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Bandi73 posted a topic in General Game DiscussionOfficial communication regarding Flandre's bug.
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.