses, eh? Okay, that's my intro. Good day. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme This isn't a ship for new players. Haida struggles to deal reliable damage with either her guns or her torpedoes. Her ballistic arcs, poor penetration and horrible fire chance makes standing off at a distance and trying to deal damage challenging at best and horribly frustrating at worst. Her single torpedo launcher compounds this difficulty. This is a ship that belongs on the front lines where mistakes get punished absurdly quickly. Her only saving grace is her excellent concealment. Veterans will love this boat. She's uniquely designed to bully control points and extend vision for her team. This ship is a catalyst, facilitating wins by dominating caps and shutting down enemy destroyers. She rewards an aggressive play style that espouses knife-fights at point-blank ranges while harassing larger enemies. - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Haida's Firepower is a story of contrasts. Her guns are temperamental but their HE is incredibly hard hitting. She has only a single torpedo launcher but she has the ability to single fire them and deliver monstrous damage per hit. For sheer raw potential, though, she cannot escape being one of the most difficult ships to use on the attack at tier VII. She gets a rating. Haida has a high number of hit points combined with some minor armour improvements. She earns a rating. Her agility and anti-aircraft firepower are nothing to get too excited over, deserving the same evaluation. It's in Vision Control (Refrigerator) where Haida dominates. Even giving her a rating doesn't do her justice. This isn't a torpedo-boat that skulks, frightened of being discovered. Haida uses her concealment and detection abilities to hunt down those who want to remain hidden and punish those who think themselves safe. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida-Players In this short documentary series, we will be exploring four of the different types of Haida-players. They are easily identified by their distinct behaviors and performance, how they react to threats and the level of contribution they provide to their teams. Being able to recognize one of these Haida players and their potential impacts on the game will go a long way towards improving your experience. Click the image for a Youtube playlist of timeless Canadiana! Options Haida's gimmick is focused upon her two consumables. Haida makes use of the new Royal Navy destroyer Hydroacoustic Search consumable while borrowing a modified version of Perth's "creeping" Smoke Generator. In addition, Haida has access to two different premium camouflage patterns. Consumables Haida's Damage Control Party and Engine Boost consumables are normal for a tier VII destroyer. Haida's Smoke Generator is a modified version of that found on Perth and Huanghe -- two cruisers from the Commonwealth and Pan Asian tech trees respectively. Each cloud only lasts a mere 10 seconds but the generator continues making smoke for 90 seconds. With this, Haida can continue moving at speed (up to 12.5 knots) and remain hidden, covered by a continually deploying smoke cloud. Unlike the cruisers which also use this version of the consumable, Haida's reset timer is 120s / 80s between uses -- half the time of Perth's or Huanghe's. Her Hydroacoustic Search is that of the upcoming Royal Navy destroyer line. It's incredibly short ranged, detecting torpedoes at a mere 2.13km and ships at 3.12km. However, it's duration is 50% longer than that of standard cruiser-versions lasting 180 seconds. Upgrades In your first slot, you have a choice. Magazine Modification 1 will help mitigate some of the Fun and Engaging mechanics in World of Warships if you're adverse to that kind of thing. As a destroyer, you will detonate suddenly and often. If you like to gamble, then take Main Armaments Modification 1 instead. In your second slot, take Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1. This is one of the special upgrades and it will extend her Hydroacoustic Search's active time from 180s to 216s which is insane. You could use Propulsion System Modification 1, but that's for quitters. If you don't have the special upgrade, get one ASAP. In your third slot, take Smoke Generator Modification 1. This is another Special Upgrade. It increases the action time of your Smoke Generator from 90s to 117s. If you don't have access to one, you can use Aiming System Modification 1 like a poor person until you get enough sense of self worth to chase your dreams. Spend your coal on Special Upgrades! Unlike other destroyers, Haida doesn't spend very much time stationary, so the value of Propulsion Modification 2 is slightly reduced. To this end, it's really up to you on whether to take this or to reach for Steering Gears Modification 2 instead. They're both good. Camouflage Haida comes with Type 10 Camouflage. Players may also acquire Haida: Maple Leaf camouflage as an aesthetic swap. Both types provide: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Haida's optional Maple Leaf camouflage. This is camouflage is simply cosmetic and provides the same bonuses as her default camouflage. Haida joins Texas and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya with awesome, over-the-top patriotic camo. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Beaver Haida-Beaver is a passive, inexperienced destroyer player. Timid, her concealment & consumables are used as a security blanket and solely to keep her safe. Haida-Beaver sits within the sanctum of her pond (built from hydro and smoke) and hides from any and all threats. She might venture out and do a little bit of damage, but it's all done at range. This is about as exciting as Molson Canadian beer. You can expect to see her on the second line or off at the extremes of the map border, well away from predators. She'll only venture as close as needed to drop torpedoes or fire her guns and then quickly scurry away. Her success will be limited, like a border humping Shimakaze. Firepower Main Battery: Six 120mm/45 rifles in 3x2 turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Two 102mm/45 rifles in 1x2 turrets mounted where X-turret from the main battery would be located. Torpedoes: Four torpedo tubes in 1x4 launchers mounted amidships. Balancing the Tribal-class destroyers for World of Warships was never going to be easy. The 120mm/45 guns aren't exactly known for their incredible striking power, rate of fire or their excellent ballistic qualities. Similarly, being limited to a single torpedo launcher greatly hinders Haida's damage potential. She has the worst weapon arrangement of any of the tier VII destroyers. These are not easy weapons to use and played improperly, some will struggle to see reasonable damage output. The Guns The single biggest disappointment I have with Haida's weapon systems are her uninspiring AP shells. For small caliber guns, AP shells are important against larger and more heavily armoured targets that are capable of shrugging off their HE damage entirely. Poor energy retention saps the penetration power of Haida's AP over distance, creating a very limited window at which this ammunition can be used effectively. Even slight angling by larger targets will foil their damage attempts. Among the tier VII destroyers, Haida's 120mm AP shells have the worst penetration values outside of 9km, being overtaken by the 128mm German AP. This issue of penetration is compounded by the low damage Haida's AP shells do when compared to her HE. There's only 200 hit points difference between them -- when factoring in for 0.33x multiplier of a penetrating hit, this disparity drops down to just 66 hit points. Given the unreliability of AP shells between overpenetrating hits and ricochets, Haida's AP is only worth firing if one of two conditions are met: Her HE shells must be completely incapable of damaging a given target, or... Her AP shells must be capable of delivering citadel damage. In all other cases, firing HE is superior given the bonus chance of starting fires and the resulting module damage that can occur from the blast of HE shells. This is owing not only to the deficiencies of Haida's AP shells, but the strengths of her HE. Whatever lamentations I have about Haida's AP shells are largely corrected with her HE. These munitions are not without their issues, but I'm of the opinion that their strengths far outweigh their deficiencies. Haida's core strength lies in the striking power of her HE shells. Her HE shells are listed with a maximum damage of 1,900 per hit, the same as Soviet 130mm rifles. Accounting for penetration damage, each of her hits will strike for 627hp, giving her a broadside alpha strike of up to 3,762 damage per volley. This is the second largest alpha strike at her tier, just behind Blyskawica's own 3,927hp if she hits with all seven of her guns. Haida has a faster reload than her Polish-twin, though, and she unleashes the highest damage per minute of any of the tier VII destroyers, outstripping even the B-Hull Mahan's five, rapid-fire 127mm/38s. She's fully capable of out-trading any of her contemporaries and can even make higher tiered lolitbotes balk at the power of her bite. DPM of the destroyer-caliber tier VII gunships. Haida has got it where it counts but it's one Hell of a close race. I must emphasize that this is limited to soft targets, however. The small caliber of Haida's HE shells leads to penetration issues. Stock, she may only directly damage areas of 19mm or less, which thankfully accounts for all destroyers and the superstructures of larger ships within her Matchmaking. This also includes most cruisers at tier VII or less, though thicker hull plating begins to appear around tier VI for some of the heavy cruisers. By tier VIII+ only British light cruisers remain vulnerable. For battleships, the range of targets is considerably smaller, with only tier V battleships having extremities she can punish. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells broadens the number of targets she can damage, but it by no means is a cure all. The skill increases her penetration to be able to damage areas of 25mm or less. This provides no benefit for engaging enemy destroyers whatsoever. It adds a handful of cruisers to her list of available targets and all of the tier VI and VII battleships as well. However, Haida can not directly damage the extremities of battleships nor the hulls of American and German heavy cruisers at tier VIII or higher. Against these targets, she's limited to dealing direct damage to superstructures and these areas saturate quickly. Haida must switch to her torpedoes or AP shells to hurt these more heavily armoured behemoths. She's not likely to hurt them with fire. She's a poor fire starter. Her fire chance will fluctuate based on skill choice with as low as 4% per shell and as high as 8% with a combination of Demolition Expert and the two fire-chance increasing signals. This pales behind the 7% to 11% on ships like Blyskawica and Gadjah Mada. Destroyers already struggle to stack fires effectively and Haida is unlikely to tax an opponent's Damage Control Party with the blazes she sets. This makes Inertial Fuse for HE Shells more valuable in my opinion -- better to play to her strengths rather than attempt to prop up a weakness. Haida's strength resides in delivering these meaty hits with her HE shells, bringing all six guns to bear and chewing on their hides. Fires per Minute of Tier VII Destroyers before mitigation from the target is applied. "Upgraded" includes the use of Basic Fire Training, Demolition Expert and both fire boosting signals. Haida is never going to be considered a "good" fire starter. You can invest heavily into increasing her chances to set blazes if you wish, but you're unlikely to make more than a single fire stick per minute on an enemy battleship. Note the extreme difference between Haida's fire starting and Gadjah Mada's. They both use the same 120mm/45 guns but Haida uses a modified HE shell with increased damage at the cost of reduced fire chance. This will turn a lot of players away. The Tribal-class destroyers do not have particularly good firing arcs, which necessitates presenting more of a broadside to engage with all three of her turrets. The strengths and flexibility of the ship's gun coverage was supposed to reside in their B and X turrets. With X-turret removed to make room for a 102mm dual-purpose secondary, this leaves all of the heavy lifting on B's shoulders. Thankfully, they're a broad set of shoulders. Not only does B-turret boast great fire angles , but it can also rotate 360º, giving faster coverage from left to right while Haida is sailing evasive on the retreat. This is good news given the modest 10º/s rotation rate of her weapons. In most engagements, Haida will be able to easily bring four of her guns to bear, but you have to give up a lot of side to fire her Y-turret and that's necessary to really capitalize on this ship's strengths. Of course, stacking said damage presents more of a challenge than it should. Other than her fire arcs, Haida has poor shell ballistics. Up to 7km ranges, they're comparable to American 127mm/38s. I'm aware this isn't a flattering comparison given the flaws of American destroyer-caliber guns. Unfortunately, things get worse after that. British 120mm/45s have worse shell flight times than the Yanks. Seriously. These aren't weapons you'll want to stack Advanced Fire Training on. The shell flight time over distance is just too punitive to land hits against anything further out than 9km. So let's recap: The fire arcs on her main battery are not great. Her shell ballistics for HE and AP are terrible. She has bad AP penetration. The small caliber of her HE shells makes her HE penetration bad too. Her HE shells have a terrible fire chance. Her HE shells hit like a truck, however. Haida can out trade just about any destroyer she comes across, provided you can land the hits. Success with Haida as a gunship thus resides in emphasizing the accuracy and frequency of her HE hits against vulnerable targets and switching over to AP only when citadel opportunities arise. In both of these cases, this clearly involves getting in close -- dangerously so. These are knife-fighting ranges and Haida's artillery would seem to point that she should specialize towards hunting and engaging enemy destroyers, with cruisers and battleships as targets of opportunity. This premise is largely reinforced by her torpedo armament. The Fish Haida only has a single torpedo launcher. You can forget any pretense of playing this destroyer as a torpedo-boat for obvious reasons. While having a quadruple launcher is nice, it also comes with the downside of a downright painful 96 second reload. These two traits combined with a mediocre range of 8km may make her torpedoes seem like a complete write-off but they're not without some very strong merits. When compared to work-in-progress Royal Navy destroyer torpedoes, Haida's fish look amazing being comparable in performance to those off the tier X Daring-class in all aspects but range. Haida's torpedoes individually hit almost as hard as Shiratusyu's and Akatsuki's torpedoes. At 16,767 damage per hit and a 282% base flooding chance, Haida can devour large chunks of the enemy hit points with just a couple of strikes. This sits just behind the 17,233 damage and 287% flooding chance of the IJN fish. Haida is fully capable of one-shotting many of the destroyers she faces with a single torpedo. Haida's torpedoes have a 62 knot speed. They close the distance quickly and are on par with the IJN torpedoes at her tier. Haida's torpedoes are an improvement on the Japanese fish, though, with 200m less detectability and 1.2s less reaction time at 8.4s. Haida may single fire her torpedoes. Admittedly this is very difficult to exploit to its fullest. The potential on paper is devastating. In theory, it should allow you to guarantee more hits per launch when precisely aimed. Similarly, it opens the possibility of stacking flood effects to tax and overwhelm the Damage Control Party of enemy vessels provided you can space the time between hits. Finally, it can be used to bait ships into believing you're out of torpedoes when they dodge the first torpedo only to be caught out when they manoeuvre by the other three. However, these techniques are locked behind a very high skill wall barring the incompetence of your opponents. Make no mistake, while there is a lot of potency in Haida's single torpedo mount, it's not easy to use. I didn't forget about Haida's secondary. The British 102mm/45 is a great mid-tier backup weapon. Its high rate of fire is wonderful and it has a better fire chance that Haida's primary battery. There's the added bonus having great fields of fire, so it's very easy to bring it in on a fight. There are two problems with it, though. The first, it's linked to Haida's AA guns. Enabling one enables the other and with a long reach, this can give Haida's position away prematurely which can get you killed. Second, Haida's secondary is very short ranged -- a mere 4.0km. You're going to have to get in stupidly close to make this work for you, or you're going to have to give up on more advantageous skills and upgrades. In playtesting, I did manage to sink two ships with Haida's stock-secondary, so it's not useless. Like all of Haida's weapon systems, it's simply awkward to use. Summary Trying to deal damage at range will yield poor results. Haida is a knife-fighter. Get her in close. If you haven't yet learned how to stack damage with single-fire torpedoes, now is the time. She has a secondary. Sometimes it will kill stuff. Make sure to brag about it when you do. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : On the whole, Haida's weapon systems are the worst at tier VII. It's not by much. Sims and Minsk are similarly lacking. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Moose Dangerous when crossed, the Haida-Moose is one that plays the role of a forward scout. Her Smoke Generator and Hydroacoustic Search are used defensively but she places herself up on the front lines to make sure her team has vision for as much time as possible. She prefers to keep enemies at arm's reach. If startled, Haida-moose may charge unexpectedly and can be devastating in these limited encounters. However, she's skittish and is just as likely to flee. Her suicidal bull charges are just as dangerous to Haida-Moose herself as the vehicle their opponents are driving. Haida-Moose will win more often, but no more so than any other destroyer. Haida-Moose's contributions to her team are unpredictable and caution should be exercised whenever you encounter one. Defense Hit Points: 15,700hp Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour: 16mm bow and rear quarter and 19mm stern, sides & deck. It's hella weird. See below. Normally for destroyers, the only thing worth talking about is their relative hit point total to one another. Haida comes out alright here. She ranks third overall for hit points among the tier VII DDs which is pretty impressive, what with Z-39 and Leberecht Maass to compete against. Clearly, Haida has been eating too much poutine. The healthy slug of hit points Haida boasts further improves her ability to out-trade enemy destroyers with her high HE DPM. But there's a further oddity with her armour layout. Large areas of Haida's hull and her entire deck are 19mm thick. This can provide some limited amount of defense against small caliber (114mm or less) HE shells, particularly those fired from battleship secondaries. Finally, the vulnerability of her main battery is worth mentioning. Without Main Armaments Modification 1 or Preventative Maintenance, you can expect Haida's main battery guns to be knocked out frequently. Like Blyskawica, her guns mounts are not fully enclosed turrets. Her gun shields are a mere 6mm thick with open backs. It is not uncommon for high explosive shells to disable one or multiple turrets in an engagement. For a destroyer who is reliant upon winning DPM races at close quarters, this can be crippling. Choose your skills and upgrades with this in mind. Hit point totals of tier VII destroyers. For a gunship, Haida is very well setup to bully other tier VII ships. It's only the Germans that outweigh her in this regard, but she easily caps them in damage per minute totals when firing HE shells. Angling will be key for besting their high AP shell damage. Make sure you take Survivability Expert to further boost your hit point totals. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Haida's already close here, but to top German DDs she's going to need much thicker armour, a bloated hit point pool or access to a Repair Party. Agility Top Speed: 36.5kts Turning Radius: 630m Rudder Shift Time: 3.8s Maximum Rate of Turn: 7.5º/s There's a whole lot of "meh" here. Haida's top speed is alright. It's not great, though -- not in a tier populated by the likes of the Leningrad-class (43 knots), Blyskawica (39 knots) and Sims (38.5 knots). Haida is more reliant upon her concealment rather than her flat out speed to control engagement distances. In a running battle, she's at a disadvantage. She's also pretty lackluster with her turning radius. At 630m, you're going to need some advance warning when enemy fish are on their way. You're also going to need a bit of distance from enemy cruisers and battleships in order to dodge effectively. Keep this in mind. Her overall rate of turn is on the low side. Haida's not going to win any prizes for agility. She's comparable to Leberecht Maass in overall agility which isn't a very flattering. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Yeah, this isn't going to happen. It's only thanks to Shiratsuyu and Z-39 that she comes away with a rating at all. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Wolverine Small and scrappy, Haida-Wolverine challenges cap-circle dominance and is eager to fight with other destroyers. Though a solitary hunter, she's a team player and she uses her consumables to get the upper hand when contesting caps and to ensure the enemy never gets the drop on her friends. Haida-Wolverine is looking for a close-range brawl and she's going to use her concealment value to get it. At this tier, you can expect to see her smoke being used more aggressively rather than just an escape tool. Spotting her in a cap circle won't cause her to immediately flee and you're going to have to dig her out with planes, radar or focused fire. Expect some clever use of her consumables and good coordination with team mates. Haida will win a lot more once you're comfortably at this level. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 102mm / 40mm / 20mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 2.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 9.4 / 13 / 36.6 I wish I could just say that Haida's anti-aircraft firepower sucks and be done with it, but there's one more point to cover. Disabling Haida's AA firepower to keep her from being prematurely spotted by aircraft also disables her secondary. Not cool. Haida's AA defense is pretty shoddy, but she's in good company at tier VII. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Not a whole lot. Tier VII AA power is pretty shoddy and no one really pays it much mind anyway. Just showing up with a specialized AA build alone would make her better than most of her contemporaries, but that's true for any of the DDs. Moving on. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range (stock/min): 6.49km / 5.67km Air Detection Range (stock/min): 3.90km / 3.51km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.31km Main Battery Firing Range: 12.3km Detection Consumables: Smoke Generator / Hydroacoustic Search Haida has the best surface detection of any of the tier VII destroyers. It's not even a close contest. Her surface detection is so low, it almost appears that she has the Concealment Modification 1 upgrade built in (we'll see what happens with HMS Cossack!). It's only when Haida is compared to ships at this higher tier that her surface detection appears almost normal. In fact, out of all of the ships she may encounter, Haida ranks 12th out of some 50 rival destroyers for best concealment. Those that out-spot her are primarily IJN destroyers. Few of these destroyers present any kind of threat to Haida. Generally speaking, Haida can outfight anything that out-spots her and she can outspot anything that could be considered a threat, giving her the opportunity to control the engagement. Ten Best Upgraded Concealment Values Between Tiers 5 & 9 5.37km - Kagero (8), Asashio (8) & Harekaze (8) 5.41km - Fujin (5), Kamikaze R (5), Kamikaze (5), Minekaze (5), Mutsuki (5) 5.44km - Yugumo (9) 5.66km - Okhotnik (5) & Chung Mu (9) 5.67km - Haida (7) 5.80km - Benson (8), Loyang (8), Hsienyang (8), Fletcher (9), Black (9) 5.81km - Nicholas (5), Hatsuharu (6), Shiratsuyu (7) 5.94km - Akizuki (8), Z-46 (9) 5.97km - Jianwei (5), Gallant (6) 6.08km - Ognevoi (8) Smoke Generator As good as her surface detection is there will be times where she has to reach for her Smoke Generator. And here's where Haida gets weird. For a destroyer, Haida is unique, deploying the same "creeping smoke" as HMAS Perth or Huanghe. This consumable constantly deploys smoke for one minute and thirty seconds (or up to one minute and forty-seven seconds with the Smoke Generator Modification 1 special upgrade). However, each smoke cloud disappears in ten seconds (nine and a half with the special upgrade). This allows Haida to remain mobile. In order to stay hidden, Haida must maintain a speed of 12.5 knots or less. Haida moves at between 9.0 and 10.4 knots at 1/4 speed, with the latter value being from a combination of a Sierra Mike signal and her Engine Boost consumable. You can flutter the engines up to 1/2 power for brief intervals to get a little more thrust, just be careful not to exceed the 12.5 knots. Combined with her Hydroacoustic Search, while moving in smoke, Haida trivializes the dangers of incoming torpedoes. Haida's smoke is very selfish. She lacks on team play as she cannot effectively cover allies with her consumable without a high degree of coordination. This isn't something I would expect most friendly players encountered in Random or Ranked Battles to know how to do, especially in the heat of combat. Poor understanding of Haida's consumable will only get her allies killed that presumptuously attempt to rely on it in a moment of crisis. It is possible for Haida to provide cover. There are three ways to do it: The ship needs to synch their speed with Haida and sail in close proximity. Haida needs to call out her speed and announce any course corrections. This is best done in division over voice coms. Haida sails in front of a larger ship that needs cover while both ships move at high speed. Haida herself will not be concealed in smoke -- constantly outrunning it, but the friendly ship will be. Both ships park their butt in what amounts to a single puff of continually reissued smoke. Mind those incoming torpedoes. Haida's mobility with her smoke is very welcome in situations where the battle progresses and you need to redeploy. Haida can accelerate out of her smoke and bring it with her, allowing her to setup in a second location and continue making aggressive plays. The catch is that even when she's not spotted, Haida broadcasts her position. The palls of moving smoke are hard to miss. You cannot count on taking anyone but the most distracted players unawares this way. Speaking of awareness... Hydroacoustic Search Haida is the first ship to be released with what appears to be the new Royal Navy destroyer Hydroacoustic Search consumable. Haida was the test-bed for this new consumable and it's proven to be quite powerful. At first blush, it doesn't look like it, though. The range appears too short to be used offensively and like her Smoke Generator, Haida's Hydroacoustic Search appears very selfish, being only able to spot torpedoes in her immediate vicinity. However, the duration of this consumable more than makes up for any lack of range, providing Haida (and her team) with increased situational awareness. This facilitates Haida's presence up on the front lines. The longer she can remain there confidently, the more her team benefits. Her torpedo detection may seem small, but it provides Haida with all of the time she needs to manoeuvre. The 2.13km range can be modified with Vigilance if a player desires, bringing her torpedo detection range up to 2.66km. For a destroyer, none of these values present much in the way of concern. Short of point blank drops (aerial or otherwise), Haida should have no problems avoiding torpedoes in any given situation so long as her Hydroacoustic Search is running. If she's upgraded with Hydracoustic Search Modification 1, the run time of her consumable is three minutes and forty-six seconds which is an enormous window of relative immunity to torpedo attack. However, there's one more way of putting Haida's Hydroacoustic Search to use -- and that's on the attack. While her Hydroacoustic Search picks up enemy vessels just 1.12km beyond standard auto-detection range, this buffer is more than enough for Haida to abuse. Whether its creeping up on enemies hiding in their own smoke or slipping into range with her own, Haida is stealthy enough to pull it off. What's more, her guns have a tiny stealth bloom in smoke of 2.31km, giving Haida 800m of stealth-firing window to begin hammering targets without being seen in return. For a destroyer with such a high DPM, this is often all that's needed to doom an enemy DD (or a low health cruiser). With the long duration of Haida's Hydroacoustic Search, these attacks don't need to be rushed. You can take your time ensuring you get the proper setup, outlasting enemy Surveillance Radar or even German destroyer Hydroacoustic Search, letting you take them unawares. Crappy Weapons, God Tier Concealment Haida's excellent Vision Control largely explains why her weapon systems are of poor quality. Were her guns or torpedoes any better, she'd be overpowered. Seriously. Summary: Her Smoke Generator is selfish, but it's at least very flexible. Her Hydroacoustic Search's duration is its best feature. It's amazingly comfortable. Haida is stealthy as all get out.. She has no right being this sneaky, especially when firing her guns from smoke. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : The only way Haida is giving up her crown here would be if another destroyer was added with similar concealment levels with American-style smoke and either Surveillance Radar or a cruiser's Hydroacoustic Search. They'd have to downtier Loyang. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Cobra-Chicken Psychotically aggressive with seemingly little to no sense of self-preservation. Haida Cobra-Chicken will wreck you and poop on your corpse. Unlike the reckless bull-charge of Haida-Moose, Haida Cobra-Chicken's hatred for you is calculated despite appearances. You can think you're safe, hiding in smoke or behind cover, but she'll come and get you. She'll come and get you and you won't see her coming until she's hissing in your face. She doesn't care if you're a destroyer or HMS Belfast. God help you if she migrates into the cap you're contesting. The existence of any enemies on her territory is met with extreme aggression until they're dead or driven off. Haida Cobra-Chicken will abuse her concealment to make seemingly reckless plays to pick off enemies at point blank ranges. She'll knife fight not only with destroyers but cruisers and battleships when opportunities arise. Most of her kills will happen inside of 4km ranges and you'd never expect this level of aggression from something so derpy looking. Enemy radar and hydro is only a temporary deterrent and, like an aggressively swung umbrella, it can only keep enemies safe for so long. Her consumables are used to close the distance unseen, abusing vision to bring hot, poutine-flavoured death to people who dismissed her out of hand. She'll then make her escape to go back to nesting upon her cap circle until the next fool trespasses on what's rightfully hers. The test environment for Haida was about as nightmarish as it gets. All of her balance testing was done amidst the release of the American cruiser line. It was not uncommon for between one third to half of the enemy team having access to Surveillance Radar. If Haida could thrive in that environment, she can make it anywhere. A DeWolf in Sheep's Clothing Haida is a skill-hungry ship. You're going to feel starved for skill points, with so many viable and competitive choices, you're going to feel stretched thin. I played several different builds over the course of play testing and it's the one below that I found worked best for me. Start with Priority Target. This lets you know when it's time to get out of Dodge. Next take the no-brainer, Last Stand at tier two. At tier 3, take Survivabiliy Expert to increase your hit point total. This saved me more times than I care to admit. And then move up to tier 4 to take Concealment Expert. Cuz, duh. From here, it comes down to improving the quality and quantity of her HE direct damage. Basic Fire Training comes first. Haida primarily picks on destroyers and this will help ensure her dominance. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will facilitate doing direct damage to cruisers and battleships. And finally Adrenaline Rush will further increase her DPM. There are lots of other viable skills, but they are, in my opinion, less worth while than the ones selected. Still, I highlighted skills that are reasonable substitutions. Here's why they didn't make my cut: I value information more than I do a better RNGesus roll. So Preventative Maintenance is less valuable to me than Priority Target. Haida can't out turn her turrets, so Expert Marksman is more for comfort than a necessity. Smoke Screen Expert can be a viable choice if you plan to division often with Haida. This will help your allies cuddle in your smoke screen. Haida doesn't set fires well. Demolition Expert can help pad her up to Sims-levels of fire starting, but it's bit of a waste. Vigilance is a good skill if you intend to division often. It also has some value in competitive for team play. Radio Location isn't really necessary if you focus on dominating capture points. Eventually they'll have to come to you. Besides, Haida isn't quite fast enough to put this to the best use. ... and finally... If you have access to the special upgrades for smoke and hydro, then Superintendent isn't necessary. Most games will end by the time you've used 3 charges. Still, for those marathon, nail-biter games, this could be nice to have. So get those special upgrades. Spend that coal! Final Evaluation I have been horribly stressed while following the development of Haida. It was really hard not to let bias take over my wants and wishes for Haida. I'm Canadian. Haida is my ship. It's likely the only Canadian vessel I'm ever going to see in World of Warships. I wanted her to be good. Worse, I recognized that I wanted her to be perceived as a good ship. I was excited about her. I wanted others to be excited along with me, even if I understood this was foolish and damaging to any review I might do. More than anything else, I feared Haida would end up bland and uninteresting. I could stomach her underperforming. If she was fun to play, I could forgive a lot. As someone who writes reviews, this is incredibly dangerous and I hope I've been successful in reigning this in. If you feel yourself cautious about this ship based on this review, then I've been successful. If you're overcome by hype, please, please, please, stop reading this and go find another review of Haida before your money explodes recklessly out of your wallet and into Wargaming's coffers. Haida that we've been given is a destroyer-hunter. She specializes in close-range knife fights where her high damage output overwhelms her opponents in short order. Contrary to American destroyers, she doesn't do this grace of excellent gun handling, phenomenal fire arcs and fast-firing weapons. Instead she relies on stealth to get in close, mitigating the weaknesses of her poor arcs and shell flight times to deliver several high damage hits before her opponent can react. If a fight opens up at range, she can still maintain a DPM advantage over select lolibotes, but her superiority falls away quickly. It's ill advised to attempt to pursue all but the most badly damaged vessels. Her ideal engagement distances are within 7km and she can be absolutely devastating at closer ranges. I cannot stress this enough: Haida's ideal engagement range is at distances that would be suicide to any other vessel. What is most remarkable about her is that she not only pulls it off, she excels in this environment.With her tiny surface detection, her access to a weird creeping Smoke Generator and an even weirder Hydroacoustic Search, she is well suited to not only closing into these ranges and engaging the enemies, but doing so without giving herself away. These close-range engagements are key to her success and not just with enemy destroyers. The closer you are, the easier it is to land hits, not only with her guns but with torpedoes too. Though Haida is limited to just a single torpedo-launcher, her individual fish are incredibly hard hitting. Haida deals nearly as much damage with her four torpedoes as Sims does with eight. Haida lacks the overwhelming alpha strike normally associated with close-range torpedo attacks, however. You can't count on being able to land Devastating Strike on capital ships. There's little chance of her ever nuking anything but a lower-tier battleship down from full health short of a lucky detonation. Thus attempts at these suicide rushes will, at best, cripple a target and leave you open to reprisals. This does work devastatingly well against cruisers, however, provided you can survive the gamut of Hydroacoustic Search and Surveillance Radar pickets that will be trying to sniff you out. Haida is a weird destroyer, borrowing elements from Kidd, Loyang and Perth with just enough Fujin in there to make you blink. I have found Haida to be a wonderful fit for me and I played the absolute Hell out of her during testing with over 150 games in her final iteration. But therein, I must stress caution. I remember my first dozen games played and it was a steep learning curve. Haida and I fought one another until things clicked and I didn't like her during this learning period. For some of the other testers I've spoken to, this kind of connection never happened. Enjoyment in Haida remained elusive for them and it could happen to you too. Your own mileage can (and will inevitably) vary. Would I Recommend? I suspect Haida will be a source of frustration for many players. This will come from three distinct areas. Players that want to like her but can't make her work for them. I sympathize, really. She's not an easy destroyer to play. I suspect there will be a number of people that pick her up, hit the wall and relegate this ship to a port queen. Players that end up with a Haida on their team that doesn't push. For a ship with so many tools available to facilitate contesting capture points and spotting, few things will be as more infuriating as seeing a Haida that plays passively and hides in the back in their own smoke. Players that end up with a well-played Haida on the enemy team. This is the only thing that's going to be worse than a bad Haida on your team is a good one on the enemy team. While the skill floor is high on Haida, in the right hands she's an absolute monster. She's well set up to bait radar, survive and then double back and do all sorts of mean things to your team. Without coordination and/or aggression, putting her down is difficult. It's not going to be fun watching your destroyers melt to preventable losses like sitting in their own smoke. It pays to keep Haida's strengths in mind -- she is not an easy destroyer to play. Please don't take just my word for it. Check out some of the other reviews on HMCS Haida before taking the plunge. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No. Haida doesn't have the raw alpha strike needed to contend with charging bots in Co-Op. You can make her work, but you'd be much better suited with Leningrad, Sims, Blyskawica, Z-39 or any of the tech tree ships. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. In the chaos of Random Battles, Haida shines. She'll earn you lots of credits and experience. There are two downsides to keep in mind, though. There's no Commonwealth tech tree and there's never likely to be any Commonwealth tech tree. Haida has very little utility as a trainer until you max her commander to 19 skill points and farm elite commander XP which can then be distributed elsewhere as needed. She's not easy to use. While a given players' mileage will vary, Haida can seem very lackluster to those unwilling or unable to play aggressively. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. Haida is well suited to Ranked Battles where destroyer duels and selfish plays are heavily rewarded. She will struggle towards the end-game of matches, however, when there are just larger ships left. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. Haida is a ship steeped in history having seen a lot of combat in WW2 and Korea. In addition, she's a museum ship. She's the last of the surviving Tribal-class destroyers and the first Tribal-class and first Canadian vessel added to World of Warships. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. I love this ship. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. In Closing I owe a lot of thanks yous for this one. Chobittsu went above and beyond helping provide artwork for this review. Many of my Canadian readers stepped forward with suggestions and support, eagerly anticipating this review. Finally, Pigeon_of_War at Wargaming has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to help make HMCS Haida a reality. He has been wonderful for listening attentively to feedback from the North American community regarding including Haida in World of Warships. On a more personal note, he's been very attentive at addressing my concerns about this ship during its development. I can't thank him enough. And that's it! I'm done! Haida's published and Hell-month is over. I've been working non-stop since mid-May on reviews. Thunderer, Kronshtadt, Monaghan, Salem, Massachusetts and now Haida -- six weeks straight of reviews with little more than a couple days off. I can finally breathe and enjoy summer. I dunno when the next review will be -- probably not for a fortnight. If you're looking for me, I'll be pool side, soaking up some summer sun before the Canadian snows come again on Tuesday. Thank you all for reading. If you enjoy my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon. P.S. There's no codes or clues in this review! Spare your eyes!  Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.
  11. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Congress

    The following is a review of Congress, the tier VIII American Large Cruiser. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.9. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. I'm approaching this review a little differently. I want to examine Congress the way an experienced player might; one that followed the quick descriptions made about her around the time of her development. Namely: "Congress is a tier VIII Alaska with two fewer gun barrels." I want to explore how close this kind of shorthand is and if it actually reflects how Congress plays. To this end, I will be directly comparing Congress to Alaska; a ship that has since been retired for "too much battle influence" (or too much popularity). For someone fearing of missing out, knowing Alaska's fate (and that of most large cruiser premiums in World of Warships), Congress might not be available forever. So let's get stuck in. PROS Congress has the largest hit point pool of the tier VIII cruisers. Access to a Repair Party. Excellent armour protection for a cruiser with 229mm belt, 27mm extremities and 36mm thick deck. Excellent AP performance, including good penetration and improved auto-ricochet angles. Good accuracy with battlecruiser dispersion and 2.05 sigma. Good anti-aircraft firepower. Access to Surveillance Radar. CONS Fires burn for a full 60 seconds. Main battery only consists of seven guns, making bad RNG feel a lot more punitive. Floaty ballistics at long range. Poor damage output and fire setting. Bad rearward firing angles. Sluggish handling and poor overall agility. Bad concealment. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Wargaming really missed the mark when designing Congress. She struggles to win any of the fights she picks. While she is tough for a cruiser, she's not battleship tough. For a new player, this means low-damage games or quick returns to port. Sometimes both. The real damning element here is her reload time and the small number of gun barrels. She punishes bad aim and bad RNG can punish even well aimed shots. For a ship that struggles to put out the damage, this is the kind of thing that quickly erodes player confidence. For someone inexperienced with the game, Congress is setup to frustrate rather than delight enterprising players. For veterans, Congress' durability is more exploitable. Similarly, her vision control, grace of her consumables, can turn key moments in game play. Finally, the improved auto-ricochet angles on her AP rounds is also something that can be exploited. However, the small number of guns limits this last influence considerably. There's some carry potential here, mostly in a team-comp setting where being able to bring a radar with heals matters. Options There are a few differences to note between Alaska and Congress here, but they're both very influential. The most notable is that Alaska has access to the 6th upgrade slot while Congress does not. The second is a modification to her Repair Party consumable, with Congress having one fewer charge than Alaska. Third, if you take her Catapult Fighter, Congress launches 3 aircraft instead of Alaska's 4. I've highlighted these differences in purple. Consumables At a glance, Alaska and Congress have the same consumables, but there are some slight differences between the options available to the two ships. Congress's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser. It has a 60s reset timer with a 5 second active period and unlimited charges. You have two choices for her second slot. Defensive AA Fire provides a 50% sustained DPS increase for 40 seconds along with quadruple flak burst damage. This has an 80s reset timer. Congress receives the American cruiser bonus with this consumable, starting with four charges instead of three. Hydroacoustic Search detects torpedoes at 3.5km and enemy ships at 5.0km. This has a 100s active period and a 120s reset timer. It comes with three charges base. Her third slot presents the choice of three options: Her Surveillance Radar has a 10km range, a 35s active period and a 120s reset timer. It comes with three charges. Her Catapult Fighter launches 3 planes. The aircraft remain active and on station for 60s at a range of 3km. It has a 90s reset timer and three charges base. Finally, her Spotter Aircraft increases her firing range by 20% for 100s (to 21km). This has a 240s reset timer and comes with four charges base. Finally, Congress' has a Repair Party. This comes with two charges base. Each charge queues up to 50% of penetration damage and 10% of citadel damage. She heals up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds with an 80 second reset timer. Upgrades There's a lot to cover here, including multiple Special Upgrades which can be purchased through Armory for 17,000. Remember that Alaska can take the sixth upgrade slots while Congress is limited to these five. Otherwise, their choices of upgrades are identical in the current meta. For your first slot: Main Armaments Modification 1 is arguably your best choice to help keep your guns in the game longer. However, there are some choices (and I can't believe I'm about to suggest the following): Given the extra burden being placed on Congress' Damage Control Party with the unmitigated disaster that is submarine implementation at the moment, there's a good argument to be made for taking the special upgrade, Damage Control Party Modification 1. I don't feel this is optimal but I would be remiss not to suggest it given the careful timing needed to kill torpedo guidance on top of Congress' vulnerability to fire. Finally, extra range makes this ship easier to play, so the special upgrade, Spotting Aircraft Modification 1 is worth mentioning. Alaska is unlikely to take this mod given her improved gunnery range over Congress. For your second slot, it's again a glut of choice. The special upgrade Surveillance Radar Modification 1 is arguably best. This is closely followed by Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 which is also a special upgrade. Taking this precludes you from using her Defensive AA Fire consumable, though (not a terrible loss, admittedly). Finally, if you cannot afford either, default to Damage Control System Modification 1. In your third slot, things calm down considerably. Aiming System Modification 1 is your best choice, hands down. Like, it's not even close. However, if you hate slow turret traverse rates and find yourself losing out on damage because of how much time you spend waiting for turrets to catch up, then there's a case to be made for Main Battery Modification 2. In your fourth slot, we're back to a glut of choice. Damage Control System Modification 2 will help reduce the damage over time effects from fires and floods. Steering Gears Modification 1 is my preferred choice as it helps avoid damage in the first place. However, I don't think that she mathematically exceeds the efficiency of DCSM2 by much, if at all. Finally, there's a VERY strong case to be made for Propulsion System Modification 1 in the current submarine-meta. Island camping is the best way to avoid torpedoes and fast acceleration throws off their tracking considerably. In your fifth slot: Concealment System Modification 1 is best. There's a case to be made for Steering Gears Modification 2 as an option, particularly when paired with the same upgrade in slot four. Alaska has a sixth slot. Congress does not. Camouflage The main difference here is that Alaska has tier IX permanent camo with improved economic gains. Congress's camo provides the usual tier VIII bonuses: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. Alaska receives -20%. +50% to experience gains. Alaska receives +100%. Congress comes with the dark blue camo scheme. You can unlock the (much better looking) pale grey version through completing the 5th tab of the American Cruiser Collection. Differences in Options The biggest difference between Alaska and Congress is one of tiering. Being a higher tier, Alaska has more upgrade options and better camouflage. The only other differences of note are with their consumables, with one being minor (one fewer aircraft for their catapult fighter squadrons) and one major (Congress receiving one fewer charges of her Repair Party than Alaska). To me, only the Repair Party disparity really stands out as something somewhat unexpected for a tier VIII version of Alaska but it's easy enough to justify if the ship was too survivable at her tier. We'll have to keep this difference in mind for the Durability section below. Firepower Main Battery: Seven 305mm/50 guns spread between three turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration with the guns laid out in a 2-3-2 pattern. Secondary Battery: Twelve 127mm/38 guns in 6x2 turrets with one superfiring forward over the main battery forward, one superfiring aft and the other four divided evenly along the sides. Congress has the same AP penetration values as Puerto Rico and Alaska. For a large cruiser, her AP penetration is decent, but not top of the line. The 305mm/50 guns found on Congress, Alaska and Puerto Rico are excellent weapons. Their AP shells boast improved auto-ricochet angles, akin to the "American Piercing" shells found upon their heavy cruisers. They do not begin checking for ricochet until they strike a plate angled 60º from the perpendicular as opposed to 45º for most AP rounds. They are not guaranteed to ricochet until they hit a plate 67.5º from the perpendicular instead of 60º. This almost (ALMOST) makes their AP shells the only ammunition you need to have loaded. However, there are still many instances where their HE shells are still necessary. Anything other than very light and some lower tiered cruisers and destroyers can bow-in an auto-ricochet their AP rounds. You'll want HE shells against the lolibotes because they only take 10% damage from penetrating battleship calibre AP rounds (and these shells certainly qualify). Obviously the biggest difference between Congress' armament and that of Alaska is the number of guns. But there are three other differences of note. The first is something minor. Congress' X turret has better fire angles than Alaska. She's capable of maintaining auto-ricochet angles on her hull while still engaging targets which is REALLY nice but ultimately not game changing. While this will allow her to (partially) bully 381mm armed battleships and large cruisers, there's a glut of battleships that can overmatch her 27mm snoot. And it's not like those extra few degrees are inaccessible to Alaska either; she just needs to flutter her rudder back and forth between salvos. Thus this is really more a quality of life benefit than anything worth celebrating. The second is one of range. Alaska has excellent range, able to reach out to almost 19km. Congress makes do with a respectable but nowhere near as amazing 17.5km. Unlike Alaska, Congress cannot elect to increase this further through a sixth-slot upgrade. While people are more likely to reach for a faster reload if this option were available, it's still worth noting. The third (and most pressing) is Alaska's guns reload 2 seconds faster base. Congress's 22 second reload is identical to that of Puerto Rico two tiers higher. But unlike the higher tiered ships, Congress cannot take the sixth upgrade slot's Main Battery Modification 3 to accelerate her rate of fire. Combined with the two fewer guns you get the following shell outputs for the three ships (stock/MBM3) Puerto Rico: 32.7 / 37.2 rounds per minute Alaska: 27 / 30.7 rounds per minute Congress: 19.1 rounds per minute This is a HUGE disparity, with Congress having less than two-thirds the firepower of Alaska despite having over three-quarters of her main battery. This right here is what turns many people away from Congress who are expecting Alaska-levels of performance Congress looks even worse when you compare her to other cruisers and she's not even competitive with tier VIII battleships despite her faster reload. The reality is that Congress' damage output is painfully low if you cannot reliably land citadel hits. Her HE damage output and fire setting is especially pathetic. This isn't a ship designed to out-trade opponents, but rather one that's in it for the long haul; taking opportunistic bites where they present themselves and keeping an eye out for vulnerable targets where she can blow out their machine spaces and magazines. Even then, her alpha strike is much more limited and with a smaller number of guns. Her DPM is appalling and made worse that her gun accuracy is worse than all of the other cruisers on this list. It's important to keep in mind that larger gun calibre ships tend to have lower DPM. To put this in perspective, stock Alaska (which is a good ship) has 240,300 AP DPM and 116,100 HE DPM which would look rather modest when stacked against tier VIII cruisers, to say nothing of tier IX ships. You're not going to find anything redeemable about her fire setting either. After you account for innate fire resistances of higher-tiered targets and your own dispersion, you'll be lucky to make a single fire stick onto a target. If you're trying to set blazes, pick on something that already has her Damage Control Party taxed from submarines or HE spam. Congress has the same gunnery dispersion as Alaska (shown here). This is 180 AP shells fired at a stationary Fuso bot at 15km. The Fuso lacks camouflage while Alaska was using Aiming System Modification 1 to reduced dispersion by 7%. Shots were coming in from right to left. Alaska, Puerto Rico and Congress all use Graf Spee's horizontal dispersion formula (Range x 8.4 + 48m). Alaska and Congress both have 2.05 sigma. So what gives? Is Congress crap? Does her poor firepower reign her in? Has Wargaming nerfed the concept too much that it's no longer competitive? Well, no. Her numbers are fine (in fact, she's one of the better performers at her tier). The issue is that her gunnery feels miserable. This is largely owing to the fewer gun barrels. RNG feels much more influential when a ship fires fewer shells per volley. You'll notice that one stray shell more than you would in a broadside of nine, ten or twelve guns where one or two errant trajectories is more easily dismissed. Compound this with her long(ish) reload and her dispersion feels downright cruel at times despite being no different than Alaska's -- doubly so when you're not always in range. This is the same affliction which makes German battleship dispersion feel terrible despite them having comparable accuracy to British battleships. Fewer shells means RNG matters that much more. So while Congress is capable of putting out some reasonable amount of damage, you're much more likely to remember that time RNGeebus gave you the finger and made you miss the citadel of that broadsiding Mogami. Unlike Alaska, Congress' selling point isn't her guns. They're decent but they don't feel anywhere near as good as her tier IX counterpart's. If you need your premiums to wow you with their firepower, then stay away from Congress. Differences in Firepower Alaska has better firepower across most parameters. Alaska has nine guns to Congress' seven. Alaska's guns reload faster. Alaska's guns have more range. Alaska can mount an upgrade to either increase her range or reload time. Alaska has longer ranged secondaries. The only places where Congress is better is that she has an extra 6º worth of fire arc on her X-turret and her shells are 90 credits each instead of 125 credits. VERDICT: Unimpressive. A combination of slow-reload, only modest range and few guns dulls the performance of her otherwise excellent AP rounds. Durability Hit Points: 51,150 Maximum Citadel Protection: 27mm extremities + 260mm athwartship or 229mm belt + 19mm citadel roof or water + 178mm belt + 26mm citadel wall Min Bow and Deck Armour: 27mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 13% Chonkzilla. Meet the best-protected tier VIII cruiser. Congress is a ship of durability superlatives at tier VIII. She has the best armour. She has the most hit points. She has the best-protected citadel. She even has a Repair Party -- something two thirds of the tier VIII cruisers lack. Congress has a larger effective health pool with her heals than anything short of the portable-dry-dock equipped British ships. Even her structural plate is the best you'll find at her tier, with extremities capable of auto-ricocheting up to 381mm AP shells and an amidships deck immune to 203mm HE rounds. Add on hidden deck, a waterline citadel placement and turret faces and barbettes in excess of 300mm thick and Congress resists damage better than any of her same-tier competitors. Like her sister ship, Congress is tough enough to take a turn up on the front lines if needs be and help the battleships tank incoming fire; especially when she's top tier. Short of hit points and heals, Congress shares the same protection scheme as Alaska BUT she has the bonus of facing lower-tiered opponents. Tier VI and VII light cruisers with 152mm guns cannot penetrate any of her structural armour without Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. She easily (EASILY) bullies lower tiered cruisers with almost disdainful ease and can even strong-arm some of the battleships at medium-to-close ranges thanks to her structural plate. Congress feels ridiculously overtuned when she's top tier because of this protection scheme, with only same-tier cruiser and battleship opponents being credible threats. When facing tier IX and X ships, her durability falls away to more reasonable, though still highly competitive levels. Would that this applied against all threats. Fire and torpedoes are Congress' bane, particularly the 0.9.10 threat of submarine launched fish. Though she has a cruiser's (relatively) fast-reloading Damage Control Party, in the current meta, it's easily overtaxed. Fires burn for full 60 seconds (18% of her total health instead of 9% like other cruisers). Her anti-torpedo protection is insufficient to resist all but air-dropped torpedoes and most hits strike her citadel, allowing only 10% of their damage to be healed back from her limited charges of Repair Party. Submarines absolutely LOVE her clumsy agility and allergy to fires. Congress is prone to having her Damage Control Party on cool down and she's not agile enough to dodge guided fish. As tough as she is, as big as her hit point pool might be, it only takes a few torpedo hits to send her to the bottom. While Congress is fairly resistant to shell damage, that's really the extent of it. Thus she's most comfortable against other surface targets slinging AP and HE shells at her. This extensive durability and survivabiliy is Congress's main selling feature. While Alaska is a more well-rounded when it comes to the balance between firepower and durability, Congress relies much more heavily on her durability to keep her competitive. The idea is that she outlasts other cruisers and can stay in the game long enough to make up for her lacklustre striking power. This definitely works. It's not terribly exciting, but it works. The Alaska-class has layers of hidden armour beneath her maindeck that you can't see in the port, including a 96mm/102mm deck between the upper deck and citadel roof (her roof sits just under the waterline). There are three ways for AP rounds to citadel Congress. The first is a subsurface hit that strikes the lower belt and punches into the 26mm citadel wall. Any battlehship calibre AP shell greater than 356mm can overmatch the 26mm citadel wall, so even heavily angled shots that barely passed the ricochet check against the outer hull can still cause citadel hits this way. The second is a bow or stern shot that goes through the 27mm extremities and then smacks into the 260mm transverse bulkheads that cap the citadel at either end. Finally, shells can punch through the 229mm upper belt and then overmatch through the 19mm citadel roof at a very shallow angle. Overall, Congress's armour is excellent for a cruiser. Differences in Durability There are three main differences between the two ships. Alaska has more hit points than Congress. Alaska an extra charge of her Repair Party. This gives Alaska a much larger potential health pool -- just over 100,000 hit points if all of her heals can be used optimally (and they never will) while Congress tops out just over 75,000. Alaska's superstructure hit-box does not include the extra bit of 16mm plate in front of her armoured conning tower. The 3D geometry of the two models is identical, but Congress maps out that hit box while Alaska does not. This makes Congress the slightest-bit more squishy to small and medium calibre HE shells as hits in this exact spot to Alaska will shatter off the armoured bridge. It's a silly, inconsequential difference, but hey, it's there. VERDICT: This is the best thing about her. Heals at tier VIII is huge, to say nothing of taking fewer citadel hits than her contemporaries. Agility Top Speed: 33 knots Turning Radius: 850 meters Rudder Shift Time: 13 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.8º/s at 26.4kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 6.0º/s | Insert sad trombone noises here. Congress handles like a battleship, albeit a fast one with good turret traverse rates. Her 850m turning radius is appalling and her rate of turn lamentable. Pair this with a sluggish rudder shift time I've seen dogs drag their butts across the carpet with more grace than this ship handles. Congress isn't a fast cruiser either, by any means. Her speed of 33 knots (34.7 knots with a Sierra Mike signal) isn't enough to dictate engagement ranges at high tiers. Sure, while she's top tier she can run rings around most of the tier VI and VII super-dreadnoughts and post-treaty era battleships but nearly every capital ship gets going in a hurry once you cross that tier VIII threshold, to say nothing of the cruisers. Of course, running out in open water isn't exactly Congress's style either. She has horrible rearward gun angles which are patently ill-suited to kiting. Her horrible agility, modest top speed and similarly modest range don't lend well to trying to actively dodge either. Congress is most comfortable with an island protecting her side with her bows peeking out to take pot-shots at vulnerable targets. Sadly, this is more comfortable than effective. Differences in Agility Congress and Alaska have the exact same agility. Congress does NOT have very good fire angles for kiting with terrible rearward fire angles. Seriously: Booooo! And I don't mean that in the Hallowe'eny way either. Her forward fire angles are good though. It's kind of funny how the 6º/s gun rotation on Congress feels okay but this exact same value on a 203mm heavy cruiser feels painfully slow. VERDICT: She sucks and not in a sexy way. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 4 + 1 explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 108.5dps at 90% accuracy (97.7dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 273dps at 90% accuracy (245.7dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 150.5dps at 85% accuracy (127.9dps) So this section is why this review was so delayed (I was originally planning to have this review out a week ago). You see, Congress inspired a project. Annoyed with the post-rework AA, I wanted to see how well Congress' AA would stack up back before patch 0.8.0 dropped. This involved way too much research time and digging through the Wayback Machine to look at archived stats. Before I knew it, I was collecting the old AA values for every single AA mount in the game and it was suddenly Wednesday. Whoops. For those unaware, unlike today, the old system had AA values determined by weapon mount. A quad-barrel 40mm Bofors nest always generated 15.9 at 3.5km per mount (these could then be modified by skills, upgrades, consumables, player actions and signals). So if you saw a ship with eight of these Bofors nests, you knew that this ship generated 127.2 dps at 3.5km. It didn't matter what tier the ship was. It didn't matter what type the ship was. You also knew that each Bofors nest lost through combat would reduce your AA DPS by that same 15.9 value. It was very intuitive, even if the rest of the AA system was a convoluted mess (seriously, lots of RNG to determine if an individual plane was shot down). But it meant that you could look at historical ships and get EXCITED if they had a lot of AA mounts on a given ship. That's something that's been lost since the rework. Wargaming makes up the values with a hefty-dose of BALANS™ thrown in and we get what we get. Now, the reason I did all of this was because I wanted to see if Congress would have been a GOOD AA ship back in the day. If I can't be excited for what we have (spoilers!) then maybe I could sigh whimsically at what could have been. Anyway, that just explains the delays. It's a going-nowhere project sparked by a heavy dose of nostalgia for the game as it existed back in 2018. I blame everything that happened with Yukon and the current submarine mess for making this trip worthwhile. Anyway, back on task! You could be forgiven if you mistake Congress for having a similar AA layout to Alaska minus some Oerlikon mounts. Wargaming did make some significant changes, though, halving the number of Bofors barrels by cutting Alaska's quads down to twins on Congress. As a result, Congress has about two-thirds the effective AA firepower to Alaska which puts her right-around Cleveland and Montpelier levels of overall effective AA cover. By the standards of today, this makes her AA power "good" for a tier VIII cruiser though it's hard to call any tier VIII AA firepower "effective" against anything other than tier VI CVs. Sure, you can bruise incoming squadrons but you can't prevent drops. The best you can hope for against tier VIII and X CVs is to be too expensive of a target to drop on repeatedly. However, if it comes down to winning the game, there's not much you can do to prevent them from taking you out. Your AA is good, but good doesn't cut it these days. Congress' AA firepower will not keep you safe. At best, it makes you a lower priority. Differences in AA Defence Let's do the list. Alaska's twelve 127mm/38 guns generate 94.5 dps while Congress' twelve 127mm/38s generate 97.7. No, this does not make sense. Yes, they are the exact same mount. Alaska has fourteen quad-40mm Bofors generating 337.1 dps while Congress has fourteen twin-40mm Bofors generating 245.7 dps. Alaska has thirty-four 20mm Oerlikons generating 208 dps while Congress has only twenty 20mm Oerlikons and generates 127.9 dps. Alaska's flak explosions deal an average of 1,610 damage. Congress' do 1,540 damage because she's lower tier (flak explosions scale with tiers). Alaska's flak explosions have a slightly larger blast size. VERDICT: Functional. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.5km / 12.18km Base/Minimum Air & Underwater Detection Range: 9.72km / 7.87km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 12.09km Maximum Firing Range: 17.5km This all suuuuuucks! But she can have an American Surveillance Radar, so that's pretty good. Differences in Refrigerators Nadda. Alaska and Congress are identical here. VERDICT: Suuuuuuuucks except for the radar. Find island. Make them your Waifu. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike up to 5km away Number of Salvos: Up to two Reload Time: 90 seconds Aircraft: Two flights of two PBY Catalinas with 2,000hp per plane. Drop Pattern: 6 bombs each dropped evenly over roughly a 4km column Maximum Bomb Damage: 2,100 Fire Chance: 12% The usual caveats for discussing anything related to submarines apply here: submarines and anti-submarine warfare are all highly volatile at the moment. I didn't get to playtest Congress much against submarines, so I don't have a lot to add. Her armament represents the current low-bar minimum for high-tier ASW, with a pathetic 5km range (and 4km drop column) on a spread of depth charges. This is, unfortunately, more effective than depth charges as Congress can launch these without needing to drive right overtop of a sub. While depth charges will do more damage, Congress is more likely to survive attacking a sub. In my not so humble opinion, all ships should have access to ASW airstrikes as subs are designed currently. Yes, even destroyers and cruisers with depth charges. They should get airstrikes too. Differences in ASW None. Again, Alaska and Congress ditto one another here. VERDICT: I regret that this section is a thing. Final Evaluation Let's start off by addressing this assumption: "Congress is a tier VIII Alaska with two fewer gun barrels." She isn't. Congress is a nerfed tier VIII Alaska with two fewer gun barrels, most notably losing out on health, heals, rate of fire, range and AA firepower. If Alaska is a fun, competitive tier IX premium, Congress is merely an average tier VIII offering. Yes, Congress is tough as all get out. Yes, her individual AP shells hits are frightening but as a 'total package' kinda deal? Don't buy into the hype. Congress is a shadow of her tier IX sister-ship. Really, the best thing about this ship is her survivability and that only applies if you play her conservatively. Still, tough as she is, she's not going to stay in the game long if you play recklessly (believe me, I tested this thoroughly with VERY aggressive pushes). Her small main battery makes it very difficult to win in straight up trades provided your opponent isn't an idiot.. And even when they mess up and give you one of those juicy broadside hits, a bad bout of RNGeebus will exaggerate Congress' small broadside weight. It's a tough pill to swallow when a ship's performance is so closely tied to taking opportunistic shots when so few shells fly downrange on a per-volley basis. It's hard to find much endearing with a ship who sells itself on citadel-striking ability but it can't deliver on that promise. All of this is made worse in that Wargaming totally butchered the historical design they claim Congress is based upon. Congress isn't the CA-F2 project. Wargaming very-lazily cloned Alaska's hull assets and swapped around her armaments with guns inspired by (but not matching) CA-F2's layout. @Kingpin61 put together this post way back in April 2021 and I'm shamelessly borrowing one of his jpegs here so you can see for yourself. This is the ship we should have gotten: Note the twin funnels and placement of the rear catapults, to say nothing of the four-guns forward, three guns aft layout. Congress reminds me of Yukon on so many levels. She's tough. She doesn't hit very hard. Her name sucks. She's a disappointment to those who were most invested in seeing her added to the game. Congress isn't terrible, but lordy, she's very obviously intended to ride the Alaska hype-train and hope that generate sales. When you look at her on her own, washing away the Alaska pedigree, there's not a whole lot to love here. This is a ship that needs time (and enemy mistakes) to do well in. Her durability combined with the utility of her Surveillance Radar guarantees that she's got enough of a toolkit to be useful. But lordy, I miss the days when premium ships had some striking power to them. I did not have a good time with Congress. Not during testing and not during my revisit of her in October to refresh my memory. I don't think very highly of Wargaming's design and I didn't find her game play entertaining. If I'm going to play an anemic tank, I'll play the one Chobi and I had a hand in making. Solid pass from me.
  12. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Oklahoma

    Massachusetts she is not. The following is a review of the tier V American premium battleship Oklahoma. This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes; I did not have to pay for her. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are accurate as of patch 0.9.10. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Unfortunately for Oklahoma, Texas exists. In nearly every respect, Texas is the better state ship. Oklahoma doesn't clone Texas' performance but gives you the choice of a "more different" alternative that dittos Texas' game-play with some style changes. Specifically, Oklahoma is an attempt to provide Massachusetts-style game-play at tier V, with improved secondaries though this comes at the expense of her reload times and horrible (HORRIBLE) AP shell performance. Quick Summary: A slow-firing American standard-type battleship with crappy AP shells but improved range, heals and secondaries. PROS Good main battery range of 17.13km (19.87km with APRM1) Secondaries are long ranged (5.5km) with improved dispersion. Small surface detection range of 13.52km. Improved Repair Party which heals back 18.48% of her health per charge instead of 14%. CONS Soft-skinned externally, with most of the ship covered by only 19mm worth of steel. Painfully long reload time of 40 seconds on her main battery,. Horrible AP penetration. Like seriously. Lacklustre AA defence. Sluggish and slow. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Difficult Battleships at tier V and below don't have it easy. They play on claustrophobic maps. CVs abound as do seal-clubbing torpedo destroyers. Furthermore, every single battleship can overmatch the bows of every other battleship (barring Gangut & Pyotr Belikiy), so you can't simply nose in and face-tank. The good news is that it's relatively easy to score some big numbers as everyone can reliably damage everyone else. Their primary prey, the plethora of light and scout cruisers, are made of citadels so Devastating Strike medals are commonplace and help offset the constant barrage of tier IV planes and constant waterboarding from torpedo-soup. And that's the joys when they're top tier! When bottom tier, they are outclassed so hilariously that the map size alone is enough to ruin their experience. So... yeah. Tier V battleships aren't in a good place. Inexperienced players can manage, but there's a lot of unpleasantness to watch out for. For veterans, Oklahoma offers nothing that Texas doesn't already, and Texas scales better with player skill with her dispersed armour values. Options Oklahoma doesn't have anything out of the ordinary beyond her Repair Party. Consumables Her Damage Control Party is typical for American battleships. It has a 20 second rather than a 15 second active period common to battleships from most other nations. It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also an American battleship version, though this version doesn't tend to appear on premium battleships. It has four charges base and an 80 second reset timer. It queues up 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It heals back up to 0.66% of her health every second for 28 seconds instead of the usual 0.5% found on most battleships. Finally, Oklahoma has a Spotting Aircraft. It provides a 20% bonus to her range for 100 seconds. It starts with four charges and a 240 second reset timer. Upgrades There are pretty much two builds to consider with Oklahoma: Choose between either increasing her main battery gun range with Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 or emphasizing the strength of her secondaries Secondary Battery Modification 1. Captain Skills You're again making a choice between two different builds. The first is the boring ol' battleship build where you focus on mitigating fire damage. Or you can build for her secondaries. With Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament having the efficacy wall at tier VII+, it's not worth taking. Veterans will recognize this build as being analogous for a classic Warspite build. This is a lot more interesting, in my opinion, even if it's less effective overall. The graphic on the left is the default battleship build. The one on the right is chock-full of pluck and awesome. Pick your favourite tier 1 skill (in green) and then hoover up all of the yellow circles. Camouflage Oklahoma has two camouflage options. The first is her standard Type 9 camouflage. They're simply cosmetic swaps of one another. They both provide: 3% reduction to surface detection. 4% increase to enemy dispersion. 10% reduction to service costs. 50% increase to experience gains. The alternative dark-blue on her Type 9 camo is nice and striking, but it's the military camouflage I like the most. Gotta love that checkered funnel!d Firepower Main Battery: Ten 356mm/45 rifles in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration with three-gun turrets for A & Y mounts and two-gun turrets in B & X. Secondary Battery: Ten 127mm/51 single guns in casemate mounts and eight 127mm/25 singles in open mounts mounted a deck higher. Main Battery In the spirit of not spending forever writing this, I'm going to cut right to the chase. There are two stupidly-huge flaws with Oklahoma's main battery guns. The first is pretty obvious -- they say it right on the tin: Oklahoma has a 40 second reload. That's terrible. It seriously hurts her damage output and it's just plain not-fun to have to wait so long in between trigger pulls. Admittedly, this isn't that much longer than the already painful 34.3s reload on USS Texas, but I hate that reload too and this is worse. If this were Oklahoma's only main gunnery flaw, maybe I could overlook it if this paid for a bunch of other fun stuff, but the ride doesn't end there. She has horrible HORRIBLE AP penetration values for a battleship. Oklahoma makes use of the old-timey, not-in-the-game-anymore stock New York AP shells. These are so terrible she cannot best battleship belt armour outside of 10km engagement distances -- and even then, there will be some battleships she can't best until she gets even closer. You must aim for weak points which, with battleship dispersion, is tricky. So not only are you dealing with a very long wait between shots, but when you're finally reloaded, there may not be anything worth shooting at because of how poorly her AP rounds perform. It's tempting just to spam HE, but USN battleship HE shells are pretty terrible. In short: Her main battery gunnery sucks moose-balls. It's a disaster to use against other battleships. Stick to picking on cruisers unless you have no other choice. Oklahoma's AP penetration of her released version (patch 9.10) is buttacular. This runs contrary to how it performed during the last leg of testing (patch 9.9). See my rant below with the In Closing section about this. Have a quick DPM graphic. Oklahoma wins no prizes here. American battleships aren't particularly good fire setters. Oklahoma's fire arcs are decent. Her gun rotation rate of 3º/s is pretty terrible, though. Secondary Battery Ostensibly the woes of her main battery armament are counteracted by her secondaries. Ostensibly. Sure enough, if you can get Oklahoma in close enough to activate her secondaries, her opponents are going to have a bad time. Oklahoma has the same improved secondary dispersion as found Massachusetts and Georgia. What's not as well known is that this is the same secondary dispersion as found on all large calibre secondary gun batteries, such as the 152mm on Kongo and Warspite. I don't say this to nay-say Oklahoma's secondary performance, but rather to illustrate that one element isn't so rare at this tier, as a lot of the casemate weapons of tier V battleships are larger calibre. This said, what is out of the ordinary is Oklahoma's range. With a base reach of 5.5km, between upgrades, skills and signals, it can be extended out to 8.32km which is very impressive for her tier. It's a shame Oklahoma isn't faster because you're only bringing those into range if the enemy comes to you. I found the volume of fire coming from her secondary batteries to be a bit wanting. Her longer-barrelled 127mm/51 guns in the lower casemates have a 7 second reload compared to the 4.5 seconds of the upper-deck 127mm/25s. On top of this longer reload, they also have a worse fire-chance per shell, so it's the shorter-barrelled weapons which are really carrying the weight when it comes to shell volume. At least her forward fire angles are generous with six guns being able to open up at targets as little as 10º off her bow, with a maximum broadside of 9 guns from 40º off her bow to 108º. These are not good weapons for kiting, as towards her rear-quarter she is typically stuck with only three weapons firing. Overall, I rate Oklahoma's secondary weapons as "nice to have" but not game-changers. They're definitely more powerful against lower-tiered targets where their 21mm of penetration can hurt everything they come across. I again lament that Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament's efficacy is tied to tiering, because super-accurate secondaries could have been a game changer for Oklahoma. While a 30% buff is alright, it's a big point sink -- points that could be much better spent on fire mitigation and concealment. Oh well. VERDICT: Her secondaries are nice. Her main battery guns are anything but. That reload sucks. That AP penetration sucks more. Defence Hit Points: 48,200 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm extremities, 25mm upper hull & 19mm deck Maximum Citadel Protection: 25mm anti-torpedo bulge + 343mm belt + 51mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 18% I was going to make an armour profile graphic, but it's pretty uninformative. She's a standard-type battleship (one of the first) so she doesn't have a dispersed armour scheme with interesting bits like extended waterline belts or what have you. Oklahoma's extremities and deck are all 19mm thick. Her belt is completely covered by her 25mm anti-torpedo bulges and this armour value extends up to that aforementioned 19mm deck amidships. Thus, barring her 13mm superstructure, everything you can shoot at on Oklahoma is either 19mm or 25mm, which is all kinds of squish. The downsides to this layout is having that 19mm armour almost everywhere. It can be overmatched by any battleship caliber AP shell you come across, to say nothing of allowing HE penetrations from even destroyer-calibre rounds. In this regard, she's hardly unique. New York and Texas suffer from similar problems, even with their dispersed armour scheme, but it's only found on the American battleships at this tier. All of the other battleships have at least some amidships deck armour values that are higher, allowing them to ricochet and shatter AP and HE shells respectively. Thus, Oklahoma takes a lot more incidental damage than her contemporaries. To compensate she has access to the improved Repair Party of American tech-tree battleships. This heals up to 18.48% of her hit point pool per charge instead of the usual 14% of most Repair Parties. In theory, this gives her a larger effective health pool if properly managed. The catch, of course, is that she has to survive long enough to make use of all of those healing charges for this to off-set her fragility. Her citadel is at least reasonably protected. It sits at the waterline with turtleback sloped sides. The 51mm of the turtleback and citadel walls stacks nicely with her 343mm belt giving her some healthy protection. Her citadel roof is 38mm thick so it can't be overmatched. Oklahoma will take citadel hits if you expose her sides but overall the protection isn't bad. Overall, Oklahoma'a durability is alright. It's not fun to take damage from everything being thrown at you but at least she's given something to compensate for it. Viribus Unitis is a standard unit of measurement for battleship health. VERDICT: You're a piñata with a soft outer-skin but decent citadel protection. Manage your heals carefully and be careful of exposing your sides. Agility Top Speed: 19.7 knots Turning Radius: 610m Rudder Shift Time: 13.4 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.7º/s at 14.7 knots It's rare to see such an obvious and clear loser like this. This is downright embarrassing. Oklahoma manages to simultaneously be the slowest and the least agile of any of the tier V battleships. That's a pretty damning rap sheet right there but it gets worse. She lacks any kind of energy preservation. While New York was also stripped of her own improved energy retention in patch 0.9.6, Texas still maintains hers. This means that under any kind of manoeuvres, Texas is the fastest of the three, holding onto a minimum of 18.7 knots while New York flounders at 15.9 knots and Oklahoma wallows with 14.7. And you'll be putting her through manoeuvres often, if not to throw off the aim of your opponents then to try and counteract her horrible turret traverse. The 3º/s rotation speed of her guns often needs help and you'll be sore tempted to accelerate acquiring a target by swinging the ship's butt about. This has the net effect of further slowing down Oklahoma's average speed. The 19.7 knots you see on the tin is more like a constant 18.5 knots in practice as you're seldom going in a straight line long enough to take advantage of it, even when redeploying. Just to add insult to injury, even a slug-lord like Oklahoma can still out-turn her turrets unless you stack on Expert Marksman at a minimum -- Main Battery Modification 2 does not provide enough of a bonus to mitigate this disparity. For a ship reliant on making her secondaries count, it's not just her lack of speed that's disappointing, but her lack of energy retention too. She's not just slow, she's consistently slow -- unable to catch a break. The only way to make her secondaries work for her is to either corner someone when the opportunity presents itself on one of those smaller, low-tier maps or hope someone brings their ship into range for you. VERDICT: I cry everytime. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 3 explosions for 1190 damage per blast at 3.5km to 4.8km. Long Ranged (up to 4.8km): 95dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km): 21dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 1.5km): 84dps at 70% accuracy Aircraft carriers are omnipresent within Oklahoma's matchmaking. It is not uncommon to face two carriers -- and sometimes two tier VI carriers at that, so anti-aircraft defence is more important for ships at this tier than any other. I'm sorry to say that Oklahoma doesn't have good AA firepower by any measure. She has neither the damage-per-minute, range or consumables to truly be a threat to aircraft. She has about as much sustained DPS as König but with worse range brackets and one fewer flak bursts. This means you're going to get dunked on. A lot. In my test games, even a Langley to perform two drops with the same squadron of torpedo bombers -- and that's with my ship being pristine AND having my AA boosted with Basic Fire Training and focus-fire. Yes, I ended up shooting down a few planes. Yes, this will probably unsustainable for the carrier in the long run. No, that's not going to save you. VERDICT: Not good enough to matter. Sigh. With Oklahoma's uniform 19mm thick deck armour, she's exceedingly vulnerable to rockets and the bomblets dropped by Hermes and Ark Royal. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 13.52km / 11.8km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 10.25km/9.23km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 7.12km Maximum Firing Range: Between 17.13km and 23.84km Oklahoma has better-than-average concealment for a tier V battleship. It's not god-tier by any means. It's not like Viribus Unitis where she can manage a 10km and change detection range. Still, make sure you use and abuse this concealment whenever you need to, especially in the later stages of the game when destroyers are thinned out. This can help you set up ambushing shots on cruisers or simply give you more time to come about or let a key consumable come off cool-down in order to save your ship when you're on low health. If Oklahoma had more speed, this trait would have more value, allowing her to flex unseen and pop up in places people do not expect. VERDICT: Nice to have but not game changing. Final Evaluation I'm glad you can earn this one for free. I don't like Oklahoma. Her gunnery is frustrating. Her agility is frustrating. She wasn't a fun experience for me. I hate waiting on her stupidly long reload. I hate having to wait even longer for a proper target to appear because my stupid AP shells can't reliably penetrate other battleships. I hate how stupidly sluggish her gun traverse is. I hate how slow she is. Hate. Hate. Hate. Sure, you can have some alright games in her, especially when she's top-tier. And in Co-Op, you don't have to worry about her AP penetration or struggling to bring her secondaries into range as the bots will oblige you by driving in close. In those two aspects, she's perfectly reasonable. But taken as a whole? Blech. Skip this one. Do not pay cash-moneys for her. That's my hot take, anyway. But lemme step away from quotable crap and elaborate further. I love American standard-type battleships. I love how they look. I love their history. And for the first few years of World of Warships' life, I loved how they played. New Mexico was my bae for a time. Lert and I had a great time playing our Arizona bricks side by side. I didn't mind Colorado, though she was my least favourite of the early three. I was disappointed when West Virginia appeared not in her late-war rebuild but in her 1941 state, adding my own voice to those dissenting Wargaming's choice to use her as a stock-Colorado instead of a phoenix that rose from the flames of Pearl Harbour and kicked so much butt at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. While West Virginia 1941 was at least a reasonably powerful ship, the offerings since then have not been. California was a disaster. She's been relegated to being one of the least memorable ships of 2020. Oklahoma is destined for similar ignominy. Her secondaries are meant to be fun, but there are so few opportunities to use them decisively. Had Oklahoma the old-style American battleship energy retention of yesteryear, it might be a different story. Like with West Virginia and California, Wargaming missed the opportunity to make a truly interesting vessel. Oh well. In Closing Before I conclude this review, I feel I need to speak to some of the challenges faced preparing these articles. My aim is to be as accurate as possible. While I don't feel that any of my fellow content creators would go out of their way to present false information, sometimes Wargaming makes it difficult for us to be accurate. The Community Contributors were told on October 22nd that Oklahoma had been finalized and that we were free to begin creating content which could be published on October 27th. I began work on the written portion of this review over the weekend of the 24th and 25th. Part of my process is to cross-reference the statistics of the current test-ship to the development blog's list of changes. Sometimes stuff gets changed at the last minute. Sometimes announced changes don't go through at all. Without clarification from Wargaming, it's impossible to know what the final product will look like. I've been burned by making assumptions here and I've learned to get specifics from Wargaming directly. In Oklahoma's case, the test-ship I had access to and was being asked to make content for was not what was going to be released. We were being asked to make content based on a ship whose performance was changing significantly post-launch. In Oklahoma's case, it was her Krupp rating -- a statistic which directly affects AP penetration values, which was being dropped by a whopping 40%. The 0.9.9 version of Oklahoma had better AP performance than any other tier V 356mm armed battleship. She could blow out the citadel of a Colorado at 16km. The launched version has the worst by far -- so bad she can't pull the same trick until she's within 5km of Colorado. This is a big deal! It completely changes how the ship feels to play. I didn't like Oklahoma's test version -- she was slow with a slow reload, but at least her main battery guns had some punch to them. Now I spoke to Wargaming about this and they were very open in acknowledging that the disparity between test-ship performance and release-ship performance is very much a serious issue when it comes to Community Contributors producing content about a ship. Steps are being taken to help mitigate any misinformation coming out in the future (how well this pans out will have to be seen). HOWEVER, the point I am making is that it's very important that when you're making buying (or time investment) decisions in regards to a premium vessel, check out multiple sources before pulling the trigger. This discrepancy was found in time for my review, but what about the other Community Contributors? More importantly, what did I miss? I'm not perfect. I don't have a team of fact-checkers dedicated to helping me spot things. I coordinate and collaborate with the other Community Contributors to try and find stuff like this but stuff will inevitably fall through the cracks. Please, please, PLEASE make sure you check out multiple reviews before you make a decision. You can always message me here or via Discord (AprilWhiteMouse#0536) if you have any questions about ship performance. If I don't know something, I will admit to as much and we can go find the missing information together. Thank you for reading, and thank you to my patrons on Patreon for supporting the production of these reviews.
  13. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Yukon

    The following is a review of HMCS Yukon, the tier VII Canadian Famous & Historical Monarch-class battleship. There's three things you need to know about Yukon before we begin. Yukon was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost. I did not pay to get access to her. Yukon's performance may change in the future. As with all premiums added after April 1st, 2021, nerfs as well as buffs are always possible. As we saw with Hyuga, these changes can come very quickly and may sting early adopters. @Chobittsu and I are responsible for HMCS Yukon being added to the game. Yes, really. While I will try and be objective about Yukon, my opinion on this ship should not be trusted. Now more than ever, you should really (REALLY) check out some other reviews before deciding whether or not you want to add Yukon to your collection. Do not take my word alone; my bias should be obvious. Now, this is not like HMS Thunderer where they took a joke idea of mine and ran with it. We were involved with the project from day one, eighteen months ago when the need was first identified and sixteen months ago when it formally began. Quick Summary: A stock Famous & Historical Monarch-class battleship with powerful heals. She lacks the improved HE shells from the Royal Navy battleship line and she has very (very) poor range. However, she has good concealment and handling for a battleship. PROS Armed with nine 381mm guns capable of overmatching up to 26mm hull sections. Good accuracy with 1.9 sigma. Shortened fuse timer on her AP shells helps reduce over-penetrations. Very fast rudder shift time of 9.7 seconds. Good concealment, with a surface detection as low as 11.5km. Her powerful Specialized Repair Team queues up to 60% of penetration damage dealt & restores up to 40% of her health per charge. CONS Horrible citadel placement. Very soft skinned and highly vulnerable to HE spam, rocket attacks and AP overmatching. Poor anti-torpedo defence. Her main battery guns are short ranged with a reach of 15.65km Slow reload of 31.5 seconds. Bad fire arcs and slow gun traverse. Though Yukon is a British Famous & Historical Monarch-class battleship, she does not have improved HE penetration, damage and fire chance. Our country reeks of trees...! ♫ Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme It's hard to recommend Yukon to inexperienced players, which is a shame. There's a lot that's very forgiving about her. She has great heals. Her ammunition choice is very simple (use AP -- always use AP). She handles well and her concealment is good. The downside, of course, is that you have to put her in harms way in order to pull the trigger. Her (very) short range greatly hampers not only her survivability but her flexibility. If you play passively, the battle can outpace you, keeping enemies out of reach and functionally eliminating your from the match. If you play too aggressively, her soft skin and exposed citadel will get her blown up. Worse, her long reload punishes poor gunnery. Yukon doesn't offer anything new to veteran players. Her higher skill ceiling comes from using and abusing her concealment, including using islands to mask her approaches. Her good rudder shift time allows for some clever dodging and she can flirt with brawling so long as you respect her highly vulnerable citadel. If this sounds familiar, her game play largely echoes other sneaky, flanking battleships like Roma or skulking, island-bound heavy cruisers. Options The only two things to get excited about are Yukon's Specialized Repair Team and her Maple Leaf camouflage. Consumables Yukon's Damage Control Party will be identical to those found on most battleships with a 15s active period, an 80s reset timer and unlimited charges. Her Specialized Repair Teams is identical to that found on HMS Nelson; a slightly nerfed version of the same consumable found on Lion and Conqueror. It queues up to 10% of citadel damage, 60% of penetration damage that misses the citadel caused by bombs, torpedoes, rockets or shells and 100% of everything else. It heals back up to 40% of her health per charge over 20 seconds. It starts with 3 charges and has an 80 second reset timer. In her third slot, you have the choice between a Spotting Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The former (which you will always use) comes with 4 charges, boosting her main battery range by 20% for 100s (up to 18.78km) with a 240s reset timer. The latter (which you'll never use) launches three aircraft which orbit on station for 60s. It has three charges and a 90s reset timer. Upgrades I don't normally recommend this, but Spotting Aircraft Modification 1 has some value with HMCS Yukon given her range woes. This increases the action time of her Spotting Aircraft from 100 seconds up to 130 seconds. You may purchase this from the Armory for 17,000 though I'm not convinced it's worth the coal. If you have one already kicking around gathering dust? Go ahead and use it but don't go out of your way to buy one. Otherwise, default to Main Armaments Modification 1. In her second slot, take Damage Control System Modification 1. In her third slot, you have the choice of improving her accuracy or her gun handling. Take Aiming Systems Modification 1 for the former to decrease her horizontal dispersion by 7% and Main Battery Modification 2 for the latter to improve her gun rotation rate from 4º/s to 4.6º/s so that she can no longer out-turn her turrets. You again have a choice in her fourth slot. Damage Control System Modification 2 is optimal for reducing the duration of fire and flooding. However, if you want to play to Yukon's strengths, you can take Steering Gears Modification 1 to decrease her rudder shift time from 9.7 seconds down to 7.8 seconds. Commander Skills Dust off a boring ol' survivability build. Yukon does best with that. You've got some choice here, but it's not particularly interesting. At tier one, pick between faster shells swapping with Gun Feeder or a slight reduction to the reset timer on your Specialized Repair Team and Damage Control Party from Emergency Repair Specialist. Those are your best two options. A distant third is to shave off 24 seconds from your Spotting Aircraft consumable from Consumables Specialist. At tier two, choose between increased gun traverse speed with Grease the Gears or the still totally broken and ridiculously helpful Priority Target. The former is really helpful if you haven't taken the upgrade Main Battery Modification 2 as Yukon can (and will) out turn her turrets without at least one improvement. I will [edited] about this often in this review. For your first ten skill points, grab Basics of Survivability and then Concealment Expert. Then grab the other two tier 4 skills before finally taking Adrenaline Rush. Camouflage Yukon has access to two camouflage patterns, Type 10 and the gruesomely patriotic Maple Leaf. They are cosmetic swaps of one another and provide the usual bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. Yukon's Type 10 Camouflage doesn't have a palette swap for the moment. She will in future updates according to Wargaming, it's just a matter of when. It's nice looking, though it's not visually striking. Our yaks are really large....! ♫ Firepower Main Battery: 3x3 381mm/45 guns in an A-B-X superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Sixteen 133mm/50 guns in 4x2 turrets arranged in superfiring pairs fore and aft on each side of the ship straddling the two superstructures. Butt-first, a word on Yukon's critical flaw Let's start with Yukon's deal breaker. She's short ranged. How short ranged, you might ask? Take a look for yourself. Here's all of the battleships in her matchmaking spread: You knew Yukon wasn't going to be in the top 25. APRM1 is the American Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1. It increases a ship's base range by 16 and is available to American battleships from tiers V and up (Arkansas Beta gets it too). GFCSM2 is the upgrade Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 for tier IX+ ships. These upgrades are mutually exclusive. Keep scrolling. We haven't even gotten to the sub-19km ranges yet. Almost there! There she is. Just to give you an idea, if we included every single battleship in the game, not just those within her matchmaking, Yukon comes in at 118th out of 133 battleships. Even South Carolina, a tier III battleship, has better range than Yukon. Yukon has tier IV range on a tier VII hull. If there's any reason not to get this ship, this is it. It predicates all of the quirks with this vessel and it's what makes her harder to play for inexperienced players. As Chobi put it: 'To use Yukon effectively, you'll have to break social distancing rules and close to well inside the range of literally everyone else'. Activate your inner Karen and get close enough to cough on people. This has some interesting side effects, both good and bad (but mostly bad). The bad generally speak for themselves so let's focus on the hilariously good consequences of this. First, her AP shells feel far and away more punchy than they actually are. British AP shells have long been overshadowed by their HE performance. With Yukon lacking the extra kick with her HE, the former has their time to shine. Yukon's AP penetration isn't that far off from those on Gneisenau and Bismarck and they do more damage per hit. Furthermore, with her shortened fuse timer, overpenetrations are less likely -- at least so long as the fuse hit a plate sufficiently thick to arm them (64mm). Cruisers beware. This combination of short range with completely reasonable AP penetration means that Yukon's guns hurt when they hit. And being up close also means that her dispersion feels far less wonky too. Again, this is not caused by any special gimmick; it's simply a factor from having to play closer to your targets than you may otherwise be accustomed with a mid-tier battleship. The final benefit to Yukon's painfully short range is that it shapes player behaviour. You can't camp the back with this battleship; you have to be up front. You have to be tanking and/or actively kiting. And while this may have lurking lolibotes licking their chops, it has the additional effect of pushing enemy cruisers back. Yukon inadvertently forces her captains to play the objective. Imagine that. Let me be clear: Yukon isn't a good ship because she's short ranged. It's a huge flaw. All of those above benefits could be realized in any other ship simply by playing more aggressively. It's just one of those "feels" things. Yukon's AP will feel more punchy than it is. Yukon's dispersion feels less punitive even though it's completely normal. Yukon's performance feels more successful only because she encourages good positioning and manoeuvring habits. A comparison of the tier VII fifteen-inch gun AP performance (and Vanguard from tier VIII). Yukon's AP feels strong, only because she has to engage targets at such close ranges. Her shortened fuse timer also helps ensure fewer overpenetrations, provided the shells strike a sufficiently thick plate in order to activate their fuse. Yukon's other flaws There are three other gunnery drawbacks to keep in mind: #1: Yukon does not have improved Royal Navy HE shells. Famous & Historical Monarch is one of the worst HE spammers of the entire British Royal Navy line with relatively weak HE compared to other British ships. Yukon' is even worse, using the same HE shells as Hood; so she gets no 1/4 HE penetration. She has worse damage. She has worse ballistics than Monarch. She has a worse fire chance. Don't spam HE in Yukon unless you have to. Your AP shells are your primary damage dealer. #2: She has awful gun handling. Check out my gun fire arc graphic below in the Agility section. Pair this with sluggish turret traverse rates and you'll find yourself fighting with Yukon's guns as often as the enemy. I've made it no secret that I loathe poor fire angles, especially when paired with bad traverse rates so I'm going to make a bigger stink about this than it perhaps deserves. Taking at least one gun traverse improvement, be it an upgrade or commander skill, is almost a must. #3: Yukon does not have Monarch's improved reload time. Monarch, for all of her flaws, has one really good thing going for her and that's a 25 second reload. It would have been amazing to see this preserved on Yukon in some form, but that would have been a completely different ship. Instead Yukon has a 31.5 second reload time. This is bad, but it's not like... American battleship bad. She had a 33 second reload during testing at one point, to give you an idea -- that was bad. That was a miserable, terrible, horrible experience. Now just you wait, I've gone and jinxed it and Yukon will get nerfed back down to a 33 second reload. 31.5 seconds is just long enough to put a serious dent in her damage output and complicate things like gunnery (missing with a long reload hurts), switching ammo (Gun Feeder is a must if you do this on the regular), or simply trading fire with a dangerous opponent (German and American heavy cruisers, I'm looking at you). Furthermore, this all but kills her chances to be a semi-decent fire-starter. Nine 381mm guns with a slow reload means that Yukon sits on pretty modest AP totals. Without the improved British HE shells, her HE DPM sucks monkey butts and should be avoided in preference to her AP. Yukon is in the wrong half of this list for a Royal Navy battleship. Like Hood, she's not a good fire starter and you'll struggle to set more than a single perma-fire if your opponent's Damage Control Party isn't already taxed. These are the raw fire-per-minute value and do not take into account the fire resistance of a given target. Against most ships in Yukon's matchmaking, the actual chance of setting a fire will drop by about 30% to 50% depending; so pretty terrible overall, especially once you account for dispersion too. Yukon Gold Guns They're potatoes. And while quality potatoes are the basis of any good poutine, Yukon's guns do not make the grade. Her guns do not up-tier well. Her 381mm weapons cannot overmatch the 27mm hulls of tier VIII+ American and German heavy cruisers, to say nothing of the extremities of tier VIII+ battleships. In higher tiered matches, the simple act of pulling the trigger may get you killed. Yukon is stealthy as we'll cover later, but flashing her guns gives away that advantage. Yukon so often rides the edge of her concealment in order to bring her weapons in and when lit, she is often the closest, if not the easiest target for the Reds to shoot at. So not only is her 31.5 second reload slow, you're encouraged to throttle your own rate of fire for the simple sake of staying hidden and staying alive. Only pull the trigger if (a) it's not going to get you killed and (b) your AP shells will actually do something. And because you're not shooting as often, any RNGeebus shenanigans like wonky dispersion, are only going to feel more pronounced. Yay! Aren't you glad you shelled out money for this crap? So that's fun -- you know, not being able to do effective damage and all. I cannot stress enough how frustrating these guns are and how bad of an experience they create when Yukon isn't top-tier. What, you joined the battle hoping to be able to SHOOT? Yukon's too Canadian and polite to do something so unneighbourly, you big silly! I wish I was exaggerated, but Yukon's gunnery has had me in tears, it's so frustrating. I want to rate Yukon's firepower more highly (mostly because of her ability to overmatch up to 26mm hull sections), but even this out-dated meme can't save her from an overly dramatic F-tier evaluation. Not that there's anything serious going on in this graphic. VERDICT: How to ruin a ship: 101. Bad range. Bad reload. Bad gun handling. Hell, even the secondaries (which I didn't talk about) are terrible. Do you really need to read any further into this review? Durability Hit Points: 60,500 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 26mm / 16mm / 26mm / 26mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 356mm to 381mm belt Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% This is Yukon's main selling feature. With Nelson being retired, Yukon becomes the new zombie-bote. Just when you think she's on the ropes, she regenerates a whole new version of herself. This effect is VERY disheartening to Yukon's opponents. The only way to keep her down is to either focus fire in between her healing charges or hit her citadel so that her damage queue is only 10%. Coming back from the dead is fun. It's probably the most fun thing about this ship (cuz it sure as Hell isn't about dealing damage). Yukon is the new zombie bote, joining the ranks of Nelson, Lion and Conqueror with having a Repair Party consumable that allows her to claw back from death's door. Watching one of these ships go from nearly dying to returning to fighting condition is incredibly demoralizing for Yukon's opponents. While I'm not convinced this is the healthiest of mechanics for the game, there's no arguing that it isn't strong. It's so strong in fact, it band-aids a lot of the problems with Yukon's gunnery. A correction to either Yukon's range or the rest of her protection scheme would easily push her into overpowered territory with this ability, that's how reliant this whole design is upon this one consumable. It holds the whole mess together, like a big ol' helping of Red Green's duct tape. For skilled players, this heal is especially potent when paired with the Adrenaline Rush commander skill. Choosing when (and if) to use it after taking damage gives a measure of control over Yukon's shoddy reload time. Yukon's heal contrasts with her armour and citadel protection. They're anything but good. The King George V-class are notoriously soft-skinned. Their structural armour never gets over the minimum at their tier, which is 26mm in Yukon's case. This makes her vulnerable not only to AP overmatching from larger calibre battleship shells but HE shells from even destroyer calibre weapons. Worse, her citadel protection is horribly flawed. It is artificially huge . It has a T-shape with the cross made by an additional deck over top of the magazines and machine spaces. This abuts against the hull and sits just over the water line. It's impossible to angle the ship to prevent citadel hits from guns capable of overmatching her bow or stern. The only thing keeping AP shells out of her citadel is the straight-line thickness of her belt and for that to work, her opponents have to be at ranges greater than 15km. And guess what? Your guns are going to force you to get in close so that belt of yours means nothing if you're not angling it. Yukon is similarly soft-skinned when it comes to taking torpedo damage with minimal anti-torpedo defence. Citadel hits, forever the bane of battleship healing, are doubly potent here as they neutralize the advantage of Yukon's Specialized Repair Team. She only queues up 10% of citadel damage, so the surest way to sink her quickly is through citadel and torpedo hits. Yukon trades best with HE spam and battleships with 356mm guns or smaller. Against these opponents, she can angle, she can tank, she can soak and she can heal. Naturally, when this ship is top tier, she feels like an absolute monster. Take her out of that environment and her durability sucks. If your opponents don't focus fire and if you can keep Yukon from being the most appealing target, this ship has some very long legs when it comes to survivability. This is the catch, of course. This is the challenge with playing the ship: How to keep from becoming a target when you need to put yourself in harm's way just to use her weapons? I mean, the obvious solution is just not to use her weapons at all and play Yukon as Wargaming intended: a soft-skinned piñata for the Reds to beat up. If you truly insist on fighting back, you'll have to make use of every trick at your disposal to keep her alive. Use islands. Use and abuse her advantages in Agility and Vision Control. Wait for your opponents to get bored and shoot someone else. Yukon doesn't tank so much as bleed strategically. Whatever the case, so long as you survive, you can all but guarantee to win a Dreadnought medal. Yukon inherits a similar armour layout to King George V, including having no structural armour thicker than 26mm. She is highly vulnerable to HE spam from even destroyer calibre weapons, to say nothing of overmatching AP shells. Yukon doesn't tank damage so much as soak it up and keep going despite all of the hurt. She can take a lot of abuse, sure, but don't think for a second you can easily (or safely) repulse incoming fire. This ship gives away citadel hits and torpedoes (even wimpy ones dropped by Ise) are her bane. VERDICT: This ship isn't one for farming potential damage missions -- she doesn't resist damage, she soaks it. Don't kid yourself into thinking she'll resist incoming fire so much as heal through it. Agility Top Speed: 28 knots Turning Radius: 790 meters Rudder Shift Time: 9.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.1º/s at 20.8kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 4.0º/s (uh-oh) Yukon dittos King George V and Duke of York's turning radius and rate of turn (#10 on this list). Rudder Shift TIme King George V: 15 seconds. Famous & Historical Monarch: Also 15 seconds Duke of York: 17.5 seconds Yukon: 9.7 seconds Yukon's short rudder shift time defines this ship's agility. The rest of it is pedestrian. She's not slow, but she's not fast. Her turning circle radius isn't terrible but it's not good either. She has no quirks of energy preservation so the combination of her modest top speed with a modest turning radius means that her rate of turn is predictably meh at 4.1º/s. Again, not awful but certainly nothing worth celebrating. But her rudder shift time...! Her glorious rudder shift time! It's A M A Z I N G ! (for a battleship) Yukon starts turning very quickly. Her movements are very precise, not at all the clumsy, sloppy wallowing that other battleships fumble through. This precise little princess tip-toes and twirls the moment you ask it of her. Granted, she doesn't put a lot of gusto into her spin, but still. Yukon can Just Dodge™, which is rather impressive for a portly battleship. This is life saving, not only for dancing to torpedo beats but also for juking incoming, long range fire. Being that Yukon is so often the closest visible target, having this extra level of wiggle is a godsend. It's so good it almost (ALMOST) makes me want to take Steering Gears Modification 1 instead of Damage Control Modification 1 just to make it even better. I cannot overstate how pleasant Yukon's handling is. It's important to appreciate that this only means she starts turning quickly. She can begin one turn, arrest it and go the other way much faster than contemporary battleships. Once she's locked into a turn, Yukon does not spin quickly. Thus you're not going to foil strike groups from aircraft carriers by spinning in place, for example. You might be able to throw off their aim by waiting for them to commit to an attack run and THEN throwing your rudder hard over. This isn't going to guarantee you take no hits, it just might mean you take fewer. Similarly, for this to work against gunfire, it needs to be done against opponents pretty far off to give Yukon enough time to get out of the path of shells. Would that she had better gun fire angles and didn't out-turn her turrets. It's this crap -- this crap right here -- that will get you killed more often than anything else. Yukon baits you into touching her rudder (her awesome, super-nice, candy-coated rudder) in order to unmask her guns. This invariably makes you flash a broadside and then you take the big damages you can't come back from. Stock up on either the Grease the Gears commander skill or Main Battery Modification 2 (or both) to help prevent Yukon-broadsiding. Yukon has slightly improved fire arcs over the King George V-class battleships, but she still has to expose a lot of broadside to fire all nine guns. VERDICT: Surprisingly pleasant ship handling. Unsurprisingly horrid gun handling. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 3 + 1 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.2km. Long Ranged (up to 5.2km): 84dps at 75% accuracy (63dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 311.5dps at 75% accuracy (234dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 175dps at 70% accuracy (123dps) Yukon's anti-aircraft firepower is surprisingly decent for a "stock" ship. Yukon is using Famous & Historical Monarch's A-Hull with some modifications but her AA firepower is unchanged. Stock hulls are notorious for having bad AA suites so I was expecting Yukon's defences here to be akin to that of a typical IJN battleship but this isn't the case. The difference between Monarch's A and B hulls is largely focused around increasing the range of her medium-calibre guns from 2.5km to 3.5km. There's only a modest uptick to the DPS to her overall damage output. Thus, while Yukon's sustained AA DPS and flak values are pretty good for a tier VII battleship. There's just a slight step down in efficacy from Duke of York's and those are respectable, at least as far as the average goes. In play testing, Yukon's certainly not capable of driving off a tier VIII aircraft carrier's attacks but she can bloody their nose a bit. Something like Enterprise or Kaga will soak up those casualties and keep coming back over and over but the tier VI carriers like Ranger or Ryujo won't be as comfortable after a wave or two. I even managed to skunk a Weser, shooting down all of his dive bombers consistently before their drops. So... yeah. Not great, but relative to the other tier VII battleships? Yukon's AA is decent. Yukon ends up with marginally better AA power than King George V owing to having more of her DPS focused in her 2.5km pom-poms than her 2.0km Oerlikons. Overall, her AA power is very much focused upon personal defence rather than lending support to allies. VERDICT: Surprisingly not as bad as it could have been. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 13.18km / 11.51km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.06km / 8.15km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 12.17km Maximum Firing Range: Between 15.65 and 18.78km when using her Spotter Aircraft You'll have to click to expand this list if you want to see the values. The forums does not let me show graphics in any resolution higher than 800p. Or you could just squint at the red box and appreciate that Yukon has the 4th best concealment within her Matchmaking, just behind Viribus Unitis, Famous & Historical Monarch and Conte di Cavour. Yukon is one of the stealthiest battleships within her matchmaking spread. She has comparable concealment to a Myoko-class cruiser which, while impressive for a chungus, it isn't very competitive in the grand scheme of things. Still, her concealment is workable. For a ship with zombie healing powers, workable is all that's really needed. Her game play mirrors that of a heavy cruiser in this respect but with the twist that you're able to absorb a lot more fire than any cruiser ever could. Yukon must keep an an eye on which ships can spot her when she fires her guns. Once she is spotted, she doesn't need to hide right away; at least until the enemy starts firing back. Once that begins, she needs to drop back into concealment. The idea is to strategically break contact whenever things get too hot, give time for Yukon's zombie-healing powers to recover any lost health and then re-engage on more favourable terms. This largely involves rotating Yukon from the front lines to a secondary line while she heals and then pushing back out onto the front when she's good to go. The challenge in playing Yukon has less to do with getting (and keeping) her guns in range than it does with surviving whenever she is lit. The short range of Yukon's main battery guns makes it very likely that she will be one (if not the) closest spotted ships for the enemy team to shoot at. Knowing when and how to drop contact when things get spicy is the key to Yukon's success. This is why I subscribe so heavily to the Priority Target skill for Yukon. It lets you know when it's safe to keep cycling her guns and when it's probably time for you to go silent and drop back, letting her good surface detection conceal her once more. This has more use than the more reactionary Incoming Fire Alert, allowing you to preempt enemy gunnery, taking evasive action with her excellent rudder shift time. This won't prevent you from taking damage, keep in mind, it will simply limit the amount taken and hopefully keep you alive a little longer. Shadowing lolibotes and orbiting aircraft are Yukon's bane as they limit her ability to drop back into stealth. If there's still a significant lineup of enemy ships taking pot-shots at you, there's not much to be done. Use islands if you can, but if that doesn't work, just keep falling back. Yukon's goal is to keep the rate at which she's being damaged below that of her healing potential. She can take a lot of abuse, but you need to pump the brakes when this damage spikes in order to give your heals time to recover. Like her agility, Yukon's concealment is just good enough to give you the tools needed to facilitate but not guarantee this improved survival. VERDICT: Great for a battleship. Not quite good enough to be a reliable asset but certainly a weapon in Yukon's survivability arsenal. Yukon-Ho! Let's talk about the project itself and Chobi's and my involvement with adding HMCS Yukon to the game. I'll let Chobi take first chair. There's about to be a very stark whiplash in tone and for that, i offer a sincere Canadian apology. Chobi's Chibi-Chair Bonjour, mes amis. Plenty of you already know me, but for those who don't, I'm Chobittsu. Normally I just support Mousey by providing her with cute art and some minor little visual tweaks to her reviews like turning a spread of torpedoes into bunnies wearing snorkels... but this is a rather unique tale, one that requires us both to tell. Once upon a time in the far off land of Febuary 2020 Mousey, and I were approached by someone at the Wargaming North American office (name withheld deliberately, do not ask) and they offered us a chance that even my grumpy ol' cynical bones couldn't pass up... the chance to design a Canadian ship for the game [ There's some clarification about this in my section below. It's marked with bold text and a (1). If you have any questions about this, please ask us to explain. Do not assume. - Mouse ] . The only problem was we had a time budget; it had to be ready for Canada Day 2020. This ruled out modelling a ship from scratch, it takes many months of round-the-clock work to build a ship model, texture it, code everything related to it... there just wasn't time. Our only option was a clone with only tiny cosmetic changes. Several ideas were pitched around, some good, some silly, some that might even still be used. The initial proposal of one of the Royal Canadian Navy's (RCN) historical cruisers was dashed when it was noted that they had vastly different models than the in-game Fiji, there was no time to rip off a whole turret and slap an HMCS Quebec bumper sticker on it... but in mid-march we'd settled on our pick; a fictional Canadian Monarch clone. Right from the start we were stoked and immediately set to work, Mousey with most of the heavy lifting on balance and features while I tackled the visuals, chiefly the ship's camouflages. The initial project name we started with was HMCS Acadia; improved accuracy but with weaker HE shells and a reduced heal, but the added quirk of an Italian Exhaust Smoke. A glass cannon, as Mouse put it, something that could appear, take a big bite outta your stern and then try to slip away under a veil of smoke. But after a while under this name, we traded it out as Mousey wanted to save "Acadia" for the Queen Elizabeth variant that was actually proposed to parliament in the interwar period, and so by mid-2020, we'd settled on a new name; "HMCS Nunavik", as a tribute to the much under-loved peoples of the northern reaches of Canada. And with this name, we wouldn't step on anyone's toes for other historical ships as none were ever named for this northern Quebec region. We spent the next months fiddling with the details and pushing the date back a full year to make sure we had all the time we needed to develop a proper ship (in hindsight, maybe could have pursued the HMCS Quebec or Ontario after all, c'est la vie). All the while I bashed together a pair of camos for the ship, a crest, some flags and plenty of fun stuff in between. The original special camo was to make the ship look like an enormous war canoe of the Haida tribe (because most Inuit canoes are frankly rather plain)... and that was goin' great... until USS Anchorage was released with almost exactly the sort of special camo that I'd been developing... like, straight up uncanny resemblance. So that was a month and a half down the drain for me! But hey, at least I had the standard camo done; an up-scaled version of HMCS Sackville's camo and tribute to our use of Flower-class corvettes, small punchy escort ships and sub-chasers that would normally be too small to appear in WoWS. Put a pin in this part, we'll come back to it. Fast-forward now to the start of 2021. It's been a few months since we started this adventure, and things are going well. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the worlds on fire with Spanish Flu Too: Electric Boogaloo and we're hit with the first punch in the gut from the devs; They've vetoed the name "Nunavik" as their naval historians felt the region was too small to warrant a ship being named for it. Now, I'm not an expert on these matters, but 443,685km² is pretty damn far from small. They instead chose to call the ship "HMCS Yukon", after a Canadian territory of about 482,443 km²... but lets just ignore that battleships have been named for places smaller than the difference between these two regions... And the fact that we had a Mackenzie-class HMCS Yukon in 1963... With this new name, I had to throw out much of the work I'd already done. Name plates, crests, commemorative flags... back to square one. The only upside with this ship's new name was that I very quickly had ideas for where I could take the motifs: Huskys, Fireweed and Gold. I quickly had a new flag featuring the provincial flower of the Yukon; a husky wreathed in fireweed (a pink but rather poisonous boreal flower) on a background of golden yellow. The crest; a heraldic husky prancing over snow-capped mountains and blue skies with a band of gold. The camos? That same Sackville blue and white from the Nunavik I'd brushed up (don't take that pin outta this just yet, it'll come back again a few times), with the big fancy camo you'd get from the special premium edition of the ship being... the exact same camo again~! But this time with veins of gold cracked through the structure of the ship. Not any fancy geometry mind you, just clever bumpmaps and reflective texturing to make the ship appear as though it had bean carved from the Klondike itself. Add onto that the name plaque of the ship, similar in design to the one adorning HMCS Haida, a piece of history I've personally visited several times. And lastly, to top it all off, a large steel maple leaf afixed to her aft funnel, painted a vibrant green; a tradition our navy still follows to this day, though with a more crimson hue. My work was done, there wasn't anything left to do but wait and muse about what I could work on next for Wargaming, perhaps another ship when this one proved to be a resounding success~! Months pass while I wait to see the results, I was vibrating with excitement so much that I nearly phased between the molecules of my chair and ended up in the basement. Then the big day arrives, the first hinting of the ship being released! It was a rocky road but we'd done it! Our very own ship! The community gets hyped, there's naturally some who bemoan that it's non-historical, and I feel for those players, I too would have loved to have seen a built-in-steel ship instead, but with what we had to work with, I felt we'd accomplished something truly special, something unique. ... and then Wargaming arrived. With each successive change-log, the ship lost another element that made it worth looking into. The smile faded from our faces as the "fun-tax" was applied. But this was just the beginning... Remember that Sackville camo I designed? A tribute to the literal hundreds of corvettes that saw service around the world with only one remaining today as a museum? Well it's time to go back to that pinned note from earlier, spit on it, throw it in the shredder, and dump what's left into Halifax Harbour for the gulls to peck at. While I fully and completely admit that the standard Type-10 camo Wargaming designed for the ship is gorgeous, they entirely missed the point of the one I'd designed. And that gold vein version? Nope. Instead we got another post-1965 Canadian flag camo like what Haida has. A safe, boring choice... The ship's brass and wood nameplate was replaced with a stamp down on the stern... The crest? Well this is the part I turned out to be entirely wrong about, as our navy reuses crests when ships share the same name, but with the Mackenzie-class HMCS Yukon being made first I was a lil bit blind to that footnote, kinda glad that Wargaming caught it and I learned something new too. But back to being grumpy; Remember that husky flag? It's the only part I can say with confidence that you can see my involvement in. The finished product? No no, it looks nothing like the golden banner from before. This one is blue, no fireweed, and with the husky silhouetted on a yellow circle. (I'll hazard a guess that it's supposed to be the moon, which would then make it a wolf... not a husky.) They got the maple leaf on the funnel though, but since that was a historical element on our ships anyway I can't even claim credit for that... I literally have had more content added to the game as a result of being one of the finalists for the community patch design contest, at least my mermaid arrived with only a few minor changes. This was, in my opinion, a year of work wasted. Thankfully it didn't consume much of my time, but this was not the vision that I set out to pursue. As for Mouse's work, she can describe it better than I ever could. I'm just the visuals and "Can I secondary-build it?" guy... but this project, I had hoped, would lead to a whole series of fictional role-filler ships that would plug up gaps normally present in the Commonwealth tree. Once the Yukon's camos were done, I also started work on a proposal for a Maori camo once HMNZS Achilles finally appears on the development slipways, as well as additional fictional ships I'd love to help design for nations without large capital ships like fleet carriers or battleships... but this whole experience has left a terrible taste in my mouth... And while (our immediate contact within the company) was more than helpful in getting this project off the ground, I can't help but feel that everyone after them in the chain of development simply said "Y'huh, that's nice, here's what we're gonna do instead". So while Yukon got started as a result of the work Mouse and I did... this is anything but our ship. I can only apologize profusely to the other thirty eight million Canadians on this planet for this incredibly flaccid result, a travesty of poor representation and mediocre game-play. I've always been critical of Wargaming's decisions, always looked over them with a fine-toothed comb, always wanted to make sure that the content we get was the best it could be. And for the first time, I had the chance to actually truly shape some content... but in the end, it was an illusion. The hope I'd built for over a year, all the "maybe this time they won't disappoint me"s that I'd stashed away for winter... well, it's late spring now, just about summer... but I have yet to see the fields of pink boreal flowers bloom and bring life to this barren tundra... I genuinely hope it can be fixed, that the ship will grow into the hype we originally had for it, but it's out of my hands. All there is left for me is to eat my soup and watch the show unfold. Chobi even went so far as to play with Azur Lane designs. Mouse's Minutes Chobi and I are clearly entitled idiots for thinking anything good would come of this. Somehow, Wargaming didn't know we were involved. Chobi and I came into this project with high hopes. Wargaming was unaware where all of the ideas were coming from and didn't pay our dreams much heed. The decision to step over Chobi's and my submissions had nothing to do with malice and everything to do with ignorance; while our contact knew who we were, this wasn't important further up the chain. It seems our contributions were perceived as suggestions from random Canadian players. Yet somehow these suggestions were sufficient enough to get the Yukon project off the ground in the first place? I don't quite understand it either. Famous & Historical Monarch's a bad ship, there's no two ways about it. The only way to make a successful premium out of it, especially for a non-existent (and possibly dead-end) tech-tree like the British Commonwealth, is to have solid appeal. It needs to look good. It needs to feel good. You're sure as Hell not going to get that appeal based on the parent ship's reputation. If you can't hit either of those first two points, make it disgustingly overpowered. I would not have suggested Monarch if I had known how little influence my designs would have on the project. While I did not expect any proposed game play element to survive development fully intact, the spirit of it certainly could. I wanted a glass-cannon Monarch at tier VII, in the spirit of what Ashitaka is to Amagi. Wargaming went the complete opposite direction, giving us a damage-sponge. This is where I clarify that (1) footnote above in Chobi's section. Like Chobittsu, based upon my conversations with Wargaming North America, I thought that we were being asked to design the ship. According to Wargaming we were not asked to design the ship (1) (and this was only clarified now). Apparently, we were just to be reached out to if they needed us.... despite needing us right from the word go. No one at Wargaming thought to tell us this for well over a year. They took our design submissions. They took Chobi's art. They took our discussion and built the ship we have now. They took sixteen months of time, energy and enthusiasm from us. And all we knew was the devs liked our ideas and were moving forward with the Monarch premium. We had to figure out for ourselves how much or how little Wargaming was going to use because they weren't going to tell us. It turns out they used almost nothing. And we didn't figure this out fully until May 25th of 2021 when her Type 10 camo was finally datamined and the last element that could have been something Chobi and I made didn't materialize. For sixteen months, they have unwittingly dragged us along. Again, I must stress, this was not out of malice but out of ignorance; almost every WG employee I have spoken to since seems genuinely surprised I had anything to do with Yukon. My feelings really don't care about that, though. Wargaming had given me hope. They could have known if they bothered to look and listen to the feedback I was giving. Once Yukon was in testing, I was obviously upset. I was making noise about it. Wargaming still hadn't put two and two together. No one had reached out to us. No one had clarified our position or the worth of our submissions. "You were not asked to design a ship (1)" is only being mentioned after the fact. Like this week. Had they told us this back in February of 2020, it wouldn't have mattered. Expectations would have been set. Chobi's and my level of investment would have been set appropriately. But we weren't told. And the project went forward. Here's the final result. A crappy Monarch-clone and the players responsible disillusioned. This is where it gets fun. You're not reading the first draft of this review. You should really find some other reviews of Yukon and here's why: Being the nice Canadian I am, I went out of my way to warn Wargaming that Chobi and I were going to voice our upset about our contributions being ignored about having been left in the dark for so long. I submitted a preview of this article to them and they finally reached out: They didn't like our first draft. We apparently had some facts wrong (our bad!). They asked that I make sure that this review is clear about the following: They did not ask us to design a ship. They took our suggestions and feedback but they designed and made Yukon, not us (1). They said we should feel proud that some of our design elements made it into the final product. Yeah, what elements exactly? There's so very little in this ship that's actually ours. Not her name. Not her feel. Not her look. They even butchered poor Chobi's husky flag and turned it into a bloody wolf. Yukon is in the game. She's a Monarch premium. Should I feel happy about that? Should I be happy that I worked hard and waited over a year for a promised vessel that bares no resemblance to the project I wanted? Should I be happy they want to celebrate our involvement despite not even being aware of it until I bloody-well pointed it out? I don't feel happy. Crazy, I know. They talk like players getting a ship into the game is new and unprecedented. They're forgetting who they're bloody talking to and the abomination known as HMS Thunderer. They're forgetting that Chobi has literal art-assets already in the game between a patch and another flag. They talk down to us like we should be sparkly-eyed and enthusiastic for this humiliation. They've pushed me even further away from this ship over the last couple of weeks and I did not think that possible. I'm supposed to be on break and now they're jeopardizing me ever coming back after this crap. I feel disrespected, hopeless and sad. Please do me a favour: I know Chobi's all for pitchforks, tar and feathering but I'm not. If how Chobi and I were treated bothers you, speak with your wallet, not with drama and sensationalism. I won't think less of you if you ignore all of this and want Yukon anyway. All I ask is that things be kept civil. The HMCS Sackville camouflage included with our proposal for HMCS Nunavik. This included the green maple leaf upon her rear funnel, ship badge and name plate. We couldn't get you a historical Canadian ship so we thought we'd at least dress her up in the colours of one of our honoured vessels that did a lot of heavy lifting. Final Evaluation I'm not sure I can trust myself to be objective about this ship's performance given my history with her, but here goes. I don't think Yukon is terrible, but let's not kid ourselves: she's saved by her mega-heal. Her 15.7km range sucks. Her 31.5 second reload also sucks. Her gun handling and fire arcs suck. Her armour sucks. Her citadel layout sucks. Having 381mm guns at tier VII is great, but using them is a struggle. It's heart breaking when they misbehave. Yukon's heal holds everything together but even that cannot be relied upon. I think if it weren't for her comfortable rudder shift time, I'd genuinely hate this ship. Scratch that, I do hate this ship. I'm just capable of seeing some elements of redemption. That won't save her from a GARBAGE Angry Youtuber rating, however. Famous & Historical Monarch is a bad tier VIII battleship. Yukon is a bad tier VII battleship but she has a good heal. Yukon is ostensibly the new HMS Nelson. Yukon has better survivability from the OG zombiebote, but this comes at the expense of her firepower. It's not an even trade, however. There's no compensating for the loss of (a) 406mm AP shell overmatching (b) Royal Navy HE spam, (c) a 30 second reload and (d) not-horrible gun range. In exchange, Yukon gets a "better"hull design than Nelson's (though it's certainly not good), with the Canadian battleship being faster, more agile and downright sneaky. I think it's Yukon's 28 knot top speed which Nelson-fans will appreciate most. That's the flexibility Nelson lacked. Still, it's hard not to miss those sixteen-inch guns and that rage-inducing HE, to say nothing of Nelson's comfortable (yet modest) 18.2km range. Yukon has none of Nelson's reliability when it comes to dealing damage. The new Canadian-bote's performance is far more volatile, especially when she isn't top tier. Sometimes you like unto a God of War, long of neck, black, white and brown of plumage and full of hiss. At others, you're just a poor beaver, frantically just trying to plug leaks. If you're someone who prides themselves on consistency, this isn't your chariot of choice. Yukon upsets me. She is not the ship Chobi and I proposed. There's nothing about the ship that's ours; not her name, not her game play, not even her look. What should have been an easy PR win for Wargaming is anything but. The two Canucks responsible for this Canada Day ship feel alienated and are actively bad-mouthing the experience. Like, seriously, I would have gushed about this ship had we felt our contributions mattered. It's silly, but had Wargaming just provided Yukon with her Sackville-camo and the whole tone of this article would be different. I'm trying to like this ship. I really am. I've put in dozens upon dozens of games since she was finalized hoping to get past my own bias but my experiences out of game regarding her are insultingly-bad. I honestly hope that those players who do pick her up find her enjoyable. It would be wonderful to hear that I'm completely off-base and that Wargaming has served up a winner in the eyes of the community. I think there would be some kind of catharsis to hear that Yukon ends up being horribly overpowered in Ranked Battles, or beloved by Newfoundlanders or something like that. I just don't see it. I'm not capable of seeing it.
  14. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Fen Yang

    o The following is a review of Fen Yang, the tier VIII premium Pan Asian destroyer. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.0. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: An Akizuki-class destroyer with improved AP shells instead of improved HE shells commonly found on the Akizuki-class. She has weird, battleship & carrier-only deep-water torpedoes. Finally, she comes with a Defensive AA Fire consumable. PROS Large, 19,700 hit point pool. Improved auto-ricochet angles on her AP shells. Good fire setting ability. Comfortable gun fire arcs and nice gun handling. Good anti-aircraft firepower defence for a destroyer. Her Smoke Generator has two additional charges. Access to the Defensive AA Fire consumable. Suck it, duckies! CONS Shockingly slow 5.2 second main battery reload. Only has 17mm of HE penetration, making her unable to directly damage tier VIII+ destroyer hulls and battleship superstructures. Her guns are VERY skill hungry. Single torpedo launcher (with crappy fire angles) that can only damage carriers and battleships. Slow and clumsy. Large surface detection range. Horrible premium for training Pan Asian captains. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Fen Yang presents too many challenges to make her a comfortable ride for novice players. Her ammunition is temperamental. Her concealment sucks. She's slow. She has only a single torpedo launcher. She's very reliant on a 'proper' skill build to pad her strengths and mitigate weaknesses. Her saving grace is that she has a nice consumable suite to help correct some of these deficiencies, but even they require some knowledge to make them effective. New players beware. Fen Yang's gameplay largely revolves around being an angry smoke cloud and spitting hot death at anything that comes within range. Expert players will be rewarded with smart ammunition choices, making bold plays to get torpedo angles on targets and knowing which destroyers they can out gun. Options Consumables Fen Yang comes stocked with a glut of consumables. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer with unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 40 second cooldown. Fen Yang uses a standard Pan Asian Smoke Generator, identical to the ones found on Siliwangi and Hsienyang also at tier VIII. It comes with a 30 second emission time, 100 second reset timer and each cloud of smoke lasting 70 seconds. She has five charges to start. Her Engine Boost consumable is also standard for a destroyer, providing an 8% boost to engine speed for 120 seconds with a 120 second reset timer. It starts with three charges. Next up we have her Torpedo Reload Booster. When activated, it reloads her torpedoes in 5 seconds. It has a 160 second reset timer and starts with three charges. Finally, she has access to the Defensive AA Fire consumable. When activated, it provides an X increase to sustained DPS and Y increase to flak explosion damage for 40 seconds. It has four charges to start and an 80 second reset timer. Upgrades As far as upgrades go, there's not a whole lot of choice to worry about here. Main Armaments Modification 1 is optimal in your first slot. If you want to stem the tide of Fun and Engaging™ mechanics, then take Magazine Modification 1 instead if you don't want to dip into your supply of Juliet Charlie signals to mitigate detonations. The special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1 is the best choice in slot two if you can afford it. It will set you back 17,000 from the Armory. If you cannot, default to Engine Room Protection. Aiming System Modification 1 is the only upgrade worth considering in slot three, and that's not saying much. Fen Yang loves camping smoke, so Propulsion Modification 1 is the best choice here for the extra pep in her engines when moving from a dead-stop. You can take Steering Gears Modification 1 instead if you prefer a more open-water play-style but it's the lesser choice. Finally, and perhaps to no one's surprise, Concealment System Modification 1 is still the best (and overpowered) option in her fifth slot. Don't even look at the other options. Skills You have to decide how often you're going to reach for Fen Yang's AP rounds before you settle on a commander's skill build. The primary difference will be if you decide to invest in Inertial Fuse for HE Shells or not. Generally speaking, IFHE will yield better numbers overall and it makes the ship much easier to play. But for the connoisseur, being all snooty and tossing mostly AP will necessitate a different build. Your core build for destroyers has changed with Priority Target no longer being a 1pt skill. Most of the tier I skills are pretty situational, but you can default to a "safe" (but not quite optimized) 10 points that look like this: Start with Preventative Maintenance. Take Last Stand. Next comes Survivability Expert. Finish it off with Concealment Expert. From here you have 11 points to spend. The default, no-brainer build is: Inertial Fuse for HE Shells Main Battery & AA Specialist Extra-Heavy AP Shells This gives a comfortable mix of improved HE penetration, better AP shells, and improved main battery DPM, allowing her to engage all targets she comes across with her guns. This leaves three skill points to be spent how you wish. Superintendent is the obvious choice, giving her an extra charge of all of her consumables. Adrenaline Rush is useful for propping up her low DPM. However, I found myself instead reaching for Priority Target (I love this skill too much) and Consumables Specialist. Alternatively, you could drop Inertial Fuse for HE Shells and take Pyrotechnician. This would give you four points to spend which could be put towards extra range (Main Battery & AA Expert) or increased rate of fire while spotted (Fearless Brawler). It is early yet in the 0.10 patch cycle, though. I am sure my preferences on skills will evolve as we all get more comfortable with the new skill system. This was the build I settled upon as being most comfortable (and ultimately brainless) for playing Fen Yang. This is a very specific build for this ship providing little overlap with other Pan Asian DDs, greatly limiting this ship's effectiveness as a tech-tree commander trainer. Camouflage Fen Yang has two camouflage option. The first is the standard Type 10 Camouflage. There is also the Lunar New Year - Fen Yang camouflage as a cosmetic option (which I like because it glows). Both versions provide the identical bonuses of: A 3% reduction in surface detection ranges. A 4% increase to the dispersion of enemy gunfire. A 10% reduction to post-battle service costs. A 50% increase to experience earned. It may not be realistic or historical but her Lunar New Year camo sure is pretty. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 100mm/65 guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Four tubes in a 1x4 launcher mounted on the centre-line. All four of Fen Yang's A & B gun turrets can fire 31º off her stern and her X & Y turrets can fire 30º off her bow. This is pretty good. You could be forgiven for imagining this ship providing you with hawt, ducky-action. Sadly, Fen Yang does not duplicate Akizuki's cork-screwing gunnery ability. Fen Yang may be an Akizuki-class destroyer but she does not replicate Akizuki's gunnery. I will say this again so it's crystal clear: FEN YANG DOES NOT HAVE AKIZUKI'S GUNNERY She has a 5.2 second reload, NOT 3 seconds like Akizuki She has 17mm of HE penetration, NOT 30mm like Akizuki In fact, other than gun handling, Fen Yang's main battery performance is a complete departure from Miss Ducky. DPM numbers can be terribly misleading as they don't account for things like accuracy, penetration and ricochet mechanics. Always take such numbers in context and with all of the facts possible. High Explosive Let Down Down the rabbit-hole we go. Starting us off, Fen Yang's HE shells are a far-cry from those of Akizuki. This is, in part, to compensate for her sloppy reload time, giving her a bigger punch and better fire starting on a per-shell basis. While these individual hits are bigger (and fierier -- I can't believe that's an actual word) she does not hold a candle to Akizuki's damage-per-minute or fire setting ability once you factor in the differences in their reload. Fen Yang's HE damage output is comparable to (in more than one way) to HMS Lightning, the tier VIII British destroyer. Her fire setting is better, but we'll get to that. Overall, her raw numbers aren't terrible but for a ship-class that's known to be a potent gunship this represents an enormous performance gap. Of course, with Fen Yang, her HE deficit goes beyond just raw DPM numbers. While her slow reload isn't enough to damn her HE performance, the lack of penetration on her HE shells certainly does. At 17mm, Fen Yang cannot directly damage the hulls of other tier VIII+ destroyers nor the superstructures of tier VIII+ battleships. The shells will simply shatter. While taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells helps, bumping her penetration up to 21mm this comes at the further expense of the only thing really good about her HE rounds which is that respectable fire setting. So just to make her useful with her HE rounds against all targets, she has to kill the one thing she has going for her. To make this worse, Fen Yang's boosted 21mm of penetration is a far cry from Akizuki's 30mm of base value, to say nothing of the 37mm she accomplishes with IFHE. In short, while Akizuki's HE shells are ubiquitous, capable of comfortably damaging just about any opponent she comes across, Fen Yang's HE shells barely pass muster. Unmodified, use them to engage lower-tiered destroyers and light cruisers. You can also have them set fires on battleships, just be aware that they will not be doing much direct damage. Fen Yang's HE shells are incredibly situational and only get promoted to "meh" with a lot of skill points spent. For those who only speak Angry YouTuber: "They're useless." Note that there are two versions of Le Fantasque and Le Terrible. Those marked with an asterix (*) are using their Main Battery Reload Booster for 15 seconds of 60 seconds. Fen Yang has some very respectable fire setting potential, especially when fully gussied up for the role. Of course, this precludes her from stacking direct damage with her shells, so the trade off isn't a good one. Taking IFHE drops her fire setting to about 6.5 fires per minute, assuming you take all of the other buffs described here. Maybe AP Can Save Her! Fen Yang is designed instead to be an AP spammer. Dust off your shiny, new Extra-Heavy AP Shell skill, because here we go. With all of the problems plaguing her HE shells, Fen Yang's AP shells are a breath of fresh air. Like her HE rounds, they have improved damage performance over those found on Akizuki's. Again, the deficit in reload times means that even with this improved damage-per-hit, she cannot rival the overall damage output of the Japanese ducky-bote, assuming every shot hit and did damage. However, this gap narrows considerably with Fen Yang's improved auto-ricochet angles. Akizuki's AP shells have a chance to begin ricocheting at 45º and automatically fail this check at 60º or more. Fen Yang has the same angles found on "American Piercing" AP rounds found on their heavy cruisers, with ricochet checks not beginning until 60º with the automatic failure occurring at 67.5º. Her AP shells are thus less likely to slide off her target if they hit at a sharp angle which can (but doesn't necessarily guarantee) better performance in fighting scenarios. The extra damage and improved auto-ricochet angles are nice, but they do not make Fen Yang's AP rounds a universal shell. They still require a minimum of 17mm worth of steel to arm their fuses or they will over-penetrate and deal minimal damage. This precludes them from being effective against the broadside of lower-tiered light cruisers and destroyer hulls, along with the superstructures of lower-tiered battleships. Such targets need to be angled at a minimum of 20º for the relative thickness of the steel to be great enough for Fen Yang's AP fuses to arm. Against such opponents, she must reach for her HE shells. Finally, there's her raw penetration to consider. As high-velocity as Fen Yang's 100mm rounds are, their Krupp value is poor leading to lower penetration values. This means it's just one more think to keep track of when engaging targets; knowing which ones are vulnerable to AP and which are vulnerable to HE. Finally, as good as her auto-ricochet angles are, a target coming in too steeply will automatically bounce everything you throw at her. Without HE to fall back upon, Fen Yang simply cannot damage those targets. This is made worse by the specific ineffectiveness of her torpedoes which we'll get into. So while Fen Yang's AP shells are more use than on your typical destroyer, they are not without the usual problems facing lolibote pea-shooters. Fen Yang's torpedo arcs are pretty bad, only able to hit targets 55º off her bow or 63º off her stern, necessitating her giving her full broadside to launch. Feels and Fish Ignoring all other comparisons, Fen Yang's gunnery is barely adequate right out of the box. The inability of a main battery gun at tier VIII being unable to penetrate 19mm worth of steel without IFHE is inexcusable. The improvements made to her shells, both AP and HE do not make up for this deficit and she's an uncomfortable gunnery platform as a result. Wargaming is clearly trying to minimize the number (or effectiveness) of angry smoke clouds dispensing hailstorms of bullets. Honestly, I would have preferred losing access to a Smoke Generator in order to keep that vaunted 3 second reload of the Akizuki-class. Oh well. You can (and probably should) spend a lot of commander skill points to improve their performance. Extra-Heavy AP Shells is one such investment. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, Main Battery & AA Specialist, and Adrenaline Rush are all but must haves. And let's not forget Main Battery & AA Expert, Pyrotechnician and even Fearless Brawler being capable investments too. It's far too easy to break the bank on skill combinations here and I profess having not found one with which I was 100% comfortable. Can Fen Yang's guns work? Sure. Is she a powerful gunship? Meh. She's far from optimized and she doesn't fill a niche that was lacking in any regard. What you have here is a worse ducky-bote. This leaves a lot of heavy lifting to be performed by her torpedo launchers. As you can guess, with but a single launcher, this is a pretty tall order, but Wargaming went on to decide this wasn't good enough and Fen Yang had to experience torpedo hard-mode. Her fish are the deepwater type but what's more, they're incapable of hitting not only destroyers but cruisers too. I say again: FEN YANG'S TORPEDOES CAN ONLY HIT BATTLESHIPS & CARRIERS. Hooray! (Please note the sarcasm). It almost makes you wish she didn't have them at all so her guns could be a little better. So not only does Fen Yang have selective targeting on her HE rounds, her torpedoes do too! If you get charged by a cruiser or other destroyer, fighting your way out is really, REALLY challenging. Summary Fen Yang's weapons are best described as "not good". Her guns demand a huge investment in skill points to bring them up to speed, making her a very poor commander trainer for your other Pan Asian destroyer captains. With the right upgrades & skills, she's a gunship worth respecting but she can never be the fearsome "do not touch!" threat a full-health Akizuki presents. Fen Yang's weapon systems are just too fussy to ever be endearing. Even Asashio's limited arsenal is more compelling -- at least she does one thing stupidly well. Fen Yang's weapons are very middle-of-the-road, at least once you get around to souping them up. But right out of the box? Hard pass. Blech. VERDICT: Her guns aren't good until you invest pretty deeply with commander skills. Her torps are never good unless a battleship is being an absolute moron. Durability Hit Points: 19,700 Minimum Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm It's not terrible! There's not a lot to go over here. Fen Yang has a nice chunk of hit points for a tier VIII destroyer. That's good. It's not excellent, though. She doesn't have improved armour beyond the 19mm base structural plate. Furthermore, she lacks a Repair Party consumable to recover health which becomes increasingly commonplace among destroyers at higher tiers. Thus, while she is setup to trade health at an advantage against many opponents, her durability isn't idiot-proof. Spending her hit points recklessly will greatly compromise her effectiveness. It's worth keeping her main battery DPM deficit in mind when going toe to toe with other gunships. Watch their health. Watch your health. If you start shattering HE rounds or ricocheting AP shells, even with a head start on HP, you can still lose. VERDICT: Pretty good. Heals would be nice, but I can't say bad things about her here. Agility Top Speed: 33 knots Turning Radius: 730m Rudder Shift Time: 4.5s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.9º/s Fen Yang sucks absolute monkey butts here. She is not only slow for a destroyer, she handles more like a chubby cruiser. That's pretty damning. If you split hairs, she has better energy preservation and thus a better rate of turn than Akizuki, but you'd never know it from day to day play. Treating Fen Yang like a destroyer will get you killed. Propulsion Modification 1 is a must-have if you intend to stay in smoke for any duration, with the acceleration needed to help avoid inevitable washes of torpedoes sent to scrub you out of cover. Her Engine Boost consumable is best used for emergencies -- for dodging fish or trying to control engagement distances when an enemy you can't fight gets too close. She's too fat of a destroyer (and a gunship besides) for Swift in Silence to be a reasonable investment, which is a shame given that she could really use the extra speed. Fen Yang is not a comfortable ride, agility wise. I'm being lazy, but I'm saving myself a couple of hours worth of work here by not redoing this graphic from my Z-35 review. Look all the way to the bottom. Fen Yang turns just slightly better than Akizuki but otherwise keeps her turning radius. Look at the difference between Benson and Loyang. It's like that -- just a nubbin on the end of Akizuki's pale green sadness. VERDICT: Horribad. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 4+1 explosions for 1,400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 112dps at 100% accuracy (112dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 133dps at 100% accuracy (133dps) Defensive AA Fire: Very yes! Dauntless dive bombers from a stock-Lexington get a little too close to Fen Yang's angry smoke cloud. Fen Yang has good AA defence for a tier VIII destroyers. It's not just good, it's great even, besting a good number of cruisers out there. When you weight her sustained AA DPS by range, she's at the top of the pile among tier VIII destroyers. What's more, she also has a respectable amount of flak explosions (five of 'em) and finally she has Defensive AA Fire -- something that's been long overdue on an Akizuki-class destroyer given their design role. So why am I not more happy about this? Fen Yang's AA defence is comparable to that of USS Kidd; just slightly better. As has been painfully demonstrated in videos and memes since, even Kidd's solid AA defence does not keep her safe. Fen Yang may be able to fend off bot-driven carriers in Co-Op mode (and this is a great way to farm AA kills for missions, by the way), it's a different story against players. Yes, tier VI aircraft carriers will have a hard time making repeated runs against Fen Yang. Yes, she can make it expensive for tier VIII carriers as well. But let's not kid ourselves: This will not keep her safe from a determined opponent. They can (and will) still drop on you. If they can line up an attack on you, you're taking damage. The only defence is to Just Dodge™ or blow smoke and hide. Blasting at planes from smoke will net some nice damage so the carrier's planes are not likely to stick around. With the extra charges she has on her Smoke Generator this is one of the better uses for it. I miss the AA picket-ship role, I really do. I was hoping that the skill rework might give this a big shot in the arm but it just didn't materialize. Fen Yang's AA is almost good enough. Almost. VERDICT: She could have been made interesting here. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 7.76km / 6.1km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.55km / 2.88km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.2km Maximum Firing Range: 12.46km to 14.95km To no one's surprise (I'm sure), Fen Yang's surface detection range is pretty crappy. She matches Akizuki here, so it's not like this is beyond the norm. She is tied for 18th place out 23 tier VIII destroyers in terms of concealment which is pretty bad. Her 6.1km minimum surface detection range sits almost in the middle of the 5.37km found on the five Japanese torpedo-destroyers and the appalling 7.07km of Kiev, though this Soviet ship is an extreme outlier with the French destroyers coming in at 6.43km and 6.65km, showing that Fen Yang is a significant chungus. This deficit of concealment is further magnified if the Fearless Brawler skill is taken to try and pad her poor reload rate on her guns, giving her an (at best) 6.4km surface detection range. Fen Yang's lack of heals and her general lack of agility makes taking the skill Fearless Brawler a significant risk. It's an expensive skill and Fen Yang is not best suited to firing out in the open. You can make it work, but this is down more to the idiocy and complacency of your opponents than the brilliance of Fen Yang's own design. This is not a ship that dodges very well, given her pedestrian speed and clumsy handling. Trading health with a larger ship while spotted just doesn't make a whole lot of sense, especially not when her guns have reasonable ballistics to make use of islands (at least at range) and her plentiful Smoke Generator charges should preclude her from the necessity of being spotted in the first place. Pan Asian smoke may not last as long as the smoke from other nations, but she gets more charges to compensate -- up to six with Superintendent. There's an argument to be made that she'll be out-spotted anyway by just about any destroyer she faces, to say nothing about the predations of aircraft braving her AA power. There is a maximum of a 30 second gap between the last cloud generated by her Smoke Generator dissipating and the consumable being ready again which may prompt an open water fight. Fen Yang is going to be lit by Surveillance Radar, to say nothing about the occasional close-range knife fight by an enterprising destroyer or charging cruiser. Ultimately, Fen Yang punishes, rather than rewards getting in close. Her torpedoes are ineffective against ships that are likely to charge her hiding places. Her guns, while not incapable of fending off snoops, aren't the powerhouses her ship's class would suggest. Regardless if she's going to be out-spotted or not, keep back. This ship does not take well to being up front. VERDICT: Poor and inflexible, saved only by her smoke. Firing AP shells from smoke. Fen Yang's bread and butter. Watch those blind return-fire shots. Final Evaluation For those wondering, here is the list of all of the differences between Fen Yang and Akizuki: This was my early draft of the review from back in early January. Slap on a title, add a few snarky lines and call it done. I'm not sure that the full review is an improvement. You'll note that there are some differences between Fen Yang's final performance stats and those listed here, including changes to her range and ballistics. Such is often the case when composing these reviews, with last-minute changes between the final test version and the released version of the ship being commonplace. Thus, the final main battery gun range difference between the two ships is a whopping 3m in Akizuki's favour. There are some over-specialized premium ships that are defined by what they can do. Take everyone's favourite destroyer that single-handedly wiped out the battleship meta (HA!): Asashio. Despite all of the limitations placed upon this ship, she's known for being an excellent battleship-killer. She's known not for her weaknesses, but for that one insurmountable strength. The same goes for other specialist destroyers like Haida, Friesland or Kamikaze. You don't dwell on the slow speed of Black's torpedoes, for example. You focus on the (Balans'd™) combination of her Smoke Generator and Surveillance Radar consumables. The doesn't happen with Fen Yang. The closest she comes to that kind of comparison is with her AA-firepower. And it speaks to the horrible surface ship versus aircraft carrier meta that this isn't something worth celebrating. This was something worth celebrating in the past; take HMS Hood as an example, where her AA ridiculousness was meme-worthy. But we have not yet seen a premium of this type since the CV rework in 0.8.0. I do not like Fen Yang. I won't say she's terrible. She certainly can perform, but she'll make you work for it. She is to Akizuki what Belfast '43 is to Belfast. She leaves you asking the question: She might have been rescued with better AA firepower. She could have been saved by preserving Akizuki's rate of fire, even if this had come at the expense of smoke or torpedo performance. However, I think her cardinal sin is that Fen Yang doesn't work even as a commander trainer. The role of premium ships has changed with patch 0.10.0. Commanders can now have four builds at the same time, one for each ship type. Thus, you could conceivably buy a premium cruiser and use it to train a battleship commander as the skills you select for optimum (or fun) performance on the premium ship would not limit the performance of the battleship. But Fen Yang is a premium destroyer and, barring the tier I Chengan, there aren't any other Pan Asian tech tree ships that aren't destroyers. With Fen Yang demanding such a specific set of skills to unlock even an acceptable baseline level of performance which have little overlap with other Pan Asian lolibotes, she is worthless as a commander skill trainer. She misses the mark in so many ways, but this really bugged me. There's a lot of fail here. Fen Yang misses the mark. I cannot recommend her to anyone. If you want a good Pan Asian destroyer, Loyang is still top of the pile all of these years later. Gallery This are a few of the screenshots of Fen Yang I took making this review either that didn't end up in the review itself or that had words written all over them. For use as thumbnails on YouTube or what have you.
  15. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Dunkerque

    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.
  16. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Rochester

    The following review of Rochester, the tier VIII premium American heavy cruiser, was sponsored by my patrons on Patreon who helped me afford this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as patch 0.10.9. Quick Summary: Imagine a Baltimore-class cruiser with slight tweaks (generally nerfs) across all performance parameters and strip out her access to Surveillance Radar. In compensation, give her access to Defensive AA Fire and Hydroacoustic Search and a Smoke Generator consumable. PROS American/German 27mm hull extremities. Access to "American Piercing" AP shells with higher shell damage, penetration and auto-ricochet angles. Great gun fire angles, especially to the rear (it's about time I got to review another ship with these). Good anti-aircraft firepower for a tier VIII cruiser. Competitive concealment and decent stealth range while firing in smoke for a 203mm armed cruiser. Does not have to choose between Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive AA Fire. Has a Smoke Generator. CONS No health regeneration. Low DPM & fire setting for a pure-gunship heavy cruiser. Painfully slow turret traverse. Not terribly agile. No access to Surveillance Radar. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Rochester pretty new-fish friendly. Without Surveillance Radar to worry about, there's no reason to push in too close which may help reduce the amount of "death by over-extending". Furthermore, her good concealment and decent smoke-firing properties give her a comfortable buffer. Firing from smoke is pretty easy and Rochester makes it about as comfortable as it can get for an American heavy cruiser. Furthermore, the forgiving nature of 203mm HE and her AP auto-ricochet angles will take the sting out of sloppy ammunition choices. So good marks here. Her carry potential in the hands of an expert is a little more limited. Good knowledge of how to use and abuse islands will take you far, as will proper ammunition use. Abusing her concealment along with her 27mm bows can yield some pretty meme-worthy encounters against 381mm and smaller-armed battleships that keep trying to use SAP or AP against her at close range. But, while her Smoke Generator does have some team play uses (along with her DFAA and Hydro consumables), her lack of Surveillance Radar is dearly felt. She just doesn't put the pressure on destroyers like she should, not without some incredible risk taking. Options Rochester is defined by her consumables. Really, it's the reason you're buying this ship. So if this doesn't intrigue you, close your wallet now and skip to the end. Consumables Rochester's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser. It has unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 60 second reset timer. Her Defensive AA Fire is also standard for an American cruiser providing and additional 50% continuous damage and 300% flak damage for 40 seconds. Like many other American cruisers, it comes with a bonus charge to start (four total instead of the usual three) and an 80 second reset timer. The Hydroacoustic Search Rochester detects torpedoes at 3.5km and ships at 5km for 100 seconds. It comes with one fewer charge than normal Hydroacoustic Search consumables with only two (instead of three) but it has a standard reset timer of 120 seconds. Finally, Rochester has a Smoke Generator in her fourth slot. Like other American smoke consumables, this generates clouds for a full thirty seconds (which is good). It comes with two charges and a 160 second reset timer. The duration of each smoke cloud is a bit odd. She matches Anchorage's duration of 104 seconds which is decent, but not quite top grade. Here's some of the equivalent smoke duration times at tier VIII for Smoke Generator consumables. 124 seconds: American Destroyers, Loyang 104 seconds: Rochester & Anchorage 99 seconds: Edinburgh 89 seconds: Most destroyers, Mikhail Kutuzov 70 seconds: Lightning, Cossack, Z-35, Belfast '43 (these have very quick reset timers) 69 seconds: Z-23, Harekaze II 10 seconds: Italian Exhaust Smoke Generator equipped ships (these have longer emission time) The only other comparable values to consider are Flint (121 seconds) and Smolensk (89 seconds). I'll talk about this more in the Vision Control (Refrigerator for you old-timer readers) section below. But suffice to say, Rochester's smoke is pretty good. She makes a lot of it and it lasts a fairly long time. Upgrades Your choices here aren't anything revolutionary. The big decision here is whether or not to focus her upon camping in smoke or for more open-water manoeuvrability. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Generally speaking, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is your best choice in slot two. It will cost you cost 17,000 in the Armory. If you cannot (or will not) afford that then default to Engine Room Protection. In slot #3, Aiming System Modification 1 is best. However, if her sluggish gun traverse ticks you off as much as it does me, you can sacrifice some accuracy for Main Battery Modification 2. This latter choice is more worth while in an open-water build if you plan to be actively wiggling and dodging. If you're planning to hug islands or camp in smoke primarily, then the extra acceleration provided by Propulsion Modification 1 is optimal. Still, there's a place for Steering Gears Modification 1 if you're planning to aggressively pursue a more open-water style of play. Finally, Concealment System Modification 1 is generally considered optimal because of the stacked bonuses of air, sea and underwater stealth AND the increased dispersion to incoming fire. However, if you're a smoke-hiding, island-humping pro, or just intent on once again going full-hog to the open-water route, then you can get Steering Gears Modification 2 instead. Commander Skills I haven't talked about heavy cruiser commander skills much since the (repeated) skill rework earlier this year. It's going to be difficult to do so without going on a prolonged rant, but here goes: Cruisers got screwed with the rework. While battleships had to spend more points to get the same features as before, I really don't feel like there's enough good choices for heavy cruisers to be worth investing into. If your ship doesn't need Inertial Fuse for HE Shells then you're kind of starved for compelling, competitive options. I would love to be able to say that this is a good thing; that you can pick among your favourites without much fear of losing in-game performance. But the rework didn't really add anything worth discussing to heavy cruiser game play. The most daring build would be to eschew any shell-performance buffs and dip your toe into trying to be an AA ship if you wanted. That's kinda neat, I guess, but AA performance isn't interesting anymore. It hasn't been since the 0.8.0 rework. It's a shame. For a 10 point, brainless standard build, go with: Grease the Gears at tier 1. Reasonable alternatives (in no particular order) include: Gun Feeder, Incoming Fire Alert and Last Stand. The extra turret traverse is best if you're going to grab Priority Target as I recommend at tier 2. If not, then Incoming Fire Alert goes way up in value. Priority Target remains my favourite tier 2 skill and I admit a healthy bias towards it. Alternatives include: Demolition Expert and our first AA skill: Focus Fire Training. With Rochester's reliance on smoke, it's a pretty simple choice to default to Superintendent. Adrenaline Rush and Heavy AP Shells are the best alternates. To no one's surprise, Concealment Expert is best at tier 4. Don't get me wrong, Radio Location is nice, but give us some variety please, Wargaming! The only other skill that vaguely interests me at this tier is AA Defence and ASW Expert and that's only if you're building an AA ship for the memes. Feel free to double back through the options here to mix and match for a build you find works for you. You really can't go wrong here, so don't sweat it. Camouflage You got one camo. It provides the usual: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. Rochester's default (pale) palette looks best in my opinion. You can unlock the darker version through completing the 5th tab of the American Cruiser Collection. Firepower Main Battery: 3x3 203mm/55 guns in an A-B-X superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Twelve 127mm/38 guns in 6x2 turrets with one superfiring forward over the main battery forward, one superfiring aft and the other four divided evenly along the sides. American Piercing Rochester has comfortable if unimpressive firepower for a tier VIII cruiser. Her main battery of nine 203mm guns are unbacked by any other competitive assets with both her secondaries and her ASW airstrike both being entirely forgettable. For being Rochester's sole weapon system, there is an expectation of competitive damage output from them to compensate for the lack of any other. She kinda-sorta gets there with her improved AP shells. For those unaware, American heavy cruisers tend to have better AP shells than their contemporaries. Despite their low muzzle velocity, they have good penetration. This is joined by good damage values for their calibre and reduced chance of ricochets from angled armour. Grace of her Smoke Generator consumable, Rochester has the ability to cycle her guns more often than other American heavies -- she is not as reliant on making use of island cover to fire and stay alive. Let's reuse this older penetration graphic from my Anchorage (and earlier, Wichita) review. Anchorage and Wichita share the same AP penetration values. Rochester has the same AP penetration as Baltimore, which is among the best at her tier. At point blank ranges (such as the frequent jousts in co-op) Rochester has enough AP penetration to citadel through the belt of some battleships. Rochester pays for this ease-of-use granted by her smoke with a less-than-ideal reload time on her guns. While Baltimore and Wichita may cycle their weapons every 10 seconds, Rochester needs 12. This extra bit of wait is just enough to take the edge off the competitiveness of her weapons whenever she's using anything other than AP shells. Her damage output between fires and HE spam is comparable to that of Atago without the latter's ability to back this up with the occasional torpedo strike. As such, it's imperative to use Rochester's AP shells whenever the opportunity arises. Rochester can and will citadel just about any other cruiser it comes across at any engagement range if they present a broadside. She can even smack shells into their machine spaces when they angle thanks to that one-two combination of great penetration values and those improved auto-ricochet angles. The only issue with relying too heavily on AP rounds is the lack of fire-setting. I can't count the number of times I got a target low with AP and they successfully managed to disengage. A fire might have finished them off, you know, provided Rochester could stack one past their Damage Control Party. However, Rochester isn't good at this, being among the worse fire-setters at her tier. Charles Martel is listed twice. That with the asterix (*) is using her Main Battery Reload Booster for 15 seconds. Amalfi uses SAP instead of HE. Rochester's AP DPM is competitive while her HE DPM is not. Rochester's fire-setting ability isn't great -- especially when you appreciate that your actual chances of setting a blaze are roughly half of what you see here once you account for your target's innate fire resistance. She's comparable to Atago and most of the heavies pale in fire setting compared to the light cruisers. The best light cruisers have FPMs up near 16 and 17 blazes, but this gets butchered if they take the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells commander skill. Despite having a Smoke Generator, Rochester's game play does not stray very far from that already established by the American tech-tree heavy cruisers. This generally summarizes to: Find island. Peek from island. Cycle guns until you get their attention and hide until contact is broken / their attention goes elsewhere. Rinse and repeat this until it's time to push forward or fall back. The ballistics on Rochester's guns (especially her AP shells) makes her very comfortable in this role, allowing her to snuggle quite close to landmasses that will safely screen return fire from battleship calibre and higher-velocity rounds. In open water, Rochester doesn't fare so well. The same ballistics that make yeeting AP rounds over islands makes her long-range gunnery rather poor against anything but the most predictable of targets. Combine this with a slow rate of fire and every dodged salvo hurts that much more. But worse, Rochester's sub-16km range (with no way of increasing it) makes her dangerously vulnerable to return fire. Even with the comfortable over-the-shoulder fire angles, Rochester doesn't kite particularly well, having neither the speed, range or agility to pull it off. Add on the only modest damage output with anything other than AP broadsides and she's only a modest damage-dealer. So yeah, Rochester is just your typical American heavy cruiser when it comes to her firepower. The pair of wrinkles to keep in mind is that she has smoke to facilitate her slower reload. Yaaaaaaaas! ♪ It's too bad she doesn't pair this with some great turret traverse rates. Oh well. VERDICT: Comfortable yet ultimately unimpressive. Durability Hit Points: 41,900 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 27mm / 16mm / 27mm / 27mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 152mm belt (+27mm bows for head on shots) Torpedo Damage Reduction: 13% Rochester has a reasonable slug of hit points for a tier VIII cruiser, at least so long as you ignore her lack of a heal. While you might not feel this lack when she's top tier, against tier IX and X opponents, her inability to recover health becomes a serious handicap when every other cruiser (and many destroyers besides!) can claw back health. I can't talk about tier VIII cruiser survivability without addressing the elephant in the room: Repair Party consumables. Fully one-third of tier VIII cruisers have the ability to regenerate health and this creates a huge disparity between the survivability of those who can and those who cannot. Ostensibly, the balance is supposed to wors out. Those ships with heals are either extremely fragile (generally prone to giving away Devastating Strike medals to their opponents) or their damage output sucks, with the idea being that they need to survive longer (on average) in order to make up for the damage disparity. That only kinda works out in practice and these rules do not apply universally across all of the ships at tier VIII. This makes the lack of a heal feel much more pronounced on ships that go without when the difference of which ships have it (particularly legacy vessels) isn't clearly defined. Rochester is semi-okay without heals. I mean there are other ways to keep a ship safe and her Smoke Generator sure goes a long way to helping with that. However, it would be a mistake to think she's going to shrug off much in the way of damage. Her 27mm hull plating is nice but not as nice as it was, once upon a time. While she can still troll 381mm or smaller calibre AP shells by prompting ricochets with steep angling, with penetrating hits to turrets and barbettes now giving away damage, face-tanking isn't anywhere near as effective as it used to be. Thus, barring bullying the occasional Italian, German or British battleship at stupidly-close ranges, you can't count on her structural plate for repelling AP rounds. Her citadel protection is decent for a cruiser though nothing remarkable. Her citadel abuts against the exterior of the hull around her machine spaces and sticks up over the waterline besides. Her citadel roof cannot be overmatched, however, so you're only giving away citadel damage to shells that strike near or at the water's surface, so that's okay. Her 152mm belt also means she's proof against citadel hits from HE shells from enterprising Royal Navy battleships. She also has a pretty healthy numberof hit points, being in the top third for her tier if you look past healing potential. Finally, she does have at least some anti-torpedo protection, which is more than can be said for most cruisers. It's not really going to do much against ship or submarine-launched fish but it may protect you from some flooding from carrier-borne weapons. Rochester's armour profile is pretty straight forward for an American heavy cruiser. VERDICT: I wish she had a heal when she's bottom tier. Otherwise, she's okay. Agility Top Speed: 33 knots Turning Radius: 750 meters Rudder Shift Time: 10.5 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.4º/s at 26.4kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 6.0º/s Rochester's agility is very middle-of-the-road. If your cruiser can't be fast, you want to turn quickly. Rochester can do neither. I gotta give Rochester poor marks here. Comparing her to other cruisers, you can make the following claims about Rochester's agility: She's not fast. Her turning radius isn't small. Her rudder shift time is slow. Her rate of turn is sluggish. Being on the poor side of average has a lot of stacked detriments for a cruiser. The most effective combination for a cruiser is range and high speed -- this allows a cruiser to stand off at a distance where she can pummel enemy ships and give herself the maximum amount of time to avoid enemy fire. Even with horrible handling, high speed and enough range can make up for any other agility detriments to keep a cruiser in the game longer than it has any right to be. Rochester's downright pedestrian 33 knots doesn't provide that speed threshold needed and her sub-16km range doesn't tick the other box either. Now if you can't have that speed + range combination then hopefully you have a very tight turning radius and good rudder shift time. Up close, your reaction times to dodge are much reduced and unless you can change course and/or speed quickly, dodging fire gets that much more difficult. And here, again, Rochester falls short. Her 750m turning radius isn't appalling nor is her 10.5 second rudder shift time the worst we've seen (it is pretty bad, though), but neither hit the benchmarks needed to help her avoid damage. As a result, Rochester punishes you more than other cruisers for being caught out. Combine this with what I said earlier about the lack of health recovery and being in the wrong place at the wrong time gets her punished hard. It's very difficult to extract her when she over-extends and she's heavily reliant upon her Smoke Generator to band-aid misplays. Now, it really doesn't matter what the source of incoming damage is -- be it battleship shells, HE spam, torpedoes or an air-drop of some sort, Rochester just doesn't avoid things well. She's certainly better at it than a battleship, but not by much, all things told. Her reliance on her smoke kinda precludes her from making good use of rudder-shift upgrades (you'll really want the extra acceleration provided by Propulsion Modification 1). That, in turn, hurts Rochester's already mediocre open-water fighting ability. Add on her sluggish turret traverse and I'm not a fan of fire and manoeuvre in this ship. She can do it (all cruisers can), but she's not built for that kind of game play. It's better to stick to the American standbys of finding an island and making it your waifu interlaced with a bit of smoke play. This isn't a problem unique to Rochester by any means. Only Wichita, out of the American tier VIII heavies, breaks the mould. VERDICT: A whole lot of meh.. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 5 + 1 explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 108.5dps at 90% accuracy (97.7dps) Medium Ranged (up to 4km): 353.5dps at 90% accuracy (318.2dps) Anything that doesn't specify whether it cannot or will always have DFAA has the choice of taking it, usually at the expense of relinquishing access to their Hydroacoustic Search. Rochester's As the meta stands currently, Rochester stands in contention for having the second-best AA power among the tier VIII cruisers (way) behind De Zeven Provincien. The Dutch cruiser is an AA powerhouse, and one of the few rare examples in the game after the butchering of the anti-aircraft interdicting cruiser role with the CV rework (more on that in her own review). Rochester's AA power is closely comparable to that of Cheshire. While she lacks the higher overall damage output of the British heavy cruiser, she has better range on her medium-calibre guns, allowing them to put out damage for longer. In addition, Rochester will always have access to Defensive AA Fire while the British heavy might not. This may sound like pretty high praise, but it's really not. Yes, Rochester has good AA firepower values for at tier VIII cruiser, but she's not a complete monster in this regard. Even with Defensive AA Fire active, she's still not reaching De Zeven Provincien's levels of sustained AA DPS. In practical terms, this means that a pristine Rochester, correctly played is all but untouchable to tier VI carriers. Fully specialized she can almost prevent tier VIII carriers from dropping. Tier X can still dump on her but it gets expensive fast. That may be enough to discourage carriers from even attempting to poke at her but in end-game situations with the game in the balance, I wouldn't count on being immune to high-tier carrier attacks. You'll have to Just Dodge™ like the rest of the plebs. VERDICT: Good as Rochester's AA firepower is, the AA interdiction cruiser archetype is still missing from World of Warships. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.06km / 9.48km Base/Minimum Air & Underwater Detection Range: 7.25km / 5.87km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 6.79km Maximum Firing Range: 15.86km So, here's the 11,300 doubloon question: Is it worth dropping a Surveillance Radar to get access to a Smoke Generator? Conveniently enough, this question has already been answered in another tech tree line. The British light cruisers allow you to swap smoke for radar from tier VIII+ starting with the Edinburgh. Generally speaking, Surveillance Radar provides more influence in a battle with the provision that you have team mates that will capitalize upon your spotting. Sinking destroyers early on wins games, after all. However, in solo-play, a Smoke Generator is the safer option. If you only have your own self to rely upon, then increasing your own survivability is the way to go. It's a bit of a fallacy to say that Rochester is just a Baltimore that drops radar for smoke. Rochester isn't a Baltimore-class cruiser. There's a lot of small differences between them that adds up quickly to disparities of performance, even before you swap out consumables. Thus, the question on whether or not smoke is worth more to radar between the two vessels is complicated. Specifically to this section of my review, Rochester has much better concealment than Baltimore. Rochester shaves a whole 540m off her base surface detection range. After all of the upgrades are applied, this shrinks to a 420m advantage which is still noticeable. Rochester sits towards the upper half of concealment within her tier and near the very top within her matchmaking. So her concealment is good and in select scenarios can even be abused to flex, attack or disengage as needs be without the use of her smoke. But even her use of smoke is remarkable as she has better concealment values while firing in smoke than Baltimore or Anchorage which are visible at 7.18km and 7.98km respectively compared to Rochester's 6.79km. Rochester isn't the first "sneaky" American heavy cruiser. We've seen all of this before in Wichita. She and Rochester share concealment values and I find her a better ship to compare Rochester to than Baltimore. Both Rochester and Wichita can make some pretty bold plays by using and abusing their stealth and then following it up with clever consumable use. However, I prefer Wichita's consumable combination for this, though. Surveillance Radar is my kinda jam as it lets me abuse lolibotes and smoked up cruisers in all kinds of hilarious ways that Rochester simply can't. Rochester's smoke is good, do not mistake me. It provides Rochester with a greater level of survivability than that enjoyed by most of the other American cruisers at this tier barring Congress. However, the ability to scatter the roaches is still preferable in my books, especially when a lot of what Rochester's smoke provides can be made up for with good use of terrain. Who needs smoke when you have an island waifu? VERDICT: Wichita-good, but not Wichita-great. I'd rather have radar. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike up to 5km away Number of Salvos: Up to two Reload Time: 90 seconds Aircraft: Two flights of two PBY Catalinas with 2,000hp per plane. Drop Pattern: 6 bombs each dropped evenly over roughly a 4km column Maximum Bomb Damage: 2,100 Fire Chance: 12% Rochester's air strike reticule with some ships for scale. The length of this column is roughly 4km. Hey, new section! Oh, how I wish I could take subs into the training rooms or populate them as targets. Rochester's airstrike ability is brand new with patch 0.10.9 and represents the bare minimum Wargaming will issue for anti-submarine warfare for those who have so far gone without. It's so new, I have barely time to do any testing of it short of derping bombs into open water because no subs are available to test against at the time I'm writing this. Anticipate anything and everything having to do with subs still to change significantly. So let's theory-craft a little. Note that Rochester's 5km range is where the strike starts,. The drop pattern covers approximately a 4km stretch with six bombs dropping per plane at fixed intervals with a left/right scatter, effectively allowing her to engage submarines up to 9km away. It takes 15 seconds from the time the airstrike is called for the first set of depth charges to detonate. The bombs themselves are listed as having a maximum damage of 2,100 but the reality is that like all submarine damage, this appears to follow a blast-style damage similar to that used by torpedoes, meaning there's a whole bunch of parameters modifying this damage that I don't yet understand. Don't even get me started with how this damage scales up with skills because I have no idea. The in port values jump up to 2,415 with all bonuses applied. Will that reflect in game? NO IDEA! It's a brave new world, people. At any rate, to engage submarines with Rochester, you're going to have to get pretty damn close which means taking an active role in order to do so. Barring submarines being stupid (please be stupid) this largely relegates Rochester's anti-submarine combat to late-game if it materializes at all. VERDICT: Still not ready for Random Battles. I do love me some PBYs. Final Evaluation Do you want a premium Baltimore? You're spoiled for choice. If you want a Baltimore that trades AP shell performance for stealth and agility, get Wichita. If you want a Baltimore that trades AP shell performance and radar for smoke and torpedoes, get Anchorage. If you want a Baltimore that trades radar for smoke and stealth, get Rochester. Rochester's strength here is that she more closely duplicates Baltimore's AP gunnery than Wichita or Anchorage and changes up the game play from team-based with Surveillance Radar to a more selfish style with her Smoke Generator. That's really not my cup of tea, so I'm not going to be playing Rochester much (if at all) after this review. Wichita is the more compelling choice for me; I prefer that aggressive style of play of providing vision and molesting lolibotes over Rochester's admittedly easier "angry smoke cloud" game play. This said, it's not like I'd be running out to throw money at Wargaming to get Wichita either. I'm not in the market for a premium Baltimore-class. Maybe you are. That's really all I have to say about Rochester. She's not terrible -- anything with smoke and not-horrible range is always going to be competitive. She's just not offering me the kind of play that I want. I had only modest success in her with no amazing games (rushing this review out precluded me from getting in only a handful of games to confirm her performance) but I'm certain that some players will be able to get some truly monstrous results out of her if people let her farm. Overall? I'm likely to forget about her before long. She's ultimately a very "safe" premium. There's nothing surprising here to trip up the developers when it came to balancing her or for tripping up consumers who bought her blind. She is exactly what you'd expect out of an American heavy cruiser premium. Thanks for reading. Mouse out!
  17. The following is a review of both Agir & Siegfried, the tier IX German large cruisers. These ships have been provided to me by Wargaming at no cost to me (though I do have to unlock Siegfried again). To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are accurate as of patch 0.9.5. Please be aware that their performance may change in the future. Whoo, double-header! Wait, does this count as reviews #150 and #151? Bah, I'll figure that part out later. Welcome to my mistake! There is a lot of similarities between the two O-class sisters, but there are some marked differences too -- not the least of which is their actual game play. I've tried to separate things out to make things more readable but it's kind of a mess with all the back and forth going on. I'm worried that I've focused too hard on one ship over the other. Oh well, I committed to this folly and I'm going to ride it out to the very end! Let's begin! Agir Summary: A tier IX Odin in cruiser-form with improved main battery guns, but she has worse protection and secondaries. Siegfried Summary: A tier IX Gneisenau in cruiser-form with better guns, secondaries, torpedoes, AA power, agility and concealment. She is squishier than the tier VII battleship though. Difference Summary: Siegfried and Agir share the same protection scheme agility and concealment. However their weapons differ. Siegfried's has more powerful 380mm guns, is more accurate, has fewer but (much) longer-ranged secondaries. Agir has 305mm guns and an extra two-pairs of short-ranged secondaries and better torpedo arcs. In addition, Siegfried gets more consumables. Because reasons. SHARED PROS Strong citadel protection for a cruiser with a 190mm belt backed by an 80mm turtleback and 45mm to 60mm citadel wall. Good structural armour protection with 27mm thick extremities, 90mm thick upper hull and 30mm thick deck. Phenomenal anti-torpedo protection for a cruiser with a 37% damage reduction. Hell, most battleships would love to have this level of defense. Long ranged main battery guns (18.5km for Agir, 20.64km for Siegfried). Excellent main battery HE penetration for both ships. Secondaries have 32mm of penetration, making them capable of directly damaging the extremities of even tier VIII+ battleships. Good anti-aircraft firepower. Access to the improved German cruiser Hydroacoustic Search consumable with it's increased detection ranges of 4km for torpedoes and 6km for ships. SHARED CONS Turtleback isn't angled steeply enough to guarantee auto-ricochets, leaving their citadels potentially vulnerable. Wait, how is this a flaw, really? Most cruisers would give away their X-turret for this level of citadel defense. Agir and Siegfried's not-perfect turtleback be damned. Fires spank for a full 60s, and floods waterboard you for 40s. Kinky. Poor main battery HE DPM. Horrible main battery gun fire angles both forward and backward. Torpedoes are pathetically short-ranged at 6km. Chunktacular agility with handling for a cruiser that feels like sticking your hand in cottage cheese or duck puke. Large surface detection for a cruiser. SPECIFIC PROS Excellent AP penetration and overmatch ability with Siegfried's 380mm guns. Siegfried makes use of cruiser dispersion (!) with her battleship caliber guns. Siegfried has long range-secondaries with good fire arcs (better than Agir's for some reason). Agir has the same fire-setting ability as Azuma and Alaska with her main battery guns. SPECIFIC CONS Low AP DPM on Siegfried's guns (combined with that earlier low HE DPM). Siegfried is a bad firebug with a low fires-per-minute. Agir's main battery lacks AP penetration making it difficult to contest battleship armour except at ranges of less than 12km. Agir may have more secondaries but they too short ranged to be useful. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High/ EXTREME Large cruisers tend to be pretty forgiving as far as cruiser game-play goes. They borrow a lot from battleships which are some of the easiest ships to play. For beginners, Siegfried and Agir provide these training wheels along with very forgiving gunnery dispersion. For veterans, imagine German battleships that actually hit whatever you aimed at. Yeah, scary, especially in Siegfried's case. Stack onto that good survivability, brawling, kiting, DD hunting with their hydro, using islands for ambushes / cover -- yeah, there's a lot of room for skill to affect game play. Let's do these next few sections out of order and focus first on where they're similar and then touch on where they're different. Defense Hit Points: 62,850 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 27mm extremities, 90mm upper hull & 30mm deck Maximum Citadel Protection: 190mm belt + 80mm turtleback + 45mm to 60mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 37% How the hell are these things balanced? Siegfried and Roy are just a couple of key-features away from having a god-tier cruiser protection scheme. Let's go through the checklist: Anti-torpedo damage reduction in excess of 25% Citadel capable of repelling even large-caliber AP shells 27mm extremities or greater Upper hull in excess of 30mm Amidships deck in excess of 30mm Ice-breaker bow & stern So barring having a Furutaka-style deck and a Stalingrad ice-breaker, Siegfried and Agir have about the best defenses for cruisers that are available. But let's go into the details: Anti-Torpedo Protection Look, most cruisers don't have any torpedo damage reduction to speak of, never mind the "better-than-many-battleship" levels boasted by Siegfried and Agir. At present, they have the BEST fish-protection found on any cruiser in the game. Let's not forget that these two ships also have a German Hydroacoustic Search which further reduces the dangers presented by torpedoes. Short of these ships being more nimble (which they are decidedly not), you have the best defense you could ask when it comes to mitigating torpedo damage. Cruiser Turtlebacks & Internal Citadels Taken from GameModels3D.com with colours exaggerated to show the different layers of citadel protection on the O-class battlecruisers. This way you can clearly see the external 190mm belt in red (sloped at -1º to -21º), the 80mm turtleback in yellow (sloped 49º to 60º) and the citadel itself shown in blue (0º). Most AP shells have to contend with passing at least one auto-ricochet check to punch through her turtleback. The protection scheme of the O-class battlecruisers citadel protection closely resembles that of a German battleship. Their armour is optimized to protect the magazines and machine spaces in medium to close range encounters. However, it remains vulnerable to high-penetration, long-range fire. While these ships are not immune to citadel hits, they are about as well protected as you could hope for a cruiser to be. The effectiveness of their citadel protection varies depending upon where the ship is struck and the angle of incoming fire. Their lateral belt + turtleback protection covers the whole range from "impossible to citadel" to "difficult but not impossible" depending. Barring a shell moving at a perfect horizontal or slightly upward motion (possible due to normalization after penetrating the reverse-sloped belt), the O-class's turtleback isn't inclined enough to guarantee ricochets. Thus there's always a chance of a shell with sufficient penetration to punch into their magazines or machine spaces. The two layers of armour work in tandem with the near vertical sections of belt armour around the funnels being mated with the most steeply sloped turtleback and the more shallow angled turtleback around the magazines is paired with the most exaggerated reverse slope of the belt. The biggest danger to these ships when caught broadside are the (relatively) low velocity but high penetration shells of American battleships or the massive shells off Yamato, Musashi and Shikishima. At range, every battleship becomes more dangerous. Every time you get shot, you're rolling the dice and hoping that RNGeebus will be kind. So don't go offering up your broadside unless you're one pious momo. Their biggest citadel weakness is their enormous 27mm thick snouts which can be overmatched. Unlike other high-tier German cruisers, they have no 'ice-breaker', no extended waterline belt to help foil shots aimed at their squishy bits. For opponents that aware of this vulnerability, this area can be hit for days for easy big-damage. I'm not going to lie -- it can be frustrating to try and protect this weakness. If your opponents aren't playing ball, you're going to have a bad time. Make no mistake: Agir and Siegfried are not battleships -- they can't stand up to battleship levels of punishment. The O-class's 90mm upper hull is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it helps you resist HE shells and ricochet AP rounds when you're angled. On the flip side, it guarantees fusing every single AP shell it faces if the shell manages to penetrate, leading to Siegfried and Agir taking big damage. The recess into which Siegfried's hull-mounted torpedoes are set opens up a further shell-trap that can be exploited by your opponents. Be careful. Suck it, 381mm Guns You too, 127mm guns. Let's step away from dwelling on citadel hits and simply talk about resisting damage entirely. Given the glut of 381mm and smaller caliber guns throwing AP shells about at high-tiers these days, these ships can face-tank select targets with relative impunity. Furthermore, the 27mm threshold makes them immune to direct damage from 127mm HE shells even if they're using the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill, so that's pretty nice too. Their 90mm upper hull is again capable of being pretty troll when it comes to resisting damage -- both AP and HE shells, though you need to angle to resist the former. This opens the door for some interesting (if limited) brawling opportunities. The flip side is that this thicker armour all but guarantees everything (and I do mean everything) will have their AP shells fuse properly and deal chunktacular penetration damage. This can be as devastating as individual citadel hits. Overall, though, these ships are better at resisting citadel hits than they are direct damage. HE spam from cruisers is stupid-dangerous. Siegfriend and Agir's 30mm decks and 27mm extremities are big weak spots for HE to exploit. Lemme repeat myself: these are not German battleships -- they're not built to shrug off damage to the same level as those Deutsches-Stahl leviathans. You can lose HP in a hurry even if you never take a single citadel hit. So beware. Barring exceptions, most cruisers can queue up to 33% of citadel damage for repairs. Agir & Siegfried's large hit point pool gives them access to better heals, but this still falls behind the extra Repair Party charge enjoyed by Azuma and the portable` dry-docks of the British cruisers. Overall Feels The O-class sisters remind me a lot of tier VI and VII battleships -- tough but not invulnerable, with stupidly-big weak spots that are easy to exploit. Fire is a problem. Overmatch is a problem. HE spam is a problem. AP penetrating hits are a problem, but proper angling can help mitigate it. Citadel hits happen but they're uncommon and largely caused by your own mistakes, so that's easier to stomach. If you think of playing one of the O-class as the equivalent of bringing a tier VII battleship up into a tier IX match, you're not far off in terms of considering their durability. Their protection level is much better than that of the typical cruiser, but they fall well short of god-tier. VERDICT: Hella good, very rewarding and lots of fun. Agility Top Speed: 33.5 knots Turning Radius: 880m Rudder Shift Time: 14.0 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.7º/s These aren't cruisers. Well, they are -- they conform to cruiser norms in terms of energy retention, for example. The rest of their agility parameters are very much those of a battleship. These aren't ships with which you can wiggle and dodge. Their bad fire angles on their guns, especially when kiting, makes this dangerous to attempt -- doubly so with their 27mm extremities being the literal back door into their citadel. They barely have more speed than most of the battleships they face, to say nothing of the cruisers, so kiting is made even harder. You have to pay close attention to the flow of battle and plan your moves accordingly. This largely limits their manoeuvres of defense to flashing their sides just enough to bait hits into their belt rather than their honkers and playing keep-away from the second line until it's time to brawl. It could be worse, I suppose. They could crawl like Roon does. Apparently Dmitri Donskoi's in-port stats are being fixed soon! VERDICT: One of the weaknesses of these ships. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.12km / 11.88km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 10.74km/8.7km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 11.9km Hydroacoustic Search Ranges: 4km torpedo detection, 6km ship detection. If these were battleships, their Vision Control would be excellent, but they're not. They're cruisers, so their Vision Control kinda sucks. While they do bring the German cruiser Hydroacoustic Search to the table, they're not pairing it with great surface detection or good sprinting speed. This largely limits aggressive use of the consumable to misplays on your opponent's part. Otherwise, it's just there to keep you and your allies torpedo-safe. Like Azuma before them, these ships also lack the Surveillance Radar boasted by American & Soviet large cruisers. That consumable is nearly a must-have in team settings, so going without a huge strike against these ships. Overall, Siegfried feels this deficiency in concealment much less than Agir. Siegfried's guns are more comfortable at a distance and she has longer range to boot. Heck, Siegfried can almost stealth-fire her secondaries (one of these days, WG will screw up and I will have my stealth-firing secondary cruiser). This, in my opinion, makes her the easier and more powerful ship between the two when combined with everything else. VERDICT: This is another area where they perform poorly, but it's not unexpected. Alright, that's all of their similarities. Let's go over what makes them unique. Options Let's start with the pretty mild differences of their option optimization. Consumables Agir and Siegfried differ in their consumable load-outs with Siegfried having more options than Agir. I've highlighted the consumables that are Siegfried-only. Agir and Siegfried share the following consumables: Their Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with a 60s reset timer and 5s active period. It comes with unlimited charges. They have access to a German Cruiser's Hydroacoustic Search with a 4km torpedo detection range and a 6km ship detection range. Both start with 3 charges and have a 120s reset timer. Finally, they both share a Repair Party. This heals back 14% of the ship's health over 28s. 50% of penetration damage is queued up along with 33% of citadel damage and 100% of all other damage types. This starts with 3 charges and has an 80s reset timer. For Siegfried, I prefer a Hydroacoustic Search along with a Spotting Aircraft for my consumables of choice. SIEGFRIED ONLY CONSUMABLES Siegfried may swap its Hydroacoustic Search for Defensive AA Fire which comes with three charges and an 80s reset timer. Siegfried bumps her Repair Party over to the fourth slot and has the option of both catapult aircraft in her third slot. Her Spotting Aircraft provides the usual 20% bonus to range for 100s. It comes with 4 charges and a 240s reset timer. Alternatively, she can use a Catapult Fighter. The squadron is active for 60s with a 90s reset timer and comes with three charges. Upgrades There's a smart way to build for these ships but there's also the fun way. Being some of the first cruisers with capable secondaries, it's fun to build for them for a lark. In Siegfried's case, this may even be slightly competitive. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. You have a choice in slot two. Fire damage is pretty dangerous for these ships so Damage Control System Modification 1 is a sound investment. Alternatively, you can go into the Armory and spend 17,000 for Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1. In slot three, Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal for both ships. Alternatively, you can grab Secondary Gun Modification 1 for the memes. This will pay off more for Siegfried but it can work for Agir too, especially in PVE modes. Again, with full-damage fires being a threat, Damage Control System Modification 2 is optimal for slot four but you can swap it out for Steering Gears Modification 1 if you prefer to take a more active hand in your defense. Concealment Expert is too good not to be the optimal choice in slot five. For those who like to live fast and dangerous, Steering Gears Modification 2 is an option, but keep in mind that these ships have bad fire angles for kiting so this isn't ideal. Finally, let there be no doubt that Main Battery Modification 3 is the best choice for slot six. Captain Skills There's a smart way to build for these ships and then there's the German secondary battleship build. The smart way borrows the entirety of the "fire resistant battleship" build. I agree, girls. So dull even if it is the "ideal build". You can swap out Priority Target for another tier 1 skill of your choice. Expert Loader is a good idea, but the usual standbys of Preventative Maintenance and Incoming Fire Alert are reasonable. German battleship build, recently recommended with my Odin review! Make sure you take Secondary Gun Modification 1 for this build and load up on Mike Yankee Soxisix signals. All of the cool kids are doing it. Camouflage Both ships have their default Type 10 Camouflage and you can purchase the Nordic Camouflage separately as a cosmetic swap. Both provide identical bonuses, so don't stress about missing out on possible economic gains by not spending more money. These are standard bonuses for tier IX premiums: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. So nothing too extreme there. Let's move onto their anti-aircraft firepower. Verdict: Siegfried has better options than Agir by a country mile, offering two distinct and viable play styles not only in PVE but PVP as well. Siegfried's default camo scheme, which is pretty sexy. Agir's default camo scheme is more grim. The Nordic camouflage looks good on Siegfried. But it looks better on Agir, in my opinion. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 5 explosions (6 for Agir) for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 6km. Siegfried / Agir Long Ranged (up to 6.0km): 102 / 130 dps at 90% accuracy Siegfried / Agir Medium Ranged (up to 4.0km): 329 / 364 dps at 90% accuracy Siegfried / Agir Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 147 / 119 dps at 85% accuracy Agir has better raw AA numbers than Siegfried. Siegfried has access to Defensive AA Fire (if she chooses to ditch Hydroacoustic Search). Both ships have "good" AA firepower, but this doesn't particularly matter. Individually, these ships have enough teeth on them to make dropping on them expensive in the long run. However, it would be a fool's mistake to think they're capable of fending off a determined CV by themselves. Apply the standard anti-CV tactics in order to keep safe. Blob-up and Just Dodge™. Otherwise, you're food. Long story short: Agir's AA is noticeably better (flirting with Alaska-levels) but Siegfried can take DFAA. I've ranked these in order of "effective AA DPS" -- meaning simply that I applied a formula (DPS *[range-1km]). This weights longer ranged AA mounts more than shorter ranged ones but it doesn't do so perfectly. This order only really gives an impression of ranking of personal AA defense, not overall effective values (such as providing support to an ally). At the end of the day, everything between Brindisi and Saint Louis are very, very close and this ranking doesn't really speak to in-game effectiveness. That's because none of this really matters. Sadly, CVs can still dunk on you no matter what and the idea that REALLY GOOD AA firepower could somehow prevent drops is a thing of the distant past. VERDICT: Disappointingly good. I say disappointing because good AA doesn't really mean anything unless the enemy CV is a total novice. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 305mm guns in 3x3 turrets (Agir) or six 380mm guns in 3x2 turrets (Siegfried). Both are setup in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Eighteen 128mm guns in 9x2 turrets (Agir) and fourteen 128mm guns in 7x2 turrets (Siegfried). Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers mounted on either side amidships. Let's start with the similarities between the two ships. Torpeedus Agir and Siegfried both have access to the same Steinbutt torpedoes (heh, butts). If you imagine Tirpitz's torpedoes but add an extra knot of speed, you're bang on the money. So they're stupid short ranged and kinda wimpy on a per-torpedo basis all things told. You're only ever going to get to use them in brawls or ambushes so keep that in mind. I can forgive their performance as both Agir and Siegfried feel like battleships, even if they are ostensibly cruisers. Their fish are super fun to use but you won't get to use them in every game. Still, those moments are always memorable and totally worth it. The big difference between the two ships in terms of their torpedoes are how they're mounted. Agir has them on deck giving her good forward firing arcs. Siegfried houses hers in the hull lower down, greatly reducing their field of fire (and opening up a potential shell trap besides). Agir has good torpedo arcs and terrible gun firing arcs. Siegfried has terrible torpedo arcs and less terrible (but still awful) gun firing arcs than Agir. Secondaries Siegfried has the better secondaries. This is despite Agir having more of them. Normally I wouldn't bother wasting more than a couple of sentences on cruiser secondaries, but these ships are special ... and not in that "Kiev also has a secondary!" kinda special. Siegfried's secondaries are so good, she's arguably the first cruiser in World of Warships where a full secondary build is competitive. While Siegfried doesn't have the broadside weight of a battleship, her secondaries are good enough with the combination of high penetration, good range and a decent rate of fire. Mouse's impression of the effectiveness of most cruiser secondaries. Agir should be in a similar state but she's not. Despite having the same penetration and an even better volume of fire grace of having an extra turret firing broadside, her arcs are slightly worse and she loses out on range. While you can still make this work in Co-Op battles, it's really not viable in a PVP environment -- not for the returns you get. Personally, I totally blame Flamu for this as he spilled the beans on how fun this is. Now your only way to get access to this game play is by grinding out the Research Bureau. BOOOO, Flamu! BOOOOO! You ruined everything! ♥ I stress it's this deficit of range that really hurts Agir and range remains the key factor that determines secondary-build viability in Random Battles. Agir's 5.3km base range can only be upgraded as far as 8.01km with a deep secondary build -- compare that to Siegfried's 11.49km and there's just too much of a gap. Perhaps more importantly, Siegfried's main battery gun performance isn't as hurt by spending her third upgrade slot to increase range as it is with Agir, owing to Siegfried's improved main battery gun dispersion (more on that later). You can make a secondary build on Agir work, but it's a pale shadow of the potential found on Siegfried. On the whole, it's exciting to see secondaries on cruisers being viable both to a lesser and greater degree on Agir and Siegfried respectively. I would have preferred to see this on a 203mm or 152mm armed cruiser rather than a near-perfect battleship analogue, but hey, it's progress. No, it doesn't make sense. Whatever logic was used to determine these fire angles, it's not consistent between the two vessels. Siegfried simply has better arcs on her secondaries. I have no idea why. Main Battery Guns These two ships couldn't be any more different when it comes to their main battery guns. Since I recently finished reviewing Odin, let's start with Agir's armament first because there's a lot of parallels there. Odin, Perfected If you read my review of Odin, the tier VIII German battleship, I wasn't very flattering when it came to my evaluation of her guns. Odin's 305mm guns struggle to put enough shells on target. Her battleship dispersion and her slower rate of fire just means that not enough shells stack to keep up with the damage she needs to put out. This might not be such a big issue if Odin struck like a hammer from on high, but she doesn't. While her 305mm guns are pretty good cruiser killers once you compare them to the other super cruisers, they're really lacking. Alaska & Stalingrad have improved auto-ricochet mechanics. Kronshtadt and Stalingrad have god-tier levels of AP penetration. Azuma and Yoshino have improved HE damage. So without any of these specialities, Odin was left struggling to deal damage when someone angles or plays a battleship that won't brawl with them. For comparison, here is Odin's main battery dispersion (in yellow on the left) using a standard dispersion test. This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km, locked onto a stationary Fuso bot. The Fuso lacks camouflage and Odin is using Aiming Systems Modification 1 to reduced her dispersion by 7%. Shots are coming in from right to left (Fuso is bow-tanking). Odin's 'good for a battleship' dispersion is alright, but it doesn't do the ship any favours given the rather wimpy punch of her shells. Agir's main battery gun dispersion (in pink on the right) following the same parameters as Odin's above. While Odin makes use of the American-British-German battleship dispersion area, Agir makes use of the Graf Spee (aka "Battlecruiser") dispersion. Agir inherits Odin's lackluster AP penetration and anemic HE issues. Boooo. However, her improved dispersion and faster rate of fire compensates somewhat for this disparity in performance. Her shells are "bad" but she fires enough of them and hits often enough to kinda-sorta offset her disastrous ammunition. Still, this isn't a ship in which you want to be actively trading fire with opponents. She's not a high DPM monster nor are her alpha strikes particularly impressive barring a cruiser derping monstrously. Fire opportunistically and avoid return damage as best you can. I struggle to call Agir's main battery firepower "good". It's alright -- I'd give it no more than that. There's nothing here really to get excited over. Siegfried, on the other hand... Gneisenau, Perfected Imagine if Gneisenau (or Tirpitz for that matter), hit with nearly every shell she fired. German 380mm guns are notorious for their inaccuracy so that might be a little difficult, but make the effort. Difficulties visualizing aside, take a cruiser and equip it with a small battery of battleship caliber weapons and make them stupid-accurate. That's Siegfried. That's her thing. It goes beyond that though. Siegfried takes Gneisenau's offensive abilities and improves upon them to such a degree that it's hard to believe Siegfried made it out of testing without significant nerfs. She boasts a slightly more powerful torpedo armament than Gneisenau. Her secondaries are longer ranged, using the same excellent 128mm L/61s with their improved penetration. And finally, Siegfried's main battery guns hit whatever you aim at -- something the tier VII and VIII German battleships could only dream of. It's this last part, it's her main battery guns, which puts her head and shoulders above Gneisenau despite the similarities of their armaments. Let's take a blast from the past to illustrate why Siegfried's accuracy is so jaw dropping. This is Bismarck's old dispersion (in yellow on the left), back when she was still using the French & Italian battleship patterns. Gneisenau and Tirpitz shared in this performance, with all three ships having 1.8 sigma. Things have improved slightly -- at 15km the width of their fall has reduced by 3 meters from 198m shown here (with ASM1 installed) to 195m with the new American battleship dispersion they're presently using. Yeah, you kinda got bamboozled if you thought the recent changes fixed anything. Siegfried (in blue on the right) uses cruiser dispersion. No, not battlecruiser -- actual cruiser dispersion. She has the same spread of shots as you'd find on Cleveland or Henri IV. She has their 2.05 sigma too unlike the 1.8 sigma you played with when using German battleships. Aim well and you can hit with everything. It's for this reason that Siegfried can get away with upgrading her secondaries rather than focusing on reducing her main battery dispersion -- it's baseline value is already good enough and ASM1 isn't changing much. Aim well and you can hit with EVERYTHING. Look, German 380mm L/52s aren't the most impressive of battleship weapons but they're certainly novel on a cruiser. Even with that said, landing six out of six battleship caliber shells of a given volley is enough to make anyone sit up and take notice regardless of the ship type. Like Jean Bart, Siegfried will tear you a new one if you're foolish enough to give her a broadside. While the French battleship will do it through volume of fire, Siegfried will do it with a single well placed shot. Even her awful HE performance is counteracted (somewhat) by this phenomenal accuracy she boasts. Siegfried almost feels Soviet, what with firing high-velocity shells and having the ability to snipe destroyers from a distance. It's that accuracy that solves a lot of Siegfried's woes -- not all of them, mind you, but a lot. Without landing citadel hits or steady penetrations, Siegfried will lose just about any damage race. So while her individual hits are pretty jaw dropping, it's a struggle to land enough of them to make a difference if you're not prioritizing targets properly. As good as Siegfried's guns are on paper, without a good head behind the helm, she can be pretty terrible. Unlike Agir's guns, which improve upon pretty forgettable weapons, Siegfried's are an improvement on some rather novel guns. If nothing else, Siegfried makes for some interesting gunnery. Imperfect Perfections As different as the guns are on the two ships, Siegfried and Agir share a couple of problems. Poor damage out put. Poor gun firing angles. As good as Siegfried and Agir's guns can be, they're fouled by angling. Granted, Agir is more vulnerable to this than Siegfried, but Siegfried performs even more poorly when it finally meets a target it can't overmatch. German HE performance is notoriously terrible and if these ships are forced to fire it for long, their numbers will tank. Agir's only saving grace in this regard is her fire setting ability which is ... well, it's not great but it's not at the appalling levels Siegfried suffers. In short, these ships struggle in head-up fights where they can't brawl and they can't use their AP shells reliably. If an enemy is aware of them and reacts accordingly, they can largely shut down their damage output outside of close-range knife fights. Agir's AP DPM is pretty darned respectable -- more-so if you consider she can make ready use of it more often than many other cruisers. Siegfried, by contrast, is way behind. But when you remember she has battleship caliber guns, capable of actually landing citadel hits reliably at a distance, this helps make up for it. However, she's always going to lag on damage output, so she needs to aim well and survive long to keep up. I made this graph the same scale as the AP DPM so you could compare them. The O-class cruisers really miss out on HE DPM -- Siegfried's is especially appalling. Landing six penetrating HE shells is only 8,712 damage -- and that's a best case scenario every 22.9 to 26s. While this will ruin any destroyer's day, other targets can shrug that off, especially when it halves due to saturation. While Agir's HE shell performance may be lacking, her fire setting is on par with Azuma and Alaska, which is respectable. Siegfried is again pretty embarrassing. As for firing angles, well... they're terrible, frankly. You have to expose a whole lot of broadside to fire forward and even more to fire rearward. Agir is especially bad for this which opens up these ships to taking a lot of damage they should otherwise be able to avoid. Furthermore, this makes both ships very poor choices for kiting. When engaging targets chasing them, their guns are doubly terrible. First, their overmatch potential is limited -- Agir moreso than Siegfried, but the latter has her problems too. Next, you're faced with the loser choice of either firing with a single turret or slowing yourself down when you open up your broadside to return fire with their A & B turrets. Agir is much worse for this than Siegfried -- as if Siegfried needed any more improvements over her sister. The only place where Agir's gun handling performs better is her faster turret traverse. Once you stack on Main Battery Modification 3, Siegfried's gun traverse gets so sluggish she can actively out-turn her turrets. I hate that. You'll want Expert Marksman if you can afford it, but Siegfried's deep secondary build might preclude you from having the points to pick it up. Finally, the biggest drawback of these ships is the need for time deal their damage. While you can hope for some cruiser to offer themselves up as an easy meal, their low damage output means that you're leaning on their survivability to last longer -- giving you more opportunities to make their weapons count. This can be from stacking fires in Agir, padding numbers with Siegfried's secondaries or finally getting a chance where you get to use their fish. Siegfried's numbers are especially volatile with her 380mm guns providing periods of both feast and famine. More time gives you more chances to finally find those opportunities. Agir Summary Agir corrects some of the problems found with Odin's armament but then takes on additional problems of poor fire angles and ineffective backup weaponry. Firepower wise, I'd rather have Alaska or Azuma. These ships all have similar AP penetration but Alaska has her improved autobounce angles and Azuma has way better HE shells. All three are comparable firebugs. Still, the torpedoes that Agir has are nice but I can't see myself enjoying her secondaries outside of co-op. So yeah, poor marks here. Siegfried Summary By contrast, Siegfried's main battery guns are exciting and so are her secondaries. Yeah, she has problems but they're not insurmountable and it's a worthwhile price to pay to have access to 380mm guns that hit with (almost) everything. Verdict: Siegfried's weapons are fun and unique. Agir is Odin Two: The Electric Boogaloo with better main battery guns but worse secondaries which is boring as all get out. Final Evaluation I have nothing but praise for Siegfried and I'm generally dismissive of Agir. The basis of these feels is pretty simple: Siegfried's game play is new and novel -- she's effectively a glass-cannon version of Gneisenau, greatly improving offense at the expense of durability. Agir, by contrast, is a more-different Odin but she loses out entirely on secondaries and adds durability issues. The other way of looking at Agir is to compare her to the front-running large cruiser at tier IX, Alaska. Comparing the two of them, Alaska is hands down better -- she has better artillery and better team utility. Agir only wins out in brawls. I wouldn't go so far to say that Siegfried is better than Alaska, but at least Siegfried offers a change in game play. Fun and novelty is a worth the price of optimization in my opinion. I'm not surprised Siegfried is the more compelling choice over Agir, not when she's locked behind the Research Bureau grind. Unlike Agir which seemed to be nerfed every step along the way of her development, Siegfried had only two significant changes made to her since her introduction in early 2019. First, her AA power got played around with. That shouldn't be unexpected given the volatility of the CV rework over that same time period but it is what it is. Second, her torpedoes dropped from an 8km range to a 6km range. Wargaming have, quite deliberately, preserved the attractive secondary-heavy game play that turned people's heads during Agir's development. Siegfried is a big ol' fat carrot on a stick hoping to lure you into regrinding a few tech tree lines. To me, Agir feels like a consolation prize -- a poor man's Siegfried, as it were. Though she is a lot more accessible and she's not terrible, she's a distant second to her sister ship and even further behind Alaska. Given the ongoing events, if people wanted Agir, I'd steer them to Odin instead. I can't speak for Siegfried being "worth it" for having to participate in the Research Bureau, but she is a good ship -- as I have said repeatedly, she's interesting if nothing else. It's up to you if that's worth your time investment. So yeah, that's the O-class. A fun ship locked behind a painful experience and a meh ship that will forever have you looking over your shoulder wondering what you could have had instead. Siegfried turned quite a few heads during play testing. Agir just turned stomachs with her constant nerfs. Conclusion Wargaming is still at it. Champagne has been finalized so there's another ship added onto the pile that needs reviewing. I need some time off after this one, so I don't anticipate having another review out before early July. Thank you very much for reading.
  18. West Virginia is a slow brick with the biggest, baddest guns you're likely to find this side of tier VI -- at least until the upcoming Russian battleship tech tree. I want to thank Wargaming for providing me access to this ship. This is the release version of the vessel and all of the statistics discussed here are current as of November 30th, 2018. Be aware that Prinz Eitel Friedrich's statistics discussed in this article are still a Work in Progress and are subject to change. PROS Armed with 406mm guns with excellent damage, penetration and overmatch ability. That's it. That's all she's got. No, I'm not making this up. That one "Pro" is the reason that decides if you want this ship or not. CONS Small hit point pool of 50,200hp. Highly vulnerable to HE spam. Very slow and no improved energy preservation while turning. Bad anti-aircraft defense. Large surface detection range of 16.4km base. Overview Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Standard-type battleships are some of the simplest ships to play in World of Warships. West Virginia 1941 (WV41) makes this even easier by all but eliminating complicated decision-making for novice players. She's too slow to flex once she's committed to an engagement. Her AP shells are so good that you don't need to consider changing ammo types. She's going to get her bows overmatched by most of the battleships you'll face so don't worry too much about manoeuvres. You're also a ready victim of aircraft attack, so why bother stressing about it? Yep, dirt simple. Of course if you want to try-hard WV41 will reward you for it. She's got enough belt armour and agility to tank effectively. Her gunnery is wonderful so picking the right targets pays off huge. While she is slow, if you fancy yourself a master strategist then knowing just how and where you need to go to have the most influence will make all the difference. – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Her main battery guns are the about her. Her handling and anti-aircraft firepower are just plain . Her defense and concealment are passable, earning a rating. Options The only thing of note with WV41's options are her two camouflage patterns. Consumables WV41's Damage Control Party is standard for an American battleship. This has unlimited charges, a 20 second active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard, healing back up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds. This has a 120s / 80s reset timer. Finally, she has a Spotter Aircraft. There's nothing unusual here, with a 100s active period and a 360s / 240s reset timer. It starts with 3 base charges. Upgrades We're looking at the usual suspects for mid-tier American battleships with the exception of any anti-aircraft modifications. Like Arizona, WV41 doesn't have the AA power worth upgrading. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control Modification 1. Fires are a big concern for USN Battleships. After that, it's Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1. This will get your main battery range up from 16.06km to 18.63km. For your last slot, Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal for helping mitigate Fire damage. However, if you prefer, you can take Steering Gears Modification 2 to help with her sluggish handling. It's not going to do much, but every bit helps. Camouflage By default, WV41 1941 comes with Type 10 Camouflage. Alternatively, you can purchase W. Virginia 1941 as a cosmetic swap for 3,000 doubloons. Both types have identical bonuses, providing: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. The big difference is how they sound. Yes, the W. Virginia 1941 camouflage has a custom horn! http://shipcomrade.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/West_Virginia_shiphorn_2.wav WV41's default camouflage pattern can be swapped for an alternative palette for those who have completed the second-medals section of the American Cruisers Collection. This changes the blue disruption pattern to a pale grey. For 3,000 doubloons, you can unlock the W. Virginia 1941 camouflage in red and brown. While this has the same economic bonuses, you do get a cute horn to toot Firepower Main Battery: Eight 406mm/45s in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Eight 127mm/25s on the deck and and Ten 127mm/51 mounted in casemates. Right, West Viginia 1941's main battery guns are the only good thing about this ship. I'm going to avoid doing Wargaming's hype-job for them by gushing overmuch about how good these guns are. This said, WV41's guns are easily the best battleship-caliber weapons available at tier VI. They're so good you're going to pay for it in almost every other facet of this vessel. If what we go over here in her Firepower section doesn't wow you, then this isn't a ship worth paying for. The Unnecessary I don't want to waste too much time on WV41's secondaries. There's not much going for them. They have a 4km range. They reload in 4.5 seconds. She fires a maximum of four guns (not turrets -- guns) per side. There's no potential here. Obligatory, ugly stats-dump. One of these days, I'll figure out a way to make this look pretty. Sorry, Mutsu WV41 is armed with the same naval rifles as Colorado at tier VII -- and here they are shoe-horned in a full tier lower. She inherits these weapons in full, and not having to suffer with inferior ammunition choices. The few differences summarize to the following: Main Battery Range - Colorado has 2.77km more base reach with her main battery for 18.83km vs 16.06km (or 21.84km vs 18.63km with upgrades). Sigma - Colorado has 0.1 sigma more than WV41 for 1.90 versus 1.80. Standard dispersion test. 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso without camouflage. Colorado and WV41 have identical dispersion areas -- the only difference is how often shells cluster towards the center of your aiming point (as determined by sigma). Warspite, equipped with Aiming Systems Modification 1 has been included as she represents the gold-standard of what precision looks like among battleships at this tier. Penetrate All the Things With WV41's precision and dispersion being considered "average", her guns need to make up some ground to make this vessel worthwhile. Where she does this is in her penetration power. This she has in spades. WV41 has the best AP penetration among tier VI battleships, hands-down. With more than 450mm worth of penetration at 18km, she has enough to penetrate broadside battleship belt armour of anything she might face. Furthermore, the large-caliber of her shells allows her to overmatch 27mm worth of hull plating. WV41 will punish any cruiser within her matchmaking spread while also being able to do the same to tier VI and VII battleships, regardless of angling. This just leaves tier VIII battleships able to bow-tank her. In answer to this, WV41 must reach for her HE shells. She has no special quirks with her HE shells, so use them only when needed. They have 67mm worth of penetration which is more than enough to bruise any opponents pulling off these shenanigans. Unlike other tier VI battleships, WV41 is far less reliant on HE shells than most, so having only mediocre shells here isn't a drawback. Provided you aim well and dispersion doesn't troll you, WV41's AP shells have more than enough penetration to handle almost any target you might face. Let's take a look at some of the raw stats: These are the top 5 battleships at tier VI for AP penetration as of patch 0.7.11. Penetration values are approximate and courtesy of proships.ru (link in the Appendix -- give them some love). Generally speaking, battleships at this tier are forced to choose between having good penetration or the ability to overmatch. WV41 is unique at tier VI for having both. Go figure, bigger shells hit harder. WV41 tops the charts on a per-shell damage basis at tier VI, with one of her hits dealing 18% to 20% more damage than a comparable 356mm shell. This number is important to keep in mind when you account for potential damage output. WV41's precision, penetration and overmatch mechanics make individual damaging hits more likely in many (but not all) situations compared to her peers. They're not God-Tier Good as WV41's guns are, they're far from perfect As any veteran Roma commander will tell you: There's such a thing as too much penetration. It's possible to blow clean through the machine spaces of some cruisers without causing a citadel hit. Thankfully, this is largely limited to point-blank range engagements against the lightest armoured cruisers. WV41 doesn't couple of her enormous penetration levels with high muzzle velocity. Where they're really lacking, in my opinion, is reach. I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to tell you this early that mounting such potential on a standard-type hull is going to cause issues and she struggles to keep up with the flow of battle. WV41's fire angles are only alright. You have to expose a fair bit of side to get her full salvos off. This isn't too bad when she's top-tier. However, when she's at the bottom of the pile, the enormous levels of penetration present makes a mockery of your belt at anything but near autobounce-angles. This problem with being bottom tier compounds with her range. Again, it's perfectly acceptable when she's top-tier, but the large maps she has to navigate when she's facing tier VIIs and tier VIIIs makes me wish she had closer to Colorado-levels of reach. Finally, the last fly in the ointment is this: She only has eight guns. You really need to maximize the opportunities provided by your high-penetration and overmatch potential to make your advantages count. If you're facing opponents that are constantly sailing broadside at medium-close ranges, you would have been better served with a larger battery of smaller-caliber weapons. WV41's theoretical damage output isn't bad at all for an eight-gun warship at tier VI. It's considerably better when you factor in the gimmicks that make dealing said damage easier -- namely her high penetration and her overmatch potential. WV41 has to rely on said advantages to differentiate herself from the twelve-gun heavy hitters which use volume of fire to make something stick. Most of these suffer from 1.60 sigma or less which makes any pretense of precision dubious. WV41's fire arcs are average and on the poor side of average at that, especially when kiting. Her gun handling benefits greatly from Expert Marksman if you have the skill points to spare. You don't need it, but you'll want it. Summary Her guns deliver heavy damage, but they're not flashy. Their big deal is that they penetrate all of the things. Her secondaries suck, but no one's surprised. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Worse sigma, a longer reload, slower gun traverse, etc. Defense Hit Points: 50,200 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 343mm belt + 45mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% I told you: You're going to pay a lot of concessions to have 406mm main battery guns on a tier VI ship. This is the first of many areas where WV41 only manages to be so-so. An Aside about HE Damage Mitigation At tier VI, Fuso here is the gold standard for HE resistance, ticking all five five boxes including a fully reinforced main deck and upper hull. This gives her the best chance of shattering and absorbing HE spam from most CLs, CAs and DDs. Note that on the whole, these bonuses only provide some small amount of protection. Cleveland is still going to melt your face off. Let's talk a minute about HE damage mitigation from cruisers and destroyers. In general, there are five components to look for when evaluating how well protected a battleship is against small and medium caliber HE. The idea is that a ship has either spaced-compartments to absorb the shot or she has heavier armour than normal in a given place. This reduces the surface area where HE shells can land a damaging hit. Extended Waterline Belts must be above the surface to have any value, reducing the amount of target area on the bow and stern. These are typically found on German and lower tiered battleships. Imperator Nikolai I stands out in this regard. An Anti-Torpedo Bulge can have some merit provided it extends upwards to cover parts of the hull that would otherwise be vulnerable. The Queen Elizabeth-class are a great example of this, with bulges that extend forward far enough to help protect part of their bow. Armoured Bridge help foil HE shells from otherwise damaging your super-squishy superstructure. They typically have armour as thick as (or thicker than) the ship's belt which is a no-no for all calibers of HE. Reinforced Hulls and Reinforced Decks come with three distinctions -- no mitigation, partial mitigation and full mitigation. No mitigation speaks for itself. The plating is no thicker than the extremities and cruisers will hoover up damage here for days. Partial is thick enough to repulse some small and medium caliber HE shells, typically those of destroyers. Full mitigation will repulse 152mm shells buffed with IFHE or even some heavy cruiser shells. Note that some ships will only have a small part of their main deck reinforced -- pay close attention to the amount of area covered. The Bismarck-class is a good example of this. The Colorado-class relies on raw armour thickness to repel AP shells. Not much of her plate has any appreciable angle which would further increase its relative thickness. So while her 343mm belt looks solid, you'd get more mileage out of the sloped belts of some of the later USN battleships like the South Dakota, North Carolina and Iowa-class battleships which have better protection for comparable thickness. Given her 25mm extremities and deck plating, WV41 is dangerously vulnerable to AP overmatch mechanics from 380mm guns or larger and most HE shells she'll face. Armour Protection WV41's protection scheme is alright if only just. She relies on raw armour thickness to carry the day and there are glaring holes in her defenses which are easy to exploit. Her 25mm extremities and deck are vulnerable to overmatch mechanics and HE spam. She has poor anti-torpedo defense and no spaced armour around her belt. Her internal citadel wall is only a third as thick as the other standard-types at her tier. Finally, she has one of the lowest health pools at tier VI, barely scraping together 50,000 hit points. There are two reasons WV41's durability is considered adequate and the first isn't exactly flattering. The protection schemes of a lot of the tier VI battleships are found wanting. The other two standard-types are the only ones that could claim to have decent anti-torpedo protection, for example. Vulnerability to overmatch mechanics and HE is a chronic problem at this tier, with only a few ships boasting sections of upper hull or deck greater than 25mm. The list of problems among tier VI super-dreadnoughts goes on, with citadel height, hit point disparity and module vulnerability all plaguing ships to various degrees. So at least WV41's in good company. WV41's second saving grace is that her belt and citadel armour is good enough. When top-tier and with a bit of range or angling, she can avoid the worst from incoming AP shells. The high penetration of her own guns means that her opponent's protection scheme matters much less. If it comes to outlasting tier VI and VII opponents, WV41's defense is sufficient unto the task, allowing you to trade fire effectively. It falls apart against tier VIIIs, though. With her low hit point total, WV41 is second-to-last for effective HP among her peers. This is yet another way WV41 pays for those awesome guns and the cost is getting pretty steep. According to the Devs, WV41 (like other USN Premiums) is NOT slated to get the proposed Repair Party Buff coming to the American battleship line. I predict they'll rescind this statement. Repair Party You can't talk about American battleships without talking about this consumable. The lead of WV41's class, Colorado, has an improved Repair Party that heals back 18.48% of her health over 28 seconds instead of 14%. The entirety line of researched American battleships is getting said buff if the Work in Progress changes go through. The premium battleships are not, WV41 included. In this way, WV41 is being "Mutsu'd". While the Japanese premium was gutted by her poor shells, WV41 really feels the lack of Colorado's regeneration. Her hit point pool feels even smaller without it, and it's already pretty small. To put it another way, I was genuinely shocked when Wargaming told me that WV41 was not currently slated to be getting her Repair Party buffed in 0.7.12. It feels out-of-place. If she does eventually get it, it will be a welcome addition. Summary: Her armour is "okay". Her hit point total is not. Her anti-torpedo protection is unsightly compared to the other standard-types. Overmatch and HE are your bane. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : New Mexico's new Repair Party. Agility Top Speed: 21 knots Port Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 13.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Turning Rate: 3.6º/s WV41 chasing Colorado in a turning radius test. You'll note how the gif "pops" as WV reaches the 9 o'clock position and skips to the 6 o'clock position while Colorado's circle is complete. She's that much slower than Colorado. This test confirmed WV41's port-stats as accurate. However, it did provide proof that Colorado doesn't turn as well as advertised. The lead-ship has a 710m turning radius, not 640m, so WV41 has a slight leg up there. Standard-type battleships are notoriously slow. WV41 somehow manages to be even slower. Yes, really. Wargaming has artificially boosted the engine power of some of the American battleships in a similar way to Royal Navy cruisers and destroyers. For normal battleships, they lose up to 25% of their maximum speed while under manoeuvres. Thus, a 30 knot battleship will drop down to about 22.5 knots in a sustained turn. New Mexico and Colorado both lose less speed in a turn than they should -- much less in Colorado's case; a mere 9%. Not so WV41. WV41 is entirely normal when it comes to manoeuvrability penalties, joining Arizona in this sorry-state. Thus WV41's 21.1 knot top speed falls down to 15.9 knots in a turn. Unless you're sailing in a perfectly straight line, this ship struggles to maintain 18 knots with any consistency. Unlike Arizona, WV41 has a larger turning radius of 670m instead of 640m. The combination of this slow speed and larger turning radius makes WV41 positively glacial when it comes to her rate of turn and arguably the worst-handling of any of the American battleships in the game. The gone ray of sunshine is that she can't out turn her turrets. So yay? So WV41 isn't getting anywhere fast. You can be fatalistic or proactive with this. The former is pretty brainless -- you're not fast enough to flex, so pick a path and accept whatever happens beyond your range as being outside of your control. Blame teams for your losses and decry WV41 as a trashbote because of it. The latter means work -- a lot of work. Develop your situational awareness. Keep a ready eye on the minimap and have a keen sense of predicting the flow of battle. Flex well in advance and give yourself time to intercept key threats. It's exhausting but you can work around this deficiency. The larger the map, the more work this is -- perhaps more work than it's worth. Summary Blame Lert for inspiring this image. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's the worst of the worst here. It would take a lot to redeem her. She'd need a turning radius smaller than 640m or better energy preservation in a turn to overtake Arizona. That still wouldn't improve her standing. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Gun Calibers: 127mm/ 76.2mm / 12.7mm AA Aura Ranges: 4.2km / 3.5km / 1.2km AA DPS per Aura: 58.4 / 11.2 / 30.4 There's more bad news here. WV41's AA power sucks. It's worse than Arizona's, it's that bad. Do I need to elaborate more than that? What's this nonsense? "Effective AA DPS"? On the eve of the Aircraft Carrier rework, stressing over current AA mechanics just isn't worth while. Be glad WV41 isn't being sold on the premise that she has good AA. That might end up not meaning much in a few short months. This chart shows the relative power level of given AA armaments based on not only the amount of damage their mounts put out but also how far they can reach to keep enemy planes under fire. Thus ships which concentrate their firepower into long-range will get a higher rating than one that focuses on medium or short. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Technically she deserves a "" at least going by the metric that she's not the worst or second worst at her tier. However, AA power at tier VI is almost across the board with only a few battleships that have enough to give any CV pause. I'm not pulling any punches here. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 16.42km Air Detection Range: 14.68km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 13.70km Detection Range when Firing in Smoke: 15.9km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.06km (18.63km with APRM1) While it cannot be accurately said that WV41 pays for the power of her guns with a lack of concealment, this definitely isn't one of her strong points. Her concealment is on the bad side of average, sitting just above Dunkerque and Mutsu by 500m, but well behind just about everything else. A full stealth build is highly recommended -- use and abuse what little ability to hide that she has. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Losing two or three kilometers off her surface detection range. Taking Me Home WV41's skill choices are stupidly easy. With no real anti-aircraft firepower worth upgrading and secondaries that may as well shoot spit balls instead of HE shells, that just leaves a survivability build as the only real option here. Start with Priority Target. If you prefer, you can take Preventative Maintenance instead, but it's not optimal. Adrenaline Rush is your second skill choice. Take Basics of Survivability next. Finally, to round out your 10th skill point, choose between Fire Prevention and Concealment Expert. You'll be taking both, so the order is up to you. You'll take the other one for your 14th point. At 17pts you should take Superintendent. Note, if WV41 had the buffed Repair Party the other USN Battleships will be getting, you'd take this before Basics of Survivability and the two skills would trade places in order of priority. Oh well. And finally, round things off with Expert Marksman. If you prefer, you can take Jack of All Trades or High Alert instead. Final Evaluation Unless a ship is particularly novel, I'm not a fan of having to put in extra work to get a ship to perform. West Virginia 1941 is one such vessel. Her guns truly are phenomenal at tier VI. The rest of her, though? Well, it's all poor-to-average at best. There's a trap in such an evaluation though -- just because something measures up 'okay' compared to what else is out there, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's 'okay' on the whole. WV41's concealment is a good example of this. For a tier VI battleship, it's decidedly average. In order to be functionally competitive based on everything else, it's woefully inadequate. The same could be said for her AA power and agility. A case could even be made that her durability is similarly lacking. Those awesome guns have cost her dear. Her firepower up-tiers well even if the rest of her does not. WV41's weaknesses are scarcely noticeable when she's facing tier V and VI ships. This is largely owing to map sizes being so much more comfortable to her 'stately' waddle and modest range. Top-tier, she's truly a monster and you can really feel that this is what she was balanced for. She's on the tipping edge of being too powerful to be a tier VI ship. She's a solid contender for Ranked Battles. If Wargaming were to buff her with Colorado's agility and New Mexico's upcoming Repair Party improvements, she'll give Warspite a run for her money as the best choice in this limited competitive scene. The Random Battles queue won't let you play as top-tier all the time, however, so you have to contend with how WV41 stacks up against higher-tiered opponents. Provided you can get in range with her guns and not get focused, she performs well. The challenge, which is darn well near insurmountable at times, is getting into firing position, keeping up with the flow of battle, and being able to disengage when things get too hot. WV41 compounds the problems facing the Colorado-class as a whole by exaggerating the weaknesses that defined the class. Colorado is slow. WV41 is slower. Colorado isn't very durable. WV41 is weaker still. Colorado isn't flexible. WV41 is even shorter ranged. If a situation makes Colorado struggle, then WV41 founders. I'm not going to tell you this is a good ship. It isn't. I will tell you that her guns are good -- excellent, even. They're unfortunately mounted on an interwar, standard-type hull. In my opinion, the ship's worth playing for her guns alone. However, I wouldn't go so far as to say that the experience of firing her guns is worth paying for. My opinion here will probably change if she gets some small improvements, like that Repair Party buff. Would I Recommend? It's maybe a little presumptuous of me to say, but this isn't the ship that anyone asked for. Almost universally, if someone wanted West Virginia to show up in World of Warships, they wanted to see her late-war rebuild. Her story is a compelling one. She is a phoenix that rose from the ashes of Pearl Harbor and went on to avenge not only herself, but the United States Navy too. On top of that, her late war build is so much more interesting in terms of game play. What-if debates have gone back and forth on what tier she would end up and with what gimmicks to make her competitive. I don't think we'll see West Virginia 1944 anytime soon, though. If Wargaming rushed, they could have her out sometime in 2019, but I just don't think she's high priority. After all, they have West Virginia 1941 to sell. West Virginia 1945's anti-aircraft armament. My body is ready. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes for Co-Op, no for Scenarios. WV41 excels in Co-Op. You can count on the bots to always come charging blindly at you which mitigates her weaknesses. In Scenarios, her speed and lack of AA power is a big liability. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. No. While she's a beast when top-tier, it's a roll of the dice to get that kind of favourable Matchmaking. If you could guarantee it? Absolutely, she's all kinds of fun when she's kicking in the teeth of her contemporaries. For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. Oh look, guaranteed top-tier Matchmaking. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. No. I'm waiting for West Virginia 1944. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes, surprisingly. I enjoyed playing WV41. I do love my standard-type battleships. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it! In Conclusion My goodness, I managed to get a review out on time over the holidays! That's one at least. The next ship to be reviewed is Bourgogne, the tier X French Battleship. I wasn't going to prioritize her initially, but news of Wargaming giving players the opportunity to acquire Steel outside of Ranked and Clan Battles has bumped her up my list. Hopefully I'll have her review out by this time next week. Dreadnought and Charleston remain in my backlog. Prinz Eitel Friedrich looks very close to being released too, so stay tuned!  Appendix Armour penetration data was pulled from: http://proships.ru/stat/ships/
  19. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review #128 - Hill

    The following is a review of the American Destroyer USS Hill, kindly provided to me by Wargaming. To the best of my knowledge, this represents the release version of the ship. Be aware her statistics may change in the future. Of the two ships that are new (Benham was released too), Hill has the less remarkable debut. She takes her cue from Nicholas but don't misconstrue: the comparison of the two becomes askew when their differences are run through. With this in mind, let us cut into this review: (enough of the rhymes, whew!) PROS Armed with 5 rapid fire guns with good damage output. Good gun handling and fire arcs on most of her mounts. Heavy torpedo armament of nine torpedo tubes. Good top speed of 37.5 knots. Agile with a good 560m turning radius and a high rate of turn. CONS Only a modest hit point total for a gunship. Bad ballistics on her guns. Horrible forward fire angles on her middle turret. Torpedoes are painfully short ranged at 5.5km with limited arcs per launcher. Enormous surface detection range of 7.38km Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual/ CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH/ Extreme Hill is a typical mid-tier American destroyer. While she's easy enough to play when top tier, as soon as she steps out of the kiddy pool, she'll prove to be a challenge for novice players to wrestle. Her short range torpedoes, the poor ballistics of her guns, her enormous surface detection and modest hit point pool do not lend themselves well to the inexperienced. Veterans can make good use of her, though. Map knowledge can help mitigate her torpedo range and allow her to capitalize on island terrain. Her smoke is excellent and can be used and abused. Finally, her excellent agility makes her a potent knife fighter. – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Hill is reliant upon her guns to keep her firepower competitive. While they have great potential damage output, their ballistics really hold them back. Her torpedoes are too short ranged and too slow to be of much help. Hill's defense and agility have nothing wrong with them -- they just don't top the charts among the other tier V destroyers. Agility wise, she handles very well, but there are simply other destroyers at this tier which handle better. Anti-aircraft firepower remains a work in progress. Hill has a solid foundation here and should rank among the better tier V destroyers for AA power. What that will actually mean remains to be seen. We'll have to wait until the dust settles. Hill is visible from space. It's unfortunate. Her stealth sucks. Options Hill stands out in two areas. First, she lacks access to Defensive AA Fire. This isn't unusual in of itself, however the consumable is commonplace on upgraded American destroyers, so it's absence is worth noting. Second, Hill has access to two permanent camouflage patterns. Consumables The only consumable of note with Hill is the use of the American Smoke Generator with a longer emission time (30s vs 20s) and duration (115s vs 77s). Upgrades Upgrade wise, Hill is pretty standard. Start with Magazine Modification 1. If you don't mind detonations you can swap for Main Armaments Modification 1. Propulsion Modification 1 is the only consumable really worth considering in your second slot. Your third slot is a little weird with neither being especially good for a low tier destroyer. AA Guns Modification 1 gives your AA a bit more teeth against novice CV players. Alternatively, you can take Aiming Systems Modification 1 though this really is only useful for increasing your torpedo tube traverse. I've been playing tier VI+ destroyers for a while and I had forgotten how accustomed I was to the acceleration provided by Propulsion Modification 2. Hill, as a tier V destroyer, can't equip it and this has gotten me killed far too often. Ugh. So embarrassing. Camouflage Hill has access to two camouflage options, the standard Type 9 and the Master of the Water World. They are effectively cosmetic swaps of one another, providing the same bonuses. If Hill doesn't come with the second camouflage, it may be purchased for 2,000 doubloons. +50% experience gains -10% to post-battle costs. -3% to detectability by sea. +4% to enemy dispersion. The alternative palette swap for her base camouflage can be unlocked through completing the American Cruiser collection. I quite like the alternative palette. It reminds me of Easter. Firepower Main Battery: Five 127mm/38 guns in single turrets in an A-B-P-X-Y configuration with A-B and X-Y superfiring. P-turret is mounted between the two funnels (unfortunately). Torpedoes: Nine tubes in 3x3 launchers with a wing mount to each side and one mounted on the center line. American 127mm/38s, We Meet Again These are the staple of the American destroyer line from tier V+. They are characterized by the following: Dual Purpose. High rate of fire. Good gun traverse speeds. Low muzzle velocity and horrible ballistics. Poor fire chance per HE shell. As you climb in tiers, their rate of fire tends to improve and that's about it. It shouldn't be a surprise then that Hill's rate of fire isn't that impressive compared to some of the later offerings in the tech tree. Hill dispenses 12.5 rounds per minute (rpm) per gun, giving her a broadside of 62.5rpm before any upgrades. This is on the slow side, with most American destroyers with 127mm/38s spitting out a minimum of 15rpm per gun at tiers V and VI and jumping up to 18.18rpm by tier VII. She compensates for this deficit by mounting five guns, at least allowing her to keep pace with Nicholas at her own tier. The usual caveats with DPM charts apply. This only describes the potential damage output of these guns and it doesn't account for things like how easy it is to bring guns onto a target (traverse, fire angles), how easy it is to hit a target (dispersion, ballistics) or how easy it is to deal damage (penetration). But you're all smart enough to know that, right? This is sorted by HE shells for the simple reason that they get spat out more often. Gremyashchy has the most useful AP shells at this tier and is the most likely to do something effective with them. Hill just barely keeps ahead of Nicholas in terms of potential damage output but only if she can bring all of her guns to bear. Thankfully many of the low tier destroyers have gun angle issues, so it's a pretty close contest. To make the best use of Hill's guns, she generally has to get close. The ballistic arcs on the 127mm/38s is notoriously bad, making attacking ships at anything beyond stupidly-close ranges a challenge. The one benefit to this is that she's quite capable of lobbing shells over intervening terrain (or team mates) without issue, so she's quite apt at taking advantage of island cover. Still, when it comes to engaging enemy destroyers, she's going to need to grab them by their belt buckle which isn't always comfortable. For a ship reliant upon knife fighting to secure kills, at least her gun traverse is fast enough to keep up no matter how she wiggles or dodges (and she's good at the wiggles). On the whole, Hill's guns are pretty darned good, second only to Gremyashchy's guns for overall performance, but that's mostly owing to Gremyashchy's AP shells being so good. Hill's forward fire angles are pretty good except for her P-turret. This shouldn't really surprise anyone given that the darned thing is sandwiched between her two funnels. As a consequence, if Hill wants to top the DPM charts at tier V, she has to expose her full broadside in order to do it. She has much better fire angles to the rear which makes for better kiting performance. Keep this in mind when parking in smoke. It's better to turn away from your opponent and angle your butt towards them. Not only will you have an easier time bringing all five guns to bear, you can also prep for a quick getaway. Short Range Torpeedus I'm spotted here as I drop my torpedoes at this König. Anyone taking bets on if he attempted to dodge? Low tier American torpedoes suck. There. I've said it. They're short ranged, slow and they don't hit very hard. The one advantage they do have is that American destroyers have a lot of them. Hill doesn't quite pack as many, with only nine compared to Wickes, Clemson's and Nicholas' twelve launchers. One of the (additional) issues I had with Hill's torpedoes was the limited arcs. They can't aim at anything less than 50º off her bow and her center-line launcher can barely reach anything to her rear. Like with her P-turret on her guns, you've got to give up a lot of broadside to be able to put your swimmers into the water. Her fish are at least more versatile than low-tier Soviet torpedoes but that's not saying much. If you want to make use of Hill's fish, you're going to have to rely on close range ambushes or suicide-torping a target at point blank range. Just be aware that some of the higher tiered ships will have enough hit points to tank taking repeated hits and make you look like an idiot when your tubes are empty. You're not going to get much use out of them in higher tiered matches which makes her all the more reliant on her guns. Summary I dare say that Hill is almost under-armed. Bad fire angles keep her from being able to use all five her guns reliably. Her torpedoes are almost no help outside of top-tier matches. For a tier V boat, I guess that's good enough but this ship isn't winning any prizes. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Better fish or a higher rate of fire on her guns. It shouldn't be any surprise that Gremyashchy tops the charts here with the Kamikaze-sisters hot on her heels. Defense Hit Points: 12,100hp Minimum Bow & Deck Armour: 10mm Hill has two huge flaws. The biggest is definitely her surface detection. The second is her modest hit point total. For a gunship, Hill's hit points are kinda meh. While Survivability Expert is all but mandatory for destroyers, it's doubly so in Hill's case. She's too fat to hide and she's going to have to trade hit points in most encounters in order to deal damage (barring island humping and hiding in smoke). I mean, her hit point total isn't terrible, but it's uninspiring for a gunship, barely scraping together 12k to her name. 13,100 hp - Nicholas, Gremyashchy 12,700 hp - Podvoisky, Okhotnik 12,500 hp - Jianwei 12,100 hp - Hill 11,300 hp - Mutsuki, T-22 11,200 hp - Acasta 11,100 hp - Fujin, Kamikaze R, Kamikaze 10,900 hp - Minekaze A thousand extra hit points here could have easily changed Hill from a decent ship to an excellent one. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : A thousand more hit points would do it. Agility Top Speed: 37.5 knots Turning Radius: 560m Rudder Shift Time: 3.1s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 8.6º/s One of the best things about Hill is that she has a low-tier lolibote's agility. She's got that smol lolibote wiggle in her tush with a rate of turn that's oh-so tight...! ♥ Azur Lane's Ark Royal was drawn by HM & Tomodachi and misappropriated for this review. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : While Hill does have that smol-bote sway, most of the other tier V destroyers have it too. Minekaze is the princess of this tier when it comes to agility and Hill is way down the list. This just kinda illustrates the flaw in a ranking system. Hill may not be the best, or even the close to the best in this category, but she still boasts some amazing handling. To top Minekaze she'd need more speed while preserving all of her other characteristics. Anti-Aircraft Defense Long Ranged (5.8km-1.8km): 190 damage every 4.5 seconds and 1 explosion at 560 damage. Short Ranged (1.8km to 0.1km): 50 damage every 1.96 seconds. Look, AA defense and aircraft survivability is going to be all over the map between now (0.8.5.1) and the next few patches (0.8.7 at least). There's not much point in reviewing a ship's given AA power at the moment. Don't buy a ship based on its AA power for the foreseeable future. Ugh, six more weeks of volatility. To the tune of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck", in memory of destroyer game play from patches 0.8.0 to 0.8.4. The pendulum has swung hard in favour of AA power in 0.8.5. Hill's AA defense is very comfortable against tier IV CVs at the moment, but will it last? Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Access to Defensive AA Fire. Of course this is all irrelevant anyway given how volatile AA power continues to be. Hill's in a good spot right now. We'll see if that continues. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 7.38km Air Detection Range: 2.85km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.44km Detection Range when Firing in Smoke: 2.75km Main Battery Firing Range: 11.35km (13.62km with Advanced Fire Training) Let's look at some numbers. I've listed all of the destroyers that Hill can face, ranking them by their upgraded surface detection. I've applied camouflage (3% surface detection reduction) and the Concealment Expert (10% surface detection reduction) to all of these ships and Concealment Modification 1 (a further 10% surface detection reduction) on Z-39 cuz she's hella balans. Now, it's important to keep in mind that the lower tiered destroyers -- specifically those at tiers IV and V (and even some VIs) might not be running with full concealment builds so take these numbers with a pinch of salt. Dangerous gunship opponents which are stealthier than Hill are highlighted in red. Those dangerous gunships she can out-spot are highlighted in green. When Hill is Top Tier (Tier IV & V opponents) 5.34km - Isokaze 5.41km - Minekaze, Mutsuki, Fujin, Kamikaze R, Kamikaze 5.50km - V-170 5.66km - Shenyang, Wakeful, Okhotnik 5.69km - T-22 5.81km - Nicholas 5.97km - Acasta, Jianwei 6.11km - Gremyashchy 6.13km - Clemson 6.44km - HILL 6.76km - Podvoisky Hill doesn't come out looking too good when she's top tier, but that's okay. She can effectively outgun most of her opponents here with only the American and Soviet destroyers being any real threat to her in a gun duel. Engaging torpedo destroyers successfully isn't too much of a problem here because the maps are so claustrophobic that you can abuse map borders and islands to cage them in. Still, Hill wins no prizes here. When Hill is "Mid" Tier (Tier V & VI opponents) One of the other possible matchmaking oddities for tier V is that they can end up just facing opponents one tier higher with nothing beneath them. This results in the following list of opponents: 5.41km - Minekaze, Mutsuki, Fujin, Kamikaze R, Kamikaze 5.66km - Okhotnik 5.69km - T-22 5.81km - Nicholas, Hatsuharu 5.97km - Acasta, Jianwei, Gallant 6.11km - Gremyashchy 6.13km - Fubuki, Shinonome, Gnevny, T-61, Fushun 6.29km - Monaghan, Anshan 6.44km - HILL 6.60km - Farragit. Ernst Gaede 6.76km - Podvoisky, Aigle There's a lot more dangerous opponents now, but Hill thankfully out-spots many of the new ones including the tier VI ships Aigle, Farragut and Gaede. Still, the Soviet and Pan Asian additions are worth minding. When Hill is Bottom Tier (Tier V, VI and VII opponents) Big surprise -- there's a lot of scary opponents two tiers higher. 5.41km - Minekaze, Mutsuki, Fujin, Kamikaze R, Kamikaze 5.66km - Okhotnik 5.67km - Haida 5.69km - T-22 5.81km - Nicholas, Hatsuharu, Shiratsuyu 5.97km - Acasta, Jianwei, Gallant 6.08km - Z-39 6.11km - Gremyashchy 6.13km - Fubuki, Shinonome, Gnevny, T-61, Fushun, Gadjah Mada 6.29km - Monaghan, Anshan, Jervis 6.44km - HILL , Akatsuki 6.60km - Farragut, Ernst Gaede, Sims, Leningrad 6.67km - Mahan 6.76km - Podvoisky, Aigle, Leberecht Maass, Blyskawica As you can clearly see, Hill's concealment doesn't do it any favours. Thankfully, her stealth is JUST good enough to keep her nose clean in higher tiered matches, though she barely has any reaction time between spotting some of those dangerous gunship opponents before being detected in turn. To be comfortable, I'd generally want a minimum of 250m worth of difference between the detection ranges of two ships to allow players time enough to make a decision whether to engage or begin retreating. This is not enough time to prevent being spotted in the first place (a 30 knot ship covers 250m in 3 seconds) but it can give you enough of a head start to make a decision. Hill is a big girl with all of the challenges that brings. This is, in my opinion, what really holds her back from being a "good" ship. She doesn't have the stealth to sneak up on much and her guns are reliant upon her closing the distance (to say nothing of her torpedoes). Worse, the extra range on her guns makes her visible from further out. This range is mostly useless given the horrible ballistics on her guns. This is probably her biggest weak point overall. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Hill's stealth rating is pretty terrible. It could be worse, but let's not go there. King of the Hill Hill accepts a standard American destroyer captain build and shouldn't give anyone any issues with skill compatibility. Your first 10 skill points should look like this: Start with Priority Target. Next take Last Stand. I really hope Wargaming does something about this skill. It's mandatory on all destroyers. Survivability Expert is next at tier 3. This will add another 1,750hp to your total which can give you the edge over the other low-tier gunships that haven't taken this. Concealment Expert rounds things off. As you double back through the line, take skills which emphasize her gunnery. Basic Fire Training is a great choice. Superintendent is nice too because it gives you another charge of smoke that you can use to camp out and spray down larger ships without being seen (just watch out for fish). Adrenaline Rush is always worth the points. Over the Hill To appreciate Hill you need to take a close look at Nicholas, the tier V American tech-tree destroyer. If you listen to the peanut-gallery, they'll tell you the two of them are very close. They're technically correct (the best kind of correct) despite the two ships having an enormous laundry-list of differences. While Hill and Nicholas share the same guns (127mm/38s) and torpedoes (Mark 11s) the soft-stats of the ships differ wildly. But don't you fret: this doesn't affect performance much. Let's get into the list: Where Hill is Better than Nicholas: + Hill has 5 guns to Nicholas' 4. + Hill has an 11.3km range to Nicholas' 10.9km. + Hill has better main battery firing angles than Nicholas. + Hill has better long-range AA firepower. + Hill has a top speed of 37.5kts to Nicholas' 37kts. + Hill has a 560m turning radius to Nicholas' 600m radius. + Hill turns at 8.6º/s, Nicholas turns at 7.9º/s. + Hill has premium economy, Nicholas does not. + Hill has TWO permanent camouflage options, Nicholas doesn't have access to any. Where Hill is Worse than Nicholas: - Hill has 12,100hp to Nicholas' 13,100hp. - Hill's hull armour is no thicker than 10mm, Nicholas has 13mm amidship decks and a 15mm hull. - Hill reloads in 4.7s, Nicholas in 4.0s. - Hill has three triple torpedo launchers, Nicholas has four. - Hill has worse torpedo fire angles than Nicholas. - Hill has worse short-range AA firepower. - Hill has has a larger surface detection of 7.38km to Nicholas' 6.66km - Hill has a larger aerial detection of 2.85km to Nicholas' 2.45km. - Hill is visible in smoke from 2.75km compared to Nicholas' 2.49km. - Nicholas can swap her Engine Boost for Defensive AA Fire. Now if you take a look at that list, you're probably going: "Hey, Mouse, those two ships aren't alike at all." Well, duh, no kidding. When you get into the nitty-gritty, it becomes a stretch to say that Hill shares much in common with Nicholas without a huge number of big ol' fat buts attached. This said, only a big ol' fat butt would try and lord over the differences like they really amounted to much. Boil it all down and the differences between the two comes to this: Nicholas is more survivable, being tougher and more stealthy. Hill is more agile. Overall, they're pretty damn close. They're both American destroyers sharing the same weapons, after all. Let's describe Hill on her own merits: Hill has good guns, good agility but terrible torpedoes and horrible concealment. Without a huge slug of hit points, it would be a stretch to call her "good". Her design is perfectly adequate when she's top tier, especially in the claustrophobic maps she finds herself in during those matches. She's especially effective at running down other destroyers with her rapid fire guns and using her agility to dodge attempts to torpedo her. However, Hill does not up-tier well at all. She's too fat. She's too fragile. She's too short ranged to hit hard enough to keep up with stronger opponents. This summation fits Nicholas to a T which is probably why the two destroyers are viewed so similarly. Of the two, I'd argue that Nicholas is the better boat, if only for the extra health and slightly better concealment. However, the reality is that Hill will perform better than Nicholas as a whole due her being a premium ship. You can put your tin foil hats away -- Hill's greatest strength is that she's likely to have a high skill-point captain commanding her. Nicholas, on the other hand, is hardly the darling of the American destroyer line and unlikely to have a commander exceeding 10 skill points at the helm. While there may be a few veterans about holding onto a Nicholas they've invested heavily into, she's overshadowed by Clemson and Farragut. Thus, Hill is likely to appear to be the better boat once stat-tracking gets some numbers to play with, even if Nicholas is objectively the better ship when you analyze her systems. So, yeah. Hill's alright -- I don't like her, but she's alright. She's a decent gunship destroyer when top-tier, for example. However, we have to pretend that Nicholas doesn't exist to reach that assessment. I'd much rather have one of the Kamikaze-sisters, Gremyashchy or Okhotnik if it came down to choosing a tier V premium and I'd still take Nicholas over Hill in a heartbeat. She doesn't really have a "point" compared to Nicholas other than simply offering more of the same in premium form. The huge stack of minor differences between her and her tech tree counterpart make her just different enough to be just that -- different for difference's sake. None of the tier V tech-tree destroyers are particularly fun to play, in my opinion, so take my saltiness over Hill with a pinch of ... well, even more salt. If you like Nicholas and want a mid-tier American trainer, then Hill is great news for you. Otherwise, Hill isn't worth playing, let alone paying for. Would I Recommend? There's a couple of ways of getting Hill. She was given away provided players completed a series of missions during patch 0.8.5. Alternatively you could just throw money at Wargaming if this was too much work. For PVE Battles? No. Gunship destroyers, especially ones with short ranged fish, aren't really a good choice for PVE battles. For Random Battle Grinding? No. There are better trainers and credit farmers out there for the US Destroyer line (Kidd comes to mind). For Competitive Gaming? Hells no. Take Nicholas instead if you're going to take a tier V American destroyer. There are much MUCH better choices at tier V for something like Ranked Sprint. For Collectors? No. Hill didn't exist in steel. The only real reason to want to collect her is that she had the potential of being free. For her Fun-Factor? No. I didn't enjoy playing Hill at all. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it! And WG said that players don't care about cosmetics. HA. Art Credits The Mouse Paper-doll was designed and drawn by Chobittsu (and is super fun to play with). Ark Royal was drawn by HM & Tomodachi. In Closing I was originally going to glue this together with Benham and also talk about the loot boxes all in a single article. Well, that quickly bloated to a monstrosity that would make my Haida review look brief, so I've elected to cut it up. Benham will be the next ship reviewed and it should be out within the next week. For those who can't wait that long: Benham is good. She's fun, even, if you like torpedo destroyers. She reminds me vaguely Harekaze -- a good mix of gunnery and torpedoes. I'm not sure she's worth busting your butt over on the grind, but there it is. Thank you all for reading. 
  20. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Huanghe

    The following is a review of Huanghe, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. To the best of my knowledge, this is the release version of the ship and the stats are current as of November 30th, 2017. Red River, Yellow River, Red River, Yellow River, Red River, Yel -- ow, I just bit my tongue. Quick Summary: A British light cruiser with Soviet guns, a Japanese destroyer torpedo reload consumable and a Commonwealth cruiser's smoke generator. She's fragile, agile and tiny. Cost: $26.49 USD with a port slot. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.13.1 to 0.6.14.0 November 16th, 2017 to November 30th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary Perth, Tier 6 British Commonwealth Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Huanghe is an Arethusa-class light cruiser -- a design that came immediately after the Leander-class. There are a lot of obvious similarities between the two, with the Arethusa being a less expensive alternative, allowing the Royal Navy to get more ships for the equivalent cost. In game, the ships appear similar but their performance values are vastly different. They don't share the same guns, torpedoes, armour, consumables or handling characteristics, with Perth being arguably better built in almost every case. PROs Excellent gunnery performance with great ballistics, high fire chance and good AP penetration. Accelerated rate of fire of 8.57 rounds per minute. Extremely agile with a faster rate of turn than some IJN Destroyers (!) Small surface detection, capable of being reduced to 8.14km. Powerful anti-aircraft firepower for her tier. Equipped with the equivalent of Propulsion Modification 2 for free. Has the option of taking a Torpedo Reload Booster. Comes with HMAS Perth's Smoke Generator, with a 90s emission time, allowing her to stay mobile while remaining concealed. CONs Exposed citadel over the waterline, capable of being penetrated by all German and British battleship HE. FUN AND ENGAGING! Her magazines are not housed in her citadel with as little as 32mm of armour protecting them. She has an absolutely tiny hit point pool for a cruiser at 24,100hp. Small main battery armament of only 6 guns. Terrible main battery range of 13.2km which cannot be extended. Torpedoes may only fire in a thin spread with no option for wide or single fire. No Defensive Fire consumable. No aircraft consumable to assist her in detecting enemies while hiding in her own smoke. This review is being published a little later than I would like. It's been a difficult testing period, frustrated by more limited access to this ship than I would like. The wait to publish hinged on confirming final release details -- looking for issues that were noted during the testing period and seeing whether or not they were corrected when she went live. These were tidbits that wouldn't be covered in patch notes or described on third party datamine sites, such as her handling, torpedo spreads or which modules she was compatible with. I didn't get access to the ship until after she had been put up for sale, which is why this is being published now instead of prior to release as I would prefer. Anyway, here we are a day late. Let's hope this review isn't a dollar short. Options Huanghe is weird when it comes to her options. This is, I think, symptomatic of her troubled development cycle as different gimmicks were tried and tested and a hodge-podge of abilities emerged in an effort to balance her. Let's go through them. First, Huanghe counts as a British cruiser for the purposes of her upgrades. As such, she cannot take Propulsion Modification 2 as it's already installed for free. Second, she may take a Torpedo Reload Booster. She's the first cruiser to have access to this traditionally Japanese destroyer consumable. This reduces the reload time of her torpedo tubes to 8 seconds. This has a six minute reset timer for the standard consumable and a four minute reset timer for the premium version. Third, her Smoke Generator is odd, mirroring that found on the tier VI British Commonwealth cruiser, HMAS Perth. This comes with three charges by default and has a 90 second emission time, with each cloud only lasting for 10 seconds. This allows Huanghe to continue to creep forward at 1/4 speed and remain concealed while she moves. The reset timer on her consumable is 240s / 160s depending on if you take the free or premium version. Consumables: Damage Control Party Hyroacoustic Search or Torpedo Reload Booster Smoke Generator Module Upgrades: Four slots. British cruiser upgrades. Premium Camouflage: Standard Type 10. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Huanghe's upgrade choices will deviate somewhat from standard Light Cruiser equipment. Take Magazine Modification 1 in your first slot. Huanghe's magazines are not located in her armoured citadel and they have as little as 32mm worth of armour protecting them. She's as vulnerable to detonations as Perth and Leander are to HE shells of 152mm caliber or larger. If you prefer to live dangerously, you can take Main Armaments Modification 1, but don't come crying to me when you get your ship blown out from under you by a stray 152mm HE shell. In your second slot, you have a choice. You should probably take Propulsion System Modification 1 to protect your engine. However, it's your rudder that will get knocked out most frequently. For that, take Steering Gears Modification 1. For your third slot, take AA Guns Modification 2 for the increased range. Huanghe is a very short ranged cruiser, so it's difficult to justify Aiming Systems Modification 1 as it only reduces her maximum dispersion by a mere 8.7m (from 124m to 115m). And in your fourth slot, take Steering Gears Modification 2. Special Upgrades Huanghe is compatible with the following Special Upgrades. Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 replaces Propulsion System Modification 1 in your second slot. This increases the action time of your consumable to 110 seconds. Smoke Generator Modification 1 replaces AA Guns Modification 2. This increases the active time of your Smoke Generator from 90 seconds to 117 seconds, but shortens their duration from 10 seconds to 9.5 seconds. Both of these consumables are excellent choices for Huanghe. If you have access to them (and no better ships to place them upon), I would highly recommend installing each. Firepower Primary Battery: Six 152mm/57 in three turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Eight 100mm/70s in four turrets mounted behind the funnels Torpedo Armament: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers straddling the rear funnel. A lot of justified disdain will be aimed squarely at Huanghe's main battery. Let's get them out of the way. Huanghe has only six 152mm rifles at tier VI. This is appalling and regardless of what other merits I list here, there's no getting around just how terrible this is. Huanghe's lack of sufficient main battery firepower really holds her back. Are we all clear on this? I'm saying Huanghe's guns are bad. This "badness" is tempered by a few positive traits, that while welcome, they are insufficient to redeem the overall lack of firepower. These traits are: Huanghe uses Soviet 152mm/57 rifles instead of Royal Navy 152mm guns. These are the same guns found on Budyonny, Shchors, Mikhail Kutuzov & Chapayev. These guns have excellent ballistic arcs, great AP penetration and a high fire chance per shell hit which exceeds those found on the equivalent (premium) Royal Navy armament. Huanghe has an increased rate of fire with her guns to help offset her low DPM and overall fire-setting abilities. She reloads in 7.0 seconds flat as opposed to 7.5s of her Soviet counterparts. Yep, that's it. She's using Soviet guns instead of British and they have an increased rate of fire. In practical terms, this means Huanghe does more damage on a per-gun basis than Perth, Belfast or Leander which is definitely a plus. You'll set more fires, land more citadel hits, and generally be more accurate. However, this does not offset the disparity of losing out two rifles. Perth and Leander both struggle to kill even soft targets quickly and Huanghe amplifies this weakness. I wish I could say that was the end of the bad news, but it gets worse. Huanghe does not have access to the Spotter Aircraft consumable enjoyed by her British and British Commonwealth contemporaries. This means she's capped with an awful 13.2km main battery range with no way to fire beyond that. She also doesn't have very good fire arcs, with her C-turret only capable of engaging enemies 37º off her bow. Her rearward arcs are better, but still not great, with all three turrets capable of putting shells on targets 33º off her stern. If there's one area where Huanghe's guns are at least not-terrible, it's fire starting. She can be a respectable firebug -- almost on the same level as a nine-gun Galissonniere if she specializes for it (and I do stress "almost"). This will come at the expense of direct damage, though. Huanghe would need to sacrifice taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells to do it which is almost a must have for all 152mm HE throwing cruisers. I'm repeating myself, but let me be absolutely clear: Huanghe's main battery firepower sucks moose-balls. Not just moose-balls, but hairy and sweaty moose balls. It all comes down to her not having enough guns. Good as they are individually, they can't make up for the fact they're overtaxed for damage output. You're welcome for that moose-visual. Huanghe, on paper, has better overall DPM and fire starting abilities than ships like Aoba and Molotov. What these graphs do not describe is the ease at which this firepower is put to use. Molotov can engage enemies at long distances. Aoba's 203mm guns aren't reliant upon commander skills to ensure her HE shells penetrate. Huanghe is best compared with HMAS Perth and Leander in regards to her damage output -- all three are painfully short ranged. However, all three are capable of maximizing their DPM for short periods of time when they can setup their smoke. Her torpedo armament doesn't make up for the faults of her guns. Huanghe has a pair of triple launchers off each side of her ship. If you're hoping she'll get some world-ending fish to compensate for the problems with her guns, Huanghe will let you down. The good news is that these aren't Deepwater torpedoes -- they can engage any target she faces. The bad news is that these aren't Deepwater torpedoes -- they don't hit especially hard, move particularly fast, have great range or good concealment. Huanghe can't even launch these torpedoes from stealth. What's more, Haunghe's torpedoes appear to have been implemented haphazardly. It's as if they copy and pasted the British torpedo launchers, removed the British single-fire option and then forgot to replace it with the wide spread after the fact. This means Huanghe is limited to a narrow spread and a narrow spread only. It becomes almost laughable that Wargaming baits players to take a Torpedo Reload Booster to prop up Huanghe's firepower. This is the first time this consumable has been made available outside of the Japanese destroyer line. In order to take it, a player must surrender access to her Hydroacousic Search consumable. This gimmick might have more weight and appeal if Huanghe had an impressive torpedo armament -- something with more launchers or more teeth. The ability to double dip with another helping from her triple launchers doesn't strike me as terribly appealing. I can imagine some scenarios where it might change the outcome of a given match, but on the whole it's highly situational for an armament that's already lacking in versatility. In my play testing, I never came across an opportunity where I could have made good use of it. In short, redemption isn't found in Huanghe's torpedo armament. Summary: Garbage-tier firepower. Yeah, there are some redeeming qualities. No one could argue otherwise. But on the whole? Garbage. With all of this poo-pooing of Huanghe's firepower, do not make the mistake of thinking she's utterly incapable of dealing damage. That's not the message I'm trying to deliver. She's not going to put out as much damage as comparable ships, or do so as reliably. More fool you if you underestimate her. Are you regretting purchasing her yet? DurabilityHit Points: 24,100Maximum Citadel Protection: 70mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 16mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: None Everything here is also terrible. Huanghe puts on a whole new level of 'suck' when it comes to defining mid-tier cruiser durability. She makes Omaha look tough. Within her matchmaking spread, there is no cruiser with less hit points. The closest is Königsberg with 24,300hp -- a ship that's already known for capsizing and exploding violently when a loud noise occurs in the next grid-square over. Every other ship has a more significant advantage in health. It's well within the math for some tier VII and VIII battleships to delete Huanghe outright with no more than a pair of citadel hits. It's not like things get any better when you look at her armour scheme. Huanghe shares a similar protection scheme to the preceding Leander-class upon which the Arethusa-class was based, albeit having a weaker scheme overall. This comes with a few quirks: She has a small citadel, composed of only her engine spaces which sits slightly over the waterline. Her citadel wall extends to the exterior of the ship, making them potentially vulnerable to HE citadel hits. Her magazines lie outside of the armoured citadel directly beneath her guns and well submerged. So the only ray of sunshine is that people may miss your citadel when they think it extends further forward and back than it actually does. If you're lucky, you'll take some overpenetrating hits there which will keep you in the game just a little longer. As damning as this assessment is, let's be real: few light cruisers could ever make the claim of being reasonably protected. What's likely to kill an Arethusa-class would be just as traumatic and world-ending to a Nurnberg or Leander. Heavy cruisers will bully you. Battleships will savage you. And, even destroyer-caliber guns can be painful if you have to suffer their attentions for long. But this is worth looking into more closely. Yes, a Leander or Nurnberg may appear on the surface to be as fragile but Leander can heal. Nurnberg or Budyonny can sit back at 14km+ and use that extra range to give them more time to dodge. Huanghe can't. She has to tough it out and 'tough' is something she does not do well. Really, though -- don't expect to live long under fire. Death comes quickly and suddenly to Huanghe -- and it's your own damn fault for buying her. Shame on you. Though Huanghe's durability would have you wanting to hiding around friendly battleships in the second line, her range dictates that she must go forward into harm's way to score any damage. This is a common problem associated with all British cruisers. They get around this vulnerability by making use of a Smoke Generator and good concealment values -- traits Huanghe boasts as well. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 33.0knotsTurning Radius: 570mRudder Shift: 6.7s Maximum Turn Rate: 7.1º per second. Alright, I can almost forgive you for forking out the cash for Huanghe for her agility. If she had a little more speed, she'd put many destroyers to shame. As it is, she out performs all other cruisers with her ability to dodge and twirl. She can even out turn several IJN destroyers. It's strange, but she does this without the funny turning-acceleration quirks found in the Royal Navy cruiser line. Huanghe doesn't preserve speed in a turn the way Leander, Belfast or Minotaur does. She does have the equivalent of Propulsion Modification 2 installed -- her initial acceleration from a dead stop is very comfortable. She just doesn't get all the Royal Navy manouevrability quirks. The only thing she really lacks is a little more grunt in her engine and I could ignore all of the miserable, eye-bleeding terrible aspects of her durability. She's just not fast enough to dictate engagement ranges against anything other than a standard-type battleship and that's a big fly in the ointment. At 33 knots, she's not terrible in this regard, but I would have been much more excited to see her exceed 34.5 knots. At least at this speed she could conceivably run down a destroyer she caught flat footed and out pace any battleships she might face without much issue. I dunno, maybe I'm just being greedy. But after the disappointment of her guns and torpedoes, can you really blame me? Manoeuvrability ratings of the tier 6 cruisers. Note that De Grasse and La Galissonniere have access to the Engine Boost consumable which increases their top speed by 15% for 3 minute intervals. Huanghe's ability to turn and throw herself about is on par with many destroyers she faces. She's only lacking in a good top speed to really allow her to enjoy the same level of flexibility. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 9.54km Air Detection Range: 5.97 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 8.14km Main Battery Firing Range: 13.18km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 4.2km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 1st among 14 cruisers. Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 1st among 43 cruisers Huanghe's concealment also redeems her somewhat, but again it's not without its flaws. This is the sneakiest cruiser within her matchmaking spread and not by a small margin either. When fully specialized, she enjoys as 450m advantage over Perth and a 600m advantage over Leander and Belfast. The closest non-British cruiser comes in with New Orleans with nearly a 1km gap and everything else is considerably worse from there. As good as this looks, let's be realistic -- it's not enemy cruisers that you need to worry about spotting you; it's destroyers and aircraft carriers. We'll speak about the latter in the next section, but let's discuss destroyers for a moment. Huanghe is looking at needing to sprint across as much as a 2.7km gap in order to illuminate what's detecting her, all the while being under fire from the lolibote's big friends in the back. Given her 33 knot speed, it's just not feasible for her to cover this distance unless the destroyer makes a stupid mistake. As good as her concealment is, she can't perform the role of a forward scout even though her main battery range precludes her from skulking in the second line and firing from a distance. You're going to need to use cover to stay undetected to move into engagement ranges -- at least until the herd thins out. Thankfully, she brings her own concealment with her. Smoke Generator Huanghe has the same consumable found on HMAS Perth. While each smoke cloud lasts a mere 10 seconds, it continues to dispense smoke for a minute and a half. While Huanghe's Smoke Generator is in use, she may remain mobile and keep concealed while she does so, though she is normally limited to between 1/4 and 1/2 speed (12.5 knots). This allows her to foil the usual traps of air dropped and ship launched torpedoes aimed at smoke clouds as she slowly crawls away. Allied ships may also make use of this smoke, though doing so is much more difficult and it requires a conscious effort to match speed and heading. Huanghe has less tools to provide her vision beyond her smoke than HMAS Perth, though. While both use the same Hydroacoustic Search consumable, HMAS Perth has the extra advantage of a Spotter Aircraft to assist with detecting enemies. This lack would be damning were it not for the changes in smoke detection while firing. Any enemy battleships that opens fire within 10.5km of Huanghe is visible for twenty seconds and she can use that to give herself something to shoot at. This is a bit of a double edged sword, however, with Huanghe herself being visible within 4.2km within her own smoke when she shoots beyond it. This makes it risky to charge cap circles early on (a challenge she shares with Perth), especially if there are larger craft looming behind the lolibotes that have also rushed the control point. Even with these challenges, Huanghe's smoke is meant to redeem all of the other weaknesses so far described. She may have low DPM, but her smoke allows her to cycle her guns aggressively to take better advantage of their reload time for short periods. Her fragility may be masked behind concealment. Her difficulties in disengaging with her modest top speed can be corrected by hiding in smoke until she can put an island between her and her enemies. This is a huge burden for one consumable to bear, and I'm not certain it entirely corrects the deficiencies found so far within Huanghe. Still, it's not hard to see how powerful Huanghe can be in the right circumstances through clever use of her concealment and smoke. Opening moves on an Epicenter match. Though Huanghe shares a lot of traits in common with destroyers, it would be a mistake to play her as one. You're a support ship, not a front line scout or knife-fighter. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 78 / 73.6 / 28.8 Huanghe doesn't approve of your planes. One of this ship's most surprising characteristics is her anti-aircraft firepower. She uses a modern Soviet anti-aircraft suite -- a combination of dual purpose 100mm guns and 37mm automatic cannon to make the life of any planes within her sphere of influence miserable. It can be a rude shock for carriers that loiter around Huanghe's moving smoke cloud, hoping to spot her when the consumable wears off, only to have their air groups shredded. This is something HMAS Perth could never do. In terms of raw damage, Huanghe sits behind only Cleveland at tier VI in terms of her anti-aircraft firepower, which is no mean feat. Unfortunately, she does not get access to Defensive Fire. This was one of the casualties of Huanghe's long development cycle -- she used to have Defensive Fire and in this role, she could play an excellent support vessel. However, she had to surrender this for her Smoke Generator in one of the updates, so it was a fair trade off. Huanghe's anti-aircraft firepower will never truly be a dominating threat to enemy carriers and remains merely a nuisance that will cause them a few casualties, but it cannot stop attacks from being made. From HuangMeh to HuangGud Like all 152mm HE throwing cruisers at mid tiers, Huanghe's performance is really locked behind getting access to 14pt commander. While she can perform reasonably well before this, it's the ability to direct damage to all targets that makes her come into her own. Give the skills which optimizes her performance, she becomes a poor choice for training Pan Asian destroyer commanders, unfortunately. Here's what your first 10pts should look like: Take Priority Target. Follow this up with Adrenaline Rush. Your DPM needs all the help it can get. Next, take Demolition Expert. Setting fires is the only thing you're good at. And finally take Concealment Expert. The big skill you're racing towards is Inertial Fuse for HE Shells which should be your 14th skill point. This gives her the ability to directly damage large areas of any battleship she might face, along with some of the heavy cruisers when she's bottom tier. Your final 5pts should be placed between Vigilance (which stacks with Hydroacoustic Search to better spot torpedo threats while you're creeping along in smoke) and either Expert Marksman to buff your horrible turret traverse or Last Stand if you're sick of having your rudder shot out. An inefficient, entirely situational build for hilarity's sake is an anti-aircraft build. Drop Demolition Expert and take Basic Fire Training instead. Load up on Advanced Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns and complete the set with Preventative Maintenance. This is hardly a good build, but at least you'll shoot down a lot of planes. Oh, it's going to be like that, is it? Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Huanghe isn't going to do novice players any favours. She's a British light cruiser without a Repair Party that has to sneak in even closer to do damage. That's a recipe for disaster. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Properly managed, Huanghe can pull her own weight -- you just need to really flex those carrying muscles to do it. This makes for an interesting challenge for those inclined. Getting those Soviet 152mm up close opens up the opportunity for all kinds of hilarity, especially against enemy cruisers that are probably not used to getting their citadels shot out from smoke 12km away. However, her overall lack of firepower holds her back. Mouse's Summary: Perth-lite. Same Perth flavour with half the effectiveness! I kid, Huanghe isn't that bad. She's just not as good as Perth. I can already tell there's going to be a counter-culture movement that absolutely loves this ship... Can destroyer-levels of agility, the smoke generator of HMAS Perth along with good values for her AA firepower and concealment make up for garbage levels of firepower and durability? I was full ready to slap a 'Garbage' label on Huanghe and wash my hands of her. I don't care if she has good AA firepower -- that's a window dressing; it doesn't define a ship as being good or bad. Destroyer levels of twirling are nice but without speed to dictate engagement distances, it's a half measure. Her stealth is good, but not good enough especially in light of her weapon ranges. These arguments all strongly point towards a wholesale condemnation of this ship, but there's one thing and only one thing giving me pause. It's her damned Smoke Generator. Without it, this would be cut and dry: slap a trashbote label and move on. But, I cannot ignore how powerful this is when played well. It allowed me in play testing to rip the throat out of several ships that, on paper, had me dead to rights based on firepower, speed and durability. Yet, I must remind myself that a bad ship is still fully capable of doing damage and even sinking another. This isn't a game like World of Tanks where a disparity in power levels can mean outright immunity to a lesser-vehicle's attacks. I cannot outright dismiss the successes I did enjoy with this ship, but I must weigh them in context. Perhaps it's simply best to separate the two. Huanghe is a trashbote with a good Smoke Generator. So ask yourself: What you want to play with? Is it the trashbote, or is it the Smoke Generator? Because if it's the latter, HMAS Perth will be back around in the shops sometime soon... Would I Recommend? I'm forced to ask myself: "Why would you buy this?" If you're looking for comparable game play, HMAS Perth is superior in almost every regard. For trainer for the Pan Asian destroyer line, there are better choices. Loyang is one of the most competitive destroyers at her tier and Anshan comes in at a similar price tag with added economic bonuses baked in to boot. Huanghe is a premium without a purpose... PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Also no. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Very no. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Very no on toast. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Actually, yes. Be advised: Mouse has a soft spot for lame-[edited]ships, like the pre-buff Atlanta, Albany and Prinz Eugen. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion. Her Smoke Generator gets a Gudbote, though.
  21. The following is a review of Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of July 27th, 2017. You don't wanna know how many times I misspelled that. Quick Summary: An ugly-as-sin Soviet battleship with twelve 305mm guns, surprisingly good anti-aircraft firepower and a unique Damage Control Party consumable. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.8. July 24th, 2017 until July 27th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary Imperator Nikolai I, Tier IV Russian Battleship Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique The Gangut-class of Battleships, to which Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya belongs, precedes the Imperator Nikolai I through the Imperatrista Mariya-class of battleships, making the two ships two generations removed from one another. The two ships look very similar, though Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is quite obviously a more modernized (and ooglay) looking ship that shares the same design philosophy. Overall, Imperator Nikolai I is slower, tougher, with easier to use artillery. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is faster (but not much faster), with a quicker reload and comes with much better anti-aircraft firepower. Tier for tier, Nikolai is the better boat, hands down. I don't think anyone's surprised. PROs Unique Damage Control Party consumable, with an accelerated recovery time (30s/20s) between uses. Excellent waterline protection for bow tanking. Powerful broadside with twelve 305mm rifles, creating large alpha strikes & good DPM. Except for tiny sections of the bow and stern, her main hull and deck are all but immune to cruiser-caliber HE shells. Good anti-aircraft firepower for her tier. Small surface detection range for a battleship of 13.68km. Gangut butt is best butt. CONs Damage Control Party has a finite number of charges per match. Small hit point pool of 42,500. Poor overall protection with 225mm belt armour, 203mm turret faces and 10% torpedo damage reduction. Awkward gun placement combined with a slow turret traverse makes gun handling feel frustrating. Her 305mm lack penetration power, especially when facing tier VII ships. Pathetic secondary gun battery. Short ranged AA firepower and unable to benefit from Manual Fire Control for AA Armament. Feels rather blind without a spotter aircraft or float-plane fighter. This is one of those warships that I've been eagerly awaiting to join the game. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is the lead ship of the Gangut-class Battleships. She's actually the Gangut-herself, renamed by the Soviets after the Revolution. She appears in this game in her full modernization received by 1944/1945. This means she's a contemporary to the British Dreadnought-class battleship gussied up and shoe horned in a tier V. Colour me amused. Let's take a look under the hood. Options Like all battleships that aren't American or Japanese (or Warspite), Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's Damage Control Party has a 15s active period where it will not only remove any critical hits from damaged modules (as well as putting out fires and stopping floods), it will also prevent such damage from being reapplied so long as the consumable is active. Where this ship differs is with this consumable's reset timer. Normally, battleships suffer up to a two-minute cooldown between uses. This can be reduced to a minute and twenty seconds with the premium version. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has a thirty second reset timer, standard. The premium version drops this down to a mere twenty (!) seconds. And you're going to want the premium version of the consumable -- stock, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya can only use this consumable three times. Taking the premium version will not only accelerate her reset timer, it will also provide an additional charge. This can be further boosted with the Superintendent commander's skill to bring the total up to five. Her Repair Party is standard for most Battleships, healing back 14% of her maximum HP over 28s. Oktryabrskaya Revolutsiya has the option of an alternative premium camouflage. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Module Upgrades: Three slots, standard Battleship options. The Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya does not get access to the American Artillery Plotting Room 1 upgrade. Premium Camouflage: Oktyabrskaya has the option of two different camouflages. Her default camouflage is Type 9, tier II to V standard. This provides 30% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Alternatively, you can purchase (for 1,000 doubloons) Krasny Oktyabr - Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. This is a cosmetic camouflage in the same vein as the USS Texas' Stars and Stripes camouflage. This provides the same bonuses as the stock camouflage. The optional Krasny Oktyabr camouflage does not provide any additional bonuses over the default camo and can be purchased for 1,000 doubloons. For upgrades, select the following: In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. This will help keep your guns active and will better allow you to face-tank incoming rounds. Your turrets will be disabled frequently and this will help mitigate this. In your second slot, take Aiming Systems Modification 1. Oktyabrskaya is a Soviet Battleship and she needs all of the dispersion help she can get. Alternatively, if you want to play with something sub-optimal, you can play up to her AA strengths and use AA Guns Modification 2 to help boost their range. This really helps if your Captain also has Advanced Fire Training. This can make tier IV and V carriers cry though be aware she'll never hold a candle to USS Texas. Do keep in mind this is highly situational in its use, it will not protect you against tier VI+ CVs and you do suffer a small performance hit for taking this upgrade instead of the aiming modification. In your final slot, take Damage Control System Modification 1. This will bump your torpedo damage reduction up from 10% to 13%. Firepower Primary Battery: Twelve 305mm rifles in an A-P-Q-X configuration. Secondary Battery: Ten 120mm rifles in casemates with six forward facing and four rear facing emplacements. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has marginally worse shell penetration compared to Scharnhorst which weighs in at 455mm / 363mm / 289mm respectively. This sits much further behind the 356mm guns found on New York and Texas with their values of 575mm / 467mm / 381mm and even the poor penetration values of HMS Hood at 491mm / 406mm / 337mm. This explains some of the difficulty this ship experiences when uptiered, especially against German and American Battleships. When this happens, choose soft targets or be flexible with your ammunition types. Let's start with her secondaries: They're terrible. By late WW2, the Soviet Army had already cannibalized six of her sixteen original secondary gun mounts for use in the defense of the Siege of Leningrad. This leaves Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya with a mere ten gun mounts for self defense and these guns are not up to the task. They are mounted in casemates down the sides of the ship, with three facing forward and two aft per side. In theory you could get five guns to engage an enemy ship, but that's seldom the case. Usually it's only three. They have many problems. We can forgive their lack of range. 4.0km is pretty typical for low to mid tier battleships. What's less forgivable is their horrid rate of fire at a mere 7.0rpm. We'd expect this of larger caliber guns as the alpha damage (and increased penetration) from individual hits would make up for the disparity in DPM. However, Oktyabrskaya Revolutisya's secondaries are a mere 120mm in size, dealing a pathetic 1,700 alpha damage and being capable of penetrating 19mm of armour or less. The only redeemable quality is their high chance to set fires per hit at a respectable 8% which, some will rightly argue, is a very sizable perk. Still, with the low volume of fire coming off the ship, any blazes will be a surprise. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya uses the same guns found Imperator Nikolai I but with improved characteristics in range (16.8km versus 14.1km), rate of fire (1.88rpm versus 1.67rpm) but worse overall shell groupings (1.8 sigma versus 2.0 sigma). Their weapon performance is otherwise identical . While these are formidable weapons in the limited matchmaker enjoyed by Nikolai at tier IV, the maps upon which Nikolai plays are small, the engagements ranges short, the action close and her opponents soft skinned. They really start to feel long in the tooth when regularly facing the demands found at tiers VI and VII that Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya faces. These are not bad weapons. For 305mm rifles, they have very high damage potential. Her AP shells are the hardest hitting of any of the twelve-inch guns with 8,600 alpha strike. The improved rate of fire over Nikolai combined with the twelve rifles enables Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya to compete well with the damage output of her peers. She is quite capable of deleting any cruiser withing her matchmaking spread from nearly any angle and at anywhere within her range, or biting big 9,000 to 12,000 chunks out of a battleship, even without any citadel penetrations. These guns aren't without their issues, however. First, they are not as well situated as Nikolai's guns. One of the notable strengths of Imperator Nikolai I is her ability to quickly reacquire targets on either side of the ship grace of having her A, P and Q batteries all forward facing. This made it very easy for her to brawl and face tank. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's P turret is rear facing, reducing her ability to shift her fire from port to starboard and back with anything resembling alacrity. It's not uncommon for P turret to be horribly out of position and unable to fire, or the ship needing the use of rudder to bring all of her guns on target. With a glacial rate of rotation of 56.3s for a 180º turn, this problem is exacerbated. This is, singly, the most frustrating aspect about this ship. Combined with this, her X turret has limited fields of fire and can only engage targets 39º off her bow. Opening fire with her X-turret opens this ship up to reprisals, so make sure you time your fire correctly. That ticks off problems two, three and four. Problem number five is one of penetration. As mentioned previously, these guns perform brilliantly on Imperator Nikolai I with the close-range encounters she typically faces. With Oktyabrskaya Revolutisya's ability to extend the weapon reach another 2.7km, the deficiencies in shell penetration become much more pronounced. These are not high-penetration guns and their performance drops below 400mm worth of penetration at about 7km, precluding her from reliably landing citadel hits on enemy battleships beyond this range. She loses the ability to reliably challenge battleship belt armour at 11km. Like other low-penetration battleships such as HMS Hood and Scharnhorst, it's important to shift fire from attempting citadel hits to instead aim for the upper hull of enemy dreadnoughts at these ranges. Otherwise, you'll find a lot of shells shatter, scatter and bounce off armoured belts. Her high explosive shells are passable but unremarkable. They do enjoy a high chance to start fires per shell at 33% and this can be a reasonable alternative when facing hard targets. This shouldn't be the default ammunition selected when facing an angled ship, however. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya can overmatch up to 20mm of bow armour which includes all cruisers within her matchmaking spread as well as all tier IV and V battleships. Here's the final fly in the ointment: Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's main battery has only 203mm worth of armour and a maximum of 150mm of barbette protection. Her guns take penetrating hits often. Even with Main Armaments Modification 1 and Preventative Maintenance, critical hits are common place and catastrophic turret destruction isn't a rare occurrence. The closer Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya gets to the enemy, the more often her turrets end up taking a lot of the abuse thrown at her. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has guns that are meant for brawling, but they're not quite ideally suited for such. Her guns are vulnerable for a battleship. The combination of poor turret placement, traverse times and fire angles increases the challenge too, and you can forget about her secondaries helping out. Still, it's hard to argue with twelve rifles that put out more potential damage than ten 356mm guns. Summary: Gun handling is very poor and cannot be significantly improved. Range is decent, firepower is good, penetration is fine at close to medium ranges. Challenging battleships outside of 10km requires careful aim or switching to HE. Her secondaries suck moose balls. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya allows us to now plot the progression of Soviet Battleship dispersion over distance. It appears to be similar to American Battleship dispersion but with very slightly improved accuracy over distance and slightly worse accuracy at closer ranges. This places the Russians behind the Japanese and British for battleship accuracy and ahead of American and German Battleships and probably the French. We'll need another French battleship in game before that can be made conclusive. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 23.0knotsTurning Radius: 630mRudder Shift: 12.6s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.3º per second. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is faster than a brick. Hooray! At a maximum speed of 23 knots (23.2 knots on a good day) she's not much faster, though. In practice, if you're taking the appropriate WASD anti-torpedo hax counter measures in mind (or just helping her sluggish turrets track targets), she's usually sailing at less than 20 knots. Like most battleships, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya loses about a little more than a quarter of her maximum speed while under manoeuvres. With her rudder hard over, she'll bleed down to 17.2 knots and she will not recover this speed quickly. This isn't a very flexible ship and on larger maps, she struggles as much as Warspite does to get from A to B. For a rate of turn, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya measures up rather well. She's not as agile as HMS Warspite -- arguably one of the fastest turning mid to late tier Battleships, but she does alright. At 4.3º per second, she's halfway between Warspite's 4.5º and the 4.0º per second rotation of New Mexico. Her 630m turning circle is comfortable, as is her 12.6s rudder shift time. Both allow her to slip between islands and slide between torpedo runs with ease. Be advised that as a tier V ship she cannot improve her rudder shift in any way. The only downside is that her turrets cannot keep up. They rotate at a mere 3.2º per second, and even Expert Marksman will not correct this, capping them out at 3.9º per second. Players will be tempted to use their rudder to accelerate the rotation of their guns -- a problem compounded by the need for P & X turret to rotate a minimum of 180º to engage targets on the other side of the ship. Given the problems Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has with her armour scheme, the inevitable over angling this causes can lead to the ship's destruction in short order. As you'll see in the next section, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya excels at tanking but from one direction (and one direction only). This places a burden on her movement expectations. You need to very carefully consider your lines of engagement. Her guns will not allow her to quickly acquire a secondary target coming from an unseen quarter and her armour will not stand up to abuse. Over extend, and you're dead. Allow someone to get your flank and you're dead. Careful positioning is the only way to counter this and she's not fast enough to allow you to recover from these mistakes. DurabilityHit Points: 42,500Citadel Protection: 225mm belt + 38mm turtleback + 19mm citadel wall Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm (50mm to 125mm waterline protection) Torpedo Damage Reduction: 10% The major external armour values of Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's protection scheme (rear architecture visible in insert). Note that while her armour isn't thick overall, having a little bit of armour almost everywhere provides some interesting quirks where HE and AP penetration are concerned. Her major weak spot is the 19mm 'beak' of her bow. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya will deliver a lot of mixed messages when you begin to analyze her survivability. She's a story of contrasts. It's best summarized by a quick lists of pros & cons The Good - Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has an armour design of a first generation dreadnought where the armour is spread out across the whole vessel. The armour isn't as thick around her vitals as it will become with more modern designs, but this does provide the following benefits: Short of her superstructure and tiny weak spots on her bow and stern, she is largely immune to direct damage from destroyer and cruiser-caliber HE shells. Only the Yorck can damage her reliably with HE. Even Inertial Fuse for HE Shells does not provide 152mm armed cruisers with enough penetration to regularly land damaging hits. The entirety of her waterline, from bow to stern is covered by a minimum of 50mm worth of armour with most of it being at least 125mm. She will bounce almost everything thrown at her when she angles properly. She can absolutely shut down attempts to stack damage over time effects on her with her short cooldown Damage Control Party. The Bad - The big flaw about having armour spread out everywhere is that it's not especially thick where you need it most. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's citadel protection is the worst at her tier with a maximum of 282mm worth of protection between the three layers of armour over her machine spaces. She is extremely vulnerable to taking citadel hits when she does not angle properly. Her turret faces are extremely thin for a battleship at a mere 203mm thick. Even sloped back as they are (40º) this provides no more than 265mm worth of protection against shots at point blank range. Her barbettes are worse at only 150mm thick. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya takes frequent critical hits to her guns, even from cruiser-caliber shells. She has almost no torpedo protection. Her Damage Control Party can run out. She has the lowest hit point total among battleships at her tier. So, she's a tough battleship that seems to shrug off AP and HE shells without issue one minute and, with one mistake, she's a sinking wreck the next. She can seem very forgiving but she punishes players dearly for their misplays. The end is usually quite abrupt. One of the culprits for this feast and famine durability is her low hit point total. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is not a very large vessel. Not only can she survive less damage overall, this also reduces the amount of returns she sees from her Repair Party. Her healing consumable can only recovery 5,950hp per charge. The two most likely culprits of Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's demise are torpedoes and AP shells. 'Well DUH,' you might say, but Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya takes battleship AP and torpedo vulnerability a step further than most battleships. Over angling is deadly to this battleship, with her belt armour at 31º only increasing to a relative thickness of ~435mm. This is well inside the penetration values of the American and Japanese 356mm guns at 10km or less and can result in the Oktryabrskaya Revolutsiya taking heavy damage from volleys. This is an affliction similar to the one affecting Kongo -- veterans of this ships should be well familiar with this frustration. Texas and König are more forgiving of angling mistakes, grace of the raw thickness of their belt armour which can present a formidable obstacle. Proper management of Oktyabrskya Revolutsiya's angles of approach is key. Never, ever give up her sides. Fortunately, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's armour scheme is proof against most heavy cruiser fire. Even the high penetration, high Krupp values of the USN 203mm from Pensacola and Indianapolis cannot citadel her outside of 5.0km ranges, even against her flush broadside. This ship has very little in the way of torpedo protection, taking near full health strikes from any fish that strike her hull. She starts with only a 10% damage reduction while König, Kaiser, New York and Texas boast a minimum of 22% and as much as 31%. Citadel protection of the tier V Battleships, including the WiP Iron Duke. * Hits penetrating torpedo bulges but not into the ship itself do not strip hit points from a vessel. To this end, the thickness of the belt armour is paramount for preventing ships from taking penetration damage. This explains why ships like Kongo still feel "soft skinned" even though she has similar levels of citadel protection to other battleships. Note that the angle turtleback armour is measured from the vertical, so 90º would be a horizontal piece of steel. Turtleback armour isn't the be-all, end-all for citadel protection. Burying the citadel deep beneath the waterline seems to do more for keeping these vulnerable areas safe. Where Otkyabrskaya Revolutsiya really stands apart from all other Battleships is her Damage Control Party. As previously mentioned in the options section, this has an accelerated reset timer of 30s/20s depending on the stock or premium version. With the skills High Alert, Jack of All Trades and the signal flag November Foxtrot, you could theoretically get this reset timer down to 16 seconds (that's a hell of an investment for a mere four second gain). On paper it would appear to give this Russian battleship near immunity to damage over time effects. However, the limited number of charges on the consumable precludes that. In my experience, it's better to keep to the same habits you would use with other battleships. Do not activate Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's Damage Control Party until there are two fires or a flood present. This will prevent you from running out of charges too early on in a match. You have the option of accelerating the use of the consumable when it will save you, but be cautious of over use. When I played this ship, I always began with five charges available and I only ran out during one match. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 13.68km Air Detection Range: 9.8km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.41km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.83km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 1st Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 3rd Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is one damn stealthy battleship. Only Imperator Nikolai I has less stock surface detection range. Arkansas Beta can out match her grace of its ship-defining access to extra upgrade slots that lets her potentially use Concealment Modification 1. But other than that, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is always going to see enemy battleships before they see her. This is a good thing for this vessel as this not only shores up her survivability, but it also lets her undermine one of the weaknesses of her main battery. She can close the distance and get close to her optimal firing range and not have to suffer the issues of her penetration. I do question how exactly Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is justified as being so stealthy. I mean, she's got a large enough superstructure to make Fuso say: "Whoa, that's a bit excessive, don'tcha think!?" Maybe the lookouts get blinded by the hideousness of this ship that they fail to relay her position? Well, that's certainly one way of staying undetected. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 76mm / 37mm / 12.7mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 3.5km / 3.5km / 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 21 / 103 / 47 For a tier V battleship, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has good AA defense. It's not exceptional, however. She stands above all of her contemporaries with the notable exception of the American premium, USS Texas. She actually shares the Lone Star State's AA flaw with her anti-aircraft guns being limited to self defense ranges. Her DPS weighs in at just shy of half the overall firepower of the American vessel and is comparable to HMS Warspite's totals while being a full tier lower. This is a very respectable sum and can form the basis of an efficient self defense umbrella should a player elect to increase this further. Basic Fire Training and Advanced Fire Training along with the upgrade AA Guns Modification 2 will round out Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's AA total at approximately 207dps with the majority of that firepower reaching up to 5.1km. She does not possess anti-aircraft mounts big enough to benefit from Manual Fire Control for AA Armament, so this skill should be avoided. Short of taking the November Echo Setteseven signal, this is the limit of the pre-game improvements that can be made. Left on it's own, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's anti-aircraft firepower is okay -- enough to bruise carrier squadrons up to tier V and make it far too expensive for tier IV carriers to make continued attack runs against you. The heavy specialization will make her a similarly prickly target for tier V carriers, draining their flight hangars of strike aircraft. However, she cannot make her anti-aircraft firepower strong enough to dissuade tier VI+ carriers, never mind provide her with the illusion of being safe from their predation. As word gets out about her Damage Control Party, it's possible that focus from enemy carriers will drop off. Carriers cannot stack damage over time effects on Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. Dive Bombers start fires? Put them out. Within twenty seconds after it's active period ends it will be available again to stop any follow-up floods. It often takes carriers that long to line up their second attack run so the risks of receiving stacked damage effects is very low. Short of dealing massive alpha strikes, picking on Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya with combined air strikes just isn't worth the time and effort. A Tale of Two Builds Let's not mince words. Here's the optimal build for Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. Here's what you take for your first 10pts: From the first tier, Preventative Maintenance is the best choice. However, if you find yourself struggling not only with situational and map awareness, but risk assessment, then Priority Target becomes more valuable. From tier two, take Expert Marksman. This will increase your turret rotation up to 3.9º per second. This is still terrible, but it's a damned sight better than it was. At tier three, take Superintendent. This doubles up to give you an extra charge of both Damage Control Party and Repair Party. You should still be taking the premium version of both of these consumables, by the way. This skill doesn't substitute the premium consumable, it only supplements it. And finally, take Concealment Expert at tier four. This plays to Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's strengths and lets you get into and out of trouble so much easier. From here, pick up Adrenaline Rush to boost your rate of fire as you take damage. This should be followed up with Basic Fire Training and Advanced Fire Training to boost your good AA power. Carriers are much more commonplace at low tiers, so you will get good use out of these skills, though they have diminishing returns when facing tier VI and VII aircraft carriers. The standard battleship survivability skills have much less value due to Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's Damage Control Party. However, a reasonable alternative to the AA build is to keep Adrenaline Rush but take Basics of Survivability and Vigilance instead. The former will reduce the damage taken from single-fires (which you should normally let run their full course) and Vigilance will give you a bit more warning on torpedoes. This is handy given her preference to be up front. With the one point leftover, double back and grab Priority Target or Preventative Maintenance -- whichever one you skipped out on at tier one. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult I still have concerns that the management of the charges on Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's Damage Control Party will present a skill-barrier for casual players who pick up this ship. Having five charges through the use of Superintendent and the premium version of the consumable is very comfortable. Three would not be. There's the added problems of her bad traverse and her squishy-as-an-Omaha (I exaggerate) citadel. Yeah, I can see a lot of inexperienced players being frustrated with this ship. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme This ship is rather inflexible. While she has the firepower to really carry a match, she's missing that element of speed to take her carries to the penultimate level. Most of the usual battleship tricks apply to this ship. The gimmick of her Damage Control Party is another parlor trick she can play against her opponents. Mouse's Summary: You're probably going to hear a lot of negative press about this ship facing higher tiered ships. Look, if you're normally intimidated by facing ships two tiers higher, then yeah, keep clear. However, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya can easily punch over her weight class. Seriously. Her guns are good. Her stealth is good. Her durability is good. You can make that work. Speaking of her guns -- treat them like Scharnhorst's AP shells and you'll do just fine. It's twelve Scharnhorst guns every 32 seconds as opposed to nine every 20s. The biggest hurdle in this ship is overcoming the awful traverse and placement of P-turret. Seriously, you're going to want to use your rudder to accelerate it's turn. Just don't do it. I dunno how many times this caused me to over angle and get me sunk. I loved playing this ugly ship. It's amazing how many problems you can solve with 5.65 tons of Stalinium. Every thirty-two seconds, there's another problem solved. Despite the teething issues I had with her gun traverse, this is a fun ship to play. She's as unsubtle as she looks. She hits like a truck, she tanks like a truck, and she looks like something a truck ran over. There was only one problem I really had with her: She doesn't brawl well. Imperator Nikolai I brawls with the best of them, so I thought it natural to give it a go in Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. Imagine to my surprise to find out she had issues here. Don't get me wrong -- she's an absolute rockstar from the moment you set your sights on your prey and during the opening stages. She bow tanks with the best of 'em and her 305mm guns really put down the hurt. She just can't seem to finish the fights she starts. Everything on the approach will be just fine, but it's that key moment when your ship's paths cross alongside one another that everything goes to Hell. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya eats citadel hits like an Omaha in these engagements. It's like one moment she's a big ol' battleship and the next she's some wussy German light cruiser with an allergic reaction to loud noises. If you can survive that crossover, you should be okay. Her best-butt is pretty tanky. Just don't over angle. But it's surviving that crossover that's really going to be the clincher. I've only managed it once in all of my test games. It made me have a sad. Overall, this ship is a great addition to the meta. She's strong without being unfair. She's got flaws that can be exploited and I appreciate that not only from the challenge playing her well but also in anticipation of playing against her in the future. This battleship will make cruisers and gunship destroyers cry for the ease at which she shrugs off their fire damage. She'll frustrate CVs by negating their damage over time effects. Yet, torpedo boats will laugh at the ease at which they dispatch her small hit point pool and lack of torpedo protection. Enemy battleships that learn her weaknesses can bully her for days. I am very much looking forward to this ship being made widely available. Would I Recommend? Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is tier V and that's going to be a huge strike against her for many players. This tier is the first one out of the kiddy-pool, so to speak, and she shoulders an undue amount of Matchmaking burden to populate tier VI and VII matches. Tier V faces higher tiered opponents often in Random Battles -- maybe too often in the views of some players. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya isn't ideal for such fights, but she can certainly hold her own and she can certainly perform. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? She does splendidly in PVE Battles, so I would recommend her for Co-Op and Scenario Players. Most battleships tend to do well here and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is no exception. In Scenarios, she might be a bit slow, both on straight-line speed and gun traverse to respond to threats quickly, so make sure you evaluate the needs of the mission before blindly taking this ship out. She's good for applying direct firepower and tanking from one direction (and one direction only). Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. It's harder to recommend her here, so I'm going to give her a pass. Lemme explain why: First, she's not a big credit earner. Anything below tier VI really struggles in that department, so that's out. Two, the experience gains for a truly excellent game will struggling to exceed 1750 base experience. This in turn means lower captain training. Three, she has some pretty specific needs for a Captain that do not gel well with the current Soviet tech tree, so she's a bad trainer. The one thing she is good at is achievements. She farms High Caliber, Confederate and Dreadnought achievements like a champ. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. She'll pad your win rate in Random Battles if you're confident with facing higher tiered opponents. She clubs seals like no one's business on top of that. If Wargaming opens up Ranked Battles for tier V, she'd be a good choice. The mix of firepower, durability, agility and AA power are all welcome. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. I still have very fond memories of sinking the Marat in IL-2 Sturmovik. This one is a no brainer for me, but I have a history with this class of ships. Some of you might not. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? If you can get past her awful turret traverse, then heck yeah, she's a lot of fun. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  22. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Pommern

    The following is a review of Pommern, the tier IX premium German battleship. Wargaming very kindly provided me access to her at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed here are current as of patch 0.9.10. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. 2020 has been one Hell of a year, and not in a good way. There was so much craziness going on, it's easy to miss that 2020 was the year that German premiums got good. Mainz, München, Lowenhardt, Agir and Siegfried -- they're all damn respectable premiums. Even Odin and Z-35 aren't terrible. To cap everything off, in late summer Wargaming released Pommern. On paper, she looks kinda blah. A slow-firing, 380mm armed version of Friedrich der Große? Screw off. This ship has no place being decent. Yet to hear the hype surrounding this ship, she's not only decent but well liked. So what the Hell happened? Well, gentle reader, let's take a look... Pommern = Chungus-Tirpitz. Damn it, that's a much better name. Quick Summary: A Friedrich der Große-class battleship with twelve, inaccurate 380mm guns. She also has two quad torpedo launchers and the Hydroacoustic Search consumable. PROS German citadel protection, effectively making her immune to AP shell citadel hits except under extreme circumstances. Excellent armour profile for shrugging off HE hits with an ice-breaker bow, thick upper hull and amidship deck armour plates. Heavy broadside of twelve guns. Heavy, long-ranged secondary gun battery with improved HE penetration values. She has torpedoes (!) She has access to Hydroacoustic Search. CONS Absolutely appalling gun fire angles. Long 33 second reload. 380mm AP shells cannot overmatch 27mm hull sections found so commonly within her matchmaking. 1.5 sigma dispersion on her main battery. 105mm secondaries have only 26mm of penetration, limiting their effectiveness against heavy cruisers and battleships. Horrible handling. Anti-aircraft defence is too short ranged. Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme German battleships are very new-player friendly. They are ostensibly immune to citadel hits. They have good armour protection for shrugging off HE shells. Their gunnery has been improved too, so it's not like you're dealing with the worst dispersion in the game anymore. Secondaries are fun and easy to use, automatically hoovering up damage. Aside from being packed in at a high tier, Pommern is a very easy ship to see success in. The only downsides for new players is that she forces them to sail broadside to unmask all of her guns which can lead to her getting chunked by return fire. While these aren't likely to ever be citadel hits, that doesn't really matter when every salvo lands multiple penetrations. For experts, Pommern provides all of the usual German battleship brawling benefits with the added plus of the combination of torpedoes and her Hydroacoustic Search. She can play more boldly than Tirpitz can, for example. She has more raw durability than Odin does too, so it pays to play aggressive when the timing is right. Brawl and jousting kills are the best kills and this is the ship to do it in. However, only a skilled player can pull these off with any reliability outside of PVE modes. Options Pommern is pretty bog-standard for a German battleship, showing up with Hydroacoustic Search and baiting players to spec secondaries instead of their main battery. Consumables Pommern's Damage Control Party is standard for a German battleship. It comes with unlimited charges. It's active for 15 seconds. It has an 80s reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard, healing up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds per charge. It queues up 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It comes with four charges and an 80s reset timer. Finally, she has a Hydroacoustic Search consumable common to tier IX and X German battleships. Pommern starts with three charges which are active for 120s each and a 120s reset timer. It detects torpedoes up to 4km away and ships up to 6km away. Upgrades & Captain Skills Look, there are two ways you can build Pommern -- optimally or the correct way. Optimally involves building to buff your main battery firepower while simultaneously building for fire mitigation. This will give you the most consistent performance out of Pommern. Hey, look! It's this graphic again! Thankfully, you're not a snivelling, simp-wimplodite that caves to peer pressure. You know that the best experiences in World of Warships come from out-brawling your opponents. Build your ship towards going ham with secondaries, Hydroacoustic Search upgrades and improved rudder shift time. Chicks dig brawlers. I should know. Make the right choice. Note that I didn't flag IFHE here. Camouflage Pommern has access to two camouflage options. They provide identical bonuses standard for tier IX premiums: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. It needs to be said: Pommern's default camouflage is bloody gorgeous. The alternate palette isn't bad either. Finally there's the "Iron Cross" camouflage pattern which was earned through completing missions tied to the release of the German Aircraft Carriers. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 380mm guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y super-firing configuration Secondary Battery: Eight 150mm guns in 4x2 turrets and sixteen 105mm guns in 8x2 turrets divided evenly down the two sides. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers with one mounted on each side between the funnels. Pommern is no Thunderer. In terms of firepower, the two ships are diametrically opposed. Thunderer has massive, quick-firing and super-accurate guns with decent fire angles but horrible gun handling. Pommern has relatively small-calibre guns, she's slow-reloading, she has good traverse but is stuck with horrible fire angles. Pommern subscribes to the whole 'toss enough poop at the wall' philosophy where accuracy is concerned. Conversely, you can brawl with Pommern and brawl well. Thunderer just sort of whimpers and dies in those situations. That's enough of my soon-to-be-retired meme-boat. Let's talk more about Pommern. With many guns comes much DPM. Pommern doesn't quite keep pace with Alsace, the other twelve 380mm-gun armed battleship at this tier. Alsace has a better AP shell and slightly faster reload. Pommern's HE DPM is pretty German -- which is to say crappy. Her one advantage is her 1/4 HE penetration (95mm) which means that while her individual salvos don't do as much potential damage, she's more likely to hurt hard-targets like German and Soviet battleships. Approximate AP penetration values drawn from wowsft.com. Pommern's AP penetration isn't great, but that's largely owing to 380mm guns being rather small caliber for her tier. Belt armour and citadel protection gets ridiculously thick within her matchmaking too, so you can't count on long-range citadel hits against other battleships. An Egg Through a Garden Hose Pommern has four weaknesses with her main battery firepower: Her fire angles suck. Her reload time sucks. Her dispersion sucks. Her gun calibre sucks. I hate Pommern's fire arcs. Her 5º/s rotation rate is okay, though. A-turret: 38º off the stern. B-turret: 41º off the stern. X & Y-turret: 42º off the bow For those of you who can't abide any ship with obvious weaknesses, you can tap out right here. Those of you who couldn't look past Odin's hit point total: shoo. Begone. This isn't the ship for you. For the rest of you, let's go over these drawbacks and look at them in closer detail. There's always a price for having a lot of guns -- at least until you hit tier X. Usually this is just crappy dispersion but it's not uncommon for battleships to have compromised rates of fire too. While not as bad as the new American battleships, Pommern has a "reload tax" for her twelve gun armament, paying for it with an extra three seconds on each reload. Even with this deficit, her AP damage output still keeps ahead of all of the other eight and nine gun armed battleships at her tier with the exception of Musashi and Jean Bart (and then only when the French ship is on drugs) so that's nice. Pommern's HE damage is another story. German HE shells, while benefiting from massively improved penetration, tend to suffer from a very mild case of being the absolute worst. She's only just ahead of Friedrich der Große, the six-gun armed Georgia and the Sovetsky Soyuz-sisters when it comes to sustained HE damage output. You might think that this means you should stay away from her HE. Well, no. It has a purpose. While you should generally stick to AP shells wherever possible, her HE rounds do have their strengths. Though she lacks raw damage, her higher penetration is more likely to ensure her shells will do damage against bow-tanking battleships. Pommern's 95mm of penetration should ensure that short of striking turrets, belts and conning towers that her numbers tick over -- modest numbers to be sure, but still. Similarly, an unappreciated aspect of German HE shells is that their fire setting chances aren't terrible. While not British-good, they are reliable fire setters which can be a good avenue for some supplementary damage (at least so long as you didn't spring for IFHE for your secondaries). This is particularly true when trading fire with intransient bow-on battleships or just before a brawl to tax enemy Damage Control Parties before your secondaries open up. Despite her poor damage showing, Pommern's a pretty decent fire bug for a tier IX battleship. German HE damage is lackluster but their fire chance per shell is pretty good. This performance is, of course, assuming you can stack the hits which has its own set of problems. This all said, Pommern's AP shells are far and above better, damage wise. The only issue is that their overmatch potential at tier IX has a lot to be desired. With more and more ships having 27mm+ sections of armour along their hulls, Pommern cannot reliably penetrate angled targets. Angling against Pommern works very well in anything but a very light cruiser. While there are a glut of 25mm cruiser bows and sterns to bullseye (and the occasional 26mm bow on tier VII battleships when Matchmaker is being gentle), Pommern's AP rounds are far from reliable. If it were just a question of having enough raw AP penetration, it wouldn't be so much of an issue, but her inability to best 27mm+ hull sections is a real drawback given their prevalence. But all of these questions of rate of fire, overmatch and flagging HE damage are all moot if you can't reliably put shells on target. Pommern's dispersion is ... well, it's not good. With Pommern's 1.5 sigma rating, RNGeebus has been given free reign to troll or bless you as He sees fit. Her twelve guns deliver a shotgun blast of shells flying every which way. Your aim can be perfect only to be plagued by overshoots and undershoots. Similarly, you can be well off your mark only to have this same spread of shot veer a shell straight into your target's citadel, making you look like a genius. The better you are at aiming, the more frustrating Pommern's dispersion seems. Yes, stray shots will sometimes work out in your favour but it's not something to be relied upon. Couple this with her longer reload and this wonky sprays are all the more saddening. Overall, Pommern's main battery gunnery is a mixed bag. Now, I am of the opinion that having twelve guns solves a lot of problems. Her 1.5 sigma isn't that bad when there's so many shells being spat out. Her 33 second reload isn't so awful that her damage suffers thanks to firing so many barrels at once. Her AP shells might not be able to overmatch all targets, but when the shells do land, they have decent penetration and respectable damage values. Her HE shells might have low damage per shell, but they have great penetration and solid fire setting chances. Her fire angles make my eyes bleed but at least her turret traverse is okay. So there's give and take in nearly every aspect. I think it's easiest to say that Pommern's guns are simply "sufficient" and leave it at that. They're not terrible but they're not good. Once again, a standard dispersion test. This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso bot. Shots are coming in from left to right with the Fuso effectively bow-tanking. Pommern was equipped with the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade, effectively making this sampling a "best case scenario" in terms of her overall dispersion area. Pommern's torpedo arcs are very comfortable and you can use them to ensure that you're not overangling against an enemy. Just switch over fast to your torpedoes. If you can line the fish up with the bow of your opponent, you're showing too much side and are in danger of taking penetrating AP hits. When it comes to her secondaries, their only major drawback is the 26mm penetration on her 105mm guns. You'll be tempted to take IFHE to make them more effective but that's an expensive choice and it will severely hurt the fire chance on not only them but her main battery guns as well. It's not worth it, in my opinion, but you do you. Secondaries & Fish to the Rescue! As a certified Bigpitz, Pommern's secondaries and torpedoes are both excellent. We'll start with her torpedoes. They have one fault and that's only have a 6km range. This is a common enough flaw among German battleships; they're all shackled to this range. In PVP battles, the opportunities to use her torpedoes are uncommon because of this short reach but they are oh-so satisfying. A broadside of four torpedoes is enough to cripple just about any battleship she comes across with only the chonkiest of thunderchunkers able to shrug off said hits and stay mean. Just about anything else will be reduced to a snivelling wimplodite crying hax. You totally get bonus points if you sink a destroyer with them too. With Pommern's Hydroacoustic Search, closing to such distances is a lot less risky than it is for Tirpitz but she has more advantages over the tier VIII premium than just that. Pommern's secondaries have excellent firing angles. She doesn't contend with any of the wonky weirdness of other German battleships' fire arcs. Odin, Bismarck and Tirpitz secondaries have some turrets which behave like they're occluded when they really shouldn't be. At a 30º angle, Pommern can bring all of her secondaries to bear onto a target, bathing them in a torrent of fire from fourteen barrels worth of hot-LUV! There are only two issues with Pommern's secondaries. The first is one of accuracy. Pommern's secondaries do not have the improved dispersion found on ships like Massachusetts and Georgia. It takes her more shots to land a similar number of hits. You'll just have to deal. The second issue is one of penetration. Pommern's secondaries have the same 1/4 HE penetration of her main battery guns which is amazing. However, her 105mm secondaries "only" have 26mm of HE penetration. Without Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, these guns struggle to deal direct damage to anything other than destroyers. As Pommern's 105mm guns make up the bulk of her secondary battery, it's a bit of a bummer. They're so close to being all kinds of awesome. Oh well. You'll just have to burn the thicker targets to death instead. So how good are these secondaries anyway? They're #2 in my books for secondaries at tier IX. Here they all are, ranked: Georgia - Excellent fire arcs, high rate of fire, good range and improved accuracy. The only issue with these guns is that they lack penetration to hurt anything bigger than a destroyer. While their chance to set fires is also pretty low, their improved accuracy makes up for the difference. Pommern - Excellent fire arcs, high rate of fire (105mm), good range, very high penetration. If Pommern had accuracy and/or a uniform battery of German 128mm, she'd be god-tier. Friedrich der Große - High rate of fire (105mm), good range, very high penetration. Friedrich der Große doesn't quite ditto Pommern's fire arcs so she misses out. Alsace - French secondaries look better than they are. They're held back by a lack of penetration on their 100mm shells. They can't even directly damage tier VIII+ destroyer hulls. At least they can set fires with the high number of shells they spit out. Jean Bart - She largely dittos Alsace but with worse firing angles. Izumo & Bajie - Decent range. That's really all these guns have going for them. Their fire arcs are bad. Their rate of fire is nothing special. Musashi - She just has decent range. She doesn't have enough of a broadside to be worthwhile. Lion, Iowa, Missouri, the Sovetsky Soyuz-sisters - lul. No. Playing second fiddle to Georgia's secondary is pretty damn high praise, I've got to say. Go, Bigpitz! Much better. See? These are what good fire arcs look like! Pommern's 105mm secondaries not only make up the bulk of her defensive damage output, but they also have the best fire arcs. Summary: Meh gun performance but she gets twelve of 'em, so that fixes things. Torpedoes are bae. Secondaries are bae. VERDICT: Hilarious up close. Meh at a distance. Defence Hit Points: 81,900 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 145 to 235mm / 50 to 80mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 300mm belt + 150mm turtleback + 45mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25% Pommern has a big ol' slug of hit points and standard heals. Nothing fancy, just effective. Yes, I made these colours deliberately as pretty as possible. Pommern is blessed with all of the usual defensive boons of German battleships. Namely: She has a large hit point pool. She has excellent protection against cruiser-calibre HE shells. It is very difficult to land citadel hits against her with AP shells. German battleships aren't built lean. They're enormous. While this does make them a bigger target, easier to hit with ... well, anything ... it does ensure their hit point pools are on the large side. This in turn means more raw hit points can be hoovered up through their standard Repair Party consumables. This does, unfortunately, make them attractive targets for anyone looking to farm up large amounts of fire damage. While Pommern can do nothing but properly manage her Damage Control Party consumable to mitigate the resulting blazes, she is at least well protected against HE shells. Her distributed armour scheme generally just leaves her superstructure and the very tips of her bow and stern vulnerable to direct damage from small and medium caliber HE rounds. Similarly, this distributed armour scheme ensures that Pommern has little to fear from overmatching AP shells from the largest Japanese battleships. Short of better defence against bombs and torpedoes, you couldn't ask for a better armour layout. So she's fat and tough. This is nice. There's a hidden plate along the underside of the 150mm extended waterline belt. It's divided into two parts and helps plunging fire overmatching the 32mm bow from entering the citadel. The forward part is only 20mm thick. But echoing the layout of the 50mm deck plate is another 50mm plate which cannot be overmatched. Thus even if Musashi, Yamato, ARP Yamato or Shikishima overmatches the 32mm bow, it's nigh impossible for them to score citadel hits on Pommern through her snoot. There's another hidden plate in the stern protecting the citadel in a similar fashion, but it's 110mm thick. The geometry there is a bit janky to accommodate the steering gears though. Bigpitz also inherits a turtleback protection scheme for her citadel. Turtlebacks have a reputation for providing immunity to citadel hits, but this is undeserved. A well designed turtleback can help mitigate citadel damage, but this needs to have very shallow angles relative to the horizontal in order to prompt ricochet checks. It also has to be set to the correct depth so that shells can't plunge underneath it, bypassing it entirely. If the turtleback is angled too steeply, aside from providing another (hopefully) thick piece of steel to slow down incoming shells, it can actually work to the ship's detriment, steering shells via normalization mechanics into the citadel rather than away from it. Thankfully for Pommern (and most German battleships), her turtleback is well designed and short of shells being thrown at it from very long distances, it is guaranteed to auto-ricochet any AP rounds that punch through her belt. Even at these distances where her turtleback can no longer guarantee to ricochet shells, the combination of belt, turtleback and citadel armour is usually in excess of the available penetration. Pommern might take penetrating hits but the shells soon run out of steam before reaching her citadel itself. It is safe to say that she's is largely immune to AP citadel hits. While Pommern has the angles of her turtleback correct, it suffers from a high-water placement that can be bypassed. Normally this isn't an issue. However, when Pommern turns, she unwittingly hikes her citadel's protection up over the waterline "flashing her panties" as Yuro coined it. Any perfectly placed sub-waterline hits WILL citadel Pommern when she's in a turn like this. Needless to say, it's a pretty rude shock for Bigpitz drivers when they get walloped for most of their health simply for playing with their rudder. Note that this raising of her citadel happens on the inside of her turn, not the outside which dips down somewhat. This dip reduces the effective angle of her turtleback by about 2.5º or so -- it's not enough to foil her turtleback's protection but it is a slight reduction which helps with those auto-ricochet checks. This is all to say that Pommern is vulnerable while turning, but it's not an enormous and easy-to-exploit weakness. It has been hyped as being more exaggerated than it is. Just because she can take citadel hits, this does not mean that she will. To land hits like this, Pommern needs to be giving up a near perfect broadside, so time those turns appropriately, watch out for flanking fire and it becomes largely a non-issue. It is worth mentioning that this dispersed armour scheme can work against her when it comes to shrugging off AP hits, especially if you're lazy about keeping her properly angled. The thick plates of her upper hull and along her waterline ensure that every penetrating AP shell fuses. Provided the shell is slowed down sufficiently to pop inside her, she takes full penetrating hits when other battleships might only suffer over-penetrations. This is where her shoddy fire angles on her turrets is a big liability. In order to unmask her twleve gun broadside, she has to give up protection against return fire from AP shells. In order to stay AP-safe, she's reduced to a six-gun battleship. This reduced battery makes RNG's influence on her awful dispersion all the more pronounced and can be frustrating. Pommern's more telling weakness comes from torpedoes, bombs and fire. She does have a Hydroacoustic Search to help mitigate the foremost of the three, though that's no help against air-dropped fish. Similarly, AP bombs make a ruin of her and it's not like her AA defense is up to the task of keeping her super safe (more on that later). She's her own worst enemy when it comes to fire mitigation. You're going to want to build her up for secondary bonuses. This precludes her from taking much-needed (and let's face it: optimal) fire reduction skills. This means it's open season to stack blazes against her and you KNOW every Royal Navy battleship is going to paint your decks with their phat HE shells. Similarly, you can expect almost everyone else to huck HE at her given the difficulties of hurting her with AP. As awesome as full secondary builds are, the prevalence of fire damage means that such build are never optimal. Overall, Pommern is a well protected battleship -- as well protected as you could want and then some. She has her weaknesses, so do what you can to mitigate them. Otherwise, enjoy your tuff-bote. e German battleship armour is stupid complicated and the in-port armour viewer does NOT help you see everything that's important -- most notably the angles and thickness of turtleback armour but all of that other stuff I mentioned too. Note how high Pommern's citadel sits and how little of her turtleback dips beneath the water's surface -- only the corners submerge and only just. VERDICT: Top marks. Agility Top Speed: 31 knots Turning Radius: 940m Rudder Shift Time: 17.3 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.8º/s at 23.3 knots With three exceptions (and only one of them notable), tier IX battleship agility sucks inflamed, red monkey-butts. I'd call Pommern's agility a disaster but Minnesota exists, so that would feel like a misplaced superlative. Instead I'll just describe Pommern's agility as "not good". She has so little going for her here. I mean, at least she has a decent top speed of 31 knots. She also doesn't out turn her turrets, so there's that too. After that, though, everything goes the way of Harambe. Her turning radius is a travesty. Her rudder shift time is upsetting. Her rate of turn is bad though admittedly better than some of her contemporaries. However if you think that's worth celebrating then I'm worried you might also have a strange oral fascination with inflamed baboon posteriors. The best thing that could be said about Pommern's agility is that you really don't need this ship to do more than travel in a straight line most of the time. You don't need pants for the victory dance... ♫ VERDICT: Awful. The only reasonable part about her is her speed. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 7 explosions for 1,470 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.2km. Long Ranged (up to 5.2km): 158dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 3.0km): 466dps at 70% accuracy Bigpitz is an HP pinata for enemy carriers (as are most battleships, frankly). While she does spit out a welcome amount of flak, that's hoping that enemy carrier players will oblige you by flying their planes into one of those blasts. Her AA DPS is largely centred around personal defence, being short-ranged and intense only within her closest aura. The best she can hope to do is make attack runs against her expensive -- shooting down planes only after they've dropped. Given her large size and horrible handling, she's such a tempting target for CV drops -- be it with bombs, rockets or torpedoes. AP bombs hurt. HE bombs and rockets stack those fires she's so often poorly specialized to handle and her enormous broadside makes her an easy mark for full spreads of torpedoes. Keep close to your allies to make yourself an unappealing target. Accuracy values greatly reduce the impressive baseline sustained AA DPS values listed in port. The above values have been modified by accuracy and demonstrates the numbers you're more likely to see before aircraft armour is accounted for. VERDICT: It's open season on your hit points. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 17.28km / 13.58km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 12.81km / 10.38km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 16km Maximum Firing Range: Between 21.34km and 24.75km Well this is all just an embarrassing bucket of fail. Her surface and aerial detection are just plain bad. You're not hiding this ship. While there is an argument to "not bother", particularly when it comes to the expensive investment of skills like Concealment Expert (which could be better spent on Fire Prevention or something to boost her secondaries), the Concealment System Modification 1 upgrade is still worthwhile if only to add further disruption to enemy gunnery. Furthermore, with the large maps and longer engagement ranges in higher tiered matches, it's not that hard to get outside of 14km of enemy ships -- at least in the early minutes of the game. This can be life saving if Pommern comes under focus-fire from HE spamming ships. Still, the best way to keep her safe is arguably to use an island to break contact or at least to frustrate incoming fire. Given her crappy agility and size this is much easier said than done. You an also pull off fun tricks like parking in friendly smoke and keeping her main battery guns silent and just letting your secondaries go hog-wild. Do mind the inevitable wall of torpedoes, though. Truly, the best thing about Pommern is that she gets access to Hydroacoustic Search. The only other German battleship that gets both torpedoes and hydro is Odin, so this is pretty noteworthy. Still, having Hydoracoustic Search isn't enough to keep Pommern safe if she's stationary -- Pommern already needs to be moving to dodge anything. She doesn't have enough acceleration or agility at low speeds to get out of the way of incoming threats unless she's already moving at a fair clip. You can use this consumable offensively, which is super fun to pull off on the rare occasions where it's relevant. Do mind the retalitory fish from whatever you dug out of their smoke clouds, though. VERDICT: Terrible, generally. Hydro is nice, though. Final Evaluation If I'm terribly honest, Pommern didn't wow me. It's not that I don't think she's a good or fun ship, it's just that she treads familiar ground. Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Odin all echo Pommern's general design principles. "Bigpitz" describes her well. She's an improved, up-tiered Tirpitz. This didn't guarantee Pommern would be good, mind you -- Wargaming has mishandled such projects before (California comes to mind). But Pommern didn't stray from the established formula too much. The craziest thing about her is the inaccuracy of her guns and even that's a pretty safe measure given that she has twelve of them. I enjoyed Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Odin, so Pommern is comfortably familiar for me. She's about as safe of a tier IX premium as Wargaming could hope to design. For Wargaming, this is doubly important given the number of "failed state" premiums there are at tier IX. The list is hella long: Missouri, Musashi, Kronshtadt, Jean Bart, Benham have all been retired with Alaska and Georgia set to join them in the new year. Seven of the fifteen tier IX premiums released so far have been or are slated to be retired with two (Black & Neustrashimy) still MIA with fates undisclosed. Pommern and the upcoming Hizen have some pretty big boots to fill with all of those absentee premiums. Pommern has to be good but she's not allowed being too good lest she become too popular and get the axe as well. I'm not trying to instill a sense of panic-buying in anyone, but I do fear that given the competency of this ship's design, she may end up being a little well liked by the masses and end up retired herself. Time will tell, I suppose. Overall, I give Pommern good marks. She performs exactly as advertised and she's different enough to be fun and novel. Good work, Wargaming. It's too bad for them that this year will be remembered for civilization threatening to collapse and not for the year that Wargaming let German ships get good. They've knocked out quite a few good hits under the German flag. Maybe that's just a sign of the Apocalypse. Thank you for reading! 
  23. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Hyuga

    The following is a review of Hyuga, the tier VII Japanese premium battleship. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself; I did not have to pay money to get access to her. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.3. Please be aware that her statistics may change in the future. I always start these reviews with the above disclaimer. I do it for a couple of reasons. The first is to let you all know that there is some intrinsic bias in this review. I am only human (beep-boop ♪) and it's possible I will make some reporting errors on stats and numbers. It's also to let you know that I have a relationship with Wargaming through the Community Contributor program. After all, I get these assets for free to review them and that's absolutely going to colour how I feel about a ship and my readers absolutely need to know about that partnership. However, what I wanted to draw your attention to was this: 'Please be aware that her statistics may change in the future.' I originally wrote this to to warn players of meta shifts. While the core stats of a given ship might not change, the game most assuredly does. Mechanics get tweaked, new ships get introduced and before you know it, your once S-tier Blyskawica is unable to keep up. This past month, this warning has taken on new meaning: The newer premiums may have their performance stats directly nerfed by Wargaming. This is a change from their old policy and it only applies to these newer ships. I had originally wanted to discuss this with my Flandre review but I totally brain-farted on that. Since Flandre, Hyuga and HSF Harekaze II have also been affected by this so it's time to make sure I cover this info. You can see Wargaming's notice of such in the detailed description they provide of an individual premium. I've highlighted the pertinent part: What this means: Hyuga and newer premium vessels do not have protection from being directly nerfed in the future. Changes are not guaranteed, but they are possible. Please, please, PLEASE take this into consideration before pulling the trigger on any purchase. Got it? Good. There's lots of room to discuss this change in policy and how it affects your personal buying decisions. Please feel free to discuss it in this thread or quote back this section in a new post if you prefer. For now, let's get back to my review of Hyuga. Quick Summary: A modernized WWI-era Japanese battleship with twelve, quick-firing 356mm guns, a dispersed armour scheme and access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. PROS Trollish armour scheme for resisting SAP and HE hits, including thick upper hull, deck armour and voids. Good reach on her main battery guns. Very comfortable dispersion for such a large main battery. Excellent main battery DPM between her quick, 28 second reload and her twelve guns. The bulk of her secondary battery has increased accuracy. Has access to the Main Battery Reload Booster. CONS Wonky and weird citadel geometry. Seriously, it looks like a Picasso painting. Overmatch issues with her smaller gun calibre. Horrible gun handling and awkward fire angles. Only a modest top speed and not especially agile. Horrible anti-aircraft defences. Enormous surface detection range. Overview In the long-long ago, in the before-time, back when there was only three tier VI battleships in this game, a debate raged on which was the best. The answer is obvious now (it's bae-bote, always and forever) but it was a very eye-opening discussion. You see, back then it was Fuso that appealed to most. It's not hard to see why with her trollish armour and phenomenal firepower for her tier. She was faster than her two competitors and this was also back before sigma was understood. Some had a grasp of what overmatch was but others did not. It's not hard to see why Fuso was a long-standing favourite and her successor, Nagato, was often seen as a step down in terms of performance. It's surprising to me we've had to wait this long for a premium based around her game play. There are plenty of options with Fuso and Yamashiro from the Fuso-class and then Ise and Hyuga of the subsequent Ise-class. Well, the wait's over. We finally get what we've always wanted, however it is at the wrong tier. Up-tiering Fuso's gameplay begs the question if any gimmicks could make her worth playing. That's the Hyuga quandary in a nutshell: Is it worth paying money for an up-tiered Fuso with weird gimmicks? Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Hyuga's pretty new-player friendly. Keep back. Keep AP loaded. Pull the trigger. You can forget about nuances of angling properly; her gun arcs don't allow for that. She's not so fast that she'll get you into trouble nor is she so slow that she cannot keep up with the pace of battle as it progresses. So green light all around. She's an easy battleship to play and she'll deliver reasonable results to anyone of any particular skill level. For veterans, well there's lots to like here. Her consumables alone open up all kinds of opportunity for optimization, to say nothing of her fast-reload guns and her massive broadside. Hyuga's alpha strike potential is downright cataclysmic, reigned in only by modest penetration values which is yet another bit of info to out-skill. Still, as good as her armour profile appears, this is a difficult battleship to effectively tank damage, limiting her appeal as a front-line vessel for pushing and progressing the battle. Overall? Good marks for skill-potential and growth, but certainly not the best out there for that. Options Aside from her Main Battery Reload Booster, there's not a whole lot out of the ordinary for Hyuga when it comes to outfitting her. Consumables Hyuga's Damage Control Party is standard for a Japanese battleship, meaning that it's only active for 10 seconds as opposed to 15 seconds for most other battleships (and 20 seconds for Americans). It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard. It queues up to 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. From this queue, it will heal back up to 14% of the ship's starting hit points per charge over 28 seconds. It starts with four charges and has an 80 second reset timer. Her Main Battery Reload Booster is weird (not the least of which is seeing a MBRB on a battleship at all). It is active for 15 seconds, doubling the rate at which shells are reloaded during that time (each second spent reloading counts as two). It starts with three charges and it has a 60 second reset timer. Finally she has a Fighter. This launches three (3) aircraft which orbit on station for 60 seconds. It comes with three charges and a 90 second reset timer. Upgrades There's three builds to consider here: Optimal, comfort and PVE-shenani-nani-gans. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Begin your anti-fire regimen with Damage Control System Modification 1. So all of the fun happens in slot three. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is your best choice here. However, you can take the slight dispersion hit for Main Battery Modification 2 to increase her admittedly horribad turret traverse rate. For you PVE-nutters out there, you can also consider electing for a secondary build here with Secondary Battery Modification 1 if you like. Whatever your choice, follow that up with Damage Control System Modification 2 in slot four. Commander Skills Until Dead Eye (4pts) is dead and buried, it's going to remain optimal for all battleship builds. That's going to be the first priority on any PVP battleship build. From there, your next priority is to mitigate fire damage through Basics of Survivability (3pts) and Fire Prevention Expert (4pts). Next up comes buffs to gun performance, namely in the form of Adrenaline Rush (3pts) and Grease the Gears (2pts). That leaves you 5pts to play with (including a 1pt skill compulsory). Recommended skills include: 1 point skills: Gun Feeder, Emergency Repair Specialist 2 point skills: Priority Target 3 point skills: Super Heavy AP Shells 4 point skills: Emergency Repair Expert, Concealment Expert If you're a PVE main and want to dabble in a brawling build (because bots love to brawl), then you can skip the fire prevention stuff and just load up on secondary buffing skills instead, dropping Dead Eye and avoiding Concealment Expert because neither are ever going to do you any good. Camouflage Hyuga has access to two camouflage options. She comes with Type 10 Camouflage regardless of how you acquire her, but when she was first sold, the higher tiered bundle came with the Japanese Lacquer camouflage as well. This alternative camo is merely a cosmetic swap, providing the same identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains.  Hyuga's Type 10 Camouflage is the usual browns and greens you've come to expect from Japanese premiums. If you've finished the appropriate section of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection then you can palette swap to the blue instead. I really like Hyuga's lacquer camo. We've seen it before on Hayate. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 356mm guns in 6x2 turrets in an A-B-P-Q-X-Y in superfiring pairs. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 140mm guns in 16x1 hull-mounted casemates with eight to a side and eight 127mm guns in 4x2 turrets with a pair on either side of the main superstructure. I'ma take a quick moment and start with Hyuga's secondaries. Outside of PVE modes, don't worry about them. If you prefer Co-Op, you can buff her secondaries and get some nice results. Hyuga's 140mm casemates have improved gunnery dispersion, akin to that found on other large-calibre casemates of ships like Nagato, Amagi, Iron Duke and Warspite. Her 127mm have normal ol' (bad) dispersion, though. Fully buffed, you can get their reach out to 8.47km which is pretty respectable and more than worthwhile when bots come rushing blindly at you. Their smaller calibre will prevent them from dealing direct damage to all but the softest skinned targets, but you'll undoubtedly start a fire or two in every match if you get stuck in. Don't bother with them in PVP, however. Twelve 356mm guns with a 28 second reload with 1.8 sigma and a Main Battery Reload Booster at tier VII. For those experienced with the game, that's all of the information you really need to know to appreciate Hyuga's strengths and weaknesses. There's minutia, of course; other details that matter, but the lion's share of the information you need comes right there. Let's break it down: Twelve guns: This is a lot, no matter how you slice it. Most battleships in the game sit with between eight and ten guns with twelve tending to be towards the upper limit (laughs in Lyon). Regardless of gun calibre, this promises a large broadside and huge alpha strike potential. 356mm gun calibre: By tier VII, this gun calibre is a bit long in the tooth as more and more vessels drift upwards towards 380mm and 406mm guns. It is below average for its tier despite the glut of ships still using it (Poltava, California, Florida, Duke of York, King George V and Hyuga). 356mm guns obviously don't hit as hard as the larger gun calibres, but they are also incapable of overmatching structural plate that's 25mm or thicker. 25mm and 26mm structural plates become increasingly commonplace at mid-to-higher tiers, preventing ships armed with 356mm guns from being able to bully these vessels at any angle they take. 28 second reload: Go back even a year, and the perceived "normal" reload time for a battleship was 30 seconds. However, between the new American and Italian tech-tree battleships released this past year, Wargaming seems increasingly weary of keeping to this standard. A glut of newer vessels have greater-than-30-second reloads to their name, which makes Hyuga's 28 seconds all the more remarkable. Again, I stress that this is with a large main battery of twelve guns. Even with their smaller gun calibre, Hyuga's damage potential is some of the best at her tier. 1.8 sigma: This is the "workhorse" value Wargaming typically assigns to most battleships. The average sigma among the seventeen unique tier VII battleships is 1.79 just to give you an idea. The trend tends to be for ships with a large number of guns to have lower sigma; usually in the 1.5 to 1.6 range. This afflicts the tier VI battleships with twelve guns with Fuso and New Mexico both stricken with 1.5 sigma while Arizona feels decidedly over-performing with her 1.8 at the same tier. To see Hyuga with 1.8 sigma speaks to the comfort of her long-range gunnery. Aim well and she'll reward you with multiple hits. Main Battery Reload Booster: This consumable is a game changer. Hyuga already fires very quickly. She is more likely to have shells at the ready when a target of opportunity presents itself. The faster a battleship fires, the more forgiving the vessel is for poorly aimed shots. This consumable turns everything on its head, providing Hyuga with shells on demand. With a touch of a button, you all but guaranteed to be able to put shells down range to capitalize on an opponent's mistake. This stacks with the strengths of her larger battery (twelve guns) and decent sigma (1.8) to make these shots count. With the short reload on the consumable, it's again likely to be ready when the next opportunity arises. The only thing arresting the overpowered nature of this combination is Hyuga's gun calibre. If she was capable of overmatching any target she faced, this would simply be a raw DPM increase. As it is, she still needs to look for the best shots possible. Give Hyuga your broadside at your peril. Hyuga's 1.8 sigma makes for comfortable shell groupings. It's not S-tier by any means, but it's a far cry better than Fuso's 1.5 sigma shotgun blasts. This is largely the means by which Wargaming justifies Hyuga being a tier VII. This is what Fuso's 1.5 sigma shotgun blasts look like. Both ships are using Aiming Systems Modification 1 (but not Dead Eye), firing 180 AP shells at 15km against a stationary Fuso bot without camo. Shells are coming in from right to left (the Fuso is bow-tanking). Twelve guns with a 28 second reload means that Hyuga very comfortably sits near the top of the potential damage charts, even with her smaller gun calibre. It doesn't hurt that Japanese HE shells deal more damage than most of the contemporaries of the same calibre, with only the Royal Navy HE being beefier on a per-hit basis (6,100 damage from a KGV-class HE shell versus 5,700 for Hyuga). I swore I'd never do one of these graphics again and YET, here I am... Twelve 356mm guns with a 28 second reload with 1.8 sigma and a Main Battery Reload Booster glosses over a lot of problems. Hyuga's gun handling isn't particularly good nor are her fire angles comfortable (more on these in the Durability section below). Her range is good, but it could be better. Without access to a Spotter Aircraft, there's no temporary flexibility to chase targets just beyond her nominal reach. Next, her HE shells aren't good fire starters. Finally, her penetration just isn't up to scratch to compete with battleship belt armours outside of 14km. There is also the added problem that with such fast firing guns, Hyuga remains spotted longer than other battleships, revealing herself with every blast of her weapons. All of these problems are easy to forget with just how many shells she puts downrange and how often the land hits. Yes, ricochets are annoying. Yes, it sucks when a salvo of multiple hits from HE fails to start a fire. These issues help reign Hyuga in from over-performing, because there's a little too much good going on here. A lot of the premium battleships at tier VII use 356mm guns for some reason. Ashitaka uses 410mm, to be clear, and is present here because she's the other Japanese premium. Despite her increased HE shell damage, she's only a modest fire starter and only because she has so many guns and fires so quickly. Her individual shell hits have some of the lowest fire setting at her tier. SUMMARY: Very comfortable gunnery platform. Maybe a little too comfortable. Durability Hit Points: 60,700 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 26mm / 16mm / 149mm / 35 to 44mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm anti-torpedo bulge + 299mm belt + 32mm turtleback + up to a 230mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 26% I'm going to start with this graphic. It may seem a little out of place, but hear me out. "It could be worse" sums up Hyuga's fire angles. Between these and her poor gun handling, she gets poor marks here. 'If you can shoot them, they can penetrate you,' sums up Hyuga's firing angles. Assuming you can set things up absolutely 100% perfect, there's still around a one in three chance of their AP shells doing unspeakably ugly things to your ship. Get sloppy by as little as 3º and their chances jump up to half with the enusing reduction of relative armour as an additional kick in the teeth (her 299mm belt drops from approximately 520mm of effective armour down to 485mm). Hyuga's firing angles aren't well designed for trading fire. She's not meant to tank damage in gun duels like this. She's much better suited at shooting things that aren't shooting back. You're pretty much forced to choose between damage out put and tanking effectively. She's not really agile enough to pull off both without making some serious compromises to one or the other. It's not all doom and gloom, though. The Ise-class is a WWI era super-dreadnought and this is reflected in her dispersed armour scheme. This means that other than her extremities and (admittedly sizeable) superstructure, Hyuga has thicker armour than expected. Combine this with her enormous anti-torpedo bulges (which don't work very efficiently against torpedoes for some reason), Hyuga's armour profile is downright troll for resisting AP, SAP and HE shells. The latter two especially struggle to deal reliable damage if they miss her snoot, booty or hat. Against AP shells, it's a bit more of a mixed-blessing. Her dispersed armour does make it more likely to AP shells to ricochet if she's angled correctly. However, the thicker armour plate also has the effect of guaranteeing to arm the fuses of large calibre AP rounds, all but negating the chance for reduced damage over-penetrations when shells do bite into these places. Overall, her dispersed armour scheme is more of a blessing than a bane. Before moving on, it's worth mentioning that her turrets have about 300mm worth of usable armour between their turret faces and barbettes. These are an admitted weak point when face-tanking if an opponent can't simply overmatch her 26mm bows with 380mm+ calibre AP rounds. Hyuga's guns break often when forced into this role. Hyuga's huge 32mm anti-torpedo bulge acts as a void. Any HE or SAP attacks that strike here will deal zero damage to the ship. Peel back that anti-torpedo protection and there's a mess of different armour values for AP shells to contend with. None of these values are especially high, so maintaining correct angling is paramount to resisting battleship-calibre AP fire. When it comes to citadel protection ... it's complicated. Around Hyuga's rear magazines, her protection is pretty damn good with a combination of up to 593mm worth of steel at funny angles aimed to keep shells out. But depending on where she's hit, this value can be as low as just 288mm. Add onto this the wonky (janky!) geometry, especially around the P and Q turret magazines and the rear machine spaces and Hyuga's presents shell trap after shell trap after shell trap for penetration AP rounds to catch upon and deal big damage. It's worth mentioning that her turtleback isn't angled steeply enough to resist flat-trajectory fire, to say nothing of long-range fire and it's from the latter that you need to worry about big damaging hit the most. The reason I have made such a big deal out of Hyuga's poor firing angles and gun handling has a lot to do with how badly this ship resists citadel hits from the incidental attacks that come from long range duels. Look, I was going to show the armour values for this but ... it's like Jackson Pollock painting. It's a total mess. There are so many different armour values and weird geometries going on. I want to rate Hyuga's overall durability more highly than it deserves. In truth, her protection scheme could be really troll if she had better firing angles to capitalize on it. Furthermore, being a tier VII battleship, that leaves those huge vulnerable overmatching holes in the form of her bow and stern for easy back-doors into big damage against this ship. And if those aren't available, you can always smack her in the barbettes and get some nice damaging hits that way -- the changes made to penetrating hits against guns has greatly hurt the durability of mid-tier battleships, especially in brawls. I suppose the best that could be said about her is that she's pretty good at resisting poorly aimed cruiser HE and SAP spam. However, her superstructure and extremities are large targets so you cannot expect any experienced player to ignore those soft spots. Furthermore, Hyuga burns just as well as any other Japanese battleship. Hyuga's health pool is only average. VERDICT: Pretty good if you can stay angled or your opponents are n00bs. I wouldn't count on either one of those, though. It'll work well against bots, though. Agility Top Speed: 25.3 knots Turning Radius: 750m Rudder Shift Time: 15 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.9º/s at 18.9 knots Tier VII is a transition-tier for battleship agility. This is where we start to see some really fast battleships appearing however there are still some 20-knot holdovers in the form of the American standards. This combines with a mix of different handling characteristics, with some retaining the early-battleship tight turning radii while others begin to have their turning circles balloon out to the massive sizes we see at higher tiers. Thus there's a lot of variety between the best and worst performers and everything in between. Hyuga is definitely one of those in between. Her speed is slightly below average for her tier and her turning radius is alright. At 25 knots, it's just about enough to keep up with the pace of battle or to disengage during the opening stages of a fight. As the battle progresses, however, Hyuga's pedestrian top speed is more of a liability where the threat of allied support begins to dry up and enemies can push more aggressively if she's exposed. Similarly, her modest top speed leads to a cumbersome rate of turn. The good news is that she doesn't quite out-turn her turrets. The bad news is that you're still going to be tempted to use your rudder to bring guns to bear and that's going to open up your sides for penetrating AP hits. To this end, taking traverse-improving skills and upgrades helps improve this ship's durability, if only to keep your fingers away from the WASD keys when switching targets. Think of Hyuga as a slightly-faster Nelson. VERDICT: Nothing terrible but nothing good. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 2 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 63dps at 75% accuracy (47dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 75.5dps at 85% accuracy (62dps) Yeah.... no. The only reason Hyuga isn't at the bottom of the pile for AA defence at this tier is because Ashitaka is a stock, interwar-era Amagi. VERDICT: Yeah... no. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.84km / 14.7km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 10.46km / 9.41km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.84km Maximum Firing Range: 20.31km Have some raw data. Hyuga's surface detection is pretty bad. Hyuga's surface deteciton is pretty terrible. Stock, it's 2km better than Fuso (a little bit less if they're both fully upgraded), so that's something I guess. But that's like saying your tier V battleship has more health than Viribus Unitis. Even with a full concealment build (which should still do, by the way), until the enemy destroyers have been thinned out, you have to count on being permanently lit if you're anywhere close to the front. Being so easily spotted means that Hyuga spends more time being the only target available than her contemporaries. I'm sure Wargaming has some metric out there to illustrate this that would justify my suspicions, but between Hyuga's enormous surface detection and rapid fire guns, she ends up making herself a target more often than most. This means more incidental fire comes her way, especially from other battleships. While not all of this will connect, it's just that little bit of extra chip-damage that will eat at her health or tax your Damage Control Party that makes Hyuga and Fuso feel squishier than their armour profiles would otherwise suggest. It's just something to keep in mind. Having Priority Target is recommended if only to let you know when you need to silence your guns and think about rotating towards the back of the line to ease off some of the pressure. Hyuga's lack of a Spotter Aircraft tends to keep Hyuga closer to the action than Fuso, even with the two ships having comparable ranges. For the sake of her gun performance, this is generally a good thing though I found myself missing that extra bit of reach-on-demand in higher tiered engagements. Still, I have no real complaints about her engagement distances. Hyuga has nothing else really to speak of when it comes to her Vision Control. She's a fat battleship, possibly visible from space. This gets her shot a lot, though often it's more incidental fire than anything concentrated. Still, you can't count on being able to properly disengage unless you keep her in the second line. VERDICT: Just plain bad. Final Evaluation This isn't the first time Wargaming has taken an existing design and up-tiered it by making some small changes. While Hyuga is not a Fuso-class, their design looks superficially analogous from a game play perspective, what with both ships being large, twelve-356mm gun armed Japanese battleships. However, the differences between them is extensive. While describing Hyuga has a Tier VII Fuso is a good shorthand for setting expectations, it's far from accurate. This isn't a complete list of differences (you could write a book on their armour and hull geometry differences alone), but here's the important bits that separate the two vessels: The Basics Hyuga is an Ise-class, with overall larger dimensions than the Fuso-class and, most notably, different P & Q gun turret layouts. Hyuga is tier VII, facing a maximum of tier IX opponents and Fuso is tier VI facing a maximum of tier VIII opponents. Hyuga is a premium with all that this entails and comes with permanent camouflage. Firepower Hyuga has access to a Main Battery Reload Booster. Hyuga has improved sigma (1.8 vs 1.5) Hyuga has longer ranged secondaries (5.6km vs 4.96km) Hyuga has sixteen 140mm casemate secondaries, Fuso has fourteen 152mm casemate secondaries. Fuso is longer ranged (21.81km vs 20.31km) and she has access to a Spotter Aircraft. Durability Very different armour layouts and hull geometries. No, I'm not going into detail. Hyuga has better overall citadel defence. Hyuga has more hit points (60,700 vs 57,100) Hyuga has better built in fire resistance from her tier (30% vs 23.5% approximately). Fuso has better anti-torpedo defence (34% reduction versus 26%) Agility Hyuga is faster (25.3kts vs 24.5kts) Fuso has a tighter turning radius (730m vs 750m) Fuso has a faster rudder shift time (14.9s vs 15s) Anti-Aircraft Defence Fuso has better AA DPS at close range (150.5dps vs 75.5dps) Hyuga has a Fighter consumable. Vision Control Hyuga has a better surface detection range (16.89km vs 18.9km) Fuso has a better aerial detection range (9.74km vs 10.46km) So Hyuga's not a Fuso clone, but really, the three big differences between the two vessels are her consumables, her range and her dispersion. Hyuga is a much better gun platform than Fuso, even with her deficit of reach. Her gunnery is more reliable than the tier VI vessel. She puts more shells on target from accuracy and more shells down range grace of her Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. In fact, Hyuga's gunnery is so much better that it feels downright comfortable; and that, to me, is always a warning sign that a ship is perhaps a little too good. If I find myself feeling cozy in a given vessel, that's a sure sign that something about it is overtuned in my hands. Whether or not this translates to being similarly good in the hands of the masses is another thing entirely, but a lot of the ships I like end up getting pulled by Wargaming -- just saying. In Hyuga's case, Wargaming's new policy on adjusting premiums should keep this ship from ever getting withdrawn from sale barring her becoming way too popular. But as it stands, I think Hyuga is a fantastic Japanese premium. She's right up there with some of the other top-tier Japanese premium battleships including Ashitaka, Musashi and Shikishima.
  24. The following is a review of Azuma, the tier IX Premium Japanese Super Cruiser kindly provided to me by Wargaming. Please be aware that though this represents the release version of the ship, her statistics may change in the future. To the best of my knowledge, these stats are accurate as of patch 0.8.2. If you have any questions regarding any changes to this ship after subsequent patches, please feel free to contact me. Okay, this is getting ridiculous. I really don't know what to call these things. I'm defaulting to "Super-Type A" cruiser for Azuma because that's what my sources said the Japanese called her, but I reiterate that we really could use a catch-all term to describe these kinds of ships in World of Warships. Between Stalingrad, Alaska, Kronshtadt, Graf Spee and now Azuma and now with Yoshino on the horizon, we've got enough of these ships that they could use a name. PROS Large health pool of 58,350hp. Excellent range of 19.1km on her main battery guns. Good alpha strike and penetration for a cruiser. Increased penetration on her secondaries. Good long-range anti-aircraft firepower. Decent top speed of 34 knots. Extra charge of her Repair Party consumable with a faster reset timer. CONS Octagonal citadel which sits high over the water. Relatively thin armoured belt for a large cruiser. Large target and vulnerable to HE shells and AP overmatch with few sections thicker than 25mm. Takes increased damage over time effect damage like a battleship. Most of her continuous AA DPS is located in 1.9km range small caliber guns. Enormous 920m turning radius and poor rudder shift time. Large surface detection range. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL/ Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme Azuma's pretty new-player friendly. This is largely owing to her range and speed which allows her to camp the back, dump HE shells at a distance and generally frustrate their own team by being a non-entity. But hey, at least this is easy to do. Skilled players can bring Azuma closer and do a bit of tanking, but not much. While her guns are perfectly capable of pressuring the enemy, she doesn't have an extensive toolkit to facilitate carries, nor the damage output to make them balk. Using and abusing her belt armour and anti-torpedo voids allows for some trollish moments, but these are exceptions rather than the rule. Skill will only take you so far. – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. The "fair" evaluation belies the power of Azuma's guns. They're just not as good as those found on Alaska or Kronshtadt. While she has a lot of hit points and great heals, her citadel vulnerability holds her back on Defense. Similarly, she has great speed but her turning radius is so large as to push her into "bad" territory in regards to her agility. Her AA power is alright but she's too large to earn anything other than a "bad" value in Vision Control. Options Oh goodie, a tier IX cruiser. There's going to be a lot to talk about when we get to her upgrades. Consumables Azuma's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with a 5s active period and a 90s / 60s reset timer. This has unlimited charges. In your second slot, the default choice is Defensive AA Fire. As per usual, this doubles the firepower from her 100mm AA guns (both sustained DPS and damage from flak bursts) for 40s and starts with two charges base. This has a 120s / 80s reset timer. Alternatively, you can swap out Defensive AA Fire for Hydroacoustic Search in slot two. This has two charges base and a 100s active period. This extends her torpedo detection to 3.5km and ship acquisition to 5.0km. This has a 180s / 120s reset timer. In slot three, she has a Spotter Aircraft. This increases her range by 20% for 100s. For Azuma this gives her a reach of 22.9km / 26.6km depending on upgrades used. She has three charges base and this has a 360s / 240s reset timer. Finally, she has a Repair Party in slot four. This heals back up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds, queuing 50% of penetration damage, 33% of citadel damage and 100% from all other damage types. She starts with an extra charge base for three total. In addition this has a much faster reset timer with a 60s / 40s cool down. Upgrades There's a lot of choices to be made with Azuma's upgrades however they're not too complicated when you break them down: Your first choice is whether to emphasize main battery performance or anti-aircraft firepower. If you select main battery firepower, choose if you want to do this through firing at range or emphasizing her rate of fire. In terms of survivability, choose if you want to reduce damage over time effects or attempt to dodge fire by improving her rudder shift time. You can mix and match if you so choose, but it's generally optimal to pick a specialization and go full hog down that route. The best performance build will stress DPM and concealment over AA power and dodging. There's also one stupid choice: see if you can spot it. In your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is preferred for most builds. You can take Spotter Aircraft Modification 1 if you really want to stress her range advantages. Special Upgrades are best in your second slot. Take either Defensive AA Fire Modification 1 or Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 for whichever consumable you prefer. If you can't afford the special upgrades, default to Damage Control Modification 1. Unless you're specializing for AA firepower, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is your best choice. For the latter, take AA Guns Modification 1. If you're only intending to use Azuma in Co-Op, then man up and take Secondary Guns Modification 1. Totally worth it. Now we start to get into defensive choices. If you want to focus on agility, take Steering Gears Modification 2 & 3 in slots 4 and 5. Otherwise take Damage Control Modification 2 and Concealment Expert. Finally, slot 6 lets you punctuate your specialization. Main Battery Modification 3 emphasizes DPM. Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 boosts her range. AA Guns Modification 2 improves her AA firepower. Camouflage Azuma comes with Type 10 - Azuma camouflage. This provides the usual 3% bonus concealment from surface targets, 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion, 20% reduction to post-battle service costs and100% bonus to experience gains. Default camo is grey and more-darker grey. You can unlock the green and grey camouflage through completing the "Uniform Items" of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection. You can tell this is a pre-8.2 screenshot from the gun screens on her forward AA nests. Those are her old 40mm guns and did not make it to the live version. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 310mm guns in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 100mm/65 guns in 8x2 turrets. For a large cruiser, Azuma's firepower is odd. Every other large cruiser I've played, AP shells are the default. They're the shell I wanted to use. When playing Alaska, Kronshtadt and Stalingrad, I hunted for targets that would let me capitalize on their AP performance. And here's where Azuma differed. I defaulted to using HE when sailing her -- rather, I felt like Azuma's guns encouraged me to default to her HE shells. I told myself that my reasons for doing so were elementary. Azuma does not have the god-tier ballistics and penetration values of the Soviet large cruisers which lets them easily citadel battleships at most engagement ranges. Similarly, she lacks the improved auto-bounce angles found on Alaska which helps reduce the number of AP shell ricochets. Finally, Azuma has improved HE damage (as do most Japanese ships). However, these feel like excuses rather than justified defense at my myopic ammunition preference. Putting Azuma's main battery firepower under the microscope shows that, true to her Large Cruiser pedigree, dynamic ammunition choice is not only encouraged but also necessary to enjoy success. She's reliant upon AP and HE, no matter how comfortable the latter will make her feel. Azuma has comparable DPM output with her HE to Dmitri Donskoi but with better HE penetration (and worse accuracy). I'm keeping this graph simple -- so no bonuses have been accounted for. The only weirdness you need know is that when Saint Louis activates her Main Battery Reload Booster, she has comparable DPM to Buffalo over 60s. This assumes the improbabilities of 100% hit rate and no fire resistance on enemy ships. Actual fire output of these ships is much lower, with fire resistance at tier X cutting the fire chance effectively in half. Tack on the accuracy issues with Azuma and she's not taxing anyone's Damage Control Party by herself without a lot of luck. Again, I am not confusing things further by including Saint Louis' Main Battery Reload Booster. Mega-Zao she is not Azuma's HE shells hit like trucks. However, for a cruiser she's not particularly good at starting fires nor is her damage per minute inspiring. The best that could be said about Azuma's HE shells is that when you're not firing AP, you're not hemorrhaging as much lost damage output as you might in other large cruisers. At least, she doesn't have the inherent weakness of her contemporaries where they struggle to deal significant damage per volley against destroyers. However, this is all assuming you can land hits regularly. While Azuma's HE shells are safe, her AP shells decidedly are not. She lacks the god-tier penetration values from Kronshtadt's high velocity railguns. She doesn't have Alaska's oh-so forgiving improved autobounce angles either. Unless Azuma can line up shots on perfect broadsides, it's all too common to see her AP shells ricochet or shatter against targets. This is 180 shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso without camouflage. Azuma and Alaska were both equipped with the Aiming System Mod 1 dispersion mod. Contrary to what's advertised, Azuma's guns performed more accurately for me than their datamined stats indicated they should. Alaska's and Azuma's horizontal dispersion should be close to comparable. Borrowed from my Alaska review to save time. These are the approximate penetration values of the large cruisers compared to the best-performing 203mm armed heavy cruiser at tier IX, USS Buffalo. Azuma's penetration is comparable to Alaska's, being slightly better over range but not by enough to get excited over. Go Fly a Kite Azuma's fragility keeps her from safely fighting on the front lines (see the Defense section below). She's largely relegated to firing from the second line, keeping her distance from her opponents in order to protect her vulnerable citadel. This works to the further detriment of her AP shells, eating away at their penetration value with increased distance. Thankfully, she's well setup for this role. Not only does she have excellent reach, she has a good top speed and her gun fire arcs are perfect for kiting opponents. Azuma has some excellent fire angles for kiting. Her turret traverse isn't so great. She starts with 5º per second, but once you add on Main Battery Modification 3, she starts being able to out turn her turrets. Taking Expert Marksman to combat this is recommended. Bolted-on Duckies I don't like wasting a lot of time talking about cruiser secondaries. It's so rare they do anything of value. However, Azuma's secondaries bug me a lot because they could have been amazing. She uses the same 100mm/65 caliber guns found on the Japanese gunship destroyers Akizuki, Kitakaze and Harugumo. These have the same ridiculous 20rpm rate of fire and more importantly, they also have their increased 25mm penetration. While I giggled for joy at the prospect of a fully secondary specialized cruiser (including taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells to be able to blast stupid battleships) there are two flaws with this: Brawling with Azuma tends to end messily with your ship exploding in a horrendous, greasy kablooie. Azuma's secondaries only have a 5km base range. This just isn't enough reach in high tier matches to be effective. We'd really want to see a 6km to 7km base range, minimum. Without reach and with Azuma's exposed citadel, there just aren't many opportunities to make use of what could have been a very fun addition to this ship. Outside of co-op, it's just not a viable choice. Summary Azuma's guns aren't bad. They're more accurate than I thought they'd be. They have great range. Her HE shells do a nice chunk of damage. Her AP shells and her fire chance aren't terrible but they are disappointing, especially when compared to previous outings with Alaska and Kronshtadt. Kite, kite and kite some more. Look for opportunities to use AP, but you're probably going to be stuck with HE. You're not going to get to use her secondaries often, which is a shame. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Azuma needs to be able to compete with Alaska and Kronshtadt on equal footing. Kronshtadt has DPM and penetration advantage. Alaska has her improved autobounce angles and similar accuracy to Azuma. Azuma's HE performance isn't quite good enough to keep pace with these two. Defense Hit Points: 58,350 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 25mm anti-torpedo bulge + 195mm transverse bulkhead. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% Azuma has less health than Alaska but with her extra charge of her fast-reloading Repair Party consumable, Azuma has more potential HP. This is nice and all, but I would take Alaska's citadel placement and belt armour over Azuma's extra potential health any day. Extra health only counts when you can avoid exploding suddenly (and often). It should be noted that Azuma, like other large cruisers, takes damage over time effects (fires, floods) like a battleship, resulting in more damage. Much ado has been made about Azuma's durability. For a cruiser, she's pretty tough. She has a thick belt. She has anti-torpedo bulges. She has a lot of hit points and even a mildly improved Repair Party. Unfortunately, Azuma isn't a regular cruiser -- she's one of those hybrid large / battle cruiser type deals like Alaska and Stalingrad. So let's put this into context: For a cruiser, Azuma's protection scheme is great. Any complaints about her not being good are just being nit-picky. Azuma is very durable when compared to Ibuki or Seattle or what have you. It's only with a narrow focus on other large-cruisers (and battlecruisers) that her level of durability falls apart. Let's start listing the fails... Her citadel is raised above water. It's easy to hit. She doesn't have much citadel protection. Azuma's citadel protection is limited to a 178mm belt covered by a 25mm anti-torpedo bulge. So not only is she easy to hit, there's not a lot of armour preventing shells from punching into her vitals. This is easily within the scope of AP penetration for some 203mm armed Heavy Cruisers. Her citadel is octagonal (sorta). This is arguably the worst geometric shape you could choose for a citadel (short of a stretched oval). It all but guarantees a relatively flat surface for shells to penetrate into no matter how she angles. So now angling isn't an effective countermeasure to mitigate citadel hits. Her external hull armour doesn't exceed 25mm. Small and medium caliber HE loves farming damage off Azuma. It's not like Azuma isn't without merit, though. She has an enormous chunk of hit points for a cruiser, which is nice. In addition, the 25mm armour over her belt counts as an anti-torpedo void and it eats HE shells for zero damage. In addition, AP shells which shatter or ricochet off her internal belt also count for zero damage even if they penetrate her outer 25mm bulge. This bulge isn't an especially large target, unfortunately. Furthermore, she has a turtleback that's 125mm thick which will cause a lot of internal ricochets. Her final durability bonus is her improved Repair Party. She begins with 3 charges instead of 2 like most cruisers, giving her a maximum of 5 with a premium version of the consumable coupled with Superintendent. To facilitate this further, her reset timer is cut in half, with a 60s / 40s cool down depending if you're using a premium version or not (use a premium version!). The extra charge generally gives Azuma more effective hit points than Alaska provided you use it perfectly. Azuma's waterline anti-torpedo bulge counts as spaced armour and will eat HE shells for no damage. Similarly, AP shells that punch through her there don't automatically cause penetration damage and must contend with her belt behind it. Unfortunately, you won't have more effective health than Alaska because Azuma eats citadel hits for breakfast. While she can recover from citadel hits like other cruisers (queuing up 33% of citadel damage done) that doesn't do you any good if you get deleted outright. Thus, as great as that extra potential HP is, it's more likely that because of these catastrophic hits, you either won't survive long enough to make use of all of the charges or you simply won't be able to recoup enough HP to make up the difference. So that's all pretty damning for a ship type people equate with a baby battleship. It's really much better to think of Azuma like a standard heavy cruiser. If you wouldn't try tanking it with Ibuki, you shouldn't try tanking it with Azuma. Given her size, large turning radius and lack of concealment (see below for that), this has the unfortunate effect of pushing Azuma back from the front lines to keep her safe. I'm reminded of Abruzzi. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : It's telling just how exposed Azuma's citadel is that she doesn't automatically take a : rating here. She's close, though. Better external armour, something that would let her autobounce 380mm guns, for example, would help a lot. Agility Top Speed: 34.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 920m Rudder Shift Time: 13.9s Estimated 4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 4.6º/s Azuma's fast. Speed helps Azuma overcome some of her other manoeuvrability ills. To be clear, Azuma handles like a battleship, albeit a fast one. Her turning radius is appalling and she comes about about as quickly as a South Dakota-class battleship. Her rudder shift time is comparable too. For a ship with such a large, exposed citadel, even at her best, she exposes her broadside for far too long to ever be considered safe. In short, rely on Azuma's speed. It's arguably one of her best features. It allows her to dictate the engagement range against her opponents and flex where opportunities arise. If Azuma is far enough back, it also gives her better chances of dodging incoming fire. If you're beginning to notice a kiting theme, there's a reason... Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : It's that 920m turning radius which holds her back. Drop it down to even 820m and Azuma's easily one of the better cruisers at tier IX, agility wise. Anti-Aircraft Defense Long Range: 8 explosions at 1,470 damage each and 255dps from 5.8km to 1.9km Short Range: 519dps from 1.9km to 0.1km Right, it's theory-crafting time. I don't like doing this, but I don't have much choice in the matter. I only got to play Azuma's finalized AA armament on the 0.8.2 test server. I'm not terribly confident with my AA assessment here as the test server is the test server (with tier 10 carriers that couldn't drop torpedoes successfully on a stationary ship). The big difference was that Azuma shed her 40mm twins she had for much of the live-server testing, losing her medium caliber aura and replaced some of her triple 25mm guns with twins. So let me touch upon briefly what was and theory-craft what she has now. Azuma's current AA layout on top and the layout used during play testing on the bottom. Twin 100mm in red, twin 40mm in pink, enclosed 25mm triples in green, open-air 25mm triples in yellow, twin 25mm in blue. Maybe we'll see the old AA version on Yoshino. Azuma's AA DPS is ALMOST good. ALMOST. Her large caliber guns are great. They don't have the 6.9km reach to make them amazing, but they put out a huge chunk of sustained damage starting at 5.8km -- more damage than anything else at tier IX other than Neptune which is wonderful. Unfortunately, Azuma lacks any medium caliber AA guns, so her large caliber have to carry the weight as planes close. This gives her some of the worst mid-range AA DPS until her small caliber guns can pick up the slack. At close range, Azuma's damage output is again wonderful but it's a mistake to think that short-ranged DPS is going to do much in a given match unless your CV opponent is a complete tater-bot and likes to do flyovers without dropping ordnance for some reason. Maybe (MAYBE!) you might inconvenience them by shooting down aircraft that complete an attack run. Maybe. I wouldn't count on that ruining their day, though, unless you're facing a tier VIII CV that's already heavily taxed on aircraft recovery. Going back to Azuma's long range AA firepower, she throws out an average of 8 explosions with a meaty 1,470 damage per blast. These unfortunately have no impact on aircraft that are on their attack runs (with the exception of Hakuryu's torpedo bombers, because they're special -- maybe this got fixed in 0.8.2). This largely relegates them to being used to protect other ships rather than seeing to her own defense. The final take-away here should be that without Defensive AA Fire active, Azuma's only going to mildly inconvenience carriers. Lacking a catapult fighter, she will look like an inviting target, so expect regular attention. 404'd. Medium Caliber AA not found. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : A lot. It would have to start with a catapult fighter and then we can talk options. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 15.12km Aerial Detection: 10.73km Minimum Surface Detection: 11.88km When Firing in Smoke: 11.73km When Firing in Open Water: 19.09km to 26.57km Azuma really drops the ball when it comes to Vision Control. Not only is she fat (without the ph), she lacks Surveillance Radar found on Alaska, Stalingrad and Kronshtadt. She's just not that helpful at projecting vision. Her dependence on Defensive AA Fire to keep her safe also makes taking Hydoacoustic Search a risk. Combine the deficiencies of her agility and defense and it's all too easy to relegate Azuma to a back-of-the-pack support sniper. The further back you park Azuma, the more likely you're going to have to depend on her HE shells to do all of the heavy lifting and the more boring she becomes. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's going to need a lot of help here. Go West Azuma meshes very well with Japanese battleship commander skills. In particular, fire mitigation combined with Superintendent are optimal. This isn't the only option, of course. You can opt for more specialized builds, including anti-aircraft or, (if you're a complete nutter) a secondary build if you prefer co-op. Take the skills in green first and then double back with those in yellow. This will help mitigate damage over time effects for Azuma. Final Evaluation It feels kind of redundant to write one of these when it feels like the community has already largely condemned the darned thing before I publish. The amount of commiserations I received when people learned I was play testing Azuma just goes to show the kind of uphill battle Wargaming faces with trying to get people to spend money on this ship. Azuma isn't obviously powerful, thus she's been relegated to the mehbote pile, already dismissed. On the one hand, it's nice that my job is done for me: the player base is cautious and they're not going to throw money recklessly at Wargaming over the newest shiny on offer. On the other hand, it concerns me how many times I've heard the same inaccuracies about the ship repeated over and over. Azuma isn't a bad ship. Unfortunately, because she's not optimal, people will call her garbage (or whatever expletive substitute they prefer) and that's just not accurate. Azuma's flaw isn't that she's weak. Her flaw is that she's inconsistent, dependent on her citadel not blowing up and relying on fire damage from her HE spam to pad out her numbers. Some times things will go amazing. There will be those players who swear by her. Contrarily, there will be those who will damn her outright because of real or imagined flaws. For all my grumbling, Azuma's on my "forget" pile too. Once I'm done with this review, I'm not going to be playing her. She's not a ship I enjoyed outside of derping around co-op. You could argue this is owing to her power level. She's middling. While she does present a fun challenge to do well in, she's more work than she's worth, in my opinion. It was hard to feel that she presented me with the tools needed to outplay my opponents. Giving it my all didn't yield much improved results over just hoping nobody shot at me. That's not a formula for a fun time, in my opinion, but your own mileage may certainly vary. The most damning thing I could say about Azuma is this: I know I have a contrarian streak. When a ship gets bad-mouthed while still in development, I'm usually inspired try and find some limited element about their performance to champion. I came up empty on Azuma. Believe me, I looked hard too, driven by this inner snootiness to laud some useless factoid that could redeem her in my eyes. That way I could dangle it over the masses. You all might have damned her but I was going enjoy her as only the upper-crust of top-hat wearing, be-monocled World of Warships connoisseurs could. Except, I couldn't. I didn't like playing this boat. Instead of supping with the elitists where we all play eclectic premiums, I'm going to have to choke on some base experiences with the commoners and play Giulio Cesare like a bloody peasant. Screw you, Azuma. Would I Recommend? Azuma comes with a 1M free experience price tag, the same as Alaska. If you were to pay for it using the 1 doubloon for 25 free experience cost, you're looking at a price tag of $164.24 USD. I'm not of the opinion this is worth it (especially when there are tricks to farm up free experience at a reasonable rate), but to each their own. For PVE Battles? How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Azuma does very well in Co-op. You can even get away with that aforementioned secondary build and pad out your damage in close quarters (cuz bots are dumb). For Random Battle Grinding? This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. Azuma works well enough for training Japanese battleship and cruiser commanders, with comparable skill overlaps. For Competitive Gaming? Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Taking any ship with an enormous, vulnerable citadel into competitive is a loser move. It's on par with stapling your upper lip to your computer desk and standing up suddenly -- it's so bad, it's painful to watch and people will beg you not to do it (and some sickos will encourage you to do it anyway). For Collectors? If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. No. Azuma, though an interesting "what if" ship, it doesn't have the collector's appeal for me. For her Fun-Factor? Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? No. If I'm going to sit in the back and spam HE at things (with the occasional AP shell to prove I'm not a complete scrub), I'll play Conqueror. At least she has a fun hotto doggu theme song. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it! In Closing For my next review, I will be reviewing... well, this is where I would be saying something witty in light of it being April Fool's. I dunno, Thunderer Two? Famous and Historical Monarch? I don't have two brain cells to rub together at this point. I'm going to try and finish talking about the premium carriers. The next part, rocket aircraft, is due out this week and dive bombers should be the week after. Then I just need to talk about the ship's hulls and that will finish off Saipan, Graf Zeppelin, Enterprise and Kaga. After that I think I'm well overdue for a long vacation.
  25. Poopin' rainbows. Quick Summary: A fragile anti-aircraft cruiser with radar and armed with sixteen 127mm rifles and short-ranged torpedoes. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.1. February 3rd, 2017 Cost: 9,000 doubloons. Closest in-Game Contemporary Flint, Tier 7 USN Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Flint is an Oakland-subclass of the Atlanta-class cruiser, so it stands to reason that the two ships would be very similar. Flint has an upgraded medium-range anti-aircraft suite. She loses out on the two wing turrets found on Atlanta giving her a maximum of a twelve-gun broadside. Flint's superiority is very firmly set by her torpedoes which have a reach out to 9.2km. Lastly, the two ships trade out their third consumable, with Flint having a USN Smoke Generator instead of Atlanta's Radar. PROs Armed with sixteen, rapid fire 127mm rifles in eight turrets dispensing up to168 rounds per minute from a fourteen gun broadside. Turret traverse is blinding-quick at 25º per second. Able to fire over intervening terrain quite easily. Her main battery customizes incredibly with the 0.6.0 Captain Skills. Her torpedoes are very fast and very hard hitting for a cruiser of her tier. Powerful anti-aircraft armament, with unlimited charges of her Defensive Fire consumable. With a full AA-upgrade build, she has some of the best AA-power in the game, tier for tier. She has access to the USN Radar consumable. CONs Tiny hit point pool of 27,500hp. Her machine-spaces citadel sits over the waterline and has a maximum of 89mm of protection. Her bows are overmatched by 203mm guns or larger. Her turrets get temporarily disabled easily. Painfully short ranged at 11.1km stock. Very poor ballistics, with shells being launched into low orbit even at modest ranges. Poor penetration values on her AP and HE shells. She struggles to do damage to tier 8+ Battleships. Torpedoes are pathetically short ranged at 4.5km. Large surface detection range of 11.0km. My last review of Atlanta was over a year ago and there have been some rather significant changes to the game in that time. Atlanta has been graced by some better fortunes, including one direct buff and many smaller, indirect buffs caused by differences in new mechanics and systems. This time last year, she was an overspecialized oddity, unable to perform in the manner players wanted and expected her to perform. She remained a favourite to eccentrics and experts and downright punitive to novice players. Atlanta's fame (or infamy) has waned considerably over the year. She is no longer commonly available, having been removed as a permanent fixture from the online store. She is also gone from the in-game tech-tree where she could be bought with doubloons. Though far from rare, it is likely that as the game matures she may become a more uncommon sight. This said, her game play style has been diluted somewhat by the inclusion of USS Flint, an Oakland-subclass of the Atlanta-class cruiser. Flint shares many characteristics with Atlanta but with the benefits of better torpedoes and a smoke generator -- two fixes for the Atlanta-class many fans of her were clamouring for. We received different fixes for Atlanta instead of questionable effectiveness. This does raise the question if Atlanta is now worth purchasing for those who do not have her, especially given her limited availability. Hopefully this review will address said concerns. Atlanta subscribes to the original Wargaming design for premium vessels in World of Warships, where candidates were to be selected from ships that didn't fit in the tech tree. These "weird" vessels included ships like Kitakami and Tone. Options Atlanta's Defensive Fire is special. Unlike other ships, she has unlimited charges of this consumable. Its other characteristics, including reset timer, duration and intensity remain the same. Atlanta is also one of the few tier 7 ships with Radar. This has an 8.49km range, 25s duration and two or three minute reset timer depending if you took the premium version or not. Consumables: Damage Control Party Defensive Fire or Hydroacoustic Search Radar Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard USN 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 Main Battery: Sixteen 127mm rifles in 8x2 turrets with an A-B-C-P-Q-X-Y-Z arrangement. A-B-C and X-Y-Z are superfiring, with all three turrets capable of shooting unobstructed directly forward or aft respectively. P and Q are wing turrets mounted just ahead of X-turret and behind the torpedo launchers. This gives the ship a fourteen gun broadside. Torpedo Armament: Eight tubes between 2x4 launchers. One is mounted to each side of the ship behind the rear funnel. Let's start with Atlanta's torpedoes; they are terrible. While individually hard hitting at 16,663 damage per and fast at 65 knots they are pathetically short ranged at 4.5km. This limits their utility to ambush scenarios and acts of desperation. In order to properly make use of Atlanta's torpedoes, your opponent has to have made a serious mistake. In such scenarios, a broadside of all four fish will be catastrophic and your opponent deserves the punishment these can dish out for being so horribly out of position. In close range brawls with enemy cruisers, a broadside of her AP shells is often more reliably devastating than her torpedoes. That's really all that needs to be said about these weapons. Main Battery Atlanta has arguably the most entertaining main battery armament in the game. There are few guns as interesting as the USN 127mm/38 rifles in World of Warships. They are not without their controversies either. With 0.6.0 they received a significant buff in regards to how they interact with select Captain Skills and the variety of builds centered around improving these weapons is diverse. But let's start with looking at their raw performance before we worry about how we can modify them. Common Captain Skills taken by Atlanta players to buff their Main Battery. Few ships benefit so greatly from Captain Skills as the Atlanta. From left to right: Basic Fire Training, Advanced Fire Training, Demolition Expert, Inertia Fuse for HE Shells, Adrenaline Rush and Expert Marksman. Not all of these skills should be considered optimal or even necessary. The 127mm/38 rifles found on Atlanta are similar to, but not an exact match to the weapons found on the USN Destroyers. They fire the same shells, with the same relative range, ballistic qualities, alpha strike, penetration values and fire chance to her line's destroyers. However, Atlanta doesn't enjoy the same rate of fire found on vessels like Mahan, Farragut or Sims. Farragut, at tier 6, fires 15 rounds per minute -- a value matched by Mahan at tier 7. Sims gets this volume of fire as high as 18.2 rounds per minute while Atlanta has to make do with 12. For those wondering, this isn't historical and has been reduced for balance reasons. Atlanta may appear to have the equivalent broadside to three USN Destroyers combined, once you factor in her reload time, this works out closer to two. And this brings us to our first two Captain Skills. Rate of Fire Atlanta reloads every 5s giving her fourteen gun broadside a potential rate of fire of 168 rounds per minute. There are two ways to increase this. As a destroyer-caliber weapon, Atlanta enjoys full benefits of Basic Fire Training which drops her reload down to 4.5s and increases her rate of fire up to just over 186rpm. As if that weren't enough, you can also take Adrenaline Rush which increases her rate of fire as your ship takes damage. At half health, this drops Atlanta's reload by another half second, increasing it to 210rpm. Let's look at some real-world examples. Assuming penetrating hits from her HE shells (594 damage per), a full 14 gun volley (8,316 damage per) yields the following. Against saturated areas, the damage will be half this. At 168rpm: 99,792 damage. At 186rpm: 110,494 damage. At 210rpm: 124,740 damage. This is contingent on being able to land hits with that level of accuracy and penetrate vulnerable areas. Like all guns, Atlanta's rifles are exceedingly dangerous up close. Landing with ten or more shells per volley is easy enough inside of 7km ranges. However, even veteran Atlanta players only land between 29% and 35% of their hits overall which much of the accuracy disparity coming from her poor ballistic qualities at range. Range and Ballistics One of Atlanta's biggest weaknesses is her lack of reach relative to her surface detection. Stock, Atlanta's guns can theoretically hit targets up to 11.1km away while she's detected from the surface from 11.0km. This 100m buffer for such a fragile ship forces her to be placed in harms way anytime she pulls the trigger. Taking the skill, Advanced Fire Training extends her reach up to 13.3km. Between camouflage and skills, it's possible to get her surface detection down to 9.4km. In theory, this opens the tiniest of stealth fire windows (less than 100m) but in all practical sense, Atlanta cannot engage targets and stay hidden without the use of cover. This is further compounded by the appalling ballistic qualities of her shells. At her maximum range, her shells are taking a full second per kilometer of distance traveled. This leads to horrible lead times. Depending on game resolution, some players may be prevented from using the maximum zoom when ranging their shells as their targets will be well off screen. This can make targeting specific sections of ships very difficult This is a necessary skill when facing off against heavily armored targets which her HE shells can struggle to damage.Penetration and Fire Atlanta has one of the lowest average damage per game values of any tier 7 cruiser. Stock, Atlanta's high explosive shells can penetrate a maximum of 20mm of armour. Aside from destroyers and some light cruisers, her shells just don't have the penetration power to directly affect vessels short of their superstructures. So while her guns may murder a destroyer with some alacrity, when facing against cruisers and battleships, Atlanta was often on her back foot. Atlanta's AP shells can be truly monstrous when properly applied. However, their penetration values due to their low muzzle velocity and poor ballistics arcs prevents them from being used efficiently outside of 7km ranges. Inside this distance, Atlanta is more than capable of blowing out the citadel of heavy cruisers or hammering the upper hull or extremities of a Battleship with her AP shells and wracking up enormous damage totals quickly. It's not uncommon for Atlanta to deliver seven to ten citadel hits against a broadside cruiser inside of knife fighting range. This can deal a whopping 29,400 AP damage if you can land 14 out of 14 shells as citadel hits. For this reason, Atlanta's torpedoes are often forgotten in the heat of a brawl as her AP can be more than sufficient to put down an enemy cruiser. Outside of this range or against even slightly angled targets, her AP performance becomes quite anemic. For this reason, the ship has often lived and died by her high explosive shells. In the past, this forced Atlanta Captains to rely on the fire potential of her weapons to inflict damage against larger capital ships. As a flamethrower, she was quite good at this in theory but in practice, this was never sufficient. Her individual shells have a poor base fire chance at 5% per hit. Demolition Expert can nudge this number up to 7%. However, this plugs into a larger formula: [Fire Resistance Coefficient x ( 1 - [Damage Control Modification 1 - [Fire Prevention ) x ( [Projectile Base Fire Chance + [Demolition Expert + [signals - [inertial Fuse for HE Shells) = Fire Chance Fire Resistance Coefficients vary, from 0.8668 for a stock tier 5 to 0.5671 for a fully upgraded tier 9 vessel. This makes the chances of stacking fires much easier against lower tiered targets than higher tiered, which is ironic given that Atlanta can often deal more damage directly to lower tiered targets than needing fires to prop up her damage totals. Here are some real world examples: Atlanta with Demolition Expert facing an upgraded Kongo with Damage Control Modification 1 (0.8335) x [1-(0.05) - (0) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0) = 5.54% per shell Atlanta with Demolition Expert facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0) = 3.37% per shell Combine this with Basic Fire Training on the Atlanta (186rpm) and a 30% accuracy and you're looking at 3.1 fires per minute against the Kongo and 1.9 fires per minute against the Iowa. Based on these numbers, an Atlanta should be able to easily stack a fire or two past Kongo's Damage Control Party and disengage. Against an Iowa or similar tier 9 Battleship, it's questionable whether any fires will stick at all if the target Captain manages their consumable properly. Dueling with either Battleship for longer than a minute greatly increases the changes of reprisals from the now-annoyed battleship from which Atlanta is unlikely to survive, so it's important to stack fires in a limited time frame and disappear. Without the ability to do damage quickly to larger targets and her own poor survivability when such ships elect to shoot back, it's perhaps no wonder that Atlanta's average damage has been so low. There is a ray of sunshine, however. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells All light cruisers have benefited massively from this skill and it has been a real game changer. For Atlanta, this increases her HE penetration from 20mm to 27mm allowing her to now damage the extremities of tier 6 and 7 battleships and all cruisers within her matchmaking spread. With this skill, now Atlanta can drop those theoretical 8,314 damage, 14 penetrating hit HE volleys against most of her opponents. Only tier 8+ Battleships retain an immunity to her shells with the exception of their superstructures. This skill isn't without its trade-offs, however. It's an expensive investment for one, requiring the sacrifice of one or more beneficial Captain Skills. In addition, it damages her already poor base fire chance by a whole 3%. It's this latter trade off which can really hurt as her (in)effectiveness against tier 8+ Battleships plummets even further. Let's look at our Iowa example again. Atlanta with Demolition Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0.03) = 1.92% per shell And if you can no longer afford Demolition Expert: Atlanta with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0) + (0) - (0.03) = 0.96% per shell Once again, assuming Atlanta is using Basic Fire Training and attaining 30% accuracy, this works out to 1.1 fires per minute with Demolition Expert and 0.5 fires per minute without. So it becomes a question of a trade off. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells greatly increases Atlanta's lethality against same tier or lower tiered battleships but worsens her performance against those found at tiers 8 and 9. Conclusions: Few ships have their performance defined so significantly by Captain Skills as Atlanta. With her torpedoes being a mere afterthought, how a player customizes and elects to use Atlanta's main batteries will largely define their level of success with this ship. There is no build that is optimal against all targets and some that are superfluous or even damaging to Atlanta's damage output depending on the ship type engaged. A player must decide well in advance what kinds of ships she wishes to specialize against and build her Atlanta accordingly. One of Atlanta's more infamous traits is the awful shell flight times. At maximum range (13.3km) it's possible to begin firing a fourth volley volley before the first has hit the target. This makes lead times downright punitive and adjusting fire difficult. Maneuverability Top Speed: 32.5 knots Turning Radius: 610m Rudder Shift Time: 8.4s Atlanta's top speed of 32.5 knots isn't particularly exciting. It's sufficient for her task as an escort cruiser, but she doesn't have the speed necessary to challenge evasive destroyers. Perhaps more pressingly, she is also lacking in sufficient speed to outrun fast Battleships that may seek to engage her, such as Bismarck, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau or Iowa and she has no chance of outpacing Soviet and Japanese cruisers. So while not slow or inflexible, some care needs to be taken when planning Atlanta's course lest she find herself out of position or over extended. This is a problem common to all USN Cruisers. Ship rotation times from starting at maximum speed and rudder hard over. Each ship was run through the course five times (except Flint and Atlanta which were run for ten to confirm their similarities) and the average taken. Deceleration is the time taken for a ship to reach it's lowest speed in a turn. The two most important factors for determining ship rotation speed is the radius of her turn combined with the average speed while turning. Smaller turning circles and higher average speed will result in faster rotation rates. The tier 7 and tier 8 American cruisers are all very similar to one another in their performance, but Atlanta and her sister, Flint, are hands down the most agile of all of the mid tier USN Cruisers with between a 0.5s and 1.0s advantage in turning 90º. Atlanta's handling is almost identical to other vessels found in the American cruiser line. This similarity between mid-tier USN Cruisers makes for easy skill transference from one ship to the next. If you can torpedo beat in a New Orleans, you'll find Atlanta answer similarly to her rudder. Atlanta's turrets have no difficulties tracking targets, even with her rudder hard over. They traverse at a rate of 25º per second compared to the 6.3º per second she turns at full speed, allowing Atlanta to quickly acquire targets and engage new threats from one side of the ship to the other even while under heavy maneuvers. This makes the Captain Skill, Expert Marksman, much less valuable for Atlanta than on other USN Cruisers. Atlanta is rather agile and can be a real bothersome target for destroyers. Durability Hit Points: 27,500 Citadel Protection: 89mm of belt armour Min Bow & Deck Armour: 13mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: None. Over the last year, Atlanta has enjoyed a considerable buff to her turret durability. Patch 5.5 from April 26th, 2016, all small caliber weapons had their hit points increased as much as 2.6 times what they had been. Prior to this, Atlanta's turrets had 1,500 hit points each while she now enjoys 4,000 hit points per. Previously, it was a rare occurrence for Atlanta to survive a battle without losing some of her main battery. Now it's rather uncommon for Atlanta to permanently lose any of her weapons. However, much of what was previously said about Atlanta's durability still holds true. Atlanta is one of the worst protected cruisers in the game, making her truly a glass cannon. She has a pittance when it comes to her hit point total. Her armour layout is laughable with 89mm of belt armour. Her large citadel has a section that sits above the surface running beneath the twin superstructures, from the bridge to the wing turrets. Her bow has only 13mm worth of protection, making it possible to overmatch it with 180mm guns found on the Kirov, Molotov and Dmitri Donskoi, never mind the larger caliber guns found on heavy cruisers and battleships. There are few HE shells not capable of landing penetrating damage on Atlanta, no matter where they strike her. In short, an exposed Atlanta is very likely to become a dead Atlanta. It's imperative to make use of her concealment and agility to stay alive. Hug islands and use them to block incoming fire. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 11.0 km Air Detection Range: 6.4 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.4km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +3.8km (vs 11.1km gun range) For such a fragile and short ranged vessel, Atlanta is shackled with an enormous surface detection range. She is utterly incapable of engaging enemy targets with her torpedoes without giving her position away. It's only when either her main battery range or her concealment is upgraded that she can ambush surface targets with her guns. Even with a full investment into concealment and range modifiers, Atlanta cannot stealth-fire from open water and remains dependent upon friendly smoke or island cover to stay concealed. At best, Atlanta can get her surface detection range down to 9.4km which is still punitive for a ship of her size and range. She's unable to sneak up on destroyers and, unlike HMS Belfast, her surface detection range exceeds that of her radar, giving destroyers time enough to begin evading before Atlanta can light them up with her consumable. It is worth mentioning that Atlanta, with her radar consumable, can make better use of borrowed smoke clouds than some other ships. When divisioned with smoke-laying vessels, Atlanta can help provide eyes for herself and allies while remaining obscured within the smoke clouds. Though her radar has a very short duration, this can tip the balance in some engagements to let this fragile vessel exploit concealment mechanics within the game to her advantage and decide the local fight. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 28mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.1km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 121 / 27 / 29 Atlanta used to have the best anti-aircraft armament at tier 7 without contest She has been partially eclipsed by her sister ship, Flint, which has a modernized suite of weapons which replaces Atlanta's 28mm 'Chicago Piano' mounts with the famous (and more reliable and powerful) 40mm Bofors. This gives Flint a better punch at medium to close range while Atlanta dominates at a distance. When combined with Captain Skills and module upgrades, Atlanta competes very well with her sister. The image below breaks down how Atlanta's anti-aircraft power can be modified. * Bonuses are multiplicative, not additive. Note that all DPS values are approximate with some weird rounding occurring (which is why the tool-tip in port is weird when you begin stacking bonuses). This table can be used to calculate partial bonus stacks. For example, a 127mm mount (121dps) with Basic Fire Training (x1.2) Priority Target (x1.1) and Defensive Fire (x3) bonuses would generate an average of 479dps. The maximum output of Atlanta in an optimal situation would be a combined total of 1,215dps. Fully specialized and in an optimal situation, Atlanta puts out 1054 / 118 / 42 dps (a combined total of 1,215 dps) at ranges of 7.2km / 5.0km / 2.9km. Flint manages a combined total of 793 / 392 / 62 dps (a total of 1,247dps) at the same range intervals. No other ships at her tier come close to Atlanta as her sister-ship. With Atlanta's anti-aircraft firepower focused on her 127mm rifles and their 7.2km range, she makes a much better anti-aircraft escort over Flint and bests just about any other cruiser in the game, tier for tier. Atlanta's anti-aircraft advantages do not stop with just raw damage. Her aerial detection range is only 6.4km. If she keeps gun silent and switches off her AA guns, she can ambush incoming aircraft squadrons by sailing into their path to intercept them. By keeping her AA guns silent up until they're all in range, she gives the CV player no warning of her presence and can devastate a concentrated attack wave before the CV player can react. In addition, her and her sister Flint are the only ships in the game with unlimited charges of their Defensive Fire consumable. Specialized in this role, Atlanta becomes a 7.2km no-fly zone which any CV player is fool to test, no matter what their tier. But don't kid yourself. Without this specialization, without Defensive Fire specifically, you're only going to damage attack craft waves, not rout them. Any carrier wishing to delete you will be more than capable of doing so. In her element and unconcerned. Overall ImpressionsSkill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / DifficultSkill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Atlanta is not a friendly ship for beginners. Her weapons are too short ranged with a very temperamental damage output. Her surface detection range is too large and she has no easy-escape tools. She is far too fragile to account for any mistakes. While it's terribly fun to hold down your left mouse button and poop out rainbows of 127mm high explosive rounds, the efficacy of doing so is highly suspect at best. You can't deal damage quickly with Atlanta unless you get in close and without proper forethought, that will simply get you killed before accomplishing anything of note. The influence a well played Atlanta can have on a game is telling, but it depends entirely upon her Captain / Consumable / Module build. She's a good support ship, however the decision on how to support your team will largely dictate the spheres of influence you can perform. When Atlanta is caught out of position (which, let's admit, occurs almost continually in this ship), her ability to affect the outcome of the match falls away to nothing. Mouse's Summary: One of the oldest premiums in the game. She's also one of the most unforgiving ships in the game. The recent buffs were nice... sort of. I wanted Atlanta to get what Flint has. Despite all of her troubles, Atlanta is a riot to play. What a difference a year makes. Here's the long list of changes that occurred directly or indirectly to Atlanta between February 2016 and 2017. Her main battery durability was buffed, increasing her hit points 2.6 times. She no longer loses her turrets constantly (HOORAY!). The Situational Awareness skill was given out for free. Her AP shell normalization was changed from 8º to 10º. This means that if her shells strike at a 10º angle to the flat broadside of a ship, her shells will treat it as 0º and calculate as if they had struck flush. She received Radar. The new Matchmaker system places her at top tier very frequently. The Captain Skill changes have benefited Atlanta greatly, with easier access to quality of life improving skills like Concealment Expert and the introduction of Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. In addition, many players can't easily afford fire-mitigation skills like they used to. Atlanta has seen both feast and famine. During Closed Beta, when AP shells were dominant, she was as powerful as she has ever been. The changes to AP and HE shells nerfed her considerably, but she still had a lot of functionality with asymmetrical carrier Matchmaking and how common carriers were during Open Beta. There was almost always need for an AA escort and Atlanta filled that role nicely. Once deployment symmetry became a thing when the game was released in September of 2015, Atlanta's popularity began to severely wane. Now in 2017, it's the increase in smoke generators, specifically those of the British Cruisers, that have breathed new life into USS Atlanta. She has a purpose now -- an ability that's always welcome when there's an enemy that needs digging out. It's sad to say, but she gets more use out of that than she does her Defensive Fire consumable. Inertia Fuse for HE Shells has restored some of the bite Atlanta once enjoyed back in Closed Beta. While her upgraded HE shells don't have quite the same ubiquity as AP did back in the day, the average damage that Atlanta is dealing out has been on the rise in the last six months. Looking at a two-week snapshot of her performance ranks her 6th overall for damage output among tier 7 cruisers. It's still not a good performance, but it's definitely better than has been for the last year. Atlanta isn't back to her glory days from Closed Beta. Would I Recommend? Atlanta is a weird ship. She's not something you invest in because you think she's good. You do it because you want something unique. While it is possible to earn an equivalent through Ranked Battles in the form of USS Flint, Atlanta's analogue is likely to be out of reach for much of the player base. For Random Battle Grinding Atlanta isn't going to make it easy on you to earn rewards like High Caliber, Confederate or Kraken Unleashed. While she or any premium will earn a fair amount of experience and credits, Atlanta is difficult to make perform to make such numbers consistent. There are definitely better investments. So no. For Competitive Gaming No. There are much better ships to bring in a competitive environment than Atlanta. She's too fragile and if caught out of position, she has no get-out-of-jail cards to play. For Collectors Yes. They saw lots of action early in WWII and enjoyed success and tragedy (Google the Sullivan brothers and have tissues handy). For Fun Factor Very yes on toast. Her guns are hilarious. Staying near islands is imperative for the longevity of your Atlanta. Use it to set up attacks and cover your escape. Atlanta is not an easy ship to play. She's not like the British Cruisers or premiums like Mikhail Kutuzov or Flint where you can pop an easy smoke consumable and trump any attempts to engage you. Outfitting Atlanta Atlanta can be one of the most complicated premium ships to equip in the game presently. It's important to decide on a role for your Atlanta first. From there you may select Captain Skills and equip consumables which best support the role that you've decided upon. Modules: All of my builds for Atlanta include the same module choices. Main Armaments Modification 1, AA Guns Modification 2, Damage Control Modification 1, Steering Gears Modification 2. There's some pretty simple reasons for this. In slot 1, you can take Magazine Modification 1 if you're really paranoid about detonations. If you're intending to take Atlanta into a competitive environment, this choice should be moot as you should be using Juliet Charlie signals instead to mitigate detonations. Personally, detonations don't bother me. Atlanta does pop a little bit more than other cruisers, so keep that in mind. In slot 2, you may be wondering about the viability of Aiming Systems Modification 1. Skip it. At maximum range, and by that I mean 13.3km from Advanced Fire Training, ASM1 provides an eight meter dispersion reduction. Yep. That's it. Eight whole meters. It's 6.9m at 11.1km. Whoo. Exciting! Take the AA mod. You'll get more use out of it. All of the choices in slot 3 are terrible for the Atlanta. Take what you want. In slot 4, Propulsion Modification 2 is also a fair choice. However, Steering Gears Modification 2 will shave almost half a second off of a 90º turn going at full speed. Core Skills: Despite the 0.6.0 Captain Skill overhaul making several builds viable, there remain some skills that are optimal for Atlanta. They re included in all of the builds below. Your tier 1 skill for Atlanta should be Priority Target. Knowing when you're targeted and when you're not will save your ship and allow you to pull off some rather audacious feats. None of the other tier 1 skills is as useful. At tier 3, Basic Fire Training is the second essential. This increases your main battery rate of fire by 10% and your AA dps by 20%. Few ships gain so much as Atlanta from this skill. Bombardment Build This build focuses upon doing damage to larger ships -- specifically cruisers and tier 6 and 7 battleships. The idea is to keep her guns singing as often as possible and to use intervening terrain to keep safe. Because you're expected to be shooting almost non-stop, stealth abilities are less of priority. This build, grace of taking skills which improve her gunnery, also makes a passable anti-aircraft cruiser but this isn't our focus. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Defensive Fire II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: This build is all about maximizing the performance of your guns against these targets. Basic Fire Training and Adrenaline Rush increase your rate of fire. Inertia Fuse for HE Shells allows you to land damaging hits against the plethora of 25mm armoured sections found on ships of your chosen targets. Demolition Expert helps mitigate some of the lost fire-potential. Variant: Swap Inertia Fuse for HE Shells for Concealment Expert. This changes the build from doing direct damage to relying on fire damage to affect your targets. This will generally result in increased survivability but you'll pay for it with lower damage totals. Destroyer Hunter The idea here is to sneak up as close as possible to destroyers and annihilate them at close range. She's built for stealth. This ship is rather vanilla when it comes to the performance of her weapons against larger targets, but such is the price you pay for being a specialized hunter. Keep your anti-aircraft guns disabled until you absolutely need them. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Hydroacoustic Search II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: The first thing that should stand out is that this will keep your Atlanta shorter ranged than other builds. This will also impair her anti-aircraft power somewhat. Radio Location is used to assist with finding the little blighters. Concealment Expert is used to reduce the range at which you're spotted to give destroyers less time to react. In addition, you will have to go gun silent to evade return fire from larger capital ships. Superintendent provides an additional charge of your Radar and Hydroacoustic Search consumables. You'll use Radio Location to home in on the destroyers until you're spotted. If haven't uncovered the destroyer within 20 seconds of being lit, activate your Radar to light the destroyer and be ready to evade any return fire. Last Stand is there to help keep you alive when your rudder gets shot out as you try to evade. The destroyers will shoot back and they always seem to hit your rudder and set you repeatedly on fire. The last thing you want to be doing is spinning in circles. Anti-Aircraft Escort As the name suggests, this build focuses on protecting friendly ships from air attack. This is hardly an optimal build in the current Random Battle meta -- carriers are not as commonplace as they once were. However, few can argue against Atlanta's efficiency as an AA-platform with this build. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Defensive Fire II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: Everything pushes towards increasing Atlanta's AA range and DPS. Basic Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Armament boost your DPS directly while Advanced Fire Training provides the range. Concealment Expert provides some survivability while also helping prevent you from being spotted early by surface ships. This can allow you to better intercept an inbound bomber stream and ambush them. Jack of All Trades is used to reduce the reset timer of your Defensive Fire consumable so that it will always be ready when the next attack wave comes in.