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The following is a review of Huanghe, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. To the best of my knowledge, this is the release version of the ship and the stats are current as of November 30th, 2017. Red River, Yellow River, Red River, Yellow River, Red River, Yel -- ow, I just bit my tongue. Quick Summary: A British light cruiser with Soviet guns, a Japanese destroyer torpedo reload consumable and a Commonwealth cruiser's smoke generator. She's fragile, agile and tiny. Cost: $26.49 USD with a port slot. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.13.1 to 0.6.14.0 November 16th, 2017 to November 30th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary Perth, Tier 6 British Commonwealth Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Huanghe is an Arethusa-class light cruiser -- a design that came immediately after the Leander-class. There are a lot of obvious similarities between the two, with the Arethusa being a less expensive alternative, allowing the Royal Navy to get more ships for the equivalent cost. In game, the ships appear similar but their performance values are vastly different. They don't share the same guns, torpedoes, armour, consumables or handling characteristics, with Perth being arguably better built in almost every case. PROs Excellent gunnery performance with great ballistics, high fire chance and good AP penetration. Accelerated rate of fire of 8.57 rounds per minute. Extremely agile with a faster rate of turn than some IJN Destroyers (!) Small surface detection, capable of being reduced to 8.14km. Powerful anti-aircraft firepower for her tier. Equipped with the equivalent of Propulsion Modification 2 for free. Has the option of taking a Torpedo Reload Booster. Comes with HMAS Perth's Smoke Generator, with a 90s emission time, allowing her to stay mobile while remaining concealed. CONs Exposed citadel over the waterline, capable of being penetrated by all German and British battleship HE. FUN AND ENGAGING! Her magazines are not housed in her citadel with as little as 32mm of armour protecting them. She has an absolutely tiny hit point pool for a cruiser at 24,100hp. Small main battery armament of only 6 guns. Terrible main battery range of 13.2km which cannot be extended. Torpedoes may only fire in a thin spread with no option for wide or single fire. No Defensive Fire consumable. No aircraft consumable to assist her in detecting enemies while hiding in her own smoke. This review is being published a little later than I would like. It's been a difficult testing period, frustrated by more limited access to this ship than I would like. The wait to publish hinged on confirming final release details -- looking for issues that were noted during the testing period and seeing whether or not they were corrected when she went live. These were tidbits that wouldn't be covered in patch notes or described on third party datamine sites, such as her handling, torpedo spreads or which modules she was compatible with. I didn't get access to the ship until after she had been put up for sale, which is why this is being published now instead of prior to release as I would prefer. Anyway, here we are a day late. Let's hope this review isn't a dollar short. Options Huanghe is weird when it comes to her options. This is, I think, symptomatic of her troubled development cycle as different gimmicks were tried and tested and a hodge-podge of abilities emerged in an effort to balance her. Let's go through them. First, Huanghe counts as a British cruiser for the purposes of her upgrades. As such, she cannot take Propulsion Modification 2 as it's already installed for free. Second, she may take a Torpedo Reload Booster. She's the first cruiser to have access to this traditionally Japanese destroyer consumable. This reduces the reload time of her torpedo tubes to 8 seconds. This has a six minute reset timer for the standard consumable and a four minute reset timer for the premium version. Third, her Smoke Generator is odd, mirroring that found on the tier VI British Commonwealth cruiser, HMAS Perth. This comes with three charges by default and has a 90 second emission time, with each cloud only lasting for 10 seconds. This allows Huanghe to continue to creep forward at 1/4 speed and remain concealed while she moves. The reset timer on her consumable is 240s / 160s depending on if you take the free or premium version. Consumables: Damage Control Party Hyroacoustic Search or Torpedo Reload Booster Smoke Generator Module Upgrades: Four slots. British cruiser upgrades. Premium Camouflage: Standard Type 10. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Huanghe's upgrade choices will deviate somewhat from standard Light Cruiser equipment. Take Magazine Modification 1 in your first slot. Huanghe's magazines are not located in her armoured citadel and they have as little as 32mm worth of armour protecting them. She's as vulnerable to detonations as Perth and Leander are to HE shells of 152mm caliber or larger. If you prefer to live dangerously, you can take Main Armaments Modification 1, but don't come crying to me when you get your ship blown out from under you by a stray 152mm HE shell. In your second slot, you have a choice. You should probably take Propulsion System Modification 1 to protect your engine. However, it's your rudder that will get knocked out most frequently. For that, take Steering Gears Modification 1. For your third slot, take AA Guns Modification 2 for the increased range. Huanghe is a very short ranged cruiser, so it's difficult to justify Aiming Systems Modification 1 as it only reduces her maximum dispersion by a mere 8.7m (from 124m to 115m). And in your fourth slot, take Steering Gears Modification 2. Special Upgrades Huanghe is compatible with the following Special Upgrades. Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 replaces Propulsion System Modification 1 in your second slot. This increases the action time of your consumable to 110 seconds. Smoke Generator Modification 1 replaces AA Guns Modification 2. This increases the active time of your Smoke Generator from 90 seconds to 117 seconds, but shortens their duration from 10 seconds to 9.5 seconds. Both of these consumables are excellent choices for Huanghe. If you have access to them (and no better ships to place them upon), I would highly recommend installing each. Firepower Primary Battery: Six 152mm/57 in three turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Eight 100mm/70s in four turrets mounted behind the funnels Torpedo Armament: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers straddling the rear funnel. A lot of justified disdain will be aimed squarely at Huanghe's main battery. Let's get them out of the way. Huanghe has only six 152mm rifles at tier VI. This is appalling and regardless of what other merits I list here, there's no getting around just how terrible this is. Huanghe's lack of sufficient main battery firepower really holds her back. Are we all clear on this? I'm saying Huanghe's guns are bad. This "badness" is tempered by a few positive traits, that while welcome, they are insufficient to redeem the overall lack of firepower. These traits are: Huanghe uses Soviet 152mm/57 rifles instead of Royal Navy 152mm guns. These are the same guns found on Budyonny, Shchors, Mikhail Kutuzov & Chapayev. These guns have excellent ballistic arcs, great AP penetration and a high fire chance per shell hit which exceeds those found on the equivalent (premium) Royal Navy armament. Huanghe has an increased rate of fire with her guns to help offset her low DPM and overall fire-setting abilities. She reloads in 7.0 seconds flat as opposed to 7.5s of her Soviet counterparts. Yep, that's it. She's using Soviet guns instead of British and they have an increased rate of fire. In practical terms, this means Huanghe does more damage on a per-gun basis than Perth, Belfast or Leander which is definitely a plus. You'll set more fires, land more citadel hits, and generally be more accurate. However, this does not offset the disparity of losing out two rifles. Perth and Leander both struggle to kill even soft targets quickly and Huanghe amplifies this weakness. I wish I could say that was the end of the bad news, but it gets worse. Huanghe does not have access to the Spotter Aircraft consumable enjoyed by her British and British Commonwealth contemporaries. This means she's capped with an awful 13.2km main battery range with no way to fire beyond that. She also doesn't have very good fire arcs, with her C-turret only capable of engaging enemies 37º off her bow. Her rearward arcs are better, but still not great, with all three turrets capable of putting shells on targets 33º off her stern. If there's one area where Huanghe's guns are at least not-terrible, it's fire starting. She can be a respectable firebug -- almost on the same level as a nine-gun Galissonniere if she specializes for it (and I do stress "almost"). This will come at the expense of direct damage, though. Huanghe would need to sacrifice taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells to do it which is almost a must have for all 152mm HE throwing cruisers. I'm repeating myself, but let me be absolutely clear: Huanghe's main battery firepower sucks moose-balls. Not just moose-balls, but hairy and sweaty moose balls. It all comes down to her not having enough guns. Good as they are individually, they can't make up for the fact they're overtaxed for damage output. You're welcome for that moose-visual. Huanghe, on paper, has better overall DPM and fire starting abilities than ships like Aoba and Molotov. What these graphs do not describe is the ease at which this firepower is put to use. Molotov can engage enemies at long distances. Aoba's 203mm guns aren't reliant upon commander skills to ensure her HE shells penetrate. Huanghe is best compared with HMAS Perth and Leander in regards to her damage output -- all three are painfully short ranged. However, all three are capable of maximizing their DPM for short periods of time when they can setup their smoke. Her torpedo armament doesn't make up for the faults of her guns. Huanghe has a pair of triple launchers off each side of her ship. If you're hoping she'll get some world-ending fish to compensate for the problems with her guns, Huanghe will let you down. The good news is that these aren't Deepwater torpedoes -- they can engage any target she faces. The bad news is that these aren't Deepwater torpedoes -- they don't hit especially hard, move particularly fast, have great range or good concealment. Huanghe can't even launch these torpedoes from stealth. What's more, Haunghe's torpedoes appear to have been implemented haphazardly. It's as if they copy and pasted the British torpedo launchers, removed the British single-fire option and then forgot to replace it with the wide spread after the fact. This means Huanghe is limited to a narrow spread and a narrow spread only. It becomes almost laughable that Wargaming baits players to take a Torpedo Reload Booster to prop up Huanghe's firepower. This is the first time this consumable has been made available outside of the Japanese destroyer line. In order to take it, a player must surrender access to her Hydroacousic Search consumable. This gimmick might have more weight and appeal if Huanghe had an impressive torpedo armament -- something with more launchers or more teeth. The ability to double dip with another helping from her triple launchers doesn't strike me as terribly appealing. I can imagine some scenarios where it might change the outcome of a given match, but on the whole it's highly situational for an armament that's already lacking in versatility. In my play testing, I never came across an opportunity where I could have made good use of it. In short, redemption isn't found in Huanghe's torpedo armament. Summary: Garbage-tier firepower. Yeah, there are some redeeming qualities. No one could argue otherwise. But on the whole? Garbage. With all of this poo-pooing of Huanghe's firepower, do not make the mistake of thinking she's utterly incapable of dealing damage. That's not the message I'm trying to deliver. She's not going to put out as much damage as comparable ships, or do so as reliably. More fool you if you underestimate her. Are you regretting purchasing her yet? DurabilityHit Points: 24,100Maximum Citadel Protection: 70mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 16mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: None Everything here is also terrible. Huanghe puts on a whole new level of 'suck' when it comes to defining mid-tier cruiser durability. She makes Omaha look tough. Within her matchmaking spread, there is no cruiser with less hit points. The closest is Königsberg with 24,300hp -- a ship that's already known for capsizing and exploding violently when a loud noise occurs in the next grid-square over. Every other ship has a more significant advantage in health. It's well within the math for some tier VII and VIII battleships to delete Huanghe outright with no more than a pair of citadel hits. It's not like things get any better when you look at her armour scheme. Huanghe shares a similar protection scheme to the preceding Leander-class upon which the Arethusa-class was based, albeit having a weaker scheme overall. This comes with a few quirks: She has a small citadel, composed of only her engine spaces which sits slightly over the waterline. Her citadel wall extends to the exterior of the ship, making them potentially vulnerable to HE citadel hits. Her magazines lie outside of the armoured citadel directly beneath her guns and well submerged. So the only ray of sunshine is that people may miss your citadel when they think it extends further forward and back than it actually does. If you're lucky, you'll take some overpenetrating hits there which will keep you in the game just a little longer. As damning as this assessment is, let's be real: few light cruisers could ever make the claim of being reasonably protected. What's likely to kill an Arethusa-class would be just as traumatic and world-ending to a Nurnberg or Leander. Heavy cruisers will bully you. Battleships will savage you. And, even destroyer-caliber guns can be painful if you have to suffer their attentions for long. But this is worth looking into more closely. Yes, a Leander or Nurnberg may appear on the surface to be as fragile but Leander can heal. Nurnberg or Budyonny can sit back at 14km+ and use that extra range to give them more time to dodge. Huanghe can't. She has to tough it out and 'tough' is something she does not do well. Really, though -- don't expect to live long under fire. Death comes quickly and suddenly to Huanghe -- and it's your own damn fault for buying her. Shame on you. Though Huanghe's durability would have you wanting to hiding around friendly battleships in the second line, her range dictates that she must go forward into harm's way to score any damage. This is a common problem associated with all British cruisers. They get around this vulnerability by making use of a Smoke Generator and good concealment values -- traits Huanghe boasts as well. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 33.0knotsTurning Radius: 570mRudder Shift: 6.7s Maximum Turn Rate: 7.1º per second. Alright, I can almost forgive you for forking out the cash for Huanghe for her agility. If she had a little more speed, she'd put many destroyers to shame. As it is, she out performs all other cruisers with her ability to dodge and twirl. She can even out turn several IJN destroyers. It's strange, but she does this without the funny turning-acceleration quirks found in the Royal Navy cruiser line. Huanghe doesn't preserve speed in a turn the way Leander, Belfast or Minotaur does. She does have the equivalent of Propulsion Modification 2 installed -- her initial acceleration from a dead stop is very comfortable. She just doesn't get all the Royal Navy manouevrability quirks. The only thing she really lacks is a little more grunt in her engine and I could ignore all of the miserable, eye-bleeding terrible aspects of her durability. She's just not fast enough to dictate engagement ranges against anything other than a standard-type battleship and that's a big fly in the ointment. At 33 knots, she's not terrible in this regard, but I would have been much more excited to see her exceed 34.5 knots. At least at this speed she could conceivably run down a destroyer she caught flat footed and out pace any battleships she might face without much issue. I dunno, maybe I'm just being greedy. But after the disappointment of her guns and torpedoes, can you really blame me? Manoeuvrability ratings of the tier 6 cruisers. Note that De Grasse and La Galissonniere have access to the Engine Boost consumable which increases their top speed by 15% for 3 minute intervals. Huanghe's ability to turn and throw herself about is on par with many destroyers she faces. She's only lacking in a good top speed to really allow her to enjoy the same level of flexibility. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 9.54km Air Detection Range: 5.97 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 8.14km Main Battery Firing Range: 13.18km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 4.2km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 1st among 14 cruisers. Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 1st among 43 cruisers Huanghe's concealment also redeems her somewhat, but again it's not without its flaws. This is the sneakiest cruiser within her matchmaking spread and not by a small margin either. When fully specialized, she enjoys as 450m advantage over Perth and a 600m advantage over Leander and Belfast. The closest non-British cruiser comes in with New Orleans with nearly a 1km gap and everything else is considerably worse from there. As good as this looks, let's be realistic -- it's not enemy cruisers that you need to worry about spotting you; it's destroyers and aircraft carriers. We'll speak about the latter in the next section, but let's discuss destroyers for a moment. Huanghe is looking at needing to sprint across as much as a 2.7km gap in order to illuminate what's detecting her, all the while being under fire from the lolibote's big friends in the back. Given her 33 knot speed, it's just not feasible for her to cover this distance unless the destroyer makes a stupid mistake. As good as her concealment is, she can't perform the role of a forward scout even though her main battery range precludes her from skulking in the second line and firing from a distance. You're going to need to use cover to stay undetected to move into engagement ranges -- at least until the herd thins out. Thankfully, she brings her own concealment with her. Smoke Generator Huanghe has the same consumable found on HMAS Perth. While each smoke cloud lasts a mere 10 seconds, it continues to dispense smoke for a minute and a half. While Huanghe's Smoke Generator is in use, she may remain mobile and keep concealed while she does so, though she is normally limited to between 1/4 and 1/2 speed (12.5 knots). This allows her to foil the usual traps of air dropped and ship launched torpedoes aimed at smoke clouds as she slowly crawls away. Allied ships may also make use of this smoke, though doing so is much more difficult and it requires a conscious effort to match speed and heading. Huanghe has less tools to provide her vision beyond her smoke than HMAS Perth, though. While both use the same Hydroacoustic Search consumable, HMAS Perth has the extra advantage of a Spotter Aircraft to assist with detecting enemies. This lack would be damning were it not for the changes in smoke detection while firing. Any enemy battleships that opens fire within 10.5km of Huanghe is visible for twenty seconds and she can use that to give herself something to shoot at. This is a bit of a double edged sword, however, with Huanghe herself being visible within 4.2km within her own smoke when she shoots beyond it. This makes it risky to charge cap circles early on (a challenge she shares with Perth), especially if there are larger craft looming behind the lolibotes that have also rushed the control point. Even with these challenges, Huanghe's smoke is meant to redeem all of the other weaknesses so far described. She may have low DPM, but her smoke allows her to cycle her guns aggressively to take better advantage of their reload time for short periods. Her fragility may be masked behind concealment. Her difficulties in disengaging with her modest top speed can be corrected by hiding in smoke until she can put an island between her and her enemies. This is a huge burden for one consumable to bear, and I'm not certain it entirely corrects the deficiencies found so far within Huanghe. Still, it's not hard to see how powerful Huanghe can be in the right circumstances through clever use of her concealment and smoke. Opening moves on an Epicenter match. Though Huanghe shares a lot of traits in common with destroyers, it would be a mistake to play her as one. You're a support ship, not a front line scout or knife-fighter. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 78 / 73.6 / 28.8 Huanghe doesn't approve of your planes. One of this ship's most surprising characteristics is her anti-aircraft firepower. She uses a modern Soviet anti-aircraft suite -- a combination of dual purpose 100mm guns and 37mm automatic cannon to make the life of any planes within her sphere of influence miserable. It can be a rude shock for carriers that loiter around Huanghe's moving smoke cloud, hoping to spot her when the consumable wears off, only to have their air groups shredded. This is something HMAS Perth could never do. In terms of raw damage, Huanghe sits behind only Cleveland at tier VI in terms of her anti-aircraft firepower, which is no mean feat. Unfortunately, she does not get access to Defensive Fire. This was one of the casualties of Huanghe's long development cycle -- she used to have Defensive Fire and in this role, she could play an excellent support vessel. However, she had to surrender this for her Smoke Generator in one of the updates, so it was a fair trade off. Huanghe's anti-aircraft firepower will never truly be a dominating threat to enemy carriers and remains merely a nuisance that will cause them a few casualties, but it cannot stop attacks from being made. From HuangMeh to HuangGud Like all 152mm HE throwing cruisers at mid tiers, Huanghe's performance is really locked behind getting access to 14pt commander. While she can perform reasonably well before this, it's the ability to direct damage to all targets that makes her come into her own. Give the skills which optimizes her performance, she becomes a poor choice for training Pan Asian destroyer commanders, unfortunately. Here's what your first 10pts should look like: Take Priority Target. Follow this up with Adrenaline Rush. Your DPM needs all the help it can get. Next, take Demolition Expert. Setting fires is the only thing you're good at. And finally take Concealment Expert. The big skill you're racing towards is Inertial Fuse for HE Shells which should be your 14th skill point. This gives her the ability to directly damage large areas of any battleship she might face, along with some of the heavy cruisers when she's bottom tier. Your final 5pts should be placed between Vigilance (which stacks with Hydroacoustic Search to better spot torpedo threats while you're creeping along in smoke) and either Expert Marksman to buff your horrible turret traverse or Last Stand if you're sick of having your rudder shot out. An inefficient, entirely situational build for hilarity's sake is an anti-aircraft build. Drop Demolition Expert and take Basic Fire Training instead. Load up on Advanced Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns and complete the set with Preventative Maintenance. This is hardly a good build, but at least you'll shoot down a lot of planes. Oh, it's going to be like that, is it? Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Huanghe isn't going to do novice players any favours. She's a British light cruiser without a Repair Party that has to sneak in even closer to do damage. That's a recipe for disaster. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Properly managed, Huanghe can pull her own weight -- you just need to really flex those carrying muscles to do it. This makes for an interesting challenge for those inclined. Getting those Soviet 152mm up close opens up the opportunity for all kinds of hilarity, especially against enemy cruisers that are probably not used to getting their citadels shot out from smoke 12km away. However, her overall lack of firepower holds her back. Mouse's Summary: Perth-lite. Same Perth flavour with half the effectiveness! I kid, Huanghe isn't that bad. She's just not as good as Perth. I can already tell there's going to be a counter-culture movement that absolutely loves this ship... Can destroyer-levels of agility, the smoke generator of HMAS Perth along with good values for her AA firepower and concealment make up for garbage levels of firepower and durability? I was full ready to slap a 'Garbage' label on Huanghe and wash my hands of her. I don't care if she has good AA firepower -- that's a window dressing; it doesn't define a ship as being good or bad. Destroyer levels of twirling are nice but without speed to dictate engagement distances, it's a half measure. Her stealth is good, but not good enough especially in light of her weapon ranges. These arguments all strongly point towards a wholesale condemnation of this ship, but there's one thing and only one thing giving me pause. It's her damned Smoke Generator. Without it, this would be cut and dry: slap a trashbote label and move on. But, I cannot ignore how powerful this is when played well. It allowed me in play testing to rip the throat out of several ships that, on paper, had me dead to rights based on firepower, speed and durability. Yet, I must remind myself that a bad ship is still fully capable of doing damage and even sinking another. This isn't a game like World of Tanks where a disparity in power levels can mean outright immunity to a lesser-vehicle's attacks. I cannot outright dismiss the successes I did enjoy with this ship, but I must weigh them in context. Perhaps it's simply best to separate the two. Huanghe is a trashbote with a good Smoke Generator. So ask yourself: What you want to play with? Is it the trashbote, or is it the Smoke Generator? Because if it's the latter, HMAS Perth will be back around in the shops sometime soon... Would I Recommend? I'm forced to ask myself: "Why would you buy this?" If you're looking for comparable game play, HMAS Perth is superior in almost every regard. For trainer for the Pan Asian destroyer line, there are better choices. Loyang is one of the most competitive destroyers at her tier and Anshan comes in at a similar price tag with added economic bonuses baked in to boot. Huanghe is a premium without a purpose... PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Also no. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Very no. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Very no on toast. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Actually, yes. Be advised: Mouse has a soft spot for lame-[edited]ships, like the pre-buff Atlanta, Albany and Prinz Eugen. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion. Her Smoke Generator gets a Gudbote, though.