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  1. The following is a review of Haida, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 28th, 2018. I'm so happy, I'm crying. Quick Summary: A stealthy British gunship destroyer with a weird Smoke Generator and a single torpedo launcher. Cost: The equivalent of 5,600 doubloons. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.5.1 , June 20th, 2018 to June 28th, 2018. PROS Surprisingly tough for a tier VII destroyer with 15,700 hit points and large areas of 19mm armour. Enormous alpha strike on her HE shells and excellent HE DPM. Powerful torpedoes that hit for 16,767 damage and travel at 62kts. She can single-fire her torpedoes. Incredibly stealthy. Able to drop its surface detection down to 5.7km. Equipped with a British destroyer Hydroacoustic Search with a 3 minute (!) active time. Uses a Commonwealth Smoke Generator with a 90s emission time, allowing her to continue moving while staying hidden. The power (and comfort) of this ship spikes considerably with access to the Special Upgrades, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 and Smoke Generator Modification 1. CONS Poor gun firing arcs on A and Y turret. Horrible shell flight time and very high ballistic arcs at range. Struggles to do damage against larger targets with poor penetration on AP & HE shells and poor fire chance. Only armed with a single quadruple torpedo launcher with a long reload. Not especially agile with a modest top speed of 36.5 knots and a 630m turning radius. Her Hydroacoustic Search is very short ranged, scarcely operating beyond the auto-detection radius. Her Smoke Generator is selfish and difficult to use to protect allies. As a Commonwealth ship, Haida has limited use as a commander trainer. Good day and welcome to the Canadian Corner. I'm Mouse and this is my grouchy editor from across the pond, Lert, eh. HMCS Haida is finally here. Finally, Canadians will stop complaining on Reddit, eh? Well maybe. Haida and the Tribal-class took a while getting through development. It's not like there isn't a small bit of controversy regarding how well this ship performs. My fellow Canadian, iChase, quite rightly pointed out that she's not going to be a ship for everyone, y'know? Who was the hoser that thought up a gunship with bad guns, eh? And it's not like she's got a lot of torpedoes to fall back on. Anyway, let's get this review started. It's gonna be a long one cause there's lots to go over and I have to pretend I'm not fangirling all over the place. Before we go any further, make sure you look up several reviews before opening your wallets for this one, okay? Like hold your horses, eh? Okay, that's my intro. Good day. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme This isn't a ship for new players. Haida struggles to deal reliable damage with either her guns or her torpedoes. Her ballistic arcs, poor penetration and horrible fire chance makes standing off at a distance and trying to deal damage challenging at best and horribly frustrating at worst. Her single torpedo launcher compounds this difficulty. This is a ship that belongs on the front lines where mistakes get punished absurdly quickly. Her only saving grace is her excellent concealment. Veterans will love this boat. She's uniquely designed to bully control points and extend vision for her team. This ship is a catalyst, facilitating wins by dominating caps and shutting down enemy destroyers. She rewards an aggressive play style that espouses knife-fights at point-blank ranges while harassing larger enemies. - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Haida's Firepower is a story of contrasts. Her guns are temperamental but their HE is incredibly hard hitting. She has only a single torpedo launcher but she has the ability to single fire them and deliver monstrous damage per hit. For sheer raw potential, though, she cannot escape being one of the most difficult ships to use on the attack at tier VII. She gets a rating. Haida has a high number of hit points combined with some minor armour improvements. She earns a rating. Her agility and anti-aircraft firepower are nothing to get too excited over, deserving the same evaluation. It's in Vision Control (Refrigerator) where Haida dominates. Even giving her a rating doesn't do her justice. This isn't a torpedo-boat that skulks, frightened of being discovered. Haida uses her concealment and detection abilities to hunt down those who want to remain hidden and punish those who think themselves safe. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida-Players In this short documentary series, we will be exploring four of the different types of Haida-players. They are easily identified by their distinct behaviors and performance, how they react to threats and the level of contribution they provide to their teams. Being able to recognize one of these Haida players and their potential impacts on the game will go a long way towards improving your experience. Click the image for a Youtube playlist of timeless Canadiana! Options Haida's gimmick is focused upon her two consumables. Haida makes use of the new Royal Navy destroyer Hydroacoustic Search consumable while borrowing a modified version of Perth's "creeping" Smoke Generator. In addition, Haida has access to two different premium camouflage patterns. Consumables Haida's Damage Control Party and Engine Boost consumables are normal for a tier VII destroyer. Haida's Smoke Generator is a modified version of that found on Perth and Huanghe -- two cruisers from the Commonwealth and Pan Asian tech trees respectively. Each cloud only lasts a mere 10 seconds but the generator continues making smoke for 90 seconds. With this, Haida can continue moving at speed (up to 12.5 knots) and remain hidden, covered by a continually deploying smoke cloud. Unlike the cruisers which also use this version of the consumable, Haida's reset timer is 120s / 80s between uses -- half the time of Perth's or Huanghe's. Her Hydroacoustic Search is that of the upcoming Royal Navy destroyer line. It's incredibly short ranged, detecting torpedoes at a mere 2.13km and ships at 3.12km. However, it's duration is 50% longer than that of standard cruiser-versions lasting 180 seconds. Upgrades In your first slot, you have a choice. Magazine Modification 1 will help mitigate some of the Fun and Engaging mechanics in World of Warships if you're adverse to that kind of thing. As a destroyer, you will detonate suddenly and often. If you like to gamble, then take Main Armaments Modification 1 instead. In your second slot, take Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1. This is one of the special upgrades and it will extend her Hydroacoustic Search's active time from 180s to 216s which is insane. You could use Propulsion System Modification 1, but that's for quitters. If you don't have the special upgrade, get one ASAP. In your third slot, take Smoke Generator Modification 1. This is another Special Upgrade. It increases the action time of your Smoke Generator from 90s to 117s. If you don't have access to one, you can use Aiming System Modification 1 like a poor person until you get enough sense of self worth to chase your dreams. Spend your coal on Special Upgrades! Unlike other destroyers, Haida doesn't spend very much time stationary, so the value of Propulsion Modification 2 is slightly reduced. To this end, it's really up to you on whether to take this or to reach for Steering Gears Modification 2 instead. They're both good. Camouflage Haida comes with Type 10 Camouflage. Players may also acquire Haida: Maple Leaf camouflage as an aesthetic swap. Both types provide: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Haida's optional Maple Leaf camouflage. This is camouflage is simply cosmetic and provides the same bonuses as her default camouflage. Haida joins Texas and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya with awesome, over-the-top patriotic camo. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Beaver Haida-Beaver is a passive, inexperienced destroyer player. Timid, her concealment & consumables are used as a security blanket and solely to keep her safe. Haida-Beaver sits within the sanctum of her pond (built from hydro and smoke) and hides from any and all threats. She might venture out and do a little bit of damage, but it's all done at range. This is about as exciting as Molson Canadian beer. You can expect to see her on the second line or off at the extremes of the map border, well away from predators. She'll only venture as close as needed to drop torpedoes or fire her guns and then quickly scurry away. Her success will be limited, like a border humping Shimakaze. Firepower Main Battery: Six 120mm/45 rifles in 3x2 turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Two 102mm/45 rifles in 1x2 turrets mounted where X-turret from the main battery would be located. Torpedoes: Four torpedo tubes in 1x4 launchers mounted amidships. Balancing the Tribal-class destroyers for World of Warships was never going to be easy. The 120mm/45 guns aren't exactly known for their incredible striking power, rate of fire or their excellent ballistic qualities. Similarly, being limited to a single torpedo launcher greatly hinders Haida's damage potential. She has the worst weapon arrangement of any of the tier VII destroyers. These are not easy weapons to use and played improperly, some will struggle to see reasonable damage output. The Guns The single biggest disappointment I have with Haida's weapon systems are her uninspiring AP shells. For small caliber guns, AP shells are important against larger and more heavily armoured targets that are capable of shrugging off their HE damage entirely. Poor energy retention saps the penetration power of Haida's AP over distance, creating a very limited window at which this ammunition can be used effectively. Even slight angling by larger targets will foil their damage attempts. Among the tier VII destroyers, Haida's 120mm AP shells have the worst penetration values outside of 9km, being overtaken by the 128mm German AP. This issue of penetration is compounded by the low damage Haida's AP shells do when compared to her HE. There's only 200 hit points difference between them -- when factoring in for 0.33x multiplier of a penetrating hit, this disparity drops down to just 66 hit points. Given the unreliability of AP shells between overpenetrating hits and ricochets, Haida's AP is only worth firing if one of two conditions are met: Her HE shells must be completely incapable of damaging a given target, or... Her AP shells must be capable of delivering citadel damage. In all other cases, firing HE is superior given the bonus chance of starting fires and the resulting module damage that can occur from the blast of HE shells. This is owing not only to the deficiencies of Haida's AP shells, but the strengths of her HE. Whatever lamentations I have about Haida's AP shells are largely corrected with her HE. These munitions are not without their issues, but I'm of the opinion that their strengths far outweigh their deficiencies. Haida's core strength lies in the striking power of her HE shells. Her HE shells are listed with a maximum damage of 1,900 per hit, the same as Soviet 130mm rifles. Accounting for penetration damage, each of her hits will strike for 627hp, giving her a broadside alpha strike of up to 3,762 damage per volley. This is the second largest alpha strike at her tier, just behind Blyskawica's own 3,927hp if she hits with all seven of her guns. Haida has a faster reload than her Polish-twin, though, and she unleashes the highest damage per minute of any of the tier VII destroyers, outstripping even the B-Hull Mahan's five, rapid-fire 127mm/38s. She's fully capable of out-trading any of her contemporaries and can even make higher tiered lolitbotes balk at the power of her bite. DPM of the destroyer-caliber tier VII gunships. Haida has got it where it counts but it's one Hell of a close race. I must emphasize that this is limited to soft targets, however. The small caliber of Haida's HE shells leads to penetration issues. Stock, she may only directly damage areas of 19mm or less, which thankfully accounts for all destroyers and the superstructures of larger ships within her Matchmaking. This also includes most cruisers at tier VII or less, though thicker hull plating begins to appear around tier VI for some of the heavy cruisers. By tier VIII+ only British light cruisers remain vulnerable. For battleships, the range of targets is considerably smaller, with only tier V battleships having extremities she can punish. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells broadens the number of targets she can damage, but it by no means is a cure all. The skill increases her penetration to be able to damage areas of 25mm or less. This provides no benefit for engaging enemy destroyers whatsoever. It adds a handful of cruisers to her list of available targets and all of the tier VI and VII battleships as well. However, Haida can not directly damage the extremities of battleships nor the hulls of American and German heavy cruisers at tier VIII or higher. Against these targets, she's limited to dealing direct damage to superstructures and these areas saturate quickly. Haida must switch to her torpedoes or AP shells to hurt these more heavily armoured behemoths. She's not likely to hurt them with fire. She's a poor fire starter. Her fire chance will fluctuate based on skill choice with as low as 4% per shell and as high as 8% with a combination of Demolition Expert and the two fire-chance increasing signals. This pales behind the 7% to 11% on ships like Blyskawica and Gadjah Mada. Destroyers already struggle to stack fires effectively and Haida is unlikely to tax an opponent's Damage Control Party with the blazes she sets. This makes Inertial Fuse for HE Shells more valuable in my opinion -- better to play to her strengths rather than attempt to prop up a weakness. Haida's strength resides in delivering these meaty hits with her HE shells, bringing all six guns to bear and chewing on their hides. Fires per Minute of Tier VII Destroyers before mitigation from the target is applied. "Upgraded" includes the use of Basic Fire Training, Demolition Expert and both fire boosting signals. Haida is never going to be considered a "good" fire starter. You can invest heavily into increasing her chances to set blazes if you wish, but you're unlikely to make more than a single fire stick per minute on an enemy battleship. Note the extreme difference between Haida's fire starting and Gadjah Mada's. They both use the same 120mm/45 guns but Haida uses a modified HE shell with increased damage at the cost of reduced fire chance. This will turn a lot of players away. The Tribal-class destroyers do not have particularly good firing arcs, which necessitates presenting more of a broadside to engage with all three of her turrets. The strengths and flexibility of the ship's gun coverage was supposed to reside in their B and X turrets. With X-turret removed to make room for a 102mm dual-purpose secondary, this leaves all of the heavy lifting on B's shoulders. Thankfully, they're a broad set of shoulders. Not only does B-turret boast great fire angles , but it can also rotate 360º, giving faster coverage from left to right while Haida is sailing evasive on the retreat. This is good news given the modest 10º/s rotation rate of her weapons. In most engagements, Haida will be able to easily bring four of her guns to bear, but you have to give up a lot of side to fire her Y-turret and that's necessary to really capitalize on this ship's strengths. Of course, stacking said damage presents more of a challenge than it should. Other than her fire arcs, Haida has poor shell ballistics. Up to 7km ranges, they're comparable to American 127mm/38s. I'm aware this isn't a flattering comparison given the flaws of American destroyer-caliber guns. Unfortunately, things get worse after that. British 120mm/45s have worse shell flight times than the Yanks. Seriously. These aren't weapons you'll want to stack Advanced Fire Training on. The shell flight time over distance is just too punitive to land hits against anything further out than 9km. So let's recap: The fire arcs on her main battery are not great. Her shell ballistics for HE and AP are terrible. She has bad AP penetration. The small caliber of her HE shells makes her HE penetration bad too. Her HE shells have a terrible fire chance. Her HE shells hit like a truck, however. Haida can out trade just about any destroyer she comes across, provided you can land the hits. Success with Haida as a gunship thus resides in emphasizing the accuracy and frequency of her HE hits against vulnerable targets and switching over to AP only when citadel opportunities arise. In both of these cases, this clearly involves getting in close -- dangerously so. These are knife-fighting ranges and Haida's artillery would seem to point that she should specialize towards hunting and engaging enemy destroyers, with cruisers and battleships as targets of opportunity. This premise is largely reinforced by her torpedo armament. The Fish Haida only has a single torpedo launcher. You can forget any pretense of playing this destroyer as a torpedo-boat for obvious reasons. While having a quadruple launcher is nice, it also comes with the downside of a downright painful 96 second reload. These two traits combined with a mediocre range of 8km may make her torpedoes seem like a complete write-off but they're not without some very strong merits. When compared to work-in-progress Royal Navy destroyer torpedoes, Haida's fish look amazing being comparable in performance to those off the tier X Daring-class in all aspects but range. Haida's torpedoes individually hit almost as hard as Shiratusyu's and Akatsuki's torpedoes. At 16,767 damage per hit and a 282% base flooding chance, Haida can devour large chunks of the enemy hit points with just a couple of strikes. This sits just behind the 17,233 damage and 287% flooding chance of the IJN fish. Haida is fully capable of one-shotting many of the destroyers she faces with a single torpedo. Haida's torpedoes have a 62 knot speed. They close the distance quickly and are on par with the IJN torpedoes at her tier. Haida's torpedoes are an improvement on the Japanese fish, though, with 200m less detectability and 1.2s less reaction time at 8.4s. Haida may single fire her torpedoes. Admittedly this is very difficult to exploit to its fullest. The potential on paper is devastating. In theory, it should allow you to guarantee more hits per launch when precisely aimed. Similarly, it opens the possibility of stacking flood effects to tax and overwhelm the Damage Control Party of enemy vessels provided you can space the time between hits. Finally, it can be used to bait ships into believing you're out of torpedoes when they dodge the first torpedo only to be caught out when they manoeuvre by the other three. However, these techniques are locked behind a very high skill wall barring the incompetence of your opponents. Make no mistake, while there is a lot of potency in Haida's single torpedo mount, it's not easy to use. I didn't forget about Haida's secondary. The British 102mm/45 is a great mid-tier backup weapon. Its high rate of fire is wonderful and it has a better fire chance that Haida's primary battery. There's the added bonus having great fields of fire, so it's very easy to bring it in on a fight. There are two problems with it, though. The first, it's linked to Haida's AA guns. Enabling one enables the other and with a long reach, this can give Haida's position away prematurely which can get you killed. Second, Haida's secondary is very short ranged -- a mere 4.0km. You're going to have to get in stupidly close to make this work for you, or you're going to have to give up on more advantageous skills and upgrades. In playtesting, I did manage to sink two ships with Haida's stock-secondary, so it's not useless. Like all of Haida's weapon systems, it's simply awkward to use. Summary Trying to deal damage at range will yield poor results. Haida is a knife-fighter. Get her in close. If you haven't yet learned how to stack damage with single-fire torpedoes, now is the time. She has a secondary. Sometimes it will kill stuff. Make sure to brag about it when you do. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : On the whole, Haida's weapon systems are the worst at tier VII. It's not by much. Sims and Minsk are similarly lacking. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Moose Dangerous when crossed, the Haida-Moose is one that plays the role of a forward scout. Her Smoke Generator and Hydroacoustic Search are used defensively but she places herself up on the front lines to make sure her team has vision for as much time as possible. She prefers to keep enemies at arm's reach. If startled, Haida-moose may charge unexpectedly and can be devastating in these limited encounters. However, she's skittish and is just as likely to flee. Her suicidal bull charges are just as dangerous to Haida-Moose herself as the vehicle their opponents are driving. Haida-Moose will win more often, but no more so than any other destroyer. Haida-Moose's contributions to her team are unpredictable and caution should be exercised whenever you encounter one. Defense Hit Points: 15,700hp Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour: 16mm bow and rear quarter and 19mm stern, sides & deck. It's hella weird. See below. Normally for destroyers, the only thing worth talking about is their relative hit point total to one another. Haida comes out alright here. She ranks third overall for hit points among the tier VII DDs which is pretty impressive, what with Z-39 and Leberecht Maass to compete against. Clearly, Haida has been eating too much poutine. The healthy slug of hit points Haida boasts further improves her ability to out-trade enemy destroyers with her high HE DPM. But there's a further oddity with her armour layout. Large areas of Haida's hull and her entire deck are 19mm thick. This can provide some limited amount of defense against small caliber (114mm or less) HE shells, particularly those fired from battleship secondaries. Finally, the vulnerability of her main battery is worth mentioning. Without Main Armaments Modification 1 or Preventative Maintenance, you can expect Haida's main battery guns to be knocked out frequently. Like Blyskawica, her guns mounts are not fully enclosed turrets. Her gun shields are a mere 6mm thick with open backs. It is not uncommon for high explosive shells to disable one or multiple turrets in an engagement. For a destroyer who is reliant upon winning DPM races at close quarters, this can be crippling. Choose your skills and upgrades with this in mind. Hit point totals of tier VII destroyers. For a gunship, Haida is very well setup to bully other tier VII ships. It's only the Germans that outweigh her in this regard, but she easily caps them in damage per minute totals when firing HE shells. Angling will be key for besting their high AP shell damage. Make sure you take Survivability Expert to further boost your hit point totals. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Haida's already close here, but to top German DDs she's going to need much thicker armour, a bloated hit point pool or access to a Repair Party. Agility Top Speed: 36.5kts Turning Radius: 630m Rudder Shift Time: 3.8s Maximum Rate of Turn: 7.5º/s There's a whole lot of "meh" here. Haida's top speed is alright. It's not great, though -- not in a tier populated by the likes of the Leningrad-class (43 knots), Blyskawica (39 knots) and Sims (38.5 knots). Haida is more reliant upon her concealment rather than her flat out speed to control engagement distances. In a running battle, she's at a disadvantage. She's also pretty lackluster with her turning radius. At 630m, you're going to need some advance warning when enemy fish are on their way. You're also going to need a bit of distance from enemy cruisers and battleships in order to dodge effectively. Keep this in mind. Her overall rate of turn is on the low side. Haida's not going to win any prizes for agility. She's comparable to Leberecht Maass in overall agility which isn't a very flattering. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Yeah, this isn't going to happen. It's only thanks to Shiratsuyu and Z-39 that she comes away with a rating at all. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Wolverine Small and scrappy, Haida-Wolverine challenges cap-circle dominance and is eager to fight with other destroyers. Though a solitary hunter, she's a team player and she uses her consumables to get the upper hand when contesting caps and to ensure the enemy never gets the drop on her friends. Haida-Wolverine is looking for a close-range brawl and she's going to use her concealment value to get it. At this tier, you can expect to see her smoke being used more aggressively rather than just an escape tool. Spotting her in a cap circle won't cause her to immediately flee and you're going to have to dig her out with planes, radar or focused fire. Expect some clever use of her consumables and good coordination with team mates. Haida will win a lot more once you're comfortably at this level. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 102mm / 40mm / 20mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 2.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 9.4 / 13 / 36.6 I wish I could just say that Haida's anti-aircraft firepower sucks and be done with it, but there's one more point to cover. Disabling Haida's AA firepower to keep her from being prematurely spotted by aircraft also disables her secondary. Not cool. Haida's AA defense is pretty shoddy, but she's in good company at tier VII. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Not a whole lot. Tier VII AA power is pretty shoddy and no one really pays it much mind anyway. Just showing up with a specialized AA build alone would make her better than most of her contemporaries, but that's true for any of the DDs. Moving on. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range (stock/min): 6.49km / 5.67km Air Detection Range (stock/min): 3.90km / 3.51km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.31km Main Battery Firing Range: 12.3km Detection Consumables: Smoke Generator / Hydroacoustic Search Haida has the best surface detection of any of the tier VII destroyers. It's not even a close contest. Her surface detection is so low, it almost appears that she has the Concealment Modification 1 upgrade built in (we'll see what happens with HMS Cossack!). It's only when Haida is compared to ships at this higher tier that her surface detection appears almost normal. In fact, out of all of the ships she may encounter, Haida ranks 12th out of some 50 rival destroyers for best concealment. Those that out-spot her are primarily IJN destroyers. Few of these destroyers present any kind of threat to Haida. Generally speaking, Haida can outfight anything that out-spots her and she can outspot anything that could be considered a threat, giving her the opportunity to control the engagement. Ten Best Upgraded Concealment Values Between Tiers 5 & 9 5.37km - Kagero (8), Asashio (8) & Harekaze (8) 5.41km - Fujin (5), Kamikaze R (5), Kamikaze (5), Minekaze (5), Mutsuki (5) 5.44km - Yugumo (9) 5.66km - Okhotnik (5) & Chung Mu (9) 5.67km - Haida (7) 5.80km - Benson (8), Loyang (8), Hsienyang (8), Fletcher (9), Black (9) 5.81km - Nicholas (5), Hatsuharu (6), Shiratsuyu (7) 5.94km - Akizuki (8), Z-46 (9) 5.97km - Jianwei (5), Gallant (6) 6.08km - Ognevoi (8) Smoke Generator As good as her surface detection is there will be times where she has to reach for her Smoke Generator. And here's where Haida gets weird. For a destroyer, Haida is unique, deploying the same "creeping smoke" as HMAS Perth or Huanghe. This consumable constantly deploys smoke for one minute and thirty seconds (or up to one minute and forty-seven seconds with the Smoke Generator Modification 1 special upgrade). However, each smoke cloud disappears in ten seconds (nine and a half with the special upgrade). This allows Haida to remain mobile. In order to stay hidden, Haida must maintain a speed of 12.5 knots or less. Haida moves at between 9.0 and 10.4 knots at 1/4 speed, with the latter value being from a combination of a Sierra Mike signal and her Engine Boost consumable. You can flutter the engines up to 1/2 power for brief intervals to get a little more thrust, just be careful not to exceed the 12.5 knots. Combined with her Hydroacoustic Search, while moving in smoke, Haida trivializes the dangers of incoming torpedoes. Haida's smoke is very selfish. She lacks on team play as she cannot effectively cover allies with her consumable without a high degree of coordination. This isn't something I would expect most friendly players encountered in Random or Ranked Battles to know how to do, especially in the heat of combat. Poor understanding of Haida's consumable will only get her allies killed that presumptuously attempt to rely on it in a moment of crisis. It is possible for Haida to provide cover. There are three ways to do it: The ship needs to synch their speed with Haida and sail in close proximity. Haida needs to call out her speed and announce any course corrections. This is best done in division over voice coms. Haida sails in front of a larger ship that needs cover while both ships move at high speed. Haida herself will not be concealed in smoke -- constantly outrunning it, but the friendly ship will be. Both ships park their butt in what amounts to a single puff of continually reissued smoke. Mind those incoming torpedoes. Haida's mobility with her smoke is very welcome in situations where the battle progresses and you need to redeploy. Haida can accelerate out of her smoke and bring it with her, allowing her to setup in a second location and continue making aggressive plays. The catch is that even when she's not spotted, Haida broadcasts her position. The palls of moving smoke are hard to miss. You cannot count on taking anyone but the most distracted players unawares this way. Speaking of awareness... Hydroacoustic Search Haida is the first ship to be released with what appears to be the new Royal Navy destroyer Hydroacoustic Search consumable. Haida was the test-bed for this new consumable and it's proven to be quite powerful. At first blush, it doesn't look like it, though. The range appears too short to be used offensively and like her Smoke Generator, Haida's Hydroacoustic Search appears very selfish, being only able to spot torpedoes in her immediate vicinity. However, the duration of this consumable more than makes up for any lack of range, providing Haida (and her team) with increased situational awareness. This facilitates Haida's presence up on the front lines. The longer she can remain there confidently, the more her team benefits. Her torpedo detection may seem small, but it provides Haida with all of the time she needs to manoeuvre. The 2.13km range can be modified with Vigilance if a player desires, bringing her torpedo detection range up to 2.66km. For a destroyer, none of these values present much in the way of concern. Short of point blank drops (aerial or otherwise), Haida should have no problems avoiding torpedoes in any given situation so long as her Hydroacoustic Search is running. If she's upgraded with Hydracoustic Search Modification 1, the run time of her consumable is three minutes and forty-six seconds which is an enormous window of relative immunity to torpedo attack. However, there's one more way of putting Haida's Hydroacoustic Search to use -- and that's on the attack. While her Hydroacoustic Search picks up enemy vessels just 1.12km beyond standard auto-detection range, this buffer is more than enough for Haida to abuse. Whether its creeping up on enemies hiding in their own smoke or slipping into range with her own, Haida is stealthy enough to pull it off. What's more, her guns have a tiny stealth bloom in smoke of 2.31km, giving Haida 800m of stealth-firing window to begin hammering targets without being seen in return. For a destroyer with such a high DPM, this is often all that's needed to doom an enemy DD (or a low health cruiser). With the long duration of Haida's Hydroacoustic Search, these attacks don't need to be rushed. You can take your time ensuring you get the proper setup, outlasting enemy Surveillance Radar or even German destroyer Hydroacoustic Search, letting you take them unawares. Crappy Weapons, God Tier Concealment Haida's excellent Vision Control largely explains why her weapon systems are of poor quality. Were her guns or torpedoes any better, she'd be overpowered. Seriously. Summary: Her Smoke Generator is selfish, but it's at least very flexible. Her Hydroacoustic Search's duration is its best feature. It's amazingly comfortable. Haida is stealthy as all get out.. She has no right being this sneaky, especially when firing her guns from smoke. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : The only way Haida is giving up her crown here would be if another destroyer was added with similar concealment levels with American-style smoke and either Surveillance Radar or a cruiser's Hydroacoustic Search. They'd have to downtier Loyang. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Cobra-Chicken Psychotically aggressive with seemingly little to no sense of self-preservation. Haida Cobra-Chicken will wreck you and poop on your corpse. Unlike the reckless bull-charge of Haida-Moose, Haida Cobra-Chicken's hatred for you is calculated despite appearances. You can think you're safe, hiding in smoke or behind cover, but she'll come and get you. She'll come and get you and you won't see her coming until she's hissing in your face. She doesn't care if you're a destroyer or HMS Belfast. God help you if she migrates into the cap you're contesting. The existence of any enemies on her territory is met with extreme aggression until they're dead or driven off. Haida Cobra-Chicken will abuse her concealment to make seemingly reckless plays to pick off enemies at point blank ranges. She'll knife fight not only with destroyers but cruisers and battleships when opportunities arise. Most of her kills will happen inside of 4km ranges and you'd never expect this level of aggression from something so derpy looking. Enemy radar and hydro is only a temporary deterrent and, like an aggressively swung umbrella, it can only keep enemies safe for so long. Her consumables are used to close the distance unseen, abusing vision to bring hot, poutine-flavoured death to people who dismissed her out of hand. She'll then make her escape to go back to nesting upon her cap circle until the next fool trespasses on what's rightfully hers. The test environment for Haida was about as nightmarish as it gets. All of her balance testing was done amidst the release of the American cruiser line. It was not uncommon for between one third to half of the enemy team having access to Surveillance Radar. If Haida could thrive in that environment, she can make it anywhere. A DeWolf in Sheep's Clothing Haida is a skill-hungry ship. You're going to feel starved for skill points, with so many viable and competitive choices, you're going to feel stretched thin. I played several different builds over the course of play testing and it's the one below that I found worked best for me. Start with Priority Target. This lets you know when it's time to get out of Dodge. Next take the no-brainer, Last Stand at tier two. At tier 3, take Survivabiliy Expert to increase your hit point total. This saved me more times than I care to admit. And then move up to tier 4 to take Concealment Expert. Cuz, duh. From here, it comes down to improving the quality and quantity of her HE direct damage. Basic Fire Training comes first. Haida primarily picks on destroyers and this will help ensure her dominance. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will facilitate doing direct damage to cruisers and battleships. And finally Adrenaline Rush will further increase her DPM. There are lots of other viable skills, but they are, in my opinion, less worth while than the ones selected. Still, I highlighted skills that are reasonable substitutions. Here's why they didn't make my cut: I value information more than I do a better RNGesus roll. So Preventative Maintenance is less valuable to me than Priority Target. Haida can't out turn her turrets, so Expert Marksman is more for comfort than a necessity. Smoke Screen Expert can be a viable choice if you plan to division often with Haida. This will help your allies cuddle in your smoke screen. Haida doesn't set fires well. Demolition Expert can help pad her up to Sims-levels of fire starting, but it's bit of a waste. Vigilance is a good skill if you intend to division often. It also has some value in competitive for team play. Radio Location isn't really necessary if you focus on dominating capture points. Eventually they'll have to come to you. Besides, Haida isn't quite fast enough to put this to the best use. ... and finally... If you have access to the special upgrades for smoke and hydro, then Superintendent isn't necessary. Most games will end by the time you've used 3 charges. Still, for those marathon, nail-biter games, this could be nice to have. So get those special upgrades. Spend that coal! Final Evaluation I have been horribly stressed while following the development of Haida. It was really hard not to let bias take over my wants and wishes for Haida. I'm Canadian. Haida is my ship. It's likely the only Canadian vessel I'm ever going to see in World of Warships. I wanted her to be good. Worse, I recognized that I wanted her to be perceived as a good ship. I was excited about her. I wanted others to be excited along with me, even if I understood this was foolish and damaging to any review I might do. More than anything else, I feared Haida would end up bland and uninteresting. I could stomach her underperforming. If she was fun to play, I could forgive a lot. As someone who writes reviews, this is incredibly dangerous and I hope I've been successful in reigning this in. If you feel yourself cautious about this ship based on this review, then I've been successful. If you're overcome by hype, please, please, please, stop reading this and go find another review of Haida before your money explodes recklessly out of your wallet and into Wargaming's coffers. Haida that we've been given is a destroyer-hunter. She specializes in close-range knife fights where her high damage output overwhelms her opponents in short order. Contrary to American destroyers, she doesn't do this grace of excellent gun handling, phenomenal fire arcs and fast-firing weapons. Instead she relies on stealth to get in close, mitigating the weaknesses of her poor arcs and shell flight times to deliver several high damage hits before her opponent can react. If a fight opens up at range, she can still maintain a DPM advantage over select lolibotes, but her superiority falls away quickly. It's ill advised to attempt to pursue all but the most badly damaged vessels. Her ideal engagement distances are within 7km and she can be absolutely devastating at closer ranges. I cannot stress this enough: Haida's ideal engagement range is at distances that would be suicide to any other vessel. What is most remarkable about her is that she not only pulls it off, she excels in this environment.With her tiny surface detection, her access to a weird creeping Smoke Generator and an even weirder Hydroacoustic Search, she is well suited to not only closing into these ranges and engaging the enemies, but doing so without giving herself away. These close-range engagements are key to her success and not just with enemy destroyers. The closer you are, the easier it is to land hits, not only with her guns but with torpedoes too. Though Haida is limited to just a single torpedo-launcher, her individual fish are incredibly hard hitting. Haida deals nearly as much damage with her four torpedoes as Sims does with eight. Haida lacks the overwhelming alpha strike normally associated with close-range torpedo attacks, however. You can't count on being able to land Devastating Strike on capital ships. There's little chance of her ever nuking anything but a lower-tier battleship down from full health short of a lucky detonation. Thus attempts at these suicide rushes will, at best, cripple a target and leave you open to reprisals. This does work devastatingly well against cruisers, however, provided you can survive the gamut of Hydroacoustic Search and Surveillance Radar pickets that will be trying to sniff you out. Haida is a weird destroyer, borrowing elements from Kidd, Loyang and Perth with just enough Fujin in there to make you blink. I have found Haida to be a wonderful fit for me and I played the absolute Hell out of her during testing with over 150 games in her final iteration. But therein, I must stress caution. I remember my first dozen games played and it was a steep learning curve. Haida and I fought one another until things clicked and I didn't like her during this learning period. For some of the other testers I've spoken to, this kind of connection never happened. Enjoyment in Haida remained elusive for them and it could happen to you too. Your own mileage can (and will inevitably) vary. Would I Recommend? I suspect Haida will be a source of frustration for many players. This will come from three distinct areas. Players that want to like her but can't make her work for them. I sympathize, really. She's not an easy destroyer to play. I suspect there will be a number of people that pick her up, hit the wall and relegate this ship to a port queen. Players that end up with a Haida on their team that doesn't push. For a ship with so many tools available to facilitate contesting capture points and spotting, few things will be as more infuriating as seeing a Haida that plays passively and hides in the back in their own smoke. Players that end up with a well-played Haida on the enemy team. This is the only thing that's going to be worse than a bad Haida on your team is a good one on the enemy team. While the skill floor is high on Haida, in the right hands she's an absolute monster. She's well set up to bait radar, survive and then double back and do all sorts of mean things to your team. Without coordination and/or aggression, putting her down is difficult. It's not going to be fun watching your destroyers melt to preventable losses like sitting in their own smoke. It pays to keep Haida's strengths in mind -- she is not an easy destroyer to play. Please don't take just my word for it. Check out some of the other reviews on HMCS Haida before taking the plunge. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No. Haida doesn't have the raw alpha strike needed to contend with charging bots in Co-Op. You can make her work, but you'd be much better suited with Leningrad, Sims, Blyskawica, Z-39 or any of the tech tree ships. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. In the chaos of Random Battles, Haida shines. She'll earn you lots of credits and experience. There are two downsides to keep in mind, though. There's no Commonwealth tech tree and there's never likely to be any Commonwealth tech tree. Haida has very little utility as a trainer until you max her commander to 19 skill points and farm elite commander XP which can then be distributed elsewhere as needed. She's not easy to use. While a given players' mileage will vary, Haida can seem very lackluster to those unwilling or unable to play aggressively. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. Haida is well suited to Ranked Battles where destroyer duels and selfish plays are heavily rewarded. She will struggle towards the end-game of matches, however, when there are just larger ships left. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. Haida is a ship steeped in history having seen a lot of combat in WW2 and Korea. In addition, she's a museum ship. She's the last of the surviving Tribal-class destroyers and the first Tribal-class and first Canadian vessel added to World of Warships. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. I love this ship. 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 I owe a lot of thanks yous for this one. Chobittsu went above and beyond helping provide artwork for this review. Many of my Canadian readers stepped forward with suggestions and support, eagerly anticipating this review. Finally, Pigeon_of_War at Wargaming has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to help make HMCS Haida a reality. He has been wonderful for listening attentively to feedback from the North American community regarding including Haida in World of Warships. On a more personal note, he's been very attentive at addressing my concerns about this ship during its development. I can't thank him enough. And that's it! I'm done! Haida's published and Hell-month is over. I've been working non-stop since mid-May on reviews. Thunderer, Kronshtadt, Monaghan, Salem, Massachusetts and now Haida -- six weeks straight of reviews with little more than a couple days off. I can finally breathe and enjoy summer. I dunno when the next review will be -- probably not for a fortnight. If you're looking for me, I'll be pool side, soaking up some summer sun before the Canadian snows come again on Tuesday. Thank you all for reading. If you enjoy my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon. P.S. There's no codes or clues in this review! Spare your eyes! Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.
  2. Premium Ship Review #102: Monaghan

    The following is a review of Monaghan, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 8th, 2018. Cue crowd singing: "Monaghan! Monaghaaaan! Monaghaaaaaan! MONAGHAN!" (Mono...! Doh!) Quick Summary: An AA-specialized Farragut that has the option for being outfitted as a gunship or torpedo-specialist. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Can be won through the American Cruiser Collection crates. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.5. May 30th to June 8th, 2018. PROS Option of two different armament load-outs -- a gunship or a torpedo-destroyer. Gunship destroyer has solid DPM on her main battery. Long fuse timers on her AP shells make them excellent at citadelling cruisers at point-blank ranges. Torpedo destroyer has access to quintuple torpedo launchers with tier VIII fish and has a Torpedo Reload Booster too. Good AA power for a tier VI destroyer with access to Defensive Fire. Fast and agile. CONS Horrible ballistic arcs on her 127mm/38 main battery. Very long range on her main battery which increases her surface detection while firing her guns. Gunship destroyer has short ranged torpedo armament. Torpedo destroyer only has two guns mounted on the bow, making her largely unable to defend herself. Her tier VIII torpedoes are slow at 55 knots. Large surface detection range. Does not have access to the American Smoke Generator. (!) Defensive Fire and Torpedo Reload Booster are mutually exclusive. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Monaghan appears deceptively simple on the surface. She's a Farragut-class destroyer -- a destroyer even relatively new players can get access to even with only a week's worth of casual play. This will suffice to familiarize most inexperienced players with the first hull option. The second, however, is more reminiscent of the tier V Japanese Mutsuki. I would not recommend Monaghan for novice players that haven't already got a handle on these two types of game play lest they frustrate themselves. Monaghan's play style is immediately familiar to Veterans. However, her torpedo-specialist build will feel awkward given the size of her surface detection range. Here's the break down of her components: - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Whichever hull option you choose, Monaghan will have either guns or torpedoes. This hurts her overall Firepower performance with her overspecialization leaving her with a rating. Her Vision Control (Refrigerator) and Defense are unremarkable while her Agility is . Her Anti-Air is weird, having the potential to be the at her tier, but only if you specialize deeply into it. Monaghan only really excels in one place, and that's the potential (not the initial value) of her anti-aircraft guns. Most of the time, you're not going to want to bother with touching them anyway. On the whole, the ship rates only a rating in the categories where it matters. Ye be fairly warned, says I. Options Monaghan is two premium ships in one. She has two armament choices between her A-Hull (four guns, eight torpedoes, or "four-eight") and her B-Hull (two guns, ten torpedoes, or "two-ten"). The former is a gunship, with short-ranged torpedoes that best performs as an anti-destroyer role with spotting and harassing of larger ships as secondary role. The latter is a torpedo destroyer, woefully under-armed to perform any kind of interdiction against enemy lolibotes. She can scout as a secondary role, but she must give way to any enemy opposition in between her torpedo reloads. Consumables: Monaghan's consumables are odd. Her Damage Control Party and Engine Boost are standard for an American destroyer, but her Smoke Generator is not. You also have a choice in your 4th slot on which consumable to take between Defensive AA Fire and a Torpedo Reload Booster. Be warned, running this ship can get hella expensive. Normal American Destroyer Smoke Generators have a longer emission time. In addition, their smoke clouds last longer than either Russian, British, French or Japanese destroyers. For whatever reason, Monaghan doesn't get access to the American consumable and has to make use of the ghetto one instead. This has a 20 second emission time and each cloud lasts 81 seconds. By contrast, Farragut's smoke has a 26 second emission time and each cloud lasts for 118 seconds. Boo-urns. Monaghan defaults to a Defensive AA Fire consumable in her fourth slot. This has a 30 second action time and it increases the damage done by her 127mm/38 and 40mm Bofors by a 4x multiplier. You can swap this for a Torpedo Reload Booster. This will reload all of her torpedo tubes in 30 seconds. Camouflage Monaghan comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to repair costs 3% reduced surface detection range 4% increased dispersion of incoming fire Upgrades For Monaghan's upgrades, they're mostly standard for a destroyer. Start with Magazine Modification 1 to reduce your detonation chance. If you like to live dangerously or you intend to be using a Juliet Charlie signal most of the time, then Main Armaments Modification 1 is superior. Take Propulsion Modification 1 in your second slot. Speed is life for a destroyer. In your third slot, you have a choice. Take AA Guns Modification 2 if you intend to specialize her as an anti-aircraft ship. Otherwise, stick with Aiming Systems Modification 1. Finally, take Propulsion Modification 2 to increase Monaghan's acceleration. Firepower A-Hull Main Battery: Four 127mm/38 in four turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. A-Hull Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers mounted amidships B-Hull Main Battery: Two 127mm/38 in two bow-mounted turrets in an A-B superfiring configuration. B-Hull Torpedo Options: As A-Hull above or ten tubes in 2x5 launchers mounted amidships Both versions of Monaghan use the infamous American 127mm/38. It's renown comes from it's excellent rate of fire, gun handling and good shell damage with both AP and HE. Its infamy comes from horrible ballistics and terrible fire setting properties on a per-shell basis. Mongahan's range with these guns borders on ridiculous, rivaling even USS Sims for maximum reach which is a mixed blessing (though primarily a liability). With sufficient numbers of these weapons, Monaghan becomes a fierce prospect in a knife fight. Without, she's a victim. USN 127mm/38 guns are some of the most interesting destroyer weapons in the game. They are plagued by horrible shell flight times which makes them lob shells in "rainbow arcs" at even modest ranges. Yet somehow they are among the best AP shell throwers -- rivaling even Soviet 130mm -- with their ability to devastate cruisers at point blank ranges with citadel hits. These are weapons you need to be in close to make operate efficiently, particularly in an anti-destroyer role. There, with her fast reload, a four-gun Monaghan can shred opponents in short order. Four-Eight Monaghan Monaghan's four-eight configuration is a near-identical load-out to that found upon a C-Hull Farragut. This is the knife fighting variant of Monaghan, designed to excel in close quarters combat. Her short range torpedo launchers necessitate using ambush tactics to put them to use outside of suicidal brawls with larger ships. On paper, four-eight Monaghan is only outgunned by contemporary destroyers Aigle and B-Hull Farragut. In practice, she's an excellent contender for one of the better cap-point bullies at her tier, but this performance falls away quickly when facing higher tiered opponents. Outside of knife fights, this version of Monaghan begins to struggle. The horrible ballistic arc on her 127mm/38s, while facilitating catapulting shells over obstacles like islands, makes gunnery against anything but slow and predictable targets almost impossible at range. Monaghan can seldom take advantage of her phenomenal reach. However, she still must suffer the additional spotting range every time she opens fire. Without Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, her ability to directly damage tier VI and VII battleships is limited to superstructure hits. Even with the skill, she cannot hurt the extremities of tier VIII battleships wiht her HE shells. Her short-range torpedoes are limited to ambush uses which are most easily deployed around islands. Four-Eight Monaghan's torpedoes are limited to the short-ranged, Mark 12 torpedo. With a full concealment build, it is possible (if only just) for Monaghan to launch these weapons from concealment. You have only a 210m window of opportunity to do this and it's best done by sailing just in front of an enemy ship and dropping her fish into their path with the hopes that they sail into them. This tactic is easily foiled by any form of detection consumable, however. This version of Monaghan's armament does not up-tier well. Not only must she contend with other gunships with better DPM and larger hit point pools, some are stealthier besides. In higher-tiered matches, engagement ranges increase and the amount of island cover decreases -- two banes for a close quarters specialist like four-eight Monaghan. Opportunities to use her torpedoes outside of knife fights melt away when she's bottom tier. The prevalence of Surveillance Radar and longer-ranged Hydroacoustic Search further compounds the difficulty of making her short-ranged weapons work. Four-Eight Monaghan peaks early, often having its most dramatic moments when top-tier and early on in matches. Two-Ten Monaghan The Two-Ten Monaghan gives up any pretense of being a gunship destroyer (or even being able to adequately defend itself) to turn into a torpedo specialist. I must stress this is an option -- you may still equip the two quadruple launchers with the short-ranged torpedoes if you wish, but that would be a mistake. Her access to the quintuple launchers firing tier VIII fish is probably the reason most players have any interest in this destroyer in the first place. First, the bad news: if your Two-Ten Monaghan gets tracked down by another destroyer, you're dead. In theory, you may be capable of outfighting a Mutsuki, but that would be a closer battle than anyone would want to reasonably admit. Monaghan sacrifices of any pretense of competency with artillery to get access to the following: Those are Benson's upgraded torpedoes and ten of them between two launchers. While they're pretty meh at tier VIII, they're hella powerful at tier VI. Even one of those slammed down the throat of an enemy lolibote at tier VI and VII will kill them good. Only a scarce few German destroyers (and Aigle) are able to suppress their gag reflex and manage to hold on after getting one of those shoved in their faces. These fish are not without their flaws, however. They are slow -- their 55 knot speed means that it takes almost 62 seconds for the torpedoes to reach the end of their run at 9.2km. If they're spotted anywhere along their course, even at close to their 1.1km detection range, they're quite easy to dodge. In addition, their flood chance is only on the better-side of average for a tier VI destroyer. It's comparable to that found on the IJN torpedo boats. Finally, being quintuple launchers, they have an appalling two-minute reload timer. I strongly recommend looking at Torpedo Armament Expertise for any commander dedicated to sailing Monaghan. All of these flaws can largely be forgiven when you account for Monaghan's Torpedo Reload Booster consumable. Before you get too excited (because you skipped the Options section and didn't read it there first), this isn't the lightning-quick, 8 second torpedo reload consumable found on Japanese destroyers. Monaghan isn't capable of deploying a twenty-torpedo wall of skill. Her consumable accelerates the reload to 30 seconds. Those of you with a touch of evil in them will have realized that this is just long enough for an enemy that got hit by your first wave of torpedoes to go "Oh, shoot, I'm flooding!", activate their Damage Control Party and have it go back on cooldown before your second wave hits. Hilarity and Liquidator medals ensue. That's Monaghan in a nutshell really and why people will want her. You can turn a Farragut-class destroyer into what amounts to a Mutsuki with a consumable that allows her to double-dip fish into unsuspecting enemies sailing in straight lines. As good as this sounds, it barely keeps pace with ships like Fubuki or Shinonome. If you map out the maximum number of torpedoes that can be fired over ten minutes, Monaghan puts out 70 torpedoes compared to 72 of Fubuki and 81 of Shinonome (Fubuki needs another 8 seconds to get out her next 9). Monaghan just doesn't quite keep up with these torpedo specialists, especially given the versatility of three triple launchers and the massive Japanese warheads on their torpedoes. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Of her two builds, the Two-Ten Monaghan is closer to boasting a rating but even that's a long ways off. She's not as good of a torpedo destroyer as Shinonome or T-61 for example. In Monaghan's gunship build, she doesn't stand up to Farragut (B-Hull) and Aigle. Defense Hit Points: 13,900hp Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour: 16mm Remember when destroyer durability was relegated to just hit point totals? It's nice being back at a tier where it's just about hit points again and not wonky armour schemes or Repair Party consumables. Compared to Farragut, Monaghan has a fine ol' slug of hit points. Skills like Suvivability Expert will help, adding another 2,100hp putting her just shy of Gaede. This is especially handy in her Four-Eight build where she's expected to trade hit points in gun duels with enemy destroyers. In the grand scheme of things, though, she's decidedly average for a tier VI destroyer -- neither fragile nor tough. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Monaghan would need another 2,000 hit points to be any kind of contender here. Agility Top Speed: 36.5kts Turning Radius: 560m Rudder Shift Time: 3.4s Maximum Rate of Turn: 8.4º/s Monaghan is almost identical to Farragut in terms of her agility, with only a minor disparity in her rudder shift time to differentiate the two. What defines Monaghan (and Farragut's) agility the most is their small turning radius of 560m. American destroyers have always been incredibly agile with tight turning circles and Monaghan are no different. She's only outdone by HMS Gallant in this regard at her tier. Monaghan also boasts a decent top speed which helps her progress through her turns faster while also giving her the option of dictating engagement distances against slower ships, like Japanese destroyers. Overall, Monaghan handles beautifully. This is arguably one of her best traits and it makes her super-comfortable in knife fights. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Rejoin the British Empire, you rebel. Gallant has a tighter turning circle and nearly as much speed which makes her more nimble by far. Anti-Aircraft Defense A-Hull AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 20mm A-Hull AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 2.0km A-Hull AA DPS per Aura: 22 / 28.8 B-Hull AA Battery Calibers: 127mm/ 40mm / 20mm B-Hull AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km B-Hull AA DPS per Aura: 6 / 49.8 / 21.6 It's time to celebrate mediocrity! Monaghan, regardless of her configuration, has the potential to have the best anti-aircraft firepower at her tier. Lemme preface this by saying that stock, she doesn't have the best anti-aircraft firepower among the tier VI destroyers. That honour belongs to Hatsuharu (of all things) which really puts everything into perspective. Monaghan does take upgrades well -- specifically, she takes Defensive Fire well and, on paper, she looks like she may be a competent anti-aircraft picket ship. With her consumable blazing and every upgrade stuffed down her throat, Monaghan puts out some decent killing power. But at what cost? Let's be real: If you're using the Two-Ten Monaghan, you're going to want Torpedo Reload Booster instead of Defensive Fire in your final consumable slot. Upgrading her for anti-aircraft firepower is a waste of points and upgrades that could be better spent on emphasizing her torpedo performance. It's only the Four-Eight Monaghan where taking Defensive Fire makes any kind of sense and even then, I'm not entirely convinced you wouldn't be better served sticking with the Torpedo Reload Booster anyway. If you do go this route -- if you go full hog and bathe Monaghan in all of her anti-aircraft potential, then you get comparative killing power to a mid-tier British cruiser while Monaghan's Defensive Fire is active. Unlike a British cruiser, you will have the added bonus of a disruption effect. This can be hella-annoying for enemy CVs; especially for inexperienced aircraft carrier commanders not expecting this from a mid-tier destroyer. They may even make the mistake of trying it twice, not recognizing that you're the one scattering her drops. Throughout this, you shouldn't expect to swat down entire waves of aircraft. You're likely only to bruise them unless the squadrons linger. Still, this can be a nice supplementary source of credits and experience if you want to go this way. Just keep in mind what you're giving up. So Monaghan has great AA power -- AA power you're unlikely to ever exercise to its full potential because there are better choices out there. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Don't take Defensive Fire. If you don't, then Hatsuharu is better. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 7.2km Air Detection Range: 3.48km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.29km A-Hull Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.68km B-Hull Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.43km Main Battery Firing Range: 12.51km Much ado has been made that Monaghan has better surface detection range than the lead of her class, Farragut. This is accurate. It's entirely irrelevant, mind you, but it is accurate. Monaghan is a total cow when it comes to being stealthy which is really not what you want to be when you're a gunship that specializes in close-range knife fights. It's even less desirable in a torpedo-destroyer that can scarcely defend itself from a Japanese destroyer, never mind a competently played hunter. While Monaghan is able to stealth fire her fish in both configurations, her large detection range is a nuisance. Her guns make it worse. Her main battery range is an alarming 12.51km but most of this range is already useless given the horrible shell flight times. So not only do you have useless range, it also allows Monaghan to be spotted from a long ways away when she has to pull the trigger. Where this gets just downright idiotic is that this range weakness compounds if you have the audacity to try and specialize Monaghan towards her AA power -- y'know, one of the selling features of the ship? Yeah, tacking-on Advanced Fire Training to boost the range of your AA power also boosts her 127mm/38 guns to have a reach of 15km. So she's a stupid, fat cow with a bullhorn screaming at the Reds to shoot at her. And for whatever reason, Monaghan doesn't even get access to the improved American Smoke Generator consumable. Instead she has to make do with the same one found on Soviet, British, French and Japanese destroyers. This means less smoke made and your smoke clouds don't last nearly as long as other American destroyers -- because reasons. Ugh. Monaghan's only saving grace is that she's not German. Or tier VII. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She needs to get her surface detection below 6km with upgrades. Genuine Bona Fide Electrified Six-Tier Monoghan There are two builds to consider with Monaghan. First off, though, a caution: A full anti-aircraft build just generally isn't worth it for this destroyer. Her Two-Ten hull doesn't have enough AA DPS situated in her 127mm/38s to be worth upgrading with Manual Fire Control for AA Guns and Advanced Fire Training is a loser-skill option that will only make it easier for enemy ships to spot you when you're engaged in gunnery battles which is bad news for both hull types. For both builds, start with Priority Target and then pick up Last Stand at tier 2. Tier 3 is where all of the choice begins and where the two ships diverge. For the Two-Ten Monaghan, take Torpedo Armament Expertise to accelerate your reload. The Four-Eight Monaghan should look at Survivability Expert or Basic Fire Training for their first tier 3 skill. Grab Concealment Expert at tier 4 next for both builds. For your next nine skill points, you're spoiled for choice. The Four-Eight Monaghan should look towards skills that help with gunnery. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will help damage battleships. So too will Demolition Expert. However, Superintendent is very useful for the extra smoke charge which, in long games, will allow you to sit still and bombard enemies with less worry about being damaged. With any points leftover, take Adrenaline Rush or wherever you wish. The Two-Ten Monaghan should look to skills like Survivability Expert, and Superintendent as a matter of course. Any leftover points can go where the player wishes, though I would highly recommend trying to squeeze in Radio Location so you can be where other destroyers aren't. Final Evaluation Harekaze 2.0 this is not. You're getting the choice of playing a Mutsuki or 4/5ths of a Farragut How many people use the C-Hull on their American DDs anyway? Am I the only one that avoids it? Two different armament options!? Sign me up! That was my initial thought when I heard that Monaghan could swap between two very different builds. This got me all kinds of excited. I loved the change in game play styles offered when you can equip different weapon types. This is part of what makes Harekaze and Mogami so much fun, in my opinion. Yet for whatever reason, Monaghan just hit a sour note with me. I never found my earlier excitement stoked further with compelling game play. I find this incredibly strange given the enjoyment that can be found in torpedo destroyers and gunships respectively. It took me a while, but I think the issue that makes me feel 'meh' (foreshadowing!) about Monaghan is her surface detection range. I guess the Japanese destroyers have spoiled me. If I'm running with so few guns, I want to get close to ensure torpedo hits. But Monaghan's too fat to get that close and unlike the higher tiered American destroyers, she doesn't have the self defense armament to protect herself if she gets spotted by a picket ship. Once you factor in the slow running speed of her torpedoes, this extra launch distance really makes landing those hits difficult. Benson, with Concealment Modification 1 can get a whole 500m closer to fire off her fish and she's generally not worried if she's lit by another destroyer beforehand. As for her Four-Eight hull, well -- I have never found the C-Hull variants of the American destroyers particularly compelling. Give me the choice between more dakka versus surface ships or more dakka versus planes, I am going to choose the former every time. So Four-Eight Monaghan feels just under-gunned for me. Her extra concealment over Farragut helps a bit here -- I mean, you can choose to turn away, rather than engage some of the bigger, scarier boats but I'm still left wanting more. Oh well. Monaghan isn't terrible, she's just not for me. The variety offered by this ship is a good thing. Would I Recommend? This isn't a ship I would get for myself. If I won it in a crate, hooray! It would still most likely sit in my port unused barring use in some occasional Daily Mission. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Monaghan can spit out a lot of damage very quickly with her massive torpedo walls. So long as you can survive closing with bots, you should be able to derp fish at point blank range up their nose and score some big damage in Co-Op. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. Monaghan makes a great trainer for either your gunship destroyer captains or if you've specialized some of your high tier American destroyers commanders to emphasize throwing torpedoes instead. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Monaghan doesn't have a competitive edge over ships like Shinonome, T-61 or Aigle. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. Monaghan earned 12 battle stars in her service during WW2, including fighting at Pearl Harbour. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? No. This one surprised me, but I just couldn't get into this ship. You would think with two hull options, the variety would appeal, but we just never clicked, Monaghan and I. Your mileage may vary, though. 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 This took longer than I had planned. I caught the summer flu that's been going around locally and that cost me a few days. My next review will be USS Salem, the tier X American cruiser. Expect it around the week of June 18th. Thank you all for reading. If you enjoy my work and find it useful, please consider sponsoring me on Patreon. Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.
  3. EEK I Saw A Mouse

    So I decided to re buy the Kagero yesterday to use for my slowly progressing T8 Campaigns. I was moving pretty good in the campaigns but it really is the best T8 DD out there. I had not had the ship in my tray for at least a year. I found a 10 point captain and put him on it, a little camo and a couple of flags and went for a cruise in random figuring I would get a nice 6/7/8 or 7/8/9 battle. No luck I of 4 T8s in a 8/9/10 battle with 5 radar boats on the other side. As one of two DDs I decide to move out slow so I have Cruiser coverage. I look at the Chat and I see; Hey DD "go cap A" DD "get In A" and I'm thinking WTH they have radar and I have like at 10k torp range against 10k radar. I thinking of a nice way to respond, when I see some one say in Chat" there are 5 radar boats on the other side and maybe he is being a little cautious". Now I'm wondering; A) every word and spelled right, B) that was fast, and C) very correct assumption. Then I see who it is ..... Little White Mouse in a Massachusetts. Now i am really worried I will die quick or smoke early or really screw up and so it goes all in front of LWM, i will most likely miss torps, fail to cap, won't spot hardly anything and find myself too far a head with everyone heading the other way. Thinking out loud to myself don't let me screw up more, I try to stay alive, spot and move to support the team. I am totally spotting and land 2 shells, no torps in like 7 minutes. Then as we are losing and the remaining our 8 team members are finally fighting together, two torp hits, 1 shell and a ship dead. OK right, now i am just a low scorer not a loser right( your opinion might differ) but i am watching the chat, the team is focusing, LWM is fighting and people are working together when I get one on one with the last DD on their side who has twice as much life as me....ITS OVER right im a dead man. WAIT no its not, we are up, dodge, fire ,turn, we are down, dodge, fire, repair, turn , wait, wait, wait smoke.....WTH he is charging me at 5k with deep water torps and I am in Kagero with 4k HP left...torps away and BOOM. IM ALIVE! Say it with me" IM ALIVE!.................. I feel like Bill Murry in "SCROGGED". But we are losing. I stepped up fought hard did not fail my team or LWM and we are losing again with 6 minutes to go, so I spot, we are ahead. No we are behind, No we are ahead, we capped. OMG 3 minutes left, Im spotting chasing the BBS, spot, spot, finish them....Come on. OH crap we won. my 40,000 damage and two kills. I did not let mouse down, I held the line and finished one ship and fought another to destruction. I have to wonder why i was scared of seeing a little white mouse, when after all she was on my team. was I trying to impress a girl? or just trying to live up to expectations? or was it more like The Shepard's Prayer( Allen Shepard) 'Lord Don't Let Me Screw Up" Thanks Mouse
  4. Jingles posted this today: Random chance that Jingles does this just a few days after @LittleWhiteMouse did her Thunderer review? I think not.
  5. Premium Ship Review: Z-39

    The following is a review of Z-39, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of May 13th, 2018. (Still) Not T-61. Quick Summary: An under-armed tier VIII destroyer crammed in at tier VII but it kept it's tier VIII bonuses. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.4 to 0.7.4.1, May 4th to 13th, 2018. PROS Massive hit point pool of 19,600hp. Large caliber HE shell with excellent fire chance per hit and good penetration potential. Good AP shell penetration for a destroyer. Decent personal AA defense. Access to Hydoracoustic Search like all German Destroyers. With upgrades, she's one of the stealthiest destroyers at tier VII. Has several tier VIII destroyer bonuses, including: 5th upgrade slot. Improved fire resistance coefficient. Longer range and duration time of her Hydroacoustic Search Longer smoke duration for her Smoke Generator CONS Horrible DPM output, especially with HE shells against destroyers. Her torpedoes don't hit very hard. AA DPS is short ranged and restricted to fragile small & medium caliber AA guns. Feels very clumsy with a large turning circle and modest top speed. Enormous aerial detection range of over 4km. Stuck with a German Smoke Generator with their reduced smoke duration times. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Z-39 is a German destroyer with training wheels. She has excellent concealment and an enormous hit point pool -- two traits that will make her much more forgiving in the hands of inexperienced commanders. The only hiccough here is her clumsy handling, but her Hydroacoustic Search should ease dealing with any manoeuvrability issues in regards to torpedoes. For experts, Z-39 is a German destroyer but with surprisingly good (!) concealment for her tier. This opens up all sorts of game play opportunities not normally available to German DDs which she can use and abuse to great effect. Her systems break down as follows: - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Z-39 has the concealment and the durability at her tier which is all kinds of crazy. Her firepower is is on the low side of saved only by the large caliber of her guns which opens up gunnery possibilities not normally available to destroyers. Otherwise, it would be . Her anti aircraft defense is unremarkable. Her handling is about as as you would expect for a large, German destroyer and compares poorly to her contemporaries. What we have with Z-39 is a destroyer that has the ability to control engagements with its superior concealment and detection tools and her ability to endure punishment far greater than normally possible for a tier VII destroyer. This helps make up for her mediocre firepower. Note that she's not fast or agile enough to unilaterally dictate engagement distances. Options Consumables: There are two consumables worth noting on Z-39. Despite being a tier VII destroyer, Z-39 has tier VIII versions of these consumables. German Smoke Generators produce individual clouds that do not last as long as other nations. For tier VII German destroyers each cloud lasts 65s seconds. On Z-39, her smoke lasts 69 seconds. This is still less than the standard at tier VII which is 85 seconds for most destroyers and 121 seconds for American DDs. Once again, Z-39's Hydroacoustic Search has improved duration and range over her tier VII counterpart. Her hydro picks up torpedoes from 3.12km (up from 2.97km) and ships at 4.44km (up from 4.2km). Camouflage Z-39 comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to repair costs, 3% reduced surface detection range and increases dispersion of incoming fire by 4% Upgrades The big surprise for Z-39 is that she has access to a 5th upgrade slot at tier VII. In your first slot take Magazine Modification 1. You're a destroyer with a lot of hit points. Don't let a sudden detonation undermine that. Alternatively, if you like to live dangerously, you can take Main Armaments Modification 1. If you have access to it, the special upgrade Hydracoustic Search Modification 1 is optimal for your second slot. Without it, take Propulsion Modification 1. Speed is life for a destroyer. Aiming System Modification 1 is best for your third slot. However, the special upgrade Smoke Generator Modification 1 is also a good choice if available. Take Propulsion Modification 2 in your fourth slot for more get-up-and-go when parked in your smoke. And finally, round things off with Concealment Modification 1. Firepower Main Battery: Four 150mm rifles in 3 turrets with a twin-gun turret on the bow and X-Y turrets in single, superfiring mounts. Torpedo Armament: Eight torpedoes in 2x4 launchers mounted down the center line. Z-39's gunnery is weird. She uses enormous 150mm rifles -- the largest weapons currently found on destroyers. Her guns are also laid out in a strange arrangement with a 2-1-1, A-X-Y superfiring layout. None of this makes her gunnery feel novel, however, and it's often a struggle to make Z-39's artillery perform as needed. The DPM Deficit The biggest obstacle with getting Z-39 to perform is overcoming the challenges in getting her damage numbers up. While she does boast the largest guns among destroyers at her tier, they are slow firing with a 7.5 second reload time. Unlike Blyskawica which also shares a long, 6.5 second reload, she doesn't have a lot gun barrels with a mere four. These also have pretty sluggish gun handling for a destroyer and their large size precludes them from maximizing the effects of Expert Marksman. Combine this with impotent performance of her HE damage for a large-caliber gun and she cannot keep pace with the throughput of the other destroyers. She is the worst for potential HE DPM and third from the bottom for AP DPM. Embarrassingly, even Shitarsuyu puts out more HE shell damage than Z-39. This is made worse in that Z-39's guns cannot have their rate of fire upgraded with Basic Fire Training which only widens the gap further. Her fire setting ability is similarly balls, even though she has a great fire chance per shell. She just doesn't throw enough munitions downfield fast enough to make her particularly good at taxing Damage Control Parties to make multiple fires stick. If it weren't for her beefy hit point pool, taking this ship into a fight with enemy destroyers would be a fool's errand. Z-39's firepower woes can't be blamed on her gun angles, at least. They're not great, but they're not terrible. Stickin' It In Z-39's guns aren't though. While they lack in a knife fight, Z-39's guns are not missing out in penetration potential. Her AP shells boast up to 100mm of penetration up to ranges just shy of 10km. Most other destroyers can scarcely manage that at 5km to 7km. The comparison gets better with HE shells. While German destroyers do not enjoy the 1/4 HE pen found on German battleships and cruisers, Z-39 still fares better than her contemporaries. Their large-caliber can be upgraded with the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells commander skill to damage the extremities of any ship she encounters. Most destroyers are unable to hurt the bow, deck and stern of tier VIII+ battleships even with this skill. Z-39 has a larger range of targets she can directly damage with the right upgrade choice. Z-39 may not output damage as quickly as other lolibotes, she's better equipped to stack damage reliably against a larger number of targets. At Least She's Not Minsk Z-39's torpedoes are as unexciting as her guns. However, given the spotty torpedo performance of the other destroyers at tier VII, having some mediocre workhorse torpedoes isn't a bad thing. Indeed, Z-39's fish have a lot going for them. They have good range unlike the painfully short reach of Minsk or one of the two armaments for Sims. She uses quadruple launchers instead of the triples like Blyskawica. She has two launchers instead of the single launcher found on Cossack. They're fast too, unlike the sluggish wallow of those found on Mahan, and the second armament for Sims. The only area where Z-39's torpedoes are truly found wanting is their hitting power. At 14,400 damage per, they're simply uninspiring. And that well describes her torpedoes. A much more meaty 16k damage per hit would really make these weapons stand out. As it is, they're functional but they're not show stoppers. They're sufficient unto the task and nothing more. Summary: Her guns are pretty terrible for taking on enemy destroyers but alright for padding a bit of damage on anything else. This said, don't be shy of slapping lolibotes around with them. Her torpedoes are okay. Not bad. Not great. Just okay Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Z-39 only escaped a evaluation because Sims & Minsk exist and I'm still not entirely convinced that Z-39's firepower bests either one of them. Defense Hit Points: 19,600hp Maximum Protection: 30mm faceplate on A-turret Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour: 19mm Destroyer defense and durability is pretty easy to measure. It really boils down to the following three questions: Does the ship have any weird durability related consumables like Repair Party? Does the ship have any weird superfluous hull armour that any of the other destroyers lack? How many hit points does it have in comparison to the other destroyers at her tier? The answers are no, no and lots more than those puny, wimpy boats. Z-39 is a thunderchunker that, with Survivability Expert, can boast nearly 10,000 more hit points than some of its tier VII competitors (to say nothing of tier V and VI DDs). This more than makes up for the DPM deficit on her main battery guns and allows her to easily bully almost any other same-tier destroyer. On top of this, some of those tier VIII bonuses carried on here. Datamining revealed that Z-39 kept her improved fire resistance coefficient. This is really a minor bonus all told, but it does mean that she comes baked in with 6% improved fire resistance over other tier VII destroyer. It is a good day to be giant man. Hit Point totals of tier VII destroyers, including the WiP HMS Cossack. Note the bar in purple represents the 2,450hp gained through using the commander skill, Survivability Expert. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Something would have to be released with weird (better) hull armour plating, a Repair Party or more hit points than Z-39. Agility Top Speed: 36.0 knots Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 4.5s Maximum Rate of Turn: 7.0º/s While Z-39's agility is her worst quality, I rate it as less of a weakness than her temperamental main battery firepower. Still, it would be a mistake to underestimate the impacts here. Z-39 isn't just slow for a tier VII destroyer, she's slow for a destroyer within her Matchmaking spread. Her Engine Boost consumable should be reserved for getting her out of the trouble. She'll struggle to dictate engagement distances otherwise. Her turning radius is appalling for a destroyer. Combined with her modest top speed, this makes her really sluggish in a turn. Just to make things worse, her gun traverse is only 1.0º/s faster than her maximum rotation speed. This makes her gun handling feel even worse and you'll be reaching for your rudder to help with bringing your guns on target. Expert Marksman can only correct this by 0.7º/s owing to the larger caliber of Z-39's guns. Z-39 handles like a bus. It's a good thing she has Hydroacoustic Search to give her more time to prep for torpedo beats. Without it, she'd be a blind bus. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : At a minimum, a 38 knot top speed to at least bring her up over the average for a tier VII destroyer. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 37mm / 20mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 3.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 46.4 / 20.4 While not up to American (or later Soviet) destroyer standards, Z-39 has an impressive anti-aircraft suite. This is largely owing to the excellent performance of the twin 37mm Flak LM/42 mounts of which Z-39 boasts four. This destroyer can put out a surprising amount of AA DPS into the air, which is a welcome change from most DDs which are generally little more than victims to air predation. There are a couple of downsides to Z-39's AA protection, however: First, Z-39 has an enormous aerial detection range of 4.38km. This outstrips the range of her AA gunners by 700m. While this does mean that you can keep Z-39's AA defenses active without worrying about giving away her position, it does mean she gets spotted by aircraft without any ability to retaliate if her range isn't upgraded with AA Guns Modification 2 or Advanced Fire Training. Secondly, Z-39's entire AA defense is built around small and medium caliber AA guns which are excessively fragile, particularly when she takes HE damage. Only a few HE strikes are needed to end her AA defense entirely. Overall, it's not worth specializing into AA firepower with Z-39. At best, you can hope to shoot down a couple of enterprising aircraft in the opening stages of the match, particularly if they're lower tiered planes. But it would be a mistake to expect anything more from her defenses. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Dual purpose guns are a must to form a backbone of longer range AA defense. Refrigerator Surface Detection Range: 7.74 km Air Detection Range: 4.38 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.08km Concealment when Firing in Smoke: 3.31km The only thing keeping Z-39 from dominating Vision Control at tier VII is the looming threat of HMS Cossack. What makes Z-39 so powerful is the combination of her enormous hit point pool and concealment. Thanks to access to her 5th upgrade slot where she can install Concealment Modification 1, Z-39 is one of the stealthiest tier VII destroyers in the game. The only destroyers that are more stealthy are Shirtatsuyu with a 5.8km surface detection range and the still-under-development HMS Cossack with a 5.7km surface detection range when each ship is fully upgraded. This 400m gap means less when you account for Z-39's Hydroacoustic Search consumable. This allows her to all but dominate vision where smoke and torpedoes are concerned. She again only comes up second with HMS Cossack's own hydro which, while not as long ranged, is long-lasting. It's a close competition between these two premiums for dominance in vision control at tier VII and Z-39 will hold primacy at least until HMS Cossack's release. A word of caution for all this praise, however. As nice as Z-39's concealment is when she's top tier, it falls apart when she's not. Every single tier VIII and IX destroyer has better surface detection than Z-39 with the exception of the German and Soviet tuba-players and lolibotes. Unlike the lower tiered boats that can out spot you, just about all of these will fight back and embarrass you. So this advantage goes right out the window. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Cossack (and possibly Haida's) release. From A to Z Optional Skills in green & purple. There's a bit of flexibility when it comes to choosing Z-39's skills. However, you want to begin with a solid foundation. Feel free to try out some builds of your own with ShipComrade's Skill Calculator. Start with Priority Target. You're still a destroyer, so Last Stand is of paramount importance. Take Survivability Expert at tier 3 to bump up your hit points. And finally take Concealment Expert at tier 4. I highly recommend taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells as your fifth skill -- this opens up a large range of gunnery targets for Z-39, including all cruisers and battleships at tier VIII+. You can opt out of doing this if you wish, but her damage potential will suffer. For optional skills, I recommend Adrenaline Rush and Superintendent to round out your last two skill choices, but you have options here depending on what role you envision your destroyer using. If you wish to try to tax the Damage Control Party of enemy ships, then dropping IFHE for Demolition Expert and Torpedo Armament Expertise is a viable option. I would round this out with Superintendent for added smoke. Vigilance is a more passive skill choice but your battleships will thank you for the increased torpedo detection range you will provide, especially when your Hydroacoustic Search is active. Expert Marksman is, overall, a weak choice but it will increase the comfort of handling Z-39 while under manoeuvres. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: For such a wet-noodle when it comes to firepower, Z-39 doesn't struggle to stack damage. There's something to be said about being the toughest little tyke in the kiddy pool. The bonuses she kept on from her time as a tier VIII test ship make her feel just that little bit more special. As far as gimmicks go, this is more refreshing than simply seeing a Repair Party or Torpedo Reload Booster used to correct an under-performing ship. Stealth and size both? Just who the Hell does she think she is? HMS Conqueror? I was genuinely shocked at how well this destroyer plays. It really surprised me. I took one look at her four 150mm guns with their odd placement and slow traverse and dismissed her something I wouldn't enjoy playing. It seemed like a distraction until something better (namely T-61) came. Suffice to say, Z-39 changed my opinion. and I'm glad she has. Let me add a few sobering words -- Z-39 is amazing when top-tier but her luster fades when facing higher tiered ships. It's common for a vessel to lose a bit of flair when Matchmaker slaps you around. However, Z-39's advantages -- namely concealment and her hit point total, don't amount too much when facing higher tiered ships. The stealth that makes her remarkable at tier VII is on the poor side for a tier VIII ship. Her beefy hit point total more than makes up for her ... well, let me be kind in saying "limp" main battery performance amounts to little when dueling with ships with enough hit points to challenge her. There's a reason, after all, that Wargaming elected to drop her from tier VIII to tier VII. Z-39 brings up the question of power creep. She's arguably one of (if not the) best destroyers at her tier. When she can guarantee to receive protected Matchmaking, such as in Ranked Battles, it's hard to argue against her merits. On the one hand, this is welcome for all the wrong reasons: the German destroyer tech tree has been utterly lacking in any form of premium for training purposes. I'm glad to see this gap filled. On the other hand, I am looking at Blyskawica with an air of pity as she becomes just that much less special. Z-39 herself is going to be power creeped with HMS Cossack (and possibly HMCS Haida) coming on the horizon which threaten to undermine her vision control dominance. This begs the question on how stable the meta is at tier VII for destroyers. Tier VII has long been red-headed step child tier for lolibotes. Like most vessels, destroyers tend to get larger as you climb in tiers and their surface detection balloons as they go. At tier VIII this gets mitigated by the Concealment System Modification 1 upgrade. With concealment being such an integral aspect of so many destroyers, their tier VII brethren suffer greatly when up-tiered. To this end, I loathe the 5th module upgrade slot for creating this artificial performance cliff. It doesn't just affect destroyers but cruisers and (to a lesser degree) battleships. So while Z-39 is a good tier VII destroyer, destroyers at tier VII are generally not good unless top-tier. This must moderate my opinion somewhat and I caution anyone new to the game that is as yet unaware of this stigma. Would I Recommend? I think the most relevant question would be if Z-39 is worth it or should a player wait for T-61, the other German premium destroyer. T-61 remains a Work in Progress -- subject to change if Wargaming so wishes while Z-39 is finalized in her current form. The two destroyers are very different beasts. As I write this, T-61 is the best destroyer at tier VI and not by a small margin. She's a torpedo destroyer primarily, but her guns aren't terrible. What makes her so memorable is her lack of overall weaknesses and the fast reload on her heavy torpedo armament. T-61 currently up-tiers better than Z-39, only feeling uncomfortable when she faces tier VIII opponents. Naturally, play style preferences may dictate one ship being preferable over the other, but in terms of relative power level, Z-39 is comparable to T-61, tier for tier. It's all a matter of personal choice. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Destroyers are a bit of an odd duck in PVE modes. Alpha strike and concealment are of paramount importance as the bots always know where you are (though they won't fire at you until you're spotted). Z-39 has the hit points to tough out attacks and her quad torpedo launchers hit hard enough to best most bots. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. Z-39 is a thug. Top tier, it doesn't feel fair going up against enemy DDs. She's tough enough to be a threat to any destroyer within her matchmaking spread. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. The combination of stealth, Hydroacoustic Search and deep health reserves makes Z-39 a solid contender for competitive modes. The only down sides, really, are her poor striking power. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. No. Z-39 was built in steel and served during WW2. Her career didn't see any action against enemy surface ships, however, which kinda limits her appeal. She did survive the war and ended up serving briefly with the United States and France. For Fun Factor Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. She's a bully with all the tools you could ever want in a German destroyer. 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 This is Premium Ship Review number 99. I'm pretty sure I know what number 100 will be. It's amazing to me that I'm reaching this number at all, especially given the hurdles on getting here. I have a pretty good idea on what number 100 is going to be given the number of premiums Wargaming has dropped on my lap for testing and the small windows I have to review them. The next review should be up within the next week and a half. I would like to thank my patrons on Patreon for their continued support. Their contributions help make putting time into these reviews possible. Even the small donations make a world of difference, so thanks to everyone that tosses in even a few bucks. Thank you all for reading! Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews. For a list of my other reviews, please visit this thread. Destroyers and Cruisers are linked on post #2. Battleships and Aircraft Carriers are on post #3.
  6. The following is a review of Duca degli Abruzzi, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of April 27th, 2018. The markings on her bow are caution stripes: "Danger, contents under pressure and may explode if penetrated". Quick Summary: A fast but fragile light cruiser that lacks in hitting power. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.2 to 0.7.4. March 1st through April 27th, 2018. PROS: Extended waterline belt armour of 30mm allows her to pull off some surprising close-range bounces. Decent anti-torpedo protection for a cruiser. Her torpedoes have excellent range of 12km. Very fast with a top speed of 35 knots. Good rate of turn of over 6.3º/s. Decent stock 11.2km surface detection range. Abruzzi has access to both Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive AA Fire at the same time. Access to the Repair Party consumable (!). CONS Enormous, vulnerable citadel sitting high over the water's surface. She eats citadels from battleships for days. I actually have some live footage of Abruzzi gobbling up a bowl full of citadel hits. Seriously, just when you think she couldn't possibly pack in another citadel hit, she goes and surprises you. Small main battery for a tier VII cruiser with only ten 152mm rifles with mediocre DPM. Low AP shell penetration values. Poor fire chance on her HE shells making her incredibly dependent on a commander with at least 10 to 14 skill points to inflict reasonable amounts of damage. Her torpedoes are very slow at 51 knots and she doesn't have enough of them. Short of having access to Defensive Fire, her AA firepower and range are both terrible. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Welcome to Hell. Duca degli Abruzzi is not a ship for inexperienced commanders. Owing to her fragility and poor attack power, she's going to punish novices. Veterans who know how to use and abuse concealment, cover and WASD hax can generate some decent numbers, but these tricks will only save you until a battleship casually swats you for all of your health. While Abruzzi can perform, it's a lot of (unnecessary) work. Her components break down as follows: - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship Her guns under perform and so do her torpedoes. She's vulnerable as all get out to sudden deletion if a battleship even looks at her. Abruzzi's AA firepower is terrible, even with Defensive Fire. Her only good points are her agility and her Repair Party consumable, but the latter is shackled to a citadel that explodes if you look at it funny. She's fast and she has decent handling -- not the best at her tier, but one of the best overall. Her concealment and vision control (Refrigerator) is okay but she's nowhere near the best at it within her tier. Candy-cane striping won't save this ship. Options One of the defining characteristics of the Italian cruisers is their consumables. Other cruisers are forced to choose between Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive Fire, if they're given a choice at all. Abruzzi and d'Aosta have access to both at the same time, giving them more flexibility, but at the cost of lacking any form of specialization, such as extra range on German Hydroacoustic Search or an extra charge of American Defensive Fire. However, Abruzzi must choose between Defensive AA Fire and her Spotter Aircraft which is an uncomfortable choice. Unlike most tier VII cruisers, she has access to Repair Party. Overall, Abruzzi's options are "safe". They're convenient rather than competitive, differing from the game-winning combinations of Smoke Generator and Radar of Belfast, for example. Consumables: Abruzzi has access to four consumable slots. Abruzzi's Damage Control Party is standard. Hydroacoustic Search is also standard in her second slot. or In her third slot, you must choose between Defensive Fire and a Spotter Aircraft. Abruzzi rounds out her consumables with Repair Party. This is a tier IX cruiser version of the consumable, healing back up to 14% of her maximum health over 28 seconds. She can queue up 33% of damage to her citadel, 50% of any penetrating hits and 100% of flooding, fire, ram and over penetration damage. Camouflage: Abruzzi uses Type 10 Camouflage. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to repair costs, 3% reduced surface detection range and increases dispersion of incoming fire by 4% Upgrades: Abruzzi has four upgrade slots with standard cruiser options. There are no Special Upgrades worth considering for this ship. Take Main Armaments Modification 1 for your first slot. or or Damage Control Modification 1 for your second slot. Alternatively, Steering Gears Modification 1 is a good choice given how frequently her rudder breaks. It's almost chronic with this ship. If you have access to Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 and no better ship to put it on, it's not out of place here. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal for your third slot. Don't bother with AA Guns Modification 2 -- you can't salvage her AA power. or Steering Gears Modification 2 is arguably the best of the fourth-slot options. Alternatively, if you want to improve her mitigation of fire damage for the sake of maximizing your Repair Party consumable, you may take Damage Control Modification 2. Offense Primary Battery: Ten 152mm naval rifles in a 3-2-2-3, A-B-X-Y arrangement. Secondary Battery: Eight 100mm guns in 4x2 turrets with one facing forward and the other backward on each side. Torpedo Launchers: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers with one to each side between the funnels. Abruzzi's guns are terrible. Her AP shells have bad penetration performance. Her HE shells are anemic with low damage and low fire chance. She only has 10 guns compared to the 12 guns found on all other tier VII light cruisers. She does not have an accelerated reload / normalization / autobounce angles to facilitate doing damage despite these disparities. Her fire arcs are bad. Generally speaking for mid-tier cruisers, 152mm guns are the best gun caliber in the game currently. They sit in this wonderful spot where taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells gives them tremendous damage output. While this skill is considered mandatory, their high explosive (HE) shells benefit so much from it that the four point cost seems a bargain. With the boosted penetration provided by this skill, they can spam HE against any targets they encounter and gradually tear them apart. Though they pay for this bonus with a slight dip in fire-setting efficiency, the trade off is largely considered worthwhile to emphasize their enormous damage-per-minute (DPM) potential. Would that Abruzzi also benefited. Abruzzi's fire angles are almost amazing, but her X-Turret ruins everything. She effectively turns Abruzzi into an 8-gun cruiser most of the time. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) should still be considered mandatory for Abruzzi. And yes, she does enjoy the same spike in penetration power which lets her hammer tier VIII and IX cruisers and capital ships for damage with this skill. However, she does not have the DPM of her contemporaries. Abruzzi's damage per shell is comparable and so is her rate of fire but she has less guns. Abruzzi's base fire chance per shell is also terrible and IFHE just makes it appalling. She sets less fires on average than the other tier VII cruisers which will light half again as many as Abruzzi will over time. The damage-stack from these damage-over-time effects are critical for burning down larger enemies and Abruzzi is left wanting in this regard. This might not be terrible if her AP shells were more reliable, but they're not. They suck, frankly. Unlike German cruisers which also suffer from anemic HE shells, Abruzzi does not have improved AP damage to compensate. Abruzzi's AP rounds are run of the mill, comparable in damage to Belfast's shells but with even worse penetration. Seriously. Abruzzi has the worst AP penetration of any of the 152mm light cruisers at tier VII+. They're even worse than the penetration values on Duca d'Aosta's guns at tier VI. For whatever reason, Abruzzi's AP shells have horrible shell drag and lower Krupp value than the other Italian premium cruiser. You're going to have to rely on HE shells to do the heavy lifting. Abruzzi is largely incapable of landing citadel damage against enemy cruisers at ranges at 9km and beyond. Source: proships.ru/stat/ships/ Which brings us back to how awful her HE shells are. There's nothing redeemable about these weapons at all. Bad damage. Bad rotation speed. Bad fire setting. You're going to need a 14pt commander (with Concealment Expert and IFHE) just to make her gunnery not be a painful sack of [edited]. The cardinal sin of Abruzzi's main battery armament, however, is their poor fire angles -- especially on X turret. You're already in the hole when it comes to DPM races and the wonky arc of fire on X-turret is just the king pisser. However, anytime you open fire with X-turret (or even with Y-turret), you open yourself up to taking massive amounts of damage in reprisals and this will quickly spell the end of your ship. And don't think your torpedoes can save you... While Abruzzi's guns are objectively worse than Duca d'Aosta, at least they both share the same torpedo armament. These are super long ranged (for a cruiser) and super slow (for anyone). With only a pair of triple launchers, they don't hit especially hard and short of point blank launches, it's difficult to land more than a single hit on anything. In short, her torpedoes aren't going to save her damage output. They reload reasonably fast, so drop them whenever you can safely. You never know -- you might actually hit something at long range. Summary: ThoughAbruzzi is a 10-gun cruiser, she's effectively an 8-gun cruiser because of her poor fire arc on X-turret. Given the poor performance of AP shells and bad arcs, she's functionally worse than Duca d'Aosta at tier VI most of the the time. Her torpedoes are water mines. Drop them regularly in the vague direction of the enemy and cross your fingers. You may get lucky. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : My vote would be to give her 1/4 HE penetration. This would free her up from being shackled to IFHE which would also give her an artificial boost to her fire chance. Defense Hit Points: 32,500 Maximum Citadel Protection: 30mm + 130mm Minimum Bow, Deck & Stern Armour: 16mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 16% Allow me to illustrate Abruzzi's single biggest issue in regards to her survivability: At least she can't be citadelled by HE shells. The entire thing is internal. That's her citadel. It runs half the length of the ship. It sits high over the water line. There's not enough armour to keep enemy AP shells out but more than enough to make sure that when they penetrate, they stay in. Abruzzi's armour scheme is designed to foil AP shells from other cruisers and, to it's credit, it doesn't do a terrible job at this. At close range, provided you can keep the ship angled, your machine spaces and magazines are proof against AP fire from just about any cruiser you may encounter. This is largely due to her extended waterline belt, which is 30mm thick and cannot be overmatched by anything a cruiser will throw at you. In order to take advantage of this, though, Abruzzi needs to close the distance so that shell trajectories remain flat and attempts to citadel her must pass through this belt protection. Of course, this all falls apart when there's a battleship somewhere on the map. And those Battleships will murder- Abruzzi so hard you'd think they were trying to manifest Slaanesh. Now let's talk about her Repair Party. Abruzzi has one! Urra! Normally this would be enough to propel a ship up the durability ranks. However, it really doesn't do that much good here. Abruzzi does not have any issues when facing destroyers and cruisers, which is largely where her Repair Party will prove functional. In this regard, she feels very tanky, able to recover from small-caliber AP and HE penetrations and shrugging of fires like they were nothing. This is what elevated her from to , btw. Abruzzi can be an annoying ship to take out if you can't citadel her. In fact, she can be downright trollish in this regard, particularly against enemy cruisers and destroyers. Fires are of little concern which eases the taxation of your Damage Control Party. This is good given Abruzzi's unfortunate habit of losing her rudder. To this end, Last Stand isn't a bad investment to keep it functional during its frequent breaks -- this will let your Damage Control Party be on hand to address blazes and floods where your Repair Party can top off any lost health. The flip side of this is that her Repair Party all but guarantees Abruzzi will be at full health when a battleship does deign to bless you with the presence of their 283mm+ AP shells. Then her consumable avails you not as your innards get sprayed over the surface of the ocean in a thunderclap of 'sucks to be you'. Abruzzi hands this medal out a lot. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Where to start? Without her Repair Party consumable, I rate Abruzzi as being less durable than Atlanta and Flint -- two light cruisers with almost 5,000 less hit points. Her biggest flaw is the height of her citadel. Lowering that would help tremendously. It needn't be submerged entirely, but Abruzzi is little more than an experience pinata for battleships at the moment and there's very little she can do about it. Image courtesy of gamemodels3d.com, showing the extended, 30mm waterline belt of Abruzzi. This belt can frustrate battleship and cruiser attempts to citadel you at point blank range if you angle aggressively. Good luck with that, though. Agility Top Speed: 35.0 knotsTurning Radius: 680mRudder Shift: 8.9s Maximum Turn Rate: 6.3º/s at 4/4 speed Abruzzi's best characteristic is her speed and handling. Still, she does not stand out in any one aspect of her agility. She is not the fastest ship at tier VII -- Shchors is faster and Myoko is just as quick. She does not have the smallest turning radius. That distinction lies firmly with Atlanta and Flint. Her Rudder Shift is on the slow side, but Indianapolis, Algérie and Belfast are worse. She's right in the middle of the pack when it comes to bringing her bow about, with a rate of turn that sits comfortably in the middle. Yet as an overall whole, she stands apart. She combines straight line speed of the Soviet and Japanese cruisers with the American rates of turn. This flexibility is welcome for such a fragile vessel. Opponents will tend to underestimate the lead time necessary to catch Abruzzi when she's going flat out at range. In addition, she can dodge with the best of them. I have nothing but praise for Abruzzi's handling and only wish the rest of the ship was so comfortable. Test run at 4/4 speed. Nothing unexpected here. Abruzzi's turning circle isn't abnormally large and she loses the usual 20% speed in a turn like most cruisers. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Be British. Fiji is remarkably agile, quick to accelerate and handles beautifully. Fiji's speed in a turn is greater than Algérie's in a straight line. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 26.4 / 46.4 / 18.2 Abruzzi's raw anti-aircraft firepower is terrible -- it's the worst of the cruisers at her tier by a large margin. If Defensive Fire wasn't so good, I would pan her AA guns as all but useless and label this ship as fodder for CVs as much as she is battleships. As it is, her anti-aircraft defense is for personal defense only and it cannot be relied upon the do anything other than bruise incoming aircraft squadrons. They will drop ordnance. Your consumable will merely scatter it. There's nothing here really worth improving. Save your skill points and upgrade slots. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : A whole lot of buffs to range and firepower, or some stupid gimmick. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 11.16km Air Detection Range: 7.65km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.53km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 5.16km Main Battery Firing Range: 15.06km Abruzzi has decent concealment when fully specialized with a stealth build. However, she does not have the tools or ability to dominate stealth. Even at her own tier, she's bested by the British cruisers, Fiji and Belfast. She also sits behind Atlanta and Flint. This list grows longer when you look within her matchmaking spread, including more British cruisers and even some of the Japanese heavies like Atago. Combined with her speed, stealth and Hydroacoustic Search consumable, on paper she makes a decent potential destroyer and light cruiser hunter. She should also be able to dictate engagement ranges against most opponents. However, Abruzzi cannot safely engage enemies while in the line of fire of enemy battleships. She has two means of defense against fire from these large capital ships -- be behind hard cover, or be far enough away that she can avoid their shot. Engaging battleships at the extent of her normal range does not give her enough time to realistically dodge. While her torpedoes may be safely launched from stealth, they travel too slowly to have a realistic chance of delivering many hits without luck and experience. This just leaves island humping, lobbing shells over hard cover as the only appreciable way for Abruzzi to engage battleships. This is a good skill to learn as it will serve you well with higher tiered American cruisers. However, Abruzzi's fragility will make the pains of learning this lesson far more acute than it needs to be. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Abruzzi loses out big to three other premium ships that all have much better vision control -- Belfast, Flint and Atlanta. Belfast reigns best overall with good concealment and her broken combination of consumables that allows her to utterly dominate stealth and detection at tier VII. Behind her, Flint and Atlanta are also stealthier than Abruzzi and bring either smoke or radar respectively to the table. I would even rate Fiji better than Abruzzi, even though the British tech tree cruiser has a larger surface detection range. Smoke is invaluable and negates any range issues this ship may have had. Duca, Duca, Goose Performance in Duca degli Abruzzi is heavily dependent on having a commander with enough skill points. The two big hurdles are acquiring first 10 skill points and then your 14th skill point. One could argue your 17th is equally important too. Follow along and try out your own builds with ShipComrade's Captain Skill Calculator. Start with Priority Target. Don't skimp out on this one -- it's almost a must with this ship. If it ever ticks over to "2" and there's a battleship in the vicinity, it's time to stop firing and hide. You have a choice at tier 2. Last Stand is helpful -- Abruzzi's steering gear in particular is prone to breaking. If you feel brave enough to manage your Damage Control Party without it, then Adrenaline Rush should be your port of call as the optimal skill to pick at this tier. Next up, Superintendent is the best skill at tier 3 to get you an extra charge of Repair Party (and everything else). The order in which you spend your next eight points is irrelevant. In either case, you'll spend four and then immediately wish you could spend four more. Concealment Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells are both defining skills for Abruzzi, with the former making play easier (but never forgiving) and the latter facilitating damage dealing (while never making her good at it). Drop back down to tier 3 and pick up Demolition Expert for your 17th skill point. And finally round out your selection with whichever skill you skipped at tier 2 the first time through or Expert Marksman to improve your gun traverse. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: It's an uphill battle to tally a decent damage total. It can be done, but man, you're going to have to work at it. Abruzzi will make you think that she's a lot tougher than she is. You might have a nice streak of games where your Repair Party lets you tank effectively. But just as likely, you may have a not-so nice streak of games where you get deleted. This ship really encourages passive play as a result. You're doing small amounts of chip damage over time, skulking at the periphery and trying to be the least appetizing target you can be. I don't like this ship. Ship Jesus help me, I really tried to enjoy my time in her. I would like to imagine that I'm a patient player. Abruzzi tested my limits. I can stomach glass cannons -- Atlanta is one of my favourite ships in the game, for example. Abruzzi has the 'glass' part down, but she's really lacking the cannon element. I have already gone on at length about her firepower deficiencies. With her X-turret being so badly positioned, Abruzzi is no better armed than Duca d'Aosta much of the time. So she's stuck with tier VI firepower (and admittedly weak tier VI firepower) through much of her engagements. This should indicate that she's meant to be a bit of a tank, but she's just a victim when facing anything other than cruisers or destroyers which makes me have a sad. Abruzzi isn't the first cruiser (or even the first premium cruiser) that gargles on battleship AP shells so expertly that dreadnoughts can't help but whip their guns out her way. Testing Abruzzi has taught me that if I see her on the enemy roster while I'm in one of my battleships that I should make her a priority target -- not because she's a threat, but that because like Pensacola and the Omaha-sisters before her, I'm likely to be rewarded with a super-easy kill. As knowledge of Abruzzi's citadel weakness become more widespread, this problem will prove chronic and I feel bad for those players who find this instant deletion frustrating. I will admit, in those situations where Abruzzi can engage cruisers and destroyers without battleship interference, she's a lot of fun to play. However, those engagements aren't commonplace. The first you'll often note about battleship attentions is losing most (if not all) of your health. Suffice to say, Abruzzi and I were not a good fit for one another. I am sure some people will enjoy her and even rack up some impressive games with her. Performance wise, I was able to do the same, but the amount of work needed wasn't to my liking. Abruzzi only really punishes you against battleships -- in most other respects, she's alright and certainly not broken. It's just the passive game play needed to make her perform isn't competitive and I don't find it very fun. A string of three good games in Abruzzi. I was alarmed. Thankfully the fourth game sets things straight as I got casually deleted by a battleship from 16km away before I could manage 14,000 damage. Good games are possible, but terrible games will happen too no matter how skilled you are. Would I Recommend? At the time of writing, Duca d'Aosta is available across all servers both in the stores and within the tech tree for 4,700 doubloons. Controversial as Duca d'Aosta is, she's a much better purchase than Abruzzi for someone looking for an Italian light cruiser. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Meh. I want to say 'no', but she will probably be alright in scenarios. Co-op will be hit or miss. She will struggle to hit the top of the team lists -- she just doesn't output damage fast enough. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. No, no, no, no, no. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No, there are much better premiums you could bring for competitive game modes like Ranked Battles. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. She is gorgeous -- there's no denying that. She was also built in steel and survived the war, so there's that going for her too. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Blech. No. 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. Conclusion Two months I have been working on this review, on and off. Most of it was written by mid-March but then word came down that the test-build for Abruzzi was going to be upgraded with a Repair Party consumable. I held my breath hoping it would salvage this ship from a looming Garbage evaluation. It did -- which says a lot about the power level of a Repair Party when it's not commonly available to most other ships. It just didn't save this ship for me. This is one of those ships I'm not likely going to want to come back to. This is why it was so satisfying to animate blowing it up. Thank you all for reading. As this is being written, I am just shy of halfway through my updated Prinz Eugen review, crunching through Defense and AA graphics. I suspect she may be pushed to the back-burner to get an evaluation of Z-39 done, but we'll see. Maybe I can push through a miracle or two this weekend. I do want to push out Prinz Eugen sooner rather than later in thanks to my supporters on Patreon. Their patronage helps keep me fed and the lights on and I'm grateful to anyone that can help this way. Until next time! Someone suggested I market LWM Bobble Heads. I dunno, they kinda freak me out. Appendix
  7. Premium Ship Review: Asashio

    The following is a review of Asashio, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of April 15th, 2018. Abandon all hope, all ye of heavy displacement. Quick Summary: A stereotypical high-tier Japanese destroyer with specialized, 20km-range deep water torpedoes that make battleship players wet themselves with terror and unicum rage on the Forums and Reddit. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch and Date Written: 0.7.3, April 9th to 15th, 2018 PROS: Powerful torpedo armament. Enormous damage potential per torpedo hit at 20,967hp per unmitigated strike. Highest flooding chance in the game at a base value of 436% per torpedo hit. Her fish are fast (67 knot), long ranged (20km) and stealthy (900m detection) Excellent gun fire angles. When rigged for concealment, she can get her surface detection down to 5.37km. Access to a Torpedo Reload Booster consumable without sacrificing her Smoke Generator (!). Easy to learn and she makes scoring big damage totals trival. CONS Smallish hit point pool of 15,100hp. Slow firing guns with a 7.1s reload time. Sluggish turret traverse at 6.9º/s (26.1s for 180º). Torpedoes can only engage battleships and aircraft carriers (!!) Laughable AA defense. Slow for a high tier destroyer with a top speed of 35.0 knots. Matchmaking significantly affects the ability to influence a match in a positive way. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Asashio is a paradox. She is, simultaneously, one of the easiest and the most difficult destroyers in the game to play. This is a destroyer where a novice can score huge damage totals. It's also a destroyer where veterans are challenged to use every trick in their arsenal to get a win. Unlike other "easy to learn, difficult to master" ships, Asashio doesn't present a high skill curve. She presents a wall. Asashio's over specialized torpedo armament is terrible -- effectively limiting your tool kit so much that you cannot effectively engage two-thirds of the enemy roster. While she easily farms damage and kills on battleships, influencing the overall outcome of a close match is near insurmountable without a hell of a lot of skill and game knowledge. Thus, there are two tiers to Asashio game play and some players simply are not skilled enough to make her work in these situations. - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Most of Asashio's ratings aren't up for debate. She is the at stealth at her tier, bar none. Nothing is sneakier though some do have competitive Vision Control. Her anti-aircraft firepower is so as to be laughable. While she rates in both agility and durability, she only just manages to eke out these evaluations. She's on the very low-end for both and the introduction of another agile or another tough ship would knock her down into the rating. Where the debate will reside, if anywhere, is how to categorize her offensive capabilities. No one would argue that among the tier VIII destroyers, she has the firepower against battleships. At the same time, her firepower against cruisers and destroyers is downright . I give her the evaluation as a result -- a middle-ground compromise though her in-game performance may fluctuate wildly based on target availability. Options Consumables: Asashio has four consumable slots. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. In her second slot, she has a standard Japanese Smoke Generator. This has a 28 second emission time and each cloud lasts for 89 seconds. Asashio's Engine Boost is standard. And finally, she rounds out her consumables with a Torpedo Reload Booster. This reloads her torpedoes in 8 seconds like Kagero, Harekaze and Yugumo. Unlike many other IJN destroyers, you'll note that Asashio does not have to choose between this consumable and her Smoke Generator. Upgrades: Five slots, standard destroyer upgrades. In your first slot, take Magazine Modification 1. You're a destroyer. You explode violently often. Next up, take Propulsion Modification 1. Speed is life for a destroyer and this will help keep your engines in the game. or Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal, providing a small improvement to your dispersion and accelerating the rotation rate of your torpedo tubes. Alternatively, you can try to correct her sluggish turret traverse with Main Battery Modification 2 at the cost of her already abhorrent rate of fire. Propulsion Modification 2 is generally preferred in slot number four. This gives improved acceleration from a dead stop. Asashio will spend some time parked within her own smoke and the extra pep in her engines is welcome. This is a no-brainer for most. Concealment Modification 1 will help her reach her maximum level of concealment. Black becomes green. Blue becomes black. White turns to more-different white. Thanks, Yamamoto collection! Camouflage: Asashio comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides a 10% reduction to repair costs, a 50% bonus to your experience gains, a 3% reduction in surface detection and a 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Similar to Atago, this camouflage starts off with a blue pattern, but you can change it to green if you've completed the Yamamoto Uniform collection. Firepower Main Battery: Six 127mm rifles in 3x2 turrets in an A-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedo Armament: Eight torpedoes in 2x4 launchers. Asashio has a singular designed purpose: to make the two principal warring factions on the World of Warships Reddit, the BBabies and the DD-Mafia, down-vote each other into oblivion. Wargaming knows that by doing this they can eliminate their two most vocal detractors, or at least keep them distracted long enough to finally get around to balancing Aircraft Carriers without interruption. TORPEDOES Asashio will slaughter your battleships without remorse and there's not much you can do to stop her. Asashio's tools of destruction are a pair of quadruple torpedo launchers mounted amidships. These have excellent fields of fire, a horribly long reload and they break often when you look at them funny. All of this is pretty standard fare for Japanese destroyers. What makes Asashio so special is that she effectively mounts the equivalent tier X, Shimakaze warheads two tiers lower. They are blisteringly fast, ridiculously long ranged and have enough striking power to end worlds. Wargaming has "balanced' this (ha!) by modifying them into a Deepwater variant -- because zero reaction time is what makes facing torpedoes fun and fair. This Deepwater thing has two components. First, it limits the number of targets that can be hit. Destroyers and Cruisers need not fear Asashio's torpedoes at all. She's utterly incapable of striking them. She is instead limited to damaging aircraft carriers and battleships. Given the logistical nightmare of encountering an aircraft carrier in the modern meta, Asashio therefor has a rather myopic fixation on nuking dreadnoughts. You can allay any fears you may have had about poor Asashio's success rate with landing hits, though. The second part of Deepwater torpedoes is their tiny surface detection. Asashio's fish are only spotted at a range of 0.9km. With the added nerf to aerial detection, her torpedoes can safely run their full track with little fear of being seen until it's too late. Short of preëmptive WASD hax, battleships do not have enough time to avoid Asashio's attacks if they wait until they're spotted which all but guarantees hits for well-aimed strikes. Even stacking anti-torpedo skills and modules does little to help. It's only those battleships with the Hydroacoustic Search consumable that have any hope of belatedly dodging Asashio's fish, and even then, Vigilance is almost a must. You have no real hope of trying to dodge Asashio's torpedoes in a battleship if you're only reacting the moment you spot them. Only those battleships with the Hydroacoustic Search consumable can afford complacency. Duke of York (tier 7), Bismarck (tier 8), Friedrich der Große (tier 9) and Großer Kurfürst (tier 10) are only ever safe while their consumable is active, however. The Two Layers of Stupid Asashio double-stacks the stupid with two scoops of insanity. Mindfuc ... er, "Vigorous Sexing of the Brain" the First: Asashio has a 20km range with her torpedoes. Alright, so Asashio has ridiculously long ranged fish. The implications of this are pretty horrifying when you stop to think a moment. With her 112s reload (which reduces down to 100.8 seconds with Torpedo Armament Expertise), Asashio is making her first cross-map launch before anyone has finished deploying. This means that in the opening minutes of a match, from the moment they are spotted, battleships must anticipate incoming torpedoes. Most battleships have scarcely moved beyond their starting location by this time and may only be taking their first speculative, long-range shots at their counterparts. There is unlikely to be any effective torpedo detection screen between them and this first salvo from Asashio, so battleships must begin evasive manoeuvres within the first two minutes of a match or risk taking torpedo hits. The travel time for Asashio's 67 knot torpedoes is less than two minutes to their maximum range. Battleships must make course adjustments with this 100 second reload timer in mind -- every minute and a half, change course and heading. The other element Asashio's ludicrous reach allows for is taking advantage of the Torpedo Acceleration skill without losing significant amounts of range. Asashio with Torpedo Acceleration now has 72 knot torpedoes at up to 16km, further reducing reaction times. This greatly increases their threat and this does very little to limit their practicality in long-range engagements. The only salve to all of this is that the gaps between torpedoes at very long ranges are huge. It is unlikely that more than a single torpedo will hit per launcher at ranges of 15km or more, even if they're perfectly aimed with a narrow spread. Asashio players that insist on trying for these Hail Mary shots will not prove very effective in the long run. But, of course, Wargaming thought of this, which leads us to... Vigorous Sexing of the Brain the Second: Asashio has access to the Torpedo Reload Booster consumable. If you thought there was any pretense of making this fair, Asashio can double-up on her torpedo drops every four to six minutes, allowing her to go Super-Saiyan and turn into a blonde-haired Shimakaze for a moment. Within 9 seconds, she can dump a full sixteen (!) torpedoes, dispensing a veritable "wall of skill" for battleships to face. At long-range, this increases the likelihood of landing multiple hits -- though usually no more than four on a single target. But that's not the real danger presented by this consumable. It's far more deadly when used to space out torpedo hits so that they land in between uses of the battleship's Damage Control Party. It's all but guaranteed that if one of Asashio's torpedo hits causes flooding that battleships will immediately patch this up. By waiting a mere 10 or so seconds to launch their second wave of torpedoes after the first, any follow-up hits are likely to stack the dreaded damage over time effect. And if you thought your anti-torpedo defenses on your Yamato-class battleship would keep you safe, I have news for you... Asashio Doesn't Care Whatever pretty little torpedo defense you think your battleship has, Asashio doesn't care. She's blessed with the highest flooding chance in the game. Even when facing targets with the best torpedo damage reduction and striking them directly on their anti-torpedo bulge, she is still likely to open them up to sea water and cause critical flooding. You know you're dealing with a monster when some of the best-protected ships in the game can't prevent flooding two-thirds of the time. This makes follow-up strikes much less of a gamble. Even a lone torpedo can doom a battleship to slowly hemorrhage up to 60% of their hit points. The inclusion of Torpeedo Reload Booster to Asashio's arsenal is that much more dangerous because of this fact. It's a damn good thing that her torpedoes don't override the damage mitigation provided by TDS as well or we'd have words. Asashio has the best flooding chance in the game currently. Even with maximized TDS, most battleships are very likely to take flooding critical hits. Even Kagero's torpedoes don't compare. Großer Kurfürst, Friedrich der Große, Lion, Iowa, Missouri, Kii, Nagato, Ashitaka, Dunkerque, Tirpitz, Bismarck, Monarch, Gneisenau, Scharnhorst, King George V, Duke of York, Mutsu, Warspite, Queen Elizabeth, North Carolina, Nelson, Bayern, Lyon, Hood, and Normandie have zero chance of preventing Asashio from flooding them. The absolute minimum torpedo defense system a battleship requires (before upgrades) to prevent flooding is a 28% reduction. Less than that and your TDS is trash. Torpedo Summary Asashio has some great torpedoes. They're so good in fact they outright negate most defenses battleships can take to mitigate them. Unless your battleship has a minimum of 28% base torpedo protection, Damage Control Modification 1 does nothing to increase your chances to mitigate flooding. Target Acquisition Modification 1 and Vigilance will not give enough warning to help avoid Asashio's torpedoes. Only Hydroacoustic Search does. Asashio's torpedoes are, by design, a hard counter to battleship play. It's too bad that's all they're good for. GUNS! To the detriment of many a team reliant upon Asashio doing more than farming damage off battleships, Asashio's guns will be a mere afterthought. Short of Akizuki, no other Japanese destroyer is as dependent upon her main battery armament for her success as Asashio. With her torpedoes so heavily specialized, proper management of her guns is absolutely critical for helping your team win. Ignoring or dismissing them will cost you many games. You cannot (and must not) ignore destroyers and cruisers in favour of making battleships poop themselves with rage. Like it or not, you're going to have to use your guns in Asashio if you want to succeed. For such a critical weapon system, they suck moose balls. Her gun armament is almost identical to that of a fully upgraded Kagero or an A-Hull Harekaze. The only difference is range where Asashio enjoys an extra 1.6km reach. While this does give her a larger surface detection bloom when she opens fire, the extra distance is quite welcome given the different targets you will have to attack with these guns. While they have excellent ballistic arcs and shell performance, they are utterly lacking in rate of fire and damage output. Their traverse rate is horribly sluggish. You cannot and will not enjoy firepower superiority over anything short of select lower-tier IJN destroyers, and then only if your guns are already facing in the right direction. Yet, you will be repeatedly asked (and expected) to take on the likes of Bensons, Fletchers and Khabarovsks in Asashio if you want to win. The nightmare scenario for Asashio is to find herself in end-game of a close match facing a hale and healthy cruiser or destroyer. To this end, aggressive plays with her guns are often a necessity early on in engagements where friendly ships can help secure a kill or drive off enemies. However, these attacks are not without their risks and attempting them at the wrong time against the wrong target will simply make you look foolish. Make use of smoke and every cheap tactic you can imagine. Join fights late to preserve your own hit points and take pride in whatever licks of damage you can get in. You don't want to have to do this on your own late in a game. Asashio's guns are utterly ill-suited for the heavy lifting that's asked of them, but they're all you've got so make the most of it. Asashio isn't outgunning any of her contemporaries without help. So this is the part where I'm supposed to tell you that disparity of the two weapon systems creates some semblance of fairness. I'm not gonna. The asymmetry of the power level between Asashio's guns and torpedoes does make an interesting case study on the subject. My own opinion is that Asashio is decidedly lopsided -- downright comically so. This is a ship whose success can largely be attributed to team Matchmaking. If there's a lot of battleships on the enemy team and not many destroyers, you'll have a great game and likely come out as MVP if you time and aim your fish correctly. When it's not, most players will fail their teams utterly and it's really not their fault. In this regard, Asashio is best compared to HMS Conqueror, the tier X Royal Navy battleship. Armed with twelve 419mm guns spamming nothing but HE shells, Conqueror often tops the team lists and gives the illusion of being an absolute rock-star. No enemy battleship can stand against Mega-Zao (thank you, Flamu, for that wonderful name). Similarly, no battleship stands any kind of chance against Asashio. Facing either of these monsters is not fun. However, they won't win as many games as their ridiculous damage totals indicate they should. Short of an early Devastating Strike or gutting several battleships at once, Asashio's influence is surprisingly limited. I cannot stress this enough, and it will be difficult for some players to reconcile -- Asashio's armaments are as controversial and heavy-handed as Royal Navy battleship HE. They will seem to contribute far more to team success than they actually do. For some players that are just looking to get some big damage numbers, Asashio will be a dream boat. For those where winning is more important, Asashio is a liability if Matchmaker is unkind. The more I played Asashio, the more I began to appreciate and value gun-kills over torpedo kills. I loved the challenge of contesting and battling over cap circles. My torpedoes farmed some easy damage, credits, experience and complete missions (often with trivial levels of difficulty), but the real battle was taking on and besting enemy destroyers and cruisers with her artillery. For high-end play in this ship, it's all about how and when to use her guns rather than maximizing her torpedoes which I find delightfully ironic. This isn't easy and this isn't for everyone. If you prefer, you can just mindlessly dump fish into battleships at the cost of objectives and winning. It's what everyone is expecting you to do. Summary Asashio's torpedoes are brainless easy-mode. Asashio's torpedoes will not win you games. You're going to have to use your guns if you want to win. Often a lot. And it's not always going to work out for you. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : I was really on the fence with this one. I almost bumped her up from a rating, so it's not going to take much to upgrade. Faster firing guns alone would probably do it. If her torpedoes became even more versatile she'd be so broken it's not even funny. Defense Hit Points: 15,100hp Maximum Protection: 20mm gun turrets. Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour:19mm Red bars are not to numerical scale (just to feels scale). For those without feels: You're an inhuman monster. Evaluating destroyer durability is pretty straight-forward. At tier VIII, there's only one destroyer with a gimmick and that's USS Kidd with her Repair Party. All of the other destroyers conform to the norms found at tier VIII, with 19mm worth of armour covering the hull and deck and 13mm superstructures. Thus comparing them is simply a matter of looking at hit point totals and lining them up from best to worst. Kidd wins out with the third highest overall hit point pool and her mutant healing powers. Asashio doesn't come out well in this line up, truth be told. She's not as as Harekaze and she even beats out Loyang, but it would be a mistake to think that she's in a good place. She's just not strong enough to trade with enemy destroyers at her tier. All of those problems with her guns compound because she's just not tough. In order to have any chance of staying alive, it's imperative that you invest in Survivability Expert to give Asashio an additional 2,800hp. While you're likely to meet opponents who have the same skill, in those encounters where you bump into someone without, this can make all the difference. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Kidd's Repair Party or 5,000 more hit points. Asashio is nowhere close to being in this category. Agility Top Speed: 35.0 knots Turning Radius: 640m Rudder Shift Time: 3.6s Maximum Rate of Turn: 7.0º/s How to have not-terrible agility at tier VIII: Stand next to ducky. Bonus points if it's a static bot. This works well for tier VII battleships too, though they must stand next to Colorado. All jokes about Akizuki aside, Asashio's agility is not in a good place. Her 35 knot top speed is slow for a destroyer. Once outliers are removed, 35 knots is among the slowest top speed you'll find within her Matchmaking spread. She's not alone at this value, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Fubuki and Shinonome at tier VI, Mahan at tier VII, Kagero at tier VIII and Black at tier IX. Combined with her large(ish) turning radius of 640m and Asashio doesn't come about particularly quickly. She's no slug, but she's definitely no American DD. This package of traits is nothing new. Most IJN destroyers share the same combination of lackluster traits which makes them vulnerable to being run down by enemy gunships and it complicates avoiding aircraft. This is definitely one of Asashio's weaknesses, but it's not an exaggerated or crippling weakness to be sure. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Asashio is only because Akizuki is also a tier VIII destroyer. She's right on the cusp of being . To get her out of the doldrums, she would really need something special here, like an extra five knots of speed at the very least and more perks besides. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 25mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 3.1km AA DPS per Aura: 10 Please note the sarcasm. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Not allowed. This is the fulcrum upon which all Asashio balance is based. Honest and for true. I mean it for realsies, guys. Refrigerator Surface Detection Range: 6.84 km Air Detection Range: 3.78 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.37km Concealment when Firing in Smoke: 2.55km Asashio is not only the stealthiest destroyer at her tier, she's the stealthiest destroyer within her Matchmaking spread. While she is matched by Kagero and Harekaze for surface detection, Asashio squeaks out a smaller aerial detection on top of this. Now this is really splitting hairs, given that it's a paltry 60m, but still. For a destroyer that boasts upwards of a 14.63km stealth-launching window for her torpedoes, her surface detection range looks like complete overkill, but it's not. It's one of the few tools that gives Asashio any pretense of supporting her team, should her player be so inclined. Like IJN destroyers, Asashio has the stealth advantage and can usually spot enemy destroyers before being spotted in return. The safety window for doing this is tiny in some cases and always full of risk. Short of tripping over some of the biggest thunder-chunkers masquerading as fellow lolibotes (Khabarovsk, I am looking at you), there's often not time enough to turn away before being seen in return. Given Asashio's weakness to winning one versus one engagements, it's imperative to capitalize on these early encounters when there are still friendly guns around to provide backup. Don't be shy of sacrificing a few hit points to help ensure that an enemy lolibote gets wrecked. Don't be so quick to reach for your Smoke Generator either -- try to force the enemy to smoke up first and keep providing eyes for your team. As wonderful as Asashio's dominance of stealth is, she doesn't have everything her own way. She cannot scrape off enemy aircraft to save her life which can easily keep her perma-spotted. In addition lots (and lots) of radar / sonar equipped ships would love to trip over a vulnerable Asashio. Once they get on your butt, you're in for a rough time. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : This is much closer than it looks, with Loyang being an easy contender for the best at her tier and Harekaze & Kagero sharing functionally the same concealment. While Asashio dominates in stealth, Loyang combines reasonable concealment with her totally-not-overtuned-in-the-slightest Hydroacoustic Search with its extended range. How to Help Control the Battleship Overpopulation Asashio makes a great trainer for higher tiered IJN destroyer commanders, though she may not be ideal for lower tiered ones. The following is the ideal build for Asashio. Feel free to follow along using ShipComrade's Captain Skill Calculator to try out various test builds. Start with Priority Target. This skill has lesser value in IJN destroyers (if you're seen, it's pretty safe to assume everyone is shooting at you), so I would value Preventative Maintenance with equal weight here. You're still a destroyer, so Last Stand has the highest value at tier 2. Next up, take Torpedo Armament Expertise. This will drop your reload time from 112 seconds to 100.8 seconds. For your 10th skill point, Concealment Expert shouldn't surprise anyone. And finally, double back to tier 3 and take Survivability Expert to boost up your hit points from 15,100 to 17,900. After this, it becomes a question of choosing between some high value skills between your six remaining skill points. At tier 2, Torpedo Acceleration is of the highest value, with Adrenaline Rush and Expert Marksman following in order. At tier 3, Basic Fire Training is of higher value than Superintendent. At tier 4, Radio Location is invaluable for influencing vision control. Between these six skills, distribute your six remaining points as you choose. During play testing, I used a 15 point commander that took Torpedo Acceleration. Development Version 1.0 She began life in late December of 2017. Her first iteration was little more than a Kagero-clone in terms of game play. The reactions to her announcement were... well, they were to be expected. Version 2.0 Fast forward to early February and we received a new version of Asashio. She acquired her now infamous Deepwater Torpedoes and her Torpedo Reload Booster no longer competed with her Smoke Generator. I had a lot of fun playing this version of Asashio. I admit, I gave her a big ol' thumbs-up during my first few times out in her and she kept right on delighting me. The honeymoon I was having with her was short-lived, however. A week later and I began having concerns that she was a little overtuned as it was far too easy to damage battleships, though I admit this view was narrowly focused. Not all the other testers were enjoying the same level of success. Version 3.0 Two weeks after version 2.0, we received the third and what would prove to be the final version of Asashio. She received a slight increase in the surface detection of her torpedoes. This change would not significantly affect her performance. This brought her gun handling and rate of fire to the same level as Kagero. This opened up the possibility of engaging lower tiered IJN destroyers in uneven gun fights. It was clear that Wargaming wanted a battleship hunting monster and that was the ship Asashio was to become. My views would mellow out over time, however... Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: Asashio won't break the game. When you look at her analytically, she's not a very competitive destroyer all told. The current battleship-heavy meta empowers her. She's only as good as the persistence of that environment. Asashio, by her very design, will polarize opinions. She is very good at being simultaneously a battleship assassin and a punching bag for cruisers and gunship destroyers. This is a ship built upon the principle of no counter-play, exaggerating the old paper-rock-scissors design of 2015. Dreadnoughts that are alone and/or exposed or those that are sailing predictably at long-range are going to get punished and punished hard. One on one, they also stand no chance. Similarly, there is very little Asashio can do to an enemy gunship destroyer or cruiser that wants her booty when she's caught without support. She is, in all aspects, a comical exaggeration of the IJN destroyer stereotype, for good and for ill. I do not see her being much different from a less versatile version of an old-timey Shiratsuyu or a similarly myopic Kamikaze-sisters that's all about the battleship damages. Really, boiled down to the sum of her parts, Asashio is a trashbote that is poorly equipped to play objectives, but at least she'll wreck something. This makes evaluating her fun. Let's use the Angry Youtuber scale for this. I know, I know, I'm getting this review format slightly out-of-order, but indulge me: 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 On the one hand, you've got the obvious Battleship perspective: To Battleship Players: Asashio is the end of all things. Game balance and fun as we know it is doomed. Uninstall now. The good times are over. Despite Asashio's predation techniques already being present in the Pan Asian destroyer line, this time it's super-cereal because it's now in the hands of an IJN destroyer that couldn't fight their way out of a wet shoe-box. At the other extreme, we have the perspective of someone who abhors the current BB-heavy meta: The Return to Eden. This is the destroyer those BBabies deserve. Now you can punish those BBabies for having the nerve, nay the audacity to dare enjoying that ship type and game play. They're about to Get Balanced™ in the most extreme way possible. It's doubly delicious that it's coming from an IJN destroyer, whose tech-tree line has suffered the ignominy of being nerfed over and over and over again while battleships have only ever received buffs! Don't fact check that last part! For anyone else, she's just another IJN destroyer but with gimped torpedoes. Asashio is about as terrifying as a cute little bunny. Most ships in the game can counter her easily with a simple count of three (counting to five is right out). Still, you've got to give her mad props for flying about and decapitating BBabies. Asashio is not well designed. In the hands of the masses, I predict she will hoover up some ridiculous damage totals but her win rate is going to suck. She should mirror Shimakaze in many respects. Most players will enjoy her -- she'll do some nice damage but short of being in the hands of a unicum, her influence on the overall outcome will be dictated by what Matchmaker hands to her. It's a fallacy to think that she will greatly influence the meta. Battleships are already loathe to push if they even smell a destroyer ahead of them. Few take the time to differentiate the threat between ship classes, treating all destroyers as if they had the ability to catastrophically end them suddenly. Similarly, assuming that Asashio will unnecessarily punish any battleship that does have the audacity to push is also fallacy. ALL destroyers (and all cruisers and other battleships) will always focus on the closest battleship. It's already chronic on how many players will focus on the ease of stacking damage against battleships over more critical (and perhaps closer) targets. Asashio does not change this. What Asashio does do is exaggerate these bad habits. I grant you: she's not well designed. But at least she does this because she has to rather than by the fault of the player. Would I Recommend? Asashio absolutely trivializes a lot of requirements for missions and campaigns. She's also going to be a great ship for people that are trying to unlock achievement badges for destroyers and Japanese ships. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No, I wouldn't. The mirrored team building in Co-Op means it's possible for you to end up in matches with only a single target for your torpedoes. This makes it hard for her to earn XP and Credits. Similarly, if there was ever a Scenario which didn't have a plethora of enemy battleships to target, Asashio would suck hard and not in the sexy way. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Very yes on toast. This is where she belongs and she'll reward you well. Devastating Strike, Witherer, High Caliber and LIquidator medals will come easy. You may struggle to achieve Confederate medals however, unless Matchmaker REALLY likes you. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Please don't bring this on my team in Ranked. I'll forgive you if somehow the meta is something other than destroyers this season. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes, Asashio is a storied vessel with not only an extensive service record, but a sad and honourable end. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? I enjoy this ship a lot, though I do so with some mild pangs of guilt. They're only mild, though, so I wouldn't call the affliction serious enough to stem any recommendation. In Closing I had a lot of fun putting this one together. I've hoped you enjoyed reading it. This is one ship where I would love to look over Wargaming's shoulder an analyze the meta-data as it comes in after it gets a general release. There have been all sorts of predictions on how she will perform and what influence she will have on the game. Being able to see which side of the debate is vindicated by official stats would be interesting. My thanks go out to my Patrons on Patreon. Dozens of hours of work were put into the review you just read including time spent play testing, writing and doing graphics. Working around my schedule to get these out on time is difficult and the financial support provided by my patrons facilitates this. Every dollar helps. So thank you all -- not just those who donate, but those who read and enjoy these reviews. It means a lot to me. Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews. For the complete list of my other reviews, please go here:
  8. 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 0.7.0.1 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 0.7.1.1, 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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:
  13. 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: 0.6.15.1 through 0.7.0.0 -- 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.
  14. 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 0.6.15.1 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!
  15. 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?
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
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