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Found 21 results

  1. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Hyuga

    The following is a review of Hyuga, the tier VII Japanese premium battleship. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself; I did not have to pay money to get access to her. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.3. Please be aware that her statistics may change in the future. I always start these reviews with the above disclaimer. I do it for a couple of reasons. The first is to let you all know that there is some intrinsic bias in this review. I am only human (beep-boop ♪) and it's possible I will make some reporting errors on stats and numbers. It's also to let you know that I have a relationship with Wargaming through the Community Contributor program. After all, I get these assets for free to review them and that's absolutely going to colour how I feel about a ship and my readers absolutely need to know about that partnership. However, what I wanted to draw your attention to was this: 'Please be aware that her statistics may change in the future.' I originally wrote this to to warn players of meta shifts. While the core stats of a given ship might not change, the game most assuredly does. Mechanics get tweaked, new ships get introduced and before you know it, your once S-tier Blyskawica is unable to keep up. This past month, this warning has taken on new meaning: The newer premiums may have their performance stats directly nerfed by Wargaming. This is a change from their old policy and it only applies to these newer ships. I had originally wanted to discuss this with my Flandre review but I totally brain-farted on that. Since Flandre, Hyuga and HSF Harekaze II have also been affected by this so it's time to make sure I cover this info. You can see Wargaming's notice of such in the detailed description they provide of an individual premium. I've highlighted the pertinent part: What this means: Hyuga and newer premium vessels do not have protection from being directly nerfed in the future. Changes are not guaranteed, but they are possible. Please, please, PLEASE take this into consideration before pulling the trigger on any purchase. Got it? Good. There's lots of room to discuss this change in policy and how it affects your personal buying decisions. Please feel free to discuss it in this thread or quote back this section in a new post if you prefer. For now, let's get back to my review of Hyuga. Quick Summary: A modernized WWI-era Japanese battleship with twelve, quick-firing 356mm guns, a dispersed armour scheme and access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. PROS Trollish armour scheme for resisting SAP and HE hits, including thick upper hull, deck armour and voids. Good reach on her main battery guns. Very comfortable dispersion for such a large main battery. Excellent main battery DPM between her quick, 28 second reload and her twelve guns. The bulk of her secondary battery has increased accuracy. Has access to the Main Battery Reload Booster. CONS Wonky and weird citadel geometry. Seriously, it looks like a Picasso painting. Overmatch issues with her smaller gun calibre. Horrible gun handling and awkward fire angles. Only a modest top speed and not especially agile. Horrible anti-aircraft defences. Enormous surface detection range. Overview In the long-long ago, in the before-time, back when there was only three tier VI battleships in this game, a debate raged on which was the best. The answer is obvious now (it's bae-bote, always and forever) but it was a very eye-opening discussion. You see, back then it was Fuso that appealed to most. It's not hard to see why with her trollish armour and phenomenal firepower for her tier. She was faster than her two competitors and this was also back before sigma was understood. Some had a grasp of what overmatch was but others did not. It's not hard to see why Fuso was a long-standing favourite and her successor, Nagato, was often seen as a step down in terms of performance. It's surprising to me we've had to wait this long for a premium based around her game play. There are plenty of options with Fuso and Yamashiro from the Fuso-class and then Ise and Hyuga of the subsequent Ise-class. Well, the wait's over. We finally get what we've always wanted, however it is at the wrong tier. Up-tiering Fuso's gameplay begs the question if any gimmicks could make her worth playing. That's the Hyuga quandary in a nutshell: Is it worth paying money for an up-tiered Fuso with weird gimmicks? Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Hyuga's pretty new-player friendly. Keep back. Keep AP loaded. Pull the trigger. You can forget about nuances of angling properly; her gun arcs don't allow for that. She's not so fast that she'll get you into trouble nor is she so slow that she cannot keep up with the pace of battle as it progresses. So green light all around. She's an easy battleship to play and she'll deliver reasonable results to anyone of any particular skill level. For veterans, well there's lots to like here. Her consumables alone open up all kinds of opportunity for optimization, to say nothing of her fast-reload guns and her massive broadside. Hyuga's alpha strike potential is downright cataclysmic, reigned in only by modest penetration values which is yet another bit of info to out-skill. Still, as good as her armour profile appears, this is a difficult battleship to effectively tank damage, limiting her appeal as a front-line vessel for pushing and progressing the battle. Overall? Good marks for skill-potential and growth, but certainly not the best out there for that. Options Aside from her Main Battery Reload Booster, there's not a whole lot out of the ordinary for Hyuga when it comes to outfitting her. Consumables Hyuga's Damage Control Party is standard for a Japanese battleship, meaning that it's only active for 10 seconds as opposed to 15 seconds for most other battleships (and 20 seconds for Americans). It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard. It queues up to 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. From this queue, it will heal back up to 14% of the ship's starting hit points per charge over 28 seconds. It starts with four charges and has an 80 second reset timer. Her Main Battery Reload Booster is weird (not the least of which is seeing a MBRB on a battleship at all). It is active for 15 seconds, doubling the rate at which shells are reloaded during that time (each second spent reloading counts as two). It starts with three charges and it has a 60 second reset timer. Finally she has a Fighter. This launches three (3) aircraft which orbit on station for 60 seconds. It comes with three charges and a 90 second reset timer. Upgrades There's three builds to consider here: Optimal, comfort and PVE-shenani-nani-gans. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Begin your anti-fire regimen with Damage Control System Modification 1. So all of the fun happens in slot three. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is your best choice here. However, you can take the slight dispersion hit for Main Battery Modification 2 to increase her admittedly horribad turret traverse rate. For you PVE-nutters out there, you can also consider electing for a secondary build here with Secondary Battery Modification 1 if you like. Whatever your choice, follow that up with Damage Control System Modification 2 in slot four. Commander Skills Until Dead Eye (4pts) is dead and buried, it's going to remain optimal for all battleship builds. That's going to be the first priority on any PVP battleship build. From there, your next priority is to mitigate fire damage through Basics of Survivability (3pts) and Fire Prevention Expert (4pts). Next up comes buffs to gun performance, namely in the form of Adrenaline Rush (3pts) and Grease the Gears (2pts). That leaves you 5pts to play with (including a 1pt skill compulsory). Recommended skills include: 1 point skills: Gun Feeder, Emergency Repair Specialist 2 point skills: Priority Target 3 point skills: Super Heavy AP Shells 4 point skills: Emergency Repair Expert, Concealment Expert If you're a PVE main and want to dabble in a brawling build (because bots love to brawl), then you can skip the fire prevention stuff and just load up on secondary buffing skills instead, dropping Dead Eye and avoiding Concealment Expert because neither are ever going to do you any good. Camouflage Hyuga has access to two camouflage options. She comes with Type 10 Camouflage regardless of how you acquire her, but when she was first sold, the higher tiered bundle came with the Japanese Lacquer camouflage as well. This alternative camo is merely a cosmetic swap, providing the same identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains.  Hyuga's Type 10 Camouflage is the usual browns and greens you've come to expect from Japanese premiums. If you've finished the appropriate section of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection then you can palette swap to the blue instead. I really like Hyuga's lacquer camo. We've seen it before on Hayate. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 356mm guns in 6x2 turrets in an A-B-P-Q-X-Y in superfiring pairs. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 140mm guns in 16x1 hull-mounted casemates with eight to a side and eight 127mm guns in 4x2 turrets with a pair on either side of the main superstructure. I'ma take a quick moment and start with Hyuga's secondaries. Outside of PVE modes, don't worry about them. If you prefer Co-Op, you can buff her secondaries and get some nice results. Hyuga's 140mm casemates have improved gunnery dispersion, akin to that found on other large-calibre casemates of ships like Nagato, Amagi, Iron Duke and Warspite. Her 127mm have normal ol' (bad) dispersion, though. Fully buffed, you can get their reach out to 8.47km which is pretty respectable and more than worthwhile when bots come rushing blindly at you. Their smaller calibre will prevent them from dealing direct damage to all but the softest skinned targets, but you'll undoubtedly start a fire or two in every match if you get stuck in. Don't bother with them in PVP, however. Twelve 356mm guns with a 28 second reload with 1.8 sigma and a Main Battery Reload Booster at tier VII. For those experienced with the game, that's all of the information you really need to know to appreciate Hyuga's strengths and weaknesses. There's minutia, of course; other details that matter, but the lion's share of the information you need comes right there. Let's break it down: Twelve guns: This is a lot, no matter how you slice it. Most battleships in the game sit with between eight and ten guns with twelve tending to be towards the upper limit (laughs in Lyon). Regardless of gun calibre, this promises a large broadside and huge alpha strike potential. 356mm gun calibre: By tier VII, this gun calibre is a bit long in the tooth as more and more vessels drift upwards towards 380mm and 406mm guns. It is below average for its tier despite the glut of ships still using it (Poltava, California, Florida, Duke of York, King George V and Hyuga). 356mm guns obviously don't hit as hard as the larger gun calibres, but they are also incapable of overmatching structural plate that's 25mm or thicker. 25mm and 26mm structural plates become increasingly commonplace at mid-to-higher tiers, preventing ships armed with 356mm guns from being able to bully these vessels at any angle they take. 28 second reload: Go back even a year, and the perceived "normal" reload time for a battleship was 30 seconds. However, between the new American and Italian tech-tree battleships released this past year, Wargaming seems increasingly weary of keeping to this standard. A glut of newer vessels have greater-than-30-second reloads to their name, which makes Hyuga's 28 seconds all the more remarkable. Again, I stress that this is with a large main battery of twelve guns. Even with their smaller gun calibre, Hyuga's damage potential is some of the best at her tier. 1.8 sigma: This is the "workhorse" value Wargaming typically assigns to most battleships. The average sigma among the seventeen unique tier VII battleships is 1.79 just to give you an idea. The trend tends to be for ships with a large number of guns to have lower sigma; usually in the 1.5 to 1.6 range. This afflicts the tier VI battleships with twelve guns with Fuso and New Mexico both stricken with 1.5 sigma while Arizona feels decidedly over-performing with her 1.8 at the same tier. To see Hyuga with 1.8 sigma speaks to the comfort of her long-range gunnery. Aim well and she'll reward you with multiple hits. Main Battery Reload Booster: This consumable is a game changer. Hyuga already fires very quickly. She is more likely to have shells at the ready when a target of opportunity presents itself. The faster a battleship fires, the more forgiving the vessel is for poorly aimed shots. This consumable turns everything on its head, providing Hyuga with shells on demand. With a touch of a button, you all but guaranteed to be able to put shells down range to capitalize on an opponent's mistake. This stacks with the strengths of her larger battery (twelve guns) and decent sigma (1.8) to make these shots count. With the short reload on the consumable, it's again likely to be ready when the next opportunity arises. The only thing arresting the overpowered nature of this combination is Hyuga's gun calibre. If she was capable of overmatching any target she faced, this would simply be a raw DPM increase. As it is, she still needs to look for the best shots possible. Give Hyuga your broadside at your peril. Hyuga's 1.8 sigma makes for comfortable shell groupings. It's not S-tier by any means, but it's a far cry better than Fuso's 1.5 sigma shotgun blasts. This is largely the means by which Wargaming justifies Hyuga being a tier VII. This is what Fuso's 1.5 sigma shotgun blasts look like. Both ships are using Aiming Systems Modification 1 (but not Dead Eye), firing 180 AP shells at 15km against a stationary Fuso bot without camo. Shells are coming in from right to left (the Fuso is bow-tanking). Twelve guns with a 28 second reload means that Hyuga very comfortably sits near the top of the potential damage charts, even with her smaller gun calibre. It doesn't hurt that Japanese HE shells deal more damage than most of the contemporaries of the same calibre, with only the Royal Navy HE being beefier on a per-hit basis (6,100 damage from a KGV-class HE shell versus 5,700 for Hyuga). I swore I'd never do one of these graphics again and YET, here I am... Twelve 356mm guns with a 28 second reload with 1.8 sigma and a Main Battery Reload Booster glosses over a lot of problems. Hyuga's gun handling isn't particularly good nor are her fire angles comfortable (more on these in the Durability section below). Her range is good, but it could be better. Without access to a Spotter Aircraft, there's no temporary flexibility to chase targets just beyond her nominal reach. Next, her HE shells aren't good fire starters. Finally, her penetration just isn't up to scratch to compete with battleship belt armours outside of 14km. There is also the added problem that with such fast firing guns, Hyuga remains spotted longer than other battleships, revealing herself with every blast of her weapons. All of these problems are easy to forget with just how many shells she puts downrange and how often the land hits. Yes, ricochets are annoying. Yes, it sucks when a salvo of multiple hits from HE fails to start a fire. These issues help reign Hyuga in from over-performing, because there's a little too much good going on here. A lot of the premium battleships at tier VII use 356mm guns for some reason. Ashitaka uses 410mm, to be clear, and is present here because she's the other Japanese premium. Despite her increased HE shell damage, she's only a modest fire starter and only because she has so many guns and fires so quickly. Her individual shell hits have some of the lowest fire setting at her tier. SUMMARY: Very comfortable gunnery platform. Maybe a little too comfortable. Durability Hit Points: 60,700 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 26mm / 16mm / 149mm / 35 to 44mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm anti-torpedo bulge + 299mm belt + 32mm turtleback + up to a 230mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 26% I'm going to start with this graphic. It may seem a little out of place, but hear me out. "It could be worse" sums up Hyuga's fire angles. Between these and her poor gun handling, she gets poor marks here. 'If you can shoot them, they can penetrate you,' sums up Hyuga's firing angles. Assuming you can set things up absolutely 100% perfect, there's still around a one in three chance of their AP shells doing unspeakably ugly things to your ship. Get sloppy by as little as 3º and their chances jump up to half with the enusing reduction of relative armour as an additional kick in the teeth (her 299mm belt drops from approximately 520mm of effective armour down to 485mm). Hyuga's firing angles aren't well designed for trading fire. She's not meant to tank damage in gun duels like this. She's much better suited at shooting things that aren't shooting back. You're pretty much forced to choose between damage out put and tanking effectively. She's not really agile enough to pull off both without making some serious compromises to one or the other. It's not all doom and gloom, though. The Ise-class is a WWI era super-dreadnought and this is reflected in her dispersed armour scheme. This means that other than her extremities and (admittedly sizeable) superstructure, Hyuga has thicker armour than expected. Combine this with her enormous anti-torpedo bulges (which don't work very efficiently against torpedoes for some reason), Hyuga's armour profile is downright troll for resisting AP, SAP and HE shells. The latter two especially struggle to deal reliable damage if they miss her snoot, booty or hat. Against AP shells, it's a bit more of a mixed-blessing. Her dispersed armour does make it more likely to AP shells to ricochet if she's angled correctly. However, the thicker armour plate also has the effect of guaranteeing to arm the fuses of large calibre AP rounds, all but negating the chance for reduced damage over-penetrations when shells do bite into these places. Overall, her dispersed armour scheme is more of a blessing than a bane. Before moving on, it's worth mentioning that her turrets have about 300mm worth of usable armour between their turret faces and barbettes. These are an admitted weak point when face-tanking if an opponent can't simply overmatch her 26mm bows with 380mm+ calibre AP rounds. Hyuga's guns break often when forced into this role. Hyuga's huge 32mm anti-torpedo bulge acts as a void. Any HE or SAP attacks that strike here will deal zero damage to the ship. Peel back that anti-torpedo protection and there's a mess of different armour values for AP shells to contend with. None of these values are especially high, so maintaining correct angling is paramount to resisting battleship-calibre AP fire. When it comes to citadel protection ... it's complicated. Around Hyuga's rear magazines, her protection is pretty damn good with a combination of up to 593mm worth of steel at funny angles aimed to keep shells out. But depending on where she's hit, this value can be as low as just 288mm. Add onto this the wonky (janky!) geometry, especially around the P and Q turret magazines and the rear machine spaces and Hyuga's presents shell trap after shell trap after shell trap for penetration AP rounds to catch upon and deal big damage. It's worth mentioning that her turtleback isn't angled steeply enough to resist flat-trajectory fire, to say nothing of long-range fire and it's from the latter that you need to worry about big damaging hit the most. The reason I have made such a big deal out of Hyuga's poor firing angles and gun handling has a lot to do with how badly this ship resists citadel hits from the incidental attacks that come from long range duels. Look, I was going to show the armour values for this but ... it's like Jackson Pollock painting. It's a total mess. There are so many different armour values and weird geometries going on. I want to rate Hyuga's overall durability more highly than it deserves. In truth, her protection scheme could be really troll if she had better firing angles to capitalize on it. Furthermore, being a tier VII battleship, that leaves those huge vulnerable overmatching holes in the form of her bow and stern for easy back-doors into big damage against this ship. And if those aren't available, you can always smack her in the barbettes and get some nice damaging hits that way -- the changes made to penetrating hits against guns has greatly hurt the durability of mid-tier battleships, especially in brawls. I suppose the best that could be said about her is that she's pretty good at resisting poorly aimed cruiser HE and SAP spam. However, her superstructure and extremities are large targets so you cannot expect any experienced player to ignore those soft spots. Furthermore, Hyuga burns just as well as any other Japanese battleship. Hyuga's health pool is only average. VERDICT: Pretty good if you can stay angled or your opponents are n00bs. I wouldn't count on either one of those, though. It'll work well against bots, though. Agility Top Speed: 25.3 knots Turning Radius: 750m Rudder Shift Time: 15 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.9º/s at 18.9 knots Tier VII is a transition-tier for battleship agility. This is where we start to see some really fast battleships appearing however there are still some 20-knot holdovers in the form of the American standards. This combines with a mix of different handling characteristics, with some retaining the early-battleship tight turning radii while others begin to have their turning circles balloon out to the massive sizes we see at higher tiers. Thus there's a lot of variety between the best and worst performers and everything in between. Hyuga is definitely one of those in between. Her speed is slightly below average for her tier and her turning radius is alright. At 25 knots, it's just about enough to keep up with the pace of battle or to disengage during the opening stages of a fight. As the battle progresses, however, Hyuga's pedestrian top speed is more of a liability where the threat of allied support begins to dry up and enemies can push more aggressively if she's exposed. Similarly, her modest top speed leads to a cumbersome rate of turn. The good news is that she doesn't quite out-turn her turrets. The bad news is that you're still going to be tempted to use your rudder to bring guns to bear and that's going to open up your sides for penetrating AP hits. To this end, taking traverse-improving skills and upgrades helps improve this ship's durability, if only to keep your fingers away from the WASD keys when switching targets. Think of Hyuga as a slightly-faster Nelson. VERDICT: Nothing terrible but nothing good. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 2 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 63dps at 75% accuracy (47dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 75.5dps at 85% accuracy (62dps) Yeah.... no. The only reason Hyuga isn't at the bottom of the pile for AA defence at this tier is because Ashitaka is a stock, interwar-era Amagi. VERDICT: Yeah... no. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.84km / 14.7km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 10.46km / 9.41km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.84km Maximum Firing Range: 20.31km Have some raw data. Hyuga's surface detection is pretty bad. Hyuga's surface deteciton is pretty terrible. Stock, it's 2km better than Fuso (a little bit less if they're both fully upgraded), so that's something I guess. But that's like saying your tier V battleship has more health than Viribus Unitis. Even with a full concealment build (which should still do, by the way), until the enemy destroyers have been thinned out, you have to count on being permanently lit if you're anywhere close to the front. Being so easily spotted means that Hyuga spends more time being the only target available than her contemporaries. I'm sure Wargaming has some metric out there to illustrate this that would justify my suspicions, but between Hyuga's enormous surface detection and rapid fire guns, she ends up making herself a target more often than most. This means more incidental fire comes her way, especially from other battleships. While not all of this will connect, it's just that little bit of extra chip-damage that will eat at her health or tax your Damage Control Party that makes Hyuga and Fuso feel squishier than their armour profiles would otherwise suggest. It's just something to keep in mind. Having Priority Target is recommended if only to let you know when you need to silence your guns and think about rotating towards the back of the line to ease off some of the pressure. Hyuga's lack of a Spotter Aircraft tends to keep Hyuga closer to the action than Fuso, even with the two ships having comparable ranges. For the sake of her gun performance, this is generally a good thing though I found myself missing that extra bit of reach-on-demand in higher tiered engagements. Still, I have no real complaints about her engagement distances. Hyuga has nothing else really to speak of when it comes to her Vision Control. She's a fat battleship, possibly visible from space. This gets her shot a lot, though often it's more incidental fire than anything concentrated. Still, you can't count on being able to properly disengage unless you keep her in the second line. VERDICT: Just plain bad. Final Evaluation This isn't the first time Wargaming has taken an existing design and up-tiered it by making some small changes. While Hyuga is not a Fuso-class, their design looks superficially analogous from a game play perspective, what with both ships being large, twelve-356mm gun armed Japanese battleships. However, the differences between them is extensive. While describing Hyuga has a Tier VII Fuso is a good shorthand for setting expectations, it's far from accurate. This isn't a complete list of differences (you could write a book on their armour and hull geometry differences alone), but here's the important bits that separate the two vessels: The Basics Hyuga is an Ise-class, with overall larger dimensions than the Fuso-class and, most notably, different P & Q gun turret layouts. Hyuga is tier VII, facing a maximum of tier IX opponents and Fuso is tier VI facing a maximum of tier VIII opponents. Hyuga is a premium with all that this entails and comes with permanent camouflage. Firepower Hyuga has access to a Main Battery Reload Booster. Hyuga has improved sigma (1.8 vs 1.5) Hyuga has longer ranged secondaries (5.6km vs 4.96km) Hyuga has sixteen 140mm casemate secondaries, Fuso has fourteen 152mm casemate secondaries. Fuso is longer ranged (21.81km vs 20.31km) and she has access to a Spotter Aircraft. Durability Very different armour layouts and hull geometries. No, I'm not going into detail. Hyuga has better overall citadel defence. Hyuga has more hit points (60,700 vs 57,100) Hyuga has better built in fire resistance from her tier (30% vs 23.5% approximately). Fuso has better anti-torpedo defence (34% reduction versus 26%) Agility Hyuga is faster (25.3kts vs 24.5kts) Fuso has a tighter turning radius (730m vs 750m) Fuso has a faster rudder shift time (14.9s vs 15s) Anti-Aircraft Defence Fuso has better AA DPS at close range (150.5dps vs 75.5dps) Hyuga has a Fighter consumable. Vision Control Hyuga has a better surface detection range (16.89km vs 18.9km) Fuso has a better aerial detection range (9.74km vs 10.46km) So Hyuga's not a Fuso clone, but really, the three big differences between the two vessels are her consumables, her range and her dispersion. Hyuga is a much better gun platform than Fuso, even with her deficit of reach. Her gunnery is more reliable than the tier VI vessel. She puts more shells on target from accuracy and more shells down range grace of her Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. In fact, Hyuga's gunnery is so much better that it feels downright comfortable; and that, to me, is always a warning sign that a ship is perhaps a little too good. If I find myself feeling cozy in a given vessel, that's a sure sign that something about it is overtuned in my hands. Whether or not this translates to being similarly good in the hands of the masses is another thing entirely, but a lot of the ships I like end up getting pulled by Wargaming -- just saying. In Hyuga's case, Wargaming's new policy on adjusting premiums should keep this ship from ever getting withdrawn from sale barring her becoming way too popular. But as it stands, I think Hyuga is a fantastic Japanese premium. She's right up there with some of the other top-tier Japanese premium battleships including Ashitaka, Musashi and Shikishima.
  2. Poopin' rainbows. Quick Summary: A fragile anti-aircraft cruiser with radar and armed with sixteen 127mm rifles and short-ranged torpedoes. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.1. February 3rd, 2017 Cost: 9,000 doubloons. Closest in-Game Contemporary Flint, Tier 7 USN Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Flint is an Oakland-subclass of the Atlanta-class cruiser, so it stands to reason that the two ships would be very similar. Flint has an upgraded medium-range anti-aircraft suite. She loses out on the two wing turrets found on Atlanta giving her a maximum of a twelve-gun broadside. Flint's superiority is very firmly set by her torpedoes which have a reach out to 9.2km. Lastly, the two ships trade out their third consumable, with Flint having a USN Smoke Generator instead of Atlanta's Radar. PROs Armed with sixteen, rapid fire 127mm rifles in eight turrets dispensing up to168 rounds per minute from a fourteen gun broadside. Turret traverse is blinding-quick at 25º per second. Able to fire over intervening terrain quite easily. Her main battery customizes incredibly with the 0.6.0 Captain Skills. Her torpedoes are very fast and very hard hitting for a cruiser of her tier. Powerful anti-aircraft armament, with unlimited charges of her Defensive Fire consumable. With a full AA-upgrade build, she has some of the best AA-power in the game, tier for tier. She has access to the USN Radar consumable. CONs Tiny hit point pool of 27,500hp. Her machine-spaces citadel sits over the waterline and has a maximum of 89mm of protection. Her bows are overmatched by 203mm guns or larger. Her turrets get temporarily disabled easily. Painfully short ranged at 11.1km stock. Very poor ballistics, with shells being launched into low orbit even at modest ranges. Poor penetration values on her AP and HE shells. She struggles to do damage to tier 8+ Battleships. Torpedoes are pathetically short ranged at 4.5km. Large surface detection range of 11.0km. My last review of Atlanta was over a year ago and there have been some rather significant changes to the game in that time. Atlanta has been graced by some better fortunes, including one direct buff and many smaller, indirect buffs caused by differences in new mechanics and systems. This time last year, she was an overspecialized oddity, unable to perform in the manner players wanted and expected her to perform. She remained a favourite to eccentrics and experts and downright punitive to novice players. Atlanta's fame (or infamy) has waned considerably over the year. She is no longer commonly available, having been removed as a permanent fixture from the online store. She is also gone from the in-game tech-tree where she could be bought with doubloons. Though far from rare, it is likely that as the game matures she may become a more uncommon sight. This said, her game play style has been diluted somewhat by the inclusion of USS Flint, an Oakland-subclass of the Atlanta-class cruiser. Flint shares many characteristics with Atlanta but with the benefits of better torpedoes and a smoke generator -- two fixes for the Atlanta-class many fans of her were clamouring for. We received different fixes for Atlanta instead of questionable effectiveness. This does raise the question if Atlanta is now worth purchasing for those who do not have her, especially given her limited availability. Hopefully this review will address said concerns. Atlanta subscribes to the original Wargaming design for premium vessels in World of Warships, where candidates were to be selected from ships that didn't fit in the tech tree. These "weird" vessels included ships like Kitakami and Tone. Options Atlanta's Defensive Fire is special. Unlike other ships, she has unlimited charges of this consumable. Its other characteristics, including reset timer, duration and intensity remain the same. Atlanta is also one of the few tier 7 ships with Radar. This has an 8.49km range, 25s duration and two or three minute reset timer depending if you took the premium version or not. Consumables: Damage Control Party Defensive Fire or Hydroacoustic Search Radar Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard USN Cruiser options.Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy Firepower Main Battery: Sixteen 127mm rifles in 8x2 turrets with an A-B-C-P-Q-X-Y-Z arrangement. A-B-C and X-Y-Z are superfiring, with all three turrets capable of shooting unobstructed directly forward or aft respectively. P and Q are wing turrets mounted just ahead of X-turret and behind the torpedo launchers. This gives the ship a fourteen gun broadside. Torpedo Armament: Eight tubes between 2x4 launchers. One is mounted to each side of the ship behind the rear funnel. Let's start with Atlanta's torpedoes; they are terrible. While individually hard hitting at 16,663 damage per and fast at 65 knots they are pathetically short ranged at 4.5km. This limits their utility to ambush scenarios and acts of desperation. In order to properly make use of Atlanta's torpedoes, your opponent has to have made a serious mistake. In such scenarios, a broadside of all four fish will be catastrophic and your opponent deserves the punishment these can dish out for being so horribly out of position. In close range brawls with enemy cruisers, a broadside of her AP shells is often more reliably devastating than her torpedoes. That's really all that needs to be said about these weapons. Main Battery Atlanta has arguably the most entertaining main battery armament in the game. There are few guns as interesting as the USN 127mm/38 rifles in World of Warships. They are not without their controversies either. With 0.6.0 they received a significant buff in regards to how they interact with select Captain Skills and the variety of builds centered around improving these weapons is diverse. But let's start with looking at their raw performance before we worry about how we can modify them. Common Captain Skills taken by Atlanta players to buff their Main Battery. Few ships benefit so greatly from Captain Skills as the Atlanta. From left to right: Basic Fire Training, Advanced Fire Training, Demolition Expert, Inertia Fuse for HE Shells, Adrenaline Rush and Expert Marksman. Not all of these skills should be considered optimal or even necessary. The 127mm/38 rifles found on Atlanta are similar to, but not an exact match to the weapons found on the USN Destroyers. They fire the same shells, with the same relative range, ballistic qualities, alpha strike, penetration values and fire chance to her line's destroyers. However, Atlanta doesn't enjoy the same rate of fire found on vessels like Mahan, Farragut or Sims. Farragut, at tier 6, fires 15 rounds per minute -- a value matched by Mahan at tier 7. Sims gets this volume of fire as high as 18.2 rounds per minute while Atlanta has to make do with 12. For those wondering, this isn't historical and has been reduced for balance reasons. Atlanta may appear to have the equivalent broadside to three USN Destroyers combined, once you factor in her reload time, this works out closer to two. And this brings us to our first two Captain Skills. Rate of Fire Atlanta reloads every 5s giving her fourteen gun broadside a potential rate of fire of 168 rounds per minute. There are two ways to increase this. As a destroyer-caliber weapon, Atlanta enjoys full benefits of Basic Fire Training which drops her reload down to 4.5s and increases her rate of fire up to just over 186rpm. As if that weren't enough, you can also take Adrenaline Rush which increases her rate of fire as your ship takes damage. At half health, this drops Atlanta's reload by another half second, increasing it to 210rpm. Let's look at some real-world examples. Assuming penetrating hits from her HE shells (594 damage per), a full 14 gun volley (8,316 damage per) yields the following. Against saturated areas, the damage will be half this. At 168rpm: 99,792 damage. At 186rpm: 110,494 damage. At 210rpm: 124,740 damage. This is contingent on being able to land hits with that level of accuracy and penetrate vulnerable areas. Like all guns, Atlanta's rifles are exceedingly dangerous up close. Landing with ten or more shells per volley is easy enough inside of 7km ranges. However, even veteran Atlanta players only land between 29% and 35% of their hits overall which much of the accuracy disparity coming from her poor ballistic qualities at range. Range and Ballistics One of Atlanta's biggest weaknesses is her lack of reach relative to her surface detection. Stock, Atlanta's guns can theoretically hit targets up to 11.1km away while she's detected from the surface from 11.0km. This 100m buffer for such a fragile ship forces her to be placed in harms way anytime she pulls the trigger. Taking the skill, Advanced Fire Training extends her reach up to 13.3km. Between camouflage and skills, it's possible to get her surface detection down to 9.4km. In theory, this opens the tiniest of stealth fire windows (less than 100m) but in all practical sense, Atlanta cannot engage targets and stay hidden without the use of cover. This is further compounded by the appalling ballistic qualities of her shells. At her maximum range, her shells are taking a full second per kilometer of distance traveled. This leads to horrible lead times. Depending on game resolution, some players may be prevented from using the maximum zoom when ranging their shells as their targets will be well off screen. This can make targeting specific sections of ships very difficult This is a necessary skill when facing off against heavily armored targets which her HE shells can struggle to damage.Penetration and Fire Atlanta has one of the lowest average damage per game values of any tier 7 cruiser. Stock, Atlanta's high explosive shells can penetrate a maximum of 20mm of armour. Aside from destroyers and some light cruisers, her shells just don't have the penetration power to directly affect vessels short of their superstructures. So while her guns may murder a destroyer with some alacrity, when facing against cruisers and battleships, Atlanta was often on her back foot. Atlanta's AP shells can be truly monstrous when properly applied. However, their penetration values due to their low muzzle velocity and poor ballistics arcs prevents them from being used efficiently outside of 7km ranges. Inside this distance, Atlanta is more than capable of blowing out the citadel of heavy cruisers or hammering the upper hull or extremities of a Battleship with her AP shells and wracking up enormous damage totals quickly. It's not uncommon for Atlanta to deliver seven to ten citadel hits against a broadside cruiser inside of knife fighting range. This can deal a whopping 29,400 AP damage if you can land 14 out of 14 shells as citadel hits. For this reason, Atlanta's torpedoes are often forgotten in the heat of a brawl as her AP can be more than sufficient to put down an enemy cruiser. Outside of this range or against even slightly angled targets, her AP performance becomes quite anemic. For this reason, the ship has often lived and died by her high explosive shells. In the past, this forced Atlanta Captains to rely on the fire potential of her weapons to inflict damage against larger capital ships. As a flamethrower, she was quite good at this in theory but in practice, this was never sufficient. Her individual shells have a poor base fire chance at 5% per hit. Demolition Expert can nudge this number up to 7%. However, this plugs into a larger formula: [Fire Resistance Coefficient x ( 1 - [Damage Control Modification 1 - [Fire Prevention ) x ( [Projectile Base Fire Chance + [Demolition Expert + [signals - [inertial Fuse for HE Shells) = Fire Chance Fire Resistance Coefficients vary, from 0.8668 for a stock tier 5 to 0.5671 for a fully upgraded tier 9 vessel. This makes the chances of stacking fires much easier against lower tiered targets than higher tiered, which is ironic given that Atlanta can often deal more damage directly to lower tiered targets than needing fires to prop up her damage totals. Here are some real world examples: Atlanta with Demolition Expert facing an upgraded Kongo with Damage Control Modification 1 (0.8335) x [1-(0.05) - (0) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0) = 5.54% per shell Atlanta with Demolition Expert facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0) = 3.37% per shell Combine this with Basic Fire Training on the Atlanta (186rpm) and a 30% accuracy and you're looking at 3.1 fires per minute against the Kongo and 1.9 fires per minute against the Iowa. Based on these numbers, an Atlanta should be able to easily stack a fire or two past Kongo's Damage Control Party and disengage. Against an Iowa or similar tier 9 Battleship, it's questionable whether any fires will stick at all if the target Captain manages their consumable properly. Dueling with either Battleship for longer than a minute greatly increases the changes of reprisals from the now-annoyed battleship from which Atlanta is unlikely to survive, so it's important to stack fires in a limited time frame and disappear. Without the ability to do damage quickly to larger targets and her own poor survivability when such ships elect to shoot back, it's perhaps no wonder that Atlanta's average damage has been so low. There is a ray of sunshine, however. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells All light cruisers have benefited massively from this skill and it has been a real game changer. For Atlanta, this increases her HE penetration from 20mm to 27mm allowing her to now damage the extremities of tier 6 and 7 battleships and all cruisers within her matchmaking spread. With this skill, now Atlanta can drop those theoretical 8,314 damage, 14 penetrating hit HE volleys against most of her opponents. Only tier 8+ Battleships retain an immunity to her shells with the exception of their superstructures. This skill isn't without its trade-offs, however. It's an expensive investment for one, requiring the sacrifice of one or more beneficial Captain Skills. In addition, it damages her already poor base fire chance by a whole 3%. It's this latter trade off which can really hurt as her (in)effectiveness against tier 8+ Battleships plummets even further. Let's look at our Iowa example again. Atlanta with Demolition Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0.03) = 1.92% per shell And if you can no longer afford Demolition Expert: Atlanta with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0) + (0) - (0.03) = 0.96% per shell Once again, assuming Atlanta is using Basic Fire Training and attaining 30% accuracy, this works out to 1.1 fires per minute with Demolition Expert and 0.5 fires per minute without. So it becomes a question of a trade off. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells greatly increases Atlanta's lethality against same tier or lower tiered battleships but worsens her performance against those found at tiers 8 and 9. Conclusions: Few ships have their performance defined so significantly by Captain Skills as Atlanta. With her torpedoes being a mere afterthought, how a player customizes and elects to use Atlanta's main batteries will largely define their level of success with this ship. There is no build that is optimal against all targets and some that are superfluous or even damaging to Atlanta's damage output depending on the ship type engaged. A player must decide well in advance what kinds of ships she wishes to specialize against and build her Atlanta accordingly. One of Atlanta's more infamous traits is the awful shell flight times. At maximum range (13.3km) it's possible to begin firing a fourth volley volley before the first has hit the target. This makes lead times downright punitive and adjusting fire difficult. Maneuverability Top Speed: 32.5 knots Turning Radius: 610m Rudder Shift Time: 8.4s Atlanta's top speed of 32.5 knots isn't particularly exciting. It's sufficient for her task as an escort cruiser, but she doesn't have the speed necessary to challenge evasive destroyers. Perhaps more pressingly, she is also lacking in sufficient speed to outrun fast Battleships that may seek to engage her, such as Bismarck, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau or Iowa and she has no chance of outpacing Soviet and Japanese cruisers. So while not slow or inflexible, some care needs to be taken when planning Atlanta's course lest she find herself out of position or over extended. This is a problem common to all USN Cruisers. Ship rotation times from starting at maximum speed and rudder hard over. Each ship was run through the course five times (except Flint and Atlanta which were run for ten to confirm their similarities) and the average taken. Deceleration is the time taken for a ship to reach it's lowest speed in a turn. The two most important factors for determining ship rotation speed is the radius of her turn combined with the average speed while turning. Smaller turning circles and higher average speed will result in faster rotation rates. The tier 7 and tier 8 American cruisers are all very similar to one another in their performance, but Atlanta and her sister, Flint, are hands down the most agile of all of the mid tier USN Cruisers with between a 0.5s and 1.0s advantage in turning 90º. Atlanta's handling is almost identical to other vessels found in the American cruiser line. This similarity between mid-tier USN Cruisers makes for easy skill transference from one ship to the next. If you can torpedo beat in a New Orleans, you'll find Atlanta answer similarly to her rudder. Atlanta's turrets have no difficulties tracking targets, even with her rudder hard over. They traverse at a rate of 25º per second compared to the 6.3º per second she turns at full speed, allowing Atlanta to quickly acquire targets and engage new threats from one side of the ship to the other even while under heavy maneuvers. This makes the Captain Skill, Expert Marksman, much less valuable for Atlanta than on other USN Cruisers. Atlanta is rather agile and can be a real bothersome target for destroyers. Durability Hit Points: 27,500 Citadel Protection: 89mm of belt armour Min Bow & Deck Armour: 13mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: None. Over the last year, Atlanta has enjoyed a considerable buff to her turret durability. Patch 5.5 from April 26th, 2016, all small caliber weapons had their hit points increased as much as 2.6 times what they had been. Prior to this, Atlanta's turrets had 1,500 hit points each while she now enjoys 4,000 hit points per. Previously, it was a rare occurrence for Atlanta to survive a battle without losing some of her main battery. Now it's rather uncommon for Atlanta to permanently lose any of her weapons. However, much of what was previously said about Atlanta's durability still holds true.Atlanta is one of the worst protected cruisers in the game, making her truly a glass cannon. She has a pittance when it comes to her hit point total. Her armour layout is laughable with 89mm of belt armour. Her large citadel has a section that sits above the surface running beneath the twin superstructures, from the bridge to the wing turrets. Her bow has only 13mm worth of protection, making it possible to overmatch it with 180mm guns found on the Kirov, Molotov and Dmitri Donskoi, never mind the larger caliber guns found on heavy cruisers and battleships. There are few HE shells not capable of landing penetrating damage on Atlanta, no matter where they strike her. In short, an exposed Atlanta is very likely to become a dead Atlanta. It's imperative to make use of her concealment and agility to stay alive. Hug islands and use them to block incoming fire. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 11.0 km Air Detection Range: 6.4 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.4km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +3.8km (vs 11.1km gun range) For such a fragile and short ranged vessel, Atlanta is shackled with an enormous surface detection range. She is utterly incapable of engaging enemy targets with her torpedoes without giving her position away. It's only when either her main battery range or her concealment is upgraded that she can ambush surface targets with her guns. Even with a full investment into concealment and range modifiers, Atlanta cannot stealth-fire from open water and remains dependent upon friendly smoke or island cover to stay concealed. At best, Atlanta can get her surface detection range down to 9.4km which is still punitive for a ship of her size and range. She's unable to sneak up on destroyers and, unlike HMS Belfast, her surface detection range exceeds that of her radar, giving destroyers time enough to begin evading before Atlanta can light them up with her consumable. It is worth mentioning that Atlanta, with her radar consumable, can make better use of borrowed smoke clouds than some other ships. When divisioned with smoke-laying vessels, Atlanta can help provide eyes for herself and allies while remaining obscured within the smoke clouds. Though her radar has a very short duration, this can tip the balance in some engagements to let this fragile vessel exploit concealment mechanics within the game to her advantage and decide the local fight. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 28mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.1km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 121 / 27 / 29 Atlanta used to have the best anti-aircraft armament at tier 7 without contest She has been partially eclipsed by her sister ship, Flint, which has a modernized suite of weapons which replaces Atlanta's 28mm 'Chicago Piano' mounts with the famous (and more reliable and powerful) 40mm Bofors. This gives Flint a better punch at medium to close range while Atlanta dominates at a distance. When combined with Captain Skills and module upgrades, Atlanta competes very well with her sister. The image below breaks down how Atlanta's anti-aircraft power can be modified. * Bonuses are multiplicative, not additive. Note that all DPS values are approximate with some weird rounding occurring (which is why the tool-tip in port is weird when you begin stacking bonuses). This table can be used to calculate partial bonus stacks. For example, a 127mm mount (121dps) with Basic Fire Training (x1.2) Priority Target (x1.1) and Defensive Fire (x3) bonuses would generate an average of 479dps. The maximum output of Atlanta in an optimal situation would be a combined total of 1,215dps. Fully specialized and in an optimal situation, Atlanta puts out 1054 / 118 / 42 dps (a combined total of 1,215 dps) at ranges of 7.2km / 5.0km / 2.9km. Flint manages a combined total of 793 / 392 / 62 dps (a total of 1,247dps) at the same range intervals. No other ships at her tier come close to Atlanta as her sister-ship. With Atlanta's anti-aircraft firepower focused on her 127mm rifles and their 7.2km range, she makes a much better anti-aircraft escort over Flint and bests just about any other cruiser in the game, tier for tier. Atlanta's anti-aircraft advantages do not stop with just raw damage. Her aerial detection range is only 6.4km. If she keeps gun silent and switches off her AA guns, she can ambush incoming aircraft squadrons by sailing into their path to intercept them. By keeping her AA guns silent up until they're all in range, she gives the CV player no warning of her presence and can devastate a concentrated attack wave before the CV player can react. In addition, her and her sister Flint are the only ships in the game with unlimited charges of their Defensive Fire consumable. Specialized in this role, Atlanta becomes a 7.2km no-fly zone which any CV player is fool to test, no matter what their tier. But don't kid yourself. Without this specialization, without Defensive Fire specifically, you're only going to damage attack craft waves, not rout them. Any carrier wishing to delete you will be more than capable of doing so. In her element and unconcerned. Overall ImpressionsSkill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / DifficultSkill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Atlanta is not a friendly ship for beginners. Her weapons are too short ranged with a very temperamental damage output. Her surface detection range is too large and she has no easy-escape tools. She is far too fragile to account for any mistakes. While it's terribly fun to hold down your left mouse button and poop out rainbows of 127mm high explosive rounds, the efficacy of doing so is highly suspect at best. You can't deal damage quickly with Atlanta unless you get in close and without proper forethought, that will simply get you killed before accomplishing anything of note. The influence a well played Atlanta can have on a game is telling, but it depends entirely upon her Captain / Consumable / Module build. She's a good support ship, however the decision on how to support your team will largely dictate the spheres of influence you can perform. When Atlanta is caught out of position (which, let's admit, occurs almost continually in this ship), her ability to affect the outcome of the match falls away to nothing. Mouse's Summary: One of the oldest premiums in the game. She's also one of the most unforgiving ships in the game. The recent buffs were nice... sort of. I wanted Atlanta to get what Flint has. Despite all of her troubles, Atlanta is a riot to play. What a difference a year makes. Here's the long list of changes that occurred directly or indirectly to Atlanta between February 2016 and 2017. Her main battery durability was buffed, increasing her hit points 2.6 times. She no longer loses her turrets constantly (HOORAY!). The Situational Awareness skill was given out for free. Her AP shell normalization was changed from 8º to 10º. This means that if her shells strike at a 10º angle to the flat broadside of a ship, her shells will treat it as 0º and calculate as if they had struck flush. She received Radar. The new Matchmaker system places her at top tier very frequently. The Captain Skill changes have benefited Atlanta greatly, with easier access to quality of life improving skills like Concealment Expert and the introduction of Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. In addition, many players can't easily afford fire-mitigation skills like they used to. Atlanta has seen both feast and famine. During Closed Beta, when AP shells were dominant, she was as powerful as she has ever been. The changes to AP and HE shells nerfed her considerably, but she still had a lot of functionality with asymmetrical carrier Matchmaking and how common carriers were during Open Beta. There was almost always need for an AA escort and Atlanta filled that role nicely. Once deployment symmetry became a thing when the game was released in September of 2015, Atlanta's popularity began to severely wane. Now in 2017, it's the increase in smoke generators, specifically those of the British Cruisers, that have breathed new life into USS Atlanta. She has a purpose now -- an ability that's always welcome when there's an enemy that needs digging out. It's sad to say, but she gets more use out of that than she does her Defensive Fire consumable. Inertia Fuse for HE Shells has restored some of the bite Atlanta once enjoyed back in Closed Beta. While her upgraded HE shells don't have quite the same ubiquity as AP did back in the day, the average damage that Atlanta is dealing out has been on the rise in the last six months. Looking at a two-week snapshot of her performance ranks her 6th overall for damage output among tier 7 cruisers. It's still not a good performance, but it's definitely better than has been for the last year. Atlanta isn't back to her glory days from Closed Beta. Would I Recommend?Atlanta is a weird ship. She's not something you invest in because you think she's good. You do it because you want something unique. While it is possible to earn an equivalent through Ranked Battles in the form of USS Flint, Atlanta's analogue is likely to be out of reach for much of the player base. For Random Battle Grinding Atlanta isn't going to make it easy on you to earn rewards like High Caliber, Confederate or Kraken Unleashed. While she or any premium will earn a fair amount of experience and credits, Atlanta is difficult to make perform to make such numbers consistent. There are definitely better investments. So no. For Competitive Gaming No. There are much better ships to bring in a competitive environment than Atlanta. She's too fragile and if caught out of position, she has no get-out-of-jail cards to play. For Collectors Yes. They saw lots of action early in WWII and enjoyed success and tragedy (Google the Sullivan brothers and have tissues handy). For Fun Factor Very yes on toast. Her guns are hilarious. Staying near islands is imperative for the longevity of your Atlanta. Use it to set up attacks and cover your escape. Atlanta is not an easy ship to play. She's not like the British Cruisers or premiums like Mikhail Kutuzov or Flint where you can pop an easy smoke consumable and trump any attempts to engage you. Outfitting AtlantaAtlanta can be one of the most complicated premium ships to equip in the game presently. It's important to decide on a role for your Atlanta first. From there you may select Captain Skills and equip consumables which best support the role that you've decided upon. Modules: All of my builds for Atlanta include the same module choices. Main Armaments Modification 1, AA Guns Modification 2, Damage Control Modification 1, Steering Gears Modification 2. There's some pretty simple reasons for this. In slot 1, you can take Magazine Modification 1 if you're really paranoid about detonations. If you're intending to take Atlanta into a competitive environment, this choice should be moot as you should be using Juliet Charlie signals instead to mitigate detonations. Personally, detonations don't bother me. Atlanta does pop a little bit more than other cruisers, so keep that in mind. In slot 2, you may be wondering about the viability of Aiming Systems Modification 1. Skip it. At maximum range, and by that I mean 13.3km from Advanced Fire Training, ASM1 provides an eight meter dispersion reduction. Yep. That's it. Eight whole meters. It's 6.9m at 11.1km. Whoo. Exciting! Take the AA mod. You'll get more use out of it. All of the choices in slot 3 are terrible for the Atlanta. Take what you want. In slot 4, Propulsion Modification 2 is also a fair choice. However, Steering Gears Modification 2 will shave almost half a second off of a 90º turn going at full speed. Core Skills: Despite the 0.6.0 Captain Skill overhaul making several builds viable, there remain some skills that are optimal for Atlanta. They re included in all of the builds below. Your tier 1 skill for Atlanta should be Priority Target. Knowing when you're targeted and when you're not will save your ship and allow you to pull off some rather audacious feats. None of the other tier 1 skills is as useful. At tier 3, Basic Fire Training is the second essential. This increases your main battery rate of fire by 10% and your AA dps by 20%. Few ships gain so much as Atlanta from this skill. Bombardment Build This build focuses upon doing damage to larger ships -- specifically cruisers and tier 6 and 7 battleships. The idea is to keep her guns singing as often as possible and to use intervening terrain to keep safe. Because you're expected to be shooting almost non-stop, stealth abilities are less of priority. This build, grace of taking skills which improve her gunnery, also makes a passable anti-aircraft cruiser but this isn't our focus. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Defensive Fire II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1000000000000011000010100010100019 This build is all about maximizing the performance of your guns against these targets. Basic Fire Training and Adrenaline Rush increase your rate of fire. Inertia Fuse for HE Shells allows you to land damaging hits against the plethora of 25mm armoured sections found on ships of your chosen targets. Demolition Expert helps mitigate some of the lost fire-potential. Variant: Swap Inertia Fuse for HE Shells for Concealment Expert. This changes the build from doing direct damage to relying on fire damage to affect your targets. This will generally result in increased survivability but you'll pay for it with lower damage totals. Destroyer Hunter The idea here is to sneak up as close as possible to destroyers and annihilate them at close range. She's built for stealth. This ship is rather vanilla when it comes to the performance of her weapons against larger targets, but such is the price you pay for being a specialized hunter. Keep your anti-aircraft guns disabled until you absolutely need them. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Hydroacoustic Search II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1000000000000011000011000000001119 The first thing that should stand out is that this will keep your Atlanta shorter ranged than other builds. This will also impair her anti-aircraft power somewhat. Radio Location is used to assist with finding the little blighters. Concealment Expert is used to reduce the range at which you're spotted to give destroyers less time to react. In addition, you will have to go gun silent to evade return fire from larger capital ships. Superintendent provides an additional charge of your Radar and Hydroacoustic Search consumables. You'll use Radio Location to home in on the destroyers until you're spotted. If haven't uncovered the destroyer within 20 seconds of being lit, activate your Radar to light the destroyer and be ready to evade any return fire. Last Stand is there to help keep you alive when your rudder gets shot out as you try to evade. The destroyers will shoot back and they always seem to hit your rudder and set you repeatedly on fire. The last thing you want to be doing is spinning in circles. Anti-Aircraft Escort As the name suggests, this build focuses on protecting friendly ships from air attack. This is hardly an optimal build in the current Random Battle meta -- carriers are not as commonplace as they once were. However, few can argue against Atlanta's efficiency as an AA-platform with this build. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Defensive Fire II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1100000001000000000010000000110119 Everything pushes towards increasing Atlanta's AA range and DPS. Basic Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Armament boost your DPS directly while Advanced Fire Training provides the range. Concealment Expert provides some survivability while also helping prevent you from being spotted early by surface ships. This can allow you to better intercept an inbound bomber stream and ambush them. Jack of All Trades is used to reduce the reset timer of your Defensive Fire consumable so that it will always be ready when the next attack wave comes in.
  3. 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.
  4. The Defiant. A very special thanks to KillJoy1941 and x2_Weekends for making this review possible. Quick Summary: A large, fast, hard hitting destroyer with a seven gun broadside and 8km torpedoes. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.1 through to 0.6.7.1 March 5th to July 15th, 2017. Cost: 4,800 doubloons. Closest in-Game Contemporary Leningrad & Minsk, Tier VII Soviet Destroyers Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique It wasn't until the Royal Navy (and British Commonwealth) destroyers joined World of Warships that we began to see a match to Blyskawica's pedigree. At best she could previously be compared with some of the Soviet ships, like Leningrad and Minsk, which are fast gunship platforms but still far removed from this Polish beauty. She is the first British-built destroyer in the game after all, with a resemblance that most closely matches the famous Tribal-class destroyers. To this end, I had a want to compare her to HMS Gallant. However,even with Gallant joining the ranks, Blyskawica's play style still resembles the Soviet Destroyers far more than any other ships presently in the game. I fear it won't be until we see the Tribals that we'll have anything close (if even then). PROs Very large hit point pool for a tier VII destroyer at 15,500hp. Her hull and deck are 16mm thick -- capable of auto-bouncing British Cruiser 152mm AP shells when properly angled. Armed with a seven 120mm rifle broadside, providing a powerful alpha strike per volley. Excellent fire starter with the highest fires per minute of any tier VII Destroyer. Long ranged for a destroyer with a 12.0km reach on her main battery with good shell ballistics to these ranges. Can fire her torpedoes from concealment. At a top speed of 39.0 knots, she's quite fast for a mid-tier destroyer. CONs Blyskawica is a very large target for a destroyer with a prominent superstructure and funnel. Her 120mm guns have a 6.5s reload time, hurting their DPM output. Bad firing angles on her #4 turret. Low individual shell damage and poor penetration values on AP shells. Her torpedoes have only modest performance with 14,400 damage and a 57 knot top speed. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower. Sluggish handling for a destroyer with a 5.8s rudder shift time and 610m turning circle. She is one of the least stealthy destroyers in the game. No other Polish ships in the game, limiting her use as a Captain Trainer. I've wanted to come back to revisit Blyskawica and update her review for a long time. When Wargaming let it be known that they intended to change how concealment works and greatly reduce the impact of firing from stealth in open water, I put plans to update this review on hold. I had to wait not only for this game-changing patch to come down but also to wait and see if any buffs would be provided to compensate for its loss. No such gifts and goodies have materialized, so it's probably safe to say that Blyskawica's current self is stable for the time being. Thus, here is the long overdue reprise of this review. Lert will be joining me to provide his take on this iconic destroyer released in World of Warship's first year. The Lertbox When Mouse approached me to write a Lertbox for Blyskawica I jumped at the chance. This little Polish firecracker has been one of my favorite ships in the game ever since she was gifted to me for my birthday in 2016. She is my most played destroyer with two and a half times as many battles as the runner up. I've trained her captain from three points to eighteen, and she has almost a million XP on her. To say I like the ship is like saying that the sun is a wee bit warm. At first I considered writing a "Why Blyskawica is the best ship of its type in tier" style Lertbox like I did for Bogatyr, however I just can't honestly argue that she is the best destroyer in tier. Mahan is a better knife fighter, Shiratsuyu and Akatsuki are better torpedo boats, Leningrad and Minsk are faster - but then I realized: none of those ships are as well-rounded as the Polish cavalrist. Options No surprises here. Poland doesn't appear to have any specialties when it comes to its consumables -- at least among the destroyer variety. Consumables Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard Destroyer options. Premium Camouflage: Tier VI+ Standard (Type 10). This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy You'll want to shell out the extra credits to afford the premium versions of Blyskawica's Damage Control Party and Smoke Generator consumables. These will set you back 22,500 credits each and are well worth the investment. While this destroyer excels at firing from range, you'll be on the receiving end of damage often -- so often, in fact, that you will want to protect yourself with faster repairs of crippled systems and a quicker reload time of smoke. Note, if you're going to use the rare Engine Boost Modification, do invest in the premium version of that consumable too. For your modules, Blyskawica is pretty standard. In your first slot, Magazine Modification 1 is the best choice. She detonates as regularly as other destroyers and this will help mitigate that. If you're using Blyskawica competitively, then equip Main Armaments Modification 1 and don't skimp out on the Juliet Charlie signals to prevent detonations. You can do this latter configuration in Randoms if you prefer, just be aware you could lose your ship to a magazine explosion with some frequency if you are not running the signal. For your second slot, take Aiming System Modification 1. This will tighten her dispersion by 7m at 12km or 9m at her modified maximum range of 14.4km. Honestly, this isn't much but you're dependent on tight shell groupings to really take advantage of Blyskawica's alpha strike ability with her gun volleys. The added bonus of faster traversing torpedo tubes makes it worth while -- especially compared to the other modules you could place in their stead. The third slot for Destroyers is still pretty terrible. The new Engine Boost Modification 1 which provides a 50% increase to the duration of her Engine Boost consumable is probably the most interesting. If you don't have access to that (it only comes from Supercontainers and promotions), take whichever one you want. Their gains are minimal. For your fourth slot, you've a choice. Steering Gears Modification 2 will reduce your rudder shift time from 5.8s down to 4.6s. Alternatively, Propulsion Modification 2 is an excellent option\ (and the one I prefer myself). See the Manoeuvrability section below for the impacts of Steering Gears Modification 2 on ship turning time. Firepower Main Battery: Seven 120mm/50 rifles between four turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring arrangement. The forward most turret is a single mount. The other turrets have two guns each. Torpedo Armament: Six tubes between 2x3 dorsal launchers. Main Battery Tier VII Rankings (out of seven) 15,400 AP Alpha Strike: 1st 11,900 HE Alpha Strike: 1st 142.153 AP DPM: 5th (B-Hull Mahan 1st with 157,500) 109,846 HE DPM: 5th (B-Hull Mahan 1st with 135,000) 0.49 Fires per Salvo: 1st 5.17 Fires per Minute: 1st 12.0km Range: 3rd (Sims 1st with 12.9km) I both love and hate Blyskawica's guns. On a per shell basis, Blyskawica has some of the weakest guns at her tier. This should probably be expected given their caliber. Blyskawica fires 120mm shells while everyone else is using 127mm or larger. Their saving grace is that they aren't dual purpose weapons, but dedicated anti-shipping naval rifles. They have great muzzle velocity and shell flight times, but her shells individually do little damage and reload slowly. Range and Ballistics One of the best features of Blyskawica's weapons is their shell flight characteristics. Her 12.0km stock range can be upgraded to 14.4km with the tier 4 skill, Advanced Fire Training. Her range is behind only the American premium Sims and the Soviet Minsk. Unlike Sims, Blyskawica has an excellent 900m/s muzzle velocity, giving her slightly less than a 9s lead time to targets out to 12km. This makes hitting targets at range quite comfortable -- something that only the Soviet destroyers can similarly boast. Other destroyers simply do not have the range or their shells have a lot of "float" at these distances. This makes Blyskawica a bit of a long range specialist among destroyers and she's most comfortable engaging enemies at arm's reach. Fields of Fire and Gun Handling It's a good thing Blyskawica's guns have such good reach and flight characteristics out to range. Up close, her gun handling and fire arcs cause problems. Her gun fire arcs break down as follows: A Turret: 276º front B Turret: 294º front X Turret: 300º rear Y Turret: 270º rear This provides an average field of fire of 285º per turret. When you compare this to similar A-B-X-Y gun mounts on destroyers (ignoring the P mounts between the funnels which area always restricted), you really start to see how often these gun are occluded despite their ideal placement. Here's the average fields of fire for the other tier VII destroyers with these same turrets: Mahan and Sims (4 turrets): 300º Shiratsuyu (2 turrets): 300º Akatsuki (3 turrets): 293.3º Leberecht Maass (4 turrets): 285.5º Leningrad & Minsk (4 turrets): 284.5º Blyskawica's only saving grace is that she concentrates all seven of her guns within these modest sets of firing arcs. The Leningrad-class, Shiratsuyu and Mahan all have an extra turret with heavily restricted fire arcs to add onto this average to bring the number down further. Blyskawica's gun traverse isn't terrible, but it's not good either. Her guns rotate at 10º per second. This is far better than those of the Soviet or Japanese destroyers (which lurch at a paltry 6º per second) but a far cry from the American rotation speeds of 15º and 34º per second off the Mahan and Sims respectively. She won't ever out turn her turrets in the manner that Soviet and Japanese destroyers will, but in an intense knife fight, you'll struggle to keep guns on target. The Tier 2 Captain Skill, Expert Marksman can be used to help ensure her guns are brought back on an opponent quickly while Blyskawica dodges enemy fire, but it's not like she needs the skill to keep her guns fixed while manoeuvring. Damage, Rate of Fire and Shell Penetration Each shell has a 2,200 AP and 1,700 HE alpha strike. This is slightly better and worse than the USN 127mm guns and only slightly behind the IJN 127mm rifles found on Shiratsuyu and Akizuki. Individually these shells don't do a lot of damage. With a 6.5s reload, it's not like she's going to win any DPS races. However, Blyskawica does have her own trump card. Her seven rifles can deal a larger alpha strike in a single volley than any of her contemporaries. A salvo of Blyskawica's guns does a full 25% more damage than Leningrad or Minsk. She puts out 3,927 HE damage per penetrating volley -- enough to strip between a quarter to a third of the hit points of almost any destroyer she faces. So while she may not fire fast, when she does land hits, they are potentially devastating. There's only one fly in the ointment. With 120mm shells, Blyskawica's HE penetration is limited to affecting areas of armour that are 19mm or less. While this is more than sufficient to bully destroyers and harass British Cruisers, it does leave her lacking when it comes to facing Battleships of tier VI or higher. She may also struggle against specific heavy cruisers -- especially those at tier VIII+. When facing these targets, they often have large sections completely immune to her HE shells and short of stacking hits against their superstructure, Blyskawica's damage totals against these ships falls away quickly. There are two solutions, of course. The first is to switch to armour piercing ammunition when confronted with these targets. This can yield some surprising bursts of damage, but only at close range. Blyskawica's penetration values on her AP shells is very lackluster and you can find them bouncing and shattering off of even thinly armoured plate at modest distances. The alternative is to invest four skill points into Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. This allows Blyskawica to penetrate up to 25mm worth of armour, removing the shell immunity from all of her targets short of tier VIII+ Battleships and select cruisers, though it does hurt her chance to start fires. This is a precious asset to hamper. The buffs to the prow of select cruisers, bumping them up to 27mm worth of armour further diminishes the value of this skill for Blyskawica such that it's very difficult to recommend. One of Blyskawica's greatest strengths is her ability to set fires. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells damages this ability significantly -- she never quite recovers primacy among tier VII destroyers, even if you use Demolition Expert to prop her numbers back up. Fire Chance Blyskawica is the best fire starter of the tier VII destroyers. The combination of her large number of guns with a high fire chance per shell gives her the lead in this regard, but this can be padded further with two Captain Skills. Basic Fire Training increases her rate of fire and Demolition Expert to increase the raw chance of starting a blaze. This is one of the most significant ways Blyskawica can pad her damage numbers against targets like Nagato or Iowa that are largely immune to the direct harm of her guns. This has the added benefit of keeping pressure on your target's Damage Control Party, making her more vulnerable to flooding or fires set by your team mates. The question becomes if it's worth trading off the chance of setting fires to open up direct damage opportunities against tier VI and VII battleships with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. Know that this harms your fire chances significantly., especially given that you may have to give up Basic Fire Training or Demolition Expert to afford it. In my opinion, when it comes to engaging capital ships, destroyers should hit and run and not dabble with illusions of providing sustained bombardment to wear down their foes. It provides too many opportunities for reprisals on a ship that should rely on stealth and speed to stay alive. To this end, I prefer Blyskawica specialized to set blazes rather than deal direct damage. Torpedoes In contrast to her guns, Blyskawica's torpedoes are a bit of a let down. They're not terrible, per se, but they certainly aren't anywhere close to good. Heck, they're not even interesting. There are three major flaws with Blyskawica's torpedoes that make them so lackluster. They are slow. They are not long ranged. She cannot do a lot of damage. Her fish travel at 57 knots which is shy of the minimum of 60+ knots you want to see on any ship that relies on their torpedoes to do a significant portion of their damage. It takes her torpedoes in excess of 53 seconds to reach the end of their running distance. A torpedo traveling 62 knots would cover this five seconds faster. This disparity in speed over running distance makes landing those long range hits difficult. The more time goes by, the more likely your target will dramatically change course, reducing the use of the aiming predictor to land hits reliably on target. At 8.0km, Blyskawica's torpedoes do allow this large destroyer to launch her fish from concealment, but only just. At best, Blyskawica can count on a 1.3km stealth firing window to engage her targets. This limits the use of her torpedoes to direct attacks only rather than having any use as an area denial weapon. This 8.0km range makes the risks of being spotted so close to potential prey items near catastrophic. This is easily inside radar range of even tier VII ships and well within the reach of terrifying German secondary gun batteries. Individually, her torpedoes don't hit especially hard either. At 14,400 damage, Blyskawica's torpedoes sit on the low side of average at tier VII. However, she only mounts six torpedo tubes versus the minimum of eight found on every other contemporary destroyer. So while salvos from other tin cans (short of a Sims) are likely to be catastrophic against all target types, Blyskawica has to often make due with simply mauling a hale and healthy target with her strikes. This limits Blyskawica's ability to outright delete select targets and usually necessitates falling back on her guns to try and finish off what she started. Summary Blyskawica should be thought of as a gunship that has workable torpedoes. She isn't a knife fighting destroyer like the Sims or Mahan and she needs to open up the range and use her better ballistic arcs to out trade the Americans. She doesn't have the DPM of the Soviet destroyers so she needs to force a knife fight where the Soviets will struggle to bring their guns to bear. This makes any gun fights with Blyskawica interesting and rewarding when you can use your ship's advantages and out play your opponents or infinitely frustrating to forever be caught out of your element. Her torpedoes are functional but not exciting by any means and make a good backup weapon to prey upon larger ships when their little friends have been thinned out. Versus Mahan You have the speed advantage over the American and more comfortable gunnery at range. The Mahan has better DPM, turns better and arguably has better torpedoes. However, when properly played this duel should be a gunnery duel from beginning to end. Keep the Mahan at range and wiggle, but keep a wary eye out for stray torpedoes. As long as you keep the battle at around 9 ~ 11 km, his torpedoes shouldn't be a threat and your comfortable gunnery should beat out his DPM. It won't be easy landing reliable hits if he's waggling his aft like he should, but with his gunnery hitting you will be even more problematic. With your speed you should be able to dictate the engagement and keep him right where you want him. In this engagement it's probably in the Mahan's best interest to go dark and try to escape. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 39.0 knots Turning Radius: 610m Rudder Shift Time: 5.8s Maximum Rate of Turn: 8.2º per second. Blyskawica feels like a big destroyer -- she's sloppy in a turn. Though she answers her rudder quickly enough, she feels like she slides a lot,owing to her large, 610m turning circle and the 5.8s rudder shift she possesses. There's not much that can be done to alleviate this bloated feeling when it comes to Blyskawica's handling. Adding Steering Gears Modification 2 provides only a 0.15s gain on a 90º turn, improving her rotation rate by a mere 0.06º/s to 7.56º/s over this turning angle. The closest analogue to Blyskawica's rate of turn is found in the Soviet Minsk and Leningrad. It's not until Blyskawica decelerates to her optimal turning speed of 32.8 knots that she really bites into the water. Blyskawica will reach this speed under full power in about 19 seconds of hard manoeuvres, though it can be reached faster by adjusting her engines. Overall, Blyskawica responds poorly to sudden threats, yet she comes into her own over the course of a protracted series of wiggles and dodges. This creates a frustrating duality: enemy torpedo salvos are incredibly dangerous to Blyskawica while incoming fire from larger vessels can seem just as easy to avoid in this Polish ship as other destroyers. Part of the reason enemy torpedoes are so dangerous is her good speed. At 39.0 knots, Blyskawica doesn't win any awards for being the fastest ship out there (that is firmly held by the Soviets for now), but she's no sluggard. She can easily control engagement distances, closing the range or kiting as needed. However, this great speed can get her into trouble quickly -- such as finding herself with torpedoes ahead and being unable to manoeuvre into the gaps or tripping over the scouting elements of the enemy fleet. Vigilance is a very valuable skill for players who like to contest cap circles early in their Polish destroyer to provide more reaction time to this threat. Versus Leningrad & Minsk And now the trickiest theoretical duel. These Russian ships have a slight DPM advantage and a less-than-slight speed advantage. Their turning circle is greater but their additional speed means that they're almost as fast through a turn as you are. Their gunnery is as comfortable at range as yours is, and their concealment is near identical to yours when neither is firing. One minor advantage you have is that their DPM relies on fast ROF rather than large volleys, meaning that they have less time between volleys to concentrate on steering. With their superior speed they can close the distance quickly or disengage when the duel is going sour. I have to be honest here, dueling Leningrads (and since 6.2, Minsks) has always been a problem for me in Blyskawica. You have the gunnery to beat them up, but only if they allow it, and hitting such a speedy target isn't easy. Meanwhile, they can give just as hard as they can receive. Blyskawica's saving grace in this theoretical duel is her faster turret traverse, allowing you to keep your guns on the Russian boat while throwing your ship around more. Still, this isn't a duel where you can press your advantages and force your strengths on their weaknesses, this is a duel where the superior driver wins. Not the superior boat. Blyskawica may be a large destroyer, but she's so very small compared to proper cruisers, like Cleveland. Ideally, she should be working closely alongside support gunships like Cleveland, Shchors and Yorck, providing second-line artillery fire to supplement the heavy hitters once the enemy destroyer threat is neutralized. When needed, she can redeploy as a scout or to drop smoke for her team mates to help control vision. Durability Hit Points: 15,500 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 16mm Blyskawica is a large destroyer with a lot of health to match. At 15,500hp, she has the second highest hit point pool at her tier, outdone only by the enormous Leberecht Maass. Given her DPM disparity with her guns, this advantage in hit point should be put to good use when knife fighting with enemy destroyers. It also doesn't hurt to play to this advantage by padding it further with Survivability Expert. Taking this skill adds another 2,450hp to Blyskawica's total, bringing it up to 17,950hp which makes trading with American and Soviet destroyers much more tenable. Players should be aware that Blyskawica has a very large forward powder magazine, meaning almost any HE hits taken from behind her A turret right to her bridge are likely going to be damaging the magazine and prompting those dreaded detonation rolls. Her rear magazine is long and slender but slightly less exposed. Unfortunately, both lockers reside well over the waterline and catastrophic explosions in this ship should not be unexpected, especially if someone is boneheaded enough not to run with Magazine Modification 1 in their destroyer. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 7.7 km Air Detection Range: 3.8 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.8km Within her matchmaking spread Blyskawica is one of the least stealthy tin cans available This problem is further compounded by her tier. Destroyers at tier VIII have access to Concealment Modification 1 which further reduces their surface detection range, putting Blyskawica at a further spotting disadvantage when facing stronger opponents. You can almost always count on being seen first when engaging enemy lolibotes with a mere 3 exceptions (Mahan, Kiev, and Tashkent) . It cannot be understated how much of a drawback this is for tier VII destroyers and Blyskawica specifically. Given Blyskawica's long range gunnery, players should pay close attention to their minimap and mind which ships will be able to spot her when she fires. Dealing the killing blow on an enemy destroyer may keep Blyskawica imperiled by vessels further afield that are still within her gunnery range. This goes doubly so if a player elects to use Advanced Fire Training. The good news is that unlike many of the large Soviet Destroyers, Blyskawica is capable of launching her torpedoes from concealment without issue. Once the enemy scouts are taken care of, she can make use of her modest concealment to make attack runs on larger ships. Just be wary of spotter aircraft. Versus Shiratsuyu You have the speed and the gunnery advantage, he has his imposing walls of skill. Remember though that Blyskawica is a big boat, especially compared to Japanese torpedo boats, and thus he'll probably spot you before you spot him. Often times the first sign that a Shiratsuyu is in the area is the torpedo wall approaching your ship at speed, forcing you to put on your best torpedo beats to survive. If the situation allows, turn to hunt him down with your significantly superior speed. When he's lit, give him that biblical beating that he deserves with your far superior gunnery. Be aware however that he might have another set of torpedoes ready for you when you do find him, with his torpedo reload boost consumable he can have a second set of eight torpedoes ready a mere five seconds after firing the first. This duel comes down to your skill in avoiding torpedo walls. In a gunnery duel Shiratsuyu doesn't stand a chance unless Blyskawica is near death already. Press that advantage. This graph shows the lowest possible surface detection range of the respective ships using commander skills, upgrades and camouflage of all of the ships in Blyskawica's matchmaking spread. Notice the upward trend in spotting distance from tier V through to VII and the sudden drop at tier VIII and IX. This really damages the competitiveness of tier VII.Minekaze Group includes: Minekaze, Fujin, Kamikaze, Kamikaze R, MutsukiFubuki Group includes: Fubuki, Shinonome, GnevnyBlyskawica Group includes: Blyskawica, Leberecth Maass, Minsk Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 40mm / 13.2mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 3.5km / 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 22 / 14 For a ship that was historically renown for having the best AA firepower for a destroyer at the time of her construction, Blyskawica's anti-aircraft firepower in World of Warships is pretty terrible. To be fair, the anti-aircraft defense she famously provided for a British town was done with a more modernized armament than what we see in World of Warships. She has no large-caliber anti-aircraft artillery (her main battery is not dual purpose) and thus she struggles to fight back against enemy planes. How to Bring the Thunder! Wait, no, that one sank... Blyskawica has her own dedicated Captain with no other Polish ships (yet) added to the game. This means there's no excuse not to optimize your build to maximize her efficiency. Your core skills should be the following: Take Priority Target as your first skill. Next, take the good ol' destroyer standby: Last Stand. After that, you have your choice of two skills: Demolition Expert or Basic Fire Training. I'm of the opinion that the former is preferable to the latter on your first pass but you will want both eventually. Take one and move on. Finally, take the second destroyer must-have: Concealment Expert. After you've doubled back to grab the other third tier skill, it's time to look at other options. Here are the most common skills associated with Blyskawica and the merits and flaws of each: Tier 1: Preventative Maintenance. A lot of players prefer taking this skill over Priority Target, but the gains aren't what they appear to be. The incapacitations described in the skill refer to the temporary disabling of modules, or the "critical hits" that can affect main battery, torpedoes, steering gears and engines. As the hit point pool of these modules depletes, the odds of a critical hit increase. Preventative Maintenance tweaks those odds. So if, a shell has a 20% chance to knock out your ship's steering gears when struck, this skill would reduce that down to 14%. The exact numbers for the critical hit chance per module is not known at this time. Tier 2: Expert Marksman. This is a handy skill for Blyskawica, especially for players that like to wiggle and dodge while returning fire. This increases her turret rotation rate up to 12.5º per second, a full 4º per second faster than her maximum ship rotation rate, making it much easier to keep your guns fixed on target during evasive manoeuvres. Tier 2: Adrenaline Rush. It's hard to argue with a soft boost to the reload rate of your guns and torpedoes as you take damage. This can make all of the difference in a close fight. However, on some games, you just won't get a return on your investment. Tier 3: Survivability Expert. This skill is worth its weight in gold in competitive environments, boosting Blyskawica's hit point total up to a massive 17,950hp. If you're planning to take her into Ranked Battles, this is a solid investment. Tier 3: Torpedo Armament Expertise. I'm not convinced Blyskawica's torpedoes are good enough to warrant this investment. Some may, and that's up to their play style choice. Tier 3: Vigilance. If you fancy contesting capture circles and bullying lesser gunships with Blyskawica but (like me), you find yourself quite embarrassingly getting your bow blown off by enemy fish, this can help make you look less like a scrub (like me). Note, the get-gudders out there won't need this one. Tier 4: Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. This is the oh-so controversial skill. This increases the armour that Blyskawica can damage with HE shells from 19mm to 25mm, which effectively allows her to directly bombard all tier VII and lower battleships and most (but not all) heavy cruisers she encounters. This comes at the expense of what is an excellent chance to set fires. It's really up to the player to decide how they want to stack their damage. Tier 4: Advanced Fire Training. This will boost Blyskawica's gunnery range from 12km to 14.4km. She has the shell ballistics to make landing hits at this range comfortable, especially against large capital ships. The increased surface detection range may make contesting cap circles early on more risky, but the advantages of a larger stand-off range while engaging enemy ships is a definite plus. Tier 4: Radio Location. If you fancy yourself a nightmare for all things IJN, this is a fun (if expensive) skill to have. My own suggestion would be the following builds. Long Range Fire Starter: Core skills (including both Basic Fire Training and Demolition Expert). Advanced Fire Training and Adrenaline Rush. Cap Circle Duelist: Core skills (Basic Fire Training but no Demolition Expert). Vigilance, Survivability Expert, Expert Marksman, Preventative Maintenance. Blyskawica has the second largest surface detection range at tier VII behind only Mahan. Out of all of the ships she faces in her matchmaking tier, she is only more stealthy than three other vessels: Mahan, Tashkent and Kiev. Out of all destroyers from tiers V through X, she is tied for 37th place with four other ships among 45 vessels. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Destroyers are one of the more challenging classes to play effectively in World of Warships, particularly as you climb into the higher tiers where the threats keep multiplying. Radar ships being appearing at tier VII with premiums like Belfast, Atlanta and Indianapolis and are outright commonplace by tier VIII. Radio Location becomes a common skill among IJN destroyers. And to top it all off, you're playing at a tier that has the highest average of improved detection rate of any of the destroyers in the game, with Blyskawica being one of the largest overall. Good luck! Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / ExtremeBlyskawica will reward you with all of the usual tricks and plays expert Destroyers have crafted and honed, yet her unforgiving surface detection range makes the knowledge of these skills all the more important. She can perform beautifully, especially with long range gunnery harassing larger ships, but the risks are great and only experience will let you know when they outstrip the rewards. The Lertbox I love this ship. It speaks to the quality of the ship that she has an answer for almost every situation, be it long range bombardment of battleships, outrunning cruisers, laying down some decent torpedoes or bullying destroyers on at least equal footing. Only against planes does she have a weakness, and Leningrads / Minsks are the bane of her existence. That said though, when I was play-testing Minsk and Leningrad, I always reached back to Blyskawica when the testing was done. In my opinion she's just a more well-rounded ship than either Russian offering. Make no mistake: other Tier VII destroyers are better at some things. Shiratsuyu and Akatsuki are better torpedo boats, but Blyskawica is good enough. Mahan is a better gun boat, especially up close, but Blyskawica is good enough. Leningrad and Minsk are faster and more flexible in a tactical sense, but Blyskawica is good enough. While each of the other offerings might be better in certain situations, I'm hard pressed to think of one where Blyskawica can't compete. And that flexibility, that ability to handle almost any situation and make a strong showing makes this Polish Winged Hussar my favorite tin can in the game. Mouse's Summary: Surface Detection range for tier VII Destroyers sucks. Blyskawica has super fun guns and only "meh" torpedoes. I cannot, for the life of me, pull my win rate out of the gutter on this ship. Blyskawica, more so than almost any other destroyer in the game, was adversely affected by the removal of stealth-firing in 0.6.0. She could boast upwards of a 4km stealth-firing window -- one that was exceeded by ships like Sims, but with a difference. Blyskawica had the ballistic arcs to make firing from this range rather elementary. She used to be able to rain shells down with impunity on larger targets once the escort screen of enemy destroyers were clear. Only enemy aircraft could foul this up, and then only just. Radar ships, even the vaunted super-reaching radar of the Soviet Cruisers, couldn't unmask a Blyskawica with Advanced Fire Training, intent on pummeling larger surface ships to death. While she didn't have the shell caliber sufficient to land direct damaging hits to many parts of the capital ships she faced, she could light fires aplenty and that worked beautifully... well, beautifully for Blyskawica. It was annoying as Hell for the person on the receiving end. Since the changeover, she's done alright. She's not a dominant force within her tier. The changes to stealth firing really made her large surface detection range matter more. Advanced Fire Training, has become a double-edged sword rather than a play-style choice. She still provides excellent harassing gunnery support -- perfect for chasing off IJN Destroyers that get too close or lending firepower to help punish capital ships that find themselves out of position. However, Blyskawica's star has dimmed somewhat with the loss of her gimmick. This should be expected of a generalist, especially one that has lost the one thing that made her special. As Lert is fond of pointing out, Blyskawica's specialty is that she doesn't overspecialize in any one thing. She's fast, but she's not the fastest ship. She's a gunship but she's not a DPM or knife fighting monster. She has decent torpedoes but not a good torpedo armament. I love Blyskawica, I really do. She's a "cursed" ship for me -- one that I don't play often enough and when I do, I end up losing. A combination of (really) stupid mistakes with the usual small-sample size of games played means that I haven't (yet) rescued my win rate from the dregs on this boat. I still recognize her as a good ship, but it would be a lie if I said she was still very competitive in Random Battles. I think this may be more symptomatic of the problems with tier VII destroyers on the whole, however. They sit right at the crossroads -- destroyers get larger as they climb in tiers, thus increasing their overall surface detection range. At tier VIII, this reaches a critical point and Wargaming have opted to provide the Concealment Module to bring their surface detection range back down to competitive levels. While I don't think Blyskawica needs buffs to be viable, I wouldn't mind seeing some small tweak here or there. I think that says a lot about the state of this ship currently. Would I Recommend? PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Mouse: Like all destroyers in PVE Battles, Blyskawica does have to contend with bots that always know where she is (even when she's not spotted). If you can get over this hurdle and adjust your play appropriately, she's a great contender. We have not seen any scenarios where Blyskawica can be used. I was personally hoping to see her eligible for the Dunkirk mission (she was there, after all!). Otherwise, I would keep clear. Lert: With the bots target prioritization being what it is, driving any destroyer is difficult. However, Blywkawica's lack of stealth compounds the problem. Be aware of these factors when considering her for PvE. If this didn't scare you away, she can be a rewarding drive. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Mouse: Honestly? I kinda have to give Blyskawica a bit of a pass here. She can do well, don't get me wrong, but tier VII destroyers have it rough. She's alright when top tier, but she's been hurting as mid and bottom tier far more so than she once did. The lack of stealth firing really hurts, but not as much as being one of the easiest destroyers in the game to detect and with only medium range torpedoes. Lert: Yep! In case Mouse and me haven't made it clear yet there aren't many situations where Blyskawica falls short and at the tier she makes a decent amount of credits too. The only fly in the ointment is that she's the only Polish ship in the game so she isn't really suitable for captain training. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Mouse: Blyskawica has always stood out as a great Ranked Battle ship. She's right up there with Sims as one of the go-to vessels at tier VII to run amok. The removal of stealth firing has knocked some of the wind out of her sails, but she's still a strong ship in this environment. Lert: Oh yes. That same flexibility counts here as well, but it's her speed and comfortable gunnery that sets her apart and makes her an ideal choice for competitive play. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Mouse: All Canadians should own this ship. She's the official sister ship to HMCS Haida for good reason. The two ships served alongside each other in multiple operations. Blyskawica has an amazing amount of history to her. Lert: Yes. She's a beautiful and storied ship that survives as museum. She's a legend in her own country and helped save a British town from German air attack during the war. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Mouse: If nothing else, Blyskawica is a very fun ship to play. She has unique gunnery not seen on other ships. She's got better gun handling than the Soviets while offering a similar style of play which just makes her all around more comfortable. Lert: She's my favorite destroyer in the game, by far. Do you really expect me to answer anything but a resounding 'yes' here? 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. I wish the same could be said about tier VII as a whole for destroyers. Tier VII is GARBAGE tier for destroyers.
  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: 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.
  7. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Kaga

    The following is a review of Kaga, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 1st, 2017.The awkward teenager. Quick Summary: An enormous carrier with specialized dive bomber and torpedo bomber squadron attack modes. Her fighters are not up to snuff.Cost: $43.99 USD including a port slot.Patch and Date Written: May 17th to May 30th, 2017. Patch 0.6.5 to 0.6.5.1. Closest in-Game Contemporary Hiryu, Tier VII Japanese Aircraft CarrierDegree of Similarity:Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Kaga is only superficially similar to a stock Hiryu. At least then Kaga shares Hiryu's fighters, torpedo planes and dive bombers. However, all of Kaga's strike aircraft have unique ordnance, strike patterns and squadron sizes. The physical ship itself shares very little with the other carriers, with her hull based on that of a battleship. PROs Large hit point pool. Well protected citadel, including anti-torpedo bulges. Specialized large dive bomber squadrons with super-accurate drops. Specialized, large torpedo plane squadrons with a special drop pattern. Enormous carrier capacity of 85 planes. Excellent (and optimized) Flight Control Group of 2-2-1, allowing her to use and abuse two torpedo squadrons at the same time. CONs Huge target with large, soft areas that are easy for any HE shell to penetrate. Her impressive looking secondary compliment is more for show. Fighter groups are only tier VI, making them the underdog in almost any match-up. Poor damage potential from her aerial bombs. Her larger flight groups lead to longer reload times for her strike aircraft. Only modest AA power. She turns as like a one legged cow. She's about as fast too. Very easy to spot. Enormous aerial detection range and a large surface detection range too. Kaga is a beast and she looks the part. This carrier is absolutely enormous and she looks armed to the teeth with huge aircraft squadrons cluttering her decks and massive, heavy-cruiser sized defensive batteries. Tack on all of the history behind the vessel and what's not to love? In World of Warships, she's a very interesting aircraft carrier and worth taking a closer look, even if you're not a fan of the ship type. OptionsKaga has the option of using two different Flight Control groups, divided between 1-1-3 squadrons and 2-2-1 squadrons between fighters, torpedo planes and dive bombers respectively. For the first Flight Control group, the hangar capacity is divided between 11 fighters, 21 torpedo planes and 53 dive bombers. The second splits the hangar capacity with 28 fighters, 43 torpedo planes and 14 dive bombers. Consumables:Damage Control Party Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard aircraft carrier upgrades. Premium Camouflage: Tier VI+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. For upgrades, I would select the following: In your first slot, take Air Groups Modification 1. Your secondaries and AA guns aren't good enough to be worth hurting your fighters any further. In your second slot, you have a choice. Flight Control Modification 1 is probably considered optimal. Kaga's larger strike air groups have almost a 30s reload time between waves and this will reduce them down by about four seconds. Alternatively, you can try and make your fighters a credible threat by using Air Groups Modiifcation 2. Understand that if you go this route, it's an uphill battle. Your fighters alone aren't likely to win you air supremacy that wasn't already gift wrapped for you by your opponent selecting a Strike-Ranger. In your third slot, take Damage Control System Modification 1. This will get your anti-torpedo protection up to 24% which is quite nice for a carrier. And in your final slot, take Damage Control System Modification 2. You will come under attack and you will suffer fires and floods. It's possible this last module will be the difference between surviving or not. Besides, nothing can really help Kaga pretend to be nimble, so don't kid yourself that the other mods will do you any service. Air Groups Aircraft Types: Mitsubishi A6M2 fighter, Nakajima B5N2 torpedo plane, Aichi D3A1 dive bomber Flight Control Groups: One fighter, one torpedo plane and three dive bombers (1-1-3) or two fighter, two torpedo plane, one dive bomber (2-2-1) Base Squadron Sizes: Four fighters, Six Torpedo Planes, Six Dive Bombers Hangar Capacity: 85 Like Saipan before her, Kaga has some unique features where her air groups are concerned. Fighters Kaga uses tier VI A6M2 "Zero" fighters. These are the exact same fighters you first unlock on the tier VI Ryujo and use again with the stock tier VII Hiryu. They even come in the same squadron size of four fighters which can be upgraded to five if you take the Air Supremacy skill. With mirrored matchmaking between carriers, these fighters have an immediate disadvantage over most other fighters you will encounter. Proper use of the strafe mechanics is key to doing the most damage possible. This will buy your strike aircraft time to do their job. You'll hemorrhage fighters quickly in most cases and eat through even Kaga's substantial reserves. So long as this is used to make strikes to the betterment of your team, the losses are acceptable. It can be worthwhile to freely offer up your fighters to lock down those of your enemy to give your bombers a clear attack run -- with Kaga, this is often all that's needed. More than any other carrier, Kaga benefits from the skill, Dogfighting Expert. It's rare that she will ever face same-tier fighter squadrons, and this provides a ready boost to their (in)efficiency. While this won't give her close to parity in performance with A6M5s or Hellcats (never mind Corsairs), it will give them a bit more attack power to help draw out fights. A6M2 Zeroes hound a Ranger's TBF Avengers. Dive Bombers There are several odd points about Kaga's dive bombers. Superficially, they share the same baseline stats as Ryujo's tier VI D3A1s. This includes hit point total and speed, but the similarities end there. Kaga organizes her dive bombers in squadrons of six planes instead of the usual four found on standard IJN Carriers. Their turn around time in the hangar is 31 seconds up from 19 seconds for Hiryu's dive bombers. In addition, they use a different armament. Kaga's D3A1s are armed with the Type 99 N6 Mod 1 bomb. Compared to those found on Hiryu, they have less armour penetration, a smaller blast-size, reduced fire chance and, most crucial of all, they do less damage. All of these drawbacks are compensated by having an dispersion radius nearly half that of normal IJN dive bomber squadrons and could be closely compared to that from Saipan's. Unlike the American premium, Kaga can tighten this further with a manual drop, landing nearly all of her bombs with pin point accuracy. Properly aimed, you can guarantee all of her bombs will strike a target. This is very necessary as her bombs only do 858 damage per hit (or less on saturated targets). An upgraded squadron with seven planes is only going to put out a maximum of 6006 damage with their strikes which is a far cry from the destroyer-busting salvos from Saipan. With a manual drop, it's unlikely that more than a single fire will be lit as they will all cluster on a single section and most ships will laugh off this kind of damage. It's only through the use of multiple dive bomber squadrons that Kaga can stack any substantial amount of damage and it's not easy going. Moreover, it's often not worth the effort of trying to land these pinpoint strikes and this, in turn, diminishes the value of the 1-1-3 control group. I've found that it's not really necessary to manually drop Kaga's dive bombers. I will spend little more time with them than to align their approach vector along the long-axis of the ship and let them auto drop. This will not result in as many hits overall, but it is more likely to spread fires across multiple sections of the ship. This in turn taxes the Damage Control Party of my target and sets up follow up attacks with torpedo planes quite nicely Overall, Kaga's dive bombers are interesting but they're not the weapon of choice for maximizing damage with this vessel and they largely play a secondary or follow up role. Blast radius of the dive-bombers from tier VII carriers with a reference-Mahan for scale. Kaga is the least likely to detonate targets she strikes with bombs as hits must be grouped quite precisely over top of the magazines to set them off. Other carriers need only land them within the same postal code to have a chance at damaging a whole number of modules. Torpedo Planes Once more, Kaga borrows from Ryujo with the B5N2 torpedo plane. In this case this isn't acting at a disadvantage to Hiryu as both carriers use this aircraft. Immediately players will notice that Kaga's squadron size for her torpedo planes is enormous, comparable to the six-plane squadrons of USN carriers. Their reload time is 29 seconds compared to 21 seconds for Hiryu's squadron of four, but is far in advance of Ranger's 41 seconds. This even compares well to Saipan's 22 second rearmament with her Skyraiders. Taken in isolation, Kaga can turn around more torpedo bombers faster than any of the other tier VII carriers. The large squadron size also comes with the option with the 2-2-1 load-out to operate two squadrons simultaneously (with 31 reserve bombers!), opening up all sorts of brutal meta play. Kaga's torpedoes travel at 48 knots compared to the 35 knots of Hiryu's torpedoes with only a minor sacrifice of 400m worth of range, bringing their reach down to a 3km. This all comes without sacrificing damage which is obscene. Kaga's torpedo drop takes a unique pattern. Rather than dropping line abreast, the formation of six planes drops in two lines, one in front of the other. Each line has three fish. The torpedoes released closest to the target are spread further apart. The second line is more tightly packed -- akin to the initial spacing of USN aerial dropped torpedoes. Casualties taken from Kaga's torpedo planes removes aircraft from this second line first, diminishing the tighter cluster. Like all IJN torpedo aircraft, their torpedoes take a convergent path on a manual drop. The net of this drop is quite different from the usual pattern players are used to evading. By playing with the range of the attack and overlapping salvos, different combinations can be used depending on the target. The wide spread of advanced torpedoes can be ignored in favour of focusing on emphasizing the narrow spread that drops behind. These drops at near point blank range can see players panic to avoid the wide-spread fish only to expose themselves to the cluster coming in behind. The variations are many, especially when doubled up with a second squadron for a cross drop, bullet-hell nightmare that will make for some great YouTube montages. Kaga's torpedo planes allow her to assassinate most surface vessels outright through either a combination of overwhelming damage or a mix of direct assault and damage over time effects. She can afford to attack targets that other carriers might not brave grace of her deep plane reserves. Approximate size of manual torpedo drop spreads at minimum arming range for Ranger (left) and Kaga (right). Both carriers have comparable widths at this range, but Kaga's will converge the further her torpedoes run while Ranger's will diverge over distance. Reference-Mahan used for scale. Load Outs Given the ridiculous strengths of Kaga's torpedo bombers, her 2-2-1 build is optimal. A single torpedo hit against most targets will do more damage than an entire squadron of dive bombers. This build also gives her more fighters to work with to help unstick her attack planes from enemy bandits. The carrier-snipe potential from this build is very real and anyone facing a Kaga should be wary of misplacing Kaga's torpedo plane squadrons lest they find themselves ambushed. So while air superiority is difficult for this carrier to achieve, she can wrest it away by going for the source of enemy aircraft with alarming ease. Firepower Secondary Battery: Ten 200mm guns in single casemate mounts, sixteen 127mm 8x2 turrets. On paper, Kaga appears to carry more firepower than the mid tier IJN Heavy Cruisers. It would be a mistake to expect too much out of these weapons. First of all, they are divided into port and port and starboard batteries, giving her a maximum broadside of five 200mm guns and eight 127mm guns. Second, their fire angles preclude all of the guns from engaging a target in her forward aspect until they're 45º off her bow (or 30º off her stern). Third, their range is limited to 4.5km. And finally, Kaga is an aircraft carrier. She's not built to trade fire with surface ships. While it may be tempting to toss a secondary-specialized Captain in her, it's your funeral. Short of a low health, Soviet destroyer being stupid enough to stray into gun range, your secondaries aren't going to get a whole lot of exercise. Attempts to do so often end hilariously and with a sad trombone sound effect. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 28.0 knotsTurning Radius: 1080mRudder Shift: 14.4s Maximum Turn Rate: 2.69º per second. Kaga doesn't do anything particularly fast. Her top speed isn't impressive and this leaves her dangerously vulnerable if one flank collapses. When it comes to agility, whole generations live and die before she can manage to turn herself 90º, never mind coming full about. DurabilityHit Points: 51,000Maximum Protection: 19mm + 76mm + 152mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm extremities, 21mm flight deckTorpedo Damage Reduction: 22% Kaga has an enormous hit point pool for a tier VII carrier, which she deserves given the size of her. Being built on a battleship hull, her layers of protection around her citadel are quite formidable. Her citadel itself has 76mm of protection and is almost entirely submerged. At medium to close ranges, one must also punch through 152mm armoured belt and 19mm anti-torpedo bulges. While this won't turn away battleship shells, it does provide a reasonable obstacle for cruisers and destroyers, giving Kaga some survivability in such encounters, so long as they're kept brief. The downside is that all of this armour around her citadel is made largely irrelevant when it comes to high explosive attacks. Kaga is enormous and most of that upper structure right to her deck is easily penetrated by any high explosive shells she's likely to face. It's almost impossible to miss her once you start shooting and her tall silhouette makes a tempting target. Her torpedo damage reduction isn't great, but at least she has some. Not every carrier can boast that. This can save her from flooding damage and frustrate would-be carrier snipers. Secondary batteries exchange between Kaga and Dunkerque. Don't try this at home. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 12.6km Air Detection Range: 13.6 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 10.3km Minimum Aerial Detection Range: 11.4km Kaga makes Großer Kurfurst look like a modest design. This ship be huge. Specifically, Kaga is very tall. Her flight deck is almost at the same height as the top of Yamato's rangefinders. Yeah. She's that big. This comes with some understandable complications. Aside from just being easier to hit, she's also very easy to spot. Kaga has a larger aerial detection range than she does a surface detection range. Stray float planes and wandering enemy fighters are likely to uncover her at inopportune times. This makes taking an aggressive position filled with more risk than it might in a Hiryu or Saipan, for example, especially given her less than exemplary speed and agility. Once Kaga is detected by surface vessels, disengaging is all but impossible. She doesn't have the speed or stealth to open up the distance and, short of sinking her pursuers, she can only hope to make use of island cover to make her escape. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 25mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.1kmAA DPS per Aura: 81 / 70 Kaga's anti-aircraft armament isn't up to the task of keeping her safe. To be fair, it's only slightly behind that of Hiryu, but even being up to par with that CV wouldn't be anything worth bragging about. Kaga's fighter cover is really necessary to keep her safe from enemy attack, taxing her already over burdened (and up tiered) fighters even more. This makes Air Groups Modification 2 look even more appealing to provide her fighters with improved endurance to continue to harass and shoot down approaching attack planes. Given her large aerial detection range, you can expect to be sniffed out early and for many opponents to try their luck at taking you out with a snipe. Worse, her large aerial detection range far exceeds even the maximum upgraded range of her AA batteries, necessitating the use of fighters to search for and clear out spotters to keep enemy surface ships from trying their luck with a long ranged pot shot or two. How to Increase your Joy The commander skills needed to optimize Kaga aren't anything special. Her AA power and secondaries aren't really worth spending skill points into to try and emphasize. This leaves us with a focus of skills to improve her aircraft performance and rearmament times -- skills that mesh well with most of the other IJN carriers, making Kaga a decent training ship once the minimums have been selected. As usual, we'll be racing to select a top tier skill first before doubling back. To this end, we'll be selecting one skill from each tier for our first 10pts spent. Start with Aircraft Servicing Expert -- Kaga's reload timer with her strike aircraft is quite long compared to other IJN Carriers. Follow this up with Torpedo Acceleration at the next tier. This will drop your effective range of your torpedo planes to 2.4km but it will increase the speed of your torpedoes to 53 knots which is hilarious. Next, take Torpedo Armaments Expertise. Finally, take Air Supremacy. Now we can double back through the lines. For your 11th point, take Dogfighting Expert. Few carriers benefit from this skill as enormously as Kaga does with her tier VI fighters. With that, your fighter squadrons are now a credible threat to a stock Hiryu and a mismanaged Saipan. From this point, you can take skills to taste. I would strongly recommend taking Concealment Expert with your next 4 skill points -- Kaga gets spotted often and this can really help mitigate that. If you choose to live dangerously (or decide that being spotted is a forgone conclusion), you can elect to take Basic and Advanced Fire Training to prop up her modest levels of flak and pretend that her secondaries are a serious threat -- which they aren't. Skills like Expert Rear Gunner and High Alert are great follow up choices for the more serious minded. She's hyooj. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Carrier game play is largely unforgiving as a rule. That said, Kaga is about as suitable for a new player as any aircraft carrier is likely to be outside of tier IV. She's very auto-drop friendly and she can land a large number of bomb and torpedo hits, even if you don't know how to manually aim. In the hands of an expert, Kaga is easy-mode on a whole new level. I dread seeing the damage totals this thing will spit out when the veterans get a hold of her. She offers so much control of damage-over-time effects and high alpha strikes. The biggest hurdle will be proper management of her under-performing fighters while ensuring that her own strike craft deliver their payloads quickly and efficiently. Mouse's Summary: How did this get past testing in this form? The 2-2-1 load out is disgusting. The only real challenge with her is managing her under-strength fighter squadrons. The rest is easy mode. I'm sorry, Ranger. I am so sorry. Kaga is very powerful. Maybe too powerful. I get how Wargaming might considered her balanced. Her fighters, even when fully specialized, will never be match for her contemporaries. Kaga's strike squadrons take a long time to reload. Her dive bombers don't hit especially hard and, when manual dropped, aren't likely to set more than a single fire. She is awkward and she is slow to respond. She is clumsy. She's easily spotted even when she thinks she's being subtle and sneaky. And, of course, Kaga has really big guns that will only get her into trouble if she tries to flaunt them. I am getting high school flashbacks. This all goes towards making her 2-2-1 build acceptable at a cursory glance, which it really shouldn't be. I am not expecting the population at large to dominate with Kaga. Her performance is locked behind a skill wall. However, I do think attention needs to be justly placed on her potential. Facing off against a competently captained Kaga will be a nightmare. I had some serious open-Beta Midway flashbacks during my play-test sessions. It felt cruel how easy it was to stack floods, set up cross drops and largely abuse surface ships. I cringe to think why Wargaming decided this game play was unacceptable for Midway, yet perfectly cromulent for Kaga, especially when under performing ships like Ranger go without. Yet, Kaga won't paint any potatoes purple. She doesn't come with training wheels. Waste time setting up attacks and your team will melt around you. Botch a carrier snipe and you'll pay for it. Choose the wrong target and your planes will evaporate before placing their drop. Mishandle your fighters against a Saipan or HIryu and you'll be on your back foot from the word go. Kaga is easily a contender for the best carrier at her tier. She's hands down better than Ranger. On the attack, she's better than Saipan or Hiryu, but she's weaker than both defensively in terms of her fighters and also the vulnerability of the carrier herself. Is she overpowered? She definitely has facets -- or rather, one facet, that smacks of such. Would I Recommend? I should preface this with the following: Kaga isn't likely to convert any new carrier players to the fold. If you haven't enjoyed playing carriers before, I don't think she'll win you over. While the attack patterns of her dive bombers and torpedo planes are interesting, they are not some miracle fix to the disparate game play between carriers and surface vessels. For PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Very yes. Kaga can carry a PVE-match. Her damage output with the proper build is ridiculous. Snipe the enemy Kaga then farm damage at will. Her repair costs are just shy of a 34,000 credits while she'll gross between 75,000 to 100,000 easily on a decent match. For Random Battle Grinding This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. I could easily recommend Kaga to grind up through Random Battles, with the one provision that she only makes a suitable trainer for commanders with at least 10pts invested in aircraft carrier skills. Without these, she really struggles against anything short of a Strike Ranger. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. In competitive environments, a well commanded Kaga is a potential nightmare for the enemy team and a strong contender for one of the best carriers at her tier. In the hands of an expert, she can delete enemy ships at will. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Kaga has an extensive history, including her famous end at the Battle of Midway. For World of Warships players, she also represents the first IJN carrier premium, which is something in of itself. She's also the second carrier premium ever. For Fun Factor:Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? I generally dislike carrier game play so it was hard for me to enjoy my time with Kaga. Take that with the necessary pinch of salt. I didn't find anything particularly compelling about playing her. 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.
  8. Feel free to check out my guide! If you have any questions or comments I will happily reply!
  9. The following is a review of Duca degli Abruzzi, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of April 27th, 2018. The markings on her bow are caution stripes: "Danger, contents under pressure and may explode if penetrated". Quick Summary: A fast but fragile light cruiser that lacks in hitting power. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.2 to 0.7.4. March 1st through April 27th, 2018. PROS: Extended waterline belt armour of 30mm allows her to pull off some surprising close-range bounces. Decent anti-torpedo protection for a cruiser. Her torpedoes have excellent range of 12km. Very fast with a top speed of 35 knots. Good rate of turn of over 6.3º/s. Decent stock 11.2km surface detection range. Abruzzi has access to both Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive AA Fire at the same time. Access to the Repair Party consumable (!). CONS Enormous, vulnerable citadel sitting high over the water's surface. She eats citadels from battleships for days. I actually have some live footage of Abruzzi gobbling up a bowl full of citadel hits. Seriously, just when you think she couldn't possibly pack in another citadel hit, she goes and surprises you. Small main battery for a tier VII cruiser with only ten 152mm rifles with mediocre DPM. Low AP shell penetration values. Poor fire chance on her HE shells making her incredibly dependent on a commander with at least 10 to 14 skill points to inflict reasonable amounts of damage. Her torpedoes are very slow at 51 knots and she doesn't have enough of them. Short of having access to Defensive Fire, her AA firepower and range are both terrible. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Welcome to Hell. Duca degli Abruzzi is not a ship for inexperienced commanders. Owing to her fragility and poor attack power, she's going to punish novices. Veterans who know how to use and abuse concealment, cover and WASD hax can generate some decent numbers, but these tricks will only save you until a battleship casually swats you for all of your health. While Abruzzi can perform, it's a lot of (unnecessary) work. Her components break down as follows: - 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 guns under perform and so do her torpedoes. She's vulnerable as all get out to sudden deletion if a battleship even looks at her. Abruzzi's AA firepower is terrible, even with Defensive Fire. Her only good points are her agility and her Repair Party consumable, but the latter is shackled to a citadel that explodes if you look at it funny. She's fast and she has decent handling -- not the best at her tier, but one of the best overall. Her concealment and vision control (Refrigerator) is okay but she's nowhere near the best at it within her tier. Candy-cane striping won't save this ship. Options One of the defining characteristics of the Italian cruisers is their consumables. Other cruisers are forced to choose between Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive Fire, if they're given a choice at all. Abruzzi and d'Aosta have access to both at the same time, giving them more flexibility, but at the cost of lacking any form of specialization, such as extra range on German Hydroacoustic Search or an extra charge of American Defensive Fire. However, Abruzzi must choose between Defensive AA Fire and her Spotter Aircraft which is an uncomfortable choice. Unlike most tier VII cruisers, she has access to Repair Party. Overall, Abruzzi's options are "safe". They're convenient rather than competitive, differing from the game-winning combinations of Smoke Generator and Radar of Belfast, for example. Consumables: Abruzzi has access to four consumable slots. Abruzzi's Damage Control Party is standard. Hydroacoustic Search is also standard in her second slot. or In her third slot, you must choose between Defensive Fire and a Spotter Aircraft. Abruzzi rounds out her consumables with Repair Party. This is a tier IX cruiser version of the consumable, healing back up to 14% of her maximum health over 28 seconds. She can queue up 33% of damage to her citadel, 50% of any penetrating hits and 100% of flooding, fire, ram and over penetration damage. Camouflage: Abruzzi uses Type 10 Camouflage. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to repair costs, 3% reduced surface detection range and increases dispersion of incoming fire by 4% Upgrades: Abruzzi has four upgrade slots with standard cruiser options. There are no Special Upgrades worth considering for this ship. Take Main Armaments Modification 1 for your first slot. or or Damage Control Modification 1 for your second slot. Alternatively, Steering Gears Modification 1 is a good choice given how frequently her rudder breaks. It's almost chronic with this ship. If you have access to Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 and no better ship to put it on, it's not out of place here. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal for your third slot. Don't bother with AA Guns Modification 2 -- you can't salvage her AA power. or Steering Gears Modification 2 is arguably the best of the fourth-slot options. Alternatively, if you want to improve her mitigation of fire damage for the sake of maximizing your Repair Party consumable, you may take Damage Control Modification 2. Offense Primary Battery: Ten 152mm naval rifles in a 3-2-2-3, A-B-X-Y arrangement. Secondary Battery: Eight 100mm guns in 4x2 turrets with one facing forward and the other backward on each side. Torpedo Launchers: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers with one to each side between the funnels. Abruzzi's guns are terrible. Her AP shells have bad penetration performance. Her HE shells are anemic with low damage and low fire chance. She only has 10 guns compared to the 12 guns found on all other tier VII light cruisers. She does not have an accelerated reload / normalization / autobounce angles to facilitate doing damage despite these disparities. Her fire arcs are bad. Generally speaking for mid-tier cruisers, 152mm guns are the best gun caliber in the game currently. They sit in this wonderful spot where taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells gives them tremendous damage output. While this skill is considered mandatory, their high explosive (HE) shells benefit so much from it that the four point cost seems a bargain. With the boosted penetration provided by this skill, they can spam HE against any targets they encounter and gradually tear them apart. Though they pay for this bonus with a slight dip in fire-setting efficiency, the trade off is largely considered worthwhile to emphasize their enormous damage-per-minute (DPM) potential. Would that Abruzzi also benefited. Abruzzi's fire angles are almost amazing, but her X-Turret ruins everything. She effectively turns Abruzzi into an 8-gun cruiser most of the time. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) should still be considered mandatory for Abruzzi. And yes, she does enjoy the same spike in penetration power which lets her hammer tier VIII and IX cruisers and capital ships for damage with this skill. However, she does not have the DPM of her contemporaries. Abruzzi's damage per shell is comparable and so is her rate of fire but she has less guns. Abruzzi's base fire chance per shell is also terrible and IFHE just makes it appalling. She sets less fires on average than the other tier VII cruisers which will light half again as many as Abruzzi will over time. The damage-stack from these damage-over-time effects are critical for burning down larger enemies and Abruzzi is left wanting in this regard. This might not be terrible if her AP shells were more reliable, but they're not. They suck, frankly. Unlike German cruisers which also suffer from anemic HE shells, Abruzzi does not have improved AP damage to compensate. Abruzzi's AP rounds are run of the mill, comparable in damage to Belfast's shells but with even worse penetration. Seriously. Abruzzi has the worst AP penetration of any of the 152mm light cruisers at tier VII+. They're even worse than the penetration values on Duca d'Aosta's guns at tier VI. For whatever reason, Abruzzi's AP shells have horrible shell drag and lower Krupp value than the other Italian premium cruiser. You're going to have to rely on HE shells to do the heavy lifting. Abruzzi is largely incapable of landing citadel damage against enemy cruisers at ranges at 9km and beyond. Source: proships.ru/stat/ships/ Which brings us back to how awful her HE shells are. There's nothing redeemable about these weapons at all. Bad damage. Bad rotation speed. Bad fire setting. You're going to need a 14pt commander (with Concealment Expert and IFHE) just to make her gunnery not be a painful sack of [edited]. The cardinal sin of Abruzzi's main battery armament, however, is their poor fire angles -- especially on X turret. You're already in the hole when it comes to DPM races and the wonky arc of fire on X-turret is just the king pisser. However, anytime you open fire with X-turret (or even with Y-turret), you open yourself up to taking massive amounts of damage in reprisals and this will quickly spell the end of your ship. And don't think your torpedoes can save you... While Abruzzi's guns are objectively worse than Duca d'Aosta, at least they both share the same torpedo armament. These are super long ranged (for a cruiser) and super slow (for anyone). With only a pair of triple launchers, they don't hit especially hard and short of point blank launches, it's difficult to land more than a single hit on anything. In short, her torpedoes aren't going to save her damage output. They reload reasonably fast, so drop them whenever you can safely. You never know -- you might actually hit something at long range. Summary: ThoughAbruzzi is a 10-gun cruiser, she's effectively an 8-gun cruiser because of her poor fire arc on X-turret. Given the poor performance of AP shells and bad arcs, she's functionally worse than Duca d'Aosta at tier VI most of the the time. Her torpedoes are water mines. Drop them regularly in the vague direction of the enemy and cross your fingers. You may get lucky. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : My vote would be to give her 1/4 HE penetration. This would free her up from being shackled to IFHE which would also give her an artificial boost to her fire chance. Defense Hit Points: 32,500 Maximum Citadel Protection: 30mm + 130mm Minimum Bow, Deck & Stern Armour: 16mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 16% Allow me to illustrate Abruzzi's single biggest issue in regards to her survivability: At least she can't be citadelled by HE shells. The entire thing is internal. That's her citadel. It runs half the length of the ship. It sits high over the water line. There's not enough armour to keep enemy AP shells out but more than enough to make sure that when they penetrate, they stay in. Abruzzi's armour scheme is designed to foil AP shells from other cruisers and, to it's credit, it doesn't do a terrible job at this. At close range, provided you can keep the ship angled, your machine spaces and magazines are proof against AP fire from just about any cruiser you may encounter. This is largely due to her extended waterline belt, which is 30mm thick and cannot be overmatched by anything a cruiser will throw at you. In order to take advantage of this, though, Abruzzi needs to close the distance so that shell trajectories remain flat and attempts to citadel her must pass through this belt protection. Of course, this all falls apart when there's a battleship somewhere on the map. And those Battleships will murder- Abruzzi so hard you'd think they were trying to manifest Slaanesh. Now let's talk about her Repair Party. Abruzzi has one! Urra! Normally this would be enough to propel a ship up the durability ranks. However, it really doesn't do that much good here. Abruzzi does not have any issues when facing destroyers and cruisers, which is largely where her Repair Party will prove functional. In this regard, she feels very tanky, able to recover from small-caliber AP and HE penetrations and shrugging of fires like they were nothing. This is what elevated her from to , btw. Abruzzi can be an annoying ship to take out if you can't citadel her. In fact, she can be downright trollish in this regard, particularly against enemy cruisers and destroyers. Fires are of little concern which eases the taxation of your Damage Control Party. This is good given Abruzzi's unfortunate habit of losing her rudder. To this end, Last Stand isn't a bad investment to keep it functional during its frequent breaks -- this will let your Damage Control Party be on hand to address blazes and floods where your Repair Party can top off any lost health. The flip side of this is that her Repair Party all but guarantees Abruzzi will be at full health when a battleship does deign to bless you with the presence of their 283mm+ AP shells. Then her consumable avails you not as your innards get sprayed over the surface of the ocean in a thunderclap of 'sucks to be you'. Abruzzi hands this medal out a lot. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Where to start? Without her Repair Party consumable, I rate Abruzzi as being less durable than Atlanta and Flint -- two light cruisers with almost 5,000 less hit points. Her biggest flaw is the height of her citadel. Lowering that would help tremendously. It needn't be submerged entirely, but Abruzzi is little more than an experience pinata for battleships at the moment and there's very little she can do about it. Image courtesy of gamemodels3d.com, showing the extended, 30mm waterline belt of Abruzzi. This belt can frustrate battleship and cruiser attempts to citadel you at point blank range if you angle aggressively. Good luck with that, though. Agility Top Speed: 35.0 knotsTurning Radius: 680mRudder Shift: 8.9s Maximum Turn Rate: 6.3º/s at 4/4 speed Abruzzi's best characteristic is her speed and handling. Still, she does not stand out in any one aspect of her agility. She is not the fastest ship at tier VII -- Shchors is faster and Myoko is just as quick. She does not have the smallest turning radius. That distinction lies firmly with Atlanta and Flint. Her Rudder Shift is on the slow side, but Indianapolis, Algérie and Belfast are worse. She's right in the middle of the pack when it comes to bringing her bow about, with a rate of turn that sits comfortably in the middle. Yet as an overall whole, she stands apart. She combines straight line speed of the Soviet and Japanese cruisers with the American rates of turn. This flexibility is welcome for such a fragile vessel. Opponents will tend to underestimate the lead time necessary to catch Abruzzi when she's going flat out at range. In addition, she can dodge with the best of them. I have nothing but praise for Abruzzi's handling and only wish the rest of the ship was so comfortable. Test run at 4/4 speed. Nothing unexpected here. Abruzzi's turning circle isn't abnormally large and she loses the usual 20% speed in a turn like most cruisers. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Be British. Fiji is remarkably agile, quick to accelerate and handles beautifully. Fiji's speed in a turn is greater than Algérie's in a straight line. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 26.4 / 46.4 / 18.2 Abruzzi's raw anti-aircraft firepower is terrible -- it's the worst of the cruisers at her tier by a large margin. If Defensive Fire wasn't so good, I would pan her AA guns as all but useless and label this ship as fodder for CVs as much as she is battleships. As it is, her anti-aircraft defense is for personal defense only and it cannot be relied upon the do anything other than bruise incoming aircraft squadrons. They will drop ordnance. Your consumable will merely scatter it. There's nothing here really worth improving. Save your skill points and upgrade slots. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : A whole lot of buffs to range and firepower, or some stupid gimmick. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 11.16km Air Detection Range: 7.65km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.53km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 5.16km Main Battery Firing Range: 15.06km Abruzzi has decent concealment when fully specialized with a stealth build. However, she does not have the tools or ability to dominate stealth. Even at her own tier, she's bested by the British cruisers, Fiji and Belfast. She also sits behind Atlanta and Flint. This list grows longer when you look within her matchmaking spread, including more British cruisers and even some of the Japanese heavies like Atago. Combined with her speed, stealth and Hydroacoustic Search consumable, on paper she makes a decent potential destroyer and light cruiser hunter. She should also be able to dictate engagement ranges against most opponents. However, Abruzzi cannot safely engage enemies while in the line of fire of enemy battleships. She has two means of defense against fire from these large capital ships -- be behind hard cover, or be far enough away that she can avoid their shot. Engaging battleships at the extent of her normal range does not give her enough time to realistically dodge. While her torpedoes may be safely launched from stealth, they travel too slowly to have a realistic chance of delivering many hits without luck and experience. This just leaves island humping, lobbing shells over hard cover as the only appreciable way for Abruzzi to engage battleships. This is a good skill to learn as it will serve you well with higher tiered American cruisers. However, Abruzzi's fragility will make the pains of learning this lesson far more acute than it needs to be. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Abruzzi loses out big to three other premium ships that all have much better vision control -- Belfast, Flint and Atlanta. Belfast reigns best overall with good concealment and her broken combination of consumables that allows her to utterly dominate stealth and detection at tier VII. Behind her, Flint and Atlanta are also stealthier than Abruzzi and bring either smoke or radar respectively to the table. I would even rate Fiji better than Abruzzi, even though the British tech tree cruiser has a larger surface detection range. Smoke is invaluable and negates any range issues this ship may have had. Duca, Duca, Goose Performance in Duca degli Abruzzi is heavily dependent on having a commander with enough skill points. The two big hurdles are acquiring first 10 skill points and then your 14th skill point. One could argue your 17th is equally important too. Follow along and try out your own builds with ShipComrade's Captain Skill Calculator. Start with Priority Target. Don't skimp out on this one -- it's almost a must with this ship. If it ever ticks over to "2" and there's a battleship in the vicinity, it's time to stop firing and hide. You have a choice at tier 2. Last Stand is helpful -- Abruzzi's steering gear in particular is prone to breaking. If you feel brave enough to manage your Damage Control Party without it, then Adrenaline Rush should be your port of call as the optimal skill to pick at this tier. Next up, Superintendent is the best skill at tier 3 to get you an extra charge of Repair Party (and everything else). The order in which you spend your next eight points is irrelevant. In either case, you'll spend four and then immediately wish you could spend four more. Concealment Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells are both defining skills for Abruzzi, with the former making play easier (but never forgiving) and the latter facilitating damage dealing (while never making her good at it). Drop back down to tier 3 and pick up Demolition Expert for your 17th skill point. And finally round out your selection with whichever skill you skipped at tier 2 the first time through or Expert Marksman to improve your gun traverse. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: It's an uphill battle to tally a decent damage total. It can be done, but man, you're going to have to work at it. Abruzzi will make you think that she's a lot tougher than she is. You might have a nice streak of games where your Repair Party lets you tank effectively. But just as likely, you may have a not-so nice streak of games where you get deleted. This ship really encourages passive play as a result. You're doing small amounts of chip damage over time, skulking at the periphery and trying to be the least appetizing target you can be. I don't like this ship. Ship Jesus help me, I really tried to enjoy my time in her. I would like to imagine that I'm a patient player. Abruzzi tested my limits. I can stomach glass cannons -- Atlanta is one of my favourite ships in the game, for example. Abruzzi has the 'glass' part down, but she's really lacking the cannon element. I have already gone on at length about her firepower deficiencies. With her X-turret being so badly positioned, Abruzzi is no better armed than Duca d'Aosta much of the time. So she's stuck with tier VI firepower (and admittedly weak tier VI firepower) through much of her engagements. This should indicate that she's meant to be a bit of a tank, but she's just a victim when facing anything other than cruisers or destroyers which makes me have a sad. Abruzzi isn't the first cruiser (or even the first premium cruiser) that gargles on battleship AP shells so expertly that dreadnoughts can't help but whip their guns out her way. Testing Abruzzi has taught me that if I see her on the enemy roster while I'm in one of my battleships that I should make her a priority target -- not because she's a threat, but that because like Pensacola and the Omaha-sisters before her, I'm likely to be rewarded with a super-easy kill. As knowledge of Abruzzi's citadel weakness become more widespread, this problem will prove chronic and I feel bad for those players who find this instant deletion frustrating. I will admit, in those situations where Abruzzi can engage cruisers and destroyers without battleship interference, she's a lot of fun to play. However, those engagements aren't commonplace. The first you'll often note about battleship attentions is losing most (if not all) of your health. Suffice to say, Abruzzi and I were not a good fit for one another. I am sure some people will enjoy her and even rack up some impressive games with her. Performance wise, I was able to do the same, but the amount of work needed wasn't to my liking. Abruzzi only really punishes you against battleships -- in most other respects, she's alright and certainly not broken. It's just the passive game play needed to make her perform isn't competitive and I don't find it very fun. A string of three good games in Abruzzi. I was alarmed. Thankfully the fourth game sets things straight as I got casually deleted by a battleship from 16km away before I could manage 14,000 damage. Good games are possible, but terrible games will happen too no matter how skilled you are. Would I Recommend? At the time of writing, Duca d'Aosta is available across all servers both in the stores and within the tech tree for 4,700 doubloons. Controversial as Duca d'Aosta is, she's a much better purchase than Abruzzi for someone looking for an Italian light cruiser. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Meh. I want to say 'no', but she will probably be alright in scenarios. Co-op will be hit or miss. She will struggle to hit the top of the team lists -- she just doesn't output damage fast enough. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. No, no, no, no, no. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No, there are much better premiums you could bring for competitive game modes like Ranked Battles. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. She is gorgeous -- there's no denying that. She was also built in steel and survived the war, so there's that going for her too. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Blech. No. 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. Conclusion Two months I have been working on this review, on and off. Most of it was written by mid-March but then word came down that the test-build for Abruzzi was going to be upgraded with a Repair Party consumable. I held my breath hoping it would salvage this ship from a looming Garbage evaluation. It did -- which says a lot about the power level of a Repair Party when it's not commonly available to most other ships. It just didn't save this ship for me. This is one of those ships I'm not likely going to want to come back to. This is why it was so satisfying to animate blowing it up. Thank you all for reading. As this is being written, I am just shy of halfway through my updated Prinz Eugen review, crunching through Defense and AA graphics. I suspect she may be pushed to the back-burner to get an evaluation of Z-39 done, but we'll see. Maybe I can push through a miracle or two this weekend. I do want to push out Prinz Eugen sooner rather than later in thanks to my supporters on Patreon. Their patronage helps keep me fed and the lights on and I'm grateful to anyone that can help this way. Until next time! Someone suggested I market LWM Bobble Heads. I dunno, they kinda freak me out. Appendix
  10. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Z-39

    The following is a review of Z-39, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of May 13th, 2018. (Still) Not T-61. Quick Summary: An under-armed tier VIII destroyer crammed in at tier VII but it kept it's tier VIII bonuses. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.4 to 0.7.4.1, May 4th to 13th, 2018. PROS Massive hit point pool of 19,600hp. Large caliber HE shell with excellent fire chance per hit and good penetration potential. Good AP shell penetration for a destroyer. Decent personal AA defense. Access to Hydoracoustic Search like all German Destroyers. With upgrades, she's one of the stealthiest destroyers at tier VII. Has several tier VIII destroyer bonuses, including: 5th upgrade slot. Improved fire resistance coefficient. Longer range and duration time of her Hydroacoustic Search Longer smoke duration for her Smoke Generator CONS Horrible DPM output, especially with HE shells against destroyers. Her torpedoes don't hit very hard. AA DPS is short ranged and restricted to fragile small & medium caliber AA guns. Feels very clumsy with a large turning circle and modest top speed. Enormous aerial detection range of over 4km. Stuck with a German Smoke Generator with their reduced smoke duration times. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Z-39 is a German destroyer with training wheels. She has excellent concealment and an enormous hit point pool -- two traits that will make her much more forgiving in the hands of inexperienced commanders. The only hiccough here is her clumsy handling, but her Hydroacoustic Search should ease dealing with any manoeuvrability issues in regards to torpedoes. For experts, Z-39 is a German destroyer but with surprisingly good (!) concealment for her tier. This opens up all sorts of game play opportunities not normally available to German DDs which she can use and abuse to great effect. Her systems break down as follows: - 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. Z-39 has the concealment and the durability at her tier which is all kinds of crazy. Her firepower is is on the low side of saved only by the large caliber of her guns which opens up gunnery possibilities not normally available to destroyers. Otherwise, it would be . Her anti aircraft defense is unremarkable. Her handling is about as as you would expect for a large, German destroyer and compares poorly to her contemporaries. What we have with Z-39 is a destroyer that has the ability to control engagements with its superior concealment and detection tools and her ability to endure punishment far greater than normally possible for a tier VII destroyer. This helps make up for her mediocre firepower. Note that she's not fast or agile enough to unilaterally dictate engagement distances. Options Consumables: There are two consumables worth noting on Z-39. Despite being a tier VII destroyer, Z-39 has tier VIII versions of these consumables. German Smoke Generators produce individual clouds that do not last as long as other nations. For tier VII German destroyers each cloud lasts 65s seconds. On Z-39, her smoke lasts 69 seconds. This is still less than the standard at tier VII which is 85 seconds for most destroyers and 121 seconds for American DDs. Once again, Z-39's Hydroacoustic Search has improved duration and range over her tier VII counterpart. Her hydro picks up torpedoes from 3.12km (up from 2.97km) and ships at 4.44km (up from 4.2km). Camouflage Z-39 comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to repair costs, 3% reduced surface detection range and increases dispersion of incoming fire by 4% Upgrades The big surprise for Z-39 is that she has access to a 5th upgrade slot at tier VII. In your first slot take Magazine Modification 1. You're a destroyer with a lot of hit points. Don't let a sudden detonation undermine that. Alternatively, if you like to live dangerously, you can take Main Armaments Modification 1. If you have access to it, the special upgrade Hydracoustic Search Modification 1 is optimal for your second slot. Without it, take Propulsion Modification 1. Speed is life for a destroyer. Aiming System Modification 1 is best for your third slot. However, the special upgrade Smoke Generator Modification 1 is also a good choice if available. Take Propulsion Modification 2 in your fourth slot for more get-up-and-go when parked in your smoke. And finally, round things off with Concealment Modification 1. Firepower Main Battery: Four 150mm rifles in 3 turrets with a twin-gun turret on the bow and X-Y turrets in single, superfiring mounts. Torpedo Armament: Eight torpedoes in 2x4 launchers mounted down the center line. Z-39's gunnery is weird. She uses enormous 150mm rifles -- the largest weapons currently found on destroyers. Her guns are also laid out in a strange arrangement with a 2-1-1, A-X-Y superfiring layout. None of this makes her gunnery feel novel, however, and it's often a struggle to make Z-39's artillery perform as needed. The DPM Deficit The biggest obstacle with getting Z-39 to perform is overcoming the challenges in getting her damage numbers up. While she does boast the largest guns among destroyers at her tier, they are slow firing with a 7.5 second reload time. Unlike Blyskawica which also shares a long, 6.5 second reload, she doesn't have a lot gun barrels with a mere four. These also have pretty sluggish gun handling for a destroyer and their large size precludes them from maximizing the effects of Expert Marksman. Combine this with impotent performance of her HE damage for a large-caliber gun and she cannot keep pace with the throughput of the other destroyers. She is the worst for potential HE DPM and third from the bottom for AP DPM. Embarrassingly, even Shitarsuyu puts out more HE shell damage than Z-39. This is made worse in that Z-39's guns cannot have their rate of fire upgraded with Basic Fire Training which only widens the gap further. Her fire setting ability is similarly balls, even though she has a great fire chance per shell. She just doesn't throw enough munitions downfield fast enough to make her particularly good at taxing Damage Control Parties to make multiple fires stick. If it weren't for her beefy hit point pool, taking this ship into a fight with enemy destroyers would be a fool's errand. Z-39's firepower woes can't be blamed on her gun angles, at least. They're not great, but they're not terrible. Stickin' It In Z-39's guns aren't though. While they lack in a knife fight, Z-39's guns are not missing out in penetration potential. Her AP shells boast up to 100mm of penetration up to ranges just shy of 10km. Most other destroyers can scarcely manage that at 5km to 7km. The comparison gets better with HE shells. While German destroyers do not enjoy the 1/4 HE pen found on German battleships and cruisers, Z-39 still fares better than her contemporaries. Their large-caliber can be upgraded with the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells commander skill to damage the extremities of any ship she encounters. Most destroyers are unable to hurt the bow, deck and stern of tier VIII+ battleships even with this skill. Z-39 has a larger range of targets she can directly damage with the right upgrade choice. Z-39 may not output damage as quickly as other lolibotes, she's better equipped to stack damage reliably against a larger number of targets. At Least She's Not Minsk Z-39's torpedoes are as unexciting as her guns. However, given the spotty torpedo performance of the other destroyers at tier VII, having some mediocre workhorse torpedoes isn't a bad thing. Indeed, Z-39's fish have a lot going for them. They have good range unlike the painfully short reach of Minsk or one of the two armaments for Sims. She uses quadruple launchers instead of the triples like Blyskawica. She has two launchers instead of the single launcher found on Cossack. They're fast too, unlike the sluggish wallow of those found on Mahan, and the second armament for Sims. The only area where Z-39's torpedoes are truly found wanting is their hitting power. At 14,400 damage per, they're simply uninspiring. And that well describes her torpedoes. A much more meaty 16k damage per hit would really make these weapons stand out. As it is, they're functional but they're not show stoppers. They're sufficient unto the task and nothing more. Summary: Her guns are pretty terrible for taking on enemy destroyers but alright for padding a bit of damage on anything else. This said, don't be shy of slapping lolibotes around with them. Her torpedoes are okay. Not bad. Not great. Just okay Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Z-39 only escaped a evaluation because Sims & Minsk exist and I'm still not entirely convinced that Z-39's firepower bests either one of them. Defense Hit Points: 19,600hp Maximum Protection: 30mm faceplate on A-turret Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour: 19mm Destroyer defense and durability is pretty easy to measure. It really boils down to the following three questions: Does the ship have any weird durability related consumables like Repair Party? Does the ship have any weird superfluous hull armour that any of the other destroyers lack? How many hit points does it have in comparison to the other destroyers at her tier? The answers are no, no and lots more than those puny, wimpy boats. Z-39 is a thunderchunker that, with Survivability Expert, can boast nearly 10,000 more hit points than some of its tier VII competitors (to say nothing of tier V and VI DDs). This more than makes up for the DPM deficit on her main battery guns and allows her to easily bully almost any other same-tier destroyer. On top of this, some of those tier VIII bonuses carried on here. Datamining revealed that Z-39 kept her improved fire resistance coefficient. This is really a minor bonus all told, but it does mean that she comes baked in with 6% improved fire resistance over other tier VII destroyer. It is a good day to be giant man. Hit Point totals of tier VII destroyers, including the WiP HMS Cossack. Note the bar in purple represents the 2,450hp gained through using the commander skill, Survivability Expert. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Something would have to be released with weird (better) hull armour plating, a Repair Party or more hit points than Z-39. Agility Top Speed: 36.0 knots Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 4.5s Maximum Rate of Turn: 7.0º/s While Z-39's agility is her worst quality, I rate it as less of a weakness than her temperamental main battery firepower. Still, it would be a mistake to underestimate the impacts here. Z-39 isn't just slow for a tier VII destroyer, she's slow for a destroyer within her Matchmaking spread. Her Engine Boost consumable should be reserved for getting her out of the trouble. She'll struggle to dictate engagement distances otherwise. Her turning radius is appalling for a destroyer. Combined with her modest top speed, this makes her really sluggish in a turn. Just to make things worse, her gun traverse is only 1.0º/s faster than her maximum rotation speed. This makes her gun handling feel even worse and you'll be reaching for your rudder to help with bringing your guns on target. Expert Marksman can only correct this by 0.7º/s owing to the larger caliber of Z-39's guns. Z-39 handles like a bus. It's a good thing she has Hydroacoustic Search to give her more time to prep for torpedo beats. Without it, she'd be a blind bus. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : At a minimum, a 38 knot top speed to at least bring her up over the average for a tier VII destroyer. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 37mm / 20mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 3.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 46.4 / 20.4 While not up to American (or later Soviet) destroyer standards, Z-39 has an impressive anti-aircraft suite. This is largely owing to the excellent performance of the twin 37mm Flak LM/42 mounts of which Z-39 boasts four. This destroyer can put out a surprising amount of AA DPS into the air, which is a welcome change from most DDs which are generally little more than victims to air predation. There are a couple of downsides to Z-39's AA protection, however: First, Z-39 has an enormous aerial detection range of 4.38km. This outstrips the range of her AA gunners by 700m. While this does mean that you can keep Z-39's AA defenses active without worrying about giving away her position, it does mean she gets spotted by aircraft without any ability to retaliate if her range isn't upgraded with AA Guns Modification 2 or Advanced Fire Training. Secondly, Z-39's entire AA defense is built around small and medium caliber AA guns which are excessively fragile, particularly when she takes HE damage. Only a few HE strikes are needed to end her AA defense entirely. Overall, it's not worth specializing into AA firepower with Z-39. At best, you can hope to shoot down a couple of enterprising aircraft in the opening stages of the match, particularly if they're lower tiered planes. But it would be a mistake to expect anything more from her defenses. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Dual purpose guns are a must to form a backbone of longer range AA defense. Refrigerator Surface Detection Range: 7.74 km Air Detection Range: 4.38 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.08km Concealment when Firing in Smoke: 3.31km The only thing keeping Z-39 from dominating Vision Control at tier VII is the looming threat of HMS Cossack. What makes Z-39 so powerful is the combination of her enormous hit point pool and concealment. Thanks to access to her 5th upgrade slot where she can install Concealment Modification 1, Z-39 is one of the stealthiest tier VII destroyers in the game. The only destroyers that are more stealthy are Shirtatsuyu with a 5.8km surface detection range and the still-under-development HMS Cossack with a 5.7km surface detection range when each ship is fully upgraded. This 400m gap means less when you account for Z-39's Hydroacoustic Search consumable. This allows her to all but dominate vision where smoke and torpedoes are concerned. She again only comes up second with HMS Cossack's own hydro which, while not as long ranged, is long-lasting. It's a close competition between these two premiums for dominance in vision control at tier VII and Z-39 will hold primacy at least until HMS Cossack's release. A word of caution for all this praise, however. As nice as Z-39's concealment is when she's top tier, it falls apart when she's not. Every single tier VIII and IX destroyer has better surface detection than Z-39 with the exception of the German and Soviet tuba-players and lolibotes. Unlike the lower tiered boats that can out spot you, just about all of these will fight back and embarrass you. So this advantage goes right out the window. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Cossack (and possibly Haida's) release. From A to Z Optional Skills in green & purple. There's a bit of flexibility when it comes to choosing Z-39's skills. However, you want to begin with a solid foundation. Feel free to try out some builds of your own with ShipComrade's Skill Calculator. Start with Priority Target. You're still a destroyer, so Last Stand is of paramount importance. Take Survivability Expert at tier 3 to bump up your hit points. And finally take Concealment Expert at tier 4. I highly recommend taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells as your fifth skill -- this opens up a large range of gunnery targets for Z-39, including all cruisers and battleships at tier VIII+. You can opt out of doing this if you wish, but her damage potential will suffer. For optional skills, I recommend Adrenaline Rush and Superintendent to round out your last two skill choices, but you have options here depending on what role you envision your destroyer using. If you wish to try to tax the Damage Control Party of enemy ships, then dropping IFHE for Demolition Expert and Torpedo Armament Expertise is a viable option. I would round this out with Superintendent for added smoke. Vigilance is a more passive skill choice but your battleships will thank you for the increased torpedo detection range you will provide, especially when your Hydroacoustic Search is active. Expert Marksman is, overall, a weak choice but it will increase the comfort of handling Z-39 while under manoeuvres. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: For such a wet-noodle when it comes to firepower, Z-39 doesn't struggle to stack damage. There's something to be said about being the toughest little tyke in the kiddy pool. The bonuses she kept on from her time as a tier VIII test ship make her feel just that little bit more special. As far as gimmicks go, this is more refreshing than simply seeing a Repair Party or Torpedo Reload Booster used to correct an under-performing ship. Stealth and size both? Just who the Hell does she think she is? HMS Conqueror? I was genuinely shocked at how well this destroyer plays. It really surprised me. I took one look at her four 150mm guns with their odd placement and slow traverse and dismissed her something I wouldn't enjoy playing. It seemed like a distraction until something better (namely T-61) came. Suffice to say, Z-39 changed my opinion. and I'm glad she has. Let me add a few sobering words -- Z-39 is amazing when top-tier but her luster fades when facing higher tiered ships. It's common for a vessel to lose a bit of flair when Matchmaker slaps you around. However, Z-39's advantages -- namely concealment and her hit point total, don't amount too much when facing higher tiered ships. The stealth that makes her remarkable at tier VII is on the poor side for a tier VIII ship. Her beefy hit point total more than makes up for her ... well, let me be kind in saying "limp" main battery performance amounts to little when dueling with ships with enough hit points to challenge her. There's a reason, after all, that Wargaming elected to drop her from tier VIII to tier VII. Z-39 brings up the question of power creep. She's arguably one of (if not the) best destroyers at her tier. When she can guarantee to receive protected Matchmaking, such as in Ranked Battles, it's hard to argue against her merits. On the one hand, this is welcome for all the wrong reasons: the German destroyer tech tree has been utterly lacking in any form of premium for training purposes. I'm glad to see this gap filled. On the other hand, I am looking at Blyskawica with an air of pity as she becomes just that much less special. Z-39 herself is going to be power creeped with HMS Cossack (and possibly HMCS Haida) coming on the horizon which threaten to undermine her vision control dominance. This begs the question on how stable the meta is at tier VII for destroyers. Tier VII has long been red-headed step child tier for lolibotes. Like most vessels, destroyers tend to get larger as you climb in tiers and their surface detection balloons as they go. At tier VIII this gets mitigated by the Concealment System Modification 1 upgrade. With concealment being such an integral aspect of so many destroyers, their tier VII brethren suffer greatly when up-tiered. To this end, I loathe the 5th module upgrade slot for creating this artificial performance cliff. It doesn't just affect destroyers but cruisers and (to a lesser degree) battleships. So while Z-39 is a good tier VII destroyer, destroyers at tier VII are generally not good unless top-tier. This must moderate my opinion somewhat and I caution anyone new to the game that is as yet unaware of this stigma. Would I Recommend? I think the most relevant question would be if Z-39 is worth it or should a player wait for T-61, the other German premium destroyer. T-61 remains a Work in Progress -- subject to change if Wargaming so wishes while Z-39 is finalized in her current form. The two destroyers are very different beasts. As I write this, T-61 is the best destroyer at tier VI and not by a small margin. She's a torpedo destroyer primarily, but her guns aren't terrible. What makes her so memorable is her lack of overall weaknesses and the fast reload on her heavy torpedo armament. T-61 currently up-tiers better than Z-39, only feeling uncomfortable when she faces tier VIII opponents. Naturally, play style preferences may dictate one ship being preferable over the other, but in terms of relative power level, Z-39 is comparable to T-61, tier for tier. It's all a matter of personal choice. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Destroyers are a bit of an odd duck in PVE modes. Alpha strike and concealment are of paramount importance as the bots always know where you are (though they won't fire at you until you're spotted). Z-39 has the hit points to tough out attacks and her quad torpedo launchers hit hard enough to best most bots. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. Z-39 is a thug. Top tier, it doesn't feel fair going up against enemy DDs. She's tough enough to be a threat to any destroyer within her matchmaking spread. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. The combination of stealth, Hydroacoustic Search and deep health reserves makes Z-39 a solid contender for competitive modes. The only down sides, really, are her poor striking power. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. No. Z-39 was built in steel and served during WW2. Her career didn't see any action against enemy surface ships, however, which kinda limits her appeal. She did survive the war and ended up serving briefly with the United States and France. For Fun Factor Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. She's a bully with all the tools you could ever want in a German destroyer. 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 This is Premium Ship Review number 99. I'm pretty sure I know what number 100 will be. It's amazing to me that I'm reaching this number at all, especially given the hurdles on getting here. I have a pretty good idea on what number 100 is going to be given the number of premiums Wargaming has dropped on my lap for testing and the small windows I have to review them. The next review should be up within the next week and a half. I would like to thank my patrons on Patreon for their continued support. Their contributions help make putting time into these reviews possible. Even the small donations make a world of difference, so thanks to everyone that tosses in even a few bucks. Thank you all for reading! Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.
  11. The_TrashPanda

    USS Atlanta tier 7

    How is the tier 7 Atlanta in this meta. I know it's still a paper ship and everything. But like how does it hold it owns against carriers. Also can i still hide just a few inches behind a island and shoot over any island in the game or did that get a nerf?
  12. So Zerra recently posted a video going on about the effect the IFHE and armor rework was going to have on tier 7 light cruisers, especially Belfast and Atlanta, and how they are going to be useless. I could not follow him. I already knew Atlanta was going to be in the minority of ships still needing to run IFHE after the rework via @Notser, but there were so many numbers being thrown around I couldn't follow it. I know something in my gut told me the math was off, but I couldn't put my finger on why. Does anyone have any answers on this?
  13. Clappage

    Is the Boise good?

    Hello all, it's me again. I've went and bought the Boise, to have an American cruiser to train my Cleveland captain in. I feel like the $40ish dollars I spent was kinda hefty, but I didn't really grumble, because I was told the Boise was a good ship. So, I bought it, and played a few games, and oh boy, was I disappointed. I thought I'd give the ship the benefit of the doubt, because I probably didn't know how to play it correctly. So I played more games, this time trying different play-styles, including the big DD play-style, the "HE spammer behind the island" style, the DD hunter style, the BB support style, and more, and I was still finding that the ship felt weak, and that I was losing quite a few more games in it than any other ship I had in my port. Everyone always says "it's not the ship, it's the driver/captain", but I don't believe that is the case here. Granted, I am by no means a good player, but I don't feel like I suck either. I could be best described as an average player. When I was playing the Boise in these games I noticed so many different things about the ship that just felt like they were causing me to lose fights that a cruiser shouldn't be losing. I'll list below what I feel like the ship struggles with. - The amount of damage that the guns do. The HE feels underwhelming, especially when I am firing at other cruisers and battleships. It does fine against DD's. The AP on american 152's is naturally not that great, and I accept that; however, in my experience, they just feel worse than the standard 152's. I would get into close range knife-fights with other cruisers at about 5km and less, and even with a full-broadside, I get shatters, overpens, and the occasional pen, usually causing about 1-2k damage with a salvo. Against another cruiser, broadside on, at less than 5km. And yes, I do know where to aim on cruisers to score max damage. I don't know if RNG is screwing me over, or if I'm doing it wrong, or what, but at 5km or less, I'd think that 15 guns would be doing more than that. - The gun range. Granted, it does have 15 guns, but 13.6km for a max range, it just isn't good, and it causes you to have to play a bit too aggressively. I'll touch on this in a second with the ships' overall survivability. - The maneuverability of the ship. Granted, it isn't a destroyer and it isn't meant to have a destroyer's maneuverability, but it feels a bit sluggish to turn, and it feels like it takes a huge distance for the ship to turn 360 degrees. This isn't as much of a gripe as the others, as this one may just be me not turning and changing speed like I should be doing regularly. - The survivability. Oh lord, this is the part of the ship that feels ridiculous to me. Because of the limited range on the ship, you have to get dangerous;y close to the enemy ships in order to do damage, and when you do that, you have to expose some part of your ship, unless you're behind an island. This ship, simply cannot take any hits, whatsoever. HE? it hurts, and this thing burns like dried driftwood. AP? it hurts even worse, no matter the angle it strikes at. Even DD's can shoot this ship with HE, and this thing simply melts when it eats those incoming shells. With 33k health, this thing vaporizes quicker than other cruisers at tier 7, and last time I checked, cruisers aren't meant to sit behind islands and spam HE the entire game. They're supposed to get involved, at some point. This ship, when it gets involved, in my experience, it just melts, bow-on or broadside to the enemy. Now that all that is out of the way, I need some help from the rest of y'all in the community. I need y'all to tell me if I'm just being stupid, not playing it right, and I need to git gud n00b, or if my gripes about the ship are at least, somewhat understandable? Because I don't want to say this ship is a waste of money, but I just can't seem to have a single fun game in it, much less have a good game in it, and every time I see that losing screen or my ship sinking, I can't help but to think about the $40ish dollars I spent on it. PLEASE HELP! Tell me if I am crazy, or if I'm not crazy and I have good points!! -ThePwnageMachine
  14. Cpt_Snafu_Idgaf

    Which cruiser?

    Helena, Schors, Yorck or Algerie? If you're going to suggest something else fine but you're not helping so please move along. These are the ones I'm moving onto cause I want another tier seven cruiser to use in Narai while I grind out CRUISER: Knowledge Boost. Thank you.
  15. Given that I basically wasted 750k free exp on the Missouri, I can't ever get her to work like everyone else seems to be able to do as far as printing credits. This is despite loading her up with credit flags and credit paint which ends up becoming utterly wasted in randoms. I find it ironic no one ever posts about Narai. Seriously, if you know what targets to shoot at, you can farm hellacious credits at tier 7 where ship repair/resupply costs are negligible. 1.5mil is my new current personal record for credits earned in a single Narai match. And heck, that's not even my highest damage MATCH of Narai either. Just my best target selection one in a Lolanta! To with the Crapssouri. If I'm needing credits, I just go to Narai for a week. Anyone else farmed credits in tier 7 ops, especially Narai? If so, what's the most you've ever earned and does it compare at all to the amount of work you have to put in to get the same with a Missouri? Narai is repeatable easy-mode with almost guaranteed wins. Randoms? Pfffft! Not likely.
  16. After many containers I finally got one!! The secondaries have averaged about 25% of the total damage, with a range of 7.6km. They hit very hard, and I don't even have IFHE or MFCSA yet. It seems WG needs to give Scharnhorst a buff now, with longer secondary range and damage.
  17. Currently, tier 7 Battleships have 25mm extremity plating - the same as their tier 6 counterparts. Most Tier 7 Cruisers (CA/CL) have 16mm plating, with a few Heavy Cruisers (CA) carrying 19m or 25mm. I believe that this particular choice leaves too large a gap between tier 7 and 8 ships, which for Battleships increase to 32mm plating and CAs carry 25-27mm plating. I suggest the following change: Tier 7 Battleships -> 27mm extremity plating. This will have no significant effect on HE resistance (150mm IFHE pens 32mm, non-IFHE shatters on 25mm), but protect them from being overmatched by 380mm caliber guns found on many Tier 6-9 Battleships. Now, there is a more incremental increase in protection. Tier 6 is vulnerable to 380mm, Tier 7 is now overmatched by 406mm and Tier 8 reaches the maximum of immunity to all but the Yamato/Musashi and their 460mm guns. This will have little effect on tier 7 vs tier 5 (which all have 356mm guns or smaller) and a slight effect on tier 6 (Bayern and QE/Warspite will be slightly less effective against tier 7 Battleships so might need a very slight buff). Tier 8 and 9 ships will not be significantly affected - the few with 380mm guns are more than capable of overpowering them by other means and are already balanced around this limitation. The goal is to linearize the tier 6-8 power progression in such a way as to maintain the balance in 5-7 and improve the survivability of Tier 7 in the 7-9 range. Tier 7 Cruisers -> 25mm midships and deck plating (for those without it) and 19mm bow/stern plating. Basically, some tier 7 cruisers (especially CLs) are a little too vulnerable to being overmatched by all battleships. This change would give them some protection against 356mm armed battleships common at tiers 5-7. The gap between tier 7 and 8 cruisers is a bit too large. Tier 6 cruisers might also need this change, as they are currently crushed by both tier 7 and tier 8 counterparts. Essentially, increase the survivability of tier 7 ships slightly, and place an intermediate step between the tier 6 and tier 8 protection paradigm. Additional possibilities: Tier 5 BB -> 25mm Tier 5 CA/CL -> 16mm (Cruisers shouldn't overmatch each other) Thoughts?
  18. Hey all. With 2 more tier 9 free xp ships coming out. (Alaska, Jean Bart.) What do you guys feel would be good tier 7 free xp ship? Currently the Nelson is the only ship in the market but theres a ton of other historical ships they could put in there. For me I would really love to see some of the last of the unique British cruisers. Maybe the British County Heavy class cruisers, the dido light cruiser (though this one I feel might be a over tiered for what it was.) Or the USS California! (We dont have any tier 7 us premium battleships.) Theres plenty more of ships that would fit, what do you all think?
  19. WhiteRecon

    Haida vs All T7 DDs

    So I/we read Mouse's awesome write up on Haida. She makes a strong case that Haida is a strong ship for anti-DD. Is it in fact the strongest T7 DD, say vs the Z-39?
  20. What do you do when you make a huge mistake early in the game? You dont give up, you fight and do everything in your power to make an impact on the game. In this Indianapolis replay I show how to recover from a major mistake and how to use your ship's strengths to still contribute to your teams chances of winning.
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