Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'Ship Review'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • World of Warships - News and Information
    • News And Announcements
    • Updates and PTS
    • Developer's Corner
    • Community Volunteer Programs
  • Feedback and Support
    • Game Support and Bug Reporting
    • Player Feature and Gameplay Suggestions
    • Game Guides and Tutorials
  • General WoWs Discussion
    • General Game Discussion
    • Discussions about Warships
    • Player Modifications
  • Off Topic
    • Historical Discussions and Studies
    • Off-Topic
  • International Forums
    • Foro en Español
    • Fórum Brasileiro

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Discord


Twitter


Website URL


Instagram


YouTube


Twitch


Skype


Location


Interests

Found 55 results

  1. The following is a quick review of Viribus Unitis, the tier V Austro-Hungarian battleship flying under the Pan European flag. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to me (thankfully). To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are current as of patch 0.9.10. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. In the spirit of getting through some of my backlog, here's a stupid-quick review. Facilitated by the graphic production from working on Oklahoma, today we'll be looking at everyone's favourite standard unit of battleship health measurement: Viribus Unitis. This ships is as relevant to the tier V meta as that joke about her hit points: they're both stupidly obscure to the point of irrelevance. I keep forgetting that I should review this darned thing after I put out a warning about her back when she was first released. For those who don't remember, there was an enormous gap between her final test iteration and her release -- so much so that some of the advertised changes that were said to applied didn't go through. Huh, there's been a lot of that lately. Anyway, long story short: This ship isn't worth the time and effort I'm about to put into this review, so I'm giving myself an absolute time limit for the production of this article. Wherever I end up after 8 hours is where I'm calling it. Let's see what I can do. Quick Summary: A soft-skinned, over-tiered battleship with good gunnery but appalling fire angles on her main battery. This issue is compounded with a tiny health pool and poor armour layout. This ship is only good if no one shoots back. As a WWI era dreadnought, her AA power is about what you would expect -- limited to a crewman with a bullhorn whining at airplanes to please stop. Kinda like Reddit. PROS: Dispersed armour scheme giving her decent HE protection. Large broadside of twelve 305mm guns with good accuracy and high DPM. Tiny turning circle radius and good rate of turn. My ship's captain has an epic moustache. Tiny surface detection range. CONS: High-water vulnerable citadel. Poor armour geometry with tons of shell-traps. Tiny hit point pool. Absolutely appalling fire arcs. Relatively short ranged for a tier V battleship. Hilariously bad anti-aircraft firepower. Slow. Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme There's really not a whole lot to Viribus Unitis. She dittos a lot of the low-tier battleship game play. The only complication is that her fire arcs are total crap and this travesty is forced to face tier VII opponents. That kinda hurts her chances and makes her not new-fish friendly. For veterans well... there's again not a lot to her so short of angling and managing consumables and ammo, that's pretty much the limits to her complexity. Options Consumables There's nothing special here. Viribus Unitis' Damage Control Party is standard for any battleship that's not American or Japanese. It is active for 15 seconds with unlimited charges. It has an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard. It queues up to 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of every other kind of damage. It heals back up to 0.5% of her starting hit points per second over 28 seconds. She starts with four charges and it has an 80 second reset timer. Upgrades Again, very standard fare for a not-American tier V battleship. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control System Modification 1. Finish things off with Aiming Systems Modification 1. Commander Skills Grab the same ol' battleship build I've been complaining about all year. With the commander skill rework coming, odds are I will only be able to use this like ... six more times. Camouflage Viribus Unitis has a single camouflage pattern. It provides: 3% reduction to surface detection. 4% increase to enemy dispersion. 10% reduction to service costs. 50% increase to experience gains. Viribus Unitis is a gorgeous looking ship. I love WWI era dreadnoughts. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 305mm guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 150mm guns mounted in casemates along the sides of the hull. The 1.8 sigma of Viribus Unitis' guns can be devastating in the claustrophobic, short-ranged engagements found at low tiers. A Farragut is discovers this to its peril, getting picked off as it accidentally slips out from its smoke screen. Viribus Unitis has very high shell drag coefficients which hurts her ballistics and penetration over distance. Twelve guns solves a lot of problems. Twelve guns with better-than-expected accuracy and without reload penalties solves a whole bunch more. That's the going theory with Viribus Unitis. She's a glass cannon, designed to put more hurt downrange than any of her contemporaries, her flaws be damned. All of her crappy features can be explained as paying for the boons of her gunnery. I'm frankly of the opinion that Viribus Unitis pays way too steep a price for what she gets. She deserves more given what a sorry excuse for a ship she ends up being, all of the sake of this 30 second reload and 1.8 sigma. Here's where I take issue: First and foremost: firing arcs and her gun handling sucks. She has some of the worst battleship fire angles in the game with her rear turrets only able to shoot at targets 47º off her bow and her forward turrets only capable of shooting at targets 41º off her stern giving her 92º of overlapping fire per side. NoW to be clear, there are battleships with worse overlapping fire arcs but they're usually suffering because they're mounted in wings or in P, Q and R positions amidships with superstructure blocking the guns. But for a battleship with a simple bow and stern mounting, Viribus Unitis is among the worst. Mikasa comes to mind as one of the few that is worse off (56º forward, 57º back with only 67º of overlapping fire). Vanguard is pretty close (43º forward, 41º back for 96º of overlap) as is Großer Kurfürst (46º forward, 36º back for 98º of overlap). And just to spit in your eye, her turrets are sluggish with only a 4º/s traverse rate (45s for 180º). Ewwww. Bad fire angles has a trickle down effect. To unmask her guns, you have to give up more broadside. Giving up more broadside not only makes her more vulnerable to return fire. It also slows the ship down if you're trying to advance as you have to nose away from your line of attack in order to keep firing. It's far too easy to find yourself veering off towards the map borders (or at least away from objectives) after a couple of minutes of sustained fire. For a ship that's already moving at a crawl, this is bad news. If you try and stay the course, well now you're only a six-gun battleship which means you're not taking advantage of those twelve guns for which you sacrificed so much. There's also the issue of range. While 16km may seem alright at first, there's no way to extend this the way that similarly short-ranged ships like New York or Texas can through upgrades. Nor does Viribus Unitis have access to a Spotter Aircraft consumable the way Kaiser and Iron Duke can. This is not a fast ship either, so it's not like you can make up the difference by aggressively charging towards the action. I mean, you can call it a charge but it's more like the movemement of glaciers. It takes Viribus Unitis almost 3 minutes to cover 10km at her maximum speed to give you an idea. Though she may share the woes of slow speed with other ships at her tier, they at least have the range to engage sooner. Being so short ranged means that she can (and will) be picked on cruisers outside of her reach. In my most recent bouts of playtesting, I faced a very knowledgeable Nürnberg player who knew they had 500m reach on me and played an expert game of keep away. I was being lit by a friendly destroyer and there was nothing I could do. Fun times. Being kited and picked apart by cruisers and other battleships is a very real issue because of this short reach if you can't drop back into stealth. Finally on my list of complaints, there are her secondaries. These prove to be a durability liability (see below in the Defence section) and provide almost zero benefit. They're too short ranged (4km) and fire too slowly (6rpm) to be of any use to anyone. Viribus Unitis does have some good AP DPM. Provided no one shoots back at her, she can put out some respectable damage. She's not a very good fire setter, however. Coupled with her only modest HE shells, she should really stick to firing AP whenever possible. VERDICT: Pretty good, honestly. There's some drawbacks here and there. It's just a shame these weapons are mounted on this particular ship. Defence Hit Points: 35,700 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 150mm / 30mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 150mm belt + 160mm transverse bulkhead or 280mm + 50mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 18% Her hit point pool is such a bloody meme. I would like to tell you that all of the criticism about Viribus Unitis' fragility is just the internet being the internet -- magnifying a small problem and making it an undeserved crisis. Sadly, the rumours are true. She is a piece of crap. At first blush, her protection scheme looks hella exciting. It's got Soviet-levels of bullpaddies going for it with very few thinly armoured sections for HE damage or for large caliber AP shells to overmatch. Combine that with hidden geometry preventing AP shells from capitalizing on the sections they can overmatch. She should be able to tank for days, shrugging off AP hits left right and center with impunity not seen since the days of Imperator Nikolai I's reign. In practice, however, she's a wet noodle. While she does have some resilience to HE fire, she takes so much damage from AP shells it's downright comical. So what's the deal? The issue is shot-traps. Viribus Unitis' hull is riddled with shot-traps. Her secondary casemates are the most egregious of these. Even when the ship angles perfectly, it's possible to slam shells down into these traps and get penetrating hits with battleship and heavy cruiser caliber AP shells. But that's not all. Behind the 19mm hull sections are similar plates to ensure battleship shells fuse and detonate -- and every battleship caliber shell can overmatch these areas. This problem is, of course, exacerbated by her horrible gun firing angles. While her fire angles to the rear may seem more forgiving, her armour layout there is much softer making her more likely to take big damaging hits. But there's worse geometry to consider. Taking Viribus Unitis into a brawl is a death sentence. Not only does she not have the health to survive any torpedo strikes, her citadel is horribly vulnerable. It sits high over the waterline and, though she has a turtleback scheme, it isn't sloped sufficiently to repulse incoming fire. In jousts she's meat on the table for an enemy battleship. Worse, she has an octagonal-shaped citadel, similar to Yamato. Shots aimed beneath her first or last turret have a good chance of causing citadel hits even when the ship angles so your opponents have a chance of landing citadel hits against you before you can do the same to them. Her icebreaker bow should provide protection against this but only if you nose in perfectly. Give up any of her side to try and bait early shots can still see you sunk if you're not absolutely careful with the firing angles. All of these problems are mated to a hull with the hit points of a tier III dreadnought. She just doesn't have the health to take those high alpha hits, with even a single torpedo hit from a Japanese lolibote capable of gutting a third of her health at once. She is a Devastating Strike medal waiting to be printed. There's some hidden geometry to Viribus Unitis' armour scheme in her bow and stern. There is a 30mm thick deck under her 19mm prow, sitting on top of the 110mm icebreaker belt, effectively running nearly the whole length of the ship stopping at her Y-turret. This means that even if shells overmatch her 19mm bow they can't dive into her citadel. In addition on her there is a 43mm plate running along the base of the 150mm waterline belt of her bow (48mm on her stern) mating up to the base of the 160mm transverse bulkhead of her citadel. This prevents shells from diving down into the 25mm transverse citadel section. As nice as this protection scheme seems, she has an octagonal citadel. Shots aimed beneath her A or Y turret will slam into her citadel. Pay attention to the 180mm upper hull section of Viribus Unitis. These indents for her secondary battery make perfect shell traps for catching incoming AP shells. Even when Viribus Unitis angles perfectly, shells aimed high will penetrate for full damage as they catch off this geometry. Her protection scheme ends up looking better than it is. VERDICT: She has too little health and she takes far more damage than you would expect. Agility Top Speed: 20.5kts Turning Radius: 530m Rudder Shift Time: 11.5s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.5º/s at 15.3kts Viribus Unitis really shows her lower tiered origins here. Her 530m turning radius is right home among the tier III battleships. Yes, I said tier III. Even at tier IV, her turning radius would be remarkable. For a tier V battleship, it's amazing. So hats off to her. This tiny turning radius gives her some surprising agility despite her pedestrian top speed. Though she can barely hold onto 15 knots in a sustained turn, she comes about rather quickly (for a battleship) at 4.5º/s per second. Sadly there's no way to correct her rudder shift time so while she may turn tightly, she still feels like a chunker. Worse, she totally out-turns her turrets, which makes her gun handling and poor fire angles all the more frustrating. Plan your turns accordingly and make sure you don't over-steer. Remember to protect her citadel as best you can. She isn't fast but at least she gets around (get it?). VERDICT: A mixed bag. She's very slow. It takes her a bit to start turning because of her rudder shift time, but at least she comes about quickly when she does answer her rudder. That tight turning circle is very nice. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: Yeah right. Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km): 14dps at 75% accuracy Yep. 14 whole DPS. Even with sector reinforcement, you're looking at over a minute of sustained fire to shoot down ONE (1) tier IV bomber or attack aircraft, to say nothing of battling it out with the tier VI planes this thing also faces. It's not like this thing is Imperator Nikolai I or König Albert, where you could forgive them for having poor AA DPS because the rest of the ship is god-tier. Nope. Viribus Unitis gets 14dps on top of all of her other issues. VERDICT: Laughably bad. Aww, nuts. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.5km / 10.91km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 6.82km/6.14km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 6.1km Maximum Firing Range: 16km Viribus Unitis has very nice concealment values, even for a low-tier battleship. Like with her health, AA defence and turning radius, Viribus Unitis' concealment values have more in common with tier III and tier IV battleships than those at tier V. For a ship with so many durability problems, this is a breath of fresh air and it really helps her survivability. There are, of course, two caveats to this: There are no enemy aircraft around. Good luck here given her matchmaking. There are no enemy destroyers around. Her concealment is most effective when she's uptiered. In the claustrophobic maps at the lower tiers, it's harder to make use of her open water concealment. It's far easier to use islands to help break line of sight rather than relying on putting what little distance there is available between herself and her opponents. If Viribus Unitis were a little faster, it might be easier to put this concealment to use, but she's not. Thus it remains "nice to have" rather than game changing. VERDICT: Good, but not good enough to save her. Final Evaluation Imagine having the brilliant idea after finsihing Pommern's review to wanna play this thing. Ugh, talk about whiplash -- going from a good ship to bad. I've been planning on squeezing a review of this ship in for a while now, since before ShipComrade shut down. She's one of several reviews that I had started but never finished owing to something of higher priority coming out and bumping her back. It was reviewing Oklahoma that brought her back to the fore, with some of the graphical overlap between the two ships expediting my process here. I played about a dozen games in her since September and this ship and I did not get along, though I think you could tell that from how much I've complained about her. I've made little secret that I hate ships with awful gun angles. Toss on some frustrating speed and range issues and it's no wonder I've come down so hard on her. Viribus Unitis does have some nice guns. Despite all of my bellyaching about everything else, there's no taking away from that. Her 305mm guns are excellent They exist at a tier where overmatching is less of an issue. She has good enough penetration and ballistics. She does more than enough damage. The only proviso is that she needs to be left well enough alone in order to pull it off. Yes, I've had some high damage games with Viribus Unitis but that's owing more to the enemy team enabling this rather than any particular strength of the ship. ANY ship performs so much better when the enemy team leaves you alone, after all, so I find it hard to justify that as a selling feature. Way back in October of 2019, I warned players not to buy Viribus Unitis because of confusion regarding whether or not some nerfs had been applied. With the question hanging in the air, I didn't want anyone buying her expecting X performance only to receive Y instead. Thankfully Wargaming was fast to clear up the issue when it was raised. Sadly, even with that done, I'm sticking to my guns and telling you all, once again, to not buy Viribus Unitis. She's a bad ship. Worse, the health of the game down at low tiers is worse than ever and your money won't be well spent. If you play late at night as I enjoy doing, you're stuck facing undersized teams, multiple carriers and/or a handful of bots. These are the off-peak hours risks, of course. But even in prime time, do you really want to take this ship out against tier VIs and VIIs? Viribus Units and Oklahoma feel like Wargaming's attempts at penance to pay for the horror that is Giulio Cesare. You shouldn't be put on the hook for their mistake. Thank you all for reading.
  2. Dunkerque overtaking Strasbourg. The following is a review of Dunkerque & Strasbourg, the tier VI & VII French battleships. They were both provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to me. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.12. Please be aware that their performance may change in the future. I couldn't help myself. I saw an opportunity to not only review a new ship but to update an older one too. Maybe I'll make this a regular thing going into the future whenever Wargaming releases a comparable sister-ship -- review the new addition and touch base on an older one. It seems a bit ambitious to declare it as the new norm, but we'll see what happens. At any rate, this is a review of both Dunkerque-class battleships: Dunkerque at tier VI and her new sister-ship, Strasbourg at tier VII. The two ships are almost identical which raises concerns on balance. Strasbourg is Dunkerque in almost every metric that matters short of tiering and access to the Main Battery Reload Consumable. One can't help but ask the following questions: Is Dunkerque so good at tier VI that she can be effectively cloned and placed at tier VII with little issue? Just how influential are the small changes made between the two ships? Is Main Battery Reload Booster that powerful on a 330m armed platform? Is Strasbourg worth the grind or should you just stick with Dunkerque? Let's find some answers! Quick Summary: Fast, lightly armoured battlecruisers with all eight of it's quick-firing 330mm guns mounted in two quad-turrets on their bows. Strasbourg has access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. PROS All forward gun arrangement simplifies maximizing firepower. Fast reload (26s Dunkerque, 25s Strasbourg) Good HE shell performance and fire setting. Comfortable gun handling. Long ranged with good ballistics over distance. Solid agility with a good top speed and rate of turn. Strasbourg Specific: Has access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. CONS Unable to fire her main battery guns directly rearward (for some inexplicable reason!) Lightly armoured, highly vulnerable to AP overmatch and HE shells. Exposed, high-water citadel with thin belt armour. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower. Large surface detection range. Strasbourg Specific: Small hit point pool for a tier VII battleship. Summary of Differences If you're a crusty ol' veteran with playing Dunkerque, so experienced in Marine Nationale ways battlecruiser ways that you serenade baguettes, you don't need me to tell you what she's like. To expedite things for these players, here's a list of all of the differences between the two battleships, from the significant to the inane. These are listed Dunkerque vs Strasbourg: Tier: VI vs VII (duh) Economy: VI vs VII (higher tiered ships earn more credits and experience for the same actions) Fire Resistance Coefficient: 23.31% vs 29.97% Superstructure HP: 1,800 vs 1,700 Belt Armour: 225mm vs 283mm Rear Upper Athwartship: 198mm vs 210mm Turtleback: 40mm vs 50mm Turret Faces: 330mm vs 360mm Turret Backs: 335mm vs 352mm Turret Floor: 150mm vs 160mm Sigma: 1.7 vs 1.8 Main Battery Reload: 26s vs 25s Main Battery Range: 18.21km vs 19.1km A-Turret's Fire Arcs: 310º vs 294º Number of 37mm twin AA mounts: 5 (18dps) vs 4 (16dps) Flak Explosion Damage: 1,330 vs 1,400 Main Battery Reload Booster: no vs yes Tonnage: 35,500 vs 36,308 Permanent Camos: 4 vs 2 Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Difficult Both ships are wonderfully uncomplicated to use. The all-forward gun arrangement helps keep new-players safe, mitigating the need to expose the ship's broadside in order to maximize firepower. Their long range also helps keep new players safe. The ship's speed is also a blessing -- fast enough to get the ship where it needs to go but not being so fast that she can easily out-strip support as new players are wont to do. Were the ship easier to hide or if it had a better protection scheme, it might have warranted a "Simple" rating. There's a lot of strong carry potential with these ships. The combination of good speed and a relatively fast reload allows these ships to wreak all kinds of mayhem. Strasbourg's Main Battery Reload Booster is particularly delicious for punishing exposed enemies, be they a briefly lit lolibote or a high-tier battleship that needs to be burned. Unfortunately, they are painfully soft-skinned and very difficult to hide which are both strong limiting factors. The lack of overmatch potential on their 330mm guns is also a bit frustrating, though proper ammunition use can help mitigate this drawback. Options Both ships share similar customization principles. The marked difference between the two is in their consumables (naturally), but otherwise they can be built the same. Consumables Both ships have the same, standard Damage Control Party for French battleships. This has a 15 second active period, an 80 second reset timer and unlimited charges. Similarly, they share the same Repair Party which heals back up to 14% of the ship's starting hit points per charge. It queues 50% of all penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of everything else. It has an 80 second reset timer. Their last shared consumables are the option between a Catapult Fighter and Spotter Aircraft. Dunkerque mounts these in her third slot and Strasbourg her fourth. The latter consumable increases their range by 20% for 100 seconds with a 240 second reset timer. Both ships begin with 4 charges. The former consumable starts with only three charges, deploying a pair of fighters which orbit the ship for 60 seconds. It has a 90 second reset timer. What sets Strasbourg apart is her access to Main Battery Reload Booster in her third slot. This reduces the reload time of her main battery guns by half for 20 seconds. She comes with four charges to start and it has an 180 second reset timer. Upgrades Both ships use the same build. In your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is arguably optimal given the relative fragility of the Dunkerque-class's main weapons. Nothing sucks more than losing one of only two turrets! Otherwise, the two special upgrades, Spotter Aircraft Modification 1 and Damage Control Party Modification 1 may be used instead. They can be purchased for 17,000 from the Armory . Damage Control System Modification 1 is the only upgrade worth considering in slot 2. In slot three, Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal. But if you want, you can trade that out for faster turret traverse with Main Battery Modification 2 but this has much less benefit than decreasing the dispersion area. There are interesting choices for these ships in the fourth slot. Damage Control System Modification 2 is the most straight-forward and optimal, reducing fire and flooding damage. You can naturally opt to improve their handling by taking Steering Gears Modification 1 -- their high rate of turn and long range does lend them well to active dodging. However, given the disposition of these ships and their love of hugging islands, there's some worth in taking Propulsion Modification 1 for better acceleration from a dead stop. It's up to you based on your preferred style of play. When in doubt, though, default to Damage Control System Modification 2. Commander Skills Both ships can easily make use of the same commander. The ideal build differs somewhat from the default boring ol' battleship build in that Dunkerque and Strasbourg both benefit considerably from the Expert Loader skill. Making room for it can leave you with a skill point leftover which isn't as optimal as other builds. Oh well. Start with choosing between Priority Target and Incoming Fire Alert. I much prefer the former, but it's up to you. Grab the skills circled in green next to complete your 10pt build: Adrenaline Rush, Basics of Survivability and Fire Prevention. Next double-back and grab the skills in the red squares: Concealment Expert, Superintendent and Expert Loader. The skills in blue squares are nice to have but you may struggle to fit them in with the above recommendations. Mix and match to your tastes. Camouflage There are multiple camouflage options between the two ships. Dunkerque has Type 10, Fleur d'Acier (Steel Flower), Azur Lane and Mid-Autumn Festival camouflage patterns. Strasbourg has Type 10 and Winter Holiday camouflage patterns. All of the differences are cosmetic, providing the identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. As an older (and popular) ship, Dunkerque has had a large number of premium camouflage types -- which is hella fun. I really like her Azur Lane camo. It's nice and sharp with the red and white contrast. Strasbourg's camo options are much more subdued. I'm not a fan of her Holiday camo. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 330mm/52 guns in 2x4 turrets mounted on the bow in a A-B superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twenty 130mm guns in 5x4 turrets with two turrets per side and one mounted on the centre line facing the stern. Lemme preface this by saying that I'm not going to talk about the secondaries off the Dunkerque-class. They're not worth specializing into at the moment with their limited fire arcs, to say nothing of how poorly these ships fare in a brawl. Onto the main event! Big Guns, Bad Habits & Bae Bote I admit I have a bit of a bias against smaller-caliber battleship guns at the mid-tiers. This stems from my early days in World of Warships, having fallen in love with the overmatch potential of Warspite's 381mm guns tier VI. Bae bote's artillery, while not idiot proof, certainly lent itself well to firing nothing but a homogeneous loadout of AP shells. With all of the heavy lifting those Royal Navy 15" guns could do, I still remember being disdainful of Dunkerque's paltry 330mm guns when I first reviewed her back in late summer of 2016. They had no overmatch potential so they were OBVIOUSLY garbage, right? I'm somewhat less naive than I was way back when. Only somewhat, mind you. I still have a bit of a blind spot with bae-bote and battleship caliber guns with large-swathes of overmatch potential. That's something these guns lack but that doesn't make them bad by any means. There's a lot of good things about the combat performance of these weapons. They have excellent ballistics over range. They have a fast reload. They're decent fire starters. They have good AP penetration. AP penetration values drawn from Wargaming's Armada 2 video on Dunkerque from August 2016. Dunkerque and Strasbourg have some very respectable AP penetration values for guns of their caliber. There are two drawbacks with these weapons to keep in mind: They have French (and Italian) gunnery dispersion. They lack overmatch potential with their AP rounds. There's not much to be said about the first flaw. French battleship dispersion is the worst in the game currently, being slightly worse than that of American, British and German battleships. This leads to wonky shell groupings from these guns, especially at the long ranges Strasbourg is so often forced to engage. Having both guns on the bow in quad mounts does make them feel a little more accurate, at least in terms of the initial outbound shell clusters. However, this is more of an illusion than a practical advantage. Still, they have average sigma values, so within their dispersion elipse (larger as it is) their shell fall is pretty standard, though the difference between the two ships in this regard is largely indistinguishable. The best players in the game struggle to discern the difference between 0.2 sigma in standard game play, to say nothing of the 0.1 sigma difference between Strasbourg (1.8 sigma) and Dunkerque (1.7 sigma). Overall, the guns feel reasonable with their accuracy though they will troll you. Thankfully, their rate of fire helps alieviate the feeling of being cheated. One of the best fixes for bad dispersion is to reload often. When individual salvos don't feel like they matter as much, it's easier to forgive a few stray shells. Dunkerque's 26 second reload feels very comfortable -- more than making up for low individual shell damage. The extra second shaved off Strasbourg's guns is nicer still, though like her dispersion you might not feel the difference. Short reload times on battleships is a hella powerful advantage, even with the slightly lower alpha-strike from their hits. Battleship gunnery is incredibly opportunist, with citadel hit "money shots" making or breaking their play experience. Dunkerque's guns are more likely to be reloaded (or almost reloaded) when an opportunity presents itself. Strasbourg's are all but guaranteed. Like Jean Bart before her, Strasbourg's access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable is a game-changer. She will have her guns reloaded when it matters most, ensuring she can put shells downrange at vulnerable targets and best capitalize on the opportunities presented -- whether this be blowing out the citadel of a Christmas-Makarov or stacking fires back onto a Hizen that just blew its Damage Control Party. If Strasbourg's guns had better overmatch potential, they'd be downright oveprowered. The lack of overmatch potential is a problem shared by all battleship rounds between 283mm and 356mm in caliber. While the Dunkerque-class can overmatch 23mm of armour with their AP rounds, in practical terms, 19mm plate is the last effective armour value they can best at any angle. This makes most tier V, VI and VII cruisers vulnerable to being overmatched by these AP shells, but only the very-light cruisers at tiers VIII+. Like with dispersion, this is more of an issue for Strasbourg as a consequence of her higher tiering. It's only the extremities of tier V battleships that these AP rounds can overmatch and only then if the ships in question don't have dispersed armour schemes which gets a little more common at lower tiers. Against any other target, both Dunkerque and Strasbourg will want to reach for the HE rounds instead. To this end, I've found having the Expert Loader skill very handy if you can spare the single skill point for it. Outside of issues where they might ricochet from striking a plate they cannot overmatch at too steep an angle, Dunkerque and Strasbourg's AP shells perform well, with very respectable AP penetration values across all engagement ranges, with even better penetration than New Mexico's 356mm AP rounds. It's not quite high enough to contest higher-tiered battleship citadels at ranges of 15km or beyond, but it's good enough. Dunkerque may not appear to have impressive DPM, but she is more likely to be able to fire all of her guns than most other battleships -- especially while under fire herself. Her all-forward gun arrangement allows her to maximize her firepower while still maintaining a defensive nose-in aspect. Strasbourg is listed twice. The one with the asterix denotes her using her Main Battery Reload Booster for 20s. Strasbourg's faster rate of fire gives her comparable DPM placement to Dunkerque, tier-for-tier. However, her Main Battery Reload Booster takes things to a whole other level, allowing her to punish opponents when they give her an opportunistic shot. Both ships are decent fire starters. Strasbourg flirts with Royal Navy levels when she activates her consumable (again, denoted by an asterix). Gun Layout Dunkerque's A-turret fire arcs are gorgeous. Her B-turret are much less so. This makes her B-turret a good indicator for over-angling with Dunkerque when firing to the rear. So long as A-turret can engage but B-turret cannot, she's still in auto-ricochet territory -- you know, provided that the incoming AP shells don't simply overmatch her hull. The all-bow mounted gun arrangement of the Dunkerque-class is their most striking feature. In World of Warships, this has more advantages than drawbacks. Dunkerque was not the first battleship in the game with this layout. However she was the first battleship in the game to have all of her guns capable of firing directly forward. Thus she was the first battleship in the game that could "bow tank" while still maximizing her firepower. At the time of her release, it was easy to underestimate just how effective this was and how effective it remains in World of Warships. It is very easy to maximize firepower with Dunkerque and Strasbourg. Barring kiting situations, it is easier to bring all of their guns to bear than on any other battleship. This is further facilitated by their fast (for a battleship) traverse rate of 5º/s (36s for 180º). Even in situations where Dunkerque is being chased, her "over the shoulder" firing arcs are respectable with her A-turret being capable of hucking shells 25º off her stern, still maintaining a perfect auto-ricochet target with her belt. Obviously the drawback here is that she cannot engage enemies directly to her rear. What's more, this all-forward gun arrangement makes her slow to switch sides when firing backwards as her guns have to come all of the way around. Still, the all-forward gun arrangement greatly facilitates bringing all guns on targets for much of the battle. It's this ease of bringing guns on target -- all of their guns on target -- which makes these ships dangerous and it's one of their many strengths. Strasbourg doesn't have Dunkerque's delicious A-turret's fire arcs. Summary "Always ready" -- this defines the gunnery on Dunkerque and Strasbourg, and Strasbourg more than her sister. When facing off against these ships, their faster rate of fire, good fire arcs and gun handling is what makes them dangerous. As gunnery platforms, they're super comfy and fun to play. Their individual salvos may not hit as big as other ships; a consequence of both shell size and trollish dispersion, but they don't feel at a deficit in either regard. VERDICT: Their guns perform better than their smaller caliber would suggest. Beware Strasbourg's Main Battery Reload Booster -- used correctly, it can devastate vulnerable enemies. Durability Hit Points: 52,600 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 26mm / 16mm / 26mm / 26mm Dunkerque Maximum Citadel Protection: 26mm anti-torpedo bulge + 225mm belt + 40mm turtleback + 40mm/50mm citadel wall Strasbourg Maximum Citadel Protection: 26mm anti-torpedo bulge + 283mm belt + 50mm turtleback + 40mm/50mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25% The durability fortunes of these two battlecruisers flips between their hit point totals and their armour profiles. While I would not call either ship blessed in either category, it's more that one or the other is "less-worse" in a given area than its sister ship. Overall, Strasbourg loses out wholesale to her sister, if only because she sits a full tier higher and contends with bigger threats. Health Pool Strasboug is the big loser here when it comes to comparing hit points. Dunkerque wins no prizes either, but as a tier VI vessel, she's she doesn't stand out in any negative or positive way. Strasbourg's woes come in two areas: She has a small (tier VI-sized) hit point pool. Her Repair Party is normal. The former kind of surprises me -- not that she has a small hit point pool, but that it's unchanged from Dunkerque's own despite the (slight) increase in tonnage. Best estimates should put Strasbourg's hit point total almost 1,000hp higher than Dunkerque. That's not enough to rescue her from the doldrums of tier VII health totals, but every scrap certainly helps and it would let her overtake Lyon at the very least. Moreover, the issue Strasbourg faces at tier VII comes from her plain-Jane Repair Party consumable. The glut of Royal Navy ships at tier VII along with Colorado makes Strasbourg's bare-bones Repair Party seem weak by comparison, especially on a ship with a hit point deficit. I suppose it's a blessing that she's not stuck with one fewer charges the way the Soviet ships and Florida are neutered, so that's something. Dunkerque's effective hit point pool is on the low side of average for a tier VI battleship. Now you can imagine what happens when you bring a "low side of average" effective health pool to a tier VII match-up. This is especially noteworthy as tier VII is where health regeneration gets super weird and powerful. Armour Profile When it comes to repelling HE shells, the two Dunkerque-sisters are functionally identical. While there exists some minor differences in their protection schemes, these are a non-issue when it comes to repelling HE shells. Dunkerque and Strasbourg are exceedingly soft-skinned and highly vulnerable to HE fire. Their near-homogeneous 26mm external plate makes them easy prey, not only for light cruisers but for 127mm+ armed destroyers. While the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill may be necessary, her opponents all have the potential to farm damage off the soft-skinned profiles of the Dunkerque-class battleships. Both battleships bleed a lot of hit points to small and medium caliber HE shells. Things don't get better when it comes to repelling AP rounds. Strasbourg attempts to correct some of the defence issues of her sister-ship with improved turret, belt and citadel protection profiles. Dunkerque is notoriously vulnerable to citadel hits, going so far as to have her machine spaces colour-coded through one of her camouflage patterns (thank you, Yuro, for pointing that out!). The thinness of her citadel protection means that with very few exceptions (Oklahoma, I'm looking at you), Dunkerque is vulnerable to battleship calibre AP shells at all ranges. This goes double for any AP rounds from guns of 380mm or larger as they are fully capable of overmatching her external armour plate and can land citadel hits at nearly any angle. Though Strasbourg's protection is improved, it's never so good that I would trust flashing her sides or snoot to incoming battleship rounds. Both Dunkerque-sisters take citadel hits frequently. They are both at risk of losing their turrets when they attempt to tank battleship fire. The best that could be said about Strasbourg is that she is largely immune to citadel hits from cruiser-calibre weapons, though again there are exceptions, especially at close range. Their armour profiles are almost identical but Strasbourg has the thicker belt, turtleback and turret faces. While the extra ~60mm of armour on Strasbourg's belt looks significant, the higher penetration gun she faces makes this improvement kinda moot. Summary These are ships that don't want to get hit -- like at all. Nearly every HE shell can hurt. Nearly every battleship-calibre AP round is a potential citadel hit. Having only two turrets makes the loss of one (even temporarily) a disaster. The best play with these ships is to not get hit in the first place; exercising their long range to make themselves a less appealing target. Anchoring one side against a piece of island cover is also a good practice, if only to mitigate flanking fire from enemy battleships from across the map. Limiting the angles of attack against these vessels is paramount to keeping them safe. They don't have a lot of armour. They don't have a lot of health. They don't have improved Repair Parties. VERDICT: Get hit, take cit. Agility Top Speed: 29.5kts Turning Radius: 730m Rudder Shift Time: 14s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.7º/s at 22kts (Dunkerque) or 22.2kts (Strasbourg). What a difference a tier makes. Strasbourg and Dunkerque both have excellent agility for a battleship. Not only do they have a respectable top speed -- nearly reaching 30 knots -- but unlike higher-tiered battleships, they are not shackled with a punitive turning circle radius. No matter how you look at it, both battleships handle beautifully. This combines with their very nice gun traverse rates to make keeping guns on target a very comfortable experience. The only real fault for these two battleships is that they flirt with but never quite achieve cruiser-levels of agility. This flaw mostly resides with their rudder shift time which, while not punitive, is definitely too sluggish to affect reasonable dodging metrics. Active dodging is really only ever possible at the extremes of their range. It's a bit of a tease that way, but by any other measuire, their agility is solid. Dunkerque is very fast for a tier VI battleship which helps translate to a good rate of turn despite her larger-than-average turning radius at that tier. If it weren't for ships like Warspite (bae! ♥) and Normandie, she'd be the clear winner. Once you start comparing Strasbourg and Dunkerque to tier VII battleships, it's no longer a contest. Strasbourg is THE most agile tier VII battleship, bar none. Lyon and Gneisenau provide some competition, but Strasbourg is the hands down winner. VERDICT: Some of the best mid-tier battleship agility you'll find out there. Both ships handle beautifully and are very comfortable to drive. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 3 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast (Dunkerque) or 1,400 per blast (Strasbourg) at 3.5km to 6.0km. Long Ranged (up to 6.0km): 84dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km): 24.5dps (Dunkerque) or 21dps (Strasbourg) at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 1.5km): 105dps at 70% accuracy I'm going to let the graphics do the talking here. Kay, so this looks like a hot mess and there's value in this chaos too. There are so many disparate AA range values at tier VI, it's hard to keep track. "Why so much negative space?" you might ask. Well, I scaled this to match the AA values of the tier VII battleships as both tier VI and VII battleships have to contend with tier VI and VIII aircraft carriers. The ships here are arranged in approximate level of effective personal defense, sorted by the formula [ AA DPS * ( range - 1km) ], thus putting more value on longer ranged damage output. None of the tier VI battleships could be said to have "good" or "effective" AA firepower, even against tier VI carriers. While Dunkerque sits in the middle of the pack here, she's in the bottom half of the incompetent. The best thing about her, really, are those 6km ranged guns which can help a friend out with overlapping fields of fire. Strasbourg has worse personal AA firepower than Nagato. It's only when battleships get to California or Florida levels of AA firepower that they can start looking towards their own defense. And it's not like these ships can prevent CVs from dropping on them -- oh no, they simply make it expensive (and then only if they haven't had most of their medium and small caliber guns shorn off by a spray of HE fire). Strasbourg stands little chance and is an easy mark for carriers. VERDICT: Hilariously bad on both counts. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.92km / 14.77km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.58km / 8.62km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.2km Dunkerque Maximum Firing Range: 18.21km to 21.85km Strasbourg Maximum Firing Range: 19.1km to 22.92km The stealth of these two battleships is crap. I don't know what really needs to be said beyond that. Their surface detection range is atrocious for a ship of their size and you can never truly get it under control. For Dunkerque, this is a more pronounced problem given the smaller maps she end up on at lower tiers. The only way you're surprising anyone in these ships is with long-range fire. While this may end a cruiser in short order, you're only going to annoy battleships unless their citadel protection is very (very!) soft skinned. In practical terms, everything will spot you first. Due to her fragility, this will so often relegate you to play defensively, hugging islands to protect a flank or deny vision lest you get crossfired from unseen enemy. VERDICT: Downright terrible. Final Evaluation Let's go back to those questions that started this review: Is Dunkerque so good at tier VI that she can be effectively cloned and placed at tier VII with little issue? Just how influential are the small changes made between the two ships? Is Main Battery Reload Booster that powerful on a 330m armed platform? Is Strasbourg worth the grind or should you just stick with Dunkerque? The answers to those questions are: Hells no. Largely irrelevant, though the extra second shaved off her reload and the extra armour is nice. I'm kinda miffed about her A-turret losing out on those firing angles, though. Yes. It's a disgustingly powerful consumable and it's what carries this ship at tier VII. Well, that depends. How much do you love Dunkerque? Dunkerque is a good tier VI battleship. This is largely owing to two factors: She has good guns and she has good agility. Dunkerque is fast enough to bring her firepower where it will do the most good and her guns are reliable enough to stack steady amounts of damage. Her fast reload makes her particularly good at picking on cruisers and stacking fires. Yes, her stealth sucks. Yes, her AA power sucks. Yes, defensively she's a bit of a joke. But those, like Tempest Keep, are merely a setback. Stealth and AA rarely define the battleship meta. Better armour would be nice, but it's not like Dunkerque is incapable of face-tanking a whole range of battleship opponents provided they're not armed with 380mm+ guns. Dunkerque is a whole bunch of "good enough" packaged behind comfortable gunnery. As one of the oldest premium battleships in the game Dunkerque doesn't have a gimmick to make her stand out anymore. Being French was her gimmick back in 2016. Since the release of the French battleship line, she lost not only that distinction but also the uniqueness of her all-forward gun arrangement. Players can simply unlock Richelieu from the tech tree if they want to have a taste of that game play, albeit two tiers higher. There's not a lot of 'wow-factor' baked into Dunkerque. She's good, don't get me wrong, but she's not amazing. She's not meta-defining or great. She wasn't a solid pick in tier VI Ranked Battles, sitting behind battleships that brought that oh-so covetted overmatch like Warspite and West Virginia and beyond consideration in team-based competitive (though admittedly everything played second fiddle to Admiral Graf Spee). Strasbourg will be rightly compared to Jean Bart and there is a reason Jean Bart isn't commonly available anymore (I'm still shocked she reappered for Black Friday, but whatevs, clearly WG likes money). If you love Dunkerque's game play, Strasbourg is so worth it, it's not even funny. I cannot stress enough how much the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable improves on what was already some damn fine gunnery. That's really the whole summation of Strasbourg. Yes, there's a bunch of other little changes here and there, but they feel so inconsequential compared to those twenty-seconds of fast-firing guns when her consumable is active. During development, Wargaming seemed oh-so careful not to repeat the misteps of Jean Bart's overpowered self. Strasbourg had her rate of fire nerfed from an initial 21 seconds (yes, really) to 24 seconds and then eventually down to 25 seconds with a slight sigma buff (from Dunkerque's 1.7 to the current 1.8). That should be enough to keep her in line, but I admit I enjoyed myself a lot playing Strasbourg. Such enjoyment on a test ship usually means that the ship is a little too strong. This speaks a lot to what battleship gameplay fundamentally boils down to: delivering big hits. The difference between good performance and bad in a match can so often be separated by a single Devastating Strike. Even if you lose, if you erased one ship outright, it's hard to call that a bad showing. Strasbourg's consumable makes it easier to do that and that's hella powerful. If I had to choose between the two, Strasbourg is (to me) the obvious choice. Dunkerque doesn't have anything novel going for her, in my opinion. Her best selling feature now is her tiering. Strasbourg at least has that gunnery gimmick; something a lot of players may not have access to in the future given the increased rarity of Jean Bart. Strasbourg is a GUDBOTE -- or more accurately, she's a MEHBOTE with a good consumable.
  3. 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.
  4. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Z-44

    The following is a review of the German premium destroyer Z-44. She was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to me. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.11. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Let's turn back the clock a few years, all the way back to mid 2016. If you had told me then that Wargaming was adding a German premium destroyer, the kind of ship I would have imagined then is very different from the kind of destroyers we're seeing now. I wouldn't have imagined improved AP shell performance. I wouldn't have gone with shorter smoke duration. I doubt I would even have imagined adding Hydroacoustic Search. It would have been a bare bones ship with nary a gimmick in sight other than being German. Z-44 feels like something I would have come up with then. You know, before there was a German destroyer tech-tree line -- where simply being German would have been enough to make her stand out from the crowd. In this regard, Z-44 reminds me a lot of Blyskawica's design. At a glance, Z-44 is a hybrid destroyer with a torpedo-bias. She has nothing special in the way of consumables save that short duration Smoke Generator. Her gunnery is lacklustre. Even her hit point pool is modest. With the near constant string of "more different" design, it seems like Z-44 doesn't have a chance to stand out and capture attention. Simply being German isn't enough to sell Z-44, not when there's a glut of other German premium destroyers like Z-39, T-61 and her sister-ship, Z-35. Yet hidden within this unimaginative veneer, Z-44 has some frightening potential that echoes the terror of Benham. Quick Summary: A Type 1936B-class German destroyer that trades access to a Hydroacoustic Search and main battery DPM for a bigger torpedo armament of longer-ranged, fast-reloading fish. PROS Solid chunk of health with 19,400hp. Good AP DPM. Excellent HE penetration, allowing her to directly damage up to 32mm hull sections. Fast reload on her quintuple torpedo launchers. Good range (12km) and speed (64 knots) on her fish. CONS Horrible HE DPM & fire setting. Terrible gun handling with bad rearward fire arcs. Anemic torpedo warheads that do only 13,700 damage per hit. Slow rate of turn. Short-ranged AA firepower with no flak. She's a German destroyer without Hydroacoustic Search. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH/ Extreme Z-44 is ostensibly a torpedo-destroyer. This does not deviate much from the formula first played at tier II, so even an inexperienced player will find the premise familiar. Her game play focuses around putting fish in the water and keeping herself from being detected which is pretty bare-bones material for destroyers. The only reason this doesn't merit a 'simple' evaluation is the added complexity of Surveillance Radar ranges with which she must contend, especially with her fish being incapable of out-ranging Soviet versions of the consumable. There is a lot of potential for expert players to tease out more performance from this ship. This includes, but is not limited to: Just Dodging™ (HA!), knowing the spotting ranges of rival lolibotes, knowing which of these destroyers your ship is capable of defeating in a gunfight (and how to do it), how to bait and survive radar, etc. This, again, should be familiar for any veterans who have put a lot of time into torpedo-destroyers that have only a modest gunship element to their game-play. Options Consumables What's most interesting about Z-44's consumables is what she lacks. She does not get access to a Hydroacoustic Search consumable which is found on most German destroyers. This is a significant drawback. Z-44's Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. This has unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 40 second reset timer. Her Smoke Generator is a slightly improved version for a German destroyer, but still of poorer quality than Smoke Generators of other nations. It has a 20 second emission time with each cloud of smoke lasting 77 seconds instead of the normal 73 for tier IX German destroyers. She starts with three charges and it has a 160 second reset timer. Finally, she has a standard Engine Boost consumable. This provides an 8% speed increase for 120 seconds. It comes with three charges and has a 120 second reset timer. Upgrades Ostensibly, you'll want to build Z-44 as a torpedo-destroyer, but you can mix in some gunship elements if that's to your taste. In your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is optimal. However, if the thought of being detonated incenses you (and you do not have a ready stock of Juliet Charlie signals), then you can take Magazine Modification 1. The Special Upgrade, Engine Boost Modification 1 is best in slot two if you can afford it. It will set you back 17,000 from the Armory. If that's not available to you, default to Engine Room Protection. Given her reliance upon her torpedoes, Torpedo Tube Modification 1 is best in slot three. This combines with Main Armaments Modification 1 to further reduce the chance of your tubes being temporarily disabled and increases her torpedo speed from 64kts to 67.2kts. If you're looking to make better use of your guns, equipping Main Battery Modification 2 to increase her sluggish turret traverse will go a long way to improving her quality of life. Otherwise default to Aiming System Modification 1. Propulsion System Modification 1 is your best choice in slot four, giving you more acceleration from a dead stop which is helpful when island camping or hiding in smoke. If you prefer a more open-water style of play, then Steering Gears Modification 1 is better. To no one's surprise, Concealment System Modification 1 is still optimal in slot five. Steering Gears Modification 2 is a poor substitute but it has some (minor) viability when paired with Steering Gears Modification 1. And finally, Torpedo Tubes Modification 2 is your best choice in slot six for a torpedo-destroyer role. This reduces her reload form 85 seconds to 72.25 seconds (or 65.03 seconds when paired with the Torpedo Armament Expertise commander's skill). Alternatively, for improved gunship performance take, Main Battery Modification 3 to drop her reload from 4.2 seconds to 3.7 seconds (or 3.33 seconds with the Basic Fire Training commander's skill). Note that this does reduce her gun rotation rate from an already lethargic 8º/s to 7º/s. Commander Skills The choice on how to play Z-44 solidifies with her commander skill choices. I've highlighted some of the better skills for her but you cannot afford them all. Start with your choice of tier 1 skills. I prefer Priority Target but Preventative Maintenance and Incoming Fire Alert are reasonable choices. If you end up with 1 skill point leftover at the end, do not double up on Priority Target & Incoming Fire Alert -- always pair them with Preventative Maintenance instead. Next, grab the three skills highlighted with yellow circles: Last Stand, Survivability Expert and Concealment Expert. These are the mandatory destroyer skills that should be present on all of your lolibote commanders. If you have elected to play Z-44 as a dedicated torpedo destroyer, then Torpedo Armament Expertise is a must. If you're leaning more towards playing a traditional German gunship then you can skip that. After this, pick any of the red-square skills to your taste. In my testing, I favoured two builds after taking Torpedo Armament Expertise. The first included Adrenaline Rush paired with Radio Location. The alternative propped up my gunnery (somewhat) with Basic Fire Training, Expert Marksman and Preventative Maintenance. This isn't an exhaustive list. For example, if you can make Torpedo Acceleration work for you with faster, but shorter range torpedoes, go for it. This merely covers builds from which you'll tend to get the most mileage. Camouflage Z-44 comes with Type 10 Camouflage providing the usual tier IX premium-ship bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. Z-44's default camo (white) is nice and striking. Firepower Main Battery: Five 128mm guns in 5x1 turrets in an A-B-P-X-Y superfiring configuration Torpedoes: Ten torpedo tubes in 2x5 launchers mounted ahead and behind the rear funnel. The Type 1936B Destroyers bear a cursory resemblance to the Fletcher-class. They're both large destroyers with five (roughly) five-inch guns in single turrets and two torpedo launchers, with Z-44 duplicating the quintuple mounts of the Fletcher-class while Z-35 makes do with quadruple mounts instead. However their performance is worlds away different from the Fletcher-class, both as gun and torpedo platforms as each over-specializes towards a singular aspect. Z-44 focuses on her torpedoes. Guns There is a statistics that I don't often talk about. It largely gets lost with all of the noise I make about gun fire arcs, fire setting and DPM. Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to talk about all of the rest, but there's an element that conspires against both Z-35 and Z-44 to make them less than ideal gun platforms. Wargaming defines these terms as Fuse Arming Threshold. Fuse Arming Threshold is the minimum amount of steel an AP shell needs to hit before the fuse on board arms. If a shell fails to strike a plate thick enough, it will continue to pass through the ship without exploding. In game terms this means that you will only see over-penetrations unless the shell hits something thick enough to prime the shell. This value is normally 1/6th of the shell diameter. In both Z-35 and Z-44's case, this works out to 21mm. Now this value is important because most structural steel of destroyers does not exceed 19mm, with tier VI and VII destroyers only having 16mm. This means that unless an enemy destroyer angles (thus increasing the straight-line thickness of their armour), Z-35 and Z-44's AP shells cannot arm and will only ever over-penetrate in destroyer knife-fights. In order to fuse against a tier VIII+ destroyer hull, your target has to be angled at 35º towards you. In order to fuse against a tier VI or VII destroyer hull, it needs to be angled at 40º towards you. So unless your opponent is taking an aggressive stance, Z-35 and Z-44's AP shells won't fuse. This is stupid-important when you begin comparing the damage output of their guns. Z-44's DPM drops from 70,714 AP DPM (0.33x penetration damage) to 21,287 DPM (0.1x over-penetration damage). Compare this to the 35,357 DPM (0.33x penetration damage) of her HE shells. Why does this matter? Because Z-44 has absolutely garbage damage output on her HE shells. This is owing to Z-44's slower-than-expected reload. Unlike Z-35 which reloads 0.6s faster than expected for a German 128mm gun, Z-44 reloads 0.2 seconds slower. So not only is she a gun behind Z-46, her guns are individually putting out shells at a reduced rate. The two values per bar are for full damage (citadel hits) and penetration damage (0.33x). Z-44's AP DPM looks very respectable but it would be a mistake to rely upon it in knife fights against other destroyers. In most circumstances except against angled targets, these shells will over-penetrate, giving her even less effective DPM than her HE rounds which are terrible. Z-44 is only managing 21,429 DPM with AP when she over-penetrates. That's worse than Paolo Emilio's HE output. Z-44 cannot keep pace with the damage output of other destroyers, not when there's a risk of her AP shells over-penetrating. In knife fights, this is a death sentence unless your opponents fool enough to offer that precious angle where your shells can penetrate but they don't angle so much that it prompts a ricochet check. These close-range duels are made all the more uncomfortable by Z-44's poor gun handling and awkward fire angles. You can deep spec into Expert Marksman and Main Battery Modification 2 to make up for her sluggish turret traverse if you wish. This largely relegates Z-44's gunnery to the role bombarding larger ships such as cruisers and battleships and outright avoiding destroyer on destroyer engagements unless she has the very obvious upper hand. In this regard, she very much reminds me of Japanese torpedo destroyers. In that role, Z-44 is much better suited. Not only are her AP shells more likely to find hull sections that will arm them properly, her HE shells can take advantage of their increased penetration. Z-44 can damage up to 32mm hull sections with her HE rounds without having to resort to using the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells commander skill. This boosts her admittedly poor fire setting characteristics relative to gunships like Kitakaze, though it's not enough to pull it out of the doldrums. When fully upgraded, she is no better at setting fires than a Fletcher-class. Similar to the Fletcher-class, her ballistics are very floaty, so boosting her range is ill-advised as gunnery becomes uncomfortable at anything beyond very modest ranges. Overall, Z-44 is a poor gunship. Duels with enemy destroyers are limited to opportunistic strikes at best. While her AP shells can put out some respectable damage, she's far from a terror when it comes to hammering larger ships from afar. Z-44's fire arcs are strangely worse than her sister's. Her arcs are not bad on the attack with four guns able to shoot 25º off her bow, but you'll need to offer up a full broadside to fire with all five. Rearward, things get pretty terrible. Her problems here are compounded with her poor 8º/s gun rotation.. Friesland still rules the roost when it comes to fire setting. Z-44's fire setting is pretty bad, but it pays to keep in mind that she's more likely to be hoovering up direct damage from HE hits than other destroyers, so the numbers may end up being closer overall. Still, it's all kinds of frustrating when a battleship blows their Damage Control Party from a torpedo hit and you can't follow it up with a blaze for that sweet, sweet damage-over-time effect. Torpedoes The woes of Z-44's guns are paid back in full with her torpedoes. She is a torpedo-destroyer after all which is odd because at a glance her torpedoes look crappy. Do not let the low damage per fish fool you. The strength of Z-44 as a weapon platform comes from the combination of her two quintuple torpedo salvos and their wicked-fast reload. Fully upgraded and specialized to cut down her reload time, Z-44 can drop a full spread of torpedoes every 65 seconds at full health. Add on the Adrenaline Rush skill, at 50% health, Z-44 is launching torpedoes every 58.5 seconds. This is faster than a lot of her opponents expect given that it takes a minimum of 49 seconds to run to their full range (9.6km at 72kts with Torpedo Acceleration & Torpedo Tube Modification 1) and upwards of 70 seconds (12km at 64kts). This means that by the time Z-44's torpedoes are spotted, she's ready to launch another salvo. For battleships this means that every other shot they take, they have to contend with dodging fish from a concerted attack from Z-44. This makes closing with Z-44 dangerous for larger ships, especially if they do not have a Hydroacoustic Search consumable ready. Though her torpedoes do not have improved concealment, the fan of five torpedoes per launcher presents a serious challenge when it comes to dodging. Z-44's long range with her torpedoes is very welcome, especially in the radar-heavy environment of higher tiers. She can outstrip British and American cruiser & battleship borne Surveillance Radar entirely though she still needs to be wary of Soviet cruisers and destroyer variants. She is most comfortable up on a flank, sending constant waves of fish into parked enemies bow tanking the rest of your team. So long as no other destroyer (or aircraft) comes to spoil the party, Z-44 can rack up a surprising amount of damage in short order. Of course, this all hinges upon your opponents being idiots. This is the common lament of any torpedo destroyer as these high alpha weapons are fickle in the extreme. Some games, you can do no wrong. On others, you'll be lucky for even a handful of hits. Though Z-44's reload is fast, it's not like she holds a candle to Benham's ability to make torpedo soup. Z-44 drops about 25% more torpedoes per minute than Fletcher but her torpedoes only deal 72% of their damage. If all you're getting is incidental hits, that's not enough to keep pace and you certainly can't rely upon Z-44's guns to make up the difference. The success of this ship hinges entirely upon getting into an opportune firing position and being able to put sustained pressure on the Reds with multiple reloads worth of torpedoes. In some matches with aggressive enemy gunships or aircraft, this just isn't possible. Thus, like most torpedo-destroyers, Z-44 is very inconsistent with her performance. Being able to fire ten torpedoes every minute is novel. It's even fun when everything's going well, but it's so easy for the Reds to undo. VERDICT: Her guns are worse than they look and relying on them will get you into trouble. Her torpedoes are amazing and a lot of fun to use. She's not quite Benham levels of torpedo-trolling but she gets close. Durability Hit Points: 19,400 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 19mm / 19mm There's not a whole lot to say here. Z-44 is covered with 19mm structural plate from bow to stern with no deviations. Every HE hit short of the 100mm secondaries off some French ships is going to hurt. Z-44 has a respectable amount of health, but she's by no means competitive in this area, lacking the truly gargantuan hit point totals of ships like Paolo Emilio or the health regeneration from Repair Party equipped ships like Neustrashimy or Östergötland. This necessitates picking her gun battles with extreme care. Her chunktacular hit point total will only allow her to trade with select opponents -- either ones where she commands a considerable health advantage or those with poor gun performance. Taking her in a heads up fight with another gunship is generally a loser-move without a whole lot of backup. Z-44 comes in just shy of the magical 20,000hp benchmark. To be fair, this is a lot of health but at tier IX with the proliferation of the Repair Party consumable, it just doesn't hold up on its own merits. This means that while she may hold the temporary advantage in a one-off encounter, over the course of a whole match, she doesn't have the endurance of some of the other destroyers she competes with. VERDICT: Decent starting health but no heals and no armour makes her no better than average overall. Spend her hit points wisely. Agility Top Speed: 36.5kts Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 4.4s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 7.1º/s at 30.8kts Z-44 shares identical performance characteristics to her predecessor at tier VIII, Z-35. While not unprecedented for two sister ships to clone each other's agility, this isn't a hard-fast rule. One need simply look at the Fletcher-class to see the variety of performance characteristics between the four ships, with Black and Fletcher mirroring one another and Chung Mu and Kidd sharing different characteristics to the lead-ship. For such a large destroyer, it's perhaps unsurprising that she's a bit of a sluggard. While her top speed is alright, her larger turning radius makes her come about more slowly than most of her contemporaries. Z-44 feels closer to a nimble light cruiser than a true destroyer. This said, if you elect to equip Main Battery Modification 3, she will out-turn her turrets which is incredibly frustrating. Because of her deficiencies in gunship battles, her Engine Boost tends to be best used for controlling engagement distances. Use it to get away from fights rather than to navigate from point A to B. Z-44's cumbersome handling compounds the troubles of her poor gun handling and lack of a Hydroacoustic Search consumable. Torpedoes are more of a danger. Knife fights are uncomfortable, forcing you to reach for her rudder to track opponents. While she's still a destroyer and fully capable of Just Dodging™ as much as the next lolibote, it's hard to feel confident at her helm. Z-44's lack of agility makes every unexpected encounter a potential crisis. For a destroyer that performs best out on a flank, this is not a good trait to have. Z-44 has worse agility than Z-46 owing to her slower top speed. VERDICT: She has a decent top speed, but that's about it. Anti-Aircraft Defence Short Ranged (up to 3.0km): 255.5dps at 95% accuracy (242.7dps) Just Dodge™. VERDICT: Just Dodge™. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 7.78km / 6.11km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.7km / 3.0km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 3.06km Maximum Firing Range: From 11.11km to 15.47km It's not Z-44's guns nor her torpedoes or health that defines her nearly so much as her Vision Control. Let's start with her consumable situation. As has already been lamented, Z-44 does not have Hydroacoustic Search. Were she a destroyer from any other nation but German (or British) it wouldn't even be worth mentioning. However, German destroyers normally do have a hydro to play with and the fact that Z-44 doesn't is an unfortunate exception. Given her role, this isn't a terrible handicap however there's no arguing that having said consumable isn't advantageous. Without it, this further limits what team play this fat destroyer provides. She's certainly a clumsy forward spotter (and we'll get to that), but with hydro she could occasionally be of some use sniffing out torpedoes and (under very extreme duress given her gun performance) enemy ships hiding in smoke. On more than a few occasions during play-tests, I found myself noting all of the circumstances where it would have helped (including two close-range gun duels with a Kitakaze and one with a Fletcher through smoke). Boo-urns, I say. It's even more unfortunate that Z-44 doesn't conform to the German norms of having Hydroacoustic Search but does conform to having one of the crappier Smoke Generators in the game. Before I get too headlong into my [edited] here, let me be fair: Z-44's Smoke Generator is improved over the standard baseline version for a tier IX German destroyer. Her smoke clouds should only be lasting 73 seconds. Instead she gets a tier X version and a bonus of a whole four more seconds. Whoo. Please note my dripping sarcasm. Compare this to the 93 seconds enjoyed by Japanese and Soviet destroyers, to say nothing of the 127 seconds enjoyed by those filthy capitalist dogs lolibotes from 'Murica. 'Murica sez: "Deal with It." So all of that isn't looking good, but it's made worse by her horribad surface detection. Her base 7.78km detection radius is ... well, it's not insurmountable but I couldn't blame you for painting a big fat Nope.jpg across this ship and never looking back. There's a long list of destroyers within her matchmaking that can out-spot her 6.11km surface detection. Here's the list, with dangerous (to Z-44) gunships highlighted in blue. Tier VII: Haida (5.67km), Shiratsuyu (5.81km) & Z-39 (6.08km) Tier VIII: Kagero, HSF Harekaze, Asashio, AL Yukikaze (5.37km), Cossack (5.48km), Lightning (5.52km), Benson, Kidd, Hsienyang, Loyang (5.8km), Öland (5.83km), Orkan (5.91km), Siliwangi (5.94km), Ognevoi (6.08km), Akizuki (6.1km) Tier IX: Yugumo (5.52km), Neustrashimy (5.56km), Chung Mu (5.66km), Jutland (5.7km), Fletcher, Black (5.8km), Benham, Z-46 (5.94km), Östergötland (5.99km), Kitakaze (6.1km) Tier X: Shimakaze (5.59km), Somers (5.8km), Yueyang (5.83km), Gearing (5.94km), Daring (5.97km), Grozovoi, Halland (5.99km), Hayate, Z-52 (6.08km) This long list (and her lack of a hydro) makes contesting caps a stupidly-dangerous proposition. Knowledge of this list and paying close attention to the enemy roster and minimap is necessary before she dares stick her nose anywhere near those buoy rings. This goes double if a carrier is present and operating aircraft anywhere near her. The best practice for Z-44 is to turn tail whenever she is detected unless you know for certain you can win the ensuing gun-fight. Odds are, though, you're going to have to contend with your enemy's friends interjecting onto the encounter, so discretion is often the better course. I tend to reserve her Engine Boost consumable for these times to open up the distance. Her top speed is generally good enough to play keep-away, so that's a blessing. Using Radio Location is a tremendous help in knowing where threats will be coming from and I cannot recommend it enough on this ship, but that's torpedo-destroyer 101. And so that's the unfortunate situation with Z-44. She can't out-spot most of her opponents. She struggles to outfight gunships. She can't rely on stealth or smoke to keep her safe. This means keeping her opponents at arm's length and capitalizing on the good range of her fish to see out most encounters. Had she been more stealthy, she could have at least flirted with scouting, spotting or cap control in a pinch. But those avenues are largely closed to her until the enemy roster cleans out. VERDICT: Poor marks all around which greatly limits the number of classic destroyer-roles she can safely undertake. Cap circles are dangerous, yo. Z-44 is poorly equipped to contest them beyond flooding them with fish every minute or so. Final Evaluation Cut away all of the nonsense and Z-44 boils down to a single question: Do you want to play a torpedo-destroyer that can put a lot of fish in the water very quickly BUT her gunnery sucks, her concealment sucks and her torpedoes don't hit very hard? To that I have to ask: "how many fish" and "how hard are they hitting?". Those numbers have to be pretty respectable in order to make this ship work.. Honestly, the first number piqued my interest. Z-44's reload time on her fish is great, especially for quintuple launchers. It's kind of crazy just how many torpedoes she puts out (7.1 per minute, stock) especially when you compare it to ships like Fletcher (5.7), Neustrashimy (4.8) or Yugumo (4.3 with Type 93 mod 2s without Torpedo Reload Booster). Her fish may hit like fluffy bunny kisses but that's okay when there are so many of them. Her torpedoes aren't slow and their range is decent. She almost holds her own compared to Benham in this regard which pretty damn high praise. Except she doesn't. Nothing gets close to Benham's ridiculous 11.3 torpedoes per minute when she's wiggly enough to dump fish off both sides (and she so often is). Benham's fish hit 1.5k damage harder than Z-44's, they move 1 knot faster at the expense of 1.5km worth of range. Benham can put out sixteen torpedoes every 85 seconds to Z-44's ten. So while Z-44 echoes some of Benham's performance, it's definitely not on par. I suspect Wargaming is more than a little gun-shy of repeating that mistake. Z-44 puts out a lot of torpedoes and she puts them out quickly -- fast enough to be viable but not so fast as to be immediately compelling. This is her entire gimmick, like it or lump it. All of this said, it would be a mistake to underestimate what Z-44 can do. She is definitely a ship worth keeping an eye on if it appears on the enemy team. Torpedo spam is not fun to contend with if you're in a battleship. While Z-44 is an easy mark for destroyer-hunters (be they cruisers, carriers or other lolibotes), left to her own devices she can cause a lot of chaos in a short amount of time. I will leave it to angrier people than me to declare whether or not Z-44 is good for the game (go check out their YouTube video reviews when you're done here!). As an investment, I'll give her a pass. If I'm going to play a vulnerable torpedo destroyer, I'd rather have the ability to sneak around or push a cap. For novel torpedo action, I'll reach for Asashio. Z-44's okay, but short of using her to complete "get X number of torpedo hit missions", I'm not likely to want to play her again. It's been a while since I've let a jpg have the last word so here you go: Conclusion Thank you all so much for reading. Thank you very much to my patrons for their continued support. I had originally planned to review both Z-35 and Z-44 together in the same article in the same manner as my Belfast & Belfast '43 review or that of Siegfried and Ägir. However, time was not permitting. It is easier for me to separate the two of them rather than constantly lacing a narrative between the two ships. This is clearly a case of "if I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter". If you stumbled upon this review and are looking for her sister ship, you can find the link here. Go have a read before you pull the trigger on either ship.
  5. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Ashitaka

    The following is a review of Ashitaka, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of November 30th, 2017 No butt jokes here.. Quick Summary: A battlecruiser with great speed, amazing broadside firepower but garbage AA values, poor armour protection and some serious shell penetration issues. Cost: Bundles begin at $41.99 including a port slot. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.14.0, November 30th, 2017 Closest in-Game Contemporary Amagi, tier VIII Japanese Battleship Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Back in January of 2017, Amagi and Nagato received a significant quality of life buff. Their stock hull was being removed from the game. Now they would only need to research a single hull to upgrade their vessel. These ships were horrible to grind while stock -- not only did they have poor anti-aircraft armaments and long rudder shift times like other stock vessels, they were also forced to use guns with worse penetration values. Some players lamented that it was a shame to lose the distinct models. Indeed, their designs were quite recognizable. Wargaming made plans to return these ships as premiums, with Mutsu representing a modified A-Hull Nagato and Ashitaka representing Amagi. In both cases, these ships are downtiered in an attempt to balance their poor characteristics compared to their sister ships. Short of the gun layout and handling, Ashitaka is night and day different from Amagi in terms of overall performance. They may be related, but they're very different craft. Liking one will not guarantee you like the other. PROs Heaviest main battery broadside firepower at her tier. 410mm guns are capable of overmatching the bows of any ship tier VII or lower. Fast, with a top speed of 30 knots Reasonably good rate of turn at 4.0º/s Straight forward game play -- no gimmicks, just gunnery. Option of purchasing the Makoto Kobayashi camouflage with its improved economic bonuses. CONs Weak belt armour, with only 254mm of protection. Long (31.0s) reload on her main battery guns. Poor penetration values on her AP shells. Large turning circle of 870m. What anti-aircraft firepower? Enormous surface detection range. Wargaming has succeeded in seriously pissing me off. I'm going to try and remain objective here, but if a little more snark comes through this review than intended, you'll have to forgive me. This review is being put together under exceedingly short notice. A special thanks to KJar, Lert, Pigeon_of_War and the Wiki-staff for keeping me sane through this crunch time. Options Depending upon the bundle purchased, Ashitaka comes with two different camouflage patterns. This mirrors the release of Battleship Kii in September of 2017. Otherwise, there are no surprises here. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard non-American battleship options. Premium Camouflage: Ashitaka's default camouflage is the standard Type 10. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Makoto Kobayashi -- Ashitaka camouflage provides 100% bonus experience gains, -50% to the post-battle service costs, +20% bonus credit earning, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. For your upgrade choices, it's more straight forward than ever. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control Modification 1. After that, there's no point on taking anything other than Aiming System Modification 1. And cap it all off with Damage Control Modification 2. There are no Special Upgrades worth installing on Ashitaka at this time. Firepower Primary Battery: Ten 410mm rifles in an A-B-X-Y-Z configuration. A&B turrets along with Y&Z turrets are superfiring. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 140mm guns in casemates and four 120mm guns in single deck mounts. It's hard to argue with the problem solving capabilities of ten 410mm naval rifles. On paper, Ashitaka has the largest main battery armament of any of the tier VII battleships, outshining the ten 356mm armed King George V-class battleships. The broadside firepower that Ashitaka dispenses will end worlds. This is a ship that faces puny little Omaha, Emerald and Königsberg-class cruisers, for crying out loud. If you can catch a cruiser with all ten of these guns, there will be nothing left of them but a bad smell. This similar weight of firepower can be downright disastrous for destroyers too. Even a couple of overpenetrating hits will gut a lolibote and leave them regretting their life decisions. I am sure you could all smell the 'but' coming. These aren't your Amagi's 410mm guns. Well, they are -- they're just not using the same AP shell. Like Battleship Mutsu before her, Ashitaka makes use of the 410mm AP/APC Type 88 shell instead of the Type 91 shell found on battleships Nagato, Amagi and Kii. Let's take a look at what differences this entails: The kick in the pants that everyone will focus on are her penetration issues. With her lower Krupp rating, Ashitaka's shells not only lack penetration power, they're also more likely to shatter against thicker armour plate. In practice, Ashitaka's AP shells behave very similarly to the 356mm shells of the King George V-class, keeping comparable penetration power up to about 15km. Beyond that, Ashitaka's performance begins to fall noticeably behind. So let's go back to gloating about kicking the butts of Omaha, Emerald and Konigsberg-class cruisers for a moment. The other side of the coin here is that she'll also be trying to penetrate the armoured belts of Izumo, Iowa and Friedrich der Große-class battleships at range. You can imagine how well that's going to go over. Veterans of the Royal Navy battleship line -- true veterans; the ones that were playing HMS Warpsite and HMS Hood before the rest of the fleet showed up, will well understand the challenges presented here and know the work around. Ashitaka needs to aim for the upper belt and hull of enemy battleships at range to inflict damage. Similarly, she needs to abandon the idea that she can inflict citadel hits on any battleship that's same tier or higher at anything beyond 12km. Going for these upper hull shots can still yield some impressive damage totals, but it takes practice and patience to adjust your gunnery habits. Ashitaka's slower reload time makes any bounces and ricochets feel especially punitive, however, and it can be an exercise in frustration. Even good aim will not always avail you -- these are battleship caliber guns after all, with battleship dispersion and 1.8 sigma. Unlike the tech tree Royal Navy battleships, Ashitaka doesn't have the increased penetration to make spamming HE an attractive counterpoint to trying to bullseye ships with AP. These are issues that have plagued HMS Warspite, Hood, and Mutsu. Players should know what to expect by now. DPM and Penetration values for AP shells. AP penetration values are taken from Wargaming's own Armada videos. Ashitaka, Nelson and Colorado penetration values are a best estimates using available data. Backing up the mixed performance of Ashitaka's main battery guns is a heavy secondary gun battery of equally mixed performance! Hooray! This comes with a 7km range and a 10-gun broadside. However, you're not going to want to specialize too heavily into this armament. The rate of fire on Ashitaka's weapons are on the slow side. What's more, the 140mm casemate guns which form the lion's share of her firepower shoot an AP shell, not HE. Boo-urns. Still, these guns will surprise you. I stuck a secondary-specialized commander into Ashitaka and quickly hoovered up a pair of Close Quarter Expert medals for killing a Farragut and Atlanta. So it's not like they don't have their uses. Summary: Her guns aren't as bad as their penetration values might otherwise indicate. Her slow reload doesn't help matters, though. Her secondaries look more threatening than they actually are. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 17.28km Air Detection Range: 13.71km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 14.41km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 16.9km Main Battery Firing Range: 19.88km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: Last out of nine battleships Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: Tied for 37th out of 39 battleships with Friedrich der Große and Amagi. You're visible from space. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 120mm / 25mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.5km / 3.1km AA DPS per Aura: 10 / 74.9 No. Just... just, no. I cry every time. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 30.0knotsTurning Radius: 870mRudder Shift: 14.9s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.0º/s Tier VII is a fun tier for battleships. This where most of the nations find their running legs (except 'Murica, who shows up late for the war again). The average top speed at this tier is 27.8 knots, buoyed on the high end by Hood and Gneisenau at 32 knots and held back by Colorado at a mere 21 knots. This makes Ashitaka's 30 knot top speed look very attractive. It allows her a great deal of flexibility not often enjoyed by mid tier battleships. She can easily keep up with the flow of battle and redeploy as needed. She is unfortunately cursed with the second largest turning circle at her tier, with only Hood's 910m being worse. The next closest is Gneisenau at 830m. This isn't a ship that answers her rudder quickly. Her rotation rate is on the slow side, though she is better than the slugs Nagato and Nelson which truly drag their heels due to their lower top speed. Still, Ashitaka is going to struggle to dodge incoming fire with anything less than a 7 second aim time. Varying her speed as well as her heading is going to be needed to attempt to avoid long distance volleys and even then she's not going to pull it off easily. DurabilityHit Points: 59,400Maximum Citadel Protection: 254mm +70mm turtleback Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25% Hull armour protection. There is an absolutely tiny strip of 203mm armour on the bottom of the 254mm belt well beneath the waterline. While Ashitaka's durability isn't good, it's not as bad as it could be. Ashitaka is about 1,000 hit points (or about 2%) shy of the average total at her tier now that Colorado has been propped up to acceptable level, so this isn't terrible. The real concerns are her armour values. Ashitaka is a wet dream for any light cruiser using Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. The whole expanse of the ship from bow to stern, with the exception of her belt and gun turrets, is kerosene soaked HE pr0n, never exceeding 25mm in thickness. She's such a large target with little in the way of superstructure to get in the way of the fall of shells. Cruisers (and even some destroyers) will trip over themselves to be the next in line to shoot you. As guns increase in size, it doesn't get much better. Her belt armour caps out at 254mm at the waterline tapering to a 203mm thickness beneath the surface. Unlike Nagato, she does not have an extended belt stretching to cover her bow, though she does have one towards her stern where the armour thins over her steering gears to a 'mere' 229mm. This makes it difficult for her to angle against incoming battleship shells without risking them overmatching her thin prow and hammering into her magazine. Oh, that's worth mentioning -- Ashitaka's citadel raises up over the waterline beneath her A & B turrets. What's more this raised area is entirely composed of her forward magazine; because reasons. This means that any citadel hits punching into your bow are likely trying to cook off your ammunition. Time will tell if Ashitaka pops more often than other battleships. The only spot of good news is that most of her armour protection against AP dive bombers is too thin to arm the fuse. The exception to this are the 70mm turtleback areas that will arm the bombs and result in Ashitaka taking full out citadel hits from the attack. This should be rare, however. But given her poor anti-aircraft firepower, it's not like the enemy carriers are going to be lacking surviving aircraft to give it another go. Tightening up Amagi's A-Hull The one consolation with Ashitaka -- skills don't make her subsystems a whole lot better. This means you can focus on a survivability build with a clear conscience. Here's your first 10 skill points: Start with Priority Target. Grab Adrenaline Rush to try and hack at that 31s reload time. Take Basics of Survivability. Finish it up with Fire Prevention. For your next nine points, take Concealment Expert so you're only visible from low orbit instead of across the solar system. Grab either Superintendent or Vigilance (your choice). And finally take Expert Marksman to get your guns twirling faster. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Ashitaka doesn't reinvent the wheel. Protect your citadel. Fire pew pews at the enemy. The only real bump in the road is learning to make use of the lower penetration on her AP shells. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Ashitaka has speed and firepower. That's recipe enough for skilled players to cause a lot of havoc. However, there's only so far skill will take you on Ashitaka. She's too big to hide. She can't effectively angle against most battleship opponents. This leaves you with out-trading your opponents and for that, you're reliant upon your aim and RNGesus. If she had a single universal ammo type, I could drop this down to 'low'. Mouse's Summary: Ten guns really does solve a lot of problems. So does having a good top speed. It's just a shame about all that other stuff... Ashitaka isn't a good battleship. Firepower solves a lot of problems in World of Warships, and Ashitaka has a healthy helping of that. Were her guns firing the Type 91 AP shell found on Nagato, Kii and Amagi, I don't think there would be any real debate on her viability as a battleship. As it is, the Type 88 shells have a reputation -- one I feel is slightly exaggerated and undeserved. While they are obviously somewhat lacking, they are not unserviceable. It's the inconsistency of their performance which causes them to be so demonized. And let's be fair -- battleship reloads are long and each volley already feels like a roll of the dice. A series of shatters at the wrong time will feel downright punitive and that's an understandable deal breaker for some. So while I may wish for better shells, that leaves me to take a frank appraisal of everything else she has to offer. Her range is adequate. Her gun handling isn't terrible. Her accuracy is okay. Her secondaries are fun but forgettable. She's fast -- I like fast ships. Fast ships provide flexibility and flexibility wins games. Her concealment and durability have a lot to be desired though. Are these last two elements combined with her shells enough to condemn her to wallow with the likes of Huanghe, Krasny Krym and Oleg? I honestly don't believe so. Ashitaka isn't a trashbote. She's not good -- I think we can all agree she's not incredibly advantaged. She pays very dearly to have access to ten 410mm guns at tier VII, so dearly I would struggle to recommend her, even though I know she can and will perform in the right hands. Ashitaka's armour and durability need to be weighed against her offensive power. She's fragile for a battleship, admittedly -- but is she so fragile she can't survive long enough to deal reasonable amounts of damage? We've looked at her guns and her armour. Top tier, she can bully with the best. Her armour's proof enough against 356mm guns or smaller. But she does not up tier well. It's funny, but t I think the A-Hull Amagi was better. At least she had 32mm of bow armour. Would I Recommend? Ashitaka "becomes worthwhile" with the Makoto Kobayashi camouflage. Now, I was reluctant to describe it this way as it prompts players to fork out an additional sum in order to prop up an otherwise flagging premium. However, it would not be fair to fail to mention the merits. With this camouflage, she joins the ranks of Kii, Prinz Eugen and Missouri as an incredibly profitable premium ship. Missouri still wins out, but Ashitaka will make bank for those looking for a credit earning ship. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. In the close-range encounters typically found in Co-Op and Operations, Ashitaka thrives. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. I'll give her a pass here. For the money, you could take Kii or Mutsu -- one being cheaper and the other arguably more effective against everything within her matchmaking spread. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. What are you, nuts? No. Go away. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. The Makoto Kobayashi camouflage adds a fun collector's element to this ship. Yeah, I could see people justifiably wanting her for that if they were a fan. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? No. Go away. 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.
  6. 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! 
  7. The following is a review of Ignis Purgatio & Ragnarok, the twin tier VIII Japanese premium battleships for the Warhammer 40,000 crossover. These ships have been provided to me by Wargaming at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge the statistics discussed in this review are accurate as of patch 0.9.5. Please be aware their performance (and their spelling) may change in the future. For those unaware, I have a long history of fandom with Games Workshop's Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 settings. My older brother was a huge influence on me when I was little. Everything he did was immediately fascinating. Despite the years between us, I did my utmost to try and keep up. The source books were among the many edgy things my older brother collected, including Dungeons & Dragons, alternative comics and weird figurines. As the starry eyed, overly enthusiastic and horribly destructive younger sister, I was of course banned from having access to this stuff which was squirreled away in his room. Oh, I would get to see him reading it from time to time, but sibling territoriality ensured I never got within six feet of those books, which only drove my curiousity further. That was until he went off on some school trip for a weekend. My ever industrious mother decided to take the opportunity to deep-clean the dungeon in which he slept. All of that stuff (along with most of his furniture) just-so happened to get moved to the front hallway while she tried to delaminate the layers of accumulated boy-stink from the walls. You can guess what happened next -- I snuck off with as many books as I could carry. Grandfather Nurgle always looks so jolly. This is how I got to sit down with the seminal works Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness (1988) and it's sequel Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned (1990). There was also this super dorky book called Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1987) that made less of an impression, but this Emperor-guy was pretty cool for desiccated corpse. It was the former two, especially The Lost and the Damned which had a lasting influence upon me. It kindled a love of the over-the-top gothic horror that defined a lot of Games Workshop's earlier works. I soon got into collecting books, magazines and miniatures myself. That interest has carried on to this day. One of my Warlord Titans from Adeptus Titanicus (2019) sits upon my computer desk and I have a Lord of Change with resplendent rainbow plumage attended by some wiggly Horrors on my book shelf. So you can kinda guess that the collaboration between Wargaming and Games Workshop has me making happier noises than a daemonette playing with a chainsword. The elements of this crossover relevant to this article are a pair of clones based upon the tier VIII Japanese tech-tree battleship Amagi; the Imperium of Man's Ignis Purgatio and the Primordial Annihilator's Ragnarok. Quick Summary: A pair of identical Amagi-class battleships with improved dispersion but reduced rate of fire over the tech-tree ship. PROS Trollish citadel protection, with surprisingly thick armour. Massive ten 410mm gun broadside with enormous alpha-strike potential. Good dispersion with 1.9 sigma. Excellent AP penetration. Good HE damage. Super accurate secondaries. CONS Weak belt armour, prone to taking penetration hits. 33s reload on main battery. Secondaries have a maximum of a 7.56km range. Poor agility with a large, 870m turning circle radius and pedestrian 4º/s rate of turn. Horrible AA firepower. Horrible concealment. Ignis Purgatio, resplendent in spite of her hidden typo. Ragnarok, without any spelling errors, which makes her clearly superior, you Imperial lapdogs. Versus Amagi Contrary to Wargaming's 0.9.5 patch notes, Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok are not exact copies of Amagi. They're close -- very close, even. They mirror the tech-tree ship in almost every regard. The amount of overlap is so prevalent that I won't cover everything about these ships, just merely some interesting highlights. However, there are two things which set these ships apart. When playing these ships, one of these elements is immediately noticeable. The other is not. Amagi has 1.8 sigma on her main battery guns. The new ships have 1.9 sigma. Amagi has a 30 second reload on her main battery guns. The new ships have 33 seconds. Head-faked with a Sigma Buff A difference of 0.1 sigma is a bit of a booby prize, I'm afraid. Consider these two dispersion fields: Standard dispersion tests. This is 180 AP shells fired at a stationary Fuso bot without camouflage sitting 15km away. Both Amagi and Ragnarok were using the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade. Shots came in from right to left -- the Fuso is effectively bow-tanking. Without labels, they're difficult to tell apart -- and let's keep in mind that this is as sterile a comparison as can be made under perfect conditions against a static target. Taken into the chaos of a live match, these differences all but disappear. The best players in the game are unable to tell the difference between battleships with 1.8 sigma and 2.0 sigma on a per-game basis -- the average player has no hope in Hell of being able to find value in the 1.9 sigma boasted by Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok over Amagi's 1.8. This is the sort of change that will show up over the long-term performance of the ships -- it's a Spreadsheet™ statistic. You won't be able to tell on a per-game basis, never mind a per-shot basis. In short: on a per-game basis, Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok have functionally the same accuracy as Amagi. Let me be clear: Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok DO have better dispersion but it's not significant enough for you to ever be able to notice its influence. Sucker-punched with a Reload Nerf What players will notice (and notice right away) is the three seconds lost every time these new battleships fire. This is pretty harsh though their ten-gun broadsides still keep them as contenders for some of the best damage out-put at tier VIII with their AP shells. So the three seconds lost is more awkward than damning. Ten guns is a rarity at tier VIII. Even sixteen-inch guns aren't standard so it's pretty easy for Ragnarok and Ignis Purgatio to stand apart from their contemporaries. Approximate penetration values for IJN 410mm AP shells. These ships are hella dangerous at all ranges with their AP shells able to land reliable damage to battleship targets even at a distance. Japanese HE shells have a meaty chunk of damage tied to them. But their fire chance is kinda crappy. Amagi is Better From a pure performance point of view, Amagi is the original and best. If you want to try these ships out for yourself, play Amagi and each time you fire, count to three before you pull the trigger. Bam, there you go. You're experiencing Ragnarok and Ignis Purgatio. Miscellaneous Points of Interest Other than her guns, there are three elements about the Amagi-class I find interesting. First off, there's her citadel protection: Compiled from GameModels3D.com showing the different thickness of Amagi's turtleback armour. It's 102mm thick over the magazines and 95mm over the machine spaces. Amagi is notoriously difficult to citadel, especially at close ranges. This isn't because of her turtleback but rather her submersed citadel. Short of dunking shells into the water just before the ship's hull, you're not going to land citadel hits against her up close. At a distance, she's more vulnerable, but only if your shells have a lot of penetration combined with a noticeable shell fall angle. Despite having turtleback geometry to her citadel, this isn't a separate plate the way it is with German battleships. Furthermore, the sloping of this part of the citadel is too shallow to prompt any kind of ricochet check. Thus Amagi tends to be more vulnerable to citadel hits from long range from high-penetration guns. The net effect here is that while Amagi can take citadel hits, her armour is notoriously troll for resisting them. You can have her dead to rights with a near perfect broadside and only get penetrations rather than devastating hits to her machine spaces. For ships with more exposed citadels taking Amagi on in a joust, this will often be their last mistake. Speaking of jousting and brawls, did you know that Amagi has "Massachusetts" secondaries? It's more accurate to say that Massachusetts has Amagi secondaries. All of the large-caliber secondary guns have improved dispersion. Were it not for Amagi's horrible secondary range of 5km (7.56km when fully upgraded) they might be worth investing into. Reference Mahan (104m) for scale. Amagi has the same dispersion as Massachusetts with her 140mm secondaries. They will shred a destroyer in short order, but only if you get them inside of suicidal (for you) ranges. You don't have the agility to dodge the inevitable walls of fish unless they derp massively. Finally, it's worth addressing just how butts her agility is. While she has decent straight line speed, her rate of turn and turning circle radius is flirting with Russian mayonnaise. There's a reason these things tend to fight from a distance. At the time of publishing, Azur Lane's Littorio and Champagne are still works in progress and subject to change. Final Evaluation These two ships aren't very compelling in terms of a design choice when you have free and premium alternatives. These Warhammer 40,000 ships are really only worthwhile for their cosmetic value, not their game play performance. If it's optimized Amagi game play you're looking for, get Ashitaka -- nearly the same Amagi performance but a whole tier lower. If you want gimmicky Amagi performance, get Kii. Alternatively, if Amagi is really your jam, you could just take the same cash-value and glue a premium camouflage onto Amagi herself if that's more your speed. There's nothing wrong with Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok. But let's not kid ourselves that they offer anything compelling in terms of game play that you can't already get for free with Amagi. They're a downgrade but with some very cool skins. I don't think much more needs be said than that. Do try and surive the hype-train. Lookit what I found. Yeah, I recognized Chaos rune-script and took the time to translate it. Get on my level, nerds.
  8. 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/
  9. The_Double_Tab

    Clan Brawls and armory ships

    Anchor Google Spotify Today we talk the ongoing Clan Brawls season and the new ships in the Armory. So what do you guys think is the best ships for the Brawl? Best new ship in the Armory?
  10. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review #148 - Odin

    The following is a review of Odin, the tier VIII German battleship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are accurate as of patch 0.9.4.1. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: Tirpitz-lite. Same great Tirpitz flavour with half the fat. I mean efficiency. Wait, that doesn't work. I really should mention the guns or agility. How about: Imagine if Bismarck and Graf Spee loved each other VERY much and.... Probably best I stop right there. Uh, okay, here we go: Imagine a tier VIII Scharnhorst that went to the gym and got super cut. She ends up with slightly improved punch but she tore a few muscles dead-lifting so she can't carry anymore. Bam. Nailed it. PROS Excellent citadel protection with turtle-back armour. Good armour layout -- especially for shrugging off HE shells, including a thick deck, ice-breaker extended waterline belt and strong upper hull protection. Heavy secondary battery with very long range, good rate of fire and excellent penetration values. Decent agility, especially for a high-tier German battleship. Good concealment for a tier VIII battleship (especially for a German one). She combines Bismarck's Hydroacoustic Search with Tirpitz's torpedoes. CONS Tiny hit point pool for a tier VIII battleship (which also reduces the amount she can heal). Poor anti torpedo protection with only a 22% damage reduction. Main battery guns are only 305mm in caliber causing all sorts of problems from poor HE performance, poor AP penetration and limited overmatching ability. Secondaries have wonky fire angles. Forward fire angles on her torpedoes are very limited. How to Acquire Her Before I get into the review proper, it's worth mentioning how you're (supposed to be) able to get this ship. Akin to Puerto Rico, Odin is part of a dockyard event. You complete missions to increase the rate of production of the ship itself with the option of spending money to accelerate construction. Unlike Puerto Rico which could technically (and rarely in practice) be earned for free, Odin has specifically been declared as requiring at least some expenditure of cash (or doubloons) to complete her -- something to the tune of a minimum of 3,500 doubloons. Now I mention all of this because the event hasn't gone live yet and, let's be honest, anything can and will change before the event launches. Don't come crying to me if you get burned from buying the pre-hype wholesale. I'm waiting to see how the event finally shapes up, what bugs are present and what the functional asking price for this ship is. Fairly warned be ye, says I. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH/ Extreme Odin has a small hit point pool and crappy guns. You're putting that on a ship that ostensibly is made to brawl and handing that to new players? That's a recipe for disaster -- or at the very least, low damage totals if they manage to keep themselves alive or a quick trip back to port if they push too early. This isn't a ship for new players. For veterans, however, there's all sorts of fun shenanigans that can be accomplished with Odin, aside from the obvious brawling. Good ammunition choices, proper commander specialization, use and abuse of her agility and concealment and map knowledge will all go along way to improving your gains with this ship. The question is, though, is it worth the effort? Options Consumables Her Damage Control Party is standard for a German battleship with unlimited charges, a 15s active period and an 80s reset timer. Her Repair Party is also normal. This heals back up to 14% of her health over 28s and starts with four charges. This has an 80s reset timer as well. Convenient! In her third slot you have a choice between a Spotting Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The former starts with four charges, lasts 100s with a 240s reset timer. This increases her range by 20% (up to 22.9km) for it's duration. The latter has three charges to start, lasts 60s and has a 90s reset timer. She launches three fighters at a time. And finally, Odin borrows Bismarck's Hydroacoustic Search. This has three charges to start with a 100s active period. It detects torpedoes at 3.5km and ships at 5km. It has a 120s reset timer. Upgrades There's not a whole lot of variety here. Optimally, you're going to want to build for fire mitigation and improved main battery performance. To this end, take Damage Control Systems 1 & 2 and Aiming System Modification 1. But nuts to that. That's not fun. What you should do is take Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1, Secondary Battery Modification 1 and Steering Gears Modification 1 to soup-up Odin's performance for those brawls you want to get into. Optimal? No. Awesome? Hells yeah. I said "soup-up Odin's performance", Potage. Captain Skills So, there's a good argument to be made that Odin, like other German battleships, should simply default to the Standard Battleship Build™. That is to say: Priority Target at tier 1. You can swap this for Incoming Fire Alert, Expert Loader or Preventative Maintenance based on your preferences. Take Adrenaline Rush at tier 2. Next up comes Basics of Survivability at tier 3 to help mitigate fire damage. And cap it off with Fire Prevention at tier 4. This will maximize your fire resistance potential. After that, take what you will. Skills such as Concealment Expert, Superintendent, Expert Marksman and High Alert all being suitably hyped to round out your 19pts. Of course, this is loser-quitter talk and what you really should be doing is building for awesomeness: Both Superintendent and Basic Fire Training are equally awesome. I prefer the former, myself, and this is the build I've been using for Odin. Superintendent gives her a bit more survivability. Camouflage Odin has three available camouflage patterns, Type 10 Odin, Nordic and War Paint. They have identical statistics making them just cosmetic swaps between them. They provide the usual tier VIII bonuses: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% experience earned. I like Odin's base camo. When are the Germans going to get an alternate palette swap? ] I'm not a fan of Odin's War Paint camo. But I love her Nordic camo. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 305mm guns in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Six 150mm guns in 2x3 turrets mounted superfiring over B and X turrets and twelve 128mm guns in 6x2 turrets with three mounted per side. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2×4launchers in wing mounted just behind X-turret on the rear deck. The Woes of the Three Oh Fives Let's not mince words. Odin's main battery firepower is trash-tier. This isn't because her guns are "only" 305mm. If 305mm guns were automatically bad, we wouldn't be making the fuss that we do over ships like König Albert, Alaska and Stalingrad. They can be good, gun caliber be damned. It's all a matter of their individual performance parameters at a given tier. In Odin's case, these parameters suck moose-balls. Odin's main battery faults are numerous and I'll go over each. Hits on Target Odin dispersion test while equipped with ASM1. 180 AP shells fired at a Fuso-bot that had no camouflage. Shots were coming in from right to left (Fuso is bow-tanking). Owing to her higher shell velocity, Odin tends to overshoot and undershoot targets more often than American or British battleships despite using the same dispersion formula. This is bog-standard for German battleships. The first hurdle you'll experience with Odin's gunnery is getting enough hits. Now her dispersion isn't terrible -- for a tier VIII battleship it's not only normal, it's fairly decent with her 2.0 sigma value. However, a lack of any improvements to dispersion when stacked with the rest of Odin's woes means that you're not landing the number of hits needed to compensate for the other drawbacks. I could have just as easily griped about her rate of fire for not being better instead. Throughout most of her testing, she reload in 20 seconds instead of the current 23s which helped her put more shells on target through volume of fire (increasing from 23.5 rounds per minute to 27). Either one of these could have been massaged. The simple fact of the matter is that Odin doesn't generate the number of hits needed to be competitive with other tier VIII battleships once all of the other gunnery parameters are considered. AP Penetration & Overmatch Approximate penetration values of the high-tier German battleships. Odin doesn't have the punch necessary with AP rounds to contest battleship belt armour at ranges greater than 12km or so once you account for even slight angling. Belt armour of high-tier battleships easily flirts in excess of 300mm. Alright, so why does she need to get more hits? Well, her low AP penetration is perhaps the biggest problem with Odin's guns. She has similar problems to Scharnhorst in this regard but as a tier VIII ship, there are even fewer overmatch targets. As a German battleship, we can forgive her poor HE shell performance -- the expectation is that her AP shells should compensate for any drawbacks there. In some regards they do -- Odin's AP shell damage is more than sufficient. Even with her 305mm guns caliber and the woes with over matching targets, her AP shells deal almost as much damage as French 340mm weapons. Her overmatch caps out at 21mm -- largely limiting her to destroyers and tier VI and VII cruisers (and the occasional super-light cruiser across all tiers). You can forget about comfortably engaging battleships. She struggles to best battleship belt armour within nominal engagement ranges. It's only in brawls -- where her secondaries are already engaging targets -- when you can expect her to punch through belts without frequent shatters. There are ways around this, of course. You can aim higher and go for upper hull and superstructure hits. I do stress that with Odin's dispersion issues mentioned above that the sheer number of hits made won't equate to the same level of damage as her contemporaries. What's more, she still sees a lot of overpenetrations. She still has 0.033s fuse timers and she still needs 51mm of armour to fuse. So those soft sections of enemy battleships won't necessarily arm or slow down the shells enough to give meatier numbers. This all contributes to further reduces her damage output. It's hard to keep up when you can't land reliable penetrating AP shell hits. As you might expect for a faster-reloading battleship-caliber gun, Odin's AP DPM is decent despite the smaller gun caliber. I do stress here that this is potential damage -- it in no-way represents the actual gun performance, discounting factors such as dispersion, range, firing angles, ballistics, penetration, etc. These are just the theoretical maximums. HE Performance There's a lot of changes coming to the tier VIII meta shortly, though it remains to be seen how these five test ships will finalize. On topic: Odin's HE DPM is kinda terrible. I badmouthed Roma's HE DPM (though granted, that was coupled with her shoddy dispersion) and Odin's damage output is worse than that. No one should be surprised that Odin's HE performance is garbage. It's only her fast reload that creates any semblance of "close to acceptable" damage output and fire setting. Given her poor AP penetration and lack of overmatch, Odin has to reach for her HE shells in spite of this lackluster showing. It's not something you want to spam, mind you -- use them as often as you need to but no more than that. Stacking fires or hoping for big tallies of damage this way just won't happen with some severe hand-holding from RNGeebus (praise be!). It's the disparity between her HE and AP performance which makes her HE shells so unnattractive. An AP overpenetration is worth more than an HE saturated hit -- almost to a 2:1 ratio. Compare: This isn't a problem unique to Odin. The hope is that fires will off-set the damage disparity between the two shells. However, this depends not only upon the chance to actually set a blaze, but also the target that it is set upon. Lighting a destroyer or carrier on fire offers little in the way of damage return where as it's disproportionately more valuable when used against a battleship or large cruiser. Shell choice thus matters greatly and Odin should, whenever possible, lean upon her AP shells instead of her HE. Expert Loader is a very worthwhile skill for this reason -- you want to have the correct ammunition at the ready when opportunity presents itself. I think you'd be hard pressed to call any of the tier VIII battleships "good" fire starters. Nelson and King George V at tier VII really set the bar and Monarch (despite being Famous & Historical) falls short. Once you account for fire resistance and battleship accuracy, these values drop down to about 1/4 to 1/6th of their theoretical averages. Of course, RNGeebus being RNGeebus, lucky volleys can and will change everything (praise be!). All things said, Odin's fire setting isn't terrible but it's certainly not a strength. Overall Feels It's hard to have anything nice to say about these guns. The best I can manage is that some of their parameters are "okay", but there's nothing that stands out as fun or interesting. I honestly prefer Scharnhorst's 283mm guns to Odin's 305mm -- at least Scharnhorst's guns have fast traverse rates and good forward fire angles. Scharnhorst's matchmaking also means she can sometimes see super-squishy tier Vs. Let's talk about Odin's HE for a moment as it sort of encapsulates the issue here -- the improved penetration she gets might have been a plus had she the damage to back it up. But without it, her high HE penetration is just window dressing on more mediocrity. Like her improved rate of fire or meatier-than-they-should-be 305mm AP shells, it just doesn't matter. No other flaw of this ship is as damning as that of her main battery armament. This is where your decision on whether or not to invest in this ship should be made. Stacking reliable damage from Odin's main battery guns is frustrating, especially in the first half of battles where you're trading fire at long range. Her AP shells simply aren't good enough for this and her HE shells only stack damage slowly. Because of these deficiencies, players may be baited into pushing too soon in an effort to make use of her secondaries and torpedoes. This exacerbates the problem of her small hit point pool while simultaneously throwing away her advantages in concealment. In higher tiered games, this will get Odin sunk in a hurry -- players have to accept what little returns their guns can achieve, focusing primarily on softer targets until they can safely begin closing the distance and unleashing her other weapon systems. Odin's forward fire angles on her guns are good and crap on her torpedoes. Her rearward fire angles on her guns are crap and great on her torpedoes. Torpeedus Odin has torpedoes. Evaluating their effectiveness based on early play-testing is difficult. They're easily more potent during this stage as not everyone knows Odin is packing fish. So setting aside the successes during my games (including torpedoing a Kagero, lul), we can look at them more critically by comparing them to those found on Tirpitz. Still, lemme just humble-brag and say that I got to torpedo a LOT of people with Odin during play-testing and it never got old. There are two significant differences between the two ships when it come to their torpedo armaments: Their fire angles. Their survivability. Odin's fire angles on her launchers are pretty terrible. They're limited to launching at 39º off her bow. Rearwards, she's better, needing only a 22º angle off her stern to fire that way (which is amazing), giving her a total launching arc of 119º per side. Tirpitz, by contrast can launch 34º off her bow which is better (not great, but better) but she pays for it with more limited reward launch angles of 33º. This gives the OG German premium a 113º launch window. If you think I'm going to therefore justify Odin's launch angles as "better", you're mistaken. I would much rather have Tirpitiz's launchers based on their firing angles. These ships tend to use their torpedoes offensively rather than defensively, so forward firing angles matter a Hell of a lot more than rearward. So points to Tirpitz here. Odin has to swing herself out more than Tirpitz to squirt off a load which causes all sorts of problems from making her more likely to take damage on the return to simply (and embarrassingly) beaching herself. However, where Odin does get better marks is the survivability of her fish. Individually, the launchers on the two ships are just as squishy, it's merely their position upon the ship that counts here. Having Odin's torpedoes mounted on her stern puts them largely out of harm's way -- they're more likely to be available than Tirpitz's and much less likely to be sniped off. Odin's torpedoes are nice to have, short ranged though they are. They make her an absolute terror in a close-range brawl. Getting that close to her in a battleship is all but a death sentence. Her fish are more awkward to use than Tirpitz's but they're much less likely to get broken beforehand. There's few things as heartbreaking for one of these torpedo-armed battleships than having their torpedo-mounts destroyed when they finally (FINALLY!) get a chance to use them. Secondaries The final piece of Odin's firepower puzzle is her secondaries. I wanted to simply write praise for Odin's secondaries, boasting about their increased range, rate of fire and penetration over Tirpitz's guns, concluded that they were therefor better and been done with it. I was then told by my peers, in so many words, that this would be disingenuous and I should take the time to properly compare Odin's secondaries to the other AI-driven pew-pews. Tirpitz has words regarding my early praise of Odin's secondaries. So let's get into it. The first thing to consider is their raw damage potential. At tier VIII there are six ships which have "good" (or merely goodish) secondaries -- Massachusetts, Bismarck, Tirpitz, Gascogne, Odin and Graf Zeppelin. I'm leaving out Amagi and her clones because, despite having improved accuracy, they are short ranged as all get out and not practical. All of these secondaries put out comparable damage when firing broadside, though the carrier is the hilarious front-runner. However, a more nuanced look changes things when you consider a practical application: There's a few things to keep in mind here. First, Graf Zeppelin and Massachusetts have (much) improved accuracy with their secondaries -- they generate far more hits than their competitors. Second, Inertial Fuse for HE Shell may be necessary to enable these ships to fully maximize their direct damage potential against select targets. Odin doesn't care about that last part, though, so points for that. Odin's secondary firing angles are a bit of a surprise. With all of her 128mm guns mounted flush on the deck, they have limited firing arcs. Her 150mm guns are interrupted by the ship's superstructure and are similarly limited. There's a 20º dead-zone on either side of Odin's prow where only her superfiring 150mm secondary can engage targets. Once you swing out, the majority of her secondaries will begin firing. She is not as well setup for kiting, though. Her butt is a mess though (ew!), with staggered fire angles. Mounted fore and aft, Odin's superfiring 150mm secondaries have limited fire arcs. There's only a small window where all five of her secondary mounts can be brought to bear on a target, and that obviously opens her up to return-fire. It's best just to stick with four on the attack and two when kiting. Odin's secondary fire arcs aren't comfortable. I don't know how much potential damage I've wasted merely because I was sitting bow-in with only my superfiring 150mm gun spitting off the occasional shot. Odin has to angle out at least 20º off her snoot to get a reasonable volume of fire going. This isn't much, but this 40º not-quite-deadzone forward is much more sizeable when you account for manoeuvre, navigation and dodging. This was especially frustrating when dealing with ships in smoke -- having to turn away to begin blasting them with secondaries. All of the other ships fire off with more than a single turret's worth with just a couple of degrees worth of allowance. Still, Odin does have more range than her contemporaries, right? It's not much, really. It's 200m base and 300m when the two ships are fully upgraded with all of the trimmings. Still, it's enough that Odin can almost (ALMOST!) stealth-fire her secondaries in open water, with her surface detection getting as low as 12.02km and her secondaries reaching out to 11.642km. That would have been hilarious had Wargaming accidentally let that happen. Oh well. This is the worst dispersion I got with Odin's secondaries. Most kills occurred within 120 rounds fired (about 40s), so I thought this one would make a more obvious indicator of the total area her shots could stray within. German secondaries are the current runner-up in the secondary effectiveness race. American secondaries, specifically those found on Massachusetts and her descendents, are the current gold-standard. That Massachusetts accomplishes this with only 21mm worth of penetration is testament to just how accurate those weapons are compared to (nearly) everyone else. Against soft skinned targets, it will take Odin twice as long to do comparable damage to Massachusetts. That's not an approximate either. I ran dozens of tests between them and Massachusetts lewds lolibotes two times faster than Odin. The marked difference between them and where Odin claws back a little deserved renown, is with her penetration. Even without Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, she's capable of damaging tier VIII+ battleship hulls with her secondaries without having to wait for RNGeebus to descend from on high (praise be) and gift her with a fire or to disperse one of her shells into their superstructure. This extends also to high-tier cruisers which Massachusetts can only directly damage if she spends the skill points on IFHE. The obvious question is: Are Odin's secondaries better than Massachusetts? Well, no. And that's the wrong question. Are they good enough is more apt. And yes, yes they are. All things told, I rate them better than Tirpitz's secondaries despite being more fussy to use. That extra penetration is just lovely and Tirpitz's 105mm, which form the bulk of her damage output, don't cut the mustard. Odin's secondaries are a reliable workhorse and definitely worth investing into to improve. This goes double given the woes of her main battery firepower. Summary Her secondaries are good. Her torpedoes are nice to have, but they're too short ranged to make regular use out of outside of PVE game modes (and one-on-one Ranked Battles, lul). But at the core, her main battery firepower is a huge let down and it severely compromises all other aspects of this ship. Her secondaries are almost great but they lack accuracy and fire arcs to contend with the current heavyweight champion. Her torpedoes are awkward to use but at least they don't break as often as Tirpitz's. Her main battery firepower is garbage. You can make it work, but you're not going to like it. VERDICT: Your butt belongs to RNGeebus. Praise be, you filthy sinners. Defense Hit Points: 52,800 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm extremities, 45mm upper hull & 50mm deck Maximum Citadel Protection: 320mm belt + 105mm to 120mm turtleback + 45mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% There's no getting around it: Odin's base hit point pool sucks when compared to the other tier VIII battleships. However, her theoretical effective health isn't that much lower than Lenin's -- a ship which is considered Tonka-tough™. Apparently there's more to battleship survivability than base hit point totals including such factors as armour, citadel protection, favoured engagement ranges and many more elements besides. Of course, dwelling upon the esoteric doesn't make for a very good sound bite, now does it? Hit Points We may as well start with the poop-storm that is her hit point total. Odin has less than 60,000 hit points. She has a lot less, in fact. She sits at 52,800hp. Let's put some averages up on the board, ignoring reskinned clones: Tier VIII Battleships (excluding Odin): 66,400hp Tier VII Battleships: 60,200hp Tier VI Battleships: 53,800hp (aww, bae-bote's average! ♥) Tier V Battleships: 46,300hp Odin has the hit point totals of a tier VI battleship -- and slightly lower than average for a tier VI battleship at that. Oof. Yes, this is bad. No, it's not the end of the world. There's more to ship survivability than just their hit points after all, though let me be clear, this does put her at a marked disadvantage. A lack of hit points has a couple of trickle-down effects. Her Repair Party's efficiency is tied to her base hit point total -- 14% of her health healed per charge up to a maximum of 16.8% with a flag. Fires and Flooding are also tied to her base hit point total, with the former doing 18% unmitigated and the latter doing 20% unmitigated). The damage done here can be healed back 100% with sufficient charges of her Repair Party. However, the flat damage done by bombs and shells hurts her more than higher-hit point total battleships. 10,000 HE damage done to Odin hurts more than 10,000 HE damage done to Nagato (18.9% of her health versus 15.4% for Nagato). Simply put, fires hurt all battleships equally but being shot does not -- the latter hurts lower health ships more. Thankfully, Odin is pretty well setup to resist shell damage in the first place. Armour & Citadel Protection A very German armour layout. Odin's protection scheme is analogous to (but distinct from) that of the Bismarck-class. This means ice-breaker bows, an extended waterline belt that covers her stern as well, thick upper hull protection and a reinforced deck amidships. Short of her icebreaker bow extending further up, this is about as good as you could ask for in terms tier VIII battleship protection. Her 45mm and 50mm hull sections along with her extended belt will foil many HE shells (pretty much anything that's not a German or British heavy cruiser or throwing battleship-caliber HE). This improved HE protection does make her more vulnerable to AP penetrating hits if they catch her broadside, so bear that in mind. When you look at her citadel defense, it's S-class -- as German as you can get. If you listen closely, you can hear the AP bombs drooling. Compiled from GameModels3D.com. This highlights Odin's turtleback and the two different armour values present. She has 120mm over her forward and rear magazines and 105mm over her machine spaces. This belt of steeply angled armour keeps her largely immune to AP shell citadel hits except from high-penetration shots at very (VERY) long ranges. Also from gamemodels3d.com. Odin has a "hidden" 60mm deck-plate linking the two sides of her icebreaker on both her bow and stern. Even if Yamato, Musashi or Shikishima overmatches her 32mm upper-extremities from range, this plate will prevent the shell from plunging into the 200mm transverse bulkhead of Odin's citadel. Bismarck and Tirpitz both lack this, having only a smaller (and easily overmatched) 20mm plate protecting this area. This isn't a game-changing bonus, but it's nice to have. Mitigation Odin's low hit point total eclipses her otherwise great survivability traits. These include her decent AA power, better-than-average agility and better than average concealment. All of these combined create a ship that honestly has a lot of tanking potential. Still, I shouldn't sugar coat it -- as well equipped as Odin is to control the engagement and shrug off attacks, her low hit point total is always going to be something you have to keep in mind. Exercising her mitigation tools is the best bet you have to giving Odin some carry potential. Use her Hydroacoustic Search to lower the amount of torpedo damage you take per game. Abuse her good concealment to go dark until there are juicier targets to shoot at. Invest in skills and signals to add efficiency to your consumables. And most of all, keep to the second line until it's time to push. It's a lot of work to keep Odin hale and whole. This is probably off-putting for a lot of people but I find it worth while and accessible. Keeping her healthy for the mid-to-late game allows her to pull off all sorts of shenanigans where her protection scheme and mitigation tools really allow her to flex. In the end, she is still a German battleship -- tough as old boots and built to brawl with the best of them. You just have to live long enough to get to that stage where the opportunities are more likely. I am convinced that her hit points are a bit of a red herring when it comes to the flaws of this ship. With a bit of know-how, the woes of her low hit point total can be easily mitigated. You can't say that about the performance of her 305mm guns, however, which are the real source of woe with this ship. The greatest criminal mastermind of our time. VERDICT: Solid armour, nigh-impervious citadel protection (outside of AP bombs) and good damage mitigation but she's still the Viribus Unitis of tier VIII. Agility Top Speed: 30 knots Turning Radius: 790m Rudder Shift Time: 14.1 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.4º/s "It's not terrible." - Mouse, June 2020. Odin has better-than-average agility for a tier VIII battleship. However, she's no where close to being a top contender, lacking the straight-line speed (Richelieu, Gascogne), turning radius (So-Daks), rate of turn (Azur Lane's Littorio) or rudder shift time (Vanguard). She's just average or slightly better than average in a few key areas without being horrible where she's found lacking. It's worth mentioning that AL Littorio and Champagne are still works in progress and subject to change. VERDICT: It's not terrible. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 5 explosions for 1,775 damage per blast at 3.5km to 6km. Long Ranged (up to 6.0km): 88dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 4.0km): 333dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 109dps at 70% accuracy Screw it. I was going to make a pretty AA graphic but you can have my preliminary notes instead. I had a wth moment and ended up spending a couple of hours chasing down leads. APPARENTLY the Japanese Type 96 25mm AA gun is the most accurate mount out of any battleship AA gun. Look, I'm not the most savvy historionatrix -- scarcely better than the History Channel -- but even I know this is a facepalm. Also, Champagne and Borodino are still works in progress and subject to change. I'm not going to waste too much time here. Take a Catapult Fighter instead of a Spotting Aircraft consumable. If you've upgraded your secondaries, you'll have a bit more bite to your AA guns which should be enough to make a tier VI carrier cry and mildly annoy a tier VIII carrier enough to make them alternate aircraft types they hammer you with to mitigate losses. But don't kid yourself into thinking that this provides anywhere close to "good" AA firepower. She has marginally better defense than Bismarck but she still sits well behind ships like the So-Daks, North Carolina and Kii. VERDICT: Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.3km / 12.02km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.86km/7.99km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 11.9km Main Battery Firing Range: 19.09km / 22.87km with Spotting Aircraft active Hydroacoustic Search Ranges: 3.5km torpedoes, 5km ship detection. I'm about to heap a whole lot of cautionary praise on Odin's surface detection. Lemme state this fact before I get started: Odin's concealment is nothing special for a battleship; it's simply better than expected. High-tier German battleships are thunder-chunkers with choo-choo thighs. Odin isn't. This opens up the door to actually weaponizing her concealment as some other battleships can and German battleships typically can't. Clear? Cool. Vision control is, in my opinion, the ship's saving grace. Like Roma before her, having good concealment prevents Odin from being an unmitigated disaster of a ship (boy, has my opinion of that ship evolved over time). In particular, it softens the blow of Odin's smaller hit point pool, adding a bit of much needed survivability that she might otherwise lack. Playing up to this concealment advantage will keep this ship alive -- Odin belongs on the second line, playing more like a large cruiser than a true battleship, at least until the end game when she can finally choose to spend her hit points where it will actually matter -- in brawls and securing objectives. Of course, Odin's concealment advantages are easily undone. All it takes is a flanking destroyer or a determined aircraft carrier to undermine her stealth, lighting her up for the enemy team. At least in Randoms you can count on not being the first ship targeted if you're in the second line -- PUBies tend to shoot at whatever is closest rather than what's optimal, so again, I stress -- keep her in the second line, even if her damage output is going to be garbage for a while. Odin's vision control extends beyond playing peek-a-boo whenever she fires her guns from range. Having access to a Hydroacoustic Search is an underrated boon. It is primarily defensive, ostensibly keeping her safe from torpedo hits while it's active. However, I find it much more rewarding to use it offensively to sniff out ships behind cover even if opportunities to do so prove much more rare. This consumable does provide a welcome bit of supporting confidence to aggressively push when the time is right. Finally, like Roma before her, Odin is better equipped to flank and steal shots from an unseen quarter than some other battleships. On my wish list, including a kilometer less surface detection, would be a bit more speed to better take advantage of this ability, but it's good enough. Odin can make good use of islands on top of sneaking through open water to set up ambushes. Unlike her Italian counterpart, she's generally not doing it to put main-battery firepower pressure on the enemy, but rather to safely close and begin using her fish and secondaries. I honestly wish there was more to get excited over about this aspect of Odin. It's a panacea to her durability woes, but a single aircraft carrier will put a fly in that ointment. VERDICT: It's sad when arguably the best thing about the ship is a mediocre showing like this that band-aids other problems. Final Evaluation Odin or Tirpitz? I think that's the big question out there. If you have Tirpitz, why would you want Odin? If you don't have either, which one should you get if you had to choose between the two? Muh History aside, I prefer Odin but I don't think she's better. I admit some of this affection towards Odin is owing to her being new and my rather enjoyable bouts of play-testing. It was a challenge to play Odin well -- to preserve her hit points and then pounce upon the unsuspecting. This probably explains the success I had with Odin. She's so new that the population at large isn't aware of her torpedoes yet. Once they become common knowledge, players will learn to stay away as vehemently as they do from a charging Tirpitz. The shine will come off Odin's star soon enough leaving us with two very similar ships. Is Odin optimal? Hells no. Is Odin better than Tirpitz? Situationally yes. Situationally no. Tirpitz has better firepower, hands down. The overmatch of her 380mm guns is great. Tirpitz is arguably a better top-tier bully too where the deficiencies of her 105mm secondary penetration doesn't matter as much and she can make much more use of her overmatching ability. Odin is no slouch, she just does things a little differently -- playing hit and fade until it's time to stove someone's face in. Despite the deficit in hit points, Odin feels more survivable to me as a veteran player. I don't have to be a damage sponge. The catch, of course, is that her main battery guns suck. Dealing reliable damage outside of a brawl is difficult. And there will be matches where you don't get a chance to wade in and that will show in your results. Frustrations aside, for those who love brawling, it's those matches where you do finally get to sneak up and wade in, where you do get to put torpedoes up someone's nose or rip someone's citadel out at point blank range which makes all of the previous frustrations moot. Bonus points if you use Odin's concealment to set it up. As I mentioned, those games came frequently during play-testing and that's why I enjoyed this ship as much as I did. Was it because Odin is so sneaky or was it simply because people were ignorant of what Odin can do? I think it's both, to be honest. While I do imagine those opportunities will wane somewhat as people get wiser, those opportunities are so worth it. Overall, I think Tirpitz is more consistent, but there's room for Odin in my port. Conclusion Not bad -- a week's turn around time from when Odin's finalization was announced to getting this one out the door. I put a lot of extra work into this one and I hope the quality shows. Thank you to my Patrons on Patreon for their continued support and making these articles possible! ♥ 
  11. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Anchorage

    The following is a quick review of Anchorage, the tier VIII American heavy cruiser. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes. I did not have to pay for it (though I did spend time grinding it out after-the-fact). To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are current as of patch 0.9.10. Please be aware she may change in the future. And now for something completely different. This is going to be a shot-review of Anchorage rather than an exhaustive one, greatly sped up thanks to being able to piggy back some of the graphics I did for Belfast '43. Anchorage is one of those ships that looked hella-interesting when announced but she didn't pan out. To this end, I'm glad that a lot of players earned her at a discount. I don't think she's really worth the full asking price (spoilers) but that's mostly owing to her slow rate of fire and wonky consumable options. Anyway, here is my review of ship named after the capital city of wannabe-Alberta. Quick Summary: An American heavy cruiser with smoke and torpedoes! PROS: 27mm external armour, preventing overmatch of up to 381mm AP rounds. Respectable anti-torpedo protection. Has "American Piercing" AP shells with improved auto-ricochet angles. Big alpha strikes from individual volleys. Good fire angles on her main battery. Strong torpedoes with a 66kt speed, 10.5km range and over 19k damage per hit. Has access to a Smoke Generator with increased emission time. CONS: Only a modest gun range of 15.6km. Long, 15.5s reload which hurts her DPM and fire setting. Slow gun traverse of 6º/s. Like, ew. Bad torpedo firing angles, making them awkward to use. A total chungus with a modest top speed but horrible handling. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower. Large surface detection radius when firing in smoke. Spartan consumable options. Overview Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Difficult Anchorage is a dirt simple ship to use. Park in smoke. Select HE shells. Cycle guns and hoover up damage. Even a complete novice can score some respectable damage and maybe even shark a kill this way. Compared to other cruisers, this is pure easy mode, even if it's not terribly efficient. And that's really Anchorage's flaw. She's not efficient. Her long reload really holds back her carry potential, but there are other issues too. She's nearly blind which is kind of a shocker for an American cruiser. She's almost entirely reliant on having team mates spot for her whether she's parking in smoke or behind an island. This hurts her team-play contribution as it largely relegates her to just dealing damage and she's not particularly good at that. Yes, her alpha strikes are nice but that sustained output just isn't there. Similarly, her short range prevents her from kiting very effectively which is a shame because she has some nice fire angles. Overall, she's just not a carry-boat. Options Anchorage's consumables define her as much as her painfully long main battery reload (more on that later). It's not that her consumables themselves are odd, it's the combination of how they're allotted and which one she gets access to. You'll see what I mean: Consumables Anchorage starts off normal with a standard cruiser Damage Control Party. This has unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 60 second reset timer. Her second slot is a tangled mess. By default, she has a Catapult Fighter. This deploys 4 fighters which orbit 3km around the ship for 60 seconds. It starts with 3 charges and a 90 second reset timer. This can be swapped out for a Spotting Aircraft. Active for 100s, it increases Anchorage's range up to 18.72km. It starts with 4 charges and has a 240 second reset timer. What's weird is that this slot also competes for her Hydroacoustic Search. Yes, really. Other than this weirdness, this consumable is normal for a tier VIII cruiser with a 3.5km torpedo detection range and a 5km ship detection range. It's active for 100 seconds with a 120 second reset timer. It starts with three charges. Finally, there's the craziness of giving a heavy cruiser a Smoke Generator. It generates smoke for 30 seconds with each smoke cloud lasting for 104 seconds. It has a 160s reset timer and it starts with three charges. Upgrades Outside of destroyers, my recommendation for the first slot in most ships is dirt simple: take Main Armaments Modification 1 and be done with it. However, this is a case for Anchorage to take the oft maligned Spotting Aircraft Modification 1 special upgrade instead. At a cost of 17,000 from the Armory, this increases the duration of her consumable from 100s to 130s -- synching it up its duration almost perfectly with the combined emission and dissipation time of her Smoke Generator. This of course hinges on not taking Hydroacoustic Search in her second consumable slot. Speaking of her Hydroacoustic Search, I default to recommending Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 in slot 2 if you're not going to pull off that Spotting Aircraft combo in slot 1. Again, you're looking at a 17,000 cost from the Armory to equip this. If you can't or if you won't, take Engine Room Protection instead. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is (still) the optimal choice for slot 3. Because you're going to be parking in smoke or behind islands, Propulsion System Modification 1 is optimal in slot 4. If you prefer to fire from open water, you may take Steering Gears Modification 1 instead. Finally, Concealment System Modification 1 is still (disappointingly) optimal in slot 5. Captain Skills Anchorage doesn't reinvent the wheel. You can use whatever American heavy cruiser captain you're currently training or using and get solid results. She's not a very hungry ship when it comes to getting improved performance from her skills. For example, here's a quick throw-away build. Pick one of the tier 1 skills in green, then grab the ones in yellow. Perfect? No. Good enough? You betcha. Camouflage Anchorage has two camouflage options and they both share the same statistics, making them simple cosmetic swaps: 3% reduction to surface detection. 4% increase to enemy dispersion. 10% reduction to service costs. 50% increase to experience earned. Anchorage's Type 10 camouflage. You can unlock a palette swap for it. Anchorage's "National" camouflage. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 203mm/55 guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Eight 127mm/38 guns in 2x2 turrets with one mounted fore and aft and 4x1 in open-air mounts with two to each side. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers with one mounted to each side in the hull adjacent to the rear funnel. If it weren't for that reload, these guns would be great. That sounds like my complaint of Vermont. The more I played Anchorage, the more her firepower reminded me of Mogami, the Japanese tier VIII heavy cruiser. I don't mean the cool, fun Mogami. I mean the far more pedestrian 203mm armed variant that's overshadowed by it's stock 155mm guns. This is a bit unfair of a comparison to Anchorage because her weapon systems are a lot of fun -- or they would be if her guns weren't shackled to a 15.5 second reload. That's honestly their biggest drawback despite otherwise having a lot of cool features. Like Mogami, individual salvos, be it from Anchorage's guns or her torpedoes, are super satisfying. You just don't shoot often enough. But here's some of the reasons I generally like Anchorage's weapon systems: Her torpedoes are excellent. Their 66 knot top speed is amazing for a cruiser-launched fish and their individual hits are super-meaty. They're even beefier than IJN cruiser-launched torpedoes, surpassing those tossed by Mogami and Atago which is saying something. They even have more reach, albeit a mere 500m more for a 10.5km range. She's not quite able to launch them from stealth but that's close enough. Their only real downside is their horrible launch angles which forces you to give up a full broadside to send them off. She has American piercing shells. Anchorage's AP rounds enjoy the improved auto-ricochet angles of other American heavy cruisers. Their ricochet chance starts at 60º (rather than 45º) and doesn't become guaranteed until 67.5º (rather than 60º). They have good penetration for an AP round. The only downside is that these are New Orleans and Wichita's AP rounds, not the super-heavy versions found on Baltimore -- so they're not the god-tier version, just the good version. Her alpha strike from her individual broadsides is excellent. With twelve guns, the punch she delivers per salvo is sizable. Compare her HE penetrating broadside of up to 11,088 damage compared to Baltimore's 8,316. She even comes off better when compared to the Japanese heavy cruisers with their improved-damage HE shells. They only manage 10,890 damage per broadside ("only", she says -- that's still chunky). Slap a lolibote with that and they'll feel it. She has great fire angles. She can bring all four turrets onto a target 30º off her bow and 31º off her stern. Beauty. Her gun traverse sucks butts, but whatever. So there's a lot of good here. It's just unfortunate that it's all locked behind that painful main battery reload or those poor fire angles on her fish. Anchorage's good AP shells help pad her numbers here despite her poor rate of fire. Approximate penetration values of Anchorage (and New Orleans & Wichita's) penetration. American HE shells are nothing special though. Even with twelve guns Anchorage barely keeps ahead of Atago's 10-gun DPM despite having more guns and half a second faster reload. Her fire setting is pretty average for a tier VIII heavy cruiser, so that's a plus. Anchorage has "better than Benham" torpedoes. They're faster. They hit harder. They reload just as quickly. That's pretty impressive. It's just a shame they have limited arcs and they're not mounted on a ship that could take better advantage of them. So don't forget about these. Use them when you can because their stats are damn good. VERDICT: Almost excellent, but gutted so badly by that long reload that it crashes and burns. Defence Hit Points: 41,800 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 27mm / 16mm / 27mm / 27mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 152mm belt Torpedo Damage Reduction: 16% Anchorage's turret faces have some nice 203mm armour plate on them. Anchorage is a normal American heavy cruiser. This comes with some pretty nice perks in the form of being blanketted in 27mm worth of plate. 27mm is one of those key armour thresholds that have artificial importance due to the shell penetration mechanics in the game. 381mm AP shells and smaller cannot overmatch 27mm worth of steel. Furthermore, tier VII and lower 152mm HE rounds don't have enough base penetration to damage it without the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) skill. Finally, 120mm HE rounds (found on many British-derived destroyers) cannot penetrate it either even with IFHE. This opens up the opportunity to pull of some pretty fun shenanigans provided your facing off against the correct opponent. Anchorage can bow-in and joust against 381mm-armed battleships and wreck 'em with her fish... provided they don't blow out her citadel with AP rounds as you cross alongside one another -- make sure you bait those shots first! This is by no means guaranteed outside of PVE battles, but it's nice to have. She's otherwise unremarkable for a heavy cruiser. She doesn't have a lot of hit points, but she's not squishy in that regard either. She doesn't have any extra thick armour plates on her deck or any hidden geometries to wreak havoc on internal AP ballsitics. If you expose her broadside, you will take citadel hits -- especially through her machine spaces where her citadel pokes up over the waterline. She's vulnerable to AP bombs owing to her 76mm citadel roof. She does have some respectable anti-torpedo protection for a cruiser, namely because she actually has anti-torpedo protection. Many cruisers don't. Anchorage's longevity is thus linked to her ability to dodge, hide behind islands or use her smoke to extend her survivability. Trading in open water is a bad idea, but that's normal for any cruiser -- not just Anchorage. Pretty uninspiring but her smoke should (in theory) make her modest hit point total last longer. VERDICT: Hella normal. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Agility Top Speed: 33kts Turning Radius: 800m Rudder Shift Time: 11.2s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.1º/s at 26.4kts There's not a whole lot to say here. Anchorage's handling is terrible. She has a large turning radius. She's not especially fast. Given her Smoke Generator, you're likely going to want to install Propulsion Modification 1 instead of Steering Gears Modification 1, so her rudder shift time feels chunky too. I don't have anything nice to say about her handling. Given her slow gun traverse, this feels even more pronounced as you'll be tempted to use her rudder to bring guns to bear faster which will just open up her squishy sides to getting citadelled. Poor marks all around. VERDICT: Terribad. She handles like a Soviet cruiser but at least those ships are usually high-speed. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 3+1 explosions for 1,470 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 87.5dps at 90% accuracy (78.8dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.4km): 213.5dps at 85% accuracy (181.5dps) Again, I don't have any nice things to say here, so forgive me while I grouch a bit at the state of Anchorage's AA firepower. Why was her Catapult Fighter equipped to the same slot as her Hydroacoustic Search? I am never going to take her fighter because of this which only increases her AA defence issues. While it's nice that she has a respectable amount of AA firepower in her 5.8km batteries, her supporting batteries are too short ranged to be anything other than 'vengeance weapons' -- you know, the kind that might shoot down a plane after the CV has finished dropping. This is a really poor showing. For such a large, cumbersome ship, she's meat on the table for carriers. Yikes. Are we sure this ship is American? VERDICT: Japanese-cruiser levels of bad. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 13.62km / 10.7km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 8.02km/6.5km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 7.98km Maximum Firing Range: 15.6km to 18.72km with her Spotter Aircraft. So this is arguably Anchorage's strongest area after her firepower and we've already established that her firepower is a bit hit and miss (get it?). Concealment wise, she's decent. She has average surface detection for a tier VIII cruiser, so there's nothing to get excited about there. I'll be honest, this surprises me given the size of the ship, but I'll take it. Her aerial detection is a bit on the large size, but again it's nothing unmanageable or out of the ordinary. This just leaves her consumables to talk about. Had Anchorage been released anytime before the autumn of 2017, she would have been the bees knees. Back then, Smoke Generators were THE team-play consumable of choice. As it is now, smoke is still highly appreciated but detection consumables, namely long-range Surveillance Radars, are valued more. Anchorage flips the dynamic of American cruisers on its head when it comes to its consumables. It forgoes detection consumables -- even making Hydroacoustic Search compete for its slot in favour of her Smoke Generator gimmick. Now this is a good gimmick, do not mistake me. Anchorage doesn't just have a Smoke Generator, it has an American Smoke Generator which comes with increased emission time and duration. However, it doesn't quite ditto the improved performance of other American smoke generators when it comes to duration. For example, Benson and Kidd's smoke lasts for 124 seconds. Flint's smoke lasts for 121 seconds. However, she does have a leg up on Mikhail Kutuzov whose smoke is only emitted for 20 seconds and lasts 89 seconds. Sadly for Anchorage, she's not well setup to take advantage of her own consumable. Her 7.98km (effectively 8km) detection range when she fires within smoke greatly reduces its efficacy. She's simply too loud of a target to take full advantage of the smoke she drops. This is especially pronounced if there are any surviving lolibotes on the enemy team, sneaking around and sniffing out smoke-cloud contents. Anchorage's detection range when she fires in smoke is almost as long as some Surveillance Radar detection ranges -- it's that bad. She has to be one of the safest cruisers to approach when she's parked in her smoke. Yes, her torpedoes are a risk but their fire angles are bad so she'll clearly broadcast when she's about to launch them when she swings out her broadside. This largely relegates Anchorage's smoke use to firing from the second line. The short range of her guns precludes her from doing this from a comfortable distance unless she forgoes the use of Hydroacoustic Search to take a Spotter Aircraft, and even then that only mitigates the problem temporarily. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Anchorage's Smoke Generator isn't a good fit despite the good stats of the consumable. Had Wargaming ditched that and given her a Soviet style, short-duration but long-ranged Surveillance Radar, Anchorage would have been a lot more interesting and practical. VERDICT: She came with the wrong consumables for 2020. Final Evaluation There have been a lot of forgettable and unfortunate ships released in 2020. Anchorage is an excellent example of this -- where her design looks interesting but there's some game play element that just doesn't quite click and the ship ends up largely forgotten. Ironically, Anchorage is exactly the kind of premiums I was hoping to see in World of Warships back when I joined in 2015. She's different without being overpowered -- clearly sitting a step behind the tech tree ships in terms of her power level. I should be celebrating her release as-is but she merely feels like a missed opportunity. Still, I'm glad she ended up (mostly) free for players if they wanted to invest the time and handful of doubloons into unlocking her. As far as American premium heavy cruisers go, she's definitely not my top pick or even in my top three. Indianapolis and Wichita are more compelling choices in my opinion, with Alaska sitting as the crème de la crème. Anchorage is just too weird to tickle my fancy. She's not terrible, but she now sits alongside Puerto Rico as ships I'm never going to take out of port short of knocking off snowflakes or completing very specific missions where her tool-set will allow me to break the system. The best thing about her is her cool camouflage and looks, in my opinion. She's not a good PVP boat (she's not terrible either, but she's hardly advantageous), however she's a great Co-Op monster if that's your thing. Frankly, this is what Anchorage is best for: derping around in Co-Op and pulling off crap regularly that you'd only see once in a blue moon in PVP. In Closing Normally when I finish a big review like Belfast's, I can't stop work immediately afterwards. I need to wind down. Usually I take on a pretty small project and work a half-day. This may involve playing one of the test-ships that Wargaming has lent me or maybe collecting and revising some twirling data. Maybe I might map dispersion or simply spend time chatting with players, answering questions and reviewing their replays. The whole idea is to unwind slowly. I get something done, but it's at a much more relaxed pace than the gruelling final push to get an article out. With so many ships left to review in 2020, I've tended to default to getting started on the next review. Normally this is just filling out my template for these articles, getting the PROs and CONS settled and maybe filling out the Options section before calling it a day. With Anchorage... well, a lot of the work had already been done. I literally wrote this over the course of 8 hours. I had already play tested her extensively back in August-September (and didn't like her). I have most of the graphics done for her grace of just finishing Belfast '43. So I thought: "why not?" and tried to get this out in a single sitting. Hooray for me! This certainly isn't my best work and I definitely cut a lot of corners to get this out, but hey, it's done. For a ship I'm not interested in playing, that's more of a relief than I would like to admit. I don't want to have to come back to this one weeks or months down the road and have to remind myself of what she's like and spend hours (and days) doing graphics for a review I'll not enjoy doing. So Anchorage is done. I'm happy. What's more, I think I can take an honest to god break now. Thank you for reading, everyone. 
  12. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Z-35

    The following is a review of the German premium destroyer Z-35. She was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to me. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.11. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. The Type 1936B destroyers bear a cursory resemblance to the American Fletcher-class. Tthe German and American ships are both large destroyers with five (roughly) five-inch guns in single turrets and two torpedo launchers, with Z-44 duplicating the quintuple mounts of the Fletcher-class while Z-35 makes do with quadruple mounts instead. However, the Type 1936B-sisters do not share the versatility of the American Fletchers, instead opting to specialize heavy towards a singular aspect. In Z-35's case, her strengths are so straight forward and unassuming, they''re easy to miss. Her smoke reloads quickly. Her guns fire 0.6 seconds faster than they should. That's it. That's Z-35. But these two things matter and they matter more than you might imagine as you'll see. Quick Summary: A heavy German gunship destroyer with five, rapid-firing 128mm guns but short-ranged torpedoes. She comes with a British destroyer Short-Burst Smoke Generator and a German destroyer Hydroacoustic Search. PROS Good chunk of hit points at 19,100hp. Good forward firing arcs. High DPM, especially with her AP shells. Boasts 32mm of HE penetration even before Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. Decent fire setting. Has a British destroyer Short-Burst Smoke Generator with lots of charges and a short reset timer. CONS Very (VERY) commander-skill hungry. Short ranged torpedoes. Slow turret traverse rates and poor rearward firing arcs. Sluggish rate of turn and large turning radius. Short-ranged AA firepower with no flak. Large surface detection range. No access to an Engine Boost consumable, limiting her top speed. Has a British destroyer Short-Burst Smoke Generator where her individual smoke clouds do not last very long. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / DIFFICULT Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH/ Extreme Of the two Type 1936B destroyers, Z-35 is the less inexperienced-player-friendly of the pair. She's fat, she's not as fast, and using her weapon systems at the wrong time will get you spotted and killed. She doesn't scout well. She's too easily spotted trying to take cap circles and she's not agile (or fast) enough to book it out of Dodge when things go pear shaped. Her huge chunk of health evaporates fast during these missteps. Oh, and carriers just love to chew on you. For veterans, Z-35 ticks the usual German destroyer boxes but with some British-destroyer flavour added in. The fast cool-down of her Short-Burst Smoke Generator opens the door to some slippery shenanigans that can infuriate your opponents. Good map knowledge and knowing which islands you can use to bombard enemies from cover helps immeasurably and saves those precious smoke charges. Finally, while difficult, it's possible to use her as a forward scout, providing vision for your team and screening for enemy destroyers. Options Consumables There are two items of note here. The first is Z-35's Smoke Generator. The second is her lack of an Engine Boost consumable. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. This has unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 40 second reset timer. Z-35 borrows a Short-Burst Smoke Generator from the British tech tree destroyers. This has 6 charges and only a 70 second reset timer. However, it only generates smoke for 10 seconds and each cloud lasts a mere 40 seconds. Like with British destroyers, the individual smoke clouds generated have larger dimensions than normal smoke (600m instead of 450m). The Hydroacoustic Search she mounts in her final slot is standard for a tier VIII German destroyer. It's active for 100 seconds and over that time it spots torpedoes at 3.5km and enemy ships at 5.0km. It starts with three charges and has a 120 second reset timer. Upgrades In your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is optimal. However, if the thought of being detonated incenses you (and you do not have a ready stock of Juliet Charlie signals), then you can take Magazine Modification 1. The Special Upgrade, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is best in slot two if you can afford it. It will set you back 17,000 from the Armory and will increase the consumable's action time from 100 seconds to 120 seconds. If that's not available to you, default to Engine Room Protection. I recommend Main Battery Modification 2 in her second slot to improve her gun handling. This will increase her gun rotation rate from 8º/s to 9.2º/s (up to 11.7º/s if you also add Expert Marksman). Otherwise default to Aiming System Modification 1. Propulsion System Modification 1 is your best choice in slot four. Z-35's Short Burst Smoke Generator does not generate many clouds so you have a lot less room to hide in. Improved acceleration is recommended.. If you prefer a more open-water style of play, then Steering Gears Modification 1 is better. To no one's surprise, Concealment System Modification 1 is still optimal in slot five. Steering Gears Modification 2 is a poor substitute but it has some (minor) viability when paired with Steering Gears Modification 1. Commander Skills After taking the mandatory survivability skills, prioritize skills hat will improve or facilitate Z-35's gunnery. Start with your choice of tier 1 skills. I prefer Priority Target but Preventative Maintenance and Incoming Fire Alert are reasonable choices. If you end up with 1 skill point leftover at the end, do not double up on Priority Target & Incoming Fire Alert -- always pair them with Preventative Maintenance instead. Next, grab the three skills highlighted with yellow circles: Last Stand, Survivability Expert and Concealment Expert. These are the mandatory destroyer skills that should be present on all of your lolibote commanders. After this, pick any of the red-square skills to your taste. Basic Fire Training should be considered all but mandatory but in the end it's up to you. There are lots of different viable builds for Z-35 and there simply are not enough commander skill points to go around. Finding what works for you may take some experimentation. She reminds me very much of HMCS Haida in this way. I found Radio Location to be especially helpful in Z-35. She's often out-spotted by enemy destroyers so this at least helps give a vector towards the skulking little monster. Camouflage Z-35 comes with Type 10 Camouflage providing the usual tier VIII premium-ship bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. I'm not a fan of either of Z-35's camo palettes. They look dull and dingy. Firepower Main Battery: Five 128mm guns in 5x1 turrets in an A-B-P-X-Y superfiring configuration Torpedoes: Eight torpedo tubes in 2x4 launchers mounted ahead and behind the rear funnel. Z-35's forward torpedo launcher has a 40º to 119º arc off each side (79º total). Her rear launcher has a 41º to 129º arc (88º total). Yes, her arcs are slightly better than Z-44's. That will be a running theme. Forgettable Fish Let's start with Z-35's torpedoes because they're largely a non-entity. This is owing to the combination of their short range (6km) and Z-35's limited concealment (6.11km minimum surface detection range). Short of using smoke, island-cover or racing ahead of a fast-moving target to dump fish in their path, Z-35 is not launching her torpedoes from stealth. This largely limits them to a weapon of desperation -- either yours or the enemy's. These torpedoes clone those found on Z-44 save for range and reload. Z-35's 90 second timer is about what you would expect for a quadruple launcher and echoes the reload on other German destroyers like Z-39, Z-23 and Z-46. Part and parcel of this cloning was the anemic warheads found on Z-44's fish. To put down a full health battleship, you'll need both launchers, so don't skimp out. Overall, these weapons are largely forgettable. They are just too short ranged to make regular use out of them, though it's always exciting when you do. Great Things About Her Guns Z-35 is armed with five of the German 128mm/45 guns. These weapons are the same guns you first take up at tier VI T-61 and Ernst Gaede. They are defined by their excellent AP shell damage which is comparable to a 152mm round fired from a light cruiser. This improved AP damage comes at the expense of that of her HE shells which are downright wussy by comparison. While AP shells always deal more damagethan HE for all ships, the ratio here is a 2:1 difference which is really high. Nost range from about 1.4 to 1 (IJN 100mm, Soviet DDs) down to around 1.2:1 (American & Pan Asian destroyers) with some extremes going lower still. Thus, it's to Z-35's advantage to make use of her AP shells whenever possible, though that's seldom straight forward. The issue is two fold. Both problems boil down to the maximum and minimum amount of armour Z-35's AP shells are effective against. First, they're lacking in penetration even for a destroyer. She can't even managing to best 100mm of steel at 5km. On the flip side of things, her AP shells still need to strike a minimum armour value in order to properly fuse -- 21mm to be exact. Without hitting that her shells simply overpenetrate and her damage output drops below that of her HE shells. Thus her AP shells exist in this narrow band of utility. They don't have enough penetration to citadel cruisers (except in very extreme cases) and their fuses aren't sensitive enough to properly arm on the broadside of destroyer hulls or battleship superstructures. There's no helping the former short of getting suicidally close -- and at those ranges, your fish are a better option anyway. The latter can be worked around. Good ol' Pythagoras tells us that the 19mm worth of plate found on high-tier destroyer hulls and battleship superstructures becomes 21mm thick when angled at approximately 35º from the perpendicular (lower tiered destroyers and battleships necessitate even steeper angles). So switch over to her AP shells as enemies begin nosing in. Just make sure to switch back to HE if they angle in too steeply or show broadside again. Though Z-35's HE shells are anemic on damage per hit, they have excellent HE penetration. She's able to penetrate up to 32mm of steel right out of the package which allows her to direcly damage the extremities (and some hulls) of tier VIII+ battleships. Few other destroyers can manage this and those that can have to rely upon using the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill which damages their fire-setting. This means against those big ol' thunderchunkers, Z-35 tends to do more damage on per hit basis that contemporary destroyers despite the deficit on damage per shell as hits that stray from their superstructures still have a chance of dealing damage. Thus she can still farm some numbers while attempting to spread fires on the other sections of the hull. It is worth noting that once a hull section is blackened, switch back to AP shells even if they will overpenetrate. A saturated (0.165x) HE hit from Z-35's guns does 248 damage while an overpenetration from her AP shells does 300. There is a lot of this jockeying back and forth to keep Z-35's damage output optimal. Where Z-35 stands apart from other German destroyers is her rate of fire. She doesn't have the usual 4 second reload -- instead her's is only 3.4 seconds. A 0.6 second difference may not seem like much but it's a 15% increase to her rate of fire. With her five guns, Z-35 puts out 88 rounds per minute, allowing her to keep up to but not quite match Z-46's and Z-52's six-gun, 4 second reload with 90 rounds per minute (at least until they equip Main Battery Modification 3 and leave Z-35 in the dust). So it's fair to say that Z-35 has almost tier IX gun damage. Let's call it tier VIII+. Look up, look waaaay up and welcome to Z-35's castle made of excellent AP performance. Her HE DPM isn't bad which is surprising given the lacluster damage of her individual shells. A Little Bit Pear Shaped... There are three ... well, let's call them "soft problems" with Z-35's guns. They're not crippling flaws by any means, but they are problems you'll have to address in order to make this ship perform. This first is their ballistics. German 128mm/45 guns have comparable ballistics to British 113mm/45 guns found on Jutland and Daring. This is better than the American 127mm/38 trebuchets but just slightly worse than the 120mm Bofors found on the Pan European destroyers like Frielsand. There are three shell flight time incriments I like to look at when I'm analyzing a ship: Four seconds, eight seconds and twelve seconds. Four seconds is about the maximum lead time that I can confidently bullseye a fast moving, evasive target like a destroyer with (almost) every shot regardless of how they throw themselves about. Z-35's shells reach 6.5km or so in 4 seconds. Inside of this mark is her ideal knife-fighting range. An eight second lead time is that sweet spot for standard engagement distances. Most of my shells will hit, even if the target is under manoevres. But with this much shell flight time, active dodging becomes an issue and hits are not guaranteed. For Z-35 an 8 second lead time takes her to 10.5km. This is the distance she can comfortably spray down cruisers and battleships from cover. Once I hit a twelve second lead, I'm really only going to hit the target if they're moving predictably and even then I might have to range in a few shells before connecting. For Z-35, this is only reached if you use the Advanced Fire Training (AFT) commander skill to let her reach this 13.5km distance. This is the upper limit of where she's effective so generally speaking, you can do without boosting her range and just stick with her base 12.12km reach. AFT gives her a maximum reach of 14.54km but that's just wasted space she can't effectively use as it takes her shells over 13 seconds to reach this distance. The second issue Z-35's guns face is gun traverse rates. 8º/s is alright but at full speed, she turns at just over 7º/s. When guns traverse this slowly relative to their ship rate of turn, the temptation becomes to use the rudder to keep guns on target. Dodging gets sacrificed to maintain a rate of fire. This can (and will) get you killed on occasion. Between the Expert Marksman commander skill and Main Battery Modification 2 upgrade, Z-35's gun handling improves from 8º/s to 11.7º/s. It's still not ideal (I would prefer 12º+ for a dedicated gunship) but it can be made to work. Such a build is expensive, however, especially for a ship that's already starved for commander skills. Mitigating this issue requires a lot of forethought in planning your angles of attack. I'm an impulsive idiot, though, so I've found upping my gun rotation rate works better for me. The final piece of the puzzle is her fire arcs -- specifically her rearward firing arcs. Forward, they're gorgeous, with only her Y-turret being a bit of a loser, failing the manage my covetted 30º off the bow fire angle. Four of her guns can manage 25º, just like Z-44, which is super comfy. Rearward things get bad. Her two forward turrets can only engage targets 54º off her stern which is horrible. Engaging with these turrets makes Z-35 an easy target for return fire which will get you mauled in short order. Sacrifcing two turrets in order to kite effectively is a poor trade, especially in knife fighting situations against other lolibotes. She is much better on the attack than on the defensive -- keep that in mind when setting up your attack runs. Z-35 has much better fire arcs than her sister, Z-44 with slightly better arcs on A & B turret but MUCH better arcs on Y. Z-35 has excellent forward fire arcs but pretty crappy to the rear. Her gun rotation of 8º/s is pretty bad, though. Practical Application Making the most out of Z-35 is all about exercising patience. She's too fat to contest a cap circle in the opening minutes of a match. As soon as there's opposition and they have any kind of support, she needs to vacate. During the opening minutes of the match, Z-35's gunnery is best used sparingly. What she's looking for are easy targets to hose down with a mix of HE and AP shells while avoiding reprisals from radar cruisers and carriers. Shooting and scooting from behind islands and smoke cover is her bread and butter until things begin thinning out. Only then, with her hit points preserved, can she begin hunting down lolibotes, where she can out-trade them with her rapid-fire guns and large hit point pool. The modest damage destroyers generate against larger targets belies it's efficacy in turning the outcome of a game. It's intimidating and frustrating to be hosed down from an angry smoke cloud or island. Light a fire or two and most battleships will give up the fight, even if you've only scratched their paint up until this point. Picking on cruisers, especially ones that can't heal, is riskier given the possibilities of Surveillance Radar or simply using their faster-reloading guns to take enterprising shots into your smoke. Still, the rewards are great if you can pull it off, especially against cruisers that can't heal. But it's ambushing destroyers where she really shines -- especially when she can make use of her Hydroacoustic Search to flush them out at close range and tear them apart in short order with her rapid-fire guns. That's always so satisfying. Fully upgraded toward setting blazes, Z-35 is a respectable fire setter. That's not something you can say about her tier IX counterpart, Z-44. VERDICT: Great guns. Crappy fish. Durability Hit Points: 19,100 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 19mm / 19mm In a straight up fight, Z-35's glut of hit points is bloody intimidating. Combined with the high DPM, she'll come out the better in most trades, even with most of the same-tier gunships. It's only in a protracted engagement, over the course of many minutes that she falls behind those destroyers equipped with a Repair Party. Similarly, this advantage in hit points falls away when up against higher tiered opponents with their larger hit point pools and even more efficient heals. The solution is, of course, to put those little bastards down quickly making optimal use of her AP and HE shells. However, given Z-35's shoddy ballistics and modest speed (see below), encounters with other destroyers are seldom decisive. She's too fat to get close barring the enemies already hiding in their smoke. Her ballistics are too floaty to guarantee hits at range and her ammunition too temperamental. Thus it becomes a case of spending her hit points wisely in such encounters and keeping in mind that some ships will claw back the health you've taken from them... which unfair as you totally went out of your way to steal those hit points in the first place. These graphs are getting a little too cluttered. I think I'm going to have to start paring them down and only selecting a few key ships. Agility Top Speed: 36.5kts Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 4.4s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 7.1º/s at 30.8kts And here, Z-35 doesn't fare so well ... This is a shame, because it had been pretty good up until this point. The disappointment she creates here isn't owing to a single thing but rather all of them working in combination. Her top speed is decent. 36.5 knots is more than reasonable. She's certainly not competing with the likes of the Soviet and French speed demons, but that's not a flaw in of itself. Her rudder shift time is fine. It could be better but it's not terrible. And finally, her turning circle radius is a bit on the large side, but alone isn't enough to damn her. But when you put this together, Z-35 handles like a fat, ill-tempered duck. She's anything but nimble and she ends up feeling more like an agile light cruiser than a destroyer. She can wiggle and dodge, sure, but it's not as comfortable as other destroyers. Her 7.1º/s rate of turn is close to that found on cruisers like Perth and Murmansk. Things get weirder when you look at her consumables. When I saw Z-35 had a Short-Burst Exhaust Smoke Generator, I got excited that we might see a German destroyer with British destroyer energy preservation -- you know, to facilitate stopping and starting in her tiny smoke screens. Well, a simple twirling test dismissed that notion. Then I thought, perhaps she will have improved acceleration. To this end, I compared her to Farragut, the tier VI American tech-tree destroyer that shares the same top speed. But Farragut reaches 36.5 knots a full second faster than Z-35, so that didn't pan out either. The last thing I checked was if Z-35 stopped faster (cuz I dunno, maybe it was a thing to help with braking into her own smoke?). Again Farragut achieves this a full second faster. The only thing these tests confirmed was that Z-35 is a chonker and she does have any special agility gimmicks. Taking Propulsion Modification 1 is thus highly recommended. It's the only extra grunt you'll get in her engines short of equipping a Sierra Mike signal. What Z-35 does have is an agility deficit and this goes beyond her modest-to-poor base stats. Without access to an Engine Boost consumable, she doesn't have that on-demand speed that's so helpful for destroyers for extracting themselves from bad situations (to say nothing of capitalizing on opportunities). Functionally, this reduces her flexibility to that of the Japanese torpedo-boats of this tier. Anything else can, with the touch of a button, out-strip her in straight-line speed. This limits Z-35's ability to control engagement distances. This, on top of her rearward fire-angle woes makes her a very poor choice when it comes to kiting opponents. Z-35 can gun but her run needs a lot of work. Pretty crappy. At least Z-35 isn't ducky-bad. VERDICT: Forget any hidden agility bonuses. She's as bare bones as she looks and she looks chonky. Anti-Aircraft Defence Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 122.5dps at 100% accuracy (122.5dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 42dps at 95% accuracy (39.9dps) I crack the joke in my Z-44 review that all she can do is Just Dodge™. I thought it worth explaining why I'm generally dismissive of most destroyer AA defence. It comes down to two main reasons: They don't generate enough DPS. It's against their best interest to keep their longer-ranged AA batteries active until the last minute. The first one is pretty obvious. If you're not doing enough damage to shoot down so much as a single plane, there's nothing stopping the carrier from coming back again and again. Even if a destroyer does have enough DPS to shoot down an aircraft, they have to do so at a rate that taxes the regeneration of the carrier significantly or the carrier can simply absorb the losses and (once again) keep coming back. This problem compounds with destroyers keeping their AA disabled. Because of their only modest AA values relative to the hit points of individual aircraft, their best defence is to remain unspotted for as long as possible. To this end, destroyers will only activate their AA guns when planes wander into their aerial detection range. This further reduces the amount of time they have to shoot down aircraft. For example, to shoot down just one upgraded (health + armour) F4F Wildcat from a tier VI Ranger's attack-aircraft squadron, Z-35 needs anywhere between 4 seconds (absolute best circumstances with perfectly timed focus fire against a full-sized squadron) and 9.2 seconds (just base DPS, no focus fire) to shoot down one (1) aircraft assuming all of her guns are in range and intact. Things get worse when you face tier VIII and tier X aircraft. And that's the other thing, with Z-35's AA firepower based on medium and small calibre mounts, even a cursory smattering of HE damage will break many, if not most, of these weapons. A single HE rocket strike facilitates any follow up strikes. It gets easier and easier for the carrier the more damage she does. The only way to succeed here is not to get engaged at all. In order to stand a reasonable chance of discouraging predation, your little destroyer has to be shooting down three or more aircraft per squadron and that's largely beyond the capabilities of most tier VIII destroyers. Z-35 isn't the DPS front-runner. So Just Dodge™. You might shoot a few planes down. They will probably be summoned fighters. But don't kid yourself to think you have anywhere near enough AA protection to make a carrier think twice. Even the best performing AA-destroyers at this tier struggle, to say nothing of the rest of the plebes. VERDICT: Just Dodge™. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 7.92km / 6.22km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.7km / 3.0km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 2.99km Maximum Firing Range: From 12.12km to 14.54km Fat Z-35 is one heckin' chonker. To other ships, she's spotted just as easily as Z-23 and Harugumo. You're not sneaking up on much of anything. On the occasion the enemy lolibote doesn't spot you first, the margin of distance between your surface detection and that of your enemy is so small that you'll scracely have the reaction time to capitalize upon it. It's only the ships out there with the worst concealment that she can effectively out-spot and keep lit without giving herself away, assuming you went with a full concealment build. The list of ships she outspots by a distance by 400m or more is painfully short. Le Terrible (+430m) Mahan (+450m) Aigle, Guépard, Maass, Minsk, Blyskawica, Udaloi (+540m) Marceau (+760m Kiev (+850m) Paolo Emilio (+910m) Tashkent (+1,170m) Mogador (+1,280m) Kléber (+1,540m) Khabarovsk (+1,640m). You'll note that many of these ships include those that can exceed 40 knots. Even if Z-35 spots them first, there's no guarantee she can effectively play keep away if they're trying to sniff her out. Similarly, when Z-35 is detected first, she's not guaranteed to have enough speed to be able to run down those that are lighting her. She is generally ill-suited to hunting down destroyers for this reason., at least without a lot of help. Taking Radio Location as a commander skill is highly recommended as it lets you know the vector towards the nearest ship. This will, at times, allow you to plot more effective intercepts, especially with working map knowledge and how enemy destroyers like to take advantage of different locations. It also helps with using her other consumables efficiently, warning when using her Short-Burst Smoke Generator or Hydroacoustic Search are best held on standby. There are only ever bandaid solutions to correct for Z-35's large surface detection. Patience, caution, Radio Location all help but they're not a perfect fix. Keep this flaw in mind. Squid Ink Thankfully, Z-35 will (almost) always have her Short-Burst Smoke Generator on hand. The reload of this consumable is very short -- 70 seconds from the last smoke cloud's discharge. The delay between Z-35's last smoke cloud being issued and the consumable coming off cool-down is a mere 20 seconds. This can be further reduced with signals and commander skills, dropping the delay down to just 13.2 seconds (63.2 second reset timer) allowing Z-35 to become especially slippery. While her individual cloud may last only 40 seconds, the value of (almost) always having her smoke ready again when she needs it cannot be underestimated. It's this consumable which "fixes" her bad concealment. It also helps keep her alive with her smoke not allowing her to stay parked in one place for long without being spotted again. This can (and will) frustrate enemy torpedoes launched from long range to try and flush you out, sparing you some use of your Hydroacoustic Search. Gunning from smoke is Z-35's bread and butter, though efforts should be made to spare its use when possible. Assuming it takes Z-35 two minutes to make initial contact from the start of the match, she can blow through all six of her intiial smoke charges by the 10-minute mark of the game. It's surprisingly easy to run out. Superintendent helps, of course, but you can spare yourself the three commander skill points by having a list of islands in your head that you know you can make ready use, allowing you to bomabard enemies from relative safety. This can always be supplemented with a squirt of smoke if the firing angles change. Not a Cheese-Eating Surrender-Monkey With her great smoke and her poor concealment and awful kiting fire-angles, she is not well suited to blasting enemies from open water. As lolibotes go, Z-35 is a pretty damn easy target to bullseye for cruisers and battleships, even when she's attempting to make herself wiggly. Her (relatively) short engagement distances compound this. Her 36.5 knot top speed, her 7.1º/s rotation rate and her inflexible gun arcs means that her movements are limited and often predictable. A Z-35 that starts blasting out in the open is asking for trouble and is usually forced to squirt smoke to bail herself out when enemies start looking her way. Granted, this can be a pro teamplay move in order to distract the Reds but it's generally lumped in the "not a good idea" or "get yourself sent back to port stupidly fast" category of thought-processes. Stick to island cover. Use your smoke. Success & Lolibote Hugs Z-35 generally espouses standard German destroyer game-play because of her concealment woes. Don't push cap circles too early. Bombard targets from smoke. And, when opportunity permits, push on any destroyers hiding in smoke to flush them out with her powerful Hydroacoustic Search. This is, in my opinion, Z-35 at her most rewarding -- catching enemy destroyers unawares and ripping them apart with a hail of her rapid-fire 128mm weapons. Her awesome forward fire angles make this so heckin' comfortable. So long as you time your approach right and use their own smoke to prevent her friends from seeing you once you've finally got them lit, the pay-off is huge. You can then "borrow" their smoke afterwards and put shells in their friend's faces if there's any within reach, or simply go back and cap now that the enemy destroyer screen is thinned out. Z-35's stealth game is very nuanced. She's ill-suited to taking big risks, being (generally) unable to run if things go pear shaped (and they will). But, with careful husbandry of her vision control assets and some general patience for finding the right opportunities, she plays a mean game. Z=35 may have crappy stealth but she has good vision control. Getting the most out of it comes is locked behind a pretty high skill wall, making her unfriendly towards new players. But in the right hands, she's a beast. Island? Check. Enemy battleship inside of 11km? Check. Smoke at the ready? Check. This is Z-35 101. VERDICT: Far better than her crappy surface detection range would suggest. Final Evaluation I don't think I could have been any more dismissive of Z-35 if I tried. A big, fat German gunship with useless torpedoes? How boring. Why would anyone want to spend money on this thing when they could get something novel like T-61 or T-44? The simple answer is reliability. Z-35 is a workhorse. She's no show-pony. There's no glitz, no glamour. There's no fancy gimmicks. Hell , I even overlooked the quirk of her Smoke Generator on my first couple of play throughs. It wasn't until I noticed that it always seemed to be at the ready that I clued in (you would have thought the different icon would have tipped me off, but I'm an idiot, what can I say?). Z-35 is simply effective. That is not something you can say about her sister, Z-44, whose fortunes largely hinge upon the stupidity of her opponents. She's analogous to (and largely performs a similar role) to the IJN Ducky Botes like Akizuki, Kitakaze and Harugumo. It's hard to argue against their efficacy. Now being effective doesn't necessarily translate to being fun. A ship being good goes a long way towards that, let's not kid ourselves, and Z-35 definitely has one foot in the stirrups there. Where this ship excels, what truly makes her special, is how much control she gives to the player. Success with Z-35 doesn't hinge on having good team mates. She can do her own spotting even in her own smoke, picking on battleships made visible by the blast of their own guns. She's not beholden to there being gaps in the enemy lines in order to farm damage the way Z-44 and other torpedo destroyers are. Her tool-set gives her enough versatility that you can set yourself up to succeed and the ship's performance changes noticeably with different builds, lending this sense of customizability that feels so rewarding. You can make this ship your own, both through style of play and upgrades. So far, pretty high praise, no? Now the caveats Tier VIII matchmaking is junk. Tier IX is the new tier VII and Z-44 spits on Z-35's matchmaking. Z-44 enjoys fewer games with aircraft carriers in it -- a factor that greatly changes the quality of life for destroyers, I think we will all agree. For Z-35, the presence of carriers is normal, being bracketed by tier VI and tier X CVs within the matchmaker, to say nothing of those that populate her own tier. It's so commonplace that I sat up and took notice in my play sessions when there wasn't a carrier present, and thanked my lucky stars RNGeebus had smiled on me. Similarly, for pure economy reasons, tier VIII feels long in the tooth. Why earn 400,000 credits a match when you could earn so much more by playing a tier IX premium instead? It's also hard to feel like Z-35 is somewhat lacking in game play variety. In my heart I know this is a falsehood -- the manner in which she has to approach each match is varied depending on the opponents she faces. Some games she has to be especially slippery, dodging active hunters and farming what little damage she can as opportunities permit. On others, she gets to play a forward scouting role, pushing the enemies screens back. My perception no doubt comes from the lack of torpedoes which is so very much a staple of destroyer game play for me. This combines with the necessity of patience to make Z-35 work. I'm not patient in my game play. It's an uncomfortable fit for me and when every match starts with a delayed waiting period, they end up feeling similar. I'm sure this is all in my head. Overall, I'm very pleased with Z-35 but I can't recommend her. The skill floor is a little too high. If you're a veteran destroyer player with a solid understanding of stealth and gunship tactics, go for it.. Otherwise, respect this ship and keep clear. Conclusion Thank you all so much for reading. Thank you very much to my patrons for their continued support. I had originally planned to review both Z-35 and Z-44 together in the same article in the same manner as my Belfast & Belfast '43 review or that of Siegfried and Ägir. However, time was not permitting. It is easier for me to separate the two of them rather than constantly lacing a narrative between the two ships. This is clearly a case of "if I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter". If you stumbled upon this review and are looking for her sister ship, you can find the link here. Go have a read before you pull the trigger on either ship. I really like this screenshot. My new pooter makes things pretty.
  13. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: California

    The following is a review of California, the tier VII American battleship. This ship has been provided to me by Wargaming for evaluation purposes -- I did not have to pay for this thing, which is a good thing because I would have felt offended had I shelled out money for this horribly mistreated piece of history. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are current as of patch 0.9.5.1. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. I'm not going to waste too much time on this review (she says, and then spends four whole days on it). USS California's inclusion in World of Warships bothers me on so many levels. I should preface this by saying that I love the American standard-type battleships. I think they are some of the most interesting warships of the Second World War. They are phoenixes that rose from the ashes of Pearl Harbor. Despite their outdated designs, they went on to not only find a role in the fast-modernizing US Navy but they went on to engage triumphantly in one of the final battleship surface actions in history. They could have just as easily remained a footnote in the war, left behind by fate. So, you can keep your Iowas, the romance (to me) lies in names like West Virginia, Tennessee and California. This is why I took issue with West Virginia appearing in her Pearl Harbor mien and not that of Surigao Strait. So imagine my disappointment when, against all advice, Wargaming stuck to their guns and pulled a copy-paste job of USS Arizona's performance and tacked it onto California. Now, let me be clear: Arizona, the tier VI American premium, is awesome. Lert really helped me appreciate the game play of the "American Bricks" way back in 2016. However, I do not love Arizona so much that I think cloning her game play and asking people to pay a premium price tag for a tier VII version is right. While California does have some minor improvements over Arizona, they are (in my opinion) inconsequential. I fear that these buffs will blindside people to what is nothing more than an already existing tier VI premium with a tier VII price tag. With that in mind, this review is going to myopically focus on the differences between Arizona and California and why one ship is worth the money and the other is a slap in the face. As much as I need a break right now, USS California is a big enough name to elicit sales simply merely by reputation. I know it. You know it. Wargaming knows it too. I want to head off any impulse purchases and warn players that they're not getting a ship worthy of California's name. Quick Summary: A slow American standard-type battleship with horrible gun firing arcs but improved long-range gunnery with her twelve 356mm guns. She has excellent AA firepower. PROS Fully submerged citadel. Heavy broadside of twelve 356mm/50 guns. Long ranged with a starting reach of 19.9km which can be extended to as much as 27.7km between upgrades and consumables. Decent gunnery dispersion with 1.9 sigma. Small turning circle radius of 640m. Excellent AA firepower, equivalent to a tier VIII American battleship. Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 11.8km. CONS Painfully long, 34.2s reload. 356mm guns lack overmatching ability against targets with 25mm+ extremities. Horrible gun handling and appalling gun firing angles. Very slow top speed of 20.5 knots and poor handling as a result despite her smaller turning circle radius. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging/ Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme California isn't difficult to play. Picking her up and farming some damage is pretty easy. Were it not for her horribly slow speed, I'd have given her a 'simple' rating. All you really need to know are the battleship basics: use the correct ammo, beware of flashing your sides, try not to get left behind. California's speed is a severe handicap, but you knew that coming in. California gets no tools to seriously mitigate this. Long range is nice, so flex those aiming skills you've acquired, but her gun caliber and long reload will largely limit the impact this has. You can largely forget applying those brawling skills or getting to cap or even angling to mitigate damage -- it's just not applicable. There's a pretty hard cap on how far skill will take you with this ship. Options There's nothing too surprising about California's options. She conforms to the norms for American battleships. She doesn't get access to Aiming Systems Modification 1 to reduce her main battery gun dispersion. Instead, she has Gun Fire Control Modification 1 which increases her main battery gun range. Consumables California's Damage Control Party is standard for an American battleship. It comes with unlimited charges and an 80s reset timer. For US battleships, this is active for 20 seconds rather than the 15 seconds for other nations, so bonus there. Her Repair Party is also standard. It queues up 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of all other damage types. Each charge heals a base of up to 14% of the ship's health over 28 seconds. She starts with four charges. In her third slot, you have the choice between a Spotting Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The former increases range by 20% for 100 seconds. It comes with four charges and a four minute reset timer. Her fighter is active for a mere 60 seconds (like all Battleship fighters) and resets in 90 seconds. It has three charges base and sends up a squadron of 3 planes. Upgrades There should be no surprises for anyone here. Build for survivability and fire resistance. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. In the second slot, begin your fire resistance build with Damage Control Systems Modification 1. Most people are going to want to spring for more range for California and thus Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 will seem optimal. However, once you get behind the helm of California and play with her (as I have), you'll come to hate her sluggish gun traverse as much as I do and Main Battery Modification 2 will look hella appealing. Damage Control Systems Modification 2 is your best choice for slot four, however, given California's ridiculously-poor fire angles, you will not be blamed for reaching for Steering Gears Modification 1 in order to help with rudder shift time to swing her butt out and back in between salvos. Commander Skills Time to re-use a graphic because battleship skill optimization has stagnated! Same old, same old. Build for fire-resistance first, then double back for your other skills. You probably want Expert Marksman over Adrenaline Rush on your first pass. Camouflage California has access to two camouflage patterns: Type 10 Camouflage – California and Freedom -- California. The two are merely cosmetic swaps of each other, providing the same benefits. You'll probably have to shell out some extra cash for the Freedom camo, whether that will be through a bundle or with doubloons after the fact. 3% bonus concealment from surface targets 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion 10% reduction to post-battle service costs 50% bonus to experience gains. Summary so far: Well, so far so good, I suppose. There's nothing out of the ordinary here. I dunno what's going on with California's turrets with her Freedom camouflage. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 356mm/50 guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 127mm/38 guns in 8x2 turrets in superfiring pairs on either side of the ship facing fore and aft. Arizona & California's Main Battery Differences California has more range (19.9km vs 16km) California's AP shells do more damage (10,500 vs 10,300) California has a faster reload (34.2s vs 35s) California's AP shells have higher penetration. California's shells have higher muzzle velocity. California has higher sigma (1.9 vs 1.8). California has much reduced firing arcs (102º broadside vs 113º) California uses New Mexico's 356mm/50 caliber guns rather than Arizona's 356mm/45s. A lot of what's listed above owe to the differences of the gun calibers. Compared to New Mexico, California has increased range (19.9km vs 16.1km) and better sigma (1.9 vs 1.5) but again that horrible deficit in fire arcs (102º broadside vs 109º). So while California is an obvious gunnery upgrade over New Mexico, California is only a soft upgrade on Arizona. The biggest advantage here is her increased range with the rest largely being window-dressings. Calfornia does have a higher muzzle velocity and thus better AP penetration over distance. However this gap isn't quite as pronounced as the difference in speed would suggest as Arizona has higher Krupp, a coefficient WG uses to directly modify penetration values. California's increased rate of fire, higher shell damage and sigma are all nice but the difference is so minor as to be largely unnoticeable. California is a slow reloading, reasonably accurate 356mm armed battleship. The 0.8 second faster reload still does not make her feel like she has anything but a painfully slow rate of fire. The 0.1 sigma difference is imperceptible in game play -- you couldn't tell the difference if you tried. And finally, as nice as the extra damage is, these are still 356mm guns. Compared to the 380mm, 406mm and 410mm shells being thrown about by some of her tier mates, their individual shell performance is middling at best. Thus cutting through all of the crap, California's only significant change is her range increase over Arizona and she pays for this with truly appalling gun fire arcs. Observe: California has absolutely horrid main battery traverse rates, coming about at a glacial 60s for 180º. California has tier VI firepower with tier VII range. As much as I would like to be excited about her range, she needs it or the ship simply doesn't work. Wargaming will try and sell you this ship bragging that this reach is to California's advantage. Simply put, it's the only thing which makes this ship viable as a tier VII vessel and even then it barely passes muster. This ship is slow. Unlike Arizona which finds herself occasionally enjoying the 36km x 36km claustrophobic maps of lower tiers, California more often than not sees the 42m x 42km and 48km x 48km maps of higher tiers. That extra reach is an outright necessity to bring her guns into play before the battle moves on without her. Even then, it's often not enough. You can get a taste for this already by playing Arizona in bottom tiered matches and struggling to keep up with the pace of battle. California's reach partially mitigates this, but only partially. Her horrible gun fire angles necessitate that she swing out and show a lot more broadside in order to bring the weight of fire to bear on targets. This exaggerated manoeuvre bleeds speed (to say nothing of changing her heading and possibly navigating away from battle), further slowing her already ponderous pace. Thus her range becomes even more important. Are California's main battery guns better than Arizona's? Absolutely. Are they good enough to be tier VII guns? Sure -- they have better range and much better sigma than New Mexico's. The issue, though, is that they're not improved enough over the tier VI premium's to be worthwhile. Arizona's weapons are amazing at tier VI. California's weapons are only okay at tier VII. This means, gunnery wise, you're paying more money for a worse experience. This means for California to be worth her price tag, she's gotta make it up elsewhere. Once again, here are some dispersion tests. These are 180 shells fired at 15km locked onto the stationary Fuso bot. The bot was without camouflage. Unlike my normal dispersion tests, as Arizona and California can't equip the dispersion reducing ASM1 upgrade, their fields look comparatively larger than ships of the same tier. Shots are coming in from right to left with Fuso bow-tanking. One of these is California, the other Arizona. I'm not telling you which ship is which. If you're struggling to see a difference in as clinical and sterile a trial as this, you have no hope of feeling the difference through normal game play. In battle, targets are moving at different angles and speeds which makes any reasonable evaluation exceedingly difficult unless there is a tremendous change in performance. This is why I frown on a difference of 0.1 sigma being used as a selling feature -- it's a "spreadsheet" value that will affect a ship over the course of several games but isn't likely to be significant within a single match. A Missed Opportunity California doesn't make up for her main battery gunnery with her secondaries. California's secondaries are crap and they didn't have to be. Despite constant suggestions to give her improved accuracy and/or range on her secondaries, Wargaming wouldn't budge on keeping them standardized. These weapons are not worth upgrading any more than you would find it worthwhile to upgrade North Carolina's or Alabama's secondaries. California's AP penetration is okay. It's not high-velocity Soviet-good like Poltava's, though, nor does it have Duke of York's improved auto-ricochet angles (which shares the same penetration as KGV). Landing citadel hits against enemy battleships tends to fall off at ranges over 14km or so, but you should still be able to land penetrating hits through most belts you'll encounter. In theory, California has some pretty good AP damage output. She doesn't have boosted HE shell damage the way Japanese and British battleships do, so she's kind of lackluster there. That hurts given her inability to overmatch 25mm armour that's so commonplace within her matchmaking spread. Arizona sits just behind California in AP and HE DPM, but not so much that you'll notice in most cases. Summary so far: You're buying a longer-ranged Arizona. The 0.8s improved reload time and harder hitting AP shells are okay, but you can't feel the 0.1 sigma difference. However you're paying for the improvements with very crappy gun fire angles. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability Hit Points: 58,300 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 26mm extremities, upper hull and deck with some 31mm rear deck sections behind the superstructure. Maximum Citadel Protection: 35mm anti-torpedo bulge, 343mm belt and 44mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 36% California's protection scheme is perfectly adequate for a tier VII battleship. It's comparable to Arizona's and they each have their strengths. California versus Arizona's Durability California has more health (58,300hp vs 57,200hp) Arizona has better anti-torpedo protection. No, really. (37% damage reduction for Arizona vs 36% for California) Arizona has better upper-hull armour. (Arizona has a strip of 37mm armour above her belt while California's upper hull is only 26mm). California has better deck protection (California's deck behind her superstructure and around her X & Y turrets is 31mm thick. All of Arizona's decks are 26mm). Overall, the ships are very comparable in terms of their protection and durability. While California has the slight edge in health, it pays to keep in mind that Arizona has a large hit point pool for a tier VI battleship while California is on the low side of average for tier VII. Tier for tier, Arizona is the better protected ship with her armour and hit points meaning more at tier VI than California's at tier VII. That 35mm anti-torpedo bulge covers a huge section of California's side. All things told, it's not bad for helping keep shells out (especially when angling). Her 31mm rear deck will help shatter small-caliber HE shells too, as will her 50mm armoured secondaries. Look at this chungus. This is a top-down view of California with her 343mm belt highlighted in red. You can see just how massive her 35mm anti-torpedo bulges are. Shells which fuse inside this bulge but outside of the hull spaces underneath result in zero damage penetrations. Here's a better view of how deep California's belt extends. The dark red is 343mm thick while the orange strip at the bottom is where it tapers to 273mm. In order to land citadel hits, shells must contend with her 35mm anti-torpedo bulge then her 343mm belt and finally her 44mm citadel wall. California's citadel (in yellow) is fully submerged well below the waterline. Short of adding a turtleback, it's as well protected as you could hope it to be. The most dangerous shots come from medium to long range where shells have a bit of drop going for them to strike beneath the waterline and angle towards the citadel. As good as California's lateral protection is, her big weak spot is her bow. Her stern is made up of composite layers of armour beneath the 26mm outer shell in a similar vein to Giulio Cesare's bow. It isn't anywhere near as vulnerable. But her bow? It's just the 26mm outer portion until you smack the transverse bulkheads protecting her citadel. They're not thick enough to keep battleship caliber shells out. Furthermore, that big 26mm area is just begging to receive hits from HE spam. California faces a lot more opponents that can easily best her extremity and deck armour -- not only with battleship caliber AP but also HE spam from cruisers with enough base penetration to out-muscle her structural protection. Once engaged at medium-range, there's really not much this ship can do about it short of trying to fight her way out. As we've already covered, she doesn't really have that much better of a chance of doing so than Arizona. California's protection scheme is decent for a tier VII battleship but it's nothing special either short of her anti-torpedo protection (which is good but not as amazing as the size of her bulges would suggest). She doesn't have improved heals like the British battleships. She doesn't have a nigh-impervious citadel like Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. She's missing an ice-breaker bow like the aforementioned German ships. The Soviets infamously have it too. Were it me at the helm of California's project, if improving her offense was off the table I would have done something here. There's lots of ways they could have gone about it, though I think the most elegant solution would have been to give her 32mm structural plate on her bow, stern, deck and upper hull, akin to a tier VIII battleship. She would have felt immediately tankier but still vulnerable to higher tiered ships. Oh well, missed opportunities. California's on the low end of average for her potential health. This isn't exactly welcome for such a slow brick with a big squishy snoot to boop. California has a boring ol' 14% healed over 28s, not the 16.8% of the KGVs and Hood, the 40% Nelson or even Colorado's 18.48%. It could be worse, I suppose. She could have ended up like Poltava with a max of 4 charges of heals. Summary so far: Worse protection than Arizona, tier for tier, but that's largely owing to a deficit of hit points as a tier VII battleship. Her protection scheme is otherwise fine though her snoot is a huge weak spot. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability: Comparable durability to Arizona even though she sits a tier higher. Agility Top Speed: 20.5 knots Turning Radius: 640m Rudder Shift Time: 14.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.7º/s So, there are slow battleships in World of Warships and then there are the American premium standard-types. You see, the normal American tech-tree battleships have an artificial boost added to their engines -- they don't bleed speed like normal battleships do. It's akin to (but not a copy of) the UFO-style acceleration found on British cruisers and destroyers. However, the premium standards Arizona, West Virginia 1941 and now California, all lack this boost. They decelerate like normal battleships. This means the moment you touch their rudder, they dump their speed faster than a tweaked-out college student having their dorm inspected. The net effect is that though California has a 20.5 knot top speed, she's usually flirting with much less -- as little as 15.3 knots at 4/4 engine settings. Colorado at least manages 19.2 knots under heavy manoeuvres. The horrible fire arcs on California's guns will necessitate more manoeuvring to swing out her guns and then duck back which will only ensure she's stuck on the lower end of this speed. I have no idea why Wargaming didn't provide her with the tech-tree style energy preservation. This would have made her functionally as fast as Nagato under manoeuvres. So you can largely forget about getting anywhere fast. You can forget keeping up with the pace of battle. You can also forget about successfully kiting or disengaging when things turn sour. I think the real unfortunate detriment here is that it makes California more vulnerable to torpedoes. If you're trying to get from A to B as fast as possible, you're not going to want to touch your rudder. That just makes her easy meat for enterprising lolibotes. Ostensibly, California's range is supposed to help her here. She might not be physically present in the heat of combat, but her reach should allow her to at least offer some contribution while she lags way in the back. Summary so far: California's agility is absolutely appalling and worse than it had to be. Still, she's not far removed from Arizona -- like, the differences are barely perceptible. However, the larger map sizes makes this a lot more problematic. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability: Comparable durability to Arizona even though she sits a tier higher. Agility: An ever-so-slightly worse Arizona but now deployed on larger maps. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 5 explosions for 1,400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 137 dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 364 dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 490dps at 70% accuracy So here's California's main selling feature. You get tier VIII American battleship AA firepower at tier VII. This is in contrast to Arizona which has like ... no practical AA to speak of. As far as gimmicks go, it's downright laughable in the current meta. This might have meant something back before the CV rework, but it's a joke currently. Before patch 0.8.0, the levels of AA firepower California puts out would have been formidable and worth celebrating. She would have been a meme the way USS Texas used to be down at tier V. Now such AA firepower is merely an inconvenience to CVs. While tier VI carriers have to respect your AA firepower they can still strike you. Furthermore, it's not going to put off a determined tier VIII carrier even for a moment. The best that can be said is that California won't be high on the enemy aircraft's priority list. However, she has enough problems already without considering CV strikes. I've sorted these ships by the formula I like to use (DPS x [range-1km]) to give a better, but not entirely accurate, impression of AA effectiveness -- the logic being that longer range AA is better than shorter range AA. Hood is listed without DFAA active, just know that the numbers shown here jump by 50% when she pulls the trigger. Nothing can touch California, though, which sits smack in the middle of the tier VIII American BB range, rubbing elbows with Alabama, North Carolina and everyone's favourite: Massachusetts. Summary so far: California has absolutely amazing AA levels. She's boasting not only tier VIII AA firepower at tier VII but good tier VIII firepower at tier VII. Unfortunately the state of the CV rework makes AA unrewarding and frankly useless at times no matter how much of it you have. This is a booby prize in the current meta. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability: Comparable durability to Arizona even though she sits a tier higher. Agility: An ever-so-slightly worse Arizona but now deployed on larger maps. AA Defense: Excellent and sadly irrelevant. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 13.5km / 11.79km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.69km/ 8.72km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 11.71km California is very sneaky for a tier VII battleship. I wish this could have meant more than it does. This ship isn't likely to sneak up on anyone, mostly because it's patently unable to catch up to anything that doesn't want to be caught. At best, you might be able to setup an ambush and catch someone unawares but that's not likely to happen -- again because of that lack of speed. Ostensibly, this should allow her to disengage more easily by holding fire but let's not kid ourselves into imagining that she can escape pursuit. Without allies to road-block, California will be run down, sneaky or not. The final thing to keep in mind is that because of her long range, every time she pulls the trigger, she rings the dinner bell. This can be especially problematic if you've boosted her range and there are silly things like a bored Musashi or Champagne itching for targets. So California has good concealment! Unfortunately she can't really take advantage as well as another battleship might because of her slowness. Summary so far: California's concealment is meant to be her saving grace. With a base 900m advantage over Arizona, this is supposed to facilitate not only engaging the enemy but escaping from difficult situations. However, without it being paired with improved agility or durability, this bonus is merely nice to have, rather than ship-defining. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability: Comparable durability to Arizona even though she sits a tier higher. Agility: An ever-so-slightly worse Arizona but now deployed on larger maps. AA Defense: Excellent and sadly irrelevant. Vision Control: Better than Arizona by a lot, but she isn't able to take ready advantage of it. Summary: California vs Arizona California is a longer ranged Arizona with slightly improved damage output between better AP shells and a faster reload. Her improved dispersion via sigma will only be apparent over the course of multiple games rather than individual matches. She has greatly improved anti-aircraft firepower and she's more stealthy. However, she has very poor gun fire angles, horrible agility and no appreciable gains in defense all while being up-tiered to tier VII. The final difference is cost. Arizona will set you back the equivalent of 6,900 doubloons. California will cost you around 10,000 for a worse experience, tier for tier. It's worth being said: Arizona over-performs at her tier. She is a powerful tier VI battleship, so you might think my comparison unfair. California isn't broken, she's just not over-tuned the way Arizona is. And that's fair to say. However, for a consumer looking for the best bang for their buck, why buy California when Arizona is available? If you had to choose one, Arizona is the better purchase, hands down. What's more, California does not offer anything novel in the way of game play short of having better AA firepower. Are you really inclined to pay to play Arizona with worse matchmaking for the simple sake of being slightly less victimized by aircraft? Arizona is "long ranged" for a tier VI battleship once you install Gun Fire Control System Modification 1, so you largely duplicate California's schtick there too. California plays like Arizona but she plays less comfortably owing to her worse fire arcs and even more sluggish handling. I'm left to wonder what the point of California's design implementation as is. Rather than look for something new or novel, Wargaming played it safe. This might have worked had Arizona not been on offer -- California would have been more rightly compared to New Mexico and her strengths would seem obvious. "Ooh, 1.9 sigma with twelve guns? That's MUCH better than 1.5 sigma on New Mexico!" But again, Arizona is a thing. We already got that game play and at a better price and matchmaking. Hell, if you're a fan of PVE you get an even better deal with most scenarios now being limited to tier VI these days. With Arizona existing, Wargaming should have either retired the Pearl Harbor monument or dredged up something from their box o' gimmicks for California to compensate. California is a ship without game play identity. She is to Arizona what Alabama is to Massachusetts & North Carolina-- entirely forgettable and an unfortunate waste of money for worse game play. California is a beautiful port queen that doesn't live up to her fantastic history. It's such a bloody shame. This screenshot makes me sad. Once upon a time, seeing a ship with this much AA would have made me very excited. Now it's just a reminder of how much potential is wasted in the current meta. Final Evaluation Let's pretend Arizona doesn't exist. Is California worth it? No. No, she isn't. I love my standards -- I love them to death. But playing a standard-type battleship at tier VII or above needs to come with some pretty juicy perks or I'm not biting. The issue is their inflexibility. Once you start stacking on any other flaws and they just become unpalatable -- and California's gun handling and reload are some pretty wonky flaws, especially when paired with her slow speed. And she gains naught for these handicaps. The perks they gave her to compensate, namely good AA, nice range, good concealment and more accurate guns, don't cut the mustard for me. This is largely owing to what should be her main selling feature being laughable. Phenomenal AA power is watered down more heavily than American Lite Beer. Like American Lite Beer, the CV rework has a lot to answer for. It should be hella tasty and refreshing. Instead, it's so much thinned out swill with a rancid aftertaste, leaving you to wonder what could have been. California isn't fun to play and that's her greatest crime. If she can't be powerful, she needs to be interesting and she fails at that utterly. I'll play a shoddy ship back to back for hundreds of games provided she's fun (I've done it too -- I loved Atlanta before Surveillance Radar was a thing). I don't want to touch California. I'm constantly fighting with her rudder or her guns and she has nothing I value to compensate for it. Hard pass, ladies and gentlemen. California is a hard pass. Conclusion I was going to take a break after Siegfried and Agir's review was published. However, California's an important release and, more pressingly, I don't feel she's a good ship. Had she been strong, I think I could have just sat aside and let people discover that for themselves. But seeing how she was being released reminded me of why I write these reviews in the first place: To protect other players from making bad purchases. Wargaming burned me once too often in World of Tanks. If I can help others avoid that, I will. Now that said, with this high-profile release covered and my feels (hopefully) clearly broadcast, I'm taking some much needed time off.
  14. 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. 
  15. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: HMAS Perth

    Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed in this post reflect the version of the ship as she appeared during the testing period. These are subject to change before release. The following is aimed at new(ish) players looking to find a little more information about various ships from events, for premium currency or for real-world cash. The goal is to allow players to make an educated decision before parting with their time and money and to find premium vessels that suit their chosen style of play, whether that is competitive, cooperative, or simply for fun. The idea here is to elaborate on information not commonly available through reading statistics and provide some (heavily) biased anecdotal evidence to encourage or dissuade you from making your purchase. The usual disclaimers apply: everyone knows the Matchmaker clearly loves me because I spend money so that's why I occasionally get really good games, not because I have any particular skills of note. Without further ado: The Facilitating Squid. Quick Summary: A shorter ranged, sneakier Leander-class Cruiser with HE shells and a weird smoke generator consumable. Patch & Date Written: 0.5.13.1, November 2nd & 3rd, 2016 Closest in-Game Contemporary: Leander,Tier 6 British Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class/ Similar Role / Unique The HMAS Perth was a modified version of the Leander-class cruiser. The primary difference was an improved propulsion system. In game, this is easy to see with the different funnel layout with the Perth having two to the Leander's one. Here's a quick summary on how the two ships vary: Hull: The Perth has an improved armour scheme but less overall hit points. Weapons: Perth has access to HE shells. While she has AP, her fuse timers and arming thresholds are nowhere near as forgiving as those found on British cruisers. Her ricochet angles are less generous. The Perth is also shorter ranged. AA Guns: Perth has a mid-war AA armament and lacks 40mm Bofors or Vickers pom-poms. She's quite vulnerable to aircraft attack. Agility: Perth has slightly faster rudder handling. Stealth: Perth is marginally stealthier with a 200m surface detection range advantage over the Leander. Fun Stuff: Perth's smoke generator is unique. PROs: Though she's based on a British cruiser, she has access to HE shells. She has a powerful torpedo armament, capable of doing nearly 62,000 damage per salvo. Torpedoes may fire individually. The Perth is wonderfully agile with a small turning circle of 640m and decent rudder shift time of 7.6s. Very wiggly. She has good concealment, starting with a 9.8km surface detection range with her camouflage. The Perth uses the British spotter aircraft consumable. This lasts for a full three minutes per charge as opposed to just 100s. Her Smoke Generator is active for 90s, generating smoke the entire time. This allows her to lay more smoke clouds than any other ship currently in the game. While the individual clouds don't last very long, this thing poops out smoke for days and allows her to remain mobile while staying concealed. CONs: She cannot be used to train British Captains. The HMAS Perth is the first of the Commonwealth ships which count as a separate nation. She's very squishy, with a small hit point total and insufficient armour to provide any kind of protection from large caliber (203mm+) shells from heavy cruisers or battleships, which can overmatch her bows and deck plating with their AP shells. The Perth does not have access to the special British AP shells. She uses normal fuses and detonators, making her AP perform more akin to standard cruiser guns. These are the same weapons as found on the HMS Belfast. Her HE performance is modest at best with only a 9% chance to start a fire per shell. Short ranged main battery at 12.8km. This makes engaging certain ship types exceedingly dangerous especially at close range. She is incapable of firing her main battery from concealment in open water, even when fully upgraded for stealth. She must make use of her consumables or terrain to be able to attack without being spotted. Her turret rotation speed is on the slow side at 7' per second. The Perth has a poor AA compliment and does not get access to Defensive Fire. Welcome to another Premium Ship Review -- the ever evolving series where the format subtly shifts and guest authors abound. Once again, Lert and NoZoupForYou join me in looking at this newest helping from the dry-docks of the Wargaming devs, the HMAS Perth. Lert will be providing his views in a versus series while Zoup summarizes the Pros and Cons above. Both gentleman offer their recommendations below too so you know you've got a more diverse set of opinions when basing your own decisions on whether to make your purchase. On with the show! The Lertbox Hello and welcome to yet another Lertbox portion in a LittleWhiteMouse review. I've long since given up trying to figure out why she keeps letting me do this, but here we are. Today we'll be talking about the HMAS Perth, a modified British Leander class light cruiser, sailing under the Australian flag. In this game, she's a premium ship for the newly introduced Commonwealth nationality. I will be writing a few short opinion pieces about how Perth compares to Cleveland, Molotov, Nurnberg and Belfast, which I believe to be a decent cross-section of direct competitors. Mouse has already written about how she compares to Leander herself. The Perth shares much in common with the Leander-class, at least superficially. But the manner in which you use her guns and smoke will largely define this new premium vessel. Options, Upgrades & Consumables The Perth doesn't have a lot of options, but she does have an interesting consumable. Her Smoke Generator is unique. It has an enormous up-time, continuing to create new smoke clouds for an astounding 90s. To put this in perspective, this is three times longer than the previous front runner, the American tier 10 Gearing-class Destroyer (30s) and four and a half times longer than standard destroyer smoke generators (20s). The downside to this smoke is that it each cloud she creates only lasts for a mere 10 seconds. This precludes anyone else from trying to park in her smoke while still allowing the Perth to use her consumable offensively. She can do this by cutting her speed down to 1/4 and walking slowly, generating new smoke as she moves. In this manner, she remains unseen for up to 100s which is consistent with most smoke screens. Thus the Perth has a very unique manner in which her consumable is used, allowing her to keep partially mobile. Very fun. In addition, she has access to the British Spotter Aircraft consumable. For any other nation, the normal duration for this consumable is 100s. The Perth's spotter aircraft lasts for 180s -- a full three minutes, just like those of the UK tech tree. Note that between her spotter aircraft (which allows her to fire from concealment in open water) and her smoke generator, the Perth can cycle offensive actions against enemy ships without being spotted. Proper management of these consumables is key to keep out of harm's way. Consumables: Damage Control Party Hydroacoustic Search Spotter Aircraft or Catapult Fighter Smoke Generator Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard cruiser options.Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Firepower Primary Battery: Eight 152mm rifles in 4x2 turrets mounted in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Primary Battery Fields of Fire (AB & XY): Front: 294', 290' Rear: 294', 288' Secondary Battery: Eight 102mm rifles in 4x2 turrets amidships by the rear funnel. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers, one to each side. The Perth is armed with the same 152mm rifles -- and more importantly, the same ammunition as the HMS Belfast. While her gun handling is identical to that of the Leander with a 7' turret rotation speed, it's this difference in ammunition that's quite telling. The Perth does not have access to the "improved" armour piercing shells of the Royal Navy. She has a standard fuse-time, ricochet angles and detonator threshold rather than the more sensitive, deep-biting and fast-exploding shells found on the British Cruisers. You will see a lot of over-penetrations against lightly armoured targets with your AP shells in the Perth and ricochets when they strike at oblique angles. You're forced to make dynamic ammunition choices in the Perth depending on your targets. Like the Belfast, the Perth's HE shells are considered modest at best. While they're superior to the HE shells found on the 150mm rifles of the Nurnberg, they're far and away inferior to the six-inch shells found on the American Cleveland, Japanese Mogami, or the Soviet Budyonny, Shchors, Chapayev & Mikhail Kutuzov cruisers. The real downside to these shells is their low chance of setting fires for a cruiser-caliber shell at 9% per hit. Combined with a smaller number of rifles, the Perth isn't an ideal firebug. DPM values for tier 6 cruisers. The Perth isn't last! But she doesn't have the alpha strike capabilities of the other low-DPM cruisers. Where the Perth's main armament really hurts is their range. She comes with a 12.8km maximum reach which is downright punitive at tier 6. This creates a lot of problems for the ship and greatly reduces her survival chances when facing large capital ships. She has a reliance on two of her consumables to safely engage dangerous opponents: her Smoke Generator and her Spotter Aircraft. With her spotter, her range increases to a more manageable 15.36km. This will allow her to stealth-fire at targets from open water from ranges starting at 14.4km and as low as 13.4km with a 15pt Captain using Concealment Expert. But it's her smoke from which most of her damage can be safely inflicted. It does require a player to keep an eye on its active period and plan an extraction vector before the smoke wears off. Using these two properly can largely mitigate her range deficiency, but each can be countered and leave the Perth dead in the water. While her guns are on the lower scale of muzzle velocities, their short range ensures she's not penalized by very long lead times. Like the Belfast, her AP shells can penetrate up to 118mm of armour at 10km so pick your ammunition types accordingly based on what you're facing. Like the Leander, whatever perceived disparities of the Perth's main battery are propped up by her torpedo armament. The Perth has the same upgraded armament of the Leander with two quadruple launchers off each side, mounted just behind the rear funnel. Like British cruisers, the Perth may fire in a salvo or launch her torpedoes individually. With an 8.0km range and 61 knot top speed, these are wonderfully hard hitting fish at over 15,000 damage per. The only downside to them is their range is a little lacking. Making use of her torpedoes necessitates getting in "danger close" to the enemy. This increases the skill threshold needed to do well in the Perth, maybe beyond the level at which many players will be comfortable. The Perth sits inside a cap circle in the early minutes of a match, smoke deployed and steaming ahead at 1/4 speed. Her guns are hammering the approaching Red Team, lobbing high explosive shells onto the bows of Battleships and cruisers. The Perth can often find herself as a front runner -- taking position of caps and strategic locations to put early pressure on the enemy. Just make sure you have an escape plan in mind before engaging. Your smoke will only last so long. Rivals: vs Cleveland Cleveland boasts more hit-points, a higher RPM, better DPM, more range, a better armor scheme and a better hidden citadel. On the surface, Perth is really the underdog here, and that's how you should approach this theoretical duel. You're not entirely without options, though. Your float plane gives you a nice boost to your range, your smoke is very tactical and can give you an edge and your torpedoes force the Cleveland to stay at range. Both ships boast a similar top speed and agility but Cleveland has four additional guns with roughly the same ROF, and a better fire chance on her HE shells. You're not going to win a direct gunnery duel, but you can use your smoke to conceal yourself, while having your floatplane up to keep eyes on the Cleveland. If she starts getting too close, dissuade her with torpedoes, all the while keeping your fire up. A duel between a Cleveland and a Perth is not an easy fight for the Commonwealth ship, nor is it a foregone conclusion in the Cleveland's favor. Maneuverability Top Speed: 32.5 knotsTurning Radius: 640mRudder Shift: 7.6s She handles like a dream. Once you drop Steering Gears Modification 2 onto the Perth, her rudder shift time drops down to 6.1s. This gives her a destroyer-quality handling making her feel very responsive. She definitely a light cruiser when it comes to her agility -- nice and wiggly. It's easy to reverse course and throw off the aim of ships that are expecting you to move predictably. She also dances to torpedo beats like a champ. Speed wise, it's a bit more mixed. While not terrible, there's nothing impressive about her 32.5 knot top speed. However, unlike other cruisers, I found myself quite often sailing at 1/4 engine power to take full advantage of her smoke generators. Out in the open water, though, her 32.5 knot speed is nice but she's running up against fleet footed ships such as the Scharnhorst-class. While you can be more reactionary with her great handling, don't let yourself get run down by aggressive opponents. Rivals: vs Molotov Molotov has more powerful guns, higher range and a higher top speed, but is decidedly less agile and has a slightly weaker armor profile than Perth. Also, the Russian's torpedoes are short range self-defense ones, not even on the same level as the Australian's exploding fish. Plus, the Molotov does not get smoke, and is visible from much further. Approaching a Molotov requires patience and luck. Your AP will wreck a Molotov from the side, but be aware that she'll do the same to you if given half a chance. Fortunately, Molotov's 180mm AP is not quite big enough to overmatch your bow armor, so neither ship can lolpen the other. I am tempted to say 'Approach the Molotov', but with the Russian ship's far superior speed this is easier said than done. The best way to engage a Molotov is to approach using stealth, then use your torpedoes to funnel him into showing you his broadside, and smacking home a salvo or two of AP. Use your smoke to disengage the now wounded Russian or finish him off in a slugging match. While he has the bigger guns, you have the better agility and both ships have similar DPM so a slugging match tends to go to whoever manages to wound the other first. And as far as that is concerned, Perth holds some pretty strong aces with its concealment, torpedoes and smoke. DurabilityHit Points: 27,100 Citadel Protection: Up to 100mmBow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 13mm (immunity up to 180mm AP shells) There's no way really to sugar coat this: The Perth is really lacking in survability and protection. She's on the low side for her hit point totals for a tier 6 cruiser -- she sits just above the Nurnberg in second last place. But it's really her armour values which let her down. The Perth has 13mm of bow and deck armour. This is sufficient to protect her from Light Cruiser caliber AP fire. Shells up to (and including) 180mm will bounce when she angles but anything larger will easily overmatch her. While she does boast an impressive 100mm belt armour, it's a significant challenge to find ways to put this to work for you. Expect to take frequent module damage and to lose weapon mounts. In short: don't expect the armour of the Perth to hold up under fire. Her citadel, while on the smallish side, has a section that sticks up just over the water's surface which runs from beneath her first funnel to the aft superstructure. While this would be difficult to hammer at close ranges, shells with a slight arc (such as those from a Battleship shooting at 12km out) will easily slam home. This vulnerability becomes especially pronounced due to the short range of the Perth's weapon systems. Like the USS Atlanta, she has to get very close to deal damage -- close enough to be inside the optimal firing ranges of Battleship and Heavy Cruiser caliber guns. It's imperative, therefore, to make good use of her concealment values in conjunction with her consumables and agility to avoid damage. The Perth plays a dangerous game with a New York-class Battleship. Using the island, she approached within 4.0km of the American and crept out using smoke at 1/4 speed to unleash a point blank assault using high explosive shells and individually launched torpedoes. The fish of the Perth can deliver monstrous alpha-strikes, ideal for putting down unwary ships that get too close. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 10.1km Air Detection Range: 6.9km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 8.62km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +4.56km (vs 12.8km gun range) I'm of two minds about the Perth's concealment rating. It's so good, yet at the same time, it's not quite good enough. Right out of the box, the Perth has a 9.8km surface detection range with her premium camouflage. I rubbed my hands with glee when I saw this value and prepared myself to write a "Perth is overpowered" review (that changed when I saw her weapon ranges). The Perth is forever doomed to have a stealth rating that's on the cusp of excellence. She's sneaky enough to navigate from point A to B without being spotted, but she's not sneaky enough to engage enemy targets with her weapon systems without giving her position away. Perhaps I shouldn't be too critical. Ships like the Molotov would give up their left propeller shaft for this kind of stealth, but this lack of range really hurts the Perth and makes her challenging to play -- at least until you factor in her consumables. The gimmick of the Perth is her smoke generator, which is the complete opposite of the one found on the Belfast. The Belfast suffers from performance issues when it comes to her smoke, being able to (at best) create two clouds before her generators give up the ghost. These clouds will last for 103s, so it gives this higher tier British cruiser plenty of time to park her butt and pew pew to her heart's content. However, they're not going to provide significant cover for friendlies, nor are they going to be of much use in trying to escape. The Perth, by contrast, can create a maximum thirty-one clouds of smoke when moving at full speed with a signal flag to improve her engine performance. Individually, these clouds only last for 10s which makes them useless for parking inside. The Perth must keep moving while laying down smoke. So too must any friendly ship looking to take advantage of this. The values work out to the following: Forward Speeds 10 clouds @ 1/4 speed (8.1 knots). Maximum of 2 clouds active -- usually just 1. 18 clouds @ 1/2 speed (16.3 knots). Maximum of 3 clouds active -- usually just 2. 30 clouds @ 3/4 speed (24.3 knots). Maximum of 4 clouds active -- usually just 3. 30 clouds @ 4/4 speed (32.6 knots). Maximum of 4 clouds active -- usually just 3. 31 clouds @ 4/4 speed + signal (34.1 knots). Maximum of 4 clouds active -- usually just 3. The Perth herself cannot make more than 1/4 speed and remain hidden within her smoke. Any ships wishing to enjoy concealment with her have to be right up on her stern. Being more than a ship length back will mean that they may end up being detected intermittently as one cloud dissipates around them as each new cloud is laid down. It's possible for the Perth to provide smoke cover for larger ships by matching their speed as best she can and dropping smoke immediately in front while following their path. This will preclude her from taking advantage of her smoke herself if this requires her to move over 12.5 knots, but it's a tactic worth keeping in mind. Still, I would not expect most of her allies to appreciate the nuances of her smoke and I can foresee the Perth's smoke generator causing friendlies some grief as they try to take advantage of it only to have it disappear around them. Players of the Perth will need to communicate directly, "Make 1/4 speed and follow me close while I lay smoke" to ensure that their team gets the most out of their consumables. I must say I was disappointed to see that her premium camouflage was of the standard type found on tier 6+ ships. While I am hoping that this will be changed before release (and fed such information back to Wargaming), I am not holding my breath. The HMAS Perth counts as a Commonwealth ship and not a British ship, she's useless as a Captain Trainer. To this end, I would have preferred to see some additional effect found on the Perth's camouflage, such as the Anshan's bonus free-experience modifier or even a Captain Training bonus such as the one found on the German Prinz Eugen. Moving at full speed while deploying smoke, the Perth is able to provide concealment for this Gneisenau as she opens fire without the German Battleship having to slow down. Unlike destroyers, she can maintain this level of concealment for over a minute and a half. This can be up to four and a half times longer than normal smoke. This is much easier for a Battleship to remain within than trying to stop suddenly to take advantage of a cloud dropped in her path. With this setup, the Perth can still provide vision for the Gneisenau against enemy Battleships at range without worrying about being seen herself so long as she keeps her guns silent, while protecting her allied BB from return fire. Rivals: vs Nurnberg The German tier 6 cruiser is a DPM monster firing very fast shells with a very flat arc. She has a vicious set of torpedoes reaching only two km less than Perth's. In a straight-up duel, she'll pummel Perth and take home the win. She's about as fast as the Commonwealth ship too, and not that much less agile. Plus, she has a far better range on her guns. The only benefits you have is better concealment, longer range torpedoes, smoke and better agility. So how to fight a Nurnberg in a Perth? Use destroyer tactics. Use concealment. Use islands. Ambush her with your torpedoes. Use your hydroacoustic search to warn you of return torpedo fire. Harass her when she's distracted, then pop smoke sneak off into stealth when she turns her guns on you. Use your longer range torpedoes to funnel her, try to force her to make a mistake. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 102mm, 20mm, 12.7mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km, 2.0km, 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 38 / 7 / 11 Access to Defensive Fire: Not available. There's not a lot of good news here, but let's start with what's available. The Perth has the same dual-purpose 102mm rifles found on the other mid-to-high tier British cruisers. These have some rather nice teeth, being both long ranged (5.0km) and doing a fair amount of DPS per mount (9.5dps). These lack some of the hitting power found on other dual-purpose turrets, such as the American 127mm (15.17dps) or the German 128mm (12.36dps), but they'll do -- especially for a mid tier ship. Where the Perth is let down is the lack of decent medium-caliber AA guns to back this up. Most of the British cruisers will follow up on these 102mm rifles with 40mm Bofors which are a splendid anti-aircraft weapon. But the Perth does not get access to this or even the Vickers 2pdr pom-poms. So while the Perth can deal a good initial slap to enemy aircraft as they wander into range, her umbrella doesn't appreciably increase in damage the closer you get. Overall, this leaves her dangerously vulnerable to enemy aircraft -- particularly dive bombers. She's nimble enough to make attacks by torpedo planes difficult but there's little defense against well aimed dive bombers, especially from ships like the Saipan. Seeing eight Skyraiders angling against you is truly a frightening prospect in the Perth. Keep a wary eye to the skies. You don't have access to Defensive Fire to break up attacks. You're not likely to have a Float Plane Fighter to assist you. If you're caught out by yourself, you deserve what's coming. Rivals: The Belfast Notice how I didn't say 'versus' here, because a Perth versus a Belfast would not be a fair fight. However, many people will compare the two, as both are 'British' premiums, and both are light cruisers. Besides, they're only one tier apart. So on the surface of it they should be comparable, right? Here it's the consumables that define each ship's playstyle and role. Both are 'support ships', yes. But where Belfast is an exemplary destroyer hunter, Perth is less so. She doesn't have radar, limiting her use in that role. Her short gun range is balanced out by the long duration on her scout plane and her hydroacoustic is useful, but she simply doesn't have the tools to counter smoke that Belfast has. Where Belfast is more a ship that pushes aggressively in front of her team and spearheads the advance, Perth is best served escorting larger ships and lending her fire to theirs, giving concealment where necessary. The Perth's worst nightmare: Skyraider Dive Bombers from the USS Saipan. Struck by three bombs, she burns from bow to stern. The Perth has very little in the way of AA defense and enemy carriers should take full advantage of this. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple/ Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low/ Moderate / High / Extreme The HMAS Perth reminds me oh-so much of a French auto-loader from World of Tanks. For those not familiar, these vehicles have, instead of a steady rate of fire, an ammunition drum that allows them to dispense an enormous amount of damage in short order. They then have to suffer through a very long reload timer as the magazine gets replaced. During this time period, they are defenseless. Many players die in this interim, managing only to dispense the 4 to 6 rounds in their first drum before burning up in a greasy fireball. The Perth has a similar affliction. I'm convinced any player will be able to make decent use of her up to and including the duration of her active smoke generator. What will separate the successful players from the non-successful will be how they play the Perth during this cool down period when they have no smoke and the enemies want them dead. If they have over extended and didn't plan an extraction path, they'll be stuck with the 10,000 to 30,000 damage they managed while their smoke was up and then get sent back to port. Maybe they'll get a flag capture in. Maybe they'll take out an enemy destroyer or get lucky with their first drop of torpedoes. But it won't be consistent. For those that plan ahead, the sky becomes the limit. This is the real trick with this vessel. She has a rather high skill ceiling. She can be used to support friendlies so long as you're daring and sociable. Her torpedoes give her the chance to do some frightening damage against enemy capital ships and she's a very real threat to enemy destroyers. As the teams thin out, the Perth becomes more viable, especially if she's still got her consumables handy. Her stealth rating provides all sorts of advantages, allowing her to ninja caps and support friendlies without being spotted in return. Her smoke can allow her to dictate who gets seen and when. Finally there are her ammunition choices. Earning Witherer medals isn't beyond the scope of the Perth with clever use and combinations of her single-fire torpedoes and high explosive shells. The Lertbox Perth is an escort ship. Not a ship to fight others in a straight gun fight in. She doesn't have the super AP that Leander gets, she doesn't have the radar and volume of fire that Belfast gets, she doesn't have the raw DPM that Nurnberg gets or the alpha smash and speed that Molotov gets. What she does have are solid but unremarkable guns, solid but unremarkable speed, solid but unremarkable torpedoes and a very interesting smoke screen. If you're okay with letting other people have the limelight and supporting your team from the shadows, there are worse alternatives than Perth. But she's not a good ship for glory-hounds, and her carrying potential is limited. She's not a bad ship, just not a very remarkable one with big shiny features. Mouse's Summary: The Perth is a squid. She squirts all of the ink. She's a challenging ship to use to influence the game. While she can remain hidden, her offensive power is a bit lacking outside of her beautiful torpedoes barring recklessness on the part of the enemy. As a support ship, she can selflessly use her smoke to cover larger ships without them having to slow down for well over a minute. Coordinating with team mates is key. This can be quite powerful when used correctly but may be outside the scope of pick up matches in Random Battle games. The Perth is super squishy against anything outside of enemy destroyers and some light cruisers. You're not going to win duels if you trade blows. Let's get to the meat of the matter: The Perth is going to be a difficult ship to love -- which is weird, because I liked the Leander when I played her. While delighted to see the British Commonwealth represented in the game (and hoping this means the HMAS Australia and HMCS Haida are on the horizon) I am very frustrated to see that British Captains cannot be trained on this vessel. I held my breath and hoped to see some further motivator applied to her camouflage to make the Perth an immediate must-have such as bonus credit earning or experience gains -- you know, something to buff her appeal. There wasn't anything during testing. When I asked my contacts at Wargaming, they didn't believe that there would be any immediate alternative camouflages when she was released. So take that into consideration. Game play in the Perth didn't enamour me early on either. On the surface, the Perth doesn't have a lot of teeth. She only has the eight guns and that mediocre AP and HE fire from the Belfast. Well, maybe that's not fair: I do love her torpedoes. While they don't have the range or hitting power of the IJN, they are something nice and I really missed having those when I played the Belfast. Success in the Perth comes down to proper management of your consumables. Assuming you're using premium consumables (and you'll want to use premium consumables), you've got 1 minute and 40 seconds of concealment from smoke with a 2 minutes and 40 seconds of down time while it resets. Use this time to open up the range and then activate your spotter aircraft. This will provide you with 3 minutes to continue dropping shots on target. Wiggle your tush to dodge any return fire if you can't get out to stealth range. Once this cools off, you'll be once again ready to use smoke for another minute and 40 seconds worth of killing. Your plane will be back online in 4 minutes. So you'll want to yo-yo between medium-close to medium-long range to take advantage of your consumables and keep your weapon systems active while avoiding reprisals. It's kind of a fun dance to do when you're doing it right. But misstep and everything goes to poop. The Perth isn't like the HMS Belfast where you're absolutely dominant against one particular class. She's not as good of a destroyer hunter, though she is capable enough in the right hands. She's certainly got sufficient DPM to put the hurt on any underage ship that lets her within 7km. But like the Belfast, the Perth really begins to struggle when facing other light cruisers or heavier ships. Then it becomes absolutely necessary to properly cycle smoke, especially if you can't get off an ambush with your fish. Where she really shines is when you can coordinate with one of your team mates, preferably in another cruiser and let them make use of your smoke while you do the same. A simple message like, "My smoke's ready. Slow to 1/4 and keep within 0.5km of my stern," is usually enough to allow another player to take full advantage. Teamwork is OP in World of Warships after all. So what's all this mean? Is the Perth a bad ship? Well, no. She can perform. She can support. You're just going to have to work harder at it than say, the Molotov or Belfast. She's not going to be an easy ship to recommend though. One of the neat side effects of the Perth's smoke is that it ships begin sailing in close formation to take advantage of it. This ends up looking really cool. Here, the Perth leads a Fiji-class cruiser as they engage enemy Battleships without being spotted in return. Would I Recommend? The Perth is a difficult ship to recommend because it's pretty unforgiving. I maintain that anyone should be able to do some damage, maybe even sink a ship on occasion in her so long as they use their smoke consumable properly. She's going to frustrate a lot of opponents who don't anticipate her continuing to move when her smoke is laid down instead of puffing a couple of clouds and parking stationary within it. How players manage the transition between smoke clouds with largely determine their success rate. Those who like the Leander will probably enjoy the different take on the same class that is the Perth. I had a great time testing this ship. ForRandom Battle Grinding: Mouse: Eh, no. First and foremost, the Perth cannot be used as a trainer short of her own dedicated Captain. There are no other Commonwealth ships. In addition, she's premium consumable-hungry. I can't stress enough the importance of taking at least two, maybe even all four slots as premium versions, so this will eat into her credit earning potential. So for credit earning and captain training, she gets two strikes.When it comes to earning experience or completing missions, my feelings are mixed. My damage totals usually sat between 40,000 and 90,000 in the Perth. I only managed a single 2000+ base experience game, with most sitting between 1,100 and 1,300 on a win. This often wasn't enough to top the team roster on the results screen. To be fair, I did win far more than I lost. Still, I would pass on her specifically for those interested in finding a ship to grind for experience, training, credits, signals or mission rewards. Lert: No. There are other ships out there with better characteristics for grinding. She can't train British captains, her credit earning potential is on par with other tier 6 ships and she doesn't earn more XP than them either. Zoup: For me, I can't imagine myself using this ship too often in battles. In many ways, its quite similar to the Atlanta. Sadly, its not a lower tiered version of the Atlanta because it lacks the fire-starting capabilities of the Atlanta, along with the rate of fire. I enjoy the Atlanta despite its shortcomings and lack of range. The lack of range for the Perth hinders it significantly, in my opinion and at Tier 6, the Molotov offers a much better premium option than the Perth. For Competitive Gaming: Mouse: Let me be honest: there are better ships for this. She doesn't have great hitting power short of taking advantage of the bumbling incompetence of your enemies. And while the Perth can be used as a support vessel, it's of a very limited fashion. She'll be forever vulnerable to dive bombers and she's super squishy. Her smoke, while amazing, kind of makes her a one-trick pony. You have to risk a lot to get the Perth to perform and any competitive team will punish you for the slightest misstep.Lert: I would say no. Her mediocre speed, low gun range and lack of primary firepower hold her back in a way that a decent set of torpedoes and interesting smoke can't really balance out. Zoup: I could possibly see the Perth being used in competitive gaming as a high risk high reward ship for capturing points. It's torpedoes have the range to provide denial of swaths of sea and if DDs wander to close, it will give them a bad day. The problem is once its spotted, if any large ships focus fire, the Perth won't last long. Highly skilled players will likely make use of the Perth in ranked, but I doubt it will be a go-to ship. For Collectors: Mouse: Hells yeah. Commonwealth represent! Lert: It's the first Commonwealth ship in the game, and worth nabbing for that reason alone. Time wil tell what other Commonwealth ships will eventually make it into the game. She's also a storied ship, having fought at Java Sea and survived, only to be torpedoed and sunk at Sunda Strait. Zoup: I think the ship is collectable. It's the first Aussie ship in the game and has a very noted history to it. With that, it meets the criteria for a collector ship. There is a market for it. More so than some of the previous premiums, like the Lo Yang. Though popular, I doubt the Lo Yang was purchased for its service history. So yes, I think the Perth will be collected. For Fun Factor: Mouse: I really had a lot of fun in this ship. I think it was because it prompted some of my team mates to work in close support with one another to make use of her wonky smoke. But that stayed with me. There was also the fun of using torpedoes and fires to really put the hurt on enemies. Yeah, it was a blast. Of course, I do like the Atlanta, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt. If you enjoyed the Leander? The Perth will suit you. If you didn't? Best to steer clear. Lert: Maybe? She's a support ship, not a glory-hound. She does a thankless job, and is adequate at it. If this is something that appeals to you, then yes. Perth won't let you down. Zoup: Meh. It's not great, but it's not bad. It can be fun, but it's not always fun. It's nice having a lot of smoke, and you can shred ships that get too close. However, it works both ways, and ships will shred you as well. Like I mentioned earlier, this is a risk and reward ship. You have to be deliberate. If you are playing too deliberate, you aren't having as much fun as you could be. The Leander with the Perth off her rear port quarter. These two ships share many similar characteristics but the differences in their ammunition is the most telling. They work very well in support of one another, shortening the window in which they have no cover from smoke. Outfitting your Perth Recommended Modules The Perth has four module upgrade slots. Given her poor AA values, there's not much point in trying to prop it up. This leaves a single, optimal build for the Perth. For your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is your best choice. From experience, I can say that she loses weapon mounts frequently. I had my torpedo tubes destroyed several times and my guns temporarily knocked out regularly. Alternatively, if you're horrified by the possibility of being detonated, Magazine Modification 1 will help you considerably. I was not detonated in my test games with the Perth but you never know... For the second slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 provides its usual benefits. This is less useful on a cruiser than a Battleship, however. A good alternative is Main Battery Modification 2. This accelerates her turret rotation by almost a full degree per second at the cost of her reload speed. As the Perth will be throwing herself about often in order to dodge fire, this can help keep guns on target. For your third slot, as ever, Damage Control System Modification 1 is the only really vaguely decent one. Hint-hint, Wargaming. For the fourth slot, take Steering Gears Modification 2. This will improve your rudder shift time from 7.6s down to 6.1s. As the Perth is rarely (if ever) stationary, this depreciates the value of Propulsion Modification 2 so I would avoid it. Recommended ConsumablesThe Perth can be a very premium-consumable hungry vessel. The merits of taking a premium Damage Control Party are pretty self evident. You don't have a lot of hit points to spare and even a single fire can eat away at far too much of that precious health (especially if there are dive bombers hunting you). Taking a premium version of her Smoke Generator is also a pretty obvious move. This increases the charges from 2 to 3. More importantly, this reduces the reset timer from 4 minutes down to 2 minutes and 40 seconds, which is huge.Of the other two consumables, it's a little more open ended. To keep the Perth's guns singing at range, it may be worthwhile upgrading her Spotter Aircraft to reduce the reset timer from a punitive 6 minutes down to 4. This will allow you to easily use it three times within a match as opposed to just twice. On most other ships I couldn't recommend this with a straight face, but on the Perth? It's quite valuable. I would avoid taking a Float Plane Fighter of any description. You'll need the extra range well over the small boost to AA defense the fighter might provide. Lastly, there's Hydroacoustic Search. This is a very situational consumable so you can probably afford just the standard version if you find your credit costs are running high. The premium version reduces the reset timer from 3 minutes down to 2 minutes. Recommended Captain Skills The choices for the Perth's Captain Skills are fairly straightforward. As she's the only ship within her own nationality (go, Commonwealth!), you don't have to worry about these skills pairing up nicely for an alternate vessel. From the first tier, it's actually difficult to recommend Basic Fire Training because of her poor AA values. Still, this does provide a little bit of help and it's certainly the strongest choice at this tier. This will provide a boost to her secondaries too and the Perth does end up in sub 5km fights often enough. From the second tier, both Expert Marksman and Last Stand have a lot of value. The latter is obvious enough -- your engine and steering gears are almost as vulnerable in the Perth as they would be in a destroyer. The former provides a 10% boost to your turret rotation speed, changing a 180' rotation from 25.7s down to 23.4s. This really helps given how much you'll be throwing the ship about. If you've taken Main Battery Modification 2, this will combine to reduce her turret rotation to 20.6s for a 180' turn or 8.74' per second. From tier three, grab Superintendent right away. This provides an extra charge of your Smoke Generator. Note that you should keep an eye on your play style before taking this skill. If you're using the premium consumable already and not running out on your matches, then there's no point on taking this. Alternatively, Vigilance is a great skill for helping spot torpedoes early. At tier four, Demolition Expert is wonderful. This will increase your chances to start fires from 9% to 12% per shell. Beauty! And finally, at tier 5, Concealment Expert is the most valuable. This will reduce your surface detection range from 9.8km down to 8.6km. Keep in mind this will not allow you to stealth fire either your torpedoes or your main battery from open water. Alternatively, Jack of All Trades is interesting because it reduces the reset timer on your Smoke Generator, from 2 minutes and 40s with premium to 2 minutes and 16 seconds. For more articles in this series, please visit: LittleWhiteMouse's Mega Ship Review Guide A special thank you to NikoPower for providing access to the Perth, PigeonofWar for answering my questions and to Lert and Zoup for their contributions to the article. Also, a big thanks for the support offered by KJar, Argh_My_Liver, EroSun, MagisterAurelius and "Large Handsome Dog" (you know who you are). They helped keep me sane while trucking through the writing process. Lastly, a very special thanks to AfroSquirrel for that one game we ended up together in testing that was super fun to play.
  16. The following is a review of Paolo Emilio, the tier IX Italian destroyer. Wargaming was kind enough to provide me access to this ship at no cost to me -- be aware: I did not have to pay for this. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics and performance discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.9. Please be aware that said performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: A torpedo destroyer hiding behind a gunship facade but her painfully long main-battery reload hamstrings her gunnery. She is wicked fast and comes with an Italian Exhaust Smoke Generator. Both traits allow her to suicide-charge targets with her short-ranged fish. PROS Massive health pool of 24,400hp. Very heavily armoured for a destroyer including a 60mm belt. Huge SAP broadsides of up to 8,052 damage per salvo. Powerful torpedo armament with twelve tubes and 23,767 damage per fish. Base top speed of 43.5 knots. Engine Boost consumable provides a 25% speed increase giving her a maximum speed (with flag) of up to 56.7 knots in sprints (!) Has access to an Exhaust Smoke Generator. CONS Painfully long main battery reload of 10.7 seconds. Horrible fire-starter. No AP shells at all which makes generating citadel hits nigh-impossible. Torpedoes are very short ranged at 6km. Enormous turning radius of 810m. Horrible concealment values. Engine Boost only lasts for 50 seconds. Paolo Emilio is a very hungry ship when it comes to commander skills & upgrades. You will not have enough points and slots to go around. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH/ Extreme New players stay away. Paolo Emilio is not an easy ship to play. The challenge resides in her poor concealment, her weird gunnery and short-ranged fish. While suicide-torping in PVE-modes will certainly pay dividends, this all falls apart against human opponents. Paolo Emilio's modest gunnery damage out-put, her lack of stealth and her painfully short-duration consumables makes heads-up encounters against just about any opponent super-dangerous. If you cannot kill them quickly, you're not likely to escape. Options Consumables Paolo Emilio's consumables are weird. Whether or not this ends up being normal if and when the Italian destroyer line launches remains to be seen. At least her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. This has unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 40 second reset timer. She uses an Exhaust Smoke Generator in her second slot. This generates smoke for 35 seconds (40.25s with X-ray Papa Unaone signal) and will conceal Paolo Emilio for this duration even while she moves at full speed. Each cloud dissipates in 10 seconds. She starts with five charges (which is admittedly a lot!) and they have a 140 second reset timer. Finally, she has a weird Engine Boost consumable. The candle that burns twice as bright burns for half as long. Paolo Emilio's boost provides a 25% increase to her speed instead of the usual 8% for most destroyers. However, it only lasts for 50 seconds instead of the typical 120 seconds. She starts with five charges here as well (which, again, is a lot) and it shares the 140 second reset timer of her Exhaust Smoke Generator. Pay special attention to the synergy between her Engine Boost and Exhaust Smoke Generator's reset timers. They very conveniently line up and almost match her torpedo reload time. Upgrades There are, ostensibly, two ways of specializing Paolo Emilio. The first is a more conventional destroyer gunship build, focusing upon stealth, damage output and making use of stationary bits of cover. The latter favours an open-water style of engagement, firing at range and focusing upon agility at the expense of stealth. Obviously there's a lot of overlap between these two so you can mix and match to suit your style. You'll note that I'm not fussing overmuch about upgrading her torpedoes. They honestly don't need any help. Main Armaments Modification 1 is optimal in your first slot. Though if you really hate detonations and are running low on Juliet Charlie signals, Magazine Modification 1 isn't a terrible choice. In slot two, Engine Boost Modification 1 is a must if you can afford it. This costs 17,000 from the Armory and is well worth the price. This increases the action time of her Engine Boost from 50 seconds to 70 65 seconds which is a lot more comfortable. If you can't afford this then default to Engine Room Protection as you would for most destroyers. In her third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. However, Paolo Emilio's gun handling could use a little help when she's bobbing and weaving in open water. Main Battery Modification 2 can help keep her guns on target when you're zooming past a target at high speed (especially given the current bug with the Expert Marksman skill). There is an argument to be made for Torpedo Tubes Modification 1 in slot three, not so much for the gains in torpedo speed, but for keeping her torpedo launchers alive and speeding up their traverse rate. Knowing what I know about critical damage and destruction mechanics, I'm not sold on this upgrade. Aiming System Modification 1 is hands down better, in my opinion, even if its gains are similarly minimal. For your fourth slot, it's really up to you. Propulsion Modification 1 provides the biggest boost to how your ship performs but only from a dead stop. Your ship has to be stationary (and stationary often) for this to be worthwhile. If you prefer an island or allied-smoke camping style of play, this is the one to grab. Otherwise, default to Steering Gears Modification 1 to drop her rudder shift time down from 5.3s to 4.2s. So, Concealment Modification 1 is always going to be optimal for slot five. The combination of increased stealth and increased gunnery dispersion from enemy ships is too good to pass up. Still, if you would prefer a more active style of play, you can opt for Steering Gears Modification 2. On it's own it drops Paolo Emilio's rudder shift time from 5.3s to 3.2s. If you pair it with Steering Gears Modification 1 from the previous slot, you can get this all the way down to 2.5s. Finally, we have a game play choice. Main Battery Modification 3 is definitely the front-runner. This reduces her gunnery reload time from a painful 10.7s to 9.4s. Pair it with Basic Fire Training and you can get this down to 8.5s, which is still awful but not abhorrent. This comes at the expense of her gun rotation rate which drops from 10º/s to 8.7º/s. That's not enough to allow her to out-turn her turrets, but it's still uncomfortably close. The alternative is grabbing Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 to increase her range from 11.3km to 13.11km which definitely helps with the open-water gunship style of play. Paired with Advanced Fire Training, you can get her range up to 15.73km. So more pew-pews or more comfortable, long-range gunnery. It's up to you. So for a super-specialized, open-water build, you might go for: MAM1, EBM1, ASM1, SGM1, SGM2, GFCM1 with the option of swapping out SGM2 for CSM1 based on preferences. But a more generic build might look like: MAM1, EBM1, ASM1, PM1, CSM1, MBM3. Commander Skills There's a lot to unpack here. Lemme explain what all of the shapes and colour coding mean: Blue circles: Pick ONE. (1pt) Red circles: Always take these. (5pts combined) Red squares (double outline): Highly recommended. (8pts combined) Yellow squares: Great if you can afford them, but lower-priority than red-squares. (14pts combined) Blue squares: Nice to have but not optimal in most builds. (10pts combined) So just touching base on the necessities and the highly-recommended stuff, you're looking at 14pts spent so it gets pretty messy to fill out the last five points. I never found a build that I was 100% happy with while play-testing Paolo Emilio. I go into more detail about the conflicts and struggles here in the Firepower section below. Camouflage Paolo Emilio comes with Type 10 Camouflage providing the usual tier IX premium-ship bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. Italian ships are just plain gorgeous. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 135mm guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Torpedoes: Twelve torpedo tubes in 3x4 launchers with one wing mount to either side between the funnels and one mounted centerline behind the second funnel giving her up to an eight-fish broadside. With few exceptions, firepower defines a ship's performance. Paolo Emilio presents a rather extreme example in this instance, dictating (or at least pressuring players towards) a particular play style. Despite her apparent heavy gun armament, she is not a gunship. She is a torpedo-destroyer. Relying upon her main battery weapons to carry the day makes about as much sense here as it would on ships like Kagero, Benham or Fujin. While occasional successes may come at the hands of a well placed main-battery broadside, it is capitalizing upon her torpedo armament which makes or breaks this ship. Let's go into the wherefores. Limited by a Long Reload There are two primary drawbacks to Paolo Emilio's main battery firepower: She has no access to AP shells. She has a painfully long reload. The former is, honestly, only a minor issue. Paolo Emilio's lack of AP shells is really only a factor when it comes to engaging cruisers and aircraft carriers at point-blank ranges where, theoretically, whatever AP shells she might have had would be capable of landing citadel hits. In all other engagement ranges and types, her SAP shells provide superior performance. So, like I said: Paolo Emilio's lack of AP is a drawback but it's so minor that it's no real loss. Her slow reload time, however, is another matter entirely. Paolo Emilio's guns are bloody brilliant aside from her rate of fire. Check out these strengths: 23mm of HE penetration (28mm with IFHE). With the right skill build, her 135mm shells are capable of directly damaging the extremities of any cruiser she comes across. 38mm of SAP penetration. This is enough to directly damage all battleship extremities and the upper hulls of those snooty American battleships. Massive 8,052 damage SAP broadside. The alpha strike from her SAP shells is capable of shredding between a third and half of a destroyer's hit point pool in a single salvo if all eight shells strike it amidships. Excellent forward fire angles. All eight guns can engage targets 27º off the ship's bow. All of this gets matched with decent gun handling, a good fire chance per shell, decent range, and reasonable HE shell damage. But no matter how good all of these traits are, being shackled to a 10.7 second reload makes her guns junky. Their only saving grace thus becomes that alpha strike off her SAP shells so let's talk more about them. Paolo Emilio's main battery damage output is pretty crappy. In theory, her SAP is pretty formidable, however you cannot count on your opponent giving you enough of a broadside for it to work. She cannot win protracted gunnery duels against most other destroyers. Crappy Sappy SAP performance is all over the map. While they all have high-alpha damage per shell, they do have drawbacks -- namely their propensity to ricochet when striking targets at acute angles. "Good" SAP shells have very forgiving ricochet angles while "bad" SAP shells have scarcely better ricochet angles than AP shells. Because I'm thorough (and stupid), I collected all of the SAP ricochet angles so we could better evaluate Paolo Emilio's SAP rounds: 80º to 85º - Nino Bixio, the tier II Italian tech-tree cruiser. 70º to 80º - The tier II through X tech-tree cruisers with SAP including the premiums Genova & Gorizia. 70º to 80º - Impero, the tier VIII Italian battleship premium that didn't make it out of testing. 60º to 75º - Paolo Emilio With the ricochet angles mapped out, it looks like this: Paolo Emilio's SAP shells are a LOT less reliable than other SAP shells with which you may be familiar. They are far more prone to ricochets. When it comes to ricochets, Paolo Emilio's SAP shells are like very forgiving AP rounds rather than SAP from Italian cruisers. Once an enemy ship (particularly a destroyer) appears to be turning towards or away from you, it's time to switch over to HE rounds. Given her slow rate of fire, this normally only allows for two salvos to be fired off before an enemy has angled enough to make her SAP rounds unable to sustain damage. This is, of course, barring obliviousness, but any weapon can appear amazing if the enemy doesn't fight back. Thus Paolo Emilio's SAP rounds perform best against distracted targets or in ambush situations and there's a lot of mileage for taking skills like Expert Loader to fully capitalize on on SAP opportunities. When to Use Guns Like Japanese destroyers, Paolo Emilio's guns should be used opportunistically but carefully. Every pull of the trigger should be calculated. While it does pay dividends to invest in improving Paolo Emilio's gun performance for those lean spells where you can't make use of her fish, it would be a mistake to think that her guns alone can consistently carry a match. Ideally, when you do elect to do some gunnery, you want to be using SAP as much as possible. You can largely forget about setting fires with Paolo Emilio's HE rounds. While she does have a respectable fire chance per shell, her slow rate of fire will make taxing a battleship's Damage Control Party exceedingly difficult. Getting more than a single blaze to stack, never mind two, will require some hefty bribery to RNGeebus. To this end, taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells isn't a terrible option to boost the direct damage performance of her HE rounds, but I'm generally of the opinion that this is way too expensive for what is very much a secondary ammunition choice on an already secondary weapon system. You can play Paolo Emilio as an open water or island-camping gunship. Hell, you can go for a full Khabarovsk or French Destroyer style build and play up the harassment meta all game. Increase her range through Advanced Fire Training or an upgrade and shoot and scoot to your heart's content. But that's not what she was designed for and it's again going to set you back a whole lot of skill points. Missile Command's MIRVs What Paolo Emilio is designed for, is drive-by deposits of torpedo broadsides at point-blank ranges. On paper, the setup is dirt simple: Use her ridiculous high-speed provided by her Engine Boost consumable to race directly towards a vulnerable target. Activate her Exhaust Smoke Generator just before you reach your own surface detection range in order to stay unspotted. Sprint the remaining distance and dump two launchers worth of torpedoes into the exposed broadside of your hapless enemy. With each fish dealing upwards of 23,766 damage per hit, any target you select is doomed. From the enemy's perspective, all they see is an aggressive moving smoke cloud that suddenly explodes into salvos of torpedoes. If Paolo Emilio is on the enemy team, you have to treat these incoming smoke clouds like one big torpedo that's about to MIRV into separate warheads. In PVE modes, this works as exactly as Wargaming designed. In PVP, it's a much less certain prospect. Paolo Emilio has some pretty gorgeous fire arcs and a couple of meh. It's only her dorsal torpedo launcher with it's forward fire arc that's crappy. The reason is pretty simple: Paolo Emilio's torpedoes, as formidable as they are, are very short ranged. To be clear, they hit like trucks and they're super fast (23,677 damage and 67 knots respectively). However, with only a 6km range, you're only getting hits with them if one of two conditions re met: Make a 200 IQ play at an aggressively moving enemy that doesn't know you're there, ambushing either through the slimmest margins of open-water stealth-torping or using island cover. Play as Wargaming designed her, and make a mad dash at an exposed enemy, using consumables to close the distance. I stress that the enemy must be exposed. An opponent that knows you're coming and takes steps to avoid your fish may not escape damage entirely but they're not going to get sunk. And then you've got nothing but your crappy, slow firing guns to see you out of trouble with a very angry enemy spotting you for not only their own weapons but those of all of their friends. Failing one of these Paolo Emili-yolos will cost you most, if not all of your health. So the counter is pretty basic. Activate Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar if you have it and point your butt and guns at the cloud, moving directly away from it at speed. You might take a torpedo hit or two in battleships but anything else should avoid the worst of it. This active counter-play means that Paolo Emilio is not a forgiving destroyer to play. There are more counters than this, of course. An ill-timed, broken module can similarly flub one of these attack runs, be it Paolo Emilio's engines or one of her torpedo launchers. The long reload of her fish in conjunction with the necessity of timing her consumables means that in PVP, you have to pick your targets and your moment of attack carefully or you'll just end up a greasy stain on the ocean's surface. If this ship becomes commonplace in the community (and I doubt it given the resources needed to unlock her), you can expect to see not only a lot of failed attacks but attacks that do nothing more than sink someone that was already over-exposed anyway and the Paolo Emilio that landed the killing blow dies in the attempt. So, despite the obvious memes, success with Paolo Emilio's torpedoes has a lot of skill-based elements to it -- at least outside of PVE. So some caveats apply here. These numbers are before you account for fire resistance of a given target which, at high tiers, is close to 50%. So, generally speaking, if you want to know how many fires per minute you can expect, take the numbers here, halve them and then compare them to your gunnery accuracy in the respective ship. So if you're hitting about 60% of the time in your Tashkent and you've fully spec'd her out to burninate, you can expect to set about three fires every sixty seconds against a Yamato. Also, Friesland still has zero chill. Summary There's surprising depth to Paolo Emilio's weapon systems. For example, her guns are terrible but if you build them properly, they become dangerous enough to pull out some wins in select encounters. You can brainlessly YOLO with her torpedoes but to get more than one success in three games, you have to plan your attacks carefully. I'm reminded a lot of Haida's weapon systems -- not in that their performance is comparable, but more that while it takes a lot of work to get results, said results feel earned. Paolo Emilio's weapons are very satisfying. VERDICT: A few crippling flaws but there's some fearsome potential here both with her torpedoes and her guns. Defense Hit Points: 24,400 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm & 20mm respectively Paolo Emilio is what the kids like to call "a heckin' chonker." She has 24,400 base hit points and 27,550hp with Survivability Expert (and you will take Survivability Expert). While she does not have any healing capacity, the sheer bulk of hit points provides effectively more health than some of those tier IX destroyers that do have heals due to the inefficiency of getting the maximum potential from every single consumable charge. Now that's a lot of potential damage! With Survivability Expert, Paolo Emilio has comparable durability to Jutland, Udaloi and Östergötland given typical use of their Repair Parties. Getting the "Maximum Healing Potential" as listed on these graphs is a bit of a pipe dream. Part of the reason she's so hefty is that she's actually armoured! Khabarovsk and other high-tier Soviet destroyers show their Italian pedigree when you look at what Paolo Emilio is sporting here. She has belt armour. She has armoured turrets and barbettes. She actually has reinforced magazine protection and a turtleback to protect her machine spaces for crying out loud. You could be forgiven for mistaking her for a very light cruiser. The practical effect here is that not every shell fired at Paolo Emilio will do damage. HE shells aimed at her amidships hull have a very good chance of shattering against her 60mm plates which is proof against HE shells of up to 360mm (240mm if they have 1/4 HE penetration). In addition, British 113mm guns from destroyers like Jutland and Daring cannot penetrate her deck without IFHE, further increasing the effectiveness of her steel. AP shells of all calibers will ricochet off her belt at acute angles. Combined with her enormous hit point pool, Paolo Emilio feels tougher than her destroyer-status would otherwise suggest. If she had the DPM to compete, out-trading with Paolo Emilio would be downright overpowered with this build. As it is, her toughness can kinda-sorta bail her out of tough situations and protracted duels, but she doesn't fare well in trades. The best use of this durability is at range, using her speed smokes to perform short-term hit and runs and then disengage and reposition. Being so tough will reduce the impact of those incidental hits and short-term exchanges. But don't think for a second that this will allow you to survive failed YOLO-torpedo charges. Paolo Emilio has a multitude of hidden armour geometries that are more curious than practical. If anything, they may end up being more of a drawback, ensuring that small and medium caliber AP shells fuse properly inside her. I did not include the 20mm turtleback (angled approximately 50º to 60º from the vertical) which connects the 60mm belt to the main deck as it would get lost in the clutter of her 20mm deck. Graphic was pulled from assets from gamemodels3d.com, a great site for advanced users that are interested in a more detailed look at the mechanics of World of Warships. VERDICT: Tough enough to surprise opponents but not so tough that she survives over-extending. Agility Top Speed: 43.5 knots Port Turning Radius: 810m Rudder Shift Time: 5.3s 4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 7º/s Paolo Emilio is stupid fast and that solves a lot of potential problems with this ship. She has the speed to dictate engagement ranges. She can pick her fights. Her high speed helps make up for her horrid turning circle radius, providing a modest rate of turn instead of an abysmal one. If all she had was this 43.5 knot top speed, that would be remarkable enough unto itself, but she also has access to an improved Engine Boost consumable. Paolo Emilio's ridiculous high speed helps counteract her horrible turning radius, giving her a still reasonable (but still admittedly slow) rate of turn. Her Engine Boost consumable is simultaneously awesome and crappy. It provides a 25% boost to her speed instead of 8%, which is awesome. But it lasts 50s instead of 120s which is such a tease. Just as you're finally ticking over those last few tenths of a knot to reach her theoretical maximum of 56.7kts (with a Sierra Mike signal), the damn thing cuts out. Taking the special upgrade, Engine Boost Modification 1 extends this up to 70 65 seconds, but it's still painfully short of what other versions of this consumable provide. This makes it less useful as a "navigate from A to B" consumable and more of one dedicated to Paolo Emilio's singular purpose: suicide torping. Her Engine Boost consumable synergizes well with her Exhaust Smoke Generator, encouraging their paired use. Activate her Engine Boost first to build up speed and then activate her Exhaust Smoke Generator just before you're spotted and lunge towards your selected target. This does not guarantee success, however. Even at her maximum boosted speed, Paolo Emilio does not have enough longevity in her Exhaust Smoke Generator to allow her to cover the entire distance between herself and a stationary target before the smoke cover expires (to say nothing of a target that's moving away). For those wondering, the distance compression in World of Warships is 5.22x. The purpose of these numbers is to illustrate how much range you can close when lunging after a target with Paolo Emilio. I covered her basic stats against stationary targets where the closing speed will be Paolo Emilio's speed at the time. However I also wanted to simulate approximately the closing distance when a target was either closing or moving away. To this end, I included entries where Paolo Emilio was racing after an enemy where she was outrunning them by 20 and 30 knots respectively. I also included the opposite end of the spectrum, where there is a target unwittingly charging towards Paolo Emilio and the combined closing speed amounts to 70 and 80 knots. The values are admittedly modest rather than a best / worst case scenario but should provide enough data to illustrate my points of caution. The actual relevant distance Paolo Emilio needs to close is 2km less than the values listed. Once you're in auto-detect range, it doesn't matter if her smoke is active or not. Similarly, if your target is going to oblige you by presenting the perfect torpedo target when you're still 4km out (such as by swinging out and presenting their broadside), then you need not run the full distance as your torpedoes can cover the remainder. Still, it pays to keep in mind just how long you'll need to push in order to guarantee those torpedo hits. This is a harrowing experience and every bit of speed you can squeeze out of Paolo Emilio's engines counts. This all comes back to Paolo Emilio having a pretty steep learning curve. What appears on the surface to be a straight forward calculation is far more nuanced. With this speed and decent agility, she should be an excellent kiting gunship if it weren't for that horrid reload. Suicide-torping should be easy if it weren't for the fact her consumables had such short active-periods. Worse, Co-Op won't help you learn these traits. Bots are dumb and they will make this ship's speed seem just right for pulling off shenanigans that will only get you killed against human opponents so you're not going to get any reasonable practice there. VERDICT: Damn-fast but not damn-fast for damn-well long enough. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 2 for 1,540 damage per blast. Long Ranged (up to 4.6km): 52.5dps Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 96.4dps Paolo Emilio's anti-aircraft damage numbers aren't terrible. They're downright respectable even. The issue here is that she doesn't have the range to give her guns enough time on target to do anything. She's a ready victim to dedicated air attack without the concealment to avoid being detected in the first place and lacking a long-lasting smoke screen to discourage CVs from loitering. While not quite on the level of French destroyer vulnerability, Paolo Emilio is a juicy and easy target for carriers. VERDICT: Yer dead. I did not shoot those Messerschmitts down. That was done by the combined firepower of the Baltimore and North Carolina behind me. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 9.08km / 7.13km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.68km / 2.98km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 3.65km sea / 2.7km air Main Battery Firing Range: 11.3km to 15.73km with full upgrades. The last piece of the Paolo Emilio puzzle is her Vision Control (or "Refrigerator" as Lert coined it many years ago). Let's start with the obvious. Paolo Emilio's surface detection range is nothing short of appalling. To give you an idea, there are only five destroyers with worse surface detection ranges. They are: 10km - Khabarovsk, tier X Soviet 9.88km - Kléber, tier X French 9.54km - Mogador, tier IX French 9.40km - Tashkent, tier IX Soviet 9.20km - Udaloi, tier IX Soviet In most destroyer versus destroyer encounters, you are not sneaking up on your opponent. With the exception of those those five ships, you will always be spotted first. Taking Radio Location to help identify the vector of spotting destroyers is quite handy, albeit an expensive solution to this problem. Heads-up encounters with destroyers should largely be avoided given Paolo Emilio's poor gun damage output unless the target is exposed and/or crippled. Trust her speed to keep enemies at arm's length, but be aware that playing keep-away constantly will surrender map control and probably cost you the match. Similarly, using her speed to charge headlong into cap circles is a great way to get Paolo Emilio sunk so it's best to play more passively around objectives lest she have a ton of ready support. Next on the list is what she does not have: Namely any detection consumables. As the meta has progressed, Hydroacoustic Search has become more commonplace on high-tier destroyers. Surveillance Radar too has proliferated. This is doubly important to keep in mind when her Exhaust Smoke Generator is active as she is effectively flying blind during the 35 to 40 seconds that it's active. While battleships with active firing guns are easy to see through her smoke, smaller vessels are not. Speaking of her Exhaust Smoke Generator, it is painfully easy to forget how short-lived this consumable operates for. While the X-ray Papa Unaone signal helps immeasurably with its added fives seconds of emission, this still gives her a pittance when it comes to concealment time. Do not panic-blurt her smoke. Also: don't panic fire her guns while she's in smoke lest you light yourself for an enemy you didn't know was there. The reset timer on her smoke is still painfully long (two minutes and twenty seconds) and a premature blast of smoke inside of radar or hydro range will do her no favours. The same can be said if she's being hounded by aircraft or enemy lolibotes. Once the smoke clears, Paolo Emilio may still find herself in trouble. While her smoke is useful defensively, it's best to keep her out of such problem situations in the first place, preserving it for the suicide-rushes she was designed around. Paolo Emilio's vision control is pretty terrible all told. She's reliant on her speed to make up for it and as shown previously, she's not fast enough for long enough to correct all of these problems. Her Exhaust Smoke Generator is powerful, opening up the possibility of some nice offensive and defensive actions but it has its drawbacks too. It's too short lived and she flies blind while its operating. Her fortunes tend to reside on how well her smoke is utilized. VERDICT: Her success is dictated by how well you can use her smoke. Final Evaluation Wargaming designed Paolo Emilio to be a one trick pony. In their own words: Yet despite this, she ended up being delightfully more complex. She can run and gun. She can even play the role of a destroyer interceptor, trusting on her alpha strike and durability to outlast her opponent. She's not good at either of these roles, but she does demonstrate flexibility enough to pull these off in a pinch. They're just not something you should base her entire play around. It's easy to dismiss Paolo Emilio as nothing more than a YOLO-bote. But even in that role, pulling this off successfully isn't always simple. Well, outside of co-op, it isn't simple. Paolo Emilio is like one of the strongest co-op botes I've ever played. Wait in the wings for the enemy DDs to be taken out and then YOLO your way to 130,000+ damage easy as you slash through the enemy cruisers / battleships with her fish. As a crusty ol' veteran, I unduly appreciate complexity in ship performance. But therein lies the trap. Just because a ship is complex, that doesn't necessarily make it good. Paolo Emilio makes you jump through a few hoops to get her to perform even to a reasonable level (again in most PVP encounters -- PVE need not apply) but that's not necessarily a good thing for the average consumer. There are a lot of ways to counter a YOLO-rush from Paolo Emilio and running into these counters time and again can be discouraging. Do I think Paolo Emilio is worth it? Yeah, she's fun. I like her. I'm not sure she's so much fun that I'd go through the slog of regrinding through the Research Bureau over and over and over again. I'd do that for Siegfried but Paolo Emilio is a much harder sell that way. Now I say this without having enjoying much success in Paolo Emilio in PVP battles. My first forays into PVP with her were downright disastrous, if not comical. She really is not an easy ship to play but that, to me, is definitely part of her appeal. Like Haida, if you do well in Paolo Emilio, it's because you played well. Furthermore, it's not because you overcame an unfair set of difficulties either. I will say this: If Wargaming opens up a 1 vs 1 Ranked Battle season at tier IX, Paolo Emilio will be HILARIOUS. Paolo Emilio swatting simulator. Kill it quick before it MIRVs. Conclusion Can't talk. Wargaming released Florida without warning. Must review.
  17. It's double-header time! The following is a review of both Belfast and Belfast '43, the tier VII and VIII British premium cruisers. These ships were provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes -- I did not have to shell out any dollarydoos to get access to them. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.10. Please be aware that they may change in the future. Belfast is a total meme. I am delighted to see that Belfast '43 is being added to the game. Belfast is an important museum ship and it's so unfortunate that her premium had to be retired. She is the poster-child for unbalanced premiums so it's nice to see that Wargaming is correcting the lack of Belfast with what is ostensibly a more balanced version. Now I could just review the new one but I know I'd be hounded by the need to constantly compare the two. And if I half-butted the comparison, there would be tons of questions and comments asking that I follow up. So to correct this, I'm going to review both ships at the same time. So consider this an update to the old tier VII Belfast while simultaneously evaluating the newer, tier VIII version. God, Belfast is such a meme. Azur Lane went so far as to predict this too with Belfast and mini-me clone version of her. No, I don't get it either. Comparing Belfast to Belfast is going to get confusing in a hurry. In order to try and keep things clear, I will be not only referring to them by their tier but I will also colour code them. The discontinued tier VII premium cruiser will be referred to by Belfast (T7) while the newer, tier VIII version will be referred to by Belfast '43 (T8). Quick Summary: Two British light cruisers with the best combination of vision-control consumables in the game. Belfast '43 (T8) has slow-firing but harder hitting guns. Belfast (T7) is a meme-ship whose over-the-top performance has transcended not only World of Warships but in Azur Lane too. Shared PROS British cruiser with access to both AP and HE rounds. Improved acceleration. Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 8.91km. Access to a Smoke Generator AND Surveillance Radar AND Hydroacoustic Search all at the same time. (!) Shared CONS Very light cruiser armour profile with very thin hull plates that are easily overmatched. Enormous 6mm "hole" in citadel roof that's easily overmatched by any AP shell of any size. Does not have the same style of AP rounds as the rest of the British light cruiser line. Poor fire chance per shell for a 152mm round of only 9%. Horrible gun firing angles, necessitating giving a full broadside to bring all of her guns to bear. Bad gun traverse speeds of only 7º/s. Only a modest top speed of 32.5 knots. Not a good training ship for British light cruiser commanders. These two ships are defined by three things: (1) They're hard to engage but squishy if you can hit them. (2) They have an excellent combination of Vision Control consumables. (3) They have HE shells. Their game play is largely defined by taking station near an island, deploying smoke and HE-spamming the snot out of anything that comes within range. As if this wasn't bad enough, their combination of detection consumables makes them an absolute nightmare for destroyers who cannot dare to operate in their vicinity. Belfast's Hydroacoustic Search and ridiculous rate of acceleration keeps her safe from most torpedo strikes, nullifying one of the greatest risks to sitting in smoke while her Surveillance Radar ensures that any destroyers operating in the area quickly regret their life decisions. Ostensibly this is balanced by their poor fragility and gun handling, but the high concealment and agility of these ships coupled with their Smoke Generators makes even drawing a bead on them in the first place quite difficult. This combines with ballistics that are favourable for making use of island cover that further off-sets any deficits to survivability. All of the above strengths and weaknesses apply to Belfast '43 (T8) with the addition of the following: Belfast '43 (T8) Specific PROS High HE alpha strike for a 152mm armed ship from improved HE shell damage. Can single-fire her torpedoes. Small turning circle radius of 680m. Very short reset timer between final cloud dissipation and reactivation of her Smoke Generator. Starts with an extra charge of her Smoke Generator for a maximum of 5 charges with Superintendent. Can stealth-radar (albeit with only a 90m window at most but still). Belfast '43 (T8) Specific CONS Small hit point pool of 38,400hp. Long reload of 10.5s on her main battery leading to poor DPM and fire setting. Torpedoes are short ranged at 8km. Horrible anti-aircraft firepower for a tier VIII cruiser. Few charges of her Hydroacoustic Search and Surveillance Radar. Short duration on her smoke clouds. Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Belfast '43 (T8) appears to have a balanced armament between AP & HE shells and her torpedoes. However, she pays for her triumvirate of consumables with nerfed weapon systems. Her main battery guns have a horrid reload time. Similarly, her torpedoes are much too short ranged to be used easily. Her AP shells suck, so that just leaves you with HE. Finally, as good as her consumable-combination is, they are limited by having either fewer charges (radar & hydro) or shorter duration (smoke), making it a challenge to manage them properly over the course of a full match. All of the shared merits and flaws listed at the top of this section apply to Belfast (T7) with the addition of the following: Belfast (T7) Specific PROS Fast, 7.5s reload leading to good DPM. Access to British light-cruiser energy retention, bleeding almost no speed in a turn. One of the few tier VII cruisers with Surveillance Radar. Has access to the 5th upgrade slot -- a rarity for tier VII ships. Belfast (T7) Specific CONS Only has 25mm of HE penetration. No torpedo armament. Long rudder shift time for a tier VII cruiser at 9.6s. Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Belfast (T7) is a different beast to Belfast '43 (T8) despite their similarities. This is largely owing to the differences in matchmaking -- Belfast (T7) gets to pick on tier V ships when matchmaking is being kind. Moreover, she's a rockstar at her tier giving up little while enjoying all of the same (but better) consumable benefits of the tier VIII newcomer. What's more, she fires three seconds faster per salvo and that makes a world of difference whether its stacking fires on an enemy battleship or lewding on a lolibote that you've flashed with her radar. Finally there's the extra agility Belfast (T7) enjoys. Her improved energy preservation means that Belfast (T7) is overall faster on average despite the two ships have the same top speed. This gives her a better rate of turn than her tier VIII-self despite having a larger effective turning radius. Just from the PROS and CONS list alone, you can clearly see that Belfast (T7) is much stronger (and easier to use) than Belfast '43 (T8). Bumping Belfast (T7) up to tier VIII would add on a low hit-point flaw but she would lose the slow-rudder shift as her 9.6s rudder shift time is on the slower-side of average for that tier. Belfast (T7) is, in fact, more than good enough to be a tier VIII cruiser with nothing changed about her. This explains why she was retired in the first place. So the question becomes not if Belfast '43 (T8) is a good enough replacement for Belfast (T7), because she's not, but rather if Belfast '43 (T8) is a good enough cruiser at to be worth picking up for anything but her name and history. Options Consumables At a glance, the first obvious difference between the two ships is that Belfast '43 (T8) can take a Catapult Fighter and Belfast (T7) cannot. But there's much more to it than that. Both ships share the same Damage Control Party. It has a 5s active period, a 60s reset timer and unlimited charges. Belfast '43 (T8), being a higher tier, has improved range with her Hydroacoustic Search over Belfast (T7) but with fewer charges. Belfast (T7) has a 3km torpedo detection range, 4km ship detection range, 100s active time, 120s reset timer and three charges to start. Belfast '43 (T8) has 4km torpedo detection range, 5km ship detection range, 100s active time, 120s reset timer and two charges to start. This deficit of one charge of her consumable is odd as most cruisers begin with three. Belfast (T7) has the much easier-to-use (and arguably better) Smoke Generator compared to the the new fish. Belfast '43 (T8)'s smoke is comparable to that of British destroyers, having more charges and a fast reset timer but with the smoke lasting for much less time. Belfast (T7)'s consumable is active for 15s with each 600m radius cloud lasting for 103s. It has a 160s reset timer and starts with three charges. Belfast '43 (T8)'s consumable is active for 15s with each 600m radius cloud lasting for 40s. It has a 70s reset timer and starts with four charges. Like with their hydro, Belfast '43 (T8) has improved range with her Surveillance Radar over Belfast (T7) but again, with fewer charges. Belfast (T7)'s radar is active for 25s and detects ships at 8.5km with a 120s reset timer and three charges to start. Belfast '43 (T8)'s radar is active for 25s and detects ships at 9km with a 120s reset timer and two charges to start. Only Belfast '43 (T8) can swap her radar for a Catapult Fighter. I dunno why you'd do that but hey, it's an option. Belfast (T7)does not have access to it all. Belfast '43 (T8) deploys three fighters which are active for 60s that patrol a 3km radius around the ship. It has a 90s reset timer and three charges to start. I think it's pretty easy to declare Belfast (T7) the winner here when it comes to her consumable options. Still, it would be foolish to deny that Belfast '43 (T8) has an excellent consumable suite, giving her some of the best tools possible in the game for vision control. Upgrades With Belfast (T7) being able to fit five upgrade slots like a tier VIII ship, the ideal upgrades between the two ships are identical. With both ships having improved acceleration, they cannot take the Propulsion Modification 1 upgrade in slot 4. The only apparent option in the second slot comes down to what you can afford. Surveillance Radar Modification 1 is optimal, adding another 5 seconds to the active period of their Surveillance Radar consumables. If you cannot afford that but have access to a Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 upgrade then equip that instead. Each of these cost 17,000 in the Armory so default to the former if you can afford it. If you can't pick up either one, then take Engine Room Protection. So the optimal build is: Main Armaments Modification 1 is slot 1. Surveillance Radar Modification 1 in slot 2. Aiming Systems Modification 1 in slot 3. Steering Gears Modification 1 in slot 4. And finally Concealment System Modification 1 in slot 5. Captain Skills There are effectively two builds for the Belfast-twins. They differ on whether or not to take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) to increase their penetration or to build for increased fire chance. Belfast '43 (T8) benefits more from the penetration provided by IFHE than Belfast (T7) due to how the skill scales with tier. Thus, the higher-tiered ship is more likely to build for IFHE but either build can work for either ship. Well this is a colourful, confusing mess. But there's a method to my madness. Start by picking one of the two skills in the yellow squares at tier 1. Next, hoover up the light blue circles. After that, decide if you want increased HE penetration with IFHE or increased fire chance with Demolition Expert. You can take both, but it's hella expensive. The remaining skills circled in red are nice to have. Use them to pad out your remaining available points. Camouflage Between all of the camouflages available between the two ships, they share identical bonuses. 3% reduction to surface detection. 4% increase to enemy dispersion. 10% reduction to service costs. 50% increase to experience earned. Belfast '43 (T8)'s Type 10 Camouflage. Belfast (T7)'s Type 10 Camouflage. Belfast (T7) received an additional camouflage through the Azur Lane crossover. In general, the Azur Lane camouflage disappoint me. World of Warships Blitz the crossover-skins had some fun geometry changes to the model too. Still, this one is at least nice and striking, even if it's just a skin. The best thing about it is that for my purposes, it's the easiest way to differentiate between the two ships in this review when I use screenshots. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 152mm/50 guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Belfast (T7) Secondary Battery: Eight 102mm/45 guns in 4x2 turrets. Belfast '43 (T8) Secondary Battery: Twelve 102mm/45 guns in 6x2 turrets. Belfast '43 (T8) Torpedoes: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers with one launcher per side mounted in the hull between the funnels. Belfast (T7) has the Union Jack on top of her B-turret except with her Azur Lane camo. Belfast '43 (T8) has AA mounts on top of her B-turret instead. Belfast '43 (T8). Note the differences in reload time, HE penetration, IFHE penetration and HE shell damage. Balancing ships is difficult. "Murder your darlings", an often quoted phrase stolen from Hollywood, has made the rounds in game design. The premise is simple enough: Identify what you like best about something you've made and then remove it from the design entirely. Such design elements will tend to lead projects astray and create complications further down the line. The darling in Belfast (T7)'s design, I am convinced, is her access to HE shells. At the time of her release back in the autumn of 2016, it was this feature which made her stand out more than any other from the British light cruiser line. Belfast (T7)'s HE shells did make her unique, but they ultimately broke and doomed the project. To be clear, HE in of itself isn't unmanageable. Belfast '43 (T8) is Wargaming's attempt to correct some of the earlier problems of Belfast (T7)'s design while still keeping access to HE shells. In my mind, it's a lot of extra work to accommodate something that was already out of place, long long ago. The time and energy could be better spent elsewhere and left us with a premium that was better suited to training British light cruiser tech-tree captains. As it is, Wargaming tweaked Belfast '43 (T8)'s HE shells to conform to the numbers they wanted to see. These changes are so odd they will understandably cause you to second guess her performance and potential. Fool me once, shame on you Belfast (T7)'s main battery firepower conforms entirely to light-cruiser norms. Her twelve 152mm guns behave exactly as you would expect. They fire a shell with modest damage output, with a rather floaty ballistic arc over medium range. To compensate, they have a high rate of fire. This seems simple enough. The only real oddity here is their rather poor fire chance per shell. If you line up the guns from most of the other 152mm armed light cruisers, Belfast (T7) looks pretty normal. Her 7.5 second reload fits in snugly between the long, 10 second reload of Mogami 155mm, the stately 8 second reloads of Soviet guns from ships like Shchors, Chapayev and Irian and the blistering quick reloads of Cleveland (6.5 seconds), Ochakov (6.1 seconds), Mainz (6 seconds) and München (5 seconds). However, only Mikhail Kutuzov is an apt comparison for Belfast (T7)'s ability to spit shells down range. Gun performance stats from patch 0.5.12.1 back in October of 2016 back when these were among the few 152mm armed contemporaries of Belfast (T7) at the time of her release. Mikhail Kutuzov, Budyonny and Chapayev all ditto'd Shchors's shell performance but with reduced DPM in Budyonny's case. Belfast (T7) and Mikhail Kutuzov can cycle their guns for long periods of time without interruption. Their Smoke Generators are the great facilitator, increasing their chances to not only find uninterrupted periods where they can spam HE to their heart's content but also survive longer within a match to do it over and over again. While ships like Cleveland or Helena can mathematically spit out more DPM, the survivability of these other ships is far more limited. It's easier for Belfast (T7) to take full advantage of her DPM potential and do it for more of a given match than it is for comparable cruisers. Belfast (T7) puts out a lot of damage mostly because she can take advantage of situations other cruisers can't. While others have to fish for cover or worry about dodging, she can just hold down her left mouse button. Her angry smoke clouds easily bully other ships, creating 15km zones of control. The only limit to Belfast (T7)'s potential is HE penetration. The changes to HE penetration and the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill hurt tier VII light cruisers in a bad way. It's hard not to feel like this was an attack specifically against Belfast (T7) to reign her in. Without the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) skill, Belfast (T7) cannot directly damage a long list of ship hulls. Taking IFHE shortens this list considerably. However, she still cannot directly damage the hulls of tier VIII+ battleships even with this skill. Furthermore, IFHE neuters her fire-setting chances, hurting her efficiency against these high-tier chunguses (chungi?) . Thus, whether you choose to go with or without IFHE is up to you -- both styles are viable and both have their drawbacks. Presently, it feels like tier VII ships get pulled into higher tiered matchmaking more often (though who knows what the actual math is on that) so I tend to steer away from IFHE on Belfast (T7) for the moment. This hurts her efficiency against cruisers, but I tend to focus on accosting lolibotes and burning battleships so this works out well for me. Overall, Belfast (T7) is as crazy-efficient as any tier VII light cruiser could hope to be. Her Smoke Generator allows her long periods of time where she can cycle her guns with near impunity. Belfast (T7)'s fire arcs are both varied and crappy. That would matter more if she had to wiggle and dodge, but she doesn't. You have to love how naively optimistic Belfast (T7)'s design is. "Sure! Give it better-than-average damage output for a tier VII light cruiser. Never mind all of the stealth and smoke advantages she has! It will all work out!" There have been so many lessons learned over the years... I apologize for these crappy graphs. I borrowed them from my München review and didn't bother to spruce them up. The IFHE+ and Max categories are assuming that the ships are using the Demolition Expert skill, both fire-improving signals and, in Flint & Atlanta's case, using the Basic Fire Training skill as well. The base 9% fire chance per shell pumps the brakes on Belfast (T7)'s ferocity somewhat. She merely ends up being a better-than-average fire setter overall for a tier VII cruiser rather than a high-roller like the other lights... at least until you remember that she can park and hold down her left mouse button with little worry of reprisals. Fool me twice, shame on me Alright, so Belfast (T7) proved we can't have nice things. Wargaming tried their best to make sure that Belfast '43 (T8) didn't repeat this travesty. Their solution? Nerf her rate of fire into the ground. Belfast '43 (T8) has a terrible rate of fire for a tier VIII light cruiser. It's a half-second worse than the fifteen-gun Mogami 155mm's 10 second reload. That's right; Belfast '43 (T8) has a 10.5 second reload. As you can imagine, this puts her DPM numbers into the toilet. When slinging her AP shells, she has worse potential DPM than most of the heavy cruisers at her tier which is downright terrible. Normally, when your DPM is that bad, they give the ship some form of compensation for this. For example, Atago & Mogami 203mm have greatly improved dispersion and kick-butt torpedoes. Then there's Amalfi who has a long list of advantages including high speed, agility, SAP shells and her Exhaust Smoke Generator. Finally there's Albemarle and Cheshire which have ... uh ... Wait. Wait. Hold on, I can do this. Finally there's Atago & Mogami 203mm which have greatly improved dispersion and kick-butt torpedoes! So as you can see, Belfast '43 (T8) is going to be leaning pretty heavily into her other advantages. Thankfully, this deficit is somewhat mitigated when it comes to her HE shells. Wargaming artificially boosted the shell damage of Belfast '43 (T8)'s HE rounds, up from Belfast (T7)'s 2,100 max damage to 2,450; a 16.7% increase. Belfast '43 (T8)'s individual salvos thus hit harder. It's not a lot harder, mind you (especially once you account for the 0.33x penetration damage modifier), but it is harder. When you then rank Belfast '43 (T8)'s HE performance up in a DPM chart, she sits above all of the heavy cruisers but behind all of the lights. On paper, this feels right -- especially given what we've learned about Smoke Generators on cruisers. Iwaki Alpha, Mikhail Kutuzov and Belfast (T7) ruined the gimmick for everyone else. Still, it's hard not to feel like this penalized reload is just plain punitive. It's painful and prevents her from playing to the same extremes as Belfast (T7). Belfast '43 (T8) is nowhere near as good of a destroyer hunter, for example. The opportunities to pack some loving onto lolibotes is fleeting and her long reload often limits such molestations to a single broadside slap rather than a repeated, fast-cycled spanking. Though her alpha strike on her HE shells is improved, Belfast '43 (T8)'s HE shell performance isn't improved so much that your singular volleys will guarantee a mauling. At best, you're looking at 9,702 damage per broadside to a destroyer compared to Belfast (T7)'s 8,316. Yes, it's more damage, but it's not "call you daddy" kind of damage. These problems are further compounded when it comes to Belfast '43 (T8)'s fire setting. While her HE shell damage is improved, her fire chance remains the same ol' unfortunate 9%. With that shackled to her 10.5 second reload, her chance to set fires drops from "worst of the light cruisers" to Cheshire levels of bad. Mother truckin' CHESHIRE LEVELS OF BAD, ladies and gentlemen. ARGLBARGL!!! If you take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells on Belfast '43 (T8) you can largely forget about farming fire damage even if you pad everything back up with Demolition Expert and signals. You'll be lucky if you get one fire to stick on permanently against high-tier targets, to say nothing of two. Your opponent has to already have their Damage Control Party severely taxed before you'll stick blazes onto their hulls. This is not a ship I would recommend building for just fires -- it's too much of a gamble with her poor fire setting characteristics. Despite this, it would be a mistake to skip taking IFHE on Belfast '43 (T8). Unlike Belfast (T7) she has the higher base penetration number (30mm) to allow her to abuse any target she comes across, so the direct damage is worth it. You might be thinking, "oh, but her torpedoes surely balance things!" NO. NO! Go gargle some liquid nitrogen and shut your hoarfrost mouth! Forget her torpedoes. At 8km and with only a pair of triple launchers, Belfast '43 (T8)'s torpedoes will not carry the day unless your opponents are idiots. If something big enough drives within range of your fish, you're either playing co-op or things have gone to poop. They are weapons of desperation, no more and no less. Arguably, the only good they do is to allow Belfast '43 (T8) to keep up in close-range firefights against other cruisers, compensating for her horrible reload. That's at least until you remember that most other cruisers will be spitting out fish too. It's a damn good thing Belfast '43 (T8) has those improved HE shells because her AP shells and torpedoes are liabilities. Belfast '43 (T8)'s fire arcs are closer to uniform but still crappy. Her torpedo arcs have an 88º fire angle starting from 50º off her bow. This is also crappy. Belfast '43 (T8)'s DPM has a lot to be desired. With her 3,100 damage AP shells and 10.5s reload, she has some of the worst AP damage output of any of the tier VIII cruisers. The boosted damage on Belfast '43 (T8)'s HE shells allows her to keep ahead of the heavy cruisers, but she still ends up with one of the worst HE damage outputs of any of the tier VIII light cruisers. Think Ochakov-bad. Use islands and her smoke to give her more time to cycle her guns. Bruh. Role Models Despite their differences, Belfast (T7) and Belfast '43 (T8) have the same role. Their primary job is to make destroyer lives miserable. Their secondary role is to harass anything else that comes into range with HE spam, either from angry smoke or from the cover of islands. Belfast (T7)'s longer lasting smoke and higher rate of fire makes her better at this, but Belfast '43 (T8) holds her own mostly owing to her higher HE penetration. Belfast (T7) is better at putting the hurt on bigger ships with fire stacks while Belfast '43 (T8) is more focused on doing it with direct, penetrating hits. The ballistics of their guns facilitates camping islands. It's not quite American in terms of their arcs, but they are pretty damn floaty. This is good news given how much broadside these ships need to show in order to bring their weapons to bare. Both have terrible fire arcs but that largely doesn't matter unless they're out in open water (which they shouldn't be). Overall, I'm pretty disappointed with both of their armaments. In Belfast '43 (T8)'s case it's because her torpedoes are too short ranged and that long reload isn't fun to play with. It's not terrible, but it's not fun. In Belfast (T7)'s case, it's because she's overpowered. She could have just had the same semi-AP shells of the rest of the British light cruiser line and this whole mess could have been avoided or at least mitigated. Boo-urns, I say. Belfast (T7) need not apply. Belfast '43 (T8) only. VERDICT: Belfast (T7) overperforms, but no surprises there. The IFHE changes have at least turned her from a "brainless, spam HE at everything and hoover up stupidly-big damage" to a "brainless, spam HE at everything and hoover up only modestly-big damage." Belfast '43 (T8) is supposed to have a more balanced armament between torpedoes and her AP rounds, but she's utterly reliant upon her HE shells in order to compete so that kind of undoes anything interesting about her weapons. Defence Belfast (T7) Hit Points: 35,700 Belfast (T7) Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 13mm/10mm/19mm/19mm to 51mm Belfast '43 (T8) Hit Points: 38,400 Belfast '43 (T8) Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 16mm/13mm/19mm/19mm to 51mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 114mm belt. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 4% Please note the difference in scale at the bottom of these two charts. I know someone will complain if I don't point that out. I needed more room for Albermarle's "anti-fail" mitigating drydock. There's not a whole lot to say here. Belfast '43 (T8) doesn't have a lot of hit points for a tier VIII cruiser. It's not a catastrophic deficit by any means -- she just doesn't have a lot. Belfast (T7) has fewer still, but she sits a tier lower so the gap isn't as pronounced. Neither ship has access to heals via a Repair Party (could you imagine if they did?) so that really puts them behind the health-pool front-runners. Given their poor fire angles of their guns, they tend to show a lot of broadside. Their 114mm of belt armour is good enough, with only Belfast '43 (T8) being vulnerable to citadel hits from HE rounds, but that's only from HMS Thunderer (love you, boo! ♥). Still, unlike some of the more recent British cruisers, their citadel does not match the 'hump' of their belt armour, laying flush just over the waterline. At least they have that going for them. These ships have two pronounced flaws to their protection scheme, with one exacerbated by the poor fire angles of their guns. First, Belfast (T7) and Belfast '43 (T8) have only 13mm and 16mm worth of extremity armour respectively. This is easily overmatched by every battleship calibre gun they will face. Belfast (T7) is particularly vulnerable as her 13mm extremities can be overmatched by even 203mm AP shells making every heavy cruiser a very pronounced threat. Belfast '43 (T8) has it better against other cruisers, with only the 234mm and 240mm guns of Cheshire, Drake, Goliath and Henri IV capable of doing the same. The second flaw has to do with their citadel armour layout. On both ships, there is an enormous, 6mm "hole" over top of the machine spaces. If an AP shell of any caliber punches through the belt, it can easily overmatch this roof-armour and enter the citadel without contest. Thus, even shots aimed too high will still land citadel hits provided they drop through this large opening -- the 6mm plate only prevents AP shells smaller than 85mm from overmatching. It's not going to happen all of the time, but this second bite of the apple will generate a few more citadel hits that would otherwise ricochet if the armour was thicker. Because these ships have to present so much broadside to fire their guns, this vulnerability over their machine spaces can be exploited more often. These are squishy ships. HE of nearly any calibre hurts. AP will wreck them in short order. Their fragility is meant to be a key flaw in World of Warships. However, given their stealth, ballistics and smoke, this isn't as much of a pronounced weakness as it might otherwise be. If you're dumb enough to sit out in open water and try and trade with another cruiser (or battleship for that matter) you get the spanking you deserve. Belfast '43 (T8)'s armour layout is almost identical to her tier VII counterpart. There are subtle differences here and there, like around the steering gears (not pictured) but other than the differences in super-structure and extremities, they're functionally the same. You can clearly see that 6mm hole in her citadel roof that matches the raised 114mm belt section. Her turrets aren't likely to resist damage with 102mm front plates, 51mm side plates, roof and (mostly) 38mm barbettes. Belfast (T7) is very soft-skinned. Even destroyer-calibre HE shells are more than capable of direct-damaging her even without IFHE. VERDICT: Soft and squishy, just like her Azur Lane design. Agility Top Speed: 32.5kts Belfast (T7) Turning Radius: 730m/740m Belfast (T7) Rudder Shift Time: 9.6s Belfast (T7) 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 6.7º/s at 31.8kts (!) Belfast '43 (T8) Turning Radius: 680m Belfast '43 (T8) Rudder Shift Time: 9.9s Belfast '43 (T8) 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.9º/s at 26kts I have Edinburgh (and Belfast (T7) who clones her agility performance) listed here at a 740m radius. Her calculated radius is technically 736m or so. Normally Wargaming tends to round up when generating in-port stats but not always. So 730m or 740m is technically correct. I could go back and fix this graphic to have her overlap with Bayard and Baltimore but screw it. The best thing about Belfast '43 (T8)'s handling is her small turning circle radius relative to the other tier VIII cruisers. British light cruisers are weird. This should come as no surprise. The physics-defying, flying-saucer behaviour of British light cruisers is pretty infamous at this point. They bleed almost no speed in a turn and can, in fact, accelerate flat out with their rudder hard over in ways that appear to defy all logic and reason. Belfast (T7) conforms to these insane-norms, largely cloning Edinburgh's performance. Where most cruisers can only preserve up to 80% of their speed with their rudder hard over, Belfast (T7) preserves almost 98%. This gives her an excellent rate of turn, making her far more agile than her other manoeuvrability characteristics would imply. Furthermore, this ship has ridiculous acceleration. It's better than having the Propulsion System Modification 1 upgrade installed on a comparable ship which is probably why Belfast (T7) can't take it. Combined with her Hydroacoustic Search consumable, it's exceedingly difficult to catch Belfast (T7) with a spread of torpedoes while she's parked in smoke short of deploying a wide net in the form of a "wall of skill" from multiple salvos coordinated from several ships. The only drawback Belfast (T7) has, really, is her relatively sluggish rudder shift time. But seeing as she doesn't have to choose between taking Propulsion System Modification 1 and Steering Gears Modification 1, she can always choose to improve her rudder, so it's not real drawback there either. She gets the best of both worlds. The only place where Belfast (T7) lacks is her top speed. This makes dictating engagement distances a constant worry, especially given her lack of torpedoes to shoo-away bigger ships that she can't burn down quickly enough. It's not a crippling flaw by any means, but it's worth keeping in mind. Now, if you were hoping (or expecting) Belfast '43 (T8) to conform to the same behaviours as her predecessor, you're mistaken. The only element she inherits is the improved acceleration (and the inability to mount Propulsion System Modification 1). Belfast '43 (T8) behaves like a normal cruiser in all other respects to her agility. She may appear to have a smaller turning radius, but this is a booby-prize -- Belfast (T7)'s larger turning radius is an artifact of her preserved speed in a turn. When she was released, Belfast (T7) was advertised as having the same 680m turning radius as Belfast '43 (T8). However that derived value assumes that a cruiser only turns at 80% of her 4/4 speed, so it had to be corrected to its current value (which is, frankly, still off by 10m -- it's closer to 740m according to my tests, but whatever). So Belfast '43 (T8) has the tighter turning radius, however this only applies at 4/4 engine power. Things get ... well, they get weird at other engine settings. Belfast (T7) is the more agile ship with a tighter turning radius AND better rate of turn at all other engine settings. Here's a quick look at the other tier VIII cruisers with a top speed of 32.5 knots and how they compare to these two ships: Problems circled in red. Belfast '43 (T8) bleeds too much speed at all but the 4/4 engine settings in a sustained turn. Though this is true for almost every engine setting, it's especially pronounced at 1/2 and 3/4 power. Belfast (T7) (and Edinburgh) behaves better than its 730m (or is it 740m?) in-port turning radius would suggest at all engine settings, but this really stands out at 4/4 power where it bleeds almost no speed at all. Cleveland and AL Montpelier bleed too much speed at 4/4 engine power. The effects of these other engine settings are not likely to apply often in the average game of World of Warships. All you need to know is that Belfast '43 (T8) has worse performance than she should while Belfast (T7) has better-than-average performance at all engine settings. In short, other than in acceleration, Belfast '43 (T8) has worse agility than she should. Without the energy preservation that Belfast (T7) enjoys at 4/4 engine power, Belfast '43 (8) is otherwise unremarkable short of her small turning circle radius for a tier VIII cruiser. Belfast (T7) is the much better ship, agility wise with a laundry list of strange benefits. VERDICT: The improved acceleration is wonderful to have, especially for camping the relatively small smoke banks that these ship generate with the short action time of their Smoke Generators. Belfast (T7) has the standard, British light cruiser physics-defying engines while Belfast '43 (8) is pretty normal. Anti-Aircraft Defence Belfast (T7) Flak Bursts: 3+1 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Belfast (T7) Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 91dps at 90% accuracy (82dps) Belfast (T7) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 255.5dps at 90% accuracy (230dps) Belfast '43 (T8) Flak Bursts: 3+1 explosions for 1,260 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Belfast '43 (T8) Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 80.5dps at 90% accuracy (72dps) Belfast '43 (T8) Medium Ranged (up to 2.5km): 80.5dps at 90% accuracy (72dps) Belfast '43 (T8) Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 143.5dps at 85% accuracy (122dps) Some of this makes sense to me and then some of it doesn't. The part that makes sense to me is where Belfast (T7) has better AA power than her '43 counterpart. She is, after-all, a more modernized version of her earlier self, so I can stomach her having improved AA power if only from that aspect. What doesn't make sense to me is the incongruity between the number of dual-purpose 102mm guns and the amount of sustained AA DPS and flak bursts between the two ships. Logically Belfast '43 (T8), with her twelve 102mm guns, should produce more long-range AA DPS and flak explosions with her larger battery of large-calibre weapons. Instead, Belfast (T7) not only has more DPS but she generates the same number of explosions AND those explosions individually hit harder too. I suppose I'm forced to chalk it up to some nebulous hand-waving towards Belfast (T7) having improved AA detection systems or some such nonsense. The only consolation is that at least Belfast '43 (T8)'s long-range AA woes are at least consistent with those found on her tier VIII sister-ship, Edinburgh. Suffice to say, Belfast '43 (T8) doesn't have good AA firepower. She lacks access Defensive AA Fire (thought that's honestly a bit of a booby-prize in the current meta when forced to choose between it and Hydroacoustic Search) and she doesn't have the raw numbers to ensure her own safety. Then again, that's not something that Belfast (T7) can easily boast either, so it's not like Belfast '43 (T8)'s predecessor has an enormous leg up or anything. The only real bummer is that Belfast '43 (T8) has to deal with tier X carriers on occasion which will never (ever) go well. Overall, Belfast '43 (T8) is a decided downgrade from what Belfast (T7) can do. She's even a downgrade from Edinburgh and most other tier VIII cruisers, only having better AA power than the Japanese heavies. Word will eventually get out that Belfast '43 (T8) is an easy mark for carriers. While you could take her Catapult Fighter to provide some protection, it's not worth losing her Surveillance Radar for what little deterrent a fighter actually provides. The values here have been adjusted by the weapon accuracy (90% for large and medium calibre guns, 85% for small) and then sorted by the formula DPS x [ range -1km ]. This provides an approximate ranking system for effectiveness of AA, valuing longer-ranged mounts than shorter ones. If you're looking for Belfast '43 (T8) she's third from the bottom -- just beneath Anchorage and above the two Japanese cruisers. Yeah, her AA is that bad. Most of these ships have the option of increasing their sustained AA DPS by 50% through the use of the Defensive AA Fire consumable, but not all of them will have it due to having to choose between it and Hydroacoustic Search. The exceptions are Cleveland, Montpelier, Ochakov and Wukong which will always have it and Edinburgh, Belfast '43, Anchorage, Irian and Amalfi which cannot take it at all. For those curious, Belfast (T7) would sit just beneath Wichita on this chart, so slightly better than Edinburgh. VERDICT: Belfast (T7) has decent (but not great) AA firepower. Belfast '43 (T8) has poor AA defence for her tier. Their Smoke Generators are arguably your best protection against planes, but you should be understandably reluctant to use that unless your life depends upon it. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 11.34km / 8.91km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 7.16km/5.8km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 5.28km Maximum Firing Range: 15.42km I dunno what this is or where it's from, but it's pretty apt at describing Belfast's monstrous refrigerator (Vision Control). This is the reason that Belfast (T7) is overpowered. There's a lot to cover here, so let's get stuck in. Angry Smoke Clouds Smoke Generators on cruisers, particularly HE spamming cruisers, is highly contentious. The only thing worse than being on the receiving end of an endless torrent of HE spam is aircraft carriers. ... ... Huh? Oh, right. HE spam from smoke is pretty awful too. The two Belfasts have different strengths when it comes to their Smoke Generators. Belfast (T7) has easier to use, longer-lasting smoke. Belfast '43 (T8)'s smoke is much (much!) shorter duration but it comes off cool-down very quickly -- from 15 seconds from the dissipation of your last smoke cloud to as little as 8.2 seconds if you double stack Jack of All Trades with the November Foxtrot signal. Thus for higher-skilled players, Belfast '43 (T8)'s shorter duration smoke is less of a liability as it's more likely to be available when they need it. For less expert players, the (much) shorter duration of her smoke makes it much more dangerous to use as they're more likely to be caught out when it dissipates. This said, I do believe that Belfast (T7) has the better smoke. Though Belfast '43 (T8) has an extra charge, Belfast (T7) has more overall time in concealment. When you account for the bonus charge provided by Superintendent, Belfast (T7) has as much as 472 seconds worth of smoke cover per match (just shy of 8 minutes or just over with an X-ray Papa Unaone signal). Belfast '43 (T8) has only 275 seconds (just over 4.5 minutes and just shy of 5 minutes with an X-ray Papa Unaone signal) in a best-case scenario. But let's put this math into terms that really matter: the number of salvos each of these versions of Belfast can fire from smoke. As discussed earlier, Belfast '43 (T8) has really crappy DPM owing to her long reload. Let's assume our Belfasts are moving at 1/4 speed and open fire the moment they activate smoke, targeting enemies spotted for them by allies. Here are the best case for the number of salvos fired without being detected with a single charge of smoke: Belfast (T7) - 16 salvos (192 shells) Belfast '43 (T8) - 6 salvos (72 shells) It's not even a contest. Belfast '43 (T8) doesn't spam HE from smoke so much as take a few pot shots before scuttling away. Belfast (T7) meanwhile can sit comfortably and commit Dresden-style war crimes on anything that happens into range. Thus, Belfast '43 (T8) is much more dependent upon using island cover and kiting in open water than her tier VII-self. This doesn't make Belfast '43 (T8) bad by any stretch -- smoke of any kind is a very powerful consumable. Being more flexible with the use of open water and island terrain can lead to more longevity, given that firing into smoke has become a lot more common of a player skill since Belfast (T7)'s introduction back in the Fall of 2016. However, the knowledge on how to pull this off successfully is less likely to be found in a lower-tiered lobby. Furthermore, Surveillance Radar and long-ranged Hydroacoustic Search is much more prevalent within Belfast '43 (T8)'s matchmaking, while Belfast (T7) may end up being the only ship on either team with radar so she need not contend with it as often. So, the theory goes with Belfast '43 (T8) being less dependent upon smoke, her performance will somehow make feel more fair, balanced, earned, legitimate, or whatever other buzzwords people want to assign to her reduced smoke-crutch. The simple truth is that her smoke is worse. You need to do more work in Belfast '43 (T8) to get the same kind of potential as Belfast (T7)'s easy mode. Thus, Belfast (T7) has the better smoke. What's more, she has the better matchmaking which makes said smoke all the more advantageous. Belfast '43 (T8)'s smoke is strong, but Belfast (T7)'s smoke is game-changing. Showing Ark Royal how it's done If Belfast (T7) was simply an angry HE-spamming smoke cloud, she would still have garnered a lot of hate. Mikhail Kutuzov generated similar amounts of ire (and similar amounts of being pulled from the stores). But what makes these ships such monsters is their trifecta of lolibote hunting Vision Control (refrigerator) traits. Namely: Low surface detection to close with her targets to get close-to or inside of Surveillance Radar range. Hydroacoustic Search to neutralize torpedoes or charge smoke. Surveillance Radar to scatter the roaches. For a destroyer, these things are a nightmare. There is little to no warning before they're detected and once they are spotted, you risk being in Surveillance Radar range. Belfast '43 (T8) is more dangerous in this regard, having a long-ranged, 9km consumable than Belfast (T7)'s 8.5km radar. Belfast '43 (T8) is one of the few non-Soviet cruisers capable of stealth-radar, but her window for doing so is exceedingly small (less than 100m). Still, if she's detected it means that whatever ship is doing so is within her Surveillance Radar range which is a hella dangerous situation for any lolibote to be in. While there is a small chance that Belfast (T7) shorter range might not reach out to whatever destroyer that's lighting her, it's again a small window -- a mere 400m grace. The big difference between the two ships is what they can do once they have lit a target with Surveillance Radar. Again, Belfast '43 (T8)'s crappy DPM rears its ugly head and prevents her from being the god-tier lolibote molester like Belfast (T7). At best, Belfast '43 (T8) is getting off three salvos against a destroyer lit by Surveillance Radar with one of those being fired blind. Belfast (T7) gets three guaranteed salvos and maybe a fourth chasing the DD after it disappears. The only consolation here is that Belfast '43 (T8)'s higher alpha strike per salvo helps reduce the gap somewhat, but it's still around a 4,000 penetration damage advantage to Belfast (T7). Finally, it needs to be repeated but Belfast (T7) is one of the few ships armed with Surveillance Radar at all at tier VII. This alone is a huge advantage. Both ships are excellent destroyer hunters. Belfast '43 (T8) looks more attractive grace of her improved Surveillance Radar range, but Belfast (T7) wins out overall for the combination of higher DPM without giving up much of anything in the exchange. She's simply more capable given the opponents she faces due to her lower tiering. Mister Horse The presence of these ships forces your opponents to play differently. Belfast (T7)'s presence is more pronounced, precisely because of all of the Vision Control (refrigerator) advantages she brings to the table for a tier VII ship. She is visible less often owing to her longer-duration smoke. She's able to do more damage and start more fires from concealment. Finally, she's just as capable as Belfast '43 (T8) at sniffing out lolibotes. Belfast (T7) is a priority kill if she's on the enemy team. Yes, sometimes she's an easy mark -- particularly if she faces an opponent who knows how to blind fire into smoke and RNGeebus says . But I certainly don't like that gamble. These ships both have amazing refrigerators. VERDICT: God tier, the both of them. Belfast (T7) wins out, mostly because she's only tier VII. Killing destroyers wins games and these things are purpose-built to make their lives short. Final Evaluation Long, long ago in a fondly remembered patch from many iterations before, Wargaming wished to add a new cruiser line to World of Warships. This was in the before-time, back when the game only had American, Japanese, German and Soviet cruisers -- and even then, only a single line for each nation. This was before Inertial Fuse for HE Shells existed, when four-stacks of fires were an ever-present danger and a single flooding critical could doom a ship. It was a time of a cross-drops and inpenetrable smoke that even a battleship could fire from undetected. It was a time of fresh optimism as the third battleship line ever had just been introduced and German ships were actually good. And so it was the British light cruisers were added to World of Warships and with them, a whole slew of odd features. Repair Parties across half the line. SAP shells before SAP was a thing. No HE rounds. Single fire torpedoes. Improved engine performance. Weird, short-emission time smoke. And with this new release, Wargaming needed a premium. Belfast (T7) was to be that premium. She would resurrect elements of the earlier design iteration of this weird and wonderful British light cruiser line. She kept the HE that had been nixed from Supertest from the tech tree line. But to do so she had to sacrifice almost everything else that made the British light cruisers unique. No SAP. No torpedoes. No heals. They gave her extra detection consumables to compensate and assumed the job balanced and done. Well, we all learned how that turned out. Reception was everything from "it's good" to "it's too good" and she'd only get better over time. Belfast (T7)'s legacy would be to remain on sale for 12 months before being pulled for being too popular (for obvious reasons). Moreso than almost any other over-performing premium in the game, she became the face of "pay to win" in World of Warships, earning the justifiable moniker "Payfast". This was a sorry fate for such an important museum ship. Belfast (T7) has enjoyed a long reign as an overpowered premium. She has survived well over the years with only two major hits to her dominance. The first was matchmaking. Gone are the days where tier VII ships enjoyed being top-tier in most of their games. With the sale of tier IX premiums, the higher tiers are so well populated that she gets dragged up far more than down. The second blow came with the changes to HE penetration and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. She was stripped her of the ability to directly damage tier VI and VII battleship hulls without IFHE and tier VIII and IX battleships even with IFHE. Cruiser armour improved too. Her HE shells shatter against a wider range of targets she faces than they once did. Though her efficiency has been hit and hit badly, I don't think she's been brought into line. Belfast (T7) is still ridiculously capable. Her presence upon the enemy team forces players to change the way they play until she's neutralized (or recognized to being played poorly). Which brings me to Belfast '43 (T8). I'd argue the best thing about her is her consumable combination, but even that's nowhere near as dominant as her predecessor. Higher tiered matchmaking sees to that. The prevalence of Surveillance Radar, the crappier quality of her Smoke Generator and horribad reload ensures that Belfast '43 (T8) doesn't ditto Belfast (T7)'s performance. But this is still a ship to be wary of, especially if you're muckin' about in a destroyer. Belfast '43 (T8) simply isn't the nightmare to larger ships the way Belfast (T7) used to be. She's still unpleasant to face. Angry smoke clouds and HE spamming islands aren't fun to deal with if you're in a battleship. They're not much fun for anyone to deal with frankly. She is still a serious threat to any destroyer, but that's not unique to her. Any Surveillance Radar light cruiser at tier VIII+ is something destroyers need be wary of. Still, Belfast '43 (T8) doesn't make my cut of ships I'd go out of my way to play. She's a museum ship, though, with lots of history to her name. In competitive, her smoke and radar will ensure she's got some legs to her, but she's not going to be a monstrous repeat of Belfast (T7). I'm not entirely convinced her slow reload will keep her in line. It just takes her longer to farm the same kind of damage Belfast (T7) used to. Belfast '43 (T8) has potential -- you just need to put in more work. That'll be a turn-off for some (and understandably so), but a blessing for others that want such performance gated behind a higher skill wall. Overall, I have to say I'm happy that Belfast '43 (T8) is now available, if only because she's such an important ship historically and as a museum ship. This iteration lets people taste the same style of game play as Belfast (T7) can do, but with fewer tears of justifiable rage coming from your opponents. In PVE modes, Belfast '43 (T8) even manages to be the better ship, if only because she has torpedoes and bots are dumb. Belfast '43 (T8) really only has one major failing, honestly. She's a horrible commander trainer for the Royal Navy Light Cruiser line. Here we are, four years later, and we still don't have a good Royal Navy light cruiser premium for training up commanders. The Belfast-twins use HE, necessitating the use of Demolition Expert or Inertial Fuse for HE Shells -- skills useless on the tech-tree light cruisers. That just leaves the heavy-cruiser premiums. Exeter is powerful, bless her heart, but the penatlies of playing low-tiered ships hurts her earning potential. London does it a little better. But again, you may be tempted to take Demolition Expert on these ships. That just leaves Cheshire, bloody-monkey-sucking CHESHIRE as the de facto "best" British light-cruiser trainer among the cruisers. CHESHIRE, Wargaming's apology letter for the two years of Royal Navy battleship HE spam, as the only cruiser-premium worth training British light cruiser captains. What the Hell!? Welp, let's hurry up and wait. Maybe Plymouth will rescue us all. Somehow I doubt it. She's not likely to be accessible to everyone even if she does tick all of the other boxes. The worst thing about Belfast '43 (T8) is that she has kept Cheshire relevant. For those unaware, LittleWhiteMouse hates Cheshire and hated reviewing her. That Belfast '43 (T8) forced Mouse to remember Cheshire's existence is a crime for which she cannot be forgiven. It pisses her off so much she starts referring to herself in the third person. In Closing Heyo! ♪ Double-feature over! I hope you all enjoyed this detailed look at the two ships. I hope my colour coordination helped differentiate the two for you. Thank you very much for reading and thank you so much to my patrons for making these reviews possible. 
  18. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: HMS Nelson

    The following is a review of HMS Nelson, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of August 14th, 2017. The Walking Dead. Quick Summary: A slow Royal Navy battleship with all of her guns mounted forward on her bow. Her repair party consumable can allow her to come back from the dead twice over. Cost: 375,000 free experience. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.9. August 10th through 14th, 2017 Closest in-Game Contemporary Imperator NIkolai I, Tier IV Russian Battleship Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Whoa, no one panic! Nelson is not the second coming of the Nikolai. She simply shares a very similar gun layout and achieves a similar state of resilience (though admittedly through different means). They also share the affliction of having a very high citadel which means they both fold like a deck of cards if someone catches their side with battleship AP. Finally, like Nikolai, Nelson's big weak spot is her bow. While the Russian battleship really only has to worry about shells punching through the upper part of her snout, Nelson's entire bow can be easily overmatched by most of her contemporaries, but this is a common affliction to all tier VII Battleships. PROs Powerful Repair Party consumable, restoring up to 40% of the ship's hit points per charge. Good armour protection versus American AP Bombs. Good 1.9 sigma value which helps tighten up her dispersion. Flexible gun layout, able to switch fire from port to starboard very quickly. Short fuse timers on her AP shells, leading to less over penetrations. Ridiculous HE performance, with 101mm of penetration, high alpha strike and a 46% chance of starting fires per shell. CONs She feels blind with no consumables to aid with spotting (plane, radar, hydro) Citadel sits high over the waterline. Lackluster penetration values, comparable to HMS Warspite at tier VI. Slow turret traverse of 4.0º per second Anti-aircraft firepower is concentrated in short range (and excessively fragile) batteries. Nelson is slow with a maximum speed of 24 knots. Large surface detection range of 15.3km. HMS Nelson is the last of the so-called "Big Seven Battleships" to find their way into World of Warships. These were the battleships of the United States, Japan and Great Britain that were allowed to be armed with 16" guns under the Washington Naval Treaty after World War One to put an end to the naval arm's race. They consisted the Nagato-class, represented by Nagato and Mutsu, the Colorado-class of three ships, Colorado, Maryland and West Virginia and Nelson-class with Nelson and her sister ship, HMS Rodney. Of these seven vessels, the Nelson-class are certainly the standouts where design is concerned. There's no denying that their silhouette is very distinctive. When play-testing her, I received many comments about her looks (often derisive, but a few people had the right of it and called her 'awesome looking'). I can say that her play style is as distinctive as her appearance. Let's get into the hows and wherefores of their performance in game. Options Nelson has access to an improved version of the Repair Party consumable. This restores 1,188hp per second for 20 seconds, healing up to 40% of the ship's hit points per charge. However, this only comes with two charges as opposed to the usual three for battleships. Nelson queues damage in the similar manner as other Royal Navy battleships. She uses the same Damage Control Party of other Royal Navy Battleships (except Warspite) with a 15 second active period. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard Battleship options. Premium Camouflage: Type 10, tier VI+ standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. For your upgrades, you'll be picking standard battleship options. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. You're going to be tanking a lot with your bow and turrets, so your guns take a lot of abuse. In particular, her B turret gets disabled and destroyed frequently. In your second slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is your best choice. Nelson's horizontal dispersion is not as good as previous Royal Navy premium battleships, so the extra accuracy is sorely needed. Her anti-aircraft guns and secondaries are not worth upgrading. In your third slot, take Damage Control System Modification 1. This will boost your torpedo damage reduction up to 21%. And in your fourth slot, you have a choice. Steering Gears Modification 2 will reduce your rudder shift down to 11.9s. Alternatively, you can take Damage Control System Modification 2 to reduce fire and flooding damage if that's your preference. Special Upgrades The only special upgrade that has any sort of application on HMS Nelson is Damage Control Party Modification 1. When applied to HMS Nelson, this would increase the active period of her consumable from 15 seconds up to 21 seconds without affecting the reset timer. This competes with Main Armaments Modification 1 in HMS Nelson's first upgrade slot. Given the amount of abuse her main battery takes, this special upgrade isn't worth applying. Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 406mm rifles in 3x3 forward facing turrets in an A-B-C layout on the bow with B superfiring over A. Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm rifles in 6x2 turrets and six 120mm rifles Nelson's approximate penetration values for her AP shells are 550mm at 5km, 450mm at 10km and 350mm at 15km. Like Dunkerque, Nelson is largely defined by the layout of her primary gun battery. She mounts all nine of her guns ahead of her superstructure. Veterans who have played Izumo and are concerned about her gun handling can rest easy -- Nelson's gunnery is very comfortable; more akin to the Soviet tier IV Battleship, Imperator Nikolai I than the tier IX Japanese vessel. Her A & B turrets have excellent fields of fire with a 300º and 322º firing arc respectively. C is more limited, but still easy to use. It can engage enemies 25º to 137º off its side for a total combined field of fire of 224º. In most engagements, you'll be primarily making use of A & B turret with C being used to take opportunistic shots where possible. Nelson's turret rotation may not be fast at 4º per second (45 seconds for a 180º rotation), but with these guns all being forward facing, it's very easy to shift fire left to right as needed. Overall, Nelson's gun placement makes gunnery enjoyable. Even firing over the shoulder isn't too difficult. Nelson's accuracy, however, is a bit of a mixed bag. Her shell groupings are rather tight with a 1.9 sigma value, however she does not have the vaunted Royal Navy battleship shell dispersion seen previously on HMS Warspite and HMS Hood. Her linear horizontal dispersion appears to be the same as USN Battleships. This is still better than French and German vessels, but it's hardly enviable. As a result, when firing Nelson's guns, you can be blessed by a string of really tight shell groupings and then suffer some really wonky strays. Nelson's AP shells aren't terribly inspiring but her HE shells are phenomenal. The latter does not replace the former, however. Nelson's AP shells have almost identical penetration over distance to HMS Warspite's 381mm guns, while having a shorter- fuse timer as seen on HMS Hood. This is perfectly adequate (and even ideal) for bullying any cruiser within her matchmaking spread, but it's a different story where battleships are concerned. Her 406mm gun caliber ensures she can overmatch the bows of any cruisers she encounters, as well as the bows of battleships at tiers VII and below. Unfortunately, her ability to land citadel hits against enemy battleships has largely fallen away by ranges of 12km except for the softest skinned targets such as Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. Landing reliable penetrations becomes questionable outside of 14km. These ranges drop further when Nelson is bottom tier or she's shooting at thick skinned dreadnoughts. Closing the distance isn't always the best option with HMS Nelson. While this does greatly enhance the penetration powers of her 406mm guns, the backup provided by her secondaries is less than inspiring. Nelson's secondary gun complement is divided between 120mm dual-purpose guns in single mounts and six, large twin-gunned 152mm turrets. They are better positioned than those on Dunkerque, but these guns are still poorly laid out to support an attack. The volume of fire they put out is also less than stellar. Her 152mm guns fire a mere five rounds per minute with their AP shells. Her 120mm fire twelve rounds per minute with HE and a great 8% fire chance per hit, but these are largely rear facing and cannot begin engaging an enemy until they're alongside Nelson. Nelson does not appear to use the same dispersion model as Warspite and Hood. Her 1.9 sigma value keeps her groupings tight, however. Nelson's main battery HE shells are something to behold. They boast 6,900 alpha strike per shell, 101mm of penetration, and a 46% fire chance. The list of ships that Nelson can citadel with her HE shells is long -- long enough that a player might be tempted to think that spamming HE shells is an optimal way to play this battleship. While each penetrating hit does land an impressive 2,277 damage, this number quickly falls away as areas become saturated. This leaves her impressive fire starting ability to take over damage dealing which can be hit or miss on focused targets that already have blazes set. Nelson's AP shells should be relied upon as the principle damage dealer for this vessel, with HE used as situational backup. Nelson's HE shells are best used opportunistically, such as when an enemy battleship angles in at a distance, or as a one-off to help support a friendly CV by knocking out masses of AA guns in a single volley. The enormous 39.2m blast area of her shells will cause extensive module damage against any target she strikes, even if they fail to penetrate. These shells have a larger and harder hitting explosion than anything short of the Yamato, Lion and Conqueror. This can leave a formidable AA armament in tatters. It may also force ships to reach for their Damage Control Party consumable to repair disabled engines and steering gears, leaving them vulnerable to follow-up fires. It can even set off the magazines of destroyers and cruisers with the concussive force alone. An Iowa-class battleship can be stripped of all (yes, all) of it's small and medium caliber AA gun mounts in as little as two to three volleys of Nelson's guns. Peppering a few preliminary HE shells around like this in the early stages of a match can go a long way towards helping your CV allies out, especially before closing into more effective AP shell range. Just don't forget to prioritize nailing those cruisers with AP when you see them. Between gun handling, AP and HE performance, Nelson's firepower is incredibly forgiving. A novice player could, in theory, spam HE constantly and still amass some pretty respectable damage totals provided they survived long enough. They would definitely lose out to a Nelson commander who varied their ammunition choices, however. Rivals: Battlecruiser HMS Hood HMS Nelson is the second tier VII premium British battleship in the game, with HMS Hood preceding her by a few months. The two ships are so very different in design and game play as to be almost laughable. Nelson is a slow, enduring and relentless. Hood is fast, flexible and fragile. Nelson is victimized by aircraft and Hood is a nightmare target for enemy carriers. Both struggle when facing tier IX ships. It's HMS Nelson's gunnery which sets her ahead of HMS Hood, in my opinion. Nelson deals damage reliably -- something the British flagship cannot claim, even with its (much) improved accuracy. With the coming of the rest of the Royal Navy line, I wonder if we'll see HMS Hood get some minor tweaks and buffs to bring her into line with the rest of the British ships. Only time will tell. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 24.0knotsTurning Radius: 750mRudder Shift: 14.9s Maximum Turn Rate: 3.71º/s Nelson is slow. 24.0 knots is almost acceptable. Almost. Nelson is a full knot slower than Nagato which is already a ship that struggles somewhat with agility. This limits Nelson's flexibility and her survivability. She cannot control engagement distances. She cannot escape by outrunning her opponents or the reach of their guns. These problems compound when she faces tier VIII and tier IX opponents where not only are most ships faster than her, the map sizes make her low speed especially punitive. It's only when Nelson is top tier that her low top speed is less of a liability as she faces more of the standard-type American battleships and the distances she needs to cover are further reduced by the smaller maps. Now don't get me wrong -- this isn't Arizona-slow. And while she does have a three knot advantage over Colorado, she does not get Colorado's special speed preservation in a turn. Like most battleships, Nelson bleeds off 25% of her velocity when she's under manoeuvres, slowing down to 18.0 knots with her rudder hard over. If you're applying WASD hax as you should, you'll often see your speed struggling to get over 20 knots and this can feel like a real crawl when you're trying to get into position or you're trying to get away. Nelson is a pig in a turn. Nelson's only saving grace is that she rotates 0.1º/s faster than a Nagato, which isn't saying much. The good news is that she's incapable of out turning her turrets, even with their slow rate of rotation. The bad news is that while she may answer her rudder quickly, the effect of her rudder just isn't substantial enough to throw the ship about. This makes her very vulnerable to torpedo and aircraft attacks. DurabilityHit Points: 59,400Citadel Protection: 32mm anti-torpedo bulge + 356mm belt. Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 19% Armour layout of Nelson's belt, turrets and citadel. The only additional protection is a 32mm outer hull and upper deck not shown. At first glance, Nelson has horrible durability for facing off against enemy battleships. She has a citadel that sits so high over the water line, you would think she was a copy-paste job of the old Iowa and Montana-class battleships. What's worse, she's tier VII so her enormous bow is only 25mm thick. It gets overmatched by all AP shells larger than 356mm which includes the guns of all tier VII+ battleships with the exception of Scharnhorst. While she does boast some decent armour values, with up to 356mm of belt armour and a 305mm transverse bulkhead on her citadel, they are both heavily overtaxed trying to protect her vitals. The sad reality is that it's this 305mm bow plate which is HMS Nelson's achilles heel. Even with perfect angling (approximately 25º to 26º) bow on to the enemy, this plate just cannot stand up to any guns that can overmatch her bows. Bayern, HMS Hood and Queen Elizabeth need to get close to citadel her through the bow like this. They can only do so at ranges of 12.0km or less. Warspite and Mutsu can pull it off at at 13.0km. Things jump up considerably from there. Colorado can do so reliably from 18.0km. Everything else can do so at ranges in excess of 20km. When under fire from enemy super dreadnoughts, angle as best you can, know your ranges and hold your breath. In short: She eats citadels for days and then begs for a second helping when facing enemy battleships with 380mm guns or larger. Things don't get much better in regards to soaking up torpedoes. HMS Nelson has terrible torpedo protection with only a 19% reduction that can be boosted to a mere 21% with Damage Control System Modification 1. While this is better than that of HMS Hood, at least HMS Hood begins her turns faster. I lost this ship more often to torpedoes than any other damage source. Sometimes it was my own dumb fault. In others, the lack of damage mitigation simply overwhelmed the modest hit point pool of this battleship. Finally, there's the issue of her turrets. I have not been able to isolate why it happens so frequently, but HMS Nelson has her main battery guns disabled very often. B-turret seems especially susceptible. This is strange given the thick armour of her turret faces (406mm) and her barbettes (356mm). My guess is that shells are striking her barbettes or catching the softer sides of the turrets and prompting the critical damage rolls. Whatever the reason, you can expect to have one of your guns temporarily disabled at least once in a match. Yet for all of the deficiencies and even her modest hit point total, Nelson is quite easily capable of being the toughest ship afloat at her tier. This is all thanks to her Repair Party consumable. Unlike most battleships that recover up to 14% of their maximum hit points over 28 seconds, Nelson recovers up to 40% over 20 seconds. Yes, you read that right. This works out to 23,760 hit points that Nelson can heal with each charge of her Repair Party consumable. Nelson will, time and again, appear to be on her last legs only to spring back, hale and healthy and itching for a fight. Adding a India Delta increases this value up to 48% (or 28,512hp) per charge. With Superintendent, this provided HMS Nelson with a theoretical maximum damage total of 173,448 hit points needed before she sinks, provided her consumable is used optimally. I cannot stress this enough. Warspite, a ship known to be a tough little monster, would call receiving 80,000 damage before sinking a good match. This works out roughly 1.5 times her starting health. For Nelson, that number sits around 150,000 damage -- in excess of 2.5x her health pool. You can delay the enemy team simply grace of being a damage sponge they cannot sink quickly. This makes Nelson an absolute beast when it comes to facing enemy cruisers. She can soak the bombardment and the resulting fires for days and deny them any progress with a touch of a button. The only thing that keeps this from being disgustingly overpowered is the aforementioned tendency for Nelson to eat citadel hits. Her Repair Party consumable only queues 10% of citadel damage into the healing pool, while 60% of normal penetrations and 100% of flooding, fire, ramming and over penetrations make it into the queue. Her consumable also shares the long reset timer of other battleships. Large alpha strikes or masses of sustained damage can (and will) sink this ship in between cooldowns. Finally, she only gets two base charges of her Repair Party as opposed to the usual three. Overall, Nelson is incredibly resilient to fire damage because of this consumable. She simply laughs it off and heals all of the damage back, undoing the burn stacked by cruisers, destroyers and dive bombers without issue. This makes this vessel particularly well suited to farming up Fireproof and Dreadnought awards. Nelson is a zombie. If you do not put her down properly, she will keep coming back from the dead. Head shots, in the form of citadel hits or mass torpedo strikes, are the only way to ensure she goes down for good. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 15.30km Air Detection Range: 12.36km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.76km Main Battery Firing Range: 18.21km Min Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 2nd out of 7 Min Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 19th out of 37 Wargaming has hyped that the Royal Navy battleships at tiers VII+ will have great surface detection stats. That's not present here. Within her own tier, when all of the ships are rigged for stealth, she sits 500m behind King George V and ahead of the Scharnhorst-sisters by 300m or so. In a cross-section of all of the battleships she may face, she's decidedly average, sitting right in the middle of the pack. Regardless if she's top tier or bottom, there are potentially battleships that she'll spot first and others that will be more stealthy. Concealment for a slow warship helps keep them alive. When Nelson silences her guns, her surface detection range goes down to 12.8km with a full stealth build. This can allow her to sneak up on unsuspecting targets until she gets within a more optimal firing range or angle. Sadly, she does not have the speed to really allow her to take advantage of this. Short of one-time ambushes or picking on distracted enemies, it will be very difficult to sneak up upon wary targets. It should be noted that Nelson is a terrible ship for doing her own spotting. She's effectively blind without any consumables to help her in detecting enemy ships, aircraft and torpedoes. Skills like Vigilance become increasingly important for her as a result, especially when it comes to navigating around islands or through channels. Nelson's concealment is alright. It's not a real telling strength, but it's not a liability either until she's uptiered. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 120mm / 40mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.5km / 2.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 36 / 119 / 126 (133 in 0.6.10) Do not let the big DPS numbers fool you. Nelson's anti-aircraft firepower isn't as healthy as it looks. It boils down to two issues. Nelson's AA firepower lacks range. Nelson's AA firepower is concentrated in a small number of fragile mount-clusters. Nelson doesn't boast the best range with her anti-aircraft firepower. The 4.5km reach on her dual-purpose mounts is disappointing but would workable if they did more damage. Unfortunately, the majority of her strength is located in her small and medium caliber mounts. Nelson's 40mm pom-poms only reach out to a range of 2.5km and her 20mm guns reach out to 2.0km. This largely limits her anti-aircraft firepower to self defense actions only and she cannot provide fleet support, even when specialized with AA Guns Modification 2 and Advanced Fire Training. The small firepower total from her 102mm guns ensures that Manual Fire Control for AA Guns just isn't worthwhile. But it gets worse. Her anti-aircraft defense is easily knocked out by even small amounts of HE fire. Nelson only has six of the octuple pom-pom mounts. Losing one reduces her medium range AA firepower by 19.8dps, and four of these guns are mounted in pairs along the long axis of the ship, making them easy prey for bombs and HE spam. Things don't get any better with her 20mm Oerlikons. She has thirty five scattered across the surface of the ship (with two more being added in 0.6.10). However, they are packed closely together in large groups which reduces their survivability. For example, ten of these reside in a tight cluster on her bow in front of A-turret. Any HE salvos will usually knock out these small caliber mounts in handfuls, quickly decimating Nelson's AA effectiveness. The only real ray of sunshine is that Nelson has fairly decent protection against American AP Bombs. Tests have shown that only a rare drop with all bombs hitting will cause anywhere close to 10,000 damage. More often than not this sat at a considerably lower total. Preliminary tests with Graf Zeppelin's AP bombs were much more damning, however, but these are still in the development phase and very much a work in progress. In summary: Nelson has pretty good raw AA values, but this is only useful for self defense and it will not hold up over the course of a battle. Taking even minor HE damage can quickly gut the potency of her flak. While the ship is pristine, she'll put up a good fight against aircraft, but their short range means that the enemy will still drop their ordnance. With luck, you'll simply make it expensive for them to do so. Dive Bombers do not present Nelson with that much of a threat, even if they're armed with AP Bombs. She's able to heal back any resulting damage with ease. Torpedo bombers are another matter, however. Nelson's anti-aircraft firepower isn't up to the task of keeping her safe. Nevermind the Manoeuvres HMS Nelson is a little weird when it comes to choosing her skills: short of her core skills, she just doesn't care. Optimizing HMS Nelson really doesn't go beyond ensuring she has Superintendent and Concealment Expert. After that, do what you want. There are three general builds which will likely end up popular. Of these three, a Survivability Build is optimal. Next comes a general anti-aircraft build (minus Manual Fire Control for AA Guns which is all but useless for her). This second build will be pretty similar to low-tier (and very high tier) Royal Navy battleship builds. Finally, you can specialize towards spamming HE like a derp cause it's hilarious. The core for all three builds is as follows: At the first tier, Preventative Maintenance is the optimal choice, but only if your own situational awareness is elevated to such a degree that you can track threats when spotted. If not, then Priority Target should be your default choice. At tier two, take Adrenaline Rush. As you take damage, your DPM will increase. Note that with the huge jumps back and forth with Nelson's hit point pool, the gains from this skill vary considerably. Alternatively, you can take Expert Marksman for better gun handling, though Nelson isn't hurting here much. At tier three, take Superintendent. This will increase the number of charges of your Repair Party by one. And finally, at tier four, take Concealment Expert. You're a big ship, but you're not Fuso-Fat. This will help keep you alive and give you more time to use your Repair Party. You can place the next nine points where you wish. Survivability Build This is, in my opinion, the best way to build up Nelson. Reach for skills that will keep you in the fight longer and improve your damage output. High Alert, Basics of Survivability, Vigilance, and Fire Prevention are all great skills for this, so pick and choose your favourites. Make sure you take Preventative Maintenance too if you took Priority Target as your first skill. Your guns are going to get knocked out a lot. Anti-Aircraft Build Be aware that while Nelson has some pretty potent looking AA DPS numbers, her anti-aircraft firepower will only ever be for self-defense purposes and not fleet support. In addition, it's incredibly fragile and easily knocked out by even a small volume of HE fire. While the ship is pristine, she can be a thorny target for carriers but she's never going to be considered a "good" flak platform. If you wish to go this route, take Basic and Advanced Fire Taining for a total of 7pts. High Alert or Expert Marksman (or Adrenaline Rush if you opted for the other) are your best choices for the remaining two points. HE Spammer Now, for the player that wants to derp around with HE shells, let's talk about specific HE-boosting skills. DO NOT take Demolition Expert. The difference between 46% and 48% fire chance just isn't worth the investment. This is too expensive a skill for too little gain. Expert Loader might actually find some use, though, when you need to smarten up and reach for your AP shells. Now let's talk about Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. HMS Nelson is fully capable of damaging any ship within her matchmaking spread with HE without any need for taking this skill. This includes battleships and the armoured deck of carriers like Taiho. Her penetration is so high, she can citadel almost half of the cruisers in her matchmaking spread. Doing so provides a big boost to Nelson's damage totals, but this is a harder shot to land than with AP shells. Here's the list of cruisers HMS Nelson can citadel stock with HE: France: De Grasse, Charles Martel, St.Louis United Kingdom: Emerald, Leander Soviet Union: Kirov, Murmansk, Krasny Krym, Molotov, Shchors, Chapayev, Mikhail Kutuzov United States: Omaha, Marblehead, Pensacola, Atlanta, Flint, Indianapolis Japan: Furutaka, Aoba, Mogami, Ibuki Others: Perth. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells only opens up small sections of battleships to penetration damage and none of them large enough to be worth it (with the exception of HMS Hood and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya which each have large sections of their upper hull that becomes vulnerable). It does nothing to help you with aircraft carriers or destroyers. Where it does come into use is against cruisers. Taking the skill adds the following ships that HMS Nelson can now citadel: France: La Galissonniere, Algerie, United Kingdom: Fiji, Belfast, Edinburgh, Neptune Soviet Union: Budyonny United States: Cleveland, New Orleans Japan: Myoko, ARP Myoko, ARP Ashigara, ARP Haguro, ARP Nachi, Eastern Dragon, Atago, ARP Takao You'll note the absence of German cruisers and the Italian premium, Duca d'Aosta. The spaced armour around their citadels prevents HE from penetrating their machine spaces (though the modules themselves can still be damaged by the shockwave). Note that all of the French ships listed above are also largely immune but they were included because of small sections directly beneath their turrets that will allow HE to citadel them. Landing citadel hits with HE is different than landing them with AP shells. HE shells detonate immediately upon contact with any surface. Thus, you need to bulls-eye the outer citadel wall to land these high-damage hits. On some of these vessels, the amount of surface area is painfully small -- sometimes only a sliver over the waterline. The only consolation is that HE shells don't concern themselves with angle at all. Whatever surface upon which they first make contact is the one affected by the attack, so you can do some rather rude things to select ships that might otherwise bounce AP shells. I must stress, however, that as fun as it may sound to citadel cruisers with HE shells no matter how they angle, Nelson can do this with AP shells most of the time anyway. AP shells also do more damage. As hilarious as it is to make Belfasts cry when you not only carve out most of their hit points with an HE volley but also blow apart their modules and set fires, your four skill points could be better spent elsewhere. You don't really need any special skills if you want to be an HE spammer in this ship. Feel free to toss your Belfast Captain in here if you want, though. Jack Dunkirk The Legendary Commander, Jack Dunkirk, makes a rather good Royal Navy Battleship captain. His Smoke Screen Expert bonus is wasted upon these Dreadnoughts, however, but the bonuses he provides to Jack of All Trades and Expert Marksman makes him very appealing for ships like Nelson. Remember, so long as the commander build includes the skills Superintendent and Concealment Expert, Nelson is largely forgiving. So, if Jack has skills specialized for one of your cruisers, he can still train in Nelson with only a small dip in expected performance. Boom, baby! Nelson using HE in the opening stages of a match, bombarding an enemy Scharnhorst at 17km. By her fourth salvo, Nelson had destroyed both of the Scharnhorst's torpedo tubes, set three fires and crippled her anti-aircraft battery. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Nelson is really going to punish novice players. They're going to make mistakes and Nelson is going to slap them around for it. Her armour needs a subtle touch to be angled properly. Spamming HE doesn't generate great damage numbers. Her AP will bounce a lot at long ranges. She's too slow and too big to easily extract herself from trouble situations or to position herself where she's needed most. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme In the hands of an expert, Nelson becomes a different beast altogether. She just will not die. Proper management of her Repair Party will have her coming back from the dead twice over, ensuring that her team can have a near full-health battleship late in the game, even after tanking a ton of damage. Similarly, proper ammunition use can pay enormous dividends. Her carry potential is limited by her slow speed and lack of vision control, however. Mouse's Summary: She's like a zombie. Without a headshot to put her down for good, she keeps rising from the grave. Her HE shells are a hella fun to use, but it's a mistake to rely on them heavily. You'll kick yourself for every time you have HE loaded and some dumb cruiser or battleship suddenly offers up her broadside. She does not up-tier as well as Nagato, Gneisenau or Scharnhorst. This ship is so much fun. So I know the big question on everyone's mind: Can you spam nothing but HE shells and make this thing work? The answer is 'yes'. You won't do as much damage as you would if you fired AP shells, but it's entirely possible for you to just spit out walls of HE shells instead of anything else and rack up some decent damage and kill totals. The catch is always going to be that you could have done more damage if you fired AP instead. In close matches where the outcome is neck and neck, the lost opportunities to land AP citadel hits may well end up costing you the game. The wiki-editors and I challenged one another to try playing some matches where we shot nothing but HE. Topping 120,000 damage was more difficult than a mix of AP and HE, but it was possible, especially with stacking fires. So, go ahead and spit out nothing but flaming death onto your opponents if you want, just be aware that your damage (and win rate) will take a small hit as a result. This ship seems to be designed to farm salt from the enemy. Between the fires she can set and the absolutely trollish heals, she'll make the enemy want to focus you down hard and fast (lewd!). It's absolutely mean what you can do with her HE shells. See that Scharnhorst / Gneisenau / Tirpitz that's trying to brawl your friends? It would be a shame if someone tore off their torpedo tubes, wouldn't it? Or how about that North Carolina that thinks itself immune to air attack from your tier VII Kaga division mate? It would be a shame if someone stripped them of all of their close and medium range AA power. This is the kind of nonsense that Nelson's HE allows you to do better than other battleships at her tier and it's a very fun shakeup of the usual game play. For all of these tricks and hilarity HE can offer, her AP is still just so much better. Why butcher a New Orleans' AA firepower when you can just blow their citadels out of the water instead? While it's fun to congratulate yourself for a 5-shell, 11,385 damage high explosive volley, this is still less than a single AP shell citadel hit (barring fires of course). There are right times to fire HE, do not get me wrong, but AP should really be the staple of your damage totals in this vessel. Nelson is a good ship, but she's not great. She's got three big flaws in my opinion: Her citadel is too high. She's blind. She's too slow. That high water citadel is going to be a deal breaker for some. When you're up against someone that really knows how to aim (or simply in a tier IX battleship), her weak spots are all but impossible to protect. This all but negates the awesomeness of her Repair Party consumable. And speaking of negating her Repair Party, torpedoes have a habit of doing this too. She has no tricks to help her spot these warheads or their source before it's already too late -- destroyers can pester you with impunity. Given the island humping meta that's so essential to master, Nelson really feels the pinch when she can't send up a plane to take a quick peek on what's going on around the corner. Finally, she is slow. And, I think the worst thing about Nelson's slow speed is that she's not slow enough that many players will see it for the flaw that it is. Nelson will get caught out on occasion and it will cost you games -- not a lot of them, but enough to impact her overall performance. Her big gimmick, though, is damage management. I put an India Delta signal on my Nelson and I took no small amount of pleasure announcing in all chat, "Watch my hp," as my poor, battered dreadnought jumped from 1/3rd of her hit points remaining back up to a hale and healthy 5/6th remaining. The outrage was delicious. I even made a Belfast player complain Nelson was OP when I denied him a kill by healing up from 1,200hp to almost 30,000. Pulling this off requires careful management of your concealment and positioning, disengaging from the thick of the fighting to lick your wounds and then returning to the fray as fast as your slow speed will allow. If it weren't for those three aforementioned flaws, Nelson would be overpowered as all get out. As it is, she's an excellent competitor for any veteran player and she will challenge you to find balance between ammunition choices, fighting at the head of the pack and withdrawing to conduct repairs. Rivals: Battleship USS Missouri HMS Nelson is the second premium vessel to be made available for free experience. The first was USS Missouri, the tier IX American battleship. Missouri's price tag weighs in at a hefty 750,000 free experience -- double that of HMS Nelson. So the question becomes: if you had to choose one, which one would you get? Obviously, if a player prefers one nation's game play over another, that will bias them in favour of a given vessel, but in terms of raw utility, it's hard to argue against the American juggernaut. Missouri has an enormous credit-earning coefficient baked into the ship. She trivializes the earning of credits, with even a poor game netting players in excess of 200,000 to 300,000 credits. Players that own Missouri have posted battle results screens showing them earning over 1.5M credits in a single match. No other premium vessel in the game is as profitable. HMS Nelson simply cannot compete with her on that level. Would I Recommend? Nelson can only be acquired (so I'm told) by spending 375,000 free experience. At a 1 doubloon to 25xp conversion rate, this works out to a cost of $63.25 USD for this ship if you had to buy the 15,000 doubloons necessary at full price. Weigh this against the cost of Scharnhorst, another tier VII premium battleship which weighs in at $42.99 including the port slot (which you'll have to pay extra for with Nelson). PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Battleships almost always do well in Co-Op battles. Nelson does alright, though be aware that things can get a bit tight on coin if you run with premium consumables and you don't have a premium account. We haven't seen any tier VII scenarios yet, so it's difficult to say if she'll meet their requirements well or not. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. If you're not going to get USS Missouri, then hells to the yeah. If nothing else, Nelson will print Fireproof and Dreadnought medals like you will not believe. She's not a bad Arsonist and Witherer farmer either if you want to derp around with HE shells. She's a great trainer for your Belfast Captains in this regard (even if there are going to be some wasted skills here and there). She also works well for training your RN Battleship commanders given that she accepts most builds with a shrug of her shoulders. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Nelson will rock people's socks in Ranked Battles. A fire slinging, super-healing, bow-tanking battleship? Unless she's put down quickly, she's just going to keep coming back and driving the enemy team nuts. When she's not on your team, you're going to hate it when your team mates waste ineffective firepower on her. She gets my vote. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. I would have preferred HMS Rodney -- Nelson's sister ship has a much more storied history. While HMS Nelson served throughout WWII, her exploits mostly involved catching 4 torpedoes and 3 naval mines through the course of her career. She saw little to no surface action, being too slow to catch the Scharnhorst-sisters and too far away to participate in engaging Bismarck. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Depending on your play style and your tolerance for derp, Nelson is either going to be the most fun you can have in a battleship with your pants on or a lackluster mehbote that does nothing for you. I have a high stupid-tolerance, so I say yes. 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.
  19. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: München

    The following is a review of München, the tier VII German light cruiser. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes -- I did not have to spend money on this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.7. Please be aware her performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: A fast, stealthy and super-squishy German light cruiser. A More-Better Mainz München is very good at burning down Warspites. München is a fast, agile and stealthy German light cruiser. Stealth, by and large, is a non-entity among the German cruisers from tier V+, to say nothing of a high top speed. And now we have a ship that has not only stealth and speed but good handling too. You would think this would result in a compromise to striking power. If you crunch the numbers, sure, München appears to have a gunnery deficit, especially relative to the other German light cruisers. However, in practice, this drawback is a non-entity in every circumstance short of straight-out slug-fests. I know, I know, I'm already hyping this up to be a good German premium. The memes among the community would have you believe that's not possible. But you won't have to take just my word for it. Everyone's favourite part-time troll and two-parts heavy-metal enthusiast, Lert, is here to help us out. Hello and welcome to another Lertbox in which I pretend to know what I'm talking about. This time it's to write about München, gifted to me by a very generous friend. PROS Great AP DPM. Improved HE penetration, allowing her to directly damage 38mm hull sections. Fast for a German cruiser with good handling. Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 9.4km with all buffs. Access to a German Hydroacoustic Search consumable. CONS Small hit point pool. Very squishy with 16mm extremities and only 50mm of belt armour. Poor AP penetration, especially over distance. Meh HE DPM. Poor ballistics on her shells, with long shell flight times at ranges over 10km. Plagued with the same 6km range torpedoes of many German ships. Tier VII Matchmaking. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging/ Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH/ Extreme München's fragility is the only thing making her a bit unfriendly for inexperienced players. Otherwise she's a very comfortable ride with easy-to-use HE spam and good handling. Veterans will love the shenanigans you can pull between her HE and AP shells, to say nothing of using and abusing island cover and open water stealth to take up advantageous positions. Her speed is just delightful and she up-tiers well, making her a very flexible ship. Options Upgrades München's consumables are pretty standard fare for a German cruiser. Her Damage Control Party is active for 5 seconds and comes with unlimited charges. It has a 60 second reset timer. In her second slot you have the choice: Her Hydroacoustic Search has improved torpedo and ship detection ranges over standard versions of the consumable, picking out these threats at 3.75km and 5.5km respectively (instead of 3km for fish and 4km for ships). In addition, the consumable lasts 10 seconds longer for 110 seconds total. It comes with three charges and a 120 second reset timer. You can swap this out for a Defensive AA Fire consumable. This is standard for a cruiser providing and additional 50% continuous damage and 300% flak damage for 40 seconds. It has a three charges and an 80 second reset timer. Finally, she has a Catapult Fighter. It launches a flight of two planes which orbit on station for 60 seconds. It has three charges and a 90 second reset timer. You can leave Defensive AA Fire where it is. I stick with Hydroacoustic Search. Upgrades Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Get Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 from the Armory. This will set you back 17,000 Coal . This will lock your consumable choice in, but it’s the better option. If you can’t (or won’t) take the hydro-mod, then take Engine Room Protection. München's steering gears have a habit of falling off to loud noises. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is (still) the only option worth taking in slot three. Because of München's propensity to hump islands, take Propulsion Modification 1 in your fourth slot. If you'd rather a bit more wiggle in her tush, then you can go for Steering Gears Modification 1 instead. Captain Skills I'm not going to deep dive on why the following skills are recommended (mostly because I spent way too much time this month already going over the proposed skill changes). Suffice to say there's a lot of potential overlap with other German light cruiser captains. This makes München a good trainer as she doesn't require any weird skills. Camouflage München comes with Type 10 Camouflage, providing the usual bonuses: 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. Yay, we finally have alternative colour palettes for German ships! Firepower Main Battery: Eight 150mm/55 guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Four 105mm/65 guns in 2x2 turrets. Torpedoes: 2×4 launchers with one per side. These ain't yo daddy's German 150mm guns. München has her turrets lifted directly from the secondaries of battleships like Scharnhorst, the Bismarck-class and Friedrich der Große. These are the low-velocity, 55-caliber 150mm guns as opposed to the longer, higher-velocity 60-caliber 150mm weapons found on Königsberg, the Nürnberg-class and Mainz. München's ballistics suffer from these shorter barrel length. In addition, her AP shells do less damage. Let's keep this short and sweet, shall we? There's really only a couple of things to really talk about here, so lemme breeze through the rest to at least touch base. Her gun handling is alright. She has a 9º/s rotation rate. All eight guns can fire at targets 32º off her bow which is decent. However, they can only fire 36º off her stern which isn't ideal -- I would prefer to see this much closer to (or below) 30º. München's guns all have 1/4 HE penetration, allowing her to directly damage 38mm armour sections. This is awesome. Her main battery firepower range is okay-ish. 16.6km is serviceable but not great. I'd love to have more but for a tier VII light cruiser, this is average-to-good. On paper she is only a modest fire setter, falling well behind the fire setting potential of American and Soviet light cruisers. Because München isn't shackled to Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) she has the potential to have much closer performance to her tier mates. However, IFHE isn't a must-have for tier VII light cruisers, she isn't necessarily a front-runner. Still, she is well ahead of heavy cruiser fire setting performance. Her torpedoes are an afterthought. You'll use them often in PVE modes but much (much!) less-so in PVP environments. They're the same G7a T1s you've seen time and again on German ships with their 6km range and only modest 13,700 damage per hit. Okay, all of that is squared away. Let's talk about the two primary facets of München's firepower. Only Eight Guns How the Hell is an eight-gun light cruiser supposed to keep up with the other light cruisers packing ten, twelve or even fifteen guns? I've already covered some of it and this just shows you aren't paying attention (YOU FOOLS!). München has that 1/4 HE penetration value, so she's more capable of landing direct-damaging hits with her HE shells against a wider variety of targets than her counterparts. But there's more to it than that. München has a 5 second reload. This is stupid-crazy. This is the same reload as Atlanta used to have with her 127mm/38 guns. With this being half again as fast as the standard reload of most of the other light cruisers, this allows München to put out twelve-gun numbers with only eight barrels. München spits out twelve rounds per minute per gun. This does beg further caveats, though. These are German 150mm/55 guns. They have their own issues which further complicates their numbers. First, they have artificially high AP shell damage values. Second, they also have low HE shell damage values. Third, München isn't the only 150mm/55 armed German cruiser with an increased rate of fire over 152mm armed ships. To say that München's rate of fire is comparable to twelve gun ship is a bit disingenuous given that we already have a German light cruiser using the same weapons but with a twelve-gun armament. So while I could compare München to the other tier VII cruisers, I think a better comparison would be to stack her up against the other German 150mm armed ships within her matchmaking spread to better illustrate her performance. Otherwise, her numbers are too easily taken out of context. AP shells in blue (top) and HE in red (bottom). München isn't that much better off than the nine-gun armed Nürnberg-class ships. With her lower quality AP shells, the race is even closer, though she remains comfortably ahead with HE. If you compare their reloads, München is the fastest at 5 seconds. Mainz, Nürnberg & Makarov have 6 seconds and Königsberg has a 7.5 second reload. So München is fast, but she's not that fast compared to other German light cruisers. Look at that. Perspective. German 150mm guns have shorter reloads than comparable light cruisers. München's reload is admittedly faster still but not so quick that she stands well apart from similar vessels. It is enough to put her slightly ahead of the nine-gun Nürnberg-class ships, but she's not putting out true "twelve gun" DPM numbers as Mainz shows. So her damage output is reasonable for a German light cruiser. With that settled, let's look at how she ranks up with the other tier VII ships. Alright, the usual caveats apply here. This is assuming such unrealistic parameters such as 100% accuracy. Also, I did not include the Italian SAP shells nor the influence of Algérie's Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. Got it? Good. München's HE output is very close to that of a heavy cruiser. So AP good, HE bad, right? Well, these numbers are misleading which is why I didn't want to lead with a simple DPM graph. München's shell performance is kind of like Atlanta's theoretical DPM -- the theoretical numbers do not necessarily reflect in-game performance. So you have to frame these numbers with some context. First, München's AP damage is held back by the typical AP shell caveats. They're not going to do well against anything other than broadside targets. Furthermore, they need to have enough penetration to deal damage in the first place. Finally, an overpenetrating hit (375 damage) isn't worth as much as an HE penetrating hit (561 damage). So like just about every other ship in the game, München's AP shells aren't brainless. The extra layer of challenge here is that München's AP shells don't have the greatest punch over distance as shown here: So as good as München's AP looks, the opportunities to use it effectively aren't plentiful. That leaves a lot of the heavy lifting on her modest HE damage totals, right? Well they're not as modest as they look. With apologies to those who are colour blind. The four categories are worth explaining. "IFHE" means the ship's base rate of fire with IFHE added and no other bonuses or penalties.. "IFHE+" is the maximum fire chance with all applicable bonuses (including BFT for Flint & Atlanta). "Base"is the ship's stock fire chance and reload with no bonuses or penalties. "Max" is going for the maximum fire chance with all bonuses applied (including BFT for Flint & Atlanta). This brings us back to that 1/4 HE penetration. Yes, I'm saying it again. Stop forgetting and I wouldn't have to. Sure, when paddling lolibote butts or similarly under-developed armour profiles, München's DPM can't keep up with the other light cruisers. But you're not paying for burst potential with München's HE -- you're paying for consistency. While other tier VII light cruisers struggle when up-tiered, München's gunnery is consistent no matter what she faces and the numbers she puts out are very respectable. For an eight-gun light cruiser, that's a pretty solid plus right there. Waifus and Kite String Here's the second facet of München's firepower worth addressing: Her ballistics. Her arcs are pretty terrible. They're not quite as bad as American light cruiser trebuchets but they're close enough. The good news is that these guns are wonderfully suited for taking advantage of your favourite island waifus and snuggling up to her to make a hot steamy mess on someone's deck. München's ballistic arc most closely resembles that of British light cruisers. The bad news is that they have pretty terrible AP penetration over distance. You're not going to citadel another enemy cruiser except at stupid-close, knife-fighting, reach-for-the-Soviet-4km-torpedoes kind of ranges. While this does make it less likely for her AP shells to over-penetrate relatively thin armour sections over distance, they still have to arm which necessitates striking a plate 25mm thick. This makes them ill-suited to hurting enemy destroyers BUT great at hitting soft-parts of higher-tiered cruisers and battleships just about anywhere that's not their belts. München's relatively short 0.025s AP fuse timer will help with this too. So when facing broadsiding battleships, feel free to switch over to AP rounds once you've set a fire or two to spike your damage totals up. Approximate AP penetration values drawn from wowsft.com. Firing from open water is possible. München's agility certainly allows for it (more on that later), but between her ballistic arcs and her poor(ish) rearward firing angles, this really isn't her forté. When München's guns get firing, the arcs she poops out paints a big ol' "shut me up" target on the back of her head, particularly if you're actually managing to land shells at the 15km+ distance you'll need to stay at in order to keep relatively safe. I'm sure some of you MLG Pros out there will pull it off beautifully but I think island-humping is definitely the safer way to go. München's oh-so forgettable fish. There has to be some element of desperation present before you'll get a chance to use these. Whether that's on your part or the enemy's is the question. Summary München's guns reward switching between ammunition types and making the best use of terrain features present on the map. These are both higher-skilled elements which may look a bit off-putting to some players. However, she is "good enough" even if you elect to spam one ammunition type (HE) and dodge and wiggle about in open water, hoping that the enemy doesn't shoot back. Her firepower is easy to use and scales well with player skill. Good HE shells with high penetration which makes them capable against all targets. They just don't put out massive numbers on their own. Her AP shells are fussy and harder to use but they have the potential of putting out a lot of damage in a very short time, but they are entirely situational. Depending upon your skill level, island-humping or open water wiggle & dash will give you varying levels of success. VERDICT: Pretty damn respectable. Defense Hit Points: 30,200 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 16mm/10mm/20mm/25mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 50mm belt + 35mm turtleback Torpedo Damage Reduction: 10% München has a tumour. It's one of those gross tumours. The ones that have grown their own hair and teeth and maybe an eyeball. This tumour is her citadel, which is one of the most hideous looking citadels I've ever had to study. This thing sits stupid-high in the water, has useless sloping features and bulbous growths. These features exist purely to make you the perfect sacrifice to hungry Gods. ] You're gonna need guts to cope with this citadel. Going berserk won't save you. If München has a flaw, this is it. München reminds me very much of the Nürnberg-class where death comes swiftly be it from massive alpha strikes or even by a thousand smaller cuts. Her small hit point pool and lack of armour means that everything that hits you is going to hurt. The shallow angle of her citadel slopes is terrible at keeping out AP rounds and the various bulbous steps and tumours along with that easily overmatched 20mm roof makes her vulnerable no matter how she angles. So yeah. Don't get hit. If you needed any further reinforcement on why this thing should island camp as much as possible, just check out these next two graphics: Yikes. Yikes-yikes. I'm not going to sell you any lies. It's not like München's durability is more volatile than say Shchors or Indianapolis. Like most tier VII cruiser, her defence is made from wishful thinking. If you get caught out, get on your knees and beg to RNGeebus and pray he doesn't take everything from you. VERDICT: Don't get hit. Agility Top Speed: 36.0kts Turning Radius: 690m Rudder Shift Time: 8.3s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 6.4º/s At first glance, München's agility doesn't seem like a big deal. I mean, check it out: For a tier VII cruiser, München's agility looks pretty decent, but nothing to get excited about. She manages a good rate of turn but her turning radius seems pretty big. What's all the fuss? The big deal is that she has much better agility than anything else in her tech tree from tier V and above. German cruisers trend towards the slow side of cruiser speeds with only Siegfried & Ägir managing to exceed 33 knots and they handle more like battleships than true cruisers. Everything else largely sits at 32 knots with a couple nudging 32.5. And here München shows up with a top speed of 36! That she manages to do so without ballooning her turning radius any larger than she does is a breath of fresh air for an otherwise quite sluggish line. So while München's agility may look respectable for a tier VII cruiser, for a German cruiser, it's excellent and it opens up the possibility of some dynamic game play options they don't normally get to enjoy. And let's not overlook that a 36 knot top speed on a cruiser is pretty damn phenomenal. München is downright fast. There isn't much out there that can keep pace that's not a destroyer. Does it make sense now? VERDICT: Very comfortable. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 1 explosion for 1,330 damage per blast Long Ranged (up to 5.2km): 46dps at 90% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km): 270dps at 90% accuracy München's AA power is meh. It's all concentrated in her fragile and rather short-ranged 30mm batteries which won't survive long if you take any HE damage. Taken on her own merits, yeah, she can hold her own against tier VI carriers -- or at least make it expensive for them to repeat-drop on her, but they will be able to drop on her. There are worse-protected tier VII cruisers, at least she won't be a high priority target. This is largely why I advocate for taking Hydroacoustic Search over Defensive AA Fire. VERDICT: Hurry up and get here, new skill rework. I want my cruiser AA to be able to do something again. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 10.8km/9.43km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 5.78km/5.2km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 4.89km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.61km München's concealment would be impressive on any other tier VII cruiser. It's doubly so because it's on a German cruiser. She is a very stealthy ship. Combined with her high speed and her excellent Hydroacoustic Search, she becomes an increasingly dangerous ship the more the ship rosters on each team thin out. München is well set up to control engagement distances. Her short concealment range makes it easier for her to kite away from unfavourable encounters and in a pinch, she can even flush out ships hiding in smoke (at 37.8 knots with a Sierra Mike signal, she can cross 5km in just under 50 seconds -- enough to light someone with her Hydroacoustic Search). So we're combining good striking power with good speed, good agility great concealment and an excellent detection tool. München has an enormous amount of potential flexibility and she's a very dangerous ship in the right hands. VERDICT: Downright amazing. Final Evaluation There should be more hype surrounding München, in my opinion. This is a damn fine premium ship and a worthwhile addition to any collection for light-cruiser fans. That she's a German ship of all things is just icing on the cake. The only real downside to this ship is her fragility and even that isn't that bad compared to other tier VII cruisers, not when there's the likes of Shchors or Abruzzi waiting to explode when someone passes gas in their general direction. Given the choice between this or Mainz, I can acknowledge that Mainz is harder hitting but München is more powerful tier for tier. She just has so much more carry potential. I really don't have much more to say than that. I can't sing this ships praises highly enough, so I'll let Lert close us out. München's not really a German light cruiser at all. Sure, her camo looks German, she's flying this game's version of the German naval jack and you can train a German captain on her, but in most gameplay aspects, she's really not a German light cruiser. And in some, barely a light cruiser at all. Allow me to explain. These are the characteristics of the high tier German cruisers: Relatively slow Turns sluggishly Bad concealment Tanky Solid secondary armament - you know, for a cruiser And München? Fast at 37.9 knots with speed flag Wriggly as a worm on a hook 9.4km concealment with stealth build Squishy as all hell Only like a single twin 105mm a side for secondaries So what we have left is basically a fat destroyer leader, with an armor scheme that's not meant to handle anything bigger than 150mm thrown at it due to thin total thickness and a relatively steep turtleback angle on an oversized citadel. What we have left is a small, fast, thin and agile ship that can keep up with destroyers, has deceptively good DPM on guns designed to deal with small targets and a nasty set of volkstorpedoes as backup. Volkstorpedoes? Yeah, your standard, 64 knot, 6km, 13700 dmg torpedoes you find on so many mid tier German premiums. The People's Torpedo. München has a vierling set on each side. Her AP DPM is decidedly German, artificially boosted on low Krupp shells, only good for short to medium range, broadside targets. Her HE DPM is also decidedly German, deceptively low at middle of the pack values, until you remember that she has the quarter-pen rule and doesn't need IFHE to do direct damage to armor plates up to 38mm. But where her guns fall down is in slow shell velocity and high arcs, plus mediocre range. So we have a light cruiser with Russian CL speed, British CL agility and squishiness, American CL shell arcs and range, but German hydro, DPM values and volkstorpedoes. People call her a Mini Mainz, but I think the descriptors German Micro-Wooster or Super Nürnberg are more apt. She has a high skill floor, and high skill ceiling. Bring your A game and she'll do you well - until you explode from a load of battleship or heavy cruiser AP ejaculated into your citadel. But is she a good ship? You have to answer that for yourself. She's very demanding, but very rewarding if you can put in what she demands. Yeah I think she's a very good ship. Very strong - until she is misplayed and unceremoniously deleted. Conclusion Thank you all for reading. This review almost didn't happen. I nearly gave up part-way. You may have noticed that the graphs aren't up to my usual standards. They're pretty bare bones. You see, I had them all done before -- pretty and perfect and raring to go until I noticed some calculation errors. Now one mistake isn't that hard to fix. It's about twenty minutes to half an hour's worth of work to adjust a finished bar-graph. But I found multiple mistakes on each graph. Given that one such graph is upwards of three hours worth of work (two being pretty average), this was a full day's work down the drain. This interrupted my writing process as I had to go back and fix these to make sure I wasn't misquoting figures in the body of my text. So while I was on track initially for a Monday-Tuesday publishing date and I didn't finish until Thursday. The worst part was that I was convinced in my sleep-deprived, overworked delirium that Thursday was actually Friday. I took some sound advice and just got some rest and caught up on some sleep. Yeah, it's not been a good week. Anyway, it's done. Thanks again for your time.
  20. The following is a review of HMS Exeter, the tier V Premium British Heavy 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 0.8.1. If you have any questions regarding any changes to this ship after subsequent patches, please feel free to contact me. The developers and I don't always see eye to eye. The balancing of Haida, for example, involved a lot of upset even if it had a happy ending. Before that, seeing Duke of York butchered and ground up into a pile of bland mediocrity was heart breaking -- particularly from her original state of such a choice cut of fun and unique game play. I was numb to the dismemberment of Prinz Eitel Friedrich where they sliced away everything that made her enjoyable; this kind of thing had just happened too often for me to be moved. But something snapped in me with this most recent, tasteless offering from Wargaming. I am in a rage regarding HMS Exeter and all of the wasted potential of this design. I couldn't scream loud enough that what they had was brilliant -- it was simply at the wrong tier. Exeter was finally the Royal Navy Light Cruiser (RNCL) captain-trainer we've been desperately waiting for since October of 2016. She had such fun crossover potential with Leander and Graf Spee, including making historical divisions. Such opinions and promise were discarded, however. Wargaming needed a moldering pile of mediocrity to offer up as a hand-out. Exeter was earmarked as that victim. Worse, they didn't warn me that this was the case. So not only did I expend a lot of energy trying to preserve what appeared to be an ideal vessel, my time was wasted because Wargaming was already locked in on a course long before balancing had even begun. They simply didn't elect to tell me and stonewalled suggestion after suggestion. As it turns out, I'm not sure they even got the balance right. But what should we expect for a project that was designed to be a failure (by my own metrics) before it began? The following review borrows heavily from the preview article I wrote for Exeter in early January in order to save time. I didn't get any warning on this one and I had to cut corners where possible to get this review out while it was still relevant. I had less than 12 hours notice she was finalized and released and the warning didn't even come from Wargaming. My apologies if some of the sass appears re-used. If you can't already tell: The bias is strong on this one. PROS Large effective hit point pool combined with access to a Repair Party. Heavily armed with six 203mm rifles. Powerful torpedoes for her tier with an 8km range, the ability to single fire them and hard hitting warheads. Excellent acceleration and rate of turn. Very stealthy with a surface detection as low as 9.6km when fully upgraded. CONS Her armour is very squishy with 13mm extremities. Terrible citadel protection and a high-water citadel to boot. Slow rate of fire with a 15 second reload leading to terrible sustained DPM. Poor fire arcs on her main battery guns. Torpedoes can only fire wide or individually (why is this a thing?) Turning radius is larger than advertised and her top speed is lacking. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL/ Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / EXTREME For the novice player, Exeter is okay. She's a little unforgiving with her squishy armour and her slow rate of fire. Even gunship destroyers can prove quite dangerous if not handled correctly. In the hands of an expert, however, the sky is the limit. Exeter has some of the best concealment, the best AA defense, the best agility and the best overall durability of any of the tier V cruisers. The only thing holding her back are her weak armour profile and low DPM, both of which can be mitigated. Oh yeah, Exeter is totally balanced. That 15s main battery reload will keep her in line. She has the best AA Firepower too currently but that's highly volatile at the moment and subject to change with the CV rework ongoing. – 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. Options Exeter has only one surprise. For anyone that has seen a preview of Exeter, she no longer has access to a Smoke Generator. It did not survive her test builds. Consumables Exeter’s Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser. This has a 5 second active period and a 90s / 60s reset timer with unlimited charges. Like other British cruisers, Exeter has a Repair Party. The duration and healing rate are standard for this consumable, healing up to 14% of the ship’s hit points over 28 seconds. This comes with 2 charges base and a 120s / 80s reset timer. She queues up to 50% of penetration damage and 10% of citadel damage. Exeter’s Hydroacoustic Search mirrors other tier V cruisers with a 3km torpedo detection and 4km ship detection radius. This is active for 100s with a 180s / 120s reset timer and 2 charges base. Her Catapult Fighter launches 2 aircraft which are active for 60s. They orbit at 3km with a 135s / 90s reset timer. Exeter starts with two charges base. Upgrades The only option worth taking in the first slot is Main Armaments Modification 1. In your second slot you have a choice whether to add extra protection to your engines or rudder. Propulsion Modification 1 would be my first choice. If you're dead in the water, you're not going to survive long. Steering Gears Modification 2 isn't a terrible choice, though, but less optimal than the disaster the former helps mitigate. As ever, optimizing your guns is the best choice. Aiming Systems Modification 1 will see the biggest performance increase for Exeter. However, if you're salty about CVs, then AA Guns Modification 1 isn't a bad choice. The relative short ranges at which Exeter fires isn't punitive on gun dispersion anyway. Camouflage Exeter uses Type 9 – Exeter Camouflage. This provides the usual: 50% bonus to experience gains 10% reduction to repair costs 3% concealment bonus and a 4% increase to enemy shell dispersion. Exeter has an alternate camouflage scheme in off-white and blue you can unlock by completing the second part of the "Naval Aviation" collection. The original is quite dark. Firepower Main Battery: Six 203mm/50 guns in 3×2 mounts in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Eight 102mm/45 guns in 4×2 mounts with two turrets per side straddling the funnels in a forward-firing arrangement. Torpedo Tubes: Six tubes in 2×3 launchers rear facing straddling the foremost funnel Exeter has a modest set of weapon systems. They're not without their flaws. However, their drawbacks aren't enough to damn this ship, particularly when coupled with Exeter's strengths in agility and concealment. Lemme do a quick jpeg dump and we'll go over things in more detail. The first thing to know is that you're not winning any trading matches with Exeter. She has a small number of main battery guns and a long reload to boot. If Exeter cannot land citadel hits, her tier mates can tear her apart before her second heal becomes available. These are shell flight times and penetration estimations for Exeter's 203mm AP shells. The energy of Exeter's AP shells drops off quickly due to a high shell-drag coefficient which saps their speed. Still, while Exeter's AP penetration isn't high it's still more than enough to challenge the belt armour of any cruiser she might come across. She's fully capable of landing citadel hits against most cruisers up to her maximum range. Exeter's torpedoes are excellent for her tier. They do have a weird quirk where they can only launch wide / single as opposed the narrow / single of other Royal Navy cruisers and destroyers. Exeter's gun arcs leave a lot to be desired, especially when she's forced to kite. At least her guns rotate quickly. Her torpedo arcs are comfortable, though. Alright, so what did we learn? Exeter has low sustained damage output with her main battery guns. Her AP shells are serviceable. She's fully capable of landing citadel hits against just about any cruiser she comes across at any range provided she has their broadside. Her torpedoes are excellent but she can't fire them from stealth. I didn't mention her secondaries but that should tell you a lot. She has four barrels per side and they have a 4km range with a high rate of fire. They're not worth specializing into. That's all you need to know. The picture painted here is a ship that relies on alpha strike, ambushes and hit and run tactics to best her opponents.. Exeter is well set up to accomplish this largely owing to her agility and concealment -- two areas in which Exeter excels. Getting to within 10km of a cruiser enables her to land citadel hits reliably. Furthermore, her Repair Party makes taking such risks far more forgiving. Thus you have a ship that's fully capable of dictating engagement ranges and optimize the performance of her weapons. If things go pear shaped, she's likely to survive long enough to take a second bite of the apple or disengage as needed. Exeter doesn't have everything her own way, however. RNG can (and will) flub perfectly aimed shots on occasion. Exeter's 203mm AP do not enjoy any improved auto-ricochet bonuses, meaning angling against her is super-effective. Fouling up her first shot can spell disaster if your opponent responds to the threat of your sudden appearance. Furthermore, Exeter is only a modest fire starter, this again throttled by her low volume of shells. Against larger vessels, Exeter needs time to whittle them down -- time she may not have. Her triple torpedo launchers do not deal enough damage to allow her to a sink a full health battleship making suicide charges downright comedic. Facing destroyers, her long reload often means she only gets a single volley off at them before they disappear. This is rarely enough to finish off enterprising lolibotes operating in her vicinity. If you screw up an ambush, Exeter looks pretty foolish, especially if you over-commit. Thus, if you struggle to land citadel hits and you can't make use of her fish, Exeter's performance is a slow, steady burn. Use island cover to lob shells at approaching targets. Take what pot shots you can at exposed enemies and then retreat. Preserve her hit points and take little nibbles as they become available. Underestimate her at your peril, however. Her individual torpedoes are monstrous. Her AP shells are fully capable of catastrophically ending a cruiser that exposes themselves and her HE volleys can thoroughly gut a destroyer caught unawares. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Give her back her 12s reload and fix the fire aspects of her torpedoes to narrow / single. Alternatively, give her a Smoke Generator so she can park her butt and cycle her weapons with near impunity. Defense Hit Points: 29,400 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 13mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 13mm extremity / deck + 72mm transverse bulkhead Torpedo Damage Reduction: 4% Exeter's deck amidships has two layers. The top deck counts as superstructure with only 10mm worth of protection. It's the lower deck where the torpedoes reside that has 19mm of protection which carries through to the upper hull. The one nice thing about her light armour layout is that short of hits to her citadel, most battleship rounds will simply over-penetrate. Exeter is an overstuffed hit point piñata made of wet tissue paper. Her bane is high explosive shells of nearly every gun caliber she faces. Most Royal Navy battleships are capable of blowing out her citadel with HE shells and scattering her machine parts across the surface of the ocean in a sloppy mess of fire and regret. Even gunship destroyers are dangerous and can take her apart in short order if ignored. Be especially wary of taking damage to her steering gears and engines -- they'll get knocked out often. It's smart to invest in Last Stand for your commander. Said armour is ironically quite good at holding out against AP shellsm though. Most calibers of AP shells will fail to fuse if they don't strike Exeter's 19mm hull or belt armour, resulting in over-penetrations. Furthermore, her 13mm bow is fully capable of autobouncing up to and including 180mm AP. Of course being "quite good" does not mean "impervious to". Exeter can and will be suddenly deleted by battleship caliber AP shells from any angle. Similarly, 203mm AP shells are a nightmare, especially if they're coming off an American heavy cruiser as they too can overmatch her bows and foil most of her attempts to angle her belt against them. Her main battery guns are especially vulnerable and likely to break when tanking said hits. None of this is new for low-tier cruisers, though. Exeter does differ from the norm in three areas, however. Her citadel is a small(ish) target. She has a lot of hit points. She has access to a Repair Party consumable. Points one and two are simply "nice". It's the last piece which makes Exeter obscene. It catapults her from "meh" status to blatantly overpowered. None of the other cruisers at her tier have anything close to Exeter's longevity. Before I say anything nasty about it's inclusion, it's time to abruptly let this section be. Provided Exeter doesn't get herself outright deleted by any given attack, she's pretty darned resilient. You're unlikely to be able to draw on the full 19,757hp her Repair Party can conjure but an extra 5,000hp to 10,000hp is more than reasonable, easily making her the toughest tier V cruiser by effective hit point total. This (in my opinion), combined with her stealth, agility and the relative small target of her citadel makes her overpowered. Emerald, being a travesty against humanity, gets away with having a Repair Party without catching any flak for it. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Give Furutaka a Repair Party. Agility Top Speed: 32.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 650m (720m actual) Rudder Shift Time: 8.4s Estimated 4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 6.7º/s Exeter's agility stats sit upon a throne of lies. This isn't anything new. Royal Navy cruisers (and destroyers) are almost all terrible fibbers when it comes to their handling characteristics. This is owing to their improved engine power which says "screw you, physics!". Thus Exeter agility has all sorts of fun and infuriating quirks like dragster-style acceleration, ridiculous energy retention in a turn and the ability to make 180º turns more dramatically than Wargaming discussing their "we won't nerf premiums" policy. Exeter has almost identical manoeuvrability characteristics to Nürnberg, the tier VI German cruiser which has the same 32 knot top speed and a 720 meter (actual) turning radius. However, when you compare them side by side you get the following: Exeter accelerates ridiculously fast -- better than you would see with Propulsion Modification 1 that's available on tier VI+ ships. She reaches a speed of 10 knots inside of 5 seconds, 20 knots in 8 seconds and 30 knots in less than 12 seconds. Nürnberg with the upgrade hits these same 10 / 20 / 30 knot benchmarks in approximately 8 / 14 / 27 seconds respectively. Exeter preserves almost all of her speed in a turn. Normal cruisers turn a 80% of their 4/4 engine speed. Exeter turns at 98.8% of her 4/4 engine speed (31.6 knots). Nürnberg, by contrast, decelerates down to 25.5 knots in a sustained turn. Exeter thus maintains a top speed more often than other ships, especially while under manoeuvres. While she lacks the straight line speed of Furutaka or Emile Bertin, she can be effectively just as quick in combat situations while ducking and dodging. Maintaining higher speed in a turn increases the rate at which a ship comes about. Thus Nürnberg's modest 5.4º/s rotation rate is dwarfed by Exeter's own 6.7º/s. So Exeter's performance far exceeds what her in-port stats will tell you. She may not have the raw power of her contemporaries, but she's no slouch. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : This should say a lot. There's a lot of agile cruisers at tier V. Fast ones too. Exeter handles beautifully with that improved engine power but there are times I miss the raw speed you can find on ships like Emile Bertin. Speed is life for fragile ships, after all. Anti-Aircraft Defense Long Range: 2 explosions at 560 damage and 52dps from 5.8km to 2.5km Medium Range: 2 explosions at 420 damage and 86dps from 2.5km to 0.9km Short Range: 22dps from 0.9km to 0.1km Catapult Squadron: 2 Aircraft Exeter doesn't have an extensive AA gun battery. Her dual purpose 102mm guns are in red, her 40mm pom-poms in yellow and her 12.7mm machine guns in blue. At least it's symmetrical. Remember how Exeter hates HE Shells? You can add "getting stripped of most of her AA-guns from a single hit" onto the list of reasons why. Let's start with the following disclaimer: Until the CV rework concludes, do not base and purchase decisions on a premium ship's anti-aircraft performance. All of the stats discussed here are still subject to change. Exeter is arguably the best anti-aircraft support-cruiser at tier V. While she lacks the raw sustained DPS totals, she has a combination of diverse AA assets which make her more of a threat than the sum of her parts. What I found quite effective was proper use of (and specializing into) Exeter's Catapult Fighter. This didn't form the backbone of my AA defense, but it spiked its effectiveness as readily as one would expect a Defensive AA Fire consumable to do at higher tiers. This is largely owing to the smaller air groups found at tiers IV and VI (especially the former). To this end, taking the captain skills Direction Center for Fighters and Superintendent is highly encouraged. The former increases the number of fighters to three and the latter provides an additional charge. Exeter completely shuts down tier IV dive bomber and torpedo bomber waves with her upgraded fighters -- it's really not fair. It's not like Exeter's regular AA values are lacking -- she simply doesn't have the OMG! hitting power you might expect from a "good" AA cruiser. Instead, Exeter makes do with modest DPS levels, a couple of flak bursts per AA aura and good range. All of these upgrade well with affordable options. AA Guns Modification 2 upgrade doubles the number of explosions she generates to up to four for her long and medium range auras -- nominally spawning 3. Finally, the more expensive (but arguably worthwhile) Manual Fire Control for AA Armament increases her sustained DPS values by a combined bonus of 50% to the reinforced sector. Altogether, Exeter punches far harder than your opponents might expect a tier V cruiser capable. She has the base toolkit needed to keep herself safe and make aircraft carriers cry if you've the inclination to use it. It should say something about low-tier AA that Exeter has enough flak to make tier IV aircraft carriers regret engaging her. Her DPS isn't enough to shoot something down on the first pass, but it will start taking the squadrons apart on the second. In addition, her long range flak bursts are particularly helpful when reinforcing an ally. Specializing heavily into her AA yields some nice results. Don't forget to deploy your catapult fighter to make those attack runs even more costly. Evaluation: IRRELEVANT Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 10.98km Air Detection Range: 7.08km Minimum Surface Detection: 9.59km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 6.06km Detection Range when Firing in Open Water: 14.27km Exeter hides well. For a tier V cruiser, her concealment is pretty good. She has the same surface detection as USS Flint at tier VII. Most of the tier IV ships have the potential to be better, but they're unlikely to be harbouring a commander with Concealment Expert or any kind of camouflage unless they're a Death Pickle (Iwaki Alpha to those of you who don't remember a time before applicable camo). At her own tier, only Emerald is better. Huanghe, Leander and Perth all best her at tier VI. Belfast tops her at tier VII. Of course, Exeter lacks the Smoke Generator that these other ships I named enjoy. It's not like she couldn't use smoke if she has access to it. Her detection range in while in smoke is around 6.1km -- usable but by no means idiot proof. Of course, giving Exeter access to her own smoke as a tier V ship would have been lunacy. She's already powerful enough without it. Still, it is a shame to see that she doesn't mirror Royal Navy cruiser consumables in this regard. As for the rest, Exeter's Hydroacoustic Search is well received -- especially with on as many claustrophobic maps as she plays upon. Similarly, when she's top tier, there aren't very many destroyers that can stealth fire their torpedoes. Thus the charges of her consumable are seldom taxed and you can save it for actively hunting ships trying to hide in smoke, stripping them of their cover. Yep, on the whole Exeter does pretty well for herself in the ol' Refrigerator department. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Quite a bit. Emerald is more stealthy and has smoke. I'm not even sure convincing Wargaming to replace Emerald with something else would do it. I mean, the most likely candidate is the Arethusa-class and that's even sneakier. No Miracle for Dunkirk Sooooo... about that Royal Navy cruiser trainer we've all been hoping for. Yeah, you're going to have to stick with Cossack or like... I dunno, Vanguard or something for a little while longer. Exeter isn't quite the ideal ship for optimizing for Royal Navy light cruiser builds -- especially if you're training up one of the Dunkirk brothers and are hoping to maximize their benefits of their bonuses. Here's where you should put your first 10 points: Start with Priority Target. Grab Last Stand at the second tier. Follow this up with Superintendent at tier three. And finally grab Concealment Expert at tier four. From here there are a bunch of skills worth examining. My personal preferences led me to take Direction Center for Fighters, Adrenaline Rush, Expert Marksman, and Manual Fire Control for AA Armament. This is hardly optimal but it does make her more comfortable while also giving her AA firepower some nice teeth. Final Evaluation I championed for Exeter's addition to World of Warships all the way back on August 8th, 2017. I certainly wasn't the first, but that was the date that I took ownership of my own interest and began pushing hard for her inclusion. She came up repeatedly with my talks with Wargaming over the following months, including a more formal proposal when Pigeon_of_War asked for suggestions in March of 2018. Let me be clear: I'm not taking credit for Exeter being added to the game -- I merely stress how much I wanted this vessel to appear in World of Warships. I wasn't quite Haida-levels of rabid for Exeter, but it was close. When I made my suggestions, my earliest estimations was that she could show up at tier V, bare bones with nothing in the way of gimmicks. I later amended this to tier VI with the possibility of up-tiering her to VII if they wanted to give her the usual combination of British consumables. So when Exeter arrived, I should have been elated. Instead I felt nothing more than frustration. She was placed at tier V with every bell and whistle imaginable, immediately setting off alarm bells that she was going to need nerfs or re-tiering. I theory-crafted from what I saw of her in port stats and wrote about my worries -- especially for the statistics that I couldn't see, like her auto-bounce features and engine power. Play testing confirmed these fears with a big ol' exclamation mark. Sarcasm ensued: From patch 0.8.0 during her original test build on the live server. The fix Wargaming implemented was to reduce her main battery rate of fire from the historical 5rpm down to 4rpm and the pluck her Smoke Generator from her. This ignored the repeated requests and advice from the community and content creators to bump her up to tier VI. Wargaming's changes were supposed to bring her into line and make her an acceptable tier V premium cruiser. This DIDN'T bring her into line. She is not an acceptable tier V premium cruiser. Like the changes that smacked Prinz Eitel Friedrich or Duke of York upside the head, Wargaming's nerfs made these ships less comfortable to play. While they did address performance somewhat, in Exeter's case it was more of an annoyance that a direct hit to her power level. Waiting an extra three seconds for each reload is a nuisance but it's not going to stop Exeter from wrecking face -- certainly not when she's got every other advantage stacked in her favour. Exeter is at a minimum a tier VI ship being stuffed into a tier where she doesn't belong. This is comparable to sticking a tier X battleship at tier IX and nerfing the sigma and AA-power and thinking it won't over-perform. Oh wait, it did. So Exeter's here and she's strong but she's annoying because she doesn't live up to her potential. The ship I very much wanted to see is a bloated powerhouse. I feel scummy for playing her. I'm mad at myself for finding any enjoyment clubbing baby seals with Exeter. My only consolation is that she faces a real challenge when up-tiered. You know there's something wrong when I can look at tier VII opponents in a tier V cruiser and think highly of my chances. It would be a mistake to get too invested into Exeter. She's just going to get nerfed down the line. I mourn the ship that could have been -- the ship this self-admitted teaboo desperately wanted to see. Would I Recommend? There are two ways to acquire Exeter: Paying for her (duh) or unlocking her through the Exeter's Last Stand missions which ran from March 1st 2019 until March 29th, 2019. For PVE Battles? Yes. Bloody shame you can't play scenarios with her. She'd have to be tier VI for that. For Random Battle Grinding? Yes. The baby seals won't club themselves. For Competitive Gaming? Yes. Pay to win, baby! For Collectors? Yes. It's HMS Exeter. She fought in repeated surface actions against more powerful enemies. Her battle against Graf Spee alone makes her collectible. For her Fun-Factor? No. She makes me have a sad, but I'm biased here. 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! From patch 0.8.1. Spot the differences. In Closing In the spirit of the Epic WGNA Forum Meme Thread, March 2019, I am going to preemptively head off any criticism (both constructive and not) with this jpeg. Yes, this even applies to you, super-helpful-person who has nothing but my best interests at heart. You're clearly a monster that deserves nothing but scorn and contempt for pointing out that small typo. This is the new standard for what the acceptable norm is when dealing with any kind of feedback: quoting anime and being a dink. ♥ Thank you all for reading!
  21. 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.
  22. Updated November 7th, 2018 Jean Bart is an upgraded Richelieu-class battleship with improved anti-aircraft firepower and equipped with the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. Unassuming at first glance, she is overpowered in the right situation. Jean Bart annihilates opponents that make mistakes like few other warships can. When capitalizing on these situations, she is without equal. Jean Bart punches much harder than her smaller-caliber battleship guns would suggest. This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming. Please be aware that there are some differences to this ship as of the original publication date. To the best of my knowledge, these stats are accurate as of November 7th, 2018 and represent the release version of the ship. Jean Bart has been made available for 228,000 Coal in the Arsenal as well as being sold directly in the premium shop. PROS Main Battery Reload Booster gives her the ability to brutally punish ships that make mistakes within her line of fire, be it with repeated citadel hits or stacking fires. Entire battery is bow-mounted, making it easy to maximize her firepower on the attack. Heavy secondary gun battery with a fast rate of fire from her 100mm guns. Excellent anti-aircraft firepower -- some of the best found on battleships in the game. Good overall agility for a tier IX battleship. CONS Tiny hit point pool for a tier 9 battleship at 69,000hp. Exceedingly vulnerable to light cruiser-caliber HE spam. Armed with only eight 380mm guns with low damage output. Unable to overmatch the extremities of tier VIII+ German and American heavy cruisers. Majority of her secondaries are incapable of dealing direct damage to most targets. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Jean Bart is an easy battleship to play and quite forgiving. If her guns were of a larger caliber, I'd consider her skill floor to merely be 'Simple' As it is, players must have working knowledge of which ships her AP shells can overmatch and which they cannot which forces players to think ahead with their ammunition choices. As easy as Jean Bart is to slip on, she scales very well with player skill. Few battleships reward careful target selection and ammunition choice like Jean Bart. This is a ship where daring plays and proper consumable use make all the difference. Jean Bart feels very much overpowered in the right hands yet provide only a middling performance to the uninitiated. – 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. Musashi outperforms Jean Bart firepower wise, giving the French battleship a rating. Jean Bart has a low hit point total like HMS Lion but lacks her improved Repair Party consumable. She has a defense. Jean Bart has the agility and anti-aircraft firepower at her tier. Her concealment is only . Options Jean Bart doesn't offer much in the way of surprises. While there is room for some customization, she's fairly predictable. Her big gimmick is access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. Consumables Jean Bart uses a standard French Damage Control Party. This has a 15s active time and a 120s / 80s reset timer. She has unlimited charges. Her Repair Party is also standard for a French battleship and begins with 3 charges. She heals back up to 14% of her health over 28s with a 120s / 80s reset timer. She queues up to 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of any other damage type. Jean Bart comes with a Main Battery Reload Booster with 3 charges. This cuts down her main battery reload time by 50% for 20s with a 180s / 120s reset timer. Finally, she has access to the Engine Boost consumable with 2 charges. This increases her speed by 8% for 180s and it resets within 180s / 120s. Upgrades Jean Bart should begin by taking Main Armaments Modification 1 in her first slot. Optimally, take the special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1 in her second slot. If you do not have access to one, then default to Damage Control System Modification 1. In your third slot, Jean Bart forces a choice on players. Optimally, you should increase the accuracy of your main battery with Aiming Systems Modification 1. However, that's totally boring. If you're feeling MANLY (and stupid), take Secondary Gun Modification 2 to boost your secondary range and show those lolibotes and inferior battleships who their daddy is.But maybe an Aircraft Carrier once touched you in a naughty place. Maybe you're super salty about that. If that's the case, you can always go for AA Guns Modification 2 to increase their range. This will make CV players hate you. And while other players may scoff that your build is sub-optimal, they'll all respect you deep down for making a CV player cry. Things get pretty boring from here on out. Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal in your fourth slot with the amount of HE that's thrown about. Steering Gears Modification 2 is a distant second place in terms of optimization, but if it makes you happy, who are we to judge? Take Concealment Modification 1 for your 5th slot. It's too good compared to the other option. And finally, take Main Battery Modification 3 for your final slot. Camouflage Jean Bart comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This predictably provides: 100% bonus experience gains 20% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 380mm/45 guns in 2x4 turrets in an A-B superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Nine 152mm guns in 3x3 turrets facing the rear and twenty-four 100mm guns in 12x2 turrets arranged in superfiring configurations with three facing forward and three facing rear on each side of the ship. Jean Bart has some of the firepower at her tier. For a battleship armed with only eight, bow-mounted 380mm guns and a small-caliber secondary battery, this is a bold claim. However, for much of Jean Bart's development cycle, she was disgustingly overpowered and there were very real concerns about her performance. Wargaming has scaled her firepower back, but I'm not sure they did it to the degree necessary to ensure balance at tier IX. As it stands now, Jean Bart has the ability to punish opponents like no other battleship in the game. Underestimate her at your peril. Jean Bart firing 180 shells, locked onto a stationary enemy Fuso without camouflage at 15km. She has the same horizontal dispersion pattern as German and Italian battleships. French 380mm guns are well known for their high shell velocity and energy retention. While this does assist in preserving penetration power over distance, this does have the side effect of causing many shells to overshoot or undershoot their target. Penetration values courtesy of the World of Warships AP calculator (link provided in the Appendix). Jean Bart (and Alsace) have the worst battleship penetration at tier IX. However, it would be a mistake to call her penetration "bad". She is capable of landing penetrating hits on enemy battleships at all but extreme ranges. Unassuming Armament Jean Bart's main battery uses the same 380mm guns found on the tier IX battleship Alsace and her tier VIII sister ships, Gascogne and Richelieu. These weapons are characterized by their admittedly large dispersion area, high shell velocity and energy retention, good penetration and middling damage. The precision of her shell fire has been tuned to be identical to Gascogne at 1.9 sigma making her gunnery feel comfortable and rewarding careful aim. While the high velocity of her shells and dispersion pattern does lead to the occasional wonky spread of shells, on the whole these weapons behave themselves better than the infamously temperamental weapons found on battleship Roma. 380mm guns already feel long in the tooth by tier VIII, to say nothing for tier IX. Unable to overmatch the bows of German and American heavy cruisers, their performance is often found wanting. Jean Bart compensates for this with having an accelerated reload of 26s. While this may seem impressive at a glance, it is the same reload timer found on the Bismarck-sisters a full tier lower and it's less than Monarch's 25s with nine rifles also at tier VIII. Still, Jean Bart's firepower is superior to these other ships grace simply of her gun arrangement. Having all of her weapons mounted on her bow facilitates their use which, combined with the higher precision of her guns, allows her to output more damage than any of these lower-tiered rivals. Still, she should not be able to compete with the likes of the Iowa-sisters, Lion or Alsace. And yet, she not only competes with them -- she puts them in their place. Jean Bart wins no prizes for her stock DPM values, but that's not where her strength lies. The Dreaded Box o' Gimmicks Wargaming has produced the horror or horrors in Jean Bart by giving her access to the consumable Main Battery Reload Booster. Originally dispensed to the French cruiser line, Jean Bart is the first (and probably not the last) battleship armed with it. Understand that this, more than any other trait, is what makes Jean Bart so formidable. When her consumable is properly managed, Jean Bart is game breaking. When it isn't, she's an up-tiered Richelieu with good AA power. The Main Battery Reload Booster is still new, so let's start with an explanation of how the version found on Jean Bart works. This should hold true for other ships, but in case it gets grandfathered in with nerfs, this will serve as a handy reference. While active, it doubles the speed at which Jean Bart reloads her main battery. It does not halve the time it takes for a shell to be reloaded. This is an important difference. Allow me to show what I mean: I've redone this damn chart nine ten eleven TWELVE FREAKIN' times. The most recent change to this consumable occurred with patch 0.7.10. While the booster is active every second spend reloading counts as two seconds. What the booster does not do is simply halve the reload time -- ie, turning the cycle time down to 13s for any shells being reloaded during the consumable's active period . There's no way to cheat the system and fire an extra shell at a fully halved reload by timing the consumable use carefully. The benefits of Jean Bart's consumable apply immediately and only for the duration that it's active. The benefits of her consumable stack with the gains made from the Main Battery Modification 3 upgrade and the Adrenaline Rush commander skill. The numbers here get truly frightening, with a Jean Bart at 50% health being able to cycle her guns as quickly as every 10s with her consumable active. For an enemy vessel caught within a turn, this is devastating as Jean Bart is capable of putting repeated volleys downrange before they can turn away or make it into cover. And it's here where this unassuming battleship becomes overpowered. Jean Bart's all-forward gun placement makes her arcs feel very comfortable -- at least until you have to start running. Be very careful of unmasking her B-turret when you do. This will open her up to taking some hard hits from over angling. Devastating Strikes & Burninations on Demand The all-forward gun arrangement on Jean Bart means that her guns are almost always going to be at the ready when a target of opportunity arises. Her Main Battery Reload Booster guarantees she'll have the right shells loaded. Moreover, her consumable makes it very likely she'll be able to take two bites of the apple before they're able to correct their mistake. It cannot be understated how disgustingly powerful this consumable is in the right hands. Jean Bart may not have the same raw damage output of her peers over time, but she has all of the tools, between gun arrangement, precision, penetration and reload time to make her guns far more devastating in the short term. This emphasizes a battleship's strengths -- overwhelming alpha strikes. Jean Bart is better equipped to deal them more often than any of her contemporaries. It goes beyond landing AP volleys on exposed broadsides. Jean Bart is just as capable of stacking fires with her HE shells in short order with the use of her consumable. If an enemy battleship blows their Damage Control Party, Jean Bart's fast rate of fire will deliver upwards of 24 shells inside of 33 seconds. Even with the modest (for a battleship) fire chance, Jean Bart can match the Royal Navy for infuriating stacks of blazes. Duly warned be ye, says I. Almost excellent - Except they totally suck Jean Bart's secondaries suck moose-balls. She boasts a similar secondary load out to her sister Gascogne but she has even more 100mm guns. This looks terribly impressive on paper. They have a good range. Her smaller caliber guns have a phenomenal rate of fire of 20rpm which more than pads their uninspiring 5% base fire chance. And, really, that's all their good for -- setting fires. They can only directly damage areas of 16mm of armour or less -- that's not even enough to contest the hull of tier VIII+ destroyers she faces. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will enable her to the penetrate up to 21mm but that's a damn heavy investment. You can go this manly route if you wish. It's hardly optimal, even if it is hilarious. Jean Bart's armour scheme does not hold up well in a brawl (see below) so this is a heavy gamble. Still, with her Main Battery Reload Booster, she can be a formidable opponent in close quarters if you like to live dangerously. Summary Main battery is unassuming. Secondaries suck unless you invest heavily into them. And opportunist par excellence, Jean Bart can capitalize upon opponent mistakes like no other battleship thanks to her reload consumable. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : An increase in gun caliber would do it, even without the accompanying increase in shell damage. Jean Bart is contesting Musashi for the top spot. Her guns are that good. Defense Hit Points: 69,000hp Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm torpedo bulge + 330mm belt + 50mm turtleback + 50mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 32% Jean Bart holds the distinction of being the most vulnerable of the tier IX battleships. However, she doesn't rank last because of some crippling flaw. Her armour protection is sufficient. Her consumables aren't broken in any way. It's really just a deficit of hit points combined with a vulnerability to HE shells that puts her in last place. Jean Bart's hit point total are not those of a tier IX battleship. With healing scaling directly with a ship's base hit points and lacking the portable dry-dock of the Royal Navy, Jean Bart starts off the Durability-race with an immediate disadvantage, but she's not so far behind as to no longer be competitive. While she doesn't have deep reserves of health to absorb damage (or the healing potion to recover from it), her citadel protection scheme isn't lacking. She has decent anti-torpedo defense, for example, sitting at a modest, but respectable 32% damage reduction (and a far cry better than most of the other tier IX battleships, I might add). Her citadel placement is very-French. Her magazines and machine spaces sit just beneath the waterline, protected by a 50mm turtleback and a reverse-sloped belt. Combined, Jean Bart is all but immune to citadel hits at a distance. However, the steep grade of her turtleback lets her down at point blank ranges. Like Alsace, Gascogne, Richelieu and République, she is exceedingly vulnerable in a close-range brawl to broadside citadel shots from large caliber AP shells. On the whole, Jean Bart stands up well to AP fire and torpedo hits. Against high explosive fire, her defense scheme fails utterly though. Jean Bart's citadel protection is complicated, formed up of no less than four layers, two of which aren't pictured here. The first is her 32mm anti-torpedo bulge (not shown). Then shells strike her upper (330mm) or lower (250mm) belt, though the latter will usually necessitate plunging through water first, further reducing penetration. After that, her 50mm turtleback (not shown) gets in the way. Finally, there's her citadel wall which is between 30mm overt he machine spaces and up to 50mm over her magazines. Jean Bart doesn't sport the weakness of a thin citadel roof allowing for overmatching like some Royal Navy battleships, boasting 50mm on top of her 150mm deck protection. Note this last part differs from her sister, Richelieu which has 170mm of deck protection over her magazines but only a 40mm citadel deck. The entirety of Jean Bart is covered in deliciously squishy 32mm of armour that just loves to give up hit points. The only exceptions are her bridge, main battery and anti-torpedo bulges and that's hardly enough to guarantee a large number of shell-shatters. Jean Bart is exceedingly vulnerable to 150mm+ HE fire buffed with the Inertial Fuse for HE shells commander skill. German cruisers and battleships secondaries can exact a costly sum too This flaw isn't unique to Jean Bart, with American and British battleships sharing a similar fear of HE spam. However, when you factor in Jean Bart's lower hit point total and lack of a British mega-heal, this weakness becomes more pronounced. You're going to want to make American light cruisers die quickly. Make sure you have your Main Battery Reload Booster handy when an opportunity comes up to delete one of those mother truckers. One a side note, her 32mm armour also gets undone by 460mm AP shells from Musashi and Yamato. So there's that too. This is why light cruisers (and ducky destroyers) love Jean Bart. Anything that's teal is fair game for ships that can muster up 32.5mm of penetration or more with their HE shells. The brown section along her hull represents her anti-torpedo bulge which will absorb HE hits without taking damage. Finally, Jean Bart enjoys relative immunity to American AP bombs. They lack the penetration sufficient to punch through the multiple layers of armour protecting her citadel. Graf Zeppelin can land the occasional citadel hit but, by and large, she struggles in the same manner as American dive bombers. Jean Bart will still take a healthy amount of damage from these attacks -- overpenetrations will be rare, but at least she won't be deleted outright. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Jean Bart would need a truckload more hit points, a special Repair Party consumable or deck and upper hull armour sufficient to stave off HE attacks from light cruisers. Agility Top Speed: 30.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 850m Rudder Shift: 16.0s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.1º/s Am I really going to talk about the manoevrability of the tier IX thunderchunkers again? Look, none of the tier IX battleships could ever be described as agile. The best that could be said is that some of them have the straight line speed when they care to exercise it. However, we all know that the current meta doesn't let battleships stretch their legs until later in the engagement. Thus those without aren't held back by any means and even Musashi's stately 27 knots is more than capable of keeping up with the pace of battle. Jean Bart isn't the fastest battleship at her tier. With her Engine Boost consumable operating, she can make 32.4kts which is still slower than the Iowa-class sisters. She can't boast the tighter turning radius or better rudder shift time of HMS Lion. What she can claim is to have a good rate of turn, keeping pace with Lion and Alsace. Where Jean Bart claims primacy (and I admit, this claim is tenuous), is the combination of all of her traits. She is not the fastest, but at least she's not the slowest either. She's at least faster than Lion which is arguably one of the frontrunners in this competition. She doesn't have the tightest turning radius, but it's only 20m behind that of the Lion and 40m better than her next closest competitor. Her rudder shift time isn't the fastest, but it's the second best at her tier. Jean Bart matches the best two battleships at her tier for rate of turn. ... and finally, she has the Engine Boost consumable. Engine Boost has always been the trump card of the French warships when it comes to contests of agility. With it, Jean Bart leaves Lion in her wake, not only figuratively but literally as well. She can come about faster. She can control engagement ranges more effectively. With Lion bested, Alsace is her only remaining competitor and Jean Bart's tighter turning radius and rudder shift time makes that a no-contest. Of course, besting Lion and Alsace doesn't make Jean Bart good in this category. In my opinion, none of the tier IX battleships are. But Jean Bart is at least the best of the sorry lot. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Loss of her Engine Boost alone would do it. When it's on cool down, she's no better than Lion. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 152mm / 100mm / 57mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 4.5km AA DPS per Aura: 202.5 / 357 Raw DPS numbers (the graph on the left) can be deceiving. Range is an important factor with anti-aircraft defense and Jean Bart has this is in spades with all of her gun mounts. The graph on the right incorporates range into an equation to better evaluate the overall effectiveness of a ship's AA suite. This is calculated by taking the gun's range less 1km and multiplying it by DPS. While not an absolute measure by any means, it is indicative of the relative AA power of the ships in question. Jean Bart has god-tier anti-aircraft firepower. The only battleship in the game that tops her for effective AA cover is the personal rocket-powered umbrella of HMS Hood, and that's only when Her Majesty's ship is activating her Defensive AA Fire consumable. What makes Jean Bart's AA so effective is the combination of solid DPS numbers combined with her minimum of a 4.5km range. Fully upgraded, she's an absolute monster, outstripping even République and Montana for the potency of her flak. Like most battleships, most of her AA firepower is found in her medium caliber AA guns. Jean Bart's 57mm weapons don't stand up to HE any better than a 40mm Bofors nest, so she can be stripped of most of her threat to aircraft with the gentle caress from a Cockbote. Thus your AA power is inversely proportionate to the amount of HE fire you've taken. Given the current meta at high tiers, that's not going to be very high for very long. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : A Cockbote serenade. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 16.38km Air Detection Range: 14.16km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.30km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 15.05km Main Battery Firing Range: 24.52km Jean Bart's concealment should be seen as "adequate" and nothing more. With the proper concealment build, she shares a surface detection rating with the Bismarck-sisters. She could certainly do worse. Few battleships reward concealment better than Jean Bart. As it is, even her middling concealment value risks making her overpowered. The most obvious use for her surface detection is to drop back into stealth when under fire. Jean Bart doesn't have the deep hit point reserves of other tier IX battleships, and having the ability to disengage at will is a useful trick. However, it's not this defensive ability that risks making Jean Bart an overpowered monster. It's her ability to use it offensively. No other battleship rewards an ambush play-style as much as Jean Bart. With her fast reload, good penetration and her Main Battery Reload Booster, having Jean Bart magically appear when you're at your most vulnerable is a nightmare scenario. This is where she scales so well with player skill -- those with the map knowledge and the willingness to push in order to set up ambushes get rewarded handsomely. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Losing a kilometer or two of surface detection off her base range would do it. How to Make Roma Look Inadequate There are three main builds that are effective for Jean Bart. The Baby Bunny Build is the ol' battleship standby. Go for survivability increase skills including Concealment Expert, Superintendent, Basics of Survivability and Fire Prevention. The Salty About CVs build makes Jean Bart the scourge of the skies. Grab anything that boosts your anti-aircraft batteries like Basic and Advanced Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns. Finally, there's the dubiously effective (but exceedingly Manly) Secondary Build. You'll want all the fixings at tier 4 including Advanced Fire Training, Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. You can choose between Expert Marksman and Adrenaline Rush at tier 2 depending on if you intend to brawl or not. Final Evaluation Jean Bart seems like such an unassuming design. Who would have thought that an upgraded, up-tiered Richelieu-class would be on my watch-list for one of the most over performing releases of this year? I don't doubt that like Musashi, she's going to fly beneath some players' radar. There will be those that simply do not appreciate the imbalance that Main Battery Reload Booster provides, even when shackled to such unassuming weapons as a mere eight 380mm rifles. To this end, I predict that Jean Bart will become the darling of those few that know how to time their shots and don't use it simply for a flat DPM increase. I do foresee Jean Bart causing issue with some of the more veteran players. Grace of her abilities, this is a ship that by her very design punishes people that try and flex. Lord knows I won't dare turn a ship broadside within 15km of her unless I know her consumable is on cool down. While I would like to think that her gunnery may correct some of the popularity of certain American light cruisers, her ballistics just aren't designed for that. In short, Jean Bart is just going to reinforce the passive meta, albeit without the same obvious ability as ships like Asashio. The final bit of upset Jean Bart may deliver is still far off in the future. She is the best anti-aircraft platform found among the current battleships. With the aircraft carrier rework still months away, it remains to be seen what kind of upset she can deliver to the future version of this game mode For now, keep an eye on this ship. She has comparable earning levels to Musashi and Kronshtadt, which is better than most tier VIII premiums (barring the use of Makoto Kobayashi camo). I still haven't been told how she's going to be made available (seriously). If it's for free experience or coal, you cannot go wrong with this ship. She's too good. Would I Recommend? Seeing as I don't know how she's being made available, take this section with a pinch of salt. She could very well be the next steel-ship to reward Ranked Battle players. She may only be available for free experience or coal. Wargaming has not directly sold any tier IX+ premiums yet, so it's doubtful she'll appear in the premium shop or for doubloons. We'll have to wait and see. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Meh. While shooting down aircraft is hilarious in co-op, the propensity for enemy bots to charge bow in makes her 380mm guns feel inadequate. Go for a MANLY build or don't bother. It would be super cool if she could be used in Operation Hermes, though. I'm still poking Wargaming about that one. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. The chaos of Random Battles serves Jean Bart and her god-tier consumable well. She earns a healthy wage too, which doesn't hurt either. For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Unlike in Randoms, it's less likely that your opponents are going to pull a stupid to make Jean Bart's Main Battery Reload Booster pay huge dividends. The more serious the competition, the less appealing she'll become. Plus Missouri has radar. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. She looks gorgeous and she's got a fair bit of history to her. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Very yes on toast. After the first time you obliterate some poor sap coming about, you'll never be able to let go. 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 If I have to do this again, I'm getting out the crayons. In Closing Updated for October 23rd, 2018. Jean Bart was finalized shortly before this article was originally published. Three days later, they announced she was going back into testing because of concerns she was over performing. Frustrating as this could have been, the changes have been simple to account for. Jean Bart still risks being overpowered, but the circumstances are far more specific now. She's still a highly competitive ship, but without the clear cut dominance she could demonstrate with alarming reliability in randoms. Wargaming has been mum on what's coming out next. With the Aircraft Carrier rework choking the airwaves, it's a bit of a toss up. Le Terrible was finalized almost two weeks ago however I have not had access to her in order to be able to finish my review, so she's on hold for the time being. I'm mostly done reviewing Prinz Eitel Friedrich too, so it's a race to see which one gets the greenlight first. Thank you all for reading!  Appendix World of Warships AP Calculator (n.d.) https://mustanghx.github.io/ship_ap_calculator/
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Musashi

    Battleship Musashi was provided to me by Wargaming. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are those of the release version of this ship and are current as of January 17th, 2018. Insert Kancolle boob-wrapping related joke here. Quick Summary: A Yamato-class battleship at tier IX. She has slightly less accuracy, greatly reduced secondaries and AA power. Cost: 750,000 free experience + 1 credit. Patch & Date Written: 0.6.15.1 through 0.7.0.0 -- January 12th through 17th, 2018. PROs At 97,300hp, she has the largest hit point pool of any of the tier IX battleships. Ridiculously thick armour in places with a 410mm belt, 560mm barbettes and 650mm turret faces. Beyond her extremities, her deck armour is a minimum of 50mm, providing her an immunity to most cruiser caliber HE shells. Excellent anti-torpedo defense with a 55% damage reduction. Armed with nine 460mm guns with enormous alpha strike, DPM and overmatch characteristics. Greatly extended active periods and shortened reset timers on her float plane consumables. Players can choose which price they wish to set for this ship, from free to the equivalent of 35,000 doubloons. CONs Citadel is exposed above water and has bad armour geometries which leaves her vulnerable when improperly angled. Horrible gun handling with a painfully slow turret traverse of 2.5º/s. Weak secondary armament, despite their decent range. Worst AA defense of not only any of the tier IX battleships, but also worse than any of the tier VIII battleships. Low top speed, slow rate of turn and an enormous turning circle. Huge surface detection -- possibly visible from space. Her best camouflage is locked behind a 5,000 doubloon additional purchase. Doesn't have Yamato's gun sounds. What the ever loving seagull turds on toast, Wargaming!? Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Even with her exposed citadel, Musashi is dirt simple to play and very casual friendly. By simply pointing her bow towards the enemy, she'll tank tons of damage and deal back a ridiculous amount in return. This same simplicity is also a weakness. There's nothing really fancy a veteran player can do with Musashi -- not without risking blowing out her machine spaces or getting her magazines one shot by a Shimakaze torpedo. She's too big too hide, too slow and clumsy to extract herself from trouble and so vulnerable to air strike, she dare not leave the safety of the herd. It's knowing when to move out and when and where to drop anchor that separates the good from the bad. Her traits break down as follows: These short-hand evaluations are based upon comparing the ship directly with the other tier IX battleships and not across her matchmaking spread as a whole. To say she's a one trick pony wouldn't be far from accurate, but it's one Hell of a trick at tier IX. As you can see, her guns have a lot of heavy lifting to do. Her armour and hit points will go a long way towards buying time to let Musashi lay down the hurt, but only if you can keep her from taking citadel damage. Let's take a closer look at how good these guns are, why they're such a big deal and the controversy surrounding her durability and defense. Options Musashi has a trio of surprises. The first, is the option for her High School Fleet camouflage. The second and third are her non-standard Spotter Aircraft and Float Plane Fighter consumables which have increased active periods and greatly reduced reset timers. Consumables: You have the choice between two aircraft options. The rest of the consumables are fixed. Musashi's Damage Control Party is standard for an IJN Battleship. This has a 10 second active period and a 120 second reset timer for the standard version and 80s for the premium version. Her Repair Party consumable is also standard. This heals back up to 14% of her maximum health over 28 seconds. In her third slot, Musashi has the option of either form of catapult aircraft. The active period and reset timers for these consumables are not standard. Her Spotter Aircraft is active for 120 seconds (instead of 100s) and her reset timer is either three minutes or two minutes depending on if you take the standard or premium consumable (instead of six minutes / four minutes). Her Float Plane Fighter is active for 180 seconds (instead of 90s) and her reset timer is either 90 seconds or 60 seconds on the standard and premium versions respectively (instead of three minutes / two minutes). Musashi's fighter does 55dps with 1,420hp which is on the weak side for this consumable. Premium Camouflage: There are two available to this ship. She comes with her Type 10 camouflage. Y118 - Musashi may be purchased for 5,000 doubloons. Musashi's Type 10 camouflage provides100% bonus experience gains, a 20% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. For fans of the anime series High School Fleet, there's the Y118 - Musashi. On top of the bonuses described above, it also adds another +50% to Commander Experience. There are only minimal geometry changes with the High School Fleet camouflage, limited to the removal of the A-crossing rails on the stern. Module Upgrades: Six slots. Standard battleship upgrades. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. Follow this up with Damage Control Modification 1 in your second slot. If you access to the Special Upgrade, Spotter Aircraft Modification 1, this isn't a terrible option for Musashi given the increased duration time she already enjoys on this consumable. This would increase it's active time from 120 seconds to 156 seconds. Personally, I would prefer the fire chance reduction and increased torpedo damage reduction. In your third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. You do not have the secondary or anti-aircraft firepower worth upgrading. If you're especially salty about turret traverse, you may take Main Battery Modification 2 to drop her 180º rotation time from 72 seconds to 62.6 seconds. This will slow down your reload time from 30 seconds to 31.5 seconds. In your fourth slot, Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal. Taking Steering Gears Modification 2 makes sailing Musashi more comfortable but it does not greatly enhance her agility. In your fifth slot, you have the choice. You may take Concealment Modification 1 to try and reign in your horrible surface detection range (you may as well try bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon, but every little bit helps, I guess). Alternatively take Target Acquisition System Modification 1 for bonuses to spot torpedoes and increase your guaranteed spotting range from 2.0km to 3.0km for what good it will do you. Depending on the skills you are choosing for your commander, one of these two options will make more sense (see below!) And finally, in slot number six, grab Main Battery Modification 3 to reduce your reload time from 30 seconds down to 26.4 seconds. This will sadly increase your 180º turret rotation time from 72 seconds to 81.4 seconds. Enjoy. (If you took Main Battery Modification 2 in your third slot, your reload time will be 27.7 seconds and your turret rotation will be 70.7 seconds for 180º). Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 460mm rifles in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 155mm rifles in 4x3 turrets, Twelve dual-purpose 127mm rifles in 6x2 turrets. If your interest in Musashi had nothing to do with her history, then it's her guns that brought you here. The potential of the Yamato-class firepower being shoe-horned in at tier IX should give everyone fears of this ship being overpowered. Say what you will about the rest of the ship upon which they are mounted, Yamato's guns are arguably the best offensive strike from a gunship available in the game currently. Musashi nearly duplicates her sister ship's firepower but for two very important differences. One of these differences is manageable. The other is not. Let's begin with the latter. In Her Sister's Shadow Musashi's secondary firepower is terrible. She does not duplicate Yamato's secondary battery by any stretch. This is one of the most pronounced differences between the two sister ships. Unlike her anti-aircraft deficit, this is one area which matters. The differences are as follows: Half of Yamato's 127mm secondaries reload in 6.0 seconds. The other half reloads in 5.0 seconds. All of Musashi's 127mm secondaries reload in 7.5 seconds. Yamato has twenty-four 127mm secondaries. Musashi has twelve. Yamato has six 155mm secondaries. Musashi has twelve. Musashi doubles her 155mm complement but halves her 127mm armament. This is a significant drop in firepower even before you account for her increased reload time. The drop in her rate of fire feels unnecessary and punitive. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that Musashi's secondaries do not pose a threat, they are certainly not threatening. You cannot count on them to punish a destroyer or cruiser that gets themselves spotted within their range unless they are on perilously low health. Even then, I wouldn't count on it. Heavy secondary specializations on this ship struggle to earn their keep. Musashi doesn't have the best main battery guns in the game, but she's pretty damn close. The honour goes to her sister and the one small improvement that makes Yamato such a feared presence in World of Warships -- at least when her guns are loaded and trained in your direction. The only difference between Musashi's weapons and Yamato is her sigma value. Yamato has 2.1 sigma. Musashi has 1.8. That's it. That's the only difference. Their range, reload time, rotation rate, dispersion area, penetration -- it's all identical. You're going to hear a lot of noise about how this difference of 0.3 sigma makes all of the difference. They're not wrong in premise, but the emphasis is overblown. Musashi & Yamato's Real Difference All things being equal, Yamato is more likely to land massive, devastating hits than Musashi with her main battery guns. This isn't to say that Musashi isn't equally capable. She is. Statistically speaking, Yamato will simply do it more often. How much more often? I would give it no better odds than one additional time in six going by strict accuracy measures. So for every six devastating strikes you land with Musashi, Yamato will spit out seven. This is a marked difference -- do not underestimate it, but it's not a night and day difference some of Musashi's early detractors would have you believe. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Allow me to explain why these guns are such a big deal. Yamato's 2.1 sigma dispersion (orange) vs Musashi's 1.8 sigma (red). 180 shells fired at 15km, locked onto a Fuso. Both ships are using Aiming Systems Modification 1 against an a target without camouflage. Behind the Hype First and foremost, these guns have one telling flaw: Musashi's gun handling is abysmal. She begins with a 2.5º/s rotation rate and adding Main Battery Modifcation 3 will drop this down to 2.2º/s. And that's about it for weaknesses, truly. Objectively, these are excellent weapons. They are reasonably accurate with the tightest horizontal dispersion values, average sigma, ridiculous alpha strike, penetration and damage per minute properties. These guns hit hard, they hit often, they have tremendous range and you don't need to choose between improved accuracy or improved rate of fire as you might with an American battleship. Anything you hit will be hit hard. A single overpenetration to a destroyer is nearly the equivalent of being hit by two of Scharnhorst's 283mm shells. What's more impressive about them is that like Royal Navy battleships, Musashi can fire one ammunition type exclusively and rack up huge damage totals. Unlike Lion, however, Musashi can rely solely upon her AP shells, confident that she can almost always damage her targets catastrophically when she lands hits. Really, it's as simple as that. Musashi brings the biggest guns in the game to the table. She fires a monstrously huge shell that can damage just about anything it touches. These guns are good -- as you would expect them to be, and a lot of this has to do with their ability to ignore armour that everyone else can't penetrate. Musashi, like Yamato, has excellent fire angles - just a whisker shy of the coveted 300º on each turret. She can nearly guarantee to autobounce any incoming AP rounds while still being able to return fire with all nine gun barrels. Overblown and Overpowered Overmatch If you're unaware, overmatch is the ability for guns of a large enough caliber to outright ignore ricochet mechanics. The idea is simply that the shell is too darned big for a thin piece of steel to deflect them, even at very high angles. The larger the shell, the more steel it can ignore. For Musashi's 460mm guns, this value is 32mm which is a very important value in World of Warships as it forms the bulk of the extremities of high tiered battleships. Her and her sister Yamato are the only ships capable of penetrating the 32mm bows found at tier VIII+. As someone who has played a lot of mid-tier battleship games, I keep forgetting how much of a big deal overmatching is to high tiered battleship players. If you regularly play dreadnoughts from tiers III through VII, you know all about overmatch. Spend any time playing low tier premiums as trainers and you'll learn very quickly that tier III, IV and V battleships are utterly incapable of preventing their bows from being overmatched, even by 283mm battleship guns. You learn to angle, but not angle too much, in order to protect your ship. At tiers VI and VII, you suddenly gain the ability to prevent bow on penetrations from up to (and including) 356mm guns. This is where the laziness begins to set in. At tier VIII, you gain magic bow armour that prevents it from being penetrated by almost everything. Knowing how to angle just right becomes trivial. It always struck me as silly for players to tell me that high tiered game play demonstrated the pinnacle of skill when knowing about proper armour angling became mostly irrelevant thanks to everyone's immunity to each other's AP when they parked bow on. This sparked the outrage that was the Royal Navy HE-fest which runs contrary to the bow-on meta. Well, Musashi's here to shake things up further by making overmatch just a little more commonplace for higher tiered ships. Overmatching in tier VIII+ games is very powerful, if only because the static game play so often espoused in high tier matches makes it so. If someone wants to park themselves in front of your guns, you should absolutely oblige them and stove-in their stupid faces. Against tier VII ships, this is copious amounts of overkill but there are some ships like HMS Nelson that are made all the more vulnerable with the presence of Musashi's armament. Overall, Musashi's ability to overmatch is a very real strength, but moreover, it simply allows her to rely on AP shells and ignore the use of HE almost entirely. For World of Warships, this is very traditional and "proper" battleship game play, even if it as "game breaking" as Royal Navy HE spam. While she is not going to one-salvo delete ships as often as her sister ship, she's still going to do it a lot. So pick your poison. Death by burninating or death by sudden deletion by 460mm blasts of doom. Musashi tops the charts, as you might expect for the biggest guns in the game. Evaluation: BEST What it would have needed to be GUD: Here's where we argue which guns are the second best at tier IX. I'd have to give it to the 419mm found on HMS Lion over the 406mm found on Iowa and Missouri. While the American guns are slightly more accurate and harder hitting, Lion beats them out on penetration and can swap between her AP to her monstrous HE shells giving her so much more flexibility. In addition, Lion doesn't need to choose between accuracy and rate of fire. The ubiquity of Lion's armament almost beat out Musashi -- almost. Slow down Musashi's rate of fire or kick her sigma down lower than 1.8 and she might not be the champ. Durability Hit Points: 97,300hp Maximum Citadel Protection: 410mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: 55% Musashi should be the toughest damn ship at tier IX. She might have been, but she has a crippling flaw: Her citadel sits so high it's nearly in orbit -- even higher than Yamato's own. That Musashi still weighs in as one of the most resilient vessels at her tier when being compared to HMS Zombie-Flanders and the German Juggernaut speaks volumes to the list of her advantages. Excessive Hit Point Total Stupidly Thick Armour Torpedo Defense Citadel Immunity to AP Bombs Musashi has 97,300 hit points. Her closest competitor, one of the H-series amalgamations hiding as Friedrich der Große has 84,300 hit points. This advantage should be obvious, but there's some subtle nuances to it. Players should keep in mind that the maximum hit point total of a ship does absolutely nothing when it comes to mitigating percentage-based damage over time effects like flooding and fire. A single fire on Musashi does just as much relative damage as it would to Kawachi, for example. The flip side of this is that Musashi's large hit point total does provide her with a healthier Repair Party consumable. Each charge heals her back 13,622 hit points over 20 seconds. Why doesn't this make Musashi the BEST? Well, here's why: Musashi loses out on primacy to HMS Lion's zombie-regenerative powers. Interestingly, this only applies if HMS Lion buffs her Repair Party consumable (and she should). In a protracted fight, given enough time to make good use of her consumables, Lion will out last Musashi every single time. Against all other opponents and Lion players that don't know any better, Musashi has the hands down advantage. Unless they burn her to death. Musashi has stupidly thick armour. Most of it is effective, even, which is somewhat of a miracle. Her belt armour is 410mm thick, which doesn't sound like that much until you apply a little trigonometry. At a 45º angle and with the reverse sloping of her belt, Musashi can boast in excess of 600mm of effective plating across her machine spaces. This provides relative immunity to even battleship caliber guns at 15km. So even when not perfectly angled, Musashi's rather well protected. In bow-tanking situations, her turrets protect her from overpenetrations to her superstructure by playing goal-keep with their 650mm turret faces and 560mm barbettes. Overall, Musashi's armour turns away a lot of AP penetrations and AP over penetrations into zero-damage shatters and ricochets. Why doesn't this make Musashi the BEST? Unfortunately, this protection partially undone by her citadel placement and shape. That 410mm armour is Musashi's citadel, so there's no backup behind this. What's more, this isn't the maximum height of her citadel either. There's a turtleback slope, steeply angled that's between 230mm and 340mm thick and with a ludicrious octagonal shape. Because of the angle, the turtleback is typically only vulnerable at very long range, but the vertical slope beneath it is not. This is only 350mm thick (with a 32mm bow on top of that), but given the penetration power of incoming shells at this tier, that's not going to stop anything if Musashi over-angles. Properly angled, Musashi can last for days. It's downright comical watching poor tier VII battleships trying to accost her with their tiny baby weapons. However, when she's facing 460mm caliber shells from another Musashi or Yamato or when an enemy gets her side, any pretense of being able to tank safely goes right out the window and she becomes dangerously vulnerable. I wasn't kidding when I said she had a high water citadel. The octagonal geometry makes Musashi especially vulnerable when she over angles her bow. Her opponents need simply best the 32mm armour there to get a shot into the flat 350mm citadel armour beneath. Musashi has amazing Torpedo Defense. When she takes hit against her torpedo bulges, Musashi outright ignores half the damage done. On top of this, she's incredibly resistant to flooding. Without question, she is the BEST when it comes to torpedo protection at tier IX ... at least when it comes to taking damage. I mean, arguably, it would be best if she could avoid it altogether. Heh, that's a funny joke... Musashi being agile enough to avoid things... Musashi's citadel is functionally immune to AP Bomb Hits. Lert and I spent a lot of time in the Training Room dumping AP bombs over and over and over and over again onto Musashi's decks, hoping to see some big numbers. Neither the American AP bombs nor the German AP bombs ever landed any telling hits. We never saw anything more than penetrating and over penetrating strikes. Math wise, you're looking at well over 30 or more bomb hits to sink Musashi using this ordnance type, which is patently ridiculous. Why doesn't this make Musashi the BEST? Immunity to AP bombs isn't anything new if you're not German. So that's Musashi's durability in a nutshell. Admittedly, it's a mutant, GMO nutshell, but it's a nutshell none the less. When everything goes right (and it will go right most of the time), she absorbs ridiculous amounts of punishment. This is all contingent on identifying where attacks will be coming from and keeping your bow pointed straight towards it. When fire, fish and Yamato-caliber guns appear, it's time to make yourself scarce, but that's a common flaw of all battleships, not just Musashi. Evaluation: GUD What it would have needed to be BEST: Lower her damn citadel. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 27.0 knotsTurning Radius: 900mRudder Shift: 18.7s Maximum Turn Rate: 3.5º/s Don't let the labels fool you: I wouldn't go so far as to call any of the tier IX battleships "good" where their agility was concerned. The Iowa-class sisters are fast but they turn like dumpy ol' butt. Lion has a decent bit of wiggle in her tush but her speed is lackluster and winning out on rudder shift means nothing as it's a garbage stat. It should say a lot that Musashi is the worst out of this sorry bunch. There's no contest here. Musashi wiggles as pleasantly as a syphilitic grandpa without pants. Her top speed of 27 knots is the root of all of her ills. She is not flexible. She cannot dictate engagement distances. Her sluggish top speed makes her middling turning radius into a torturous grind as she slowly wheels about. She takes longer to change her heading than the bricks of the American standard-type battleships at tiers VI and VII. Yet in spite of all of this, she's still fully capable of frustrating players by rotating faster than her turrets. There is nothing pleasant about how Musashi handles. Nothing. Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: Musashi could have had her turning speed artificially boosted in the same manner as Colorado or New Mexico. These battleships have their turning speed penalty slashed in half -- instead of losing 25% of their maximum speed, they only bleed 12.5%. Musashi would turn at 23.6 knots instead of 20.3 knots which would in turn accelerate her rate of rotation from 3.5º per second up to 4.05º per second -- an enormous change. This would make rotate as well as North Carolina or Monarch. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 25mm / 13mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.1km / 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 60.6 / 73.2 / 7 The graph on the left shows the raw AA DPS numbers of the tier IX battleships (and Yamato from tier X). The graph on the right applies a formula {AA DPS x ( Range - 1.0km )} to calculate the overall effectiveness of the ship's AA power. This weights longer ranged weapons as being much more valuable as planes will linger within their effect longer. None of the Japanese battleships shown have what could be described as "good" anti-aircraft firepower. Thus, while Musashi's AA firepower is terrible, it's not like she could have expected things to have been stellar. Musashi's anti-aircraft firepower would be an embarrassment at tier VII, never mind two tiers higher. Musashi is utterly incapable of seeing to her own air defense, regardless of what tier of aircraft are assailing her. A heavy investment into trying to salvage her anti-aircraft firepower can claw her out of the dregs and make her a thorny enough issue to shred a few tier VII planes, but don't kid yourself into thinking you can salvage Musashi's air defense. It will always be terrible. Her improved float plane fighter is probably her best anti-aircraft asset, though this won't prevent a determined CV from burying you. Only a desperate, ill timed and uncoordinated assault on Musashi will ever be thwarted by her float plane fighter. It would be a mistake to think that Musashi's lack of AA defense is a tremendous disadvantage, however. Aircraft carriers are not commonplace. Furthermore, Musashi isn't that bad -- at least in comparison to her tier X sister ship. With the wonderful exception of Kii, anti-aircraft defense has never been a strong point of the Japanese battleships. In fact, Yamato's anti-aircraft firepower would be disappointing at tier IX and only marginally better than Izumo's, so there's no great loss here. If on the off chance you do encounter a Midway intent on deleting you, it doesn't really matter that you're in Musashi. You could have been in Yamato, Lion or Friedrich der Große -- you would still get sunk. The only question is: How many planes would it have cost her when facing those other ships? Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: A miracle. Yeah. That's all you get. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 18.00km Air Detection Range: 15.99km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 13.51km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 19.27km Main Battery Firing Range: 26.5km Detection Consumables: Spotter Aircraft / Float Plane Fighter The only thing you're sneaking up on realistically are two IJN Battleships that should really be put out of their misery. Musashi's surface detection isn't terrible. It's worse than that. You should accept right from the word go that you've lost the surface detection war with Musashi. Short of tripping over an Izumo that's given up on hope, there's really not much in the game you'll ever find yourself being able to out spot. This doesn't mean you should give up on concealment entirely. As tough as Musashi is, there will be times when you'll want to avoid being shot at and rigging this behemoth up for her best impersonation of stealth can keep your ship in the game longer. The situations where this will be useful aren't going to be commonplace. However, with Musashi's anti-aircraft firepower and secondaries being absolutely terrible, you may have a glut of spare skill points to devote to Vision Control. But let's be honest: In an ideal game, Musashi's surface detection should be 26.5km as your guns will be unloading almost non-stop. It's really only when the Red team decides to focus upon you in a rude (and game winning) manner that you should look to see if silencing your weapons can help dig you out of the mess you've put yourself in. Musashi isn't fast, so any extraction plan is going to take some time -- time a better concealment build might afford you. This said, any invested skills and modules sunk into stealth for Musashi goes right out the window if there's an enemy aircraft carrier lurking about or a surviving destroyer. Hell, even a leftover float plane fighter from that cruiser you sunk earlier will spot you from at least 14.4km -- further than you can see it and there's almost nothing your pathetic AA can do about it even if it was directly overhead, you poor thing. The only bit of a good news for Musashi in this whole category is that her aircraft -- both her Float Plane Fighter and her Spotter Aircraft -- last longer than the versions found on other battleships. Of the two, her Float Plane Fighter is the real winner, with a three minute up time, which is fantastic for a battleship. This can help you peak around islands, spot torpedoes and generally help alleviate a feeling of being completely blind. While these planes won't survive long in the flak-heavy environment of high tier matches, their reset timers are also short, so it should be less likely that you're caught completely unawares. If you're not considering a full stealth build, then those four skill points could be much better spent between Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft and Vigilance. Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: Not that much, truly. A couple hundred meters off her surface or aerial detection range could have nudged her down there. The addition of some form of bonus spotting consumable like Missouri's radar might have also done it. As it is, the extended up time on her aircraft is already a good boon that had me debating which evaluation to give her in the first place. Mouse: I need a shorter term than "Vision Control" -- one word preferably so that it fits in the vertical summary pictures.Lert: Refrigerator.Mouse: Synonymous to it, smarty pants. Lert: Oh. Learning to Fight with Two Swords Musashi differs from her sister ship (and indeed, most other IJN battleships) in that she doesn't benefit nearly as much from AA / Secondary boosting skills. While it's always been of questionable merit to emphasize secondaries and AA power in most IJN battleships, with Musashi it's a loser move right from the word go. Here's the skill list I recommend: As ever, start with Priority Target. If you are apt at using the reflections of enemies in your sword blades, then you can take Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft instead. You've got a choice here. Adrenaline Rush is optimal -- it increases your rate of fire further, catapulting Musashi's DPM to beyond monstrous levels. However, for comfort and control, Expert Marksman is probably the better choice to accelerate your turret rotation from a crime against humanity to just a manslaughter charge. Next up, you want to start stacking skills to help with fires. Take Basics of Survivability. Follow that up with Fire Prevention. Your next nine points should be put into Superintendent and then doubling back to grab whichever tier 2 skill you skipped. You have four points left at this stage, which could be put into Concealment Expert (which admittedly, does help but it's not game changer) or a combination of skills like Vigilance and Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft / Preventative Maintenance from tier 1. Final Evaluation Missouri's biggest claim to fame is her credit earning coefficient which is, frankly, off the charts. Thanks to help from within the community, I collected pages upon pages upon pages of Missouri results screens to analyze her credit earning compared to Musashi's. While the sample size from the latter was admittedly smaller, being donated only by fellow CCs and Supertesters, it did give me a glimpse into the earning differences between them. Musashi earns approximately 75% of the credits Missouri earns. Musashi earns approximately 12.5% more than a tier VIII premium. Note I am speaking only of the base credits earned. This doesn't include expenses, premium camouflage or any other bonus. This number was very difficult to isolate and, if truth be told, I'm not sure I nailed it exactly. After analyzing a few hundred results screens from Tirpitz, Roma, Musashi and Missouri, my eyes are ready to fall out of my head. I did learn a few things -- namely that experience and credits are not directly linked, so credit gains differ from experience gains. It should be noted that both Kii and Roma with their Makoto Kobayashi camouflage will have higher credit earning totals than Musashi does. To best them you would need to equip a camouflage with an increased credit earning bonus like the Gamescom 2016. Musashi does earn bank -- never doubt it. She can't threaten Missouri for top spot, however. Musashi (red, long dispersion field) vs Missouri (green, squat dispersion field). Shells recorded with 25% opacity, allowing them to be stacked 4 times. 180 shells at 15km, locked onto a Fuso. Both ships are equipped with their dispersion reduction upgrades (7% Musashi, 11% Missouri). Fuso does not have camouflage. Mouse's Summary: Dirt simple game play. Point your nose at the enemy. Keep pulling the trigger. She's tough as nails until she's not. When one of Musashi's weaknesses (flanking, torpedoes, bombers) gets exploited, she folds quickly. She's closer to Yamato than most people give her credit. So many people dismissed Musashi out of hand: "A downtiered, stock-Yamato," they said, as if this was really something worth derision. The argument went that the free experience costs used to unlock Musashi should be better spent on Yamato instead. That's kind of a silly comparison to make, in my opinion. If you have anywhere close to that much free experience kicking around, you've long made up your mind about whether you want a Yamato or not and probably taken steps to acquire her. Having Musashi on offer isn't going to sudden make buying that Yamato you skipped all of this time worth while. But hey, if she suddenly looks attractive now that Musashi is out, more power to you. This is a very powerful premium battleship. Playing Musashi is all about buying time. She doesn't have Yamato's accuracy. It takes her a little longer to get up to speed -- to make those 460mm salvos really hurt. RNGesus may smile on you early on in a match every now and then, but it's best to bank on the need to stretch out those minutes as best you can to give you more bites of the apple -- to give you more time to drop those 14,800hp warheads on bow-tanking stupid heads and turn the course of battle. Finding a comfortable island shadow to lurk near, probing the enemy until they make a mistake -- that's Musashi's bread and butter. For most players, Musashi promotes static game play, I'm sorry to say. The combination of armour vulnerability, enormous surface detection and slow speed largely relegates Musashi's to such mind numbing simplicity, especially for inexperienced commanders. While she can push, while she can lead a charge and while she can pressure a cap circle, moving away from a safe anchorage undoes all of the benefits of her awesome armour scheme. So long as she has targets in front of her that need killing and she's able to put out effective fire, why risk moving? Frankly, it will win you games. If you do muster up the courage or reckless abandon to sally out in this monster, you're in for a treat so long as the threats to your flank are secured. Musashi is a phenomenal bully when top tier and she's no slouch at tier X either. Putting your ship up on the firing line and absorbing the wall of abuse can spare your team mates undue pressure. You're likely to survive what they can only dream of tanking themselves. There are inherent risks to doing this -- if you team doesn't push while you stick your neck out, no number of heroic damage absorption you demonstrate will turn a losing match into a winning one. You should be able to farm some nice damage before the loss, however, and who knows? The enemy might get reckless enough to drip feed their ships into your guns and turn their victory into a loss. This is why I enjoyed my time with Musashi so much. She's a ship that can really make a difference. Musashi reminded me a lot of my first year with World of Warships where I sank game after game after game into Warspite -- another ship with ridiculously powerful guns and horrible gun handling. I can think of no higher praise than that. There's just one problem... Musashi is overtuned. Musashi does too much damage and she's too tough to be a tier IX ship. The latter definitely helps the former -- whatever accuracy qualms 1.8 sigma may have given the ship design, having Yamato's full health pool a full tier lower gives her enough time to make those weapons sing. This is a ship that needs to be focused down and focused down hard when she's seen or you're going to lose ships quickly. While this ship will not last long when played by someone who doesn't know what they're doing, even in the hands of someone semi-competent, they're going to punch much higher than their weight class. Would I Recommend? 750,000 free experience is a heavy investment and it outright locks out new players. While I'm sure there are those of you out there who have legitimately horded this amount without spending a dime, for most players looking to acquire Musashi, they're going to be looking to use doubloons to convert experience on premiums and elited ships. Newer players have a lot of grinding to do before they can even do that. You're going to need 30,000 doubloons to afford this at the cost of approximately $110 USD or €100 to do this from a zero sum of free experience (and that's not including the extra 5,000 you'll need for her upgraded camouflage or the 300 for the port slot). The longer you spend grinding the experience, the less expensive you can make it. So set your own price. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Absolutely. Musashi's guns seem specifically designed for dealing with bow tanking bots. Her increased credit earning allows her to earn a tidy sum. With her standard premium camouflage equipped, you'll spend 36,000 per match in maintenance with ammunition sitting at 400 credits per shell fired. Just beware dumb bots throwing friendly torps at you. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Very yes. Do you like earning High Caliber and Dreadnought medals? Musashi prints High Caliber and Dreadnought medals. She's one of the best ships in the game for grinding credits -- currently only behind Missouri, Kii and Roma (and the latter two must have the Makoto Kobayashi camouflage). This gets even better with the High School Fleet camouflage for boosting commander experience gains. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. Musashi is very powerful at tier IX. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Very yes. Musashi has the triple incentive of: 1.) Being a free-experience vessel that anyone with a lot of time can acquire. 2.) A beautiful historical vessel with a tragic end. 3.) The option of collecting a fun camouflage for a series players may have enjoyed. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Very yes on toast. Subjecting a Pensacola-class cruiser to 460mm guns is a level of fun everyone should experience before the American cruiser line gets redone. 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 Hey, I made it. This review, like Ashitaka and Makarov before it is being done at the last minute. I hope quality hasn't suffered overmuch. It's still adhering mostly to my vision of what I want these reviews to look like going forward. They will continue to evolve -- you'll note that the Angry YouTuber review was hiding at the end again. Hopefully my "Overpowered" evaluation doesn't take anyone by surprise. I'm confident that over time others will begin to see the horrifying potential of a Yamato-class battleship at tier IX, even without its 2.1 sigma, secondaries, or AA firepower. Thank you all for the feedback on my Roma review. I'm going to continue to try out new things going forward; we'll see what works and what doesn't. Please don't hesitate about reaching out to me to let me know what you like and what you would like to see improved. Hopefully for my next review, I'll have a little more time to experiment more. I really just had to push through this one to try and get it out for the ship's launch. I want to extend a special thank you to my Patrons on Patreon who have already pledged their support. I'm looking to do more with that shortly, including setting up an easier way for you all to contact me. Hopefully this review is indicative of the amount of time and energy that I put towards these projects -- even on short notice, I do my best not to let you guys down. This isn't done without cost, however, and your support really helps me make ends meet. If you enjoy my reviews and are not already a patron, please consider helping out so that I may continue covering ships as they're released. I honestly don't know what's next after Musashi. I think I'm going to have to poke Wargaming and see what's on the docket. Maybe I'll have time to revisit an older review.
×