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  1. The_Potato_Smasher

    Ship Opinions: Des Moines

    World of Warships Ship Opinions Des Moines : Super Heavy Thunderchunker (This is the first ship opinion that I am writing. As such, I will be including a lot of things that may make me look smart, as it agrees with the rest of the playerbase, or look really stupid, because I don’t agree.) Des Moines was one of the two original Tier 10 cruisers introduced into the game, the other one being Zao. Since then, it’s gotten power-creeped, powered up, and power-crept again, but who cares about that. Des Moines is one of the best Tier 10 cruisers in the game, out-gunning everything it cannot outrun, and outrunning everything it cannot outgun ( despite the fact that Bourgogne moves faster than this thing, go figure), making this gunship one of the biggest thunder chunkers in the game. So then, let’s take a look. Let us start with the whole “Gunship” thing. Des Moines has a couple of things that set it apart from the competition at tier 10. First off, it has that signature Super-Heavy AP, which means that, not only does it receive better penetration angles, but the penetration is preserved at range, meaning that this ship can reliably hit ( and penetrate ) almost anything at ranges out to 12 kilometers. After that, however, the shell velocity begins to drop quite rapidly, leading to a plunging fire trajectory that makes hitting things quite difficult. However, that difficulty in hitting things is made up for by the other thing : a reload time of 5.5 seconds. Yup, you read that right, 5.5 seconds. Des Moines has the fastest reload of all heavy cruisers in the game, even Henri IV with reload booster active can barely match it. The closest ship to this thing in terms of raw DPM is the Hindenburg, and even that thing struggles to keep up, even with two rounds of buffs that dropped its reload to 9.8 seconds stock. DM’s raw AP DPM sits at 490,909 DPM, while Hindy sits at 433,469. Add the module and AR on top of that, and DM packs a massive 695,575 AP DPM. That’s with friggin 203s. Smolensk and Colbert both pack way more, admittedly, but they both have puny 5 inch artillery systems that benefit from Basic Firing Training, not to mention Honore’s AR Boost for Colbert. So then, DM is indeed the best of the actual cruisers in the game ( I say “actual cruisers” because Smolensk and Colbert are more akin to floating gatling guns with a citadel than anything else). One weakness here comes in the form of literally no torpedo armament to back up her main guns. But seriously, with these guns, who cares? The next part is the survivability. DM falls a slight bit short of the competition here, for the most part. Her most glaring weakness is the 27mm bow that all tier 10 battleships ( save Bourgogne ) can overmatch with impunity. She does have a 30mm deck to bounce most plunging fire shots, but that’s just a small consolation when Republique or Yamato slams you from halfway across the map. Also, with just 50,600 HP, she has less than Goliath, Hindenburg, Moskva, and Henri IV. However, Both Goliath and Henri have pretty terrible plating (16mm and 25mm,respectively), Moskva is the size of a Battleship (literally is a battleship), and Hindenburg is basically an angry floating bus with guns and torpedoes (well,not really, but you get the point). Point is, Des Moines is not really the easiest target at typical cruiser engagement ranges. Des Moines closest rival in this regard is the other original tier 10 cruiser, the Japanese Zao. But Zao has 10k less HP (though a troll armor scheme helps it out a bit). So here, DM is in a class of its own. I won’t even mention Salem’s characteristics here because I actually wanted to compare the tech tree ships, rather than the premiums. Now we come to the fun part (not): the AA. Des Moines, being American, has literally the most brutal AA defense of all the heavy cruisers, outstripping Hindy, Goliath, and Henri by a good margin, even rivaling the DP-gunned Worcester and Minotaur ( then again, this really isn’t much of a talking point, thanks to WeeGee screwing us over with the AA so that carriers at least “had a chance” to make a strike). Des Moines AA numbers, on paper, make the competition look like a total joke, thanks to the ever-prevalent 40mm Bofors and 20mm Oerlikon cannons that litter the decks of all high tier American boats, which gives them brutal AA defenses that make most carriers instantly regret their life choices ( its worse when you get AA jumped by a Gearing). In reality, the reworking of the AA defenses makes these numbers somewhat irrelevant, even more so because of the fact that Wargaming butchered DFAA entirely. Then again, when have they not butchered anything at some point or the other. Moving on. Next is handling and concealment. This is where DM humiliates some ships entirely, and some humiliate it. Let’s quickly get one thing out of the way: you ain’t winning any drag races in this thing (sorta, we’ll get there in a moment). Henri, Zao, and Moskva will outrun you, thanks to various reasons. The light cruisers out-turn you by a good margin, and the stock acceleration is actually quite poor. Only Hindy and Worcester are slower, and by just half a knot. HOWEVER There is one ace in the hole that DM has over the other cruisers, and that is it’s legendary module. You know, that module that makes every single damn DD in the game go purple with rage when they send torps to a DM they thought wasn’t paying attention, when actually it was, and it gunned the throttle and took off like a shot, and all the torps miss entirely. Yup, same one. The module cuts acceleration time by 50%, decreases the rudder shift by 20%, and only takes 10% of your radar uptime. Downside, you either pick run and gun, or your DPM with Main Battery Mod 3. If you combine this module with the 4th slot Propulsion Module, and the 5th slot Steering Gears Module, you accelerate to 27 knots in 8 seconds, to 33 knots in 12 seconds, and your rudder shift time drops to a hair under 7 seconds. That is one of those things that make all types of players go red and purple in the face when going against this thing. Henri can now only dream of this kind of bullshittery, and all others can only watch with envy ( if you find yourself confused about Henri IV, read the changelogs). Another great thing is the fact that, if properly equipped, DM can drop its concealment to just 10.9km. There are only three tech tree ships that can beat that: the Zao, with 9.9km, the Worcester, with 9.7, and Mino, with its frankly stupid 9.1km. Goliath sits at just 100m worse, and all the others are over 12km, with Moskva being the worst, at 14.3km. So, it's agile and stealthy. Nifty. Also, I almost forgot to mention her consumable loadout. Pretty bog-standard for American heavy cruisers here, nothing special. I recommend hydro and radar, but it’s your choice at the end of the day So there we go. Is it still the OG thunder-chunker we know and love (or hate)? Absolutely. The addition of the Worcester and many other cruisers that out-gun it by a significant margin (in terms of how much crapgets thrown on the wall until something sticks) have threatened it with irrelevance, but it’s still not irrelevant. In fact, it has become more relevant than ever, threatening these super-powered ships that make their mark with constant HE spam, with the powerful, swift broadsword that is American AP, delivered by the graceful hand that is the Des Moines rapid fire rifle. She is still the original thunder-chunker, a true testament to classic, tried and true design, and never-aging prowess. She truly is, the biggest and baddest of them all. (Wait, there’s a bigger one!? ARE YOU FRIGGIN KIDDING ME!?!?)