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Found 10 results

  1. Premium Ship Review: Gascogne

    The following is a review of Gascogne, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of February 16th, 2018. Gosh, it disturbed me to see you, Gascogne, stuck in development Hell. Every ship here wanted to be you, Gascogne, knowing how well you would sell. There's no ship in port as balanced as you. Your guns have all of the range. When released folk will forget Richelieu, though balance is subject to change. Quick Summary: A fast, agile battleship with lackluster striking power. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: Patch to 0.7.2, January 24th, 2018 until February 22nd, 2018. PROs Fast resetting Repair Party consumable allows her to recover damage quickly. High muzzle velocity coupled with good energy preservation maintains her penetration power even at range. Fast main battery reload at 28 seconds. Secondaries have a 7.0km base range. Ridiculously fast for a battleship with a 32.0 knot top speed. Has access to an extended duration Engine Boost consumable to make her even faster. Excellent rate of turn for a battleship at 4.4º/s Beauty and the Beast memes. CONs Nearly the entirety of this ship is vulnerable to light cruiser HE fire. Her 380mm guns suffer from low DPM and cannot overmatch 27mm bows of select heavy cruisers. Awful main battery gun dispersion, particularly on the vertical axis. Poor gun layout combined with bad firing angles which significantly hurts her damage output. Her secondaries either fire too slowly or don't have enough penetration to do direct damage. Ineffective anti-aircraft firepower. Large turning radius of 850m. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Gascogne isn't a battleship for novice players. Her firepower is lacking and to increase its potency, you have to take big risks which will only get inexperienced gamers punished. Veterans will appreciate the flexibility provided by her handling, but again, those issues of firepower and a general lack of concealment will greatly reduce her overall potential. She summarizes to the following: BAD - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. FAIR - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.GOOD - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.BEST - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Let's get the obvious out-of-the-way -- a premium battleship with 'bad' anti-aircraft firepower? That's nothing new. Moving on. Good defense and great agility is very promising. However, her bad firepower rating might be a show stopper. Options Gascogne has three quirks with her options. The first and second are in regards to her consumables and the third is a selection of camouflage options. Consumables: Gascogne has access to the Engine Boost consumable and her Repair Party is non-standard. Gascogne's Damage Control Party is standard for a non-American / Japanese battleship with a 15s active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer depending on which version you purchase. Her Repair Party is has half the reset timer of a normal battleship -- only 60s / 40s depending on the version taken. It is otherwise standard, healing back 14% of her maximum health (8,848hp) over 28s. Her third consumable is a catapult aircraft. She defaults with a Spotter Aircraft. Her Float Plane Fighter does 63dps with 1,550 hit points. This gives her the highest DPS of any of the catapult aircraft at her tier. Finally, in her fourth slot, she has an Engine Boost consumable. This is unique, providing the same 8% increase in speed as destroyer, but lasting for three minutes instead of two. This has a three-minute / two-minute reset timer. Premium Camouflage: Gascogne has three camouflage patterns. The first is Type 10 Camouflage. This is Gascogne's default camouflage which comes with the ship. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. The second is The Maid of Orleans - Gascogne. Earned through The Gold of France campaign, this camouflage is a cosmetic swap of her original camouflage, with a bust of Joan of Arc on the prow. It provides identical bonuses to Type 10 Camouflage. There is one last camouflage found in the early promotional material for Gascogne. According to Wargaming, this camouflage is only available at the time of purchase. I am told it provides the same bonuses as the Type 10 Camouflage listed above. Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard battleship options. As of patch, Gascogne could not mount the Engine Boost Modification 1 special upgrade. I was unable to test for this on the 0.7.2 Public Test Server, so keep an eye out. There aren't any other special upgrades worth considering. Recommended Upgrades: No One Shoots Like Gascogne Primary Battery: Eight 380mm rifles 2x4 turrets mounted fore and aft. Secondaries : Nine 152mm rifles in 3x3 turrets mounted down the centerline, sixteen 100mm rifles in 8x2 turrets with four to a side. Gascogne is a Richelieu-class battleship with (arguably) worse gun placement. Her high velocity 380mm guns come with inherent weaknesses, including poor shell dispersion, frequent over penetrations with her AP shells, and an inability to overmatch the bows of select heavy cruisers. Moving a turret to the rear reduces her forward firepower to just four guns when bow tanking. Unlike the Bismarck-class sisters which suffer from many of these same problems, she does not have their accelerated reload nor the powerful secondaries to pad her numbers. Thus, Gascogne and Richelieu share the unfortunate distinction of having the worst Firepower rating among the tier VIII battleships currently. A Spot of Redemption Gascogne will really make you work for your damage totals. However, her main battery isn't entirely without merit. She has a faster reload time. Her guns are high velocity with excellent energy preservation. In addition, Gascogne enjoys one of the better sigma values at tier VIII with a 1.9 rating. Fast Reload Times - What a difference a measly two seconds can make. I liken Gascogne's gunnery a lot to that of Mikasa. If that makes you scream in terror, it should. While Gascogne has twice as many gun barrels as Mikasa, she has the same number of turrets. Game play wise, you're only firing twice of per volley, so if your aim is off, that's a long way before your next speculative shot. Shaving two seconds off Gascogne's reload makes wonky dispersion or poorly aimed attacks feel less punitive. That's less time you need to wait before correcting your mistakes. It also makes it more likely that your guns will be ready when windows of opportunity open for those short periods of time -- like catching an enemy vessel broadside in a turn. Note that with Adrenaline Rush, at 50% health you can get Gascogne's reload time down to 25.2 seconds. If you're using the Legendary Commander, Jean-Jacques Honoré, that drops down to 24.5 seconds which is very sweet. High Muzzle Velocity & Energy Preservation - Aiming at distant targets with Gascogne's guns are a breeze. She has excellent lead times. Her "comfort zone", where shell lead times are less than 7.5 seconds, extends all the way out to 14.5km. This has the combined effect of making long-range gunnery comfortable while also preserving enough penetration power to make her a threat against enemy battleships at these ranges too, despite her smaller gun caliber. AP Shell Flight time estimations (in seconds) drawn from the client firing perpendicular to the ship's heading. Gascogne has some of the highest shell velocities found on battleships in-game. At tier VIII, she's bested only by Roma. This makes long-range gunnery more comfortable -- at least in terms of leading a target. Penetration value estimations courtesy of www.proships.ru. While Gascogne does not boast the highest raw penetration values, she preserves her penetration characteristics better over range, giving her the equivalent striking power to IJN and USN battleships at ranges greater than 15km. 1.9 Sigma Value - Gascogne has the best shell grouping out of any of the battleships using German horizontal dispersion values. This is a significant improvement to her accuracy, which is again a godsend when you're only firing with two turrets. This gives her a marked advantage over Richelieu. During Gascogne's development cycle, her sigma upgraded from 1.8 (in yellow) to 1.9 (in blue). The former is now the equivalent of what you would find on Richelieu. 180 shots fired at 15km, locked onto a Fuso. Ships were equipped with Aiming System Mod 1. So, Gascogne has good shell groupings, dropping most of her shells where you aim. Her penetration power is sufficient to damage anything you strike and shell lead times make snapping off shots a breeze. So what are the downsides? Undermining For all the good those three positive traits give, they are largely undone when you check them more closely. Let's hit them in reverse order -- going from bad to worse. 1.9 Sigma Value - Having her shell grouping tightened up with an improved sigma value is welcome. However, it's just not enough. Gascogne uses German battleship horizontal dispersion which is the widest among dreadnoughts. Worse, her high shell velocity gives her tremendous vertical dispersion as well. Expect a lot of frustrating shots sailing well over a target or splashing well short. Royal Navy or American battleships are at least more likely to still strike the superstructure or maybe dunk a shot beneath the waterline. That happens much less often here. Gascogne's buffed sigma is good, it's doesn't really address the glaring fault of these guns in terms of precision. During Gascogne's development cycle, her sigma upgraded from 1.8 (in yellow) to 1.9 (in blue). The former is now the equivalent of what you would find on Richelieu. 180 shots fired at 15km, locked onto a Fuso. Ships were equipped with Aiming System Mod 1.Two extremes. When compared to the gunnery of one of the American South Dakota-class battleships -- a vessel that cannot mount any dispersion upgrades I hasten to add -- Gascogne's precision issues become readily apparent. She is far more likely to overshoot or undershoot a target, even when a shot is well-aimed. High Muzzle Velocity & Energy Preservation - On top of causing issues with vertical dispersion, the excellent shell velocity of Gascogne's guns will ensure that when you strike a soft target, you're going to see over penetrations far more often than you would like. Gascogne is unreliable at damaging the citadels of cruisers within her matchmaking spread at ranges inside of 8km. It's not uncommon to see nothing but over penetrations over and over and over again. Fast Reload Times - As nice as Gascogne's 28 second reload is, it doesn't compare well to the 26 second reload of the Bismarck-sisters or the 25 second reload of the famous and historical HMS Monarch. I will spare you digging out your calculators and simple show you this:Gascogne has one of the worst potential damage-per-minute totals out of any of the tier VIII battleships. Eight guns, even with her accelerated reload, doesn't let her keep pace with the nine-gun armed vessels she faces. It's sobering that Roma with a 30 second reload keeps pace with or bests her in terms of damage output. Gascogne's problems are further exacerbated by gun arrangement, overmatch issues and HE performance. But there's more... Alright, so those are my points of contention with the 'benefits' of Gascogne's guns. They're more like consolation prizes than outright bonuses. Her guns have terrible horizontal and vertical dispersion, so here, have 1.9 sigma so they only feel kinda wonky. She doesn't have great DPM so here, have a 28 second reload so you think her guns can put out more damage -- but that's still not going to let you keep up to even the German battleships. Leading targets is easy with these high velocity guns, just be careful where you point them. If you aim at a cruiser that's too close, you'll just over penetrate. Would that these were the only flaws with Gascogne's guns. But there's more. You have two turrets. This causes two problems. The first is minor -- you cannot fire ranging shots as effectively as you could with a battleship with more turrets. The second is more telling: Gascogne is more vulnerable than most other battleships when it comes to suffering critical and catastrophic damage to her guns. Losing one turret not only reduces half your firepower, it also forces you to manoeuvre if you want to continue firing in that direction. Gascogne's guns are only 380mm. The obvious issue here is that Gascogne's shells do overall less damage than the 406mm and 410mm guns found on American and Japanese vessels on a shell by shell basis. I've already addressed the DPM difference, but the more telling issue is one of overmatch mechanics. This is the ability to outright ignore thin armour plates regardless of angling and punch clean through into the squishy bits beyond. Gascogne's guns cannot overmatch the 27mm bows of American and German heavy cruisers at tier VIII+ like 406mm armed vessels can. This allows these cruisers to bow-tank Gascogne's AP shells with relative impunity. Gascogne's HE shells are 'meh'. There are three factors to look at when evaluating the quality of HE shells for a battleship. 1.) Do they inflict a lot of damage? 2.) Do they have high penetration? 3.) Do they have a high chance of starting a fire? From these three, simple questions we can evaluate how good each nation's HE shells are and if they're a reasonable alternative to the ship's AP shells when situations dictate. This works out to the following grid: Gascogne's HE is comparable to American battleship HE with low damage relative to her peers but with decent fire setting properties. This makes it alright for harassing enemy battleships but hardly ideal for using against cruisers and not worth swapping for against destroyers (at least until Wargaming tweaks the AP penetration model). Combined with the overmatch issues described above, Gascogne really struggles against same or higher tiered American and German cruisers that angle well against her. Gascogne has bad forward firing angles. This is the final spit-in-the-eye for Gascogne's gunnery. While her A-turret has excellent firing angles (300º or better is ideal), her X-turret falls short with only 288º. Gascogne must show a lot of side to fire all eight of her weapons which makes her vulnerable to return fire from enemy battleships. Functionally, Richelieu's better gun layout will allow her stack damage faster than Gascogne, even with the latter's accelerated reload, in most combat situations where the ships are under fire. Start making jokes: Gascogne has better firing arcs to the rear. When all is said and done, Gascogne's gunnery is all kinds of "meh". Gascogne's main battery gun arrangement wouldn't have been out of place on tier VII vessel. More than any other facet of the ship, this holds Gascogne back. She is a worse gunnery platform than Bismarck and only slightly better than the Bismarck-class' predecessor, Gneisenau. Almost Amazing But enough bellyaching about the main battery guns. Let's get to something exciting! Gascogne's secondary armament looks very impressive at first glance, especially with that 7.0km base range. Her range isn't on par with the Bismarck-sisters, but combined with the broadside weight of homogeneous HE fire they dispense, it's hard not to look at her battery in a positive light. Her 152mm/55s are the same guns found on De Grasse, boasting a phenomenal 12% base fire chance per hit. Her 100mm guns dispense 15rpm each with a 6% fire chance. Unfortunately, short of lighting fires, Gascogne's stock secondaries are generally useless -- incapable of landing significant direct damage of any kind against the majority of targets she faces. Gascogne's 100mm guns are too small in caliber, with only lower tiered destroyers and some light cruisers being vulnerable. Their inability to damage any armour greater than 16mm neuters their damage output. As her 100mm guns form the bulk of her volume of fire, Gascogne's potential damage is gutted. Her 152mm batteries do have better penetration of 24mm, but they only shoot five times per minute. Coupled with shoddy accuracy, it's unlikely for these larger caliber guns to fire enough rounds to land enough hits for them to count. An investment in upgrades, skills and consumables may seem like the solution. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells upgrades her 100mm and 152mm guns to 21mm and 32mm of penetration at the cost of dropping their fire chances from 6% and 12% down to 5% and 9%. Basic Fire Training increases the rate of fire of her 152mm guns from 5rpm to 6rpm. Her 100mm jump from 15rpm to 18rpm. These seven skill points are already a steep price to correct a highly situational weapon system. In fact, a fully optimized secondary build on Gascogne will cost her one upgrade slot, one signal and 15 skill points which is entirely too dear for the returns. More modest builds, such as simply emphasizing fire-setting aren't as expensive, but aren't as effective either. The bonus penetration found on the larger caliber German battleship secondary mounts isn't present here, and that requires paying a significant cost to equate. Secondary builds are fun, don't get me wrong, but they're hardly optimal and Gascogne's secondaries do not boast the same stopping power as those on Bismarck or Tirpitz. This will come at the expense of greatly reducing Gascogne's survivability which isn't generally worth compromising. A secondary build for Gascogne is only truly optimal in Co-Op battles where the fights are almost guaranteed at point-blank range and long-term longevity isn't a concern. Conclusions So, what does this huge information dump all mean? The TL:DR is the following: Gascogne's weapon systems have a lot of issues. It doesn't matter if you're looking at her primary or secondary gun battery -- they're far from perfect. While it's possible to get either one to perform in ideal circumstances, you would be better served by the weapon systems on any other battleship, including Richelieu. The best that could be said about Gascogne's guns is that at least they're comfortable to use. Summary Her guns don't shoot fast enough, hit hard enough or with enough precision. Her secondaries are a red herring. They're too small in caliber to be effective and will suck up massive amounts of commander skills and modules to make them passable. What's worse, they'll get you killed (see below). Gascogne's weaponry is almost good enough. Almost. I wanted to like it but I can't. Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: She would need better gunnery than Roma -- so a further improvement of rate of fire and/or dispersion groupings. Tanks Those Beauts like GascogneHit Points: 63,200Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm + 320mm + 50mm Turtleback + 50mm magazine wall Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 35% If Gascogne's durability has a cardinal sin, it's her vulnerability to high explosive damage. Gascogne's entire deck has no more than 32mm of armour protection. Her upper hull is similarly exposed. For light cruisers with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (which is pretty much all of 'em), farming damage off Gascogne is a dream. That's the bad news. The good news is that, overall, Gascogne has very good citadel defense with over 450mm of steel protecting her machine spaces and magazines from AP shells. It's only at very close ranges -- inside of 8km -- where Gascogne's citadel protection falls apart. If you give up broadsides in brawling range, you'll die quickly. Dummy. Gascogne's citadel protection doesn't prevent her from taking standard penetration damage, however. While she face tanks with the best of them (barring worry about losing a gun mount), Gascogne's belt is "only" 320mm thick. Few battleships will struggle to punch clean through her belt and stack penetration damage, even if the shells are later foiled by her citadel wall and turtleback. Even many AP slinging cruisers will rejoice at the 32mm plate covering the majority of the ship and hoover up impressive damage totals if you fail to angle against them properly. The last AP attack she needs to contend with are the bombs from American and German aircraft carriers. While it's possible to citadel Gascogne with bombs from either ship, they're unlikely. In my tests, she couldn't be deleted by a run of all the dive bombers the carrier could send out at once, necessitating at least one reload cycle to finish the job. There's one last feature that tips the scales and makes her one of the tougher battleships at her tier. Gascogne's Repair Party has half the normal reset timer of other battleships. While other battleships might struggle to make use of four (never mind five) charges of their consumable even under fire, Gascogne has little difficulty using hers. With an India Delta signal, Superintendent and a premium version of Repair Party, Gascogne can access up to 53,500 extra hit points in half the time of other battleships. Gascogne is much less vulnerable to damage over time effects such as fire and flooding. In addition, enemies that struggle to deal damage quickly will only play to Gascogne's strengths, allowing her to recover up to 10,700 hit points as often as every 68 seconds. This image should largely illustrate everything you need to know about Gascogne's armour profile. Her citadel sits at the waterline, yet shells that manage to clip her turtleback get normalized down towards her machine spaces and magazines, resulting in citadel hits. Given the energy necessary to best the amount of steel present, this tends to only occur at close ranges. Evaluation: GOOD What it would have needed to be BEST: Gascogne would need better citadel and/or hull protection without nudging her into AP-bomb one-shot territory. Increasing her deck and upper hull protection to 35mm would help immeasurably and keep her out of overmatch territory from Yamato-class 460mm guns while simultaneously defeating 152mm HE shells with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. Or Stomps Around Wearing Boots Like Gascogne Top Speed: 32.0 knotsTurning Radius: 850mRudder Shift: 15.3s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.4º/s at 4/4 speed Gascogne is my top pick for the most agile battleship at tier VIII. It's not a title that she wins without some contention, however. The South Dakota-class battleships give her a very good run for her money and a player's personal taste may overrule my own preferences. There are four areas where I evaluate a ship's agility: Speed, Turning Radius, Rudder Shift Time and Rate of Turn. There would be more but I haven't had time to begin cataloguing ship acceleration and deceleration yet. These are not weighed equally. I put very little value in Rudder Shift Time, for example, using it only as a tie breaker if needs be when two ships are near identical in all other categories. Speed Gascogne and Richelieu are the fastest battleships at their tier, besting even the previous front running Bismarck-class sisters. She outpaces the South Dakota-class battleships by 4.5 knots. What's more, access to their Engine Boost consumable makes any speed comparison between Gascogne and any other non-French battleship a joke. She can hit upwards of 36.3 knots with her consumable and a Sierra Mike signal! As of patch 0.7.2 nothing is faster and nothing can pretend to compete with her. Gascogne has the power to out pace enemies, dictate engagement distances and redeploy as needed. She is not held back by the size of maps at higher tiers, giving her an enviable degree of flexibility. As a final advantage, activating her Engine Boost consumable increases her rate of turn, giving Gascogne a minor boost to agility when she needs it most and exceeding the rate of turn of Alabama and Massachusetts. Gascogne can kite enemies like a boss -- opening up engagement ranges and re-engaging only when it suits her. Even destroyers need to be going flat-out to close the distance. If your enemies are doing anything other than in a straight-line pursuit, Gascogne will out pace them. Rate of Turn Up until the addition of Richelieu and Gascogne, the South Dakota sisters were unchallenged with their agility at tier VIII. While some of the contenders remain works in progress as of this article's publishing, it's unlikely that we will see a significant change to the combatants. Gascogne does not best Alabama or Massachusetts for her rate of turn at full speed. Instead she all but matches both sisters which is a feat unto itself. This is all grace of her phenomenal top speed which allows her to power through her turning circle and come about quickly on demand. Under the effects of Engine Boost, she overtakes them both, squeaking out primacy. Turning Radius Where the South Dakota sisters dominate is in their tiny turning radii. Gascogne suffers an 850m turning radius, the same unwieldy turning circle as found on the Bismarck-class while Alabama and Massachusetts enjoy a mere 710m turning radius. It's only due to Gascogne's high speed that she can navigate through this large turning circle with any kind of grace. She cuts through corners quickly, not because she makes sharp turns but because she has power enough to muscle through manoeuvres that would cause other ships to founder. To be clear: this is a marked weakness that mars an otherwise excellent agility characteristic. If a given player values small turning circles more, then Gascogne's status as the most agile ship within her tier is debatable. I'm confident with giving her the title, however. As bad as this 850m value is, it's not the worst at her tier with Amagi and Kii being appreciably weaker. This 'middle of the pack' standing pads my evaluation of her somewhat, but there's no denying that Gascogne loses out big time to Alabama and Massachusetts in this regard. Rudder Shift Time Rudder Shift is a loser-stat and a red herring where agility is concerned. It might have mattered more if there was a significant variety between the tier VIII battleships, but the difference and the effect of this difference is so minimal as to be downright forgettable. Rudder Shift at tier VIII start with Monarch's 15.0 seconds with ten other ships all sitting within 1.0 seconds. Even the outliers Amagi and North Carolina are only 2.3 seconds away from the front-runner which isn't terribly significant given the minimal impact Rudder Shift has on ship agility. At 15.3 seconds, Gascogne isn't the best, but she needn't be. She could be the worst here and it wouldn't matter. Dreambote Gascogne handles like a dream. She's fast. She turns well. She doesn't out turn her turrets (though it's a close thing -- grab Expert Marksman if you can). For all the frustrations with Gascogne's gunnery, the ship herself sails beautifully. Dodging enemy attacks, dictating engagement ranges and even out running destroyers isn't beyond her. Evaluation: BEST What it would have needed to be GOOD: Neither the SoDaks or Gascogne can claim an easy win in the Manoeuvrability category. Gascogne has speed and rate of turn, but a larger turning circle. Alabama and Massachusetts have rate of turn and small turning radii, but lack in straight line speed. What a player prioritizes will largely dictate what they feel is 'best'. I feel that speed provides more flexibility. In my opinion, the South Dakota-class battleships would need to lose another 50m off their turning radii or gain another two and a half knots of speed before I would reconsider giving them the award for the most agile battleship at tier VIII. Rate of Turn Late in the game, with her high top speed, Gascogne is just as flexible as a cruiser for securing distant capture points. She's Especially Good at Refrigerating Base Surface Detection Range: 16.74km Air Detection Range: 13.775km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.57km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 15.4km Main Battery Firing Range: 24.77km Those cute song lyrics are a lie: She's not especially good at refrigerating. Her concealment values are on the poor-side of average for a tier VIII battleship and it's only grace of thunderchunkers like Amagi and Kii at tier VIII that she's spared a worse evaluation. What's more, her aerial detection range is also on the large side, being just behind the Bismarck-sisters which bottom out that category. Gascogne isn't so tough that you can afford to spare skimping on concealment upgrades and skills. Evaluation: FAIR What it would have needed to be GOOD : Fewer Royal Cheeses. Gascogne is a little chubby. Oh My, Don't You Fly Near Gascogne! AA Battery Calibers: 155mm/ 100mm / 37mm / 25mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 3.1km / 3.0km AA DPS per Aura: 79.3 / 96.8 / 50.4 / 18.4 Gascogne's anti-aircraft firepower is almost decent but she falls short. She has a lot of positive traits going for her. Her range is good. She has a lot of large-caliber AA guns which are more resistant to damage, while simultaneously giving her the potential to extend their effect with skills like Manual Fire Control for AA Guns. However, the efficiency of her individual mounts is lackluster and she suffers from disparate ranges within her medium-caliber AA-cover. They fail to put out as much DPS as more efficient AA emplacements like quadruple 40mm Bofors or twin 20mm Oerlikons. Even her large-caliber guns are disappointing in this regard. Take Effective AA power with a pinch of salt. It's calculated with the two assumptions. (1) Any AA DPS with a range of less than 2km has little value as torpedo planes will rarely stray into this range. (2) There value of longer ranged AA power progresses in a linear fashion. Frankly, this is a very simplistic model (calculated by { AA DPS x [ weapon range - 1km } ) and doesn't reflect the true efficacy of a ship's relative AA power. It is meant merely to stress that ships which emphasize longer ranged AA power are more dangerous to attack craft than those with their DPS focused on short-ranged defense. I promise to one-day math this all out for realsies, waste dozens of hours figuring it all out and then probably discover this shorthand wasn't that far off. The result is an AA coverage that appears promising on the surface but is worse than Amagi's or Roma's. Gascogne's AA power is only marginally better than Tirpitz (and even that is debatable). Deep investment into AA skills can help prop some of these flagging numbers, giving her the equivalent AA DPS to a stock Alabama. This can make her an unappetizing target for tier VI and some tier VII aircraft carriers. It can even do well enough in PVE modes vs bots. However, will not dissuade same-tier or higher CVs in Randoms or Ranked. Gascogne is an easy mark. Most of Gascogne's AA firepower is divided between her large caliber, dual-purpose mounts and her 37mm/70 auto-cannon turrets. The latter are as fragile as other medium and small caliber mounts, so don't count on them surviving after you take a few HE hits. Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: Gascogne would need an AA suite comparable to Richelieu's modernized armament. This thing got beaten out by Roma, for crying out loud. Your Four Dozen Eggs to Help You Get Large Gascogne has two primary builds worth considering. One is optimal. The other is more of a joke, really, but it's fun so I've elected to include it. The optimal build also works well for the French Legendary Commander, Jean-Jacques Honoré. Survivalist Build & Jean-Jacques Honoré Manly Build View from Gascogne's prow as a Bismarck-class battleship succumbs to her secondary fire in the Hermes mission. A heavy secondary build works beautifully in this encounter. Unfortunately it won't serve you nearly as well in any PVP encounters. The Final Evaluation of this Barge Mouse's Summary: This is a great ship until you look at her guns. Then it becomes an 'okay' ship. Sailing this ship is a lot of fun. She handles beautifully and the extra level of control provided with Engine Boost is welcome. Her Repair Party gimmick is subtle. I like it a lot. During early testing, I absolutely hated this ship. Long hours were spent ranting at wiki-staff, Pigeon_of_War, other CCs and Lert about how much this ship was displeasing me. It all came down to her guns. I really struggled to get any kind of consistency out of this vessel and I felt terribly discouraged. Things improved, albeit slowly. This final iteration of Gascogne feels comfortable, which says a lot for how far the ship's gunnery has come. Gascogne still struggles in the firepower department but at least it no longer felt like I was actively fighting against all of her negative traits to get any damage done. It's still a strange dichotomy to me that a ship can feel so comfortable yet under perform. Balancing Gascogne came with the price of introducing another new gimmick. Her improved Repair Party is subtle, though, and I doubt there will be (much) outrage in the community over it. Anyway, I made Gascogne work for me and by the end of it, I was actively enjoying my time in her. Gascogne really feels like a baby Bismarck that trades durability and firepower for speed and agility. While she's no slouch when it comes to protection, she doesn't have the German god-tier AP-shell defense. Her secondaries are noisy rather than effective (unless you go for a Manly commander build) and while her AA is worse, at least she's not instant-gibbed by AP dive bombers. Gascogne is a good ship. She's fun to sail and she doesn't introduce an element of power creep into the game with her inclusion. It's unfortunate she's unlikely to be contender for the competitive scene, but we can't win 'em all. Gascogne is a total rockstar in the new Hermes scenario. Would I Recommend? Oh, if only I could see the camouflage statistics for Gascogne's third camo scheme. As I write this on February 22nd, I still haven't seen the camouflage itself. While Wargaming has said that it will not have any economical bonuses baked in -- making them superior to the other two camouflage patterns, I remain unconvinced until I see it for myself. Note that an economic bonus would make Gascogne more appealing -- particularly for grinding credits or commander experience in Random Battles. It would also make Gascogne more expensive too. Based on everything I have seen so far, Dunkerque remains the better commander trainer for French battleships. Gascogne isn't terrible, but she's not advantageous. At the price points asked, Dunkerque is the better bang for your buck for a French battleship trainer. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Very yes on toast. If you're a big PVE fan, Gascogne is a riot to play. As ever, be careful about loading up on too many premium consumables as it will affect your earnings in straight Co-Op modes. In the Hermes event, Gascogne is a beast especially with a full (and I do mean full) secondary build. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Eh. I might be more receptive if one of her camouflage patterns had better economic incentives, but it doesn't. As it stands, Dunkerque is a steal and is arguably more interesting, game play wise. She won't have quite the same returns, but for her lower price point, she out competes Gascogne. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No, no, no, no, no. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Nope. Other than a repository for fun camouflages, she's not worth it. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? It surprises me to say "yes" here. Gascogne had a very long development cycle and many of her earlier iterations were simply frustrating. Wargaming really went the extra mile to make this ship enjoyable. She may not be the most competitive ship, but she is fun to sail. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. In Closing Okay, this review took way too long to write. Between all of the different iterations of the ship, I ended up putting in more than 15 hours of playtesting and sciencing. Writing for Gascogne felt like a full time job and there always seemed to be more that needed to be done. Thankfully, I did manage to decompress every now and then, hiding in Final Fantasy 14 or playing Corgi Fleet over the long weekend here in Canada. I had a bit of a computer-scare this past month when my solid-state drive decided to die. This had my operating system installed upon it and replacing it cost me dear. It was a stark reminder for me how fragile my old rig is and how ill prepared I am to replace it should it give up the ghost. More than ever, I'm thankful to my supporters on Patreon for what assistance they provide. If the lights do go out, their patronage will at least get me back online sooner. It's still a dream to be able to create content full time. I would seriously love nothing more than to inform and entertain and be able to pay the bills while doing so, but that dream is still a very a long way off. In the meantime, there are more ships to review. Cossack, Massachusetts and Abruzzi look to be the front runners of the new premiums, with Graf Zeppelin getting finalized soon too. Expect the next full review in two to three weeks time. Thank you all for reading. ♥ My current ten favourite premium ships. Top Row: Fujin, Atlanta, De Grasse, Prinz Eugen, Atago. Bottom Row: Scharnhorst, Nelson, Harekaze, König Albert, Warspite. Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.
  2. This ship is unbelievably broken. Deep-deep water torpedoes that can only damage battleships and carriers, but are obscenely powerful 20km bringers of the apocalypse against targets they can actually hit. This thing deletes BBs from 15km away, hell even beyond its render range, but its the worst ship in the game against everything else. A ship that is only useful against 1 class is not useful at all, and it encourages even more passive play from BBs and "flanking" DDs, to the detriment of fun, balanced gameplay that emphasizes teamwork. As Notser says in his first impressions video, think of if WG designed a tank destroyer in WoT that could only damage heavies, but would instantly delete them from max range without any counterplay. Its absurd. This idea is just horrible, putrid, disgusting. Who in their right mind would think this ship is a good idea? Oh, I know, LWM does. Well sorry Mouse, but your just dead wrong on this one. This proposed ship will break the game even more than it already is. And you know the real reason for this? It's that WG is too shameless to ever admit they overnerfed IJN torpedo detection, and to try to compensate they release this broken turdpile, that takes the whole rock-paper-scissors balance idea to the ultimate, horrid extreme. Instead of admitting that they were wrong and fixing IJN DDs, they double-down and release more broken premiums like this one. This is low, even for WG. Do the devs even play their own game at this point? Please WG, please don't do this. This goes against basic common sense, and is another blatant attempt to sell a broken ship based on game ruining "gimmicks", just like the Belfast. And still don't believe me? You can listen to Flamu and Notser, whose videos are down below, and hear from 2 credible sources that this ship is absolute cancer. I await the sea of down votes with not a sliver of regret.
  3. The following is a PREVIEW of some of the upcoming Premiums which Wargaming very kindly provided me. The statistics discussed here are still being evaluated by Wargaming's developers and do not necessarily represent how the ship will appear when released. Wow, it's been a bit of a drought for premium ship reviews. It's not that I haven't been busy -- I just don't know exactly when the next full review will be published. This all hinges on when Wargaming decides to lift the content embargo. I'm done writing my T-61 review. Gascogne is well underway and so too is my write up on Massachusetts. There's a whole list of premiums still stuck in limbo and I have no idea when any of them are coming out. It's not like new ships aren't being added all of the time, either. There's new ships coming with more on the way. Here's a quick look at four that are on my plate right now. GARBAGE- The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes. Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal. Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task. OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. As a Canadian desperately waiting upon HMCS Haida, I have a vested interest in how HMS Cossack's development proceeds. This British Tribal-class destroyer has had a lot of teething problems, most notably caused by her single torpedo launcher and the limited firing arc of her gun turrets. Wargaming is handling this ship well, in my opinion, providing small improvements with every new build. Currently, she's a wonderful support ship. Between agility, stealth and her Hydroacoustic Search consumable, she plays well on the front lines. I treat her like a 4-gun destroyer and she doesn't disappoint me. It's only when I sit in smoke that I'm ever able to bring all 6 guns to bear reliably and this is working out. As comfortable is she is in terms of handling and spotting, she doesn't deal damage very well at all. I've made a few suggestions -- my favourite being to give her the equivalent of British cruiser AP shells for her 120mm while still retaining her HE shells too. This would make her feel like a specialized gunship and it would give her some teeth against larger vessels while still maintaining some flexibility against other destroyers. Oh boy, am I going to be glad to see the tail end of the review on Graf Zeppelin. My experience with Graf Zeppelin, particularly out-of-game, wasn't exactly pleasant. Still, she appears ready -- maybe even a little over tuned in regards to her striking power. However, the struggle with her fighters makes her feel closer to balanced; at least so long as you're not the ship she instantly deletes. Sung to the tune of Disney's "Gaston" from Beauty and the Beast. Like Cossack, Gascogne started off underpowered and has slowly (ever so slowly) crawled her way towards relevance. Her biggest flaw is that she's under-gunned. Still, the ship itself is very nice in almost all other categories. If you can look past her gunnery problems, she's a nice ship. Still, fewer ships have given me as much grey hair as this one and I haven't enjoyed my time with her at all. This one was a complete surprise. While some people have compared Asashio to Shimakaze, the more apt comparison, in my opinion, is to the pre-nerf Shiratsuyu. Good gravy, is this boat hella fun to play. She's going to be one of those ships that doesn't have a particularly high win rate, but good lord, the damage she does will be insane. I expect nerfs before release here. Conclusions I'm expecting to see Gascogne and Graf Zeppelin make it out of testing in their current builds. Asashio, in my opinion, could be released as is too, but I fear she'd do a little too well. Cossack, meanwhile, still needs some TLC -- particularly in regards to giving her some striking power. I don't want to see her with Torpedo Reload Booster, though that may seem like an obvious fix. Maybe Cossack (and Haida after her) will need to be down-tiered. I suppose we shall see. Thank you for reading. It's been a fun weekend for me so far. My computer tried to die on me again, which sent me into a wonderful panic. Thank you to everyone that offered advice over Discord. I am grateful to my patrons on Patreon for helping support these projects and keep my poor computer alive long enough to write the next review. If you enjoy my work, please consider sponsoring.
  4. The following is a PREVIEW of some of the upcoming French Battleships which Wargaming very kindly provided me. The statistics discussed here are still being evaluated by Wargaming's developers and do not necessarily represent how the ship will appear when released. I was given access to the French Battleships a couple of days ago and played a handful of games on each. I took a moment to jot down my initial impressions and then cross-referenced them with port stats. Don't let the evaluations here fool you -- as the battleship meta becomes more and more fleshed out with offerings from different nations (and a glut of premiums besides), it's harder and harder for a ship to really stand out above the rest. Some of these ships were a lot of fun. A couple were awful, but they were still relatively competitive and dodged a worse rating. GARBAGE- The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes. Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal. Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task. OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. This reminded me a lot of playing Kawachi more than Nassau. She's got range problems and isn't terribly inspiring. Definitely not a keeper. I liked this ship a lot. She's a solid ship -- not one you'll feel the need to free-xp past at all. Her ten 305mm gun broadsides can't compete with Orion's monster 343mm, or the twelve 305mm off of Wyoming, Arkansas or Imperator Nikolai I, but she can hold her own. This is definitely a tier where the competition for "Gudbote" is fierce. It's no secret that I loooove ♥ World War One era Dreadnoughts. The ships look amazing and she plays alright too. She just didn't do anything to stand out from all of the other tier 5 dreadnoughts I've played. For looks alone, I am totally keeping this one. Lemme tell you a story of the first game I played in this. It was a tier 7 match. I found myself facing a Kaga and a Ryujo and our two CVs (and Independence and Hiryu) got outplayed in the first four minutes of the match. Things went quickly downhill from there. Normandie suffers from terrible firing arcs and one of the weirdest gun layouts you're ever going to see. Her AA power is also terrible. However, she's not without redeeming qualities. She's fast (28 knots), handles great (640m turning circle) and she's punching hard with twelve 340mm guns. This was enough to redeem her from a "GARBAGE" rating. Sixteen main battery guns of battleship caliber solve a lot of problems, lemme tell you. This thing is a beast and she looks as monstrous as she plays. This ship is fun to play. As she stands currently, a 30s reload on eight 380mm guns isn't terribly competitive at tier 8. The all-bow gun design is wonderful, though, and she's got some solid AA defense going for her too. Couple that with great speed and good handling, and she certainly could be upgraded to a "Gudbote" with just a tiny nudge to her rate of fire. A very special thank you goes out to Chobittsu for the fun artwork! Chobittsu put a lot of time into Alsace on the Public Test Server and I think it's safe to say it was love at first sight. Alsace is THE destination ship of the tech-tree line. The only thing holding her back is the smaller caliber of her main battery. Right, I know I'm going to eat some flak for this one, but hear me out. France is a versatile ship -- probably the best clean-up hitter you could want at tier 10. It's possible to get her reload time down to less than 20 seconds per volley after she's taken a bit of damage if you have the Adrenaline Rush skill on your commander. As good as she is, though, she's not going to topple Conqueror as a flame throwing nuisance, Yamato as queen of alpha strikes, Monatana for reliable damage to cruisers or Großer Kurfürst for raw tankiness. About the only place she really excels is AA power, which tops even Montana's. She's kinda relegated to the same role as Conqueror with 457mm guns. So she's a good ship, just not good enough in any one area to carve herself out a niche. Conclusions Overall, the French battleships are very comfortable and add some welcome variety to the battleship meta. Unlike the German and British battleships before them, this isn't a tech tree line that's going to shake things up. I personally feel we're going to see people gravitating to tiers 7, 8, 9 and 10 as the ships on offer here are fun and competitive, with Alsace being the overall winner when it comes to optimization. I'm personally hoping to see Richelieu get a little bit of love before release. She's not in a bad spot, but for such a famed ship, I do want to see her being one of the front runners at tier 8, especially given her unique design. Once again, I would like to thank Chobittsu for the paper-doll artwork. I had almost as much fun playing with them as I did the French battleships. If you enjoy my work, please consider supporting me by becoming my patron on Patreon.
  5. Premium Ship Review: Aigle

    The following is a review of Aigle, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of January 24th, 2018. The Baker's Dozen Quick Summary: A massive destroyer with ridiculously powerful guns and hard hitting torpedoes. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: Patch 0.6.14 to 0.7.01, November 30th, 2017 until January 24th, 2018. PROs Huge hit point pool for a tier VI destroyer at 17,000hp. Armed with five139mm guns -- the largest gun caliber that can still benefit from destroyer sized gun skills. Very long ranged for a destroyer with a 12.8km reach. Excellent fire chance per shell of 9% Enormous warhead charge on her torpedoes, dealing a massive 18,400 damage per hit. Engine Boost consumable lets her top 43 knots for two-minute stretches. Her horn sounds like a choo-choo train. CONs Horrible turret traverse. Low velocity shells with high ballistic arcs and long lead times at range. Appalling fire arcs on her guns and uninspiring ones on her torpedoes too. Large turning circle of 680m and sluggish handling for a destroyer. Punitive surface detection range and unable to stealth-fire torpedoes without Concealment Expert. Very reliant on commander skills to make her comfortable to play. Overview BAD - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. FAIR - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.GOOD - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.BEST - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Aigle is enormous, with powerful artillery, ridiculously hard hitting torpedoes, a huge slug of hit points and the ability to do in excess of 43 knots. She pays for it with horrible anti-aircraft firepower and a terrible concealment values. Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme This isn't a destroyer with which you can easily hide and attack enemies. Inexperienced players will find her awkward and impossible to conceal. She has the striking power to impress veterans, provided they can stomach the limitations of her weapon systems. Knowing how to use and abuse island cover is one of the key skills needed to excel in this ship. Options Consumables: Aigle's Engine Boost consumable is worth taking a closer look. Aigle's Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer with a 60 second / 40 second reset timer. Her Smoke Generator is also standard with a 20 second emission time. Each cloud lasts for 81 seconds and the consumable has either a 240 seconds or 160 second reset timer. Finally, her Engine Boost consumable increases the ship's speed by 20% instead of 8%. This lets Aigle reach theoretical maximums of 43.2 knots for up to two minutes with 180 second / 120 second reset timer. Premium Camouflage: Aigle has the tier VI Type 10 Camouflage. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard destroyer options. In your first slot, take Magazine Modification 1. You may be huge. You may have a ton of hit points, but you're still a destroyer with squishy magazines. Next up, take Propulsion Modification 1 to help keep your engines from being disabled. If you have access to it, take Engine Boost Modification 1 instead -- it plays up to Aigle's strengths. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal in your third slot, mostly because Aigle's AA guns are terrible. In your fourth slot, Propulsion Modification 2 to give you a little more acceleration from when you're hiding in smoke. Firepower Primary Battery: Five 139mm rifles in individual turrets in an A-B-P-X-Y superfiring configuration. P is rear facing. Torpedoes: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers Aigle has awesome weaponry. On paper, she's the knees of the bees. Unfortunately, this is largely undone by poor fire arcs, awful gun handling and the combined issues of range and concealment. How much these affect you largely depends on your tolerance for wonky fields of fire and how reliant you are upon being sneaky to succeed in a destroyer. Artillery Poor fire arcs on French destroyers is nothing new. Cyclone, released in July of 2017, gave us the first hint of the travesty that would be Aigle's fields of fire and I'm not terribly optimistic about future releases being exempt from similar issues. To fire all five of Aigle's guns, you need to present yourself at near a full broadside to your foe, with a 57º off your bow to fire forward and a 59º fire angle off your stern when firing backwards. This is largely untenable in the thick of fighting -- not unless you want to sail in a straight line and give your opponents an easy shot. It's more realistic to expect that Aigle will typically fire with three guns (ABX forward, PXY backwards) which undermines the fearsome damage-per-minute (DPM) numbers she should (in theory) be able to boast. Her sluggish turret traverse of 6.5º/s only further complicates matters, making Aigle's gunnery uncomfortable under any kind of manoeuvres. The last flaw to speak of in regards to Aigle's gun performance is her shell ballistics. Her guns are not the high-velocity rifles of the Soviet Navy which hurts her ability to bombard targets at range. They are comparable in shell flight time to Japanese destroyers at a distance, but with a lower initial muzzle velocity. This is exacerbated by Aigle's poor concealment characteristics where she's often forced to bombard targets from longer range. Nine and ten second lead times are not uncommon, and worse if you add on Advanced Fire Training. The plus side to her ballistics was that she could park behind some islands and lob shells at distant targets and hammer them over and over, undetected and safe from reprisals. This is just one extra challenge to unlock the awesome damage potential of these guns. You can undercut these traverse and fire angle flaws (though there's nothing to be done about floaty ballistics). Aigle's 139mm guns benefit fully from Basic Fire Training and Expert Marksman. The former will prop up your flagging DPM while the latter will increase her turret rotation speed to 9.0º per second -- more than enough to keep up with the manoeuvres you'll put Aigle through. You can also simply tank your way through return fire from enemy destroyers while keeping four or five guns trained on them, confident you can out trade their fire. Feel free to play with Advanced Fire Training if you'd like, but the ballistic arcs that far out are hilarious. You shouldn't worry too much about concealment issues, though -- Aigle is already one of the largest destroyers out there and hiding in open water just isn't something she does well. Seriously? Ew. In payment for the aforementioned flaws, you get a monster. Aigle feels like some Frankenstein's golem, combining facets from different destroyer gunnery and creating something entirely new. Her 139mm shells are huge. For a destroyer, they do great damage, penetrate well, start fires easily and all without sacrificing rate of fire. It's the little things which add up too. For example, Aigle's AP shells have the same longer fuse timer as American 127mm/38s found on their destroyers. This gives the shells more time to punch through the layers of armour that protect the machine spaces of some cruisers. This makes Aigle a greater threat to the citadels of cruisers than many of the other destroyers. You're more likely to see full damage citadel hits than just penetrations when you ambush an enemy cruiser at close range. Aigle's guns also boast similar penetration power to the high velocity 130mm of the Soviets, making her capable of besting up to 80mm at 11km and 100mm of steel at 8km -- values which echo the citadel protection around many tier VI and V light cruisers, incidentally. Her HE is also arguably the best at her tier. She inflicts high shell damage but she's also the best fire bug at her tier. With Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE), she's capable of damaging the extremities of all but the tier VIII battleships. As a destroyer, she only loses 1% fire chance for this skill, it still keeps her viable as a fire starter. Be advised that without IFHE, big as Aigle's guns are, they're not capable of damaging the extremities of tier VI and VII battleships and tier VIII heavy cruisers which will see a huge drop in your damage done. AP in blue, HE in violet. Aigle will often struggle to get all five guns on target. It's fair to say I have a love-hate relationship with Aigle's gunnery. Her damage potential is the siren's call which made me want to take her out time and again. For every game where I got into an ideal position and could rain Hell down on my enemies, there were games where I had to run and hide from enemy lolibotes and cruisers. This isn't a destroyer where knife fighting is comfortable -- even with Expert Marksman, your fire arcs are going to leave you way too vulnerable to broadsides of torpedoes if you want to trade DPM. If you can park and blaze away, you'll do well with Aigle. If you're asked to move and fight, these guns will trip you up every time. Torpedoes There's not much to say about Aigle's torpedoes. She doesn't get a lot of them, for one. This contrasts with the stupidly huge warheads grafted to them which hit harder than any other fish at her tier, including the Pan Asian and Japanese destroyers which typically have the monopoly on such things. Their chance for causing floods is second only to Fushun's at tier VI. There are two problems I have with Aigle's torpedoes and they compound. They're slow. They're very difficult to fire from concealment. Short of ambushes around islands or suicide-torp runs, landing torpedo hits with Aigle's torpedoes is difficult. Sure, they're hilarious as all get out when they smack something, but good luck setting that up. It's impossible to launch her torpedoes from stealth without a full concealment build on your ship and commander. What's more, her fire arcs aren't especially generous (they're not terrible, but they're not great), so whipping your ship around to dump fish against an enemy coming towards you can often give yourself away. And, once they've seen you, they're going to turn. The slow speed of Aigle's fish means even a minor course adjustment will see your fish swim past their target without biting. Overall, Aigle's torpedoes are a lot like her guns -- you want to use them but they'll fight you every step of the way. They're hilarious when they work though and that alone will keep you trying. Aigle's has narrow torpedo arcs directly off her sides, requiring you to expose her full broadside in order to launch. Summary: Hard hitting. Horrible fire arcs. Can you overlook the latter in order to enjoy the former? Evaluation: GOOD What it would have needed to be BEST: Aigle isn't a torpedo boat. She's a gunship, first and foremost with torpedoes as incidental backups. Thus her merits are largely weighed upon her gunnery. As good as Aigle's guns are, they aren't the best. Farragut's guns put out more damage and are better suited to knife fighting. Gaede's 150mm are better for punishing larger warships. Aigle is a generalist, and a good one, with guns that can make a destroyer balk with the first broadside and make a battleship player grind their teeth with frustration at the incessant 139mm bombs being dropped on their decks. And just wait until you read what T-61 can do... Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 36.0 knotsTurning Radius: 680mRudder Shift: 4.1s Maximum Turn Rate: 6.8º/s at 4/4 speed If there was one flaw upon which to set all of Aigle's manoeuvrability woes, it's her enormous turning circle which lets her down. It's not the worst we've ever seen among destroyers (Ernst Gaede is worse within the same tier), but it holds her back. Combined with her modest top speed, this leads to a sluggish rate of turn for a destroyer and makes her more akin in handling to a nimble light cruiser than her fellow lolibotes. However, with the touch of a button you can alleviate Aigle's woes. Her Engine Boost consumable is phenomenal. Aigle launches from a 36 knot top speed to over 43 knots for two-minute intervals (three minutes with Engine Boost Modification 1). This also spikes her rate of turn from 6.8º per second up to 7.4º per second allowing her to come about more quickly too. With her boost, Aigle transforms from a dumpybutt to a rocketbutt -- untouchable within her own tier and competitive with everything she may encounter. The only down side to her Engine Boost consumable is those two minutes in between (premium) reset timers where you have to go back to being terrible Evaluation: FAIR What it would have needed to be GOOD: Aigle is a long way off from "GOOD" and only spared a "BAD" label because of her Engine Boost consumable. Aigle is so fast with her Speed Boost active, even my screenshots of her have speed lines. Rate of Turn There are several factors which affect how quickly a ship comes about. The most significant are the ship's forward momentum and the size of her turning radius. As a ship slows down, her turning radius changes, but not always for the better. To make things more complicated, different ships also preserve speed better in a turn. When it comes to changing your heading, keep up your speed. If you want a tighter turning circle with Aigle, slow down to 3/4s or 1/2 engine power -- you'll shave off 100m of her turning radius which can help you avoid islands. Just be aware you will not come about as quickly. Steering Gears Modification 2 reduces Aigle's rudder shift time from 4.1s down to 3.3s. However, this does not noticeably affect her turning values. This upgrade is a placebo and not a practical bonus. When attempting to measure the gains made, some of the results fell within the margin of error of my reaction time and were impossible to tell apart. 360º Rotation Rate (Ship Maximums): 1/4 speed (8.8 knots): 2.0º/s rotation, ~688m turning radius 1/2 speed (16.9 knots): 4.5º/s rotation, ~581m turning radius 3/4 speed (23.6 knots): 6.2º/s rotation, ~592m turning radius 4/4 speed (30.3 knots): 6.8º/s rotation, ~687m turning radius BOOSTED (34.9 knots): 7.4º/s rotation, ~732m turning radius 90º Rotation Rate (Stock): 1/4 speed: 1.9º/s rotation for 46.8s 1/2 speed: 4.3º/s rotation for 20.8s 3/4 speed: 5.8º/s rotation for 15.6s 4/4 speed: 6.3º/s rotation for 14.2s BOOSTED: 6.9º/s rotation for 13.0s 90º Rotation Rate (Steering Gears Modification 2) 1/4 speed: 2.0º/s rotation for 46.1s 1/2 speed: 4.4º/s rotation for 20.5s 3/4 speed: 5.9º/s rotation for 15.4s 4/4 speed: 6.4º/s rotation for 14.0s BOOSTED: 7.0º/s rotation for 12.8s Durability Hit Points: 17,000 Maximum Protection: 16mm Ah, destroyer durability. So straightforward. Aigle has the most hit-points at tier VI -- even more than Ernst Gaede's 16,500hp. This makes her the defacto toughest destroyer. But, don't get complacent. Glue on Survivability Expert to top yourself up to 19,1000hp to keep your primacy. Remember to guard your magazines with Magazine Modification 1 and/or a Juliet Charlie signal lest you find yourself unseated. You're still a destroyer after all. The glut of hit points on Aigle will serve you well, provided you can spend them wisely. Use them to clinch knife fights -- just make sure you dodge those fish. Evaluation: BEST What it would have needed to be GOOD: Destroyer durability is pretty straight forward until you start to see weird bits of armour-plate capable of causing ricochet at higher tiers. None of that's present here, so barring her spawning multiple magazines running the length of the ship, Aigle is safely the best of the bunch with the largest hit point pool. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 37mm / 13.2mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 3.0km / 1.2km AA DPS per Aura: 5 / 19 Aigle's anti-aircraft firepower is all kinds of terrible and there's not a lot you can do to improve the situation. Given her size and her large turning circle, enemy aircraft are particularly dangerous for this destroyer and they have every reason to glue themselves to you and keep you from sitting safely back and using your guns to your heart's content. Aigle is so large that aircraft can spot her without even slipping into her AA bubble. A CV could (in theory), keep her permanently lit without any risk to her own reserves whatsoever. Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: AA guns that were actually a threat to enemy aircraft. Vision Control Base Surface Detection Range: 7.74km Air Detection Range: 4.35km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.76km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 3.11km Main Battery Firing Range: 12.78km This isn't a destroyer you want to use to scout early on in a match. Aigle's surface detection range is enormous -- the worst at her tier. While she doesn't also have the worst surface detection range for a destroyer within her matchmaking spread, but she's close. There are all of two (2) destroyers that she will normally meet that she can out-spot: Mahan and Kiev. That's it. Your only hope otherwise is to run into players that are not running full concealment builds on their destroyers. You're going to be spotted first -- it's best to accept that early and change your play style to reflect it. Contesting cap circles early on in a match is probably not a good idea; not unless you know what you're facing and that they're unsupported.. Aigle does not knife fight with enemy destroyers well -- between her clumsy handling, bad gun fire angles and slow turret traverse, getting in close is an unnecessary risk. Pushing early means you're going to hemorrhage that hit point advantage of yours without gain. Save them for when you isolate an enemy destroyer later in a match and can out trade her. The biggest casualty to Aigle's poor concealment is the use of her torpedoes. She can't fire them from stealth without a commander using Concealment Expert and even then, your margin of error is a mere 240m. You're really just limited to ambush scenarios or firing them at distracted enemies. It's possible (and not necessarily a bad idea) to dispense with using Concealment Expert altogether and play Aigle like a light cruiser with added speed flexibility and immunity to citadel hits. Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: A good start would be getting that glaringly obvious red X13 off the side of the hull. Contesting cap circles early on in a match isn't what Aigle is designed for. Countdown to Blastoff: X Minus 13 You're going to want a dedicated French destroyer commander for Aigle. I tried playing with my French Light cruiser commander during play tesitng and quickly grew to regret it. Start with Priority Target for your first skill. If you're omniscient (or just reckless), you can take Preventative Maintenance instead. You're a destroyer, so Last Stand is a must -- especially if you took Engine Boost Modification 1. Follow this up with Survivability Expert to boost up your HP even further. And finally, allow yourself to stay hidden with Concealment Expert. For your next nine points, sink them into the following: Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, Basic Fire Training and Expert Marksman. This will give you the punch you need to directly damage battleships, the extra rate of fire to spike your DPM and improved gun handling to help mitigate her terrible fire arcs when you do have to fight another destroyer. Alternative builds are possible, especially where you drop any pretense of trying to hide this ship and don't take Concealment Expert. The four points could be freed up for skills like Demolition Expert, Adrenaline Rush or Superintendent. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: Aigle: Big guns. Big fish. Big butt. Most premium ships have a paywall. Some premium ships have a skill wall. Aigle has a patience wall. Without the right commander skills, this is a terrible ship. Aigle looks so much better than she is This is one of those ships that if you only saw her statistics, you could be forgiven for getting really excited. Playing her is much more mixed. Sure, she can do a lot of damage when everything works right but it's a lot of work. It's safe to say that I didn't enjoy Aigle overmuch, even if I recognize how potentially powerful she could be for someone who could get over the frustrations of her weapon handling. Aigle is a good ship hamstrung by poor fire arcs. She's not a traditional destroyer. She shares more in common with some of the late tier Soviet destroyers like Tashkent, Kiev and Khabarovsk but without the stupendous ballistics that makes long-range gunnery on said ships so comfortable. Still, Aigle is advantageous with the right setup. Having that commander build is key. I found she played best when you could park her behind a low island and hammer cruisers and battleships over and over and over again with her shellfire while they dueled with my team mates. The sting of Aigle's fish guaranteed that pushing around the islands was a bad choice for my enemies. This only worked when CVs left me alone, but that's a common lament for most destroyers. The catch is, I had to know where on each map I could abuse this and not all of them were accommodating. This is a support gunship -- a baby cruiser, as it were. Play her with these expectations and you should do alright. The lack of concealment doesn't damn Aigle, nor does awkward gun handling (though the latter is a close thing). However, the two together does sour me. I am a big advocate for concealment dominating games. When concealment isn't available, then a ship must out fight or outrun from threats. Aigle struggles to do the former without the right build (get those 19,100hp and bump up your rate of fire!). And the latter? Well, Aigle's Engine Boost is all kinds of phenomenal. If it feels like I'm holding back on singing Aigle's praises, it's because I am. I hate feeling like I'm fighting with the ship to make it perform and bad fire arcs really soured me to her. It didn't help that I was playing with my French Cruiser commander through much of the early play-test and I had a less than ideal build going, but that's on me. I was so twisted against Aigle, I nearly slapped her with a bad review because of the negative bias I was feeling. It took putting a 19pt commander on her with the right build and just sitting down and weighing all the paper data that I had to finally cement in my mind that Aigle was a better ship than I was initially giving credit. I still didn't enjoy her, per se, but that didn't prevent her from being a good ship. She's well-balanced. She has her flaws (flaws that rub me the wrong way especially) but she's not some overpowered monster, nor some gutterfluff piece of trash. At the end of the day, it was difficult to pin an Angry YouTuber label to her. What finally clinched it for me was defining the role that Aigle took. She was a support ship, that much was evident, and looking at the other destroyers in her tier, she had the most overlap with the German destroyer, Ernst Gaede. I had to ask myself, between the two ships, which was better? I kept reaching the conclusion that even with Aigle's advantages in speed and hit points, Gaede was better between them. When it came to hammering larger ships, Gaede did it better. When it came to using torpedoes, Gaede does it better. When it comes to supporting a cap circle, Gaede is simply more versatile with her Hydroacoustic Search consumable. Sorry, Aigle. You're good. You're damn good, even. You're just not the best at your given job. Made in German smug. Would I Recommend? On the whole, I say "non, merci" to Aigle. France isn't hurting for good premiums at the moment. Maybe Aigle will look a little more attractive when the French destroyer line is closer to finished. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Aigle will do just fine in Co-Op and Scenarios. Between her range, firepower, that huge chunk of hit points and her Engine Boost consumable, she's very versatile. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Not especially, no. At the same tier you could get De Grasse or, for a few bucks more, Dunkerque. They would serve you better as commander trainers with France having a cruiser and upcoming battleship line. De Grasse practically prints Arsonist medals. The necessity of an experience commander with a lot of skill points works against Aigle being a good trainer. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Wait for T-61. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. I'd give her a pass. Aigle didn't have a very auspicious career (she was sunk twice). However, that could be said of most of the more modern French designs in World of Warships. At least she was built in steel For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Very nope. I did not enjoy this ship. If you have more patience than I for horrible gun arcs and bad turret traverse, have at her. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. In Closing The Aigle has landed. Thank you to my patrons on Patreon for their support in January for helping get this review out. I actually managed to take some time for myself (gasp!) and enjoy the game over the last week. Much of this was spent playing Co-Op of all things, crunching through the High School Fleet event to grind out the flags and camouflages on offer. Musashi, Yamato and Harekaze got a lot of play time and I even poked out with HSF Graf Spee a couple of times to collect the boxes I needed. Meanwhile, I haven't really touched Roma at all since release. It's still early yet and I'm still in the middle of crunch time with content creation. When things get a little less hectic, maybe I'll have a better idea if any of these ships will become new favourites. Aigle's not likely to make the cut. As much fun as her choo-choo train horn is, I feel no inclination to add her to my roster. My current ten favourite premium ships. Top Row: Fujin, Atlanta, De Grasse, Prinz Eugen, Atago. Bottom Row: Scharnhorst, Nelson, Harekaze, König Albert, Warspite. Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews. Thanks go out to iChase, NoZoupForYou, the World of Warships Wiki staff and Pigeon_of_War for their assistance with research. Most of all, everyone's favourite box-bound kitty, Lert, gets a special thank you for being the first to volunteer whenever I need help. With every review, he's behind the scenes providing feedback, proofreading, monotonously twirling ships and assisting with screenshots. And last, and definitely not least, one final thank you to all of my patrons on Patreon who help make these insane research projects possible. If you enjoy my reviews, please consider offering your support. For the complete list of my reviews, please visit:
  6. Premium Ship Review: Musashi

    Battleship Musashi was provided to me by Wargaming. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are those of the release version of this ship and are current as of January 17th, 2018. Insert Kancolle boob-wrapping related joke here. Quick Summary: A Yamato-class battleship at tier IX. She has slightly less accuracy, greatly reduced secondaries and AA power. Cost: 750,000 free experience + 1 credit. Patch & Date Written: through -- January 12th through 17th, 2018. PROs At 97,300hp, she has the largest hit point pool of any of the tier IX battleships. Ridiculously thick armour in places with a 410mm belt, 560mm barbettes and 650mm turret faces. Beyond her extremities, her deck armour is a minimum of 50mm, providing her an immunity to most cruiser caliber HE shells. Excellent anti-torpedo defense with a 55% damage reduction. Armed with nine 460mm guns with enormous alpha strike, DPM and overmatch characteristics. Greatly extended active periods and shortened reset timers on her float plane consumables. Players can choose which price they wish to set for this ship, from free to the equivalent of 35,000 doubloons. CONs Citadel is exposed above water and has bad armour geometries which leaves her vulnerable when improperly angled. Horrible gun handling with a painfully slow turret traverse of 2.5º/s. Weak secondary armament, despite their decent range. Worst AA defense of not only any of the tier IX battleships, but also worse than any of the tier VIII battleships. Low top speed, slow rate of turn and an enormous turning circle. Huge surface detection -- possibly visible from space. Her best camouflage is locked behind a 5,000 doubloon additional purchase. Doesn't have Yamato's gun sounds. What the ever loving seagull turds on toast, Wargaming!? Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Even with her exposed citadel, Musashi is dirt simple to play and very casual friendly. By simply pointing her bow towards the enemy, she'll tank tons of damage and deal back a ridiculous amount in return. This same simplicity is also a weakness. There's nothing really fancy a veteran player can do with Musashi -- not without risking blowing out her machine spaces or getting her magazines one shot by a Shimakaze torpedo. She's too big too hide, too slow and clumsy to extract herself from trouble and so vulnerable to air strike, she dare not leave the safety of the herd. It's knowing when to move out and when and where to drop anchor that separates the good from the bad. Her traits break down as follows: These short-hand evaluations are based upon comparing the ship directly with the other tier IX battleships and not across her matchmaking spread as a whole. To say she's a one trick pony wouldn't be far from accurate, but it's one Hell of a trick at tier IX. As you can see, her guns have a lot of heavy lifting to do. Her armour and hit points will go a long way towards buying time to let Musashi lay down the hurt, but only if you can keep her from taking citadel damage. Let's take a closer look at how good these guns are, why they're such a big deal and the controversy surrounding her durability and defense. Options Musashi has a trio of surprises. The first, is the option for her High School Fleet camouflage. The second and third are her non-standard Spotter Aircraft and Float Plane Fighter consumables which have increased active periods and greatly reduced reset timers. Consumables: You have the choice between two aircraft options. The rest of the consumables are fixed. Musashi's Damage Control Party is standard for an IJN Battleship. This has a 10 second active period and a 120 second reset timer for the standard version and 80s for the premium version. Her Repair Party consumable is also standard. This heals back up to 14% of her maximum health over 28 seconds. In her third slot, Musashi has the option of either form of catapult aircraft. The active period and reset timers for these consumables are not standard. Her Spotter Aircraft is active for 120 seconds (instead of 100s) and her reset timer is either three minutes or two minutes depending on if you take the standard or premium consumable (instead of six minutes / four minutes). Her Float Plane Fighter is active for 180 seconds (instead of 90s) and her reset timer is either 90 seconds or 60 seconds on the standard and premium versions respectively (instead of three minutes / two minutes). Musashi's fighter does 55dps with 1,420hp which is on the weak side for this consumable. Premium Camouflage: There are two available to this ship. She comes with her Type 10 camouflage. Y118 - Musashi may be purchased for 5,000 doubloons. Musashi's Type 10 camouflage provides100% bonus experience gains, a 20% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. For fans of the anime series High School Fleet, there's the Y118 - Musashi. On top of the bonuses described above, it also adds another +50% to Commander Experience. There are only minimal geometry changes with the High School Fleet camouflage, limited to the removal of the A-crossing rails on the stern. Module Upgrades: Six slots. Standard battleship upgrades. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. Follow this up with Damage Control Modification 1 in your second slot. If you access to the Special Upgrade, Spotter Aircraft Modification 1, this isn't a terrible option for Musashi given the increased duration time she already enjoys on this consumable. This would increase it's active time from 120 seconds to 156 seconds. Personally, I would prefer the fire chance reduction and increased torpedo damage reduction. In your third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. You do not have the secondary or anti-aircraft firepower worth upgrading. If you're especially salty about turret traverse, you may take Main Battery Modification 2 to drop her 180º rotation time from 72 seconds to 62.6 seconds. This will slow down your reload time from 30 seconds to 31.5 seconds. In your fourth slot, Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal. Taking Steering Gears Modification 2 makes sailing Musashi more comfortable but it does not greatly enhance her agility. In your fifth slot, you have the choice. You may take Concealment Modification 1 to try and reign in your horrible surface detection range (you may as well try bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon, but every little bit helps, I guess). Alternatively take Target Acquisition System Modification 1 for bonuses to spot torpedoes and increase your guaranteed spotting range from 2.0km to 3.0km for what good it will do you. Depending on the skills you are choosing for your commander, one of these two options will make more sense (see below!) And finally, in slot number six, grab Main Battery Modification 3 to reduce your reload time from 30 seconds down to 26.4 seconds. This will sadly increase your 180º turret rotation time from 72 seconds to 81.4 seconds. Enjoy. (If you took Main Battery Modification 2 in your third slot, your reload time will be 27.7 seconds and your turret rotation will be 70.7 seconds for 180º). Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 460mm rifles in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 155mm rifles in 4x3 turrets, Twelve dual-purpose 127mm rifles in 6x2 turrets. If your interest in Musashi had nothing to do with her history, then it's her guns that brought you here. The potential of the Yamato-class firepower being shoe-horned in at tier IX should give everyone fears of this ship being overpowered. Say what you will about the rest of the ship upon which they are mounted, Yamato's guns are arguably the best offensive strike from a gunship available in the game currently. Musashi nearly duplicates her sister ship's firepower but for two very important differences. One of these differences is manageable. The other is not. Let's begin with the latter. In Her Sister's Shadow Musashi's secondary firepower is terrible. She does not duplicate Yamato's secondary battery by any stretch. This is one of the most pronounced differences between the two sister ships. Unlike her anti-aircraft deficit, this is one area which matters. The differences are as follows: Half of Yamato's 127mm secondaries reload in 6.0 seconds. The other half reloads in 5.0 seconds. All of Musashi's 127mm secondaries reload in 7.5 seconds. Yamato has twenty-four 127mm secondaries. Musashi has twelve. Yamato has six 155mm secondaries. Musashi has twelve. Musashi doubles her 155mm complement but halves her 127mm armament. This is a significant drop in firepower even before you account for her increased reload time. The drop in her rate of fire feels unnecessary and punitive. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that Musashi's secondaries do not pose a threat, they are certainly not threatening. You cannot count on them to punish a destroyer or cruiser that gets themselves spotted within their range unless they are on perilously low health. Even then, I wouldn't count on it. Heavy secondary specializations on this ship struggle to earn their keep. Musashi doesn't have the best main battery guns in the game, but she's pretty damn close. The honour goes to her sister and the one small improvement that makes Yamato such a feared presence in World of Warships -- at least when her guns are loaded and trained in your direction. The only difference between Musashi's weapons and Yamato is her sigma value. Yamato has 2.1 sigma. Musashi has 1.8. That's it. That's the only difference. Their range, reload time, rotation rate, dispersion area, penetration -- it's all identical. You're going to hear a lot of noise about how this difference of 0.3 sigma makes all of the difference. They're not wrong in premise, but the emphasis is overblown. Musashi & Yamato's Real Difference All things being equal, Yamato is more likely to land massive, devastating hits than Musashi with her main battery guns. This isn't to say that Musashi isn't equally capable. She is. Statistically speaking, Yamato will simply do it more often. How much more often? I would give it no better odds than one additional time in six going by strict accuracy measures. So for every six devastating strikes you land with Musashi, Yamato will spit out seven. This is a marked difference -- do not underestimate it, but it's not a night and day difference some of Musashi's early detractors would have you believe. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Allow me to explain why these guns are such a big deal. Yamato's 2.1 sigma dispersion (orange) vs Musashi's 1.8 sigma (red). 180 shells fired at 15km, locked onto a Fuso. Both ships are using Aiming Systems Modification 1 against an a target without camouflage. Behind the Hype First and foremost, these guns have one telling flaw: Musashi's gun handling is abysmal. She begins with a 2.5º/s rotation rate and adding Main Battery Modifcation 3 will drop this down to 2.2º/s. And that's about it for weaknesses, truly. Objectively, these are excellent weapons. They are reasonably accurate with the tightest horizontal dispersion values, average sigma, ridiculous alpha strike, penetration and damage per minute properties. These guns hit hard, they hit often, they have tremendous range and you don't need to choose between improved accuracy or improved rate of fire as you might with an American battleship. Anything you hit will be hit hard. A single overpenetration to a destroyer is nearly the equivalent of being hit by two of Scharnhorst's 283mm shells. What's more impressive about them is that like Royal Navy battleships, Musashi can fire one ammunition type exclusively and rack up huge damage totals. Unlike Lion, however, Musashi can rely solely upon her AP shells, confident that she can almost always damage her targets catastrophically when she lands hits. Really, it's as simple as that. Musashi brings the biggest guns in the game to the table. She fires a monstrously huge shell that can damage just about anything it touches. These guns are good -- as you would expect them to be, and a lot of this has to do with their ability to ignore armour that everyone else can't penetrate. Musashi, like Yamato, has excellent fire angles - just a whisker shy of the coveted 300º on each turret. She can nearly guarantee to autobounce any incoming AP rounds while still being able to return fire with all nine gun barrels. Overblown and Overpowered Overmatch If you're unaware, overmatch is the ability for guns of a large enough caliber to outright ignore ricochet mechanics. The idea is simply that the shell is too darned big for a thin piece of steel to deflect them, even at very high angles. The larger the shell, the more steel it can ignore. For Musashi's 460mm guns, this value is 32mm which is a very important value in World of Warships as it forms the bulk of the extremities of high tiered battleships. Her and her sister Yamato are the only ships capable of penetrating the 32mm bows found at tier VIII+. As someone who has played a lot of mid-tier battleship games, I keep forgetting how much of a big deal overmatching is to high tiered battleship players. If you regularly play dreadnoughts from tiers III through VII, you know all about overmatch. Spend any time playing low tier premiums as trainers and you'll learn very quickly that tier III, IV and V battleships are utterly incapable of preventing their bows from being overmatched, even by 283mm battleship guns. You learn to angle, but not angle too much, in order to protect your ship. At tiers VI and VII, you suddenly gain the ability to prevent bow on penetrations from up to (and including) 356mm guns. This is where the laziness begins to set in. At tier VIII, you gain magic bow armour that prevents it from being penetrated by almost everything. Knowing how to angle just right becomes trivial. It always struck me as silly for players to tell me that high tiered game play demonstrated the pinnacle of skill when knowing about proper armour angling became mostly irrelevant thanks to everyone's immunity to each other's AP when they parked bow on. This sparked the outrage that was the Royal Navy HE-fest which runs contrary to the bow-on meta. Well, Musashi's here to shake things up further by making overmatch just a little more commonplace for higher tiered ships. Overmatching in tier VIII+ games is very powerful, if only because the static game play so often espoused in high tier matches makes it so. If someone wants to park themselves in front of your guns, you should absolutely oblige them and stove-in their stupid faces. Against tier VII ships, this is copious amounts of overkill but there are some ships like HMS Nelson that are made all the more vulnerable with the presence of Musashi's armament. Overall, Musashi's ability to overmatch is a very real strength, but moreover, it simply allows her to rely on AP shells and ignore the use of HE almost entirely. For World of Warships, this is very traditional and "proper" battleship game play, even if it as "game breaking" as Royal Navy HE spam. While she is not going to one-salvo delete ships as often as her sister ship, she's still going to do it a lot. So pick your poison. Death by burninating or death by sudden deletion by 460mm blasts of doom. Musashi tops the charts, as you might expect for the biggest guns in the game. Evaluation: BEST What it would have needed to be GUD: Here's where we argue which guns are the second best at tier IX. I'd have to give it to the 419mm found on HMS Lion over the 406mm found on Iowa and Missouri. While the American guns are slightly more accurate and harder hitting, Lion beats them out on penetration and can swap between her AP to her monstrous HE shells giving her so much more flexibility. In addition, Lion doesn't need to choose between accuracy and rate of fire. The ubiquity of Lion's armament almost beat out Musashi -- almost. Slow down Musashi's rate of fire or kick her sigma down lower than 1.8 and she might not be the champ. Durability Hit Points: 97,300hp Maximum Citadel Protection: 410mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: 55% Musashi should be the toughest damn ship at tier IX. She might have been, but she has a crippling flaw: Her citadel sits so high it's nearly in orbit -- even higher than Yamato's own. That Musashi still weighs in as one of the most resilient vessels at her tier when being compared to HMS Zombie-Flanders and the German Juggernaut speaks volumes to the list of her advantages. Excessive Hit Point Total Stupidly Thick Armour Torpedo Defense Citadel Immunity to AP Bombs Musashi has 97,300 hit points. Her closest competitor, one of the H-series amalgamations hiding as Friedrich der Große has 84,300 hit points. This advantage should be obvious, but there's some subtle nuances to it. Players should keep in mind that the maximum hit point total of a ship does absolutely nothing when it comes to mitigating percentage-based damage over time effects like flooding and fire. A single fire on Musashi does just as much relative damage as it would to Kawachi, for example. The flip side of this is that Musashi's large hit point total does provide her with a healthier Repair Party consumable. Each charge heals her back 13,622 hit points over 20 seconds. Why doesn't this make Musashi the BEST? Well, here's why: Musashi loses out on primacy to HMS Lion's zombie-regenerative powers. Interestingly, this only applies if HMS Lion buffs her Repair Party consumable (and she should). In a protracted fight, given enough time to make good use of her consumables, Lion will out last Musashi every single time. Against all other opponents and Lion players that don't know any better, Musashi has the hands down advantage. Unless they burn her to death. Musashi has stupidly thick armour. Most of it is effective, even, which is somewhat of a miracle. Her belt armour is 410mm thick, which doesn't sound like that much until you apply a little trigonometry. At a 45º angle and with the reverse sloping of her belt, Musashi can boast in excess of 600mm of effective plating across her machine spaces. This provides relative immunity to even battleship caliber guns at 15km. So even when not perfectly angled, Musashi's rather well protected. In bow-tanking situations, her turrets protect her from overpenetrations to her superstructure by playing goal-keep with their 650mm turret faces and 560mm barbettes. Overall, Musashi's armour turns away a lot of AP penetrations and AP over penetrations into zero-damage shatters and ricochets. Why doesn't this make Musashi the BEST? Unfortunately, this protection partially undone by her citadel placement and shape. That 410mm armour is Musashi's citadel, so there's no backup behind this. What's more, this isn't the maximum height of her citadel either. There's a turtleback slope, steeply angled that's between 230mm and 340mm thick and with a ludicrious octagonal shape. Because of the angle, the turtleback is typically only vulnerable at very long range, but the vertical slope beneath it is not. This is only 350mm thick (with a 32mm bow on top of that), but given the penetration power of incoming shells at this tier, that's not going to stop anything if Musashi over-angles. Properly angled, Musashi can last for days. It's downright comical watching poor tier VII battleships trying to accost her with their tiny baby weapons. However, when she's facing 460mm caliber shells from another Musashi or Yamato or when an enemy gets her side, any pretense of being able to tank safely goes right out the window and she becomes dangerously vulnerable. I wasn't kidding when I said she had a high water citadel. The octagonal geometry makes Musashi especially vulnerable when she over angles her bow. Her opponents need simply best the 32mm armour there to get a shot into the flat 350mm citadel armour beneath. Musashi has amazing Torpedo Defense. When she takes hit against her torpedo bulges, Musashi outright ignores half the damage done. On top of this, she's incredibly resistant to flooding. Without question, she is the BEST when it comes to torpedo protection at tier IX ... at least when it comes to taking damage. I mean, arguably, it would be best if she could avoid it altogether. Heh, that's a funny joke... Musashi being agile enough to avoid things... Musashi's citadel is functionally immune to AP Bomb Hits. Lert and I spent a lot of time in the Training Room dumping AP bombs over and over and over and over again onto Musashi's decks, hoping to see some big numbers. Neither the American AP bombs nor the German AP bombs ever landed any telling hits. We never saw anything more than penetrating and over penetrating strikes. Math wise, you're looking at well over 30 or more bomb hits to sink Musashi using this ordnance type, which is patently ridiculous. Why doesn't this make Musashi the BEST? Immunity to AP bombs isn't anything new if you're not German. So that's Musashi's durability in a nutshell. Admittedly, it's a mutant, GMO nutshell, but it's a nutshell none the less. When everything goes right (and it will go right most of the time), she absorbs ridiculous amounts of punishment. This is all contingent on identifying where attacks will be coming from and keeping your bow pointed straight towards it. When fire, fish and Yamato-caliber guns appear, it's time to make yourself scarce, but that's a common flaw of all battleships, not just Musashi. Evaluation: GUD What it would have needed to be BEST: Lower her damn citadel. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 27.0 knotsTurning Radius: 900mRudder Shift: 18.7s Maximum Turn Rate: 3.5º/s Don't let the labels fool you: I wouldn't go so far as to call any of the tier IX battleships "good" where their agility was concerned. The Iowa-class sisters are fast but they turn like dumpy ol' butt. Lion has a decent bit of wiggle in her tush but her speed is lackluster and winning out on rudder shift means nothing as it's a garbage stat. It should say a lot that Musashi is the worst out of this sorry bunch. There's no contest here. Musashi wiggles as pleasantly as a syphilitic grandpa without pants. Her top speed of 27 knots is the root of all of her ills. She is not flexible. She cannot dictate engagement distances. Her sluggish top speed makes her middling turning radius into a torturous grind as she slowly wheels about. She takes longer to change her heading than the bricks of the American standard-type battleships at tiers VI and VII. Yet in spite of all of this, she's still fully capable of frustrating players by rotating faster than her turrets. There is nothing pleasant about how Musashi handles. Nothing. Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: Musashi could have had her turning speed artificially boosted in the same manner as Colorado or New Mexico. These battleships have their turning speed penalty slashed in half -- instead of losing 25% of their maximum speed, they only bleed 12.5%. Musashi would turn at 23.6 knots instead of 20.3 knots which would in turn accelerate her rate of rotation from 3.5º per second up to 4.05º per second -- an enormous change. This would make rotate as well as North Carolina or Monarch. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 25mm / 13mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.1km / 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 60.6 / 73.2 / 7 The graph on the left shows the raw AA DPS numbers of the tier IX battleships (and Yamato from tier X). The graph on the right applies a formula {AA DPS x ( Range - 1.0km )} to calculate the overall effectiveness of the ship's AA power. This weights longer ranged weapons as being much more valuable as planes will linger within their effect longer. None of the Japanese battleships shown have what could be described as "good" anti-aircraft firepower. Thus, while Musashi's AA firepower is terrible, it's not like she could have expected things to have been stellar. Musashi's anti-aircraft firepower would be an embarrassment at tier VII, never mind two tiers higher. Musashi is utterly incapable of seeing to her own air defense, regardless of what tier of aircraft are assailing her. A heavy investment into trying to salvage her anti-aircraft firepower can claw her out of the dregs and make her a thorny enough issue to shred a few tier VII planes, but don't kid yourself into thinking you can salvage Musashi's air defense. It will always be terrible. Her improved float plane fighter is probably her best anti-aircraft asset, though this won't prevent a determined CV from burying you. Only a desperate, ill timed and uncoordinated assault on Musashi will ever be thwarted by her float plane fighter. It would be a mistake to think that Musashi's lack of AA defense is a tremendous disadvantage, however. Aircraft carriers are not commonplace. Furthermore, Musashi isn't that bad -- at least in comparison to her tier X sister ship. With the wonderful exception of Kii, anti-aircraft defense has never been a strong point of the Japanese battleships. In fact, Yamato's anti-aircraft firepower would be disappointing at tier IX and only marginally better than Izumo's, so there's no great loss here. If on the off chance you do encounter a Midway intent on deleting you, it doesn't really matter that you're in Musashi. You could have been in Yamato, Lion or Friedrich der Große -- you would still get sunk. The only question is: How many planes would it have cost her when facing those other ships? Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: A miracle. Yeah. That's all you get. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 18.00km Air Detection Range: 15.99km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 13.51km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 19.27km Main Battery Firing Range: 26.5km Detection Consumables: Spotter Aircraft / Float Plane Fighter The only thing you're sneaking up on realistically are two IJN Battleships that should really be put out of their misery. Musashi's surface detection isn't terrible. It's worse than that. You should accept right from the word go that you've lost the surface detection war with Musashi. Short of tripping over an Izumo that's given up on hope, there's really not much in the game you'll ever find yourself being able to out spot. This doesn't mean you should give up on concealment entirely. As tough as Musashi is, there will be times when you'll want to avoid being shot at and rigging this behemoth up for her best impersonation of stealth can keep your ship in the game longer. The situations where this will be useful aren't going to be commonplace. However, with Musashi's anti-aircraft firepower and secondaries being absolutely terrible, you may have a glut of spare skill points to devote to Vision Control. But let's be honest: In an ideal game, Musashi's surface detection should be 26.5km as your guns will be unloading almost non-stop. It's really only when the Red team decides to focus upon you in a rude (and game winning) manner that you should look to see if silencing your weapons can help dig you out of the mess you've put yourself in. Musashi isn't fast, so any extraction plan is going to take some time -- time a better concealment build might afford you. This said, any invested skills and modules sunk into stealth for Musashi goes right out the window if there's an enemy aircraft carrier lurking about or a surviving destroyer. Hell, even a leftover float plane fighter from that cruiser you sunk earlier will spot you from at least 14.4km -- further than you can see it and there's almost nothing your pathetic AA can do about it even if it was directly overhead, you poor thing. The only bit of a good news for Musashi in this whole category is that her aircraft -- both her Float Plane Fighter and her Spotter Aircraft -- last longer than the versions found on other battleships. Of the two, her Float Plane Fighter is the real winner, with a three minute up time, which is fantastic for a battleship. This can help you peak around islands, spot torpedoes and generally help alleviate a feeling of being completely blind. While these planes won't survive long in the flak-heavy environment of high tier matches, their reset timers are also short, so it should be less likely that you're caught completely unawares. If you're not considering a full stealth build, then those four skill points could be much better spent between Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft and Vigilance. Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: Not that much, truly. A couple hundred meters off her surface or aerial detection range could have nudged her down there. The addition of some form of bonus spotting consumable like Missouri's radar might have also done it. As it is, the extended up time on her aircraft is already a good boon that had me debating which evaluation to give her in the first place. Mouse: I need a shorter term than "Vision Control" -- one word preferably so that it fits in the vertical summary pictures.Lert: Refrigerator.Mouse: Synonymous to it, smarty pants. Lert: Oh. Learning to Fight with Two Swords Musashi differs from her sister ship (and indeed, most other IJN battleships) in that she doesn't benefit nearly as much from AA / Secondary boosting skills. While it's always been of questionable merit to emphasize secondaries and AA power in most IJN battleships, with Musashi it's a loser move right from the word go. Here's the skill list I recommend: As ever, start with Priority Target. If you are apt at using the reflections of enemies in your sword blades, then you can take Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft instead. You've got a choice here. Adrenaline Rush is optimal -- it increases your rate of fire further, catapulting Musashi's DPM to beyond monstrous levels. However, for comfort and control, Expert Marksman is probably the better choice to accelerate your turret rotation from a crime against humanity to just a manslaughter charge. Next up, you want to start stacking skills to help with fires. Take Basics of Survivability. Follow that up with Fire Prevention. Your next nine points should be put into Superintendent and then doubling back to grab whichever tier 2 skill you skipped. You have four points left at this stage, which could be put into Concealment Expert (which admittedly, does help but it's not game changer) or a combination of skills like Vigilance and Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft / Preventative Maintenance from tier 1. Final Evaluation Missouri's biggest claim to fame is her credit earning coefficient which is, frankly, off the charts. Thanks to help from within the community, I collected pages upon pages upon pages of Missouri results screens to analyze her credit earning compared to Musashi's. While the sample size from the latter was admittedly smaller, being donated only by fellow CCs and Supertesters, it did give me a glimpse into the earning differences between them. Musashi earns approximately 75% of the credits Missouri earns. Musashi earns approximately 12.5% more than a tier VIII premium. Note I am speaking only of the base credits earned. This doesn't include expenses, premium camouflage or any other bonus. This number was very difficult to isolate and, if truth be told, I'm not sure I nailed it exactly. After analyzing a few hundred results screens from Tirpitz, Roma, Musashi and Missouri, my eyes are ready to fall out of my head. I did learn a few things -- namely that experience and credits are not directly linked, so credit gains differ from experience gains. It should be noted that both Kii and Roma with their Makoto Kobayashi camouflage will have higher credit earning totals than Musashi does. To best them you would need to equip a camouflage with an increased credit earning bonus like the Gamescom 2016. Musashi does earn bank -- never doubt it. She can't threaten Missouri for top spot, however. Musashi (red, long dispersion field) vs Missouri (green, squat dispersion field). Shells recorded with 25% opacity, allowing them to be stacked 4 times. 180 shells at 15km, locked onto a Fuso. Both ships are equipped with their dispersion reduction upgrades (7% Musashi, 11% Missouri). Fuso does not have camouflage. Mouse's Summary: Dirt simple game play. Point your nose at the enemy. Keep pulling the trigger. She's tough as nails until she's not. When one of Musashi's weaknesses (flanking, torpedoes, bombers) gets exploited, she folds quickly. She's closer to Yamato than most people give her credit. So many people dismissed Musashi out of hand: "A downtiered, stock-Yamato," they said, as if this was really something worth derision. The argument went that the free experience costs used to unlock Musashi should be better spent on Yamato instead. That's kind of a silly comparison to make, in my opinion. If you have anywhere close to that much free experience kicking around, you've long made up your mind about whether you want a Yamato or not and probably taken steps to acquire her. Having Musashi on offer isn't going to sudden make buying that Yamato you skipped all of this time worth while. But hey, if she suddenly looks attractive now that Musashi is out, more power to you. This is a very powerful premium battleship. Playing Musashi is all about buying time. She doesn't have Yamato's accuracy. It takes her a little longer to get up to speed -- to make those 460mm salvos really hurt. RNGesus may smile on you early on in a match every now and then, but it's best to bank on the need to stretch out those minutes as best you can to give you more bites of the apple -- to give you more time to drop those 14,800hp warheads on bow-tanking stupid heads and turn the course of battle. Finding a comfortable island shadow to lurk near, probing the enemy until they make a mistake -- that's Musashi's bread and butter. For most players, Musashi promotes static game play, I'm sorry to say. The combination of armour vulnerability, enormous surface detection and slow speed largely relegates Musashi's to such mind numbing simplicity, especially for inexperienced commanders. While she can push, while she can lead a charge and while she can pressure a cap circle, moving away from a safe anchorage undoes all of the benefits of her awesome armour scheme. So long as she has targets in front of her that need killing and she's able to put out effective fire, why risk moving? Frankly, it will win you games. If you do muster up the courage or reckless abandon to sally out in this monster, you're in for a treat so long as the threats to your flank are secured. Musashi is a phenomenal bully when top tier and she's no slouch at tier X either. Putting your ship up on the firing line and absorbing the wall of abuse can spare your team mates undue pressure. You're likely to survive what they can only dream of tanking themselves. There are inherent risks to doing this -- if you team doesn't push while you stick your neck out, no number of heroic damage absorption you demonstrate will turn a losing match into a winning one. You should be able to farm some nice damage before the loss, however, and who knows? The enemy might get reckless enough to drip feed their ships into your guns and turn their victory into a loss. This is why I enjoyed my time with Musashi so much. She's a ship that can really make a difference. Musashi reminded me a lot of my first year with World of Warships where I sank game after game after game into Warspite -- another ship with ridiculously powerful guns and horrible gun handling. I can think of no higher praise than that. There's just one problem... Musashi is overtuned. Musashi does too much damage and she's too tough to be a tier IX ship. The latter definitely helps the former -- whatever accuracy qualms 1.8 sigma may have given the ship design, having Yamato's full health pool a full tier lower gives her enough time to make those weapons sing. This is a ship that needs to be focused down and focused down hard when she's seen or you're going to lose ships quickly. While this ship will not last long when played by someone who doesn't know what they're doing, even in the hands of someone semi-competent, they're going to punch much higher than their weight class. Would I Recommend? 750,000 free experience is a heavy investment and it outright locks out new players. While I'm sure there are those of you out there who have legitimately horded this amount without spending a dime, for most players looking to acquire Musashi, they're going to be looking to use doubloons to convert experience on premiums and elited ships. Newer players have a lot of grinding to do before they can even do that. You're going to need 30,000 doubloons to afford this at the cost of approximately $110 USD or €100 to do this from a zero sum of free experience (and that's not including the extra 5,000 you'll need for her upgraded camouflage or the 300 for the port slot). The longer you spend grinding the experience, the less expensive you can make it. So set your own price. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Absolutely. Musashi's guns seem specifically designed for dealing with bow tanking bots. Her increased credit earning allows her to earn a tidy sum. With her standard premium camouflage equipped, you'll spend 36,000 per match in maintenance with ammunition sitting at 400 credits per shell fired. Just beware dumb bots throwing friendly torps at you. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Very yes. Do you like earning High Caliber and Dreadnought medals? Musashi prints High Caliber and Dreadnought medals. She's one of the best ships in the game for grinding credits -- currently only behind Missouri, Kii and Roma (and the latter two must have the Makoto Kobayashi camouflage). This gets even better with the High School Fleet camouflage for boosting commander experience gains. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. Musashi is very powerful at tier IX. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Very yes. Musashi has the triple incentive of: 1.) Being a free-experience vessel that anyone with a lot of time can acquire. 2.) A beautiful historical vessel with a tragic end. 3.) The option of collecting a fun camouflage for a series players may have enjoyed. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Very yes on toast. Subjecting a Pensacola-class cruiser to 460mm guns is a level of fun everyone should experience before the American cruiser line gets redone. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. In Closing Hey, I made it. This review, like Ashitaka and Makarov before it is being done at the last minute. I hope quality hasn't suffered overmuch. It's still adhering mostly to my vision of what I want these reviews to look like going forward. They will continue to evolve -- you'll note that the Angry YouTuber review was hiding at the end again. Hopefully my "Overpowered" evaluation doesn't take anyone by surprise. I'm confident that over time others will begin to see the horrifying potential of a Yamato-class battleship at tier IX, even without its 2.1 sigma, secondaries, or AA firepower. Thank you all for the feedback on my Roma review. I'm going to continue to try out new things going forward; we'll see what works and what doesn't. Please don't hesitate about reaching out to me to let me know what you like and what you would like to see improved. Hopefully for my next review, I'll have a little more time to experiment more. I really just had to push through this one to try and get it out for the ship's launch. I want to extend a special thank you to my Patrons on Patreon who have already pledged their support. I'm looking to do more with that shortly, including setting up an easier way for you all to contact me. Hopefully this review is indicative of the amount of time and energy that I put towards these projects -- even on short notice, I do my best not to let you guys down. This isn't done without cost, however, and your support really helps me make ends meet. If you enjoy my reviews and are not already a patron, please consider helping out so that I may continue covering ships as they're released. I honestly don't know what's next after Musashi. I think I'm going to have to poke Wargaming and see what's on the docket. Maybe I'll have time to revisit an older review.
  7. Premium Ship Review: Roma

    The following is a review of Roma, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. As far as I am aware, this is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of January 12th, 2018. However, things may change before release. GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes. Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal. Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task. OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. Quick Summary: A fast, sneaky battleship with excellent gun handling on its nine 381mm rifles. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: Patch to January 1st through 12th, 2018. PROs Has an extended belt which reaches halfway up the prow. Excellent gun handling with fast turret traverse. Phenomenal muzzle velocity and energy retention, giving her fast shell flight times over distance. Great AP penetration power over range. Good concealment with a 14.9km surface detection range which can be reduced down to 11.2km. CONs Citadel sits well above the waterline. Short ranged for a tier VIII battleship at 18.1km. Her guns misbehave, with poor dispersion values, overmatch problems and overpenetration after overpenetration. Awful HE performance with low alpha strike, poor fire chance and mediocre module damage. Anti-aircraft firepower is short ranged with only modest DPS. Large turning radius, mediocre ship rotation rate. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme The ease of her game play is facilitated by her excellent gun handling and good concealment values which will make her more forgiving to novice players. However, her raised citadel and gun accuracy will cause them problems. The combination of high concealment, speed and firepower will be of interest to Veterans and the power of these traits must not be overlooked. Roma's citadel and her smaller-caliber AP shells will hold her back from being a true monster, though. Roma is not a complicated battleship to play. She has no gimmicks to espouse. The summation of her various traits is as follows, with a more thorough breakdown found below in the larger sections. GARBAGE - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. MEH - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.GUD - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.BEST - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Roma is no up-scaled Giulio Cesare. Her guns are average and she has mediocre durability and agility. She has no gimmicks to speak of. The only thing she does well is hide and her AA power is hot garbage With all of these disparate traits, she probably doesn't look very appealing. So how the heck did I reach a "Gudbote" conclusion? Well, let's look into that... Options Like the Japanese premium battleships Kii and Ashitaka, Roma is receiving a special camouflage designed by Makoto Kobayashi. This is not just a skin, but a full on geometry change for the ship, including the infamous "beer can" where her rangefinders would be. It will likely be available through the larger bundle packages when you buy the ship through the online store. Consumables: Roma's Damage Control Party is standard for a non-American / Japanese battleship with a 15s active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer depending on which version you purchase. Her Repair Party is also standard, healing back 14% of her maximum health over 28s. Finally, her Spotter Aircraft is normal. You can swap this out for a Float Plane Fighter which provides 57 DPS and boasts 1,590hp. She has higher DPS than Japanese or American float plane fighters and more hit points than Japanese, American or British fighters. Premium Camouflage: There are two available: The default, Standard Type 10 camouflage provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. The Makoto Kobayashi - Roma camouflage provides 100% bonus experience gains, -50% to the post-battle service costs, +20% bonus credit earning, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. When I first saw this alternative camouflage scheme, I thought it looked ridiculous. However it has really grown on me. The amount of small detail is spectacular. Plus, it looks like Roma is wearing a hat. I like it when not-people things wear hats. Ergo, I like this camo. Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard battleship options. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control Modification 1. In your third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. It's not worth trying to upgrade her AA Guns or Secondaries. Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal for her fourth slot. You may be tempted to take Steering Gears Modification 2 but this will not significantly improve her agility . Finally, take Concealment Modification 1 in your final slot. This will reduce her surface detection down to 13.04km with camouflage before Commander Skills or 11.22km with camouflage and Concealment Expert Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 381mm rifles in three turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm rifles in four turrets, Twelve dual-purpose 90mm rifles in single turrets. Roma's main battery guns will deceive you. You're going to imagine them as being far more effective than they truly are. The deceptive veil she'll cast over your eyes has three layers; namely gun handling, shell flight time and penetration. They will cloud your vision and make you less aware of two flaws -- one minor but one pronounced -- the latter of which has the potential to greatly sour your enjoyment of this ship, no matter how comfortable her earlier lies may have felt. Beautiful Lie #1: Gun Handling The first beauty-mark you'll note is Roma's turret traverse rate and she may win you over with just this aspect. Her gun handling is simply gorgeous with her turrets rotating at 6º per second (a mere 30 seconds for 180º). This is 50% faster than the 4º per second rotation of ships like Kii, North Carolina and Monarch and a whole degree per second faster than Bismarck and Tirpitz. Thanks to this, laying her guns on target is a breeze and there's no chance of her aim slipping off target even while under heavy manoeuvres. In brawls, Roma can easily track enemies even on close approaches. Her forward fire angles are similarly wonderful. They almost hit the highly sought after (but so seldom realized) 30º-off-the-bow benchmark which defines truly excellent fire arcs. Her X-turret can engage enemies 31º off her forward centerline, allowing Roma to take very aggressive bow-on attack angles and necessitating only the slightest touches of a rudder to unload all nine guns. In short, Roma's gun handling is fun. You will never feel like you're fighting with this ship to bring your weapons to bear. Beautiful Lie #2: Shell Flight Time Roma has one of the fastest muzzle velocities of any tier VIII battleship, making gunnery a delight. What's more, her shells preserve this energy beautifully over distance which in turn leads to lower shell flight times. She can put a shell out to 10km in less than five seconds and one out to 15km in less then eight. This is something which Bismarck, Amagi, Monarch and North Carolina cannot boast. In the time it takes North Carolina to throw a shell out to 17km, Roma can bullseye a target at 20km. Her short lead times greatly cuts into the reaction time enemy ships have to evade your shells, even at range. Beautiful Lie #3: Penetration The high velocity of Roma's shells translates to great kinetic energy. It's the preservation of said energy over distance which makes Roma's penetration values so frightening. She doesn't have the same raw penetration power at point blank ranges of the Japanese 410mm shells. However, at ranges greater than 10km, Roma takes primacy, outstripping every other battleship with her energy retention. She has comparable and better penetration at 20km than Bismarck and Monarch (respectively) have at 15km. Roma is thus a threat at all ranges, capable of stacking damage even against thick hided battleships within reach of her weapons. These three traits will deceive you into thinking she's well set up to land damaging hits against enemy vessels. Her guns can snap onto a target quickly. Her muzzle velocity makes leading said targets easy, allowing you to catch targets before they're able to dodge or angle. Her penetration power all but guarantees that any hits you land will be damaging ones. That's all well and fine in theory, but in practice, problems arise. Roma boasts good fire arcs forward thanks to the excellent sweep of her X-turret. Her rearward arcs are terrible, forcing you to expose far too much of your broadside. Anytime you fire to your rear, you risk taking catastrophic damage. Harsh Truths No one can take away the awesomeness that is Roma's turret traverse rate and shell flight time. Let me be clear: few battleships have as smooth and comfortable a rotation and short lead times of their main battery as this Italian beauty. However, not everything about her guns lends to good performance. Roma's fire angles are the first let down. It's true, her forward fire angles are wonderful. However, rearward, it's a completely different story. Firing from A or B turret while on the retreat will get you sunk in a hurry. This isn't a problem unique to Roma, but few battleships can be punished as readily as Roma when they over angle due to her high water citadel (more on that later). I've found it preferable to use (and abuse) Roma's concealment if forced to retreat. At close range, her high muzzle velocity can also be a detriment. With the standard 0.033s fuse timer, Roma's shells risk blowing clean through more lightly armoured cruisers, especially at short ranges. To test this, I used a Reference-Omaha™ and found that Roma must be at least 13.3km out in order to land citadel hits on a target showing her flat broadside, provided the shells didn't strike water first. North Carolina can manage the same at 5.0km, owing to her lower muzzle velocity and steeper angle of her shell fall. This is a problem that extends beyond Reference-Omaha™ and it can be infuriating to catch a cruiser broadside with perfectly aimed (and dispersing) AP shells only to watch them all over penetrate a Chapayev or Edinburgh. Being unable to overmatch the bows of select cruisers just exacerbates matters. This leads me to stare down the problems Roma has with AP penetration with her 381mm rifles. She cannot overmatch the 27mm extremities found on many heavy cruisers at tier VIII+. It's surprising how much of an issue this causes. A properly angled American or Japanese heavy cruiser can simply bounce her AP shells for days with the appropriate stance. When combined with the fuse problems mentioned above, Roma must juggle different optimal fire ranges when engaging different targets. To penetrate small, lightly armoured vessels like Nurnberg-class, French or Royal Navy light cruisers you need distance. You may have to wait until the target angles slightly before sending your shells off. For tier VIII+ heavy cruisers, you need to catch them broadside or risk seeing your volleys bounce ineffectively. Roma's dispersion with Aiming Systems Modification 1 installed. 180 shells fired, salvo by salvo at 15km, locked onto a stationary Fuso. One of Roma's more pronounced gunnery weaknesses is her poor dispersion. This isn't so much a trait of her 1.8 sigma, but more of her long vertical dispersion axis which you can see here causing tremendous levels of overshooting and undershooting the target by a whole ship length to either side. This is approximately 50% larger than comparable area of battleship Alabama and Massachusetts which cannot mount any dispersion modification. The Big Fail: Dispersion and HE. Roma's most telling flaw with her guns is her dispersion. The Italian battleships of the Regia Marina use German dispersion patterns. In this regard, Roma's gunnery is most akin to Bismarck with one extra gun barrel and 4 seconds longer on her reload. The high velocity of her guns causes many shots to land long or short. Couple this with the wider base horizontal dispersion than any other battleship group in the game, and Roma's German dispersion leads to a lot of wonky shell groupings. It's not like Roma can simply reach for HE and solve her penetration issues either. Roma's HE shells deal a low amount of damage at 5,100 maximum per shell. That's 1,683 per penetrating hit and 852 damage per saturated penetrating hit. These values do not compare well to the 1,200 damage done by one of Roma's over penetrating AP shells. Her fire chance is abysmal at a mere 24%. She doesn't even have an especially large module-damage radius. For all this lackluster performance, she doesn't even get to enjoy the German bonus HE penetration. You largely want to avoid having to resort to these shells unless circumstance deem it necessary. Relying on Roma's HE shells too often will see her damage potential plummet. In summary Roma's gunnery is inconsistent -- more so than many other battleships. While it is easy to bring her guns on target with her fast traverse and anticipate their manoeuvres with her high muzzle velocity, Roma is unreliable at landing solid, damaging hits. This is very frustrating for a ship where the gunnery otherwise feels very comfortable. Her dispersion forces you suffer the whims of RNG. Even when you line up the perfect shot, over penetrations and ricochets will abound and her HE shells are downright anemic. Roma has two secondary gun types and neither is effective. They lack range, with a 5.0km base reach. In addition, one mount does not fire fast enough and the other is too small in caliber. The most dramatic of the pair are her 152mm rifles, mounted in triple gun turrets, two per side flanking B and X turret respectively. They are incredibly slow firing with a horrendous 12.0 second reload and they use AP ammunition. The best thing that could be said about this particular mount is that the muzzle blast is enormous and your opponents may mistake it for you firing your main battery guns in a brawl and expose their sides, thinking themselves safe to fire back. Roma's 90mm guns fire much more quickly with a 4.0s reload. Though they fire HE, their fire chance isn't particularly good. What's more, their small gun caliber makes them ineffective at dealing direct damage enemy ships. Even most destroyers in her matchmaking spread can boast enough armour to foil the penetration value of her HE shells. Short of peppering superstructures, these guns aren't going to do much in the way of direct damage themselves. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will increase her penetration enough to allow her to directly damage destroyers and some light cruisers with these guns, but that's a heavy investment for questionable gains. In general, it is not worth sinking upgrades, consumables or skills into Roma's secondaries. Conclusions It's hard to call any of Roma's weapon systems "good". Roma's 381mm guns do not enjoy the rate of fire bonus found on Monarch, Tirpitz and Bismarck. Maybe if she had that phenomenal rate of fire or some accuracy tweak, I could shower them with praise with good conscience. However, with a piss-poor HE shell and forgettable secondaries, Roma is reliant upon her main battery AP shells to carry the day. Fortunately, they're sufficient to the task. And maybe that's the best way to define Roma's AP gunnery: It's comfortable and it's sufficient. She won't win any prizes but she'll hold her own. Summary: Roma's gunnery feels so comfortable. Her gunnery performance is spotty. They seem to do really well against battleships (up until they angle) but against cruisers, it's a lot more inconsistent depending on angle, ship type and range. Her secondaries aren't worth specializing into. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Roma's dispersion can be very unkind. A buff to her sigma value would alleviate this. An alternative solution would be shaving a second or two off her reload time. With so many misunderstandings about the reload time of the Littorio-class, I suppose we should be glad that Wargaming kept it to a mere 30 seconds. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 30.0 knotsTurning Radius: 810mRudder Shift: 15.6s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.2º/s Tier 8 Battleship speed, turning radius and rate of turn. Roma doesn't excel in any one area nor does she have any glaring weaknesses. Roma is on the good-side of average for manoevrability for a tier VIII battleship. Her top speed is okay but there are faster ships. Her rate of turn is alright, but she's not exactly agile like the South Dakota-class sisters. Her turning circle isn't terrible, though its certainly not great. Overall, her handling is best compared to Bismarck -- a ship that isn't lacking overall in comparable agility but not a ship anyone would dare say has "good" manoeuvrability. The reason Roma feels so agile is probably due to her gun traverse. At 6º per second, it's rare that you ever need to use your rudder to accelerate bringing your guns to bear onto a new target. It's impossible for this ship to out turn her turrets, so there's little strain on her handling to keep her weapons singing. The best trait about her here is her top speed. 30 knots, while unremarkable at high tiers, is the benchmark I want to see. Anything less is an obvious flaw. Roma has the flexibility to go where she's needed and she's fast enough to make pursuit and escape possible when required. This also allows her to make better use of her concealment to better position herself. Most important of all, Roma's manoeuvrability is sufficient to protect her vulnerable citadel while still maintaining a steady rate of fire with all nine of her guns. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Roma already sits on the cusp of being 'GUD', she would just need a little help. An extra knot of speed, getting her turning radius below 800m or increasing her rotation rate by another two tenths of a degree per second would each tip her over the edge to something quite remarkable. Fortunately, you can pull this off yourself with the use of a Sierra Mike signal. Rate of Turn There are several factors which affect how quickly a ship comes about. The most significant are the ship's forward momentum and the size of her turning radius. As a ship slows down, their turning radius changes, but not always for the better. To make things more complicated, different ships also preserve speed better in a turn. When it comes to changing your heading, maintain speed whenever possible. If you want a tighter turning circle, slow down to 3/4 engine power -- but be aware that your ship will not manoeuvre as quickly. Steering Gears Modification 2 reduces Roma's rudder shift time from 15.6s down to 12.5s. However, this does not appreciably affect her turning values. This upgrade can be seen as more of a placebo than a practical bonus. When attempting to measure the gains made, some of the results fell within the margin of error of my own reaction time -- meaning that a good night's sleep or a cup of tea had more effect on the timed rate of turn than whether or not Roma had this module installed. With torpedo and shell reaction times often being less than 8 to 10 seconds, having this module installed will not help you. You would be better served by having a cup of coffee. Thus, I strongly recommend installing Damage Control Modification 2 in your fourth upgrade slot instead. None of the values found on Roma were far from what was expected. Her measured turning radius was slightly higher than that found in port and she bled the usual 25% maximum speed with her rudder hard over. 360º Rotation Rate (Ship Maximums): 1/4 speed (7.3 knots): 1.0º/s rotation, ~1099m turning radius 1/2 speed (13.8 knots): 2.5º/s rotation, ~851m turning radius 3/4 speed (18.6 knots): 3.6º/s rotation, ~800m turning radius 4/4 speed (22.4 knots): 4.2º/s rotation, ~829m turning radius 90º Rotation Rate (Stock): 1/4 speed: 1.0º/s rotation for 90.7s 1/2 speed: 2.3º/s rotation for 39.0s 3/4 speed: 3.2º/s rotation for 28.5s 4/4 speed: 3.6/s rotation for 25.0s 90º Rotation Rate (Steering Gears Modification 2) 1/4 speed: 1.0/s rotation for 90.6s 1/2 speed: 2.4º/s rotation for 38.4s 3/4 speed: 3.3º/s rotation for 27.4s 4/4 speed: 3.7º/s rotation for 24.2s Roma sits upon the cusp of greatness where her agility is concerned, but she falls short. You're not likely to notice though -- you'll be too enamored with how well her turrets traverse. DurabilityHit Points: 65,400 Maximum Citadel Protection: 375mm + 40mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: 38% Let's start with the bad news: Roma wears a really short skirt. While I appreciate that she wants to show off her lines, her citadel is left exposed over the water's surface by a not-insignificant margin. The exact height of her citadel is easy to see: it's directly behind her 375mm armoured belt. Veterans of the American battleship line that played the ships before the citadels were lowered in early 2017 will remember well what this entails. Roma can and will suddenly explode in a horrendous space-kablooie when she's caught broadside. There's nothing you can do about it but [edited]. There's another piece of not-so-great news. Her A-Turret barbette also seems to be part of the citadel, comprising a rounded 210mm bulge to her transverse bulkhead. This gives shells that might have skipped over a flat surface another bite at the apple if they catch this rounded surface. It's just another little quibble to sour Roma's armour protection. Alright, with that out of the way, let's talk about the good stuff: Her main deck is 45mm thick. This is proof against 152mm HE spam. Hooray! She has a 130mm extended forward armoured belt. When she angles, can foil even 460mm shells. Rejoice! Her upper hull is 70mm thick. This is proof against HE from 420mm or smaller unless it's British BB or German BB & CA thrown. This will also provide you with some very comfortable bounces when you angle just right. Her torpedo damage reduction is pretty darned good, so to speak. At tier VIII, torpedo defenses are either amazaballs (Amagi, South Dakota sisters) or they suck moose balls (everyone else). Roma's in the good half of the dichotomy. Her deck armour profile is a bit of a mixed blessing when it comes to armour piercing bombs, however. In testing, American AP bombs just didn't seem to be able to stack damage quickly. Without heals, it took over 20 bomb hits to sink her from American planes. Graf Zeppelin's (admittedly still in testing) bombs weren't automatic world-enders, but she could reliably sink Roma with two squadrons. On the whole, if it weren't for Roma's citadel situation, she'd have a great armour profile. As it is, it's only okay. Roma face tanks like a boss, particularly at medium ranges (between 8km and 14km) but when things go wrong, she comes apart in a hurry. Roma's armour, including details of her citadel. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Lower her bloody citadel. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 90mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 114 / 128.4 / 54.4 The graph on the left shows the raw AA values per aura range of the AA mounts of tier 8 Battleships. The graph on the right applies a formula {AA DPS x ( Range - 1.0km )} to calculate the overall effectiveness of the ship's AA power. This weights longer ranged weapons as being much more valuable as planes will linger within their effect longer. Weapons with less than a 2km range are only really effective if the enemy aircraft carrier parks planes on top of you. If there's one good thing you could say about Roma's anti-aircraft firepower, it would be that it's at least better than that found on Tirpitz. Roma's AA rating sits squarely in between the German premium and Amagi, and this isn't a good place to be. Worse, it's not like Roma's anti-aircraft guns are a straight up improvement over the performance of the German premium -- she just has more of them. Roma's large caliber, 90mm guns are hands down inferior to the 105s that Tirpitz uses. They have 500m less range and they do less DPS over all, which makes the effective AA defense worse were it not for Roma's 37mm autocannons and Tirpitz's near lack of medium caliber guns. It takes a rather heavy investment to get Roma's anti-aircraft firepower anywhere near effective in terms of range, and it's downright impossible to make it effective in terms of damage done. With Advanced Fire Training and AA Guns Modification 2, you can increase the reach fo her 90mm guns from 4.0km up to 5.76km but they'll never have the punch to make anything but a stock tier VI aircraft carrier balk. Taking a Float Plane Fighter can add a very helpful disruption effect to an incoming wave which can save your ship, but it's so short lived and difficult to rely upon. Roma doesn't have the agility to easily dodge air dropped torpedoes, nor does she have the armour profile to spare her the nightmare of being one-shot by German AP dive bombers. Roma, when isolated from allies, is easy prey for an enemy aircraft carrier and she must be played with this weakness in mind. Evaluation: GARBAGE What it would have needed to be MEH: Roma really needs more range. The 4.0km reach of her large caliber, dual purpose guns does her no favours. Alternatively, it would take a huge DPS boost to make her AA power competitive which is a much more significant change. None of Roma's AA mounts are especially durable. Even her dual purpose AA guns can only boast 800hp with her 37mm and 20mm guns having only 200. A few HE hits will strip her of most of her AA power. Vision Control Base Surface Detection Range: 14.94km Air Detection Range: 13.35km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.22km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 13.68km Main Battery Firing Range: 18.12km Detection Consumables: Spotter Aircraft / Float Plane Fighter Short of the famous and historical HMS Monarch, Roma is the stealthiest battleship within her matchmaking spread. What's perhaps more frightening is that she's stealthier than almost half the cruisers she faces, even when they're rigged for full concealment. Tier VI and VII cruisers are especially vulnerable with 11 out of 24 ships unable to hide from Roma and another 7 unable to hide if they don't have a full concealment build. When top tier, especially against inexperienced commanders, Roma becomes truly a monster. Without spotting aircraft or a destroyer screen, she can move about the battlefield at will, confident she can outfight anything that detects her. Let me stress this: Without aircraft or destroyers, Roma is quite capable of being the stealthiest ship on the playing field. Unlike the famous and historical HMS Monarch, Roma has the speed to better exploit this concealment. And it's here, with this combination of speed and concealment where Roma becomes a truly frightening vessel. Novice players take note: these are traits that expert players exploit to win matches. The longer a match goes on, the more powerful this advantage of speed and stealth becomes. It gives Roma time to heal, to flank, to secure objectives or escape. She can dictate engagement distances, abuse cover and surprise enemies. This is the game changer for this ship. This is what glosses over all of her other mediocre ratings and propels her towards excellence. Now this all said, this is a very difficult advantage to exploit properly and it can be outright negated by aircraft (especially given Roma's poor AA rating) and destroyers. Proper use of her aircraft consumable (with the skills to support it) will help her control vision and make lurking around islands less dangerous. But, it's knowing when to keep her guns singing and when it's best to hold your fire that really defines Roma's use and abuse of her concealment. Evaluation: GUD What it would have needed to be BEST : Monarch has a smaller surface detection range and similar consumable options. The alternative to making her sneakier than Monarch would have been to provide her with some detection consumable like Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar which is bloody unlikely. I think we can all be happy that Roma's concealment is as amazing as it is. Nursing the Twins For Roma, a survivability build is best after grabbing your concealment skills. Start with Priority Target unless you've seen the oracle and you already know the future. Then you can go for skills like Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft instead for your first choice. Next up, we want Adrenaline Rush to increase her sluggish rate of fire. After that, you have your choice of Basics of Survivability or Superintendent depending on how much you hate fire damage. Finally, grab Concealment Expert to level up Roma to her final form. For your next 9pts, I strongly recommend Fire Prevention, whichever tier 3 skill you skipped and your choice of Expert Marksman (cause why not?), Jack of All Trades or High Alert. Now get out there and murder your brother. Tier for tier, Giulio Cesare is the better of the two Italian Battleships. However, the Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camouflage combined with Roma's higher tier will make her the better potential earner. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: Concealment and comfort define this ship. I stress that Roma's high water citadel will be a deal breaker for some. As cool as Roma's secondaries and AA batteries look, they're pretty darned useless. Roma's scorecard looks a little better than my first evaluation once you peel back the layers and take a closer look. Her great concealment might functionally be the best within her Matchmaking spread thanks to her speed. Similarly, her agility is also reasonably good, just not quite enough to make her remarkable. This synergy between speed, gun handling and concealment has all the hallmarks of a competitive ship. Her gunnery and durability are the let downs, though. Her weapons are inconsistent -- prone to bouts of greatness and then some frustrating droughts of non-performance until you figure out her penetration. Knowing what ships you can and cannot handle at which ranges mitigates some of this lack, but only just. Contrarily, her secondaries, like her AA guns are garbage no matter what you do.. Then there's that citadel of hers -- that fly in the ointment that will preclude her from ever being the darling of the competitive scene. In Randoms, with proper positioning, it's not really a big deal, but when it lets you down, it lets you down hard. Roma is so much fun to drive it's hard to dismiss her out of hand, even despite these setbacks. My own experiences in Roma were decidedly mixed. It took me a while to figure her out. Once I accepted I was throwing around what amounted to a squishy, nine-gun Bismarck with no secondaries, things got a little better. To say my performance in her was inconsistent would be an understatement. The number of losses I suffered during the latter half of play testing wasn't fun, however this was broken up by some ridiculously high performing games. Boiled down, Roma is a medium-range brawler. Her gun accuracy and armour profile both excel if she can hold this range -- just on the cusp of her detection radius, and hammer the enemy over and over and over again. Ideally you want to sneak to a vantage where your opponents can't help but give up their side to either you or their allies. If they choose to face you, tank them and do the best you can to hurt them back -- it's not going to be easy with those 381mm guns. If they choose to face your allies, tear them a new one until they smarten up and fall back. The final question is if this is a role that's asked for in the current meta. She's not a brawler like Bismarck or Tirpitz, a DPM juggernaut like Amagi, and she doesn't werf the flammen like the famous, historical battleship Monarch. Roma encroaches upon the flanking meta espoused by the American battleships. She's certainly faster than North Carolina or the South Dakota sisters. She's also more stealthy. However, she lacks the AA power to afford her autonomy when enemy aircraft carriers are in play. -- not that they're out there that often. It's still difficult to call just based on that. Things change when you look at her tiering. Top tier, she's an absolute monster. She would easily hold my pick for one of the best battleships for clubbing lower tiered vessels and this in of itself should say something. That comfort and control pays dividends and her armour maximizes in these encounters where shell penetration may not be enough to seriously threaten Roma's raised citadel. She uptiers alright against tier IX ships, but like all tier VIIIs, she really struggles in tier X matches. If I could guarantee she would never see tier X games, I could slap an "OVERPOWERED" label on her and be done with it, but no such luck. As it is, I'm inclined to say Roma has earned her laurels. Would I Recommend? Some caveats must be exercised here. The Italian Regia Marina is solely comprised of premium ships at the moment. Between the battleships Roma and Giulio Cesare there are also the light cruisers Duca d'Aosta and the upcoming Duca degli Abruzzi. If you had to choose one and only one, Giulio Cesare is still the front runner performance wise, even at tier V. Roma does not displace her. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? We have no tier VIII scenarios (yet), but Roma's a decent ship to take against bots. Her AP shells struggle a little against cruisers at the point blank ranges which so often result. Her running costs are 35,438 credits including the 10% discount provided by her camouflage (this drops to 19,688 credits with Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camo) while you can make around 100k on a decent win. Skip those premium consumables. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. She's a tier VIII premium, so economy wise, she'll do you just fine. The increased earnings will also make her a wonderful trainer. Note if you have the Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camouflage, her earning dividends just got that much better. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. I have to give her a firm pass here. Between her high water citadel, 381mm teething issues and poor AA power, she's not ideal. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. What are you, new? It's not only the first Littorio-class battleships it's Roma. Even as a port queen, she's gorgeous to look at. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Hells to the yeah. Roma doesn't always behave, but when she does... In Closing That about wraps it up for Roma -- arguably the most anticipated premium of 2017. Hey, stop looking at your calendar! She's here and she's not terrible; that's a win. I keep a list of premium ships that I enjoy playing; that I reach for whenever I just want to play World of Warships and unplug my brain from all of this analytical nonsense. These are ships that I play simply for the love of the game. I think it's high praise when a new premium ousts one of the old guard and muscles in on this list. Roma isn't there yet -- we're fighting, truth be told. She's got a long ways to go if she thinks she can earn her keep. I'm very happy with the balanced state of Roma. I'm very happy to have this review done. The next review coming up will be Musashi, the tier IX Japanese battleship that's causing all kinds of controversy. Roma and Musashi both came off of the content-embargo on the same date, but I had no warning about the latter. You can expect this next review in about a week's time with an undue level of snark laced throughout. A very special thank you to Lert for his continued editing efforts and to my patrons on Patreon. With as much time and energy I devote to these reviews, I cannot afford to do it alone anymore. Your continued support means the world to me and allows me to keep my head down and working hard with less worry. Thank you for reading and for all of your feedback, criticism and fun gifs too! My current ten favourite ships. Top Row: Fujin, Atlanta, De Grasse, Prinz Eugen, Atago. Bottom Row: Scharnhorst, Nelson, Harekaze, König Albert, Warspite. Will Roma or Musashi earn a spot? Tune in next week! iChase put together a wonderful little history piece for those who want more Roma in your Roma review!
  8. The original and best. Quick Summary: A Bismarck-class battleship that trades away Hydroacoustic Search and AA-power for deck mounted torpedoes. Cost: 12,500 doubloons Patch & Date Written: 0.6.4 to 0.6.12, April 19th, 2017 to October 27th, 2017 Closest in-Game Contemporary Bismarck, Tier 8 German Battleship Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique The differences between Bismarck and Tirpitz are distinct. While they share the same main and secondary gun battery performance, Tirpitz has access to two quad-torpedo launchers while Bismarck has Hydroacoustic Search. Bismarck has a tremendous advantage in AA power over her sister ship, while also enjoying marginal improvements in armour protection, speed, agility and aerial concealment. Finally, the position of two of their 105mm dual purpose secondaries differs slightly, with Tirpitz having better firing arcs. PROs: Excellent armour protection and nigh invulnerable to citadel hits from AP shells. Main battery has a fast, 26s reload and good gun handling characteristics with a traverse rate of 5º per second. High penetration HE shells, capable of besting 95mm of armour with a 34% fire chance per shell. Heavy secondary gun battery complement with excellent 7.5km base range and improved, 37mm penetration on her 150mm guns. Powerful torpedo armament, especially for a battleship. Fast at 30.5 knots. Awesome selection of premium camouflages for long-time veterans. CONs: Poor anti-torpedo defense. Inaccurate main battery guns with low DPM, poor HE shell damage and poor fire angles. 105mm secondaries cannot damage the hulls of tier VIII+ destroyers. Short 6km range on her torpedoes. Torpedo tubes are vulnerable and get disabled often. Weak AA power for a tier 8 Battleship and easily one-shot by AP Bomb armed carriers. Very large turning circle of 850m. Lacks Hydroacoustic Search found on high tier German Battleships It's been a long time since I last looked at Tirpitz. Heck, I've been working on this review for six months now. When patch 0.6.4 dropped and Tirpitz received a buff to its secondary gun range, I thought the timing was perfect to sit down and look at her again, especially as she seemed to be encroaching upon Bismarck's supremacy. Well, things got busy and the meta surrounding German Battleships took a huge shift. Enterprise's AP bombs were one such jolt. The Royal Navy Battleships shook things up again and it forced me to review what I had so far evaluated and elect to wait to see if things shifted further. Things appear stable now. The Hallowe'en 2017 event has introduced another (so awesome looking) camouflage pattern to Tirpitz, so I thought it best to get this one off my list while the getting was good. So here we go -- six months late but hopefully not a dollar short. My big concern is that the buffs from 0.6.4 have largely made Bismarck obsolete. Bismarck can boast a few advantages that she trades in exchange for Tirpitz's torpedoes -- the question is "did Wargaming go too far when they improved Tirpitz's secondaries?" Well, let's take a look. Lert will join me with his final thoughts on this venerable premium. The three camouflage patterns for Tirpitz. These have become available for players who have owned her for a long time and has greatly increased her value. The Tarnanstrich camouflage greatly increases the amount of free-experience Tirpitz can earn while Magnu-S provides a small (about 4,000) credit boost. Note that the Magnu-S Hallowe'en camouflage can only be seen if a player enables the filters in port. Options Tirpitz shows her age when it comes to her options. First, she does not have access to Hydroacoustic Search as other tier 8+ German Battleships do. Second, she has access to three different premium camouflages. Initially, she comes with the standard Type 10 camouflage. The second camouflage came grace of the Hunt the Graf Spee campaign over Christmas 2016 and into New Year's 2017. It has not been made available since. The third camouflage pattern became available Hallowe'en of 2017 and it's likely that this too will become a rare accessory. It remains to be seen if Wargaming will offer these options again in future events. Her consumables are standard, with her Damage Control Party having a 15s active period and a 120s/80s reset timer. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Spotter Aircraft or Float Plane Fighter Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard battleship options Premium Camouflage: There have been three Tirpitz camouflage types. When purchased, you receive the Tier 6+ Standard (Type 10). This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Veterans with Tirpitz may have access to Tarnanstrich - Tirpitz. This is the equivalent of the Type 11 camouflage found on Anshan. It provides 100% bonus free experience in addition to the Type 10 camouflage buffs. For Hallowe'en of 2017, the camouflage Magnu-S - Tirpitz became available. This provides the same bonuses as the Type 10 above but includes a 10% reduction to repair costs. (A special thanks to SoliDeoGloria for their help with this). These bonuses are identical to the premium camouflage you can purchase for Bismarck for 4,000 doubloons. Remember to equip as many premium consumables as you can readily afford. In order of priority these should be Damage Control Party, then Repair Party and finally her Spotter Aircraft or Float Plane Fighter. Of the two options provided, the Spotter Aircraft is (generally) more useful. This not only provides additional range (which is of limited use), but it also allows you to better triangulate the necessary range needed to bulls-eye ships hiding in smoke screens by homing in on the origin of their tracers. Her Float Plane Fighter isn't an awful choice, however, and with the right skill build, can be very useful in spotting approaching torpedoes and even detecting enemy destroyers. For upgrades, take the following: In your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is essential. Your torpedo tubes will get knocked out often and your guns are going to take a lot of abuse too. In your second slot, you have a choice. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. This increases the performance of your main battery, but it comes at a cost -- the maximum range and accuracy of your secondary gun systems. If you want to use a full secondary build, take Secondary Guns Modification 2. In your third slot, take Damage Control System Modification 1. In your fourth slot, you have a choice. Damage Control System Modification 2 is optimal. Fire damage is more prevalent than ever. This module will save you 1,871hp per fire that's allowed to burn itself out (2.7% of your HP). Alternatively, you can take Steering Gears Modification 2 to assist with agility, but on its own, it will not improve manoeuvrability much without help. And finally, in your final slot, take Concealment Modification 1. Versus Bismarck There are a few difference between the two sister ships. Bismarck gets access to the Hydroacoustic Search consumable. Veterans of Bismarck may also have access to up to four different permanent camouflage patterns, though their bonuses are all identical to the permanent camouflage Bismarck can purchase. Firepower Primary Battery: Eight 380m rifles in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 105mm rifles in 8x2 turrets, twelve 150mm rifles in 6x2 turrets. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers, one off each side behind the funnel. Torpedoes Tirpitz's torpedoes help make her the Best Brawling Battleship in World of Warships. This is a title she's held since her introduction in September of 2015 and she hasn't surrendered it to any contenders since. Tirpitz was the first battleship in World of Warships to be given a torpedo armament and it caused a lot of fuss back in the day. Since then, Mutsu, Kii and the Scharnhorst sisters have joined her, but this hasn't diminished her prestige. Tirpitz's torpedo armament is the heaviest among battleships. However, when the stats of her torpedoes are examined on paper, they seem hardly inspiring. With a range of a mere 6km and a hitting power that seems more akin to weapons found on tier V or VI vessels, they can appear deceptively lackluster. Tirpitz's torpedoes are a brawling weapon and in this regard, they can be viewed as the equivalent of dealing a citadel penetration with her main battery per individual torpedo strike. Being able to deliver up to four of these against any target (regardless of angle) is an enormous strength and makes Tirpitz an exceedingly dangerous opponent in close quarters. Even single hits can be near catastrophic with the threat of flooding stacking upon the fires lit by her secondaries. Their lack of range is their biggest weakness. It's so short that it's a rare game that a well played Tirpitz gets to use them at all. And I do stress this "well played" part. Pushing to brawling ranges too early will only isolate Tirpitz from her support and invites to get her focused down by enemy vessels. Many a novice Tirpitz player has brazenly charged ahead to try and make use of this trump card, only to frustrate themselves with getting sent back to port for their folly. There's a reason this ship has earned the moniker "Derpitz" -- this mistake is commonplace. Don't be one of those chowderheads that helps propagate this stereotype. Another flaw of Tirpitz's torpedo launchers is their fragility. They get damaged often -- disabled both temporarily and permanently. This stems from three inherent problems with her torpedo launchers. Their hit point total. Their lack of armour protection. The amount of fire Tirpitz takes. Tirpitz's torpedo launchers have a standard 1,200 hit points -- a value common to all torpedo launchers, as is their 25% chance of being temporarily disabled per damaging hit received. They are effectively unarmoured, making them exceedingly vulnerable to high explosive shells. Taking Main Armaments Modification 1 increases their hit points to 1,800 and reduces the chance of being critically damaged down to 20% per hit, which is better, but not great. It's only by stacking the captain skill, Preventative Maintenance, that you can get their critical hit chance down to a more manageable 14% per hit taken, but this won't save them from total destruction.The volume of fire Tirpitz takes in a typical match all but guarantees your torpedoes will be temporarily disabled at least once. It's heartbreaking to lose one of these mounts permanently. There are few things worse than finally securing a chance to use them in close quarters only to find them missing. The prevalence of Royal Navy battleship high explosive fire has only increased the likelihood of Tirpitz losing her torpedoes. If you find yourself coming under fire from a British battleship, you're very likely to have your torpedoes permanently stripped after receiving a volley or three. Provided Tirpitz can survive getting into a close quarters engagement (and with her torpedo armament intact), her torpedoes give her an excellent chance of clinching the win in any brawl, even against tier X battleships. Tirpitz's main battery penetration values courtesy of World of Warships Armada. Secondaries One of the most significant changes that came to Tirpitz has been the improvement of her secondary gun battery. Tirpitz now boasts one of the most fearsome secondary gun complements in the game, with phenomenal reach and volume of fire. No other ships in the game currently put out the same wall of fire as German Battleships can. The buff Tirpitz received increased her secondary gun battery range from 4.5km when she was initially released up to Bismarck's own 7.5km reach. Fully specialized, Tirpitz's guns may reach out to a range of 11.3km between modules, skills and consumables. This is insane. Like, seriously -- I get that Wargaming was trying to be consistent, but holy meatballs on a six inch sub, did she really need this buff!? The disruption effect of these secondaries is considerable -- it's like an aura of doom that gradually sucks the life out of enemy ships that stray too close to the German behemoth. Tirpitz is veritably surrounded by a dark cloud of death and destruction. The closer enemies get, the more deadly the storm of shell and fire, leaving opponent choking for air and desperate to get away. The better of the two guns are her twelve 150mm guns are mounted between six turrets. Four enjoy favourable forward firing angles. These guns have a slower rate of fire of eight rounds per minute stock (this can be increased to 9.36rpm between Basic Fire Training and the Mike Yankee Soxisix signal and bumped up further with Adrenaline Rush). However, they have a decent base fire chance of 8% per shell. More impressively, they have improved penetration values of 37mm (as opposed to 25mm as would be expected), allowing them to damage the extremities of any warship they should encounter. This makes it easy for Tirpitz to stack damage even against other high tier battleships at medium to close range encounters. Her sixteen 105mm guns form the backbone of her secondary armament and they have more mixed performance. They have an excellent rate of fire, being able to spit out a fearsome 17.91rpm per gun (increasing up to 20.95rpm with the skills and consumable mentioned before). Their fire chance is only modest at 5% but when coupled with their rate of fire, the chance to set blazes is better (pound for pound) than Tirpitz's 150mm guns provided you can land the hits. However, unlike the 150mm guns, Tirpitz's 105mm guns do not enjoy increased penetration values. This leaves them with a paltry 18mm of penetration which is utterly insufficient to damage the hulls of tier VIII+ destroyers. Short of landing shells upon a target vessel's superstructure in high tier matches, her 105mm secondaries are not going to be stacking direct damage. The solution may seem to be to reach for the skill Inertial Fuse for HE Shells to correct this, but this damages the fire chance of all of Tirpitz's weapon systems. Still, this would provide Tirpitz with the ability to ravage all destroyers and British cruisers within her matchmaking spread. One of the drawbacks of German HE shells, to which her secondaries are not immune, is their low damage per hit. Tirpitz will do no more than 561 damage per 150mm hit and a mere 396 damage at best per 105mm hit (compare this to the 726 damage from Warspite's 152mm HE and the 495 damage from her 102mm HE). It takes a long time for Tirpitz to stack damage with her secondaries. This damage will add up, but don't expect it to win matches by themselves. Like Tirpitz's torpedoes, rushing blindly forward to make use of these weapons will only get you killed. Support your team. Don't let yourself become isolated just because you want to subject your opponents to your poo-gas stink cloud of shelly-flamey doom. Overall, Tirpitz's secondaries are a powerful tool. They can provide an alarming level of supporting fire that can surprise and intimidate your opponents. However, they are not a wunderwaffe -- they will not win matches by themselves. It takes a significant investment to make them truly formidable, often at the cost of survival skills. Used correctly, her secondaries can help tip the balance in engagements and even in matches, but they are a support-weapon, not a primary weapon. Main Battery So, Tirpitz has great secondaries and powerful torpedoes -- but what about her main battery guns? I'm very tempted to say, 'What ABOUT her guns?' and leave it at that (what are you, greedy?), but they are worth examining. Tirpitz shares the same guns as Gneisenau and Bismarck. These are high velocity 380mm rifles that compete well with comparable 15" AP rifles found on any of the Royal Navy battleships. They have high shell velocity, and decent penetration power. They aren't without their problems, however. It may sound funny to say after reviewing her heavy torpedo and secondary batteries, but Tirpitz is under-armed. Let's start with her penetration power. While Tirpitz does enjoy better penetration than Monarch, all this means is that she doesn't have the worst penetration at tier VIII. The performance of her AP shells is best considered "sufficient" and no more than that. She sits well behind Kii and Amagi and even further behind Alabama, Massachussetts and North Carolina. Her HE shells do have better penetration than normal, sharing Monarch's ability to best 95mm of armour. However, unlike the British, German HE damage is anemic. In fact, the damage off both her AP shells and HE shells isn't great for her tier. They have decent fire chances, but you'd be a fool to reach for HE in this ship with any regularity. Accuracy wise, the news isn't good. Tirpitz has the least accurate guns at her tier. They're hit with a one-two punch of German battleship dispersion levels (which are the worst in the game) and 1.8 sigma. This is further compounded by the wide spacing of her guns not only on the ship (Tirpitz is enormous) but within the turrets themselves. The last piece of the puzzle is that players so often make things worse by not installing Aiming Systems Modification 1 in order to instead boost their aforementioned secondaries. Expect some serious misbehaving where gunnery is concerned. Her biggest weakness, however, is that Tirpitz has only eight 380mm guns. Though she boasts a faster reload time, this really hurts her outgoing damage potential. This is compounded when she's forced to angle against long range fire. Her guns all suffer from a 290º fire angle which isn't terrible, but it's not great either (we'd want 300º fire angles for 'great'). While Tirpitz is largely immune to citadel hits, she's not immune to taking massive 20,000 spikes of damage when an enemy battleship catches too much of her side. This disparity in guns really hurts in bow-tanking situations. The British and American battleships can trade fire back with six guns, you're often only left with four. So Tirpitz's main battery is meh. Sure, it handles great. Sure, she's got a good rate of fire and decent range. Her AP shells are good enough, but she doesn't put enough shells downrange to compete with the other big ships at her tier (other than her sister). It's a good thing she's got her secondaries and torpedoes. But, don't let all of this negativity lull you cruiser and battleship-drivers into complacency. Tirpitz is still a battleship and she's still throwing 6.4 tonnes of death at you every twenty-six seconds. If only a third of that hits you, you're still going to have what the Chieftain describes as "a significant emotional event". Her guns are good enough. However, her overall firepower is phenomenal. Summary: Her main battery is weak. Her AP performance is okay but still miles behind the Japanese and American battleships. If that weren't enough, the gun dispersion will troll you often. This isn't a long range sniper by any stretch. Her secondaries are awesome, though they're not the be-all-end-all murder-machines they appear to be. You'll rarely get to use her torpedoes, but when you do, they will be game changers Versus Bismarck Tirpitz is better armed than Bismarck, having access to deck mounted torpedoes while Bismarck does not. In addition, Tirpitz has slightly better forward fire angles on two of her 105mm secondaries which are placed further out from the hull. The two sisters are otherwise identical here. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 30.5 knotsTurning Radius: 850mRudder Shift: 16.0s Maximum Rotation Rate: 4.11º/s Tirpitz has speed to spare. She's not the fastest battleship at her tier (Bismarck holds that honour by a half knot), but she's pretty damn quick. A lot of apologies can be made for a ship with long legs. It facilitates much. It provides her with flexibility. It allows you to get out of (and into) trouble. It also can partially mitigate a bad turning radius as she'll come about faster than her turning circle might otherwise indicate. As far as her handling goes, it's not great. She has a long rudder shift time and an enormous turning circle. The only spot of good news is that she can throw the ship about at a respectable 4.1º/s despite these shortcomings. Adding Steering Gears Modification 2 can reduce her rudder shift time down to 12.8 seconds but this doesn't help her rate of turn significantly. In terms of manoeuvrability, Tirpitz will never be anything but average for a large battleship. She has more power than agility. Versus Bismarck Bismarck is half a knot faster than Tirpitz in a straight line. She's also slightly faster in a turn, keeping a speed of 23.4 knots when her rudder is hard over while Tirpitz lags behind at 23.0 knots. This increases Bismarck's rate of rotation to 4.2º/s. If there's one thing Tirpitz doesn't want for, it's speed. She's able to sprint at over 30 knots -- more than enough to keep up with the rest of the fleet and traverse the enormous high tier maps with haste. DurabilityHit Points: 69,300Maximum Protection: 315mm belt + 120mm turtleback + 45mm citadel wall Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: 22% There's a lot to talk about here and not all of it good. There has been a significant meta shift for Tirpitz over the summer of 2017. Let's start with the really bad stuff. First of all, Tirpitz has awful torpedo protection for a high tier ship. The values at tier VIII vary from 19% up to 49% and Tirpitz definitely sits in the lower half. At least she's not the worst. Torpedoes will hit her for most of their listed damage and you can expect to take flooding criticals from most hits. She's a big target and she doesn't dodge well, so torpedoes (especially the air dropped kind) love you. Moving on... Tirpitz is horribly vulnerable to both American and German AP bombs dropped by Dive Bombers. Ironically in this game, the more armour you have on your decks, the more dangerous AP dive bombers become. Suffice to say, Tirpitz is "well protected" across her decks and the roof of her citadel. In practice this means she has enough armour to arm the fuses of any AP bombs that strike her and guarantee they won't overpenetrate. She can and will take multiple citadel hits from armour piercing bombs and it is not uncommon for her to be deleted outright from an attack wave of dive bombers from Enterprise or Graf Zeppelin, even from full health. Anytime Tirpitz faces Enterprise or Graf Zeppelin (or any future CV with AP bombs), take heed. These are your nemesis. Citadel hits are thankfully rare otherwise. While her excellent armour scheme works at cross-purposes with itself against AP bombs, it functions as designed against shell strikes. The armour design is very straight forward with a 315mm thick strip of external belt armour, an interior 45mm thick citadel wall and, between them, a 120mm angled plate to help divert or deflect incoming shells. Were these a simple sandwich of vertical plates, this would combine to a total thickness of 480mm -- proof enough against the penetration power of even the vaunted USN 406mm/45s at a range of 15km but the angle of the turtleback makes this even thicker. In practice, her opponents cannot land citadel hits against her at medium to close ranges. It's only from far out shots, with high penetration shells that she need worry and even then it's a rarity. Her short range protection gets even more impressive under close inspection. Not only can she prevent citadel penetrations, but the extended 60mm bow armour can allow her to ricochet even Yamato's 460mm AP shells aimed at her waterline (this won't hold up if she aims a little higher, though). A properly angled Tirpitz can survive a ridiculous amount of AP-shell punishment thrown at her. It doesn't hurt that Tirpitz has the highest hit point total at her tier which translates to a Repair Party consumable that heals a generous 9,702hp per charge. With much of the ship being covered by a minimum of 60mm of armour, Tirpitz enjoys significant protection against HE throwing vessels. Her amidship hull is all but immune to damage saturation from destroyer and cruiser thrown-HE shells (the notable exception being Graf Spee). However, this all falls apart when the Royal Navy battleships show up to ruin the fun. This has presented a rather pronounced shift in Tirpitz's meta. Where before the ship could build for secondary gun fire, manoeuvrability and concealment, commanders are now forced to seriously consider stocking up on survivability skills instead to mitigate fire damage. There is no solid protection against the Royal Navy high explosive shells for Tirpitz, short of finding cover or sinking the offending party. Tirpitz's Damage Control Party is often overtaxed in such encounters and skills like Fire Prevention, Basics of Survivability and High Alert as well as upgrades like Damage Control Modification 2 have increased significantly in value. The prevalence of Royal Navy Battleships is beginning to ebb somewhat, but survivability builds are still very much worth considering. The shift in meta has hurt Tirpitz's survivability in a few short months. She's still a very tough ship, but the good grades she previously earned have been marred with new developments. While she has always had to fear airstrikes, AP bombs present a new and very immediate threat to which she has no answer but to hope allies protect her. The prevalence of high explosive shells being thrown everywhere has made her great armour scheme less valuable. At least the RAF doesn't get to dump Tallboy bombs on you. There are more answers to counter Tirpitz than before. This doesn't make her durability rating poor. She's just not the be-all-end-all that she once was in this regard. Versus Bismarck Tirpitz outweighs Bismarck and enjoys a 100hp advantage over her sister ship. Bismarck has a thicker armoured belt, though, which reaches 320mm. This 5mm advantage also extends to her underwater belt protection which is 245mm versus 240mm on Tirpitz. Otherwise, the two sisters are very close in this regard. Broken in half by sustained Battleship and Cruiser fire, this cross section (though tragic) gives a beautiful interior view of the compartmentalization and different armour layers which makes the Tirpitz so tough to citadel. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 16.38km Air Detection Range: 14.79 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.30km Surface Detection when Firing in Smoke: 15.05km Main Battery Range: 21.45km Surface Detection within Tier: 6th out of 9, behind Alabama & Alabama ST. Surface Detection within Matchmaking: 15th out of 33 The Bismarck-sisters used to be considered reasonably stealthy for a tier VIII battleship. The introduction of Royal Navy Monarch changed this definition, however, with a 1.8km advantage over the German leviathans. Still, Tirpitz's surface detection isn't terrible, it's just nothing to get excited about anymore. Still, it's pretty hilarious sneaking upon tier VII cruisers and magically appearing in front of them like a total creeper. Versus Bismarck The two sister ships have the exact same surface detection range. This extends to their detection range when firing their guns in smoke. Bismarck is marginally more stealthy overall, though, with an aerial detection range of 14.67km. This is really too close to matter very much, though, especially at the speeds aircraft fly. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 105mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.5km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 134 / 21 / 84 Float Plane Fighter DPS: 60 Tirpitz has the lowest AA power among Battleships of her tier. Not only does she have less overall average damage per second, but her large caliber guns are shorter ranged than those found on Amagi, Kii, North Carolina or Alabama. This puts a big ol' target overtop of Tirpitz for any enemy carrier looking to hoover up some big damage numbers. However, Tirpitz is not without redeeming qualities. The majority of her anti-aircraft strength is found within her dual purpose 105mm batteries and this provides a comparable long-range punch to the American Battleships and gives Tirpitz a bit of a saving grace. Properly specialized with anti-aircraft skills, her AA defense can be brought up to a respectable level with Basic and Advanced Fire Training and the inclusion of Manual Fire Control for AA Guns. This is a heavy investment to bring Tirpitz up from a ready victim of aircraft to make her a less appealing target, though. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that an enemy aircraft will recognize or appreciate the difference. The stakes have only gotten higher for Tirpitz with the advent of armour piercing bombs. The proliferation of these weapons has made playing German Battleships more challenging. When one of these carriers is on the enemy team list, it's imperative (more so!) that Tirpitz hug the AA umbrella of friendly vessels judiciously, preferably with a cruiser armed with Defensive Fire to scatter the bomb drop. Even a 5.0km gap between vessels can spell the end, allowing for opportunistic strikes to end the German juggernaut in ridiculously short order. If I didn't impress it upon you earlier, I will say it again: ships like Enterprise and Graf Zeppelin are fully capable of destroying a full health Tirpitz with a single sortie of their bomber complement and there's no amount of manoeuvre that will save you. You do not have the AA power to fend off these attacks and you're one of the few targets they can do this to. You are a hunted ship from the moment the game begins, so seek the cover of your allies at all times. Yeah. Tirpitz's AA power is pretty bad. This is the reason every single aircraft will divert onto you if they see you're unsupported. Versus Bismarck Here's where the big difference really counts. Bismarck doesn't have especially good anti-aircraft firepower, but it's a damn sight better than Tirpitz. This can be enough to make Bismarck look like a less inviting target if a carrier needs to choose between them, which is really all that matters when push comes to shove. How to Made in German Insert mustachioed crazy-person picture here There are two primary builds for Tirpitz -- survivability and a manual-secondary build. You could consider this the difference between specializing for defense versus specializing for offense. For the Survivability Build your first ten skill points should be the following: Start with Priority Target. Take Adrenaline Rush for your next skill. If you're going to be taking damage, you may as well capitalize upon it. Next grab Superintendent for the extra heal. Cap it off with Fire Prevention to reduce the chance of being set ablaze and the number of fires that can be burning at one time. For your next nine points, spend them on Concealment Expert, Basics of Survivability and Expert Marksman. You have a little flexibility with this build. You can take High Alert as your last skill if you struggle on managing your Damage Control Party. This build is ideally backed with flags like India Delta (+20% Repair Party healing), India Yankee (-20% to Fire duration) and November Foxtrot (-5% to consumable reload time). For the Secondary Build, your first ten skill points looks like this: Begin with Priority Target. Take Adrenaline Rush for your next skill. Improve that secondary reload time! Up next is Basic Fire Training to increase their rate of fire further still. This has the added bonus of giving your AA power a little more teeth. Take Advanced Fire Training as your next skill to throw that range out to your maximum reach. For your next nine points, Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament should be your first priority. After that, it's up to you which skills to choose. The highest value skills for Tirpitz are (in no particular order), Fire Prevention, Expert Marksman, Concealment Expert, Vigilance, and Superintendent. Special mention deserves to be placed towards Manual Fire Control for AA Guns. You can try and put it in there to give Tirpitz's AA power a little more teeth. Her dual purpose 105mm guns do put out an excellent bit of firepower (albeit at 4.5km range). This will make her a thorny prospect for some of the lower tier carriers, but it will not save you when something of equal tier or higher decides it wants your hit points. Worse, even with this upgrade, it's unlikely to dissuade enemy CVs from trying their luck anyway and you're not going to wipe out the attack craft wave so you will still end up taking damage. Still, you can at least make attacks on your vulnerable BB more costly for the carriers, but don't kid yourself in thinking this will be a tremendous help. I never thought I would say this but air dropped torpedoes aren't Tirpitz's most pressing concern these days. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult If ever Tirpitz could have been called a premium battleship for beginners, that time has long passed. There are more threats to manage now and the use of consumables and positioning is of ever more importance. Granted, she is German and that does provide some training wheels for the novice, but she's not a simple ship to use... if she ever was. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Knowing every trick in the book will take you far with Tirpitz. She rewards angling, proper ammunition choices, abusing concealment, micromanaging consumables and min-maxing commander skills. However, she has no answer for aircraft from same tier or higher carriers (even Kaga and Saipan are considerable threats). Similarly, torpedo armed destroyers will dominate you. In this regard, no amount of skill will allow you to carry further beyond bringing a division mate to be your permanent flak battery and sonar buoy. The Lertbox Is she worth your money? The venerable Tirpitz. Is she still relevant? There is no denying that meta shifts and power creep have not been kind to her. Despite recent-ish buffs to her secondary range she still struggles around the middle of the pack in winrate and damage per game. I still have a soft spot for her though and believe she still has a place in this game. She's still the Queen of the Brawl with a very nasty poison dagger and destroyers should still fear her secondary battery. Where she falls apart though is in long range gunnery. Unfortunately with the introduction of the British BB line this is where the meta has been shifting; raining literal fire from afar. With only eight 15" barrels with mediocre accuracy she can't compete in a pure burning contest at long range. Other than that though, I believe Tirpitz still has a place in this game. She still excels in the brawl, she's still tough as nails. Even though she's not the queen of the tier 8 battleships anymore, she's still comfortable to drive. Mouse's Summary: Tirpitz is still the brawling heavyweight champion in the game. Her main battery guns wouldn't be terrible if they were more accurate or if she had more of them. Alas she doesn't. She's not incapable of doing large amounts of damage -- she just has to work at it more if you're only using her main battery guns. Once you supplement them with her secondaries and torpedoes, the sky's the limit. The only problem there is that opportunities to use the latter two weapon systems to their full effect aren't guaranteed and you run the risk of getting yourself wrecked if you try and do so before it's time. She's horribly vulnerable against aircraft and AP armed Dive Bombers make her wet herself and not in the sexy way. While it's arguably more intelligent to rig her for survivability, it's more fun to build her to use secondaries. I am glad I didn't finish this review when I started back in the Spring of 2017. I had originally wanted to talk about her after patch 0.6.0 -- to bring her up to date with the Captain skill change. However, it was when I received word that Tirpitz would be getting the same secondary gun range as Bismarck in patch 0.6.4 that pushed Tirpitz closer towards the top of my priority pile. 'What the heck is the point of Bismarck, then!?' I said to myself, groaning as yet another premium ship became arguably more powerful than her tech-tree counterpart. But I got busy -- first with Kaga, then Hood, then every other premium WG released over the summer. Tirpitz, and a hot-headed grump-fest about how she was superior to Bismarck, sat by the wayside. Then Enterprise showed up. Say what you will about this American carrier in World of Warships -- it announced a change in the meta that would be directed towards reigning in the dominance of battleships and the German battleships specifically. Tirpitz suffered especially with her poor AA rating. Wargaming followed this up by introducing Graf Zeppelin and the Royal Navy battleship line which seemed tailor made to neuter the German battleship strengths.. What made Tirpitz and Bismarck oh-so butt-kickingly powerful was punched in the throat. Their armour either mattered-for-not or it worked actively against them. So, powerful as Tirpitz is, she now faces one hard counter and a whole battleship line of soft counters. The meta has really shaken up around this premium battleship. Granted, she doesn't face this every game -- or even in most of her games. This has attacked some of the comfort level that used to exist when playing Tirpitz. In some games she can still be powerfully dominant. At other times, she's cowering on the second line until the bad airplanes and fire breathing dragons are properly neutralized. Now, I personally love this ship. It was one of the model kits that my father and I built together when I was little. Seeing her in World of Warships always touches on that small element of nostalgia for me. These rose tinted glasses are very dangerous to be wearing when trying to conduct an objective review. If I seem excessively negative about Tirpitz in this review, understand that I'm making sure I underline and stress her flaws. Tirpitz is still a great and powerful premium ship. Age may have tarnished her luster somewhat, but the buffs in 0.6.4 ensured she's able to stay not only relevant but highly competitive in the marketplace, even with AP Bombs and HE shells flying every which way. Tirpitz didn't sink the Bismarck when she received her improvements in 0.6.4, but she supplements her sister ship nicely. Any player that owns this ship should feel confident that she's still got it where it counts. Versus Bismarck Tirpitz does not make Bismarck redundant. The major difference between the two ships is the swap of AA Power and Hydroacoustic Search to equip yourself with a set of deck mounted torpedoes. That's a pretty serious quality-of-life changes for the sake of being able to shove fish up someone's nose. While it's wonderful for Tirpitz to be able to pull this off and it can be absolutely game changing when it happens, it's a rare occurence. AA power, on the other hand, is put to use far more often. So too can Bismarck's Hydrouacoustic Search any time she's being pursued by torpedo-armed destroyers. The buffs Tirpitz received didn't make her replace Bismarck -- she supplements her sister ship as any good premium sister-ship should, with her own fun strengths and weaknesses. Though things were looking up in patch 0.6.4, it hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows for Tirpitz since. Would I Recommend? Tirpitz used to be an easy recommendation across all categories. For PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Lert: Yeah. She still puts out a lot of damage at brawling range and she can still bully bots. She'll be a solid and steady earner. Mouse: Yes. Tirpitz is probably the ultimate Co-Op premium battleship so I cannot recommend her enough here.. Big guns, big secondary range and torpedoes? Combine that with speed and good armour -- those poor little bots don't stand a chance. You can forgo all pretense of subtlety and simply charge in, confident that you have the close-range damage to sink at least a pair of ships before going down. Earning 500 base experience in Co-Op is a breeze. This sort of confidence will no doubt spill over into Scenarios should they become available at her tier. Tripitz has a 39,375 credit repair cost with ammunition usually weighing and around the 7,500 to 15,000 credits to resupply. Thus, even a modest game will be self sustaining (especially with a premium account). You may have to forgo premium consumables if you have a stock account though. For Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Lert: She'll still pull in the credits and the close quarters expert badges and she'll still train your german captains in comfort. She gets a recommendation of Yes here. Mouse: Yes. Though Tirpitz is harder to recommend as a Random Battle vessel, I would still say she's a good purchase overall. She no longer feels like the dominating presence she was before Enterprise and the Royal Navy battleships joined the game. Moreover, on the North American server at least, she is facing tier X battles more and more often, but this is a problem inherent to all tier VIII premiums at the moment. For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Lert: No. There are other alternatives that better fit the meta. Mouse: No. Tirpitz is not the best choice for Ranked Battles. Her gunnery is too unreliable and her lack of anti-aircraft firepower can be a liability depending upon team composition. If this is your primary reason for wanting a premium ship, I would give her a pass here. She can compete, but there are better and more versatile choices. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Lert: It's Tirpitz, the ship that scared the pants off of wartime Britain without actually doing anything other than sipping martinis and swatting at RAF flies in a fjord. Plus, she's one of the most beautiful ships in the game. Very yes. Mouse: Yes. Tirpitz's history is less glamorous than her sister ship and full of what ifs, but she certainly gets the imagination going. Plus, Wargaming can't seem to stop making cool premium camouflages for her. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Lert: Brawling is fun. Ships that are comfortable to drive are fun. A strong yes here. Mouse: Very yes. Tirpitz is the sort of ship where those memorable moments keep rolling in. What's the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Good - Overpowered?
  9. I have committed myself to grinding to Hindenburg as my first Tier X ship. Having previously rage sold Roon, this was not exactly an undertaking I was looking forward to. I can back from business travel, tethered my computer to my phone and got to work this weekend. I played the field a little on Saturday (I really like Alabama and have lots of other ships to grind), but Sunday was all Roon with rare exception (e.g. died early and needed to kill time). To my great surprise, it was one of my greatest​ weekend performances ever. I tried not playing like a complete idiot (my usual style) and that seemed to help. My PSA: you cannot sail high tier cruisers like over grown DD unless they belong to her Majesty. I say all that to give thanks to a few folks: Left and LWM - really useful guides and advice, especially about Molotov. Kombat_Wombat - lots of good KM cruiser insights and effusive praise for the line to help keep me motivated. I bear no ill will for the [edited]whipping your team laid on my yesterday. Thanks for helping me be less terrible.
  10. WoWs Offline Mode, Review

    Thanks to a surprise Christmas Present I have the opportunity to review WoWs; Offline Mode. An interesting take on the game we all love to play. So with the format of the best ship reviewer on the forum, lets get to it shall we. Quick Summary A simple game for blowing up ships. Doesn't require an Internet connection or even a computer to play. Cost Game cost about $13.40 US at time of writting. Patch & Date Written I think this is patch 0.0.01, December 26, 2016 Not even sure this game has ever needed a patch. Closet In Game Contemporary A pad of paper maybe? Degree of Similarity World of Warships has come a long way since this first iteration. This version is more tactile and seems like a very stable build. Although it does lack some of the polish and features found in the current WoWs Build. Pros; Play warships off line and without power even. Easier to deal with hacks. Simple rules and easier game mechanics to understand. Can be played with friends and family. Control a fleet not just one ship. This version has SUBS. 1v1 match making. No micro transactions. Cons; Not feature rich. Cheating can be a problem. No path for expansions. Limited ship lines. Limited multiplayer. One time buy in cost, unless you can raid a relatives game closet. Getting lucky with Blind fire is a must. Limited maps. This version has SUBS. This is warships in its most simple form. And only supports Two Players. You are limited to 5 ships but you get to control those ships in a fleet action which is interesting. Game Mode is a standard battle so you need to sink all the ships on the other team to win. The Battle field is very static once that game begins. Games seem to be quick, depending on how fast the players can call their shots and mark them. But there is no time limit, this isn't taking into account any fights that might happen over ship placement. Speaking of ships you get one ship of each of the five classes and if they are all sunk its game over. The Destroyer; Stealthiest ship in game and hardest to find, but low HP pool means it sinks fast. Next we have the cruiser, not as stealth as the previous ship but it does have more HP. The wait is over this version of WoWs has submarines but they aren't as stealth as people would like. Here we see the only Battleship you will be playing with. Decent amount of hit points, harder to hide but can take some punishment. Finally the Aircraft Carrier. She has the most hit points because good luck hiding this girl. One down side to this game is the map variety. Its limited to just one map, some imagination is helpful. Consumables You will need a lot of these for effective game play. Fire Power: You have Red Pins for Hits and White Pens for Misses. [see above picture] Maneuverability: This game can be played anywhere. Durability Game is made of plastic so be careful with it and it should last several years. Concealment & Camouflage: Neither side will see their rival fleet, its like a Ranked match with 8 Benson popped their smoke at the same time. I would recommend you don't play around mirrors and guard you fleets location. Anti-Aircraft Defense: You have a CV but there is no danger of Air attacks, I think we play with cruiser missiles or ICBMs. Overall Impressions. Skill Floor; Simple Skill Ceiling; Low Bears Summary; Sometimes simple classics are just what you need to take a break from the camping meta found in the higher tiers. And I like how easy this game is to set up and play. That simplicity helps introducing new players to the game. Beware of some of the underhanded tactics some players could be tempted to employ. But all in all its a fun game. Would I recommend: Yes if you like classic game play this one is fun to have and who doesn't like to hear 'You Sank my Battleship' never gets old. Random Battle Grinding: There is NO path for grinding up tech trees. This can be a plus and a negative in some peoples books Competitive Gaming: Is there a competitive table top gaming scene? I mean my family can get very competitive with board games, don't ask about the Great Monopoly scandal of 2008. Collectors: Its a gaming classic so I expect collectors will already have it. But if you are new to the table top gaming scene why haven't you bought it already? Recommended Consumables: I find cold drinks and salty snacks are best consumed while playing any tabletop game. Recommended Captain Skills: Blind luck? You either get RNG lucky and hit ships blind firing or you develop a careful hunt and destroy method of locating the enemy ships. I hope this review of a timeless classic WoWs battle mode helps in you choice for how to sink ships. The Sinksalot Fleet salutes those who sail here.