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Just unlocked her and took her out on some co-op and a couple random games but not sure how to play her. She's got undersized guns but has 16 of them. Was trying AP had a cruiser broadside at 10km, unloaded my full 16 guns and did massive damage over 12k but no citadel. Tried HE (not extensively) and didn't seem like it was doing much damage. I'm thinking of respecting the captain with IFHE and seeing how that works. I'm playing her more like a heavy cruiser but again not sure if this is the right approach. Thanks for your input.
So, not going to do 'full reviews' like I did of the British BBs because lazy, but having played up through Alsace, here'smy quick impressions of the French BB line so far: Standard review disclaimer by me: I am an average to a bit above average player who plays mostly solo, so this is from that perspective. Also, while I did consult numbers and stats, my reviews are primarily based on the feel of the ship and my performance in her. This is of course a limited sample size, and is affected by my playstyle (which is generally fairly aggressive leading to occasional overreaches and a low survival rate.) Your mileage may vary depending on your playstyle and skill level. Tier 7-9 are the good part of this line. But once you get there, wheeee! With low hp and good armor, angling is key with these ships. If you don't know how to effectively angle, learn or you're not going to enjoy them. And from tier 7 up, I recommend a secondary build or hybrid secondary/survival build. They have fairly strong secondaries. From tier 6 up, and especially from tiers 8-10, the speed allows you to reposition quickly and flex where needed. Very mobile. Also, contrary to what I've seen people say, no ffs they're not HE spammers like British BBs were; use AP most of the time like your IJN, USN, and German BBs. The line in a nutshell: Note: I did not play tier 3 or 4 as i got Bretagne from mission. They don't matter anyway, it takes a few games to grind through a tier 3 or 4 and honestly, nothing can ever beat Orion. Tier 5: Bretagne is ok. Her guns are punchy af and very accurate, secondaries put out a lot of fire but suffer from her tier (since manual control of secondaries skill is only 15% improvement at tier t5). She handles like a drunk pig; slow and waddling, and her turrets take all day to turn, but once again, this is not uncommon at tier 5. But if you can stay angled you'll shrug off a lot of potential damage despite her low HP and her guns will decimate same-tier BBs or any cruiser. Tier 6: Normandie was garbage for me, the only ship I disliked. I usually love fast BBs but her turret firing arcs were punitive and I couldn't seem to mitigate damage well enough to compensate for her low hp. I free-XPed out of her after four games, which is very rare for me. Part of that was garbage teams and I got frustrated. She may be workable for you; I admit four games is not enough to get a good feel for a ship. Tier 7: Lyon is definitely not OP, but she's a lot of fun and certainly competitive. Her guns are a bit derpy dispersion-wise and you need to expose a lot of side to fire all of them, so you have to be good at timing and positioning to do so without getting wrecked. But firing SIXTEEN main guns downrange means you're going to get hits even with weird dispersion. Also, firing sixteen guns downrange never ever ever ever gets old. She's a keeper for me, which says a lot since two of my favorite BBs are in tier 7 already (KGV and Gneisenau) and I almost never keep three ships in a tier of the same class except for DDs. Tier 8: Richelieu is VERY fun, but quirky. With a secondary build she is the best ship I've seen at kiting; her secondaries are mounted in back and her firing arcs are very wide for good "over the shoulder" shots. Its tempting to bow-tank with all your main guns mounted on the bow, but I still recommend angling as you have a tendency to lose turrets when bow-on and with two turrets that cripples your DPS. Angling baits opponents to fire at your belt and your belt will shrug off most shots; bow-on means opponents will try and snipe your turrets. I play her as a lancer; move in at an angle, then time a turn when you have opportunity to minimize citadel exposure and pull back out, firing over shoulder while letting your 10+ km secondaries get in on the action. As such, kiting in this ship is a blast, especially since her turrets do have such strong firing arcs to the rear despite being concentrated in bow. Tier 9: Alsace is the jewel of the line and my new favorite tier 9 BB. She's wicked fast, has 12 undersized but accurate main guns (dispersion gets wonky near max range but from 11-13 km in they're deadly), her secondaries will merrily light fires and add damage, and her secondaries have more 360-degree coverage than Richelieu. She isn't very stealthy (although better than some BBs) but she has great speed to flex around the map, and she has low hp but if angled correctly can be very survivable. I don't straight up brawl with her as much as I do German BBs, but I do play her as a lancer much like Richelieu; charge in, then use speed to whip around and kite, staying near max range of secondaries and angled away from the enemy while lighting them up with 12-gun salvoes every 25 seconds or so. She is a BEAST. I'm honestly expecting a nerf to her; Alsace makes me look like a much better BB player than I am. Tier 10: I haven't played Republique but from everything I've seen in-game, plus heard from a couple friends who have her, I'm in no rush. She looks potentially fun but has a very high skill floor and will likely require a very good player with the right playstyle to consistently do well in her. I rushed to Alsace as I played her on test server and loved her, but I'm in no rush to get Republique. (Edit as of 4/3: I bought Republique about a week ago after trying her on test server and I was wrong. She's absolutely amazeballs. Still has a high skill floor but I clicked with her very well and she's as much fun as Alsace.) For players who like speed and ability to move around map, appreciate a ship that can brawl or mid-range fight with equal aplomb, and can maximize their armor angles and stay alive to kick [edited], this is a fantastic line. Cruiser players will love them; they play like oversized cruisers. Bon appetit!