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Found 132 results

  1. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Agincourt

    The following is a review of Agincourt, the tier V British premium battleship. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself; I did not pay to get access to this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.4. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Summary: A slow but stealthy WWI era Dreadnought armed with fourteen 305mm guns in seven turrets (!) and a powerful secondary battery. PROS Dispersed armour scheme with an icebreaker bow & stern and resilient upper hull and amidships deck. Comfortable forward fire angles for most guns and that gorgeous Friday 360º turret traverse. Massive broadside of fourteen 305mm guns. Improved HE penetration. Powerful, accurate secondaries with long range and increased rate of fire. Tiny surface detection. CONS None of her armour is especially thick, making her easy to damage with battleship AP if not perfectly angled. Painfully long 36 second reload. Horrible main battery dispersion with 1.5 sigma. Terrible ... nay, craptacular AP penetration. Reduced HE damage. Slow and cumbersome. No anti-aircraft firepower whatsoever. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme For an inexperienced player, Agincourt is a bit of a rough ride. This is all down to her horrible rate of fire. At 36 seconds, a missed volley is downright painful and this is further complicated by the poor performance of both her AP and HE shells. You might aim properly but still find everything shatter or ricochet. There are further challenges with trying to manage her poor armour values and sluggish handling. At least they don't need to worry about managing AA defence as she doesn't have any. Admittedly, Agincourt's skill ceiling all comes from managing the brawling side of things. If you ignore that potential, then her skill ceiling is no higher than Moderate. But Agincourt fully encourages you to get your brawl on and it's a lot of fun. Agincourt embarrasses a full health KGV in a joust with a Devastating Strike. Options One of the nice things about reviewing lower-tiered ships is that there are fewer options to worry about. Still, there's quite a bit of weirdness going on here so pay attention. Consumables Her Damage Control Party is standard for a British battleship. It is active for 15 seconds, repairing all critical damage and removing fires and floods. It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Agincourt's Repair Party is strange only in that it's perfectly normal. It lacks the additional damage queue normally found on British battleships nor does it heal an additional amount. Instead it queues up 50% of penetration damage from shells, bombs, rockets and torpedoes, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of everything else. Each charge heals up to 14% of her starting health over 28 seconds. She begins with four charges and an 80 second reset timer. Upgrades Business as usual here. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Then take Damage Control System Modification 1. For your third slot, you have a choice between main battery optimization or going with some secondary craziness. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is generally optimal for your main battery performance though there's a good argument to be made for taking Main Battery Modification 2 to reduce the time it takes to switch aim between targets. HOWEVER, the Agincourt does very well with a secondary specialization (yes, you read that right), so taking Secondary Gun Battery Modification 1 is the start of that magical journey. Commander Skills There are two builds worth considering here. The first is your typical fire resistance specialization. Start with your choice of Emergency Repair Specialist (1) or Gun Feeder (1). That's 1pt spent. Grease the Gears (2) is next. That's 3pts total. Basics of Survivability (3) is the first of our fire-mitigation skills. We're now up to 6pts. And Fire Prevention (4) caps us off. That's 10pts. From here, you're encouraged to pick skills that again emphasize survivability and main battery performance where possible. Good skills include: Emergency Repair Expert (4), Concealment Expert (4), Adrenaline Rush (3) and Priority Target (2) along with doubling back for the tier 1 skill you skipped. The second build is a brawling spec. You want to pair this with the Secondary Gun Battery Modification 1 upgrade for maximum effect. It starts pretty familiar with either Emergency Repair Specialist (1) or Gun Feeder (1) again but we also toss on Pyrotechnician (1) as a tertiary option (in both meanings of the word). That's 1pt spent. Grease the Gears (2) is still the best option, though Priority Target (2) is equally good for dealing with low-tier lolibotes, so it becomes a choice here. Now we're up to 3pts. Long Range Secondary Battery Shells (3) is the first major deviation we're seeing. Grab it. This is 6pts spent. Finish this off with Improved Secondary Battery Aiming (4). And that's 10pts. From here, grab a mix of survivability and gun performance skills along with doubling back for some of your favourites you had to pass over. Good skills include: Emergency Repair Expert (4), Concealment Expert (4), Adrenaline Rush (3). Fire Prevention (4) and Basics of Survivability (3) still have their place but you'll have to make some compromises somewhere. It is worth mentioning two controversial skills for Agincourt's secondary build. These are Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (2) and Swift in Silence (4). The former will make Agincourt's 76mm secondaries capable of directly damaging most tier VI and VII destroyer extremities, along with buffing her 152mm secondaries to be capable of doing the same versus tier VI and VII battleships. This comes at the cost of gutting their fire chance, which is a pretty stiff blow when dueling other dreadnoughts, especially with the prevalence of dispersed armour schemes that even the improved HE pen on her 152mm won't be able to best. Still, it's hard to argue with more direct damage. As for the latter skill, I go into more detail in the agility section below. I'm not a fan. Camouflage Agincourt has access to two camouflage patterns, Type 9 and Veteran of Jutland. They are cosmetic swaps of one another and both provide the following bonuses: 3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells -10% to post-battle service costs +50% experience earned. You can unlock the alternative colour palette (the blue) by completing the appropriate section of the Royal Navy Destroyers collection. Agincourt's Jutland camo. Like the ship itself, this is only available from a loot box. Where's that puky emoji? Firepower Main Battery: Fourteen 305mm guns in 7x2 turrets in an A-B-P-Q-X-Y-Z layout. A-B are in a superfiring configuration. P faces forward, Q aft. Y-turret superfires over X and Z, with X facing forward. Secondary Battery: Twenty 152mm guns and ten 76mm guns. Fourteen 152mm guns are mounted in casemates in the upper hull, four mounted in casemates in the fore and aft superstructure and two deck mounts straddling the main bridge. Eight of the 76mm are mounted in casemates on the upper-superstructure with a pair of turrets one platform higher on the rear superstructure. Fourteen Guns and They're All Crap Agincourt's guns are terrible. Ostensibly she uses the same guns as Bellerophon and Dreadnought, the tier III British battleships. However, they somehow manage to be worse on a per-gun basis. Specifically, Agincourt's 305mm guns have a longer reload than her tier III predecessors, worse dispersion and gutted HE performance. Yes, you have fourteen of the bloody things, but they're terrible. Unequivocally terrible. If Oklahoma weren't a thing, Agincourt's guns easily takes the prize for the worst gun performance at her tier. Thankfully, they have two redeeming qualities. She has fourteen of them. She has improved HE penetration. The major issue facing Agincourt's gun performance is her AP shells. If Oklahoma's AP was bad, Agincourt's is worse. It's so bad you can't reliably penetrate battleship belt armour outside of 8km distances. This necessitates keeping a ready list in your head of what the armour thicknesses are of select battleships and, in turn, what ranges you can engage them. Does New York have in excess of 340mm of belt armour, or is it only 280mm? At what range can Agincourt citadel a broadsiding Izmail? How much relative armour does a Conte di Cavour have at a 50º angle? When in doubt, you can always aim higher and hope for penetrating hits but you're working against troll, 1.5 sigma dispersion. Now you could be forgiven for thinking that Agincourt's AP penetration woes would make her better at landing citadel hits on cruisers, but this simply is not the case. Unlike other low-tier, small-calibre guns, she does not have the shortened, 0.01s fuse timers ideally set to for dealing with the smaller breadth of low-tier cruisers. Instead she has the longer, 0.033s fuse timers that are better suited for plunging deep into a heavily armoured vessel in order to destroy machine spaces and magazines. Thus, Agincourt's AP shells work at cross purposes to themselves. She does not have the penetration to readily duel with other dreadnoughts and her fuse timers are poorly set for popping the thinner citadels of low-tier cruisers. About the only targets where this low penetration and long fuse timers work to her advantage is blasting shells down the length of bow-in ships you can overmatch. Waiting that painfully long 36 second reload, setting up for that perfect broadside shot only to watch everything thrown at your opponent over penetrate or shatter is heartbreaking. That's painfully commonplace. Agincourt has some of the worst AP penetration values at her tier. And just to make things more frustrating, she has abnormally long shell fuse timers too which makes over-penetrations against cruisers more likely. So they suck on both ends of the spectrum. The two differences between the HE shells on HMS Dreadnought and Bellerophon versus those of Agincourt. Graphic pulled from gamemodels3d.com which i cannot recommend highly enough for players looking to expand their knowledge into the more esoteric details of World of Warships. Things get a little better with Agincourt's HE shells, but it's not all sunshine, rainbows and puppies here either. You need only look at the difference between Bellerophon and Dreadnought's HE shells versus those Agincourt was dealt. Dreadnought's HE shells hit 18% harder than Agincourt's and have slightly improved fire setting characteristics. Thus Agincourt's broadside is the equivalent of a 12-gun British battleship, not 14. Agincourt's HE DPM is little better than Wyoming, the tier IV American battleship, though the differences count. Perhaps the best saving grace of Agincourt's HE shells is that they retain the 1/4 HE penetration of the British battleship tech-tree. At 76mm, the modest damage output of her HE rounds becomes much more formidable and she is capable of landing citadel hits on a whole list of cruisers within her matchmaking, including but not limited to such prominent targets as the American Omaha-class and Pensacola-class. Farming up some of those black ribbons with HE shells is very satisfying, especially after being repeatedly trolled by her AP, let me tell you. Guess which ammo you'll be relying on? Agincourt's a decent fire setter. If you can land the hits, a full broadside is quite formidable. The catch to that, of course, is landing those hits in the first place. Her dispersion isn't kind nor is her reload. There just isn't anything really redeeming about Agincourt's main battery firepower short of the number of barrels. That 36 second reload is painful in the extreme. Her 4º/s gun rotation is lame, but at least she cannot out-turn her turrets (even if you slap on a Sierra Mike signal and the Swift in Silence commander skill). Her fire arcs aren't great on the whole. Some of her gun turrets are amazing but in order to maximize her firepower, you have to expose a lot of broadside. Her ballistics are incredibly floaty, with her shells suffering from a heavy amount of drag. And finally there's that awful shotgun dispersion of her's which can foil even the most carefully aimed shot. On the flip side, every now and then you'll land this amazing, Devastating Strike and it will make you wonder why you can't do it more consistently. I'm not a fan of Agincourt's main battery guns, if you can't tell. You can make them work, don't get me wrong, but it's an uphill battle. Okay, making this graphic nearly broke my brain. Y-Turret is my favourite (TGIF! ♥). Not only does it have great arcs, it can also rotate 360º. So long as you keep P and Q turret masked, Agincourt's forward fire arcs are very good. Historically, these seven turrets were named after the days of the week, from Sunday through Saturday, fore to aft. One of my standard dispersion tests. This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km. Agincourt is equipped with Aiming Systems Modification 1. Shots are coming in from right to left with the stationary Fuso-bot effectively bow-tanking. Agincourt's 1.5 sigma makes her gunnery all kinds of wonky. Their low velocity has their shell fall angle coming in at a rather steep 17º angle. I Need a Hero! ♫ Agincourt's secondaries to the rescue. Low-tier secondaries have long sat in the shadow. This was largely owing to the old Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament skill which provided a 60% dispersion reduction to tier VII+ ships that designated a target for their secondaries but only a 15% for lower tiered vessels. For four skill points, it just wasn't worthwhile. That's changed with the skill rework, with low-tier battleships gaining the same flat 35% dispersion reduction as higher tiered vessels. So while high-tiered battleships definitely had the potential of their secondaries nerfed with the rework, lower-tiered vessels had their's buffed. But there's more to secondary performance than how well it synergizes with a particular commander build. There are four main elements to look for to see if secondaries are worth specliazing into: Range. This is the real kicker. If your secondaries don't have the reach, they're not of much use. A 5km base range is really the minimum I consider to be viable for secondary builds. Between skills, signals and upgrades, a 5km secondary can reach out to 7.56km which is outside of torpedo range for most destroyers, giving the guns some comfortable use. Most low-tier secondaries sit between 4km and 5km in reach. Agincourt's have a 5.5km base range, maximizing out to 8.32km which is very usable in lower-tiered matches. Volume of Fire. You need a lot of guns and/or a fast rate of fire to make a secondary build worthwhile. This simplifies to looking at the damage-per-minute potential of the base secondaries and seeing if they're putting out big enough numbers to make opponents balk. Agincourt has more DPM potential than a lot of the high-tier secondary heavy-weights. Yes, really. The reload on her guns is ridiculously short, with a mere 2.7 seconds on her 76mm and only 4 seconds on her 152mm guns. She puts out a lot of fire, very quickly. Penetration. Having a lot of potential damage doesn't matter much if those guns are incapable of directly doing any harm to the targets they hit. This is what largely damns a lot of high-tier French battleships. This is one area where low-tier battleships luck out. Structural armour plate at low tiers allows for even small calibre guns to be useful. Agincourt's 76mm can still directly damage the hulls of all tier IV and V cruisers and destroyers and even those of the very light cruisers at tier VI and VII. Her 152mm are a threat to anything but tier VI+ battleships and select heavy cruisers. Accuracy. The final piece of the puzzle is accuracy. If this isn't present but all of the others are excellent, then it can be overlooked. However, having this is definitely the icing on the cake. Agincourt has improved secondary accuracy on ALL of it's guns, not just the casemate weapons as found on ships like Warspite and Iron Duke. This gives her Massachusetts-style dispersion patterns on her secondaries. Agincourt's secondaries fall under the "accurate" category. Agincourt ticks all of the right boxes. Good range, solid DPM, workable penetration and great accuracy. I am firmly of the opinion that if you do not specialize Agincourt with a deep secondary build, you are doing it wrong -- or at the very least, you are missing out on one heck of a ride. While I can appreciate that some people do not find the AI driven guns to be entertaining, there is no arguing their efficacy on this ship. Fully tricked out, Agincourt's secondaries shred exposed destroyers and I've seen them make cruisers and battleships panic. As if their direct damage weren't enough, they're INSANE fire starters -- like Worcester levels of fire starting potential. If you've already been throwing HE shells from your main battery guns about, your secondaries will often find targets that have their Damage Control Party consumable on cool down, making for some easy damage as you move in to a joust. I cannot sing high enough praises for these weapons. Bring them into range whenever possible. You won't be disappointed. Have some perspective. Of the 452k done by Agincourt's secondaries, 330k comes from her higher penetration 152mm casemates. These can be buffed with IFHE to make them capable of damaging the hull extremities of anything within her matchmaking. If mapping her main battery guns nearly killed me, this turned me into a trigonometry zombie. This maps the fire arcs of Agincourt's secondaries with her 152mm in red and her 76mm in light blue. Agincourt's secondaries have most of their arcs weighted rearward. However, do not ignore the fact that she can still bring six of her 152mm guns to bear on a 30º angle forward, giving her a very meaty weight of fire on a brawling aspect while maintaining auto-ricochet angles. Go ahead and take IFHE if you want. She's got FPM to spare. Summary Terrible (HORRIBLE) main battery AP shells but decent HE. Long reload and wonky dispersion makes for very trollish gunnery. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it's heart breaking. If you're not spec'ing Agincourt for secondaries, you're missing out. Seriously. Durability Hit Points: 48,400 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 152mm / 38mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 229mm belt + 38mm turtleback + 38mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 14% Dispersed Armour The thickness of Agincourt's armour is a serious issue. In order to cram so many guns onto her hull, her armour was compromised, shaved down to the level of a WWI era battlecruiser. She simply does not have the overall thickness needed to repel battleship calibre AP shells at any range. Even heavy cruiser AP rounds become an issue at closer distances. Without careful angling, Agincourt surrenders too many hit points to high-penetration AP attacks. The thick plates covering the ship ensure that every AP shell that does best the armour will fuse for full damage. The only ray of sunshine here is that while she may not have thick armour overall, it is well dispersed which can be downright troll against certain attacks. For cruisers and destroyers slinging HE and SAP shells, Agincourt has only a few vulnerable areas, namely her bow, stern and her small superstructure. Everything else they throw at her will shatter or ricochet which makes Agincourt feel quite tanky. Similarly, these vulnerable points are the only areas where battleships can land overmatching penetrating hits when Agincourt angles correctly. With her icebreaker bow, waterline shots will simply ricochet off. It pays to keep her gun fire angles that we discussed earlier in mind. Unmasking P & Q turret will generally leave her vulnerable to returned AP shells. You don't want to nose in perfectly as this will bait shots into her vulnerable upper snoot and barbettes, but sit her at a slight angle. If you can unmask everyone's favourite day of the week (Y-Turret) then you're doing it right. Thus Agincourt's armour protection rewards player skill; both for the attacker and defender. Knowing how to exploit her weaknesses bipasses a lot of her strengths. Knowing how to properly angle her can mitigate a lot of incoming damage. Look at that lovely dispersed armour scheme. Agincourt's armour is excellent when angled in a close-range brawl, though it doesn't quite stand up to long-range punishment. Still, keep her angled and she'll serve you well, resisting AP, SAP and HE shells equally. Do it wrong and those thick armour plates will ensure that battleship calibre AP shells fuse and deal full penetration damage. Her big 19mm snoot and butt are obvious weak points. Citadel & Turret Protection Understandably, the issues with her thin belt carry over to a poor citadel protection scheme. In particular, Agincourt is highly vulnerable to 380mm+ calibre AP shells as there are sections of her citadel which may be overmatched; namely the walls of her boilers, machine spaces and the roof. Still, Agincourt isn't a free meal for overmatching weapons. There is a hidden 25mm and 38mm plate in her bow and stern that caps directly on top of her 102mm and 152mm belt respectively, along with her 38mm turtleback. While the 25mm plate cannot resist 380mm+ AP shells, the latter 38mm will foil shots that come in a bit higher. Her turtleback isn't a significant barrier on its own. However, if she is angled, it's one more plate that may prompt a ricochet and save her for from taking a citadel hit. And really, that's the best you can hope from Agincourt's citadel protection: to turn a catastrophic hit into merely a serious one. One of the things AP shells LOOOOOVE to fuse on are Agincourt's turrets. She has a lot of them and they act as catchers mits for battleship calibre rounds. This leads to a lot more damage than you might otherwise expect and it's definitely a weakness to exploit when going toe to toe against her. While their turret faces are a chunky 305mm in thickness, this isn't enough to repel anything but the longest range fire from the weakest guns out there. Furthermore, below deck, the barbettes of her P, Q and X turrets are just 76mm. Penetrating AP hits love arresting within these rings and blowing up your guns. Similarly, the roofs of her guns are only 76mm. While their slope alone is more than enough to see off AP and SAP shells, Royal Navy battleship HE can and will penetrate if you're unlucky enough to get hit there. This will deal HE penetration damage AND prompt a critical damage check and again, you may end up temporarily losing a turret. Because so much of Agincourt's deck space is taken up by main battery guns, they get hit often. This in turn means more critical damage rolls so be prepared to see more temporarily disabled weapons on this ship than you might otherwise be used to. That's okay, though. You have more where those came from. The last thing to touch upon here is that with Agincourt's citadel being so long (long, long maaaaaan! ♫) every torpedo that hits you will be causing citadel damage. Agincourt has almost nothing in the way of usable anti-torpedo defence. She floods easily and you're not healing back much (if anything) from torpedo hits. Agincourt's main battery turrets are not very well protected, with P, Q and X-turret having very thin barbettes. It is not uncommon for any of her weapons to be disabled or permanently knocked out over the course of the battle when trading fire with other battleships. Y and Z turrets mirror B & A's barbettes respectively. Furthermore, Agincourt's citadel has 25mm sections of it vulnerable to 380mm+ AP shells overmatching. Be careful when facing battleships with these higher calibre weapons. Do keep her hidden geometry in her bow to help protect from overmatching hits punching through her 19mm bow and stern. Also, there's a 38mm turtleback that runs from the 152mm plate in the fore to the one dittoed in the rear, adding to her citadel protection but it's angled incorrectly to prompt ricochet checks. Health and Heals The strangest thing about Agincourt's durability is that it's so normal. Royal Navy battleships have, since their introduction into World of Warships, had special Repair Party consumables. While the portable dry-docks of Nelson, Lion and Conqueror are perhaps the best known among the community, Warspite always healed back more damage per charge of her consumable while also queuing up more damage as well. Even Iron Duke queues up 60% of penetration damage. Agincourt doesn't have any of that. Her Repair Party consumable is completely normal, healing back a "mere" 14% of her starting hit points per charge (base) and queuing up a "mere" 50% of penetration damage. The only ships she has a leg up on are Soviet battleships with their reduced number of healing charges. So while she may have a comparable number of starting hit points to Oklahoma, for example, she has less overall healing potential. Similarly, while Iron Duke's theoretical hit point pool is smaller, the tech-tree battleship has more efficient heals. So there's nothing really worth getting excited about. Thanks to the smaller hit point pools of Conte di Cavour and Viribus Unitis, Agincourt has a better-than-average base hit point pool but that's nothing remarkable. Nothing too out of the ordinary here. For those wondering, Agincourt's maximum effective health is 2.61 Viribus Unitis while New York, the best of the bunch, has 3.05. Summary Agincourt's dispersed armour scheme is a mixed blessing. It's good against small and medium calibre HE and SAP but only good against AP when perfectly angled and useless when not. Her guns get knocked out often and this has a spillover effect leading to Agincourt taking more penetrating hits. Nothing special about her heals. VERDICT: Pretty average for a low-to-mid tier battleship. Better than some, worse than others. Agility Top Speed: 22 knots Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 13.4 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.8º/s at 16.6 knots While Agincourt may have a battlecruiser's armour, she does not have a battlecruiser's speed. This is a slow, cumbersome ship. Her only saving grace is that there are a lot of slow, cumbersome ships at tier V so she doesn't feel horribly out of place. This said, her turning radius is one of the largest at her tier. And while a 670m turning circle radius looks pretty good if you're used to higher tiered ships, this is pretty bad down here in the kiddy pool where islands are plentiful. When paired with her pedestrian top speed, this results in one of the slowest rates of turn for a low-tier battleship. Agincourt feels big and sluggish. What's more, she doesn't get anywhere quickly. This isn't so bad if she ends up on a low-tier map, but when Agincourt gets uptiered, you really start to feel this lack of flexibility. Maybe there's room for the new Swift in Silence skill? I want to be able to recommend it. I would love it if the skill was competitive for certain ships and certain builds, but it's so hard to justify. With it and combined with a Sierra Mike signal, Agincourt's speed gets up to an impressive 25.4 knots, which largely corrects any flexibility deficiencies. That's incredibly enticing. The catch is, of course, that she needs to go undetected in order for this to work. Put one aircraft carrier in play or end up on a flank with a concealed lolibote and her boost goes away. One of the major reasons I want the extra speed is to allow Agincourt to kite but if she's detected (or firing her guns), that's not going to work. Furthermore, the skill and signal combined do not significantly boost her rate of turn, upping it to 4.0º/s. This comes at the cost of her turning circle, jumping up Agincourt's radius to 730m. At four skill points, it's just not quite there in my opinion. Maybe if the speed was always on? Maybe if it provided more speed? I dunno. Agincourt has some of the worst agility at tier V. She's not only slow, but she has a large turning radius at her tier too. Granted, that 670m is pretty small compared to higher tiered battleships, but still, it gives her some of the worst handling at her tier by a noticeable margin, making her feel like one of the higher tiered thunderchunkers when she tries to come about. VERDICT: Crap. Arguably one of, if not the worst at her tier. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: None Long Ranged: None Medium Ranged: None Short Ranged: None There are two ways of looking at Agincourt's complete lack of anti-aircraft firepower. The first is to look at it as a crippling flaw. Any aircraft carrier that knows that Agincourt is bereft of AA defence can attack her with impunity; especially if she's isolated. Furthermore, tier VI carriers can drop fighters on top of her and keep her perma-spotted until she sails out of their spotting range. At her slow speed, this will take quite a while and it strips her of her stealth advantage. The general lack of long-range AA support at low tiers makes this quite likely and carriers can engage her confident that they will less planes than if they attacked one of her supporting team mates. Playing on the receiving end, it's a bit disheartening to know you're going to take repeat drops and it necessitates changing some behaviours. We already know that Agincourt is not agile enough to pretend to Just Dodge™ ordnance but if the CV player is in a hurry, they might flub a torpedo or bomb drop. But what's most important is to properly gauge when to use her Damage Control Party. Don't make the mistake of dousing fires too early or patching up floods you could just heal through. The second and cynical way of looking at things is that Agincourt's lack of anti-aircraft firepower doesn't matter. Few tier V battleships have any kind of anti-aircraft firepower worth getting excited about nor can they see to their own protection. In this sense, Agincourt dispels any illusions of counterplay against a carrier. There's not much anyway, so removing it entirely provides a more "pure" CV vs Surface Ship experience. Man, that's [edited]. And they said there's no such thing as a free lunch. VERDICT: There is now a level zero. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.24km / 10.69km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 8.7km / 7.83km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 9.35km Maximum Firing Range: 15.34km Upgraded includes the use of a camouflage providing a concealment bonus and the use of the Concealment Expert skill and Concealment System Modification 1 upgrade if available. Agincourt has no right being as stealthy as she is. She is the stealthiest battleship in her matchmaking pool. If she were a tier V cruiser, she'd be sneakier than half of them. It's a shame she's not a faster battleship because she could then take full advantage. The closer Agincourt can get, the better. Her armour just isn't thick enough to trade at range and her own AP shell performance is piss-poor until you're up close -- sometimes point-blank-range close. As it is, you can almost (almost!) get her to within secondary battery range before she's detected which is pretty hilarious. You need simply sprint the last 2.37km to start opening fire. Unfortunately, that 2.37km "sprint" is more of a wobbling bag of rancid liposuction meat gently rolling downhill. 2.37km is pretty substantial for a ship that can only manage about 22 knots; it takes her a full 40 seconds to cover that distance. Without the use of island cover, boxing your target in or your opponent making a mistake, Agincourt's not sneaking up on anyone this way. Agincourt's stealth is meant to band-aid a lot of other flaws. Bad AP penetration? Sneak up and get closer. Reliant upon secondaries? You can almost sneak into range. Poor armour protection from long range fire? Keep silent and go stealthy to mitigate it. I mean, Agincourt's stealth certainly helps but again, that lack of speed really makes it difficult to fully capitalize upon. It's only on those claustrophobic, island choked maps where this stealth + speed combination works in her favour and can be used offensively. In all other aspects, Agincourt's stealth becomes a purely defensive ability and used whenever she holds fire. Now this can be used to great effect by an experienced player. Disengaging at the right time will keep you alive, after all. But there are a whole range of "what ifs" that undo it -- the most simple of which being a shadowing lolibote or aircraft. Agincourt's stealth is a trait that's nice to have but it's hard to argue that it's especially powerful without speed to control engagement distances. VERDICT: Cool to have but not game-changing. Final Evaluation As Drachinifel has elucidated, Agincourt has always been a troublesome vessel. Her acquistion caused problems then and it's causing problems now. The only way to get Agincourt at her launch was through gambling through loot boxes. There was no direct sale offered. Using my press account, it took me 11 pulls before she dropped. That's 8,250 doubloons worth if I bought the crates individually. I didn't, I bought a huge bundle so it technically would have cost me 13,750 doubloons. That's the cost of a tier VIII premium for a tier V ship. While receiving dragon signals is nice, I have no practical use for any of the other contents from the containers. Ergo, these loot boxes are worthless to me but for the ship and the permanent camos. If I didn't get access to Agincourt via Wargaming, I would not touch this vessel with a ten foot pole. And that's a shame. This is a really fun ship. I've enjoyed Agincourt immensely and I highly recommend her for anyone that misses brawling in higher tiered vessels. But I hate loot boxes. I cannot and will not support them. So hard pass on Agincourt until she's made available by more conventional means. Thank you for reading.
  2. The following is a PREVIEW of HMCS Yukon, the tier VII Canadian Famous & Historical Monarch-class battleship. This ship has been provided to me by Wargaming for testing purposes -- I did not have to pay to get access to her. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are accurate as of April 16th, 2021 (Patch 0.10.3). HOWEVER, Yukon is very much a Work in Progress with everything about her subject to change. All of the performance discussed in this review is merely supposition based off the in-port stats only. It does not reflect any game play experience with the ship. Hiho lads and lasses. HMCS Yukon has made it to the live server for testing. Now, the changes made to the Community Contributor program forbid me from discussing my game play experiences with her. Fortunately, I have showed legendary amounts of restraint and I have not yet played her. This means I can go over her Work-in-Progress in-port statistics (that are all subject to change) Instead, I thought I would give you all a very early preview of what this new test ship looks like and compare her to the guesswork from my earlier article. To be 100% clear: I have not played this ship yet. All of the information in this article comes from in-port statistics only along with some data-mining from GameModels3d.com and wowsft.com. Everything about Yukon is subject to change. Everything. Options So there was one significant difference from my earlier guess with Yukon and that was how her Repair Party worked. Consumables Yukon's Damage Control Party will be identical to those found on most battleships with a 15s active period, an 80s reset timer and unlimited charges. Her Specialized Repair Team is the same heal found on Lion and Conqueror. If data-mined stats are to be believed, this has ridiculous high levels of efficiency, queuing up 10% of citadel damage, 75% OF PENETRATION DAMAGE and 100% of everything else. On top of this, it heals back upwards of 40% of Yukon's hit points over 20 seconds. It comes with three charges and an 80 second reset timer. In her third slot, you have the choice between a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The former will come with 4 charges, boosting her main battery range by 20% for 100s with a 240s reset timer. The latter is an improvement over Famous & Historical Monarch's fighters, launching an additional aircraft for a total of four which will orbit on station for 60s. It will have three charges and a 90s reset timer. Okay, real-talk time: I have no way of confirming that 75% value short of taking gamemodels3d.com at their word. They have been wrong before. For example, gamemodels3d.com is still showing improper armour values on Yukon with their preview system, so maybe this 75% thing is false. The only way to know will be to take it into battle and I won't be able to confirm what I find there for you. If this 75% thing is true, whoa. I was expecting the 60% found on Nelson and I wouldn't have been surprised if it was only 50%. So this is something worth keeping an eye on for certain and it's the kind of thing I'll be testing thoroughly. Upgrades There's nothing out of the ordinary here. Camouflage Yukon has (disappointingly) showed up in port without a skin. She has camouflage, but there's no "look" to it -- it's the same as a naked tech-tree ship. This isn't uncommon with early versions of test ships. As far as I can tell, she's still just a clone of Famous & Historical Monarch without any geometry changes. Her camouflage options provide the usual tier VII bonuses of: -3% to surface detectability range. +4% to maximum dispersion of shells fired by the enemy at your ship. -10% to the cost of ship's post-battle service +50% to experience earned in the battle There's no sign of any alternate "gross nationalism" camouflage (yet). Maybe one's coming? Maybe her default camo will be the only one available. Booooring. Firepower Main Battery: 3x3 381mm/45 guns in an A-B-X superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Sixteen 133mm/50 guns in 4x2 turrets arranged in superfiring pairs fore and aft on each side of the ship straddling the two superstructures. No more supposition. We now have some in-game stats to look at. A lot of Yukon's stuff clones Famous & Historical Monarch, such as her gun handling, firing arcs, etc. But her main battery guns are very different: Comparing Yukon (left), Famous & Historical Monarch (middle) and Hood (right). Note that I had Aiming System Modification 1 installed on Famous & Historical Monarch so her dispersion is smaller than a stock vessel. So, lots to talk about here. Yukon's guns appear to differ from Famous & Historical Monarch's in the following ways: Yukon's range is terrible. Yukon has a reach of 15.7km in this test-iteration (Work in Progress, guys, subject to change so don't rage yet). This is painfully short ranged. Orion, the tier IV British battleship has 15.8km. According to gamemodels3d.com (and backed by wowsft.com, the actual range she has is 15.65km, so yeah... she barely managed that 0.7. We'll see how this feels to play. I'm going to take a wild stab at "not comfortable" but we'll see if this hypothesis holds true when I get my hands on her. Reload Time: At 30 seconds, this is about what I expected. It means that out of my guess-DPM charts, the bottom one was accurate. HE Shell Performance: It's nice being right sometimes. It looks like Yukon got Hood's HE shells, exactly as predicted. I admit I was surprised with the muzzle velocity difference and I really shouldn't have been. Yukon will be cloning Hood's HE performance entirely. So that means worse penetration, worse shell damage and a slightly weaker fire chance. Good. Dispersion: The 216m looks like an improvement but it's not. Yukon appears to conform to standard Royal Navy horizontal dispersion patterns ([range in km] x 10 + 60). I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised here and see her with Warspite / Queen Elizabeth's / Hood's dispersion but oh well. Sigma: This information is NOT available in port and comes from data-mine sources. Using gamemodels3d.com and wowsft.com both agree that her sigma value is 1.9. Famous & Historical Monarch only has 1.8. Again, I MUST stress that these third party sites do get things wrong on occasion, so take this value with a big pinch of salt. Yukon should be more accurate than Famous & Historical Monarch, however, a difference of 0.1 sigma is generally beyond the perception of players to distinguish in gameplay and is something I like to refer to as a "spreadsheet stat". While it does affect performance, it's something that's really only visible over the course of many many games. It's something the devs will see and MAYBE you might be able to tease it out by playing back to back games alternating between Famous & Historical Monarch and Yukon over the course of a month. Expensive Shells: This information is NOT available in port and comes from data-mine sources. Yukon's shells are more expensive than Famous & Historical Monarch's. Apparently they cost 120 credits per shell while Famous & Historical Monarch's are only 90 credits. Again, something to double check the first time I take her out, I suppose. Ricocheting HE Shells: This information is NOT available in port and comes from data-mine sources. So... according to both wowsft.com and gamemodels3d.com, Yukon's HE shells can ricochet. Yeah. I'll believe it when I see it. But it's there in the datamine stuff. This is the kind of thing that I seldom get to talk about when play-testing because it's on that checklist of things to verify that quickly gets forgotten when it proves to invariably be false. I have NEVER seen this before. Note how Yukon kept Famous & Historical Monarch's short AP fuse timers. Alright, so what can we learn from all of this? Well, Yukon's stupidly-short range is going to be one Hell of an obstacle to overcome. Her Spotter Aircraft will be a must, giving her a maximum reach of 18.78km for a brief spell. I'm seriously considering taking the Spotter Aircraft Modification 1 special upgrade for the first time ever on a ship. Congrats, Wargaming, you finally made that awful upgrade worth considering, but for all of the wrong reasons. With her 30 second reload, her gunnery will be reasonably comfortable when she can actually reach what she wants to hit. Given my predictions about shell damage performance, it does mean that my earlier estimations on DPM are accurate: The crossed out ships are Yukon with a 25 second reload which isn't happening in this test iteration. This puts Yukon's damage output in the solid "meh" category. Her overmatch will be nice when she's top tier, so it's not like she's in the doldrums. But her HE performance is pretty terrible. Barring having no other choice, this current version of Yukon will want to be throwing AP whenever possible. As for her secondaries, they're crap. They differ from Famous & Historical Monarch's in that they have 1km less range (5.6km instead of 6.6km). I wasn't expecting anything miraculous there. Summary: Yukon's gunnery would be pretty comfortable at tier VII if it weren't for that range. I'm going to have to see how it pans out in combination with her agility, stealth and durability. I'm not expecting it to be a fun ride at this stage. Durability Hit Points: 60,500 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 26mm / 16mm / 26mm / 26mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 356mm to 381mm belt Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% One of the biggest changes from the earliest data-mine previews were had of Yukon was in regards to her structural armour. For whatever reason, gamemodels3d.com was reporting it at 32mm -- identical to Famous & Historical Monarch's. As exciting as this would have been, I am not surprised at all to report that Yukon's extremities and deck plating are the normal 26mm you would expect for a tier VII battleship. Nothing exciting here. Do note her citadel placement. What's more exciting is the healing potential for Yukon. Receiving a British "portable dry-dock" Repair Party, combined with her large hit point pool for a tier VII battleship and she's got a lot of hit points to work with. Taking signals and commander skills to further improve her healing potential will be paramount to getting the most out of this test iteration, I suspect. Anyway, here's how the potential health pools pan out: Yukon combines the best parts of Nelson's and Famous & Historical Monarch's Repair Parties. The only thing she's "lacking" is any kind of improved citadel heal and she totally doesn't need it given the bonuses already going for her here. Summary: King George V, now with zombie-mutant healing powers. Agility Top Speed: 28 knots Turning Radius: 790m 7Rudder Shift Time: 9.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: ??? Assumed to be 4.1º/s So the big confirmation here is her ridiculous low rudder shift time. To put this in perspective, Famous & Historical Monarch has a 15s rudder shift time. I'm really really hoping for something weird to be going on with Yukon's agility in terms of energy retention but I'm not holding my breath. As nice as that rudder shift time is, if she ends up with Famous & Historical Monarch's pedestrian 4.1º/s rotation rate, she'll still feel slow to come about, just not clumsy. Her wiggling will be very precise, just not fast. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 4 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.2km. Long Ranged (up to 5.2km): Between 84dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 2.5km): Between 312dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): Between 175dps at 70% accuracy Well, these numbers all fell within the parameters I had guess at but, let's be fair, I had cast a ridiculously wide net. It was hard not to be wrong. Yukon's stats clone Famous & Historical Monarch's A-hull AA performance almost perfectly with the only difference being the amount of damage done by flak explosions (Famous & Historical Monarch does 1,470 per blast instead of Yukon's 1,330). Overall, her AA power is kinda bad, She has the equivalent AA protection of HMS Nelson, putting out comparable numbers which are largely limited to "vengeance weapons" wherein most of the damage she does will happen after aircraft have already made their attacks. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 13.18km / 11.51km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.06km / 8.15km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 12.2m Maximum Firing Range: Between 15.65 and 18.78km when using her Spotter Aircraft The biggest changes here from what I had guessed originally are the reduction in Yukon's aerial detection range and her main battery firing range. Like with her surface detection before, the changes to Yukon's aerial detection allow her to get close to (yet remain slightly worse than) a fully upgraded Famous & Historical Monarch with Concealment Expert and the Concealment System Modification 1 upgrade. So it's safe (though not entirely accurate) to say that she copies Famous & Historical Monarch's stealth performance, just a full tier lower. The issue is really going to be getting around her horrible gun range. Also, Dead Eye will probably be on it's way out by the time this ship comes out. Overall Impressions There are two surprises here. Her range. Her heals. One is very, VERY good. One is very, VERY bad. They're obviously meant to counteract one another to some degree. As it stands, Yukon is looking SHA-MAZING for scenarios. Overmatch + zombie-heals + improved agility in a game mode where range doesn't really matter? Yes, please. In Random Battles, I'm less optimistic. As a top tier ship, she'll be a better bully than HMS Nelson. As bottom tier, she'll be worse. She'll be oh-so much worse. Her 30 second reload with those crappy HE shells will put her miles behind Nelson. I'll have to see if it pans out that way in practice but I'm none too hopeful there. Anyway, I can't wait to try her out and my soup's getting cold so I'm going to sign off and get back to work on ZF-6. Maybe (MAYBE) if I get enough done on ZF-6 today, I'll treat myself to a test-drive. We'll see! As one final caveat: Everything about HMCS Yukon is subject to change! Mouse out!
  3. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Ise

    The following is a review of Ise, the tier VI premium Japanese hybrid battleship-carrier. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself; I did not pay to get access to her. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.4. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: An Ise-class battleship refit into a hybrid carrier. Her stern-mounted X and Y turrets have been removed and the deck-space converted over to aircraft operations and anti-aircraft firepower. She may launch an attack group of four torpedo planes every 2 minutes. PROS Large hit point pool of 58,700hp. Excellent range on her main battery guns with a reach of 21.4km. Good accuracy with 2.0 sigma. Excellent anti-aircraft firepower for a tier VI battleship. Access to an air wing of torpedo bombers, allowing her to scout and deal damage. CONS Same wonky citadel geometry as Hyuga. Lots of shell traps thanks to her raised flight deck. Horrible gun handling and fire angles. Only eight 356mm guns with a 30 second reload, leading to poor damage output. Her 356mm AP shells lack the ability to overmatch other battleships and higher tiered cruisers. Large turning circle radius for a tier VI battleship of 750m and a slow rate of turn. I'll get into the specifics of the PROS and CONS of her aircraft down below in the Torpedo Bombers section rather than cluttering up this initial list. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / EXTREME I'm a bit iffy on my skill floor rating, to be honest. Battleship game play is not hard. Aircraft carrier game play is not hard. However, the two combined may be a bit much for some players, if only because one comes at the expense of the other and that's a bit of a trap. I'll go into more detail about this down below, but the TL:DR is that there are right and wrong times to use Ise's aircraft. And there are a lot of wrong times to use her aircraft. Most of these wrong times will simply compromise the efficiency of this ship's damage output but some of them will downright handicap your involvement in the match if not effectively remove you from it entirely. And that's not counting the times it will simply get you killed. For veterans, there's a lot of wonderful finesse that having an air group provides, including being able to scout and spot for your team (which is all kinds of amazing). So you get all of that nice, sniper battleship game play combined with some of the most broken CV elements? Yeah, there's a lot of potential here, even if her damage output suffers as a result. Options Ise's options are stupid simple and that's one of her drawbacks. She has no access to aircraft carrier consumables, upgrades or skills to improve her air group. Thus you're stuck building her the same way you would an artillery battleship, stressing survivability and main battery performance. You might be tempted to go with AA firepower, but the returns aren't as worthwhile as a survivability build. Consumables Her Damage Control Party is standard for a Japanese battleship, meaning that it's only active for 10 seconds as opposed to 15 seconds for most other battleships (and 20 seconds for Americans). It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. It's worth knowing that this cannot be used while controlling Ise's aircraft. I'm going to mention this a few times over the course of this review. Her Repair Party is also standard. It queues up to 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. From this queue, it will heal back up to 14% of the ship's starting hit points per charge over 28 seconds. It starts with four charges and has an 80 second reset timer. Like with her Damage Control Party, this cannot be used while controlling Ise's aircraft. See? I'm repeating myself already. Upgrades Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Damage Control Modification 1 is up next. You have two choices in slot three. You can reduce her dispersion somewhat with Aiming System Modification 1. Alternatively, you can (and probably want to) reduce her gun traverse time by taking Main Battery Modification 2. It's important to note that if you're going to for the second option you should also consider taking the commander skill Grease the Gears. The upgrade alone increases Ise's traverse from 4º/s to 4.6º/s. Both jumps it up to 5.5º/s. Damage Control Modification 2 is best in your final slot. Commander Skills With Dead Eye dead (and buried), battleship builds are getting pretty cookie cutter. Start with your choice of either Gun Feeder or Emergency Repair Specialist. Next, grab Grease the Gears at tier 2. If you want, you can swap this for Priority Target. Basics of Survivability is next up at tier 3. And finish things off with Fire Prevention Expert at tier 4. For your next eleven points, take the following: Concealment Expert (4), Emergency Repair Specialist (4) and Adrenaline Rush (3). Easy-peasy. Camouflage Hyuga comes with Type 10 Camouflage providing the following bonuses: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains.  You can unlock Ise's alternative (blue) camouflage by completing the appropriate section of the Yamamoto Isoroku collection. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 356mm guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-P-Q in superfiring pairs. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 127mm guns in 8x2 turrets with a pair on either side of the main superstructure. Secondary Battery Let's start with Ise's secondaries as they're largely forgettable. Ise takes Hyuga's layout but nixes all of the 140mm casemate mounts leaving just eight pairs of 127mm guns mounted around the superstructure. Without any remarkable increases to range, accuracy or rate of fire and their crappy fire angles, it's safe to say Ise's secondary firepower sucks (and not in a sexy way). Ise's secondary firepower is worse than some cruisers. If you encounter Ise, forcing her into a brawl is a smart play. Her secondaries are of little threat and between her wonky citadel protection and horrible fire arcs, she's highly vulnerable. Ise belongs back on the second line, not up front. Main Battery When imagining Ise's firepower, think "Kongo". Ise brings an eight, 356mm broadside, the same as the tier V Kongo-class, but with the following changes: Improved sigma value (2.0 vs 1.8) A slight increase in base range (21.4km vs 21.2km) But no ability to increase it further (Ise lacks a Spotter Aircraft consumable that Kongo has). Improved gun handling (4.0º/s vs 3.3º/s) HORRIBLE, AWFUL, MISERABLE and WORSE gun fire angles. Ise's firepower is better than Kongo's. In theoretical engagements barring attacking targets at very long ranges, she'll generate a few more hits over time than Kongo grace of her increased accuracy. In practice, Kongo is the easier gun platform to use even with her horrible gun traverse. A 0.2 sigma difference is all but imperceptible to the best of players on a per-game basis. While Ise's improved gun traverse is nice, it does not make up for her horrible gun fire angles (not even a little bit). Don't even think about kiting. So for a tier VI battleship, Ise's main battery artillery is definitely not-great and arguably some of the worst at her tier (I personally rate P. E. Friedrich's as worse overall). Bad as this may seem, it's not unusable. Ise is still quite capable (and rather good at) obliterating cruisers and her 356mm AP shells have enough penetration to pose a threat to most broadsiding battleships up to about 15km. It's only when other battleships angle or if they're too far away that these weapons start to feel a bit weak. Overall, Ise's main battery firepower is poor for a tier VI battleship but workable. Their 356mm calibre, the lack of an increased rate of fire and the small number of guns keeps them from being competitive. They work, but they're not going to win you any races. Pick your targets where your individual hits will have the most impact. No surprises here. With only eight 356mm guns and a 30 second reload, Ise's AP damage potential is the worst at her tier. Thanks to Japanese HE shells doing more damage relative to their calibre, she's not quite in the doldrums for HE damage output, but spamming HE does not (and will not) make her competitive. Japanese HE shells have no bonus penetration the way German and British battleships do and their fire setting is among the worst at their tier. As an aside: Andrea Doria is the only battleship presently that uses SAP shells (hence the different colour and pronounced DPM presence on this chart). Though the Japanese 356mm may appear to rank closer to the bottom in this list, the difference between her penetration and that of Izmail and Arizona is so minor as to be a non-issue. At this tier, 356mm guns are quite comfortable, though when it comes to besting battleship belt armour, engagement distance below 15km are preferred Standard dispersion tests. This is 180 AP shells fired at a stationary Fuso bot that lacks camo at 15km. Shots were coming in from right to left with the bot effectively bow-tanking. All ships were using Aiming Systems Modification 1. From left to right, Fuso's 1.5 sigma vs Hyuga's 1.8 sigma vs Ise's 2.0 sigma. Ise has TERRIBLE firing arcs. They're almost British, they're so bad. In kiting scenarios, it's best to pretend that Ise is a six-gun battleship. Unmasking Q-turret guarantees that return fire will skip any ricochet-check mechanics. VERDICT: Individually, her main battery guns are fine. However, they are hamstrung by poor fire angles and the ship simply not being able to throw enough shells downrange fast enough to be terribly competitive. Durability Hit Points: 58,700 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 26mm / 16mm / 26mm / 35mm to 44mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm anti-torpedo bulge + 299mm belt + 32mm turtleback + 32mm to 230mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 26% Ise is a chonk. Ise's durability is ... well, it's okay. She has a lot of health for a tier VI battleship, and that's nice. There's nothing special about her heals, though. She doesn't have improved damage queuing like Warspite and Queen Elizabeth. She doesn't recover more health per charge the way New Mexico and Baebote does. She just has a lot of health which, in turn, gives her a larger healing potential. In terms of overall armour protection, she's soft but not irredeemable. Her positive traits include a dispersed armour scheme including a reinforced amidships deck and thicker upper hull plates scattered here and there. Similarly, she has massive anti-torpedo bulges that act simultaneously as armour voids while also being immune to overmatching from anything within her matchmaking spread. As if that weren't enough, immediately behind them are 199mm to 299mm thick belts which will again prompt a ricochet check, allowing Ise to double-dip this mechanic against incoming rounds. Unfortunately any good coming from these is largely undone by the massive areas of 26mm armour on her bow and stern, the latter of which creates an awful shell trap which greatly reduces the efficacy of angling. Similarly, because of her wonky citadel geometry, it's not only possible but quite likely for Ise to take citadel hits through her bow beneath her A turret, even when she's aggressively angled. Battleships armed with 380mm guns are especially dangerous due to their overmatch potential through these soft areas. Given how much broadside you need to give when unmasking her guns for any shot, Ise gives away a lot of hit points when she takes return fire. As I've already said, she's not agile enough to Just Dodge™ her way out of trouble. The biggest issue she suffers from when it comes to her durability is consumable management. You're often not going to be at the helm when damage comes in, so knowing when to stop playing with airplanes in order to deal with threats is an important skill to master. Seriously, just take my word for it -- Ise's citadel geometry is wonky in the extreme, especially with how it interacts between her belt and turtleback. It's a nightmare. Speaking of belts, hidden behind Ise's enormous 32mm anti-torpedo bulge are her upper 199mm belt and her lower 299mm belt. Behind the lower belt is a 32mm turtleback that's not angled steeply enough to repulse fire. Her turret faces are 305mm thick with 299mm barbettes. VERDICT: Not terrible. Those shell traps are a pain in the butt, though. Agility Top Speed: 24.5 knots Turning Radius: 750m Rudder Shift Time: 14.8 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.8º/s at 18.5 knots There's not a whole lot to go over in this section. Ise handles poorly and she feels like a big ol' dumb battleship. She isn't fast. Her rudder shift time is on the poor side of average. Her turning circle radius is large for a tier VI battleship. As a consequence of all of this, she takes a long time to come about. If you haven't upgraded her turret traverse, her lack of agility is very apparent, and doubly so if you're trying to run away from anything while shooting over her shoulder. With her bad fire angles and small number of guns, you will be tempted to swing out to unmask as many weapons as possible to maximize firepower. However, Ise is not nimble enough to be able to swing back in time to avoid return-fire in an exchange. This will just get you killed, especially in head-on engagements with so many AP shell traps towards the rear of her hull. Ise's only saving grace is that she nearly manages 25 knots in a straight line. At this tier, that will help control engagement distances. That I will give her credit for. Everything else is crappy. Yikes. She makes Izmail look good. VERDICT: Pretty damn bad. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 5 + 1 explosions at 1,260 damage per Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 164.5dps at 75% accuracy (123.4 dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 262.5dps at 85% accuracy (223.1dps) Brace yourselves: A Japanese battleship has managed to have the best anti-aircraft firepower at her tier. It's a close contest between Ise and Izmail for the best array of AA defences but Ise has the lead with the combination of weight of fire and flak. Izmail edges her out in range but only in range. For personal defence, the Japanese battleship generates bigger numbers and will cause more casualties. Though I don't want to take the win from Japanese battleship enthusiasts, it's important to keep in mind that "best in tier" is not the same as "good". Ise cannot prevent tier VI carriers from making an attack run and she barely has enough to ensure that they can't make two. Against tier VIII carriers, it's not even a contest. They can and will make repeated drops if they're willing to soak up the casualties to do it. Against carriers like Enterprise and Kaga, these casualties are not likely to be consequential enough from repeated waves pulling off the same stunt. Given that you're not always going to be at the helm when aircraft are coming in, Ise makes a tempting target with her predictable movements and lack of focus fire. With apologies to the colour blind. VERDICT: Best at tier but still lacking. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.84km / 13.83km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.84km / 8.86km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 13.81km Maximum Firing Range: 21.4km Most of what's going on here has to do with Ise's aircraft, but I'll save that for the section below. For the rest, all you really need to know is that Ise is a big girl. This is bad news for a ship with some fragility issues and one that you're not always at the helm when bad stuff starts going down. Though it's tempting to always keep Ise on the second line to help combat this, this really damages her artillery performance, especially against other battleships. When she's top tier, you can afford to be closer (so long as no one's throwing torpedoes around) but in higher tiered games that's seldom a safe option, at least not if you want to make any good use of her planes. This often relegates Ise to staying much further back than a battleship normally would (which is already saying something), if not camping out near islands. This temptation to keep her out of harm's way entirely is usually a mistake. She is still a battleship, after all, albeit one that brawls horribly. Her guns need to be kept in the game as much as possible. Nothing unexpected here. How about that loot-box bait, though? VERDICT: Predictably not good but bad habits and practices will make things worse. Torpedo Bombers Aircraft Type: Aichi M6A2 Seiran Ordnance: Two Type 5 Torpedoes per aircraft Group Size: Four aircraft, forming both the squadron size and attack wing Hit Points: 1,820hp per Aircraft Min/Cruising/Boosted Speed: 95kts/122kts/140kts Ise's bombers look gorgeous. Welcome to baBBy's first aircraft carrier! I saved this for last for a reason. Ise's aircraft are weird. Their game play is generally the same as carrier-borne aircraft however their resource-management is completely different. I skipped a break down of the PROS and CONS of Ise's aircraft to keep the initial list tidy, so here they are now: AIRCRAFT PROS May launch four torpedo bombers every two minutes, regardless of air group casualties. Good concealment on bombers with a 7.5km detection radius. Bombers drop two torpedoes each for a massive spread of eight fish from a full attack flight. Her torpedo planes have a lot of health for a tier VI plane with 1,820hp each. Aircraft launch from steam catapults with rocket-assisted boosts, giving them an initial high speed (up to 210 knots) for 10 seconds after launch. AIRCRAFT CONS Only four planes per flight, meaning any casualties taken immediately reduces the size of her drop. Unable to upgrade torpedo bombers short of flooding-boost signal flags. Torpedo bombers have no consumables. Individual torpedoes deal very little damage and have poor flooding chance. The spread of her torpedoes is too wide for all hits to land against a single target. Boost provides only an 18 knot increase to speed instead of the normal 35 to 40 knots. Player loses control of their battleship while flying aircraft. Dispensing BALANS™ Let's start with aircraft management. Ise's torpedo bombers DO NOT launch the same way as aircraft carrier bombers. She starts with no aircraft on deck. She has no hangar space. She does not passively regenerate aircraft one at a time. It is easier to compare Ise's aircraft to deck-mounted torpedo launchers rather than a carrier's hangar. Like torpedoes, Ise's aircraft have to be "reloaded" at the start of the match. This takes two minutes exactly. Once loaded and then launched, it takes another two minutes for them to reload again. Like torpedo tubes, as soon as the catapults are empty, the reload timer starts -- so this means that while the aircraft are flying around, the reload timer is passively ticking down back on your battleship. If you leave your "loaded" planes on deck, the reload timer won't start again until planes are launched. There is no way to decrease this reload time. Adrenaline Rush has no effect upon it. Played optimally, Ise can launch a maximum of 9 waves of aircraft over the course of a 20 minute match with the tenth coming off cooldown just as the game ends. Ise's aircraft do not "return to carrier". They despawn after climbing to disengagement altitude following an ordinance drop or being recalled. Their survival or destruction has no bearing on the reload time or composition of the next wave. It is always a flat two minutes from the last time planes were launched (not recalled, not destroyed, not after they dropped their fish -- launched) and each reload always has the full complement of four torpedo bombers. There is no way to reduce or increase this. Every launch is always going to be a full attack flight of four bombers. If aircraft are not launched right away then they remain "loaded" the same way torpedoes do. They cannot be damaged while on deck. There's no way of temporarily or permanently disabling their catapults (short of the destruction of Ise herself). The ship may still launch while on fire. This is very different from managing hangar capacity and aircraft restoration. Ise's aircraft have rocket-assistance to get them aloft. This provides a tremendous speed increase for the first 10 seconds of flight. Your boost can add onto this. Once the squadron is formed up, their speed can reach 210 knots, allowing them quickly cover the first 5km away from their mothership by the time they drop their boosters. The Empty Husk Remember how mad people were that Wargaming was taking away a lot of the ship-management details from aircraft carrier players? Almost nothing is automated on board Ise while you're away controlling your bombers. If you don't set your battleship some automatic way points or put the rudder hard over, she's going to wander in a straight line. If you listen closely, you can already hear destroyers drooling. You cannot use your ship's consumables while flying around. Furthermore, your ship isn't going to do it for you the way aircraft carriers will. Fires and floods will burn and bubble unattended. Heals will go unused. Perfect shots will go to waste. Only your secondaries and AA will fire, but otherwise Ise remains an empty husk while you're zooming around making airplane noises with your lips. Make sure you preset your planned course changes and lock your guns appropriately when you launch planes or you can come back to unmitigated disasters. This has gotten me killed a couple of times during play-testing. I cannot stress this enough: Stop using your bombers the moment your battleship comes under threat. Aircraft Agility Meanwhile, veteran CV players will notice some general weirdness with Ise's aircraft from the moment they're launched. First point of weirdness: Her rocket-assisted launching. Normally aircraft are slower on the takeoff but not with Ise. With the assistance of her boost, Ise's bombers become some of the fastest aircraft in the game, albeit for a mere 10 seconds. Second point of weirdness is the boost of her aircraft. It only has 10 seconds of charge instead of the normal 20 for torpedo planes. It keeps being weird with only providing +18 knots worth of speed instead of the usual 35 to 40 knots of other bombers (though if you use it when her rockets are active, you get +27kts which is better but still wrong). Finally the last point of weirdness, her bombers have no energy retention whatsoever. The moment your finger leaves the throttle, she bleeds all of the gained speed. This makes her bombers overall slower than her contemporaries despite her nominal speed looking pretty average. This will leave aircraft carrier players feeling like Ise's torpedo bombers fly more like attack aircraft. For those of you still relatively inexperienced with carrier game play, Ise's torpedo bombers do not behave as torpedo bombers should. Trust me. They're weird. They're supposed to be better than this. The rest of her aircraft performance appears normal or close enough not to matter. Their rate of turn increases and their turning radius decreases as the aircraft slow down. The inverse happens under boost, with slower rates of turn and greatly increased turn radius sizes. Their disengagement and recall timers all appear normal as well. Ise's aircraft do not gain as much speed from boost as other torpedo bombers. This is the approximate amount of time it takes for the respective tier VI torpedo bombers to bleed off their boosted speed (which is usually a bonus of 35 or 40 knots). Deceleration is (mostly) linear. Most torpedo bombers can hold onto their boosted speed for about 9 to 10 seconds, gradually losing it over time allowing them to maintain a higher cruising speed than their in-port values might otherwise indicate. Some keeners like Ark Royal and Weser exceed this by a couple of seconds. Ise not only gains less from her boost (only 18 knots), she loses it all in 2.5 seconds and her aircraft feel much slower as a result. Upgrades & Survivability With 1,820 hit points per aircraft, you could be forgiven for thinking that Ise's bombers have some reasonable survivability. However, their inability to receive any kind of improvements from upgrades or commander skills greatly impairs their durability. Flak and sustained AA DPS is more dangerous to Ise. What's more, she does not have the extra planes in a given attack flight to soak up casualties to be able to push through against high-priority but well defended targets. Every loss Ise's squadrons takes hurts the size of her ensuing torpedo drop. The only upgrades that can be made to these aircraft is through the use of signals to increase the chance of flooding from individual hits. Given the relatively low speed of these aircraft, Ise's planes are not only taking more damage from AA defences, they're also exposed to it longer. While they are tougher than your typical Co-Op bomber, they still melt like a bot's planes would. Ise's 1820hp per bomber doesn't look so impressive now, does it? It pays to keep in mind that the survivability increases for carrier aircraft don't stop there. The carrier commander skill Aircraft Armor (3pts) effectively gives the bombers the equivalent of 10% more health against sustained AA DPS while the skill Enhanced Aircraft Armor effectively gives the bombers the equivalent of 25% more health against flak explosions. This would put Weser's fragile plane totals when fully upgraded at the equivalent of 1,880hp vs sustained DPS and 2,136 versus flak, well ahead of Ise's flat 1,820hp. Crappy DamageYou might be thinking "Okay, Ise's guns aren't the best, but that's okay. Surely her torpedo bombers make up the difference!" Yeah, no... Her torpedo bombers are amazing and are definitely a feature worth celebrating on this ship, but it's not because of their damage output. In most cases, your main battery guns are better damage dealers. At its most basic, it comes down to alpha strike potential. Each one of Ise's AP shells has a chance to citadel for up to 10,200 damage. To match that, she needs to land four torpedoes. The same math works out for three unsaturated penetrating hits. That's again worth about four torpedoes. And Ise doesn't make it easy to land all of those fish. Drop pattern of the tier VI Torpedo Bombers. A special thanks to @Lert for making this easier to collect. Lining up my Reference Fuso™ with the replay camera for each replay in order to get the correct scale per screenshot was a pain in the butt. Arizona took less than 7,000 damage from this strike. Ise's bombers drop a massive spread of eight warheads, but it's very difficult to land all eight against a single target -- even if they're sitting stationary and broadside on. The dispersing fan-spread of her fish casts a wide net which is pretty nice for catching unsuspecting lolibotes and cruisers with individual hits, but it makes it all but impossible to smoosh more than a handful into the hulls of most targets. For a "perfect strike" to occur, you need to attack a long ship moving at speed from it's rear quarter (just behind the midway point of the ship) and hope that it doesn't dodge. Each torpedo hits for a maximum of 2,767 damage minus the effects of saturation and anti-torpedo defences. While it's theoretically possible to score a jackpot in excess of 20,000 damage for a single drop, I've only pulled it off in Training Rooms on bots. In practice, a "nice" drop will yield about four to six hits and maybe 8,000 damage if your opponent is moving predictably. More average drops typically sit in the 3,000 to 6,000 damage band once you factor in player avoidance and anti-torpedo defences. With only a 17% flood chance per hit (before being plugged into an equation), do not expect to cause many damage over time effects. Those are numbers easily reached by her main battery guns against most targets with single salvos, nevermind the repeated salvos that could be fired in the same time it takes for aircraft to fly to a target and setup a drop. The net result here is that against most targets, using Ise's torpedo bombers as damage dealers to supplement her main battery guns results in a net LOSS of damage potential. It takes Ise's torpedo planes 25 seconds to cover 10km from launch, and that's with riding the boost as efficiently as possible and taking full advantage of that brief period of her 210 knot advantage. Realistically, most engagements occur over larger distances, further increasing flight time and taking away time she could be cycling her guns. For her torpedo bombers to compete, she has to be dealing more damage on a strike than she could over the comparable number of salvos she could be firing. This is before we even get into the issues with dealing with anti-aircraft firepower. Any losses to the bombers on their way in reduces the damage potential of the strike. So you may be wondering why they're such a big deal if their damage output is patently inferior to the potential of her guns? Ise may miss out on the increased attack run upgrade, but her shorter aiming time means that she's actually faster at lining up her fish than most other tier VI carriers. The potential for damage is there. In theory, a perfect strike (however unlikely) is worth a pair of AP citadel hits which is hard to ignore. Reaching that potential is a lot harder with Ise's bombers. Once you factor in Just Dodging™ and anti-torpedo defences, Ise is nowhere near as far ahead. UNLIMITED POWAH The thing to remember is that battleship guns are not always effective. Their potential does not equate real world performance (it seldom gets close). There are plenty of instances where Ise's main battery guns just aren't up to the task. Maybe a target is out of range. Maybe it's behind island cover. Maybe it's a bow tanking battleship. Or maybe it's a cute whiddle destwoyer what needs a spankin' (oh yes it does! ♫) and your overpenetrating AP shells aren't a big enough paddle. It's in these instances where Ise's torpedo bombers become the better choice for dealing damage. But their function goes well beyond just hurting stuff. There's different kinds of hurt it can dispense too. The first difference is that while Ise's torpedo bombers may not hit particularly hard, because they're using torpedoes with a blast radius, the damage they deal is often to citadels. This means that ships hit by Ise's torpedo bombers are less likely to be able to heal back whatever damage is done. Against battleships, especially some of those Royal Navy battleships, she can deliver far more harm than the meagre damage totals of her fish may otherwise indicate as they can't claw back the health as readily as the penetrating hits that would likely result from AP shells. The second difference is flooding damage. Flooding isn't the terror of terrors that it used to be once upon a time, but it is another damage over time effect which stacks with fires. Attacking a target with an already taxed Damage Control Party can yield some nice juicy number padding so long as RNGeebus is feeling like a bro. The third type of hurt is a subtle one. Ise can force ships out of position. Players HATE torpedo bombers and will go out of their way to steer to avoid them. This instinct to Just Dodge™ can be used to force players to make disadvantageous moves. Ise can use her bombers to force a ship out of a smoke screen. She can make a battleship turn and flash their broadside to you or your friends. She can shepherd an enemy ship on the straight and narrow by running torpedoes parallel to their course from behind. She can even force them to turn away from an objective or vulnerable ally. NEVER underestimate the potential of this. Even without actually dropping fish, the mere threat can make your opponents make all kinds of zany manoeuvres. But that's not the most potent kind of damage Ise can deal. This last type of hurt is probably the most insidious. Ise can scout and spot. Getting destroyers killed wins games and Ise's ability to light up destroyers with her planes far outweighs any damage potential from her bombers. This is especially potent in the late game as she can quickly shut down marauding lolibotes that have survived to this stage, hounding them and forcing them to either smoke up or suffer the hail of fire from Ise's allies. You can even spot for your own main battery guns this way provided you've got your guns pre-trained and you're quick on the trigger after recalling. This extends not just to destroyers, of course. Anything with either crappy AA or an enormous aerial detection range is susceptible to being lit by Ise. If you're willing to sacrifice your squadron, you can even go after island-hugging cruisers, providing vision for your team to punish them. Heck, light carriers for your 20km range Fusos to snipe. Have fun with it. The further into a game you go, the more power Ise torpedo bombers have. Their ability to help reset caps alone while tanking all kinds of damage has won me a game that would have been lost in any other ship (and gave our last surviving destroyer a Solo Warrior achievement, how cool is that?). Stronger than the Sum of Its Parts As a weapon's platform, Ise isn't impressive. Yeah, her torpedo bombers are annoying but any ol' Bayern can (and will) rip her a new one provided they can get within 14km of her and don't flash their broadside to her guns. She doesn't outfight opponents, she outplays them. Ise does not have the raw firepower to win straight up trades. Instead, her torpedo bombers are a tool that helps wins games. They finish off low health targets. They slow your opponents approach to given objectives. They reset caps. They push ships out of smoke screens. They keep destroyers spotted. And sometimes they even do damage. Do not underestimate a well played Ise that knows how to make use of these planes. Their influence far outstrips their damage potential. VERDICT: Meta changing. Final Evaluation Ise is a paradigm shift. Now you can have carriers in your games without having carriers in your games. Ise upsets game balance in a similar manner to asymmetrical CV matchmaking. When one team has Ise and the other does not (and there are no other carriers present), one side has the decided advantage in vision control. While this may not matter as much in solo-play in Random Battles, in divisions or in any kind of competitive environment, the disparity will be much more pronounced. While I don't expect Ise to be a powerhouse in terms of damage dealing, she doesn't have to be to influence the course of a battle. Like Haida and Asashio before her, Ise's ability to change behaviours of the enemy team is what makes her overpowered. This is one of the first ships in a long time where I still feel I have yet to master her full potential. I can't say with 100% certainty what I would expect the upper damage totals for this ship to be. My own results while play testing this ship were highly volatile, though that was in part due to the experimentation I was constantly undertaking with each and every match-up. Ise is a ship that will grow with you. Those who choose to play her often and specialize into getting the most out of her performance will be frightening opponents. While I'm not too scared of encountering a random Ise on the enemy team, you can bet that I will pay close attention to how well they're performing, especially if they are coordinating with a division. Ise is fun in the same way carrier game play is fun. It's an entirely one-sided affair where your enjoyment comes at the expense of others. She's a strong ship. Mouse out.
  4. TheEpicGamer285

    Is Konig Albert any good?

    So I just recently got Konig Albert and I don't know what commander skills to fit it with. And also, any tips for the ship?
  5. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Hyuga

    The following is a review of Hyuga, the tier VII Japanese premium battleship. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself; I did not have to pay money to get access to her. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.3. Please be aware that her statistics may change in the future. I always start these reviews with the above disclaimer. I do it for a couple of reasons. The first is to let you all know that there is some intrinsic bias in this review. I am only human (beep-boop ♪) and it's possible I will make some reporting errors on stats and numbers. It's also to let you know that I have a relationship with Wargaming through the Community Contributor program. After all, I get these assets for free to review them and that's absolutely going to colour how I feel about a ship and my readers absolutely need to know about that partnership. However, what I wanted to draw your attention to was this: 'Please be aware that her statistics may change in the future.' I originally wrote this to to warn players of meta shifts. While the core stats of a given ship might not change, the game most assuredly does. Mechanics get tweaked, new ships get introduced and before you know it, your once S-tier Blyskawica is unable to keep up. This past month, this warning has taken on new meaning: The newer premiums may have their performance stats directly nerfed by Wargaming. This is a change from their old policy and it only applies to these newer ships. I had originally wanted to discuss this with my Flandre review but I totally brain-farted on that. Since Flandre, Hyuga and HSF Harekaze II have also been affected by this so it's time to make sure I cover this info. You can see Wargaming's notice of such in the detailed description they provide of an individual premium. I've highlighted the pertinent part: What this means: Hyuga and newer premium vessels do not have protection from being directly nerfed in the future. Changes are not guaranteed, but they are possible. Please, please, PLEASE take this into consideration before pulling the trigger on any purchase. Got it? Good. There's lots of room to discuss this change in policy and how it affects your personal buying decisions. Please feel free to discuss it in this thread or quote back this section in a new post if you prefer. For now, let's get back to my review of Hyuga. Quick Summary: A modernized WWI-era Japanese battleship with twelve, quick-firing 356mm guns, a dispersed armour scheme and access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. PROS Trollish armour scheme for resisting SAP and HE hits, including thick upper hull, deck armour and voids. Good reach on her main battery guns. Very comfortable dispersion for such a large main battery. Excellent main battery DPM between her quick, 28 second reload and her twelve guns. The bulk of her secondary battery has increased accuracy. Has access to the Main Battery Reload Booster. CONS Wonky and weird citadel geometry. Seriously, it looks like a Picasso painting. Overmatch issues with her smaller gun calibre. Horrible gun handling and awkward fire angles. Only a modest top speed and not especially agile. Horrible anti-aircraft defences. Enormous surface detection range. Overview In the long-long ago, in the before-time, back when there was only three tier VI battleships in this game, a debate raged on which was the best. The answer is obvious now (it's bae-bote, always and forever) but it was a very eye-opening discussion. You see, back then it was Fuso that appealed to most. It's not hard to see why with her trollish armour and phenomenal firepower for her tier. She was faster than her two competitors and this was also back before sigma was understood. Some had a grasp of what overmatch was but others did not. It's not hard to see why Fuso was a long-standing favourite and her successor, Nagato, was often seen as a step down in terms of performance. It's surprising to me we've had to wait this long for a premium based around her game play. There are plenty of options with Fuso and Yamashiro from the Fuso-class and then Ise and Hyuga of the subsequent Ise-class. Well, the wait's over. We finally get what we've always wanted, however it is at the wrong tier. Up-tiering Fuso's gameplay begs the question if any gimmicks could make her worth playing. That's the Hyuga quandary in a nutshell: Is it worth paying money for an up-tiered Fuso with weird gimmicks? Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Hyuga's pretty new-player friendly. Keep back. Keep AP loaded. Pull the trigger. You can forget about nuances of angling properly; her gun arcs don't allow for that. She's not so fast that she'll get you into trouble nor is she so slow that she cannot keep up with the pace of battle as it progresses. So green light all around. She's an easy battleship to play and she'll deliver reasonable results to anyone of any particular skill level. For veterans, well there's lots to like here. Her consumables alone open up all kinds of opportunity for optimization, to say nothing of her fast-reload guns and her massive broadside. Hyuga's alpha strike potential is downright cataclysmic, reigned in only by modest penetration values which is yet another bit of info to out-skill. Still, as good as her armour profile appears, this is a difficult battleship to effectively tank damage, limiting her appeal as a front-line vessel for pushing and progressing the battle. Overall? Good marks for skill-potential and growth, but certainly not the best out there for that. Options Aside from her Main Battery Reload Booster, there's not a whole lot out of the ordinary for Hyuga when it comes to outfitting her. Consumables Hyuga's Damage Control Party is standard for a Japanese battleship, meaning that it's only active for 10 seconds as opposed to 15 seconds for most other battleships (and 20 seconds for Americans). It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard. It queues up to 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. From this queue, it will heal back up to 14% of the ship's starting hit points per charge over 28 seconds. It starts with four charges and has an 80 second reset timer. Her Main Battery Reload Booster is weird (not the least of which is seeing a MBRB on a battleship at all). It is active for 15 seconds, doubling the rate at which shells are reloaded during that time (each second spent reloading counts as two). It starts with three charges and it has a 60 second reset timer. Finally she has a Fighter. This launches three (3) aircraft which orbit on station for 60 seconds. It comes with three charges and a 90 second reset timer. Upgrades There's three builds to consider here: Optimal, comfort and PVE-shenani-nani-gans. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Begin your anti-fire regimen with Damage Control System Modification 1. So all of the fun happens in slot three. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is your best choice here. However, you can take the slight dispersion hit for Main Battery Modification 2 to increase her admittedly horribad turret traverse rate. For you PVE-nutters out there, you can also consider electing for a secondary build here with Secondary Battery Modification 1 if you like. Whatever your choice, follow that up with Damage Control System Modification 2 in slot four. Commander Skills Until Dead Eye (4pts) is dead and buried, it's going to remain optimal for all battleship builds. That's going to be the first priority on any PVP battleship build. From there, your next priority is to mitigate fire damage through Basics of Survivability (3pts) and Fire Prevention Expert (4pts). Next up comes buffs to gun performance, namely in the form of Adrenaline Rush (3pts) and Grease the Gears (2pts). That leaves you 5pts to play with (including a 1pt skill compulsory). Recommended skills include: 1 point skills: Gun Feeder, Emergency Repair Specialist 2 point skills: Priority Target 3 point skills: Super Heavy AP Shells 4 point skills: Emergency Repair Expert, Concealment Expert If you're a PVE main and want to dabble in a brawling build (because bots love to brawl), then you can skip the fire prevention stuff and just load up on secondary buffing skills instead, dropping Dead Eye and avoiding Concealment Expert because neither are ever going to do you any good. Camouflage Hyuga has access to two camouflage options. She comes with Type 10 Camouflage regardless of how you acquire her, but when she was first sold, the higher tiered bundle came with the Japanese Lacquer camouflage as well. This alternative camo is merely a cosmetic swap, providing the same identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains.  Hyuga's Type 10 Camouflage is the usual browns and greens you've come to expect from Japanese premiums. If you've finished the appropriate section of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection then you can palette swap to the blue instead. I really like Hyuga's lacquer camo. We've seen it before on Hayate. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 356mm guns in 6x2 turrets in an A-B-P-Q-X-Y in superfiring pairs. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 140mm guns in 16x1 hull-mounted casemates with eight to a side and eight 127mm guns in 4x2 turrets with a pair on either side of the main superstructure. I'ma take a quick moment and start with Hyuga's secondaries. Outside of PVE modes, don't worry about them. If you prefer Co-Op, you can buff her secondaries and get some nice results. Hyuga's 140mm casemates have improved gunnery dispersion, akin to that found on other large-calibre casemates of ships like Nagato, Amagi, Iron Duke and Warspite. Her 127mm have normal ol' (bad) dispersion, though. Fully buffed, you can get their reach out to 8.47km which is pretty respectable and more than worthwhile when bots come rushing blindly at you. Their smaller calibre will prevent them from dealing direct damage to all but the softest skinned targets, but you'll undoubtedly start a fire or two in every match if you get stuck in. Don't bother with them in PVP, however. Twelve 356mm guns with a 28 second reload with 1.8 sigma and a Main Battery Reload Booster at tier VII. For those experienced with the game, that's all of the information you really need to know to appreciate Hyuga's strengths and weaknesses. There's minutia, of course; other details that matter, but the lion's share of the information you need comes right there. Let's break it down: Twelve guns: This is a lot, no matter how you slice it. Most battleships in the game sit with between eight and ten guns with twelve tending to be towards the upper limit (laughs in Lyon). Regardless of gun calibre, this promises a large broadside and huge alpha strike potential. 356mm gun calibre: By tier VII, this gun calibre is a bit long in the tooth as more and more vessels drift upwards towards 380mm and 406mm guns. It is below average for its tier despite the glut of ships still using it (Poltava, California, Florida, Duke of York, King George V and Hyuga). 356mm guns obviously don't hit as hard as the larger gun calibres, but they are also incapable of overmatching structural plate that's 25mm or thicker. 25mm and 26mm structural plates become increasingly commonplace at mid-to-higher tiers, preventing ships armed with 356mm guns from being able to bully these vessels at any angle they take. 28 second reload: Go back even a year, and the perceived "normal" reload time for a battleship was 30 seconds. However, between the new American and Italian tech-tree battleships released this past year, Wargaming seems increasingly weary of keeping to this standard. A glut of newer vessels have greater-than-30-second reloads to their name, which makes Hyuga's 28 seconds all the more remarkable. Again, I stress that this is with a large main battery of twelve guns. Even with their smaller gun calibre, Hyuga's damage potential is some of the best at her tier. 1.8 sigma: This is the "workhorse" value Wargaming typically assigns to most battleships. The average sigma among the seventeen unique tier VII battleships is 1.79 just to give you an idea. The trend tends to be for ships with a large number of guns to have lower sigma; usually in the 1.5 to 1.6 range. This afflicts the tier VI battleships with twelve guns with Fuso and New Mexico both stricken with 1.5 sigma while Arizona feels decidedly over-performing with her 1.8 at the same tier. To see Hyuga with 1.8 sigma speaks to the comfort of her long-range gunnery. Aim well and she'll reward you with multiple hits. Main Battery Reload Booster: This consumable is a game changer. Hyuga already fires very quickly. She is more likely to have shells at the ready when a target of opportunity presents itself. The faster a battleship fires, the more forgiving the vessel is for poorly aimed shots. This consumable turns everything on its head, providing Hyuga with shells on demand. With a touch of a button, you all but guaranteed to be able to put shells down range to capitalize on an opponent's mistake. This stacks with the strengths of her larger battery (twelve guns) and decent sigma (1.8) to make these shots count. With the short reload on the consumable, it's again likely to be ready when the next opportunity arises. The only thing arresting the overpowered nature of this combination is Hyuga's gun calibre. If she was capable of overmatching any target she faced, this would simply be a raw DPM increase. As it is, she still needs to look for the best shots possible. Give Hyuga your broadside at your peril. Hyuga's 1.8 sigma makes for comfortable shell groupings. It's not S-tier by any means, but it's a far cry better than Fuso's 1.5 sigma shotgun blasts. This is largely the means by which Wargaming justifies Hyuga being a tier VII. This is what Fuso's 1.5 sigma shotgun blasts look like. Both ships are using Aiming Systems Modification 1 (but not Dead Eye), firing 180 AP shells at 15km against a stationary Fuso bot without camo. Shells are coming in from right to left (the Fuso is bow-tanking). Twelve guns with a 28 second reload means that Hyuga very comfortably sits near the top of the potential damage charts, even with her smaller gun calibre. It doesn't hurt that Japanese HE shells deal more damage than most of the contemporaries of the same calibre, with only the Royal Navy HE being beefier on a per-hit basis (6,100 damage from a KGV-class HE shell versus 5,700 for Hyuga). I swore I'd never do one of these graphics again and YET, here I am... Twelve 356mm guns with a 28 second reload with 1.8 sigma and a Main Battery Reload Booster glosses over a lot of problems. Hyuga's gun handling isn't particularly good nor are her fire angles comfortable (more on these in the Durability section below). Her range is good, but it could be better. Without access to a Spotter Aircraft, there's no temporary flexibility to chase targets just beyond her nominal reach. Next, her HE shells aren't good fire starters. Finally, her penetration just isn't up to scratch to compete with battleship belt armours outside of 14km. There is also the added problem that with such fast firing guns, Hyuga remains spotted longer than other battleships, revealing herself with every blast of her weapons. All of these problems are easy to forget with just how many shells she puts downrange and how often the land hits. Yes, ricochets are annoying. Yes, it sucks when a salvo of multiple hits from HE fails to start a fire. These issues help reign Hyuga in from over-performing, because there's a little too much good going on here. A lot of the premium battleships at tier VII use 356mm guns for some reason. Ashitaka uses 410mm, to be clear, and is present here because she's the other Japanese premium. Despite her increased HE shell damage, she's only a modest fire starter and only because she has so many guns and fires so quickly. Her individual shell hits have some of the lowest fire setting at her tier. SUMMARY: Very comfortable gunnery platform. Maybe a little too comfortable. Durability Hit Points: 60,700 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 26mm / 16mm / 149mm / 35 to 44mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm anti-torpedo bulge + 299mm belt + 32mm turtleback + up to a 230mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 26% I'm going to start with this graphic. It may seem a little out of place, but hear me out. "It could be worse" sums up Hyuga's fire angles. Between these and her poor gun handling, she gets poor marks here. 'If you can shoot them, they can penetrate you,' sums up Hyuga's firing angles. Assuming you can set things up absolutely 100% perfect, there's still around a one in three chance of their AP shells doing unspeakably ugly things to your ship. Get sloppy by as little as 3º and their chances jump up to half with the enusing reduction of relative armour as an additional kick in the teeth (her 299mm belt drops from approximately 520mm of effective armour down to 485mm). Hyuga's firing angles aren't well designed for trading fire. She's not meant to tank damage in gun duels like this. She's much better suited at shooting things that aren't shooting back. You're pretty much forced to choose between damage out put and tanking effectively. She's not really agile enough to pull off both without making some serious compromises to one or the other. It's not all doom and gloom, though. The Ise-class is a WWI era super-dreadnought and this is reflected in her dispersed armour scheme. This means that other than her extremities and (admittedly sizeable) superstructure, Hyuga has thicker armour than expected. Combine this with her enormous anti-torpedo bulges (which don't work very efficiently against torpedoes for some reason), Hyuga's armour profile is downright troll for resisting AP, SAP and HE shells. The latter two especially struggle to deal reliable damage if they miss her snoot, booty or hat. Against AP shells, it's a bit more of a mixed-blessing. Her dispersed armour does make it more likely to AP shells to ricochet if she's angled correctly. However, the thicker armour plate also has the effect of guaranteeing to arm the fuses of large calibre AP rounds, all but negating the chance for reduced damage over-penetrations when shells do bite into these places. Overall, her dispersed armour scheme is more of a blessing than a bane. Before moving on, it's worth mentioning that her turrets have about 300mm worth of usable armour between their turret faces and barbettes. These are an admitted weak point when face-tanking if an opponent can't simply overmatch her 26mm bows with 380mm+ calibre AP rounds. Hyuga's guns break often when forced into this role. Hyuga's huge 32mm anti-torpedo bulge acts as a void. Any HE or SAP attacks that strike here will deal zero damage to the ship. Peel back that anti-torpedo protection and there's a mess of different armour values for AP shells to contend with. None of these values are especially high, so maintaining correct angling is paramount to resisting battleship-calibre AP fire. When it comes to citadel protection ... it's complicated. Around Hyuga's rear magazines, her protection is pretty damn good with a combination of up to 593mm worth of steel at funny angles aimed to keep shells out. But depending on where she's hit, this value can be as low as just 288mm. Add onto this the wonky (janky!) geometry, especially around the P and Q turret magazines and the rear machine spaces and Hyuga's presents shell trap after shell trap after shell trap for penetration AP rounds to catch upon and deal big damage. It's worth mentioning that her turtleback isn't angled steeply enough to resist flat-trajectory fire, to say nothing of long-range fire and it's from the latter that you need to worry about big damaging hit the most. The reason I have made such a big deal out of Hyuga's poor firing angles and gun handling has a lot to do with how badly this ship resists citadel hits from the incidental attacks that come from long range duels. Look, I was going to show the armour values for this but ... it's like Jackson Pollock painting. It's a total mess. There are so many different armour values and weird geometries going on. I want to rate Hyuga's overall durability more highly than it deserves. In truth, her protection scheme could be really troll if she had better firing angles to capitalize on it. Furthermore, being a tier VII battleship, that leaves those huge vulnerable overmatching holes in the form of her bow and stern for easy back-doors into big damage against this ship. And if those aren't available, you can always smack her in the barbettes and get some nice damaging hits that way -- the changes made to penetrating hits against guns has greatly hurt the durability of mid-tier battleships, especially in brawls. I suppose the best that could be said about her is that she's pretty good at resisting poorly aimed cruiser HE and SAP spam. However, her superstructure and extremities are large targets so you cannot expect any experienced player to ignore those soft spots. Furthermore, Hyuga burns just as well as any other Japanese battleship. Hyuga's health pool is only average. VERDICT: Pretty good if you can stay angled or your opponents are n00bs. I wouldn't count on either one of those, though. It'll work well against bots, though. Agility Top Speed: 25.3 knots Turning Radius: 750m Rudder Shift Time: 15 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.9º/s at 18.9 knots Tier VII is a transition-tier for battleship agility. This is where we start to see some really fast battleships appearing however there are still some 20-knot holdovers in the form of the American standards. This combines with a mix of different handling characteristics, with some retaining the early-battleship tight turning radii while others begin to have their turning circles balloon out to the massive sizes we see at higher tiers. Thus there's a lot of variety between the best and worst performers and everything in between. Hyuga is definitely one of those in between. Her speed is slightly below average for her tier and her turning radius is alright. At 25 knots, it's just about enough to keep up with the pace of battle or to disengage during the opening stages of a fight. As the battle progresses, however, Hyuga's pedestrian top speed is more of a liability where the threat of allied support begins to dry up and enemies can push more aggressively if she's exposed. Similarly, her modest top speed leads to a cumbersome rate of turn. The good news is that she doesn't quite out-turn her turrets. The bad news is that you're still going to be tempted to use your rudder to bring guns to bear and that's going to open up your sides for penetrating AP hits. To this end, taking traverse-improving skills and upgrades helps improve this ship's durability, if only to keep your fingers away from the WASD keys when switching targets. Think of Hyuga as a slightly-faster Nelson. VERDICT: Nothing terrible but nothing good. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 2 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 63dps at 75% accuracy (47dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 75.5dps at 85% accuracy (62dps) Yeah.... no. The only reason Hyuga isn't at the bottom of the pile for AA defence at this tier is because Ashitaka is a stock, interwar-era Amagi. VERDICT: Yeah... no. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.84km / 14.7km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 10.46km / 9.41km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.84km Maximum Firing Range: 20.31km Have some raw data. Hyuga's surface detection is pretty bad. Hyuga's surface deteciton is pretty terrible. Stock, it's 2km better than Fuso (a little bit less if they're both fully upgraded), so that's something I guess. But that's like saying your tier V battleship has more health than Viribus Unitis. Even with a full concealment build (which should still do, by the way), until the enemy destroyers have been thinned out, you have to count on being permanently lit if you're anywhere close to the front. Being so easily spotted means that Hyuga spends more time being the only target available than her contemporaries. I'm sure Wargaming has some metric out there to illustrate this that would justify my suspicions, but between Hyuga's enormous surface detection and rapid fire guns, she ends up making herself a target more often than most. This means more incidental fire comes her way, especially from other battleships. While not all of this will connect, it's just that little bit of extra chip-damage that will eat at her health or tax your Damage Control Party that makes Hyuga and Fuso feel squishier than their armour profiles would otherwise suggest. It's just something to keep in mind. Having Priority Target is recommended if only to let you know when you need to silence your guns and think about rotating towards the back of the line to ease off some of the pressure. Hyuga's lack of a Spotter Aircraft tends to keep Hyuga closer to the action than Fuso, even with the two ships having comparable ranges. For the sake of her gun performance, this is generally a good thing though I found myself missing that extra bit of reach-on-demand in higher tiered engagements. Still, I have no real complaints about her engagement distances. Hyuga has nothing else really to speak of when it comes to her Vision Control. She's a fat battleship, possibly visible from space. This gets her shot a lot, though often it's more incidental fire than anything concentrated. Still, you can't count on being able to properly disengage unless you keep her in the second line. VERDICT: Just plain bad. Final Evaluation This isn't the first time Wargaming has taken an existing design and up-tiered it by making some small changes. While Hyuga is not a Fuso-class, their design looks superficially analogous from a game play perspective, what with both ships being large, twelve-356mm gun armed Japanese battleships. However, the differences between them is extensive. While describing Hyuga has a Tier VII Fuso is a good shorthand for setting expectations, it's far from accurate. This isn't a complete list of differences (you could write a book on their armour and hull geometry differences alone), but here's the important bits that separate the two vessels: The Basics Hyuga is an Ise-class, with overall larger dimensions than the Fuso-class and, most notably, different P & Q gun turret layouts. Hyuga is tier VII, facing a maximum of tier IX opponents and Fuso is tier VI facing a maximum of tier VIII opponents. Hyuga is a premium with all that this entails and comes with permanent camouflage. Firepower Hyuga has access to a Main Battery Reload Booster. Hyuga has improved sigma (1.8 vs 1.5) Hyuga has longer ranged secondaries (5.6km vs 4.96km) Hyuga has sixteen 140mm casemate secondaries, Fuso has fourteen 152mm casemate secondaries. Fuso is longer ranged (21.81km vs 20.31km) and she has access to a Spotter Aircraft. Durability Very different armour layouts and hull geometries. No, I'm not going into detail. Hyuga has better overall citadel defence. Hyuga has more hit points (60,700 vs 57,100) Hyuga has better built in fire resistance from her tier (30% vs 23.5% approximately). Fuso has better anti-torpedo defence (34% reduction versus 26%) Agility Hyuga is faster (25.3kts vs 24.5kts) Fuso has a tighter turning radius (730m vs 750m) Fuso has a faster rudder shift time (14.9s vs 15s) Anti-Aircraft Defence Fuso has better AA DPS at close range (150.5dps vs 75.5dps) Hyuga has a Fighter consumable. Vision Control Hyuga has a better surface detection range (16.89km vs 18.9km) Fuso has a better aerial detection range (9.74km vs 10.46km) So Hyuga's not a Fuso clone, but really, the three big differences between the two vessels are her consumables, her range and her dispersion. Hyuga is a much better gun platform than Fuso, even with her deficit of reach. Her gunnery is more reliable than the tier VI vessel. She puts more shells on target from accuracy and more shells down range grace of her Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. In fact, Hyuga's gunnery is so much better that it feels downright comfortable; and that, to me, is always a warning sign that a ship is perhaps a little too good. If I find myself feeling cozy in a given vessel, that's a sure sign that something about it is overtuned in my hands. Whether or not this translates to being similarly good in the hands of the masses is another thing entirely, but a lot of the ships I like end up getting pulled by Wargaming -- just saying. In Hyuga's case, Wargaming's new policy on adjusting premiums should keep this ship from ever getting withdrawn from sale barring her becoming way too popular. But as it stands, I think Hyuga is a fantastic Japanese premium. She's right up there with some of the other top-tier Japanese premium battleships including Ashitaka, Musashi and Shikishima.
  6. The following is a quick review of Viribus Unitis, the tier V Austro-Hungarian battleship flying under the Pan European flag. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to me (thankfully). To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are current as of patch 0.9.10. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. In the spirit of getting through some of my backlog, here's a stupid-quick review. Facilitated by the graphic production from working on Oklahoma, today we'll be looking at everyone's favourite standard unit of battleship health measurement: Viribus Unitis. This ships is as relevant to the tier V meta as that joke about her hit points: they're both stupidly obscure to the point of irrelevance. I keep forgetting that I should review this darned thing after I put out a warning about her back when she was first released. For those who don't remember, there was an enormous gap between her final test iteration and her release -- so much so that some of the advertised changes that were said to applied didn't go through. Huh, there's been a lot of that lately. Anyway, long story short: This ship isn't worth the time and effort I'm about to put into this review, so I'm giving myself an absolute time limit for the production of this article. Wherever I end up after 8 hours is where I'm calling it. Let's see what I can do. Quick Summary: A soft-skinned, over-tiered battleship with good gunnery but appalling fire angles on her main battery. This issue is compounded with a tiny health pool and poor armour layout. This ship is only good if no one shoots back. As a WWI era dreadnought, her AA power is about what you would expect -- limited to a crewman with a bullhorn whining at airplanes to please stop. Kinda like Reddit. PROS: Dispersed armour scheme giving her decent HE protection. Large broadside of twelve 305mm guns with good accuracy and high DPM. Tiny turning circle radius and good rate of turn. My ship's captain has an epic moustache. Tiny surface detection range. CONS: High-water vulnerable citadel. Poor armour geometry with tons of shell-traps. Tiny hit point pool. Absolutely appalling fire arcs. Relatively short ranged for a tier V battleship. Hilariously bad anti-aircraft firepower. Slow. Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme There's really not a whole lot to Viribus Unitis. She dittos a lot of the low-tier battleship game play. The only complication is that her fire arcs are total crap and this travesty is forced to face tier VII opponents. That kinda hurts her chances and makes her not new-fish friendly. For veterans well... there's again not a lot to her so short of angling and managing consumables and ammo, that's pretty much the limits to her complexity. Options Consumables There's nothing special here. Viribus Unitis' Damage Control Party is standard for any battleship that's not American or Japanese. It is active for 15 seconds with unlimited charges. It has an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard. It queues up to 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of every other kind of damage. It heals back up to 0.5% of her starting hit points per second over 28 seconds. She starts with four charges and it has an 80 second reset timer. Upgrades Again, very standard fare for a not-American tier V battleship. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control System Modification 1. Finish things off with Aiming Systems Modification 1. Commander Skills Grab the same ol' battleship build I've been complaining about all year. With the commander skill rework coming, odds are I will only be able to use this like ... six more times. Camouflage Viribus Unitis has a single camouflage pattern. It provides: 3% reduction to surface detection. 4% increase to enemy dispersion. 10% reduction to service costs. 50% increase to experience gains. Viribus Unitis is a gorgeous looking ship. I love WWI era dreadnoughts. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 305mm guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 150mm guns mounted in casemates along the sides of the hull. The 1.8 sigma of Viribus Unitis' guns can be devastating in the claustrophobic, short-ranged engagements found at low tiers. A Farragut is discovers this to its peril, getting picked off as it accidentally slips out from its smoke screen. Viribus Unitis has very high shell drag coefficients which hurts her ballistics and penetration over distance. Twelve guns solves a lot of problems. Twelve guns with better-than-expected accuracy and without reload penalties solves a whole bunch more. That's the going theory with Viribus Unitis. She's a glass cannon, designed to put more hurt downrange than any of her contemporaries, her flaws be damned. All of her crappy features can be explained as paying for the boons of her gunnery. I'm frankly of the opinion that Viribus Unitis pays way too steep a price for what she gets. She deserves more given what a sorry excuse for a ship she ends up being, all of the sake of this 30 second reload and 1.8 sigma. Here's where I take issue: First and foremost: firing arcs and her gun handling sucks. She has some of the worst battleship fire angles in the game with her rear turrets only able to shoot at targets 47º off her bow and her forward turrets only capable of shooting at targets 41º off her stern giving her 92º of overlapping fire per side. NoW to be clear, there are battleships with worse overlapping fire arcs but they're usually suffering because they're mounted in wings or in P, Q and R positions amidships with superstructure blocking the guns. But for a battleship with a simple bow and stern mounting, Viribus Unitis is among the worst. Mikasa comes to mind as one of the few that is worse off (56º forward, 57º back with only 67º of overlapping fire). Vanguard is pretty close (43º forward, 41º back for 96º of overlap) as is Großer Kurfürst (46º forward, 36º back for 98º of overlap). And just to spit in your eye, her turrets are sluggish with only a 4º/s traverse rate (45s for 180º). Ewwww. Bad fire angles has a trickle down effect. To unmask her guns, you have to give up more broadside. Giving up more broadside not only makes her more vulnerable to return fire. It also slows the ship down if you're trying to advance as you have to nose away from your line of attack in order to keep firing. It's far too easy to find yourself veering off towards the map borders (or at least away from objectives) after a couple of minutes of sustained fire. For a ship that's already moving at a crawl, this is bad news. If you try and stay the course, well now you're only a six-gun battleship which means you're not taking advantage of those twelve guns for which you sacrificed so much. There's also the issue of range. While 16km may seem alright at first, there's no way to extend this the way that similarly short-ranged ships like New York or Texas can through upgrades. Nor does Viribus Unitis have access to a Spotter Aircraft consumable the way Kaiser and Iron Duke can. This is not a fast ship either, so it's not like you can make up the difference by aggressively charging towards the action. I mean, you can call it a charge but it's more like the movemement of glaciers. It takes Viribus Unitis almost 3 minutes to cover 10km at her maximum speed to give you an idea. Though she may share the woes of slow speed with other ships at her tier, they at least have the range to engage sooner. Being so short ranged means that she can (and will) be picked on cruisers outside of her reach. In my most recent bouts of playtesting, I faced a very knowledgeable Nürnberg player who knew they had 500m reach on me and played an expert game of keep away. I was being lit by a friendly destroyer and there was nothing I could do. Fun times. Being kited and picked apart by cruisers and other battleships is a very real issue because of this short reach if you can't drop back into stealth. Finally on my list of complaints, there are her secondaries. These prove to be a durability liability (see below in the Defence section) and provide almost zero benefit. They're too short ranged (4km) and fire too slowly (6rpm) to be of any use to anyone. Viribus Unitis does have some good AP DPM. Provided no one shoots back at her, she can put out some respectable damage. She's not a very good fire setter, however. Coupled with her only modest HE shells, she should really stick to firing AP whenever possible. VERDICT: Pretty good, honestly. There's some drawbacks here and there. It's just a shame these weapons are mounted on this particular ship. Defence Hit Points: 35,700 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 150mm / 30mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 150mm belt + 160mm transverse bulkhead or 280mm + 50mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 18% Her hit point pool is such a bloody meme. I would like to tell you that all of the criticism about Viribus Unitis' fragility is just the internet being the internet -- magnifying a small problem and making it an undeserved crisis. Sadly, the rumours are true. She is a piece of crap. At first blush, her protection scheme looks hella exciting. It's got Soviet-levels of bullpaddies going for it with very few thinly armoured sections for HE damage or for large caliber AP shells to overmatch. Combine that with hidden geometry preventing AP shells from capitalizing on the sections they can overmatch. She should be able to tank for days, shrugging off AP hits left right and center with impunity not seen since the days of Imperator Nikolai I's reign. In practice, however, she's a wet noodle. While she does have some resilience to HE fire, she takes so much damage from AP shells it's downright comical. So what's the deal? The issue is shot-traps. Viribus Unitis' hull is riddled with shot-traps. Her secondary casemates are the most egregious of these. Even when the ship angles perfectly, it's possible to slam shells down into these traps and get penetrating hits with battleship and heavy cruiser caliber AP shells. But that's not all. Behind the 19mm hull sections are similar plates to ensure battleship shells fuse and detonate -- and every battleship caliber shell can overmatch these areas. This problem is, of course, exacerbated by her horrible gun firing angles. While her fire angles to the rear may seem more forgiving, her armour layout there is much softer making her more likely to take big damaging hits. But there's worse geometry to consider. Taking Viribus Unitis into a brawl is a death sentence. Not only does she not have the health to survive any torpedo strikes, her citadel is horribly vulnerable. It sits high over the waterline and, though she has a turtleback scheme, it isn't sloped sufficiently to repulse incoming fire. In jousts she's meat on the table for an enemy battleship. Worse, she has an octagonal-shaped citadel, similar to Yamato. Shots aimed beneath her first or last turret have a good chance of causing citadel hits even when the ship angles so your opponents have a chance of landing citadel hits against you before you can do the same to them. Her icebreaker bow should provide protection against this but only if you nose in perfectly. Give up any of her side to try and bait early shots can still see you sunk if you're not absolutely careful with the firing angles. All of these problems are mated to a hull with the hit points of a tier III dreadnought. She just doesn't have the health to take those high alpha hits, with even a single torpedo hit from a Japanese lolibote capable of gutting a third of her health at once. She is a Devastating Strike medal waiting to be printed. There's some hidden geometry to Viribus Unitis' armour scheme in her bow and stern. There is a 30mm thick deck under her 19mm prow, sitting on top of the 110mm icebreaker belt, effectively running nearly the whole length of the ship stopping at her Y-turret. This means that even if shells overmatch her 19mm bow they can't dive into her citadel. In addition on her there is a 43mm plate running along the base of the 150mm waterline belt of her bow (48mm on her stern) mating up to the base of the 160mm transverse bulkhead of her citadel. This prevents shells from diving down into the 25mm transverse citadel section. As nice as this protection scheme seems, she has an octagonal citadel. Shots aimed beneath her A or Y turret will slam into her citadel. Pay attention to the 180mm upper hull section of Viribus Unitis. These indents for her secondary battery make perfect shell traps for catching incoming AP shells. Even when Viribus Unitis angles perfectly, shells aimed high will penetrate for full damage as they catch off this geometry. Her protection scheme ends up looking better than it is. VERDICT: She has too little health and she takes far more damage than you would expect. Agility Top Speed: 20.5kts Turning Radius: 530m Rudder Shift Time: 11.5s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.5º/s at 15.3kts Viribus Unitis really shows her lower tiered origins here. Her 530m turning radius is right home among the tier III battleships. Yes, I said tier III. Even at tier IV, her turning radius would be remarkable. For a tier V battleship, it's amazing. So hats off to her. This tiny turning radius gives her some surprising agility despite her pedestrian top speed. Though she can barely hold onto 15 knots in a sustained turn, she comes about rather quickly (for a battleship) at 4.5º/s per second. Sadly there's no way to correct her rudder shift time so while she may turn tightly, she still feels like a chunker. Worse, she totally out-turns her turrets, which makes her gun handling and poor fire angles all the more frustrating. Plan your turns accordingly and make sure you don't over-steer. Remember to protect her citadel as best you can. She isn't fast but at least she gets around (get it?). VERDICT: A mixed bag. She's very slow. It takes her a bit to start turning because of her rudder shift time, but at least she comes about quickly when she does answer her rudder. That tight turning circle is very nice. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: Yeah right. Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km): 14dps at 75% accuracy Yep. 14 whole DPS. Even with sector reinforcement, you're looking at over a minute of sustained fire to shoot down ONE (1) tier IV bomber or attack aircraft, to say nothing of battling it out with the tier VI planes this thing also faces. It's not like this thing is Imperator Nikolai I or König Albert, where you could forgive them for having poor AA DPS because the rest of the ship is god-tier. Nope. Viribus Unitis gets 14dps on top of all of her other issues. VERDICT: Laughably bad. Aww, nuts. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.5km / 10.91km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 6.82km/6.14km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 6.1km Maximum Firing Range: 16km Viribus Unitis has very nice concealment values, even for a low-tier battleship. Like with her health, AA defence and turning radius, Viribus Unitis' concealment values have more in common with tier III and tier IV battleships than those at tier V. For a ship with so many durability problems, this is a breath of fresh air and it really helps her survivability. There are, of course, two caveats to this: There are no enemy aircraft around. Good luck here given her matchmaking. There are no enemy destroyers around. Her concealment is most effective when she's uptiered. In the claustrophobic maps at the lower tiers, it's harder to make use of her open water concealment. It's far easier to use islands to help break line of sight rather than relying on putting what little distance there is available between herself and her opponents. If Viribus Unitis were a little faster, it might be easier to put this concealment to use, but she's not. Thus it remains "nice to have" rather than game changing. VERDICT: Good, but not good enough to save her. Final Evaluation Imagine having the brilliant idea after finsihing Pommern's review to wanna play this thing. Ugh, talk about whiplash -- going from a good ship to bad. I've been planning on squeezing a review of this ship in for a while now, since before ShipComrade shut down. She's one of several reviews that I had started but never finished owing to something of higher priority coming out and bumping her back. It was reviewing Oklahoma that brought her back to the fore, with some of the graphical overlap between the two ships expediting my process here. I played about a dozen games in her since September and this ship and I did not get along, though I think you could tell that from how much I've complained about her. I've made little secret that I hate ships with awful gun angles. Toss on some frustrating speed and range issues and it's no wonder I've come down so hard on her. Viribus Unitis does have some nice guns. Despite all of my bellyaching about everything else, there's no taking away from that. Her 305mm guns are excellent They exist at a tier where overmatching is less of an issue. She has good enough penetration and ballistics. She does more than enough damage. The only proviso is that she needs to be left well enough alone in order to pull it off. Yes, I've had some high damage games with Viribus Unitis but that's owing more to the enemy team enabling this rather than any particular strength of the ship. ANY ship performs so much better when the enemy team leaves you alone, after all, so I find it hard to justify that as a selling feature. Way back in October of 2019, I warned players not to buy Viribus Unitis because of confusion regarding whether or not some nerfs had been applied. With the question hanging in the air, I didn't want anyone buying her expecting X performance only to receive Y instead. Thankfully Wargaming was fast to clear up the issue when it was raised. Sadly, even with that done, I'm sticking to my guns and telling you all, once again, to not buy Viribus Unitis. She's a bad ship. Worse, the health of the game down at low tiers is worse than ever and your money won't be well spent. If you play late at night as I enjoy doing, you're stuck facing undersized teams, multiple carriers and/or a handful of bots. These are the off-peak hours risks, of course. But even in prime time, do you really want to take this ship out against tier VIs and VIIs? Viribus Units and Oklahoma feel like Wargaming's attempts at penance to pay for the horror that is Giulio Cesare. You shouldn't be put on the hook for their mistake. Thank you all for reading.
  7. Because I hate the current USN BB split that much, I'm designing a second one! These ships will be meant to be able to adapt to fit what is required to win the match. They will have improved secondary dispersion (no buffed range), decent range, strong AA, and have high speeds in order to be able to quickly position. The biggest downside will be weaker armor, poor long range dispersion, and poor agility. So first we have: T8 South Dakota I searched for a suitable T8 that wasn't already in game before giving up. I considered a fantasy Alaska with twin 16 inch guns at one point. Stats will be similar to Massachusetts in soft stats. Key differences will be USN improved heal instead of fast heal No buffed range (but yes dispersion)+one less secondary on each side Worse dispersion Has access to 8% speed boost Range increased to 20.5km Worse rudder shift and turning circle She has 20% worse long range AA and flak due to one less 5/38" twin mount on each side of the ship T9 Iowa Yeah, y'all already know Iowa Key differences: Speed boost Slightly nerfed rudder shift and turning circle Dispersion gets nerfed Secondary dispersion gets buffed Reload buffed to 28.5 seconds Secondary mount parameters made similar to South Dakota T9 New Hampshire *Note the secondaries are irregular. The port one represents the original design, and starboard is the new version. This ship will use the starboard variation. New Hampshire is a preliminary design to the Montana class. She will replace Iowa in the current line Firepower: 4x3 406mm Mk7, 32 second reload, 45 second turret traverse, has Iowa/Montana shell velocity but uses North Carolina's shells, 23km range 10x2 127mm Mk12, 6 second reload, 1800 damage, 7km range Survivability: 85000 HP AA: Similar to North Carolina Maneuverability: 22.2 second rudder shift, 920m turning circle 28 knots speed Refrigerator: 17.5km Consumables: Damage control (USN) Heal (improved USN) Spotting aircraft/fighter T10 Illinois I actually proposed the King/Nimitz Iowa class retrofit here However, I'll present an alternative set of stats so that it fits line progression better and is less like an American Bourgogne. Firepower: 3x3 406mm Mk7, 28 second reload, 30 second turret traverse, 23.3km range 10x2 127mm Mk12, 4 second reload, 1800 HE damage Survivability: 85000 HP AA: Identical to AA in proposal Maneuverability: Identical to in proposal Refrigerator: Identical to in proposal Consumables: Damage con (USN) Speed boost (8%) Heal (USN) Spotter Aircraft/Fighter
  8. 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! 
  9. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Champagne

    The following is a review of Champagne, the tier VIII French premium battleship. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself; I did not pay to get access to this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.3. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Behold the Imperator NIkolai I of the French battleship line. Champagne has been on sale all of twice. Form June 26th to July 10th, 2020 and from October 10th until 16th, 2020. She has been locked in the vault since then, available only through lucky drops through Supercontainers. Like Enterprise before her, Champagne's sale window has been exceedingly brief which begs the question if she has been removed for over-performing or not. Well, according to my contacts at Wargaming she has neither been removed nor is she over-performing. Like the abomination known as Cheshire, she simply is not put on sale very often. Performance not-withstanding, the argument has been made that she's the worst thing in the history of ever and not good for the game. Let's go into why this ship (and others like her) earn so much ire... Summary: A long-range sniper armed with six, quick firing 406mm guns that have improved accuracy and penetration. The ship itself has weakened structural armour and survivability over other tier VIII battleships. PROS Very long ranged with a 25.02km base reach. Excellent gunnery accuracy over distance using battlecruiser dispersion and 2.0 sigma Increased rate of fire with a 28.6 second reload. Ridiculous levels of AP penetration. Very high fire chance per shell at 49% per hit. Good gun handling with a 6º/s turret rotation rate. Very fast and very agile, handling more like a fat heavy cruiser than a battleship. CONS Small hit point pool for a tier VIII battleship. Very thin belt at only 240mm. Thin overall structural plate with 32mm upper hull and deck and only 25mm on her bow and stern (!). Bad forward fire angles. Small main battery with poor overall DPM potential. Crappy anti-aircraft firepower. One fewer charges of her Repair Party than most battleships. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme Champagne's game play is pretty comfortable for an inexperienced player provided they can steer away from any impulse to move up to the front lines. If said new-fish is more inclined to sit back and shoot from the A-line, then Champagne will reward them with some semi-reliable damage. Neat! I'd give her a Simple rating but she's too darned fragile and long-range gunnery does take some getting used to. Once you learn to play keep away and can lead a target comfortably? You're good to go. High-end game play with Champagne largely comes down to positioning, situational awareness and target selection. Yes, you could conceivably push up and take a cap or brawl or do all of the other loser-stuff that will most-likely get anyone but a pogchamp clobbered. There's the possibility of that. However, it's so unnecessary to get the most out of this ship. Sit back. Load AP. Farm damage. You're good to go. Options Consumables There is a lot of weirdness to Champagne and her consumables are no exception. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a French battleship. It comes with unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. It removes critical effects, extinguishes fires and repairs floods instantly for 15 seconds. Her Repair Party has one fewer charge than you would normally expect for a French battleship, allowing for three uses instead of the usual four. Otherwise, it behaves as expected, queuing 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It will heal back up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds and it has an 80 second 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 30.02km!) for 100 seconds and has a 240 second reset timer. The latter launches three 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. Her Engine Boost consumable provides an 8% speed increase (up to a maximum of 38.5 knots with this consumable and a Sierra Mike signal) for 180 seconds. It has a 120 second reset timer and comes with three charges. Upgrades Champagne's upgrades provide no surprises. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Like other French battleships with only a pair of turrets, you cannot afford to lose either one. Next up, you'll want the special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1. This will increase the action time of her Engine Boost from 180 seconds to 234 seconds (!). It can be purchased for 17,000 from the Armory. If you can't afford that, then default to Damage Control System Modification 1. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is the only upgrade worth considering in slot three. You have a choice in slot four, with either being decent. Damage Control System Modification 2 will help mitigate fire damage. Though Champagne outranges most cruisers, she still has to contend with battleship HE spam so this is still a good idea. Alternatively, you can Just Dodge™ by taking Steering Gears Modification 1, though be warned, this won't make her cruiser-nimble and dodging only really works at very very long engagement distances. Finally, finish things off with Concealment System Modification 1. Commander Skills Well, Dead Eye is on it's way out. Champagne's nominal build included it. When it gets axed, you're probably best served just sticking to the same ol' survivability build you run on most of your French battleships anyway. This said, there's a very strong case to be made for a specialized Champagne captain that forgoes optimized fire mitigation to instead take Super Heavy AP Shells for that extra bit of long-range farming punch. Camouflage Champagne has only has access to Type 10 Camouflage, providing the usual bonuses for a tier VIII battleship: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% experience earned. Champagne's default camo is the darker of the two. The lighter alternative palette can be unlocked by completing the appropriate section of the Legion of Honour collection. Firepower Main Battery: Six 406mm guns in 2x3 turrets with one mounted fore and the other aft. Secondary Battery: Nine 152mm rifles in 3x3 turrets mounted down the centreline, twenty-four 100mm rifles in 12x2 turrets with six to a side. If you're going to make a good sniper out of a battleship, you need the appropriate toolkit. While just about any battleship with Dead Eye could sit on the back line and huck spitballs vaguely in the direction of the enemy at maximum range, to make this kind of gunnery consistent you have to be a Royal Navy battleship spamming HE (lul). To use real ammo that people won't whine about, you're going to need to have a lot of special traits to make it effective. Wargaming could have padded Champagne's gunnery by delving into their Box o' Gimmicks™ and fished out some consumables to boost her performance, but instead they went with altering her gunnery stats directly. They did this in three ways: She has improved accuracy. Her AP shell penetration is phenomenal for its calibre. Champagne has excellent range. She is purpose built for sitting on the back line and giving Hell to anything that isn't perfectly angled that falls under her crosshairs (and some targets can't angle against her at all). A Thunderous Salute This is a standard dispersion test with 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso bot that had no camouflage. Shots are coming in from right to left with the Fuso effectively bow tanking. Champagne was using the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade but not Dead Eye. And this is with Dead Eye and ASM1. Champagne seemed purpose built to take advantage of it. Or maybe that was just coincidence. It was ships like her and Thunderer that helped get this skill axed. The first piece of the Champagne sniper-puzzle is her dispersion. She joins the ranks of Georgia and Thunderer as a battleship using battlecruiser dispersion, a vast improvement over the dispersion used by the French battleship line. Champagne combines this with 2.0 sigma, clustering a bigger majority of her shells towards the centre of her aiming circle. This is an improvement over even Georgia's 1.8 sigma and Thunderer's 1.9 sigma, making her one of the most accurate battleships at long-range in the game (it's not Slava-good, but she'll get her own review and a deep-dive on vertical dispersion eventually). What is perhaps most important is that Champagne's vertical dispersion (the overshooting and undershooting of a target) is much reduced over comparable French battleships. Thus, for a battleship, her accuracy is downright reliable. Aim well, you'll get hits. However there's a double edged sword here. Aim poorly and you'll get nothing from the one-two combination of Champagne's small number of guns and the lack of scatter from her shells. Krupp is Balans™ Champagne still manages 545mm worth of penetration at 20km, making her a threat to most battleship citadels inside of her nominal range. Champagne has some of the highest AP penetration in the game for 406mm guns. At her nominal maximum range, she still manages around 500mm worth of penetration, making her fully capable of landing citadel hits against most battleships even at this considerable distance. At anything less than that and ANY battleship flashing their sides is just asking to get punished. Champagne's phenomenal AP penetration comes from a combination of factors, including a very high muzzle velocity for a battleship. But more to the point, she has a very high Krupp rating on her shells, giving her around 20% more penetration than expected at any given range. These shells are purpose built to punish battleship belt armour and at medium to close ranges, even angling isn't proof against their bite. If the shells don't ricochet, they have enough energy to bore clean through even the thickest of plate. Against more lightly armoured targets, Champagne inherits a lot of the same problems as Roma had. There's just too much speed and energy in her shells for her fuses to arm properly while still inside a cruiser. For example, to properly fuse inside a broadsiding Baltimore (152mm belt), Champagne must be at least 12km distant. For a broadsiding Cleveland-class cruiser, this range increases to in excess of 16km. The only way around this is to either dunk the shells into the water just in front of the target or to hit them while they're angled. Thankfully, Champagne's 406mm gun calibre gives her the ability to overmatch up to 28mm of armour, more than enough to punch through the extremities of any of the cruisers she faces. This isn't quite enough to best the 30mm deck and upper hull armour found on many of these ships, so it's not like it's idiot proof. The better solution is just to fire at a distance. And Champagne loves to fire at a distance. No Plunging Fire Champagne has a 25km range base. If you elect to use her Spotter Aircraft (and you SHOULD), then this increases to a whopping 30km for a short period of time. At this distance, Champagne has similar dispersion to a British, American or German battleship at 24km and still packs approximately 450mm worth of penetration (it's not quite guaranteed citadel hit range but you should still be able to land some penetrations). Champagne's shell fall angle never gets steep enough where deck penetrations is possible beyond overmatching, so you can ignore that. Sum of her Parts These three elements combine to make Champagne one of the best snipers using AP shells in the game, at least in terms of individual hits. Ignoring Slava (which is, for all intents and purposes, a Stalinium-built up-tiered improvement over Champagne), there are still other ships which do what Champagne does. But most of these are higher tiered ... and British. Champagne is to AP spam what Conqueror is to HE spam; it's easy and it chalks up an unreasonable amount of damage for so little effort all while largely keeping the ship out of harm's way. While other AP throwers have to worry about penetration (and thus engagement distances), Champagne is almost always in range and she's almost always going to be able to penetrate (if not land citadel hits). She sits so far back that the only real return fire you have to worry about comes from American battleships or vessels two tiers higher. Not only is Champagne's gunnery easy, it's stupidly safe too. Champagne has crappy DPM, what with having only six 406mm guns and nearly a 30 second reload. But don't let that fool you. As ever, there's more to the story than just DPM potential. It's too damn easy to fall into the trap of thinking that Champagne's six-guns are big liability but they really aren't. She arguably lands just as many hits as her contemporaries with fewer guns. However, her individual hits are often meatier because she's capable of (and quite likely to) land citadel AP citadel hits. The only thing that compares to the ease of her damage output are (say it with me one more time:) Royal Navy battleships slinging HE at other battleships. Champagne's damage totals are easily drawn from a larger pool of targets, as she can pick damage up from cruisers just as readily, so long as they're picked off at a distance. Given the ease at which this ship maintains said distance and her comfortable kiting angles, this is a non-issue. Champagne has very comfortable turret traverse rates of 6º/s. Her rearward arcs are much better than her forward arcs, so taking up a kiting position is preferred for maximizing firepower and defence. Summary Why use HE and who cares about her secondaries? Champagne makes sniping with AP fun. Champagne makes sniping with AP easy. Champagne can punish any ship that's not perfectly angled against her. A North Carolina angled at 55º takes a magazine citadel hit from Champagne at a range of 23.4km. This shot bothered me so much, I sent the replay into Wargaming to have them confirm the shot details. This is the kind of crap Champagne pulls off. Durability Hit Points: 52,600 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 25mm / 19mm / 32mm / 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm anti-torpedo bulge + 240mm belt + 30mm turtleback + 50mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 28%  Ships marked with an asterix (*) have re-skinned clones not listed on this chart. Champagne has Odin levels of health with Soviet battleship levels of healing. Both suck and not in the fun, sexy way. In order to apply BALANS™ to Champagne's gunnery performance, Wargaming took lessons learned from my firstborn child, HMS Thunderer, and whacked Champagne's duriability hard over the head with the nerf-bat (my second is due any day now -- stay tuned). In order to shrivel up her Gascogne-style defences, they had a four-point plan of attack. Limit the size of her hit point pool. Reduce the efficacy of her Repair Party. Shave off 25% of her belt armour and make it possible for large calibre AP shells to overmatch her turtleback. Give her heavy-cruiser structural plate on her extremities. Champagne's hit point pool wouldn't be out of place at tier VI. Her lower hit point pool means that she doesn't heal as much as other battleships but oh, it gets worse: she has one fewer charges of her Repair Party so she effectively has a smaller potential hit point pool than a lot of tier V battleships (seriously, she has less effective health than USS Texas and only slightly more than HMS Iron Duke). This has little to no bearing on her ability to heal back fires, rams and floods but when it comes to penetration damage, it takes fewer hits to sink Champagne than any of her contemporaries to a hilarious degree. Going a step further, her reduced armour and citadel protection is designed to make these damaging hits more frequent. Her 25mm extremity armour makes her vulnerable to overmatching 380mm AP shells, but it also opens the door for larger areas for destroyer and cruiser calibre HE to snatch up some of Champagne's hit points. Furthermore, her belt protection is ridiculously bad at only 240mm and her citadel protection is never any better than a combined total of 352mm (though it's as low as 332mm). While the different angles present, the effective thickness is higher than this -- for example, a North Carolina shell tossed at 18km has roughly an 18º shell fall angle. Accounting for the 6º of normalization, a perfectly broadside Champagne's 332mm combined armour over her machine spaces increases to a whopping 352mm or so. Yeah, the angles of her armour aren't really that effective. Champagne's armour protection scheme is that of a thoroughbred battlecruiser. Her citadel roof lies one level down, matching the top of the 355mm transverse bulkhead. It's armour thickness is 40mm. The root of her barbettes is 85mm thick. Champagne's crappy durability balances her the same way Asashio's inability to torpedo destroyers and cruisers balances her: It doesn't. Asashio doesn't have to engage cruisers and destroyers in order to be effective and Champagne doesn't have to expose herself to enemy fire in order to hoover up big damage. So none of this really matters because Champagne is so long ranged that she's not really going to take all of that much hurting unless you put her in harm's way. And there's no need to put her in harm's way. VERDICT: Squishy but it doesn't really matter. Agility Top Speed: 34 knots Turning Radius: 850m 7Rudder Shift Time: 15.5 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.7º/s at 25.4 knots The other reason you don't need to put Champagne in harm's way is that it's so gosh-darned easy to play keep-away. Her top speed of 34 knots is faster than a number of tier VIII cruisers and that's before you account for her access to her Engine Boost consumable. Seriously, Champagne is faster than Baltimore, Cleveland, Montpelier, Wichita, Anchorage, Chapayev, Tallinn, Mikhail Kutuzov, Admiral Hipper, Prinz Eugen, Mainz, Edinburg, Albemarle, Cheshire, Belfast '43, Irian, Wukong and Charles Martel. And those are just the tier VIII cruisers. It's a shorter list once you account for all of the other cruisers in her matchmaking spread and you need to add on a handful of destroyers besides. Champagne is fast. Anyone that's paid attention to my semi-coherent rants and explanations about warship rates of turn, speed is the name of the game. Tight turning radii are great and all, but without the speed to navigate those turning circles, it's all for naught. Champagne's high speed means that she has the best rate of turn of any of the tier VIII battleships, even better than the previous SoDak front-runners, Alabama and Massachusetts. It's a good thing her turret traverse rates are so good so she doesn't out-turn her turrets. It would be a mistake to think that Champagne's speed and agility allows her to Just Dodge™ the way a cruiser or destroyer can. She can't make torpedoes whiffa yu . She's not that nimble. However, put enough distance between Champagne and whatever is shooting back at her and yes, between varying throttle and course, you can throw off a lot of steel and high explosive thrown her way. This is where that 25km range and excellent penetration on her main guns once again comes into play. Champagne can comfortably operate 20km distance from targets, dealing reliable damage and this just so happens to put her far enough away that her tush-wiggle becomes good enough to avoid shells coming back. This in turn mitigates the deficiencies of her armour protection, largely making it a non-issue. And I remind you, her rearward fire angles are very good. She's purpose built for playing keep-away. Champagne has the best agility of any of the tier VIII battleships and her on-demand Engine Boost consumable makes it even more pronounced. With a Sierra Mike signal and her Engine Boost active, Champagne's rate of turn spikes at 4.8º/s but increases her turning circle to a 900m radius. VERDICT: The best at her tier (and the best at tiers VII, IX and X too). Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 5+1 explosions for 1,260 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 140dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3km): 52.5dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 112dps at 70% accuracy There's only one real problem with Champagne's AA defence and that's where it comes to the DPS totals from her medium and short-range mounts. She has decent long-range fire. She also spits out a decent number of flak clouds (admittedly, these don't hit as hard as her contemporaries, but whatever). So in a big ol' cuddle puddle of mutually supporting AA fire, she pulls her weight, adding some good long-range damage. It's only when planes take a particular interest in her (or if they perform a fly-over) that she doesn't have the teeth to do more than mildly inconvenience a carrier. This is a weakness to be sure, but to bring up my earlier comparison, Asashio also has crappy AA firepower and that's not really a drawback for something that's so far away from the action. Sure, if Champagne is the only target on a given flank where a CV is operating, she's going to get dropped on. But if she's at the back of the pack, is it worth taking the extra fly-time to dunk on her? Maybe. Maybe not. In the end, I don't think it really matters. Few battleships are a significant enough obstacle to bring tier VIII and X carriers pause and tier VI carriers (generally) have to respect all higher tiered AA. Champagne's AA power (third from the bottom) is all kinds of crappy which is distinctly out of character for the high-tier French battleships. VERDICT: Bad, but that's okay. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.38km / 12.87km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 11.01km / 8.92km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 15.82km Maximum Firing Range: Between 25.02km and 30.02km Champagne's biggest weakness is that her game play is reliant upon other people doing the spotting for her. Were Champagne ever forced to do the spotting herself? Well, then things like her armour or hit point deficits might mean something. But as it is, you're all but guaranteed to have someone able to light something up for Champagne to shoot at. And odds are, there will either be someone closer to the target for them to shoot at or Champagne will be so far back that she can make it exceedingly difficult to hit her. It's really only in very close games or in losing matches where Champagne's vulnerabilities owing to reliance on friendlies doing the spotting really come into play. The hope is that she's done enough damage and mauled her opponents to such a degree that this should be a non-issue. Similarly, she is fast enough to redeploy to hide behind someone else's skirts if needs be; again, taking the onus away from her to detect her own targets. Overall? It's not terrible. VERDICT: It's not terrible. Maybe it should have been. Final Evaluation Champagne's gameplay in a nutshell. It took a long time for Wargaming to realise their concept of a sniper battleship. The final iterations as evidenced by Florida, Slava and Champagne, have three elements in common: Very long range. Improved gunnery. Reduced survivability. Kinda. See, there are technically four of these sniper-battleships in World of Warships but HMS Thunderer did as HMS Thunderer does and ruined everything for everyone (and I could NOT be more proud). While my accidental British love-child has reduced survivability compared to Conqueror, it's nowhere near nerfed enough to matter. Ironically, I still don't think Wargaming has quite made these sniper fragile enough, but here we are. I still personally feel that the original version of Duke of York with no heals whatsoever is the way to go but I am not being listened to, otherwise we would have seen this on HMCS Yukon. But enough of my dream-botes. Sniper-battleships in World of Warships are as effective, compelling and healthy for the game as the Royal Navy battleships and aircraft carriers. They're about as fun too. It's HILARIOUS when you're the one dropping bombs on the enemy but it's Fun and Engaging™ when you're on the receiving end (please note the sarcasm). Yes, there's skill involved with playing Champagne well. Yes, you have to pick your targets. Yes, positioning matters. Yes, you can suck at it and do poorly. However, sniping in a battleship is World of Warships comfort-food: It's simple, straight forward and easy game play that gives you the euphoria of seeing big numbers and citadel ribbons appearing up on your screen. While playing Champagne I couldn't help but think back to when I was seeing how easy it was to farm Witherer medals with Conqueror. It was initially shocking at just how achieveable it was. Champagne reminds me a lot of that. She's not an "I win!" button, but barring RNGeebus saying "very no", getting good a good damage farm going was all but guaranteed, win or lose. My contact at Wargaming have told me that Champagne isn't over-performing. I don't know what their numbers are looking like, but from third party sites, Champagne is one of the highest damage dealers at tier VIII right now. Her bias is going to come from sniping other battleships, so it's to be expected, however unlike Asashio who shares this same target preference, Champagne can (and does!) pick on cruisers and other ship types too. So is Champagne good? Sure. She gets big numbers. Like playing a sniper in a First-Person Shooter, you get to feel like a professional badass, clicking on heads so long as your team's front lines hold up. If you can farm damage fast enough, it can turn games around. But big numbers in of themselves don't win games. I keep coming back to comparing Champagne to the Royal Navy battleships and there's a reason for it. The damage numbers these ship generate is disproportionate to their win rates. You don't play Champagne to win. You play her to farm damage. To me, she proves that battleship HE spam isn't cancerous so much as damage farming itself is. Champagne is not a team-player. She is a very selfish boat and that's why I keep coming back to the British BBs. She's great at what she does but not great for your team and arguably not good for the game either. With that in mind, she's totally a safe purchase if this kind of game play appeals. As for me? I'm emotionally obligated to stick with Thunderer. Remember, if it's not Champagne, then it's sparkling white cancer.
  10. Continuing with my set of USN bote proposals, I bring Illinois. In 1945, Admiral Nimitz and Admiral King proposed a modification to the incomplete Iowa class BBs, Illinois and Kentucky. This involved an Alaska-esque style arrangement of secondaries. It also revised the AA armament, added a thicker torpedo belt, and consolidated the funnels into 1. My idea for this ship is to have it be an improved Iowa at T10, which can effectively support allies at all ranges and be able to protect itself from hostile aircraft. Consumables Her Damage Control Party is standard for USN battleships. It has unlimited uses, lasts for 20 seconds, and has an 80 second cool down. Her Repair Party is also standard for USN battleships, with 4 charges base. It heals .66% of health per second, with a 28 second action time and 80 second cool down. Illinois cannot equip spotting aircraft. Instead, she has a special fighter with an improved action time of 120 seconds and a 40 second cool down. It has the "Enhanced Reactions" and "Interceptor" skills built in, which allow it to be far more effective against enemy aircraft, but removes the ability to spot over islands. There are 5 charges. Illinois has emergency engine power. This consumable gives a 20% increase in speed for 30 seconds. It has 4 charges and 180 second cool down. Lastly, she has a buffed Defensive AA fire. This has 6! charges with +300% flak damage and +50% continuous. Action time is 30 seconds, cool down is 60 seconds. Firepower Main armament: 3x3 406mm/50 caliber Mark 7 Illinois' guns are identical to the ones on Iowa and Montana. They have 30 second reload, 13500 max AP damage, 5700 max HE damage, and 36% chance of fire. The only differences are the WD-40 on her turrets lowering 180 degrees traverse time from 45 seconds to 36 seconds and her range being increased to 25km. Secondary armament: 10x2 127mm/38 caliber Mark 12 Illinois' secondary mounts are identical to the ones on Massachusetts and Georgia. 4 second reload, 1800 max HE damage, 5% chance of fire, and 7.5km range base. They have the same improved dispersion formula and sigma. This gives her decent brawling potential with 11.3km max range with full build. Defence HP: 79000 Belt/Extremities/Superstructure: 307mm/32mm/19mm Torpedo Belt: 40% Illinois is one of the least tankiest T10 BBs. She has a weak belt and the 2nd worst HP pool. Her only saving graces are the improved American heal and her good TDS. Anti-Aircraft Long range: 5.8km range, 151 DPS, 8 flak Mid range: 3.5km range, 318 DPS Short range: 2km range, 214 DPS With DFAA, mega-fighter, and large AA values, Illinois is an AA monster. Agility Speed: 33 knots Turning circle: 920m Rudder shift: 17.2 seconds Illinois retains Iowa's poor handling. However, she also gets the Iowa class speed, which can synergize well with Emergency Engine power. Refrigerator Concealment: 16.2km With 12.7km with full build, Illinois is on the stealthier side of battleships. So, what do you guys think?
  11. poeticmotion

    French BBs - A quick review

    So, not going to do 'full reviews' like I did of the British BBs because lazy, but having played up through Alsace, here'smy quick impressions of the French BB line so far: Standard review disclaimer by me: I am an average to a bit above average player who plays mostly solo, so this is from that perspective. Also, while I did consult numbers and stats, my reviews are primarily based on the feel of the ship and my performance in her. This is of course a limited sample size, and is affected by my playstyle (which is generally fairly aggressive leading to occasional overreaches and a low survival rate.) Your mileage may vary depending on your playstyle and skill level. Tier 7-9 are the good part of this line. But once you get there, wheeee! With low hp and good armor, angling is key with these ships. If you don't know how to effectively angle, learn or you're not going to enjoy them. And from tier 7 up, I recommend a secondary build or hybrid secondary/survival build. They have fairly strong secondaries. From tier 6 up, and especially from tiers 8-10, the speed allows you to reposition quickly and flex where needed. Very mobile. Also, contrary to what I've seen people say, no ffs they're not HE spammers like British BBs were; use AP most of the time like your IJN, USN, and German BBs. The line in a nutshell: Note: I did not play tier 3 or 4 as i got Bretagne from mission. They don't matter anyway, it takes a few games to grind through a tier 3 or 4 and honestly, nothing can ever beat Orion. Tier 5: Bretagne is ok. Her guns are punchy af and very accurate, secondaries put out a lot of fire but suffer from her tier (since manual control of secondaries skill is only 15% improvement at tier t5). She handles like a drunk pig; slow and waddling, and her turrets take all day to turn, but once again, this is not uncommon at tier 5. But if you can stay angled you'll shrug off a lot of potential damage despite her low HP and her guns will decimate same-tier BBs or any cruiser. Tier 6: Normandie was garbage for me, the only ship I disliked. I usually love fast BBs but her turret firing arcs were punitive and I couldn't seem to mitigate damage well enough to compensate for her low hp. I free-XPed out of her after four games, which is very rare for me. Part of that was garbage teams and I got frustrated. She may be workable for you; I admit four games is not enough to get a good feel for a ship. Tier 7: Lyon is definitely not OP, but she's a lot of fun and certainly competitive. Her guns are a bit derpy dispersion-wise and you need to expose a lot of side to fire all of them, so you have to be good at timing and positioning to do so without getting wrecked. But firing SIXTEEN main guns downrange means you're going to get hits even with weird dispersion. Also, firing sixteen guns downrange never ever ever ever gets old. She's a keeper for me, which says a lot since two of my favorite BBs are in tier 7 already (KGV and Gneisenau) and I almost never keep three ships in a tier of the same class except for DDs. Tier 8: Richelieu is VERY fun, but quirky. With a secondary build she is the best ship I've seen at kiting; her secondaries are mounted in back and her firing arcs are very wide for good "over the shoulder" shots. Its tempting to bow-tank with all your main guns mounted on the bow, but I still recommend angling as you have a tendency to lose turrets when bow-on and with two turrets that cripples your DPS. Angling baits opponents to fire at your belt and your belt will shrug off most shots; bow-on means opponents will try and snipe your turrets. I play her as a lancer; move in at an angle, then time a turn when you have opportunity to minimize citadel exposure and pull back out, firing over shoulder while letting your 10+ km secondaries get in on the action. As such, kiting in this ship is a blast, especially since her turrets do have such strong firing arcs to the rear despite being concentrated in bow. Tier 9: Alsace is the jewel of the line and my new favorite tier 9 BB. She's wicked fast, has 12 undersized but accurate main guns (dispersion gets wonky near max range but from 11-13 km in they're deadly), her secondaries will merrily light fires and add damage, and her secondaries have more 360-degree coverage than Richelieu. She isn't very stealthy (although better than some BBs) but she has great speed to flex around the map, and she has low hp but if angled correctly can be very survivable. I don't straight up brawl with her as much as I do German BBs, but I do play her as a lancer much like Richelieu; charge in, then use speed to whip around and kite, staying near max range of secondaries and angled away from the enemy while lighting them up with 12-gun salvoes every 25 seconds or so. She is a BEAST. I'm honestly expecting a nerf to her; Alsace makes me look like a much better BB player than I am. Tier 10: I haven't played Republique but from everything I've seen in-game, plus heard from a couple friends who have her, I'm in no rush. She looks potentially fun but has a very high skill floor and will likely require a very good player with the right playstyle to consistently do well in her. I rushed to Alsace as I played her on test server and loved her, but I'm in no rush to get Republique. (Edit as of 4/3: I bought Republique about a week ago after trying her on test server and I was wrong. She's absolutely amazeballs. Still has a high skill floor but I clicked with her very well and she's as much fun as Alsace.) For players who like speed and ability to move around map, appreciate a ship that can brawl or mid-range fight with equal aplomb, and can maximize their armor angles and stay alive to kick [edited], this is a fantastic line. Cruiser players will love them; they play like oversized cruisers. Bon appetit!
  12. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Florida

    ♫ Florida man, Florida man... ♪ Guess the tune. The following is a review of USS Florida, the tier VII American premium battleship. I did not pay for this ship. It was provided to me by Wargaming for evaluation purposes. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.9. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: A tier VII, prototype version of the North Carolina-class battleship with twelve 356mm guns instead of nine 406mm guns. She's highly accurate but her guns don't hit very hard, even for 356mm rounds. On top of this, she's super squishy. PROS Huge broadside of twelve 356mm guns. Solid rearward firing angles, well suited to kiting. Uses the improved battlecruiser dispersion instead of that of American battleships. Good range for a tier VII battleship, able to reach out to 21.6km with her APRM1 modification. Improved penetration on her AP shells for their calibre. Good anti-aircraft firepower, including access to Defensive AA Fire. Decent concealment. CONS Small hit point pool for a tier VII battleship. Softer-skinned than contemporary battleships with 25mm extremities. Vulnerable, high-water citadel with as little as 285mm worth of armour. A 33.5 second reload. Anemic damage values on both her HE and AP rounds along with poor fire setting. Horrible rudder shift time of 15.4 seconds. Has one fewer Repair Party charges than most other battleships. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Difficult New players beware. As easy as border-humping battleships can be, Florida asks a bit more of players in order to get her to perform. Neither her AP or HE shells are idiot proof, requiring players to be dynamic with their ammunition choices. That's bad enough, but even when you have the right ammo loaded for the right target, her anemic shells leave a lot to be desired, especially with so long of a reload. Even her good improved accuracy can be a bit of a turn off -- at least with bad dispersion even a poorly aimed shot might have something strike the target. Finally, this ship just feels cumbersome with sloppy handling, a slow reload and sluggish turret traverse. Her carry potential is limited. While expert players can flex a lot of their in-game knowledge to get more out of Florida's potential, her defensive limitations thwart most attempts to push aggressively. Her guns don't hit hard enough or fast enough and are foiled by even limited angling. Still, she's a nice support ship. If you want to play a more passive, supporting role, Florida works well, especially against CVs. Options Consumables Florida's consumables are a little weird. There are two items of note: Florida uses an American battleship version of her Damage Control Party. This has a longer-than-usual active time compared to other battleships, repairing critical damage and preventing fires and flooding for 20 seconds instead of the usual 15 seconds. It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard for a battleship. It queues up 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of everything else. It heals back 0.5% of her health every second for 28 seconds. Her consumable has an 80 second reset timer but only comes with three base charges instead of the usual four. Like the other new American battleships, Florida has access to Defensive AA Fire. This is active for 40 seconds per charge with four charges base. While active, this provides a 50% increase to sustained AA DPS and a 300% increase to flak damage. It has an 80 second reset timer. Finally in the last slot, you have your choice between a Spotting Aircraft or Catapult Fighter. The former comes with four charges and is active for 100 seconds, during which time main battery gun range is increased by 20%. It has a 240 second reset timer. Her fighter has the usual 60 second active period with three fighters patrolling around the ship. This has a 90 second reset timer and comes with three charges base. The big takeaways here are that Florida has access to Defensive AA Fire and her Repair Party has one fewer charge. Upgrades Florida's upgrade choices are pretty dull. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. It's arguably the best choice in the first slot. You can take the special upgrade Spotting Aircraft Modification 1 to increase the active time of her consumable from 100s to 130s but this doesn't exactly wow me. This upgrade will cost you 17,000 from the Armory. Unless you plan to hump the back-line regularly, you're better served increasing the survivability of your guns. Damage Control System Modification 1 is the best choice for slot two. Again, if you feel the need, you can take another special upgrade. This time, Defensive AA Fire Modification 1 is up for grabs at the same 17,000 cost in the Armory. This increases the active time of her consumable from 40 seconds to 48 seconds and reduces the reset timer from 80 seconds to 72 seconds. In slot three, Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 is really the only one worth considering. This will up her main battery firing range from 18.62km to 21.6km (her secondaries get boosted from 5km to 5.25km). Finally, in slot four, fire damage mitigation is still your best option so Damage Control System Modification 2 is your best choice. If you want to be a little more active in your dodging, then you can take Steering Gears Modification 1 instead. This will reduce her rudder shift time from an appalling 15.4 seconds down to 12.32s. Captain Skills You're not reinventing the wheel with Florida. Take the usual battleship survivability build. It's boring but it works. For variety's sake, you can swap out Priority Target and Expert Marksman for your tier 1 and tier 2 skills of choice. Some good alternatives are Expert Loader, Jack of All Trades and High Alert. Expert Loader in particular is a very good choice. I'm getting a lot of mileage out of this graphic. This speaks a lot to how badly the skill system needs to be reworked given how optimized skill choices have become. Camouflage Florida has access to two different camouflage patterns. By default, she comes with Type 10 Camouflage. However, They provide the same bonuses and are merely a cosmetic swap. -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. Florida's default camo is alright. I really don't like her alternative palette. It's a dull, elephantine grey in unflattering patterns. Florida's "Golden Eagle" camouflage has the same pin-up girl on her funnel as the camouflage made available for the new American tech tree battleships. I'm surprised by how much I enjoy this camo, though that may simply be because I'm not big on the other two. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 356mm/50 Mk11 rifles in 3x4 turrets in an A-B-X super-firing configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 127mm/38 guns in 6x2 turrets and 4x1 turrets. Huh! Neat! Let's start with Florida's secondaries, because they're kind of neat in a pointless, fun bit of trivia kind of way. Her secondary armament is divided into two gun types. The first is the twin 127mm/38 we're used to seeing on every American battleship. But these are supplemented by four single 127mm/38 turrets akin to what you might find on an American destroyer like Benson or Sims. This effectively gives her an eight-gun secondary broadside -- two fewer than you'll see on higher tiered American battleships like North Carolina, the SoDaks, the Iowa-sisters, etc, but it's right on par with California's battery. However, Florida manages to have the equivalent broadside to a ten-gun secondary battery like the higher tiered ships because most American twin 127mm/38 guns have an artificially lowered rate of fire and the singles have a boosted one. Check out this nonsense! Iowa & Missouri's secondary broadside: 10 guns with 6 second reload = 100rpm. North Carolina & Alabama's secondary broadside: 10 guns with 6 second reload = 100rpm. California's secondary broadside: 8 guns with 6 second reload = 80rpm. Florida's secondary broadside: 6 guns with 6 second reload + 2 guns with 3 second reload = 100rpm So there you go! Florida has a better secondary battery than California, equivalent to most of the other American battleships (but obviously excluding Massachusetts & company cuz theirs are souped up). Florida's secondaries are too short ranged to be worth specializing into. They also lack the accuracy buff that makes Massachusetts and Georgia such units. These twin factors are enough to discourage anyone from spending skills or upgrade slots on them, to say nothing of Florida's durability issues (which I will [edited] about at length below). Alright, that's enough fussing over what is little more than a curiosity. Let's get onto the meat of the matter. Big Guns Go Boom Make Squeaky-Toy Noises I don't like Florida's guns. They're perfectly adequate -- I'm not here to tell you that they're broken, bugged, under-performing or what have you. They're well balanced and put out the hurt reasonably well. In fact, they've got a lot of good things going for them including good(ish) fire arcs, good range, decent AP penetration values and that sweet, sweet battlecruiser dispersion. So what's my beef? Well, its' two things gentle reader: She has a slow rate of fire. Her shells suck moose-balls. The first element is symptomatic of American battleships as a whole, especially the new line of American battleships that Florida heralds. At 33.5 seconds per volley, Florida's reload isn't as bad as some of the others in the new tech-tree, but let's not mince words: It sucks to wait that long between trigger pulls. I can stomach this if the results for waiting are particularly amusing, however Florida's gunnery is an exercise in frustration for me because of my second gripe: Florida's shell hits are not satisfying. Florida's shells, both AP and HE, don't hit especially hard. Their damage values are lower than you might expect for a 356mm weapon. In fact, Florida's damage output on her AP and HE shells is most closely matched by those off the sixteen-gun Lyon. Lyon has only a 30 second reload, I remind you, 3.5 seconds faster than Florida with a four-gun advantage. Compare: American 356mm/50 (Florida): 9,500 AP damage, 4,750 HE damage, 22% fire chance American 356mm/50 (New Mexico, California): 10,500 AP damage, 5,000 HE damage, 30% fire chance American 356mm/45 (Arizona, New York, Texas): 10,300 AP damage, 5,000 HE damage, 30% fire chance French 340mm/45 (Bretagne, Normandie, Lyon): 9,500 damage, 4,700 HE damage, 26% fire chance Her individual hits just aren't doing as much damage as other American battleships. While she still has better broadside weight than the ten-gun armed New York-class, she's well behind the other twelve-gun armed American standards despite having a better reload time than all of them. This deficit in shell damage (combined with her slower reload) means that in terms of raw damage potential, Florida falls way behind, ending up in the bottom half of the DPM charts despite her large number of guns. Take these values with a pinch of salt. This is not accounting for such factors as accuracy, penetration, overmatch, normalization, etc. In terms of raw DPM, yes, Florida lags behind. She's also hurting when it comes to overmatching targets, especially when she's middle or bottom tier. However, her penetration is decent and her accuracy is good, offsetting these factors somewhat but only against select targets. More on this later. Look at all of this negative space! This is what happens when I scale the HE values to the same scale as the AP values. The order of ships shuffles a bit with German HE shells being terrible and British and Japanese HE shells doing more damage than you might otherwise expect for their calibre. Florida's HE performance remains unfortunate. However, given the troubles with her AP shells, you'll still be reaching for them often. Don't Trust DPM Charts The problem with simply looking at DPM charts is that it assumes everything is not only 100% accurate, but also that all shells perform equally when they strike a target. It patently ignores two crucial elements: How easy it is to hit a target. How likely your shells are to do damage if they do hit. As Roma so painfully demonstrated, you can have gorgeous paper stats but if you simultaneously struggle to (a) hit a target and (b) get anything other than over-penetrations, then your experience is going to be hella inconsistent. Florida has her own struggles, but at least she's very consistent when it comes to landing hits. Florida uses battlecruiser dispersion -- the same found on ninja-accurate battleships like Thunderer. Sadly, this isn't paired with a god-tier sigma value. Florida has 1.7 sigma competed to 1.9 of Thunderer or 2.0 of Champagne, so she doesn't feel quite so accurate as some of the higher-tiered snipers. The lower sigma means that the occasional shell will still fly wonky, though the smaller dispersion area means this won't be as wildly askew as other ships. In short: Florida's accuracy is good. You should land more hits per volley than her contemporaries which should help mitigate some of her DPM issues -- not all of them, but some. Florida (on the left) using a standard dispersion test. This is 180 AP shells fired at a stationary Fuso bot. Shots are coming in from the left to right (Fuso is bow-tanking). California is on the right with the same parameters. California uses American battleship dispersion with 1.9 sigma versus Florida's battlecruiser dispersion with 1.7 sigma. Florida feels appreciably more accurate than most other American battleships, though her lower sigma value will make her feel only slightly better than ships like California or Arizona. The difference in penetration performance between California and Florida is manifold. Their shells have different masses (555kg for Florida vs 680.4kg for California), different shell velocities due to different drag coefficients (0.271 for Florida vs 0.331 for California) and different Krupp values (2,945 for Florida vs 2,545 for California). AP penetration is more of a contentious issue for Florida. There's a stigma against lower-calibre guns for having poor penetration performance and this is largely undeserved. American 356mm AP shells, for example, have very good penetration and Florida's is improved even beyond this. She is capable, for example, of penetrating upwards of 400mm worth of plate at 15km. She has more than enough punch to land citadel hits against just about any broadside target, including some of the softer-skinned battleships up to ranges of 20km. So you don't need to worry about Florida not having enough teeth to citadel an Iowa in most encounters, should the opportunity arise. I stress the word opportunity, however. As nice as the raw penetration values are on Florida, she doesn't have a lot to spare once you aim at battleships in excess of 15km out. Using the usual tricks of aiming for softer sections of the hull can help, especially given Florida's reasonably tight dispersion to ensure good groupings. This helps somewhat, but again, angling is very effective against Florida's guns because she doesn't overmatch a whole lot of armour. Her 356mm AP rounds overmatch a maximum of 24mm worth of plate and there's a whole lot of structural steel within her matchmaking that's 25mm or thicker. Tier VI+ battleships, tier VIII+ cruisers all have a minimum of 25mm worth of structural armour. But that 25mm+ threshold crops up in other places, such as the decks and amidship hulls of tier VI and VII heavy cruisers and the decks of tier VI and VII lights. Having a working knowledge of which ships you can still punish when they angle helps immeasurably, but Florida is very often forced to rely on either aiming for over-penetrations through superstructures or resorting to her HE rounds. Ouch. I don't know why Wargaming decided to neuter Florida's fire setting so badly. I guess this will encourage players to reach for AP whenever possible. Keep in mind that these values do not include the fire resistance of their opponents nor the ship's accuracy. Fire resistance values against the opponents Florida usually faces is anywhere between 30% to 45% or so. So if you're managing to hit with 1/3 of Florida's shells against a tier VIII target, then instead of 4 fires and change, you're more likely going to see one per minute. Maybe. Sadly, Florida's HE are lacking. Their modest damage per-shell and slow reload might not be such a bad handicap if their fire chance was better, but her fire chance per shell is horrible. The 22% value she's shackled with is downright painful for such a slow rate of fire. Getting one permanent fire to burn is a feat, never mind doubling up. Her HE performance is so bad that I would happily recommend sticking with AP spam if it weren't for the aforementioned issue with angled and higher-tiered targets. It's stupid-important to be patient with your shots. Look for opportune targets where you can maximize her AP efficiency. You don't want to have to start spamming HE. Similarly, you don't want to force encounters where this is your sole option. Florida doesn't have the armour or hit points to facilitate trades against same-tier (or even tier VI) opponents. Blapping a full broadside of HE into an enterprising lolibote is hilarious, don't get me wrong -- her improved accuracy means that she easily can land four to six shells (or more!) against a destroyer at stupid-close ranges. But against any other target, her HE is just found wanting. If given the opportunity to fire nothing but AP, Florida does really well. Frankly, this is only going to happen if your opponents are idiots. You have to remain flexible with her ammunition choices. Keep the Expert Loader skill in mind. It's very handy for this ship if you're going to build a dedicated Florida captain. Enough Facts, Gimme the Feels I hate these guns. Lemme stress: They're fine. And I mean that in the same way I tell my significant other that "it's fine" when things are clearly not. It's all of the little things which add up to a bad experience for me. If you asked me to point at the one thing that bugs me the most about them, I'd probably tell you it's the 4º/s gun traverse, which seems stupid to complain about given all of the other issues. However, I think that this quibble illustrates my beef with Florida's gunnery as a whole. Her slow turret traverse is just that "one more thing" that feels off about this ship. No matter her advantages, there's always a big ol' butt attached. Florida has good AP penetration she has overmatch issues. Florida has good dispersion her sigma value is subpar. Florida has a huge broadside her shell damage is artificially low. Florida has decent fire arcs her turret traverse is slow. Florida can land a lot of hits with her HE shells she's terrible at starting fires. It goes on and on like this. Yes, yes, yes, this is all in the name of BALANS™, tovarish, and Florida's gunnery is balanced. I just don't like it. Florida's fire angles are decent. They're not good -- good is a 300º fire arc or more, but she's not as appalling as some of the ships I've dealt with recently. I just wish her turret traverse was better. Summary Big broadside, wussy shells. Guns are very accurate. You have to be dynamic with shell choice. VERDICT: You would think that for a sniper-battleship, her guns would be fun. But they're not fun. I didn't have fun at all with these weapons (except for maybe paddling a lolibote or two at very close range. Defence Hit Points: 51,800 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm extremities, 26mm upper hull & 37mm deck Maximum Citadel Protection: 285mm belt or water + 213mm belt + 56mm, 96mm or 140mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 26% Short Version Florida is pretty much a normal tier VII battleship with an exposed, vulnerable citadel and weak Repair Party. Florida's citadel layout tells you all you really need to know about this ship's durability. The TL:DR is that her citadel abuts against the exterior of her hull and it sits above the waterline. With only 285mm worth of belt protection, this exposed "T-section" of her citadel is stupid-easy to bullseye for waterline-aimed shots from enemy battleships. For 380mm+ AP shells aimed at her bows, her transverse bulkhead is almost as vulnerable. Irrelevant trivia time. There is a 16mm hidden plate dividing the upper and lower parts of Florida's citadel. The line of it can be found between her 285mm upper belt the 213mm of her lower belt Long Version The most pressing thing to worry about when playing Florida is her citadel. Unlike the other "sniper" battleships like Slava and Champagne, the "softness" of Florida's hull is barely a concern. The 25mm extremities which damn her higher tiered cousins do not apparently have a lower-tier equivalency. I was expecting Florida to appear with 19mm of extremity armour but she instead clones the higher tiered ship weakness with 25mm instead. Given that all of the other tier VI and VII battleships are rocking 26mm worth of extremity plate, the loss of a single millimeter is not that much of a drawback. At most, this makes Florida slightly more vulnerable to HE shells from small and medium caliber guns -- specifically 152mm HE shells from tiers VII and below do not need to reach for Inertial Fuse for HE Shells in order to stack direct damage against Florida as they would against her tier-mates. Similarly, Florida is vulnerable to 120mm HE shells with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. That's really the extent this soft skin provides in terms of vulnerability. Otherwise her superstructure, upper hull and amidships deck all conform to normal parameters for a tier VII battleship. If you swapped out Florida's 25mm bow and stern for 26mm versions, she'd be a perfectly normal tier VII battleship. Florida's artificial fragility instead comes from three sources. The most influential of these is her citadel placement and geometry. Any battleship with her citadel sitting high over the waterline and abutting against the ship's exterior has a big ol' weakspot that's pretty easy to exploit. That, in of itself, isn't enough to damn a ship. For example, Soviet battleships all share this weak point, but many (if not most) of them are considered super-tanky. Therein lies Florida's second weakness: she lacks any form of extended armour to assist with shattering HE shells and ricocheting incoming AP rounds. While her amidships deck is a respectable 37mm, her butt, snoot and upper hull are all highly vulnerable. 25mm and 26mm armour are easily over-matched by the oh-so commonplace 380mm+ AP shells found at this tier. This armour similarly doesn't hold up against HE spam from cruisers and some destroyers. Thus Florida is much more limited when it comes to tanking incoming rounds. She can bounce 356mm armed battleships throwing AP in her face for days but angle improperly or test your luck against larger caliber guns and she goes down in a hurry. The last piece of her squishy puzzle is her effective health pool. Florida's hit point pool is small for a tier VII battleship. Heck, it would be on the low end for a tier VI battleship. This isn't enough to damn her in of itself -- she's not so low that she's on Viribus Unitis levels of parody. But a smaller hit point pool means that she heals less penetrating damage with her Repair Party. While this has no impact on fire and flooding damage (as their damage amount scales with the starting hit points of the ship), 10,000 damage worth of penetrations hurts Florida more than other tier VII battleships. But there's more. Florida comes with one fewer charges of her Repair Party, so this deficit is felt even more. I wanna gloat like a happy teaboo, but Florida's health is just too appallingly low for me for me to brag with good conscience. Her lacking an entire Repair Party charge just feels mean. I have felt these three combined weaknesses acutely with Florida. I don't feel that they're enough to damn the ship, but they are very obviously weaknesses. Unlike the higher tiered sniper-battleships, Florida finds herself more often in claustrophobic maps where she cannot rely on simply out-ranging targets. She's asked to tank a lot more more than say, Champagne. Even when she does appear on larger maps, this comes with the threat of higher-tiered opponents and more overmatching guns so it's catch 22. Knowing which opponents you can face tank and which you can't are important. But so very often I was forced to show my cute butt and kite away when the pressure was on. Florida's not-good(ish) forward fire angles meant that firing all three turrets forward was just asking to have shells rammed into her stepped citadel. It was far safer to fight, firing over her shoulder with her forward turrets slinging shells to her rear. Being far more limited in what aggressive plays this ship can make hurts her carrying ability. Turning to fight will often just get you killed. It limits what decisive actions she can take. It's hard to be heroic if you're constantly forced to follow Sir Robin's playbook. VERDICT: She's squishy -- squishier than the usual tier VII battleship and they struggle a lot with durability. Florida struggles even more. Don't brawl. You'll die. Agility Top Speed: 27 knots Turning Radius: 760m Rudder Shift Time: 15.4 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.1º/s If Florida was a battleship from any other nation, there would be very little worth noting here. Her top speed of 27 knots is completely acceptable for a tier VII battleship. Her turning radius of 760m is decent. It's not amazing, but it's alright. Her rotation rate of 4.1º/s is again, pretty average. Her rudder shift time of 15.4s is the most remarkable thing about her and not in a good way. It's slow. Her 27 knot top speed has the illusion of meaning something only because she's an American battleship. All other American battleships from tier VII and below cap out around 21 knots as their top speed. With the nerfing to American Standard-type battleship agility with patch 0.9.6 Florida's speed advantage is even more pronounced. Were she a battleship from any other nation, her 27 knot top speed would be unremarkable. So yes, Florida is faster than Colorado or California. Big deal. So is everything else at this tier. Focus instead on her sloppy rudder shift time. She doesn't feel like she handles well because of it. Add on her modest turret traverse rate and she feels like a chunk-lord. Ships with stars have been changed or added since patch 0.9.6. VERDICT: Not as nimble as you might expect. Good enough, I suppose, but definitely not one of her strengths. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 5 explosions for 1400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 157.5dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 4.0km): 269.5dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 318.5dps at 70% accuracy I've sorted these by the formula of [ AA dps x { range - 1km} ]. It's not a perfect system but it does weight heavier, longer-ranged firepower over masses of short-ranged defence. I admit a terrible reluctance to call any battleship's AA firepower "good". This said, when a pristine Florida activates her Defensive AA Fire and doubles her DPS, she has good AA firepower. Florida's AA power is nice. Taken on it's own merits, her AA power is pretty fearsome when it comes to personal defence. In the support role, she's not bad either, with a sizable chunk of her AA power dedicated to long and medium range weapons. When her Defensive AA Fire is active, she can wipe out full tier VIII squadrons -- it's not contest here. A determined CV player will still be able to make a drop, but it will cost them everything. Carriers must anticipate that she will always have Defensive AA Fire ready and it's best to bait its use by ducking in and out of her 5.8km bubble and then waiting it out, even if she's not your primary target. Florida is effectively a no-fly zone for tier VI carriers because of this consumable and raw AA power combination which is a pretty impressive boast. Add on a catapult fighter and Florida duplicates this for tier VIII carriers too, at least until she comes under sustained HE attack. Most of her teeth come from her 40mm Bofors and 20mm Oerlikons, barring a CV being gracious enough to face-plant into a flak-cloud. These do not survive long under HE fire and even cursory smattering of HE rounds will quickly reduce the effectiveness of her AA and open her up to the potential of air-attack. All hail Florida's lord & saviour. VERDICT: Honestly, some of the best AA defence we've seen in a long time. I'm kinda shocked. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 13.86km / 12.1km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 10.08km/9.07km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 12.01km Maximum Firing Range: Between 18.62km and 25.92km Flordia's concealment values are pretty darned good. She doesn't quite get into that magical sub-12km surface detection range which is quite impressive for a battleship, but at least she gets close. Given her preferred engagement distance, it's pretty easy for this ship to drop off from detection range in typical encounters -- especially given her long reload. If she had a bit more grunt in her engines, controlling the engagement through use of her stealth would be a lot more feasible, but her 27 knot top speed just isn't enough to kite away from all of the battleships she faces, to say nothing of cruisers and destroyers. Florida's great range (especially when upgraded and modified with her Spotter Aircraft consumable) can work against her here, especially with those enterprising shots in the early stages of a match as everyone's deploying. While it can be super-tempting to try your luck against targets spotted early by your own lolibotes or Just Dodge™ simulators, you can all but guarantee you'll be spotted in return when you pull the trigger. With nothing else to shoot at, you can bet that every battleship on the enemy team that can draw bead on you will take a shot and given Florida's super-squish citadel, bad things will happen if they've got the range. Keep in mind that Florida's rudder is terrible so it's not like she dodges well. This is definitely a risk-reward element at play here, so be careful. VERDICT: Pretty darned good for raw concealment values, though she struggles to spot stuff on her own. It's too bad she doesn't have the agility to make better use of this trait. Final Evaluation When it comes to my battleships, I know what I like. Big, punchy guns are a must. I prefer durability to agility, but I need one of those two elements to be present. If a battleship can't manage these things, they've got a big, uphill battle to win my affections. Some of them still manage it. Scharnhorst, for example, doesn't have the main battery guns to wow me, but she still pulls off a win between her secondaries, fish and the combination of speed and tankiness. I've tried to keep an open mind while play testing Florida, but good gravy, my time in her has not been pleasant. I'm under no illusions that this is very clearly a me problem. Florida herself is a well balanced ship. I just hate her. She doesn't have any one element of this trifecta that I enjoy in my battleships. When Florida was first announced, I thought she would immediately obsolete California. I tore California a new one a few months ago for being not worth the asking price. While I do feel that Florida is a superior vessel to California, I don't feel that she's worth it either. Frankly, you're better served picking up Arizona at tier VI or even Alabama at tier VIII instead of Florida. Let me stress this: I don't think Alabama is worth the asking price either, but I would definitely recommend her over Florida. She's more reliable, if dull. The best bang for your buck for American premium battleships is Massachusetts and she's been one of the best premiums you can buy if you're shopping for one. Her primacy isn't challenged by Florida in the least. With Black Friday a little over a month away, if you're in the market for Massachusetts, then you might want to wait a month and grab it when her Black version goes back on sale if you like the cosmetic difference. I don't mean to try and sell you on other ships, my point is simply that there are a lot better choices for your time and money than investing in Florida. In closing, I should stress again: Florida is fine. She's not broken. There will be some people who really dig her sniper game play. I'm not one of those people. I like to have the option of getting in close and hitting people with my sword. Florida doesn't let me do that. In Closing Well, this accidentally turned into a much longer review than I had intended. I was originally just going to line up Florida alongside California, compare the two and then pull a surprise-reveal that they both suck equally. Instead, I learned last week that Ship Comrade, the site run by @Critter8 that has hosted my reviews since the first quarter of 2016 was going to close down. Instead of working on how to cleverly cast shade on anyone that enjoyed either one of these tier VII American premium battleships, I spent the better part of two days going through years worth of archived jpegs and text, reflecting on the years I've spent writing for World of Warships and all of the help, support and encouragement Critter8 provided me. I wouldn't be a Community Contributor (CC) if it weren't for Critter8. I'm not sure the WGNA CC-program would have even existed if it weren't for him. Back in 2015, before there was a Community Contributor program, content creators like myself worked unsupported by Wargaming in any capacity. The predecessor to the NA-CC program was Club Wargaming which promised the world and delivered nothing but a booger-green title on the forums. Club Wargaming included dozens of content creators which had sprung up during Closed and Open Beta, including some big names like @PhlyDaily. All of us were paying out of pocket to produce content or having to rely on donations from fans to get access to the newest premium content. Critter8 took exception to this. He had made Ship Comrade -- a fan site whose best early features included tracking Rank Battle progress and had one of (if not THE) first Captain Skill calculator. He took his fandom seriously and wanted a professional relationship with Wargaming to facilitate content production. He approached me about my frustrations with Club Wargaming and he took an active leadership role among the various content creators to approach Wargaming about our complaints. It was by his initiative that the WGNA CC-program took shape under NikoPower (of CorgiFleet fame). From those conversations, @iChase, @NoZoupForYou, @Notser, @TitiuBlack, Critter8 and I became the first NA-CCs in early January of 2016. While I could gush endlessly about everything NikoPower did for us, it was Critter8 who stands out as the leader we needed. He brought the six of us would-be professionals (with integrity) together. For me, Ship Comrade allowed me to greatly increase the quality of my reviews. This long format, like you're seeing here with Florida, was facilitated entirely by having my content written for Ship Comrade. Critter8 encouraged CCs like myself and @Aetam to host our content on his site. As you can imagine, writing for a web-page is much more forgiving than writing for a forum post -- it didn't have to all be written in a single sitting, for example. In going over Ship Comrade's archives, it was a treat to watch how my reviews grew in size and ambition. My early reviews were usually written in an afternoon and seldom held more than four or five jpegs. Florida's review has nearly thirty and has been written over the course of a week. I am endlessly grateful for the opportunity and help he provided for me. For personal reasons, he had to step back from World of Warships. As the CC program again got overhauled, Wargaming dropped his CC-status despite his continued efforts to host and support other CCs. Sadly, Ship Comrade was never a profitable enterprise. Donations helped keep the lights on for a time, but all things must come to an end. He ran the site out of his own pocket for over five years. I don't fault him in the least for retiring. Thank you for everything. And thank you all for reading. I'm going to take some time sorting and organizing some of my older reviews over the next week or so.
  13. The following is a review of Marco Polo, the tier IX Italian battleship. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.1. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Marco Polo's gimmick is that she's a perfectly reasonable, nine 406mm-gun armed battleship; a gun calibre not present in the main Italian tech-tree. While there are some Italian flavour-crystals mixed into Marco Polo's build, the concentration isn't as high as the rest of the line. It's not like buying Marco Polo gives you the full Italian battleship experience; you're paying for her 406mm gun calibre by losing out on an Exhaust Smoke Generator. What's more, arming her with nine 406mm guns makes Marco Polo analogous to a whole slew of ships at tier IX. Iowa, Missouri, Izumo, Bajie, Sovetsky Soyuz, AL Sovetskaya Rossiya and Lion all offer variants of this nine 406mm gun armed game play. Does Marco Polo do it better or even more-different enough to be worth playing? Quick Summary: A short-ranged Italian battleship with nine, slow-firing 406mm guns and no Exhaust Smoke Generator. PROS Trollish outer-armour, good for foiling HE spam. Comfortable fire arcs and decent gun handling Access to SAP shells Good AP penetration for a 406mm shell, even over distance Decent agility for a tier IX battleship CONS Small hit point pool Same wonky dispersion as Roma Short ranged for a tier IX battleship Painfully long reload time on her main battery guns. Flawed anti-aircraft firepower Lacks an Exhaust Smoke Generator (!) Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme The only thing that keeps Marco Polo from earning a Simple rating owes to her exposed citadel. So, she's not German-battleship easy. However, she does inherit the ease-of-use of the Royal Navy's singular ammunition type. You can spam nothing but AP or SAP shells (player's choice) and do alright, so that removes that element from the equation. If you can get used to one, you'll do fine. For expert players, dynamic ammunition choice is definitely one of those key elements which will spike Marco Polo's performance. Knowing which boolets to put into which heads will make this Italian Heavy happy. From there, though, the well gets pretty dry. Her short range and large surface detection radius make flanking difficult and this also makes taking a central positions more tricky as she has to continually watch her sides. She does tank well, especially cruiser-calibre HE shells, but that's not something she (or any other battleship) can stand for long as she burns just as well as any other. Options Consumables The only thing out of the ordinary with Marco Polo's consumables is her lack of access to an Italian Exhaust Smoke Generator. Otherwise, her consumables are standard for a tier IX battleship. Marco Polo's Damage Control Party is identical to those found on anything that's not weird (Warspite, most Soviet, American and Japanese battleships are all weirdos). This has unlimited charges, an 80s reset timer and a 15 second action time. Her Repair Party starts with four charges. 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% for 100s and has a 240s reset timer. The latter launches 3 fighters which stay on station, orbiting the ship at a range of 3km for 60s. It comes with three charges and has a 90s reset timer. Upgrades Start with Main Armaments Modification 1 Start your anti-fire based regimen with Damage Control System Modification 1 in slot two. Buffing your main battery guns is the best option for slot three, so grab Aiming System Modification 1. Your next stop into just saying no to fires is Damage Control System Modification 2 in slot four. Concealment Expert is still the best choice in slot 5. Wargaming, can we have some variety in this slot, please? It's worse than slot 3. Main Battery Modification 3 is arguably the best choice for slot 6, dropping her reload from a miserable 36 seconds down to a merely mildly upsetting 31.7 seconds. However, if you want to buff your range (and increase the window in which you can use Dead Eye) then Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 isn't a terrible choice. This will increase he reach from 19.02km to 22.06km. Commander Skills This is the commander build I settled on. I dropped Dead Eye for hipster reasons, but I've included the math for you to take it if you wish. Marco Polo, like many battleships, benefits from anti-fire, survivability build and that served me well during play-testing, even without the memes of back-of-the-line sniping (which, quite frankly, Marco Polo doesn't do well for a number of reasons I'll get into in the Firepower & Vision Control sections). There is a little wiggle room with tier 1 and 2 skill choices. Pick your favourites. Grease the Gears will help counter the traverse slow down of Main Battery Modification 3, for example. Camouflage Marco Polo has access to two kinds of camouflage. Type 10 and Legion. The Type 10 Camouflage has the following bonuses. -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains.  I have not yet seen the Legion Camouflage in game. I have been told by Wargaming that it has the same bonuses as Type 10 above but until I see it, I cannot confirm that. The promotional image for Marco Polo's Legion camo by Wargaming. Marco Polo's lines and camo are reminscent of Roma. She's not quite as pretty as the Littorio-class's lines, but Italian battleships are gorgeous. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 406mm guns in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm guns in 4x3 turrets with two turrets per side and twenty-four 90mm guns in 12x2 turrets clustered around the funnels. There's is ironically a lot to go over here but at the same time, not a lot to say. The TL:DR is this: Use Dead Eye, keep way back and spam SAP. Secondaries? More Like Moist Flamethrowers Let's get the largely irrelevant out of the way first. Marco Polo's secondaries are terrible. Their range is fine. Their rate of fire is okay. Their damage output is on the low side for secondary guns, but it's not so low that it's not comparable to other tier IX battleships (it's about on par with Georgia's DPM). However, it's the penetration from her 90mm guns that holds her back. Like the French battleships, the bulk of Marco Polo's secondary fire comes from guns too small in calibre to directly damage the hulls of destroyers or the superstructures of battleships. At best you can hope for them to break the occasional module or to start fires. They are not worth specializing into and their poor performance is a good reminder to keep this ship outside of brawling range. SAP Delivery System It's that Armour Overmatch which matters so much. Let's pretend citadel hits are an impossibility -- that they simply do not exist. What reason would you ever have to use Marco Polo's AP shells? That's the crux of Marco Polo's game-play (and indeed, the entire Italian battleship line). If you struggle to land citadel hits with Italian battleship guns, then SAP is the hands-down better ammunition to use. This goes double for Marco Polo grace of her excellent overmatch potential with her SAP rounds. Other Italian battleships cap out at being able to overmatch 26mm of hull armour with their 381mm guns. Marco Polo overmatches 28mm. The phenomenal auto-ricochet angles on her SAP rounds outright ignore all cruiser extremities in the game. If you hit a cruiser on the butt or the bow, you will do damage. If an enemy battleship doesn't angle just right and you boop their snoot, you'll do damage. And not just damage; chunktacular damage. SAP rounds do not over-penetrate. Short of striking a lolibote or an oversaturated hull section, that's a guaranteed 2,327 to 4,653 damage per penetrating hit And with 102mm of flat penetration regardless of range, there's a whole lot of hull sections she can hit without worrying about her shells shattering. It's that simple, it's that easy to use. I won't go so far as to say it's that good, but it's consistent at least. This is the reason Marco Polo has such a terrible rate of fire. Her 36 second reload is downright appalling. Main Battery Modification 3 can drop this down to 31.68 seconds, but you'll really feel that slow reload and that's only if you choose to equip it rather than trying to band-aid her sorry range. Her 19.02km reach hurts. It really does. You can forget about taking a comfortable central position on the map, confident you'll be able to reach exposed targets on either side. You can forget being about to out-range most cruisers. You can forget having a comfortable window to activate Dead Eye. With her god-awful concealment, Marco Polo is largely relegated to moving up on one side, sitting bow in and trading fire with whoever is parked right in front of you. They'll try and burn you. You try and SAP them into submission. If it sounds boring, that's because it is. Marco Polo totally sucks at damaging destroyers. Paolo Emilio players take note: YOLO rush the Italian BBs. Between bad secondaries, long reloads and ineffective ammunition, they're a good target. Marco Polo has THE worst AP DPM at her tier, and by an appreciable margin. This is yet another reason you want to stick to SAP rounds as much as possible, dipping into AP only when there's a chance to land citadel hits in order to spike your damage totals. Why you should probably use AP SAP is wonderful and all, but it's largely limited to chip-damage. Here's a thought exercise: Iowa and Marco Polo are each trading fire with a bow-tanking Friedrich der Große (84,300hp). Iowa is using HE rounds and Marco Polo is using SAP. Our battleships are only using their front two turrets. Assuming a modest 1/3 accuracy rate and all hits penetrate for full damage (an abstraction, though Friedrich could be using their Repair Party to extend the de-saturation point) we get the following numbers: Iowa: 7,524 damage Marco Polo: 15,510 damage However, if Iowa gets one fire through Friedrich der Große's defences, that brings her number up between 16k and nearly 23k damage. So, you might think that my argument is that HE is better than SAP. That's not the argument I'm making. There are many holes in this brief SAP vs HE example, not the least of which is that it's going to take Iowa (on average) a minimum of three full salvos to guarantee their first fire which is a point in SAP's favour. Similarly, there's also the chance of stacking multiple fires which swings the argument the other way. The point I'm trying to make here is that the SAP's damage output is limited to just steady penetrations. It takes a long time to kill anything with SAP. While citadel hits with SAP rounds are possible (for example, I had a very satisfying citadel hit on a Seattle in one of my test-games) the number of ships vulnerable to taking those hits is severely limited. By and large, SAP is only going to land penetrating hits, which is fine. It's consistent. But it does not offer the highs and lows of AP shells, the RNGeebus-blessings of fire stacks nor the jackpot lottery winning when you detonate someone. There were few things so infuriating in my test games than having been trading SAP with an opponent only for them to finally (FINALLY) flash their broadside. And what did I have loaded? Not AP rounds. So the salvo that landed did no more than the chip-damage I had been harassing them with the whole time anyway. For this reason, I strongly (STRONGLY) advocate having the Gun Feeder commander skill to swap out shells when those opportunities arise. To do well, not just middling performance, but well in Marco Polo, you need to take those AP citadel shots when they're available. Now if only her guns would behave to make those citadel hits happen. Marco Polo has excellent AP penetration values for its tier, almost rivalling the high-velocity, high Krupp Izumo rounds. Roma Gunnery I was kind of concerned when I heard some players describing Marco Polo as "accurate". She's not. Not unless you think Roma's accurate. Marco Polo has the same dispersion pattern and sigma value as Roma along with comparable ballistics. This means that sometimes RNGeebus will play nice and you can't seem to miss. At others, her shells overshoot / undershoot by an enormous margin and make you want to pull your hair out in frustration. For a ship with such a horribly long reload, watching your shells scatter to the four winds is incredibly infuriating -- especially if it's one of those rare opportunities where you're going fishing for a citadel hit. Given her poor concealment, this is a ship that's going to tend to be firing from 16km+ away from targets if you intend to make use of the Dead Eye commander skill. I certainly recommend that you make full use of it while you still can as it does tighten up Marco Polo's dispersion to a more tolerable level. This won't fix all of her gunnery woes, but it will make her a little more consistent while camped in the back line. As much as I hate to advocate for this kind of passive game-play, Wargaming has painted Marco Polo into a corner with the combination of fragility, small hit point pool, short range and poor concealment. If you're going to invest into this ship, it's best to accept that now. 180 AP shells fired at a stationary Fuso bot with no camo at 15km. Marco Polo was using Aiming System Modification 1 (but not Dead Eye). Summary Her SAP shells are powerful and easy to use, providing very consistent damage. You should still fire AP shells when you have a chance of landing citadel hits. Beware destroyers. You have very poor weapons for dealing with them. An extra couple of degrees on A & B turret and I would have nothing but praise for Marco Polo's fire arcs. Oh well. Her gun traverse is alright, but if you pair it with Main Battery Modification 3 Marco Polo is capable of out-turning her turrets which isn't fun. VERDICT: Spam SAP. (Pro-Gamer Move: Don't.) Durability Hit Points: 69,100 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 70mm to 80mm / 55mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 320mm belt + either 25mm turtleback or 50mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 27% Yikes. You doin' okay there, little Marco? I only ask cuz you seem a little anemic. Like a little French battleship. Marco Polo has the hit points of a tier VIII battleship; an admittedly chonky tier VIII battleship, but a tier VIII battleship none the less. Thankfully, her Repair Party consumable hasn't been neutered in any way, unlike those of the Soviets and Hizen. Still, Marco Polo is near the bottom of the pile for effective health. Individual damaging hits hurt her more than her contemporaries (though fires and floods hurt everyone the same). Instead of tanking and healing damage, Marco Polo is designed to shrug it off entirely. She's almost good at it. In World of Warships, reinforced upper hulls and deck armour has little to do with resisting battleship calibre AP rounds or aircraft bombs and everything to do with shattering the binary penetration of HE rounds. At 55mm thick, Marco Polo's deck is proof against most standard HE rounds up to 330mm in calibre (or 220mm for 1/4 HE penetration ammunition). This is just thick enough to shatter the HE bombs off Lexington's planes and all British bombers, but not enough to see off those from Midway or Franklin D. Roosevelt (Lowenhardt's can too but you're only going to see her if someone horribly fail-divisions). Similarly, Marco Polo's deck is proof against most rockets but not Tiny Tims. Generally speaking, HE attacks form cruisers and carriers aimed at her amidships will get less consistent results making her seem tougher under these kinds of attacks than her contemporaries. However, without an ice-breaker bow and extended waterline belt, her bow and stern are big damage sponges just waiting to squeeze out some tasty hit points for commanders who know to aim there. Marco Polo (and the Italian battleships) are KINDA troll versus cruiser-calibre HE shells. Soviet battleships do it best, though. And don't think for a second her armour will help you versus Royal Navy battleship HE spam. This is why you have to suffer a 36 second reload. Like other Italian battleships, Marco Polo has good external armour. It's not quite Soviet-good, but it's very respectable and downright troll for repulsing cruiser-calibre HE spam. The odd armour and geometries on deck both help and hinder incoming AP rounds that are aimed at the superstructure. Sometimes they may cause a ricochet. At other times, they'll simply arm the shells that might have otherwise over-penetrated. Do keep that stepped deck on her butt in mind. That acts as a shell trap which can cause you problems while kiting. Against AP shells, things get much (MUCH) worse. To the rear, her stepped decking makes for an obvious shell trap. When kiting, Marco Polo takes more damage from incoming AP than I would have liked. Her (almost) good gun angles do facilitate maintaining auto-ricochet angles against single targets, especially on the attack but they're less reliable when she withdraws. Her citadel protection is trash-tier. Her 320mm belt, though reverse sloped, isn't thick enough to seriously contest the kind of ammunition being thrown about at high tiers. Without angling, just about any battleship you face can punch through her belt and get to her gooey centre within most engagement ranges. That's not a death-sentence in of itself, it's uncommon for a belt to be thick enough to break up incoming AP rounds when flashing too much broadside. However, where Marco Polo's defences fall apart is her citadel protection. Her 25mm turtleback is easily overmatched by 380mm+ AP shells. That means if the shells DO get in past the belt armour, shells of this calibre, so long as the shell's path strikes this bit, angle, shell trajectory and armour thickness is irrelevant. It will result in a citadel hit. Marco Polo gives up citadel damage on the regular. Do NOT take her into brawls. Be exceedingly careful when you come about. Her small hit point pool will vanish in a hurry if someone gets her flank. Internally, Marco Polo's protection scheme is disappointing. She echoes the tech-tree Italian battleships with a super-thin turtleback sloping that can be overmatched by 380mm and greater AP shells, providing easy-access to her magazines and machine spaces. This is disappointing. Given the slope and citadel height, she could have been a lot tougher. All this means in practice is that if you give up her broadside, you can expect to take big damage which is nothing new for battleships. Keep her out of a brawl and be careful when coming about and you'll be fine. VERDICT: Decent protection against cruiser and destroyer calibre guns. When properly angled, she's a tough cookie, but when flanked, battleship AP shells will tear her apart with alarming alacrity. Agility Top Speed: 32 knots Turning Radius: 860m 7Rudder Shift Time: 16.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.3º/s at 24.1 knots I don't have a whole lot to say here. While it's true that Marco Polo has decent agility for a tier IX battleship, she's just one spoonful of Crisco away from being a tub of lard. None of the tier IX batleships handle especially well. Marco Polo stands out only in that she handles like an average tier VIII battleship at tier IX. Battleships take a steep step down in how well they wiggle at the very high tiers while not increasing much in speed since tiers VII and VIII. With ballooning turning radii and rudder shift times, they simply lack the flexibility of their lower-tiered brethren. That's good news for Asashio and other torpedo destroyers, I suppose. Marco Polo has some of the best agility for a tier IX battleship, though she definitely sits behind Georgia's flexibility in this regard. This doesn't make her agility good, though. That's the reason you're squinting at this graphic and aren't able to find her easily. She's #4 on the list. VERDICT: Good for a tier IX battleship, but unremarkable if she was just a tier lower. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 6 + 2 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast at 3.5km to 4.6km. Long Ranged (up to 4.6km): 196dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 199.5dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 206.5dps at 70% accuracy When I started doing the math and making my comparisons, I almost got excited here. Yes, Marco Polo (and most Italian battleships) have terrible range on their large-calibre AA artillery BUT the numbers she was putting out looked respectable enough. I was naive enough to think that big numbers might make up the difference until I started stacking up the tier IX battleships and comparing them. Marco Polo has comparable AA DPS to Alsace & Wujing which isn't terrible. But that lack of range means less exposure to both flak and that long-range aura. Yes, Marco Polo can mess up a squadron that loiters in her AA bubble. Co-Op bots are prone to doing this but you cannot count on players to be so myopic. The best individual defence that Marco Polo can put it up is to launch a Catapult Fighter and hope that discourages attack. Given Marco Polo's lack of range, it's tough to give up her Spotter Aircraft however. I guess it's back to the same old tricks: Group up and Just Dodge™. Once upon a time, I actually looked forward to talking about AA firepower. It's been a long time since I've had anything nice to say about it and the constant negativity is really starting to wear me down. VERDICT: Admittedly not as bad as it could have been. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.8km / 13.2km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 12.98km / 10.51km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 16.26km Maximum Firing Range: Between 19.02km and 22.06km (max of 26.48km with Spotter Aircraft). This honestly surprised me. And I think it's arguably the most disappointing flaw Marco Polo has after that 36 second reload. There are two elements here: Marco Polo's poor surface detection and her lack of an Exhaust Smoke Generator. The latter is what it is. I was surprised to see that she didn't get one but I can make do without it. Without smoke, players must be more cautious when it comes to flashing Marco Polo's sides. They can't rely on being able to pop smoke to cover such manoeuvres. Similarly, you have to watch your mini-map more with Marco Polo, keeping an eye on when it's time to disengage if your flank starts to fall. Finally, the lack of smoke also limits those rare (in PVP but common enough in PVE) moments where you can use her smoke offensively to foil torpedo attempts, make a move out of island cover to setup a flank or set up a favourable joust. As for her surface detection, I admit a bias here made by previous premium Italian battleships. Both Roma and Giulio Cesare are very stealthy battleships for their respective tiers. I had it in my head that this would likely be a trait that carried forward with the rest of the Regia Marina dreadnoughts. So colour me surprised when Marco Polo ends up being on the poor-side of things when it comes to surface detection. I think I know why. The cynic in me wants to believe this has something to do with mitigating Dead Eye's influence on her poor gunnery dispersion. I base this only on my previous experience with open-water stealth firing back in the day, when this increasingly became the defining feature my peers looked for in new lolibotes, we ended up seeing Wargaming take measures to limit it, such as adding a 2km "stealth tax" onto German destroyers when they launched. This is where my cynicism took root, imagining that it was a knee-jerk response by Wargaming to downplay the awkwardness of the new meta. Given that her surface detection has been nerfed since she was announced, dropping from an impressive 15.3km base detection range (12.02km when fully upgraded), my feelings seem more and more justified. Of course, Wargaming could have changed it for any number of reasons. I do not know what the official reason is for gutting her concealment. I just know that it has been made pretty terrible. The drawback to such poor concealment stacks with Marco Polo's poor reach. Unlike Roma and Giulio Cesare, you cannot get this ship out onto a flank very easily. This limits the effectiveness of her AP, which in turn overvalues her SAP rounds even further. If you can't get the flanking shots you need to make AP shells effective, you may as well just stick to spamming SAP, right? It's disappointing. Poor rate of fire? I can deal with. Her short reach is a problem but I can manage by sneaking into positions. But taking away concealment means that Marco Polo doesn't so much outplay her opponents as she relies upon her enemies to make openings for her. Her game play becomes even more passive as a result. Ironically, if my suspicion of her concealment nerf having been made to make Dead Eye less effective, Wargaming has actively encouraged Marco Polo players to take Dead Eye more as they're forced into a passive camping meta due to their poor concealment. And passive game play sucks. Take Dead Eye. Sit back with your bow pointed at the enemy. Spam SAP. Top-tier Marco Polo game play in a nutshell. VERDICT: Terribly disappointing. I'm with you, Obélix. Final Evaluation Back in 2019 we were introduced to the Soviet battleships. They launched with powerful (if temperamental) guns, tremendous HE and fire resistance and superb, BALANS™-based bow-in technology. They quickly established themselves as the new meta just as the British and German battleships had in years prior. Here we are, two years later and the Regia Marina battleships have arrived. Surely THEY will now take their turn and become the new hotness? Italian battleships, after all, have powerful SAP ammunition, good cruiser-calibre HE resistance and can similarly troll ships that don't bow in directly at them. And that smoke! Ooh, that smoke! So weird! So strange! So vaguely useful in very specific circumstances! I dunno about you, but the Italian battleship releases feel less like a Soviet, British or German battleship release and more like a French one. I mean, yeah, there's a couple of nice ships in the line but République and Alsace made some noise but hardly changed the entire King of the Sea tournament line ups the way the Soviet battleships did. And while it's still early, we haven't seen social media on fire the way Conqueror lit up the enemy battleship lines in Randoms. So what hope does Marco Polo have in being good when the rest of the line is merely interesting? Well, what Marco Polo has is British HE levels of stupidly easy ammo to use. Take Dead Eye. Build for stealth & fire resistance. Park yourself nose in. Load SAP. Spam it at anything that moves. Given your general inability to land citadel hits, it doesn't really matter what you shoot at. Aim for the upper hull and pull the trigger. Pray RNGeebus that dispersion is less troll than it usually is and hoover up some respectable but not terribly interesting damage totals. At least the Soviets made you change ammunition choices. And that's really the summation of Marco Polo. She's Royal Navy battleship brainless gunnery slapped onto a Soviet-lite battleship hull. Yeah, you're more vulnerable to fire and you can't start fires yourself, but so what? Marco Polo's pretty darned easy to use. You just have to watch out for citadel hits, torpedoes and being set ablaze. Easy peasy. In my playtesting, I admit to having resisted spamming SAP as much as I could. I tried just to use AP rounds, going so far as to use just that over SAP; y'know, the other kind of myopic ammunition choice espoused by the community from 2015 until 2017 when it finally became socially acceptable for battleships to use HE. My results were predictably less than stellar. Her AP works. But if you're going to be a hipster like I was, understand that you're severly handicapping yourself and you may as well play an American battleship or Soviet battleship instead. The reason to buy and play Marco Polo is to play with that 406mm SAP and to spam it as often as possible. If you like big numbers then those opening salvos are super worth it. Savour 'em, though, cuz once saturation kicks in Marco Polo's numbers look pretty mediocre. There's no constant damage ticking in from multiple fires. There's no cataclysmic one-shots coming from multiple citadel hits. Only one person got salty at me for spamming them with SAP constantly. I had tons of people get mad at me for throwing HE around in British battleships. If that's not a sign Marco Polo isn't as powerful as she could be, I dunno what is. So yeah. That's Marco Polo. She's a big ol' fat Italian battleship. She's reasonably competent. Her SAP spam is much more reliable than the tech-tree battleships because of her higher gun calibre. She's also kinda tough. Kinda. My time in her wasn't terrible but it's hard for me to think highly of a ship that I was so thoroughly bored in. 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!
  14. The following is a review of Giulio Cesare, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of October 20th, 2017. This was a triumph. (I'm making a note here: "Huge success".) It's hard to overstate my satisfaction. Quick Summary: Giulio Cesare feels like a traditional battlecruiser -- fast, hard hitting but with a poor protection scheme. She's incredibly agile for a ship of her size. Cost: $24.99 USD with a port slot. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.11.1 to 0.6.12.0, October 12th to October 19th, 2017 Closest in-Game Contemporary Kongo, tier V Japanese Battleship Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Kongo is about as close as you'll get to a ship with similar game play style to Giulio Cesare, but this is still a rather far cry from the Italian Battleship. Cesare is stealthy while Kongo is not. Cesare is agile while Kongo is not. Both ships excel at engaging enemy ships at medium distances, using their speed to dictate the range. Cesare exerts far more control than Kongo between her superior firepower, gun handling, agility and stealth. PROs Extended waterline belt armour helps bounce shells when properly angled. The inside of the prow has an 85mm armoured "beak" which makes citadel penetrations through the bow more difficult. Guns feel very accurate with a combination of a 1.9 sigma value and the turrets being mounted close together. HE shells have an excellent base fire chance of 35% and a rather large splash radius of 28m for damaging modules. Fast gun traverse of 5.0º/s Small, 640m turning circle, good rudder shift time of 13.0s and a fast top speed of 27.0kts, making her one of the most agile battleships currently in the game (yes, even more agile than Warspite). She's a small target, smaller than many light cruisers with an excellent surface detection range of 13.7km. CONs Exceedingly fragile with poor torpedo defense, low hit point total, a large exposed citadel and poor armour values overall. Secondaries are lackluster with a modest rate of fire and a combination of HE and AP shell fire. Poor anti-aircraft firepower and range. Feels blind without any form of spotter aircraft, float plane fighter or similar vision-assisting consumable. The Italian Battleships are here! Well, kinda. Giulio Cesare is an Italian battleship but for those who were hoping to be able to pin point what sort of flavour or gimmick they would have to differentiate themselves from the Germans, British, American and Japanese, you're going to be a bit disappointed. Giulio Cesare got the Dunkerque treatment in that there's nothing about her that points to some special flavour of the Regia Marina dreadnoughts. We shouldn't be too surprised given what's come before like with Hood and Tirpitz which were each poor indicators for the ship lines that came after. This doesn't preclude Giulio Cesare from being an interesting ship in its own right as you will see. I have to admit, even as a die-hard Royal Navy fangirl -- the Italian ships are simply gorgeous. Options Pretty run of the mill stuff here. Giulio Cesare has a standard battleship Damage Control Party with a 15s active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer depending on whether or not you go for a premium version. Her Repair Party is also standard for a battleship. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Premium Camouflage: Type 9/10. As of patch 0.6.12.0, type 9 and 10 camouflage patterns are identical. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Module Upgrades: Three slots, standard non-American battleship options. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. In your second slot, take Aiming System Modification 1. If you really hate aircraft, you can take AA Guns Modification 2 instead. While this will help dissuade tier IV and V carriers, be advised this will not save you against tier VI+ carriers, even with a full anti-aircraft build. In your third slot, take Damage Control Systems Modification 1. Firepower Primary Battery: Ten 320mm rifles in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 120mm guns in 6x2 turrets and eight 100mm guns in 4x2 turrets I got so terribly excited when I saw the load-out of Giulio Cesare's secondaries on paper: a ten gun broadsides? That's almost German-good! Sure, this would be hamstrung somewhat by the 4.0km range, but I was gonna be happy and I was going to pew pew stuff in the face and be all, "Veni, vidi, vici!" on all of those gunship destroyers that think they're so great at tiers IV and V. Yeah, no. There are two little issues with my dreams of close-quarter conquests with a phalanx of secondary fire. Giulio Cesare's secondaries don't have quite the rate of fire I was hoping. Each gun fires 10rpm -- a whisker shy of the 12rpm I hope to see on secondaries at a minimum -- especially for low caliber weapons like 100mm guns. I mean, 10rpm isn't terrible but it's not ideal. Anyway, I could over look this in of itself... ...except that point number two is that her 120mm guns (which form the backbone of her secondary armament) fire AP shells. Blech. Now, don't get me wrong. In of itself, AP shells from secondaries can be good if they've got a lot of hitting power. But these ones don't. They have a maximum alpha strike of 2,000 damage per if they citadel and they're not going to do that often. It's like asking a cross-eyed Farragut to save your life from a rampaging Podvoisky and the fool loads AP instead of HE. As it turned out, getting that close with Giulio Cesare is generally a loser move anyway (see her protection scheme below), so having mediocre secondaries isn't that much of a loss. Still, it's a shame. I do love my low tier brawls. As it would fall out, I did find an elegant solution to that charging gunship-destroyer problem. Meet the problem solver. Giulio Cesare is one of the most comfortable gunnery experiences I've enjoyed in a battleship. It's kind of hard for me to believe she's stricken with German dispersion values. These are the worst in the game. Her guns feel far more accurate than what her dispersion value would suggest. This comes down to three factors: Her sigma value, the size of the ship and the number of guns she wields. Giulio Cesare boasts a sigma value of 1.9 which is a marginal improvement over the usual 1.8 value found on tier V battleships. The higher the sigma value, the more likely shells will land towards the center of the dispersion field. In practice this means there are fewer 'wonky' shots where shells fly every which way. They still occur, but more rarely than on other battleships like König or Iron Duke. The second factor is the proximity of Cesare's guns to one another. Cesare isn't a very large vessel -- she's shorter in length than many of the cruisers within her matchmaking spread. As a result, her guns are crammed closer together. This has the effect of reducing dispersion further This is part of why a ship like New Mexico feels more accurate than Fuso even though the latter has better dispersion values. Finally, Cesare has a ten-gun broadside. Had she only eight like Kongo, her dispersion wouldn't feel as generous. The sheer volume of fire does much to diffuse any perceptions of occasional inaccuracy grace that if you throw enough shells at a target, something's likely to hit. So despite the flaw of a large base dispersion value, you're seldom going to feel it. .Giulio Cesare's guns should be considered "good enough" in all other respects. She doesn't win out on DPM, alpha strike, penetration, or even fire chance (she's bested by Iron Duke, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya, New York, and Iron Duke again, respectively). However, she's a contender in each category without any serious weak spots. She has the second highest DPM for a battleship at her tier. Cesare's HE penetration value is artificially high. For a 320mm gun, we should expect her to be able to penetrate 52mm of armor. She can instead penetrate 55mm. This isn't an enormous difference, but it is a bonus. Cesare has a very high fire chance at 35% per hit. This contrasts with a more modest HE shell damage of 4,800 which is respectable but not great. Cesare's module blast radius is respectable for her tier at 28.35m even with her smaller caliber guns. Cesare is great at causing critical damage to enemy ships, including setting off magazines of light cruisers and destroyers. This just leaves Cesare's AP penetration to talk about. It's not terrible, but it's not great. Her shells have comparable penetration performance to Royal Navy 381mm guns found on Hood and Queen Elizabeth. This is perfectly serviceable at tier V and VI though it starts feeling a bit lackluster against some of the more heavily armoured American and German belt armour, especially at close to maximum range. Image courtesy of Wargaming's Armada video on Giulio Cesare. Cesare's penetration values lack the raw potential up close, though they preserve their power well over distance. Giulio Cesare is a battleship where you could be forgiven for spamming a single ammunition type and either one would yield good results. To be clear: Her AP shells are better than her HE shells, but the latter are no slouches. A player who elects to use just a single shell type won't perform as optimally as someone that's more dynamic with their ammunition choices. However, they will still do reasonably well. The only real weakness of Cesare's main battery armament (and I am really stretching things to call it a weakness) are her gun fire angles. They're not bad but they're not excellent. Her forward guns have a 288º fire angle. Her rear have a 290º fire angle. This means that to bring all eight guns on a target ahead, she needs to angle out to 35º -- this isn't auto-bounce territory (30º) so she needs to be careful lest she eat unwanted citadel hits. Towards the rear this is slightly worse at a 36º fire angle. Overall, Cesare has an excellent main battery armament that's not only easy to use but quite powerful. Summary: Good traverse rates and decent accuracy makes her guns very comfortable to use. Her per-shell damage may not be phenomenal, but the number of hits she can land more than makes up for this. Dynamic ammunition choice will yield the best results, but homogeneous fire of AP or HE can still score some impressive damage totals. Her secondaries are unfortunately lackluster despite the impressive number of weapon mounts. Giulio Cesare has got it where it counts. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 27.0knotsTurning Radius: 640mRudder Shift: 13.0s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.9º/s Cesare is fast and Cesare is agile. Her twenty-seven knot top speed at tier V is excellent. She's not the fastest ship in her tier -- that honour goes to Kongo -- but she is much faster than all of her other contemporaries. What's more, she doesn't pay for this speed with horrible handling. In fact, Cesare is one of the most agile battleships in the game. While Warspite may boast a smaller turning circle, Cesare preserves more speed with her rudder hard over, allowing the ship to rotate faster and change direction more suddenly than every other battleship she faces. This gives her a maximum rate of turn of 4.9º/s compared to 4.7º/s of Warspite. As you can imagine, this makes Cesare great at dodging incoming shells and other forms of attack. Speed is life for Giulio Cesare. The value of being able to control engagement distances must not be underestimated. Cesare's speed wanes as you face higher tiered ships, however. While her twenty-seven knots feels blinding fast in the small, claustrophobic maps of tiers IV and V, when you're up-tiered, it doesn't quite measure up. The maps get significantly larger and you begin to face opposition that is as fleet footed (or faster) than you are. Still, like with Nagato, Cesare's 27 knot top speed is sufficient at tier VII though not especially quick. It pays to be a little more cautious because of it. One of the most satisfying elements of Cesare's speed and agility is that she is all but immune to torpedo attack form tier IV and V aircraft carriers, provided you keep your wits about you. Turning radius difference between Giulio Cesare (left) and Kongo (middle), and Warspite (right) using navigational buoys on the Ocean map as markers. One frame = approximately 3.0s. DurabilityHit Points: 45,500Maximum Citadel Protection: 250mm +24mm turtleback + 40mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 19% All of Cesare's speed comes at a price. She doesn't have a lot of hit points, for one. This in turn means that her Repair Party consumable isn't terribly impressive, healing back a maximum of 6,370hp per charge. For another, she's almost sufficiently protected, but there are significant problems with her armor scheme. First and foremost, there is no avoiding Cesare's most crippling flaw: Her citadel sits high over the waterline, stretching from in front of B turret to all of the way back behind X turret. Her citadel continues, submerged, beneath A and Y turrets. She doesn't have good armour protection around her citadel either -- not with how high it stands. The maximum citadel protection she receives is a bit of an illusion as her citadel sits so high that her turtleback will not always come into play -- nor will her thickest belt armour which is also submerged. Often, Cesare is forced to try and protect her machine spaces with as little as a 130mm upper belt armor and a 40mm citadel wall which doesn't stand up to punishment, even at very long ranges. If you give up this ship's side, you can expect to take citadel damage as a matter of course. Bow on, the story changes. While she has an extended belt armour which helps her face tank some shells, there's still a large section of 19mm worth of armor that can be overmatched directly head on. However, she is unlikely to take citadel hits from this angle as there's an interior 85mm armoured "beak" inside the bow to help deflect shells away from her magazines and barbettes. This wedge is a mixed blessing. While it does largely prevent citadel hits, it also upgrades many hits that would simply be overpenetrations into penetrating hits instead. So while it's unlikely for Cesare to take catastrophic hits when sailing directly bow onto an enemy, she'll still take large damaging hits as a matter of course. Cesare's extended belt armour covers her entire waterline to the rear, however, making her surprisingly tanky on the retreat. Just make sure you're aware of her worse gun fire angles when shooting over the shoulder so as to avoid giving up too much side when firing A and B turrets. Given these deficiencies in her armour scheme, it's best to take on a 15º to 20º angle towards enemies either on the attack or retreat to maximize the protection provided by your belt. Use her excellent agility to bait and dodge shells while unmasking your guns to return fire. Her agility should not be underestimated. Speed and camouflage will be your best defense in gunnery duels. Oh, and you can forget about Cesare having good protection against torpedoes. They hurt more than being stabbed twenty-three times. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 13.68km Air Detection Range: 9.42km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.41km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 10.86km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.37km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: Tied for first with Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: Tied for fourth with Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya Giulio Cesare is incredibly stealthy for a battleship. When she's top tier, the only ships that have better potential concealment are rare premiums, Nikolai I and Arkansas Beta. When she's bottom tier, the closest tier VI ships are New Mexico and Warspite with Cesare enjoying a 400m advantage. The closest tier VII is King George V with Cesare enjoying a 700m advantage. Combining her great handling and top speed, Cesare can dictate engagement ranges when fighting other battleships, which is a good thing. She will be uptiered often and this measure of control makes such matches far more comfortable than they would be otherwise. Silencing her guns and turning tail will allow you to disengage from unfavourable encounters. This goes a long way towards increasing her survivability. This is especially important given how blind she is. Cesare suffers like many battleships do that lack float plane fighters or some gimmicky consumable like Hydroacoustic Search. When forced to do her own spotting, she's groping in the dark which makes spits of land all the more dangerous and dealing with enemy destroyers far more challenging. It's worth noting just how small Giulio Cesare is. Even Duca d'Aosta, a light cruiser, is longer than the new battleship. She has a comparable length to the short and squat (and very cute) USS Texas but with even better concealment values. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 26 / 70 / 27 Planes are a problem for Giulio Cesare. For one thing, they have a nasty habit of negating Cesare's impressive surface detection range. For another, they like to drop explody things that make me have a sad. As mentioned previously, Cesare's agility will largely keep you safe from munitions from tier IV and V carriers so long as you keep a wary eye out. Cross drops from an expertly played Zuiho can still cause issues. Her anti-aircraft armament isn't terrible, but it's not good. At best you could say that she doesn't have the worst AA power among battleships of her tier. Her large caliber guns are hamstrung by a 4.0km aura. For much of the playtesting period, I used AA Guns Modification 2 to help compensate for this (mostly because Aiming Systems Mod 1 was not available to testers) and this provided her with enough teeth to shoot down two or three aircraft from same or lower tier carriers per attack run. When facing higher tiered planes, killing one plane was a victory. Killing two was a triumph. So keep an eye on the skies. You'll need to manoeuvre to avoid attack and that can leave you open to incoming fire. Be sure to evaluate threats appropriately. How to Train your Publius Crassus Your first ten skill points in Giulio Cesare are rather standard for a stealthy battleship. Start with Priority Target. For those players comfortable with their situational awareness, this can be swapped for Preventative Maintenance or Expert Loader. At the next tier, take Expert Marksman. You're going to be throwing Cesare about often in heavy manoeuvres. Her turrets can barely keep up with her maximum rotation rate and this will help get your guns back on target. Superintendent is your best purchase next to give you an extra charge of your Repair Party. And finally, take Concealment Expert at top tier to drop your surface detection range down to 11.4km. This will help you control fights, especially when you're bottom tier in the Matchmaker. The current meta will reward you best for taking survivability based skills after this. Fire Prevention (4) and Basics of Survivability (3), should all be considered high value skills. Fire damage is especially prevalent at lower tiers. For the remaining two points, Adrenaline Rush (2) is your best investment. If you're especially salty about aircraft and want to feel like a big fish in a small pond, you can build for AA-power with Advanced Fire Training (4) and Basic Fire Training (3) instead. Combined with AA Guns Modification 2, this will give you a rather healthy flak umbrella that will make tier IV and V carriers rather salty when they engage you. However, be advised this build is not only sub-optimal, it's all but useless when facing tier VI and VII carriers. Cool battleships don't look at exploding aircraft. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Giulio Cesare has one lesson to teach novice players -- don't show your sides. Beyond that, she's not a terribly complicated ships, with very forgiving attributes. She's agile enough to respond to belatedly addressed threats. Her AP and HE shells are both competitive even when the wrong ammunition choice for a task is selected. She's not so fast that you will easily outstrip your support. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Veterans will love her concealment value, agility and speed while celebrating the punishing hitting power of her guns. If she wasn't blind, she would be the perfect mid-tier battleship. She presents an interesting challenge on how best to maximize her armour and what few hit points she has. Mouse's Summary: 1.9 sigma, good muzzle velocity and her gun layout makes her feel more accurate than her dispersion stats would otherwise indicate. She does not stand up well to abuse. She's got enough armour to shrug off a few hits but under concerted fire, she's not going to last very long. Make sure the things that are shooting at you die painful deaths. Fast, agile, stealthy. She hates planes. She also hates torpedoes. Giulio Cesare had an interesting development cycle. Her first iteration was disgustingly overpowered with the ship enjoying the same horizontal dispersion value as Japanese Heavy Cruisers (!) with a 1.5 sigma value. The second iteration was the ship we see now but without the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade which is what this review is based upon. As I write this, I haven't had a chance to play her with the accuracy increase and I'm very much looking forward to that. It's only going to make playing her more fun. Giulio Cesare is a battleship that rewards good gunnery and awareness skills -- so much so that I honestly believe she might be just a little overpowered but I'm on the fence. This ship is going to spit so much damage so regularly, that I anticipate she's going to end up near the top of the pile on the damage meters. The only thing that will hold her back is her survivability and that's not nearly as bad as some may be dreading. Overall, she's a very powerful ship in the right hands. What I found worked best was keeping engagement distances out to about 10km to 12km and holding it there. This let Cesare's guns land hits regularly while still giving her enough time to angle or avoid incoming fire. Against more serious threats like the Scharnhorst-class battleships, extending this range to 14km helped, as well as switching ammunition based on the opportunities provided. Cesare feels a bit idiot proof in that you can spam HE and get good numbers. I found myself leaning upon this ammunition a little more than perhaps I should have. As a consequence, this lead to more than a few detonations of enemy vessels -- a total of five out of forty-six games played. This number shouldn't be considered anomalous -- any battleship that spams HE at soft targets like cruisers and destroyers could get similar results provided they can land the hits in the vicinity of the ammunition lockers. Cesare was uniquely suited to this with not only her improved accuracy but also her speed which let me get her into positions to hammer these softer targets early on in a match. Much will be made of Cesare being a tier V battleship and suffering the ills of the current Matchmaking. This is a battleship that up-tiers very well -- at least provided there are no aircraft carriers present. In pure gunship fights, she has all of the tools necessary to contend with these larger vessels. I did not feel horribly disadvantaged facing a Colorado, Nagato or King George V. It was a challenge facing these ships, to be sure, but it wasn't a forgone conclusion like it might be had I been sailing a New York or König. When Cesare is top tier, it's really not very fair. There are only a few ships to give me pause in such match-ups. A well played Hosho, Kamikaze or Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya might make me play a little more cautiously, but Cesare provides so many advantages it's hard not to feel confident when Matchmaker spat me out into such a game. Like the French cruiser, De Grasse, Giulio Cesare surprised me with how much fun she was to play. This is a ship I will be happily revisiting in my spare time when I can get her on my personal account. Would I Recommend? Well, I want her... PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Giulio Cesare is a real bully in PVE battles. Her operational costs are 11,500 to repair and typical ammunition costs amounting to this value again. This is an easy sum to recover in Co-Op. I highly recommend her for players that enjoy battering bots. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Giulio Cesare is a monster in Random Battles. She's got all of the tools needed to carry the day here. She's an easy recommendation for battleship lovers. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. I'm torn here and I think I would give her a pass. Giulio Cesare thrives in the chaos of a disorganized melee of Random or Co-Op battles. In the more structured (and often static) environment of a competitive arena, she may not fare as well where fire is often quite focused and manoeuvre plays second fiddle to hugging islands and concealment. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Giulio Cesare is one of the few battleships in WWII to have engaged in surface action against other battleships -- namely, HMS Warspite. For that reason alone (and her association with my favourite bae-bote), she gets a nod here, especially for those that like to recreate historical engagements in training rooms. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Very yes. I had a lot of fun playing this ship. It reminded me of the good ol' days of playing Kongo back in Beta. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  15. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Wujing

    The following is a review of Wujing, the tier IX premium Pan Asian Alsace-class battleship. This ship has kindly been provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes -- I did not have to spend money to get access to this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the performance statistics discussed in this review are accurate as of patch 0.10.2. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Look, this one is pretty simple: = Wujing is a Pan Asian, premium version of the fully-upgraded French tier IX tech-tree battleship, Alsace. She clones Alsace's performance in every respect barring economy where Wujing earns more and comes with free premium camouflage. If you want to try her out for "free" (barring the time to accomplish the grind), unlock Alsace, play a few rounds in it and imagine yourself earning more credits because, y'know, Wujing is a premium. Bam, there you go; that's Wujing. For posterity's sake, I'll record her stats as she appeared at the time of this article's publishing but I'm not going to do a deep-dive into her performance. Quick Summary: Wujing is a Pan Asian Alsace. Seriously, we just went over this. If I have to explain everything twice, this is going to take forever. PROS Good citadel protection with stacked layers of armour amounting to 482mm of straight-line protection. Large main battery of twelve guns. Heavy secondary battery with good fire setting abilities. Decent agility with her Engine Boost assisting with her flexibility. Good AA firepower when it comes to supporting allies with much of her DPS focused in long-range batteries & flak. CONS Only 32mm of structural steel on the entirety of the ship, making her very vulnerable to cruiser HE spam. Her 380mm AP shells are incapable of overmatching a lot of the structural armour on cruisers she faces. Long, 32 second base reload. Unfortunate 1.6 sigma makes her guns fire like a shotgun spread. Her secondaries look much more capable than they actually are, having accuracy and penetration problems which keeps them from pulling their weight, even with a deep-specialization. Enormous turning circle radius of 910m. I'm not a fan of Wujing, not because she doesn't perform well (though I could go on a small rant about the nerfs made to Alsace in order to make room for Bourgogne), but because she's simply a clone. As nice as the skin looks, she feels very low-effort. Bajie is a much more interesting choice, given that Wargaming at least massaged her stats a little. It's a bit of an aside but with Yukon on the horizon, I feel like we dodged a bit of a bullet that she's at least getting the Bajie treatment instead of a simple copy-paste performance job like Wujing. Overall? Skip this one unless you really (REALLY) love your Alsace and want a premium version of her. Alternatively, you could just toss the money into a premium, perma camo for Alsace. The economy gains won't come close but it's the principle of the thing. Stats Dump:
  16. Just watched a YouTube stream an IJN Battleship Ise being driven, an unconverted Ise!!! Almost identical in look and feel to a Fuso with possibly slightly better armor, but it has main battery reload booster as a consumable for to use moment you want to channel your inner Russel Crow and give 'em a little "surprise." I like what I'm seeing. It works without being OP because like the Fuso you still have those phenomenally long ranged guns, and you have 12 and a not insubstantial secondary battery but with like 5,5 Km range, and of course your ship is easily spotted from low earth orbit. Still, basically a Fuso with all the refits and a Main battery reload booster. Yea, I can work with that.
  17. The secondary skill rework has come up repeatedly in similar threads with people criticizing the numerous ships that were objectively harmed during the balance changes. This is understandable since some of their favorite ships have been heavily altered regardless of where you may stand on the issue. Some of my personal favorites have even been affected. The amount of feedback to wg regarding the changes has been..... well documented. However, one thing I've never seen discussed on the forums are the few ships that may have bizarrely benefited from the secondary rework; so I decided to create this thread dedicated to these rare gems. Feel free to leave your nominations below! These are my personal recommendations: Scharnhorst and Gneisenau: The secondary range of Scharnhorst before the update was limited to 7.6 km. After the rework you can now extend the range of your secondaries to a whopping 9.5km! Combining this with the buff to the base accuracy of German secondaries means you can get a massive zone of protection around your ship for relatively little investment. This is nice since you can afford to invest some of your skill points into other areas like fire prevention to improve your durability as you close the distance. I personally opted to avoid manual secondaries and instead invested in buffing the main battery reload speed since it is very common for enemies to be within your secondary range. The only issue I found with the build is the effective dispersion of your secondaries is still too great to consistently threaten dds until they start closing the distance. I instead use my main battery to target destroyers and aim my secondaries at larger targets that are harder to avoid like large cruisers and battleships. A division-mate of mine decided to copy the same setup on Gneisenau and got very similar results. Regardless, I would recommend giving a secondary build on these two a try. It gave fresh life into these often overlooked ships. Call me crazy, but I would dare claim that secondary builds on these two commerce raiders may actually their most optimal build! If your lovesick from your nerfed GK or your Bismarck, I fully recommend giving these two ships a go! Thanks for reading!
  18. So this video popped up in my youtube recommended watching. first 25 seconds is just a view of the various ships taking place What follows is 2 minutes of non-stop 5in gunfire with salvos from the main guns added in.
  19. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Flandre

    The following is a review of Flandre, the tier VIII French Alsace-class battleship. This ship has been kindly provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes -- I did not have to pay for access to this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.2. In the back of my mind, I always knew that World of Warships would eventually reach a state where the lines became bloated as those in her sister-game, World of Tanks. The sheer volume of choice is daunting, overwhelming even. Flandre is that tipping point for me; that moment where tackling World of Warships content has personally gotten to the point where it feels like there's just so much stuff out there. Flandre is the third premium tier VIII French battleship. There are now as many French battleships at this tier as there are British battleships at tier VII. Imagine being a new player trying to decide between the three as your first premium purchase, never mind the other dozen premium battleships she competes with directly. Wargaming appears to be trying to simplify matters. There's no gimmicks to know with Flandre. There's no additional oddities to obfuscate her performance. She is exactly what is described on the tin: a nine 380mm-gun armed battleship with a very traditional turret layout. Forget all of the gunnery and armour weirdness of Champagne. Ignore Gascogne's special consumables and weird placement of her quadruple turrets. Flandre is an easy-to-digest, simple battleship with predictable levels of performance. So with everything getting more complicated, Flandre is a breath of fresh-air. That or she's incredibly boring. Your mileage may vary. Summary: A tier VIII Alsace-class battleship with nine 380mm guns instead of twelve and crappy consumables. PROS Enormous hit point pool for a tier VIII battleship at 75,400hp. Thick citadel protection with upwards of 500mm worth of armour. Excellent torpedo damage reduction of 44%. Comfortable gun handling with a 5º/s rotation rate. Heavy secondary battery with a 7.6km base range. Fast for a tier VIII battleship with a top speed of 33.5kts. Heavy DPS in her long-range AA batteries, good for providing friendly support. CONS Uncomfortably slow 33 second reload on her main battery. Limited overmatch potential on her 380mm guns. Poor forward firing angles on her main battery. Most of her secondaries are incapable of directly damaging her opponents. Large turning circle radius of 910m. Limited consumables with no Engine Boost and one fewer charge of Repair Party. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Flandre is pretty basic as far as battleships come. She doesn't earn a Simple rating for the following reasons: She doesn't have a universal ammunition type. You have to know when to use AP and when to use HE and against which targets. She's still vulnerable to citadel hits, unlike some battleships I could mention. So you need to be aware of angling and making sure you're not accidentally flashing your sides to something halfway across the map. This is a ship built for kiting, not for head-on fights. She can do the latter, but she's much better when used in the former role. Her short range puts her in harms way way too easily. And that's it, really. Flandre is a modest ride for more veteran players with her speed easily being her best asset. It's not all sunshine and roses, though. Her lack of reach makes taking up a central position and capitalizing on those fire lanes a bit of a no-go. Similarly, her limited consumables provides less flexibility than other French battleships. She does really kite well, though, which is a skill onto itself that pays off, but instances where you can make best use of that are situational. Still, she does offer a variety of game play options, up to and including taking her into a brawl. So, there's more to know than the basics and it's nice when a ship can grow with your skill set. Options I'm going to do something weird here and advocate for a secondary build as an alternative to the more standard emphasis on main battery firepower and fire prevention builds. Please note that this is a meme-build, way-way-WAY sub-optimal for any kind of PVP battle. Like, it's embarrassing how badly a secondary build ranks up to the more common survivability + sniping build. However, it's fun. I recognize that a lot of my readers enjoy PVE modes and secondary builds certainly have a lot more functionality there where the optimization rules change considerably. Consumables Flandre is absolutely bare-bones when it comes to her low-quality consumables. Her Damage Control Party is normal at least with a 15 second active period and 80 second reset timer. It has unlimited charges, as you would expect. Her Repair Party, on the other hand, comes with three charges instead of the usual four. The rest is as expected, queuing 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It will heal back up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds and it has an 80 second reset timer. And that's it. Flandre gets no other consumables and her Repair Party is crappy. Looooser. ♫ Upgrades You want to build your ship for fire-mitigation while buffing your main battery firepower where ever possible. To this end: Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Damage Control System Modification 1 is the only worthwhile choice in slot two. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal in slot three and by a significant margin. HOWEVER, for those who like inefficient meme-builds (or simply those who prefer PVE-modes to PVP), then you can get away with Secondary Battery Modification 1. This is the start of that aforementioned secondary build I mentioned earlier and I will go into more detail about its strengths and weaknesses in the Firepower section below. Damage Control System Modification 2 is best in slot four. And Concealment Modification 1 remains optimal for just about everyone in slot five. No big surprises there. Commander Skills Oh yeah, it's time to re-use a graphic! ♪ Wuh-BAAAYUM! ♫ Circles are must haves with squares as alternates to your preference. Until Wargaming gets around to fixing things, Dead Eye is optimal but you do you, cupcake. If you want to try your hand at playing a secondary build, it's going to look something like this: For the yellow circles, pick the skill that best suits your playstyle, but only one at each tier. Then take the red circles and finally gobble up the last three in blue squares. The idea here is that you can eschew worrying about concealment. You accept that you're not going to live very long, so buffing the number of Repair Party charges you have access to doesn't really matter. You will be set on fire, probably repeatedly, so fire prevention and mitigation skills still have some value. But you're going full-bore on the secondaring buffing skills. You can swap out the fire mitigation skills for Emergency Repair Expert and Adrenaline Rush if you're feeling metal, though. Just appreciate that you will die screaming and one fire. Your secondaries will be rockin', though. Note that Inertial Fuse for HE Shells isn't 100% necessary but it comes highly recommended for the sake of allowing her 100mm secondaries to have a chance of directly damaging a limited number of targets. However taking it thoroughly neuters her ability to set blazes -- something her secondaries do stupidly well. Camouflage Flandre comes with Type 10 Camouflage, providing the usual bonuses for a tier VIII battleship: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% experience earned. Her alternative palette can be unlocked through completing the "Legion of Honor" collection. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 380mm guns in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Nine 152mm guns in 3x3 turrets mounted on the centreline with one superfiring over B-turret and two superfiring over X-turret and twenty-eight (!) 100mm guns in 14x2 turrets in a superfiring stair arrangement with seven turrets per side amidships. Ouch. Why are we spending money on this? You know your HE DPM is bad when ROMA outdoes you. Something smells fowl Why does Flandre have a 33 second reload with only nine 380mm guns? There's something ducky going on here. The duckyness stems from Flandre's Alsace-grade durability. She has a lot of hit points. She has good (but not amazing) citadel protection. Ergo, with a little tweak to her sigma, Wargaming felt justified in throttling her reload time. It's even worse than Alsace's own 32 second reload and Flandre does not get access to Alsace's Main Battery Modification 3 upgrade to cut that down to the much more manageable 28.2 seconds. Combine this with the (relatively) small calibre of Flandre's shells and her DPM stinks like monkey-butts. Keep in mind, this is at a tier where the other 380mm armed battleships flirt with 25 and 26 second reloads with eight or nine guns. Let's go through the list; Vittorio Veneto: Nine 381mm guns with a 34 second reload. Shut up, she gets SAP. Richelieu: Eight 380mm guns with a 30 second reload. Roma & AL Littorio: Nine 381mm guns with a 30 second reload. Gascogne: Eight 380mm guns with a 28 second reload. Bismarck & Tirpitz: Eight 380mm guns with a 26 second reload. Vanguard: Eight 381mm guns with a 25 second reload. Famous & Historical Monarch: Nine 381mm guns with a 25 (!) second reload. Obviously this means Famous & Historical Monarch's firepower is grossly overpowered. No wonder she was selected to be the basis of a new premium. Now where was I? Oh, right! As of late, Wargaming seems addicted to shackling battleships with reloads greater than thirty seconds. The last two battleship lines, the Italian and American standard-type battleships all struggle with appalling reloads and Flandre fits right in with this mould. It is not a shape I like. Usually there's a reason for these longer reloads and as stated earlier, Flandre's slacking on her rate of fire is supposed to be compensated for by her chunky hit point pool and armour. Is that worth it? Well, spoiler alert: Not for me. It's not that the extra durability isn't potent in its own right (and more on that later), it's that 380mm guns are already feeling a bit small in calibre by tier VIII. So Flandre was already facing some challenges right out the gates. But it gets worse when you start comparing her to the other French battleships at her tier. Let's ignore Champagne as she is very much her own beast. Richelieu's guns are easier to use with their all bow-mount layout. Gascogne has improved sigma over Flandre. On top of firing more quickly, both of these ships out-range Flandre to a significant degree. Flandre's 20km reach cannot be modified. She lacks access to a Spotter Aircraft (something both Richelieu and Gascogne enjoy) and it's infuriating how often Flandre's guns feel just out of reach, especially in the opening moments of a match when a friendly carrier might be spotting a juicy broadside. Thus the combination of the poor reload and reduced range makes Flandre's guns less able to take advantage of opportunities than the other French battleships. She may otherwise clone their ballistics and (good) penetration but she's much more limited in carry potential, at least firepower wise. Flandre's guns are ... well, they're not good, let's be honest. Nine 380mm guns with wonky French dispersion and a shoddy reload? That ducks. I don't care how tough you are. Oh, French dispersion, you so silly. This is a standard dispersion test with 180 AP shells fired at a distance of 15km at a stationary Fuso bot. Shots are coming in from right to left. The Fuso has no camouflage, upgrades or skills that disrupt incoming shell fire. Flandre was using Aiming Systems Modification 1 but not Dead Eye. Flandre's fire arcs are much better suited to kiting than going on the attack. If you can fire all three guns forward, your opponent's return fire can punch into your belt. Flandre's AP penetration is decent compared to the other 380mm/381mm guns at her tier. I'd make a bigger deal about her AP penetration but she's competing with 406mm and 410mm AP rounds against which she doesn't look so favourable. Approximate AP penetration data pulled from wowsft.com The Death of Secondary Specializations Once upon a time, many years ago, there was one (and only one) defining feature that dictated if a ship had good secondaries or not: Range. In our naivety in the long-long ago, in the before-times, if a battleship had 4.5km or (gasp!) 5km secondaries, they were good. So long as you had enough guns and your citadel wasn't hiked up to your nipples, you should seriously consider buffing them. This is why we had secondary-spec'd Nagato-class battleships wandering around (5km secondaries, my gawd!) back in 2015 and early 2016. Much has changed since then. We have had two commander-skill reworks, one major and a couple of minor upgrade reworks, the addition of new signals, changes made to secondary ammunition, changes made to secondary range and changes made to secondary accuracy besides. What's more, we have a better understanding now of things like penetration, module damage and most-recently, dispersion. Thus, for players, evaluating secondary quality is a much more refined (if complicated) process. Under the old system, Flandre's secondaries look like the sex. Under the new, they have a couple of things going for them but on the whole, they are found wanting. Here's the criteria we look for now and how Flandre stacks up: Range: Flandre's secondaries are long ranged with a 7.6km base reach which can be upgraded up to 11.49km which is very respectable. This is longer ranged than Massachusetts, equal to Bismarck & Tirpitz and behind Odin's own secondaries. Gun Types: Flandre uses two calibres of gun. The bulk of her secondary armament is made up of quick-firing 100mm guns backed by (much) slower firing 152mm guns. Generally speaking, a homogeneous secondary battery is preferred. It's easier to evaluate for one. For another, it's easier to decide if a given secondary battery is worth investing skills like Inertial Fuse for HE Shells when there's a singular armament. So this is a point against Flandre's secondaries as there are very different needs and performance between the two weapons. DPM: Obviously the bigger the numbers, the better. Flandre's secondaries have the potential to put out monstrous amounts of DPM. But there's a couple of catches... Dispersion: If you can't hit your target, that DPM is going to throttle quickly. Flandre's secondaries are bare bones when it comes to secondary accuracy, having neither the slightly improved German dispersion, nor the much-improved Massachusetts (and British & Japanese large-calibre) secondary dispersion. Boo-urns. Penetration: Next up, those hits don't matter much if they can't inflict damage. The bulk of Flandre's secondary fire has 17mm of HE penetration which isn't enough to directly damage the hulls of same-tier destroyers and makes her patently incapable of damaging same-tier battleships anywhere. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells can correct this somewhat, but..... Fire Chance: ... taking IFHE hurts her fire chance. While Flandre's direct damage potential is in the toilet, her fire setting is some of the best out there. Those 100mm spit out a lot of shells and that again leads to a lot of potential fires-per-minute (again so long as dispersion behaves). Unfortunately, you need to choose between Flandre's secondaries doing direct damage or starting fires if you choose to specialize into them which makes them work at cross purposes. Firing Arcs: Flandre's firing arcs are okay. They're not great with the majority of her fire being aimed towards her broadside (40º off her bow or stern). This doesn't make them the best for taking on an aggressive brawling stance. So even before we get into whether or not secondary commander skill builds are worthwhile, Flandre's secondaries are severely flawed. Stock, they're good at starting fires but that will only really work against enemy battleships. Against destroyers and cruisers, you're not going to stack significant fire damage (if at all, given their short Damage Control Party) and you need to invest into Inertial Fuse for HE Shells if you want to have even a chance to directly hurt most of the enemy vessels you'll be coming across. Because of this, outside of PVE-modes, you're never going to get as much mileage out of Flandre's secondaries to make the skill investment pay off. I supoose the one caveat there is that no one will really be expecting Flandre's secondaries to reach out and slap them at over 11km, so you might be able to catch someone off-guard But the simple fact of the matter is that commander skills cannot band-aid mediocre secondaries they way they used to. The disparity in accuracy is so significant between the old ways and the new that you're just not going to land the hits necessary to make Flandre's secondaries pay off -- especially when compared to a more traditional Dead Eye or survivability build. Summary Flandre's weapon systems are C-grade at best but that's only if I'm feeling generous. I would rather be using Gascogne's or Roma's armaments. What does that tell you? VERDICT: Blech. Durability Hit Points: 75,400 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 32mm / 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 50mm anti-torpedo bulge + 350mm belt + 50mm turtleback + 50mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 44% The insert here shows Flandre's citadel and lower hull armour geometries. The citadel's roof sits between the two 370mm plates and has a 40mm roof. Flandre is a bit of a roller coaster ride when it comes to her protection. Flandre's Repair Party has one fewer charge than most other battleships. That's . Flandre has an enormous hit point pool. That's . All of her structural plate fails to exceed 32mm, making her highly vulnerable to cruiser-calibre HE fire. That's . She has excellent anti-torpedo protection! That's . Her turtleback isn't angled steeply enough to ricochet incoming fire. That's . She has many layers of thick armour protecting her citadel. That's . She doesn't come with a free Frogurt™. That's . Go figure, a given ship has both strengths and weaknesses. How nuanced. Of course, if writing ship reviews for six years has taught me anything, it's that the internet hates nuance. People want their facts delivered in grossly oversimplified sound bites, preferably packaged in memeable formats. So what's the skinny with Flandre? It's not good news on the whole. Yes, she has a lot of health. Yes, she has good torpedo protection. Yes she's got a lot of layered armour protection around her citadel. However, she does not repulse incoming fire well. Angled in, she can bounce AP shells, at least so long as shells don't strike her large superstructure. There's enough weird geometry going on there that she cannot guarantee over-penetrations, even from battleship calibre rounds. The 100mm barbettes of her secondaries are more than capable of fusing even Shikishima's AP shells, so Flandre may end up taking some big, meaty hits that way. Furthermore, she has no hope of stopping an HE farm upon her person. Finally, her modest 20km reach of her main battery guns means that she usually has to place herself within range of cruisers in order to be able to fire back at her opponents, so you're almost constantly at risk of trading fire. And so you're forced to lean hard on that big health pool of her's. Do savour the little victories where you can: Feel good when that combination of her torpedo bulge and belt armour bounces a long-distance AP shell or eats a SAP round. Rejoice that you took almost half damage from that Japanese torpedo that caught you amidships. Be glad when that battleship shell gets trolled successfully by her weird, layered citadel protection. Those are the good moments. But overall, she'll be giving up a lot of health over the course of a match. Despite having more starting hit points than any other tier VIII battleship, the loss of one Repair Party charge drops Flandre down the list in terms of potential health. Still, don't overlook that chunky hit point total. While it does mean that she shrugs off penetration hits better than her peers, HE spamming ships love her for the big damage totals they get from their fires. VERDICT: If I'm in an HE spamming ship, I am totally focus-firing any Flandre I see for easy big-numbers from the ensuing fires. Agility Top Speed: 33.5 knots Turning Radius: 910m 7Rudder Shift Time: 16.6 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.2º/s at 25 knots Flandre's only saving grace here is her high-top speed. And that top speed is great, do not mistake me. Her 33.5 knots is downright amazing and barring being run down by smaller ships, Georgia or French battleships, she's fast enough to fully control engagement distances. But this is but one of many failing attributes that her speed must band-aid. Her turning circle radius is atrocious for a tier VIII battleship but her speed allows her to maintain at least a passable rate of rotation in spite of this. Similarly, a higher top speed provides a greater variety of possible velocities at which she can be moving, which in turn can foul up enemy gunnery estimations. Given Flandre's soft outer skin, avoiding incoming fire altogether is really her only recourse for reliably avoiding damage. What disappoints me most here is the lack of an Engine Boost consumable so commonplace on other French battleships (though admittedly not universal). While Flandre's top speed is amazing, Gascogne and Champagne both gave better flexiblity grace of their consumables, on top of being more agile overall. Flandre doesn't have bad agility, but she's definitely the weakest of the four tier VIII French battleships. Flandre has enough speed to get her both into and out of trouble. It's all on how you use it. While Flandre's rate of turn isn't terrible, her turning radius is large. She's spared a worse agility rating thanks to her high top speed. VERDICT: Only passable thanks to her good top speed. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 6+4 explosions for 1,400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 276.5dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 115.5dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 73.5dps at 70% accuracy Flandre has two nice elements going for her when it comes to AA defence: She puts out a ridiculous amount of flak. She has a lot of sustained DPS focused into her long-range batteries. The division of Flandre's sustained AA DPS feels downright German. So much of it is focused within her long range betteries to the deficit of the efficiency of medium and small calibre weapons. Flandre's AA defence is comparable to (but worse than) a stock Alsace layout to put it in perspective, overall coming out about as efficient as Richelieu's. However, the massive weight of fire located in her large-calibre weapons front-loads her damage against incoming aircraft, making them feel more effectove than their numbers might otherwise indicate. This makes Flandre an excellent escort-vessel, able to provide effective, long-range support to allies. This combines with the fearsome number of flak clouds she puts out. Though these are individually less powerful than many of her contemporaries, she puts out so damn many of them. While you're not likely to catch an expert CV with one of them, the sheer volume will foul up more novice players and clobber bots hilariously. Look at all of that long-range AA DPS for Flandre! It's too bad she doesn't follow it up with medium and short-ranged AA DPS. Oh well. Those ships marked with an asterix include reskinned clones that share their AA values. VERDICT: Not bad at all. Flandre is definitely a friendly ship you want to hug if your own AA is a bit lacking. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.2km / 12.73km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 12.09km / 9.79km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.93km Maximum Firing Range: 20km There's not too much to go over here. Flandre has decent surface detection for a tier VIII battleship, but it's nothing remarkable. She doesn't bring any bonus detection consumables to the table, nor is she capable of boosting her main battery range. Yup, pretty normal. All you really need to know is her Dead Eye window is pretty comfortable but you're not likely to sneak up on anything. Have a data dump sorted by base surface detection range. Final Evaluation I was going to make a bad joke using John McCrae's famous poem. When Flanders is fielded, you've got to go On the A-line, or the back row To own some face; and with Dead Eye beg RNG and then ask why you get scarce hits upon your foe. Yeah, I think I'll stop there. Flandre! Is she good? Heck to the no, she is not good. Comfy? Yes. Adequate? Sure. Good? No way. Look, Roma is the better boat, no matter how you slice it. She has better protection, better guns, better concealment and better agility. The only thing that sets Flandre apart is her support AA-firepower and her big chunk of starting HP. So in matches where the damage you take comes at you all at once, sure, Flandre might survive where Roma might not. Maybe. Roma's more likely to shrug off the hits in the first place and go undetected. Roma's also better at dodging. So would you throw money at Roma? No? Then Flandre isn't worth it. Even if you stick within French lines, Gascogne is the more interesting vessel. Go back and look over all of those charts and graphs. Look at how Flandre stacks up to Roma and Gascogne. Roma has the additional benefit of not suffering from a commander-skill identity crisis. Though neither ship has secondaries worth upgrading, Flandre and Gascogne might fool you into thinking that they are. And Roma gets a beer-pope-hat. I really don't think I need to say more than that. Mouse out. So cool.
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. Dunkerque overtaking Strasbourg. The following is a review of Dunkerque & Strasbourg, the tier VI & VII French battleships. They were both provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to me. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.12. Please be aware that their performance may change in the future. I couldn't help myself. I saw an opportunity to not only review a new ship but to update an older one too. Maybe I'll make this a regular thing going into the future whenever Wargaming releases a comparable sister-ship -- review the new addition and touch base on an older one. It seems a bit ambitious to declare it as the new norm, but we'll see what happens. At any rate, this is a review of both Dunkerque-class battleships: Dunkerque at tier VI and her new sister-ship, Strasbourg at tier VII. The two ships are almost identical which raises concerns on balance. Strasbourg is Dunkerque in almost every metric that matters short of tiering and access to the Main Battery Reload Consumable. One can't help but ask the following questions: Is Dunkerque so good at tier VI that she can be effectively cloned and placed at tier VII with little issue? Just how influential are the small changes made between the two ships? Is Main Battery Reload Booster that powerful on a 330m armed platform? Is Strasbourg worth the grind or should you just stick with Dunkerque? Let's find some answers! Quick Summary: Fast, lightly armoured battlecruisers with all eight of it's quick-firing 330mm guns mounted in two quad-turrets on their bows. Strasbourg has access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. PROS All forward gun arrangement simplifies maximizing firepower. Fast reload (26s Dunkerque, 25s Strasbourg) Good HE shell performance and fire setting. Comfortable gun handling. Long ranged with good ballistics over distance. Solid agility with a good top speed and rate of turn. Strasbourg Specific: Has access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. CONS Unable to fire her main battery guns directly rearward (for some inexplicable reason!) Lightly armoured, highly vulnerable to AP overmatch and HE shells. Exposed, high-water citadel with thin belt armour. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower. Large surface detection range. Strasbourg Specific: Small hit point pool for a tier VII battleship. Summary of Differences If you're a crusty ol' veteran with playing Dunkerque, so experienced in Marine Nationale ways battlecruiser ways that you serenade baguettes, you don't need me to tell you what she's like. To expedite things for these players, here's a list of all of the differences between the two battleships, from the significant to the inane. These are listed Dunkerque vs Strasbourg: Tier: VI vs VII (duh) Economy: VI vs VII (higher tiered ships earn more credits and experience for the same actions) Fire Resistance Coefficient: 23.31% vs 29.97% Superstructure HP: 1,800 vs 1,700 Belt Armour: 225mm vs 283mm Rear Upper Athwartship: 198mm vs 210mm Turtleback: 40mm vs 50mm Turret Faces: 330mm vs 360mm Turret Backs: 335mm vs 352mm Turret Floor: 150mm vs 160mm Sigma: 1.7 vs 1.8 Main Battery Reload: 26s vs 25s Main Battery Range: 18.21km vs 19.1km A-Turret's Fire Arcs: 310º vs 294º Number of 37mm twin AA mounts: 5 (18dps) vs 4 (16dps) Flak Explosion Damage: 1,330 vs 1,400 Main Battery Reload Booster: no vs yes Tonnage: 35,500 vs 36,308 Permanent Camos: 4 vs 2 Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Difficult Both ships are wonderfully uncomplicated to use. The all-forward gun arrangement helps keep new-players safe, mitigating the need to expose the ship's broadside in order to maximize firepower. Their long range also helps keep new players safe. The ship's speed is also a blessing -- fast enough to get the ship where it needs to go but not being so fast that she can easily out-strip support as new players are wont to do. Were the ship easier to hide or if it had a better protection scheme, it might have warranted a "Simple" rating. There's a lot of strong carry potential with these ships. The combination of good speed and a relatively fast reload allows these ships to wreak all kinds of mayhem. Strasbourg's Main Battery Reload Booster is particularly delicious for punishing exposed enemies, be they a briefly lit lolibote or a high-tier battleship that needs to be burned. Unfortunately, they are painfully soft-skinned and very difficult to hide which are both strong limiting factors. The lack of overmatch potential on their 330mm guns is also a bit frustrating, though proper ammunition use can help mitigate this drawback. Options Both ships share similar customization principles. The marked difference between the two is in their consumables (naturally), but otherwise they can be built the same. Consumables Both ships have the same, standard Damage Control Party for French battleships. This has a 15 second active period, an 80 second reset timer and unlimited charges. Similarly, they share the same Repair Party which heals back up to 14% of the ship's starting hit points per charge. It queues 50% of all penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of everything else. It has an 80 second reset timer. Their last shared consumables are the option between a Catapult Fighter and Spotter Aircraft. Dunkerque mounts these in her third slot and Strasbourg her fourth. The latter consumable increases their range by 20% for 100 seconds with a 240 second reset timer. Both ships begin with 4 charges. The former consumable starts with only three charges, deploying a pair of fighters which orbit the ship for 60 seconds. It has a 90 second reset timer. What sets Strasbourg apart is her access to Main Battery Reload Booster in her third slot. This reduces the reload time of her main battery guns by half for 20 seconds. She comes with four charges to start and it has an 180 second reset timer. Upgrades Both ships use the same build. In your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is arguably optimal given the relative fragility of the Dunkerque-class's main weapons. Nothing sucks more than losing one of only two turrets! Otherwise, the two special upgrades, Spotter Aircraft Modification 1 and Damage Control Party Modification 1 may be used instead. They can be purchased for 17,000 from the Armory . Damage Control System Modification 1 is the only upgrade worth considering in slot 2. In slot three, Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal. But if you want, you can trade that out for faster turret traverse with Main Battery Modification 2 but this has much less benefit than decreasing the dispersion area. There are interesting choices for these ships in the fourth slot. Damage Control System Modification 2 is the most straight-forward and optimal, reducing fire and flooding damage. You can naturally opt to improve their handling by taking Steering Gears Modification 1 -- their high rate of turn and long range does lend them well to active dodging. However, given the disposition of these ships and their love of hugging islands, there's some worth in taking Propulsion Modification 1 for better acceleration from a dead stop. It's up to you based on your preferred style of play. When in doubt, though, default to Damage Control System Modification 2. Commander Skills Both ships can easily make use of the same commander. The ideal build differs somewhat from the default boring ol' battleship build in that Dunkerque and Strasbourg both benefit considerably from the Expert Loader skill. Making room for it can leave you with a skill point leftover which isn't as optimal as other builds. Oh well. Start with choosing between Priority Target and Incoming Fire Alert. I much prefer the former, but it's up to you. Grab the skills circled in green next to complete your 10pt build: Adrenaline Rush, Basics of Survivability and Fire Prevention. Next double-back and grab the skills in the red squares: Concealment Expert, Superintendent and Expert Loader. The skills in blue squares are nice to have but you may struggle to fit them in with the above recommendations. Mix and match to your tastes. Camouflage There are multiple camouflage options between the two ships. Dunkerque has Type 10, Fleur d'Acier (Steel Flower), Azur Lane and Mid-Autumn Festival camouflage patterns. Strasbourg has Type 10 and Winter Holiday camouflage patterns. All of the differences are cosmetic, providing the identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. As an older (and popular) ship, Dunkerque has had a large number of premium camouflage types -- which is hella fun. I really like her Azur Lane camo. It's nice and sharp with the red and white contrast. Strasbourg's camo options are much more subdued. I'm not a fan of her Holiday camo. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 330mm/52 guns in 2x4 turrets mounted on the bow in a A-B superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twenty 130mm guns in 5x4 turrets with two turrets per side and one mounted on the centre line facing the stern. Lemme preface this by saying that I'm not going to talk about the secondaries off the Dunkerque-class. They're not worth specializing into at the moment with their limited fire arcs, to say nothing of how poorly these ships fare in a brawl. Onto the main event! Big Guns, Bad Habits & Bae Bote I admit I have a bit of a bias against smaller-caliber battleship guns at the mid-tiers. This stems from my early days in World of Warships, having fallen in love with the overmatch potential of Warspite's 381mm guns tier VI. Bae bote's artillery, while not idiot proof, certainly lent itself well to firing nothing but a homogeneous loadout of AP shells. With all of the heavy lifting those Royal Navy 15" guns could do, I still remember being disdainful of Dunkerque's paltry 330mm guns when I first reviewed her back in late summer of 2016. They had no overmatch potential so they were OBVIOUSLY garbage, right? I'm somewhat less naive than I was way back when. Only somewhat, mind you. I still have a bit of a blind spot with bae-bote and battleship caliber guns with large-swathes of overmatch potential. That's something these guns lack but that doesn't make them bad by any means. There's a lot of good things about the combat performance of these weapons. They have excellent ballistics over range. They have a fast reload. They're decent fire starters. They have good AP penetration. AP penetration values drawn from Wargaming's Armada 2 video on Dunkerque from August 2016. Dunkerque and Strasbourg have some very respectable AP penetration values for guns of their caliber. There are two drawbacks with these weapons to keep in mind: They have French (and Italian) gunnery dispersion. They lack overmatch potential with their AP rounds. There's not much to be said about the first flaw. French battleship dispersion is the worst in the game currently, being slightly worse than that of American, British and German battleships. This leads to wonky shell groupings from these guns, especially at the long ranges Strasbourg is so often forced to engage. Having both guns on the bow in quad mounts does make them feel a little more accurate, at least in terms of the initial outbound shell clusters. However, this is more of an illusion than a practical advantage. Still, they have average sigma values, so within their dispersion elipse (larger as it is) their shell fall is pretty standard, though the difference between the two ships in this regard is largely indistinguishable. The best players in the game struggle to discern the difference between 0.2 sigma in standard game play, to say nothing of the 0.1 sigma difference between Strasbourg (1.8 sigma) and Dunkerque (1.7 sigma). Overall, the guns feel reasonable with their accuracy though they will troll you. Thankfully, their rate of fire helps alieviate the feeling of being cheated. One of the best fixes for bad dispersion is to reload often. When individual salvos don't feel like they matter as much, it's easier to forgive a few stray shells. Dunkerque's 26 second reload feels very comfortable -- more than making up for low individual shell damage. The extra second shaved off Strasbourg's guns is nicer still, though like her dispersion you might not feel the difference. Short reload times on battleships is a hella powerful advantage, even with the slightly lower alpha-strike from their hits. Battleship gunnery is incredibly opportunist, with citadel hit "money shots" making or breaking their play experience. Dunkerque's guns are more likely to be reloaded (or almost reloaded) when an opportunity presents itself. Strasbourg's are all but guaranteed. Like Jean Bart before her, Strasbourg's access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable is a game-changer. She will have her guns reloaded when it matters most, ensuring she can put shells downrange at vulnerable targets and best capitalize on the opportunities presented -- whether this be blowing out the citadel of a Christmas-Makarov or stacking fires back onto a Hizen that just blew its Damage Control Party. If Strasbourg's guns had better overmatch potential, they'd be downright oveprowered. The lack of overmatch potential is a problem shared by all battleship rounds between 283mm and 356mm in caliber. While the Dunkerque-class can overmatch 23mm of armour with their AP rounds, in practical terms, 19mm plate is the last effective armour value they can best at any angle. This makes most tier V, VI and VII cruisers vulnerable to being overmatched by these AP shells, but only the very-light cruisers at tiers VIII+. Like with dispersion, this is more of an issue for Strasbourg as a consequence of her higher tiering. It's only the extremities of tier V battleships that these AP rounds can overmatch and only then if the ships in question don't have dispersed armour schemes which gets a little more common at lower tiers. Against any other target, both Dunkerque and Strasbourg will want to reach for the HE rounds instead. To this end, I've found having the Expert Loader skill very handy if you can spare the single skill point for it. Outside of issues where they might ricochet from striking a plate they cannot overmatch at too steep an angle, Dunkerque and Strasbourg's AP shells perform well, with very respectable AP penetration values across all engagement ranges, with even better penetration than New Mexico's 356mm AP rounds. It's not quite high enough to contest higher-tiered battleship citadels at ranges of 15km or beyond, but it's good enough. Dunkerque may not appear to have impressive DPM, but she is more likely to be able to fire all of her guns than most other battleships -- especially while under fire herself. Her all-forward gun arrangement allows her to maximize her firepower while still maintaining a defensive nose-in aspect. Strasbourg is listed twice. The one with the asterix denotes her using her Main Battery Reload Booster for 20s. Strasbourg's faster rate of fire gives her comparable DPM placement to Dunkerque, tier-for-tier. However, her Main Battery Reload Booster takes things to a whole other level, allowing her to punish opponents when they give her an opportunistic shot. Both ships are decent fire starters. Strasbourg flirts with Royal Navy levels when she activates her consumable (again, denoted by an asterix). Gun Layout Dunkerque's A-turret fire arcs are gorgeous. Her B-turret are much less so. This makes her B-turret a good indicator for over-angling with Dunkerque when firing to the rear. So long as A-turret can engage but B-turret cannot, she's still in auto-ricochet territory -- you know, provided that the incoming AP shells don't simply overmatch her hull. The all-bow mounted gun arrangement of the Dunkerque-class is their most striking feature. In World of Warships, this has more advantages than drawbacks. Dunkerque was not the first battleship in the game with this layout. However she was the first battleship in the game to have all of her guns capable of firing directly forward. Thus she was the first battleship in the game that could "bow tank" while still maximizing her firepower. At the time of her release, it was easy to underestimate just how effective this was and how effective it remains in World of Warships. It is very easy to maximize firepower with Dunkerque and Strasbourg. Barring kiting situations, it is easier to bring all of their guns to bear than on any other battleship. This is further facilitated by their fast (for a battleship) traverse rate of 5º/s (36s for 180º). Even in situations where Dunkerque is being chased, her "over the shoulder" firing arcs are respectable with her A-turret being capable of hucking shells 25º off her stern, still maintaining a perfect auto-ricochet target with her belt. Obviously the drawback here is that she cannot engage enemies directly to her rear. What's more, this all-forward gun arrangement makes her slow to switch sides when firing backwards as her guns have to come all of the way around. Still, the all-forward gun arrangement greatly facilitates bringing all guns on targets for much of the battle. It's this ease of bringing guns on target -- all of their guns on target -- which makes these ships dangerous and it's one of their many strengths. Strasbourg doesn't have Dunkerque's delicious A-turret's fire arcs. Summary "Always ready" -- this defines the gunnery on Dunkerque and Strasbourg, and Strasbourg more than her sister. When facing off against these ships, their faster rate of fire, good fire arcs and gun handling is what makes them dangerous. As gunnery platforms, they're super comfy and fun to play. Their individual salvos may not hit as big as other ships; a consequence of both shell size and trollish dispersion, but they don't feel at a deficit in either regard. VERDICT: Their guns perform better than their smaller caliber would suggest. Beware Strasbourg's Main Battery Reload Booster -- used correctly, it can devastate vulnerable enemies. Durability Hit Points: 52,600 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 26mm / 16mm / 26mm / 26mm Dunkerque Maximum Citadel Protection: 26mm anti-torpedo bulge + 225mm belt + 40mm turtleback + 40mm/50mm citadel wall Strasbourg Maximum Citadel Protection: 26mm anti-torpedo bulge + 283mm belt + 50mm turtleback + 40mm/50mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25% The durability fortunes of these two battlecruisers flips between their hit point totals and their armour profiles. While I would not call either ship blessed in either category, it's more that one or the other is "less-worse" in a given area than its sister ship. Overall, Strasbourg loses out wholesale to her sister, if only because she sits a full tier higher and contends with bigger threats. Health Pool Strasboug is the big loser here when it comes to comparing hit points. Dunkerque wins no prizes either, but as a tier VI vessel, she's she doesn't stand out in any negative or positive way. Strasbourg's woes come in two areas: She has a small (tier VI-sized) hit point pool. Her Repair Party is normal. The former kind of surprises me -- not that she has a small hit point pool, but that it's unchanged from Dunkerque's own despite the (slight) increase in tonnage. Best estimates should put Strasbourg's hit point total almost 1,000hp higher than Dunkerque. That's not enough to rescue her from the doldrums of tier VII health totals, but every scrap certainly helps and it would let her overtake Lyon at the very least. Moreover, the issue Strasbourg faces at tier VII comes from her plain-Jane Repair Party consumable. The glut of Royal Navy ships at tier VII along with Colorado makes Strasbourg's bare-bones Repair Party seem weak by comparison, especially on a ship with a hit point deficit. I suppose it's a blessing that she's not stuck with one fewer charges the way the Soviet ships and Florida are neutered, so that's something. Dunkerque's effective hit point pool is on the low side of average for a tier VI battleship. Now you can imagine what happens when you bring a "low side of average" effective health pool to a tier VII match-up. This is especially noteworthy as tier VII is where health regeneration gets super weird and powerful. Armour Profile When it comes to repelling HE shells, the two Dunkerque-sisters are functionally identical. While there exists some minor differences in their protection schemes, these are a non-issue when it comes to repelling HE shells. Dunkerque and Strasbourg are exceedingly soft-skinned and highly vulnerable to HE fire. Their near-homogeneous 26mm external plate makes them easy prey, not only for light cruisers but for 127mm+ armed destroyers. While the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill may be necessary, her opponents all have the potential to farm damage off the soft-skinned profiles of the Dunkerque-class battleships. Both battleships bleed a lot of hit points to small and medium caliber HE shells. Things don't get better when it comes to repelling AP rounds. Strasbourg attempts to correct some of the defence issues of her sister-ship with improved turret, belt and citadel protection profiles. Dunkerque is notoriously vulnerable to citadel hits, going so far as to have her machine spaces colour-coded through one of her camouflage patterns (thank you, Yuro, for pointing that out!). The thinness of her citadel protection means that with very few exceptions (Oklahoma, I'm looking at you), Dunkerque is vulnerable to battleship calibre AP shells at all ranges. This goes double for any AP rounds from guns of 380mm or larger as they are fully capable of overmatching her external armour plate and can land citadel hits at nearly any angle. Though Strasbourg's protection is improved, it's never so good that I would trust flashing her sides or snoot to incoming battleship rounds. Both Dunkerque-sisters take citadel hits frequently. They are both at risk of losing their turrets when they attempt to tank battleship fire. The best that could be said about Strasbourg is that she is largely immune to citadel hits from cruiser-calibre weapons, though again there are exceptions, especially at close range. Their armour profiles are almost identical but Strasbourg has the thicker belt, turtleback and turret faces. While the extra ~60mm of armour on Strasbourg's belt looks significant, the higher penetration gun she faces makes this improvement kinda moot. Summary These are ships that don't want to get hit -- like at all. Nearly every HE shell can hurt. Nearly every battleship-calibre AP round is a potential citadel hit. Having only two turrets makes the loss of one (even temporarily) a disaster. The best play with these ships is to not get hit in the first place; exercising their long range to make themselves a less appealing target. Anchoring one side against a piece of island cover is also a good practice, if only to mitigate flanking fire from enemy battleships from across the map. Limiting the angles of attack against these vessels is paramount to keeping them safe. They don't have a lot of armour. They don't have a lot of health. They don't have improved Repair Parties. VERDICT: Get hit, take cit. Agility Top Speed: 29.5kts Turning Radius: 730m Rudder Shift Time: 14s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.7º/s at 22kts (Dunkerque) or 22.2kts (Strasbourg). What a difference a tier makes. Strasbourg and Dunkerque both have excellent agility for a battleship. Not only do they have a respectable top speed -- nearly reaching 30 knots -- but unlike higher-tiered battleships, they are not shackled with a punitive turning circle radius. No matter how you look at it, both battleships handle beautifully. This combines with their very nice gun traverse rates to make keeping guns on target a very comfortable experience. The only real fault for these two battleships is that they flirt with but never quite achieve cruiser-levels of agility. This flaw mostly resides with their rudder shift time which, while not punitive, is definitely too sluggish to affect reasonable dodging metrics. Active dodging is really only ever possible at the extremes of their range. It's a bit of a tease that way, but by any other measuire, their agility is solid. Dunkerque is very fast for a tier VI battleship which helps translate to a good rate of turn despite her larger-than-average turning radius at that tier. If it weren't for ships like Warspite (bae! ♥) and Normandie, she'd be the clear winner. Once you start comparing Strasbourg and Dunkerque to tier VII battleships, it's no longer a contest. Strasbourg is THE most agile tier VII battleship, bar none. Lyon and Gneisenau provide some competition, but Strasbourg is the hands down winner. VERDICT: Some of the best mid-tier battleship agility you'll find out there. Both ships handle beautifully and are very comfortable to drive. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 3 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast (Dunkerque) or 1,400 per blast (Strasbourg) at 3.5km to 6.0km. Long Ranged (up to 6.0km): 84dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km): 24.5dps (Dunkerque) or 21dps (Strasbourg) at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 1.5km): 105dps at 70% accuracy I'm going to let the graphics do the talking here. Kay, so this looks like a hot mess and there's value in this chaos too. There are so many disparate AA range values at tier VI, it's hard to keep track. "Why so much negative space?" you might ask. Well, I scaled this to match the AA values of the tier VII battleships as both tier VI and VII battleships have to contend with tier VI and VIII aircraft carriers. The ships here are arranged in approximate level of effective personal defense, sorted by the formula [ AA DPS * ( range - 1km) ], thus putting more value on longer ranged damage output. None of the tier VI battleships could be said to have "good" or "effective" AA firepower, even against tier VI carriers. While Dunkerque sits in the middle of the pack here, she's in the bottom half of the incompetent. The best thing about her, really, are those 6km ranged guns which can help a friend out with overlapping fields of fire. Strasbourg has worse personal AA firepower than Nagato. It's only when battleships get to California or Florida levels of AA firepower that they can start looking towards their own defense. And it's not like these ships can prevent CVs from dropping on them -- oh no, they simply make it expensive (and then only if they haven't had most of their medium and small caliber guns shorn off by a spray of HE fire). Strasbourg stands little chance and is an easy mark for carriers. VERDICT: Hilariously bad on both counts. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.92km / 14.77km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.58km / 8.62km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.2km Dunkerque Maximum Firing Range: 18.21km to 21.85km Strasbourg Maximum Firing Range: 19.1km to 22.92km The stealth of these two battleships is crap. I don't know what really needs to be said beyond that. Their surface detection range is atrocious for a ship of their size and you can never truly get it under control. For Dunkerque, this is a more pronounced problem given the smaller maps she end up on at lower tiers. The only way you're surprising anyone in these ships is with long-range fire. While this may end a cruiser in short order, you're only going to annoy battleships unless their citadel protection is very (very!) soft skinned. In practical terms, everything will spot you first. Due to her fragility, this will so often relegate you to play defensively, hugging islands to protect a flank or deny vision lest you get crossfired from unseen enemy. VERDICT: Downright terrible. Final Evaluation Let's go back to those questions that started this review: Is Dunkerque so good at tier VI that she can be effectively cloned and placed at tier VII with little issue? Just how influential are the small changes made between the two ships? Is Main Battery Reload Booster that powerful on a 330m armed platform? Is Strasbourg worth the grind or should you just stick with Dunkerque? The answers to those questions are: Hells no. Largely irrelevant, though the extra second shaved off her reload and the extra armour is nice. I'm kinda miffed about her A-turret losing out on those firing angles, though. Yes. It's a disgustingly powerful consumable and it's what carries this ship at tier VII. Well, that depends. How much do you love Dunkerque? Dunkerque is a good tier VI battleship. This is largely owing to two factors: She has good guns and she has good agility. Dunkerque is fast enough to bring her firepower where it will do the most good and her guns are reliable enough to stack steady amounts of damage. Her fast reload makes her particularly good at picking on cruisers and stacking fires. Yes, her stealth sucks. Yes, her AA power sucks. Yes, defensively she's a bit of a joke. But those, like Tempest Keep, are merely a setback. Stealth and AA rarely define the battleship meta. Better armour would be nice, but it's not like Dunkerque is incapable of face-tanking a whole range of battleship opponents provided they're not armed with 380mm+ guns. Dunkerque is a whole bunch of "good enough" packaged behind comfortable gunnery. As one of the oldest premium battleships in the game Dunkerque doesn't have a gimmick to make her stand out anymore. Being French was her gimmick back in 2016. Since the release of the French battleship line, she lost not only that distinction but also the uniqueness of her all-forward gun arrangement. Players can simply unlock Richelieu from the tech tree if they want to have a taste of that game play, albeit two tiers higher. There's not a lot of 'wow-factor' baked into Dunkerque. She's good, don't get me wrong, but she's not amazing. She's not meta-defining or great. She wasn't a solid pick in tier VI Ranked Battles, sitting behind battleships that brought that oh-so covetted overmatch like Warspite and West Virginia and beyond consideration in team-based competitive (though admittedly everything played second fiddle to Admiral Graf Spee). Strasbourg will be rightly compared to Jean Bart and there is a reason Jean Bart isn't commonly available anymore (I'm still shocked she reappered for Black Friday, but whatevs, clearly WG likes money). If you love Dunkerque's game play, Strasbourg is so worth it, it's not even funny. I cannot stress enough how much the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable improves on what was already some damn fine gunnery. That's really the whole summation of Strasbourg. Yes, there's a bunch of other little changes here and there, but they feel so inconsequential compared to those twenty-seconds of fast-firing guns when her consumable is active. During development, Wargaming seemed oh-so careful not to repeat the misteps of Jean Bart's overpowered self. Strasbourg had her rate of fire nerfed from an initial 21 seconds (yes, really) to 24 seconds and then eventually down to 25 seconds with a slight sigma buff (from Dunkerque's 1.7 to the current 1.8). That should be enough to keep her in line, but I admit I enjoyed myself a lot playing Strasbourg. Such enjoyment on a test ship usually means that the ship is a little too strong. This speaks a lot to what battleship gameplay fundamentally boils down to: delivering big hits. The difference between good performance and bad in a match can so often be separated by a single Devastating Strike. Even if you lose, if you erased one ship outright, it's hard to call that a bad showing. Strasbourg's consumable makes it easier to do that and that's hella powerful. If I had to choose between the two, Strasbourg is (to me) the obvious choice. Dunkerque doesn't have anything novel going for her, in my opinion. Her best selling feature now is her tiering. Strasbourg at least has that gunnery gimmick; something a lot of players may not have access to in the future given the increased rarity of Jean Bart. Strasbourg is a GUDBOTE -- or more accurately, she's a MEHBOTE with a good consumable.
  23. Hi! I'm new to the forums. I've been playing on and off for 3 years or so. Only recently have I gotten fairly good at the game. I'm a battleship main, although I dabble in heavy cruisers and destroyers. Never light cruisers or aircraft carriers. Bleck. Anyway, so far the rework for me has been... polarizing. It's not terrible, and for cruisers and destroyers, I actually quite like the changes. For battleships, though I feel that Deadeye has had some pretty detrimental effects to the entire class. While on paper it's a buff, it encourages poor play to the extent that battleships, I feel, have minimal impact on the game now. Here's why I feel this is happening. Most battleships default to spending the first critical few minutes of the game playing passively. Then, 3-8 minutes in, a critical point is reached. At this point, the team that is dug in better starts to push. At this point the game is already over. What I mean is that while battleships hang out on the back line, cruisers and destroyers are dictating the outcome of the match. The battleships might throw up some big damage numbers, but by the time they are in position to impact the match, the victor has already been decided. Now, some stats: I consider myself a decent player, but it wasn't always this way. I started playing when I was just 14 so obviously I didn't have a grasp of much other than kill the enemy more often than they kill you. Now that I am older, I believe I play the game at a somewhat higher level. My overall winrate is about 52.65% and rising fast. It's been about a week and a half since the rework hit. My 21 day average win rate is just under 60%, though it's falling quickly now. My 7 day win rate? Just under 53%. Right now I feel helpless to impact the game the way I did before. Even though i've tried to adapt my play to the rework, my primary difficulty lies with my efforts doing nothing in the face of a team that could go either way. Half the time, they push. Half the time, they don't. Before the rework everyone would kind of push, and whoever did it better, with better positioning and coordination, would win. That way, an individual battleship player could make a big difference. Now it's a toss up. Hilariously, my highest winrate battleship since the rework is Thunderer. Seems quite telling to me. Now that camping is the norm, it makes sense that she does well, because she excels at it. It doesn't have to be this way. I run deadeye on all my non-brawlers, and I have good success with it. But I don't exclusively camp on the back line, because you don't have to. Simply take advantage whenever it works, but when there's a ship spotted within your detection range, there's no need to panic. Having deadeye active half the time and being a team player will make you leagues better than a player that has deadeye active all the time and sits in the back doing nothing for the team. I just hope people will realize that, because right now, I'm hearing stories of groups of battleships actively running away, like cattle, from cruisers and destroyers that infringe on their precious detection range. Sigh. I admit that these observations are mine and mine only. It is entirely possible that I am wrong, and I just haven't adapted to rework play. I also think that the 21-day numbers I threw up are potentially skewed because of the french destroyers I grinded immediately after the rework (remember what I said about DDs having outsized impact now). Maybe I've just been unlucky for the last week or so. In any case, I'm very interested to hear your feedback. Have any of you noticed this? What, if anything, have you done about it? Do you think it's a problem? Or anything else you want to say. If you think I'm a moron, go for it! Tell me all about it. Thanks for reading!
  24. thatbruinskid

    Secondary Alsace Builds?

    Am currently grinding the French BB line, am at tier 7 at the moment, Jean Bart is one of my favorite ships in the game. I'm hyped to get to the Alsace. What's the best secondary build for her? I was thinking something like: PT, PM, AR, BoS/SI, AFT, CE and MFCSA and then secondary range upgrade in slot 3. Should I run BFT over BoS or SI? Or swap out Main Battery Reload in slot 6 for the 20% reload decrease on the secondaries? Should I ignore MFCSA entirely and go for fire prevention instead? Auxiliary Armaments upgrade? LMK what you guys think! Any advice on the best combos would be greatly appreciated. Looking forward to playing Alsace in the near future.
  25. The following is a review of Ignis Purgatio & Ragnarok, the twin tier VIII Japanese premium battleships for the Warhammer 40,000 crossover. These ships have been provided to me by Wargaming at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge the statistics discussed in this review are accurate as of patch 0.9.5. Please be aware their performance (and their spelling) may change in the future. For those unaware, I have a long history of fandom with Games Workshop's Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 settings. My older brother was a huge influence on me when I was little. Everything he did was immediately fascinating. Despite the years between us, I did my utmost to try and keep up. The source books were among the many edgy things my older brother collected, including Dungeons & Dragons, alternative comics and weird figurines. As the starry eyed, overly enthusiastic and horribly destructive younger sister, I was of course banned from having access to this stuff which was squirreled away in his room. Oh, I would get to see him reading it from time to time, but sibling territoriality ensured I never got within six feet of those books, which only drove my curiousity further. That was until he went off on some school trip for a weekend. My ever industrious mother decided to take the opportunity to deep-clean the dungeon in which he slept. All of that stuff (along with most of his furniture) just-so happened to get moved to the front hallway while she tried to delaminate the layers of accumulated boy-stink from the walls. You can guess what happened next -- I snuck off with as many books as I could carry. Grandfather Nurgle always looks so jolly. This is how I got to sit down with the seminal works Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness (1988) and it's sequel Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned (1990). There was also this super dorky book called Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1987) that made less of an impression, but this Emperor-guy was pretty cool for desiccated corpse. It was the former two, especially The Lost and the Damned which had a lasting influence upon me. It kindled a love of the over-the-top gothic horror that defined a lot of Games Workshop's earlier works. I soon got into collecting books, magazines and miniatures myself. That interest has carried on to this day. One of my Warlord Titans from Adeptus Titanicus (2019) sits upon my computer desk and I have a Lord of Change with resplendent rainbow plumage attended by some wiggly Horrors on my book shelf. So you can kinda guess that the collaboration between Wargaming and Games Workshop has me making happier noises than a daemonette playing with a chainsword. The elements of this crossover relevant to this article are a pair of clones based upon the tier VIII Japanese tech-tree battleship Amagi; the Imperium of Man's Ignis Purgatio and the Primordial Annihilator's Ragnarok. Quick Summary: A pair of identical Amagi-class battleships with improved dispersion but reduced rate of fire over the tech-tree ship. PROS Trollish citadel protection, with surprisingly thick armour. Massive ten 410mm gun broadside with enormous alpha-strike potential. Good dispersion with 1.9 sigma. Excellent AP penetration. Good HE damage. Super accurate secondaries. CONS Weak belt armour, prone to taking penetration hits. 33s reload on main battery. Secondaries have a maximum of a 7.56km range. Poor agility with a large, 870m turning circle radius and pedestrian 4º/s rate of turn. Horrible AA firepower. Horrible concealment. Ignis Purgatio, resplendent in spite of her hidden typo. Ragnarok, without any spelling errors, which makes her clearly superior, you Imperial lapdogs. Versus Amagi Contrary to Wargaming's 0.9.5 patch notes, Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok are not exact copies of Amagi. They're close -- very close, even. They mirror the tech-tree ship in almost every regard. The amount of overlap is so prevalent that I won't cover everything about these ships, just merely some interesting highlights. However, there are two things which set these ships apart. When playing these ships, one of these elements is immediately noticeable. The other is not. Amagi has 1.8 sigma on her main battery guns. The new ships have 1.9 sigma. Amagi has a 30 second reload on her main battery guns. The new ships have 33 seconds. Head-faked with a Sigma Buff A difference of 0.1 sigma is a bit of a booby prize, I'm afraid. Consider these two dispersion fields: Standard dispersion tests. This is 180 AP shells fired at a stationary Fuso bot without camouflage sitting 15km away. Both Amagi and Ragnarok were using the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade. Shots came in from right to left -- the Fuso is effectively bow-tanking. Without labels, they're difficult to tell apart -- and let's keep in mind that this is as sterile a comparison as can be made under perfect conditions against a static target. Taken into the chaos of a live match, these differences all but disappear. The best players in the game are unable to tell the difference between battleships with 1.8 sigma and 2.0 sigma on a per-game basis -- the average player has no hope in Hell of being able to find value in the 1.9 sigma boasted by Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok over Amagi's 1.8. This is the sort of change that will show up over the long-term performance of the ships -- it's a Spreadsheet™ statistic. You won't be able to tell on a per-game basis, never mind a per-shot basis. In short: on a per-game basis, Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok have functionally the same accuracy as Amagi. Let me be clear: Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok DO have better dispersion but it's not significant enough for you to ever be able to notice its influence. Sucker-punched with a Reload Nerf What players will notice (and notice right away) is the three seconds lost every time these new battleships fire. This is pretty harsh though their ten-gun broadsides still keep them as contenders for some of the best damage out-put at tier VIII with their AP shells. So the three seconds lost is more awkward than damning. Ten guns is a rarity at tier VIII. Even sixteen-inch guns aren't standard so it's pretty easy for Ragnarok and Ignis Purgatio to stand apart from their contemporaries. Approximate penetration values for IJN 410mm AP shells. These ships are hella dangerous at all ranges with their AP shells able to land reliable damage to battleship targets even at a distance. Japanese HE shells have a meaty chunk of damage tied to them. But their fire chance is kinda crappy. Amagi is Better From a pure performance point of view, Amagi is the original and best. If you want to try these ships out for yourself, play Amagi and each time you fire, count to three before you pull the trigger. Bam, there you go. You're experiencing Ragnarok and Ignis Purgatio. Miscellaneous Points of Interest Other than her guns, there are three elements about the Amagi-class I find interesting. First off, there's her citadel protection: Compiled from GameModels3D.com showing the different thickness of Amagi's turtleback armour. It's 102mm thick over the magazines and 95mm over the machine spaces. Amagi is notoriously difficult to citadel, especially at close ranges. This isn't because of her turtleback but rather her submersed citadel. Short of dunking shells into the water just before the ship's hull, you're not going to land citadel hits against her up close. At a distance, she's more vulnerable, but only if your shells have a lot of penetration combined with a noticeable shell fall angle. Despite having turtleback geometry to her citadel, this isn't a separate plate the way it is with German battleships. Furthermore, the sloping of this part of the citadel is too shallow to prompt any kind of ricochet check. Thus Amagi tends to be more vulnerable to citadel hits from long range from high-penetration guns. The net effect here is that while Amagi can take citadel hits, her armour is notoriously troll for resisting them. You can have her dead to rights with a near perfect broadside and only get penetrations rather than devastating hits to her machine spaces. For ships with more exposed citadels taking Amagi on in a joust, this will often be their last mistake. Speaking of jousting and brawls, did you know that Amagi has "Massachusetts" secondaries? It's more accurate to say that Massachusetts has Amagi secondaries. All of the large-caliber secondary guns have improved dispersion. Were it not for Amagi's horrible secondary range of 5km (7.56km when fully upgraded) they might be worth investing into. Reference Mahan (104m) for scale. Amagi has the same dispersion as Massachusetts with her 140mm secondaries. They will shred a destroyer in short order, but only if you get them inside of suicidal (for you) ranges. You don't have the agility to dodge the inevitable walls of fish unless they derp massively. Finally, it's worth addressing just how butts her agility is. While she has decent straight line speed, her rate of turn and turning circle radius is flirting with Russian mayonnaise. There's a reason these things tend to fight from a distance. At the time of publishing, Azur Lane's Littorio and Champagne are still works in progress and subject to change. Final Evaluation These two ships aren't very compelling in terms of a design choice when you have free and premium alternatives. These Warhammer 40,000 ships are really only worthwhile for their cosmetic value, not their game play performance. If it's optimized Amagi game play you're looking for, get Ashitaka -- nearly the same Amagi performance but a whole tier lower. If you want gimmicky Amagi performance, get Kii. Alternatively, if Amagi is really your jam, you could just take the same cash-value and glue a premium camouflage onto Amagi herself if that's more your speed. There's nothing wrong with Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok. But let's not kid ourselves that they offer anything compelling in terms of game play that you can't already get for free with Amagi. They're a downgrade but with some very cool skins. I don't think much more needs be said than that. Do try and surive the hype-train. Lookit what I found. Yeah, I recognized Chaos rune-script and took the time to translate it. Get on my level, nerds.
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