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Found 19 results

  1. The latest season of clan battles reminded of me the total lack of premium T9 non-super cruiser options. I mostly played in USS Alaska, which is not as good as it once was due to the loss of fire prevention. I find it curious that WG has not released any premium non-super cruisers at this tier. I consider T9 tech tree cruisers to be weak for their tier when compared to their T10 successors (e.g. USS Buffalo vs USS Des Moines), unlike several T9 tech tree DDs and even some BBs. In addition, many have some glaring vulnerability (e.g. HMS Drake's rear turret firing angles). Instead of a steady stream of more premium cruisers at T8, or more premium T9 CBs, why not cash in on the considerable pent up demand for balanced premium T9 CAs or CLs? Here are a few ideas based on ships that actually were built: USS Rochester - This ship belonged to the successor to the Baltimore class heavy cruiser, the Oregon City class. It was in service from 1946 to 1961. Here is how to bring the ship to the game: Start with a fully upgraded Baltimore Add a few thousand hit points Add a repair party and upgrade slot 6 (like all T9 cruisers get) Adjust the radar consumable to last 35 s (consistent with other T9 US cruisers) Increase turret rotation speed by 1 degree per second Decrease rudder shift by 0.5 - 1.0 s Slightly improve AA continuous damage to reflect historical AA battery and the better firing angles offered by the smaller super structure of this class Everything else stays virtually identical to the USS Baltimore The cool thing about Rochester is we know WG can balance what would essentially be a T9 Baltimore since that is where the ship was slated prior to the US cruiser CA/CL split. USS Fargo - This ship belonged to the successor to the Cleveland class light cruiser, and was the lead ship of the Fargo class. It was in service from 1945 to 1950. Here is how to bring the ship to the game: Start with a fully upgraded Cleveland Add a few thousand hit points Add a repair party and upgrade slot 6 (like all T9 cruisers get) Adjust the radar consumable to last 35 s (consistent with other T9 US cruisers) Decrease rudder shift by around 0.5 s Improve her concealment by -200 to -300 m Slightly improve AA continuous damage to reflect historical AA battery and the better firing angles offered by the smaller super structure of this class. Her AA should not be quite as strong as USS Seattle's because she did not have a dual purpose main battery. Everything else stays virtually identical to the USS Cleveland I'll do some further research on other historical T9 premium non-super cruisers that could be added to the game. One that comes to mind is the already in development: HMS Tiger. Maybe add HE shells, or a short range hydro and some more hit-points and up-tier her to T9? If anyone has any other cruisers that could fit in this category, historical or not, please share below. Thanks!
  2. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Pommern

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

    Premium Ship Review - Hizen

    The following is a review of Hizen, the tier IX Japanese battleship and reward vessel for the Christmas 2020 Dockyard event. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself -- I didn't have to grind or spend doubloons on it (but I did anyway). To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.2. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: A Japanese battleship armed with twelve, slow-firing 410mm guns. PROS Thick lateral citadel protection. Armed with twelve 410mm guns, giving her the equivalent of a tier X alpha strike potential. Comfortable fire angles on her main battery guns. CONS Soft structural armour making her highly vulnerable to cruiser-calibre HE spam. Terrible (AWFUL) base reload time of 38 seconds per salvo. Slow for a high-tier battleship with a top speed of 28.2kts. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower. Visible from space. Her Repair Party has one fewer charges than a standard version of the consumable. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme Hizen offers stereotypical Japanese battleship game-play; the kind of stuff you cut your teeth on back with Myogi and Kongo back at tiers IV and V. Namely: keep back, stick to AP as much as possible and protect your citadel. It's not quite as idiot proof as say British or German battleship game play (which definitely deserve a "Simple" rating for most of their ships), it is pretty bare bones in terms of complexity. The biggest hurdle to overcome is reliable long-range gunnery. Her slow rate of fire punishes novice players in this manner, with every missed salvo hurting that much more. Sadly, this same lack of complexity reduced the carry value of this ship. Hizen doesn't brawl well. She's not fast or flexible. Expert players can make good use of kiting skills, ammunition choices and knowing where on the map to properly set up, but there are faster, tougher and overall better ships which can do Hizen's job and more besides. Options Consumables Hizen's consumables are normal for a Japanese battleship barring her Repair Party which has one fewer charges than expected. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a Japanese battleship with its 10 second active period. It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Hizen's Repair Party is a disappointment, starting with only 3 charges instead of the usual 4. It heals back up to 14% of the ship's health over 28 seconds, queuing 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It has an 80s reset timer. In her third slot, you have the choice between a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The former comes with four charges, increases her main battery range by 20% (up to 24.4km standard or 28.3km with Gun Fire Control Modification 2) for 100 seconds and has a 240 second reset timer. The latter launches 4 fighters which stay on station, orbiting the ship at a range of 3km for 60 seconds. It comes with three charges and has a 90 second reset timer. Upgrades Hizen's upgrade choices are bog-standard for a not-brawling, un-American, high-tier battleship Start with Main Armaments Modification 1 Mitigate fires with Damage Control System Modification 1 in slot two. You're a sniper, so grab Aiming System Modification 1 in slot three. Reduce fire and flooding damage with Damage Control System Modification 2 in slot four. Concealment Expert is still the best choice in slot 5. Boring, I know. Main Battery Modification 3 is the best choice for slot 6. Hizen's 38 second reload is appalling and you can reduce this 38 second warcrime down to a 33.44s political oopsie-daisy. However, if you want to buff your range from 20.33km to 23.58km instead, then Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 isn't a terrible choice. Commander Skills The more things change, the more they stay the same. There are a couple of "must have" skills for Hizen, namely Dead Eye (tier 4), Fire Prevention Expert (also tier 4) and Basics of Survivability (tier 3). Collecting these three skills is a must. After that it's down to recommended skills for you to mix and match to make your ideal build. At tier 1: Gun Feeder or Emergency Repair Specialist are your best choices. I'd only take one at this tier. At tier 2: Grease the Gears and Priority Target are the ones to focus on. On one of my builds, I grabbed both but this compromised the high-tier skills I could take. I prefer the latter to the former. At tier 3: After you take Basics of Survivability you're going to want Adrenaline Rush to attack her awful reload time. At tier 4: Dead Eye, Emergency Repair Expert, Concealment Expert and Fire Prevention Expert are all good skills. For Hizen, Concealment Expert is probably the weakest of the four while Dead Eye and Fire Prevention Expert are the strongest. Mix and match as you please. If you intend to take three tier 4 skills, you will end up with a build like the following: Gun Feeder (1) Priority Target (2) Adrenaline Rush (3), Basics of Survivability (3) Dead Eye (4), Emergency Repair Expert (4), Fire Prevention Expert (4). Camouflage Hizen has access to two kinds of camouflage. Type 10 and War Paint - Hizen. They provide identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains.  Hizen's Type 10 camouflage offers an alternate palette if you have completed the appropriate section of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection. In port, Hizen's War Paint camouflage will have 60 sailors out on deck in parade formation (I think that's what it's called). Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 410mm guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Nine 155mm guns in 3x3 turrets and sixteen 127mm mounts in 8x2 turrets. Secondary Specialist Musashi Hizen's secondaries are crap. Hizen shares a similar secondary armament to Musashi barring the addition of two, faster-firing 127mm/40 guns per side. While the range of Hizen's secondaries is perfectly functional, their rate of fire is is slow. Were it not for the improved HE shell performance on Japanese battleships, her DPM would be in the doldrums with their crap reload. As it is, individual hits are chunky enough that on a raw DPM chart, she holds pace with Pommern and Friedrich der Große but with (much) worse fire angles and accuracy. Thankfully, the 0.10.0 skill rework made secondary-builds even less optimal than they once were, so you should have zero inclination on specializing Hizen down this route. Cross-Eyed Sniper It's all too easy to myopically focus on Hizen's 38 second reload and dwell on nothing but. However, she is decidedly more flawed than this mere lapse in reload-speed. Ostensibly, Hizen has a tier X armament that has been shoe-horned in to tier IX by nerfing the crap out of it. Wargaming managed this by giving Hizen's artillery three cardinal sins: Her reload is butts. Her accuracy is butts. Her range is butts. Hizen has slightly better penetration than Amagi (and her tier VII sister Ashitaka as well as Nagato). This is owing to a higher muzzle velocity and slightly reduced shell drag which provides better energy preservation over distance. This doesn't quite hold a candle to the punch of Izumo (and Bajie's) improved weapons which have more velocity, Krupp and even less drag. However, Hizen's reduced range makes it difficult to fully capitalize on this advantage. Let's start with the last thing first and begin with her range. Barring the new Italian battleships, Hizen has the worst range among the tier IX battleships, sitting 50m behind the Sovetsky Soyuz-sisters. After that, most of them best her by at least 1km with the American ships (aside from Georgia) being particular stand-outs given that they'll balloon their range up with third-slot upgrades to increase the gap even further. This range deficit might not be so bad if: (a) Hizen had better concealment... which she doesn't and... (b) Hizen had better armour protection ... which she also doesn't. Her 19.33km range may not seem like that big of a flaw; after all, it's just one upgrade away from being corrected and her Spotter Aircraft can provide some temporary relief. However, her lack of reach makes taking an influential, central map position more difficult. Again, her Spotter Aircraft may be enough to make up the gap, but if it's on cooldown when you need it most, the opportunity is wasted. Furthermore, if you upgrade her range, you then suffer the full force of her horrible reload. This largely relegates Hizen to straight up, heads-on engagements or waiting forever and a day fire between salvos if she does buff her range to enable flanking shots. While going heads-up works fine against smaller vessels (her 410mm guns are perfectly capable of overmatching the bows of any light, heavy or super-cruiser she comes across) she is less capable when facing other battleships. I make a lot of lists when putting together reviews. Notepad is my friend. This is the range of the tier VIII, IX and X battleships in order. 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso-bot that has no camouflage. Shots are coming in from right to left, with the Fuso-bot effectively bow-tanking. All three firing vessels used Aiming System Modification 1 but did not use Dead Eye. Hizen's gunnery is a lot less comfortable than either Amagi's or Izumo's. It's frustrating how badly she scatters her shots like a shotgun blast. Hizen's gunnery woes compound further with her dispersion antics. While Japanese battleships have reduced horizontal dispersion over distance, their vertical dispersion at high tiers is much less forgiving. The overall area that Hizen blows her loads over is enormous and reminds me very much of some of my gunnery tests with Italian battleships. Admittedly, it's not as bad as that but after a few frustrating matches, it was hard not to draw the comparisson. Couple this with Hizen's 1.7 sigma value and her reliability just isn't there. For a ship with such a painfully long reload, watching your shells disperse to the four corners of the globe is infuriating (doubly so if you aren't using Main Battery Modification 3). Hizen's broadside of twelve guns will usually ensure that something hits, but it's easy to be blinded to their reduced efficiency that way. Hizen is slower firing and less accurate besides and this really hurts her damage output. Dead Eye is a must. Don't leave port without it and keep as far back as you can so that it's always working. Hizen's appalling reload time means that even with twelve guns she simply keeps pace with the eight and nine-gun armed ships at her tier. So, she's comparable DPM to an Iowa-class but with bigger alpha strike potential ... and worse accuracy. Japanese battleship HE shells do almost as much damage as British battleship HE shells. They just don't have the increased penetration or high fire chance of the British rounds. Which brings us now to Hizen's defining trait: her 38 second reload. Her twelve 410mm gun armament should stand out more, but it's caged and butchered behind this awful reload. Main Battery Modification 3 corrects this somewhat, morphing it down to a "mere" 33.4 seconds. With so many battleships at her tier firing between seven and ten seconds faster, Hizen's trades are dirt-poor. Despite what the DPM charts will tell you, her awful dispersion further throttles her damage output. She may appear to be able to keep pace (or be slightly better than) some of the nine-gun armed ships but the reality is that barring some spectacular RNGeebus-blessed alpha strikes, Hizen just doesn't keep pace. This is born out by performance stats where her damage totals are rather middling for such a large broadside. She's not terrible, but it would be a mistake to imagine that her large armament conferred any kind of advatage with all of these other flaws stacked against her. Hizen's fire angles are soooo close to being ideal, if only her rearward angles were a little more tight. Keep this fact in mind when we discuss kiting. Taking Main Battery Modification 3 guts her turret rotation rate from 4º/s down to 3.5º/s, allowing her to out-turn her turrets which is annoying. Summary The premise of Hizen is delivering these massive, twelve-gun alpha strikes at the expense of sustained fire. But she works at cross-purposes to herself with a lack of range and accuracy to facilitate dropping those bombs across people's decks. For such a long reload, another kilometer or two's worth of reach would have made all of the difference, allowing her to cross-fire from a central position. Her bad dispersion could have been swallowed as a throttling measure to keep her reliability down, necessitating taking several bites at the apple. As it stands, Hizen can put out some respectable damage and she can be an impressive artillery platform, but that's largely owing to RNGeebus being your close, personal friend and the Reds playing like idiots -- neither of these things should be counted on. Hizen's firepower doesn't open up opportunities. She's forced to have them handed to her. This kind of passivity is frustrating and uninteresting. VERDICT: Oh boy, "worse than it appears, but not so bad that it's terrible" summarizes Hizen's gunnery best. Durability Hit Points: 75,900 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 32mm / 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 356mm belt + 108mm to 115mm turtleback Torpedo Damage Reduction: 37% Hizen's defence is ... well, meh. (This uninspired sentence has been brought to you by: Chemical Dependence™. "Bring me caffeine or I'll eat your skin.") Hizen's armour protection is almost reasonable -- meaning that it's surprising how bad it is because it fails to meet even the low-set bar of Musashi and Izumo. I am shocked (shocked!) that Hizen's amidship deck is only 32mm while Musashi and Izumo both manage 57mm. Combined with her massive superstructure, Hizen is an easy damage farm for any cruiser-calibre HE shells. So that's unfortunate. She also inherits Izumo's buttacular shell-trap when she tries to kite. That stepped freeboard is an easy opening for incoming AP rounds to strike and there's no way to angle it to prevent that from happening. This is a shame because there's some very handsome extended waterline belt stretching out towards her butt which should foil attempts to penetrate her when angled. But all one needs to get around that is simply aim a little higher. You can't count on high-tier players to constantly derp shells into the waterline anyway. Bots will, players won't. Unless you're planning on using Hizen exclusively in co-op, her armour scheme gives away a lot of penetration damage, even when angled. It's best not to present any kind of target in the first place because her hit points drain fast when she gets focused. Which brings up the other thing: Hizen's Repair Party isn't good. While she has a very chunky hit point pool, having one fewer charge of her heals with no improvements to the consumable in compensation just means that she has less staying power than comparable battleships. Building for fire and flooding mitigation is doubly important because she simply isn't capable of recovering from them as readily as everyone else. Her citadel protection is ... well, like everything else, it's not great. It's slightly improved over Izumo's own, but only slightly. Given the sheer amount of metal in place, Hizen is generally safe from Citadel hits if she camps out at her maximum range. However, there are a few battleships out there that can manage in excess of 500mm of penetration out to 20km and those ones can still punish Hizen for giving up her sides, so be careful of flanking fire. Hizen herself doesn't quite have the range to comfortably sit back any further without compromising her already terrible rate of fire. Finally, there's some funny geometry going on with here forward citadel protection with the barbette of A-turret plugging a "hole" in the transverse bulkhead of Hizen's forward magazine. While this may present a "cheek" weakness similar to Yamato, I never received a citadel hit through it (that I'm aware of), nor was I able to generate citadel hits on the few opportunities I had to test it out in my games. It might be a weakness, but it wasn't easily replicable in my experience, so be aware that it might be a weakness, just not as enormous as Yamato's blushing cheeks. Overall, I can't call Hizen a durable ship. She has a lot of hit points, sure, but she doesn't hold up under concerted punishment. With homogeneous 32mm worth of structural plate, Hizen is an easy HE damage farm. Her citadel protection is improved over Izumo's, at least. But it's not so much better that I got super excited. Well, someone's got to be at the bottom. Hizen's effective health is lower than expected due to her missing a charge of her Repair Party. VERDICT: Not appallingly bad, but barely adequate. You would think for a ship with such troubled firepower that she'd be amazing here but nope. Agility Top Speed: 28.2 knots Turning Radius: 880m 7Rudder Shift Time: 17.1 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.8º/s at 21.2 knots Were it not for the other Japanese battleships, Hizen would be the least agile ship at her tier. This is largely owing to her sub-30 knot top speed which, when combined with an average turning radius for a tier IX battleship, she ends up feeling very sluggish. This is compounded by her slow rudder-shift time, though at higher tiers, such an affliction becomes increasingly commonplace. There are only two curiousities when it comes to Hizen's agility (which I rate as "poor" overall). The first is that she turns a bit more tightly than her in-port turning stat would suggest. She's closer to an 870m radius than an 880m. But as this still falls into my +/- 10m margin of error, I'll still consider the in-port stat accurate enough. The other oddity is more of a new trend where Wargaming have divorced themselves from top speeds that end in either full or half-knot values. It's only within the last year that we've seen ships like Hizen that end in something other than zero or a point-five. Neither of these curiousities have any redeeming value on Hizen's poor performance in this category, though. For nerds like me? They're interesting but nothing else. Hizen's agility is pretty trashy. VERDICT: Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 4 + 1 explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 105dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 304.5dps at 85% accuracy Crap. Seriously. At least this is comfortably familiar. A Japanese battleship with bad AA? Totally unsurprising. VERDICT: No. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 17.38km / 13.66km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 12.96km / 10.5km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 17.01km Maximum Firing Range: Between 19.33km and 23.58km (max of 28.30km with Spotter Aircraft). Hizen is a big, fat battleship with a big, fat surface detection range. Aside from her Spotter Aircraft she brings absolutely nothing of value to the table here. She is a chunktacular travesty, visible from Mars and suffering for it besides. She needs more space than most to activate Dead Eye and she hasn't the range to capitalize on it either. This forces you to choose between boosting her range with Gun Fire Control System Modification 2, thus suffering the full wrath of her 38 second reload or coping with having a smaller activation window if you buff her rate of fire with Main Battery Modification 3. Hizen has similar tolerances as Marco Polo in this regard, which is pretty damning. VERDICT: Terrible and made worse that you need to choose between a bad reload or bad range in order to counter it. Final Evaluation Hizen is a Japanese Minnesota -- slow, fat and with a main battery armament that somehow manages to be disappointing despite its huge size. Being disappointing does not preclude Hizen from being effective, however. World of Warships is designed in such a way that even an aberrant, mediocre vessel can still perform in the hands of someone with the inclination (and enthusiasm) to squeeze some numbers out of it. The question becomes how much you have to work for it and Hizen is going to make you toil. Nothing for Hizen comes easy and her lists of serious advantages begins and ends with "twelve 410mm guns". I would much rather play Amagi at tier VIII or Izumo at tier IX than Hizen. Their advantages are much more clear cut, with Amagi offering almost as much firepower with slightly worse protection and penetration but increased agility and Izumo having great range, penetration and accuracy in exchange for slightly less potential DPM. Hizen doesn't slot well between them and feels clunky as a result. For those who have read my short summary of Hizen, I gave her a GARBAGE rating and I stand by it.: I think she performs fine, but I do not like this ship which is all I need to slap that label on her. She was not worth the grind, in my opinion, and worst of all, she's not fun to play. Those who failed to get her over 2020-2021's New Years aren't really missing out.
  4. Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed in this post reflect the version of the ship as she appeared during the testing period. These are subject to change before release. The Mighty. Quick Summary: A modified Iowa-class Battleship with reinforced forward and rear citadel protection, a radar consumable and tremendous credit earning potential. Cost: 750,000 free experience. This works out to 30,000 doubloons for conversion, or approximately €100 ($110 USD). Patch & Date Written: 0.5.15, December 6th, 2016 Closest in-Game Contemporary Iowa, Tier 9 American BattleshipDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique I don't think anyone is surprised here. The differences between the Iowa and the Missouri are minor and well advertised. The Missouri loses the aircraft of the Iowa and gains radar instead. There's slight differences to their AA load out. Most telling, the Missouri has reinforced citadel armour along the transverse bulkheads, making her better at bow-tanking while avoiding citadel damage at this angle. PROs: Reinforced forward bulkheads, providing better forward protection than the Iowa. Versatile guns with tremendous AP hitting power for their tier. Guns can specialize for either the best medium range battleship accuracy in the game or for the best battleship DPM at her tier. Excellent range of 23.4km which can be increased to 27.1km with a module. Very good anti-aircraft firepower, especially at medium range. For a Battleship her size, she's very fast at 33.0 knots. Has the same Radar as the Tier 9 Baltimore-class Cruiser. Choice of two camouflage patterns. Earns 100% bonus experience. Earns 50% more credits than a tier 8 Premium, 100% more than a tech-tree ship. Available for "free" just by playing the game. CONs: Extremely vulnerable citadel that sits high over the water. Bow is easily overmatched by the 460mm rifles of the Yamato. Poor torpedo defense with only a 25% reduction from hits. Large base dispersion values coupled with a low muzzle velocity on her AP rounds. Without the accuracy module, the Missouri is one of the least accurate ships in the game. Wide 920m turning circle and 19.4s rudder shift time. The amount of free experience required to unlock her is prohibitively high and will nominally require clever use of premium time, consumables or simply spending money to acquire her. The Missouri doesn't correct a lot of the problems found on the Iowa-class. In fact, for those accustomed to the Iowa, she will seem familiar -- perhaps painfully so. The Missouri is the twelfth premium Battleship to be added to World of Warships (not including the Arpeggio Kongo-class sisters) and she certainly tops all of the others for the attention she's grabbing. The promotion of a certain action-hero aside, the Missouri is an important historical vessel. Wargaming has paid a nod to both their Hollywood endorsement and the Mighty Mo's 15 minutes of fame with fun details visible on her decks in port. But perhaps most importantly to players of World of Warships, the Missouri represents a departure from premium ships that have come before it. This is a premium tier 9 ship with accelerated economic boons. She earns 50% more experience and credits than tier 8 premiums. It's this latter ability that made me raise an eyebrow. A lack of credit earning has long been the bottleneck in progression in World of Warships and the Missouri steps all over this. If you have her, earning a couple million credits in the span of an hour's worth of casual game play is laughably simple. Players with this ship will be at a marked advantage over those who don't when it comes to acquiring new vessels or simply financing premium consumables or high tier content. In fact, the Missouri could be an utter potato boat and she'd be worth looking at if only for these economic gains. But let's take a closer look at what Wargaming has cooked up for us and see if she's worth the astronomical sum of 750,000 free experience. NoZouforYou puts together a nice summary of the ship. OptionsThere's two big points to mention in regards to the Missouri's options. The first, during testing we had two camouflage patterns to play with. These both did the same thing, providing a bonus 100% to experience gains as opposed to the 50% normally provided by premium ship camouflage between tiers 6 and 8. This is on par with premium camouflage purchased for tech tree ships at tiers 9+, though, so it's good to see the Missouri keeping pace. Note that the Missouri's credit earning potential isn't baked into her premium camouflage, but rather the ship itself. The camouflage also doesn't provide any reduction to repair costs. So your choice between the two is purely cosmetic. Or you could use some other camouflage in your reserves if you prefer. It won't hurt your credit earning. In addition, the Missouri has access to Radar. This has a 9.45km range with a 35 second active period. This is identical to the radar found on the tier 9 USN Cruiser, Baltimore. She does not have the option for any kind of aircraft. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Radar Module Upgrades: Six slots, standard USN Battleship options. Premium Camouflage: There are two versions of the Missouri's camouflage. Both provide a 3% concealment bonus, a 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion and a 100% bonus to experience gains. The two colour schemes for the Missouri. One nearly matches the colour scheme of the premium camouflage of the Iowa. Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 406mm rifles in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X configuration. B is stationed in a super firing position over top of A. These have a stock range of 23.4km. Secondary Battery: Twenty 127mm dual purpose rifles in 10x2 turrets along the sides of the ship. The American 406mm 50-calibers Mk7 rifles are interesting. They combine some of the hardest hitting shells at their tier with some of the worst gun dispersion. Yet, thanks to the combination of modules the American ships can take, the Missouri can potentially be the most accurate Battleship in the game at ranges around 12km, and on par with the IJN Battleships at about 18km but at the cost of her rate of fire. It's that 6th module slot which unlocks at tier 9 which is the culprit for this. Every other nation in the game gets a 7% dispersion reduction module for their 2nd slot (found at tier 5+) with Aiming Systems Modification 1. The American Battleships instead have a range boosting module. It's only with the 6th slot where the USN can reduce their dispersion. Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2 provides an 11% reduction to dispersion. However this comes at a price. The other module competing for everyone's attention in the 6th slot is Main Battery Modification 3 which provides a rate of fire increase. This forces USN players to choose between DPM and Accuracy. Player preference will largely dictate which setup they prefer. If a player chooses to accelerate her reload then the Missouri, like the Iowa, will have the best DPM of any of the tier 9 Battleships with her AP shells. At 13,500hp per citadel hit, these can quickly doom anyone rash enough to make themselves a target. I personally believe that the accelerated reload is the way to go though there's a firm argument to be made in favour of accuracy. There are two primary downsides to these guns. The first has been touched upon already. Their dispersion, unless properly mitigated, can be downright trollish. This is combined by a rather slow muzzle velocity for her shells of 762m/s with her AP rounds. They thankfully retain energy well due to their heavy mass but this still leads to a longer lead time than with the IJN guns, for example. The only other 'bad' point worth mentioning is that due to the overmatch mechanics, anything with 32mm of bow armour can tank the Missouri's guns and remains largely immune to her AP shells so long as they keep their prow pointed towards her. This includes all tier 8+ Battleships which can make for long, drawn out stalemates. The secondary gun batteries of the Missouri are regrettably forgettable. While deadly enough to a low health destroyer that strays within range, the Missouri doesn't put out the same fearsome volume of fire of the German or Japanese Battleships. While it's possible to specialize into their performance, this usually happens as a happy coincidence rather than a deliberate act, with skills such as Basic and Advanced Fire Training being taken primarily to boost her AA power rather than with an aim to increase her secondary potency. Summary: Versatile guns that can be specialized for either high DPM or high accuracy. Excellent range. Very hard hitting AP shell with excellent alpha strike potential. Struggles somewhat against angled enemy Battleships due to overmatch mechanics. Secondaries are adequate but weaker than her contemporaries With a range that can exceed 27km, the Missouri often finds herself engaging enemies from one extreme of the map to another. Without an accuracy modification, doing any damage at these distances is chancy at best. Like all Battleships, she really starts coming into her own at medium to close range, however her fragility makes getting this near to the enemy extremely risky. Sometimes the rewards are worth it. Maneuverability Top Speed: 33.0 knotsTurning Radius: 920mRudder Shift: 19.4s The Missouri has some very long legs. It's a shame she so seldom gets to flex them in the current high-tier meta. At 33 knots, the Missouri and Iowa are the fastest Battleships in the game, bar none. This should, in theory, allow her to dictate the range of any engagement with other Battleships while also allowing her to redeploy as needed. However, this straight line speed comes at a cost. Her handling is downright horrific with a 920m turning circle and a sluggish rudder shift to boot. So while you can navigate from point A to B with alacrity, you're not going to want to do so under fire as it will expose your Missouri to enemy artillery and torpedoes. Dodging the latter, never mind the former will be an extreme challenge. DurabilityHit Points: 78,300Maximum Protection: Up to 368mm + 38mm external citadel protection, 432mm turret faces, 439mm conning tower. Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm (immunity to 420mm rifles)Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25% The Missouri is much lauded for its improved forward protection with the reinforcements made to her transverse bulkheads. This beefs up her citadel protection to 368mm + 19mm at best or 297mm + 19mm at worst, depending on how high or low these forward penetration shells strike. The only ship that will severely be testing these forward bulkheads is the Yamato unless you over angle your Missouri. While this looks great on paper, it pays to look at the Missouri (and the Iowa-class overall) objectively where her durability is concerned. For people hoping that the Missouri would correct the errors in the Iowa citadel placement, don't hold your breath. It's still enormous. It's still extends well above the water line. She bow tanks decently, and that's about it. The buffs to her transverse bulkheads aside, the Missouri isn't the fixed Iowa-class some have been praying for. The German Battleships created a new standard for what "good" armour protection is back when they were introduced in the third quarter of this year. I hate to parrot my Iowa-review, but the Missouri doesn't have good protection. Her citadel is placed far too high in the water for that. If an enemy ship catches her broadside, you will take citadel damage -- it's almost a matter of course. Combined onto this, she has weak torpedo defenses with a paltry 1/4 reduction of torpedo strikes She also still has that enormous hole in her citadel protection directly to the rear, just beneath her #3 turret. In order to stay safe, the Missouri needs to bow tank -- keep all of her enemies directly in front of her. In this way, she can bounce an enormous level of punishment, forcing enemies to instead pick on her superstructure or switch over to high explosive fire in order to stack any reasonable form of damage. This isn't a trait unique to the Missouri or the Iowa-class as a whole. The Friedrich der Große is just as good at it, if not better with her improved deck armour around the turrets which can make even Battleship caliber HE explode for no damage. So what does this buff to the Missouri's transverse forward bulkhead mean, exactly? Well, it means it's a little harder for a Yamato to citadel you through the bow. It might occasionally come into play if you over angle and another battleship tries to bulls-eye your citadel from the front. I couldn't test this out in a training room to see for certain so pay close attention to this if you pick her up. Bow-tanking. It's not pretty. It's not historical. But it is effective. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 16.2km Air Detection Range: 14.2 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.16km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +12.2km (vs 27.1km gun range) For a tier 9 Battleship, the Missouri has good concealment, particularly if she specializes into keeping herself undetectable by enemies. This allows her to finally make use of her speed and redeploy without nearly as much fear of having her citadel blown out the moment she's not presenting her bow towards her opponents. This all goes away the moment you fire her guns though, but that's to be expected with any Battleship. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 151 / 318 / 104 One of the most significant differences between the Missouri and the Iowa is her AA power. The Iowa has nineteen quad 40mm Bofors mounts while the Mighty Mo has twenty. The Iowa bests her with small caliber guns with thirty two dual-20mm Oerlikon mounts (for a total of 60 guns) to the twenty-nine single mounts found on the Missouri. It's these Oerlikon mounts which makes the difference giving the Iowa a 75dps advantage over the Mighty Mo up close. In practical terms? No CV player is going to want to get close to the Missouri when there are softer targets available, especially lower tiered carriers. Still, she shouldn't venture alone when there's an enterprising CV present. Midway and Hakuryu are more than capable of overwhelming even the formidable guns of the Missouri and ruining her day, especially with her general lack of agility to facilitate dodging a point blank drop. Nope.jpg. Try again, Hiryu. Overall Impressions Skill Floor:Simple/ Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling:Low/ Moderate / High / Extreme How patient are you? Patience and planning largely defines success in the Iowa-class and the Missouri is no different. Reckless aggression will get you sunk in a hurry. Being overly cautious may preserve your ship but it won't win you any battles as your guns keep idle for fear of reprisals. This is a challenging ship to do well in, largely because of her fragility and how the bow-tanking and passive meta found in high tier game play will make finding those juicy targets so much more difficult. When top tier, you carry the heavy burden of needing to punch at your weight class and do a lion's share of the damage, but the Missouri's fragility to being caught broadside makes finding those opportunities difficult. Much of what I said in my Iowa review holds true to the Missouri. She's not terribly forgiving. If you catch the enemy in a bad position, you will look like a total rockstar, farming enormous amounts of damage. But if you just opt to trade fire with wary opponents, your results will be very lackluster. The truly excellent Iowa players look for and create these opportunities to shine while the mediocre wait for those one off games which hand them great results. Mouse's Summary: Excellent guns. Her protection almost seems good enough until it isn't. Which is often. Turns like a pregnant Yak in a mud wallow. Very respectable AA power. Pees on the high-tier economy and laughs at everyone who struggles to afford their tier 10 boats like they were filthy peasants. I spent a lot of time in Co-Op with the Missouri trying to isolate her credit earning potential. I suppose I owe the few not-bot team mates a sincere apology for my lack of performance in said matches. The only way to reliably get a measure of just how much the Missouri earned compared to other premiums involved getting myself killed without doing anything of consequence. A half dozen matches in the Missouri and the same done in the Tirpitz, Atago and Mikhail Kutuzov helped pin down the value of the Missouri's credit income. I can say with confidence: She earns approximately 50% more credits than a tier 8 premium ship. This is before any expenses, of course. For repair costs, the Missouri will set you back 60,000 credits. Compare this to the Iowa with premium camouflage, which spends 96,000 credits to fix the ship and earns only half of what the Missouri does. In the days leading up to the Missouri's release, there's been a lot of talk about equivalents to the Missouri's earning potential. This naturally comes at a consequence of the very high cost of the Missouri. 750,000 free experience is nothing to sneeze at. If you weren't already sitting on a significant pile of free experience before the price was leaked, you weren't likely to see this as an affordable sum -- not without some herculean grinding tolerances. While ships like the Montana and Iowa can match the Missouri for experience gains, they cannot touch her where credit earning is concerned. Tier 8 premiums are comparable to her earnings but even they fall short. In terms of time spent to rewards earned, the Missouri will outpace the tier 8 premiums. You'll need to play 3 games in your Atago to equate 2 in the Missouri for income earned. For those players who feel perpetually strapped for credits, I cannot stress how liberating this ship will be for them once they own it. Bad games in Random Battles will net you 200,000 to 300,000 credits. Good games can score upwards of a million. Even Co-Op becomes economically feasible for grinding credits with the Missouri and a premium account. So long as you can earn a minimum of 250 to 300 base experience, you will make money (not much at that low experience, but a fair chunk at 500xp games or higher). Once you peel back all of this money talk, the Missouri is an Iowa-class at the end of the day. She can bow tank. She can spank enemies with her 406mm rifles just as well as the Wisconsin ever could. But the buff to her forward armour didn't solve the vulnerability problems inherent with the class. The Iowa-class has always been reasonably strong when bow tanking -- that's not where the problem was. It's that enormous, high-water citadel that causes so many issues for the ship and that's not corrected in the Missouri. If you were hoping for an improved Iowa, I'm sorry to disappoint, the Missouri is only an incremental improvement in that regard and not the big step forward some of us were hoping for. Link to the Q&A Regarding the Missouri from this Thread: http://forum.worldofwarships.com/index.php?/topic/106264-premium-ship-review-uss-missouri/page__st__80__pid__2604109#entry2604109 Cool stuff like this only happens when someone royally screws up. Would I Recommend? So let's talk about cost. The Missouri will set you back 750,000 free experience. This will make her largely inaccessible for non-veteran players in World of Warships and reflects a rather unique way of selling a premium ship. Theoretically, any player of World of Warships could earn her for free given enough time. Realistically and practically speaking, most players are going to end up spending some form of real-world money to facilitate acquiring this ship. There's some pretty ingenious suggestions out there, such as combining signal flags and premium camouflage onto an Anshan or tier 9+ tech tree ship with premium camouflage for maximum free-experience gains. For someone to pay for enough doubloons for the equivalent, the EU server has a bundle of 30,500 doubloons (500 more than needed) for €100 -- which is about $110 USD. Of course, said bundle isn't (currently) available on the NA server which means on this side of the pond, a player will be shelling out about $130 USD. For different players, this represents an obstacle of varying difficulty. Some will be able to throw that kind of quid at the ship without a second thought while others will see it as insurmountable. Few ships create such a change in the game experience as the Missouri, if only from trivializing credit earning. Let me be clear, it's not like the amount of credits she earns cannot be obtained by other means. She simply makes it easier and laughably so. Time is money, after all, and those with the Missouri will have time to spare. ForRandom Battle Grinding: I would absolutely recommend her for grinding. She is, hands down, the best USN training ship and credit earning ship in the game -- a fact that is unlikely to be challenged anytime soon. The only ship that comes close to her totals is the German Prinz Eugen for Captain Training, but the German ship doesn't come close to her credit earning potential. So if you want to earn bank and accelerate training up your Captains, the Missouri is a must have. For Competitive Gaming: Is the Iowa-class competitive? You'd be a fool to take her instead of the Friedrich der Große, IMO. But this whole question is sort of moot with there being a distinctive lack of tier 9 competitive game play. If it ever comes up? No, don't use your Missouri. Use the Friedrich instead. For Collectors: What's wrong with you? Yes, it's the Missouri. For Fun Factor: I don't like the current high-tier meta in Random Battles of World of Warships. So the Missouri wasn't fun for me. I prefer my action up close and personal and that's difficult to achieve in high tier games on the North American server. Most Battleships seem terrified of getting anywhere near the cap circles. Engagement ranges are usually up in the 18km vicinity. It's passive, dull and heart breaking. It involves waiting for one side to make a mistake and punishing those that try and make a move. Outfitting your Mighty Mo I'm totally cutting corners here and repeating what I said for the Iowa. When you're equipping your Missouri, there are two primary roles to consider. The first is whether or not you intend to fully specialize her as an AA-Ship or not. This is hardly an optimal build, but if you hate Carriers with a vengeance, it has its merits. If you decide against this, you can instead choose one of two gunship builds which focus on either accuracy or firepower. Recommended Modules If you are selecting an AA build, you want the following choices to best optimize your firepower. This will provide extra range and extra DPS off of your AA guns. In addition, this build also adds to your agility, reducing your rudder shift time. For your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. Even if you're specializing for anti-aircraft firepower, you're still a Battleship and increasing your main battery survival should be near paramount. If you really hate detonations, you can alternatively take Magazine Modification 1. This will make the chances of it happening absolutely miniscule. For your second slot, take AA Guns Modifaction 2 to increase your AA range by 20% if you want to be a flak-boat. Otherwise, you should be taking Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1. This will boost your secondary range and accuracy by 5% and your main battery range by 16% which is huge. For your third slot, AA Guns Modification 3 is your next choice for an AA-ship. This will add an additional 25% to your AA power. If you're choosing to be a gunship, now you have the choice. If you want to go for rate of fire, take Main Battery Modification 3. If you want to go for accuracy, take Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2. All of the choices in the fourth slot are pretty terrible. At least Damage Control System Modification 1 will add 2% to your torpedo damage reduction, so take that one. You're again faced with a choice here for the fifth slot and each have their own merits. If you want to improve your rudder shift time, take Steering Gears Modification 2. If you would prefer to reduce the amount of damage you take from fires that are left to burn for their full duration, then Damage Control System Modification 2 is your best choice. And lastly, for your sixth slot, between the two options, Concealment Modification 1 is the better option for all builds. Recommended Consumables When it comes to premium consumables, it's easy just to splurge with the Missouri because of how many credits she tends to earn. The only players that need really concern themselves with their inherent costs would be those without a premium account looking to focus primarily on Co-Op. However, there are some that are just worth taking from a game play perspective. The premium version of both the Damage Control Party and Repair Party are both very important for mitigating damage in a Battleship. This reduces their reset timer considerably and it can (and will) save your ship on numerous occasions. Of less importance is taking a premium version of the Radar consumable. This will reduce the reset timer from three minutes down to two. I find the Radar on the Missouri to be highly situational. I went for a premium version, but to be honest, I seldom use it. Recommended Captain Skills Again, depending on whether or not you want to specialize as an anti-aircraft vessel or not will affect your Captain Skill choices. Optimally, you'll want to build towards specializing her for concealment and firepower, not for anti-aircraft duties. From tier 1, Basic Fire Training is your best choice. Basics of Survivability is a nice follow up after you've unlocked your 16th skill point. From tier 2, Expert Marksman is best. At tier 3 you've got a choice. Superintendent is nice for the extra charge of your Repair Party, but is only really worthwhile if you regularly find yourself going through all four charges that you have with the premium version of the consumable. Alternatively, Vigilance can assist with spotting torpedoes early which is of more importance on the Missouri without access to a float plane. Lastly, High Alert is handy for reducing the strain on your already taxed Damage Control Party. At tier 4 this is where you will differ between AA and gunship builds. For both builds, take Advanced Fire Training first. AA builds should follow up with Manual Targeting for AA Armament to make CV lives miserable. Lastly at tier 5, Concealment Expert is very handy for the Missouri. It gives her the opportunity to finally use her long legs and redeploy as needs be -- or simply fade from a gunfight she doesn't want to participate in anymore. For more articles in this series, please visit: LittleWhiteMouse's Mega Ship Review Guide
  5. The following is a review of Paolo Emilio, the tier IX Italian destroyer. Wargaming was kind enough to provide me access to this ship at no cost to me -- be aware: I did not have to pay for this. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics and performance discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.9. Please be aware that said performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: A torpedo destroyer hiding behind a gunship facade but her painfully long main-battery reload hamstrings her gunnery. She is wicked fast and comes with an Italian Exhaust Smoke Generator. Both traits allow her to suicide-charge targets with her short-ranged fish. PROS Massive health pool of 24,400hp. Very heavily armoured for a destroyer including a 60mm belt. Huge SAP broadsides of up to 8,052 damage per salvo. Powerful torpedo armament with twelve tubes and 23,767 damage per fish. Base top speed of 43.5 knots. Engine Boost consumable provides a 25% speed increase giving her a maximum speed (with flag) of up to 56.7 knots in sprints (!) Has access to an Exhaust Smoke Generator. CONS Painfully long main battery reload of 10.7 seconds. Horrible fire-starter. No AP shells at all which makes generating citadel hits nigh-impossible. Torpedoes are very short ranged at 6km. Enormous turning radius of 810m. Horrible concealment values. Engine Boost only lasts for 50 seconds. Paolo Emilio is a very hungry ship when it comes to commander skills & upgrades. You will not have enough points and slots to go around. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH/ Extreme New players stay away. Paolo Emilio is not an easy ship to play. The challenge resides in her poor concealment, her weird gunnery and short-ranged fish. While suicide-torping in PVE-modes will certainly pay dividends, this all falls apart against human opponents. Paolo Emilio's modest gunnery damage out-put, her lack of stealth and her painfully short-duration consumables makes heads-up encounters against just about any opponent super-dangerous. If you cannot kill them quickly, you're not likely to escape. Options Consumables Paolo Emilio's consumables are weird. Whether or not this ends up being normal if and when the Italian destroyer line launches remains to be seen. At least her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. This has unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 40 second reset timer. She uses an Exhaust Smoke Generator in her second slot. This generates smoke for 35 seconds (40.25s with X-ray Papa Unaone signal) and will conceal Paolo Emilio for this duration even while she moves at full speed. Each cloud dissipates in 10 seconds. She starts with five charges (which is admittedly a lot!) and they have a 140 second reset timer. Finally, she has a weird Engine Boost consumable. The candle that burns twice as bright burns for half as long. Paolo Emilio's boost provides a 25% increase to her speed instead of the usual 8% for most destroyers. However, it only lasts for 50 seconds instead of the typical 120 seconds. She starts with five charges here as well (which, again, is a lot) and it shares the 140 second reset timer of her Exhaust Smoke Generator. Pay special attention to the synergy between her Engine Boost and Exhaust Smoke Generator's reset timers. They very conveniently line up and almost match her torpedo reload time. Upgrades There are, ostensibly, two ways of specializing Paolo Emilio. The first is a more conventional destroyer gunship build, focusing upon stealth, damage output and making use of stationary bits of cover. The latter favours an open-water style of engagement, firing at range and focusing upon agility at the expense of stealth. Obviously there's a lot of overlap between these two so you can mix and match to suit your style. You'll note that I'm not fussing overmuch about upgrading her torpedoes. They honestly don't need any help. Main Armaments Modification 1 is optimal in your first slot. Though if you really hate detonations and are running low on Juliet Charlie signals, Magazine Modification 1 isn't a terrible choice. In slot two, Engine Boost Modification 1 is a must if you can afford it. This costs 17,000 from the Armory and is well worth the price. This increases the action time of her Engine Boost from 50 seconds to 70 65 seconds which is a lot more comfortable. If you can't afford this then default to Engine Room Protection as you would for most destroyers. In her third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. However, Paolo Emilio's gun handling could use a little help when she's bobbing and weaving in open water. Main Battery Modification 2 can help keep her guns on target when you're zooming past a target at high speed (especially given the current bug with the Expert Marksman skill). There is an argument to be made for Torpedo Tubes Modification 1 in slot three, not so much for the gains in torpedo speed, but for keeping her torpedo launchers alive and speeding up their traverse rate. Knowing what I know about critical damage and destruction mechanics, I'm not sold on this upgrade. Aiming System Modification 1 is hands down better, in my opinion, even if its gains are similarly minimal. For your fourth slot, it's really up to you. Propulsion Modification 1 provides the biggest boost to how your ship performs but only from a dead stop. Your ship has to be stationary (and stationary often) for this to be worthwhile. If you prefer an island or allied-smoke camping style of play, this is the one to grab. Otherwise, default to Steering Gears Modification 1 to drop her rudder shift time down from 5.3s to 4.2s. So, Concealment Modification 1 is always going to be optimal for slot five. The combination of increased stealth and increased gunnery dispersion from enemy ships is too good to pass up. Still, if you would prefer a more active style of play, you can opt for Steering Gears Modification 2. On it's own it drops Paolo Emilio's rudder shift time from 5.3s to 3.2s. If you pair it with Steering Gears Modification 1 from the previous slot, you can get this all the way down to 2.5s. Finally, we have a game play choice. Main Battery Modification 3 is definitely the front-runner. This reduces her gunnery reload time from a painful 10.7s to 9.4s. Pair it with Basic Fire Training and you can get this down to 8.5s, which is still awful but not abhorrent. This comes at the expense of her gun rotation rate which drops from 10º/s to 8.7º/s. That's not enough to allow her to out-turn her turrets, but it's still uncomfortably close. The alternative is grabbing Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 to increase her range from 11.3km to 13.11km which definitely helps with the open-water gunship style of play. Paired with Advanced Fire Training, you can get her range up to 15.73km. So more pew-pews or more comfortable, long-range gunnery. It's up to you. So for a super-specialized, open-water build, you might go for: MAM1, EBM1, ASM1, SGM1, SGM2, GFCM1 with the option of swapping out SGM2 for CSM1 based on preferences. But a more generic build might look like: MAM1, EBM1, ASM1, PM1, CSM1, MBM3. Commander Skills There's a lot to unpack here. Lemme explain what all of the shapes and colour coding mean: Blue circles: Pick ONE. (1pt) Red circles: Always take these. (5pts combined) Red squares (double outline): Highly recommended. (8pts combined) Yellow squares: Great if you can afford them, but lower-priority than red-squares. (14pts combined) Blue squares: Nice to have but not optimal in most builds. (10pts combined) So just touching base on the necessities and the highly-recommended stuff, you're looking at 14pts spent so it gets pretty messy to fill out the last five points. I never found a build that I was 100% happy with while play-testing Paolo Emilio. I go into more detail about the conflicts and struggles here in the Firepower section below. Camouflage Paolo Emilio comes with Type 10 Camouflage providing the usual tier IX premium-ship bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. Italian ships are just plain gorgeous. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 135mm guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Torpedoes: Twelve torpedo tubes in 3x4 launchers with one wing mount to either side between the funnels and one mounted centerline behind the second funnel giving her up to an eight-fish broadside. With few exceptions, firepower defines a ship's performance. Paolo Emilio presents a rather extreme example in this instance, dictating (or at least pressuring players towards) a particular play style. Despite her apparent heavy gun armament, she is not a gunship. She is a torpedo-destroyer. Relying upon her main battery weapons to carry the day makes about as much sense here as it would on ships like Kagero, Benham or Fujin. While occasional successes may come at the hands of a well placed main-battery broadside, it is capitalizing upon her torpedo armament which makes or breaks this ship. Let's go into the wherefores. Limited by a Long Reload There are two primary drawbacks to Paolo Emilio's main battery firepower: She has no access to AP shells. She has a painfully long reload. The former is, honestly, only a minor issue. Paolo Emilio's lack of AP shells is really only a factor when it comes to engaging cruisers and aircraft carriers at point-blank ranges where, theoretically, whatever AP shells she might have had would be capable of landing citadel hits. In all other engagement ranges and types, her SAP shells provide superior performance. So, like I said: Paolo Emilio's lack of AP is a drawback but it's so minor that it's no real loss. Her slow reload time, however, is another matter entirely. Paolo Emilio's guns are bloody brilliant aside from her rate of fire. Check out these strengths: 23mm of HE penetration (28mm with IFHE). With the right skill build, her 135mm shells are capable of directly damaging the extremities of any cruiser she comes across. 38mm of SAP penetration. This is enough to directly damage all battleship extremities and the upper hulls of those snooty American battleships. Massive 8,052 damage SAP broadside. The alpha strike from her SAP shells is capable of shredding between a third and half of a destroyer's hit point pool in a single salvo if all eight shells strike it amidships. Excellent forward fire angles. All eight guns can engage targets 27º off the ship's bow. All of this gets matched with decent gun handling, a good fire chance per shell, decent range, and reasonable HE shell damage. But no matter how good all of these traits are, being shackled to a 10.7 second reload makes her guns junky. Their only saving grace thus becomes that alpha strike off her SAP shells so let's talk more about them. Paolo Emilio's main battery damage output is pretty crappy. In theory, her SAP is pretty formidable, however you cannot count on your opponent giving you enough of a broadside for it to work. She cannot win protracted gunnery duels against most other destroyers. Crappy Sappy SAP performance is all over the map. While they all have high-alpha damage per shell, they do have drawbacks -- namely their propensity to ricochet when striking targets at acute angles. "Good" SAP shells have very forgiving ricochet angles while "bad" SAP shells have scarcely better ricochet angles than AP shells. Because I'm thorough (and stupid), I collected all of the SAP ricochet angles so we could better evaluate Paolo Emilio's SAP rounds: 80º to 85º - Nino Bixio, the tier II Italian tech-tree cruiser. 70º to 80º - The tier II through X tech-tree cruisers with SAP including the premiums Genova & Gorizia. 70º to 80º - Impero, the tier VIII Italian battleship premium that didn't make it out of testing. 60º to 75º - Paolo Emilio With the ricochet angles mapped out, it looks like this: Paolo Emilio's SAP shells are a LOT less reliable than other SAP shells with which you may be familiar. They are far more prone to ricochets. When it comes to ricochets, Paolo Emilio's SAP shells are like very forgiving AP rounds rather than SAP from Italian cruisers. Once an enemy ship (particularly a destroyer) appears to be turning towards or away from you, it's time to switch over to HE rounds. Given her slow rate of fire, this normally only allows for two salvos to be fired off before an enemy has angled enough to make her SAP rounds unable to sustain damage. This is, of course, barring obliviousness, but any weapon can appear amazing if the enemy doesn't fight back. Thus Paolo Emilio's SAP rounds perform best against distracted targets or in ambush situations and there's a lot of mileage for taking skills like Expert Loader to fully capitalize on on SAP opportunities. When to Use Guns Like Japanese destroyers, Paolo Emilio's guns should be used opportunistically but carefully. Every pull of the trigger should be calculated. While it does pay dividends to invest in improving Paolo Emilio's gun performance for those lean spells where you can't make use of her fish, it would be a mistake to think that her guns alone can consistently carry a match. Ideally, when you do elect to do some gunnery, you want to be using SAP as much as possible. You can largely forget about setting fires with Paolo Emilio's HE rounds. While she does have a respectable fire chance per shell, her slow rate of fire will make taxing a battleship's Damage Control Party exceedingly difficult. Getting more than a single blaze to stack, never mind two, will require some hefty bribery to RNGeebus. To this end, taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells isn't a terrible option to boost the direct damage performance of her HE rounds, but I'm generally of the opinion that this is way too expensive for what is very much a secondary ammunition choice on an already secondary weapon system. You can play Paolo Emilio as an open water or island-camping gunship. Hell, you can go for a full Khabarovsk or French Destroyer style build and play up the harassment meta all game. Increase her range through Advanced Fire Training or an upgrade and shoot and scoot to your heart's content. But that's not what she was designed for and it's again going to set you back a whole lot of skill points. Missile Command's MIRVs What Paolo Emilio is designed for, is drive-by deposits of torpedo broadsides at point-blank ranges. On paper, the setup is dirt simple: Use her ridiculous high-speed provided by her Engine Boost consumable to race directly towards a vulnerable target. Activate her Exhaust Smoke Generator just before you reach your own surface detection range in order to stay unspotted. Sprint the remaining distance and dump two launchers worth of torpedoes into the exposed broadside of your hapless enemy. With each fish dealing upwards of 23,766 damage per hit, any target you select is doomed. From the enemy's perspective, all they see is an aggressive moving smoke cloud that suddenly explodes into salvos of torpedoes. If Paolo Emilio is on the enemy team, you have to treat these incoming smoke clouds like one big torpedo that's about to MIRV into separate warheads. In PVE modes, this works as exactly as Wargaming designed. In PVP, it's a much less certain prospect. Paolo Emilio has some pretty gorgeous fire arcs and a couple of meh. It's only her dorsal torpedo launcher with it's forward fire arc that's crappy. The reason is pretty simple: Paolo Emilio's torpedoes, as formidable as they are, are very short ranged. To be clear, they hit like trucks and they're super fast (23,677 damage and 67 knots respectively). However, with only a 6km range, you're only getting hits with them if one of two conditions re met: Make a 200 IQ play at an aggressively moving enemy that doesn't know you're there, ambushing either through the slimmest margins of open-water stealth-torping or using island cover. Play as Wargaming designed her, and make a mad dash at an exposed enemy, using consumables to close the distance. I stress that the enemy must be exposed. An opponent that knows you're coming and takes steps to avoid your fish may not escape damage entirely but they're not going to get sunk. And then you've got nothing but your crappy, slow firing guns to see you out of trouble with a very angry enemy spotting you for not only their own weapons but those of all of their friends. Failing one of these Paolo Emili-yolos will cost you most, if not all of your health. So the counter is pretty basic. Activate Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar if you have it and point your butt and guns at the cloud, moving directly away from it at speed. You might take a torpedo hit or two in battleships but anything else should avoid the worst of it. This active counter-play means that Paolo Emilio is not a forgiving destroyer to play. There are more counters than this, of course. An ill-timed, broken module can similarly flub one of these attack runs, be it Paolo Emilio's engines or one of her torpedo launchers. The long reload of her fish in conjunction with the necessity of timing her consumables means that in PVP, you have to pick your targets and your moment of attack carefully or you'll just end up a greasy stain on the ocean's surface. If this ship becomes commonplace in the community (and I doubt it given the resources needed to unlock her), you can expect to see not only a lot of failed attacks but attacks that do nothing more than sink someone that was already over-exposed anyway and the Paolo Emilio that landed the killing blow dies in the attempt. So, despite the obvious memes, success with Paolo Emilio's torpedoes has a lot of skill-based elements to it -- at least outside of PVE. So some caveats apply here. These numbers are before you account for fire resistance of a given target which, at high tiers, is close to 50%. So, generally speaking, if you want to know how many fires per minute you can expect, take the numbers here, halve them and then compare them to your gunnery accuracy in the respective ship. So if you're hitting about 60% of the time in your Tashkent and you've fully spec'd her out to burninate, you can expect to set about three fires every sixty seconds against a Yamato. Also, Friesland still has zero chill. Summary There's surprising depth to Paolo Emilio's weapon systems. For example, her guns are terrible but if you build them properly, they become dangerous enough to pull out some wins in select encounters. You can brainlessly YOLO with her torpedoes but to get more than one success in three games, you have to plan your attacks carefully. I'm reminded a lot of Haida's weapon systems -- not in that their performance is comparable, but more that while it takes a lot of work to get results, said results feel earned. Paolo Emilio's weapons are very satisfying. VERDICT: A few crippling flaws but there's some fearsome potential here both with her torpedoes and her guns. Defense Hit Points: 24,400 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm & 20mm respectively Paolo Emilio is what the kids like to call "a heckin' chonker." She has 24,400 base hit points and 27,550hp with Survivability Expert (and you will take Survivability Expert). While she does not have any healing capacity, the sheer bulk of hit points provides effectively more health than some of those tier IX destroyers that do have heals due to the inefficiency of getting the maximum potential from every single consumable charge. Now that's a lot of potential damage! With Survivability Expert, Paolo Emilio has comparable durability to Jutland, Udaloi and Östergötland given typical use of their Repair Parties. Getting the "Maximum Healing Potential" as listed on these graphs is a bit of a pipe dream. Part of the reason she's so hefty is that she's actually armoured! Khabarovsk and other high-tier Soviet destroyers show their Italian pedigree when you look at what Paolo Emilio is sporting here. She has belt armour. She has armoured turrets and barbettes. She actually has reinforced magazine protection and a turtleback to protect her machine spaces for crying out loud. You could be forgiven for mistaking her for a very light cruiser. The practical effect here is that not every shell fired at Paolo Emilio will do damage. HE shells aimed at her amidships hull have a very good chance of shattering against her 60mm plates which is proof against HE shells of up to 360mm (240mm if they have 1/4 HE penetration). In addition, British 113mm guns from destroyers like Jutland and Daring cannot penetrate her deck without IFHE, further increasing the effectiveness of her steel. AP shells of all calibers will ricochet off her belt at acute angles. Combined with her enormous hit point pool, Paolo Emilio feels tougher than her destroyer-status would otherwise suggest. If she had the DPM to compete, out-trading with Paolo Emilio would be downright overpowered with this build. As it is, her toughness can kinda-sorta bail her out of tough situations and protracted duels, but she doesn't fare well in trades. The best use of this durability is at range, using her speed smokes to perform short-term hit and runs and then disengage and reposition. Being so tough will reduce the impact of those incidental hits and short-term exchanges. But don't think for a second that this will allow you to survive failed YOLO-torpedo charges. Paolo Emilio has a multitude of hidden armour geometries that are more curious than practical. If anything, they may end up being more of a drawback, ensuring that small and medium caliber AP shells fuse properly inside her. I did not include the 20mm turtleback (angled approximately 50º to 60º from the vertical) which connects the 60mm belt to the main deck as it would get lost in the clutter of her 20mm deck. Graphic was pulled from assets from gamemodels3d.com, a great site for advanced users that are interested in a more detailed look at the mechanics of World of Warships. VERDICT: Tough enough to surprise opponents but not so tough that she survives over-extending. Agility Top Speed: 43.5 knots Port Turning Radius: 810m Rudder Shift Time: 5.3s 4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 7º/s Paolo Emilio is stupid fast and that solves a lot of potential problems with this ship. She has the speed to dictate engagement ranges. She can pick her fights. Her high speed helps make up for her horrid turning circle radius, providing a modest rate of turn instead of an abysmal one. If all she had was this 43.5 knot top speed, that would be remarkable enough unto itself, but she also has access to an improved Engine Boost consumable. Paolo Emilio's ridiculous high speed helps counteract her horrible turning radius, giving her a still reasonable (but still admittedly slow) rate of turn. Her Engine Boost consumable is simultaneously awesome and crappy. It provides a 25% boost to her speed instead of 8%, which is awesome. But it lasts 50s instead of 120s which is such a tease. Just as you're finally ticking over those last few tenths of a knot to reach her theoretical maximum of 56.7kts (with a Sierra Mike signal), the damn thing cuts out. Taking the special upgrade, Engine Boost Modification 1 extends this up to 70 65 seconds, but it's still painfully short of what other versions of this consumable provide. This makes it less useful as a "navigate from A to B" consumable and more of one dedicated to Paolo Emilio's singular purpose: suicide torping. Her Engine Boost consumable synergizes well with her Exhaust Smoke Generator, encouraging their paired use. Activate her Engine Boost first to build up speed and then activate her Exhaust Smoke Generator just before you're spotted and lunge towards your selected target. This does not guarantee success, however. Even at her maximum boosted speed, Paolo Emilio does not have enough longevity in her Exhaust Smoke Generator to allow her to cover the entire distance between herself and a stationary target before the smoke cover expires (to say nothing of a target that's moving away). For those wondering, the distance compression in World of Warships is 5.22x. The purpose of these numbers is to illustrate how much range you can close when lunging after a target with Paolo Emilio. I covered her basic stats against stationary targets where the closing speed will be Paolo Emilio's speed at the time. However I also wanted to simulate approximately the closing distance when a target was either closing or moving away. To this end, I included entries where Paolo Emilio was racing after an enemy where she was outrunning them by 20 and 30 knots respectively. I also included the opposite end of the spectrum, where there is a target unwittingly charging towards Paolo Emilio and the combined closing speed amounts to 70 and 80 knots. The values are admittedly modest rather than a best / worst case scenario but should provide enough data to illustrate my points of caution. The actual relevant distance Paolo Emilio needs to close is 2km less than the values listed. Once you're in auto-detect range, it doesn't matter if her smoke is active or not. Similarly, if your target is going to oblige you by presenting the perfect torpedo target when you're still 4km out (such as by swinging out and presenting their broadside), then you need not run the full distance as your torpedoes can cover the remainder. Still, it pays to keep in mind just how long you'll need to push in order to guarantee those torpedo hits. This is a harrowing experience and every bit of speed you can squeeze out of Paolo Emilio's engines counts. This all comes back to Paolo Emilio having a pretty steep learning curve. What appears on the surface to be a straight forward calculation is far more nuanced. With this speed and decent agility, she should be an excellent kiting gunship if it weren't for that horrid reload. Suicide-torping should be easy if it weren't for the fact her consumables had such short active-periods. Worse, Co-Op won't help you learn these traits. Bots are dumb and they will make this ship's speed seem just right for pulling off shenanigans that will only get you killed against human opponents so you're not going to get any reasonable practice there. VERDICT: Damn-fast but not damn-fast for damn-well long enough. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 2 for 1,540 damage per blast. Long Ranged (up to 4.6km): 52.5dps Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 96.4dps Paolo Emilio's anti-aircraft damage numbers aren't terrible. They're downright respectable even. The issue here is that she doesn't have the range to give her guns enough time on target to do anything. She's a ready victim to dedicated air attack without the concealment to avoid being detected in the first place and lacking a long-lasting smoke screen to discourage CVs from loitering. While not quite on the level of French destroyer vulnerability, Paolo Emilio is a juicy and easy target for carriers. VERDICT: Yer dead. I did not shoot those Messerschmitts down. That was done by the combined firepower of the Baltimore and North Carolina behind me. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 9.08km / 7.13km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.68km / 2.98km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 3.65km sea / 2.7km air Main Battery Firing Range: 11.3km to 15.73km with full upgrades. The last piece of the Paolo Emilio puzzle is her Vision Control (or "Refrigerator" as Lert coined it many years ago). Let's start with the obvious. Paolo Emilio's surface detection range is nothing short of appalling. To give you an idea, there are only five destroyers with worse surface detection ranges. They are: 10km - Khabarovsk, tier X Soviet 9.88km - Kléber, tier X French 9.54km - Mogador, tier IX French 9.40km - Tashkent, tier IX Soviet 9.20km - Udaloi, tier IX Soviet In most destroyer versus destroyer encounters, you are not sneaking up on your opponent. With the exception of those those five ships, you will always be spotted first. Taking Radio Location to help identify the vector of spotting destroyers is quite handy, albeit an expensive solution to this problem. Heads-up encounters with destroyers should largely be avoided given Paolo Emilio's poor gun damage output unless the target is exposed and/or crippled. Trust her speed to keep enemies at arm's length, but be aware that playing keep-away constantly will surrender map control and probably cost you the match. Similarly, using her speed to charge headlong into cap circles is a great way to get Paolo Emilio sunk so it's best to play more passively around objectives lest she have a ton of ready support. Next on the list is what she does not have: Namely any detection consumables. As the meta has progressed, Hydroacoustic Search has become more commonplace on high-tier destroyers. Surveillance Radar too has proliferated. This is doubly important to keep in mind when her Exhaust Smoke Generator is active as she is effectively flying blind during the 35 to 40 seconds that it's active. While battleships with active firing guns are easy to see through her smoke, smaller vessels are not. Speaking of her Exhaust Smoke Generator, it is painfully easy to forget how short-lived this consumable operates for. While the X-ray Papa Unaone signal helps immeasurably with its added fives seconds of emission, this still gives her a pittance when it comes to concealment time. Do not panic-blurt her smoke. Also: don't panic fire her guns while she's in smoke lest you light yourself for an enemy you didn't know was there. The reset timer on her smoke is still painfully long (two minutes and twenty seconds) and a premature blast of smoke inside of radar or hydro range will do her no favours. The same can be said if she's being hounded by aircraft or enemy lolibotes. Once the smoke clears, Paolo Emilio may still find herself in trouble. While her smoke is useful defensively, it's best to keep her out of such problem situations in the first place, preserving it for the suicide-rushes she was designed around. Paolo Emilio's vision control is pretty terrible all told. She's reliant on her speed to make up for it and as shown previously, she's not fast enough for long enough to correct all of these problems. Her Exhaust Smoke Generator is powerful, opening up the possibility of some nice offensive and defensive actions but it has its drawbacks too. It's too short lived and she flies blind while its operating. Her fortunes tend to reside on how well her smoke is utilized. VERDICT: Her success is dictated by how well you can use her smoke. Final Evaluation Wargaming designed Paolo Emilio to be a one trick pony. In their own words: Yet despite this, she ended up being delightfully more complex. She can run and gun. She can even play the role of a destroyer interceptor, trusting on her alpha strike and durability to outlast her opponent. She's not good at either of these roles, but she does demonstrate flexibility enough to pull these off in a pinch. They're just not something you should base her entire play around. It's easy to dismiss Paolo Emilio as nothing more than a YOLO-bote. But even in that role, pulling this off successfully isn't always simple. Well, outside of co-op, it isn't simple. Paolo Emilio is like one of the strongest co-op botes I've ever played. Wait in the wings for the enemy DDs to be taken out and then YOLO your way to 130,000+ damage easy as you slash through the enemy cruisers / battleships with her fish. As a crusty ol' veteran, I unduly appreciate complexity in ship performance. But therein lies the trap. Just because a ship is complex, that doesn't necessarily make it good. Paolo Emilio makes you jump through a few hoops to get her to perform even to a reasonable level (again in most PVP encounters -- PVE need not apply) but that's not necessarily a good thing for the average consumer. There are a lot of ways to counter a YOLO-rush from Paolo Emilio and running into these counters time and again can be discouraging. Do I think Paolo Emilio is worth it? Yeah, she's fun. I like her. I'm not sure she's so much fun that I'd go through the slog of regrinding through the Research Bureau over and over and over again. I'd do that for Siegfried but Paolo Emilio is a much harder sell that way. Now I say this without having enjoying much success in Paolo Emilio in PVP battles. My first forays into PVP with her were downright disastrous, if not comical. She really is not an easy ship to play but that, to me, is definitely part of her appeal. Like Haida, if you do well in Paolo Emilio, it's because you played well. Furthermore, it's not because you overcame an unfair set of difficulties either. I will say this: If Wargaming opens up a 1 vs 1 Ranked Battle season at tier IX, Paolo Emilio will be HILARIOUS. Paolo Emilio swatting simulator. Kill it quick before it MIRVs. Conclusion Can't talk. Wargaming released Florida without warning. Must review.
  6. Shannon_Lindsey

    Benham and Black

    Is there any chance of either the Black or the Benham becoming regularly available again? The wonderful thing about US tech tree DDs is that they can effectively be built into Gun boats, torpedo boats, of AA boats. The premiums tend to be more specialized. That said, I hope to be able to keep a variety of US DDs available depending on division and/or clan need in the future. I will not be running AA boats on odd tiers for obvious reasons. The thing is, since Fletcher can go either gun or torpedo, I would like to set it up to compliment if either of the tier 9 premiums become available again since Benham is a great torpedo boat, and Black is a really good gun boat. Any thoughts?
  7. Hi all, I wish you all a happy new year! Are you a fan of HE spam? Are you afraid of them? Do you know how to encounter them? If you don't, then join them! Tier 9 Premium US Cruiser USS Fargo CL-106 Ship Length - 610 feet Beam - 66 feet Draft - 25 feet speed - 32.5 knots Hit points - between 39,000 - 49,000 Main Battery Four 150mm triple-barrelled guns Rate of Fire - 10 rounds per minute Reload Time - 6 seconds Firing Range - 18.29km Maximum HE shell Damage - 3,400 Maximum AP shell Damage - 8,200 Secondary Armament Six 130mm double-barrelled guns Firing Range - 5km Rate of Fire - 15 rounds per minute Reload Time - 4 seconds Maximum HE Shell Damage - 2,100 AA Defence Four 150mm triple-barrelled guns Average Damage per second - between 90 - 95 Firing Range - 6km Four quad 40mm Bofors Average damage per second - 270 Firing Range - 3.51km Six double 40mm Bofors Average Damage per Second - 135 Firing Range - 3.51km ten 20mm Oerlikon Average Damage per Second - 83 Firing Range - 2.01km Maneuverability Rudder Shift Time - between 7 to 9 seconds Speed - 32.5 knots Concealment Detectability by Sea - between 9 to 11km Detectability by Air - between 7 - 8km Aircraft Complement 4 Floatplanes Possible Consumables Damage Control Party Enhanced AA Fire Hydroacoustic Search/ Fighter Surveillance Radar/ Spotting Aircraft Repair Party
  8. Like many other people who plays WOWS regularly, I received the USS Kansas free of charge before the full release of the new line of low speed American BBs. The Kansas turned out to not be the best BB at tier 8. But from my perspective, it's also not the worst. It's slow in a straight line. But it turns okay. It's vulnerable to HE hits and fire. But its citadel also happens to be well armored and fairly low in the water. (in practice, AP hits that miss the citadel tend to overpen) Its 40 second reload on the main battery takes getting used to. But the fact that you have 12 16" guns at tier 8 despite the slow reload and semi iffy accuracy seem to work out as more of a trade off in play style than an outright disadvantage in comparison to the main batteries of other T8 BBs. At the end of the day, the Kansas worked out okay for me. Its HP pool is decent. Its AA is actually semi reliable. (I was able to fight off attacks by a Hakuryu with it) When fighting against lower tier enemies, it has no problem doing its part as it's essentially a bigger and heavier dreadnought style BB. Against same tier and higher tier enemies, it isn't really more vulnerable or helpless than some other T8 BBs as its heavy broadside compensates for its poor accuracy and slow reloads while its protection scheme remains workable. I managed to earn enough XP in the Kansas to research the Minnesota just in time for the line's full release. Unfortunately, the Minnesota seems to have some very serious problems. It very much struggles in combat and might just currently be the worst tier 9 BB available in game... Here are some of my observations: On survivability 1. Unlike with the Kansas, the entire superstructure of the Minnesota seems to receive normal penetrations instead of over-penetrations when hit by AP shells of all calibers. Angling or facing the enemies bow on does not seem to mitigate this problem at all. Maybe this is due to the size and volume of it. 2. The 38mm plating on the ship is obviously meant to give it a degree of protection from smaller caliber HE shells as it prevents light cruiser caliber HE from penetrating. But it seems that when hit by enemy AP shells, the 38mm plating often arm their shells' fuses resulting in normal pens rather than over-pens. When angling against the enemies just enough to still use all 4 of your turrets, enemy AP hits on the upper cheeks of the ship's frontal hull (essentially the upper parts of the ship's 38mm torpedo bulge) seem to almost always result in normal pens. It's not unusual for enemy AP salvos to do about 10k damage each despite angling and maneuvering. 3. When sailing away from the enemies, the ship's 38mm plating and superstructure's vulnerability to normal pens seem even more pronounced as the Minnesota has a stern quarter deck a full deck lower than is the case towards the bow. In this situation the superstructure is even larger and more easily hit. 4. So even before we factor in the damage the ship can take from HE and fire, it already has a major weakness of taking high damage AP salvos if and when it's hit by the enemies around its center of mass regardless of positioning. In practice, any enemy ships of all classes with good AP performance or shoot AP regularly are serious threats to the Minnesota. The Stalingrad, Moskva, Petropavlovsk, and other Soviet cruisers, any German cruisers, any British light cruiser, any Soviet DD, any Italian cruiser with SAP shells, any German DD with their high alpha AP, and British DDs with good AP normalization can all quickly farm off HP from a Minnesota. They can usually do it way more efficiently than a Minnesota can reply. 5. Despite the prevalence of 38mm CL HE resistant plating on the ship, its superstructure is large relative to the ship and very easily hit in combat. So it remains very vulnerable to enemy HE and fires, particularly if we consider the ship's small for a tier 9 HP pool, poor for a tier 9 mobility, and the lack of a superior than standard heal consumable. 6. Ironically despite the ship's relatively small HP pool and short length, its concealment is not great. Technically it's worse than that of several other tier 9 BBs that are longer. So the low speed, short length, and smaller HP pool did not provide any perk in terms of concealment to compensate. Its concealment is outright worse than a similar configured Kansas (with concealment upgrade and camo paint) at 15.3km vs the Kansas’ 14.5km. 7. Being a dreadnought and US standard style BB, the ship is proportionally wide and stubby for a tier 9 BB. I would think that these traits would allow the ship to turn well despite the inferior straight line speed in comparison to same tier BBs that are longer. But unfortunately the ship turns sluggishly and reluctantly in a way that's possibly worst in tier. Maneuvering the Minnesota to dodge incoming enemy fire is usually ineffectual and a fruitless chore. On its effectiveness in combat As a design concept, The Minnesota seems to be very similar if not too similar to the Kansas. I think the 2 ships are similar enough to be sisters or half sister ships of the same class that just happened to have undergone a different modernization upgrade/rebuild. The Kansas is obviously a WW2 era update of the 1920 South Dakota class super dreadnought, which's essentially an enlarged Colorado class style design with 50% more main guns and a minor speed buff to 23 knots. Ironically the Minnesota could just as well also be a WW2 era update of the 1920 South Dakota class super dreadnought. Currently the Minnesota is visually similar (albeit at a larger size) to the late war rebuilt USS California as seen in game. I think for the sake of the game it makes sense to differentiate the 2 ships, more specifically it makes sense to make the Minnesota good enough to be workable for its tier. 8. For some reason the Minnesota’s main battery has a 40s reload like the Kansas’. I think the slow reload on the Kansas can be explained as “it just happens to be an early design for a 16” gun armed ship using triple turrets, so there’s a speed penalty for its once novel and advanced configuration, or rather in the context of the game to compensate for the heavy weight of its broadside for its tier”. (like how the New Mexico’s 4x3 14” main battery has a slower reload than the Fuso’s 6x2 14” main battery) But considering the Minnesota’s placement at tier 9, wouldn’t it make sense for the Minnesota to have a quicker main battery reload speed than that of the Kansas? I think a reload speed buff to 33s to 35s is reasonable. Currently the only advantage the Minnesota has over the Kansas in terms of DPM comes in the form of its AP shells having an extra 1000 HP points to their alpha. In practice, its impact is minimal. 9. I think both the Kansas and Minnesota’s main batteries are relatively unreliable when it comes to accuracy. The good range they have seem to only come in handy when shooting HE against slow or stationary and angled enemy BBs. Against maneuvering cruisers and DDs, neither the Kansas nor the Minnesota are reliable unless the enemies are close. In absolute terms, the Minnesota’s main battery feels somewhat more accurate and reliable than the Kansas’. But considering the meta of its tier (in terms of typical engagement range and enemies it faces regularly), the Minnesota fares significantly worse than the Kansas. Sure 12 16” guns are always nice to have at tier 9. But in practice the Minnesota seem to struggle with consistent damage dealing at range. I think the FDG is the only other BB of its tier that has issues in this regard.Also if we look at the other tier 9 BBs with 12 guns, the Alsace and Pommern, those ships are significantly superior to the Minnesota in every other way (in terms of speed, secondary armament, special consumables, and survivability) aside from their smaller caliber. 10. The slow top speed of 23 knots is a far greater handicap for a ship at tier 9 than at tier 8. It’s technically unprecedented, as before this new line of US BBs, the Musashi and Soyuz were considered slow for tier 9 BBs: in comparison the faster BBs like the Georgia, Iowa, and Alsace are all more competitive and user friendly. The Kansas is mobile enough when fighting against similar “slow” BBs found at tier 6 and 7 (Like the QE, New Mexico, Colorado, and other dreadnoughts), and when up tiered, as a tier 8 it at least has far less pressure to contribute and carry than a Minnesota at tier 9. Worse comes to worst a Kansas can play defensively and passively and be okay, while a Minnesota needs to push, chase, relocate, and disengage on a far more regular basis. Unfortunately the Minnesota struggles to move around fast enough to accomplish anything. On one hand it can be outright left behind by faster ships engaged in a running gun battle. On the other hand, should a Minnesota ever commit to a flank but it falls or is abandoned, it’ll inevitably not be able to escape from the falling flank. It’s seemingly too slow to even perform a fighting retreat properly. Often it’ll just be swarmed and shot up quickly through the back side of the superstructure from the rear end… I think if the Kansas retained its original speed like the standard battleships IRL, maybe it make sense to give the Minnesota a propulsion upgrade as a part of its fictional upgrade scheme and allow it to reach 25 knots. Something like this was done to the Kongo class in IRL and happened to the German Bayern class in game. (IRL and before their fictional modernization they were slower than the Queen Elizabeth class). It’s not too much to ask. I think this is enough analysis for now. Please feel free to discuss about how you feel the Minnesota and what should be done about it. The video below shows game I played in the Kansas with just a 6 point captain at the helm. The Kansas just somehow felt easier and more forgiving to play despite having to face off multiple tier 10s, including a Kremlin in a brawl and repeated attacks by a Hakuryu. Nowadays I almost prefer to play the Kansas in place of the Minnesota if I can…
  9. Hey all, so could you guys give your opinions on the best tech tree tier 9 ships? I havent played that many and am considering who deserves free permacamo. Best 3 tier 9 ships: Best 3 tier 9 dd: Best 3 tier 9 ca: Best 3 tier 9 bb: thanks in advance
  10. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Musashi

    Battleship Musashi was provided to me by Wargaming. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are those of the release version of this ship and are current as of January 17th, 2018. Insert Kancolle boob-wrapping related joke here. Quick Summary: A Yamato-class battleship at tier IX. She has slightly less accuracy, greatly reduced secondaries and AA power. Cost: 750,000 free experience + 1 credit. Patch & Date Written: 0.6.15.1 through 0.7.0.0 -- January 12th through 17th, 2018. PROs At 97,300hp, she has the largest hit point pool of any of the tier IX battleships. Ridiculously thick armour in places with a 410mm belt, 560mm barbettes and 650mm turret faces. Beyond her extremities, her deck armour is a minimum of 50mm, providing her an immunity to most cruiser caliber HE shells. Excellent anti-torpedo defense with a 55% damage reduction. Armed with nine 460mm guns with enormous alpha strike, DPM and overmatch characteristics. Greatly extended active periods and shortened reset timers on her float plane consumables. Players can choose which price they wish to set for this ship, from free to the equivalent of 35,000 doubloons. CONs Citadel is exposed above water and has bad armour geometries which leaves her vulnerable when improperly angled. Horrible gun handling with a painfully slow turret traverse of 2.5º/s. Weak secondary armament, despite their decent range. Worst AA defense of not only any of the tier IX battleships, but also worse than any of the tier VIII battleships. Low top speed, slow rate of turn and an enormous turning circle. Huge surface detection -- possibly visible from space. Her best camouflage is locked behind a 5,000 doubloon additional purchase. Doesn't have Yamato's gun sounds. What the ever loving seagull turds on toast, Wargaming!? Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Even with her exposed citadel, Musashi is dirt simple to play and very casual friendly. By simply pointing her bow towards the enemy, she'll tank tons of damage and deal back a ridiculous amount in return. This same simplicity is also a weakness. There's nothing really fancy a veteran player can do with Musashi -- not without risking blowing out her machine spaces or getting her magazines one shot by a Shimakaze torpedo. She's too big too hide, too slow and clumsy to extract herself from trouble and so vulnerable to air strike, she dare not leave the safety of the herd. It's knowing when to move out and when and where to drop anchor that separates the good from the bad. Her traits break down as follows: These short-hand evaluations are based upon comparing the ship directly with the other tier IX battleships and not across her matchmaking spread as a whole. To say she's a one trick pony wouldn't be far from accurate, but it's one Hell of a trick at tier IX. As you can see, her guns have a lot of heavy lifting to do. Her armour and hit points will go a long way towards buying time to let Musashi lay down the hurt, but only if you can keep her from taking citadel damage. Let's take a closer look at how good these guns are, why they're such a big deal and the controversy surrounding her durability and defense. Options Musashi has a trio of surprises. The first, is the option for her High School Fleet camouflage. The second and third are her non-standard Spotter Aircraft and Float Plane Fighter consumables which have increased active periods and greatly reduced reset timers. Consumables: You have the choice between two aircraft options. The rest of the consumables are fixed. Musashi's Damage Control Party is standard for an IJN Battleship. This has a 10 second active period and a 120 second reset timer for the standard version and 80s for the premium version. Her Repair Party consumable is also standard. This heals back up to 14% of her maximum health over 28 seconds. In her third slot, Musashi has the option of either form of catapult aircraft. The active period and reset timers for these consumables are not standard. Her Spotter Aircraft is active for 120 seconds (instead of 100s) and her reset timer is either three minutes or two minutes depending on if you take the standard or premium consumable (instead of six minutes / four minutes). Her Float Plane Fighter is active for 180 seconds (instead of 90s) and her reset timer is either 90 seconds or 60 seconds on the standard and premium versions respectively (instead of three minutes / two minutes). Musashi's fighter does 55dps with 1,420hp which is on the weak side for this consumable. Premium Camouflage: There are two available to this ship. She comes with her Type 10 camouflage. Y118 - Musashi may be purchased for 5,000 doubloons. Musashi's Type 10 camouflage provides100% bonus experience gains, a 20% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. For fans of the anime series High School Fleet, there's the Y118 - Musashi. On top of the bonuses described above, it also adds another +50% to Commander Experience. There are only minimal geometry changes with the High School Fleet camouflage, limited to the removal of the A-crossing rails on the stern. Module Upgrades: Six slots. Standard battleship upgrades. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. Follow this up with Damage Control Modification 1 in your second slot. If you access to the Special Upgrade, Spotter Aircraft Modification 1, this isn't a terrible option for Musashi given the increased duration time she already enjoys on this consumable. This would increase it's active time from 120 seconds to 156 seconds. Personally, I would prefer the fire chance reduction and increased torpedo damage reduction. In your third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. You do not have the secondary or anti-aircraft firepower worth upgrading. If you're especially salty about turret traverse, you may take Main Battery Modification 2 to drop her 180º rotation time from 72 seconds to 62.6 seconds. This will slow down your reload time from 30 seconds to 31.5 seconds. In your fourth slot, Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal. Taking Steering Gears Modification 2 makes sailing Musashi more comfortable but it does not greatly enhance her agility. In your fifth slot, you have the choice. You may take Concealment Modification 1 to try and reign in your horrible surface detection range (you may as well try bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon, but every little bit helps, I guess). Alternatively take Target Acquisition System Modification 1 for bonuses to spot torpedoes and increase your guaranteed spotting range from 2.0km to 3.0km for what good it will do you. Depending on the skills you are choosing for your commander, one of these two options will make more sense (see below!) And finally, in slot number six, grab Main Battery Modification 3 to reduce your reload time from 30 seconds down to 26.4 seconds. This will sadly increase your 180º turret rotation time from 72 seconds to 81.4 seconds. Enjoy. (If you took Main Battery Modification 2 in your third slot, your reload time will be 27.7 seconds and your turret rotation will be 70.7 seconds for 180º). Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 460mm rifles in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 155mm rifles in 4x3 turrets, Twelve dual-purpose 127mm rifles in 6x2 turrets. If your interest in Musashi had nothing to do with her history, then it's her guns that brought you here. The potential of the Yamato-class firepower being shoe-horned in at tier IX should give everyone fears of this ship being overpowered. Say what you will about the rest of the ship upon which they are mounted, Yamato's guns are arguably the best offensive strike from a gunship available in the game currently. Musashi nearly duplicates her sister ship's firepower but for two very important differences. One of these differences is manageable. The other is not. Let's begin with the latter. In Her Sister's Shadow Musashi's secondary firepower is terrible. She does not duplicate Yamato's secondary battery by any stretch. This is one of the most pronounced differences between the two sister ships. Unlike her anti-aircraft deficit, this is one area which matters. The differences are as follows: Half of Yamato's 127mm secondaries reload in 6.0 seconds. The other half reloads in 5.0 seconds. All of Musashi's 127mm secondaries reload in 7.5 seconds. Yamato has twenty-four 127mm secondaries. Musashi has twelve. Yamato has six 155mm secondaries. Musashi has twelve. Musashi doubles her 155mm complement but halves her 127mm armament. This is a significant drop in firepower even before you account for her increased reload time. The drop in her rate of fire feels unnecessary and punitive. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that Musashi's secondaries do not pose a threat, they are certainly not threatening. You cannot count on them to punish a destroyer or cruiser that gets themselves spotted within their range unless they are on perilously low health. Even then, I wouldn't count on it. Heavy secondary specializations on this ship struggle to earn their keep. Musashi doesn't have the best main battery guns in the game, but she's pretty damn close. The honour goes to her sister and the one small improvement that makes Yamato such a feared presence in World of Warships -- at least when her guns are loaded and trained in your direction. The only difference between Musashi's weapons and Yamato is her sigma value. Yamato has 2.1 sigma. Musashi has 1.8. That's it. That's the only difference. Their range, reload time, rotation rate, dispersion area, penetration -- it's all identical. You're going to hear a lot of noise about how this difference of 0.3 sigma makes all of the difference. They're not wrong in premise, but the emphasis is overblown. Musashi & Yamato's Real Difference All things being equal, Yamato is more likely to land massive, devastating hits than Musashi with her main battery guns. This isn't to say that Musashi isn't equally capable. She is. Statistically speaking, Yamato will simply do it more often. How much more often? I would give it no better odds than one additional time in six going by strict accuracy measures. So for every six devastating strikes you land with Musashi, Yamato will spit out seven. This is a marked difference -- do not underestimate it, but it's not a night and day difference some of Musashi's early detractors would have you believe. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Allow me to explain why these guns are such a big deal. Yamato's 2.1 sigma dispersion (orange) vs Musashi's 1.8 sigma (red). 180 shells fired at 15km, locked onto a Fuso. Both ships are using Aiming Systems Modification 1 against an a target without camouflage. Behind the Hype First and foremost, these guns have one telling flaw: Musashi's gun handling is abysmal. She begins with a 2.5º/s rotation rate and adding Main Battery Modifcation 3 will drop this down to 2.2º/s. And that's about it for weaknesses, truly. Objectively, these are excellent weapons. They are reasonably accurate with the tightest horizontal dispersion values, average sigma, ridiculous alpha strike, penetration and damage per minute properties. These guns hit hard, they hit often, they have tremendous range and you don't need to choose between improved accuracy or improved rate of fire as you might with an American battleship. Anything you hit will be hit hard. A single overpenetration to a destroyer is nearly the equivalent of being hit by two of Scharnhorst's 283mm shells. What's more impressive about them is that like Royal Navy battleships, Musashi can fire one ammunition type exclusively and rack up huge damage totals. Unlike Lion, however, Musashi can rely solely upon her AP shells, confident that she can almost always damage her targets catastrophically when she lands hits. Really, it's as simple as that. Musashi brings the biggest guns in the game to the table. She fires a monstrously huge shell that can damage just about anything it touches. These guns are good -- as you would expect them to be, and a lot of this has to do with their ability to ignore armour that everyone else can't penetrate. Musashi, like Yamato, has excellent fire angles - just a whisker shy of the coveted 300º on each turret. She can nearly guarantee to autobounce any incoming AP rounds while still being able to return fire with all nine gun barrels. Overblown and Overpowered Overmatch If you're unaware, overmatch is the ability for guns of a large enough caliber to outright ignore ricochet mechanics. The idea is simply that the shell is too darned big for a thin piece of steel to deflect them, even at very high angles. The larger the shell, the more steel it can ignore. For Musashi's 460mm guns, this value is 32mm which is a very important value in World of Warships as it forms the bulk of the extremities of high tiered battleships. Her and her sister Yamato are the only ships capable of penetrating the 32mm bows found at tier VIII+. As someone who has played a lot of mid-tier battleship games, I keep forgetting how much of a big deal overmatching is to high tiered battleship players. If you regularly play dreadnoughts from tiers III through VII, you know all about overmatch. Spend any time playing low tier premiums as trainers and you'll learn very quickly that tier III, IV and V battleships are utterly incapable of preventing their bows from being overmatched, even by 283mm battleship guns. You learn to angle, but not angle too much, in order to protect your ship. At tiers VI and VII, you suddenly gain the ability to prevent bow on penetrations from up to (and including) 356mm guns. This is where the laziness begins to set in. At tier VIII, you gain magic bow armour that prevents it from being penetrated by almost everything. Knowing how to angle just right becomes trivial. It always struck me as silly for players to tell me that high tiered game play demonstrated the pinnacle of skill when knowing about proper armour angling became mostly irrelevant thanks to everyone's immunity to each other's AP when they parked bow on. This sparked the outrage that was the Royal Navy HE-fest which runs contrary to the bow-on meta. Well, Musashi's here to shake things up further by making overmatch just a little more commonplace for higher tiered ships. Overmatching in tier VIII+ games is very powerful, if only because the static game play so often espoused in high tier matches makes it so. If someone wants to park themselves in front of your guns, you should absolutely oblige them and stove-in their stupid faces. Against tier VII ships, this is copious amounts of overkill but there are some ships like HMS Nelson that are made all the more vulnerable with the presence of Musashi's armament. Overall, Musashi's ability to overmatch is a very real strength, but moreover, it simply allows her to rely on AP shells and ignore the use of HE almost entirely. For World of Warships, this is very traditional and "proper" battleship game play, even if it as "game breaking" as Royal Navy HE spam. While she is not going to one-salvo delete ships as often as her sister ship, she's still going to do it a lot. So pick your poison. Death by burninating or death by sudden deletion by 460mm blasts of doom. Musashi tops the charts, as you might expect for the biggest guns in the game. Evaluation: BEST What it would have needed to be GUD: Here's where we argue which guns are the second best at tier IX. I'd have to give it to the 419mm found on HMS Lion over the 406mm found on Iowa and Missouri. While the American guns are slightly more accurate and harder hitting, Lion beats them out on penetration and can swap between her AP to her monstrous HE shells giving her so much more flexibility. In addition, Lion doesn't need to choose between accuracy and rate of fire. The ubiquity of Lion's armament almost beat out Musashi -- almost. Slow down Musashi's rate of fire or kick her sigma down lower than 1.8 and she might not be the champ. Durability Hit Points: 97,300hp Maximum Citadel Protection: 410mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: 55% Musashi should be the toughest damn ship at tier IX. She might have been, but she has a crippling flaw: Her citadel sits so high it's nearly in orbit -- even higher than Yamato's own. That Musashi still weighs in as one of the most resilient vessels at her tier when being compared to HMS Zombie-Flanders and the German Juggernaut speaks volumes to the list of her advantages. Excessive Hit Point Total Stupidly Thick Armour Torpedo Defense Citadel Immunity to AP Bombs Musashi has 97,300 hit points. Her closest competitor, one of the H-series amalgamations hiding as Friedrich der Große has 84,300 hit points. This advantage should be obvious, but there's some subtle nuances to it. Players should keep in mind that the maximum hit point total of a ship does absolutely nothing when it comes to mitigating percentage-based damage over time effects like flooding and fire. A single fire on Musashi does just as much relative damage as it would to Kawachi, for example. The flip side of this is that Musashi's large hit point total does provide her with a healthier Repair Party consumable. Each charge heals her back 13,622 hit points over 20 seconds. Why doesn't this make Musashi the BEST? Well, here's why: Musashi loses out on primacy to HMS Lion's zombie-regenerative powers. Interestingly, this only applies if HMS Lion buffs her Repair Party consumable (and she should). In a protracted fight, given enough time to make good use of her consumables, Lion will out last Musashi every single time. Against all other opponents and Lion players that don't know any better, Musashi has the hands down advantage. Unless they burn her to death. Musashi has stupidly thick armour. Most of it is effective, even, which is somewhat of a miracle. Her belt armour is 410mm thick, which doesn't sound like that much until you apply a little trigonometry. At a 45º angle and with the reverse sloping of her belt, Musashi can boast in excess of 600mm of effective plating across her machine spaces. This provides relative immunity to even battleship caliber guns at 15km. So even when not perfectly angled, Musashi's rather well protected. In bow-tanking situations, her turrets protect her from overpenetrations to her superstructure by playing goal-keep with their 650mm turret faces and 560mm barbettes. Overall, Musashi's armour turns away a lot of AP penetrations and AP over penetrations into zero-damage shatters and ricochets. Why doesn't this make Musashi the BEST? Unfortunately, this protection partially undone by her citadel placement and shape. That 410mm armour is Musashi's citadel, so there's no backup behind this. What's more, this isn't the maximum height of her citadel either. There's a turtleback slope, steeply angled that's between 230mm and 340mm thick and with a ludicrious octagonal shape. Because of the angle, the turtleback is typically only vulnerable at very long range, but the vertical slope beneath it is not. This is only 350mm thick (with a 32mm bow on top of that), but given the penetration power of incoming shells at this tier, that's not going to stop anything if Musashi over-angles. Properly angled, Musashi can last for days. It's downright comical watching poor tier VII battleships trying to accost her with their tiny baby weapons. However, when she's facing 460mm caliber shells from another Musashi or Yamato or when an enemy gets her side, any pretense of being able to tank safely goes right out the window and she becomes dangerously vulnerable. I wasn't kidding when I said she had a high water citadel. The octagonal geometry makes Musashi especially vulnerable when she over angles her bow. Her opponents need simply best the 32mm armour there to get a shot into the flat 350mm citadel armour beneath. Musashi has amazing Torpedo Defense. When she takes hit against her torpedo bulges, Musashi outright ignores half the damage done. On top of this, she's incredibly resistant to flooding. Without question, she is the BEST when it comes to torpedo protection at tier IX ... at least when it comes to taking damage. I mean, arguably, it would be best if she could avoid it altogether. Heh, that's a funny joke... Musashi being agile enough to avoid things... Musashi's citadel is functionally immune to AP Bomb Hits. Lert and I spent a lot of time in the Training Room dumping AP bombs over and over and over and over again onto Musashi's decks, hoping to see some big numbers. Neither the American AP bombs nor the German AP bombs ever landed any telling hits. We never saw anything more than penetrating and over penetrating strikes. Math wise, you're looking at well over 30 or more bomb hits to sink Musashi using this ordnance type, which is patently ridiculous. Why doesn't this make Musashi the BEST? Immunity to AP bombs isn't anything new if you're not German. So that's Musashi's durability in a nutshell. Admittedly, it's a mutant, GMO nutshell, but it's a nutshell none the less. When everything goes right (and it will go right most of the time), she absorbs ridiculous amounts of punishment. This is all contingent on identifying where attacks will be coming from and keeping your bow pointed straight towards it. When fire, fish and Yamato-caliber guns appear, it's time to make yourself scarce, but that's a common flaw of all battleships, not just Musashi. Evaluation: GUD What it would have needed to be BEST: Lower her damn citadel. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 27.0 knotsTurning Radius: 900mRudder Shift: 18.7s Maximum Turn Rate: 3.5º/s Don't let the labels fool you: I wouldn't go so far as to call any of the tier IX battleships "good" where their agility was concerned. The Iowa-class sisters are fast but they turn like dumpy ol' butt. Lion has a decent bit of wiggle in her tush but her speed is lackluster and winning out on rudder shift means nothing as it's a garbage stat. It should say a lot that Musashi is the worst out of this sorry bunch. There's no contest here. Musashi wiggles as pleasantly as a syphilitic grandpa without pants. Her top speed of 27 knots is the root of all of her ills. She is not flexible. She cannot dictate engagement distances. Her sluggish top speed makes her middling turning radius into a torturous grind as she slowly wheels about. She takes longer to change her heading than the bricks of the American standard-type battleships at tiers VI and VII. Yet in spite of all of this, she's still fully capable of frustrating players by rotating faster than her turrets. There is nothing pleasant about how Musashi handles. Nothing. Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: Musashi could have had her turning speed artificially boosted in the same manner as Colorado or New Mexico. These battleships have their turning speed penalty slashed in half -- instead of losing 25% of their maximum speed, they only bleed 12.5%. Musashi would turn at 23.6 knots instead of 20.3 knots which would in turn accelerate her rate of rotation from 3.5º per second up to 4.05º per second -- an enormous change. This would make rotate as well as North Carolina or Monarch. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 25mm / 13mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.1km / 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 60.6 / 73.2 / 7 The graph on the left shows the raw AA DPS numbers of the tier IX battleships (and Yamato from tier X). The graph on the right applies a formula {AA DPS x ( Range - 1.0km )} to calculate the overall effectiveness of the ship's AA power. This weights longer ranged weapons as being much more valuable as planes will linger within their effect longer. None of the Japanese battleships shown have what could be described as "good" anti-aircraft firepower. Thus, while Musashi's AA firepower is terrible, it's not like she could have expected things to have been stellar. Musashi's anti-aircraft firepower would be an embarrassment at tier VII, never mind two tiers higher. Musashi is utterly incapable of seeing to her own air defense, regardless of what tier of aircraft are assailing her. A heavy investment into trying to salvage her anti-aircraft firepower can claw her out of the dregs and make her a thorny enough issue to shred a few tier VII planes, but don't kid yourself into thinking you can salvage Musashi's air defense. It will always be terrible. Her improved float plane fighter is probably her best anti-aircraft asset, though this won't prevent a determined CV from burying you. Only a desperate, ill timed and uncoordinated assault on Musashi will ever be thwarted by her float plane fighter. It would be a mistake to think that Musashi's lack of AA defense is a tremendous disadvantage, however. Aircraft carriers are not commonplace. Furthermore, Musashi isn't that bad -- at least in comparison to her tier X sister ship. With the wonderful exception of Kii, anti-aircraft defense has never been a strong point of the Japanese battleships. In fact, Yamato's anti-aircraft firepower would be disappointing at tier IX and only marginally better than Izumo's, so there's no great loss here. If on the off chance you do encounter a Midway intent on deleting you, it doesn't really matter that you're in Musashi. You could have been in Yamato, Lion or Friedrich der Große -- you would still get sunk. The only question is: How many planes would it have cost her when facing those other ships? Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: A miracle. Yeah. That's all you get. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 18.00km Air Detection Range: 15.99km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 13.51km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 19.27km Main Battery Firing Range: 26.5km Detection Consumables: Spotter Aircraft / Float Plane Fighter The only thing you're sneaking up on realistically are two IJN Battleships that should really be put out of their misery. Musashi's surface detection isn't terrible. It's worse than that. You should accept right from the word go that you've lost the surface detection war with Musashi. Short of tripping over an Izumo that's given up on hope, there's really not much in the game you'll ever find yourself being able to out spot. This doesn't mean you should give up on concealment entirely. As tough as Musashi is, there will be times when you'll want to avoid being shot at and rigging this behemoth up for her best impersonation of stealth can keep your ship in the game longer. The situations where this will be useful aren't going to be commonplace. However, with Musashi's anti-aircraft firepower and secondaries being absolutely terrible, you may have a glut of spare skill points to devote to Vision Control. But let's be honest: In an ideal game, Musashi's surface detection should be 26.5km as your guns will be unloading almost non-stop. It's really only when the Red team decides to focus upon you in a rude (and game winning) manner that you should look to see if silencing your weapons can help dig you out of the mess you've put yourself in. Musashi isn't fast, so any extraction plan is going to take some time -- time a better concealment build might afford you. This said, any invested skills and modules sunk into stealth for Musashi goes right out the window if there's an enemy aircraft carrier lurking about or a surviving destroyer. Hell, even a leftover float plane fighter from that cruiser you sunk earlier will spot you from at least 14.4km -- further than you can see it and there's almost nothing your pathetic AA can do about it even if it was directly overhead, you poor thing. The only bit of a good news for Musashi in this whole category is that her aircraft -- both her Float Plane Fighter and her Spotter Aircraft -- last longer than the versions found on other battleships. Of the two, her Float Plane Fighter is the real winner, with a three minute up time, which is fantastic for a battleship. This can help you peak around islands, spot torpedoes and generally help alleviate a feeling of being completely blind. While these planes won't survive long in the flak-heavy environment of high tier matches, their reset timers are also short, so it should be less likely that you're caught completely unawares. If you're not considering a full stealth build, then those four skill points could be much better spent between Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft and Vigilance. Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: Not that much, truly. A couple hundred meters off her surface or aerial detection range could have nudged her down there. The addition of some form of bonus spotting consumable like Missouri's radar might have also done it. As it is, the extended up time on her aircraft is already a good boon that had me debating which evaluation to give her in the first place. Mouse: I need a shorter term than "Vision Control" -- one word preferably so that it fits in the vertical summary pictures.Lert: Refrigerator.Mouse: Synonymous to it, smarty pants. Lert: Oh. Learning to Fight with Two Swords Musashi differs from her sister ship (and indeed, most other IJN battleships) in that she doesn't benefit nearly as much from AA / Secondary boosting skills. While it's always been of questionable merit to emphasize secondaries and AA power in most IJN battleships, with Musashi it's a loser move right from the word go. Here's the skill list I recommend: As ever, start with Priority Target. If you are apt at using the reflections of enemies in your sword blades, then you can take Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft instead. You've got a choice here. Adrenaline Rush is optimal -- it increases your rate of fire further, catapulting Musashi's DPM to beyond monstrous levels. However, for comfort and control, Expert Marksman is probably the better choice to accelerate your turret rotation from a crime against humanity to just a manslaughter charge. Next up, you want to start stacking skills to help with fires. Take Basics of Survivability. Follow that up with Fire Prevention. Your next nine points should be put into Superintendent and then doubling back to grab whichever tier 2 skill you skipped. You have four points left at this stage, which could be put into Concealment Expert (which admittedly, does help but it's not game changer) or a combination of skills like Vigilance and Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft / Preventative Maintenance from tier 1. Final Evaluation Missouri's biggest claim to fame is her credit earning coefficient which is, frankly, off the charts. Thanks to help from within the community, I collected pages upon pages upon pages of Missouri results screens to analyze her credit earning compared to Musashi's. While the sample size from the latter was admittedly smaller, being donated only by fellow CCs and Supertesters, it did give me a glimpse into the earning differences between them. Musashi earns approximately 75% of the credits Missouri earns. Musashi earns approximately 12.5% more than a tier VIII premium. Note I am speaking only of the base credits earned. This doesn't include expenses, premium camouflage or any other bonus. This number was very difficult to isolate and, if truth be told, I'm not sure I nailed it exactly. After analyzing a few hundred results screens from Tirpitz, Roma, Musashi and Missouri, my eyes are ready to fall out of my head. I did learn a few things -- namely that experience and credits are not directly linked, so credit gains differ from experience gains. It should be noted that both Kii and Roma with their Makoto Kobayashi camouflage will have higher credit earning totals than Musashi does. To best them you would need to equip a camouflage with an increased credit earning bonus like the Gamescom 2016. Musashi does earn bank -- never doubt it. She can't threaten Missouri for top spot, however. Musashi (red, long dispersion field) vs Missouri (green, squat dispersion field). Shells recorded with 25% opacity, allowing them to be stacked 4 times. 180 shells at 15km, locked onto a Fuso. Both ships are equipped with their dispersion reduction upgrades (7% Musashi, 11% Missouri). Fuso does not have camouflage. Mouse's Summary: Dirt simple game play. Point your nose at the enemy. Keep pulling the trigger. She's tough as nails until she's not. When one of Musashi's weaknesses (flanking, torpedoes, bombers) gets exploited, she folds quickly. She's closer to Yamato than most people give her credit. So many people dismissed Musashi out of hand: "A downtiered, stock-Yamato," they said, as if this was really something worth derision. The argument went that the free experience costs used to unlock Musashi should be better spent on Yamato instead. That's kind of a silly comparison to make, in my opinion. If you have anywhere close to that much free experience kicking around, you've long made up your mind about whether you want a Yamato or not and probably taken steps to acquire her. Having Musashi on offer isn't going to sudden make buying that Yamato you skipped all of this time worth while. But hey, if she suddenly looks attractive now that Musashi is out, more power to you. This is a very powerful premium battleship. Playing Musashi is all about buying time. She doesn't have Yamato's accuracy. It takes her a little longer to get up to speed -- to make those 460mm salvos really hurt. RNGesus may smile on you early on in a match every now and then, but it's best to bank on the need to stretch out those minutes as best you can to give you more bites of the apple -- to give you more time to drop those 14,800hp warheads on bow-tanking stupid heads and turn the course of battle. Finding a comfortable island shadow to lurk near, probing the enemy until they make a mistake -- that's Musashi's bread and butter. For most players, Musashi promotes static game play, I'm sorry to say. The combination of armour vulnerability, enormous surface detection and slow speed largely relegates Musashi's to such mind numbing simplicity, especially for inexperienced commanders. While she can push, while she can lead a charge and while she can pressure a cap circle, moving away from a safe anchorage undoes all of the benefits of her awesome armour scheme. So long as she has targets in front of her that need killing and she's able to put out effective fire, why risk moving? Frankly, it will win you games. If you do muster up the courage or reckless abandon to sally out in this monster, you're in for a treat so long as the threats to your flank are secured. Musashi is a phenomenal bully when top tier and she's no slouch at tier X either. Putting your ship up on the firing line and absorbing the wall of abuse can spare your team mates undue pressure. You're likely to survive what they can only dream of tanking themselves. There are inherent risks to doing this -- if you team doesn't push while you stick your neck out, no number of heroic damage absorption you demonstrate will turn a losing match into a winning one. You should be able to farm some nice damage before the loss, however, and who knows? The enemy might get reckless enough to drip feed their ships into your guns and turn their victory into a loss. This is why I enjoyed my time with Musashi so much. She's a ship that can really make a difference. Musashi reminded me a lot of my first year with World of Warships where I sank game after game after game into Warspite -- another ship with ridiculously powerful guns and horrible gun handling. I can think of no higher praise than that. There's just one problem... Musashi is overtuned. Musashi does too much damage and she's too tough to be a tier IX ship. The latter definitely helps the former -- whatever accuracy qualms 1.8 sigma may have given the ship design, having Yamato's full health pool a full tier lower gives her enough time to make those weapons sing. This is a ship that needs to be focused down and focused down hard when she's seen or you're going to lose ships quickly. While this ship will not last long when played by someone who doesn't know what they're doing, even in the hands of someone semi-competent, they're going to punch much higher than their weight class. Would I Recommend? 750,000 free experience is a heavy investment and it outright locks out new players. While I'm sure there are those of you out there who have legitimately horded this amount without spending a dime, for most players looking to acquire Musashi, they're going to be looking to use doubloons to convert experience on premiums and elited ships. Newer players have a lot of grinding to do before they can even do that. You're going to need 30,000 doubloons to afford this at the cost of approximately $110 USD or €100 to do this from a zero sum of free experience (and that's not including the extra 5,000 you'll need for her upgraded camouflage or the 300 for the port slot). The longer you spend grinding the experience, the less expensive you can make it. So set your own price. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Absolutely. Musashi's guns seem specifically designed for dealing with bow tanking bots. Her increased credit earning allows her to earn a tidy sum. With her standard premium camouflage equipped, you'll spend 36,000 per match in maintenance with ammunition sitting at 400 credits per shell fired. Just beware dumb bots throwing friendly torps at you. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Very yes. Do you like earning High Caliber and Dreadnought medals? Musashi prints High Caliber and Dreadnought medals. She's one of the best ships in the game for grinding credits -- currently only behind Missouri, Kii and Roma (and the latter two must have the Makoto Kobayashi camouflage). This gets even better with the High School Fleet camouflage for boosting commander experience gains. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. Musashi is very powerful at tier IX. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Very yes. Musashi has the triple incentive of: 1.) Being a free-experience vessel that anyone with a lot of time can acquire. 2.) A beautiful historical vessel with a tragic end. 3.) The option of collecting a fun camouflage for a series players may have enjoyed. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Very yes on toast. Subjecting a Pensacola-class cruiser to 460mm guns is a level of fun everyone should experience before the American cruiser line gets redone. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. In Closing Hey, I made it. This review, like Ashitaka and Makarov before it is being done at the last minute. I hope quality hasn't suffered overmuch. It's still adhering mostly to my vision of what I want these reviews to look like going forward. They will continue to evolve -- you'll note that the Angry YouTuber review was hiding at the end again. Hopefully my "Overpowered" evaluation doesn't take anyone by surprise. I'm confident that over time others will begin to see the horrifying potential of a Yamato-class battleship at tier IX, even without its 2.1 sigma, secondaries, or AA firepower. Thank you all for the feedback on my Roma review. I'm going to continue to try out new things going forward; we'll see what works and what doesn't. Please don't hesitate about reaching out to me to let me know what you like and what you would like to see improved. Hopefully for my next review, I'll have a little more time to experiment more. I really just had to push through this one to try and get it out for the ship's launch. I want to extend a special thank you to my Patrons on Patreon who have already pledged their support. I'm looking to do more with that shortly, including setting up an easier way for you all to contact me. Hopefully this review is indicative of the amount of time and energy that I put towards these projects -- even on short notice, I do my best not to let you guys down. This isn't done without cost, however, and your support really helps me make ends meet. If you enjoy my reviews and are not already a patron, please consider helping out so that I may continue covering ships as they're released. I honestly don't know what's next after Musashi. I think I'm going to have to poke Wargaming and see what's on the docket. Maybe I'll have time to revisit an older review.
  11. The following is a review of Azur Lane's Sovetskaya Rossiya - the tier IX Premium Soviet Battleship. This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming in order to make this review. I did not have to pay for her. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.6.1. Please be aware her performance may change in the future. After the disappointment of AL Littorio being nothing more than a reskinned Roma-clone, it's a bit of a relief to review AL Sovetskaya Rossiya (hear after referred to only as "Rossiya"). Now, I stress it's only a minor improvement. Like AL Montpelier and AL Yukikaze from the year before, Rossiya does not differentiate herself all that much from other ships already extant within the game. The best that could be said about Rossiya is that she takes the game play from Sovetsky Soyuz, tweaks it oh-so slightly, and makes a premium ship out of it. This is great news if you like Sovetsky Soyuz. AL Montpelier ostensibly did the same for Cleveland, giving players access to a premium version of an already popular tech tree ship and I can understand the appeal. However, if you're looking for new and novel game play, you won't find it here. With all of this in mind, this review is being formatted in the same manner as my reviews of AL Yukikaze and AL Montpelier, focusing on the differences between Rossiya and Sovetsky Soyuz. Players wishing to try out Rossiya for free before purchasing need only unlock Sovetsky Soyuz and keep the differences discussed in this article in mind. Summary of Differences Comparing the differences between Rossiya and a fully upgraded Sovetsky Soyuz, you get the following: The Gud + Rossiya is more precise than Sovetsky Soyuz. + Rossiya's main battery guns are more durable than Sovetsky Soyuz. + Rossiya has improved economy. + Rossiya comes with permanent camouflage. The Meh Rossiya uses American battleship dispersion instead of the Soviet battleship dispersion used by Sovetsky Soyuz. Rossiya has the stock secondary layout of Sovetsky Soyuz instead of her upgraded secondaries. And the Garbage - Rossiya has fewer hit points than Sovetsky Soyuz. - Rossiya has a slower gun traverse than Sovetsky Soyuz. - Rossiya has worse AA defense than Sovetsky Soyuz. Stock-Hull Syndrome Rossiya is ostensibly a stock version of Sovetsky Soyuz but with improved rudder shift time and range so that she matches the tech tree ship. The net effect here is that Rossiya comes with Sovetsky Soyuz's secondary layout, AA armament and hit point disparity of the stock version of Sovetsky Soyuz while still enjoying the upgraded agility and range of a fully researched ship. In this regard, she's quite similar to Ashitaka, the tier VII Japanese premium battleship which pulled a similar trick with Amagi's old stock-hull (though Ashitaka enjoys this at a full tier lower). Categorically, Rossiya's defense is inferior to that of Sovetsky Soyuz, though the amount of disparity is quite minor in truth. The loss of AA firepower is laughable and hardly worth considering in the current meta. Similarly, the difference in secondary arrangement is more of a curiousity than it is advantageous or disadvantageous. Soviet battleships are not known for their secondaries in the first place so the changes here are not worth fussing over. For those that do want to fuss over it, Rossiya's has the larger volume of fire coming off her secondaries but much of that comes at a deficit of HE penetration, making them incapable of directly damaging even the hulls of tier VIII+ destroyers. Her 152mm guns are harder hitting, making them able to directly damage even some cruisers, but they come with a slower rate of fire. Overall, though, Rossiya's secondaries the better fire starter with a theoretical 9.2 fires per minute versus Sovetsky Soyuz's 5.8. HOWEVER, given their short range and the general allergy Soviet battleships have to brawling, celebrating these differences is silly. It's technically correct that Rossiya has the better secondaries. Differences in Hit Points Sovetsky Soyuz's Hit Points: 88,100hp Rossiya's Hit Points: 80,900hp Sovertsky Soyuz's Maximum Effective Health through Heals: 147,303hp Rossiya's Maximum Effective Health through Heals: 135,265hp Individual Component Hit Points breaks down as follows (Rossiya/Sovetsky Soyuz): Hull: 60,700hp / 66,100hp Superstructure: 3,700hp / 4,100hp Magazines (each): 40,500hp / 44,100hp Steering Gear: 24,300hp / 26,400hp Differences in Secondaries Sovetsky Soyuz Secondary Armament: Twelve 130mm/55 in 6x2 turrets 130mm Gun Performance: 5km range with 1,900 damage per shell with 22mm of penetration. They have an 8% fire chance and 5 second reload. Rossiya's Secondary Armament: Twelve 152mm/57 in 6x2 turrets and eight 100mm/56 in 4x2 turrets 152mm Gun Performance: 5km range with 2,200 damage per shell with 25mm of penetration. They have a 12% fire chance and an 8 second reload. 100mm Gun Performance: 5km range with 1,400 damage per shell with 17mm of penetration. They have a 6% fire chance and a 3.75 second reload. Differences in AA Firepower Sovetsky Soyuz's Flak: 5 explosions for up to 1,610 damage per blast, 3.5km to 6km range. Rossiya's Flak: 4 explosions for up to to 1,400 damage per blast, 3.5km to 5.8km range. Sovetsky Soyuz's Continus DPS: 66 at 6km / 187 at 3.5km / 49 at 3.1km Rossiya's Continuous DPS: 58 at 5.8km / 200 at 3.2km Differences in Economy As a tier IX premium, AL Sovetskaya Rossiya is one of the highest credit earners available presently, matching the majority of other tier IX premiums for their gains. Only Missouri (not available) along with Roma & Kii using their Makoto Kobayashi camouflages have higher credit earning potential in the game at present. With her premium camouflage included, she is far and away superior to Sovetsky Soyuz that it's no contest whatsoever. But you should expect that for a premium ship. Whatcha Paid For Like her waifu-avatar, it's all about the big guns. The big difference between the two ships comes with their main battery gun performance. Lemme break down the nitty-gritty of the differences first: Sovetsky Soyuz's Gun Traverse: 6º/s Rossiya's Gun Traverse: 4º/s Sovetsky Soyuz's Gun Hit Points: 20,000 per turret Rossiya's Gun Hit Points: 40,000 per turret Sovetsky Soyuz's Horizontal Gun Dispersion: [ range x 11.9 ] + 33 Rossiya's Horizontal Gun Dispersion: [ range x 10 ] + 60 Sovetsky Soyuz's Sigma: 1.6 Rossiya's Sigma: 1.8 ... and for those that love stupid minor differences: Sovetsky Soyuz's Main Battery Range: 19,382m Rossiya's Main Battery Range: 19,380m So it looks like some of these differences are important. Others, not so much. We can outright dismiss the 2m difference in main battery gun range as being entirely inconsequential, but what about the rest? The most curious change between the two ships is Rossiya's increased gun survivability. Doubling the gun's hit points makes them not only more difficult to destroy but it also makes them harder to temporarily disable. You'll still want Main Armaments Modification 1 to help mitigate critical hits but still, it's impressive. Clearly this chonktacular buff to Rossiya's hit points gummed up the traverse mechanism because Sovetsky Soyuz's turrets turn 50% faster. Once you slap on Main Battery Modification 3, Rossiya's turret traverse gets downright glacial, so make sure you invest in Expert Marksman if this kind of thing bugs you. This is another point against Rossiya keeping pace with Sovetsky Soyuz. For those keeping track, she now has worse AA power (who cares?) along with worse hit points and heals. Wargaming's selling feature for this ship is (and I quote): "Unlike the researchable Soviet battleships, shells launched by AL Sovetskaya Rossiya have standard accuracy parameters for the ship type." If you're wondering what this gobbledygook means, Rossiya has American battleship dispersion patterns instead of Soviet dispersion patterns. Here's what their horizontal dispersion looks like over distance: At very (very) close ranges, Sovetsky Soyuz has a smaller dispersion area than Rossiya. At very long ranges, Rossiya gets more accurate. Couple this with Rossiya's increased sigma value (making it more likely for her shells to group towards the center of her targeting area) and Rossiya is more of a sniper than Sovetsky Soyuz. Her gunnery is more consistent over range than her tech-tree sister-ship. However, before anyone gets too excited, lemme slap a big ol' butt onto this with the following caveat: You're not likely to notice a difference -- and if you do, it's largely in your head. The difference in the gunnery between the two ships is largely a "spreadsheet value" -- like tweaking Kremlin's AA defense. Over the course of many games, the numbers will tell. However, on a per-match or even a per-volley experience, the real-world game play will feel hella-similar. Observe: Again, my standard dispersion test. Each ship fired 180 AP shells at a stationary Fuso that did not have camouflage equipped. Both Rossiya and Sovetsky Soyuz were using the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade. Shots came in from right to left with the Fuso effectively bow-tanking. The target ship upon which they were locked and the open water at which they aimed were both 15km away. Now lemme be clear: AL Sovetskaya Rossiya is the more accurate ship between the two. She is going to land more hits, on average, than Sovetsky Soyuz over the course of normal game play (outside of the rare close-range brawl). Ostensibly, this is what you're paying for when you buy this ship (other than anime boobies): a statistical increase in her main battery accuracy and (much) improved economy at the expense of gun handling and defense, all slapped onto the stupidly-tanky hull that is a Soviet battleship. That's Rossiya in a nutshell. Which Ship Is Better? Game play wise, Sovetsky Soyuz is the better ship by a small margin. Soviet battleships are known for their durability. While Rossiya has a slight improvement over Sovetsky Soyuz's gunnery, the difference in durability definitely goes to the tech-tree ship. This plays up to the strengths the Soviet line is known for and gives her the slight edge. Economy wise, Rossiya is the obvious winner. Cuz, duh. Overview "But Mouse," you cry, "I've never played Sovetsky Soyuz before. I have no frame of reference on if I should buy AL Sovetskaya Rossiya or not!" Well, shame on you. Go unlock Sovetsky Soyuz right now and play a few games to get a better idea. No? That's unreasonable? Fine. Here's a quick rundown of AL Sovetskaya Rossiya: Quick Summary: A high-tier Soviet battleship with American gunnery dispersion. PROS Excellent armour protection against HE shells, including a 60mm amidships deck & upper hull and an extended waterline belt towards the bow. Excellent armour protection for face-tanking AP shells, including the overmatching 460mm+ AP shells of high-tier IJN battleships. Access to the Soviet-battleship Damage Control Party with its very short reset timer. Stupidly-durable main battery guns. Uses American battleship dispersion on her main battery guns, giving her improved accuracy at long-range over other Soviet battleships. CONS Exposed, high-water citadel, making her exceedingly vulnerable if flanked. Limited number of charges on her Damage Control Party. Long, 33 second reload which hurts her overall damage output. Slow gun traverse at 4º/s (45s for 180º) Agility clearly sits in the "Mayonnaise Zone" with an enormous turning radius and slow rate of turn. Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme AL Sovetskaya Rossiya is a relatively easy ship to play. Point your snoot at those who are trying to boop and return fire with her (reasonably) accurate guns. So long as you don't over-extend, she's tanky enough to resist just about any hurt thrown her way. The only hurdles for a new player are protecting her citadel and managing the limited number of charges of her Damage Control Party properly. For veterans, Rossiya is a Soviet battleship in all respects. Use and abuse the hidden geometries of her ridiculously powerful armour layout to shrug off hits you have no business resisting. Trivialize fires and overmatch the snot out of vulnerable ships with her 406mm guns. She doesn't quite have the maximum carry potential -- she is squishier than her tech-tree counterpart owing to her smaller hit point pool and worse heals as a result, but she's definitely no slouch. Summary AL Sovetskaya Rossiya is hands down the best premium purchase of this Third Wave of Azur Lane content. But let's be fair: It's not hard to best a Roma-clone which is her only competition. Rossiya is about as safe a purchase as you could make -- there's nothing wrong with her and the ship upon which she's based is one of the stronger contenders at tier IX. She still sits well behind Missouri and Musashi, though, so don't get the mistaken impression that you're investing in a god-tier ship. She's solid, but she's not redefining the meta in any way. The good news for your non-weebs out there is that unlike when AL Montpelier and AL Yukikaze were first sold, if you disable the Azur Lane content in your port, you do get access to a ship with premium camouflage still intact. Wargaming thankfully did away with that particular goof-up a while ago, so it's welcome to see. Now, it occurs to me that there isn't any click-baity, rage-inducing drama in this review at all, so I'll leave those who want to get their hate on with the following: AL Sovetsky Rossiya is yet another premium ship being made from the stock-hull of an already existing ship. She joins the ranks of many previous premium in this regard. Personally, this doesn't bother me in the least. I don't care if a ship is similar to another existing ship -- I only care if the ship is fun to play. Having a premium version of Sovetsky Soyuz is a pretty darned safe move to make on Wargaming's part, if a little boring. Still, I'll take it over AL Littorio any day.
  12. So, I saw the WIP premium cruiser Siegfried, and I was thinking, it looks a lot like the Fredrick Der Große. Is this perhaps a coincidence, is this intentional, or is there no connection between the two whatsoever? To me, it is kind of similar to the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau in game. What I mean is, The Scharnhorst is somewhat lesser than the Gneisenau, while at the same time being a really good ship on its own. It is somewhat lesser than the Gneisenau because it has smaller guns, and having a harder time dealing with battleships. But it is better than the Gneisenau in the fact that it has more guns, better HE shells, and a shorter reload time. I don’t know how to compare the FDG to the Siegfried, but I am sure that there are some comparisons. One that I can immediately think of, is how the FDG is a battleship with more guns, while the Siegfried is a Cruiser with smaller guns. The FDG and the Siegfried also look similar. IDK about else, but the Siegfried looks like what I’d imagine the FDG would look like if it was a cruiser. Does anyone else share similar thoughts? Does anyone else’s opinions differ from mine? Does my opinion make sense? Please let me know what you think! Feel free to share you opinion!
  13. The following is a review of Azuma, the tier IX Premium Japanese Super Cruiser kindly provided to me by Wargaming. Please be aware that though this represents the release version of the ship, her statistics may change in the future. To the best of my knowledge, these stats are accurate as of patch 0.8.2. If you have any questions regarding any changes to this ship after subsequent patches, please feel free to contact me. Okay, this is getting ridiculous. I really don't know what to call these things. I'm defaulting to "Super-Type A" cruiser for Azuma because that's what my sources said the Japanese called her, but I reiterate that we really could use a catch-all term to describe these kinds of ships in World of Warships. Between Stalingrad, Alaska, Kronshtadt, Graf Spee and now Azuma and now with Yoshino on the horizon, we've got enough of these ships that they could use a name. PROS Large health pool of 58,350hp. Excellent range of 19.1km on her main battery guns. Good alpha strike and penetration for a cruiser. Increased penetration on her secondaries. Good long-range anti-aircraft firepower. Decent top speed of 34 knots. Extra charge of her Repair Party consumable with a faster reset timer. CONS Octagonal citadel which sits high over the water. Relatively thin armoured belt for a large cruiser. Large target and vulnerable to HE shells and AP overmatch with few sections thicker than 25mm. Takes increased damage over time effect damage like a battleship. Most of her continuous AA DPS is located in 1.9km range small caliber guns. Enormous 920m turning radius and poor rudder shift time. Large surface detection range. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL/ Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme Azuma's pretty new-player friendly. This is largely owing to her range and speed which allows her to camp the back, dump HE shells at a distance and generally frustrate their own team by being a non-entity. But hey, at least this is easy to do. Skilled players can bring Azuma closer and do a bit of tanking, but not much. While her guns are perfectly capable of pressuring the enemy, she doesn't have an extensive toolkit to facilitate carries, nor the damage output to make them balk. Using and abusing her belt armour and anti-torpedo voids allows for some trollish moments, but these are exceptions rather than the rule. Skill will only take you so far. – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. The "fair" evaluation belies the power of Azuma's guns. They're just not as good as those found on Alaska or Kronshtadt. While she has a lot of hit points and great heals, her citadel vulnerability holds her back on Defense. Similarly, she has great speed but her turning radius is so large as to push her into "bad" territory in regards to her agility. Her AA power is alright but she's too large to earn anything other than a "bad" value in Vision Control. Options Oh goodie, a tier IX cruiser. There's going to be a lot to talk about when we get to her upgrades. Consumables Azuma's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with a 5s active period and a 90s / 60s reset timer. This has unlimited charges. In your second slot, the default choice is Defensive AA Fire. As per usual, this doubles the firepower from her 100mm AA guns (both sustained DPS and damage from flak bursts) for 40s and starts with two charges base. This has a 120s / 80s reset timer. Alternatively, you can swap out Defensive AA Fire for Hydroacoustic Search in slot two. This has two charges base and a 100s active period. This extends her torpedo detection to 3.5km and ship acquisition to 5.0km. This has a 180s / 120s reset timer. In slot three, she has a Spotter Aircraft. This increases her range by 20% for 100s. For Azuma this gives her a reach of 22.9km / 26.6km depending on upgrades used. She has three charges base and this has a 360s / 240s reset timer. Finally, she has a Repair Party in slot four. This heals back up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds, queuing 50% of penetration damage, 33% of citadel damage and 100% from all other damage types. She starts with an extra charge base for three total. In addition this has a much faster reset timer with a 60s / 40s cool down. Upgrades There's a lot of choices to be made with Azuma's upgrades however they're not too complicated when you break them down: Your first choice is whether to emphasize main battery performance or anti-aircraft firepower. If you select main battery firepower, choose if you want to do this through firing at range or emphasizing her rate of fire. In terms of survivability, choose if you want to reduce damage over time effects or attempt to dodge fire by improving her rudder shift time. You can mix and match if you so choose, but it's generally optimal to pick a specialization and go full hog down that route. The best performance build will stress DPM and concealment over AA power and dodging. There's also one stupid choice: see if you can spot it. In your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is preferred for most builds. You can take Spotter Aircraft Modification 1 if you really want to stress her range advantages. Special Upgrades are best in your second slot. Take either Defensive AA Fire Modification 1 or Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 for whichever consumable you prefer. If you can't afford the special upgrades, default to Damage Control Modification 1. Unless you're specializing for AA firepower, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is your best choice. For the latter, take AA Guns Modification 1. If you're only intending to use Azuma in Co-Op, then man up and take Secondary Guns Modification 1. Totally worth it. Now we start to get into defensive choices. If you want to focus on agility, take Steering Gears Modification 2 & 3 in slots 4 and 5. Otherwise take Damage Control Modification 2 and Concealment Expert. Finally, slot 6 lets you punctuate your specialization. Main Battery Modification 3 emphasizes DPM. Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 boosts her range. AA Guns Modification 2 improves her AA firepower. Camouflage Azuma comes with Type 10 - Azuma camouflage. This provides the usual 3% bonus concealment from surface targets, 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion, 20% reduction to post-battle service costs and100% bonus to experience gains. Default camo is grey and more-darker grey. You can unlock the green and grey camouflage through completing the "Uniform Items" of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection. You can tell this is a pre-8.2 screenshot from the gun screens on her forward AA nests. Those are her old 40mm guns and did not make it to the live version. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 310mm guns in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 100mm/65 guns in 8x2 turrets. For a large cruiser, Azuma's firepower is odd. Every other large cruiser I've played, AP shells are the default. They're the shell I wanted to use. When playing Alaska, Kronshtadt and Stalingrad, I hunted for targets that would let me capitalize on their AP performance. And here's where Azuma differed. I defaulted to using HE when sailing her -- rather, I felt like Azuma's guns encouraged me to default to her HE shells. I told myself that my reasons for doing so were elementary. Azuma does not have the god-tier ballistics and penetration values of the Soviet large cruisers which lets them easily citadel battleships at most engagement ranges. Similarly, she lacks the improved auto-bounce angles found on Alaska which helps reduce the number of AP shell ricochets. Finally, Azuma has improved HE damage (as do most Japanese ships). However, these feel like excuses rather than justified defense at my myopic ammunition preference. Putting Azuma's main battery firepower under the microscope shows that, true to her Large Cruiser pedigree, dynamic ammunition choice is not only encouraged but also necessary to enjoy success. She's reliant upon AP and HE, no matter how comfortable the latter will make her feel. Azuma has comparable DPM output with her HE to Dmitri Donskoi but with better HE penetration (and worse accuracy). I'm keeping this graph simple -- so no bonuses have been accounted for. The only weirdness you need know is that when Saint Louis activates her Main Battery Reload Booster, she has comparable DPM to Buffalo over 60s. This assumes the improbabilities of 100% hit rate and no fire resistance on enemy ships. Actual fire output of these ships is much lower, with fire resistance at tier X cutting the fire chance effectively in half. Tack on the accuracy issues with Azuma and she's not taxing anyone's Damage Control Party by herself without a lot of luck. Again, I am not confusing things further by including Saint Louis' Main Battery Reload Booster. Mega-Zao she is not Azuma's HE shells hit like trucks. However, for a cruiser she's not particularly good at starting fires nor is her damage per minute inspiring. The best that could be said about Azuma's HE shells is that when you're not firing AP, you're not hemorrhaging as much lost damage output as you might in other large cruisers. At least, she doesn't have the inherent weakness of her contemporaries where they struggle to deal significant damage per volley against destroyers. However, this is all assuming you can land hits regularly. While Azuma's HE shells are safe, her AP shells decidedly are not. She lacks the god-tier penetration values from Kronshtadt's high velocity railguns. She doesn't have Alaska's oh-so forgiving improved autobounce angles either. Unless Azuma can line up shots on perfect broadsides, it's all too common to see her AP shells ricochet or shatter against targets. This is 180 shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso without camouflage. Azuma and Alaska were both equipped with the Aiming System Mod 1 dispersion mod. Contrary to what's advertised, Azuma's guns performed more accurately for me than their datamined stats indicated they should. Alaska's and Azuma's horizontal dispersion should be close to comparable. Borrowed from my Alaska review to save time. These are the approximate penetration values of the large cruisers compared to the best-performing 203mm armed heavy cruiser at tier IX, USS Buffalo. Azuma's penetration is comparable to Alaska's, being slightly better over range but not by enough to get excited over. Go Fly a Kite Azuma's fragility keeps her from safely fighting on the front lines (see the Defense section below). She's largely relegated to firing from the second line, keeping her distance from her opponents in order to protect her vulnerable citadel. This works to the further detriment of her AP shells, eating away at their penetration value with increased distance. Thankfully, she's well setup for this role. Not only does she have excellent reach, she has a good top speed and her gun fire arcs are perfect for kiting opponents. Azuma has some excellent fire angles for kiting. Her turret traverse isn't so great. She starts with 5º per second, but once you add on Main Battery Modification 3, she starts being able to out turn her turrets. Taking Expert Marksman to combat this is recommended. Bolted-on Duckies I don't like wasting a lot of time talking about cruiser secondaries. It's so rare they do anything of value. However, Azuma's secondaries bug me a lot because they could have been amazing. She uses the same 100mm/65 caliber guns found on the Japanese gunship destroyers Akizuki, Kitakaze and Harugumo. These have the same ridiculous 20rpm rate of fire and more importantly, they also have their increased 25mm penetration. While I giggled for joy at the prospect of a fully secondary specialized cruiser (including taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells to be able to blast stupid battleships) there are two flaws with this: Brawling with Azuma tends to end messily with your ship exploding in a horrendous, greasy kablooie. Azuma's secondaries only have a 5km base range. This just isn't enough reach in high tier matches to be effective. We'd really want to see a 6km to 7km base range, minimum. Without reach and with Azuma's exposed citadel, there just aren't many opportunities to make use of what could have been a very fun addition to this ship. Outside of co-op, it's just not a viable choice. Summary Azuma's guns aren't bad. They're more accurate than I thought they'd be. They have great range. Her HE shells do a nice chunk of damage. Her AP shells and her fire chance aren't terrible but they are disappointing, especially when compared to previous outings with Alaska and Kronshtadt. Kite, kite and kite some more. Look for opportunities to use AP, but you're probably going to be stuck with HE. You're not going to get to use her secondaries often, which is a shame. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Azuma needs to be able to compete with Alaska and Kronshtadt on equal footing. Kronshtadt has DPM and penetration advantage. Alaska has her improved autobounce angles and similar accuracy to Azuma. Azuma's HE performance isn't quite good enough to keep pace with these two. Defense Hit Points: 58,350 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 25mm anti-torpedo bulge + 195mm transverse bulkhead. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% Azuma has less health than Alaska but with her extra charge of her fast-reloading Repair Party consumable, Azuma has more potential HP. This is nice and all, but I would take Alaska's citadel placement and belt armour over Azuma's extra potential health any day. Extra health only counts when you can avoid exploding suddenly (and often). It should be noted that Azuma, like other large cruisers, takes damage over time effects (fires, floods) like a battleship, resulting in more damage. Much ado has been made about Azuma's durability. For a cruiser, she's pretty tough. She has a thick belt. She has anti-torpedo bulges. She has a lot of hit points and even a mildly improved Repair Party. Unfortunately, Azuma isn't a regular cruiser -- she's one of those hybrid large / battle cruiser type deals like Alaska and Stalingrad. So let's put this into context: For a cruiser, Azuma's protection scheme is great. Any complaints about her not being good are just being nit-picky. Azuma is very durable when compared to Ibuki or Seattle or what have you. It's only with a narrow focus on other large-cruisers (and battlecruisers) that her level of durability falls apart. Let's start listing the fails... Her citadel is raised above water. It's easy to hit. She doesn't have much citadel protection. Azuma's citadel protection is limited to a 178mm belt covered by a 25mm anti-torpedo bulge. So not only is she easy to hit, there's not a lot of armour preventing shells from punching into her vitals. This is easily within the scope of AP penetration for some 203mm armed Heavy Cruisers. Her citadel is octagonal (sorta). This is arguably the worst geometric shape you could choose for a citadel (short of a stretched oval). It all but guarantees a relatively flat surface for shells to penetrate into no matter how she angles. So now angling isn't an effective countermeasure to mitigate citadel hits. Her external hull armour doesn't exceed 25mm. Small and medium caliber HE loves farming damage off Azuma. It's not like Azuma isn't without merit, though. She has an enormous chunk of hit points for a cruiser, which is nice. In addition, the 25mm armour over her belt counts as an anti-torpedo void and it eats HE shells for zero damage. In addition, AP shells which shatter or ricochet off her internal belt also count for zero damage even if they penetrate her outer 25mm bulge. This bulge isn't an especially large target, unfortunately. Furthermore, she has a turtleback that's 125mm thick which will cause a lot of internal ricochets. Her final durability bonus is her improved Repair Party. She begins with 3 charges instead of 2 like most cruisers, giving her a maximum of 5 with a premium version of the consumable coupled with Superintendent. To facilitate this further, her reset timer is cut in half, with a 60s / 40s cool down depending if you're using a premium version or not (use a premium version!). The extra charge generally gives Azuma more effective hit points than Alaska provided you use it perfectly. Azuma's waterline anti-torpedo bulge counts as spaced armour and will eat HE shells for no damage. Similarly, AP shells that punch through her there don't automatically cause penetration damage and must contend with her belt behind it. Unfortunately, you won't have more effective health than Alaska because Azuma eats citadel hits for breakfast. While she can recover from citadel hits like other cruisers (queuing up 33% of citadel damage done) that doesn't do you any good if you get deleted outright. Thus, as great as that extra potential HP is, it's more likely that because of these catastrophic hits, you either won't survive long enough to make use of all of the charges or you simply won't be able to recoup enough HP to make up the difference. So that's all pretty damning for a ship type people equate with a baby battleship. It's really much better to think of Azuma like a standard heavy cruiser. If you wouldn't try tanking it with Ibuki, you shouldn't try tanking it with Azuma. Given her size, large turning radius and lack of concealment (see below for that), this has the unfortunate effect of pushing Azuma back from the front lines to keep her safe. I'm reminded of Abruzzi. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : It's telling just how exposed Azuma's citadel is that she doesn't automatically take a : rating here. She's close, though. Better external armour, something that would let her autobounce 380mm guns, for example, would help a lot. Agility Top Speed: 34.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 920m Rudder Shift Time: 13.9s Estimated 4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 4.6º/s Azuma's fast. Speed helps Azuma overcome some of her other manoeuvrability ills. To be clear, Azuma handles like a battleship, albeit a fast one. Her turning radius is appalling and she comes about about as quickly as a South Dakota-class battleship. Her rudder shift time is comparable too. For a ship with such a large, exposed citadel, even at her best, she exposes her broadside for far too long to ever be considered safe. In short, rely on Azuma's speed. It's arguably one of her best features. It allows her to dictate the engagement range against her opponents and flex where opportunities arise. If Azuma is far enough back, it also gives her better chances of dodging incoming fire. If you're beginning to notice a kiting theme, there's a reason... Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : It's that 920m turning radius which holds her back. Drop it down to even 820m and Azuma's easily one of the better cruisers at tier IX, agility wise. Anti-Aircraft Defense Long Range: 8 explosions at 1,470 damage each and 255dps from 5.8km to 1.9km Short Range: 519dps from 1.9km to 0.1km Right, it's theory-crafting time. I don't like doing this, but I don't have much choice in the matter. I only got to play Azuma's finalized AA armament on the 0.8.2 test server. I'm not terribly confident with my AA assessment here as the test server is the test server (with tier 10 carriers that couldn't drop torpedoes successfully on a stationary ship). The big difference was that Azuma shed her 40mm twins she had for much of the live-server testing, losing her medium caliber aura and replaced some of her triple 25mm guns with twins. So let me touch upon briefly what was and theory-craft what she has now. Azuma's current AA layout on top and the layout used during play testing on the bottom. Twin 100mm in red, twin 40mm in pink, enclosed 25mm triples in green, open-air 25mm triples in yellow, twin 25mm in blue. Maybe we'll see the old AA version on Yoshino. Azuma's AA DPS is ALMOST good. ALMOST. Her large caliber guns are great. They don't have the 6.9km reach to make them amazing, but they put out a huge chunk of sustained damage starting at 5.8km -- more damage than anything else at tier IX other than Neptune which is wonderful. Unfortunately, Azuma lacks any medium caliber AA guns, so her large caliber have to carry the weight as planes close. This gives her some of the worst mid-range AA DPS until her small caliber guns can pick up the slack. At close range, Azuma's damage output is again wonderful but it's a mistake to think that short-ranged DPS is going to do much in a given match unless your CV opponent is a complete tater-bot and likes to do flyovers without dropping ordnance for some reason. Maybe (MAYBE!) you might inconvenience them by shooting down aircraft that complete an attack run. Maybe. I wouldn't count on that ruining their day, though, unless you're facing a tier VIII CV that's already heavily taxed on aircraft recovery. Going back to Azuma's long range AA firepower, she throws out an average of 8 explosions with a meaty 1,470 damage per blast. These unfortunately have no impact on aircraft that are on their attack runs (with the exception of Hakuryu's torpedo bombers, because they're special -- maybe this got fixed in 0.8.2). This largely relegates them to being used to protect other ships rather than seeing to her own defense. The final take-away here should be that without Defensive AA Fire active, Azuma's only going to mildly inconvenience carriers. Lacking a catapult fighter, she will look like an inviting target, so expect regular attention. 404'd. Medium Caliber AA not found. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : A lot. It would have to start with a catapult fighter and then we can talk options. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 15.12km Aerial Detection: 10.73km Minimum Surface Detection: 11.88km When Firing in Smoke: 11.73km When Firing in Open Water: 19.09km to 26.57km Azuma really drops the ball when it comes to Vision Control. Not only is she fat (without the ph), she lacks Surveillance Radar found on Alaska, Stalingrad and Kronshtadt. She's just not that helpful at projecting vision. Her dependence on Defensive AA Fire to keep her safe also makes taking Hydoacoustic Search a risk. Combine the deficiencies of her agility and defense and it's all too easy to relegate Azuma to a back-of-the-pack support sniper. The further back you park Azuma, the more likely you're going to have to depend on her HE shells to do all of the heavy lifting and the more boring she becomes. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's going to need a lot of help here. Go West Azuma meshes very well with Japanese battleship commander skills. In particular, fire mitigation combined with Superintendent are optimal. This isn't the only option, of course. You can opt for more specialized builds, including anti-aircraft or, (if you're a complete nutter) a secondary build if you prefer co-op. Take the skills in green first and then double back with those in yellow. This will help mitigate damage over time effects for Azuma. Final Evaluation It feels kind of redundant to write one of these when it feels like the community has already largely condemned the darned thing before I publish. The amount of commiserations I received when people learned I was play testing Azuma just goes to show the kind of uphill battle Wargaming faces with trying to get people to spend money on this ship. Azuma isn't obviously powerful, thus she's been relegated to the mehbote pile, already dismissed. On the one hand, it's nice that my job is done for me: the player base is cautious and they're not going to throw money recklessly at Wargaming over the newest shiny on offer. On the other hand, it concerns me how many times I've heard the same inaccuracies about the ship repeated over and over. Azuma isn't a bad ship. Unfortunately, because she's not optimal, people will call her garbage (or whatever expletive substitute they prefer) and that's just not accurate. Azuma's flaw isn't that she's weak. Her flaw is that she's inconsistent, dependent on her citadel not blowing up and relying on fire damage from her HE spam to pad out her numbers. Some times things will go amazing. There will be those players who swear by her. Contrarily, there will be those who will damn her outright because of real or imagined flaws. For all my grumbling, Azuma's on my "forget" pile too. Once I'm done with this review, I'm not going to be playing her. She's not a ship I enjoyed outside of derping around co-op. You could argue this is owing to her power level. She's middling. While she does present a fun challenge to do well in, she's more work than she's worth, in my opinion. It was hard to feel that she presented me with the tools needed to outplay my opponents. Giving it my all didn't yield much improved results over just hoping nobody shot at me. That's not a formula for a fun time, in my opinion, but your own mileage may certainly vary. The most damning thing I could say about Azuma is this: I know I have a contrarian streak. When a ship gets bad-mouthed while still in development, I'm usually inspired try and find some limited element about their performance to champion. I came up empty on Azuma. Believe me, I looked hard too, driven by this inner snootiness to laud some useless factoid that could redeem her in my eyes. That way I could dangle it over the masses. You all might have damned her but I was going enjoy her as only the upper-crust of top-hat wearing, be-monocled World of Warships connoisseurs could. Except, I couldn't. I didn't like playing this boat. Instead of supping with the elitists where we all play eclectic premiums, I'm going to have to choke on some base experiences with the commoners and play Giulio Cesare like a bloody peasant. Screw you, Azuma. Would I Recommend? Azuma comes with a 1M free experience price tag, the same as Alaska. If you were to pay for it using the 1 doubloon for 25 free experience cost, you're looking at a price tag of $164.24 USD. I'm not of the opinion this is worth it (especially when there are tricks to farm up free experience at a reasonable rate), but to each their own. For PVE Battles? How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Azuma does very well in Co-op. You can even get away with that aforementioned secondary build and pad out your damage in close quarters (cuz bots are dumb). For Random Battle Grinding? This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. Azuma works well enough for training Japanese battleship and cruiser commanders, with comparable skill overlaps. For Competitive Gaming? Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Taking any ship with an enormous, vulnerable citadel into competitive is a loser move. It's on par with stapling your upper lip to your computer desk and standing up suddenly -- it's so bad, it's painful to watch and people will beg you not to do it (and some sickos will encourage you to do it anyway). For Collectors? If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. No. Azuma, though an interesting "what if" ship, it doesn't have the collector's appeal for me. For her Fun-Factor? Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? No. If I'm going to sit in the back and spam HE at things (with the occasional AP shell to prove I'm not a complete scrub), I'll play Conqueror. At least she has a fun hotto doggu theme song. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it! In Closing For my next review, I will be reviewing... well, this is where I would be saying something witty in light of it being April Fool's. I dunno, Thunderer Two? Famous and Historical Monarch? I don't have two brain cells to rub together at this point. I'm going to try and finish talking about the premium carriers. The next part, rocket aircraft, is due out this week and dive bombers should be the week after. Then I just need to talk about the ship's hulls and that will finish off Saipan, Graf Zeppelin, Enterprise and Kaga. After that I think I'm well overdue for a long vacation.
  14. So I was just playing in a Tier 9 match-up and I sent out a swathe of torps perfectly at a 90 to a Minitour and it only did about 50% damage with 6 torp hits. Is it me, or have they completely buffed the surface ships or nerfed torp damage on the Taiho's torp planes? I also directed a beautiful 9 torp strike on a battleship (tier 9), it took only 40% damage. Also, I spotted the entire time, and broke up 3 enemy CV offensive strikes and we still lost the match. Have the CV's been completely nerfed at this level? Or am I just not used to this. I feel my involvement in the game is almost pointless now, other than to do spotting duty.
  15. I have been playing T8-10 and I think the players in the weekends are casual and squishy, while those during the weekdays (even weekday evenings) are significantly stronger. Is this my confirmation bias or do you also observe it this way?
  16. Hi guys, I was looking through possibilities for a tier 9 premium ship, one in the 15-20k doubloon range. I found two carriers with very similar stories that were yet so different. I hope you will share your ideas in the comments (that’s what they are for, duh) and that you will like the interesting ships that I would like to see in game. The USS intrepid was an Essex class carrier, the fifth to be launched. Commissioned in ‘43, she served in most major surface action in the Pacific until the end of wwii, most famously Leyte gulf. Her reputation as “unsinkable” was bennifited by surviving multiple kamikaze attacks despite serious damage. Used as an auxiliary carrier throughout the late 40s she was overhauled into a slant deck carrier, serving a substantial second life in Korea and Vietnam The USS Saratoga was a converted battlecruiser, capable of carrying over 100 aircraft, and having a spectacular armament of 8 (4x2) eight inch 203mm guns and 12 5 inch guns as well as over 100 small caliber machine guns and 20 or so aa cannons. Serving in the pacific, she arrived in midway just in time for the Guadalcanal campaign. After serving in support of several island hopping landings, she was retired for use as a training ship and was eventually sunk at operation crossroads in 1946 I would like to see one of these craft in game, though both would need some buffing and nerfing to end up balanced-ish, but both show real promise. Let me know what you think in the comments down below
  17. So I have been grinding the new IJN Gunboat Destroyers and this is my second game in the Tier 9 Kitakaze. In this replay I showcase how to fight for the win and use my game knowledge to predict what the enemy is trying to do.
  18. When you initial plan no longer works what do you do? You reposition and find another location to win the game. Those of you struggling with the Seattle may find this useful. Or you can Free Exp past it, but at least watch this video first.
  19. It has been a little while due to production issues but I am back revamping my In-Depth Analysis videos into Replay Breakdowns. What better ship to rebrand the series than the one that started it all: the Kronshtadt. In this episode I go over asserting your dominance to control the game.
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