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