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So, I got this week my hands on Z-31 and decided to run it through it's paces to see whether all the hate by many was warranted. Here's a very small sample, 10 battles. It's nowhere near a completely objective indicator on whether the ship is bad but I believe it would be a decent basis for some first impressions. The stats: Note the 71% accuracy on main battery and 2% on torpedoes. The Commander (10 points): First of all let's get the matchmaking I got out of the way. 4 tier IX battles, 3 tier VII, 3 tier VIII. Not particularly good, but you gotta learn to make do. The good: sizable HP. a part of the midsection is 25mm, shattering some DD HE, though this is a double edged knife when it comes to CA AP. Built in IFHE means you can penetrate with HE any ship on your MM bracket. improved ricochet angles are always welcome in AP. the accuracy is impressive. If you have Katori or Yubari with the special Upgrade it comes pretty close. You can pretty much pick which section of a ship you want to hit. The bad: Relatively bad reload time on main battery. Relatively bad reload time on torpedoes Torpedoes do mediocre damage. Ship is somewhat clumsy and slow. Okayish concealment, nothing too good but not unworkable. The oh so very ugly: Horrendous HE. Horrendous torpedo speed. Horrendous smoke duration. ONLY DAMAGE CONTROL AND SMOKE. NO ENGINE BOOST FOR YOU. What AA? So, is the ship a good one? Hell no. Is it bad? Damn right. Is it part of an effort to get you to spend some FXP to get the next, hopefully better tier? Most likely. Is it warranted all the hate it gets from absolutely everyone, including former and current CCs? Nope. The ship is bad but workable. The AP can help pad your damage numbers when you get some broadsides or nice juicy BB superstructures. You are horribly outmatched by pretty much any DD, but the silver lining is if you know how to play with AP and angles you can get penetrations which hurt and can dissuade them from pursuing you. Other than that you are free meat. The torpedoes exist just to launch in the hopes of getting any random hit. But the worst issue with the ship is how to get the most out of it you sacrifice your role as a DD to a large extent. The greatest danger to a DD is most of the time another DD, and Z-31 simply can't do anything to influence decisively these encounters. Other ships sacrifice their role as DDs too, like the French or Soviet open water gunboats. But they can still play support to a friendly DD and help secure caps or lock down flanks. The problem I see is that I am a relatively good DD player and had to put quite a bit of effort to get Z-31 to work respectably. Z-31 and am afraid the line in general in the hands of the average player will simply feel like a horrible joke played by WG. Possible improvements: Though obviously I doubt the ship will be touched as it looks like a gatekeeper along with G.J Maerker for the decent tier IX and X ones, aside from an obvious buff to reload time, maybe they could get a choice between the long range slow torpedoes, and fast with lower range that they had initially. At least that could give a tool in close encounters with DDs or allow you to drop them at a smokescreen and hope of actually hitting something. Thanks for reading, and hey, maybe give Z-31 another shot with a different mindset, it might make the experience less bad. Tl;dr What Wargaming did was add the niche gameplay equivalent of something like Neustrashimy or Friesland on a tech tree line. The concept is pretty alien to most and it takes experience to get some results out of it.