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Found 183 results

  1. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Florida

    ♫ Florida man, Florida man... ♪ Guess the tune. The following is a review of USS Florida, the tier VII American premium battleship. I did not pay for this ship. It was provided to me by Wargaming for evaluation purposes. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.9. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: A tier VII, prototype version of the North Carolina-class battleship with twelve 356mm guns instead of nine 406mm guns. She's highly accurate but her guns don't hit very hard, even for 356mm rounds. On top of this, she's super squishy. PROS Huge broadside of twelve 356mm guns. Solid rearward firing angles, well suited to kiting. Uses the improved battlecruiser dispersion instead of that of American battleships. Good range for a tier VII battleship, able to reach out to 21.6km with her APRM1 modification. Improved penetration on her AP shells for their calibre. Good anti-aircraft firepower, including access to Defensive AA Fire. Decent concealment. CONS Small hit point pool for a tier VII battleship. Softer-skinned than contemporary battleships with 25mm extremities. Vulnerable, high-water citadel with as little as 285mm worth of armour. A 33.5 second reload. Anemic damage values on both her HE and AP rounds along with poor fire setting. Horrible rudder shift time of 15.4 seconds. Has one fewer Repair Party charges than most other battleships. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Difficult New players beware. As easy as border-humping battleships can be, Florida asks a bit more of players in order to get her to perform. Neither her AP or HE shells are idiot proof, requiring players to be dynamic with their ammunition choices. That's bad enough, but even when you have the right ammo loaded for the right target, her anemic shells leave a lot to be desired, especially with so long of a reload. Even her good improved accuracy can be a bit of a turn off -- at least with bad dispersion even a poorly aimed shot might have something strike the target. Finally, this ship just feels cumbersome with sloppy handling, a slow reload and sluggish turret traverse. Her carry potential is limited. While expert players can flex a lot of their in-game knowledge to get more out of Florida's potential, her defensive limitations thwart most attempts to push aggressively. Her guns don't hit hard enough or fast enough and are foiled by even limited angling. Still, she's a nice support ship. If you want to play a more passive, supporting role, Florida works well, especially against CVs. Options Consumables Florida's consumables are a little weird. There are two items of note: Florida uses an American battleship version of her Damage Control Party. This has a longer-than-usual active time compared to other battleships, repairing critical damage and preventing fires and flooding for 20 seconds instead of the usual 15 seconds. It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard for a battleship. It queues up 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of everything else. It heals back 0.5% of her health every second for 28 seconds. Her consumable has an 80 second reset timer but only comes with three base charges instead of the usual four. Like the other new American battleships, Florida has access to Defensive AA Fire. This is active for 40 seconds per charge with four charges base. While active, this provides a 50% increase to sustained AA DPS and a 300% increase to flak damage. It has an 80 second reset timer. Finally in the last slot, you have your choice between a Spotting Aircraft or Catapult Fighter. The former comes with four charges and is active for 100 seconds, during which time main battery gun range is increased by 20%. It has a 240 second reset timer. Her fighter has the usual 60 second active period with three fighters patrolling around the ship. This has a 90 second reset timer and comes with three charges base. The big takeaways here are that Florida has access to Defensive AA Fire and her Repair Party has one fewer charge. Upgrades Florida's upgrade choices are pretty dull. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. It's arguably the best choice in the first slot. You can take the special upgrade Spotting Aircraft Modification 1 to increase the active time of her consumable from 100s to 130s but this doesn't exactly wow me. This upgrade will cost you 17,000 from the Armory. Unless you plan to hump the back-line regularly, you're better served increasing the survivability of your guns. Damage Control System Modification 1 is the best choice for slot two. Again, if you feel the need, you can take another special upgrade. This time, Defensive AA Fire Modification 1 is up for grabs at the same 17,000 cost in the Armory. This increases the active time of her consumable from 40 seconds to 48 seconds and reduces the reset timer from 80 seconds to 72 seconds. In slot three, Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 is really the only one worth considering. This will up her main battery firing range from 18.62km to 21.6km (her secondaries get boosted from 5km to 5.25km). Finally, in slot four, fire damage mitigation is still your best option so Damage Control System Modification 2 is your best choice. If you want to be a little more active in your dodging, then you can take Steering Gears Modification 1 instead. This will reduce her rudder shift time from an appalling 15.4 seconds down to 12.32s. Captain Skills You're not reinventing the wheel with Florida. Take the usual battleship survivability build. It's boring but it works. For variety's sake, you can swap out Priority Target and Expert Marksman for your tier 1 and tier 2 skills of choice. Some good alternatives are Expert Loader, Jack of All Trades and High Alert. Expert Loader in particular is a very good choice. I'm getting a lot of mileage out of this graphic. This speaks a lot to how badly the skill system needs to be reworked given how optimized skill choices have become. Camouflage Florida has access to two different camouflage patterns. By default, she comes with Type 10 Camouflage. However, They provide the same bonuses and are merely a cosmetic swap. -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. Florida's default camo is alright. I really don't like her alternative palette. It's a dull, elephantine grey in unflattering patterns. Florida's "Golden Eagle" camouflage has the same pin-up girl on her funnel as the camouflage made available for the new American tech tree battleships. I'm surprised by how much I enjoy this camo, though that may simply be because I'm not big on the other two. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 356mm/50 Mk11 rifles in 3x4 turrets in an A-B-X super-firing configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 127mm/38 guns in 6x2 turrets and 4x1 turrets. Huh! Neat! Let's start with Florida's secondaries, because they're kind of neat in a pointless, fun bit of trivia kind of way. Her secondary armament is divided into two gun types. The first is the twin 127mm/38 we're used to seeing on every American battleship. But these are supplemented by four single 127mm/38 turrets akin to what you might find on an American destroyer like Benson or Sims. This effectively gives her an eight-gun secondary broadside -- two fewer than you'll see on higher tiered American battleships like North Carolina, the SoDaks, the Iowa-sisters, etc, but it's right on par with California's battery. However, Florida manages to have the equivalent broadside to a ten-gun secondary battery like the higher tiered ships because most American twin 127mm/38 guns have an artificially lowered rate of fire and the singles have a boosted one. Check out this nonsense! Iowa & Missouri's secondary broadside: 10 guns with 6 second reload = 100rpm. North Carolina & Alabama's secondary broadside: 10 guns with 6 second reload = 100rpm. California's secondary broadside: 8 guns with 6 second reload = 80rpm. Florida's secondary broadside: 6 guns with 6 second reload + 2 guns with 3 second reload = 100rpm So there you go! Florida has a better secondary battery than California, equivalent to most of the other American battleships (but obviously excluding Massachusetts & company cuz theirs are souped up). Florida's secondaries are too short ranged to be worth specializing into. They also lack the accuracy buff that makes Massachusetts and Georgia such units. These twin factors are enough to discourage anyone from spending skills or upgrade slots on them, to say nothing of Florida's durability issues (which I will [edited] about at length below). Alright, that's enough fussing over what is little more than a curiosity. Let's get onto the meat of the matter. Big Guns Go Boom Make Squeaky-Toy Noises I don't like Florida's guns. They're perfectly adequate -- I'm not here to tell you that they're broken, bugged, under-performing or what have you. They're well balanced and put out the hurt reasonably well. In fact, they've got a lot of good things going for them including good(ish) fire arcs, good range, decent AP penetration values and that sweet, sweet battlecruiser dispersion. So what's my beef? Well, its' two things gentle reader: She has a slow rate of fire. Her shells suck moose-balls. The first element is symptomatic of American battleships as a whole, especially the new line of American battleships that Florida heralds. At 33.5 seconds per volley, Florida's reload isn't as bad as some of the others in the new tech-tree, but let's not mince words: It sucks to wait that long between trigger pulls. I can stomach this if the results for waiting are particularly amusing, however Florida's gunnery is an exercise in frustration for me because of my second gripe: Florida's shell hits are not satisfying. Florida's shells, both AP and HE, don't hit especially hard. Their damage values are lower than you might expect for a 356mm weapon. In fact, Florida's damage output on her AP and HE shells is most closely matched by those off the sixteen-gun Lyon. Lyon has only a 30 second reload, I remind you, 3.5 seconds faster than Florida with a four-gun advantage. Compare: American 356mm/50 (Florida): 9,500 AP damage, 4,750 HE damage, 22% fire chance American 356mm/50 (New Mexico, California): 10,500 AP damage, 5,000 HE damage, 30% fire chance American 356mm/45 (Arizona, New York, Texas): 10,300 AP damage, 5,000 HE damage, 30% fire chance French 340mm/45 (Bretagne, Normandie, Lyon): 9,500 damage, 4,700 HE damage, 26% fire chance Her individual hits just aren't doing as much damage as other American battleships. While she still has better broadside weight than the ten-gun armed New York-class, she's well behind the other twelve-gun armed American standards despite having a better reload time than all of them. This deficit in shell damage (combined with her slower reload) means that in terms of raw damage potential, Florida falls way behind, ending up in the bottom half of the DPM charts despite her large number of guns. Take these values with a pinch of salt. This is not accounting for such factors as accuracy, penetration, overmatch, normalization, etc. In terms of raw DPM, yes, Florida lags behind. She's also hurting when it comes to overmatching targets, especially when she's middle or bottom tier. However, her penetration is decent and her accuracy is good, offsetting these factors somewhat but only against select targets. More on this later. Look at all of this negative space! This is what happens when I scale the HE values to the same scale as the AP values. The order of ships shuffles a bit with German HE shells being terrible and British and Japanese HE shells doing more damage than you might otherwise expect for their calibre. Florida's HE performance remains unfortunate. However, given the troubles with her AP shells, you'll still be reaching for them often. Don't Trust DPM Charts The problem with simply looking at DPM charts is that it assumes everything is not only 100% accurate, but also that all shells perform equally when they strike a target. It patently ignores two crucial elements: How easy it is to hit a target. How likely your shells are to do damage if they do hit. As Roma so painfully demonstrated, you can have gorgeous paper stats but if you simultaneously struggle to (a) hit a target and (b) get anything other than over-penetrations, then your experience is going to be hella inconsistent. Florida has her own struggles, but at least she's very consistent when it comes to landing hits. Florida uses battlecruiser dispersion -- the same found on ninja-accurate battleships like Thunderer. Sadly, this isn't paired with a god-tier sigma value. Florida has 1.7 sigma competed to 1.9 of Thunderer or 2.0 of Champagne, so she doesn't feel quite so accurate as some of the higher-tiered snipers. The lower sigma means that the occasional shell will still fly wonky, though the smaller dispersion area means this won't be as wildly askew as other ships. In short: Florida's accuracy is good. You should land more hits per volley than her contemporaries which should help mitigate some of her DPM issues -- not all of them, but some. Florida (on the left) using a standard dispersion test. This is 180 AP shells fired at a stationary Fuso bot. Shots are coming in from the left to right (Fuso is bow-tanking). California is on the right with the same parameters. California uses American battleship dispersion with 1.9 sigma versus Florida's battlecruiser dispersion with 1.7 sigma. Florida feels appreciably more accurate than most other American battleships, though her lower sigma value will make her feel only slightly better than ships like California or Arizona. The difference in penetration performance between California and Florida is manifold. Their shells have different masses (555kg for Florida vs 680.4kg for California), different shell velocities due to different drag coefficients (0.271 for Florida vs 0.331 for California) and different Krupp values (2,945 for Florida vs 2,545 for California). AP penetration is more of a contentious issue for Florida. There's a stigma against lower-calibre guns for having poor penetration performance and this is largely undeserved. American 356mm AP shells, for example, have very good penetration and Florida's is improved even beyond this. She is capable, for example, of penetrating upwards of 400mm worth of plate at 15km. She has more than enough punch to land citadel hits against just about any broadside target, including some of the softer-skinned battleships up to ranges of 20km. So you don't need to worry about Florida not having enough teeth to citadel an Iowa in most encounters, should the opportunity arise. I stress the word opportunity, however. As nice as the raw penetration values are on Florida, she doesn't have a lot to spare once you aim at battleships in excess of 15km out. Using the usual tricks of aiming for softer sections of the hull can help, especially given Florida's reasonably tight dispersion to ensure good groupings. This helps somewhat, but again, angling is very effective against Florida's guns because she doesn't overmatch a whole lot of armour. Her 356mm AP rounds overmatch a maximum of 24mm worth of plate and there's a whole lot of structural steel within her matchmaking that's 25mm or thicker. Tier VI+ battleships, tier VIII+ cruisers all have a minimum of 25mm worth of structural armour. But that 25mm+ threshold crops up in other places, such as the decks and amidship hulls of tier VI and VII heavy cruisers and the decks of tier VI and VII lights. Having a working knowledge of which ships you can still punish when they angle helps immeasurably, but Florida is very often forced to rely on either aiming for over-penetrations through superstructures or resorting to her HE rounds. Ouch. I don't know why Wargaming decided to neuter Florida's fire setting so badly. I guess this will encourage players to reach for AP whenever possible. Keep in mind that these values do not include the fire resistance of their opponents nor the ship's accuracy. Fire resistance values against the opponents Florida usually faces is anywhere between 30% to 45% or so. So if you're managing to hit with 1/3 of Florida's shells against a tier VIII target, then instead of 4 fires and change, you're more likely going to see one per minute. Maybe. Sadly, Florida's HE are lacking. Their modest damage per-shell and slow reload might not be such a bad handicap if their fire chance was better, but her fire chance per shell is horrible. The 22% value she's shackled with is downright painful for such a slow rate of fire. Getting one permanent fire to burn is a feat, never mind doubling up. Her HE performance is so bad that I would happily recommend sticking with AP spam if it weren't for the aforementioned issue with angled and higher-tiered targets. It's stupid-important to be patient with your shots. Look for opportune targets where you can maximize her AP efficiency. You don't want to have to start spamming HE. Similarly, you don't want to force encounters where this is your sole option. Florida doesn't have the armour or hit points to facilitate trades against same-tier (or even tier VI) opponents. Blapping a full broadside of HE into an enterprising lolibote is hilarious, don't get me wrong -- her improved accuracy means that she easily can land four to six shells (or more!) against a destroyer at stupid-close ranges. But against any other target, her HE is just found wanting. If given the opportunity to fire nothing but AP, Florida does really well. Frankly, this is only going to happen if your opponents are idiots. You have to remain flexible with her ammunition choices. Keep the Expert Loader skill in mind. It's very handy for this ship if you're going to build a dedicated Florida captain. Enough Facts, Gimme the Feels I hate these guns. Lemme stress: They're fine. And I mean that in the same way I tell my significant other that "it's fine" when things are clearly not. It's all of the little things which add up to a bad experience for me. If you asked me to point at the one thing that bugs me the most about them, I'd probably tell you it's the 4º/s gun traverse, which seems stupid to complain about given all of the other issues. However, I think that this quibble illustrates my beef with Florida's gunnery as a whole. Her slow turret traverse is just that "one more thing" that feels off about this ship. No matter her advantages, there's always a big ol' butt attached. Florida has good AP penetration she has overmatch issues. Florida has good dispersion her sigma value is subpar. Florida has a huge broadside her shell damage is artificially low. Florida has decent fire arcs her turret traverse is slow. Florida can land a lot of hits with her HE shells she's terrible at starting fires. It goes on and on like this. Yes, yes, yes, this is all in the name of BALANS™, tovarish, and Florida's gunnery is balanced. I just don't like it. Florida's fire angles are decent. They're not good -- good is a 300º fire arc or more, but she's not as appalling as some of the ships I've dealt with recently. I just wish her turret traverse was better. Summary Big broadside, wussy shells. Guns are very accurate. You have to be dynamic with shell choice. VERDICT: You would think that for a sniper-battleship, her guns would be fun. But they're not fun. I didn't have fun at all with these weapons (except for maybe paddling a lolibote or two at very close range. Defence Hit Points: 51,800 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm extremities, 26mm upper hull & 37mm deck Maximum Citadel Protection: 285mm belt or water + 213mm belt + 56mm, 96mm or 140mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 26% Short Version Florida is pretty much a normal tier VII battleship with an exposed, vulnerable citadel and weak Repair Party. Florida's citadel layout tells you all you really need to know about this ship's durability. The TL:DR is that her citadel abuts against the exterior of her hull and it sits above the waterline. With only 285mm worth of belt protection, this exposed "T-section" of her citadel is stupid-easy to bullseye for waterline-aimed shots from enemy battleships. For 380mm+ AP shells aimed at her bows, her transverse bulkhead is almost as vulnerable. Irrelevant trivia time. There is a 16mm hidden plate dividing the upper and lower parts of Florida's citadel. The line of it can be found between her 285mm upper belt the 213mm of her lower belt Long Version The most pressing thing to worry about when playing Florida is her citadel. Unlike the other "sniper" battleships like Slava and Champagne, the "softness" of Florida's hull is barely a concern. The 25mm extremities which damn her higher tiered cousins do not apparently have a lower-tier equivalency. I was expecting Florida to appear with 19mm of extremity armour but she instead clones the higher tiered ship weakness with 25mm instead. Given that all of the other tier VI and VII battleships are rocking 26mm worth of extremity plate, the loss of a single millimeter is not that much of a drawback. At most, this makes Florida slightly more vulnerable to HE shells from small and medium caliber guns -- specifically 152mm HE shells from tiers VII and below do not need to reach for Inertial Fuse for HE Shells in order to stack direct damage against Florida as they would against her tier-mates. Similarly, Florida is vulnerable to 120mm HE shells with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. That's really the extent this soft skin provides in terms of vulnerability. Otherwise her superstructure, upper hull and amidships deck all conform to normal parameters for a tier VII battleship. If you swapped out Florida's 25mm bow and stern for 26mm versions, she'd be a perfectly normal tier VII battleship. Florida's artificial fragility instead comes from three sources. The most influential of these is her citadel placement and geometry. Any battleship with her citadel sitting high over the waterline and abutting against the ship's exterior has a big ol' weakspot that's pretty easy to exploit. That, in of itself, isn't enough to damn a ship. For example, Soviet battleships all share this weak point, but many (if not most) of them are considered super-tanky. Therein lies Florida's second weakness: she lacks any form of extended armour to assist with shattering HE shells and ricocheting incoming AP rounds. While her amidships deck is a respectable 37mm, her butt, snoot and upper hull are all highly vulnerable. 25mm and 26mm armour are easily over-matched by the oh-so commonplace 380mm+ AP shells found at this tier. This armour similarly doesn't hold up against HE spam from cruisers and some destroyers. Thus Florida is much more limited when it comes to tanking incoming rounds. She can bounce 356mm armed battleships throwing AP in her face for days but angle improperly or test your luck against larger caliber guns and she goes down in a hurry. The last piece of her squishy puzzle is her effective health pool. Florida's hit point pool is small for a tier VII battleship. Heck, it would be on the low end for a tier VI battleship. This isn't enough to damn her in of itself -- she's not so low that she's on Viribus Unitis levels of parody. But a smaller hit point pool means that she heals less penetrating damage with her Repair Party. While this has no impact on fire and flooding damage (as their damage amount scales with the starting hit points of the ship), 10,000 damage worth of penetrations hurts Florida more than other tier VII battleships. But there's more. Florida comes with one fewer charges of her Repair Party, so this deficit is felt even more. I wanna gloat like a happy teaboo, but Florida's health is just too appallingly low for me for me to brag with good conscience. Her lacking an entire Repair Party charge just feels mean. I have felt these three combined weaknesses acutely with Florida. I don't feel that they're enough to damn the ship, but they are very obviously weaknesses. Unlike the higher tiered sniper-battleships, Florida finds herself more often in claustrophobic maps where she cannot rely on simply out-ranging targets. She's asked to tank a lot more more than say, Champagne. Even when she does appear on larger maps, this comes with the threat of higher-tiered opponents and more overmatching guns so it's catch 22. Knowing which opponents you can face tank and which you can't are important. But so very often I was forced to show my cute butt and kite away when the pressure was on. Florida's not-good(ish) forward fire angles meant that firing all three turrets forward was just asking to have shells rammed into her stepped citadel. It was far safer to fight, firing over her shoulder with her forward turrets slinging shells to her rear. Being far more limited in what aggressive plays this ship can make hurts her carrying ability. Turning to fight will often just get you killed. It limits what decisive actions she can take. It's hard to be heroic if you're constantly forced to follow Sir Robin's playbook. VERDICT: She's squishy -- squishier than the usual tier VII battleship and they struggle a lot with durability. Florida struggles even more. Don't brawl. You'll die. Agility Top Speed: 27 knots Turning Radius: 760m Rudder Shift Time: 15.4 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.1º/s If Florida was a battleship from any other nation, there would be very little worth noting here. Her top speed of 27 knots is completely acceptable for a tier VII battleship. Her turning radius of 760m is decent. It's not amazing, but it's alright. Her rotation rate of 4.1º/s is again, pretty average. Her rudder shift time of 15.4s is the most remarkable thing about her and not in a good way. It's slow. Her 27 knot top speed has the illusion of meaning something only because she's an American battleship. All other American battleships from tier VII and below cap out around 21 knots as their top speed. With the nerfing to American Standard-type battleship agility with patch 0.9.6 Florida's speed advantage is even more pronounced. Were she a battleship from any other nation, her 27 knot top speed would be unremarkable. So yes, Florida is faster than Colorado or California. Big deal. So is everything else at this tier. Focus instead on her sloppy rudder shift time. She doesn't feel like she handles well because of it. Add on her modest turret traverse rate and she feels like a chunk-lord. Ships with stars have been changed or added since patch 0.9.6. VERDICT: Not as nimble as you might expect. Good enough, I suppose, but definitely not one of her strengths. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 5 explosions for 1400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 157.5dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 4.0km): 269.5dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 318.5dps at 70% accuracy I've sorted these by the formula of [ AA dps x { range - 1km} ]. It's not a perfect system but it does weight heavier, longer-ranged firepower over masses of short-ranged defence. I admit a terrible reluctance to call any battleship's AA firepower "good". This said, when a pristine Florida activates her Defensive AA Fire and doubles her DPS, she has good AA firepower. Florida's AA power is nice. Taken on it's own merits, her AA power is pretty fearsome when it comes to personal defence. In the support role, she's not bad either, with a sizable chunk of her AA power dedicated to long and medium range weapons. When her Defensive AA Fire is active, she can wipe out full tier VIII squadrons -- it's not contest here. A determined CV player will still be able to make a drop, but it will cost them everything. Carriers must anticipate that she will always have Defensive AA Fire ready and it's best to bait its use by ducking in and out of her 5.8km bubble and then waiting it out, even if she's not your primary target. Florida is effectively a no-fly zone for tier VI carriers because of this consumable and raw AA power combination which is a pretty impressive boast. Add on a catapult fighter and Florida duplicates this for tier VIII carriers too, at least until she comes under sustained HE attack. Most of her teeth come from her 40mm Bofors and 20mm Oerlikons, barring a CV being gracious enough to face-plant into a flak-cloud. These do not survive long under HE fire and even cursory smattering of HE rounds will quickly reduce the effectiveness of her AA and open her up to the potential of air-attack. All hail Florida's lord & saviour. VERDICT: Honestly, some of the best AA defence we've seen in a long time. I'm kinda shocked. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 13.86km / 12.1km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 10.08km/9.07km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 12.01km Maximum Firing Range: Between 18.62km and 25.92km Flordia's concealment values are pretty darned good. She doesn't quite get into that magical sub-12km surface detection range which is quite impressive for a battleship, but at least she gets close. Given her preferred engagement distance, it's pretty easy for this ship to drop off from detection range in typical encounters -- especially given her long reload. If she had a bit more grunt in her engines, controlling the engagement through use of her stealth would be a lot more feasible, but her 27 knot top speed just isn't enough to kite away from all of the battleships she faces, to say nothing of cruisers and destroyers. Florida's great range (especially when upgraded and modified with her Spotter Aircraft consumable) can work against her here, especially with those enterprising shots in the early stages of a match as everyone's deploying. While it can be super-tempting to try your luck against targets spotted early by your own lolibotes or Just Dodge™ simulators, you can all but guarantee you'll be spotted in return when you pull the trigger. With nothing else to shoot at, you can bet that every battleship on the enemy team that can draw bead on you will take a shot and given Florida's super-squish citadel, bad things will happen if they've got the range. Keep in mind that Florida's rudder is terrible so it's not like she dodges well. This is definitely a risk-reward element at play here, so be careful. VERDICT: Pretty darned good for raw concealment values, though she struggles to spot stuff on her own. It's too bad she doesn't have the agility to make better use of this trait. Final Evaluation When it comes to my battleships, I know what I like. Big, punchy guns are a must. I prefer durability to agility, but I need one of those two elements to be present. If a battleship can't manage these things, they've got a big, uphill battle to win my affections. Some of them still manage it. Scharnhorst, for example, doesn't have the main battery guns to wow me, but she still pulls off a win between her secondaries, fish and the combination of speed and tankiness. I've tried to keep an open mind while play testing Florida, but good gravy, my time in her has not been pleasant. I'm under no illusions that this is very clearly a me problem. Florida herself is a well balanced ship. I just hate her. She doesn't have any one element of this trifecta that I enjoy in my battleships. When Florida was first announced, I thought she would immediately obsolete California. I tore California a new one a few months ago for being not worth the asking price. While I do feel that Florida is a superior vessel to California, I don't feel that she's worth it either. Frankly, you're better served picking up Arizona at tier VI or even Alabama at tier VIII instead of Florida. Let me stress this: I don't think Alabama is worth the asking price either, but I would definitely recommend her over Florida. She's more reliable, if dull. The best bang for your buck for American premium battleships is Massachusetts and she's been one of the best premiums you can buy if you're shopping for one. Her primacy isn't challenged by Florida in the least. With Black Friday a little over a month away, if you're in the market for Massachusetts, then you might want to wait a month and grab it when her Black version goes back on sale if you like the cosmetic difference. I don't mean to try and sell you on other ships, my point is simply that there are a lot better choices for your time and money than investing in Florida. In closing, I should stress again: Florida is fine. She's not broken. There will be some people who really dig her sniper game play. I'm not one of those people. I like to have the option of getting in close and hitting people with my sword. Florida doesn't let me do that. In Closing Well, this accidentally turned into a much longer review than I had intended. I was originally just going to line up Florida alongside California, compare the two and then pull a surprise-reveal that they both suck equally. Instead, I learned last week that Ship Comrade, the site run by @Critter8 that has hosted my reviews since the first quarter of 2016 was going to close down. Instead of working on how to cleverly cast shade on anyone that enjoyed either one of these tier VII American premium battleships, I spent the better part of two days going through years worth of archived jpegs and text, reflecting on the years I've spent writing for World of Warships and all of the help, support and encouragement Critter8 provided me. I wouldn't be a Community Contributor (CC) if it weren't for Critter8. I'm not sure the WGNA CC-program would have even existed if it weren't for him. Back in 2015, before there was a Community Contributor program, content creators like myself worked unsupported by Wargaming in any capacity. The predecessor to the NA-CC program was Club Wargaming which promised the world and delivered nothing but a booger-green title on the forums. Club Wargaming included dozens of content creators which had sprung up during Closed and Open Beta, including some big names like @PhlyDaily. All of us were paying out of pocket to produce content or having to rely on donations from fans to get access to the newest premium content. Critter8 took exception to this. He had made Ship Comrade -- a fan site whose best early features included tracking Rank Battle progress and had one of (if not THE) first Captain Skill calculator. He took his fandom seriously and wanted a professional relationship with Wargaming to facilitate content production. He approached me about my frustrations with Club Wargaming and he took an active leadership role among the various content creators to approach Wargaming about our complaints. It was by his initiative that the WGNA CC-program took shape under NikoPower (of CorgiFleet fame). From those conversations, @iChase, @NoZoupForYou, @Notser, @TitiuBlack, Critter8 and I became the first NA-CCs in early January of 2016. While I could gush endlessly about everything NikoPower did for us, it was Critter8 who stands out as the leader we needed. He brought the six of us would-be professionals (with integrity) together. For me, Ship Comrade allowed me to greatly increase the quality of my reviews. This long format, like you're seeing here with Florida, was facilitated entirely by having my content written for Ship Comrade. Critter8 encouraged CCs like myself and @Aetam to host our content on his site. As you can imagine, writing for a web-page is much more forgiving than writing for a forum post -- it didn't have to all be written in a single sitting, for example. In going over Ship Comrade's archives, it was a treat to watch how my reviews grew in size and ambition. My early reviews were usually written in an afternoon and seldom held more than four or five jpegs. Florida's review has nearly thirty and has been written over the course of a week. I am endlessly grateful for the opportunity and help he provided for me. For personal reasons, he had to step back from World of Warships. As the CC program again got overhauled, Wargaming dropped his CC-status despite his continued efforts to host and support other CCs. Sadly, Ship Comrade was never a profitable enterprise. Donations helped keep the lights on for a time, but all things must come to an end. He ran the site out of his own pocket for over five years. I don't fault him in the least for retiring. Thank you for everything. And thank you all for reading. I'm going to take some time sorting and organizing some of my older reviews over the next week or so.
  2. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Hyuga

    The following is a review of Hyuga, the tier VII Japanese premium battleship. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself; I did not have to pay money to get access to her. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.3. Please be aware that her statistics may change in the future. I always start these reviews with the above disclaimer. I do it for a couple of reasons. The first is to let you all know that there is some intrinsic bias in this review. I am only human (beep-boop ♪) and it's possible I will make some reporting errors on stats and numbers. It's also to let you know that I have a relationship with Wargaming through the Community Contributor program. After all, I get these assets for free to review them and that's absolutely going to colour how I feel about a ship and my readers absolutely need to know about that partnership. However, what I wanted to draw your attention to was this: 'Please be aware that her statistics may change in the future.' I originally wrote this to to warn players of meta shifts. While the core stats of a given ship might not change, the game most assuredly does. Mechanics get tweaked, new ships get introduced and before you know it, your once S-tier Blyskawica is unable to keep up. This past month, this warning has taken on new meaning: The newer premiums may have their performance stats directly nerfed by Wargaming. This is a change from their old policy and it only applies to these newer ships. I had originally wanted to discuss this with my Flandre review but I totally brain-farted on that. Since Flandre, Hyuga and HSF Harekaze II have also been affected by this so it's time to make sure I cover this info. You can see Wargaming's notice of such in the detailed description they provide of an individual premium. I've highlighted the pertinent part: What this means: Hyuga and newer premium vessels do not have protection from being directly nerfed in the future. Changes are not guaranteed, but they are possible. Please, please, PLEASE take this into consideration before pulling the trigger on any purchase. Got it? Good. There's lots of room to discuss this change in policy and how it affects your personal buying decisions. Please feel free to discuss it in this thread or quote back this section in a new post if you prefer. For now, let's get back to my review of Hyuga. Quick Summary: A modernized WWI-era Japanese battleship with twelve, quick-firing 356mm guns, a dispersed armour scheme and access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. PROS Trollish armour scheme for resisting SAP and HE hits, including thick upper hull, deck armour and voids. Good reach on her main battery guns. Very comfortable dispersion for such a large main battery. Excellent main battery DPM between her quick, 28 second reload and her twelve guns. The bulk of her secondary battery has increased accuracy. Has access to the Main Battery Reload Booster. CONS Wonky and weird citadel geometry. Seriously, it looks like a Picasso painting. Overmatch issues with her smaller gun calibre. Horrible gun handling and awkward fire angles. Only a modest top speed and not especially agile. Horrible anti-aircraft defences. Enormous surface detection range. Overview In the long-long ago, in the before-time, back when there was only three tier VI battleships in this game, a debate raged on which was the best. The answer is obvious now (it's bae-bote, always and forever) but it was a very eye-opening discussion. You see, back then it was Fuso that appealed to most. It's not hard to see why with her trollish armour and phenomenal firepower for her tier. She was faster than her two competitors and this was also back before sigma was understood. Some had a grasp of what overmatch was but others did not. It's not hard to see why Fuso was a long-standing favourite and her successor, Nagato, was often seen as a step down in terms of performance. It's surprising to me we've had to wait this long for a premium based around her game play. There are plenty of options with Fuso and Yamashiro from the Fuso-class and then Ise and Hyuga of the subsequent Ise-class. Well, the wait's over. We finally get what we've always wanted, however it is at the wrong tier. Up-tiering Fuso's gameplay begs the question if any gimmicks could make her worth playing. That's the Hyuga quandary in a nutshell: Is it worth paying money for an up-tiered Fuso with weird gimmicks? Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Hyuga's pretty new-player friendly. Keep back. Keep AP loaded. Pull the trigger. You can forget about nuances of angling properly; her gun arcs don't allow for that. She's not so fast that she'll get you into trouble nor is she so slow that she cannot keep up with the pace of battle as it progresses. So green light all around. She's an easy battleship to play and she'll deliver reasonable results to anyone of any particular skill level. For veterans, well there's lots to like here. Her consumables alone open up all kinds of opportunity for optimization, to say nothing of her fast-reload guns and her massive broadside. Hyuga's alpha strike potential is downright cataclysmic, reigned in only by modest penetration values which is yet another bit of info to out-skill. Still, as good as her armour profile appears, this is a difficult battleship to effectively tank damage, limiting her appeal as a front-line vessel for pushing and progressing the battle. Overall? Good marks for skill-potential and growth, but certainly not the best out there for that. Options Aside from her Main Battery Reload Booster, there's not a whole lot out of the ordinary for Hyuga when it comes to outfitting her. Consumables Hyuga's Damage Control Party is standard for a Japanese battleship, meaning that it's only active for 10 seconds as opposed to 15 seconds for most other battleships (and 20 seconds for Americans). It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard. It queues up to 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. From this queue, it will heal back up to 14% of the ship's starting hit points per charge over 28 seconds. It starts with four charges and has an 80 second reset timer. Her Main Battery Reload Booster is weird (not the least of which is seeing a MBRB on a battleship at all). It is active for 15 seconds, doubling the rate at which shells are reloaded during that time (each second spent reloading counts as two). It starts with three charges and it has a 60 second reset timer. Finally she has a Fighter. This launches three (3) aircraft which orbit on station for 60 seconds. It comes with three charges and a 90 second reset timer. Upgrades There's three builds to consider here: Optimal, comfort and PVE-shenani-nani-gans. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Begin your anti-fire regimen with Damage Control System Modification 1. So all of the fun happens in slot three. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is your best choice here. However, you can take the slight dispersion hit for Main Battery Modification 2 to increase her admittedly horribad turret traverse rate. For you PVE-nutters out there, you can also consider electing for a secondary build here with Secondary Battery Modification 1 if you like. Whatever your choice, follow that up with Damage Control System Modification 2 in slot four. Commander Skills Until Dead Eye (4pts) is dead and buried, it's going to remain optimal for all battleship builds. That's going to be the first priority on any PVP battleship build. From there, your next priority is to mitigate fire damage through Basics of Survivability (3pts) and Fire Prevention Expert (4pts). Next up comes buffs to gun performance, namely in the form of Adrenaline Rush (3pts) and Grease the Gears (2pts). That leaves you 5pts to play with (including a 1pt skill compulsory). Recommended skills include: 1 point skills: Gun Feeder, Emergency Repair Specialist 2 point skills: Priority Target 3 point skills: Super Heavy AP Shells 4 point skills: Emergency Repair Expert, Concealment Expert If you're a PVE main and want to dabble in a brawling build (because bots love to brawl), then you can skip the fire prevention stuff and just load up on secondary buffing skills instead, dropping Dead Eye and avoiding Concealment Expert because neither are ever going to do you any good. Camouflage Hyuga has access to two camouflage options. She comes with Type 10 Camouflage regardless of how you acquire her, but when she was first sold, the higher tiered bundle came with the Japanese Lacquer camouflage as well. This alternative camo is merely a cosmetic swap, providing the same identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains.  Hyuga's Type 10 Camouflage is the usual browns and greens you've come to expect from Japanese premiums. If you've finished the appropriate section of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection then you can palette swap to the blue instead. I really like Hyuga's lacquer camo. We've seen it before on Hayate. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 356mm guns in 6x2 turrets in an A-B-P-Q-X-Y in superfiring pairs. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 140mm guns in 16x1 hull-mounted casemates with eight to a side and eight 127mm guns in 4x2 turrets with a pair on either side of the main superstructure. I'ma take a quick moment and start with Hyuga's secondaries. Outside of PVE modes, don't worry about them. If you prefer Co-Op, you can buff her secondaries and get some nice results. Hyuga's 140mm casemates have improved gunnery dispersion, akin to that found on other large-calibre casemates of ships like Nagato, Amagi, Iron Duke and Warspite. Her 127mm have normal ol' (bad) dispersion, though. Fully buffed, you can get their reach out to 8.47km which is pretty respectable and more than worthwhile when bots come rushing blindly at you. Their smaller calibre will prevent them from dealing direct damage to all but the softest skinned targets, but you'll undoubtedly start a fire or two in every match if you get stuck in. Don't bother with them in PVP, however. Twelve 356mm guns with a 28 second reload with 1.8 sigma and a Main Battery Reload Booster at tier VII. For those experienced with the game, that's all of the information you really need to know to appreciate Hyuga's strengths and weaknesses. There's minutia, of course; other details that matter, but the lion's share of the information you need comes right there. Let's break it down: Twelve guns: This is a lot, no matter how you slice it. Most battleships in the game sit with between eight and ten guns with twelve tending to be towards the upper limit (laughs in Lyon). Regardless of gun calibre, this promises a large broadside and huge alpha strike potential. 356mm gun calibre: By tier VII, this gun calibre is a bit long in the tooth as more and more vessels drift upwards towards 380mm and 406mm guns. It is below average for its tier despite the glut of ships still using it (Poltava, California, Florida, Duke of York, King George V and Hyuga). 356mm guns obviously don't hit as hard as the larger gun calibres, but they are also incapable of overmatching structural plate that's 25mm or thicker. 25mm and 26mm structural plates become increasingly commonplace at mid-to-higher tiers, preventing ships armed with 356mm guns from being able to bully these vessels at any angle they take. 28 second reload: Go back even a year, and the perceived "normal" reload time for a battleship was 30 seconds. However, between the new American and Italian tech-tree battleships released this past year, Wargaming seems increasingly weary of keeping to this standard. A glut of newer vessels have greater-than-30-second reloads to their name, which makes Hyuga's 28 seconds all the more remarkable. Again, I stress that this is with a large main battery of twelve guns. Even with their smaller gun calibre, Hyuga's damage potential is some of the best at her tier. 1.8 sigma: This is the "workhorse" value Wargaming typically assigns to most battleships. The average sigma among the seventeen unique tier VII battleships is 1.79 just to give you an idea. The trend tends to be for ships with a large number of guns to have lower sigma; usually in the 1.5 to 1.6 range. This afflicts the tier VI battleships with twelve guns with Fuso and New Mexico both stricken with 1.5 sigma while Arizona feels decidedly over-performing with her 1.8 at the same tier. To see Hyuga with 1.8 sigma speaks to the comfort of her long-range gunnery. Aim well and she'll reward you with multiple hits. Main Battery Reload Booster: This consumable is a game changer. Hyuga already fires very quickly. She is more likely to have shells at the ready when a target of opportunity presents itself. The faster a battleship fires, the more forgiving the vessel is for poorly aimed shots. This consumable turns everything on its head, providing Hyuga with shells on demand. With a touch of a button, you all but guaranteed to be able to put shells down range to capitalize on an opponent's mistake. This stacks with the strengths of her larger battery (twelve guns) and decent sigma (1.8) to make these shots count. With the short reload on the consumable, it's again likely to be ready when the next opportunity arises. The only thing arresting the overpowered nature of this combination is Hyuga's gun calibre. If she was capable of overmatching any target she faced, this would simply be a raw DPM increase. As it is, she still needs to look for the best shots possible. Give Hyuga your broadside at your peril. Hyuga's 1.8 sigma makes for comfortable shell groupings. It's not S-tier by any means, but it's a far cry better than Fuso's 1.5 sigma shotgun blasts. This is largely the means by which Wargaming justifies Hyuga being a tier VII. This is what Fuso's 1.5 sigma shotgun blasts look like. Both ships are using Aiming Systems Modification 1 (but not Dead Eye), firing 180 AP shells at 15km against a stationary Fuso bot without camo. Shells are coming in from right to left (the Fuso is bow-tanking). Twelve guns with a 28 second reload means that Hyuga very comfortably sits near the top of the potential damage charts, even with her smaller gun calibre. It doesn't hurt that Japanese HE shells deal more damage than most of the contemporaries of the same calibre, with only the Royal Navy HE being beefier on a per-hit basis (6,100 damage from a KGV-class HE shell versus 5,700 for Hyuga). I swore I'd never do one of these graphics again and YET, here I am... Twelve 356mm guns with a 28 second reload with 1.8 sigma and a Main Battery Reload Booster glosses over a lot of problems. Hyuga's gun handling isn't particularly good nor are her fire angles comfortable (more on these in the Durability section below). Her range is good, but it could be better. Without access to a Spotter Aircraft, there's no temporary flexibility to chase targets just beyond her nominal reach. Next, her HE shells aren't good fire starters. Finally, her penetration just isn't up to scratch to compete with battleship belt armours outside of 14km. There is also the added problem that with such fast firing guns, Hyuga remains spotted longer than other battleships, revealing herself with every blast of her weapons. All of these problems are easy to forget with just how many shells she puts downrange and how often the land hits. Yes, ricochets are annoying. Yes, it sucks when a salvo of multiple hits from HE fails to start a fire. These issues help reign Hyuga in from over-performing, because there's a little too much good going on here. A lot of the premium battleships at tier VII use 356mm guns for some reason. Ashitaka uses 410mm, to be clear, and is present here because she's the other Japanese premium. Despite her increased HE shell damage, she's only a modest fire starter and only because she has so many guns and fires so quickly. Her individual shell hits have some of the lowest fire setting at her tier. SUMMARY: Very comfortable gunnery platform. Maybe a little too comfortable. Durability Hit Points: 60,700 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 26mm / 16mm / 149mm / 35 to 44mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm anti-torpedo bulge + 299mm belt + 32mm turtleback + up to a 230mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 26% I'm going to start with this graphic. It may seem a little out of place, but hear me out. "It could be worse" sums up Hyuga's fire angles. Between these and her poor gun handling, she gets poor marks here. 'If you can shoot them, they can penetrate you,' sums up Hyuga's firing angles. Assuming you can set things up absolutely 100% perfect, there's still around a one in three chance of their AP shells doing unspeakably ugly things to your ship. Get sloppy by as little as 3º and their chances jump up to half with the enusing reduction of relative armour as an additional kick in the teeth (her 299mm belt drops from approximately 520mm of effective armour down to 485mm). Hyuga's firing angles aren't well designed for trading fire. She's not meant to tank damage in gun duels like this. She's much better suited at shooting things that aren't shooting back. You're pretty much forced to choose between damage out put and tanking effectively. She's not really agile enough to pull off both without making some serious compromises to one or the other. It's not all doom and gloom, though. The Ise-class is a WWI era super-dreadnought and this is reflected in her dispersed armour scheme. This means that other than her extremities and (admittedly sizeable) superstructure, Hyuga has thicker armour than expected. Combine this with her enormous anti-torpedo bulges (which don't work very efficiently against torpedoes for some reason), Hyuga's armour profile is downright troll for resisting AP, SAP and HE shells. The latter two especially struggle to deal reliable damage if they miss her snoot, booty or hat. Against AP shells, it's a bit more of a mixed-blessing. Her dispersed armour does make it more likely to AP shells to ricochet if she's angled correctly. However, the thicker armour plate also has the effect of guaranteeing to arm the fuses of large calibre AP rounds, all but negating the chance for reduced damage over-penetrations when shells do bite into these places. Overall, her dispersed armour scheme is more of a blessing than a bane. Before moving on, it's worth mentioning that her turrets have about 300mm worth of usable armour between their turret faces and barbettes. These are an admitted weak point when face-tanking if an opponent can't simply overmatch her 26mm bows with 380mm+ calibre AP rounds. Hyuga's guns break often when forced into this role. Hyuga's huge 32mm anti-torpedo bulge acts as a void. Any HE or SAP attacks that strike here will deal zero damage to the ship. Peel back that anti-torpedo protection and there's a mess of different armour values for AP shells to contend with. None of these values are especially high, so maintaining correct angling is paramount to resisting battleship-calibre AP fire. When it comes to citadel protection ... it's complicated. Around Hyuga's rear magazines, her protection is pretty damn good with a combination of up to 593mm worth of steel at funny angles aimed to keep shells out. But depending on where she's hit, this value can be as low as just 288mm. Add onto this the wonky (janky!) geometry, especially around the P and Q turret magazines and the rear machine spaces and Hyuga's presents shell trap after shell trap after shell trap for penetration AP rounds to catch upon and deal big damage. It's worth mentioning that her turtleback isn't angled steeply enough to resist flat-trajectory fire, to say nothing of long-range fire and it's from the latter that you need to worry about big damaging hit the most. The reason I have made such a big deal out of Hyuga's poor firing angles and gun handling has a lot to do with how badly this ship resists citadel hits from the incidental attacks that come from long range duels. Look, I was going to show the armour values for this but ... it's like Jackson Pollock painting. It's a total mess. There are so many different armour values and weird geometries going on. I want to rate Hyuga's overall durability more highly than it deserves. In truth, her protection scheme could be really troll if she had better firing angles to capitalize on it. Furthermore, being a tier VII battleship, that leaves those huge vulnerable overmatching holes in the form of her bow and stern for easy back-doors into big damage against this ship. And if those aren't available, you can always smack her in the barbettes and get some nice damaging hits that way -- the changes made to penetrating hits against guns has greatly hurt the durability of mid-tier battleships, especially in brawls. I suppose the best that could be said about her is that she's pretty good at resisting poorly aimed cruiser HE and SAP spam. However, her superstructure and extremities are large targets so you cannot expect any experienced player to ignore those soft spots. Furthermore, Hyuga burns just as well as any other Japanese battleship. Hyuga's health pool is only average. VERDICT: Pretty good if you can stay angled or your opponents are n00bs. I wouldn't count on either one of those, though. It'll work well against bots, though. Agility Top Speed: 25.3 knots Turning Radius: 750m Rudder Shift Time: 15 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.9º/s at 18.9 knots Tier VII is a transition-tier for battleship agility. This is where we start to see some really fast battleships appearing however there are still some 20-knot holdovers in the form of the American standards. This combines with a mix of different handling characteristics, with some retaining the early-battleship tight turning radii while others begin to have their turning circles balloon out to the massive sizes we see at higher tiers. Thus there's a lot of variety between the best and worst performers and everything in between. Hyuga is definitely one of those in between. Her speed is slightly below average for her tier and her turning radius is alright. At 25 knots, it's just about enough to keep up with the pace of battle or to disengage during the opening stages of a fight. As the battle progresses, however, Hyuga's pedestrian top speed is more of a liability where the threat of allied support begins to dry up and enemies can push more aggressively if she's exposed. Similarly, her modest top speed leads to a cumbersome rate of turn. The good news is that she doesn't quite out-turn her turrets. The bad news is that you're still going to be tempted to use your rudder to bring guns to bear and that's going to open up your sides for penetrating AP hits. To this end, taking traverse-improving skills and upgrades helps improve this ship's durability, if only to keep your fingers away from the WASD keys when switching targets. Think of Hyuga as a slightly-faster Nelson. VERDICT: Nothing terrible but nothing good. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 2 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 63dps at 75% accuracy (47dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 75.5dps at 85% accuracy (62dps) Yeah.... no. The only reason Hyuga isn't at the bottom of the pile for AA defence at this tier is because Ashitaka is a stock, interwar-era Amagi. VERDICT: Yeah... no. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.84km / 14.7km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 10.46km / 9.41km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.84km Maximum Firing Range: 20.31km Have some raw data. Hyuga's surface detection is pretty bad. Hyuga's surface deteciton is pretty terrible. Stock, it's 2km better than Fuso (a little bit less if they're both fully upgraded), so that's something I guess. But that's like saying your tier V battleship has more health than Viribus Unitis. Even with a full concealment build (which should still do, by the way), until the enemy destroyers have been thinned out, you have to count on being permanently lit if you're anywhere close to the front. Being so easily spotted means that Hyuga spends more time being the only target available than her contemporaries. I'm sure Wargaming has some metric out there to illustrate this that would justify my suspicions, but between Hyuga's enormous surface detection and rapid fire guns, she ends up making herself a target more often than most. This means more incidental fire comes her way, especially from other battleships. While not all of this will connect, it's just that little bit of extra chip-damage that will eat at her health or tax your Damage Control Party that makes Hyuga and Fuso feel squishier than their armour profiles would otherwise suggest. It's just something to keep in mind. Having Priority Target is recommended if only to let you know when you need to silence your guns and think about rotating towards the back of the line to ease off some of the pressure. Hyuga's lack of a Spotter Aircraft tends to keep Hyuga closer to the action than Fuso, even with the two ships having comparable ranges. For the sake of her gun performance, this is generally a good thing though I found myself missing that extra bit of reach-on-demand in higher tiered engagements. Still, I have no real complaints about her engagement distances. Hyuga has nothing else really to speak of when it comes to her Vision Control. She's a fat battleship, possibly visible from space. This gets her shot a lot, though often it's more incidental fire than anything concentrated. Still, you can't count on being able to properly disengage unless you keep her in the second line. VERDICT: Just plain bad. Final Evaluation This isn't the first time Wargaming has taken an existing design and up-tiered it by making some small changes. While Hyuga is not a Fuso-class, their design looks superficially analogous from a game play perspective, what with both ships being large, twelve-356mm gun armed Japanese battleships. However, the differences between them is extensive. While describing Hyuga has a Tier VII Fuso is a good shorthand for setting expectations, it's far from accurate. This isn't a complete list of differences (you could write a book on their armour and hull geometry differences alone), but here's the important bits that separate the two vessels: The Basics Hyuga is an Ise-class, with overall larger dimensions than the Fuso-class and, most notably, different P & Q gun turret layouts. Hyuga is tier VII, facing a maximum of tier IX opponents and Fuso is tier VI facing a maximum of tier VIII opponents. Hyuga is a premium with all that this entails and comes with permanent camouflage. Firepower Hyuga has access to a Main Battery Reload Booster. Hyuga has improved sigma (1.8 vs 1.5) Hyuga has longer ranged secondaries (5.6km vs 4.96km) Hyuga has sixteen 140mm casemate secondaries, Fuso has fourteen 152mm casemate secondaries. Fuso is longer ranged (21.81km vs 20.31km) and she has access to a Spotter Aircraft. Durability Very different armour layouts and hull geometries. No, I'm not going into detail. Hyuga has better overall citadel defence. Hyuga has more hit points (60,700 vs 57,100) Hyuga has better built in fire resistance from her tier (30% vs 23.5% approximately). Fuso has better anti-torpedo defence (34% reduction versus 26%) Agility Hyuga is faster (25.3kts vs 24.5kts) Fuso has a tighter turning radius (730m vs 750m) Fuso has a faster rudder shift time (14.9s vs 15s) Anti-Aircraft Defence Fuso has better AA DPS at close range (150.5dps vs 75.5dps) Hyuga has a Fighter consumable. Vision Control Hyuga has a better surface detection range (16.89km vs 18.9km) Fuso has a better aerial detection range (9.74km vs 10.46km) So Hyuga's not a Fuso clone, but really, the three big differences between the two vessels are her consumables, her range and her dispersion. Hyuga is a much better gun platform than Fuso, even with her deficit of reach. Her gunnery is more reliable than the tier VI vessel. She puts more shells on target from accuracy and more shells down range grace of her Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. In fact, Hyuga's gunnery is so much better that it feels downright comfortable; and that, to me, is always a warning sign that a ship is perhaps a little too good. If I find myself feeling cozy in a given vessel, that's a sure sign that something about it is overtuned in my hands. Whether or not this translates to being similarly good in the hands of the masses is another thing entirely, but a lot of the ships I like end up getting pulled by Wargaming -- just saying. In Hyuga's case, Wargaming's new policy on adjusting premiums should keep this ship from ever getting withdrawn from sale barring her becoming way too popular. But as it stands, I think Hyuga is a fantastic Japanese premium. She's right up there with some of the other top-tier Japanese premium battleships including Ashitaka, Musashi and Shikishima.
  3. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Anchorage

    The following is a quick review of Anchorage, the tier VIII American heavy cruiser. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes. I did not have to pay for it (though I did spend time grinding it out after-the-fact). To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are current as of patch 0.9.10. Please be aware she may change in the future. And now for something completely different. This is going to be a shot-review of Anchorage rather than an exhaustive one, greatly sped up thanks to being able to piggy back some of the graphics I did for Belfast '43. Anchorage is one of those ships that looked hella-interesting when announced but she didn't pan out. To this end, I'm glad that a lot of players earned her at a discount. I don't think she's really worth the full asking price (spoilers) but that's mostly owing to her slow rate of fire and wonky consumable options. Anyway, here is my review of ship named after the capital city of wannabe-Alberta. Quick Summary: An American heavy cruiser with smoke and torpedoes! PROS: 27mm external armour, preventing overmatch of up to 381mm AP rounds. Respectable anti-torpedo protection. Has "American Piercing" AP shells with improved auto-ricochet angles. Big alpha strikes from individual volleys. Good fire angles on her main battery. Strong torpedoes with a 66kt speed, 10.5km range and over 19k damage per hit. Has access to a Smoke Generator with increased emission time. CONS: Only a modest gun range of 15.6km. Long, 15.5s reload which hurts her DPM and fire setting. Slow gun traverse of 6º/s. Like, ew. Bad torpedo firing angles, making them awkward to use. A total chungus with a modest top speed but horrible handling. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower. Large surface detection radius when firing in smoke. Spartan consumable options. Overview Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Difficult Anchorage is a dirt simple ship to use. Park in smoke. Select HE shells. Cycle guns and hoover up damage. Even a complete novice can score some respectable damage and maybe even shark a kill this way. Compared to other cruisers, this is pure easy mode, even if it's not terribly efficient. And that's really Anchorage's flaw. She's not efficient. Her long reload really holds back her carry potential, but there are other issues too. She's nearly blind which is kind of a shocker for an American cruiser. She's almost entirely reliant on having team mates spot for her whether she's parking in smoke or behind an island. This hurts her team-play contribution as it largely relegates her to just dealing damage and she's not particularly good at that. Yes, her alpha strikes are nice but that sustained output just isn't there. Similarly, her short range prevents her from kiting very effectively which is a shame because she has some nice fire angles. Overall, she's just not a carry-boat. Options Anchorage's consumables define her as much as her painfully long main battery reload (more on that later). It's not that her consumables themselves are odd, it's the combination of how they're allotted and which one she gets access to. You'll see what I mean: Consumables Anchorage starts off normal with a standard cruiser Damage Control Party. This has unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 60 second reset timer. Her second slot is a tangled mess. By default, she has a Catapult Fighter. This deploys 4 fighters which orbit 3km around the ship for 60 seconds. It starts with 3 charges and a 90 second reset timer. This can be swapped out for a Spotting Aircraft. Active for 100s, it increases Anchorage's range up to 18.72km. It starts with 4 charges and has a 240 second reset timer. What's weird is that this slot also competes for her Hydroacoustic Search. Yes, really. Other than this weirdness, this consumable is normal for a tier VIII cruiser with a 3.5km torpedo detection range and a 5km ship detection range. It's active for 100 seconds with a 120 second reset timer. It starts with three charges. Finally, there's the craziness of giving a heavy cruiser a Smoke Generator. It generates smoke for 30 seconds with each smoke cloud lasting for 104 seconds. It has a 160s reset timer and it starts with three charges. Upgrades Outside of destroyers, my recommendation for the first slot in most ships is dirt simple: take Main Armaments Modification 1 and be done with it. However, this is a case for Anchorage to take the oft maligned Spotting Aircraft Modification 1 special upgrade instead. At a cost of 17,000 from the Armory, this increases the duration of her consumable from 100s to 130s -- synching it up its duration almost perfectly with the combined emission and dissipation time of her Smoke Generator. This of course hinges on not taking Hydroacoustic Search in her second consumable slot. Speaking of her Hydroacoustic Search, I default to recommending Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 in slot 2 if you're not going to pull off that Spotting Aircraft combo in slot 1. Again, you're looking at a 17,000 cost from the Armory to equip this. If you can't or if you won't, take Engine Room Protection instead. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is (still) the optimal choice for slot 3. Because you're going to be parking in smoke or behind islands, Propulsion System Modification 1 is optimal in slot 4. If you prefer to fire from open water, you may take Steering Gears Modification 1 instead. Finally, Concealment System Modification 1 is still (disappointingly) optimal in slot 5. Captain Skills Anchorage doesn't reinvent the wheel. You can use whatever American heavy cruiser captain you're currently training or using and get solid results. She's not a very hungry ship when it comes to getting improved performance from her skills. For example, here's a quick throw-away build. Pick one of the tier 1 skills in green, then grab the ones in yellow. Perfect? No. Good enough? You betcha. Camouflage Anchorage has two camouflage options and they both share the same statistics, making them simple cosmetic swaps: 3% reduction to surface detection. 4% increase to enemy dispersion. 10% reduction to service costs. 50% increase to experience earned. Anchorage's Type 10 camouflage. You can unlock a palette swap for it. Anchorage's "National" camouflage. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 203mm/55 guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Eight 127mm/38 guns in 2x2 turrets with one mounted fore and aft and 4x1 in open-air mounts with two to each side. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers with one mounted to each side in the hull adjacent to the rear funnel. If it weren't for that reload, these guns would be great. That sounds like my complaint of Vermont. The more I played Anchorage, the more her firepower reminded me of Mogami, the Japanese tier VIII heavy cruiser. I don't mean the cool, fun Mogami. I mean the far more pedestrian 203mm armed variant that's overshadowed by it's stock 155mm guns. This is a bit unfair of a comparison to Anchorage because her weapon systems are a lot of fun -- or they would be if her guns weren't shackled to a 15.5 second reload. That's honestly their biggest drawback despite otherwise having a lot of cool features. Like Mogami, individual salvos, be it from Anchorage's guns or her torpedoes, are super satisfying. You just don't shoot often enough. But here's some of the reasons I generally like Anchorage's weapon systems: Her torpedoes are excellent. Their 66 knot top speed is amazing for a cruiser-launched fish and their individual hits are super-meaty. They're even beefier than IJN cruiser-launched torpedoes, surpassing those tossed by Mogami and Atago which is saying something. They even have more reach, albeit a mere 500m more for a 10.5km range. She's not quite able to launch them from stealth but that's close enough. Their only real downside is their horrible launch angles which forces you to give up a full broadside to send them off. She has American piercing shells. Anchorage's AP rounds enjoy the improved auto-ricochet angles of other American heavy cruisers. Their ricochet chance starts at 60º (rather than 45º) and doesn't become guaranteed until 67.5º (rather than 60º). They have good penetration for an AP round. The only downside is that these are New Orleans and Wichita's AP rounds, not the super-heavy versions found on Baltimore -- so they're not the god-tier version, just the good version. Her alpha strike from her individual broadsides is excellent. With twelve guns, the punch she delivers per salvo is sizable. Compare her HE penetrating broadside of up to 11,088 damage compared to Baltimore's 8,316. She even comes off better when compared to the Japanese heavy cruisers with their improved-damage HE shells. They only manage 10,890 damage per broadside ("only", she says -- that's still chunky). Slap a lolibote with that and they'll feel it. She has great fire angles. She can bring all four turrets onto a target 30º off her bow and 31º off her stern. Beauty. Her gun traverse sucks butts, but whatever. So there's a lot of good here. It's just unfortunate that it's all locked behind that painful main battery reload or those poor fire angles on her fish. Anchorage's good AP shells help pad her numbers here despite her poor rate of fire. Approximate penetration values of Anchorage (and New Orleans & Wichita's) penetration. American HE shells are nothing special though. Even with twelve guns Anchorage barely keeps ahead of Atago's 10-gun DPM despite having more guns and half a second faster reload. Her fire setting is pretty average for a tier VIII heavy cruiser, so that's a plus. Anchorage has "better than Benham" torpedoes. They're faster. They hit harder. They reload just as quickly. That's pretty impressive. It's just a shame they have limited arcs and they're not mounted on a ship that could take better advantage of them. So don't forget about these. Use them when you can because their stats are damn good. VERDICT: Almost excellent, but gutted so badly by that long reload that it crashes and burns. Defence Hit Points: 41,800 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 27mm / 16mm / 27mm / 27mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 152mm belt Torpedo Damage Reduction: 16% Anchorage's turret faces have some nice 203mm armour plate on them. Anchorage is a normal American heavy cruiser. This comes with some pretty nice perks in the form of being blanketted in 27mm worth of plate. 27mm is one of those key armour thresholds that have artificial importance due to the shell penetration mechanics in the game. 381mm AP shells and smaller cannot overmatch 27mm worth of steel. Furthermore, tier VII and lower 152mm HE rounds don't have enough base penetration to damage it without the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) skill. Finally, 120mm HE rounds (found on many British-derived destroyers) cannot penetrate it either even with IFHE. This opens up the opportunity to pull of some pretty fun shenanigans provided your facing off against the correct opponent. Anchorage can bow-in and joust against 381mm-armed battleships and wreck 'em with her fish... provided they don't blow out her citadel with AP rounds as you cross alongside one another -- make sure you bait those shots first! This is by no means guaranteed outside of PVE battles, but it's nice to have. She's otherwise unremarkable for a heavy cruiser. She doesn't have a lot of hit points, but she's not squishy in that regard either. She doesn't have any extra thick armour plates on her deck or any hidden geometries to wreak havoc on internal AP ballsitics. If you expose her broadside, you will take citadel hits -- especially through her machine spaces where her citadel pokes up over the waterline. She's vulnerable to AP bombs owing to her 76mm citadel roof. She does have some respectable anti-torpedo protection for a cruiser, namely because she actually has anti-torpedo protection. Many cruisers don't. Anchorage's longevity is thus linked to her ability to dodge, hide behind islands or use her smoke to extend her survivability. Trading in open water is a bad idea, but that's normal for any cruiser -- not just Anchorage. Pretty uninspiring but her smoke should (in theory) make her modest hit point total last longer. VERDICT: Hella normal. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Agility Top Speed: 33kts Turning Radius: 800m Rudder Shift Time: 11.2s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.1º/s at 26.4kts There's not a whole lot to say here. Anchorage's handling is terrible. She has a large turning radius. She's not especially fast. Given her Smoke Generator, you're likely going to want to install Propulsion Modification 1 instead of Steering Gears Modification 1, so her rudder shift time feels chunky too. I don't have anything nice to say about her handling. Given her slow gun traverse, this feels even more pronounced as you'll be tempted to use her rudder to bring guns to bear faster which will just open up her squishy sides to getting citadelled. Poor marks all around. VERDICT: Terribad. She handles like a Soviet cruiser but at least those ships are usually high-speed. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 3+1 explosions for 1,470 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 87.5dps at 90% accuracy (78.8dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.4km): 213.5dps at 85% accuracy (181.5dps) Again, I don't have any nice things to say here, so forgive me while I grouch a bit at the state of Anchorage's AA firepower. Why was her Catapult Fighter equipped to the same slot as her Hydroacoustic Search? I am never going to take her fighter because of this which only increases her AA defence issues. While it's nice that she has a respectable amount of AA firepower in her 5.8km batteries, her supporting batteries are too short ranged to be anything other than 'vengeance weapons' -- you know, the kind that might shoot down a plane after the CV has finished dropping. This is a really poor showing. For such a large, cumbersome ship, she's meat on the table for carriers. Yikes. Are we sure this ship is American? VERDICT: Japanese-cruiser levels of bad. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 13.62km / 10.7km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 8.02km/6.5km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 7.98km Maximum Firing Range: 15.6km to 18.72km with her Spotter Aircraft. So this is arguably Anchorage's strongest area after her firepower and we've already established that her firepower is a bit hit and miss (get it?). Concealment wise, she's decent. She has average surface detection for a tier VIII cruiser, so there's nothing to get excited about there. I'll be honest, this surprises me given the size of the ship, but I'll take it. Her aerial detection is a bit on the large size, but again it's nothing unmanageable or out of the ordinary. This just leaves her consumables to talk about. Had Anchorage been released anytime before the autumn of 2017, she would have been the bees knees. Back then, Smoke Generators were THE team-play consumable of choice. As it is now, smoke is still highly appreciated but detection consumables, namely long-range Surveillance Radars, are valued more. Anchorage flips the dynamic of American cruisers on its head when it comes to its consumables. It forgoes detection consumables -- even making Hydroacoustic Search compete for its slot in favour of her Smoke Generator gimmick. Now this is a good gimmick, do not mistake me. Anchorage doesn't just have a Smoke Generator, it has an American Smoke Generator which comes with increased emission time and duration. However, it doesn't quite ditto the improved performance of other American smoke generators when it comes to duration. For example, Benson and Kidd's smoke lasts for 124 seconds. Flint's smoke lasts for 121 seconds. However, she does have a leg up on Mikhail Kutuzov whose smoke is only emitted for 20 seconds and lasts 89 seconds. Sadly for Anchorage, she's not well setup to take advantage of her own consumable. Her 7.98km (effectively 8km) detection range when she fires within smoke greatly reduces its efficacy. She's simply too loud of a target to take full advantage of the smoke she drops. This is especially pronounced if there are any surviving lolibotes on the enemy team, sneaking around and sniffing out smoke-cloud contents. Anchorage's detection range when she fires in smoke is almost as long as some Surveillance Radar detection ranges -- it's that bad. She has to be one of the safest cruisers to approach when she's parked in her smoke. Yes, her torpedoes are a risk but their fire angles are bad so she'll clearly broadcast when she's about to launch them when she swings out her broadside. This largely relegates Anchorage's smoke use to firing from the second line. The short range of her guns precludes her from doing this from a comfortable distance unless she forgoes the use of Hydroacoustic Search to take a Spotter Aircraft, and even then that only mitigates the problem temporarily. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Anchorage's Smoke Generator isn't a good fit despite the good stats of the consumable. Had Wargaming ditched that and given her a Soviet style, short-duration but long-ranged Surveillance Radar, Anchorage would have been a lot more interesting and practical. VERDICT: She came with the wrong consumables for 2020. Final Evaluation There have been a lot of forgettable and unfortunate ships released in 2020. Anchorage is an excellent example of this -- where her design looks interesting but there's some game play element that just doesn't quite click and the ship ends up largely forgotten. Ironically, Anchorage is exactly the kind of premiums I was hoping to see in World of Warships back when I joined in 2015. She's different without being overpowered -- clearly sitting a step behind the tech tree ships in terms of her power level. I should be celebrating her release as-is but she merely feels like a missed opportunity. Still, I'm glad she ended up (mostly) free for players if they wanted to invest the time and handful of doubloons into unlocking her. As far as American premium heavy cruisers go, she's definitely not my top pick or even in my top three. Indianapolis and Wichita are more compelling choices in my opinion, with Alaska sitting as the crème de la crème. Anchorage is just too weird to tickle my fancy. She's not terrible, but she now sits alongside Puerto Rico as ships I'm never going to take out of port short of knocking off snowflakes or completing very specific missions where her tool-set will allow me to break the system. The best thing about her is her cool camouflage and looks, in my opinion. She's not a good PVP boat (she's not terrible either, but she's hardly advantageous), however she's a great Co-Op monster if that's your thing. Frankly, this is what Anchorage is best for: derping around in Co-Op and pulling off crap regularly that you'd only see once in a blue moon in PVP. In Closing Normally when I finish a big review like Belfast's, I can't stop work immediately afterwards. I need to wind down. Usually I take on a pretty small project and work a half-day. This may involve playing one of the test-ships that Wargaming has lent me or maybe collecting and revising some twirling data. Maybe I might map dispersion or simply spend time chatting with players, answering questions and reviewing their replays. The whole idea is to unwind slowly. I get something done, but it's at a much more relaxed pace than the gruelling final push to get an article out. With so many ships left to review in 2020, I've tended to default to getting started on the next review. Normally this is just filling out my template for these articles, getting the PROs and CONS settled and maybe filling out the Options section before calling it a day. With Anchorage... well, a lot of the work had already been done. I literally wrote this over the course of 8 hours. I had already play tested her extensively back in August-September (and didn't like her). I have most of the graphics done for her grace of just finishing Belfast '43. So I thought: "why not?" and tried to get this out in a single sitting. Hooray for me! This certainly isn't my best work and I definitely cut a lot of corners to get this out, but hey, it's done. For a ship I'm not interested in playing, that's more of a relief than I would like to admit. I don't want to have to come back to this one weeks or months down the road and have to remind myself of what she's like and spend hours (and days) doing graphics for a review I'll not enjoy doing. So Anchorage is done. I'm happy. What's more, I think I can take an honest to god break now. Thank you for reading, everyone. 
  4. The following is a review of Marco Polo, the tier IX Italian battleship. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.1. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Marco Polo's gimmick is that she's a perfectly reasonable, nine 406mm-gun armed battleship; a gun calibre not present in the main Italian tech-tree. While there are some Italian flavour-crystals mixed into Marco Polo's build, the concentration isn't as high as the rest of the line. It's not like buying Marco Polo gives you the full Italian battleship experience; you're paying for her 406mm gun calibre by losing out on an Exhaust Smoke Generator. What's more, arming her with nine 406mm guns makes Marco Polo analogous to a whole slew of ships at tier IX. Iowa, Missouri, Izumo, Bajie, Sovetsky Soyuz, AL Sovetskaya Rossiya and Lion all offer variants of this nine 406mm gun armed game play. Does Marco Polo do it better or even more-different enough to be worth playing? Quick Summary: A short-ranged Italian battleship with nine, slow-firing 406mm guns and no Exhaust Smoke Generator. PROS Trollish outer-armour, good for foiling HE spam. Comfortable fire arcs and decent gun handling Access to SAP shells Good AP penetration for a 406mm shell, even over distance Decent agility for a tier IX battleship CONS Small hit point pool Same wonky dispersion as Roma Short ranged for a tier IX battleship Painfully long reload time on her main battery guns. Flawed anti-aircraft firepower Lacks an Exhaust Smoke Generator (!) Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme The only thing that keeps Marco Polo from earning a Simple rating owes to her exposed citadel. So, she's not German-battleship easy. However, she does inherit the ease-of-use of the Royal Navy's singular ammunition type. You can spam nothing but AP or SAP shells (player's choice) and do alright, so that removes that element from the equation. If you can get used to one, you'll do fine. For expert players, dynamic ammunition choice is definitely one of those key elements which will spike Marco Polo's performance. Knowing which boolets to put into which heads will make this Italian Heavy happy. From there, though, the well gets pretty dry. Her short range and large surface detection radius make flanking difficult and this also makes taking a central positions more tricky as she has to continually watch her sides. She does tank well, especially cruiser-calibre HE shells, but that's not something she (or any other battleship) can stand for long as she burns just as well as any other. Options Consumables The only thing out of the ordinary with Marco Polo's consumables is her lack of access to an Italian Exhaust Smoke Generator. Otherwise, her consumables are standard for a tier IX battleship. Marco Polo's Damage Control Party is identical to those found on anything that's not weird (Warspite, most Soviet, American and Japanese battleships are all weirdos). This has unlimited charges, an 80s reset timer and a 15 second action time. Her Repair Party starts with four charges. It heals back up to 14% of the ship's health over 28 seconds, queuing 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It has an 80s reset timer. In her third slot, you have the choice between a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The former comes with four charges, increases her main battery range by 20% for 100s and has a 240s reset timer. The latter launches 3 fighters which stay on station, orbiting the ship at a range of 3km for 60s. It comes with three charges and has a 90s reset timer. Upgrades Start with Main Armaments Modification 1 Start your anti-fire based regimen with Damage Control System Modification 1 in slot two. Buffing your main battery guns is the best option for slot three, so grab Aiming System Modification 1. Your next stop into just saying no to fires is Damage Control System Modification 2 in slot four. Concealment Expert is still the best choice in slot 5. Wargaming, can we have some variety in this slot, please? It's worse than slot 3. Main Battery Modification 3 is arguably the best choice for slot 6, dropping her reload from a miserable 36 seconds down to a merely mildly upsetting 31.7 seconds. However, if you want to buff your range (and increase the window in which you can use Dead Eye) then Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 isn't a terrible choice. This will increase he reach from 19.02km to 22.06km. Commander Skills This is the commander build I settled on. I dropped Dead Eye for hipster reasons, but I've included the math for you to take it if you wish. Marco Polo, like many battleships, benefits from anti-fire, survivability build and that served me well during play-testing, even without the memes of back-of-the-line sniping (which, quite frankly, Marco Polo doesn't do well for a number of reasons I'll get into in the Firepower & Vision Control sections). There is a little wiggle room with tier 1 and 2 skill choices. Pick your favourites. Grease the Gears will help counter the traverse slow down of Main Battery Modification 3, for example. Camouflage Marco Polo has access to two kinds of camouflage. Type 10 and Legion. The Type 10 Camouflage has the following bonuses. -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains.  I have not yet seen the Legion Camouflage in game. I have been told by Wargaming that it has the same bonuses as Type 10 above but until I see it, I cannot confirm that. The promotional image for Marco Polo's Legion camo by Wargaming. Marco Polo's lines and camo are reminscent of Roma. She's not quite as pretty as the Littorio-class's lines, but Italian battleships are gorgeous. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 406mm guns in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm guns in 4x3 turrets with two turrets per side and twenty-four 90mm guns in 12x2 turrets clustered around the funnels. There's is ironically a lot to go over here but at the same time, not a lot to say. The TL:DR is this: Use Dead Eye, keep way back and spam SAP. Secondaries? More Like Moist Flamethrowers Let's get the largely irrelevant out of the way first. Marco Polo's secondaries are terrible. Their range is fine. Their rate of fire is okay. Their damage output is on the low side for secondary guns, but it's not so low that it's not comparable to other tier IX battleships (it's about on par with Georgia's DPM). However, it's the penetration from her 90mm guns that holds her back. Like the French battleships, the bulk of Marco Polo's secondary fire comes from guns too small in calibre to directly damage the hulls of destroyers or the superstructures of battleships. At best you can hope for them to break the occasional module or to start fires. They are not worth specializing into and their poor performance is a good reminder to keep this ship outside of brawling range. SAP Delivery System It's that Armour Overmatch which matters so much. Let's pretend citadel hits are an impossibility -- that they simply do not exist. What reason would you ever have to use Marco Polo's AP shells? That's the crux of Marco Polo's game-play (and indeed, the entire Italian battleship line). If you struggle to land citadel hits with Italian battleship guns, then SAP is the hands-down better ammunition to use. This goes double for Marco Polo grace of her excellent overmatch potential with her SAP rounds. Other Italian battleships cap out at being able to overmatch 26mm of hull armour with their 381mm guns. Marco Polo overmatches 28mm. The phenomenal auto-ricochet angles on her SAP rounds outright ignore all cruiser extremities in the game. If you hit a cruiser on the butt or the bow, you will do damage. If an enemy battleship doesn't angle just right and you boop their snoot, you'll do damage. And not just damage; chunktacular damage. SAP rounds do not over-penetrate. Short of striking a lolibote or an oversaturated hull section, that's a guaranteed 2,327 to 4,653 damage per penetrating hit And with 102mm of flat penetration regardless of range, there's a whole lot of hull sections she can hit without worrying about her shells shattering. It's that simple, it's that easy to use. I won't go so far as to say it's that good, but it's consistent at least. This is the reason Marco Polo has such a terrible rate of fire. Her 36 second reload is downright appalling. Main Battery Modification 3 can drop this down to 31.68 seconds, but you'll really feel that slow reload and that's only if you choose to equip it rather than trying to band-aid her sorry range. Her 19.02km reach hurts. It really does. You can forget about taking a comfortable central position on the map, confident you'll be able to reach exposed targets on either side. You can forget being about to out-range most cruisers. You can forget having a comfortable window to activate Dead Eye. With her god-awful concealment, Marco Polo is largely relegated to moving up on one side, sitting bow in and trading fire with whoever is parked right in front of you. They'll try and burn you. You try and SAP them into submission. If it sounds boring, that's because it is. Marco Polo totally sucks at damaging destroyers. Paolo Emilio players take note: YOLO rush the Italian BBs. Between bad secondaries, long reloads and ineffective ammunition, they're a good target. Marco Polo has THE worst AP DPM at her tier, and by an appreciable margin. This is yet another reason you want to stick to SAP rounds as much as possible, dipping into AP only when there's a chance to land citadel hits in order to spike your damage totals. Why you should probably use AP SAP is wonderful and all, but it's largely limited to chip-damage. Here's a thought exercise: Iowa and Marco Polo are each trading fire with a bow-tanking Friedrich der Große (84,300hp). Iowa is using HE rounds and Marco Polo is using SAP. Our battleships are only using their front two turrets. Assuming a modest 1/3 accuracy rate and all hits penetrate for full damage (an abstraction, though Friedrich could be using their Repair Party to extend the de-saturation point) we get the following numbers: Iowa: 7,524 damage Marco Polo: 15,510 damage However, if Iowa gets one fire through Friedrich der Große's defences, that brings her number up between 16k and nearly 23k damage. So, you might think that my argument is that HE is better than SAP. That's not the argument I'm making. There are many holes in this brief SAP vs HE example, not the least of which is that it's going to take Iowa (on average) a minimum of three full salvos to guarantee their first fire which is a point in SAP's favour. Similarly, there's also the chance of stacking multiple fires which swings the argument the other way. The point I'm trying to make here is that the SAP's damage output is limited to just steady penetrations. It takes a long time to kill anything with SAP. While citadel hits with SAP rounds are possible (for example, I had a very satisfying citadel hit on a Seattle in one of my test-games) the number of ships vulnerable to taking those hits is severely limited. By and large, SAP is only going to land penetrating hits, which is fine. It's consistent. But it does not offer the highs and lows of AP shells, the RNGeebus-blessings of fire stacks nor the jackpot lottery winning when you detonate someone. There were few things so infuriating in my test games than having been trading SAP with an opponent only for them to finally (FINALLY) flash their broadside. And what did I have loaded? Not AP rounds. So the salvo that landed did no more than the chip-damage I had been harassing them with the whole time anyway. For this reason, I strongly (STRONGLY) advocate having the Gun Feeder commander skill to swap out shells when those opportunities arise. To do well, not just middling performance, but well in Marco Polo, you need to take those AP citadel shots when they're available. Now if only her guns would behave to make those citadel hits happen. Marco Polo has excellent AP penetration values for its tier, almost rivalling the high-velocity, high Krupp Izumo rounds. Roma Gunnery I was kind of concerned when I heard some players describing Marco Polo as "accurate". She's not. Not unless you think Roma's accurate. Marco Polo has the same dispersion pattern and sigma value as Roma along with comparable ballistics. This means that sometimes RNGeebus will play nice and you can't seem to miss. At others, her shells overshoot / undershoot by an enormous margin and make you want to pull your hair out in frustration. For a ship with such a horribly long reload, watching your shells scatter to the four winds is incredibly infuriating -- especially if it's one of those rare opportunities where you're going fishing for a citadel hit. Given her poor concealment, this is a ship that's going to tend to be firing from 16km+ away from targets if you intend to make use of the Dead Eye commander skill. I certainly recommend that you make full use of it while you still can as it does tighten up Marco Polo's dispersion to a more tolerable level. This won't fix all of her gunnery woes, but it will make her a little more consistent while camped in the back line. As much as I hate to advocate for this kind of passive game-play, Wargaming has painted Marco Polo into a corner with the combination of fragility, small hit point pool, short range and poor concealment. If you're going to invest into this ship, it's best to accept that now. 180 AP shells fired at a stationary Fuso bot with no camo at 15km. Marco Polo was using Aiming System Modification 1 (but not Dead Eye). Summary Her SAP shells are powerful and easy to use, providing very consistent damage. You should still fire AP shells when you have a chance of landing citadel hits. Beware destroyers. You have very poor weapons for dealing with them. An extra couple of degrees on A & B turret and I would have nothing but praise for Marco Polo's fire arcs. Oh well. Her gun traverse is alright, but if you pair it with Main Battery Modification 3 Marco Polo is capable of out-turning her turrets which isn't fun. VERDICT: Spam SAP. (Pro-Gamer Move: Don't.) Durability Hit Points: 69,100 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 70mm to 80mm / 55mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 320mm belt + either 25mm turtleback or 50mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 27% Yikes. You doin' okay there, little Marco? I only ask cuz you seem a little anemic. Like a little French battleship. Marco Polo has the hit points of a tier VIII battleship; an admittedly chonky tier VIII battleship, but a tier VIII battleship none the less. Thankfully, her Repair Party consumable hasn't been neutered in any way, unlike those of the Soviets and Hizen. Still, Marco Polo is near the bottom of the pile for effective health. Individual damaging hits hurt her more than her contemporaries (though fires and floods hurt everyone the same). Instead of tanking and healing damage, Marco Polo is designed to shrug it off entirely. She's almost good at it. In World of Warships, reinforced upper hulls and deck armour has little to do with resisting battleship calibre AP rounds or aircraft bombs and everything to do with shattering the binary penetration of HE rounds. At 55mm thick, Marco Polo's deck is proof against most standard HE rounds up to 330mm in calibre (or 220mm for 1/4 HE penetration ammunition). This is just thick enough to shatter the HE bombs off Lexington's planes and all British bombers, but not enough to see off those from Midway or Franklin D. Roosevelt (Lowenhardt's can too but you're only going to see her if someone horribly fail-divisions). Similarly, Marco Polo's deck is proof against most rockets but not Tiny Tims. Generally speaking, HE attacks form cruisers and carriers aimed at her amidships will get less consistent results making her seem tougher under these kinds of attacks than her contemporaries. However, without an ice-breaker bow and extended waterline belt, her bow and stern are big damage sponges just waiting to squeeze out some tasty hit points for commanders who know to aim there. Marco Polo (and the Italian battleships) are KINDA troll versus cruiser-calibre HE shells. Soviet battleships do it best, though. And don't think for a second her armour will help you versus Royal Navy battleship HE spam. This is why you have to suffer a 36 second reload. Like other Italian battleships, Marco Polo has good external armour. It's not quite Soviet-good, but it's very respectable and downright troll for repulsing cruiser-calibre HE spam. The odd armour and geometries on deck both help and hinder incoming AP rounds that are aimed at the superstructure. Sometimes they may cause a ricochet. At other times, they'll simply arm the shells that might have otherwise over-penetrated. Do keep that stepped deck on her butt in mind. That acts as a shell trap which can cause you problems while kiting. Against AP shells, things get much (MUCH) worse. To the rear, her stepped decking makes for an obvious shell trap. When kiting, Marco Polo takes more damage from incoming AP than I would have liked. Her (almost) good gun angles do facilitate maintaining auto-ricochet angles against single targets, especially on the attack but they're less reliable when she withdraws. Her citadel protection is trash-tier. Her 320mm belt, though reverse sloped, isn't thick enough to seriously contest the kind of ammunition being thrown about at high tiers. Without angling, just about any battleship you face can punch through her belt and get to her gooey centre within most engagement ranges. That's not a death-sentence in of itself, it's uncommon for a belt to be thick enough to break up incoming AP rounds when flashing too much broadside. However, where Marco Polo's defences fall apart is her citadel protection. Her 25mm turtleback is easily overmatched by 380mm+ AP shells. That means if the shells DO get in past the belt armour, shells of this calibre, so long as the shell's path strikes this bit, angle, shell trajectory and armour thickness is irrelevant. It will result in a citadel hit. Marco Polo gives up citadel damage on the regular. Do NOT take her into brawls. Be exceedingly careful when you come about. Her small hit point pool will vanish in a hurry if someone gets her flank. Internally, Marco Polo's protection scheme is disappointing. She echoes the tech-tree Italian battleships with a super-thin turtleback sloping that can be overmatched by 380mm and greater AP shells, providing easy-access to her magazines and machine spaces. This is disappointing. Given the slope and citadel height, she could have been a lot tougher. All this means in practice is that if you give up her broadside, you can expect to take big damage which is nothing new for battleships. Keep her out of a brawl and be careful when coming about and you'll be fine. VERDICT: Decent protection against cruiser and destroyer calibre guns. When properly angled, she's a tough cookie, but when flanked, battleship AP shells will tear her apart with alarming alacrity. Agility Top Speed: 32 knots Turning Radius: 860m 7Rudder Shift Time: 16.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.3º/s at 24.1 knots I don't have a whole lot to say here. While it's true that Marco Polo has decent agility for a tier IX battleship, she's just one spoonful of Crisco away from being a tub of lard. None of the tier IX batleships handle especially well. Marco Polo stands out only in that she handles like an average tier VIII battleship at tier IX. Battleships take a steep step down in how well they wiggle at the very high tiers while not increasing much in speed since tiers VII and VIII. With ballooning turning radii and rudder shift times, they simply lack the flexibility of their lower-tiered brethren. That's good news for Asashio and other torpedo destroyers, I suppose. Marco Polo has some of the best agility for a tier IX battleship, though she definitely sits behind Georgia's flexibility in this regard. This doesn't make her agility good, though. That's the reason you're squinting at this graphic and aren't able to find her easily. She's #4 on the list. VERDICT: Good for a tier IX battleship, but unremarkable if she was just a tier lower. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 6 + 2 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast at 3.5km to 4.6km. Long Ranged (up to 4.6km): 196dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 199.5dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 206.5dps at 70% accuracy When I started doing the math and making my comparisons, I almost got excited here. Yes, Marco Polo (and most Italian battleships) have terrible range on their large-calibre AA artillery BUT the numbers she was putting out looked respectable enough. I was naive enough to think that big numbers might make up the difference until I started stacking up the tier IX battleships and comparing them. Marco Polo has comparable AA DPS to Alsace & Wujing which isn't terrible. But that lack of range means less exposure to both flak and that long-range aura. Yes, Marco Polo can mess up a squadron that loiters in her AA bubble. Co-Op bots are prone to doing this but you cannot count on players to be so myopic. The best individual defence that Marco Polo can put it up is to launch a Catapult Fighter and hope that discourages attack. Given Marco Polo's lack of range, it's tough to give up her Spotter Aircraft however. I guess it's back to the same old tricks: Group up and Just Dodge™. Once upon a time, I actually looked forward to talking about AA firepower. It's been a long time since I've had anything nice to say about it and the constant negativity is really starting to wear me down. VERDICT: Admittedly not as bad as it could have been. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.8km / 13.2km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 12.98km / 10.51km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 16.26km Maximum Firing Range: Between 19.02km and 22.06km (max of 26.48km with Spotter Aircraft). This honestly surprised me. And I think it's arguably the most disappointing flaw Marco Polo has after that 36 second reload. There are two elements here: Marco Polo's poor surface detection and her lack of an Exhaust Smoke Generator. The latter is what it is. I was surprised to see that she didn't get one but I can make do without it. Without smoke, players must be more cautious when it comes to flashing Marco Polo's sides. They can't rely on being able to pop smoke to cover such manoeuvres. Similarly, you have to watch your mini-map more with Marco Polo, keeping an eye on when it's time to disengage if your flank starts to fall. Finally, the lack of smoke also limits those rare (in PVP but common enough in PVE) moments where you can use her smoke offensively to foil torpedo attempts, make a move out of island cover to setup a flank or set up a favourable joust. As for her surface detection, I admit a bias here made by previous premium Italian battleships. Both Roma and Giulio Cesare are very stealthy battleships for their respective tiers. I had it in my head that this would likely be a trait that carried forward with the rest of the Regia Marina dreadnoughts. So colour me surprised when Marco Polo ends up being on the poor-side of things when it comes to surface detection. I think I know why. The cynic in me wants to believe this has something to do with mitigating Dead Eye's influence on her poor gunnery dispersion. I base this only on my previous experience with open-water stealth firing back in the day, when this increasingly became the defining feature my peers looked for in new lolibotes, we ended up seeing Wargaming take measures to limit it, such as adding a 2km "stealth tax" onto German destroyers when they launched. This is where my cynicism took root, imagining that it was a knee-jerk response by Wargaming to downplay the awkwardness of the new meta. Given that her surface detection has been nerfed since she was announced, dropping from an impressive 15.3km base detection range (12.02km when fully upgraded), my feelings seem more and more justified. Of course, Wargaming could have changed it for any number of reasons. I do not know what the official reason is for gutting her concealment. I just know that it has been made pretty terrible. The drawback to such poor concealment stacks with Marco Polo's poor reach. Unlike Roma and Giulio Cesare, you cannot get this ship out onto a flank very easily. This limits the effectiveness of her AP, which in turn overvalues her SAP rounds even further. If you can't get the flanking shots you need to make AP shells effective, you may as well just stick to spamming SAP, right? It's disappointing. Poor rate of fire? I can deal with. Her short reach is a problem but I can manage by sneaking into positions. But taking away concealment means that Marco Polo doesn't so much outplay her opponents as she relies upon her enemies to make openings for her. Her game play becomes even more passive as a result. Ironically, if my suspicion of her concealment nerf having been made to make Dead Eye less effective, Wargaming has actively encouraged Marco Polo players to take Dead Eye more as they're forced into a passive camping meta due to their poor concealment. And passive game play sucks. Take Dead Eye. Sit back with your bow pointed at the enemy. Spam SAP. Top-tier Marco Polo game play in a nutshell. VERDICT: Terribly disappointing. I'm with you, Obélix. Final Evaluation Back in 2019 we were introduced to the Soviet battleships. They launched with powerful (if temperamental) guns, tremendous HE and fire resistance and superb, BALANS™-based bow-in technology. They quickly established themselves as the new meta just as the British and German battleships had in years prior. Here we are, two years later and the Regia Marina battleships have arrived. Surely THEY will now take their turn and become the new hotness? Italian battleships, after all, have powerful SAP ammunition, good cruiser-calibre HE resistance and can similarly troll ships that don't bow in directly at them. And that smoke! Ooh, that smoke! So weird! So strange! So vaguely useful in very specific circumstances! I dunno about you, but the Italian battleship releases feel less like a Soviet, British or German battleship release and more like a French one. I mean, yeah, there's a couple of nice ships in the line but République and Alsace made some noise but hardly changed the entire King of the Sea tournament line ups the way the Soviet battleships did. And while it's still early, we haven't seen social media on fire the way Conqueror lit up the enemy battleship lines in Randoms. So what hope does Marco Polo have in being good when the rest of the line is merely interesting? Well, what Marco Polo has is British HE levels of stupidly easy ammo to use. Take Dead Eye. Build for stealth & fire resistance. Park yourself nose in. Load SAP. Spam it at anything that moves. Given your general inability to land citadel hits, it doesn't really matter what you shoot at. Aim for the upper hull and pull the trigger. Pray RNGeebus that dispersion is less troll than it usually is and hoover up some respectable but not terribly interesting damage totals. At least the Soviets made you change ammunition choices. And that's really the summation of Marco Polo. She's Royal Navy battleship brainless gunnery slapped onto a Soviet-lite battleship hull. Yeah, you're more vulnerable to fire and you can't start fires yourself, but so what? Marco Polo's pretty darned easy to use. You just have to watch out for citadel hits, torpedoes and being set ablaze. Easy peasy. In my playtesting, I admit to having resisted spamming SAP as much as I could. I tried just to use AP rounds, going so far as to use just that over SAP; y'know, the other kind of myopic ammunition choice espoused by the community from 2015 until 2017 when it finally became socially acceptable for battleships to use HE. My results were predictably less than stellar. Her AP works. But if you're going to be a hipster like I was, understand that you're severly handicapping yourself and you may as well play an American battleship or Soviet battleship instead. The reason to buy and play Marco Polo is to play with that 406mm SAP and to spam it as often as possible. If you like big numbers then those opening salvos are super worth it. Savour 'em, though, cuz once saturation kicks in Marco Polo's numbers look pretty mediocre. There's no constant damage ticking in from multiple fires. There's no cataclysmic one-shots coming from multiple citadel hits. Only one person got salty at me for spamming them with SAP constantly. I had tons of people get mad at me for throwing HE around in British battleships. If that's not a sign Marco Polo isn't as powerful as she could be, I dunno what is. So yeah. That's Marco Polo. She's a big ol' fat Italian battleship. She's reasonably competent. Her SAP spam is much more reliable than the tech-tree battleships because of her higher gun calibre. She's also kinda tough. Kinda. My time in her wasn't terrible but it's hard for me to think highly of a ship that I was so thoroughly bored in. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it!
  5. The following is a VERY hasty review of HSF Harekaze II. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge, the performance discussed here is current as of patch 0.10.3. Please be aware that her performance may chance in the future.= So, first things first. It may be obvious to some but it isn't obvious to others. HSF Harekaze II is not HSF Harekaze. HSF Harekaze II does not come with multiple hull and camouflage options like her predecessor did. If you're hoping to play with Japanese 100mm/65 guns or a cute kitty camo, this isn't the ship for you. HSF Harekaze II comes with a singular armament of three German 150mm/55 SK C/28s as found upon the ship during the events of the High School Fleet: the Movie (2020) (or is it the OVAs?) to which this crossover ties in. The original Harekaze was a true hybrid with good guns (using her 100mm/65s) and good torpedoes. Harekaze II is a torpedo destroyer with German destroyer consumables and three of their 150mm guns (but weird ammo). Between the servers melting and the limitations imposed by the licensing agreement, HSF Harekaze II was not available for Community Contributors to play-test before her release. So this is kinda rushed. The last time I had a hold of her was August 11th 2020, where I wrote the following to Wargaming (she was play-tested under the working name "Arashi"). Oh, past-me. So young. So optimistic. So "hasn't just spent the last three days recovering from vaccine reactions so she probably isn't grumpy like I am now". I'ma rip this ship a new one. Harekaze did not get the German 1/4 HE penetration. Her gun performance remains very niche. Her AP shells allow you to citadel select cruisers with minimal citadel protection at very close ranges. However, having only three guns with a 5 second reload time precludes her from having anything close to competitive damage output with her small main battery. Harekaze II is a torpedo destroyer and her individual performance is dictated by how well you can land those incredibly powerful fish. However, unlike most Japanese torpedo destroyers, she turns things upon its head with her access to a Hydroacoustic Search consumable. Harekaze II has the potential to be a strong forward scout, good at projecting vision for her allies. This is a very high risk play, however, as she does not have the firepower, speed or health to survive an encounter that goes pear shaped. Before we begin... A bit of a caveat for this review: It has been made as quickly as I could. I played ten games in this ship yesterday as soon as I got up, made notes and compared them to my older notes back when this ship was called Arashi. I then borrowed my Fen Yang data-set (from January 2021) and began updating it. There are no pretty graphs in this review, just screenshots of crap I C&Ped into notepad. I did this for expediency's sake; each pretty graphic is anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours worth of work which would have added literal days to this reviews production. These collaboration ships are never on sale for very long and I wanted to get my take on this ship while it's still out there. If you want to hear more about elements I did not cover, such as fire setting, AP fusing angles versus destroyers, etc, I have the info available. So without further ado: PROS Large calibre guns for a destroyer providing good penetration and punchy individual shells. Excellent gun arcs and a 360º gun rotation on X-turret. Whoo! ♪ Love me some good gun arcs. Hard hitting torpedoes. Great concealment with a surface detection as low as 5.37km. Access to a German destroyer Hydroacoustic Search. Her permanent camouflage provides 50% bonus commander training. CONS Tiny hit point pool for a tier VIII destroyer. Bad gun handling. Poor main battery DPM. Not very fast or agile. Her AA defence is a joke. She uses a German Smoke Generator with shorter smoke duration time. Entirely reliant on never being spotted ever. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / EXTREME I'm normally pretty forgiving when it comes to evaluating the skill floor of torpedo destroyers. Her potential is through the roof. Actualizing that potential is another matter entirely. That doesn't make her powerful, per se, but it does mean you have to respect a Harekaze II in the hands of an expert more than you might a Kagero, for example; especially if she's in a division. Still, I gotta give HSF Harekaze II a bump up in difficulty for new players, if only because her survivability is so terrible. If you pull the trigger against the wrong target with your guns, you are doomed. If you over-extend, you are doomed. If you over-estimate the duration of your smoke: also doomed. Options Consumables HSF Harekaze II has German-destroyer consumables instead of those from a Japanese-destroyer. Her Damage Control Party is standard. It has a 5 second active time, unlimited charges and a 40 second reset timer. Her Smoke Generator is that of a German destroyer. It starts with 3 charges and it has a 160 second reset timer. It emits smoke for 20 seconds with each cloud having a 450m radius which is normal enough. However, the clouds only last for 69 seconds (nice) instead of the expected 89 seconds for a Japanese destroyer. We come back to normalcy with her Engine Boost. This provides the usual 8% speed increase for 120 seconds with a 120 second reset timer. It comes with 3 charges to start. And finally we have her glorious Hydroacoustic Search consumable. This has 3 charges to start, 100 second active time and a 120 second reset timer. It detects torpedoes up to 3.5km away and ships up to 5km away. This is identical to that found on ships like Z-23 or Z-35, for example. For those curious, this is still a step behind Loyang's and Siliwangi's. Upgrades It may appear that there's a variety of choice here, but there's really not; at least if you're worried about optimization. Take Main Armaments Modification 1 in your first slot. If you're allergic to Fun and Engaging™ game-play, then Magazine Modification 1 will help mitigate that somewhat. The special upgrade Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is the best choice in slot two. Engine Boost Modification 1 is the next best choice. Each of these will cost 17,000 from the Armory. If you can't (or won't) afford that, then default to Engine Room Protection. Harekaze II is a torpedo destroyer. Play to your strengths. Take Torpedo Tubes Modification 1 in slot 3. If you want to pretend that you can prop up this ship's weaknesses than take either Aiming Systems Modification 1 or Main Battery Modification 2 to assist with aiming and gun handling respectively. You do have an honest choice in slot four. You won't be sitting in smoke often, so Propulsion Modification 1 may not give you the mileage you might be used to with other destroyers, however I still think it the better of the pair. Otherwise you can put a tiny bit more precision in her agility with Steering Gears Modification 1. Finally, take Concealment System Modification 1 in slot five. Commander Skills Build for and prioritize survivability, stealth, speed and torpedo performance. In a perfect "I'll never be spotted never mind shot-at" world, your 21pt commander should look something like this: There's a lot of wiggle room here. At tier 1 you can swap for Grease the Gears. At tier 2, take Priority Target or Last Stand if you prefer. At tier 3 you do not want to deviate from the two skills listed, but if you can free up points from a tier 4 skill (or two), then Adrenaline Rush or Superintendent aren't terrible picks. At tier 4 you absolutely must keep Concealment Expert. Given Harekaze II's low speed, I strongly recommend Swift in Silence (it's a permanent Engine Boost while hidden) but between that and Radio Location you can drop one (or both) to free up points for other choices. Though you gotta wonder, if you're never supposed to be seen, do you really need Survivability Expert? Seems to me like that 'never being spotted' thing is a bit of a pipe dream, no? Camouflage The original Harekaze absolutely spoiled players for choice. It came with both the High School Fleet themed camouflage and a more traditional Japanese destroyer camo as her inclusion into the game predated the expanded use of content filters we now enjoy in port (before, if you disabled being able to see the High School Fleet camo, the game demounted the camo). This latter changed the geometry of the ship to appear "normal" removing the fantastic elements from the anime and, provided you completed the first part of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection, it also provided an alternate palette. Finally, you could later buy the infamous (and amazing) Isoroku camo which turned your ship into a kitty-cat. Harekaze II has no such options. She comes with a single camo which also means you cannot palette swap her skin if you disable viewing the High School Fleet content with your port-filters. It provides the following bonuses: A 3% reduction in surface detection ranges. A 4% increase to the dispersion of enemy gunfire. A 10% reduction to post-battle service costs. A 50% increase to commander experience earned. A 50% increase to experience earned.  (These bonuses are identical to the optional "Isoroku" camouflage on the original Harekaze. However, Harekaze's default camo had 100% bonus free experience instead of 50% commander experience found here). No fun kitty camo here. Summary HSF Harekaze II has German-destroyer consumables. She should be built as a torpedo-destroyer with her upgrades and commander skills. Her camouflage options are limited to a single camo unlike her predecessor. Firepower Main Battery: Three 150mm/55 guns in 3x1 turrets in an A-X-Y superfiring arrangement. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers mounted fore and aft of the rear funnel down the centre-line of the ship. Gun fire arcs are: A-Turret: 312º X-Turret: 324º with a full 360º traverse. Y- Turret: 314º While HSF Harekaze II may be using German guns, she's using very Japanese ammunition. And this is very good ammunition to be clear (despite it's faults). If she had more than just three guns to play with, this destroyer's main battery firepower might have been interesting in game rather than simply academically. Here's what it gives you: Her AP penetration is excellent for a destroyer; well above and beyond German and Soviet destroyer AP penetration. This makes her a credible threat to most broadsiding cruisers up to distances of about 8km or so. Her HE shell damage is much higher than expected for a German styled weapon. HSF Harekaze II's shells deal a maximum of 2,500 per hit instead of the wimpy 1,700 of German shells. They have very high fire chance for a destroyer-mounted 150mm shell at 11% per hit. Here's what you're not getting from their German heritage: Improved German 150mm-gun dispersion. Improved German 1/4 HE penetration. Improved (60º to 67.5º) auto-ricochet angles. Look, there is so much I could talk about with these weapons. The interaction of their fuse sensitivity with destroyer hull angles, their long (for a destroyer) fuse timers and how this interacts with her AP penetration over distance, how good they are at setting fires, etc. But the simple fact of the matter is that HSF Harekaze II does not have enough barrels to make these guns work effectively. Harekaze II's weapons are weapons of opportunity. If you see a vulnerable, low-health target? Feel free to open fire. It doesn't matter if it's a destroyer, cruiser, battleship or carrier. Otherwise, don't bother. It's never worth giving your position away and making landing torpedoes harder. You know you're in a rough spot when the Japanese torpedo destroyers look like better gunships than you. Taking HSF Harekaze II into a knife fight is the wrong move against nearly any full-health opponent you can name. Her AP performance is at least respectable which makes her much more of a threat against low-health cruisers and battleships; especially to the former if they flash their sides. I put this together for three reasosn. First, Harekaze II's AP shells are really neat. I popped a low-health München at 6.5km with a brace of citadel hits which felt amazing. Second, it's an excuse to show off how different HSF Harekaze II's AP shells perform compared to other German 150mm armed destroyers. Third, it also allowed me to show one of the many differences between the old German destroyer 150mm performance (Z-39) and the new (Maerker). Torpedoes Tier VIII destroyer torpedoes have this annoying habit of being "almost amazing". There's always something wrong with them. Maybe they don't hit hard enough. Maybe they're really slow. Maybe the destroyer simply doesn't have enough of them. This is, of course, to encourage players to continue to look every upward and push onto those tier X destroyers where such flaws are reduced (if not absent entirely). For HSF Harekaze II, that issue is range. Let's be clear: HSF Harekaze II's torpedoes are some of the meanest at her tier. They hit like trucks. They're fast. She fires a good spread. While the detection range (and reaction time) of Japanese fish is notoriously over-generous, their biggest flaw is that they put these fragile and flighty destroyers within Surveillance Radar range. Their 10km reach just isn't ideal and an extra 2km would make a world of difference in their efficiency, which is exactly why they don't have it. Each torpedo hit from HSF Harekaze II chunks the red team of up to 20,967 damage, so even a trio of hits is a decent battle result. Four to five is a solid game and should put you near the top of the team lists. Six or more and you should start to feel sorry for the Reds. While this may not seem like a tall order, the reality is that you're as much reliant upon your own skill set as your are on the misplays of the Red team in order to get these kinds of results. Torpedo destroyers are generally very inconsistent, with high peaks and low valleys when it comes to individual games. Their volatility is what makes them so exciting ... and frustrating. Worse, their efficiency can be neutered by something as simple as an overflying group of enemy aircraft that had no intention of dropping on her. HSF Harekaze II, like all torpedo-destroyers, works best when they don't see the attack coming. A wary target may not be able to avoid every torpedo thrown at it, but it's the difference between scoring multiple hits or getting MAYBE one. Between the time it takes to setup, get into position and her own reload, she can't put enough fish into the water to guarantee a reasonable result that way. This is, of course, nothing new. It's a common lament for all torpedo boats out there. Except for Asashio. Asashio don't play by those rules. Asashio makes her own damn rules. Both versions of HSF Harekaze use Kagero's torpedoes. The original Harekaze uses her stock fish while HSF Harekaze II uses her upgraded ones. VERDICT: Her guns suck not because they aren't good, but because she doesn't have enough of them. Her torpedoes are great, though. Durability Hit Points: 13,300 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 19mm / 19mm No. Just, no. HSF Harekaze II's effective health is pathetic for a tier VIII destroyer. VERDICT: Very, very bad. Agility Top Speed: 35kts Turning Radius: 640m Rudder Shift Time: 4s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 7.0º/s at 29.1kts A top speed of 35 knots is the basement of acceptable destroyer speeds. Anything less than that and it's a crippling flaw. So HSF Harekaze II's speed is barely adequate and will (frankly) get her into a lot of trouble. This is a ship that lives and dies by controlling engagement distances. While her excellent concealment does wonders for assisting her with this, without speed to back it up, it's by no means an easy contest. The worst case scenario for HSF Harekaze II is being pursued; especially by a ship equipped with either Hydroacoustic Search or worse Surveillance Radar. Her 35 knot top speed just isn't enough to open up the distance, If you touch her rudder at all, that speed falls below 30 knots and most cruisers going flat out can not only keep pace, but actively gain upon her. To this end, it's hard not to look favourably upon the commander skill Swift in Silence. The extra speed at least allows her to play keep-away from (most) cruisers. I'm recycling this from my Z-35 review for the sake of saving time. HSF Harekaze II has almost identical performance to Kagero, Harekaze, Asashio and AL Yukikaze. VERDICT: Okay, but only just. Anti-Aircraft Defence Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 14dps at 95% accuracy (13.3dps) No. Very no. She struggles to shoot down summoned fighters, to say nothing of attacking planes. VERDICT: Even worse than her durability. I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN RIGHT NOW! Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 6.84km / 5.37km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.06km / 2.48km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 2.96km Maximum Firing Range: 11.4km There is a lot of good going on here. First thing's first, the Kagero-class (and related) destroyers are the stealthiest ships within their Matchmaking. They have the surface detection to outspot everything else out there. Similarly, HSF Harekaze II's aerial detection is downright excellent. Planes have to be literally over-top of her in order to spot her which makes rocket attacks difficult unless the CV knows well in advance where the destroyer is (or is going to be). And let's not ignore the fact she also gets access to Hydroacoustic Search, giving her the ability to screen for enemy fish and the potential (I stress: potential) to spot concealed enemies. The only downside, really, is there's not much HSF Harekaze II can do with this great concealment offensively on her own. As great as her Vision Controll toolkit is, what can she really do with it other than to play keep away? Taking the Radio Location and Swift in Silence commander skills are nearly a must to give her both the advanced warning and extra speed necessary to ensure she can control engagement distances on lurking lolibotes. While she may be able to outspot anything she faces, she's not agile enough to come about in the short span of time between spotting a destroyer heading her way and when they make up the difference in surface detection and spot her right back. With HSF Harekaze II's fragility and poor DPM, this is rarely an encounter she comes out the better for if it comes down to trading fire. And if you do the smart thing and keep your guns silent and run away, you're still going to sacrifice a big chunk of her admittedly small health pool. The bad news with taking Radio Location is that it warns ships that you're lurking in the area, which hurts the efficiency of her torpedo ambushes. But it's not like you can really afford to go without. To this end, HSF Harekaze II's Vision Control is so damn frustrating. It's god-tier, but slapped on a boat that can do almost nothing with it. I got myself killed time and again making bold plays for my team -- spotting lolibotes, contesting cap circles and hoping against hope whatever group of random players I was teamed up with would take advantage of the forward positions I was taking. You can guess how my average game went. In a division, HSF Harekaze II's god-tier concealment and access to Hydroacoustic Search are worth so much more. But for her own merits, she's just a sneaky torpedo destroyer that doesn't have to worry about getting hit by enemy torpedoes. This is a list of all of the tier VI through X destroyers, ranked by their fully upgraded surface detection range. When there's a tie, I sort them by the following criteria. First, lower tiered ships get preference over higher tiered ships. Next, I sort them by the date of their nation's inclusion into World of Warships (Japan, USA, USSR, Germany, etc). Tech tree ships have preference over premiums. After that, I try and go by release date but that's not strictly adhered to. VERDICT: So damn good and so damn frustrating. Final Evaluation Forward scouting in HSF Harekaze II is ... well, it's a bit of a loser move outside of divisions. I want to play HSF Harekaze II like Haida II, the Cobra Chicken Boogaloo. Her great concealment and that long-range Hydroacoustic Search? It's SOOOO good when it works. If it works. I must stress both that 'when' and 'if'. If you can't rely on your team mates to shoot at what you spot, when you put yourself up on the firing line like that, you're just going to die and lose. It takes only a mildly aggressive enemy destroyer to see you off. And if you're stupid (or stubborn) enough to stick around when they've already sniffed you out once and know they can outfight you, then this happens: I must stress that even an Asashio can outfight you. HSF Harekaze II just plain sucks at dealing with enemy lolibotes outside of those she can outspot by a mile (and I do mean a literal 1.6km mile) or those who walk into one of your torpedoes. To this end, even trying to contest cap circles is an idiot-play and will only serve you well if your opponents are idiots. Given the quality of Random Battle teams, this means it will happen just often enough to make you think you can pull it off on the regular only to wonder why it fails so spectacularly when one of the Reds decides to do more than run screaming from the cap-buoys. This takes the potential of this ship in solo-play from amazingly versatile to a one-trick pony. You spam torpedoes. That's it. Your team mates will get mad at you for not spotting, for not pushing caps, for not sticking your neck out and pew-pewing that low-health target but HSF Harekaze II's just not built to take those kind of risks without backup. I was genuinely terrified whenever I saw a Kidd, Cossack or Lightning on the enemy team, to say nothing of the higher tiered A-tier gunships. While this is a common lament in most torpedo destroyers, I kept (stupidly) trying to play the forward spotter and I kept feeding myself to these destroyers. Now I admit, that's my own damned fault for playing her this way, but I had to prove to myself that attempting this without division backup wasn't viable. I would have been much better served thinking myself a Kagero that had already taken a broadside from a British battleship and thus, low on health, I should play cautiously. This largely means discarding what makes HSF Harekaze II interesting: her Hydroacoustic Search. In solo play, don't try and use it aggressively. Pretend it's not there. Use it to screen for torpedoes for your team. This all changes in a division, of course, but for solo-play? Without good team mates? No. Very no. So that leaves HSF Harekaze II to be evaluated upon how well she dispenses torpedoes. And in that regard, she's really no better than Kagero with one fewer degrees worth of torpedo arc off her stern. Is HSF Harekaze II good? Well, 5.37km surface detection + Hydroacoustic Search is good. 21,000 damage, 67 knot torpedoes with a 10km range are good. The rest of her isn't. You need to bring a friend along to do the shooting for you if things get hot. Do I like this ship? No. Would I recommend this ship? No. She's a pale shadow of the original HSF Harekaze and if Wargaming wanted to sell a 150mm armed version of her, they should have figured out a way to monetize buying another upgrade slot on her original hull. I suppose that causes all sorts of issues with the crossover license, so that's my guess why we didn't see it. HSF Harekaze II's implementation just makes the original look all the better, so go buy that one instead if you want a piece. I won't be playing this ship going forward unless in a division where I can count on my team mates to shoot what I light up. Then she's fun. But alone? No. If I want to play a tier VIII dedicated torpedo destroyer solo, there's always Kagero, Asashio, AL Yukikaze, etc. Conclusion Not bad. This review took me a little over 30 hours to put together from start to finish, including getting those 10 games in and a good night's sleep besides. Please let me know if you want me to spend some time turning those notepad screenshots into pretty graphics. Otherwise, I'm putting this one to bed and begin the next one. Thank you very much for reading and a very special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for helping keep my lights on.  
  6. The following is a quick review of Viribus Unitis, the tier V Austro-Hungarian battleship flying under the Pan European flag. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to me (thankfully). To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are current as of patch 0.9.10. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. In the spirit of getting through some of my backlog, here's a stupid-quick review. Facilitated by the graphic production from working on Oklahoma, today we'll be looking at everyone's favourite standard unit of battleship health measurement: Viribus Unitis. This ships is as relevant to the tier V meta as that joke about her hit points: they're both stupidly obscure to the point of irrelevance. I keep forgetting that I should review this darned thing after I put out a warning about her back when she was first released. For those who don't remember, there was an enormous gap between her final test iteration and her release -- so much so that some of the advertised changes that were said to applied didn't go through. Huh, there's been a lot of that lately. Anyway, long story short: This ship isn't worth the time and effort I'm about to put into this review, so I'm giving myself an absolute time limit for the production of this article. Wherever I end up after 8 hours is where I'm calling it. Let's see what I can do. Quick Summary: A soft-skinned, over-tiered battleship with good gunnery but appalling fire angles on her main battery. This issue is compounded with a tiny health pool and poor armour layout. This ship is only good if no one shoots back. As a WWI era dreadnought, her AA power is about what you would expect -- limited to a crewman with a bullhorn whining at airplanes to please stop. Kinda like Reddit. PROS: Dispersed armour scheme giving her decent HE protection. Large broadside of twelve 305mm guns with good accuracy and high DPM. Tiny turning circle radius and good rate of turn. My ship's captain has an epic moustache. Tiny surface detection range. CONS: High-water vulnerable citadel. Poor armour geometry with tons of shell-traps. Tiny hit point pool. Absolutely appalling fire arcs. Relatively short ranged for a tier V battleship. Hilariously bad anti-aircraft firepower. Slow. Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme There's really not a whole lot to Viribus Unitis. She dittos a lot of the low-tier battleship game play. The only complication is that her fire arcs are total crap and this travesty is forced to face tier VII opponents. That kinda hurts her chances and makes her not new-fish friendly. For veterans well... there's again not a lot to her so short of angling and managing consumables and ammo, that's pretty much the limits to her complexity. Options Consumables There's nothing special here. Viribus Unitis' Damage Control Party is standard for any battleship that's not American or Japanese. It is active for 15 seconds with unlimited charges. It has an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard. It queues up to 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of every other kind of damage. It heals back up to 0.5% of her starting hit points per second over 28 seconds. She starts with four charges and it has an 80 second reset timer. Upgrades Again, very standard fare for a not-American tier V battleship. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control System Modification 1. Finish things off with Aiming Systems Modification 1. Commander Skills Grab the same ol' battleship build I've been complaining about all year. With the commander skill rework coming, odds are I will only be able to use this like ... six more times. Camouflage Viribus Unitis has a single camouflage pattern. It provides: 3% reduction to surface detection. 4% increase to enemy dispersion. 10% reduction to service costs. 50% increase to experience gains. Viribus Unitis is a gorgeous looking ship. I love WWI era dreadnoughts. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 305mm guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 150mm guns mounted in casemates along the sides of the hull. The 1.8 sigma of Viribus Unitis' guns can be devastating in the claustrophobic, short-ranged engagements found at low tiers. A Farragut is discovers this to its peril, getting picked off as it accidentally slips out from its smoke screen. Viribus Unitis has very high shell drag coefficients which hurts her ballistics and penetration over distance. Twelve guns solves a lot of problems. Twelve guns with better-than-expected accuracy and without reload penalties solves a whole bunch more. That's the going theory with Viribus Unitis. She's a glass cannon, designed to put more hurt downrange than any of her contemporaries, her flaws be damned. All of her crappy features can be explained as paying for the boons of her gunnery. I'm frankly of the opinion that Viribus Unitis pays way too steep a price for what she gets. She deserves more given what a sorry excuse for a ship she ends up being, all of the sake of this 30 second reload and 1.8 sigma. Here's where I take issue: First and foremost: firing arcs and her gun handling sucks. She has some of the worst battleship fire angles in the game with her rear turrets only able to shoot at targets 47º off her bow and her forward turrets only capable of shooting at targets 41º off her stern giving her 92º of overlapping fire per side. NoW to be clear, there are battleships with worse overlapping fire arcs but they're usually suffering because they're mounted in wings or in P, Q and R positions amidships with superstructure blocking the guns. But for a battleship with a simple bow and stern mounting, Viribus Unitis is among the worst. Mikasa comes to mind as one of the few that is worse off (56º forward, 57º back with only 67º of overlapping fire). Vanguard is pretty close (43º forward, 41º back for 96º of overlap) as is Großer Kurfürst (46º forward, 36º back for 98º of overlap). And just to spit in your eye, her turrets are sluggish with only a 4º/s traverse rate (45s for 180º). Ewwww. Bad fire angles has a trickle down effect. To unmask her guns, you have to give up more broadside. Giving up more broadside not only makes her more vulnerable to return fire. It also slows the ship down if you're trying to advance as you have to nose away from your line of attack in order to keep firing. It's far too easy to find yourself veering off towards the map borders (or at least away from objectives) after a couple of minutes of sustained fire. For a ship that's already moving at a crawl, this is bad news. If you try and stay the course, well now you're only a six-gun battleship which means you're not taking advantage of those twelve guns for which you sacrificed so much. There's also the issue of range. While 16km may seem alright at first, there's no way to extend this the way that similarly short-ranged ships like New York or Texas can through upgrades. Nor does Viribus Unitis have access to a Spotter Aircraft consumable the way Kaiser and Iron Duke can. This is not a fast ship either, so it's not like you can make up the difference by aggressively charging towards the action. I mean, you can call it a charge but it's more like the movemement of glaciers. It takes Viribus Unitis almost 3 minutes to cover 10km at her maximum speed to give you an idea. Though she may share the woes of slow speed with other ships at her tier, they at least have the range to engage sooner. Being so short ranged means that she can (and will) be picked on cruisers outside of her reach. In my most recent bouts of playtesting, I faced a very knowledgeable Nürnberg player who knew they had 500m reach on me and played an expert game of keep away. I was being lit by a friendly destroyer and there was nothing I could do. Fun times. Being kited and picked apart by cruisers and other battleships is a very real issue because of this short reach if you can't drop back into stealth. Finally on my list of complaints, there are her secondaries. These prove to be a durability liability (see below in the Defence section) and provide almost zero benefit. They're too short ranged (4km) and fire too slowly (6rpm) to be of any use to anyone. Viribus Unitis does have some good AP DPM. Provided no one shoots back at her, she can put out some respectable damage. She's not a very good fire setter, however. Coupled with her only modest HE shells, she should really stick to firing AP whenever possible. VERDICT: Pretty good, honestly. There's some drawbacks here and there. It's just a shame these weapons are mounted on this particular ship. Defence Hit Points: 35,700 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 150mm / 30mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 150mm belt + 160mm transverse bulkhead or 280mm + 50mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 18% Her hit point pool is such a bloody meme. I would like to tell you that all of the criticism about Viribus Unitis' fragility is just the internet being the internet -- magnifying a small problem and making it an undeserved crisis. Sadly, the rumours are true. She is a piece of crap. At first blush, her protection scheme looks hella exciting. It's got Soviet-levels of bullpaddies going for it with very few thinly armoured sections for HE damage or for large caliber AP shells to overmatch. Combine that with hidden geometry preventing AP shells from capitalizing on the sections they can overmatch. She should be able to tank for days, shrugging off AP hits left right and center with impunity not seen since the days of Imperator Nikolai I's reign. In practice, however, she's a wet noodle. While she does have some resilience to HE fire, she takes so much damage from AP shells it's downright comical. So what's the deal? The issue is shot-traps. Viribus Unitis' hull is riddled with shot-traps. Her secondary casemates are the most egregious of these. Even when the ship angles perfectly, it's possible to slam shells down into these traps and get penetrating hits with battleship and heavy cruiser caliber AP shells. But that's not all. Behind the 19mm hull sections are similar plates to ensure battleship shells fuse and detonate -- and every battleship caliber shell can overmatch these areas. This problem is, of course, exacerbated by her horrible gun firing angles. While her fire angles to the rear may seem more forgiving, her armour layout there is much softer making her more likely to take big damaging hits. But there's worse geometry to consider. Taking Viribus Unitis into a brawl is a death sentence. Not only does she not have the health to survive any torpedo strikes, her citadel is horribly vulnerable. It sits high over the waterline and, though she has a turtleback scheme, it isn't sloped sufficiently to repulse incoming fire. In jousts she's meat on the table for an enemy battleship. Worse, she has an octagonal-shaped citadel, similar to Yamato. Shots aimed beneath her first or last turret have a good chance of causing citadel hits even when the ship angles so your opponents have a chance of landing citadel hits against you before you can do the same to them. Her icebreaker bow should provide protection against this but only if you nose in perfectly. Give up any of her side to try and bait early shots can still see you sunk if you're not absolutely careful with the firing angles. All of these problems are mated to a hull with the hit points of a tier III dreadnought. She just doesn't have the health to take those high alpha hits, with even a single torpedo hit from a Japanese lolibote capable of gutting a third of her health at once. She is a Devastating Strike medal waiting to be printed. There's some hidden geometry to Viribus Unitis' armour scheme in her bow and stern. There is a 30mm thick deck under her 19mm prow, sitting on top of the 110mm icebreaker belt, effectively running nearly the whole length of the ship stopping at her Y-turret. This means that even if shells overmatch her 19mm bow they can't dive into her citadel. In addition on her there is a 43mm plate running along the base of the 150mm waterline belt of her bow (48mm on her stern) mating up to the base of the 160mm transverse bulkhead of her citadel. This prevents shells from diving down into the 25mm transverse citadel section. As nice as this protection scheme seems, she has an octagonal citadel. Shots aimed beneath her A or Y turret will slam into her citadel. Pay attention to the 180mm upper hull section of Viribus Unitis. These indents for her secondary battery make perfect shell traps for catching incoming AP shells. Even when Viribus Unitis angles perfectly, shells aimed high will penetrate for full damage as they catch off this geometry. Her protection scheme ends up looking better than it is. VERDICT: She has too little health and she takes far more damage than you would expect. Agility Top Speed: 20.5kts Turning Radius: 530m Rudder Shift Time: 11.5s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.5º/s at 15.3kts Viribus Unitis really shows her lower tiered origins here. Her 530m turning radius is right home among the tier III battleships. Yes, I said tier III. Even at tier IV, her turning radius would be remarkable. For a tier V battleship, it's amazing. So hats off to her. This tiny turning radius gives her some surprising agility despite her pedestrian top speed. Though she can barely hold onto 15 knots in a sustained turn, she comes about rather quickly (for a battleship) at 4.5º/s per second. Sadly there's no way to correct her rudder shift time so while she may turn tightly, she still feels like a chunker. Worse, she totally out-turns her turrets, which makes her gun handling and poor fire angles all the more frustrating. Plan your turns accordingly and make sure you don't over-steer. Remember to protect her citadel as best you can. She isn't fast but at least she gets around (get it?). VERDICT: A mixed bag. She's very slow. It takes her a bit to start turning because of her rudder shift time, but at least she comes about quickly when she does answer her rudder. That tight turning circle is very nice. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: Yeah right. Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km): 14dps at 75% accuracy Yep. 14 whole DPS. Even with sector reinforcement, you're looking at over a minute of sustained fire to shoot down ONE (1) tier IV bomber or attack aircraft, to say nothing of battling it out with the tier VI planes this thing also faces. It's not like this thing is Imperator Nikolai I or König Albert, where you could forgive them for having poor AA DPS because the rest of the ship is god-tier. Nope. Viribus Unitis gets 14dps on top of all of her other issues. VERDICT: Laughably bad. Aww, nuts. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.5km / 10.91km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 6.82km/6.14km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 6.1km Maximum Firing Range: 16km Viribus Unitis has very nice concealment values, even for a low-tier battleship. Like with her health, AA defence and turning radius, Viribus Unitis' concealment values have more in common with tier III and tier IV battleships than those at tier V. For a ship with so many durability problems, this is a breath of fresh air and it really helps her survivability. There are, of course, two caveats to this: There are no enemy aircraft around. Good luck here given her matchmaking. There are no enemy destroyers around. Her concealment is most effective when she's uptiered. In the claustrophobic maps at the lower tiers, it's harder to make use of her open water concealment. It's far easier to use islands to help break line of sight rather than relying on putting what little distance there is available between herself and her opponents. If Viribus Unitis were a little faster, it might be easier to put this concealment to use, but she's not. Thus it remains "nice to have" rather than game changing. VERDICT: Good, but not good enough to save her. Final Evaluation Imagine having the brilliant idea after finsihing Pommern's review to wanna play this thing. Ugh, talk about whiplash -- going from a good ship to bad. I've been planning on squeezing a review of this ship in for a while now, since before ShipComrade shut down. She's one of several reviews that I had started but never finished owing to something of higher priority coming out and bumping her back. It was reviewing Oklahoma that brought her back to the fore, with some of the graphical overlap between the two ships expediting my process here. I played about a dozen games in her since September and this ship and I did not get along, though I think you could tell that from how much I've complained about her. I've made little secret that I hate ships with awful gun angles. Toss on some frustrating speed and range issues and it's no wonder I've come down so hard on her. Viribus Unitis does have some nice guns. Despite all of my bellyaching about everything else, there's no taking away from that. Her 305mm guns are excellent They exist at a tier where overmatching is less of an issue. She has good enough penetration and ballistics. She does more than enough damage. The only proviso is that she needs to be left well enough alone in order to pull it off. Yes, I've had some high damage games with Viribus Unitis but that's owing more to the enemy team enabling this rather than any particular strength of the ship. ANY ship performs so much better when the enemy team leaves you alone, after all, so I find it hard to justify that as a selling feature. Way back in October of 2019, I warned players not to buy Viribus Unitis because of confusion regarding whether or not some nerfs had been applied. With the question hanging in the air, I didn't want anyone buying her expecting X performance only to receive Y instead. Thankfully Wargaming was fast to clear up the issue when it was raised. Sadly, even with that done, I'm sticking to my guns and telling you all, once again, to not buy Viribus Unitis. She's a bad ship. Worse, the health of the game down at low tiers is worse than ever and your money won't be well spent. If you play late at night as I enjoy doing, you're stuck facing undersized teams, multiple carriers and/or a handful of bots. These are the off-peak hours risks, of course. But even in prime time, do you really want to take this ship out against tier VIs and VIIs? Viribus Units and Oklahoma feel like Wargaming's attempts at penance to pay for the horror that is Giulio Cesare. You shouldn't be put on the hook for their mistake. Thank you all for reading.
  7. The following is a review of Giulio Cesare, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of October 20th, 2017. This was a triumph. (I'm making a note here: "Huge success".) It's hard to overstate my satisfaction. Quick Summary: Giulio Cesare feels like a traditional battlecruiser -- fast, hard hitting but with a poor protection scheme. She's incredibly agile for a ship of her size. Cost: $24.99 USD with a port slot. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.11.1 to 0.6.12.0, October 12th to October 19th, 2017 Closest in-Game Contemporary Kongo, tier V Japanese Battleship Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Kongo is about as close as you'll get to a ship with similar game play style to Giulio Cesare, but this is still a rather far cry from the Italian Battleship. Cesare is stealthy while Kongo is not. Cesare is agile while Kongo is not. Both ships excel at engaging enemy ships at medium distances, using their speed to dictate the range. Cesare exerts far more control than Kongo between her superior firepower, gun handling, agility and stealth. PROs Extended waterline belt armour helps bounce shells when properly angled. The inside of the prow has an 85mm armoured "beak" which makes citadel penetrations through the bow more difficult. Guns feel very accurate with a combination of a 1.9 sigma value and the turrets being mounted close together. HE shells have an excellent base fire chance of 35% and a rather large splash radius of 28m for damaging modules. Fast gun traverse of 5.0º/s Small, 640m turning circle, good rudder shift time of 13.0s and a fast top speed of 27.0kts, making her one of the most agile battleships currently in the game (yes, even more agile than Warspite). She's a small target, smaller than many light cruisers with an excellent surface detection range of 13.7km. CONs Exceedingly fragile with poor torpedo defense, low hit point total, a large exposed citadel and poor armour values overall. Secondaries are lackluster with a modest rate of fire and a combination of HE and AP shell fire. Poor anti-aircraft firepower and range. Feels blind without any form of spotter aircraft, float plane fighter or similar vision-assisting consumable. The Italian Battleships are here! Well, kinda. Giulio Cesare is an Italian battleship but for those who were hoping to be able to pin point what sort of flavour or gimmick they would have to differentiate themselves from the Germans, British, American and Japanese, you're going to be a bit disappointed. Giulio Cesare got the Dunkerque treatment in that there's nothing about her that points to some special flavour of the Regia Marina dreadnoughts. We shouldn't be too surprised given what's come before like with Hood and Tirpitz which were each poor indicators for the ship lines that came after. This doesn't preclude Giulio Cesare from being an interesting ship in its own right as you will see. I have to admit, even as a die-hard Royal Navy fangirl -- the Italian ships are simply gorgeous. Options Pretty run of the mill stuff here. Giulio Cesare has a standard battleship Damage Control Party with a 15s active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer depending on whether or not you go for a premium version. Her Repair Party is also standard for a battleship. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Premium Camouflage: Type 9/10. As of patch 0.6.12.0, type 9 and 10 camouflage patterns are identical. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Module Upgrades: Three slots, standard non-American battleship options. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. In your second slot, take Aiming System Modification 1. If you really hate aircraft, you can take AA Guns Modification 2 instead. While this will help dissuade tier IV and V carriers, be advised this will not save you against tier VI+ carriers, even with a full anti-aircraft build. In your third slot, take Damage Control Systems Modification 1. Firepower Primary Battery: Ten 320mm rifles in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 120mm guns in 6x2 turrets and eight 100mm guns in 4x2 turrets I got so terribly excited when I saw the load-out of Giulio Cesare's secondaries on paper: a ten gun broadsides? That's almost German-good! Sure, this would be hamstrung somewhat by the 4.0km range, but I was gonna be happy and I was going to pew pew stuff in the face and be all, "Veni, vidi, vici!" on all of those gunship destroyers that think they're so great at tiers IV and V. Yeah, no. There are two little issues with my dreams of close-quarter conquests with a phalanx of secondary fire. Giulio Cesare's secondaries don't have quite the rate of fire I was hoping. Each gun fires 10rpm -- a whisker shy of the 12rpm I hope to see on secondaries at a minimum -- especially for low caliber weapons like 100mm guns. I mean, 10rpm isn't terrible but it's not ideal. Anyway, I could over look this in of itself... ...except that point number two is that her 120mm guns (which form the backbone of her secondary armament) fire AP shells. Blech. Now, don't get me wrong. In of itself, AP shells from secondaries can be good if they've got a lot of hitting power. But these ones don't. They have a maximum alpha strike of 2,000 damage per if they citadel and they're not going to do that often. It's like asking a cross-eyed Farragut to save your life from a rampaging Podvoisky and the fool loads AP instead of HE. As it turned out, getting that close with Giulio Cesare is generally a loser move anyway (see her protection scheme below), so having mediocre secondaries isn't that much of a loss. Still, it's a shame. I do love my low tier brawls. As it would fall out, I did find an elegant solution to that charging gunship-destroyer problem. Meet the problem solver. Giulio Cesare is one of the most comfortable gunnery experiences I've enjoyed in a battleship. It's kind of hard for me to believe she's stricken with German dispersion values. These are the worst in the game. Her guns feel far more accurate than what her dispersion value would suggest. This comes down to three factors: Her sigma value, the size of the ship and the number of guns she wields. Giulio Cesare boasts a sigma value of 1.9 which is a marginal improvement over the usual 1.8 value found on tier V battleships. The higher the sigma value, the more likely shells will land towards the center of the dispersion field. In practice this means there are fewer 'wonky' shots where shells fly every which way. They still occur, but more rarely than on other battleships like König or Iron Duke. The second factor is the proximity of Cesare's guns to one another. Cesare isn't a very large vessel -- she's shorter in length than many of the cruisers within her matchmaking spread. As a result, her guns are crammed closer together. This has the effect of reducing dispersion further This is part of why a ship like New Mexico feels more accurate than Fuso even though the latter has better dispersion values. Finally, Cesare has a ten-gun broadside. Had she only eight like Kongo, her dispersion wouldn't feel as generous. The sheer volume of fire does much to diffuse any perceptions of occasional inaccuracy grace that if you throw enough shells at a target, something's likely to hit. So despite the flaw of a large base dispersion value, you're seldom going to feel it. .Giulio Cesare's guns should be considered "good enough" in all other respects. She doesn't win out on DPM, alpha strike, penetration, or even fire chance (she's bested by Iron Duke, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya, New York, and Iron Duke again, respectively). However, she's a contender in each category without any serious weak spots. She has the second highest DPM for a battleship at her tier. Cesare's HE penetration value is artificially high. For a 320mm gun, we should expect her to be able to penetrate 52mm of armor. She can instead penetrate 55mm. This isn't an enormous difference, but it is a bonus. Cesare has a very high fire chance at 35% per hit. This contrasts with a more modest HE shell damage of 4,800 which is respectable but not great. Cesare's module blast radius is respectable for her tier at 28.35m even with her smaller caliber guns. Cesare is great at causing critical damage to enemy ships, including setting off magazines of light cruisers and destroyers. This just leaves Cesare's AP penetration to talk about. It's not terrible, but it's not great. Her shells have comparable penetration performance to Royal Navy 381mm guns found on Hood and Queen Elizabeth. This is perfectly serviceable at tier V and VI though it starts feeling a bit lackluster against some of the more heavily armoured American and German belt armour, especially at close to maximum range. Image courtesy of Wargaming's Armada video on Giulio Cesare. Cesare's penetration values lack the raw potential up close, though they preserve their power well over distance. Giulio Cesare is a battleship where you could be forgiven for spamming a single ammunition type and either one would yield good results. To be clear: Her AP shells are better than her HE shells, but the latter are no slouches. A player who elects to use just a single shell type won't perform as optimally as someone that's more dynamic with their ammunition choices. However, they will still do reasonably well. The only real weakness of Cesare's main battery armament (and I am really stretching things to call it a weakness) are her gun fire angles. They're not bad but they're not excellent. Her forward guns have a 288º fire angle. Her rear have a 290º fire angle. This means that to bring all eight guns on a target ahead, she needs to angle out to 35º -- this isn't auto-bounce territory (30º) so she needs to be careful lest she eat unwanted citadel hits. Towards the rear this is slightly worse at a 36º fire angle. Overall, Cesare has an excellent main battery armament that's not only easy to use but quite powerful. Summary: Good traverse rates and decent accuracy makes her guns very comfortable to use. Her per-shell damage may not be phenomenal, but the number of hits she can land more than makes up for this. Dynamic ammunition choice will yield the best results, but homogeneous fire of AP or HE can still score some impressive damage totals. Her secondaries are unfortunately lackluster despite the impressive number of weapon mounts. Giulio Cesare has got it where it counts. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 27.0knotsTurning Radius: 640mRudder Shift: 13.0s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.9º/s Cesare is fast and Cesare is agile. Her twenty-seven knot top speed at tier V is excellent. She's not the fastest ship in her tier -- that honour goes to Kongo -- but she is much faster than all of her other contemporaries. What's more, she doesn't pay for this speed with horrible handling. In fact, Cesare is one of the most agile battleships in the game. While Warspite may boast a smaller turning circle, Cesare preserves more speed with her rudder hard over, allowing the ship to rotate faster and change direction more suddenly than every other battleship she faces. This gives her a maximum rate of turn of 4.9º/s compared to 4.7º/s of Warspite. As you can imagine, this makes Cesare great at dodging incoming shells and other forms of attack. Speed is life for Giulio Cesare. The value of being able to control engagement distances must not be underestimated. Cesare's speed wanes as you face higher tiered ships, however. While her twenty-seven knots feels blinding fast in the small, claustrophobic maps of tiers IV and V, when you're up-tiered, it doesn't quite measure up. The maps get significantly larger and you begin to face opposition that is as fleet footed (or faster) than you are. Still, like with Nagato, Cesare's 27 knot top speed is sufficient at tier VII though not especially quick. It pays to be a little more cautious because of it. One of the most satisfying elements of Cesare's speed and agility is that she is all but immune to torpedo attack form tier IV and V aircraft carriers, provided you keep your wits about you. Turning radius difference between Giulio Cesare (left) and Kongo (middle), and Warspite (right) using navigational buoys on the Ocean map as markers. One frame = approximately 3.0s. DurabilityHit Points: 45,500Maximum Citadel Protection: 250mm +24mm turtleback + 40mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 19% All of Cesare's speed comes at a price. She doesn't have a lot of hit points, for one. This in turn means that her Repair Party consumable isn't terribly impressive, healing back a maximum of 6,370hp per charge. For another, she's almost sufficiently protected, but there are significant problems with her armor scheme. First and foremost, there is no avoiding Cesare's most crippling flaw: Her citadel sits high over the waterline, stretching from in front of B turret to all of the way back behind X turret. Her citadel continues, submerged, beneath A and Y turrets. She doesn't have good armour protection around her citadel either -- not with how high it stands. The maximum citadel protection she receives is a bit of an illusion as her citadel sits so high that her turtleback will not always come into play -- nor will her thickest belt armour which is also submerged. Often, Cesare is forced to try and protect her machine spaces with as little as a 130mm upper belt armor and a 40mm citadel wall which doesn't stand up to punishment, even at very long ranges. If you give up this ship's side, you can expect to take citadel damage as a matter of course. Bow on, the story changes. While she has an extended belt armour which helps her face tank some shells, there's still a large section of 19mm worth of armor that can be overmatched directly head on. However, she is unlikely to take citadel hits from this angle as there's an interior 85mm armoured "beak" inside the bow to help deflect shells away from her magazines and barbettes. This wedge is a mixed blessing. While it does largely prevent citadel hits, it also upgrades many hits that would simply be overpenetrations into penetrating hits instead. So while it's unlikely for Cesare to take catastrophic hits when sailing directly bow onto an enemy, she'll still take large damaging hits as a matter of course. Cesare's extended belt armour covers her entire waterline to the rear, however, making her surprisingly tanky on the retreat. Just make sure you're aware of her worse gun fire angles when shooting over the shoulder so as to avoid giving up too much side when firing A and B turrets. Given these deficiencies in her armour scheme, it's best to take on a 15º to 20º angle towards enemies either on the attack or retreat to maximize the protection provided by your belt. Use her excellent agility to bait and dodge shells while unmasking your guns to return fire. Her agility should not be underestimated. Speed and camouflage will be your best defense in gunnery duels. Oh, and you can forget about Cesare having good protection against torpedoes. They hurt more than being stabbed twenty-three times. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 13.68km Air Detection Range: 9.42km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.41km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 10.86km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.37km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: Tied for first with Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: Tied for fourth with Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya Giulio Cesare is incredibly stealthy for a battleship. When she's top tier, the only ships that have better potential concealment are rare premiums, Nikolai I and Arkansas Beta. When she's bottom tier, the closest tier VI ships are New Mexico and Warspite with Cesare enjoying a 400m advantage. The closest tier VII is King George V with Cesare enjoying a 700m advantage. Combining her great handling and top speed, Cesare can dictate engagement ranges when fighting other battleships, which is a good thing. She will be uptiered often and this measure of control makes such matches far more comfortable than they would be otherwise. Silencing her guns and turning tail will allow you to disengage from unfavourable encounters. This goes a long way towards increasing her survivability. This is especially important given how blind she is. Cesare suffers like many battleships do that lack float plane fighters or some gimmicky consumable like Hydroacoustic Search. When forced to do her own spotting, she's groping in the dark which makes spits of land all the more dangerous and dealing with enemy destroyers far more challenging. It's worth noting just how small Giulio Cesare is. Even Duca d'Aosta, a light cruiser, is longer than the new battleship. She has a comparable length to the short and squat (and very cute) USS Texas but with even better concealment values. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 26 / 70 / 27 Planes are a problem for Giulio Cesare. For one thing, they have a nasty habit of negating Cesare's impressive surface detection range. For another, they like to drop explody things that make me have a sad. As mentioned previously, Cesare's agility will largely keep you safe from munitions from tier IV and V carriers so long as you keep a wary eye out. Cross drops from an expertly played Zuiho can still cause issues. Her anti-aircraft armament isn't terrible, but it's not good. At best you could say that she doesn't have the worst AA power among battleships of her tier. Her large caliber guns are hamstrung by a 4.0km aura. For much of the playtesting period, I used AA Guns Modification 2 to help compensate for this (mostly because Aiming Systems Mod 1 was not available to testers) and this provided her with enough teeth to shoot down two or three aircraft from same or lower tier carriers per attack run. When facing higher tiered planes, killing one plane was a victory. Killing two was a triumph. So keep an eye on the skies. You'll need to manoeuvre to avoid attack and that can leave you open to incoming fire. Be sure to evaluate threats appropriately. How to Train your Publius Crassus Your first ten skill points in Giulio Cesare are rather standard for a stealthy battleship. Start with Priority Target. For those players comfortable with their situational awareness, this can be swapped for Preventative Maintenance or Expert Loader. At the next tier, take Expert Marksman. You're going to be throwing Cesare about often in heavy manoeuvres. Her turrets can barely keep up with her maximum rotation rate and this will help get your guns back on target. Superintendent is your best purchase next to give you an extra charge of your Repair Party. And finally, take Concealment Expert at top tier to drop your surface detection range down to 11.4km. This will help you control fights, especially when you're bottom tier in the Matchmaker. The current meta will reward you best for taking survivability based skills after this. Fire Prevention (4) and Basics of Survivability (3), should all be considered high value skills. Fire damage is especially prevalent at lower tiers. For the remaining two points, Adrenaline Rush (2) is your best investment. If you're especially salty about aircraft and want to feel like a big fish in a small pond, you can build for AA-power with Advanced Fire Training (4) and Basic Fire Training (3) instead. Combined with AA Guns Modification 2, this will give you a rather healthy flak umbrella that will make tier IV and V carriers rather salty when they engage you. However, be advised this build is not only sub-optimal, it's all but useless when facing tier VI and VII carriers. Cool battleships don't look at exploding aircraft. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Giulio Cesare has one lesson to teach novice players -- don't show your sides. Beyond that, she's not a terribly complicated ships, with very forgiving attributes. She's agile enough to respond to belatedly addressed threats. Her AP and HE shells are both competitive even when the wrong ammunition choice for a task is selected. She's not so fast that you will easily outstrip your support. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Veterans will love her concealment value, agility and speed while celebrating the punishing hitting power of her guns. If she wasn't blind, she would be the perfect mid-tier battleship. She presents an interesting challenge on how best to maximize her armour and what few hit points she has. Mouse's Summary: 1.9 sigma, good muzzle velocity and her gun layout makes her feel more accurate than her dispersion stats would otherwise indicate. She does not stand up well to abuse. She's got enough armour to shrug off a few hits but under concerted fire, she's not going to last very long. Make sure the things that are shooting at you die painful deaths. Fast, agile, stealthy. She hates planes. She also hates torpedoes. Giulio Cesare had an interesting development cycle. Her first iteration was disgustingly overpowered with the ship enjoying the same horizontal dispersion value as Japanese Heavy Cruisers (!) with a 1.5 sigma value. The second iteration was the ship we see now but without the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade which is what this review is based upon. As I write this, I haven't had a chance to play her with the accuracy increase and I'm very much looking forward to that. It's only going to make playing her more fun. Giulio Cesare is a battleship that rewards good gunnery and awareness skills -- so much so that I honestly believe she might be just a little overpowered but I'm on the fence. This ship is going to spit so much damage so regularly, that I anticipate she's going to end up near the top of the pile on the damage meters. The only thing that will hold her back is her survivability and that's not nearly as bad as some may be dreading. Overall, she's a very powerful ship in the right hands. What I found worked best was keeping engagement distances out to about 10km to 12km and holding it there. This let Cesare's guns land hits regularly while still giving her enough time to angle or avoid incoming fire. Against more serious threats like the Scharnhorst-class battleships, extending this range to 14km helped, as well as switching ammunition based on the opportunities provided. Cesare feels a bit idiot proof in that you can spam HE and get good numbers. I found myself leaning upon this ammunition a little more than perhaps I should have. As a consequence, this lead to more than a few detonations of enemy vessels -- a total of five out of forty-six games played. This number shouldn't be considered anomalous -- any battleship that spams HE at soft targets like cruisers and destroyers could get similar results provided they can land the hits in the vicinity of the ammunition lockers. Cesare was uniquely suited to this with not only her improved accuracy but also her speed which let me get her into positions to hammer these softer targets early on in a match. Much will be made of Cesare being a tier V battleship and suffering the ills of the current Matchmaking. This is a battleship that up-tiers very well -- at least provided there are no aircraft carriers present. In pure gunship fights, she has all of the tools necessary to contend with these larger vessels. I did not feel horribly disadvantaged facing a Colorado, Nagato or King George V. It was a challenge facing these ships, to be sure, but it wasn't a forgone conclusion like it might be had I been sailing a New York or König. When Cesare is top tier, it's really not very fair. There are only a few ships to give me pause in such match-ups. A well played Hosho, Kamikaze or Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya might make me play a little more cautiously, but Cesare provides so many advantages it's hard not to feel confident when Matchmaker spat me out into such a game. Like the French cruiser, De Grasse, Giulio Cesare surprised me with how much fun she was to play. This is a ship I will be happily revisiting in my spare time when I can get her on my personal account. Would I Recommend? Well, I want her... PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Giulio Cesare is a real bully in PVE battles. Her operational costs are 11,500 to repair and typical ammunition costs amounting to this value again. This is an easy sum to recover in Co-Op. I highly recommend her for players that enjoy battering bots. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Giulio Cesare is a monster in Random Battles. She's got all of the tools needed to carry the day here. She's an easy recommendation for battleship lovers. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. I'm torn here and I think I would give her a pass. Giulio Cesare thrives in the chaos of a disorganized melee of Random or Co-Op battles. In the more structured (and often static) environment of a competitive arena, she may not fare as well where fire is often quite focused and manoeuvre plays second fiddle to hugging islands and concealment. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Giulio Cesare is one of the few battleships in WWII to have engaged in surface action against other battleships -- namely, HMS Warspite. For that reason alone (and her association with my favourite bae-bote), she gets a nod here, especially for those that like to recreate historical engagements in training rooms. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Very yes. I had a lot of fun playing this ship. It reminded me of the good ol' days of playing Kongo back in Beta. 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.
  8. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Wujing

    The following is a review of Wujing, the tier IX premium Pan Asian Alsace-class battleship. This ship has kindly been provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes -- I did not have to spend money to get access to this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the performance statistics discussed in this review are accurate as of patch 0.10.2. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Look, this one is pretty simple: = Wujing is a Pan Asian, premium version of the fully-upgraded French tier IX tech-tree battleship, Alsace. She clones Alsace's performance in every respect barring economy where Wujing earns more and comes with free premium camouflage. If you want to try her out for "free" (barring the time to accomplish the grind), unlock Alsace, play a few rounds in it and imagine yourself earning more credits because, y'know, Wujing is a premium. Bam, there you go; that's Wujing. For posterity's sake, I'll record her stats as she appeared at the time of this article's publishing but I'm not going to do a deep-dive into her performance. Quick Summary: Wujing is a Pan Asian Alsace. Seriously, we just went over this. If I have to explain everything twice, this is going to take forever. PROS Good citadel protection with stacked layers of armour amounting to 482mm of straight-line protection. Large main battery of twelve guns. Heavy secondary battery with good fire setting abilities. Decent agility with her Engine Boost assisting with her flexibility. Good AA firepower when it comes to supporting allies with much of her DPS focused in long-range batteries & flak. CONS Only 32mm of structural steel on the entirety of the ship, making her very vulnerable to cruiser HE spam. Her 380mm AP shells are incapable of overmatching a lot of the structural armour on cruisers she faces. Long, 32 second base reload. Unfortunate 1.6 sigma makes her guns fire like a shotgun spread. Her secondaries look much more capable than they actually are, having accuracy and penetration problems which keeps them from pulling their weight, even with a deep-specialization. Enormous turning circle radius of 910m. I'm not a fan of Wujing, not because she doesn't perform well (though I could go on a small rant about the nerfs made to Alsace in order to make room for Bourgogne), but because she's simply a clone. As nice as the skin looks, she feels very low-effort. Bajie is a much more interesting choice, given that Wargaming at least massaged her stats a little. It's a bit of an aside but with Yukon on the horizon, I feel like we dodged a bit of a bullet that she's at least getting the Bajie treatment instead of a simple copy-paste performance job like Wujing. Overall? Skip this one unless you really (REALLY) love your Alsace and want a premium version of her. Alternatively, you could just toss the money into a premium, perma camo for Alsace. The economy gains won't come close but it's the principle of the thing. Stats Dump:
  9. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - ZF-6

    The following is a review of ZF-6, the tier IX German destroyers. This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes; I did not have to grind or pay to have access to her. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.3. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. It's dockyard time again! How many of these have we done now? My brain fuzzes over when I try to count. After the Puerto Rico disaster, all of the subsequent dockyard events blur together. Add in the Cossack, Benham and Graf Spee grinds of yesteryear and it's too easy to confuse the two. Anyway, if you want ZF-6, short of outright paying for her, you're going to have to fork over some hard earned cash on top of the grind. This is the first destroyer on offer from the dockyard and it's a German destroyer too. I say this merely to point out that German destroyers in World of Warships do not have the best of reputations. There's a deserved stigma associated with German lolibotes (and the new 150mm armed tech-tree line is not helping). So is ZF-6 worth it? Let's look under the hood. Quick Summary: A small(ish) destroyer with a decent guns and fast, but short-ranged fish. She has access to a weird set of consumables including Main Battery Reload Booster. PROS Excellent AP shells, with good DPM and auto-ricochet angles. Improved penetration on her HE shells. Good fire angles on her guns, making it easy to maximize damage output. Wicked-fast & hard hitting torpedoes. Good surface and aerial detection ranges for a tier IX destroyer. Has access to Defensive AA Fire and Main Battery Reload Booster. Did you hear about her Main Battery Reload Booster? It's pretty important. CONS Small hit point pool for a tier IX destroyer. Anemic HE DPM and fire setting characteristics. Her torpedoes are short-ranged. Not very fast or agile. Shackled with a German Smoke Generator with its short cloud duration. No access to Hydroacoustic Search. (!) Don't worry about these flaws though, guys. She has a Main Battery Reload Booster. Did I fail to mention that she has a Main Battery Reload Booster? Yeah, I dunno what the big deal is either. I'd rather have hydro. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme ZF-6 isn't a ship I would recommend to novice players. Her play style is just going to get them killed. Her torpedoes are too short ranged. She's not fast. Her smoke's duration is very short. She's not very agile. And she's just stealthy enough to let you push in too deep where your friends can't help you. Add on her ammunition demands, her consumable demands and just how much better she performs if you know how to best make use of islands and smoke? Yeah, there's a pretty steep learning curve here. She's effectively a Fletcher with extra-steps. But for all of these same reasons, ZF-6 is a destroyer that will grow with you. Her concealment in particular is fun to use and abuse. The question, though, is if it's worth all of the extra effort to get the same numbers you might on another boat. Options It's easy to get lost in ZF-6 having "ALL OF THE CONSUMABLES!" only to fail to notice what's she's missing: She does not have Hydroacoustic Search as most other German destroyers do. Consumables Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. It has unlimited charges, a 40 second reset timer and a 5 second active period. Her Smoke Generator is also standard for a tier IX German destroyer, which is to say that it sucks. The duration of each individual cloud is only 73 seconds as opposed to the usual 93 seconds of tier IX Japanese and Soviet destroyers (or the 127 seconds of the Americans). So that's awful. Otherwise it's normal enough, starting with three charges, a 20 second emission time and 160 second reset timer. Her Engine Boost is totally normal: three charges to start, 8% boost to her speed, 120 second active period and a 120 second reset timer. We're going to skip slot four to talk about slot five's Defensive AA Fire. It increases continuous damage by 50% and quadruples flak explosion damage for 40 seconds. It starts with three charges and has an 80 second reset timer. and finally, let's backtrack to slot four... ZF-6 has access to a Main Battery Reload Booster. This is meant to be her main selling feature and is identical to that of the tier IX French destroyer, Mogador. It starts with four charges and cuts the reload time of her main battery guns by 50% for 15 seconds. It has a 100 second reset timer. Upgrades The short range of ZF-6's torpedoes precludes her from being a good torpedo boat, unfortunately. I mean, you can do it. But you're probably one of those nutters who enjoyed AL Yukikaze, you sick momo. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1 in slot one. You can use Magazine Modification 1 if you really hate surprises, though. The Special Upgrade, Engine Boost Modification 1 is best in slot two if you can afford it. It wi ll set you back 17,000  from the Armory. If that's not available to you, default to Engine Room Protection. For slot three, you've got a choice. None of them are bad ones, so pick the one you like best. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is easily going to the most popular so you can just turn your brain off and default to this, confident that it will help (a little) with long-range pew-pews. Torpedo Tube Modification 1 is kinda fun, in that it accelerates ZF-6's already stupid-fast torpedoes up to plaid (78.5 knots, WHOO! ♪). If you just want a quality of life boost, then Main Battery Modification 2 is fine for that extra turret traverse speed. Propulsion System Modification 1 is your best choice in slot four, giving you more acceleration from a dead stop which is helpful when island camping or hiding in smoke. To no one's surprise, Concealment System Modification 1 is still optimal in slot five. Double-yawn. ZF-6 isn't agile enough to make Steering Gears Modification 1 and 2 worthwhile for slots 4 and 5, btw. Cap this gunship's performance off with Main Battery Modification 3. Commander Skills This was the loser-build that I ended up playing with while testing ZF-6. It worked alright, but it's sloppy. I'm pretty lax with my commander builds as of late knowing there's a reset coming. It's hard to fuss over optimization knowing that some key changes are in the works.. Camouflage ZF-6 comes with two camouflage options, Type 10 Camouflage and War Paint - ZF-6. If you complete the dockyard event, you get both with the ship. They are cosmetic swap , providing identical bonuses common for tier IX premiums: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. You can unlock ZF-6's alternate palette for her Type 10 Camouflage by completing the first section of the "German Navy" collection. Crates for this can be purchased for 1,000 in the Armory. ZF-6's War Paint camouflage gets less fancy when you bring it into battle. Firepower Main Battery: Five 128mm guns in four turrets with a twin turret mount on the bow and three single mounts in an A-P-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Eight torpedo tubes in 2x4 launchers with one mounted between the funnels ahead of P-turret and the other behind the rear funnel. The Penultimate German 128mm Gun? If you buy into the hype, ZF-6 has the "best" German 128mm gun in the game right now. Compared to those found on the tech-tree destroyers, ZF-6's guns have a higher muzzle velocity and better auto-ricochet angles on her AP shells all for the cost of a slight dip in shell damage. If you're married to the idea that German destroyers should be throwing AP shells whenever possible, then yes, ZF-6's guns are the best of the 128mm bunch. I am not convinced, however -- mostly because German destroyer AP rounds are not the universal shell that we're so easily led to believe. Let's start with overpenetrations. Overpenetrations take the pop and pizzazz out of AP. Their punchy appeal is predicated upon performing properly when presented with paper-thin panelling upon most perimeter parts of the panoply of presently proffered peers. In other words: the shells won't pop if the steel won't stop. [Lert: If the fuse don't start, your damage's a fart.] This limits the functionality of AP shells when they engage soft targets. Knowing what thickness of steel is necessary to prime the fuses is key. And while angled targets do provide thicker absolute values of steel, one must keep the auto-ricochet values in mind. This creates a rather complicated series of angles where AP = very yes and others where AP = very no. All German 128mm AP shells need 21mm worth of steel in order to arm correctly, so the flat broadsides of a 19mm, tier VIII+ destroyer hull simply doesn't have enough steel present to make the shells go boom. And while good ol' Pythagoras will tell you that 19mm becomes 21mm at about 26º from the perpendicular, the complication of normalization rears its ugly head and you won't see the shells arm until 36º from the perpendicular (though this is always somewhat less to allow for the vertical angle). Against tier VII destroyers with 16mm worth of armour, you're looking at 49º from the perpendicular -- well into ricochet territory for normal 128mm AP shells. We get something that looks like this: AP penetration results for approximate engagement angles against a 19mm armoured target with German 128mm guns. A very special thanks to @mofton for showing me similar graphics earlier! ♥ Against 16mm, the margins get even worse, with normal 128mm AP shells having to contend with ricochets and ZF-6's shells losing 5º on their full penetration arc. I think it's safe to say that ZF-6's AP shells are not the best choice when fighting destroyers. Spamming HE will have you losing many DPM races, even with your vaunted Main Battery Reload Booster. Given her smaller hit point pool and lack of a Hydroacoustic Search consumable, knife fights with other destroyers is an uncomfortable. She can pull it off using her Main Battery Reload Booster as a crutch, but that's definitely outside of her comfort zone. She just doesn't have the health or the overwhelming DPM with her HE shells to be able to out-muscle same-tier (or higher-tier) destroyers. You're essentially hoping your opposite number will flinch when your consumable is active. It doesn't last long enough to decide contests. ZF-6 being a crappy lolibote hunter does not make her guns bad or even sub-par compared to other German 128mm weapons, however. Against battleships and tier VIII+ cruisers, it's a non-issue. Be the best angry smoke cloud you can be and spam that AP to your heart's content. This is where ZF-6's gunnery excels and it's super satisfying to watch hit point pools of cruisers and battleships melt when you can cycle her guns with impunity. Good AP DPM and crappy HE DPM. Pretty standard fare for a German destroyers. Do keep in mind that her lower HE DPM is compensated for by increased HE penetration. While this won't help you against other destroyers, it will increase her overall damage output against larger ships. ZF-6's AP penetration is ... well, it's not great. If you're pelting AP rounds and big-stuff, you want to do so no further than 10km or so to ensure your shells don't shatter against the 25mm/27mm/30mm/32mm of structural plate on your target. Outside of 10km, Pythagoras will tell you that your penetration values get kinda dicey and are likely to shatter. Big surprise, ZF-6's base FPM is terrible. Her Main Battery Reload Booster fixes this briefly. All the more reason to lean onto her AP shells when you can. ZF-6 has some very comfy fire arcs. Her turret traverse rate is kinda slow for a destroyer though, especially if you slap Main Battery Modification 3 on it. It starts at 10º/s but MBM3 will drop it down to 8.7º/s. This isn't enough to make her out turn her turrets, but it's less than ideal. Torpeedus I had a lot of good things I wanted to say about ZF-6's torpedoes. But I can't get past their terrible range. Whatever their strengths, that lack of reach undermines any effectiveness they have. Yes, they're very (VERY!) fast. Yes, they hit hard for a German torpedo, which is great! It's nice to see some German fish with some teeth! Their reload time is normal, so there's no extra penalty incurred for being special. But that range. Oh, that RANGE. Outside of using them to sweep smoke clouds, it was a pain in the butt to make use of ZF-6's torpedoes on the regular. After my play test games, I concluded there were really only two opportunities to make good use of them in the average game. The first, as I mentioned before, is to use them to rake through smoke clouds. This typically happens in the early portions of match in those invariable duels against other lolibotes as you contest cap circles. ZF-6's torpedoes are so fast that it's easy for an opponent to misjudge just how much room they have to manoeuvre. While they don't provide much in the way of reduced reaction time, it's that they move so quickly that your opponents may misjudge and mistime their dodges. I had a lot of success picking off destroyers in smoke -- in fact, this was the number one source of damage with my fish, which is kinda sad but kinda hilarious. The second opportunity comes in the end game, when there's a lot more room to manoeuvre and a lot less Surveillance Radar and Hydroacoustic Search being thrown about, where ZF-6 can take advantage of its low surface detection to finally bring its fish into range of juicier targets. Of course, this latter scenario is generally predicated upon carriers being distracted elsewhere or absent from the match entirely. If there are attentive aircraft present, you can generally forget ZF-6 has torpedoes outside of a suicide charge. The same goes for Surveillance Radar equipped cruisers. If they're still in the game and operating anywhere near your side of the map, then forget this ship has torpedoes. Just don't do it. VERDICT: Good AP shells and a good gunnery consumable. It's like spamming shells with a more-different duckybote. Her torpedoes are too short ranged to get used on the regular. Durability Hit Points: 17,000 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 19mm / 19mm ZF-6 has almost the same amount of health as a Fletcher-class destroyer. I am now going to tell you that this is a bad thing. If you don't have heals or a monster-pile of hit points, your destroyer's durability is sub-optimal. The trickle down effect here is that unless your gunship destroyer severely out-muscles her opponents in terms of damage output, this really limits their ability to go heads up in a knife fight. Similarly, not having a whole lot of health limits how often (and how long) a given destroyer can take risks like hammering a larger ship from open water without the cover of islands or smoke to protect it. This is doubly dangerous for ships like ZF-6 that aren't especially fast or agile. A smaller hit point pool acts as a lens, magnifying a destroyer's problems in other areas. For example, remember those torpedo woes we talked about? Because of ZF-6's low hit point pool, creeping in close onto an enemy battleship to use her torpedoes is all the more dangerous because if she gets lit, she's not likely to last very long. The same goes with surprise knife-fights, getting spotted by aircraft, lit by Surveillance Radar and you name it. So, low hit points = bad. Welp, we're at the stage where the vaunted Fletcher-class has been so badly powercrept their hit point totals are considered "bad". VERDICT: Crap. Agility Top Speed: 35kts Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 3.9s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 6.7º/s at 29.3kts It's ZF-6's low top speed that gets her in trouble. She's one of the slowest destroyers at her tier and indeed, within her matchmaking spread. Only Shiratsuyu, Yudachi, Akizuki, Fen Yang, Jutland are slower. 35 knots is pretty much the baseline of most high-tier destroyers so not being able to exceed that largely dooms the ship to mediocre agility unless they have some gimmick to compensate. The British (including the aforementioned Jutland) manage this with improved energy retention and ridiculous acceleration. Others, like Mahan, have very tight turning circles, making them feel more agile than their slow speed would otherwise suggest. But not ZF-6. While her turning radius isn't terrible for a German destroyer, it's certainly not "good". Her rate of turn sits in the doldrums at her tier being among the worst present. The only reason ZF-6 doesn't look worse is that her turning radius is average. VERDICT: ZF-6 isn't Soviet rancid-mayonnaise-bad here, but her speed and agility are both pretty lame. Imagine having just enough speed to get into trouble but not having enough to get out. That's common for most destroyers, frankly, unless you can exceed 37 knots. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 2 + 1 explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 6km. Long Ranged (up to 6km): 52.5dps at 100% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 4km): 70dps at 100% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 115.5dps at 95% accuracy (109.7dps) ZF-6 is advertised by Wargaming as having "powerful AA defenses". Yeah, no. Her AA power is good for a tier IX destroyer. That's factual. But "powerful?" Her sustained AA DPS is comparable to Fletcher. If you consider Fletcher's sustained AA DPS to be "powerful" then sure, ZF-6 is just a small step down. Personally, I consider Fletcher's sustained AA DPS to be "okay" and verging upon "slightly annoying to contend with if I'm playing my CV like an idiot". I only consider Östergötland and Friesland of having "powerful" examples of AA at this tier. ZF-6 can't shred planes the way Friesland does. ZF-6 will get dropped on and she cannot stave off repeated air attacks. Your best defences are not to be made a target in the first place. Use smoke, Just Dodge™ and hope for the best. The good news is that ZF-6's aerial detection is wonderfully small, so you have that going for you. Keep her AA off and they need to get in close in order to find you. Yes, ZF-6 can put some hurt on planes that loiter but it would be a mistake to think that she can prevent a strike, especially when tier X planes get involved. As with most destroyers, you're hoping for the CV player to be inexperienced or to make mistakes. Protecting yourself is kind of a pipe dream unless they're already running out of planes... or you're playing Co-Op. CVs in Co-Op are a bit of a joke. I have these sorted in my usual way, using the formula ( Sustained AA DPS x [ range - 1km] ). It's not perfect but it does give a sense of who has the better base AA DPS values. That's why Z-44's chunky DPS rates lower than Jutland's, for example -- Jutland will keep enemy aircraft under fire for longer, even if the raw damage her guns can put out is overall less when aircraft are in optimum range. VERDICT: Keep your AA off until you absolutely need it and Just Dodge™. Or go play co-op where enemy aircraft are XP piñatas cuz they don't dodge flak. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 7.42km / 5.83km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.2km / 2.59km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 2.79km Maximum Firing Range: From 11.86km to 13.76km I make a lot of lists. Here's a helpful one listing all of the destroyers within ZF-6's matchmaking, ranking them by how low they can potentially get their surface detection range. Her 25th position may look alright, but context matters (for those wondering, ties are 'broken' by tier first and then the order in which nations were released into the game with tech-tree ships having precedence over premiums and reward ships) . Tier VIII is a tough competition with ZF-6 being on par to most of her competitors (100m difference is nothing).. She out-performs most of the VIIs barring Haida and she's reasonably comfortable against most of the tier IXs and Xs. ZF-6's concealment is pretty damn good and, in my opinion, this saves this ship from ignominy. Her guns are decent. Between their auto-ricochet angles and Main Battery Reload Booster, they're more than alright. Her torpedoes are painfully short ranged. You can't really play with those when there's radar lurking about but towards end game? Sure, they're more than workable and their high-speed a nightmare for any surviving battleships. Her agility and speed are both disappointing. Her health is bad for a tier IX destroyer and her AA power is over-hyped. But with stealth, with good concealment, ZF-6 allows for some damn fun shenanigans, especially if you can survive until the latter half of a match. Oh, but if she only had Hydroacoustic Search, she could be the total package -- good early in the game as well as late. As it is, short of sniffing things out with her face, she has no special tools to help her suss out enemy lolibotes when smoke or island cover comes into play and that's a shame. Still, she is small enough to out-spot some of her competitors. To this end, knowing which ships you can comfortably spot while keeping hidden really ups her game. This game play is very reminiscent of that of Fletcher, so those with experience there should be reasonably comfortable with how ZF-6 performs in this regard. If you can afford the points for Radio Location, it will help immeasurably in this regard. Keep a close eye on those team lists. One thing to keep in mind here is that Fearless Brawler will soon be losing its associated concealment penalty and will become a must-have for any and all gunship destroyers that can afford it. Taking it now worsens ZF-6's maximum concealment from 5.83km to 6.12km which is a pretty sizable leap (dropping her to 44th place on the graphic above). That's a pretty hard compromise on one of her best features, so it's a bit of a hard sell at the moment. If ZF-6 had more health or more speed (the latter to help avoid incoming fire), open water firing would be easier to endorse. But as it stands, I'd hold off. VERDICT: Redemption. Final Evaluation "Fletcher with extra steps". That's how ZF-6 feels to me. And the comparison is horribly clumsy, I know. Fletcher doesn't have a Main Battery Reload Booster. She doesn't have improved AP performance, or high-penetration HE. Fletcher's torpedoes are long ranged. Fletcher doesn't scooch about like a dog dragging it's butt on the carpet either. ZF-6 has a lot going for her that Fletcher doesn't, however Fletcher feels more "whole" and "put together" than ZF-6. Her consumables feel like duct-tape keeping the concept from falling apart. I dunno, maybe it's just me. Is ZF-6 any good? Well, she's not awful. Playing against her, I'm certainly going to respect those torpedoes and her Main Battery Reload Booster if I'm in close. But she's not a destroyer I fear to face. Seeing a Kitakaze on the enemy team? Yeah, I sit up and take notice. The same goes for a Fletcher, Jutland or Mogador. I can't say the same for ZF-6. This isn't a ship I'd balk at, I'm happy taking a swipe at in my tier VII Haida, to give you an idea, while I wouldn't contest a duckybote. I think that says a lot right there. Mouse out.
  10. The latest season of clan battles reminded of me the total lack of premium T9 non-super cruiser options. I mostly played in USS Alaska, which is not as good as it once was due to the loss of fire prevention. I find it curious that WG has not released any premium non-super cruisers at this tier. I consider T9 tech tree cruisers to be weak for their tier when compared to their T10 successors (e.g. USS Buffalo vs USS Des Moines), unlike several T9 tech tree DDs and even some BBs. In addition, many have some glaring vulnerability (e.g. HMS Drake's rear turret firing angles). Instead of a steady stream of more premium cruisers at T8, or more premium T9 CBs, why not cash in on the considerable pent up demand for balanced premium T9 CAs or CLs? Here are a few ideas based on ships that actually were built: USS Rochester - This ship belonged to the successor to the Baltimore class heavy cruiser, the Oregon City class. It was in service from 1946 to 1961. Here is how to bring the ship to the game: Start with a fully upgraded Baltimore Add a few thousand hit points Add a repair party and upgrade slot 6 (like all T9 cruisers get) Adjust the radar consumable to last 35 s (consistent with other T9 US cruisers) Increase turret rotation speed by 1 degree per second Decrease rudder shift by 0.5 - 1.0 s Slightly improve AA continuous damage to reflect historical AA battery and the better firing angles offered by the smaller super structure of this class Everything else stays virtually identical to the USS Baltimore The cool thing about Rochester is we know WG can balance what would essentially be a T9 Baltimore since that is where the ship was slated prior to the US cruiser CA/CL split. USS Fargo - This ship belonged to the successor to the Cleveland class light cruiser, and was the lead ship of the Fargo class. It was in service from 1945 to 1950. Here is how to bring the ship to the game: Start with a fully upgraded Cleveland Add a few thousand hit points Add a repair party and upgrade slot 6 (like all T9 cruisers get) Adjust the radar consumable to last 35 s (consistent with other T9 US cruisers) Decrease rudder shift by around 0.5 s Improve her concealment by -200 to -300 m Slightly improve AA continuous damage to reflect historical AA battery and the better firing angles offered by the smaller super structure of this class. Her AA should not be quite as strong as USS Seattle's because she did not have a dual purpose main battery. Everything else stays virtually identical to the USS Cleveland I'll do some further research on other historical T9 premium non-super cruisers that could be added to the game. One that comes to mind is the already in development: HMS Tiger. Maybe add HE shells, or a short range hydro and some more hit-points and up-tier her to T9? If anyone has any other cruisers that could fit in this category, historical or not, please share below. Thanks!
  11. Cossack is a stealthy British gunship destroyer armed with eight 120mm/45 naval rifles and a single bank of four, high-tier torpedoes. She is defined by her good concealment values and awkward firing arcs. Cossack also has access to the Engine Boost consumable while maintaining improved British acceleration and energy preservation. Game play wise, Cossack is very similar to Lightning with an overlap in consumables and commander skill choices. Wargaming has set her price tag at 9,600 doubloons. This is the second Tribal-class destroyer introduced into World of Warships following the release of HMCS Haida earlier this year. She is less remarkable than her sister-ship but that's largely owing to the unforgiving environment in which she plays. Cossack contends with being up-tiered more often than her Canadian counterpart and higher tiered matches are far more radar intensive. Moreover, at tier VII Haida has a defined role -- she's a lolibote-molester. This role is generally lacking among the other tin-cans at tier VII which makes Haida stand out. Cossack doesn't share this same kind of defined specialty. She's more of a generalist scout or gunship -- roles that are replicated by other destroyers at her tier. Thus, Cossack is a workhorse, one gunship among many. She gets the job done in a tough environment which is worth noting, though she is not deserving of any acclaim in this regard. PROS Good DPM performance on her guns and excellent chance at starting fires. Powerful torpedoes for a gunship which may launched individually. Improved engine performance with increased acceleration and energy preservation in a turn while also having access to the Engine Boost consumable. Ridiculous rate of turn, throwing herself about at almost 9.0º/s! Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 5.48km. Access to a long-lasting British Hydroacoustic Search consumable. CONS Poor fire angles on all weapons. Terrible gun ballistics -- worse than American 127mm/38s. Limited to a single torpedo launcher. Her anti-aircraft firepower is effectively non-existent. Poor quality Smoke Generator consumable with short emission time and duration. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Cossack is not a forgiving ship to play. For a novice player, she has many strikes against her. She struggles to do damage, hamstrung with restrictive fire sectors on all of her weapons and poor performing guns. A deep skill build is necessary to allow her to do direct damage with her artillery against larger opponents and the range of targets she can engage is limited. Having a single torpedo launcher does her no favours either. She is at her best at what amounts to point-blank ranges. At high tiers this is a range where you will get killed in short order for making a mistake. Cossack has the speed, stealth and agility enough to make her attractive to a veteran but her engagement range, optimized for short-distances and limited attack power are a severe mark against her carry potential. Still, she has a diverse toolkit that will earn her some devoted supporters. – 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. Cossack's damage output and durability are best described as average. While she does have her strong points, a combination of drawbacks with her guns keeps Cossac from outperforming her peers. Her low hit point total similarly holds her back. She gets a rating in both categories. Her anti aircraft firepower is virtually non-existent and she earns a evaluation as a result. It's arguably worse than the IJN torpedo boats which is saying something. Where Cossack stands apart truly is her agility and stealth. She takes primacy from Lightning in terms of flexibility and speed. It's a closer contest for Vision Control, but she wins out against Loyang. She's the in both categories among tier VIII destroyers. Options Cossack's options are almost all standard for a British destroyer. Cossack like (new) British destroyers cannot make use of the Propulsion Modification 2 upgrade as she already has an improved version built in. Consumables Cossack's Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. It has unlimited charges, a 60s/40s reset timer and a 5s active period. Cossack uses a British destroyer Smoke Generator. This has 5 charges base and a 90s/70s reset timer (it's not just you, that number is stupid-weird). It emits smoke for 10s and each cloud lasts for 40s. Unlike other (new) British destroyers, Cossack has access to Engine Boost. This is a standard destroyer-version of the consumable providing an 8% speed increase with 2 charges base, an 180s/120s reset timer and a 120s active period. Cossack uses a British destroyer Hydroacoustic Search. This has 2 charges base, a 180s/120s reset timer and a 180s active period. It detects torpedoes and ships at a range of 3.00km. Upgrades Cossack should equip Magazine Modification 1 into its first upgrade slot. If you like to live dangerously, then Main Armaments Modification 1 is fine. In your second slot, the special upgrade, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is optimal. If you do not have access to it, then the next upgrade you should reach for is the special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1. If you're lacking that, then default to Propulsion Modification 1. Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal for slot 3. The only reasonable choice in your fourth slot is Steering Gears Modification 2. Similarly, the only reasonable choice in your fifth slot is Concealment Modification 1. Camouflage Cossack comes with Type 10 Camouflage. For 2,000 doubloons you may purchase Royal Navy - Cossack as a cosmetic swap. Both camouflages provide: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Cossack comes with Type 10 Camouflage in mottled grey. I personally think she looks prettier in Royal Navy - Cossack in green, black and grey, but that's only for players with deep pockets. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 120mm/45 guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Four torpedo tubes in a 1×4 launcher mounted amidships. The 120mm/45s that Cossack uses for her main batteries have a lot of problems at tier VIII. While perfectly serviceable at tier VII with ships like Jervis and Gadjah Mada, against the upgraded opposition faced at higher tiers they're nowhere near as competitive on a per-gun basis. This is largely owing to penetration issues due to gun caliber but there are other things to remark. They have a modest rate of fire, damage per shell and poor ballistics. The mountings on HMS Cossack are poorly situated with limited fire arcs and a lackluster traverse rate. Their only real strength is a high fire chance per shell. Her saving grace is that she has a lot of guns -- quantity has quality all of its own. However, the competition is fierce at tier VIII and even armed with eight rifles Cossack struggles finding the edge she needs. Destroyer AP shells are highly circumstantial in their utility. Most simply do not have the penetration or damage output to make them worth chancing the risk of a bounce using except in specific circumstances. Still, when a broadside is offered, switching to AP provides a much improved damage increase -- especially if your target is already burning from fires set. HMS Cossack's poor penetration values limit the range at which she can make these exchanges successfully, with her ability to citadel enemy cruisers falling off at 4km and her ability to reliably penetrate the extremities of battleships dropping off between 9km and 11km.1 Cossack's HE damage potential looks impressive, though it's important to cross reference it with her penetration values. The chart on the right shows the armour value the respective guns can best while the extremity armour on the bottom lists the prevalence of different armour types for the bow and stern. The number in brackets is the (current as of 0.7.9) number of ships with these armour values. There is a long list of targets she is incapable of damaging directly which will necessitate her making the attempt with AP shells instead. The arcs of fire on A and Y turret are terrible, contrasting the excellent arcs on B and X. On top of this, B-turret may rotate 360º which facilitates keeping it engaged even while Cossack manoeuvres. It's thus very easy to keep six guns on target most of the time but especially difficult to keep all eight firing. Bringing all eight guns to bear makes her an easy and predictable target due to the limited fields of fire on her foremost and rearmost turrets. Sacrificing a turret makes Cossack's gunnery no better than a tier VII destroyer. Cossack doesn't have the DPM advantage to be able to best contemporary gunship destroyers. The race is very close. Once you factor in the hit point totals and detection consumables, the margins get even smaller. Against anything higher tier, Cossack comes out the worse for it. This said, Cossack does have the muscle to bully anything smaller than herself short of HMCS Haida. She can play the role of a destroyer hunter provided she can ensure the detection, hit point and DPM advantage, but she has nowhere near the primacy in these categories at her tier. Against larger vessels, Cossack's guns are a mixed bag. Her ability to deal direct damage is compromised with her poor penetration values but she's an excellent fire starter. Note that this is largely owing to volume and accuracy of fire -- Cossack must be cycling all eight of her guns onto a target and landing with most of her hits to be a credible threat this way. Where Cossack truly excels is her potential to set fires. This is especially true of she eschews the use of IFHE in her commander skill build and elects to just focus on Demolition Expert instead. While this is unlikely to ever give a hale and healthy cruiser pause, it is very effective against battleships. Note, in practice these values are approximately halved when striking ships and represent only the raw fire starting potential. Thus, against a Montana, Cossack with a DE build could expect to set about 4 to 5 fires per minute. Be warned, though, the efficiency of focusing on fires leaves a lot to RNG. Cossack's performance will not be consistent. The final issue facing Cossack's gunnery is one of range and detection. She has adequate reach but she suffers from horrible ballistics. British 120mm/45 guns have worse shell arcs than American 127mm/38s. Cossack has similar gunnery challenges to Loyang, Hsienyang, Kidd and Benson without their fast rate of fire to facilitate aim correction. Cossack is greatly endangered by the prevalence of Surveillance Radar within her matchmaking tier where her short engagement range is more likely to bring her within reach of this consumable. Furthermore, her Smoke Generator does not allow for long bouts of gunnery within the safety of concealment. Cossack must contend with much of her gunnery being done while she is vulnerable to return fire if she cannot make use of island cover. Thus, Cossack must be opportunistic. Whatever ability she has to bully other destroyers falls away as she faces same or higher tiered opponents. Her guns can terrorize lower tiered vessels, including battleships but they lack the caliber needed when facing higher tiers. Throw in the usual challenges of radar in this matchmaking spread and a pattern emerges: The power and flexibility of Cossack's guns varies considerably upon the hand which she's dealt by Matchmaking. Cossack's torpedo launchers have much better rearward arcs than forward. Like her guns, Cossack is going to have to give up her full broadside to be able to fire her torpedoes at a target. Cossack's torpedoes are decent individually, but she has too few of them and bad firing arcs to boot. Cossack has HMS Daring's torpedoes but at tier VIII instead of tier X, which looks nice on paper but that single launcher holds her back. The saving grace of Cossack's torpedo armament is her ability to fire them one at a time. While getting good accuracy with single-launch torpedoes is locked behind a skill wall, once mastered it helps greatly with making up for the lack tubes. For a gunship, Cossack has better individual torpedoes than those found on the Soviet, American or German destroyers. However, like with her guns, she places a distant second to Akizuki, lacking both striking power and being unable to keep up with her damage output Furthermore, Cossack's individually more powerful torpedoes in no way makes up for having only one launcher. Like Cossack's guns, her torpedoes perform much better when she's top tier than bottom. Their 10km range is fairly standard (and an improvement on the 8km on Lightning's), however as Surveillance Radar becomes more and more prominent in higher tiers, this reach just doesn't provide the same level of safety. Ideally, a player should be able to combine Cossack's torpedoes with her excellent fire setting to stack damage over time effects on a given target. In practice, this is much easier said than done. Their limited arcs makes finding opportunities to use them difficult, especially in a pinch. When the stars align (or skill prevails), Cossack can doom an enemy vessel in short order by overtaxing their Damage Control Party between fires and floods and score herself an easy kill. However, these will be rare events rather than commonplace. As discussed, use of Cossack's gunnery and torpedoes are both steeped in challenges. One of the drawbacks of British torpedoes is their large detection range. While not quite on the same level as Japanese destroyer torpedoes, this does limit their effectiveness. Summary: The potency of her guns varies considerably based on the tier of the target she faces. Her gunnery performance is inconsistent. Her torpedoes are individually excellent but they're difficult to use, locked behind a higher skill wall. Cossack must present a lot of broadside to cycle her weapons which can make her unfortunately predictable. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Cossack never quite gets her act together to seriously contest the Japanese gunships for their primacy at this tier. Yeah, I'm as shocked as you are that Japan now dominates the destroyer firepower meta at tier VIII. I always thought it would have been the Soviets, but here we are. Defense Hit Points: 15,200hp Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm The Lolibote with a redundant name sure looks OP when you lay out the maximum effective hit point total of the tier VIII destroyers like this. However, making perfect use of all four charges of her Repair Party happens so seldom. Still, she's way tougher than Cossack. Cossack has nothing going for her in this category. She has a downright middling hit point total and no fun quirks to her armour profile. This is a destroyer where you will have to manage any gunfire trades carefully to preserve your health. Her DPM advantage is not so high that she can afford to simply slug away at an enemy lolibote and hope to come out the better. The Survivability Expert skill, which ups her to an even 18,000hp should be considered mandatory lest she fall behind the staying power of other gunships. Veterans who are familiar with the play style of Loyang and Benson will no doubt be able to relate to the need to properly spend their hit points when making gunship attacks. The difference between Cossack and these American-based gunships is her worse Smoke Generator performance which limits her ability to make escapes when things go pear shaped. Cause they will. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Cossack is in the bottom half of the vast tier VIII destroyer population. It's going to take a lot to move her up in rank -- namely another 5,000 hit points or a Repair Party consumable. Agility Top Speed: 36.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 610m Rudder Shift: 3.6s Maximum Turn Rate: 8.9º/s There's a lot to cover here. Let's hope I can put it in some semblance of good order without melting the brains of my readers. Your take away should be this: Cossack is far more agile than her in-port stats might otherwise indicate. She comes about quickly. She accelerates fast. She doesn't lose speed in a turn. Stay with me here, this graph isn't as scary as it looks. In purple, we have the sustained 4/4 speed of the tier VIII destroyers with their rudder hard over. This is how fast these destroyers can move while wiggling, dodging and coming about. In green is their nominal maximum speed -- for Cossack and Lightning, that's 36 knots. In blue, we have their engine boost speed. What makes Cossack so remarkable is that her maximum speed and turning speed pretty much overlap AND she access to an Engine Boost. This makes her a much harder target to hit, akin to a fast Soviet destroyer in terms of her forward momentum but with the added bonus that she can change her heading much more quickly. Cossack doesn't have the straight-line speed of some of her contemporaries. However, she's functionally faster than many of them. Like destroyers from the Royal Navy tech tree, Cossack preserves almost all of her speed while under manoeuvres. Most destroyers bleed off between 15% and 18% of their top speed while wiggling and dodging. Cossack loses less than 2%. In addition, Cossack comes about almost as nimbly as USS Sims -- one of the most agile mid-tier destroyers in the game, and at a higher sustained speed. For enemies trying to pick her off at range, Cossack presents the dual challenge of a ridiculously high top speed with an nimble target, giving the best traits of both American and Soviet lolibotes in a single package. It doesn't stop there. From a dead stop, Cossack accelerates as much as 25% faster than a similar destroyer equipped with Propulsion Modification 2. From a dead stop, Cossack is quick to get moving again, helping her avoid sudden threats like incoming torpedoes or being lit by Surveillance Radar. Cossack gets the best of both worlds when it comes to upgrades; she enjoys better acceleration than she would have receive with Propulsion Modification 2 and she gets the improved rudder shift time of Steering Gears Modification 2. Unlike other Royal Navy destroyers, Cossack gets all of this without sacrificing access to Engine Boost. Combined with a Sierra Mike signal, she can get her speed up to 40.8kts for these brief spells while keeping all of the aforementioned bonuses to her handling. While ships like Kiev and the upcoming Le Terrible can outpace her in a straight line, Cossack wins out in overall handling and flexibility in combat situations. She trivializes dodging incoming fire and dancing torpedo beats. Paper stats won't tell the whole story. If you looked at a combination of Cossack's top speed, turning radius and rudder shift time, she'd look deceptively mediocre. The engine power of the Royal Navy destroyers and their energy preservation means that they perform on an entirely different level from the other lolibotes, making Cossack far more nimble than her stats otherwise indicate. Her Engine Boost consumable adds even more flexibility than even Lightning can boast, making Cossack the most agile destroyer at her tier.[/caption] Summary Boosted acceleration. Little to no loss of speed in a turn. Cossack can rocket-butt with Engine Boost unlike other British DDs. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Loss of her Engine Boost consumable would be enough. This is a closely contested category at tier VIII with Lightning being hot on Cossack's heels with better rate of turn and a smaller turning radius. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 40mm / 12.7mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 2.5km / 1.2km AA DPS per Aura: 12.9 / 4.2 Hahaha, no. Cossack has no large caliber AA guns to speak of. Even cursory HE damage is likely to strip her of all of her remaining defensive weapons. Enemy aircraft carriers should feel completely safe in having their planes loiter over Cossack and friendly carriers should abstain from dragging enemy aircraft near Cossack. She'll be of no help. ... except I did. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Cossack only barely ekes out the worst AA rating at tier VIII. Asashio is only marginally better with less DPS but more range. In theory, it wouldn't take much to nudge Cossack up the ladder, but don't ever assume this would make her evaluation passable here. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 6.97km Air Detection Range: 3.90km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.48km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.48km Main Battery Firing Range: 11.89km Detection Consumables: Smoke Generator / Hydroacoustic Search There's a whole lot of weirdness crammed into Cossack's refrigerator. She is currently the rated tier VIII destroyer in terms of stealth and detection, however this is a title she doesn't claim easily. There are three elements which define her concealment: her surface detection range, her Hydroacoustic Search and her Smoke Generator. Surface Detection Spotting distance delta (in meters) between HMS Cossack and the destroyers within her matchmaking spread when fully upgraded for concealment. This chart is restricted only to those destroyers within +/- 500m spread of Cossack's optimized stealth rating. Note that a distance of at least 200m is necessary to have a plausible chance of a reactionary advantage over an opponent and more is preferable. There are few destroyers that can challenge her concealment rating. Cossack is one of the stealthiest destroyers not only at her tier but also within her matchmaking spread. Only the Kagero-class sisters (Kagero, Asashio, Harekaze) have an improved stealth rating as low as 5.374km to Cossack's 5.476km. In open water with every other match-up, Cossack will detect enemies before she herself is seen. Generally speaking, when Cossack is top tier, she will dominate scouting. It's only when she faces tier IX opponents that things get harried, with detection ranges being close enough that Cossack is likely to trip over an enemy destroyer without enough time to react. Surveillance Radar, always the bane of destroyers (and gunship destroyers especially), is a very real and especially prevalent threat to Cossack's well being. When she's bottom tier, Cossack faces several ships with radar that meet or outstrip their surface detection range. There is very little counterplay she can exercise against ships armed with this consumable short of having advanced knowledge of their approximate location. Keep a wary eye on team rosters and behave accordingly. Hydroacoustic Search HMS Cossack comes with a Royal Navy Destroyer safety blanket -- her Hydroacoustic Search. In the radar-heavy environment in which she plays, this lacks the offensive utility found on HMCS Haida and it's largely reserved for simply sniffing out torpedoes. Still, it is possible for Cossack to unmask ships hiding within smoke screens while using her consumable, however she needs to get even closer than her Canadian counterpart to do it. This tactic is largely inadvisable given Cossack's difficulties in getting away once detected but it can be pulled off in a pinch, especially in late game scenarios where an enemy destroyer lacks support. Exploit that three minute duration -- she can outlast the longer ranged (and easier to use) consumables found on Loyang and German destroyers. Outside of these very specific instances, Cossack's Hydroacoustic Search is better used defensively -- giving her the time necessary to avoid incoming torpedo strikes. In most games, this will largely be its purpose. Vigilance is a helpful skill in this regard for team play purposes if you can afford it. Still, this consumable provides a degree of flexibility to the ship that expert players can exploit and to underestimate or dismiss it would be a mistake. Cossack belongs up on the front lines, projecting vision forward for her team and sniffing out early torpedo threats. Smoke Generator There's a big ol' "but" looming over Cossack's superior vision control. She may have great surface detection. She may have a very handy detection consumable that keeps her safe from torpedoes and can be used offensively in a pinch. Butt, her Smoke Generator stinks. Shackled to the same terrible smoke consumable as the British destroyers in the tech tree, Cossack is held back by its low emission and duration times. She doesn't make many smoke clouds for one. What smoke she does make doesn't last nearly long enough to be comfortable, undermining both Cossack's survivability and her ability to deal damage. When used offensively, Cossack can only park in smoke for 40 seconds at a time. With American battleships boasting up to 20s worth of immunity with their Damage Control Party, Cossack isn't going to seriously contest her opponent's ability to put out fires. This necessitates other tactics to get the most out of the potential damage output of her guns. Borrowing the smoke from another ship is one way such as in a division. She can also take a page from American cruiser and destroyer game play and use island cover to lob her shells at enemies that cannot see her but her lack of reach makes this difficult. Finally she can simply elect to fire from open water and risk trading her hit points. I would hardly call this ideal given her low hit point total. Defensively, her smoke is also found wanting. At top speed in a straight line, Cossack drops all of three (count 'em) smoke clouds. If you install the special upgrade, Smoke Generator Modification 1 you get one more puff. That's it -- hardly worth the coal investment. Cossack's consumable is not so much a smoke screen as a squid's ink-squirt. If Cossack has been firing her guns, she may not being able to create enough smoke to block line of sight to multiple opponents (which will make you wonder why you even bothered). Fortunately, if you cut your speed the moment you activate her consumable, Cossack will come to a stop inside the last cloud. Don't wait on the throttle though -- you need to be decelerating the moment you begin laying down your rings. At least Cossack's smoke reset timer isn't punitive. The delay between dissipating and the availability of her next charge can be as little as 20 seconds with the correct commander and signal combination. With up to seven charges available, Cossack simply needs to hold her fire for brief intervals before setting up for another round of shooting. Patience and careful planning can almost make up for all of her consumable's shortcomings. Closely Contested Cossack is an excellent scout. Few destroyers at tier VIII can sit as comfortably on the front lines, broadcasting back enemy positions for their team as Cossack can. In addition, her forward position helps protect her allies from long range torpedo salvos which become quite commonplace within her matchmaking. This isn't a safe place to be, however, and Cossack lacks reliable smoke from her toolkit to give her a sense of security. Cossack may be one of the stealthiest ships at her tier and one of the best destroyers for controlling vision for her team. However, this is very little room for error. Summary Great open water concealment. Hydroacoustic Search combined with her great acceleration and handling makes enemy torpedoes launched at range a non-threat. Her smoke smells like butts. At least she gets a lot of quick-reloading charges. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Top spot among the tier VIII destroyers is heavily contested. The Japanese torpedo ships have the best raw concealment values. Loyang has arguably the best combination of detection consumables though her surface detection is too big to take the crown. Cossack wins out on primacy despite the flaw of her Smoke Generator, but not without contention. Keeping Oskar from becoming a Sam Skills rated by their utility in descending order from purple, to blue, to green, to red. For the colourblind, they're also rated by hearts. Cossack's initial skill choices are fairly standard for a gunship. Start with Priority Target. Next take Last Stand at tier 2. Survivability Expert is optimal at tier 3. And finish off your 10th point with Concealment Expert. Basic Fire Training should be a must on anyone's list after that and Adrenaline Rush is also optimal. From there, spend your last four points as you will. Final Evaluation I'm not one to blame matchmaking. However, Cossack's fortunes are more firmly tied to matchmaking than many other ships I've played in recent memory. I think it's largely owing to how Cossack performs when she up-tiers. To be absolutely clear, Cossack is a beast when she's the top of the pile. There are very few opponents she cannot engage comfortably and it's only those vessels at her own tier which give her pause. However, Cossack doesn't feel anywhere near as comfortable when she has to go up against tier IX and X opponents. This isn't a problem unique to Cossack, but it is more pronounced in her case. Her guns have a very limited menu of appetizing targets when she faces same or higher tiered opponents. It's not that she can't deal damage when bottom tier, it's simply more of a challenge than for other destroyers. She reminds me very much of most tier V battleships, where they can feel like real powerhouses in those rare times that matchmaking favours them and victims otherwise. Your mileage in Cossack will vary based upon not only where your placed on the Matchmaking roster but what's on the enemy team. So long as she's facing enemy destroyers and cruisers with soft squishy bits she can pelt with her pew pews, you're going to have a great time regardless of her tier. If you suddenly find yourself facing down tier VIII+ American and German heavy cruisers, a heavy battleship lineup or Japanese ducky-destroyers, life's going to be a lot more difficult. Fortunately, Cossack still has a role when she can't be the big dog. When she's no longer able to deal direct damage easily, she excels at simply putting eyes on targets and pressuring cap circles. It's difficult to dislodge an RNDD that has setup shop around a given cap short of using concerted air power or a constant barrage of radiation from Surveillance Radar to drive them back. Cossack won't come out of said matches with much to show for it other than a win if everything goes right, unfortunately. I do like Cossack, but she doesn't inspire the same kind of awe her sister ship, Haida did for me. There's a lot to enjoy with this ship. Few feels as comfortable as she does when top tier and even in those uptiered matches, she can serve you well provided you meet the right opponents. However, in those games where there's nothing but hard targets, the pickings get mighty slim. I dunno why, but I'm a fan of Cossack's alternative camouflage. I wish it didn't cost 2,000 doubloons to make my ship look pretty, but oh well. Would I Recommend? Cossack was originally made available through the Royal Navy event which ran in the last quarter of 2018. Wargaming assigned her a cost of 50 Guineas with players able to earn up to 48 Guineas over three patches. It's not you -- the math doesn't add up. The assumption is that players will have to pay for the difference with a Guinea setting you back around $1 USD. Otherwise, players may acquire her for the equivalent cost of 9,600 doubloons + the price of a port slot. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No. Cossack does alright in Operation Dynamo, but her contribution is very one-sided with being largely limited to engaging the torpedo boats. Her AA power is virtually non-existent. Co-Op isn't kind to gunship destroyers, particularly those with only modest hit point pools and limited torpedo options. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes with a butt. Cossack doesn't play much differently than the other Royal Navy destroyers and her skill choices overlap nicely (especially with captains for Icarus, Jervis, Jutland and Daring). The only issue is that earnings get a might bit slim of matchmaking doesn't love you. For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. There are better choices, namely Loyang and Akizuki. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. Now you too can own a memento of the ship that predicated the early invasion of Norway! Slap on a Hotel Yankee signal, board some enemies and cause an international incident! For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. While I'd rather play Haida, that's my own Canadian bias speaking. Cossack is a fun ship though be warned, she is a tier VIII destroyer. That comes with all of the hangups that tier VIII destroyers face. 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 Is it over? I think it's over! Cossack (and Haida) have been on books since January of 2018 -- that's over nine months of work that has gone into reviewing her and her sister ship with too many different versions between them. As you can imagine, there was a lot of information to keep track of with her performance changing so regularly. While I'm happy the two ships aren't terrible, I'm very (very) glad to be able to stop worrying about Cossack for a while. I want to thank my readers and fans who helped keep me sane over these months and an especially well deserved thanks to my Patrons on Patreon who helped keep me fed. I won't have to dig her out again until there's another tier VIII destroyer to review for a comparative study. But that won't happen for another ... Aww, sh-- ...!  Appendix (1) Penetration data courtesy of Proships.ru (https://www.proships.ru) and World of Warships AP Calculator (https://mustanghx.github.io/ship_ap_calculator/).
  12. The following is a review of HMS Gallant, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming at no cost to me. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of July 19th, 2017. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Are you excited? I'm excited! More Royal Navy ships! Whoo! Quick Summary: A small, agile destroyer with an uninspiring main battery. She has a heavy torpedo armament with the ability to launch each fish individually, but she's held back by poor launch angles. Cost: Bundles started at $21.99 USD with a port slot. Patch and Date Written: June 8th, 2017 to July 18th, 2017, Patch 0.6.6 to 0.6.7.1 Closest in-Game Contemporary Gaede, Tier VI German Destroyer Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique As much as I would like to compare these to the Polish Grom-class, Gallant shares a lot in common with Ernst Gaede, the tier VI German Destroyer, especially when the German ship is armed with its (admittedly awful) 128mm guns. Am I foreshadowing bit? PROs Gallant has an 8% chance per shell to start fires and the highest Fires per Minute chance of any Tier VI DD. Powerful torpedo armament doing 15,433 damage per hit, with 8.0km range and 61 knot top speed. Torpedoes may be dropped individually in the same manner of Royal Navy cruisers. Tiny turning circle of 540m with excellent rudder shift time of 3.0s. Second best surface detection range at her tier of 6.8km. Small target -- less than 100m long. CONs Small hit point pool of 12,000hp. Weak main battery armament of four 120mm guns and low DPM. Short 10.2km range and clumsy firing angles on #4 turret. Worse shell ballistics than the American 127mm/38s with even more "float". Horrible fire angles on her torpedoes with a maximum forward fire angle of 68º off the bow. High learning curve with making optimal use of her torpedoes. An absolute laughable lack of any credible AA power. HMS Gallant surprised me when she was announced to be coming to World of Warships. As fighting vessels go, she was in the thick of the action in the early part of the war but she didn't participate in any major surface engagements as far as I could tell. It made me wonder why we were seeing Gallant represent the G-class destroyers in World of Warships when there were examples such as Glowworm which saw surface action against capital ships to draw from. Everything began making sense when the Dunkirk Scenario was unveiled. She's not the first British premium destroyer released in the game (that honour goes to HMS Campbeltown at tier III), nor is she first British-built destroyer in the game (that distinction goes to ORP Blyskawica). What she does provide, however, is a glimpse of what the British destroyer line may end up being in the future. It remains to be seen how many of the features on HMS Gallant will become standard to the British destroyers. Sharkbait_416 of the World of Warships wiki team has volunteered to join me in this review. He'll be providing a look into HMS Gallant's history and his impressions of the ship. Take it away! The Sharktank HMS Gallant, hull pennant H59, was a G-Class destroyer of the Royal Navy, launched on August 26, 1935. With the outbreak of WWII in 1939, Gallant began operating in the North Sea, primarily tasked with escort and patrol duties. Throughout the course of these duties, Gallant participated in rescue operations which saved the crews of multiple stricken ships, such as SS British Councillor, SS Santos, and HMS Princess Victoria. On May 25, 1940, Gallant was detached from North Sea operations to partake in Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Allied forces from Dunkirk. On May 26, Gallant arrived in the channel. On May 27, Gallant and HMS Vivacious were notified that ORP Blyskawica was tasked to meet them. The Admiralty wanted the three ships to enter the port of La Panne to evacuate RAF personnel. However, Blyskawica was unable to locate the two British ships. The next day, Gallant embarked troops and transported them to Dover. Gallant made a second trip to Dunkirk on May 29, embarking more troops. Prior to arriving at Dover, Gallant was attacked by Luftwaffe dive-bombers. Despite suffering slight damage, Gallant managed to return to Dover under her own power. In total, Gallant rescued 1,466 personnel from the beaches of Dunkirk. In June 1940, Gallant assisted in the search for Scharnhorst and Gneisenau but was unable to locate the two German ships. In July, Gallant was tasked for duty in the Mediterranean, where she joined Allied forces to assist in operations in the West Mediterranean Sea. On October 20, 1940, Gallant used depth charges to assist in sinking the Italian submarine Lafolè. On November 27, Gallant fought in the Battle of Cape Spartivento as a part of Force B. While supporting convoy operations in the Straits of Sicily off Pantellaria, Gallant hit a mine on January 10, 1941. The force of the explosion tore the bow from the ship, killing 65 crewmen and injuring 15. The remainder of the ship was towed stern-first to Malta. Gallant began undergoing repairs, continuing into 1942. On April 5, 1942, a bombing raid resulted in a near miss that severely damaged Gallant. Due to extensive damage, Gallant was declared a constructive total loss. Gallant was used as a blockship in St. Paul’s Bay and scrapped in 1953. Rerences: http://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/4391.html & http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-10DD-25G-HMS_Gallant.htm Picture courtesy of Wikipedia. Options Gallant uses the same Smoke Generator consumable as the Japanese and Soviet Destroyers. This differs from Campbeltown, the other British premium, whose Smoke Generator echoes that found on American Destroyers. On the USN DDs. the emission time is longer and so is the duration of each individual cloud. This isn't the case on HMS Gallant. So, everything is standard here. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard cruiser upgrades Premium Camouflage: Type 10, tier VI+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Remember to equip as many premium consumables as you can reliably afford on a per-match basis. The module options you'll be using are the standard fare for destroyers. In your first slot, take Magazine Modification 1. Seriously, don't take take Main Armaments Modification 1 unless you're going into Ranked and taking Juliet Charlie signals -- you're more likely to have your entire destroyer blown out from underneath you before you permanently lose one of your weapon mounts to direct damage. This way you can mitigate some of those detonations. In your second slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is the way to go. Note, if you're playing the Dunkirk Scenario, you want to take AA Guns Modification 2 for the extra range. It's useless otherwise, but you WILL NEED IT in the scenario if you're trying for 5 stars. Don't skimp out on this. In your third slot, take Damage Control Modification 1. The other two are terrible (not that DCM1 is much better). And finally, in your fourth slot, take Propulsion System Modification 1. If you have access to Super Upgrades, there's only one really worth considering and that's Engine Boost Modification 1. This would replace your Damage Control Modification 1 upgrade in your third slot. Firepower Primary Battery: Four 120mm rifles in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedo Armament: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers rear mounted down the centerline of the ship. Gallant's gunnery is pretty close to terrible. They may have decent gun handling and a nice krupp rating on her AP shells, but almost everything else is awful. Her 120mm guns are the smallest caliber at her tier and an armament we would expect on tier IV destroyers, not VI. Understandably, on a per-shell basis, they have some of the worst alpha strike qualities, besting only German 128mm HE shells. With her four guns, this makes her volleys rather anemic. But there's worse to come: The ballistic arcs on her 120mm/45 guns are worse than the American 127mm/38s. While Gallant has better muzzle velocity than Farragut's weapons, the shells are lighter and lose speed more quickly. At ranges greater than 5.0km, Farragut's 127mm/38s have better shell flight times over distance. Gallant's shells take 8.62s to hit targets at 10km compared to Farragut's 8.31s with HE shells. Gallant's range normally caps out at 10.2km, so this slow shell time to distance cannot be seen in full measure without Advanced Fire Training. With it, you'll see shell flight times of approximately 1 second per km traveled at ranges in excess of 10km. This makes Gallant's guns utterly ill-suited to engaging anything short of a slow turning Battleship or Carrier at range. You can largely forget about making use of AP except at stupidly close ranges where you'd be better of dumping fish into them instead. To engage enemy destroyers, she needs to be close -- ideally no more than 7km to 8km at most before the lead times greatly inhibit accuracy. And more often than not, she will not want to engage enemy destroyers in the first place. Gallant has two saving graces where her guns are concerned. She has a decent (but not great) rate of fire. With a 5.0 second reload, she can put out twelve rounds per gun. So while she may not be able to compete with any of her peers on a per-volley basis, she can out-muscle Japanese destroyers in a protracted gunnery duel through sheer volume of fire. On paper, she should also be able to compete with Ernst Gaede, the German tier VI, however in practice this often proves to be a fool's errand. Gaede's guns have better ballistic arcs and, more importantly, a lot more health. The second saving grace is more memorable. Gallant has a very high chance to set fires per shell. At 8% per hit, when coupled with her four guns and rate of fire, Gallant becomes the best potential fire starter at tier VI. While this will not help her against enemy destroyers, it does speak to a specialization which favours making the lives of enemy Battleships quite miserable. Overall, Gallant is only a better overall gun platform than Fubuki and Hatsuharu which is pretty poor marks. She edges out Shinonome too, but only just. She needs to force a slug fest to out perform the IJN premium. The reliable 6-gun alpha strikes are quite valuable as they can often decide a duel against a mid to low health enemy destroyer, forcing them to back off even if they have a DPM advantage. It's Gallant's ability to set fires which really redeems these guns. Without it, her main battery would be utterly lamentable. The worst part is that Gallant's guns feel very comfortable to use -- so much so that you might grossly over estimate how well they perform. They turn decently. Their rate of fire is nice. They cause lots of fires. This got me into a lot of trouble when it came to dueling with other destroyers. I'd feel I had the advantage only to see just how uneven a contest it actually was when I got myself butchered. Do not make this mistake. Gallant's guns aren't good. They're not terrible, but they can cause you more problems than they'll solve. Gallant largely redeems the poor qualities of her guns with her torpedo armament. They aren't without their (oh-so minor) faults. For a torpedo specialist, her range of 8.0km is decent but not enough to make captains of the Japanese destroyers sit up and take notice. Their 1.3km detection range gives opponents nearly eight seconds to react which is alright, but not great. The same could be said of their 61 knot top speed which is perfectly adequate but, again, nothing special or worth celebrating. But here's where things get exciting: Gallant has the same launch options as British cruisers. To be clear, the two fire options for Gallant are a narrow spread or to fire off her torpedoes individually. She does not have the wide-spread option found on other destroyers. It's this single fire option which is so desirable. This greatly increases the flexibility of Gallant's torpedo armament, whether this be dropping more complex patterns for opponents to dodge or holding fish in reserve when a target may think themselves safe from harm. On paper, the advantages of Gallant's single fire torpedoes are many. In practice? Many of these advantages are locked behind an admittedly difficult set of player skills, acquired only from experience and the lessons learned from lots of mistakes. Veterans of British cruisers will have a leg up on the competition here. Gallant's torpedoes are individually hard hitting at 15,433 damage and with eight tubes, Gallant's potential damage for a full launch exceeds all ships with the exception of Shinonome and Fubuki which launch nine. Even so, Gallant's torpedoes hit harder individually than Shinonome, so she's not far behind these Japanese torpedo specialists. The are a couple of serious flaws with her torpedoes. They have a punitively long reload of 96s for one, even for a quad launcher. This is common to launchers with more tubes, and Gallant loses out so significantly to the other torpedo-specialists with shorter reloads on their triple launchers with Shinonome having only a 73s reload while Fubuki and Hatsuharu make due with 76s. The second drawback are the awful firing arcs of Gallant's launchers. They only have a 55º launch arc with a rearward bias. The furthest forward they can target is nearly 70º which is appalling and can really hurt Gallant in close quarter brawls or when navigating through islands. This limited fire sector also means she can't use her torpedoes defensively very well, as she has to present her broadside to dump them into the water. So for all of their good hitting power, Gallant cannot launch her fish often and when she can, you may find yourself fighting the fire arcs of her launchers in order to do so. Summary: Her torpedoes are powerful. Single fire torpedoes are awesome, but it's going to take some practice to make them work. The limited fire arcs of her torpedoes can be immensely frustrating. The only thing saving Gallant's guns from being a complete write off is their good rate of fire and high fire chance. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 36.0knotsTurning Radius: 540mRudder Shift: 3.0s Maximum Turn Rate: 8.6º per second. Gallant is rather average for a tier VI destroyer when it comes to her top speed, though all of the destroyers with the exception of the Gnevny-class (including Anshan) slot in and around 35.5 to 36.5 knots. What she does have is great handling, however. She answers her rudder very quickly and can throw herself about in the water like no one's business. She's only held back by he modest top speed. She keeps over 30 knots in a turn, though just barely, and this limits her maximum rate of turn to 8.6º per second. DurabilityHit Points: 12,000Maximum Protection: 16mm Gallant's 12,000 hit points sits on the low side of average at her tier. She has more hit points than Farragut or Hatsuharu but less than the Gnenvy-class and Fubuki-class ships which make up more than half the destroyer population at tier VI. Gallant is tiny as far as ship length goes, but sadly she's also rather tall. This combines to make her a comfortable target to shoot at, unfortunately. Gallant does not have the DPM or accuracy over range to afford trading fire with other gunships. This is a risky venture even when she's top tier against tier V gunships like Podvoisky, Nicholas and Okhotnik. Only do so from a position of extreme advantage if you have to at all. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 6.84km Air Detection Range: 3.36 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.97km Main Battery Firing Range: 10.18km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 2nd Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 16th of 34. Gallant has a decent concealment rating. Properly specialized with a 10pt Captain and with her Premium Camouflage, Gallant will get her surface detection range down to just a hair beneath 6.0km. The only ship at her tier that bests her here is Hatsuharu with a 5.8km surface detection range. This is good news for an under-gunned destroyer that struggles to trade blows with any of her contemporaries. Perhaps most impressive is her small aerial detection range which is better than any of the other destroyers at her tier. As a tier VI destroyer, Gallant sits in that unfortunate 'sweet spot' shared with tier VII destroyers where their concealment seems decent until measured up against the ships she faces. She's larger than most of the tier V destroyers she faces, and while she's much more stealthy than tier VII DDs, she finds herself out done by tier VIII gunships like Lo Yang, Benson and Akizuki -- all of which can make her life miserable in short order. It's a rare game where she'll ever be the stealthiest thing out on the water. Gallant is really built for this short-ranged attack. Her torpedoes give her a 2.0km stealth firing window which is enough room to comfortably manoeuvre. Sadly, this does fall within the range of radar equipped ships that begin appearing at tier VII. Skirting too close to the edge of her launch window also puts her dangerously close to the 5.58km range of Hydroacoustic Search on tier VIII German Cruisers It pays to take a moment to study team rosters and identify problem ships lest you trip over them at inopportune moments. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 12.7mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 4 No. That small cloud of smoke is about to get really crowded with air dropped torpedoes in a moment. Pageantry and Gallantry Thanks to the Dunkirk scenario, there are going to be another build to consider for HMS Gallant, optimizing for achieving 5 stars in the scenario. For now, let me cover the basics for Random and Ranked Battles. As ever, we start with a core build of 10 skill points. Begin with Priority Target to increase your situational awareness when you no longer have concealment. Next, take the destroyer standby, Last Stand to give you passable engine power and rudder shift when these modules get damaged. You have a choice at the next tier. Torpedo Armament Expertise should be taken if you want to emphasize your torpedo rate of fire. Alternatively, take Demolition Expert to supplement your already excellent fire starting qualities on your guns. Do not double up on these at this stage. Finally, take Concealment Expert to get your surface detection down to 5.97km with camouflage installed. Here are the next skills to consider: Tier 1, Preventative Maintenance. For those who hate Priority Target, this can be taken as an alternative. This reduces the likelihood of critical damage occurring to any of your modules (except the Magazine). Tier 2, Jack of All Trades. This is handy for those players that like dropping smoke for their allies. Tier 2, Expert Marksman. This will increase your gun rotation rate from 10º per second up to 12.5º. Tier 2, Smoke Screen Expert. Are you a bro that drops smoke for your big friends in Ranked? Be an even bigger bro with bigger smoke! Tier 2, Adrenaline Rush. This is a long running favourite of many players. It increases your rate of fire of guns and torpedoes as you take damage. At 50% health, this shaves off almost 10s from your torpedo reload and increases your rate of fire from 12.0rpm to 13.2rpm. Always handy. Tier 3, Survivability Expert. This will increase Gallant's hit points from 12,000 to 14,100hp. Note that this won't give you advantage enough to reliably outgun other gunships that are at the same health you are, but it does provide more of a buffer. This can be especially handy in Ranked Battles. Tier 3, Basic Fire Training. Bump up that rate of fire from 12rpm to 13.2rpm. Don't worry about what it does to your AA power. It's not relevant in these game modes. Tier 3, Vigilance. Spot those torpedoes early for your big friends. Tier 4, Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. You can bump up her effective HE penetration from 19mm up to 25mm with this skill. This is enough to stack direct damage against any capital ship you face in Ranked Battles, provided you don't hit the armoured belt, as opposed to being stuck trying to hit the superstructure. Tier 4, Advanced Fire Training. I would recommend against taking this one, but it does have it's uses. This bumps up your maximum range from 10.2km up to 12.2km. Keep in mind your shell flight time is almost 1s per kilometer at those ranges. Tier 4, Radio Location. Like high tier IJN Destroyers, sometimes it's nice to know where the things you don't want to face in a gunfight are likely to be. I personally would recommend the following builds: Random Battles: Core skills (Demolition Expert and Torpedo Armament Expertise both for a total of 13pts). Then take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells and Adrenaline Rush. Ranked Battles: Core skills (Torpedo Armament Expertise or Demolition Expert, not both to start). Then take Survivability Expert. Spend the last six points where you will based on your play style. For cap control, take Basic Fire Training and Adrenaline Rush. For support, lean closer to Vigilance and Smoke Screen Expert. Finally we come to the scenarios. For Dunkirk, you want to emphasize your AA power (silly, I know, but you'll need it). Your core skills look like this: Take Preventative Maintenance first. No surface ships will be targeting you with their main batteries. Next, take Last Stand. The artillery will knock out your engines and steering gears on occasion. After that, take Basic Fire Training to buff your AA power. Then take Advanced Fire Training to buff your AA range up to a "massive" 1.44km. This build is pretty useless for outside of the scenario, but what are you going to do? This "AA Build" only works because of the funny low-health values of planes in this specific scenario, so don't hold any illusions this has any worth outside of it. Some other useful skills include: Tier 2, Jack of All Trades, to help bring your smoke generator off cool down faster. Tier 2, Smoke Screen Expert, to give your allied ships more cover when you drop your smoke. Tier 3, Vigilance, to spot those torpedoes sooner. That's it. This is such a specialized build, I really doubt anyone will have the spare Captain to do it, but maybe you have more doubloons available than sense? When in doubt, you can always suicide-torp battleships at close range. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Gallant is very much like IJN Destroyers where she requires just a little more understanding of destroyer game play to make her perform. She isn't utterly dependent upon her torpedoes for doing damage, but without a good grasp of how best to optimize them, inexperienced players will find this ship frustrating. The good news is that her guns are quite comfortable to play with. The bad news is that her guns will get her into more trouble than not which is a formula for disappointing many consumers. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Gallant will challenge players to really master aiming their torpedoes manually without the use of the leading marker. This is a new skill for some players to learn and it will only improve their overall game play. This bumps up her carry potential somewhat in the hands of a true expert. Her guns are also quite serviceable in the right circumstances, but knowing when to fight and when to cut your losses is something that comes only with experience (or spider sense). The Sharktank HMS Gallant can be a thorn in the side of the enemy team throughout a match if played properly. My overall impression is that she is very good at one thing—launching torpedoes from concealment. Her single-fire torpedo launchers enable her to achieve more hits than the wide-spread setting. This is exceptionally useful in launching torpedoes at ships that are bow-on, such as those charging a smoke screen. However, this may also result in missing all torpedoes if they are improperly aimed. Gallant benefits from excellent maneuverability and a tight turning circle, which enables her to weave and dodge incoming fire if spotted. Much like the British cruisers, Gallant is most effective when maintaining her concealment, whether it be in a smoke-screen or skirting her detection range. Her mediocre HP pool and poor gun performance mean that direct engagements with cruisers and other destroyers are not recommended unless in self-defense. Her abysmal anti-aircraft armament rating means that an enemy carrier may freely fly squadrons of planes over the Gallant, keeping her spotted. To have a great battle, it is imperative to pick-and-choose engagements wisely. Because of this, Gallant truly excels when she has a commander that is specialized with Concealment Expert. This provides Gallant with a 2-kilometer stealth-firing window for torpedoes, and ample range for maneuvering and repositioning while avoiding detection. Gallant’s playstyle is very appealing, but it is important that players have a solid understanding of spotting and detection mechanics in-order to utilize Gallant to her maximum potential. She is not the type of ship that can outgun an enemy destroyer in the beginning of the game after charging into the objective. Instead, patience and smart tactics will result in players being rewarded with opportunities to take advantage of Gallant’s primary strength, her torpedo armament. In summary, I feel that Gallant is a strong torpedo boat, but suffers from being situational, especially in matches with aircraft carriers. It requires a patient and vigilant captain who takes note of the positions where enemy ships were last spotted to predict their movements. These predictions are essential in maintaining concealment and succeeding in carrying out ambush style attacks on enemy ships, a tactic that Gallant excels at. Mouse's Summary: Gallant plays closer to an IJN DD than a Soviet or USN Destroyer Single fire torpedoes are nice .. but only if you can aim. They'll be a detriment otherwise. Her guns feel more comfortable to use than her torpedoes, but her torpedoes are more powerful than her guns. Like IJN Destroyers, she becomes more deadly the longer she can survive into the match. If you die early, you're not getting the most out of this ship. Stay alive. Then she'll shine. HMS Gallant is a pretty uninspiring premium. Her gimmick resides solely in her ability to drop single-fire torpedoes. Should the future British Destroyer line have this ability too, short of them having some flaw (like no HE shells), Gallant isn't going to age well. Her guns are okay, but she doesn't have enough of them and they don't hit hard enough. Her torpedoes are really good, but they didn't blow me away. Specializing a ship around their torpedo armament really makes their performance flirt with feast or famine -- either you have jaw dropping, amazing games or you strike out and muddle through with a pittance of rewards. It frustrated me to no end that her guns are comfortable to use and (generally) suck while her torpedoes are not comfortable to use and (generally) rock. If only I could bring the latter to bear more often without finding myself beached or making myself a bigger target for guns / torpedoes / airplanes. If only the former wouldn't let me down when I find myself going toe to toe with anything more shooty than a Fubuki. For all of the average components that make up HMS Gallant, she's not without her charms. The sum of her parts creates a versatile ship that, while vulnerable to enemy destroyer gunships (and aircraft -- but all destroyers suffer equally there), can still manage to be a thorn in the side of the enemy fleet. Success with this ship hinges on how well a player can make her torpedoes perform. And she's got most of the right tools for facilitating that. She's not slow. She's pretty stealthy. She handles like a dream. She's got enough guns to defend herself. In theory, Gallant should work for most players. I wasn't inspired, however. Gallant didn't romance me the same way some other premiums have -- even the lackluster ones. Is that a flaw of the ship? I think so. I couldn't get excited for this ship. Time will tell if I'm proven wrong and the community embraces this one as one of their own. Would I Recommend? PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Mouse: The big question is how will she do in the Dunkirk scenario? Well, she combines elements of both freely available destroyers. Gallant has the fast gunnery of Anthony and the Smoke Generator of Cyclone, so she'll do alright against the Schnellboots but she'll really struggle to shoot down aircraft unless you've built her with AA pew pews in mind. In regular PVE play, treat her like an IJN Destroyer and you'll do alright. Sharkbait_416: Yes; I would recommend Gallant for PVE battles. At Tier VI, Gallant has minimal service costs. She maintains a fair margin of profitability in well-played PVE battles, but premium consumables should be avoided to maximize income. Gallant fares well against bots due to her concealment. She can provide support to teammates, such as a smoke screen, while also engaging enemy ships with her single-firing torpedo launchers. However, her main battery guns are of a small caliber and suffer from long shell flight times, which makes hitting small and agile targets, such as PT boats, difficult. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Mouse: It all comes down to how well you think you can perform with your torpedoes. Personally, I would give Gallant a pass here. While she's perfectly adequate when top tier, she's really going to struggle when bottom tier in the same manner as Fubuki and Shinonome. If that's your cup of tea or you can stomach being the (severe) underdog, then go nuts, my friend. Sharkbait_416: Yes; I highly recommend Gallant for random battle grinding. She truly shines with a 10-point commander that is specialized with Concealment Expert. With this skill, Gallant has a 2-kilometer stealth-firing window for her torpedoes. Those who are familiar with single-firing torpedo launchers may be able to hit a target with every torpedo in the salvo. Good concealment and high-damage potential equate to a ship which is highly rewarding for those grinding for XP and rewards. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Mouse: Is Gallant better than the other tier VI destroyers for Ranked Battles? She's not better than Anshan or Shinonome, but I would say she's better than Gaede or Farragut in this environment. I'll give her a green-light here, but you'd be much better off with Shinonome or Anshan if you can your hands on them. Sharkbait_416: No; although Gallant is very powerful due to her torpedoes, she is easily countered by aircraft. Additionally, she is not very competitive in a fair fight with other destroyers of the same-tier, due to a smaller pool of hit points and poor gun performance. As much as I like her, Gallant is situational in competitive gaming scenarios. Generally, I would advise players to choose another ship for competitive gaming unless they are extremely competent in maintaining concealment, dodging incoming gunfire, and avoiding overextension on the map. Still, an aircraft carrier can easily ruin Gallant’s match by keeping her spotted with squadrons of aircraft. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Mouse: Eh. HMS Gallant has some story to her, but my initial reaction when I heard this ship was coming was "why not Glowworm?". I suppose if you want to own a little piece of Dunkirk memorabilia then snag her up. Sharkbait_416: Yes; Gallant served the Royal Navy honorably. Throughout the course of her service history, she saved the lives of nearly 1,500 personnel and sailors. Though she may not have the fame of other ships in the Royal Navy, Gallant served in numerous operations and escorted multiple convoys before being mined in the Mediterranean Sea. With her addition to the game coinciding with the Dunkirk Scenario, players can recreate her heroic actions in saving over 1,466 personnel from the beaches of Dunkirk in May 1940. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Mouse: Nope, I did not enjoy my time with Gallant. Her torpedoes are frustrating to use. Her guns aren't. Her guns suck though and her torpedoes don't. How to frustrate Mouse 101. Sharkbait_416: Yes; Gallant is very fun to play. As mentioned above, a captain specialized with Concealment Expert provides Gallant with a 2-kilometer stealth firing window for her torpedoes. Her single-fire launchers allow for the possibility of hitting every torpedo in a salvo. Gallant does best in battles with a high number of battleships and no aircraft carriers. In such games, Gallant can inflict serious casualties on the enemy team. It’s very satisfying to watch a single-file line of 8 torpedoes swim toward a battleship, knowing the unsuspecting battleship is in for a world of hurt! What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Maybe it sucks. Maybe it's boring. Maybe I resent how it was implemented in the game. You won't know unless you read the full review, but this is quotable, gosh darn it, so you'll forget anything the article actually said and run with this. Mehbote – It's alright. Frankly, this describes almost every ship in the game. People get really cheesed when I describe their favourite, super-competitive ship as meh, so I do it often. Gudbote – The best thing ever. These are ships I like to play. Maybe it's good. Maybe it's fun. Maybe I'm trolling you. You dunno, but you'll make a big deal that I said X was a good ship when you preferred Y. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it!
  13. FirstDayAdmiral

    Who likes the Pommern?

    Soooo let's bring this right into the hornet's nest. This forum area is the thunderdome. Some of you know I've launched firstdayadmiral as a means to support CC's and other creators that provide positive material for the game and their viewership. Well I incorporated Sea Lord Mountbattens Pommern vid. I did that to show any newer players that its a good idea to research your ships before jumping right in. Just small stuff. Anyways, this is my latest project release. I just made contact with Lord Zath so I will be adding Zath's material to Firstdayadmiral. Let me know what you think! - Lets Get The T9 Pommern! Ship play and discussion! - YouTube Thanks for your time (I am no pro at editing)
  14. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Flandre

    The following is a review of Flandre, the tier VIII French Alsace-class battleship. This ship has been kindly provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes -- I did not have to pay for access to this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.2. In the back of my mind, I always knew that World of Warships would eventually reach a state where the lines became bloated as those in her sister-game, World of Tanks. The sheer volume of choice is daunting, overwhelming even. Flandre is that tipping point for me; that moment where tackling World of Warships content has personally gotten to the point where it feels like there's just so much stuff out there. Flandre is the third premium tier VIII French battleship. There are now as many French battleships at this tier as there are British battleships at tier VII. Imagine being a new player trying to decide between the three as your first premium purchase, never mind the other dozen premium battleships she competes with directly. Wargaming appears to be trying to simplify matters. There's no gimmicks to know with Flandre. There's no additional oddities to obfuscate her performance. She is exactly what is described on the tin: a nine 380mm-gun armed battleship with a very traditional turret layout. Forget all of the gunnery and armour weirdness of Champagne. Ignore Gascogne's special consumables and weird placement of her quadruple turrets. Flandre is an easy-to-digest, simple battleship with predictable levels of performance. So with everything getting more complicated, Flandre is a breath of fresh-air. That or she's incredibly boring. Your mileage may vary. Summary: A tier VIII Alsace-class battleship with nine 380mm guns instead of twelve and crappy consumables. PROS Enormous hit point pool for a tier VIII battleship at 75,400hp. Thick citadel protection with upwards of 500mm worth of armour. Excellent torpedo damage reduction of 44%. Comfortable gun handling with a 5º/s rotation rate. Heavy secondary battery with a 7.6km base range. Fast for a tier VIII battleship with a top speed of 33.5kts. Heavy DPS in her long-range AA batteries, good for providing friendly support. CONS Uncomfortably slow 33 second reload on her main battery. Limited overmatch potential on her 380mm guns. Poor forward firing angles on her main battery. Most of her secondaries are incapable of directly damaging her opponents. Large turning circle radius of 910m. Limited consumables with no Engine Boost and one fewer charge of Repair Party. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Flandre is pretty basic as far as battleships come. She doesn't earn a Simple rating for the following reasons: She doesn't have a universal ammunition type. You have to know when to use AP and when to use HE and against which targets. She's still vulnerable to citadel hits, unlike some battleships I could mention. So you need to be aware of angling and making sure you're not accidentally flashing your sides to something halfway across the map. This is a ship built for kiting, not for head-on fights. She can do the latter, but she's much better when used in the former role. Her short range puts her in harms way way too easily. And that's it, really. Flandre is a modest ride for more veteran players with her speed easily being her best asset. It's not all sunshine and roses, though. Her lack of reach makes taking up a central position and capitalizing on those fire lanes a bit of a no-go. Similarly, her limited consumables provides less flexibility than other French battleships. She does really kite well, though, which is a skill onto itself that pays off, but instances where you can make best use of that are situational. Still, she does offer a variety of game play options, up to and including taking her into a brawl. So, there's more to know than the basics and it's nice when a ship can grow with your skill set. Options I'm going to do something weird here and advocate for a secondary build as an alternative to the more standard emphasis on main battery firepower and fire prevention builds. Please note that this is a meme-build, way-way-WAY sub-optimal for any kind of PVP battle. Like, it's embarrassing how badly a secondary build ranks up to the more common survivability + sniping build. However, it's fun. I recognize that a lot of my readers enjoy PVE modes and secondary builds certainly have a lot more functionality there where the optimization rules change considerably. Consumables Flandre is absolutely bare-bones when it comes to her low-quality consumables. Her Damage Control Party is normal at least with a 15 second active period and 80 second reset timer. It has unlimited charges, as you would expect. Her Repair Party, on the other hand, comes with three charges instead of the usual four. The rest is as expected, queuing 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It will heal back up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds and it has an 80 second reset timer. And that's it. Flandre gets no other consumables and her Repair Party is crappy. Looooser. ♫ Upgrades You want to build your ship for fire-mitigation while buffing your main battery firepower where ever possible. To this end: Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Damage Control System Modification 1 is the only worthwhile choice in slot two. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal in slot three and by a significant margin. HOWEVER, for those who like inefficient meme-builds (or simply those who prefer PVE-modes to PVP), then you can get away with Secondary Battery Modification 1. This is the start of that aforementioned secondary build I mentioned earlier and I will go into more detail about its strengths and weaknesses in the Firepower section below. Damage Control System Modification 2 is best in slot four. And Concealment Modification 1 remains optimal for just about everyone in slot five. No big surprises there. Commander Skills Oh yeah, it's time to re-use a graphic! ♪ Wuh-BAAAYUM! ♫ Circles are must haves with squares as alternates to your preference. Until Wargaming gets around to fixing things, Dead Eye is optimal but you do you, cupcake. If you want to try your hand at playing a secondary build, it's going to look something like this: For the yellow circles, pick the skill that best suits your playstyle, but only one at each tier. Then take the red circles and finally gobble up the last three in blue squares. The idea here is that you can eschew worrying about concealment. You accept that you're not going to live very long, so buffing the number of Repair Party charges you have access to doesn't really matter. You will be set on fire, probably repeatedly, so fire prevention and mitigation skills still have some value. But you're going full-bore on the secondaring buffing skills. You can swap out the fire mitigation skills for Emergency Repair Expert and Adrenaline Rush if you're feeling metal, though. Just appreciate that you will die screaming and one fire. Your secondaries will be rockin', though. Note that Inertial Fuse for HE Shells isn't 100% necessary but it comes highly recommended for the sake of allowing her 100mm secondaries to have a chance of directly damaging a limited number of targets. However taking it thoroughly neuters her ability to set blazes -- something her secondaries do stupidly well. Camouflage Flandre comes with Type 10 Camouflage, providing the usual bonuses for a tier VIII battleship: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% experience earned. Her alternative palette can be unlocked through completing the "Legion of Honor" collection. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 380mm guns in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Nine 152mm guns in 3x3 turrets mounted on the centreline with one superfiring over B-turret and two superfiring over X-turret and twenty-eight (!) 100mm guns in 14x2 turrets in a superfiring stair arrangement with seven turrets per side amidships. Ouch. Why are we spending money on this? You know your HE DPM is bad when ROMA outdoes you. Something smells fowl Why does Flandre have a 33 second reload with only nine 380mm guns? There's something ducky going on here. The duckyness stems from Flandre's Alsace-grade durability. She has a lot of hit points. She has good (but not amazing) citadel protection. Ergo, with a little tweak to her sigma, Wargaming felt justified in throttling her reload time. It's even worse than Alsace's own 32 second reload and Flandre does not get access to Alsace's Main Battery Modification 3 upgrade to cut that down to the much more manageable 28.2 seconds. Combine this with the (relatively) small calibre of Flandre's shells and her DPM stinks like monkey-butts. Keep in mind, this is at a tier where the other 380mm armed battleships flirt with 25 and 26 second reloads with eight or nine guns. Let's go through the list; Vittorio Veneto: Nine 381mm guns with a 34 second reload. Shut up, she gets SAP. Richelieu: Eight 380mm guns with a 30 second reload. Roma & AL Littorio: Nine 381mm guns with a 30 second reload. Gascogne: Eight 380mm guns with a 28 second reload. Bismarck & Tirpitz: Eight 380mm guns with a 26 second reload. Vanguard: Eight 381mm guns with a 25 second reload. Famous & Historical Monarch: Nine 381mm guns with a 25 (!) second reload. Obviously this means Famous & Historical Monarch's firepower is grossly overpowered. No wonder she was selected to be the basis of a new premium. Now where was I? Oh, right! As of late, Wargaming seems addicted to shackling battleships with reloads greater than thirty seconds. The last two battleship lines, the Italian and American standard-type battleships all struggle with appalling reloads and Flandre fits right in with this mould. It is not a shape I like. Usually there's a reason for these longer reloads and as stated earlier, Flandre's slacking on her rate of fire is supposed to be compensated for by her chunky hit point pool and armour. Is that worth it? Well, spoiler alert: Not for me. It's not that the extra durability isn't potent in its own right (and more on that later), it's that 380mm guns are already feeling a bit small in calibre by tier VIII. So Flandre was already facing some challenges right out the gates. But it gets worse when you start comparing her to the other French battleships at her tier. Let's ignore Champagne as she is very much her own beast. Richelieu's guns are easier to use with their all bow-mount layout. Gascogne has improved sigma over Flandre. On top of firing more quickly, both of these ships out-range Flandre to a significant degree. Flandre's 20km reach cannot be modified. She lacks access to a Spotter Aircraft (something both Richelieu and Gascogne enjoy) and it's infuriating how often Flandre's guns feel just out of reach, especially in the opening moments of a match when a friendly carrier might be spotting a juicy broadside. Thus the combination of the poor reload and reduced range makes Flandre's guns less able to take advantage of opportunities than the other French battleships. She may otherwise clone their ballistics and (good) penetration but she's much more limited in carry potential, at least firepower wise. Flandre's guns are ... well, they're not good, let's be honest. Nine 380mm guns with wonky French dispersion and a shoddy reload? That ducks. I don't care how tough you are. Oh, French dispersion, you so silly. This is a standard dispersion test with 180 AP shells fired at a distance of 15km at a stationary Fuso bot. Shots are coming in from right to left. The Fuso has no camouflage, upgrades or skills that disrupt incoming shell fire. Flandre was using Aiming Systems Modification 1 but not Dead Eye. Flandre's fire arcs are much better suited to kiting than going on the attack. If you can fire all three guns forward, your opponent's return fire can punch into your belt. Flandre's AP penetration is decent compared to the other 380mm/381mm guns at her tier. I'd make a bigger deal about her AP penetration but she's competing with 406mm and 410mm AP rounds against which she doesn't look so favourable. Approximate AP penetration data pulled from wowsft.com The Death of Secondary Specializations Once upon a time, many years ago, there was one (and only one) defining feature that dictated if a ship had good secondaries or not: Range. In our naivety in the long-long ago, in the before-times, if a battleship had 4.5km or (gasp!) 5km secondaries, they were good. So long as you had enough guns and your citadel wasn't hiked up to your nipples, you should seriously consider buffing them. This is why we had secondary-spec'd Nagato-class battleships wandering around (5km secondaries, my gawd!) back in 2015 and early 2016. Much has changed since then. We have had two commander-skill reworks, one major and a couple of minor upgrade reworks, the addition of new signals, changes made to secondary ammunition, changes made to secondary range and changes made to secondary accuracy besides. What's more, we have a better understanding now of things like penetration, module damage and most-recently, dispersion. Thus, for players, evaluating secondary quality is a much more refined (if complicated) process. Under the old system, Flandre's secondaries look like the sex. Under the new, they have a couple of things going for them but on the whole, they are found wanting. Here's the criteria we look for now and how Flandre stacks up: Range: Flandre's secondaries are long ranged with a 7.6km base reach which can be upgraded up to 11.49km which is very respectable. This is longer ranged than Massachusetts, equal to Bismarck & Tirpitz and behind Odin's own secondaries. Gun Types: Flandre uses two calibres of gun. The bulk of her secondary armament is made up of quick-firing 100mm guns backed by (much) slower firing 152mm guns. Generally speaking, a homogeneous secondary battery is preferred. It's easier to evaluate for one. For another, it's easier to decide if a given secondary battery is worth investing skills like Inertial Fuse for HE Shells when there's a singular armament. So this is a point against Flandre's secondaries as there are very different needs and performance between the two weapons. DPM: Obviously the bigger the numbers, the better. Flandre's secondaries have the potential to put out monstrous amounts of DPM. But there's a couple of catches... Dispersion: If you can't hit your target, that DPM is going to throttle quickly. Flandre's secondaries are bare bones when it comes to secondary accuracy, having neither the slightly improved German dispersion, nor the much-improved Massachusetts (and British & Japanese large-calibre) secondary dispersion. Boo-urns. Penetration: Next up, those hits don't matter much if they can't inflict damage. The bulk of Flandre's secondary fire has 17mm of HE penetration which isn't enough to directly damage the hulls of same-tier destroyers and makes her patently incapable of damaging same-tier battleships anywhere. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells can correct this somewhat, but..... Fire Chance: ... taking IFHE hurts her fire chance. While Flandre's direct damage potential is in the toilet, her fire setting is some of the best out there. Those 100mm spit out a lot of shells and that again leads to a lot of potential fires-per-minute (again so long as dispersion behaves). Unfortunately, you need to choose between Flandre's secondaries doing direct damage or starting fires if you choose to specialize into them which makes them work at cross purposes. Firing Arcs: Flandre's firing arcs are okay. They're not great with the majority of her fire being aimed towards her broadside (40º off her bow or stern). This doesn't make them the best for taking on an aggressive brawling stance. So even before we get into whether or not secondary commander skill builds are worthwhile, Flandre's secondaries are severely flawed. Stock, they're good at starting fires but that will only really work against enemy battleships. Against destroyers and cruisers, you're not going to stack significant fire damage (if at all, given their short Damage Control Party) and you need to invest into Inertial Fuse for HE Shells if you want to have even a chance to directly hurt most of the enemy vessels you'll be coming across. Because of this, outside of PVE-modes, you're never going to get as much mileage out of Flandre's secondaries to make the skill investment pay off. I supoose the one caveat there is that no one will really be expecting Flandre's secondaries to reach out and slap them at over 11km, so you might be able to catch someone off-guard But the simple fact of the matter is that commander skills cannot band-aid mediocre secondaries they way they used to. The disparity in accuracy is so significant between the old ways and the new that you're just not going to land the hits necessary to make Flandre's secondaries pay off -- especially when compared to a more traditional Dead Eye or survivability build. Summary Flandre's weapon systems are C-grade at best but that's only if I'm feeling generous. I would rather be using Gascogne's or Roma's armaments. What does that tell you? VERDICT: Blech. Durability Hit Points: 75,400 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 32mm / 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 50mm anti-torpedo bulge + 350mm belt + 50mm turtleback + 50mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 44% The insert here shows Flandre's citadel and lower hull armour geometries. The citadel's roof sits between the two 370mm plates and has a 40mm roof. Flandre is a bit of a roller coaster ride when it comes to her protection. Flandre's Repair Party has one fewer charge than most other battleships. That's . Flandre has an enormous hit point pool. That's . All of her structural plate fails to exceed 32mm, making her highly vulnerable to cruiser-calibre HE fire. That's . She has excellent anti-torpedo protection! That's . Her turtleback isn't angled steeply enough to ricochet incoming fire. That's . She has many layers of thick armour protecting her citadel. That's . She doesn't come with a free Frogurt™. That's . Go figure, a given ship has both strengths and weaknesses. How nuanced. Of course, if writing ship reviews for six years has taught me anything, it's that the internet hates nuance. People want their facts delivered in grossly oversimplified sound bites, preferably packaged in memeable formats. So what's the skinny with Flandre? It's not good news on the whole. Yes, she has a lot of health. Yes, she has good torpedo protection. Yes she's got a lot of layered armour protection around her citadel. However, she does not repulse incoming fire well. Angled in, she can bounce AP shells, at least so long as shells don't strike her large superstructure. There's enough weird geometry going on there that she cannot guarantee over-penetrations, even from battleship calibre rounds. The 100mm barbettes of her secondaries are more than capable of fusing even Shikishima's AP shells, so Flandre may end up taking some big, meaty hits that way. Furthermore, she has no hope of stopping an HE farm upon her person. Finally, her modest 20km reach of her main battery guns means that she usually has to place herself within range of cruisers in order to be able to fire back at her opponents, so you're almost constantly at risk of trading fire. And so you're forced to lean hard on that big health pool of her's. Do savour the little victories where you can: Feel good when that combination of her torpedo bulge and belt armour bounces a long-distance AP shell or eats a SAP round. Rejoice that you took almost half damage from that Japanese torpedo that caught you amidships. Be glad when that battleship shell gets trolled successfully by her weird, layered citadel protection. Those are the good moments. But overall, she'll be giving up a lot of health over the course of a match. Despite having more starting hit points than any other tier VIII battleship, the loss of one Repair Party charge drops Flandre down the list in terms of potential health. Still, don't overlook that chunky hit point total. While it does mean that she shrugs off penetration hits better than her peers, HE spamming ships love her for the big damage totals they get from their fires. VERDICT: If I'm in an HE spamming ship, I am totally focus-firing any Flandre I see for easy big-numbers from the ensuing fires. Agility Top Speed: 33.5 knots Turning Radius: 910m 7Rudder Shift Time: 16.6 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.2º/s at 25 knots Flandre's only saving grace here is her high-top speed. And that top speed is great, do not mistake me. Her 33.5 knots is downright amazing and barring being run down by smaller ships, Georgia or French battleships, she's fast enough to fully control engagement distances. But this is but one of many failing attributes that her speed must band-aid. Her turning circle radius is atrocious for a tier VIII battleship but her speed allows her to maintain at least a passable rate of rotation in spite of this. Similarly, a higher top speed provides a greater variety of possible velocities at which she can be moving, which in turn can foul up enemy gunnery estimations. Given Flandre's soft outer skin, avoiding incoming fire altogether is really her only recourse for reliably avoiding damage. What disappoints me most here is the lack of an Engine Boost consumable so commonplace on other French battleships (though admittedly not universal). While Flandre's top speed is amazing, Gascogne and Champagne both gave better flexiblity grace of their consumables, on top of being more agile overall. Flandre doesn't have bad agility, but she's definitely the weakest of the four tier VIII French battleships. Flandre has enough speed to get her both into and out of trouble. It's all on how you use it. While Flandre's rate of turn isn't terrible, her turning radius is large. She's spared a worse agility rating thanks to her high top speed. VERDICT: Only passable thanks to her good top speed. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 6+4 explosions for 1,400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 276.5dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 115.5dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 73.5dps at 70% accuracy Flandre has two nice elements going for her when it comes to AA defence: She puts out a ridiculous amount of flak. She has a lot of sustained DPS focused into her long-range batteries. The division of Flandre's sustained AA DPS feels downright German. So much of it is focused within her long range betteries to the deficit of the efficiency of medium and small calibre weapons. Flandre's AA defence is comparable to (but worse than) a stock Alsace layout to put it in perspective, overall coming out about as efficient as Richelieu's. However, the massive weight of fire located in her large-calibre weapons front-loads her damage against incoming aircraft, making them feel more effectove than their numbers might otherwise indicate. This makes Flandre an excellent escort-vessel, able to provide effective, long-range support to allies. This combines with the fearsome number of flak clouds she puts out. Though these are individually less powerful than many of her contemporaries, she puts out so damn many of them. While you're not likely to catch an expert CV with one of them, the sheer volume will foul up more novice players and clobber bots hilariously. Look at all of that long-range AA DPS for Flandre! It's too bad she doesn't follow it up with medium and short-ranged AA DPS. Oh well. Those ships marked with an asterix include reskinned clones that share their AA values. VERDICT: Not bad at all. Flandre is definitely a friendly ship you want to hug if your own AA is a bit lacking. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.2km / 12.73km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 12.09km / 9.79km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.93km Maximum Firing Range: 20km There's not too much to go over here. Flandre has decent surface detection for a tier VIII battleship, but it's nothing remarkable. She doesn't bring any bonus detection consumables to the table, nor is she capable of boosting her main battery range. Yup, pretty normal. All you really need to know is her Dead Eye window is pretty comfortable but you're not likely to sneak up on anything. Have a data dump sorted by base surface detection range. Final Evaluation I was going to make a bad joke using John McCrae's famous poem. When Flanders is fielded, you've got to go On the A-line, or the back row To own some face; and with Dead Eye beg RNG and then ask why you get scarce hits upon your foe. Yeah, I think I'll stop there. Flandre! Is she good? Heck to the no, she is not good. Comfy? Yes. Adequate? Sure. Good? No way. Look, Roma is the better boat, no matter how you slice it. She has better protection, better guns, better concealment and better agility. The only thing that sets Flandre apart is her support AA-firepower and her big chunk of starting HP. So in matches where the damage you take comes at you all at once, sure, Flandre might survive where Roma might not. Maybe. Roma's more likely to shrug off the hits in the first place and go undetected. Roma's also better at dodging. So would you throw money at Roma? No? Then Flandre isn't worth it. Even if you stick within French lines, Gascogne is the more interesting vessel. Go back and look over all of those charts and graphs. Look at how Flandre stacks up to Roma and Gascogne. Roma has the additional benefit of not suffering from a commander-skill identity crisis. Though neither ship has secondaries worth upgrading, Flandre and Gascogne might fool you into thinking that they are. And Roma gets a beer-pope-hat. I really don't think I need to say more than that. Mouse out. So cool.
  15. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Pommern

    The following is a review of Pommern, the tier IX premium German battleship. Wargaming very kindly provided me access to her at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed here are current as of patch 0.9.10. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. 2020 has been one Hell of a year, and not in a good way. There was so much craziness going on, it's easy to miss that 2020 was the year that German premiums got good. Mainz, München, Lowenhardt, Agir and Siegfried -- they're all damn respectable premiums. Even Odin and Z-35 aren't terrible. To cap everything off, in late summer Wargaming released Pommern. On paper, she looks kinda blah. A slow-firing, 380mm armed version of Friedrich der Große? Screw off. This ship has no place being decent. Yet to hear the hype surrounding this ship, she's not only decent but well liked. So what the Hell happened? Well, gentle reader, let's take a look... Pommern = Chungus-Tirpitz. Damn it, that's a much better name. Quick Summary: A Friedrich der Große-class battleship with twelve, inaccurate 380mm guns. She also has two quad torpedo launchers and the Hydroacoustic Search consumable. PROS German citadel protection, effectively making her immune to AP shell citadel hits except under extreme circumstances. Excellent armour profile for shrugging off HE hits with an ice-breaker bow, thick upper hull and amidship deck armour plates. Heavy broadside of twelve guns. Heavy, long-ranged secondary gun battery with improved HE penetration values. She has torpedoes (!) She has access to Hydroacoustic Search. CONS Absolutely appalling gun fire angles. Long 33 second reload. 380mm AP shells cannot overmatch 27mm hull sections found so commonly within her matchmaking. 1.5 sigma dispersion on her main battery. 105mm secondaries have only 26mm of penetration, limiting their effectiveness against heavy cruisers and battleships. Horrible handling. Anti-aircraft defence is too short ranged. Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme German battleships are very new-player friendly. They are ostensibly immune to citadel hits. They have good armour protection for shrugging off HE shells. Their gunnery has been improved too, so it's not like you're dealing with the worst dispersion in the game anymore. Secondaries are fun and easy to use, automatically hoovering up damage. Aside from being packed in at a high tier, Pommern is a very easy ship to see success in. The only downsides for new players is that she forces them to sail broadside to unmask all of her guns which can lead to her getting chunked by return fire. While these aren't likely to ever be citadel hits, that doesn't really matter when every salvo lands multiple penetrations. For experts, Pommern provides all of the usual German battleship brawling benefits with the added plus of the combination of torpedoes and her Hydroacoustic Search. She can play more boldly than Tirpitz can, for example. She has more raw durability than Odin does too, so it pays to play aggressive when the timing is right. Brawl and jousting kills are the best kills and this is the ship to do it in. However, only a skilled player can pull these off with any reliability outside of PVE modes. Options Pommern is pretty bog-standard for a German battleship, showing up with Hydroacoustic Search and baiting players to spec secondaries instead of their main battery. Consumables Pommern's Damage Control Party is standard for a German battleship. It comes with unlimited charges. It's active for 15 seconds. It has an 80s reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard, healing up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds per charge. It queues up 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It comes with four charges and an 80s reset timer. Finally, she has a Hydroacoustic Search consumable common to tier IX and X German battleships. Pommern starts with three charges which are active for 120s each and a 120s reset timer. It detects torpedoes up to 4km away and ships up to 6km away. Upgrades & Captain Skills Look, there are two ways you can build Pommern -- optimally or the correct way. Optimally involves building to buff your main battery firepower while simultaneously building for fire mitigation. This will give you the most consistent performance out of Pommern. Hey, look! It's this graphic again! Thankfully, you're not a snivelling, simp-wimplodite that caves to peer pressure. You know that the best experiences in World of Warships come from out-brawling your opponents. Build your ship towards going ham with secondaries, Hydroacoustic Search upgrades and improved rudder shift time. Chicks dig brawlers. I should know. Make the right choice. Note that I didn't flag IFHE here. Camouflage Pommern has access to two camouflage options. They provide identical bonuses standard for tier IX premiums: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. It needs to be said: Pommern's default camouflage is bloody gorgeous. The alternate palette isn't bad either. Finally there's the "Iron Cross" camouflage pattern which was earned through completing missions tied to the release of the German Aircraft Carriers. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 380mm guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y super-firing configuration Secondary Battery: Eight 150mm guns in 4x2 turrets and sixteen 105mm guns in 8x2 turrets divided evenly down the two sides. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers with one mounted on each side between the funnels. Pommern is no Thunderer. In terms of firepower, the two ships are diametrically opposed. Thunderer has massive, quick-firing and super-accurate guns with decent fire angles but horrible gun handling. Pommern has relatively small-calibre guns, she's slow-reloading, she has good traverse but is stuck with horrible fire angles. Pommern subscribes to the whole 'toss enough poop at the wall' philosophy where accuracy is concerned. Conversely, you can brawl with Pommern and brawl well. Thunderer just sort of whimpers and dies in those situations. That's enough of my soon-to-be-retired meme-boat. Let's talk more about Pommern. With many guns comes much DPM. Pommern doesn't quite keep pace with Alsace, the other twelve 380mm-gun armed battleship at this tier. Alsace has a better AP shell and slightly faster reload. Pommern's HE DPM is pretty German -- which is to say crappy. Her one advantage is her 1/4 HE penetration (95mm) which means that while her individual salvos don't do as much potential damage, she's more likely to hurt hard-targets like German and Soviet battleships. Approximate AP penetration values drawn from wowsft.com. Pommern's AP penetration isn't great, but that's largely owing to 380mm guns being rather small caliber for her tier. Belt armour and citadel protection gets ridiculously thick within her matchmaking too, so you can't count on long-range citadel hits against other battleships. An Egg Through a Garden Hose Pommern has four weaknesses with her main battery firepower: Her fire angles suck. Her reload time sucks. Her dispersion sucks. Her gun calibre sucks. I hate Pommern's fire arcs. Her 5º/s rotation rate is okay, though. A-turret: 38º off the stern. B-turret: 41º off the stern. X & Y-turret: 42º off the bow For those of you who can't abide any ship with obvious weaknesses, you can tap out right here. Those of you who couldn't look past Odin's hit point total: shoo. Begone. This isn't the ship for you. For the rest of you, let's go over these drawbacks and look at them in closer detail. There's always a price for having a lot of guns -- at least until you hit tier X. Usually this is just crappy dispersion but it's not uncommon for battleships to have compromised rates of fire too. While not as bad as the new American battleships, Pommern has a "reload tax" for her twelve gun armament, paying for it with an extra three seconds on each reload. Even with this deficit, her AP damage output still keeps ahead of all of the other eight and nine gun armed battleships at her tier with the exception of Musashi and Jean Bart (and then only when the French ship is on drugs) so that's nice. Pommern's HE damage is another story. German HE shells, while benefiting from massively improved penetration, tend to suffer from a very mild case of being the absolute worst. She's only just ahead of Friedrich der Große, the six-gun armed Georgia and the Sovetsky Soyuz-sisters when it comes to sustained HE damage output. You might think that this means you should stay away from her HE. Well, no. It has a purpose. While you should generally stick to AP shells wherever possible, her HE rounds do have their strengths. Though she lacks raw damage, her higher penetration is more likely to ensure her shells will do damage against bow-tanking battleships. Pommern's 95mm of penetration should ensure that short of striking turrets, belts and conning towers that her numbers tick over -- modest numbers to be sure, but still. Similarly, an unappreciated aspect of German HE shells is that their fire setting chances aren't terrible. While not British-good, they are reliable fire setters which can be a good avenue for some supplementary damage (at least so long as you didn't spring for IFHE for your secondaries). This is particularly true when trading fire with intransient bow-on battleships or just before a brawl to tax enemy Damage Control Parties before your secondaries open up. Despite her poor damage showing, Pommern's a pretty decent fire bug for a tier IX battleship. German HE damage is lackluster but their fire chance per shell is pretty good. This performance is, of course, assuming you can stack the hits which has its own set of problems. This all said, Pommern's AP shells are far and above better, damage wise. The only issue is that their overmatch potential at tier IX has a lot to be desired. With more and more ships having 27mm+ sections of armour along their hulls, Pommern cannot reliably penetrate angled targets. Angling against Pommern works very well in anything but a very light cruiser. While there are a glut of 25mm cruiser bows and sterns to bullseye (and the occasional 26mm bow on tier VII battleships when Matchmaker is being gentle), Pommern's AP rounds are far from reliable. If it were just a question of having enough raw AP penetration, it wouldn't be so much of an issue, but her inability to best 27mm+ hull sections is a real drawback given their prevalence. But all of these questions of rate of fire, overmatch and flagging HE damage are all moot if you can't reliably put shells on target. Pommern's dispersion is ... well, it's not good. With Pommern's 1.5 sigma rating, RNGeebus has been given free reign to troll or bless you as He sees fit. Her twelve guns deliver a shotgun blast of shells flying every which way. Your aim can be perfect only to be plagued by overshoots and undershoots. Similarly, you can be well off your mark only to have this same spread of shot veer a shell straight into your target's citadel, making you look like a genius. The better you are at aiming, the more frustrating Pommern's dispersion seems. Yes, stray shots will sometimes work out in your favour but it's not something to be relied upon. Couple this with her longer reload and this wonky sprays are all the more saddening. Overall, Pommern's main battery gunnery is a mixed bag. Now, I am of the opinion that having twelve guns solves a lot of problems. Her 1.5 sigma isn't that bad when there's so many shells being spat out. Her 33 second reload isn't so awful that her damage suffers thanks to firing so many barrels at once. Her AP shells might not be able to overmatch all targets, but when the shells do land, they have decent penetration and respectable damage values. Her HE shells might have low damage per shell, but they have great penetration and solid fire setting chances. Her fire angles make my eyes bleed but at least her turret traverse is okay. So there's give and take in nearly every aspect. I think it's easiest to say that Pommern's guns are simply "sufficient" and leave it at that. They're not terrible but they're not good. Once again, a standard dispersion test. This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso bot. Shots are coming in from left to right with the Fuso effectively bow-tanking. Pommern was equipped with the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade, effectively making this sampling a "best case scenario" in terms of her overall dispersion area. Pommern's torpedo arcs are very comfortable and you can use them to ensure that you're not overangling against an enemy. Just switch over fast to your torpedoes. If you can line the fish up with the bow of your opponent, you're showing too much side and are in danger of taking penetrating AP hits. When it comes to her secondaries, their only major drawback is the 26mm penetration on her 105mm guns. You'll be tempted to take IFHE to make them more effective but that's an expensive choice and it will severely hurt the fire chance on not only them but her main battery guns as well. It's not worth it, in my opinion, but you do you. Secondaries & Fish to the Rescue! As a certified Bigpitz, Pommern's secondaries and torpedoes are both excellent. We'll start with her torpedoes. They have one fault and that's only have a 6km range. This is a common enough flaw among German battleships; they're all shackled to this range. In PVP battles, the opportunities to use her torpedoes are uncommon because of this short reach but they are oh-so satisfying. A broadside of four torpedoes is enough to cripple just about any battleship she comes across with only the chonkiest of thunderchunkers able to shrug off said hits and stay mean. Just about anything else will be reduced to a snivelling wimplodite crying hax. You totally get bonus points if you sink a destroyer with them too. With Pommern's Hydroacoustic Search, closing to such distances is a lot less risky than it is for Tirpitz but she has more advantages over the tier VIII premium than just that. Pommern's secondaries have excellent firing angles. She doesn't contend with any of the wonky weirdness of other German battleships' fire arcs. Odin, Bismarck and Tirpitz secondaries have some turrets which behave like they're occluded when they really shouldn't be. At a 30º angle, Pommern can bring all of her secondaries to bear onto a target, bathing them in a torrent of fire from fourteen barrels worth of hot-LUV! There are only two issues with Pommern's secondaries. The first is one of accuracy. Pommern's secondaries do not have the improved dispersion found on ships like Massachusetts and Georgia. It takes her more shots to land a similar number of hits. You'll just have to deal. The second issue is one of penetration. Pommern's secondaries have the same 1/4 HE penetration of her main battery guns which is amazing. However, her 105mm secondaries "only" have 26mm of HE penetration. Without Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, these guns struggle to deal direct damage to anything other than destroyers. As Pommern's 105mm guns make up the bulk of her secondary battery, it's a bit of a bummer. They're so close to being all kinds of awesome. Oh well. You'll just have to burn the thicker targets to death instead. So how good are these secondaries anyway? They're #2 in my books for secondaries at tier IX. Here they all are, ranked: Georgia - Excellent fire arcs, high rate of fire, good range and improved accuracy. The only issue with these guns is that they lack penetration to hurt anything bigger than a destroyer. While their chance to set fires is also pretty low, their improved accuracy makes up for the difference. Pommern - Excellent fire arcs, high rate of fire (105mm), good range, very high penetration. If Pommern had accuracy and/or a uniform battery of German 128mm, she'd be god-tier. Friedrich der Große - High rate of fire (105mm), good range, very high penetration. Friedrich der Große doesn't quite ditto Pommern's fire arcs so she misses out. Alsace - French secondaries look better than they are. They're held back by a lack of penetration on their 100mm shells. They can't even directly damage tier VIII+ destroyer hulls. At least they can set fires with the high number of shells they spit out. Jean Bart - She largely dittos Alsace but with worse firing angles. Izumo & Bajie - Decent range. That's really all these guns have going for them. Their fire arcs are bad. Their rate of fire is nothing special. Musashi - She just has decent range. She doesn't have enough of a broadside to be worthwhile. Lion, Iowa, Missouri, the Sovetsky Soyuz-sisters - lul. No. Playing second fiddle to Georgia's secondary is pretty damn high praise, I've got to say. Go, Bigpitz! Much better. See? These are what good fire arcs look like! Pommern's 105mm secondaries not only make up the bulk of her defensive damage output, but they also have the best fire arcs. Summary: Meh gun performance but she gets twelve of 'em, so that fixes things. Torpedoes are bae. Secondaries are bae. VERDICT: Hilarious up close. Meh at a distance. Defence Hit Points: 81,900 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 145 to 235mm / 50 to 80mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 300mm belt + 150mm turtleback + 45mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25% Pommern has a big ol' slug of hit points and standard heals. Nothing fancy, just effective. Yes, I made these colours deliberately as pretty as possible. Pommern is blessed with all of the usual defensive boons of German battleships. Namely: She has a large hit point pool. She has excellent protection against cruiser-calibre HE shells. It is very difficult to land citadel hits against her with AP shells. German battleships aren't built lean. They're enormous. While this does make them a bigger target, easier to hit with ... well, anything ... it does ensure their hit point pools are on the large side. This in turn means more raw hit points can be hoovered up through their standard Repair Party consumables. This does, unfortunately, make them attractive targets for anyone looking to farm up large amounts of fire damage. While Pommern can do nothing but properly manage her Damage Control Party consumable to mitigate the resulting blazes, she is at least well protected against HE shells. Her distributed armour scheme generally just leaves her superstructure and the very tips of her bow and stern vulnerable to direct damage from small and medium caliber HE rounds. Similarly, this distributed armour scheme ensures that Pommern has little to fear from overmatching AP shells from the largest Japanese battleships. Short of better defence against bombs and torpedoes, you couldn't ask for a better armour layout. So she's fat and tough. This is nice. There's a hidden plate along the underside of the 150mm extended waterline belt. It's divided into two parts and helps plunging fire overmatching the 32mm bow from entering the citadel. The forward part is only 20mm thick. But echoing the layout of the 50mm deck plate is another 50mm plate which cannot be overmatched. Thus even if Musashi, Yamato, ARP Yamato or Shikishima overmatches the 32mm bow, it's nigh impossible for them to score citadel hits on Pommern through her snoot. There's another hidden plate in the stern protecting the citadel in a similar fashion, but it's 110mm thick. The geometry there is a bit janky to accommodate the steering gears though. Bigpitz also inherits a turtleback protection scheme for her citadel. Turtlebacks have a reputation for providing immunity to citadel hits, but this is undeserved. A well designed turtleback can help mitigate citadel damage, but this needs to have very shallow angles relative to the horizontal in order to prompt ricochet checks. It also has to be set to the correct depth so that shells can't plunge underneath it, bypassing it entirely. If the turtleback is angled too steeply, aside from providing another (hopefully) thick piece of steel to slow down incoming shells, it can actually work to the ship's detriment, steering shells via normalization mechanics into the citadel rather than away from it. Thankfully for Pommern (and most German battleships), her turtleback is well designed and short of shells being thrown at it from very long distances, it is guaranteed to auto-ricochet any AP rounds that punch through her belt. Even at these distances where her turtleback can no longer guarantee to ricochet shells, the combination of belt, turtleback and citadel armour is usually in excess of the available penetration. Pommern might take penetrating hits but the shells soon run out of steam before reaching her citadel itself. It is safe to say that she's is largely immune to AP citadel hits. While Pommern has the angles of her turtleback correct, it suffers from a high-water placement that can be bypassed. Normally this isn't an issue. However, when Pommern turns, she unwittingly hikes her citadel's protection up over the waterline "flashing her panties" as Yuro coined it. Any perfectly placed sub-waterline hits WILL citadel Pommern when she's in a turn like this. Needless to say, it's a pretty rude shock for Bigpitz drivers when they get walloped for most of their health simply for playing with their rudder. Note that this raising of her citadel happens on the inside of her turn, not the outside which dips down somewhat. This dip reduces the effective angle of her turtleback by about 2.5º or so -- it's not enough to foil her turtleback's protection but it is a slight reduction which helps with those auto-ricochet checks. This is all to say that Pommern is vulnerable while turning, but it's not an enormous and easy-to-exploit weakness. It has been hyped as being more exaggerated than it is. Just because she can take citadel hits, this does not mean that she will. To land hits like this, Pommern needs to be giving up a near perfect broadside, so time those turns appropriately, watch out for flanking fire and it becomes largely a non-issue. It is worth mentioning that this dispersed armour scheme can work against her when it comes to shrugging off AP hits, especially if you're lazy about keeping her properly angled. The thick plates of her upper hull and along her waterline ensure that every penetrating AP shell fuses. Provided the shell is slowed down sufficiently to pop inside her, she takes full penetrating hits when other battleships might only suffer over-penetrations. This is where her shoddy fire angles on her turrets is a big liability. In order to unmask her twleve gun broadside, she has to give up protection against return fire from AP shells. In order to stay AP-safe, she's reduced to a six-gun battleship. This reduced battery makes RNG's influence on her awful dispersion all the more pronounced and can be frustrating. Pommern's more telling weakness comes from torpedoes, bombs and fire. She does have a Hydroacoustic Search to help mitigate the foremost of the three, though that's no help against air-dropped fish. Similarly, AP bombs make a ruin of her and it's not like her AA defense is up to the task of keeping her super safe (more on that later). She's her own worst enemy when it comes to fire mitigation. You're going to want to build her up for secondary bonuses. This precludes her from taking much-needed (and let's face it: optimal) fire reduction skills. This means it's open season to stack blazes against her and you KNOW every Royal Navy battleship is going to paint your decks with their phat HE shells. Similarly, you can expect almost everyone else to huck HE at her given the difficulties of hurting her with AP. As awesome as full secondary builds are, the prevalence of fire damage means that such build are never optimal. Overall, Pommern is a well protected battleship -- as well protected as you could want and then some. She has her weaknesses, so do what you can to mitigate them. Otherwise, enjoy your tuff-bote. e German battleship armour is stupid complicated and the in-port armour viewer does NOT help you see everything that's important -- most notably the angles and thickness of turtleback armour but all of that other stuff I mentioned too. Note how high Pommern's citadel sits and how little of her turtleback dips beneath the water's surface -- only the corners submerge and only just. VERDICT: Top marks. Agility Top Speed: 31 knots Turning Radius: 940m Rudder Shift Time: 17.3 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.8º/s at 23.3 knots With three exceptions (and only one of them notable), tier IX battleship agility sucks inflamed, red monkey-butts. I'd call Pommern's agility a disaster but Minnesota exists, so that would feel like a misplaced superlative. Instead I'll just describe Pommern's agility as "not good". She has so little going for her here. I mean, at least she has a decent top speed of 31 knots. She also doesn't out turn her turrets, so there's that too. After that, though, everything goes the way of Harambe. Her turning radius is a travesty. Her rudder shift time is upsetting. Her rate of turn is bad though admittedly better than some of her contemporaries. However if you think that's worth celebrating then I'm worried you might also have a strange oral fascination with inflamed baboon posteriors. The best thing that could be said about Pommern's agility is that you really don't need this ship to do more than travel in a straight line most of the time. You don't need pants for the victory dance... ♫ VERDICT: Awful. The only reasonable part about her is her speed. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 7 explosions for 1,470 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.2km. Long Ranged (up to 5.2km): 158dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 3.0km): 466dps at 70% accuracy Bigpitz is an HP pinata for enemy carriers (as are most battleships, frankly). While she does spit out a welcome amount of flak, that's hoping that enemy carrier players will oblige you by flying their planes into one of those blasts. Her AA DPS is largely centred around personal defence, being short-ranged and intense only within her closest aura. The best she can hope to do is make attack runs against her expensive -- shooting down planes only after they've dropped. Given her large size and horrible handling, she's such a tempting target for CV drops -- be it with bombs, rockets or torpedoes. AP bombs hurt. HE bombs and rockets stack those fires she's so often poorly specialized to handle and her enormous broadside makes her an easy mark for full spreads of torpedoes. Keep close to your allies to make yourself an unappealing target. Accuracy values greatly reduce the impressive baseline sustained AA DPS values listed in port. The above values have been modified by accuracy and demonstrates the numbers you're more likely to see before aircraft armour is accounted for. VERDICT: It's open season on your hit points. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 17.28km / 13.58km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 12.81km / 10.38km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 16km Maximum Firing Range: Between 21.34km and 24.75km Well this is all just an embarrassing bucket of fail. Her surface and aerial detection are just plain bad. You're not hiding this ship. While there is an argument to "not bother", particularly when it comes to the expensive investment of skills like Concealment Expert (which could be better spent on Fire Prevention or something to boost her secondaries), the Concealment System Modification 1 upgrade is still worthwhile if only to add further disruption to enemy gunnery. Furthermore, with the large maps and longer engagement ranges in higher tiered matches, it's not that hard to get outside of 14km of enemy ships -- at least in the early minutes of the game. This can be life saving if Pommern comes under focus-fire from HE spamming ships. Still, the best way to keep her safe is arguably to use an island to break contact or at least to frustrate incoming fire. Given her crappy agility and size this is much easier said than done. You an also pull off fun tricks like parking in friendly smoke and keeping her main battery guns silent and just letting your secondaries go hog-wild. Do mind the inevitable wall of torpedoes, though. Truly, the best thing about Pommern is that she gets access to Hydroacoustic Search. The only other German battleship that gets both torpedoes and hydro is Odin, so this is pretty noteworthy. Still, having Hydoracoustic Search isn't enough to keep Pommern safe if she's stationary -- Pommern already needs to be moving to dodge anything. She doesn't have enough acceleration or agility at low speeds to get out of the way of incoming threats unless she's already moving at a fair clip. You can use this consumable offensively, which is super fun to pull off on the rare occasions where it's relevant. Do mind the retalitory fish from whatever you dug out of their smoke clouds, though. VERDICT: Terrible, generally. Hydro is nice, though. Final Evaluation If I'm terribly honest, Pommern didn't wow me. It's not that I don't think she's a good or fun ship, it's just that she treads familiar ground. Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Odin all echo Pommern's general design principles. "Bigpitz" describes her well. She's an improved, up-tiered Tirpitz. This didn't guarantee Pommern would be good, mind you -- Wargaming has mishandled such projects before (California comes to mind). But Pommern didn't stray from the established formula too much. The craziest thing about her is the inaccuracy of her guns and even that's a pretty safe measure given that she has twelve of them. I enjoyed Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Odin, so Pommern is comfortably familiar for me. She's about as safe of a tier IX premium as Wargaming could hope to design. For Wargaming, this is doubly important given the number of "failed state" premiums there are at tier IX. The list is hella long: Missouri, Musashi, Kronshtadt, Jean Bart, Benham have all been retired with Alaska and Georgia set to join them in the new year. Seven of the fifteen tier IX premiums released so far have been or are slated to be retired with two (Black & Neustrashimy) still MIA with fates undisclosed. Pommern and the upcoming Hizen have some pretty big boots to fill with all of those absentee premiums. Pommern has to be good but she's not allowed being too good lest she become too popular and get the axe as well. I'm not trying to instill a sense of panic-buying in anyone, but I do fear that given the competency of this ship's design, she may end up being a little well liked by the masses and end up retired herself. Time will tell, I suppose. Overall, I give Pommern good marks. She performs exactly as advertised and she's different enough to be fun and novel. Good work, Wargaming. It's too bad for them that this year will be remembered for civilization threatening to collapse and not for the year that Wargaming let German ships get good. They've knocked out quite a few good hits under the German flag. Maybe that's just a sign of the Apocalypse. Thank you for reading! 
  16. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Hizen

    The following is a review of Hizen, the tier IX Japanese battleship and reward vessel for the Christmas 2020 Dockyard event. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself -- I didn't have to grind or spend doubloons on it (but I did anyway). To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.2. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: A Japanese battleship armed with twelve, slow-firing 410mm guns. PROS Thick lateral citadel protection. Armed with twelve 410mm guns, giving her the equivalent of a tier X alpha strike potential. Comfortable fire angles on her main battery guns. CONS Soft structural armour making her highly vulnerable to cruiser-calibre HE spam. Terrible (AWFUL) base reload time of 38 seconds per salvo. Slow for a high-tier battleship with a top speed of 28.2kts. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower. Visible from space. Her Repair Party has one fewer charges than a standard version of the consumable. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme Hizen offers stereotypical Japanese battleship game-play; the kind of stuff you cut your teeth on back with Myogi and Kongo back at tiers IV and V. Namely: keep back, stick to AP as much as possible and protect your citadel. It's not quite as idiot proof as say British or German battleship game play (which definitely deserve a "Simple" rating for most of their ships), it is pretty bare bones in terms of complexity. The biggest hurdle to overcome is reliable long-range gunnery. Her slow rate of fire punishes novice players in this manner, with every missed salvo hurting that much more. Sadly, this same lack of complexity reduced the carry value of this ship. Hizen doesn't brawl well. She's not fast or flexible. Expert players can make good use of kiting skills, ammunition choices and knowing where on the map to properly set up, but there are faster, tougher and overall better ships which can do Hizen's job and more besides. Options Consumables Hizen's consumables are normal for a Japanese battleship barring her Repair Party which has one fewer charges than expected. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a Japanese battleship with its 10 second active period. It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Hizen's Repair Party is a disappointment, starting with only 3 charges instead of the usual 4. It heals back up to 14% of the ship's health over 28 seconds, queuing 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It has an 80s reset timer. In her third slot, you have the choice between a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The former comes with four charges, increases her main battery range by 20% (up to 24.4km standard or 28.3km with Gun Fire Control Modification 2) for 100 seconds and has a 240 second reset timer. The latter launches 4 fighters which stay on station, orbiting the ship at a range of 3km for 60 seconds. It comes with three charges and has a 90 second reset timer. Upgrades Hizen's upgrade choices are bog-standard for a not-brawling, un-American, high-tier battleship Start with Main Armaments Modification 1 Mitigate fires with Damage Control System Modification 1 in slot two. You're a sniper, so grab Aiming System Modification 1 in slot three. Reduce fire and flooding damage with Damage Control System Modification 2 in slot four. Concealment Expert is still the best choice in slot 5. Boring, I know. Main Battery Modification 3 is the best choice for slot 6. Hizen's 38 second reload is appalling and you can reduce this 38 second warcrime down to a 33.44s political oopsie-daisy. However, if you want to buff your range from 20.33km to 23.58km instead, then Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 isn't a terrible choice. Commander Skills The more things change, the more they stay the same. There are a couple of "must have" skills for Hizen, namely Dead Eye (tier 4), Fire Prevention Expert (also tier 4) and Basics of Survivability (tier 3). Collecting these three skills is a must. After that it's down to recommended skills for you to mix and match to make your ideal build. At tier 1: Gun Feeder or Emergency Repair Specialist are your best choices. I'd only take one at this tier. At tier 2: Grease the Gears and Priority Target are the ones to focus on. On one of my builds, I grabbed both but this compromised the high-tier skills I could take. I prefer the latter to the former. At tier 3: After you take Basics of Survivability you're going to want Adrenaline Rush to attack her awful reload time. At tier 4: Dead Eye, Emergency Repair Expert, Concealment Expert and Fire Prevention Expert are all good skills. For Hizen, Concealment Expert is probably the weakest of the four while Dead Eye and Fire Prevention Expert are the strongest. Mix and match as you please. If you intend to take three tier 4 skills, you will end up with a build like the following: Gun Feeder (1) Priority Target (2) Adrenaline Rush (3), Basics of Survivability (3) Dead Eye (4), Emergency Repair Expert (4), Fire Prevention Expert (4). Camouflage Hizen has access to two kinds of camouflage. Type 10 and War Paint - Hizen. They provide identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains.  Hizen's Type 10 camouflage offers an alternate palette if you have completed the appropriate section of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection. In port, Hizen's War Paint camouflage will have 60 sailors out on deck in parade formation (I think that's what it's called). Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 410mm guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Nine 155mm guns in 3x3 turrets and sixteen 127mm mounts in 8x2 turrets. Secondary Specialist Musashi Hizen's secondaries are crap. Hizen shares a similar secondary armament to Musashi barring the addition of two, faster-firing 127mm/40 guns per side. While the range of Hizen's secondaries is perfectly functional, their rate of fire is is slow. Were it not for the improved HE shell performance on Japanese battleships, her DPM would be in the doldrums with their crap reload. As it is, individual hits are chunky enough that on a raw DPM chart, she holds pace with Pommern and Friedrich der Große but with (much) worse fire angles and accuracy. Thankfully, the 0.10.0 skill rework made secondary-builds even less optimal than they once were, so you should have zero inclination on specializing Hizen down this route. Cross-Eyed Sniper It's all too easy to myopically focus on Hizen's 38 second reload and dwell on nothing but. However, she is decidedly more flawed than this mere lapse in reload-speed. Ostensibly, Hizen has a tier X armament that has been shoe-horned in to tier IX by nerfing the crap out of it. Wargaming managed this by giving Hizen's artillery three cardinal sins: Her reload is butts. Her accuracy is butts. Her range is butts. Hizen has slightly better penetration than Amagi (and her tier VII sister Ashitaka as well as Nagato). This is owing to a higher muzzle velocity and slightly reduced shell drag which provides better energy preservation over distance. This doesn't quite hold a candle to the punch of Izumo (and Bajie's) improved weapons which have more velocity, Krupp and even less drag. However, Hizen's reduced range makes it difficult to fully capitalize on this advantage. Let's start with the last thing first and begin with her range. Barring the new Italian battleships, Hizen has the worst range among the tier IX battleships, sitting 50m behind the Sovetsky Soyuz-sisters. After that, most of them best her by at least 1km with the American ships (aside from Georgia) being particular stand-outs given that they'll balloon their range up with third-slot upgrades to increase the gap even further. This range deficit might not be so bad if: (a) Hizen had better concealment... which she doesn't and... (b) Hizen had better armour protection ... which she also doesn't. Her 19.33km range may not seem like that big of a flaw; after all, it's just one upgrade away from being corrected and her Spotter Aircraft can provide some temporary relief. However, her lack of reach makes taking an influential, central map position more difficult. Again, her Spotter Aircraft may be enough to make up the gap, but if it's on cooldown when you need it most, the opportunity is wasted. Furthermore, if you upgrade her range, you then suffer the full force of her horrible reload. This largely relegates Hizen to straight up, heads-on engagements or waiting forever and a day fire between salvos if she does buff her range to enable flanking shots. While going heads-up works fine against smaller vessels (her 410mm guns are perfectly capable of overmatching the bows of any light, heavy or super-cruiser she comes across) she is less capable when facing other battleships. I make a lot of lists when putting together reviews. Notepad is my friend. This is the range of the tier VIII, IX and X battleships in order. 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso-bot that has no camouflage. Shots are coming in from right to left, with the Fuso-bot effectively bow-tanking. All three firing vessels used Aiming System Modification 1 but did not use Dead Eye. Hizen's gunnery is a lot less comfortable than either Amagi's or Izumo's. It's frustrating how badly she scatters her shots like a shotgun blast. Hizen's gunnery woes compound further with her dispersion antics. While Japanese battleships have reduced horizontal dispersion over distance, their vertical dispersion at high tiers is much less forgiving. The overall area that Hizen blows her loads over is enormous and reminds me very much of some of my gunnery tests with Italian battleships. Admittedly, it's not as bad as that but after a few frustrating matches, it was hard not to draw the comparisson. Couple this with Hizen's 1.7 sigma value and her reliability just isn't there. For a ship with such a painfully long reload, watching your shells disperse to the four corners of the globe is infuriating (doubly so if you aren't using Main Battery Modification 3). Hizen's broadside of twelve guns will usually ensure that something hits, but it's easy to be blinded to their reduced efficiency that way. Hizen is slower firing and less accurate besides and this really hurts her damage output. Dead Eye is a must. Don't leave port without it and keep as far back as you can so that it's always working. Hizen's appalling reload time means that even with twelve guns she simply keeps pace with the eight and nine-gun armed ships at her tier. So, she's comparable DPM to an Iowa-class but with bigger alpha strike potential ... and worse accuracy. Japanese battleship HE shells do almost as much damage as British battleship HE shells. They just don't have the increased penetration or high fire chance of the British rounds. Which brings us now to Hizen's defining trait: her 38 second reload. Her twelve 410mm gun armament should stand out more, but it's caged and butchered behind this awful reload. Main Battery Modification 3 corrects this somewhat, morphing it down to a "mere" 33.4 seconds. With so many battleships at her tier firing between seven and ten seconds faster, Hizen's trades are dirt-poor. Despite what the DPM charts will tell you, her awful dispersion further throttles her damage output. She may appear to be able to keep pace (or be slightly better than) some of the nine-gun armed ships but the reality is that barring some spectacular RNGeebus-blessed alpha strikes, Hizen just doesn't keep pace. This is born out by performance stats where her damage totals are rather middling for such a large broadside. She's not terrible, but it would be a mistake to imagine that her large armament conferred any kind of advatage with all of these other flaws stacked against her. Hizen's fire angles are soooo close to being ideal, if only her rearward angles were a little more tight. Keep this fact in mind when we discuss kiting. Taking Main Battery Modification 3 guts her turret rotation rate from 4º/s down to 3.5º/s, allowing her to out-turn her turrets which is annoying. Summary The premise of Hizen is delivering these massive, twelve-gun alpha strikes at the expense of sustained fire. But she works at cross-purposes to herself with a lack of range and accuracy to facilitate dropping those bombs across people's decks. For such a long reload, another kilometer or two's worth of reach would have made all of the difference, allowing her to cross-fire from a central position. Her bad dispersion could have been swallowed as a throttling measure to keep her reliability down, necessitating taking several bites at the apple. As it stands, Hizen can put out some respectable damage and she can be an impressive artillery platform, but that's largely owing to RNGeebus being your close, personal friend and the Reds playing like idiots -- neither of these things should be counted on. Hizen's firepower doesn't open up opportunities. She's forced to have them handed to her. This kind of passivity is frustrating and uninteresting. VERDICT: Oh boy, "worse than it appears, but not so bad that it's terrible" summarizes Hizen's gunnery best. Durability Hit Points: 75,900 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 32mm / 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 356mm belt + 108mm to 115mm turtleback Torpedo Damage Reduction: 37% Hizen's defence is ... well, meh. (This uninspired sentence has been brought to you by: Chemical Dependence™. "Bring me caffeine or I'll eat your skin.") Hizen's armour protection is almost reasonable -- meaning that it's surprising how bad it is because it fails to meet even the low-set bar of Musashi and Izumo. I am shocked (shocked!) that Hizen's amidship deck is only 32mm while Musashi and Izumo both manage 57mm. Combined with her massive superstructure, Hizen is an easy damage farm for any cruiser-calibre HE shells. So that's unfortunate. She also inherits Izumo's buttacular shell-trap when she tries to kite. That stepped freeboard is an easy opening for incoming AP rounds to strike and there's no way to angle it to prevent that from happening. This is a shame because there's some very handsome extended waterline belt stretching out towards her butt which should foil attempts to penetrate her when angled. But all one needs to get around that is simply aim a little higher. You can't count on high-tier players to constantly derp shells into the waterline anyway. Bots will, players won't. Unless you're planning on using Hizen exclusively in co-op, her armour scheme gives away a lot of penetration damage, even when angled. It's best not to present any kind of target in the first place because her hit points drain fast when she gets focused. Which brings up the other thing: Hizen's Repair Party isn't good. While she has a very chunky hit point pool, having one fewer charge of her heals with no improvements to the consumable in compensation just means that she has less staying power than comparable battleships. Building for fire and flooding mitigation is doubly important because she simply isn't capable of recovering from them as readily as everyone else. Her citadel protection is ... well, like everything else, it's not great. It's slightly improved over Izumo's own, but only slightly. Given the sheer amount of metal in place, Hizen is generally safe from Citadel hits if she camps out at her maximum range. However, there are a few battleships out there that can manage in excess of 500mm of penetration out to 20km and those ones can still punish Hizen for giving up her sides, so be careful of flanking fire. Hizen herself doesn't quite have the range to comfortably sit back any further without compromising her already terrible rate of fire. Finally, there's some funny geometry going on with here forward citadel protection with the barbette of A-turret plugging a "hole" in the transverse bulkhead of Hizen's forward magazine. While this may present a "cheek" weakness similar to Yamato, I never received a citadel hit through it (that I'm aware of), nor was I able to generate citadel hits on the few opportunities I had to test it out in my games. It might be a weakness, but it wasn't easily replicable in my experience, so be aware that it might be a weakness, just not as enormous as Yamato's blushing cheeks. Overall, I can't call Hizen a durable ship. She has a lot of hit points, sure, but she doesn't hold up under concerted punishment. With homogeneous 32mm worth of structural plate, Hizen is an easy HE damage farm. Her citadel protection is improved over Izumo's, at least. But it's not so much better that I got super excited. Well, someone's got to be at the bottom. Hizen's effective health is lower than expected due to her missing a charge of her Repair Party. VERDICT: Not appallingly bad, but barely adequate. You would think for a ship with such troubled firepower that she'd be amazing here but nope. Agility Top Speed: 28.2 knots Turning Radius: 880m 7Rudder Shift Time: 17.1 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.8º/s at 21.2 knots Were it not for the other Japanese battleships, Hizen would be the least agile ship at her tier. This is largely owing to her sub-30 knot top speed which, when combined with an average turning radius for a tier IX battleship, she ends up feeling very sluggish. This is compounded by her slow rudder-shift time, though at higher tiers, such an affliction becomes increasingly commonplace. There are only two curiousities when it comes to Hizen's agility (which I rate as "poor" overall). The first is that she turns a bit more tightly than her in-port turning stat would suggest. She's closer to an 870m radius than an 880m. But as this still falls into my +/- 10m margin of error, I'll still consider the in-port stat accurate enough. The other oddity is more of a new trend where Wargaming have divorced themselves from top speeds that end in either full or half-knot values. It's only within the last year that we've seen ships like Hizen that end in something other than zero or a point-five. Neither of these curiousities have any redeeming value on Hizen's poor performance in this category, though. For nerds like me? They're interesting but nothing else. Hizen's agility is pretty trashy. VERDICT: Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 4 + 1 explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 105dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 304.5dps at 85% accuracy Crap. Seriously. At least this is comfortably familiar. A Japanese battleship with bad AA? Totally unsurprising. VERDICT: No. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 17.38km / 13.66km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 12.96km / 10.5km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 17.01km Maximum Firing Range: Between 19.33km and 23.58km (max of 28.30km with Spotter Aircraft). Hizen is a big, fat battleship with a big, fat surface detection range. Aside from her Spotter Aircraft she brings absolutely nothing of value to the table here. She is a chunktacular travesty, visible from Mars and suffering for it besides. She needs more space than most to activate Dead Eye and she hasn't the range to capitalize on it either. This forces you to choose between boosting her range with Gun Fire Control System Modification 2, thus suffering the full wrath of her 38 second reload or coping with having a smaller activation window if you buff her rate of fire with Main Battery Modification 3. Hizen has similar tolerances as Marco Polo in this regard, which is pretty damning. VERDICT: Terrible and made worse that you need to choose between a bad reload or bad range in order to counter it. Final Evaluation Hizen is a Japanese Minnesota -- slow, fat and with a main battery armament that somehow manages to be disappointing despite its huge size. Being disappointing does not preclude Hizen from being effective, however. World of Warships is designed in such a way that even an aberrant, mediocre vessel can still perform in the hands of someone with the inclination (and enthusiasm) to squeeze some numbers out of it. The question becomes how much you have to work for it and Hizen is going to make you toil. Nothing for Hizen comes easy and her lists of serious advantages begins and ends with "twelve 410mm guns". I would much rather play Amagi at tier VIII or Izumo at tier IX than Hizen. Their advantages are much more clear cut, with Amagi offering almost as much firepower with slightly worse protection and penetration but increased agility and Izumo having great range, penetration and accuracy in exchange for slightly less potential DPM. Hizen doesn't slot well between them and feels clunky as a result. For those who have read my short summary of Hizen, I gave her a GARBAGE rating and I stand by it.: I think she performs fine, but I do not like this ship which is all I need to slap that label on her. She was not worth the grind, in my opinion, and worst of all, she's not fun to play. Those who failed to get her over 2020-2021's New Years aren't really missing out.
  17. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review Okhotnik

    While steps have been taken to ensure accuracy, Okhotnik was a work in progress at the time of testing. Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed here are subject to change before release. HMS TOG II* eat your heart out. Quick Summary: A Viking long-ship. A TOG II* in World of Warships form. A fish story. A destroyer that's happy to see you. A meme waiting to happen. Patch & Date Written: 0.6.1 - February 16th, 2017 Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publication. Closest in-Game Contemporary Izyaslav, Tier 4 Russian DestroyerDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Okhotnik feels like something that would be concocted if someone was trying to describe the Izyaslav in a fish story. She's an exaggeration of the tier 4 Russian destroyer in almost every dimension (particularly length) while still keeping close enough to the source material. She really should be a cruiser, but she's not. PROs Armed with seven (!) 130mm rifles, delivering a massive alpha strike potential per volley. All guns can rotate 360º, allowing for easier re-engagement of targets from one side to the other. Also armed with twelve (!) dorsally mounted (!!) torpedo tubes divided between four launchers. Fast reload time on her torpedoes of 47s per launcher. Her torpedoes provide some of the shortest reaction-time for her opponents with a mere 1.0km detection range. This gives targets about 6s to respond. Good concealment values for a ship of her length, with a 6.5km surface detection range while stock. She looks absolutely hilarious. CONs Short ranged main battery with a reach of 9.2km Horrible turret traverse of 5.5º per second. Receives the 2.0km Soviet-destroyer stealth-tax to her surface detection range when she fires her main battery for a total penalty of +5.9km. Her torpedoes are short ranged with restricted forward fire angles. Pathetic AA armament and a big target for enemy aircraft -- because she's long. Enormous turning circle of 730m and slow rotation speed of 6º per second. Because long ship is long. Heavy reliance on a significant number of Captain Skills to make the ship competitive and enjoyable. Okhotnik makes me think of what would happen if you asked a small group of six year old children to design a destroyer and they each tried to one-up each other. “My destroyer is going to have four guns and six torpedoes.”“Yes, but MY destroyer is going to have FIVE guns and EIGHT torpedoes!” By the time you get to the kid that designs Clemson, with her twelve torpedoes and six rifles, you know things are getting a bit out of hand. The Okhotnik is the next abomination to be conceived and you should probably stop the exercise there before someone reinvents the Kitakami.This thing looks ridiculous. As a weapon system, Okhotnik looks as subtle as stuffing a brick into a sweat sock and swinging it around your head. It's cumbersome, awkward and things get horribly stretched out. It's also absolutely devastating when it lands a blow. I normally reserve all accusatory judgments to the end of the article but I'll say this right from the start: Provided you've got a highly-experienced Captain at the helm with the right skills, you're going to love playing this thing. Okhotnik is hilarious looking and a riot to play. She can be an overpowered little monster in her current iteration and there's only a few checks in place to give her the illusion of balance.Lert's joining me to show you how she compares directly to her competitors while I go over the nitty-gritty to explain how she can be used and abused. The Lertbox Mmh? ... I'm up. I'm awake, promise. zzzz .... What? Oh. Right. Okhotnik. Okhotnik has a very distinct (and low) silhouette. This latter trait plays very much to her advantage, making her difficult to shoot. Options No surprises here. Okhotnik uses the same three-tone camouflage scheme found on Imperator Nikolai I and Aurora. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost Module Upgrades: Three slots, standard destroyer options.Premium Camouflage: Tier 2 to 5 Standard. This provides 30% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. As with most ships, you'll want to splurge on premium versions of consumables on an “as you can afford” basis. I strongly recommend taking a premium version of Okhotnik's Smoke Generator and Damage Control Party. A premium Engine Boost consumable is also nice to have, but it's not necessary. For her module choices, it's the same picks you'll take for most destroyers. For your first slot, Magazine Modification 1 is your best choice. Your guns are fragile, though, so if being detonated doesn't bother you, then taking Main Armaments Modification 1 is a reasonable alternative. In your second slot, you have a choice. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is best. This reduces your maximum dispersion by 7m at 11km... which isn't a lot, but it is preferable to assist with your torpedo traverse. Alternatively, you can take Main Battery Modification 2 to increase your turret traverse but this comes at a minor loss to DPM. And for your third slot, take whatever because they're all terrible. Firepower Primary Battery: Seven 130mm rifles, two on the bow and five on the stern. None of these guns are superfiring. Torpedo Armament: Twelve tubes in 4x3 launchers Okhotnik naval rifles are the 130mm/55 B-7 and she gets a lot of them. This gun was first introduced to us last year with Krasny Krym, the modernized version of Svietlana. These are also found on Podvoisky, the new tier 5 Destroyer supplanting the Gnevny-class. They differ somewhat from the 130mm B-13s that are found on the higher tier Soviet destroyers. They have a slightly lower muzzle velocity and a worse penetrating shell. These do the same 2,500 AP and 1,900 HE damage with an 8% fire chance. Okhotnik is very short ranged for a tier 5 destroyer at 9.2km, which helps keep her power level in check.Okhotnik trades away DPM for alpha strike. A single broadside of all seven rifles lands for 4,389 HE damage when they penetrate an unsaturated target. This is one third of a tier 5 destroyer's health pool and amounts to a larger alpha strike per volley than the tier 7 Blyskawica. Landing hits like this made most of my opponents get all squirrely for some reason. They often elected to disengage rather than press any DPM advantage they had over me. Of course, missing with one volley is more tragic in Okhotnik than other destroyers and poor gunnery will punish you especially hard. Make those shots count or reap the consequences.Some of the negative traits of Okhotnik's guns will be very familiar to veterans of the Russian and Soviet Destroyer line. First of all, she has the same 2.0km “stealth tax” when firing her guns. Instead of receiving a nominal 3.9km surface detection penalty (gun calibre x 0.3km), Okhotnik gains 5.9km of surface detection range when shooting. This precludes her from ever being able to fire from stealth short of lobbing shells from smoke or behind an island. She also shares the horrible gun traverse rate of the Gnevny-class. It takes her almost 33s to traverse her guns 180º which is downright appalling. However, you might not notice it as much given Okhotnik's handling, but more on that later. The good news is that Okhotnik compensates for this by having a 360º rotation on all of her guns. Okhotnik has next to no deck clutter. What's more, her guns aren't mounted in partially or fully enclosed turrets. Heck, they don't even have gun shields. So while her guns may not be mounted in a superfiring configuration, it's surprising how many you can bring to bear. All seven rifles can be aimed at targets 30º off her bow to either side. More surprising is that gun #2 can fire through gun #1. Yeah. Weird. This gives you two rifles that can shoot directly forward but only one gun can shoot directly astern. As you'll often be tacking towards or away from your targets at an angle, you'll often only need to adjust your heading by a little to bring all of your guns to bear. TorpedoesOkhotnik's torpedoes are almost as hilarious as her gun mounts. She has four triple launchers, mounted dorsally. She can dump a broadside of 12 torpedoes at a target at once. This is a feat that isn't matched until the Shimakaze at tier 10. These “walls of skill” are an absolute nightmare for enemies to try to avoid and it's not uncommon to see players freeze in the face of the approaching doom. The only thing that keeps this balanced is the horrible performance of the torpedoes.Okhotnik's fish are unique currently. They have a 13,667 maximum damage listing which isn't bad for a tier 5 destroyer (especially not one that can spit out twelve of the little blighters). They're very quick too, traveling at 62 knots with a 1.0km surface detection range, giving opponents a mere 6.1s worth of reaction time when their death approaches. Worse, these things can be veritably spammed with their 47s reload per launcher. With their respectable damage output, Okhotnik can keep tubes in reserve, launching only what's needed and keeping others on hand for a follow up target. The only thing gives these things a modicum of balance (and only just) is their short range of 4.5km.Her torpedoes are one of the most unbalanced features about Okhotnik, and if she were any faster they would be horribly overpowered. With the ability to get the ship's surface detection range down to 5.7km with Concealment Expert, Okhotnik can sprint the last 1.2km she needs to dump her fish against a chosen target in as little as 13 seconds against a ship running a perpendicular course. This isn't a lot of time to react to the ambush. The only fly in the ointment here is that Okhotnik doesn't have very good forward torpedo arcs as her first three launchers are sandwiched in between the fore and after superstructure and funnels so it will require her to manoeuvre to swing out her weapons.Expect to see a lot of spectacular suicide torpedo runs and close-range island ambushes in this boat paying big dividends. Rivals: Gremyashchy Lert: Gremyashchy is faster and has more range. She has better torpedoes, turns better and can fire from stealth in open water. She'll be spotted before Okhotnik is though, and if you catch a Gremy with its pants down you can smash him in the face with superior alpha strike, giving you the edge in the DPM fight that follows. Be wary of Gremy's torpedoes, which have twice the range of yours. Always be wary of potential torps and maneuver accordingly, you don't have the agility to dodge torpedoes you didn't expect. If Gremyashchy comes within 4km, flood the ocean with metal fishes, though a smart Gremy driver will avoid this situation. Try to control the engagement, difficult as it seems versus a ship that is faster and turns better than you. Keep the pressure on him, and you might come out of this engagement still floating. It's very important to get that first strike in though, and your superior stealth helps in this regard. Even then, it's an uphill battle and a savvy Gremyashchy driver will use his speed and agility to try and dictate the fight. Okhotnik is good, but it doesn't challenge Gremy's crown of best Russian destroyer at tier 5. Wall of skill deployed. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 34.5 knots Turning Radius: 730m Rudder Shift Time: 3.2s So here's where the bad news lies, and it's all in one trait, really. Okhotnik has a lower-than-average top speed and decent rudder shift. But where she really hurts is her turning radius, which is comparable to that of a Battleship. This is to be expected given her length. It takes Okhotnik just over 15 seconds to make a 90º turn and almost a minute to rotate 360º, slowing down to 28.9 knots with her rudder hard over. For comparison, a Farragut can make the same 90º turn in 11 seconds and the full rotation in 43. Okhotnik just doesn't answer her rudder quickly. This makes her rather vulnerable to enemy torpedoes as you can well imagine. Torpedo bombers are a particular weakness of Okhotnik's, as she has a rather large surface detection range for a destroyer while simultaneously having pathetic AA power (more on that later). The length of her hull only exacerbates the problem of avoiding these waterborne warheads. Still, even with this sluggish handling, she's still capable of out turning her even more sluggish turret traverse (6º ship turn, 5.5º turret traverse). Thankfully, her 360º turret rotation more than makes up for this. Okhotnik's lack of agility also makes dodging incoming fire a little more challenging. However, her low profile does maker her a difficult target to land reliable hits against, especially at range. Durability Hit Points: 12,700 Maximum Protection: 16mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 10mm Okhotnik has a slightly-more-than-average hit points total for a tier 5 destroyer, but nothing to get too excited about. Her exposed main battery mounts have only 6mm of armour protection but they can absorb just as much damage as the weapons on other DDs. Still, expect HE splashes from large caliber guns to disable and destroy these vulnerable weapons regularly. With the length of her hull, it's important to keep incoming AP shell penetration mechanics in mind. Shots that strike her broadside are likely to over penetrate while those that travel the length of the ship are more likely to result in full penetration damage. Be careful on your approaches against Battleships. This makes the Captain Skill, Priority Target, worth it's weight in gold. Pay attention to what ships are shooting at you and with what ammunition types to best protect yourself. Rivals: Nicholas Lert: The American fighting lady has a hit point advantage, superior gun DPM, better range, better speed and is more agile. Her torpedo armament is arguably weaker than yours by volume and damage output, though not by range. This theoretical duel will depend greatly on who gets the initiative. Although she's faster, Nicholas has slightly worse detection than you, giving you a small advantage here. Make sure your first salvo hits, and hits hard. This will give you an advantage that you need to press. If Nicholas makes a mistake and comes close enough, perhaps to try and launch her torpedoes, make sure you close the gap and get your wall of skill in the water to crush her. Your volume of fish will mean no escape if the Nicholas makes the mistake of coming within 4km. Still, this is an uphill battle that depends greatly on who takes the initiative. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 6.5km Air Detection Range: 4.3km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.7km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +5.9km (vs 9.2km gun range) I dunno what they were thinking here.Okhotnik is an enormous destroyer, yet she has better concealment values than Gremyashchy, Gnevny, Podvoisky, Nicholas and T-22. Her enormity is in one dimension only, however, and that may explain why she gets such a generous surface detection range. Okhotnik sits very low in the water, with her raised forward bow section lower than that of the Kamikaze-class and her bridge being much lower still. Within her Matchmaking spread, from tiers 4 through 7, only the IJN Destroyers Isokaze, Minekaze, Kamikaze, Mutsuki and the tier 4 German V-170 have a better surface detection range. Short of being sniffed out by aircraft or tripping over one of these ships, Okhotnik is going to see her opponents before being detected in turn. This is good news for the Russian Destroyer given the short range of her weapon systems. She is utterly incapable of firing either her torpedoes or her guns without being detected by her enemies. Every time you pull the trigger, you're putting your ship in harm's way. One of the few balancing measures for Okhotnik shows up here with her very large detection range from the air. She's spotted 4.3km out, which is closer to the range you would expect for a destroyer-leader like the Tenryu or Yubari. Okhotnik moored alongside a reference-Minekaze. You can very clearly see the difference in length and height between the two images. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 76.2mm / 7.62mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 3.0km / 1.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 3 / 7 Ha-ha, who are you kidding? Okhotnik is dangerously vulnerable to aircraft and should be made a priority target by any CV that spots her on the team line up. Her long keel and horrible turning radius makes her a juicy target for torpedo planes though she is rather slender, making her a harder target for dive bombers. This is one of the few destroyers where you can safely keep her AA turned on at all times as their range is actually shorter than her aerial detection range. Rivals: Minekaze Lert: She's stealthier than you, faster than you, more agile than you and can fire torpedoes from outside her detection range. In Minekaze's ideal hypothetical scenario, you'll never see him coming and the first notice you have of him being near is the Sixth Sense warning icon appearing on the screen. Expect torpedoes in the water, and turn towards where you suspect he is. The concealment difference between the two is only 100 meters base, so if you guessed right, you'll be able to spot him once you make your turn. Smack him upside the head with a devastating volley and hope he doesn't just turn and run, in which case you'll never catch him. Any Minekaze driver worth his salt knows he'll never win a gunnery duel with a Russian gunboat, and will not engage in one if he has any say. Skills to Beat Sneaker wearing HedgehogsOkhotnik has a real dependence on Captain Skills to make her an enjoyable and effective destroyer. Arguably, most destroyers manage this level of competitiveness with 10 skill points -- when they unlock Concealment Expert. This makes Okhotnik very much a late bloomer. Whether a player considers her powerful will largely depend on the skills available to their Captain. While there's always some mutability in skill choice between players, the five skills below should be considered “must haves” for Okhotnik. As a trainer for your Soviet Captains, this dependence on certain skills can make Okhotnik ill suited to performing optimally with skills that run contrary to this recommended build.Priority Target (tier one)Okhotnik cannot engage enemies without being seen herself, short of abusing island and smoke cover. These forms of concealment will not always be readily available, so it's important to know when it's safe to pull the trigger and when you should go gun-silent to preserve your hit points. Due to Okhotnik's middling speed and manoeuvrability, dodging fire isn't as viable as dropping off the radar and disappearing. Knowing when you can continue pulling the trigger safely and when you should probably disengage will help keep this ship in the game. This can also allow you to know when it's safer to attempt a point blank torpedo drop.Expert Marksman (tier two)During play-testing, Okhotnik was shackled with the same awful turret traverse with which Gremyashchy was originally introduced. This 5.5º per second rotation didn't feel as limiting for this destroyer though. The reason was simple enough -- unlike Gremyashchy, Okhotnik could only turn the ship itself at 6º per second. So while she could out turn her turrets, it wasn't to such a dramatic degree as the original Soviet Premium Destroyer.So Okhotnik's turret traverse doesn't feel as punitive as Gremyashchy's did while the ship is under manoeuvres. However, Okhotnik struggles to use her rudder to help bring her guns to bear on a new target. To this end, Expert Marksman is a very important skill to help her re-engage targets quickly.Without this skill, Okhotnik is still playable though switching sides with her guns takes a very long time (as much as 33 seconds). This said, having a 360º rotation on her turrets will help some, at least with tracking a new target. Thus, this should be the last skill you pick up.Last Stand (tier two)You're a destroyer, and one that cannot stealth-fire at targets. It's safe to assume your steering and rudder will be knocked out regularly. Take this one on your first pass through the skill list.Concealment Expert (tier four) Take this as your first tier four skill. This may seem like a no-brainer. There are very few destroyers in the game where Concealment Expert doesn't provide a tremendous bonus to their effectiveness. Okhotnik isn't special this way by any means, but it's worth paying special attention why she gains from this skill. With camouflage, this drops her surface detection range from 6.3km to 5.7km. This does not allow Okhotnik to torpedo without being detected or to fire from stealth in open water, even with Advanced Fire Training . With this in mind, some players may be outright dismissive of the necessity of this skill, but it shouldn't be skipped over.With Concealment Expert, Okhotnik gains the ability to spot other gunships before she herself is detected. Provided her turrets are properly aligned, this all but guarantees her to get off the first volley of shells. As Okhotnik focuses on alpha strike and not DPM with her guns, this can mean the difference between clinching an engagement with that first strike or being on the back foot every time she meets another destroyer. Finally, when things do go south (and they will), it provides an additional 600m distance buffer to allow you to drop back into stealth when you silence your guns.Advanced Fire Training (tier four)One of Okhotnik's biggest flaws is the short range of her main battery. Her 9.2km stock range may seem like a nuisance at first, but it works considerably to the detriment of the ship when it comes to engaging capital ships. Advanced Fire Training opens Okhotnik's range up to 11km and the importance of this range increase cannot be understated. Her guns, with their good ballistic qualities, are still very accurate to this range.Okhotnik shares a low surface profile, similar to the German V-170. With almost no deck structures, hitting Okhotnik with main battery fire is a challenge. The more range you can open up between yourself and your targets, the safer Okhotnik becomes. While you can never remove the threat of return fire in Okhotnik, you can make it so annoying to shoot her that opponents elect to fire somewhere else.So if you intend to use Okhotnik to abuse larger ships, this skill is almost a must. This should be acquired as soon as you have Concealment Expert.Final Note on Captain SkillsIf you've done the math, you'll note that with taking only a single tier 3 skill, this adds up to 16pt Captain. The only real variety and choice for Okhotnik comes in with her tier 3 skills and there are a lot of good options there. I personally prefer taking Basic Fire Training as my primary skill at tier 3 and Demolition Expert as a follow up. Decent alternative skills include Survivability Expert and Superintendent. I firmly believe that a 14pt Captain is really needed to enjoy this ship, though 16pts is ideal. When combined with the inflexibility of skill choices, her uses as a Soviet training ship are much more limited. Recommended Build: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1000000000100001000010100000100119 Skills should be taken in this order: Priority Target Last Stand Basic Fire Training (or tier 3 skill of choice) Concealment Expert Advanced Fire Training Demolition Expert (or tier 3 skill of choice) Expert Marksman Inertial Fuse for HE Shells Okhotnik doesn't need to take the tier 4 skill, Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. Her 130mm rifles are capable of penetration up to 21mm of armour without it. When she's top tier, short of the belt armour and turrets of larger warships, there are very few sections of any ships she cannot damage directly. If you can scrounge the points for it, this will give her the ability to extend this ability to penetrate all targets just about everywhere up through tier 6 and 7 battleships and some of the IJN and German Cruisers at tiers 6+. The only problem with taking this skill is finding the points necessary to afford it. The easiest place to acquire them would be to drop a tier 3 and a tier 2 skill to shoe horn this into your build. Alternatively, you could drop Concealment Expert, but this would prevent you from being able to effectively engage enemy destroyers.Alternative IFHE Bombardment: Build One: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1100000000000001000000100010100119 Build Two: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1000000000100001000010100010100019 Aircraft carriers should make taking this destroyer out a priority. However, they need to switch up the tools they use to do so. Torpedo bombers are very effective against this clumsy ship. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme As far as destroyers go, Okhotnik is pretty forgiving but only with the right Captain Skill choices. Properly set up, she can hide from anything she can't outfight and barring tripping over a Belfast or Atlanta, she can outfight anything from which she can't hide. She's always going to be detected when you engage enemy targets, so there's no fussy stealth-firing calculations to make. You can blindly rush unwary capital ships and make their lives miserable with a suicide torp-wall of doom and they're equally effective at deterring enemy destroyers from knife fighting. About the only bad trait about her for inexperienced or novice players is her horrible handling but don't let that stop you.But again, that's contingent on having the right skills to optimize this destroyer's strengths. Without the right setup, novice players may find this ship frustrating.For veterans and skilled players, Okhotnik is going to be a little monster. The damage this ship can put out demands a lot of respect and her base concealment rating allows players to control the engagement. Her ability to deliver sudden and massive alpha strikes with her torpedoes and guns will put many inexperienced opponents on their back foot right from the word go and allow Okhotnik to bully with ease. The Lertbox - Final Words Okhotnik struggles against same tier opponents in theoretical 1v1s. If you only read my three comparisons you might get the idea that she sucks. However, that's only if the opponent presses their advantage and pursues the engagement. Plus, Okhotnik is unrivaled in delivering apocalyptic devastating ambushes versus battleships - in a training room I was able to reliably one-shot (stationary and unarmed) Grosser Kurfuersts with her torpedo broadsides. Versus other destroyers, she relies on smashing alpha strike from a situation of stealth. She relies on dissuading gunship destroyers from engaging her by biting their face off, without warning. Once so hit, the enemy destroyer driver may panic and try to disengage or smoke up, at which point you've got them. Against cooler heads though, you're on the defensive. Against destroyer drivers who aren't intimidated by your first salvo you've got your work cut out. Without the ROF to pummel them down or speed to disengage, you're facing an uphill battle. I just don't think she's as OP as Mouse says. Time will tell though. Mouse's Summary: Longship is long. It should come with Vikings. She doesn't handle very well, but that didn't bother me. Her torpeedus are amazing. She's the perfect ship to dig out an enemy destroyers and cruisers hiding in smoke. Why is she so stealthy!? As far as Soviet-bias goes, Okhotnik isn't too bad -- she's only a little overpowered (like that's a good thing). Her performance is gated behind a combination of skills so not every Okhotnik is going to be awesome. She isn't unbalanced in the same manner as the Belfast. Her strengths are more well-rounded, with good guns, good torpedoes and good concealment without any gimmicks. This makes her strong without being dominating in a single arena. A lot of focus will be put on her torpedoes as THE defining feature of what makes her so advantageous, but this would be a mistake. If her torpedoes had more range, then certainly, I could agree with that sentiment, but it's the combination of traits rather than any one single element that makes her overpowered. She has great stealth but she can't stealth fire. She has a great torpedo armament, but good luck getting those off against tier 7 ships. Her guns are hard hitting, but they're not going to let you knife fight an American destroyer that wants to fight back. You're not fast enough to get away from an Atlanta or Belfast that's running you down with radar. Okhotnik dances the fine line between risk and reward. Aggressive players will love her. Cautious players might not.Okhotnik up-tiers rather well, having little trouble facing off against tier 6 opponents as well as she might against tier 5. It's only when the tier 7s appear, with higher velocity guns and ships like Belfast, Fiji and Atlanta, that she begins to feel a bit long in the tooth. Battleships also get faster and the maps are less claustrophobic making for fewer ambush-opportunities at close range. It's a testament that Okhotnik is at least a little more balanced than Gremyashchy which scarcely notices when she's up-tiered.Okhotnik's strengths really lie with her concealment / alpha strike ability. With this, I could engage even tier 7 Kiev-class destroyers and remain confident of winning. It's not hard to land 6 or 7 shots when the engagement range begins at 6km and this initial 3,000 to 4,000 hammer blow into their hit points sets the tone for a winning battle. A second volley could often be delivered before the Kiev could bring all of her guns on target. It's no wonder most of them would try to smoke up and reset the engagement at this stage. It was often wise to blow my own smoke at the same time and back off if the Kiev had spotters in the area keeping me lit. If not, there was no harm in dropping a wall of skill into their smoke screen. Easy money.I had a lot of fun playing Okhotnik; she surprised me. I admit, I took one look at this derpy boat and thought I'd hate it but she won me over. Once I dropped my Gremyashchy Captain into her, she took me for a ride and I was grinning the whole time. Changes from Play Test Okhotnik changed somewhat from the play test sessions I enjoyed to her release on live. Two were minor and one was rather significant. All of these changes have been considered and folded into the review already, so you don't need to back track and re-evaluate what was written. Okhotnik's turret rotation was buffed from 5º per second to 5.5º per second. Okhotnik's guns used to traverse with the same sluggish handling as Gremyashchy. A large number of the Soviet Destroyers got a gun traverse buff with 0.6.2 and Okhotnik was no exception. Originally only Okhotnik's two forward turrets could rotate 360º. This is a minor change, really. Now all five rear turrets can also rotate in a full circle. Combined with the minor turret traverse buff, this is a nice quality of life change but again not too significant. Fire angles of the aft guns (except for the last one) is limited to +/- 30º off the ship axis. Now this one is a kicker and represents a more significant (but not terribly damaging) nerf. Okhotnik's five rear guns used to be able to engage targets 20º off the forward or rear arcs of the ship. Okhotnik already has a small profile and being able to aggressively angle her towards or away from a foe while firing five (rearward) or seven (forward) guns was pretty huge. She doesn't have enough armour to auto-ricochet anything but a select few destroyer-caliber AP shells, but it did make her a much smaller target to bulls-eye. The individual fire angles for the rear guns began as little as 16º off the bow (#7). Okhotnik belongs up front in an aggressive stance. Use her excellent concealment values to spot for your team and screen them from attack. Would I Recommend?Players are spoiled for choice where Russian premiums are concerned. Okhotnik competes directly with Leningrad (and for old, crusty veterans, Gremyashchy) for primacy among the Soviet Destroyers. She's not as powerful as Gremyashchy, that's for sure, but she will be less expensive than Leningrad which may immediately appeal to some consumers. Overall, I think Leningrad is the better boat for most of the reasons you'd buy a premium, but Okhotnik is definitely more fun (and stupid looking). For Random Battle GrindingThis includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Mouse: Well, maybe. She can do very well in random battles, earning you credits and medals galore. I found it an easy feat to get three or four kills per match, which made unleashing the Kraken not too much of a stretch. The problem is that she's reliant upon having a Captain with the right skill combination to truly play efficiently. This precludes her use as a comfortable trainer for all but the last few skill points (and you're completely out of luck if your skill choices don't gel with Okhotnik's needs) which sort of undermines the purpose of a premium ship. So your mileage will definitely vary. For me? I'd take her to farm achievements and Kraken medals. Lert: Maybe. She doesn't really need premium consumables to shine, but tier 5 is in a bad MM spot right now, and tier 5 premiums are not really the greatest captain trainers or credit earners. Tier 6 is where you really want to be for that, minimum. Plus, she relies on a set of advanced captain skills to really shine, which makes her less ideal as a captain trainer. For Competitive GamingCompetitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Mouse: Her concealment value alone will make her a good choice for competitive environments, especially combined with her ability to deliver high alpha, opportunistic strikes with her guns. The only major downside is her lack of agility which makes her torpedo bait. She cannot compete with Gremyashchy (what can?) but for people looking to pad their win rates, Okhotnik is a good ship.Lert: No. Too slow, too vulnerable to torpedo strikes, not agile enough. The only things she really has going for her is her stealth and initial alpha, which isn't enough in a competitive environment. For CollectorsIf you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Mouse: Ha! No. Okhotnik was never built in steel.Lert: This is a paper ship with no actual history behind her. She looks amazing though. If you're looking for historically significant ships, look elsewhere. For Fun FactorBottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Mouse: Very yes. She's a party boat.Lert: Yes. Alpha strike is fun. Driving odd ducks is fun. Ships with interesting playstyles are fun. Crushing battleships as they round the headland is fun. Okhotnik is fun.
  18. Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed in this post reflect the version of the ship as she appeared during the testing period. These are subject to change before release. The Mighty. Quick Summary: A modified Iowa-class Battleship with reinforced forward and rear citadel protection, a radar consumable and tremendous credit earning potential. Cost: 750,000 free experience. This works out to 30,000 doubloons for conversion, or approximately €100 ($110 USD). Patch & Date Written: 0.5.15, December 6th, 2016 Closest in-Game Contemporary Iowa, Tier 9 American BattleshipDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique I don't think anyone is surprised here. The differences between the Iowa and the Missouri are minor and well advertised. The Missouri loses the aircraft of the Iowa and gains radar instead. There's slight differences to their AA load out. Most telling, the Missouri has reinforced citadel armour along the transverse bulkheads, making her better at bow-tanking while avoiding citadel damage at this angle. PROs: Reinforced forward bulkheads, providing better forward protection than the Iowa. Versatile guns with tremendous AP hitting power for their tier. Guns can specialize for either the best medium range battleship accuracy in the game or for the best battleship DPM at her tier. Excellent range of 23.4km which can be increased to 27.1km with a module. Very good anti-aircraft firepower, especially at medium range. For a Battleship her size, she's very fast at 33.0 knots. Has the same Radar as the Tier 9 Baltimore-class Cruiser. Choice of two camouflage patterns. Earns 100% bonus experience. Earns 50% more credits than a tier 8 Premium, 100% more than a tech-tree ship. Available for "free" just by playing the game. CONs: Extremely vulnerable citadel that sits high over the water. Bow is easily overmatched by the 460mm rifles of the Yamato. Poor torpedo defense with only a 25% reduction from hits. Large base dispersion values coupled with a low muzzle velocity on her AP rounds. Without the accuracy module, the Missouri is one of the least accurate ships in the game. Wide 920m turning circle and 19.4s rudder shift time. The amount of free experience required to unlock her is prohibitively high and will nominally require clever use of premium time, consumables or simply spending money to acquire her. The Missouri doesn't correct a lot of the problems found on the Iowa-class. In fact, for those accustomed to the Iowa, she will seem familiar -- perhaps painfully so. The Missouri is the twelfth premium Battleship to be added to World of Warships (not including the Arpeggio Kongo-class sisters) and she certainly tops all of the others for the attention she's grabbing. The promotion of a certain action-hero aside, the Missouri is an important historical vessel. Wargaming has paid a nod to both their Hollywood endorsement and the Mighty Mo's 15 minutes of fame with fun details visible on her decks in port. But perhaps most importantly to players of World of Warships, the Missouri represents a departure from premium ships that have come before it. This is a premium tier 9 ship with accelerated economic boons. She earns 50% more experience and credits than tier 8 premiums. It's this latter ability that made me raise an eyebrow. A lack of credit earning has long been the bottleneck in progression in World of Warships and the Missouri steps all over this. If you have her, earning a couple million credits in the span of an hour's worth of casual game play is laughably simple. Players with this ship will be at a marked advantage over those who don't when it comes to acquiring new vessels or simply financing premium consumables or high tier content. In fact, the Missouri could be an utter potato boat and she'd be worth looking at if only for these economic gains. But let's take a closer look at what Wargaming has cooked up for us and see if she's worth the astronomical sum of 750,000 free experience. NoZouforYou puts together a nice summary of the ship. OptionsThere's two big points to mention in regards to the Missouri's options. The first, during testing we had two camouflage patterns to play with. These both did the same thing, providing a bonus 100% to experience gains as opposed to the 50% normally provided by premium ship camouflage between tiers 6 and 8. This is on par with premium camouflage purchased for tech tree ships at tiers 9+, though, so it's good to see the Missouri keeping pace. Note that the Missouri's credit earning potential isn't baked into her premium camouflage, but rather the ship itself. The camouflage also doesn't provide any reduction to repair costs. So your choice between the two is purely cosmetic. Or you could use some other camouflage in your reserves if you prefer. It won't hurt your credit earning. In addition, the Missouri has access to Radar. This has a 9.45km range with a 35 second active period. This is identical to the radar found on the tier 9 USN Cruiser, Baltimore. She does not have the option for any kind of aircraft. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Radar Module Upgrades: Six slots, standard USN Battleship options. Premium Camouflage: There are two versions of the Missouri's camouflage. Both provide a 3% concealment bonus, a 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion and a 100% bonus to experience gains. The two colour schemes for the Missouri. One nearly matches the colour scheme of the premium camouflage of the Iowa. Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 406mm rifles in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X configuration. B is stationed in a super firing position over top of A. These have a stock range of 23.4km. Secondary Battery: Twenty 127mm dual purpose rifles in 10x2 turrets along the sides of the ship. The American 406mm 50-calibers Mk7 rifles are interesting. They combine some of the hardest hitting shells at their tier with some of the worst gun dispersion. Yet, thanks to the combination of modules the American ships can take, the Missouri can potentially be the most accurate Battleship in the game at ranges around 12km, and on par with the IJN Battleships at about 18km but at the cost of her rate of fire. It's that 6th module slot which unlocks at tier 9 which is the culprit for this. Every other nation in the game gets a 7% dispersion reduction module for their 2nd slot (found at tier 5+) with Aiming Systems Modification 1. The American Battleships instead have a range boosting module. It's only with the 6th slot where the USN can reduce their dispersion. Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2 provides an 11% reduction to dispersion. However this comes at a price. The other module competing for everyone's attention in the 6th slot is Main Battery Modification 3 which provides a rate of fire increase. This forces USN players to choose between DPM and Accuracy. Player preference will largely dictate which setup they prefer. If a player chooses to accelerate her reload then the Missouri, like the Iowa, will have the best DPM of any of the tier 9 Battleships with her AP shells. At 13,500hp per citadel hit, these can quickly doom anyone rash enough to make themselves a target. I personally believe that the accelerated reload is the way to go though there's a firm argument to be made in favour of accuracy. There are two primary downsides to these guns. The first has been touched upon already. Their dispersion, unless properly mitigated, can be downright trollish. This is combined by a rather slow muzzle velocity for her shells of 762m/s with her AP rounds. They thankfully retain energy well due to their heavy mass but this still leads to a longer lead time than with the IJN guns, for example. The only other 'bad' point worth mentioning is that due to the overmatch mechanics, anything with 32mm of bow armour can tank the Missouri's guns and remains largely immune to her AP shells so long as they keep their prow pointed towards her. This includes all tier 8+ Battleships which can make for long, drawn out stalemates. The secondary gun batteries of the Missouri are regrettably forgettable. While deadly enough to a low health destroyer that strays within range, the Missouri doesn't put out the same fearsome volume of fire of the German or Japanese Battleships. While it's possible to specialize into their performance, this usually happens as a happy coincidence rather than a deliberate act, with skills such as Basic and Advanced Fire Training being taken primarily to boost her AA power rather than with an aim to increase her secondary potency. Summary: Versatile guns that can be specialized for either high DPM or high accuracy. Excellent range. Very hard hitting AP shell with excellent alpha strike potential. Struggles somewhat against angled enemy Battleships due to overmatch mechanics. Secondaries are adequate but weaker than her contemporaries With a range that can exceed 27km, the Missouri often finds herself engaging enemies from one extreme of the map to another. Without an accuracy modification, doing any damage at these distances is chancy at best. Like all Battleships, she really starts coming into her own at medium to close range, however her fragility makes getting this near to the enemy extremely risky. Sometimes the rewards are worth it. Maneuverability Top Speed: 33.0 knotsTurning Radius: 920mRudder Shift: 19.4s The Missouri has some very long legs. It's a shame she so seldom gets to flex them in the current high-tier meta. At 33 knots, the Missouri and Iowa are the fastest Battleships in the game, bar none. This should, in theory, allow her to dictate the range of any engagement with other Battleships while also allowing her to redeploy as needed. However, this straight line speed comes at a cost. Her handling is downright horrific with a 920m turning circle and a sluggish rudder shift to boot. So while you can navigate from point A to B with alacrity, you're not going to want to do so under fire as it will expose your Missouri to enemy artillery and torpedoes. Dodging the latter, never mind the former will be an extreme challenge. DurabilityHit Points: 78,300Maximum Protection: Up to 368mm + 38mm external citadel protection, 432mm turret faces, 439mm conning tower. Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm (immunity to 420mm rifles)Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25% The Missouri is much lauded for its improved forward protection with the reinforcements made to her transverse bulkheads. This beefs up her citadel protection to 368mm + 19mm at best or 297mm + 19mm at worst, depending on how high or low these forward penetration shells strike. The only ship that will severely be testing these forward bulkheads is the Yamato unless you over angle your Missouri. While this looks great on paper, it pays to look at the Missouri (and the Iowa-class overall) objectively where her durability is concerned. For people hoping that the Missouri would correct the errors in the Iowa citadel placement, don't hold your breath. It's still enormous. It's still extends well above the water line. She bow tanks decently, and that's about it. The buffs to her transverse bulkheads aside, the Missouri isn't the fixed Iowa-class some have been praying for. The German Battleships created a new standard for what "good" armour protection is back when they were introduced in the third quarter of this year. I hate to parrot my Iowa-review, but the Missouri doesn't have good protection. Her citadel is placed far too high in the water for that. If an enemy ship catches her broadside, you will take citadel damage -- it's almost a matter of course. Combined onto this, she has weak torpedo defenses with a paltry 1/4 reduction of torpedo strikes She also still has that enormous hole in her citadel protection directly to the rear, just beneath her #3 turret. In order to stay safe, the Missouri needs to bow tank -- keep all of her enemies directly in front of her. In this way, she can bounce an enormous level of punishment, forcing enemies to instead pick on her superstructure or switch over to high explosive fire in order to stack any reasonable form of damage. This isn't a trait unique to the Missouri or the Iowa-class as a whole. The Friedrich der Große is just as good at it, if not better with her improved deck armour around the turrets which can make even Battleship caliber HE explode for no damage. So what does this buff to the Missouri's transverse forward bulkhead mean, exactly? Well, it means it's a little harder for a Yamato to citadel you through the bow. It might occasionally come into play if you over angle and another battleship tries to bulls-eye your citadel from the front. I couldn't test this out in a training room to see for certain so pay close attention to this if you pick her up. Bow-tanking. It's not pretty. It's not historical. But it is effective. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 16.2km Air Detection Range: 14.2 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.16km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +12.2km (vs 27.1km gun range) For a tier 9 Battleship, the Missouri has good concealment, particularly if she specializes into keeping herself undetectable by enemies. This allows her to finally make use of her speed and redeploy without nearly as much fear of having her citadel blown out the moment she's not presenting her bow towards her opponents. This all goes away the moment you fire her guns though, but that's to be expected with any Battleship. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 151 / 318 / 104 One of the most significant differences between the Missouri and the Iowa is her AA power. The Iowa has nineteen quad 40mm Bofors mounts while the Mighty Mo has twenty. The Iowa bests her with small caliber guns with thirty two dual-20mm Oerlikon mounts (for a total of 60 guns) to the twenty-nine single mounts found on the Missouri. It's these Oerlikon mounts which makes the difference giving the Iowa a 75dps advantage over the Mighty Mo up close. In practical terms? No CV player is going to want to get close to the Missouri when there are softer targets available, especially lower tiered carriers. Still, she shouldn't venture alone when there's an enterprising CV present. Midway and Hakuryu are more than capable of overwhelming even the formidable guns of the Missouri and ruining her day, especially with her general lack of agility to facilitate dodging a point blank drop. Nope.jpg. Try again, Hiryu. Overall Impressions Skill Floor:Simple/ Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling:Low/ Moderate / High / Extreme How patient are you? Patience and planning largely defines success in the Iowa-class and the Missouri is no different. Reckless aggression will get you sunk in a hurry. Being overly cautious may preserve your ship but it won't win you any battles as your guns keep idle for fear of reprisals. This is a challenging ship to do well in, largely because of her fragility and how the bow-tanking and passive meta found in high tier game play will make finding those juicy targets so much more difficult. When top tier, you carry the heavy burden of needing to punch at your weight class and do a lion's share of the damage, but the Missouri's fragility to being caught broadside makes finding those opportunities difficult. Much of what I said in my Iowa review holds true to the Missouri. She's not terribly forgiving. If you catch the enemy in a bad position, you will look like a total rockstar, farming enormous amounts of damage. But if you just opt to trade fire with wary opponents, your results will be very lackluster. The truly excellent Iowa players look for and create these opportunities to shine while the mediocre wait for those one off games which hand them great results. Mouse's Summary: Excellent guns. Her protection almost seems good enough until it isn't. Which is often. Turns like a pregnant Yak in a mud wallow. Very respectable AA power. Pees on the high-tier economy and laughs at everyone who struggles to afford their tier 10 boats like they were filthy peasants. I spent a lot of time in Co-Op with the Missouri trying to isolate her credit earning potential. I suppose I owe the few not-bot team mates a sincere apology for my lack of performance in said matches. The only way to reliably get a measure of just how much the Missouri earned compared to other premiums involved getting myself killed without doing anything of consequence. A half dozen matches in the Missouri and the same done in the Tirpitz, Atago and Mikhail Kutuzov helped pin down the value of the Missouri's credit income. I can say with confidence: She earns approximately 50% more credits than a tier 8 premium ship. This is before any expenses, of course. For repair costs, the Missouri will set you back 60,000 credits. Compare this to the Iowa with premium camouflage, which spends 96,000 credits to fix the ship and earns only half of what the Missouri does. In the days leading up to the Missouri's release, there's been a lot of talk about equivalents to the Missouri's earning potential. This naturally comes at a consequence of the very high cost of the Missouri. 750,000 free experience is nothing to sneeze at. If you weren't already sitting on a significant pile of free experience before the price was leaked, you weren't likely to see this as an affordable sum -- not without some herculean grinding tolerances. While ships like the Montana and Iowa can match the Missouri for experience gains, they cannot touch her where credit earning is concerned. Tier 8 premiums are comparable to her earnings but even they fall short. In terms of time spent to rewards earned, the Missouri will outpace the tier 8 premiums. You'll need to play 3 games in your Atago to equate 2 in the Missouri for income earned. For those players who feel perpetually strapped for credits, I cannot stress how liberating this ship will be for them once they own it. Bad games in Random Battles will net you 200,000 to 300,000 credits. Good games can score upwards of a million. Even Co-Op becomes economically feasible for grinding credits with the Missouri and a premium account. So long as you can earn a minimum of 250 to 300 base experience, you will make money (not much at that low experience, but a fair chunk at 500xp games or higher). Once you peel back all of this money talk, the Missouri is an Iowa-class at the end of the day. She can bow tank. She can spank enemies with her 406mm rifles just as well as the Wisconsin ever could. But the buff to her forward armour didn't solve the vulnerability problems inherent with the class. The Iowa-class has always been reasonably strong when bow tanking -- that's not where the problem was. It's that enormous, high-water citadel that causes so many issues for the ship and that's not corrected in the Missouri. If you were hoping for an improved Iowa, I'm sorry to disappoint, the Missouri is only an incremental improvement in that regard and not the big step forward some of us were hoping for. Link to the Q&A Regarding the Missouri from this Thread: http://forum.worldofwarships.com/index.php?/topic/106264-premium-ship-review-uss-missouri/page__st__80__pid__2604109#entry2604109 Cool stuff like this only happens when someone royally screws up. Would I Recommend? So let's talk about cost. The Missouri will set you back 750,000 free experience. This will make her largely inaccessible for non-veteran players in World of Warships and reflects a rather unique way of selling a premium ship. Theoretically, any player of World of Warships could earn her for free given enough time. Realistically and practically speaking, most players are going to end up spending some form of real-world money to facilitate acquiring this ship. There's some pretty ingenious suggestions out there, such as combining signal flags and premium camouflage onto an Anshan or tier 9+ tech tree ship with premium camouflage for maximum free-experience gains. For someone to pay for enough doubloons for the equivalent, the EU server has a bundle of 30,500 doubloons (500 more than needed) for €100 -- which is about $110 USD. Of course, said bundle isn't (currently) available on the NA server which means on this side of the pond, a player will be shelling out about $130 USD. For different players, this represents an obstacle of varying difficulty. Some will be able to throw that kind of quid at the ship without a second thought while others will see it as insurmountable. Few ships create such a change in the game experience as the Missouri, if only from trivializing credit earning. Let me be clear, it's not like the amount of credits she earns cannot be obtained by other means. She simply makes it easier and laughably so. Time is money, after all, and those with the Missouri will have time to spare. ForRandom Battle Grinding: I would absolutely recommend her for grinding. She is, hands down, the best USN training ship and credit earning ship in the game -- a fact that is unlikely to be challenged anytime soon. The only ship that comes close to her totals is the German Prinz Eugen for Captain Training, but the German ship doesn't come close to her credit earning potential. So if you want to earn bank and accelerate training up your Captains, the Missouri is a must have. For Competitive Gaming: Is the Iowa-class competitive? You'd be a fool to take her instead of the Friedrich der Große, IMO. But this whole question is sort of moot with there being a distinctive lack of tier 9 competitive game play. If it ever comes up? No, don't use your Missouri. Use the Friedrich instead. For Collectors: What's wrong with you? Yes, it's the Missouri. For Fun Factor: I don't like the current high-tier meta in Random Battles of World of Warships. So the Missouri wasn't fun for me. I prefer my action up close and personal and that's difficult to achieve in high tier games on the North American server. Most Battleships seem terrified of getting anywhere near the cap circles. Engagement ranges are usually up in the 18km vicinity. It's passive, dull and heart breaking. It involves waiting for one side to make a mistake and punishing those that try and make a move. Outfitting your Mighty Mo I'm totally cutting corners here and repeating what I said for the Iowa. When you're equipping your Missouri, there are two primary roles to consider. The first is whether or not you intend to fully specialize her as an AA-Ship or not. This is hardly an optimal build, but if you hate Carriers with a vengeance, it has its merits. If you decide against this, you can instead choose one of two gunship builds which focus on either accuracy or firepower. Recommended Modules If you are selecting an AA build, you want the following choices to best optimize your firepower. This will provide extra range and extra DPS off of your AA guns. In addition, this build also adds to your agility, reducing your rudder shift time. For your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. Even if you're specializing for anti-aircraft firepower, you're still a Battleship and increasing your main battery survival should be near paramount. If you really hate detonations, you can alternatively take Magazine Modification 1. This will make the chances of it happening absolutely miniscule. For your second slot, take AA Guns Modifaction 2 to increase your AA range by 20% if you want to be a flak-boat. Otherwise, you should be taking Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1. This will boost your secondary range and accuracy by 5% and your main battery range by 16% which is huge. For your third slot, AA Guns Modification 3 is your next choice for an AA-ship. This will add an additional 25% to your AA power. If you're choosing to be a gunship, now you have the choice. If you want to go for rate of fire, take Main Battery Modification 3. If you want to go for accuracy, take Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2. All of the choices in the fourth slot are pretty terrible. At least Damage Control System Modification 1 will add 2% to your torpedo damage reduction, so take that one. You're again faced with a choice here for the fifth slot and each have their own merits. If you want to improve your rudder shift time, take Steering Gears Modification 2. If you would prefer to reduce the amount of damage you take from fires that are left to burn for their full duration, then Damage Control System Modification 2 is your best choice. And lastly, for your sixth slot, between the two options, Concealment Modification 1 is the better option for all builds. Recommended Consumables When it comes to premium consumables, it's easy just to splurge with the Missouri because of how many credits she tends to earn. The only players that need really concern themselves with their inherent costs would be those without a premium account looking to focus primarily on Co-Op. However, there are some that are just worth taking from a game play perspective. The premium version of both the Damage Control Party and Repair Party are both very important for mitigating damage in a Battleship. This reduces their reset timer considerably and it can (and will) save your ship on numerous occasions. Of less importance is taking a premium version of the Radar consumable. This will reduce the reset timer from three minutes down to two. I find the Radar on the Missouri to be highly situational. I went for a premium version, but to be honest, I seldom use it. Recommended Captain Skills Again, depending on whether or not you want to specialize as an anti-aircraft vessel or not will affect your Captain Skill choices. Optimally, you'll want to build towards specializing her for concealment and firepower, not for anti-aircraft duties. From tier 1, Basic Fire Training is your best choice. Basics of Survivability is a nice follow up after you've unlocked your 16th skill point. From tier 2, Expert Marksman is best. At tier 3 you've got a choice. Superintendent is nice for the extra charge of your Repair Party, but is only really worthwhile if you regularly find yourself going through all four charges that you have with the premium version of the consumable. Alternatively, Vigilance can assist with spotting torpedoes early which is of more importance on the Missouri without access to a float plane. Lastly, High Alert is handy for reducing the strain on your already taxed Damage Control Party. At tier 4 this is where you will differ between AA and gunship builds. For both builds, take Advanced Fire Training first. AA builds should follow up with Manual Targeting for AA Armament to make CV lives miserable. Lastly at tier 5, Concealment Expert is very handy for the Missouri. It gives her the opportunity to finally use her long legs and redeploy as needs be -- or simply fade from a gunfight she doesn't want to participate in anymore. For more articles in this series, please visit: LittleWhiteMouse's Mega Ship Review Guide
  19. Dunkerque overtaking Strasbourg. The following is a review of Dunkerque & Strasbourg, the tier VI & VII French battleships. They were both provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to me. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.12. Please be aware that their performance may change in the future. I couldn't help myself. I saw an opportunity to not only review a new ship but to update an older one too. Maybe I'll make this a regular thing going into the future whenever Wargaming releases a comparable sister-ship -- review the new addition and touch base on an older one. It seems a bit ambitious to declare it as the new norm, but we'll see what happens. At any rate, this is a review of both Dunkerque-class battleships: Dunkerque at tier VI and her new sister-ship, Strasbourg at tier VII. The two ships are almost identical which raises concerns on balance. Strasbourg is Dunkerque in almost every metric that matters short of tiering and access to the Main Battery Reload Consumable. One can't help but ask the following questions: Is Dunkerque so good at tier VI that she can be effectively cloned and placed at tier VII with little issue? Just how influential are the small changes made between the two ships? Is Main Battery Reload Booster that powerful on a 330m armed platform? Is Strasbourg worth the grind or should you just stick with Dunkerque? Let's find some answers! Quick Summary: Fast, lightly armoured battlecruisers with all eight of it's quick-firing 330mm guns mounted in two quad-turrets on their bows. Strasbourg has access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. PROS All forward gun arrangement simplifies maximizing firepower. Fast reload (26s Dunkerque, 25s Strasbourg) Good HE shell performance and fire setting. Comfortable gun handling. Long ranged with good ballistics over distance. Solid agility with a good top speed and rate of turn. Strasbourg Specific: Has access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. CONS Unable to fire her main battery guns directly rearward (for some inexplicable reason!) Lightly armoured, highly vulnerable to AP overmatch and HE shells. Exposed, high-water citadel with thin belt armour. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower. Large surface detection range. Strasbourg Specific: Small hit point pool for a tier VII battleship. Summary of Differences If you're a crusty ol' veteran with playing Dunkerque, so experienced in Marine Nationale ways battlecruiser ways that you serenade baguettes, you don't need me to tell you what she's like. To expedite things for these players, here's a list of all of the differences between the two battleships, from the significant to the inane. These are listed Dunkerque vs Strasbourg: Tier: VI vs VII (duh) Economy: VI vs VII (higher tiered ships earn more credits and experience for the same actions) Fire Resistance Coefficient: 23.31% vs 29.97% Superstructure HP: 1,800 vs 1,700 Belt Armour: 225mm vs 283mm Rear Upper Athwartship: 198mm vs 210mm Turtleback: 40mm vs 50mm Turret Faces: 330mm vs 360mm Turret Backs: 335mm vs 352mm Turret Floor: 150mm vs 160mm Sigma: 1.7 vs 1.8 Main Battery Reload: 26s vs 25s Main Battery Range: 18.21km vs 19.1km A-Turret's Fire Arcs: 310º vs 294º Number of 37mm twin AA mounts: 5 (18dps) vs 4 (16dps) Flak Explosion Damage: 1,330 vs 1,400 Main Battery Reload Booster: no vs yes Tonnage: 35,500 vs 36,308 Permanent Camos: 4 vs 2 Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Difficult Both ships are wonderfully uncomplicated to use. The all-forward gun arrangement helps keep new-players safe, mitigating the need to expose the ship's broadside in order to maximize firepower. Their long range also helps keep new players safe. The ship's speed is also a blessing -- fast enough to get the ship where it needs to go but not being so fast that she can easily out-strip support as new players are wont to do. Were the ship easier to hide or if it had a better protection scheme, it might have warranted a "Simple" rating. There's a lot of strong carry potential with these ships. The combination of good speed and a relatively fast reload allows these ships to wreak all kinds of mayhem. Strasbourg's Main Battery Reload Booster is particularly delicious for punishing exposed enemies, be they a briefly lit lolibote or a high-tier battleship that needs to be burned. Unfortunately, they are painfully soft-skinned and very difficult to hide which are both strong limiting factors. The lack of overmatch potential on their 330mm guns is also a bit frustrating, though proper ammunition use can help mitigate this drawback. Options Both ships share similar customization principles. The marked difference between the two is in their consumables (naturally), but otherwise they can be built the same. Consumables Both ships have the same, standard Damage Control Party for French battleships. This has a 15 second active period, an 80 second reset timer and unlimited charges. Similarly, they share the same Repair Party which heals back up to 14% of the ship's starting hit points per charge. It queues 50% of all penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of everything else. It has an 80 second reset timer. Their last shared consumables are the option between a Catapult Fighter and Spotter Aircraft. Dunkerque mounts these in her third slot and Strasbourg her fourth. The latter consumable increases their range by 20% for 100 seconds with a 240 second reset timer. Both ships begin with 4 charges. The former consumable starts with only three charges, deploying a pair of fighters which orbit the ship for 60 seconds. It has a 90 second reset timer. What sets Strasbourg apart is her access to Main Battery Reload Booster in her third slot. This reduces the reload time of her main battery guns by half for 20 seconds. She comes with four charges to start and it has an 180 second reset timer. Upgrades Both ships use the same build. In your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is arguably optimal given the relative fragility of the Dunkerque-class's main weapons. Nothing sucks more than losing one of only two turrets! Otherwise, the two special upgrades, Spotter Aircraft Modification 1 and Damage Control Party Modification 1 may be used instead. They can be purchased for 17,000 from the Armory . Damage Control System Modification 1 is the only upgrade worth considering in slot 2. In slot three, Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal. But if you want, you can trade that out for faster turret traverse with Main Battery Modification 2 but this has much less benefit than decreasing the dispersion area. There are interesting choices for these ships in the fourth slot. Damage Control System Modification 2 is the most straight-forward and optimal, reducing fire and flooding damage. You can naturally opt to improve their handling by taking Steering Gears Modification 1 -- their high rate of turn and long range does lend them well to active dodging. However, given the disposition of these ships and their love of hugging islands, there's some worth in taking Propulsion Modification 1 for better acceleration from a dead stop. It's up to you based on your preferred style of play. When in doubt, though, default to Damage Control System Modification 2. Commander Skills Both ships can easily make use of the same commander. The ideal build differs somewhat from the default boring ol' battleship build in that Dunkerque and Strasbourg both benefit considerably from the Expert Loader skill. Making room for it can leave you with a skill point leftover which isn't as optimal as other builds. Oh well. Start with choosing between Priority Target and Incoming Fire Alert. I much prefer the former, but it's up to you. Grab the skills circled in green next to complete your 10pt build: Adrenaline Rush, Basics of Survivability and Fire Prevention. Next double-back and grab the skills in the red squares: Concealment Expert, Superintendent and Expert Loader. The skills in blue squares are nice to have but you may struggle to fit them in with the above recommendations. Mix and match to your tastes. Camouflage There are multiple camouflage options between the two ships. Dunkerque has Type 10, Fleur d'Acier (Steel Flower), Azur Lane and Mid-Autumn Festival camouflage patterns. Strasbourg has Type 10 and Winter Holiday camouflage patterns. All of the differences are cosmetic, providing the identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. As an older (and popular) ship, Dunkerque has had a large number of premium camouflage types -- which is hella fun. I really like her Azur Lane camo. It's nice and sharp with the red and white contrast. Strasbourg's camo options are much more subdued. I'm not a fan of her Holiday camo. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 330mm/52 guns in 2x4 turrets mounted on the bow in a A-B superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twenty 130mm guns in 5x4 turrets with two turrets per side and one mounted on the centre line facing the stern. Lemme preface this by saying that I'm not going to talk about the secondaries off the Dunkerque-class. They're not worth specializing into at the moment with their limited fire arcs, to say nothing of how poorly these ships fare in a brawl. Onto the main event! Big Guns, Bad Habits & Bae Bote I admit I have a bit of a bias against smaller-caliber battleship guns at the mid-tiers. This stems from my early days in World of Warships, having fallen in love with the overmatch potential of Warspite's 381mm guns tier VI. Bae bote's artillery, while not idiot proof, certainly lent itself well to firing nothing but a homogeneous loadout of AP shells. With all of the heavy lifting those Royal Navy 15" guns could do, I still remember being disdainful of Dunkerque's paltry 330mm guns when I first reviewed her back in late summer of 2016. They had no overmatch potential so they were OBVIOUSLY garbage, right? I'm somewhat less naive than I was way back when. Only somewhat, mind you. I still have a bit of a blind spot with bae-bote and battleship caliber guns with large-swathes of overmatch potential. That's something these guns lack but that doesn't make them bad by any means. There's a lot of good things about the combat performance of these weapons. They have excellent ballistics over range. They have a fast reload. They're decent fire starters. They have good AP penetration. AP penetration values drawn from Wargaming's Armada 2 video on Dunkerque from August 2016. Dunkerque and Strasbourg have some very respectable AP penetration values for guns of their caliber. There are two drawbacks with these weapons to keep in mind: They have French (and Italian) gunnery dispersion. They lack overmatch potential with their AP rounds. There's not much to be said about the first flaw. French battleship dispersion is the worst in the game currently, being slightly worse than that of American, British and German battleships. This leads to wonky shell groupings from these guns, especially at the long ranges Strasbourg is so often forced to engage. Having both guns on the bow in quad mounts does make them feel a little more accurate, at least in terms of the initial outbound shell clusters. However, this is more of an illusion than a practical advantage. Still, they have average sigma values, so within their dispersion elipse (larger as it is) their shell fall is pretty standard, though the difference between the two ships in this regard is largely indistinguishable. The best players in the game struggle to discern the difference between 0.2 sigma in standard game play, to say nothing of the 0.1 sigma difference between Strasbourg (1.8 sigma) and Dunkerque (1.7 sigma). Overall, the guns feel reasonable with their accuracy though they will troll you. Thankfully, their rate of fire helps alieviate the feeling of being cheated. One of the best fixes for bad dispersion is to reload often. When individual salvos don't feel like they matter as much, it's easier to forgive a few stray shells. Dunkerque's 26 second reload feels very comfortable -- more than making up for low individual shell damage. The extra second shaved off Strasbourg's guns is nicer still, though like her dispersion you might not feel the difference. Short reload times on battleships is a hella powerful advantage, even with the slightly lower alpha-strike from their hits. Battleship gunnery is incredibly opportunist, with citadel hit "money shots" making or breaking their play experience. Dunkerque's guns are more likely to be reloaded (or almost reloaded) when an opportunity presents itself. Strasbourg's are all but guaranteed. Like Jean Bart before her, Strasbourg's access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable is a game-changer. She will have her guns reloaded when it matters most, ensuring she can put shells downrange at vulnerable targets and best capitalize on the opportunities presented -- whether this be blowing out the citadel of a Christmas-Makarov or stacking fires back onto a Hizen that just blew its Damage Control Party. If Strasbourg's guns had better overmatch potential, they'd be downright oveprowered. The lack of overmatch potential is a problem shared by all battleship rounds between 283mm and 356mm in caliber. While the Dunkerque-class can overmatch 23mm of armour with their AP rounds, in practical terms, 19mm plate is the last effective armour value they can best at any angle. This makes most tier V, VI and VII cruisers vulnerable to being overmatched by these AP shells, but only the very-light cruisers at tiers VIII+. Like with dispersion, this is more of an issue for Strasbourg as a consequence of her higher tiering. It's only the extremities of tier V battleships that these AP rounds can overmatch and only then if the ships in question don't have dispersed armour schemes which gets a little more common at lower tiers. Against any other target, both Dunkerque and Strasbourg will want to reach for the HE rounds instead. To this end, I've found having the Expert Loader skill very handy if you can spare the single skill point for it. Outside of issues where they might ricochet from striking a plate they cannot overmatch at too steep an angle, Dunkerque and Strasbourg's AP shells perform well, with very respectable AP penetration values across all engagement ranges, with even better penetration than New Mexico's 356mm AP rounds. It's not quite high enough to contest higher-tiered battleship citadels at ranges of 15km or beyond, but it's good enough. Dunkerque may not appear to have impressive DPM, but she is more likely to be able to fire all of her guns than most other battleships -- especially while under fire herself. Her all-forward gun arrangement allows her to maximize her firepower while still maintaining a defensive nose-in aspect. Strasbourg is listed twice. The one with the asterix denotes her using her Main Battery Reload Booster for 20s. Strasbourg's faster rate of fire gives her comparable DPM placement to Dunkerque, tier-for-tier. However, her Main Battery Reload Booster takes things to a whole other level, allowing her to punish opponents when they give her an opportunistic shot. Both ships are decent fire starters. Strasbourg flirts with Royal Navy levels when she activates her consumable (again, denoted by an asterix). Gun Layout Dunkerque's A-turret fire arcs are gorgeous. Her B-turret are much less so. This makes her B-turret a good indicator for over-angling with Dunkerque when firing to the rear. So long as A-turret can engage but B-turret cannot, she's still in auto-ricochet territory -- you know, provided that the incoming AP shells don't simply overmatch her hull. The all-bow mounted gun arrangement of the Dunkerque-class is their most striking feature. In World of Warships, this has more advantages than drawbacks. Dunkerque was not the first battleship in the game with this layout. However she was the first battleship in the game to have all of her guns capable of firing directly forward. Thus she was the first battleship in the game that could "bow tank" while still maximizing her firepower. At the time of her release, it was easy to underestimate just how effective this was and how effective it remains in World of Warships. It is very easy to maximize firepower with Dunkerque and Strasbourg. Barring kiting situations, it is easier to bring all of their guns to bear than on any other battleship. This is further facilitated by their fast (for a battleship) traverse rate of 5º/s (36s for 180º). Even in situations where Dunkerque is being chased, her "over the shoulder" firing arcs are respectable with her A-turret being capable of hucking shells 25º off her stern, still maintaining a perfect auto-ricochet target with her belt. Obviously the drawback here is that she cannot engage enemies directly to her rear. What's more, this all-forward gun arrangement makes her slow to switch sides when firing backwards as her guns have to come all of the way around. Still, the all-forward gun arrangement greatly facilitates bringing all guns on targets for much of the battle. It's this ease of bringing guns on target -- all of their guns on target -- which makes these ships dangerous and it's one of their many strengths. Strasbourg doesn't have Dunkerque's delicious A-turret's fire arcs. Summary "Always ready" -- this defines the gunnery on Dunkerque and Strasbourg, and Strasbourg more than her sister. When facing off against these ships, their faster rate of fire, good fire arcs and gun handling is what makes them dangerous. As gunnery platforms, they're super comfy and fun to play. Their individual salvos may not hit as big as other ships; a consequence of both shell size and trollish dispersion, but they don't feel at a deficit in either regard. VERDICT: Their guns perform better than their smaller caliber would suggest. Beware Strasbourg's Main Battery Reload Booster -- used correctly, it can devastate vulnerable enemies. Durability Hit Points: 52,600 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 26mm / 16mm / 26mm / 26mm Dunkerque Maximum Citadel Protection: 26mm anti-torpedo bulge + 225mm belt + 40mm turtleback + 40mm/50mm citadel wall Strasbourg Maximum Citadel Protection: 26mm anti-torpedo bulge + 283mm belt + 50mm turtleback + 40mm/50mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25% The durability fortunes of these two battlecruisers flips between their hit point totals and their armour profiles. While I would not call either ship blessed in either category, it's more that one or the other is "less-worse" in a given area than its sister ship. Overall, Strasbourg loses out wholesale to her sister, if only because she sits a full tier higher and contends with bigger threats. Health Pool Strasboug is the big loser here when it comes to comparing hit points. Dunkerque wins no prizes either, but as a tier VI vessel, she's she doesn't stand out in any negative or positive way. Strasbourg's woes come in two areas: She has a small (tier VI-sized) hit point pool. Her Repair Party is normal. The former kind of surprises me -- not that she has a small hit point pool, but that it's unchanged from Dunkerque's own despite the (slight) increase in tonnage. Best estimates should put Strasbourg's hit point total almost 1,000hp higher than Dunkerque. That's not enough to rescue her from the doldrums of tier VII health totals, but every scrap certainly helps and it would let her overtake Lyon at the very least. Moreover, the issue Strasbourg faces at tier VII comes from her plain-Jane Repair Party consumable. The glut of Royal Navy ships at tier VII along with Colorado makes Strasbourg's bare-bones Repair Party seem weak by comparison, especially on a ship with a hit point deficit. I suppose it's a blessing that she's not stuck with one fewer charges the way the Soviet ships and Florida are neutered, so that's something. Dunkerque's effective hit point pool is on the low side of average for a tier VI battleship. Now you can imagine what happens when you bring a "low side of average" effective health pool to a tier VII match-up. This is especially noteworthy as tier VII is where health regeneration gets super weird and powerful. Armour Profile When it comes to repelling HE shells, the two Dunkerque-sisters are functionally identical. While there exists some minor differences in their protection schemes, these are a non-issue when it comes to repelling HE shells. Dunkerque and Strasbourg are exceedingly soft-skinned and highly vulnerable to HE fire. Their near-homogeneous 26mm external plate makes them easy prey, not only for light cruisers but for 127mm+ armed destroyers. While the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill may be necessary, her opponents all have the potential to farm damage off the soft-skinned profiles of the Dunkerque-class battleships. Both battleships bleed a lot of hit points to small and medium caliber HE shells. Things don't get better when it comes to repelling AP rounds. Strasbourg attempts to correct some of the defence issues of her sister-ship with improved turret, belt and citadel protection profiles. Dunkerque is notoriously vulnerable to citadel hits, going so far as to have her machine spaces colour-coded through one of her camouflage patterns (thank you, Yuro, for pointing that out!). The thinness of her citadel protection means that with very few exceptions (Oklahoma, I'm looking at you), Dunkerque is vulnerable to battleship calibre AP shells at all ranges. This goes double for any AP rounds from guns of 380mm or larger as they are fully capable of overmatching her external armour plate and can land citadel hits at nearly any angle. Though Strasbourg's protection is improved, it's never so good that I would trust flashing her sides or snoot to incoming battleship rounds. Both Dunkerque-sisters take citadel hits frequently. They are both at risk of losing their turrets when they attempt to tank battleship fire. The best that could be said about Strasbourg is that she is largely immune to citadel hits from cruiser-calibre weapons, though again there are exceptions, especially at close range. Their armour profiles are almost identical but Strasbourg has the thicker belt, turtleback and turret faces. While the extra ~60mm of armour on Strasbourg's belt looks significant, the higher penetration gun she faces makes this improvement kinda moot. Summary These are ships that don't want to get hit -- like at all. Nearly every HE shell can hurt. Nearly every battleship-calibre AP round is a potential citadel hit. Having only two turrets makes the loss of one (even temporarily) a disaster. The best play with these ships is to not get hit in the first place; exercising their long range to make themselves a less appealing target. Anchoring one side against a piece of island cover is also a good practice, if only to mitigate flanking fire from enemy battleships from across the map. Limiting the angles of attack against these vessels is paramount to keeping them safe. They don't have a lot of armour. They don't have a lot of health. They don't have improved Repair Parties. VERDICT: Get hit, take cit. Agility Top Speed: 29.5kts Turning Radius: 730m Rudder Shift Time: 14s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.7º/s at 22kts (Dunkerque) or 22.2kts (Strasbourg). What a difference a tier makes. Strasbourg and Dunkerque both have excellent agility for a battleship. Not only do they have a respectable top speed -- nearly reaching 30 knots -- but unlike higher-tiered battleships, they are not shackled with a punitive turning circle radius. No matter how you look at it, both battleships handle beautifully. This combines with their very nice gun traverse rates to make keeping guns on target a very comfortable experience. The only real fault for these two battleships is that they flirt with but never quite achieve cruiser-levels of agility. This flaw mostly resides with their rudder shift time which, while not punitive, is definitely too sluggish to affect reasonable dodging metrics. Active dodging is really only ever possible at the extremes of their range. It's a bit of a tease that way, but by any other measuire, their agility is solid. Dunkerque is very fast for a tier VI battleship which helps translate to a good rate of turn despite her larger-than-average turning radius at that tier. If it weren't for ships like Warspite (bae! ♥) and Normandie, she'd be the clear winner. Once you start comparing Strasbourg and Dunkerque to tier VII battleships, it's no longer a contest. Strasbourg is THE most agile tier VII battleship, bar none. Lyon and Gneisenau provide some competition, but Strasbourg is the hands down winner. VERDICT: Some of the best mid-tier battleship agility you'll find out there. Both ships handle beautifully and are very comfortable to drive. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 3 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast (Dunkerque) or 1,400 per blast (Strasbourg) at 3.5km to 6.0km. Long Ranged (up to 6.0km): 84dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km): 24.5dps (Dunkerque) or 21dps (Strasbourg) at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 1.5km): 105dps at 70% accuracy I'm going to let the graphics do the talking here. Kay, so this looks like a hot mess and there's value in this chaos too. There are so many disparate AA range values at tier VI, it's hard to keep track. "Why so much negative space?" you might ask. Well, I scaled this to match the AA values of the tier VII battleships as both tier VI and VII battleships have to contend with tier VI and VIII aircraft carriers. The ships here are arranged in approximate level of effective personal defense, sorted by the formula [ AA DPS * ( range - 1km) ], thus putting more value on longer ranged damage output. None of the tier VI battleships could be said to have "good" or "effective" AA firepower, even against tier VI carriers. While Dunkerque sits in the middle of the pack here, she's in the bottom half of the incompetent. The best thing about her, really, are those 6km ranged guns which can help a friend out with overlapping fields of fire. Strasbourg has worse personal AA firepower than Nagato. It's only when battleships get to California or Florida levels of AA firepower that they can start looking towards their own defense. And it's not like these ships can prevent CVs from dropping on them -- oh no, they simply make it expensive (and then only if they haven't had most of their medium and small caliber guns shorn off by a spray of HE fire). Strasbourg stands little chance and is an easy mark for carriers. VERDICT: Hilariously bad on both counts. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.92km / 14.77km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.58km / 8.62km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.2km Dunkerque Maximum Firing Range: 18.21km to 21.85km Strasbourg Maximum Firing Range: 19.1km to 22.92km The stealth of these two battleships is crap. I don't know what really needs to be said beyond that. Their surface detection range is atrocious for a ship of their size and you can never truly get it under control. For Dunkerque, this is a more pronounced problem given the smaller maps she end up on at lower tiers. The only way you're surprising anyone in these ships is with long-range fire. While this may end a cruiser in short order, you're only going to annoy battleships unless their citadel protection is very (very!) soft skinned. In practical terms, everything will spot you first. Due to her fragility, this will so often relegate you to play defensively, hugging islands to protect a flank or deny vision lest you get crossfired from unseen enemy. VERDICT: Downright terrible. Final Evaluation Let's go back to those questions that started this review: Is Dunkerque so good at tier VI that she can be effectively cloned and placed at tier VII with little issue? Just how influential are the small changes made between the two ships? Is Main Battery Reload Booster that powerful on a 330m armed platform? Is Strasbourg worth the grind or should you just stick with Dunkerque? The answers to those questions are: Hells no. Largely irrelevant, though the extra second shaved off her reload and the extra armour is nice. I'm kinda miffed about her A-turret losing out on those firing angles, though. Yes. It's a disgustingly powerful consumable and it's what carries this ship at tier VII. Well, that depends. How much do you love Dunkerque? Dunkerque is a good tier VI battleship. This is largely owing to two factors: She has good guns and she has good agility. Dunkerque is fast enough to bring her firepower where it will do the most good and her guns are reliable enough to stack steady amounts of damage. Her fast reload makes her particularly good at picking on cruisers and stacking fires. Yes, her stealth sucks. Yes, her AA power sucks. Yes, defensively she's a bit of a joke. But those, like Tempest Keep, are merely a setback. Stealth and AA rarely define the battleship meta. Better armour would be nice, but it's not like Dunkerque is incapable of face-tanking a whole range of battleship opponents provided they're not armed with 380mm+ guns. Dunkerque is a whole bunch of "good enough" packaged behind comfortable gunnery. As one of the oldest premium battleships in the game Dunkerque doesn't have a gimmick to make her stand out anymore. Being French was her gimmick back in 2016. Since the release of the French battleship line, she lost not only that distinction but also the uniqueness of her all-forward gun arrangement. Players can simply unlock Richelieu from the tech tree if they want to have a taste of that game play, albeit two tiers higher. There's not a lot of 'wow-factor' baked into Dunkerque. She's good, don't get me wrong, but she's not amazing. She's not meta-defining or great. She wasn't a solid pick in tier VI Ranked Battles, sitting behind battleships that brought that oh-so covetted overmatch like Warspite and West Virginia and beyond consideration in team-based competitive (though admittedly everything played second fiddle to Admiral Graf Spee). Strasbourg will be rightly compared to Jean Bart and there is a reason Jean Bart isn't commonly available anymore (I'm still shocked she reappered for Black Friday, but whatevs, clearly WG likes money). If you love Dunkerque's game play, Strasbourg is so worth it, it's not even funny. I cannot stress enough how much the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable improves on what was already some damn fine gunnery. That's really the whole summation of Strasbourg. Yes, there's a bunch of other little changes here and there, but they feel so inconsequential compared to those twenty-seconds of fast-firing guns when her consumable is active. During development, Wargaming seemed oh-so careful not to repeat the misteps of Jean Bart's overpowered self. Strasbourg had her rate of fire nerfed from an initial 21 seconds (yes, really) to 24 seconds and then eventually down to 25 seconds with a slight sigma buff (from Dunkerque's 1.7 to the current 1.8). That should be enough to keep her in line, but I admit I enjoyed myself a lot playing Strasbourg. Such enjoyment on a test ship usually means that the ship is a little too strong. This speaks a lot to what battleship gameplay fundamentally boils down to: delivering big hits. The difference between good performance and bad in a match can so often be separated by a single Devastating Strike. Even if you lose, if you erased one ship outright, it's hard to call that a bad showing. Strasbourg's consumable makes it easier to do that and that's hella powerful. If I had to choose between the two, Strasbourg is (to me) the obvious choice. Dunkerque doesn't have anything novel going for her, in my opinion. Her best selling feature now is her tiering. Strasbourg at least has that gunnery gimmick; something a lot of players may not have access to in the future given the increased rarity of Jean Bart. Strasbourg is a GUDBOTE -- or more accurately, she's a MEHBOTE with a good consumable.
  20. I recently completed this LEGO 1:350 scale model of the October Revolution and thought I'd share: Compared to my older 1:350 Kongo: The ship is about a foot and a half long, contains about 1000 parts, and powered by LEGO Powered Up elements Won't write too much since they keep deleting these threads, but here's a video with my commentary and the ship running: Have a nice day!
  21. It Would be Pretty Cool if HMS Bellona was Added to the Game. So, remember when I said that while no ship needs to be added to the game, HMS Sirius really ought to be added to the game? HMS Bellona does not really need to be added to the game, but it would be pretty cool. Also, because Bellona is not the slam dunk that Sirius is, I must think a bit more about how it would be implemented and more importantly what the flavor of the ship would be. For Sirius, it was simple, extrapolate values from existent ships and characteristics and make it conform to British light cruisers. I know that it will be acceptably balanced (well, maybe some things need tweaking) and not meta breaking or making because that meta already exists. If I do the same thing for Bellona, that would be boring. So, same format as before, I’ll talk about the ship’s history, why this ship in particular needs to be added, the stats of the ship and expected playstyle, and then who will want to buy it. So, without further delay. HMS Bellona: A Primer. HMS Bellona was ordered as a standard Dido class cruiser in 1939 as a part of 5 war emergency ships. Construction continued until there was a pause in May of 1940 due to the fears of invasion, with the material and expertise being moved elsewhere. This allowed time for the Directorate of Naval Construction to look at what could be adjusted on these ships to make them more efficient. The chief thing on their mind was removing the topmost front turret. If they did that, it would give them the following benefits. 1. They were no longer fighting as much with the KGV’s for turrets. While less of a issue the further into the war they got, initially the Dido’s were finishing with 4 turrets and getting their 5th later because the KGV’s had priority. Less turrets in general meant this was less of a issue. 2. The overall height of the ship could be dropped. For their dimensions, the Dido class was tall, because the top of the bridge had to see over the third turret. With that turret removed the overall height could be removed, and these weight savings could be transferred to improving protection and AA armament, speaking of... 3. A mid-range AA gun could be added that covered the front arc of the ships. Any air attack that was not a torpedo run would go down the length, so a close in AA mount that could cover that angle was very desirable. So, the gun was removed. The remaining guns had their mounts improved with more power available from an additional generator to increase their rotation rate from 10 to 20 degrees per second. Added into their connection with the high angle Control system and radar, and the main armament became much more flexible against enemy aircraft. The funnels were straightened, and more 20mm cannons were added for close in air defense. In all, these ships could engage enemy aircraft much more effectively at the cost of effectiveness against surface units, but the trade was deemed to be a good one. So, at the end of October 1943 Bellona commissioned into the Royal Navy. With less than 2 years left in the war one may be forgiven for thinking that her career was uneventful. To the contrary, it was packed. At the start though, it was not looking good. Electrical faults kept it from joining the fleet until January of 1944, where it joined the English Channel force 26 as flagship, charged with keeping the German destroyers and E-boats bottled up as invasion preparations were set in motion, as well as attacking any convoys it ran across. In March, it finally ran across some E-Boats on the 15th in a mutually inconclusive action. At this point HMS Black Prince relieved it, and they prepared for supporting the invasion. During the invasion Bellona deployed off Omaha beach, providing naval fire support as well as AA picket duty, where during a night attack it got a confirmed aircraft kill. By mid-June, she was sent to reserve, and prepared to move to the Norway theater. She covered a carrier attack on Tirpitz in July, then returned to Plymouth and force 26 to hunt E-boats. In August, Bellona started racking up some kills. On the night of the 6th, she ran into a pair of convoys sinking 2 minesweepers, a patrol boat, and an aircraft repair ship as well as disabling 2 more vessels. with the help of the 4 tribal class destroyers she was assigned with (one of them being Haida). In September, she was refit, with more 20mm slapped on wherever possible. In October, she escorted Implacable for airstrikes in Norway. In November she joined force 2 with HMS Kent and 4 destroyers, running into a German convoy and sinking 2 merchantships and 2 minesweepers. December brought a trip to the arctic convoys. January, another anti shipping strike, with a force of one heavy cruiser, 2 lights (the other being Dido) 10 destroyers and 2 escort carriers they ran into a convoy of 8 ships, 4 being destroyers. All the merchantmen but one was sunk, no word on the destroyers. She would spend the rest of the war alternating between arctic and Norwegian duty. Clearly, Bellona’s service was worthy. But why add in a Bellona, and why this one considering their extensive postwar career with the New Zealand navy and Pakistani navy. Why Bellona. Bellona, in a perfect world, or at least one where I made the ships for WOWS, would be a tier 6 premium for the RN. The reason for her inclusion would be more than just because of her career or to add a Dido (remember in this perfect world we already have Sirius), it's to be a premium for a new line of Royal Navy anti-aircraft cruisers. So, this premium is also a sneak peek at how I would expect to balance this entire line, which by virtue of the ships included would already have a fair few parameters attached to them that make balancing tricky. Those parameters are as follows. 1.The lowest or really close to the lowest HP in the tier for cruisers, based on their small displacement. 2. Pretty uninspiring armor. 3. The highest or really close to the highest concealment for a tier based on the dimensions of the ship. 4. The highest or really close to the highest agility for a tier, based on the dimensions of the ship. 5. Mediocre to average speed at best. 6. Really good for tier AA, with lots concentrated at range. 7. Short-ranged cannons that are small for their tier. With these factors baked in, there is not a whole lot of room for balancing them via consumables. You’ll just have to see how I handle it. Oh, and as to why Bellona as opposed to the other modified Dido’s, Bellona has the most interesting career in the RN, and the lamest career postwar. Leave the others to a Pan Asian or Commonwealth tree. So, what does Bellona look like in World of Warships? HMS Bellona in World of Warships Armor: The armor on HMS Bellona required much more thought than I initially expected it to, but ended up with a answer that was a lot easier than I thought that it was going to be. The general layout is the same as on my proposed Sirius. The citadel is completely underwater, with the roof over the magazines being 51mm thick, but the roof over the engines being a measly 13mm. at the engines and boilers, the belt armor is 76mm thick, but once you punch through that your odds of a citadel are decent if your fire is plunging. The roof of the auxiliary room armor is 51mm as well, and the end caps are 25mm. So where is the more thought than initially expected? That comes from Norman freedman’s book “British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After.” This has the weight of armor for the Dido class as 718 tons, and the Bellona’s as 860. Where did this extra weight go? The answer is into splinter protection. Near misses from bombs, it was discovered, could cause flooding from splinter penetrations outside of the main belt. Therefore, splinter protection was improved on the Bellona’s, which had time to update for this. In game, we will model this as the ship having 16mm plating everywhere exempting the superstructure. Therefore, unlike with Leander and Fiji, Bellona will not have 8-inch shells autopen if they hit bow or stern. Such a small mercy, but this ship is not supposed to be the most survivable ship. This is reflected in her HP pool. With Sirius weighing in at 6850 tons deep load compared to Bellona’s 7200, she would have marginally more HP than 26000, but less than the 28700 of Leander. Making it simple, 27000 seems right. Armament: The good news is that now some of those stats from the KGV secondary’s start to become relevant again, bad news is that one of the other stats now needs massaging down to tier 6. That’s range. While I would love for the 13.5 km range of my proposed Sirius to still be in force it now outranges Leander, Perth, and Huang He. I can’t abide that. That means that this ship will have a pathetic range of 12.7 km, at best 13.1. Ouch. As to the gun’s stats, the AP remains similar to what I said for my proposed Sirius, with the 133mm shells doing 2700 damage on a citadel hit. On Bellona and the AA cruisers, the special RN AP with much improved auto-bounce and fuse times gets replaced with a regular old AP shell. This means that this ship will not be able to rely solely on AP for its damage. The HE shell can be lifted directly from KGV’s secondary battery’s. With 1900 damage per shell and a 8% fire chance, all that’s needed is the 6 round per minute fire rate to start comparing its potential DPM and fire-starting chances to the other cruisers at tier 6. As far as AP DPM goes, things are in theory not bad. With 80 rounds of max 2700 damage per minute, it clocks in at 5th out of 20 ships. HE looks better, coming in third overall with 152000 potential damage per minute and not being far behind the two ahead of it. However, when considering the smaller gun caliber and thus the reduced amount of things it can penetrate at this tier, this high potential HE damage is needed. Coming in 7 out of 20 as far as fire-starting goes, she does not look to be too disturbing on that count. However, we need to add in the effects of fire flags and IFHE. This ship, like most ships below 152mm at this tier just need IFHE. With that, the deck armor of most tier 6 and 7 battleships as well as the armor plating of tier 8 American and German heavy cruisers becomes penetrable. So, when factoring in IFHE on all ships that would benefit from it, as well as DE and fire flags, Bellona sits pretty much in the middle. Without IFHE Bellona crawls her way to the middle of the pack. Pretty clearly so far Bellona’s battery is not exceptional in any way apart from her extremely fast 20 degree per second stock turn rate. Whoop de do. Something of a sticking point, however, would be her angles of fire. Her turrets are alleged to be able to turn 340 degrees according to Norman Friedman, However the firing angles listed by the Armor Layout for Dido has her only being able to shoot on 280 degree arcs. What this means gameplay wise is that the ship has to be angled 40 degrees in order to get all of its guns on target, way out of the autobounce angles. The only respite from these crappy angles is that given that the guns can traverse to greater angles than they are limited to fire, the firing arcs of X turret can be increased to 320 degrees based on there being no physical obstructions to it having these firing angles. This means that the ship would only have to angle 20 degrees off the bow for it to get 3/4 of its armament on target. She also has a torpedo armament, and these should just be a direct copy of what’s on Fiji. For reference, that’s 8 km, 72 second reload, 15867 max damage, and 61 knots with ability to single fire. Concealment: Being based on the Arethusa (represented in game by Huang He) and being essentially the same height and length, I propose that Bellona have a standard detection range of 9.55, going down to 8.34 km. Agility: Bellona has a top speed of 32 knots. She should keep the incredibly high energy retention in turns of the other RN light cruisers, but not retain the absurd acceleration. Her turning circle should be as I proposed with Sirius, 620 meters, able to put her rudder hard over in 6.7 seconds, giving her a rotation rate of 7.86 degrees per second. Again, average speed at best, but very agile. AA: Bellona should have good AA. In real life, she entered service with 6 dual 20mm, 12 single mounts, 3 quadruple pom-poms, and the 4 twin 5.25 in cannons. After number crunching, she should do 189 DPS at 2 km (from 8.1 dps per single based on Nelson and 13.5 dps per double based on Edinburgh), 105 dps at 2.5 km (from 35 dps based on Haida, and 120 dps per second at 6 km (my made up number again). These base values are best in tier for continuous damage. Her flak barrage would be 4 bursts at 1617 per burst. Consumables: Alright, that covers our main stats. now that we have our meat and potatoes, time to give it some flavor. Which just means some consumables and any other stat modifiers. The main thing that will cover the flavor of this ship is the fact that this, and this line, is supposed to be AA cruisers. They are supposed to be exceptionally good against enemy carriers. So, it stands to reason that one of the consumables should be defensive AA. Fair enough. And now comes the disappointing part. The ship cannot carry any aircraft (none of the RN AA CL’s can) so catapult fighter and spotter aircraft make no sense. Engine boost just does not feel right, all of the RN ships are slow. Main battery reload booster, no, already using the reload rates firing pell mell. Torpedo reload booster? Don’t make me laugh. So now we have as our final contenders the most cancerous consumables. Radar, repair, smoke, and hydro (which to be fair is not that bad). So, before we get much further, lets rule radar right out and argue about the last 3. Repair is a decent choice; it helps with the issue of this ship having a low HP pool and crappy armor. That and the fact that all the other RN tech tree cruisers have it make it an obvious move. Smoke also isn’t bad. It allows the crappy short ranged average guns to sing without as much fear of retaliation. And hydro paired with smoke makes for a potent combo, allowing you to charge down people in smoke if they are inattentive, or get out of dodge when a wall of skill comes at you. But only one of these things helps to shoot down aircraft. And that is what these are all about. So I would give it smoke. Yes, that means that this premium, and this line, is all going ships that sit in smoke and spew HE. Before you get out any pitchforks, hear me out. I think that one of the main issue with every cruiser that has been introduced with smoke so far is the fact that they all get hydro. This allows them to sit comfortably with the knowledge that they are likely safe from a marauding destroyer ending them with a wall of skill. I do not intend for that to be an option for this ship. I want to have the player have to worry in their cloud of smoke unless they have taken the care to be sure they cannot have this happen to them. I think that would go a ways to making this feel a little less… cheap. Further, smoke allows this ship to perform better against carriers, seeing how Bellona could just pop smoke to frustrate the carrier’s attacks and continue to fire away at the planes. Yes, perhaps this would just make for bad meta, but I am not currently convinced. Ok, rant out of the way, I would propose this smoke to sit between RN destroyer and RN light cruiser smoke, with 5 charges of 15 second emission and 50 second duration, and a cooldown of 100 seconds. Pretty much dead between the two in all stats. Finally, as a last bit of added flavor, I wonder if perhaps these would be better against aircraft if their flak bursts were less accurate? Currently, flak bursts try to appear most in the area directly ahead of the incoming squadron. If you don’t turn, you get massacred. If you do turn, odds are with you that you will avoid most of the damage. Right now, 80% of the shells go to this A zone, the rest to the B zones at the sides, incidentally, where a plane would turn into. If the odds of a shell appearing in A were reduced to 50-50, would this make it more likely for a maneuvering squadron to eat flak bursts? If so, that would be an important part of the ship and the lines flavor, taking this from a decent AA ship, to pretty terrifying. And that, I think, is all there is to discuss with Bellona. Why people would buy Bellona Man, remember when Sirius had everything going for it? It filled a role that was currently not filled in game in a satisfying way, was a historical ship with a good career that collectors would really be interested in, and had an anime tie in that weebs would trip over themselves for? Bellona fills a role that does not currently exist (trainer for a non-existent tree), has no anime tie in, and is a historical ship with a good career, but frankly just not as good as Sirius. There’s only one good reason to include her in game, and that would be blunted if there was already a HMS Sirius added. I would get 2 didos (honestly, I would as many as they would offer to me) but a lot of people would have that collector itch scratched at one. Perhaps if ranked went to tier 6 (does it?) it could be quite powerful, but I don’t know. Really this is about testing a playstyle. So, what do you think? How does this thing sound to you?
  22. The following is a review of Smolensk, the tier X premium Soviet light cruiser kindly provided to me by Wargaming. Please be aware that though this represents the release version of the ship, her statistics may change in the future. To the best of my knowledge, these stats are accurate as of patch 0.8.8. Someone thought it would be a good idea to release a tier X version of USS Flint but with Soviet flavour-crystals. Players in the know are disinclined to drink the red Kool-aid -- and with good reason. If you're hoping that I was going to feed the drama llama and tell you everything is fine with Smolensk, I'm sorry to disappoint. Smolensk is an unapologetically powerful premium and continues the 2019 Stalinium trend. I should call Smolensk by her proper appellation: a "Reward Ship". This distinction is hella-important. Reward ships can still be directly nerfed after-release. Barring extraordinary circumstances, a premium cannot. This is, of course, adding to the feelings of frustration within certain circles of the community -- knowing that Wargaming could apply corrections to Smolensk but hasn't. I'm personally not getting my hopes up. So let's take a look at this calamity and why Smolensk has so many people sipping Tang. PROS Troll armour scheme, with 30mm hull amidships, 50mm citadel roof and a thin armoured belt which prompts frequent AP ricochets and over-penetrations. Armed with sixteen (!) rapid-fire Soviet 130mm guns that upgrade well with commander skills. Has the ability to make players give up on life and/or rage quit simply by bringing them under fire. Speaking of fire, she's good at setting it. Good accuracy and shell ballistics for a light cruiser. Downright trollish protection scheme. Excellent concealment. It's so good that she can hide her over-performance from spreadsheets. Fast and agile. Good anti-aircraft firepower. Has access to a Smoke Generator. CONS Super squishy with a tiny hit point pool, pathetic armour and zero anti-torpedo protection. Speaking of squish, her citadel is exposed over the waterline and just begging to be groped by AP shells. When things go wrong, they go wrong quickly. Short ranged guns and torpedoes. But you can fix the former and you don't necessarily need the latter (nice as they are to have). Poor HE and AP penetration for a tier X cruiser (not that this matters, really, but someone would complain if I didn't put it here). It's Soviet, so it's not allowed to be good. Smolensk is an HE spamming, torpedo-armed light-cruiser with smoke. In theory, she's soft and fragile. In theory. In reality, she's hard to spot, she's hard to hit, and when you do hit her, you can't guarantee good damage numbers. The Details You Need to Know There are four main elements you need to know about Smolensk. Weapons Main Battery: Sixteen 130mm/57 guns in 4x4 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Ten torpedo tubes in 2x5 launchers with one mounted on each side in wing mounts straddling the rear funnel. Smolensk has destroyer-caliber guns. This presents a few problems but, as we'll see, these are problems that are largely irrelevant. These imagined difficulties are: Smolensk is short ranged. She only has a modest fire-chance per shell compared to 152mm+ armed cruisers. She has low damage per shell compared to 152mm+ armed cruisers. Her AP penetration and HE penetration are poor. Smolensk starts with a mere 13.8km reach. This is near-suicidal range for a cruiser at tier X, but Smolensk has two ready fixes. Between the Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 upgrade and the Advanced Fire Training commander skill, Smolensk's range can be modified to 16km or 16.6km respectively. The choice between these two options lets players pick one of the two without taxing their ability to boost Smolensk's DPM or set fires. Combine the two (often at the expense of reload) and you have a reach of 19.2km. These options more than undermine any deficiencies in the reach of her guns. Furthermore, unlike some other destroyer-caliber armed cruisers, Smolensk's guns are comfortable to use up to ranges of 15km and have better ballistics than British or American 152mm. Shell flight times estimations (in seconds) of most of the tier X cruisers. These were taken from the in-game client with guns trained broadside. Smolensk's 130mm guns have shell flight times similar to Des Moines and Salem at very long ranges -- much improved over the more floaty ballistics of American and British 152mm guns. At ranges less than 10km, they're more akin to Henri IV's 240mm guns. Speaking of damage output and setting fires: It's true that Smolensk's AP and HE shells are found wanting in terms of raw damage output and fire chance compared to the 152mm, 203mm and 240mm guns of her competitors. However, the sheer volume of fire and her improved accuracy more than make up for any perceived deficit here. Furthermore, Smolensk can directly increase her rate of fire with Basic Fire Training -- something the other cruisers at tier X cannot, stacking this on top of Main Battery Modification 3. In addition, she takes less fire-chance penalty for using the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill than her contemporaries. This just leaves the issue of penetration, and this isn't one that can be corrected. Even with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, Smolensk is incapable of damaging areas of armour thicker than 27mm with her high-explosive rounds. Her AP shells are similarly anemic with less than 100mm of penetration at ranges greater than 8km. However, her low penetration is largely a non-issue. Smolensk is more than capable of aiming for weak spots, and when you're tossing out that many shells, you're bound to hit something squishy sooner or later. Her AP shells are still able to chew through mouthfuls of an enemy ship's hit points if they present their broadside. She need merely aim at their softer hull sections like the bow, stern or upper hull. And for those tougher nuts out there, her fire setting will burn them to the waterline before long. Whatever perceived flaws Smolensk has with her guns are laughable, easily corrected if they were something that needed correcting in the first place. The sheer volume of fire her sixteen guns put out is nightmarish -- driving off and intimidating opponents. Softer hulled ships vanish in just a few seconds, allowing even this soft-skinned ship to out-trade select opponents. And if that weren't enough, she has decent torpedoes to stove the face in of anyone that comes sniffing near her smoke screens. These are just the stock DPM values. This is before the influence of captain skills, before upgrades, before consumables and before special upgrades. This also doesn't account for penetration or accuracy or what have you. I could have made this graph stupidly complicated with seventeen different combinations of applied bonuses and caveats to damage output but I think this already illustrates all it needs to: Smolensk spits out a lot of shells. Don't be in their way. There is no way I didn't screw something up here or leave something off. But, you know what? I'ma roll with it. You can increase Smolensk's fire chance even further by using the Adrenaline Rush commander skill and take some damage, but I think covering 34 different combinations is plenty, thank you very much. Keep in mind that these are base fire-per-minute values, not counting enemy fire resistance. In practice, the actual value will be about 40% to 50% of what's listed here. Oh no, Smolensk might "only" be able to start one fire every other salvo. What a joke. Smolensk doesn't miss -- only players do. (180 shells fired at 15km locked onto a stationary enemy Fuso without camo. Smolensk was equipped with Aiming System Modification 1). If you're paying attention, then with that optimal fire build I just illustrated above, you should be starting a fire almost every 5 to 6 seconds. Consumables Speaking of smoke screens, there are two consumables here worth noting. Smolensk, like all tier X cruisers, has access to a Repair Party consumable. There's nothing out of the ordinary with her having one, but given the frustrations of landing hits on this ship (and good quality hits at that), it's presence is noteworthy. The real ship-defining consumable here is Smolensk's Smoke Generator. There aren't many cruisers with HE shells with a Smoke Generator and with good reason. Iwaki Alpha, Belfast, Mikhail Kutuzov, and Flint aren't exactly biword for balance. If it weren't for Perth and Huanghe providing some (occasionally) good press, this combination would deserve it's automatic derision. Still, Smolensk is moving the needle towards the direction of "never again" in my opinion (she says, then HMS London gets previewed). What's funny to me is that there were steps made to try and reign in Smolensk's Smoke Generator. Mikhail Kutuzov, the retired tier VIII Soviet premium cruiser uses the same Smoke Generator as tier VIII Soviet Destroyers. It would stand to reason that Smolensk would use the tier X version but she doesn't. She uses the same tier VIII version as Kutuzov. The difference here is that Smolensk's smoke "only" lasts for 89 seconds as opposed to the 97 seconds it could have been. r/There was an attempt... Smolensk's Smoke Generator combines with her excellent surface detection, getting down as low as 10km. Stack this onto her flexible gun range and she's a hard cruiser to find when she doesn't want to be seen. Aircraft carriers won't do the spotting here -- her aerial detection range is the same reach as her long-range AA bubble. That just leaves blasting her with radar, waiting for her to open fire or getting suicidally close. For destroyers, closing the distance is high-risk. Getting counter-spotted inside of 10km of Smolensk is a great way to get yourself sent back to port in a hurry. For anyone else, there's those torpedoes to worry about and that ridiculous DPM. Short of radar, a well played Smolensk is only seen when she wants to be seen, and that's only when she's pulling the trigger. Protection Hit Points: 32,400 Minimum Bow & Deck Armour: 16mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 16mm bow/stern + 100mm transverse bulkhead (70mm belt broadside) Torpedo Damage Reduction: Nope.jpg Armour so bad, it's good. Her conning tower and the forward faces of her turrets are 100mm thick -- just enough to prompt the occasional ricochet or shatter smaller caliber AP shells. Smolensk has an exposed citadel, but she's surprisingly resistant to broadside citadel damage from battleships. Her citadel roof is 50mm thick and will auto-ricochet any battleship shells attempting to penetrate it from a range of 21km or less (even then, good luck). So only shots aimed directly at her waterline (or just beneath) count. At 70mm, Smolensk's belt isn't thick enough to fuse AP shells greater than 420mm in caliber. There was some great work done on Reddit by U/R_radical (link here, please give it some well deserved love) which I followed up on for my own tests. The grossly simplified version is this: République, Thunderer, Ohio, Georgia, Musashi, Yamato and Kremlin are physically incapable of landing citadel hits against the flat broadside of Smolensk if the shells don't strike water before entering the ship. They need to hit angled surfaces to increase the relative thickness of Smolensk's belt in order to fuse. It gets worse, though. Smolensk has a narrow beam -- there just isn't enough room when striking Smolensk's flat broadside for most battleship shells with their 0.033s fuse timer to explode inside the ship. The shells have to be slowed down first and air drag doesn't really begin to be enough of an effect until you get to ranges of around 15km or more. For some battleships with high velocity shells like Roma, you're looking at ranges closer to 20km. Inside that distance, short of shells dunking beneath the water first, their AP rounds will pass clean through resulting in over penetrations despite hitting the bullseye of her machine spaces. Thus, battleships have to wait until Smolensk is angled in order to have a chance at landing penetrating and citadel hits. The size of these angles varies with range, but even at a distance of 15km, Yamato is looking at needing Smolensk to be angled out at least 30º from a flat broadside before she gets that magical combination of thick enough armour to arm her fuse AND enough space along her shell path to land a citadel hit. My own tests with Lert necessitated a 37º angle before we got lucky with Musashi's 460mm AP shells. If that wasn't enough, Smolensk still has a few tricks to play. Her 30mm will also autobounce any AP shells smaller than 429mm that strike it at too acute of an angle. And finally, if you think smashing shells through her fragile snoot will finally yield those big damaging hits, be aware that her upper transverse bulkhead is 100mm thick -- there's no overmatching that if the shell comes in too steeply as Smolensk angles away. The net effect to all of this confusing math is that Smolensk's armour is downright troll when battleships shoot at her. Over penetrations abound. Citadel hits are rare. Auto-ricochets happen just often enough to make you want to pull your hair out. Thanks to her Smoke Generator, hits alone are uncommon for slow-firing ships. If this analysis seems battleship-biased, you're right. That's because cruisers have no problems at all ripping apart Smolensk if they catch her. Smolensk has a tiny hit point pool -- a mere 0.9 Viribus Unitis (VU) worth -- which also means poor returns on her Repair Party consumable. While outright trading with Smolensk is generally a bad idea because of her monstrous DPM, the occasional pot shot from cruisers will yield big numbers when they slap this little Soviet monster. Do your poor battleships and destroyers a favour if you get the chance. Venezia and Puerto Rico are works in progress and still subject to change. Smolensk's HP total is awful. If skill points weren't at such a bloody premium, it would be worth spending three of them on Survivability Expert. The bonus 3,500hp (almost 11%) would make her equal to 1 VU. This is a totally important standard unit of measure for a cruiser, or so the constant whining about the new Austro-Hungarian battleship would have me believe. Agility Top Speed: 35 knots Reverse Speed: -13.6 knots Rudder Shift Time: 8.2 seconds Turning Circle Radius: 750 meters Maximum Rate of Turn: 5.7º/s at 4/4 speed Compared to other mid-to-high tier Soviet cruisers, Smolensk is hella agile. Krasny Krym, Murmansk and Makarov are the only ships that handle better (and I would question giving Makarov that honour). Krasny Krym manages it because she's a tier IV design. Murmansk and Makarov are borrowed ships from other nations. It's the smallest slights which sting the most. I think I might have stomached Smolensk's inclusion better had she not trespassed here. She doesn't handle like a Soviet cruiser and this irks me to no end. Allow me to explain. I've spent forever twirling boats. I've got a pretty good base understanding of how ships move in this game and I'm forever expanding that knowledge. I've come to recognize patterns and trends, not only between the different ship types but also within a given nation. Japanese cruisers are fast, American cruisers have small turning radii, British cruisers break the laws of physics, and so on and so forth. I must stress that these are trends -- not hard fast rules. Still, patterns exist and I don't think they're coincidental. The Soviet cruiser line is one of contrasts. Their low tier cruisers are ridiculously agile -- some of the most agile cruisers in the game. However at tier V, they transition to very fast ships with enormous turning circles. Barring borrowed and up-tiered designs (and Mikhail Kutuzov), Soviet cruisers pay for their sleek hull forms with poor handling. Smolensk doesn't. For a Soviet cruiser, she is bloody nimble. She's fast. Her rudder shift time is good. Her turning circle radius isn't appalling. And it's this last part where I take issue. I expected her to have a turning radius at the 820m mark or greater -- something like Chapayev or Shchors. This would scale back her rate of turn down from 5.7º/s to 5.2º/s or less -- still decent but definitely more in line with the Soviet light cruisers as a whole. And let me be clear: I'm aware I'm unfairly gate-keeping which ships are allowed to be agile. There's no hard-fast rule that says Soviet cruisers must handle like a pregnant yak in a mud-wallow. The Sverdlov-class doesn't. None of their low tier ships do either. It kinda makes sense that a small, anti-aircraft cruiser like Smolensk would be a wiggly little thing. Colbert is. The Atlanta-class is. Their radii are much tighter than what Smolensk can boast. Compared to those two, Smolensk is pretty chunktacular. In fact when you put her alongside these other AA cruisers, her turning radius is downright Soviet. Still, even with this minor disparity, this is one more thing Smolensk is hella-good at. She's got the firepower. She's got the stealth. She's got the smoke. She's got the speed. She even has the durability despite being worth 0.9 VU. Her AA power is excellent (specifically when you also account for her aerial detection). And now, with this, she's super agile too. She's hard to hit in the hands of a good player. It's bad enough that she's a small target and one that's hard to dig out of smoke. With her great range improvements, she can play the open water game and Just Dodge™ her way to victory when islands and smoke aren't an option. I suppose with all of the time I've spent with twirling ships, it explains why this is the final straw for me. It's kinda absurd, when I think about it, but when have feels ever made sense? I hate you, Smolensk and your cute, twirly butt. Placed against her peers at tier X, Smolensk comes out looking very good. She's behind Colbert, Minotaur, Venezia and Des Moines, but only when the American uses her Legendary Upgrade. Venezia and Puerto Rico are works in progress and still subject to change. Everything Else Just so I can say that I didn't leave it out: Camouflage & Refrigerator Smolensk's camouflage is the standard Type 20 Camouflage. This provides: 3% reduction of detectability by sea 4% increase of dispersion of shells fired by the enemy attacking your ship. 50% reduction of cost of the ship's post-battle service. 20% increase to credits earned per battle. 100% increase experience earned per battle. Smolensk's economy doesn't appear out of the ordinary, being comparable to the other tier X reward ships Bourgogne, Thunderer, Stalingrad, etc. Base Surface Detection: 12.78km Aerial Detection: 7.41km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 10.04km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 5.91km Main Battery Firing Range: Between 13.8km (stock) up to 19.21km Nothing further to add here that hasn't already been discussed above. Smolensk is smol and a sneaky danger-noodle. Anti Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts (3.5km to 6km): 8 explosions for 1,890 damage per blast Long Ranged AA Guns (6km): 167.6 damage every 0.32s Medium Ranged AA Guns (3.5km): 186.2 damage every 0.32s Short Ranged AA Guns (3.1km): 58.6 damage every 0.34s Smol-bote with biggish AA. It's important to note that with Concealment Modification 1 and Concealment Expert, Smolensk's aerial detection range is a mere 21mm (yes, millimeters) longer than her long-range AA power. Don't ask your CV to try and spot this thing -- they'll get shredded. Smolensk can bloody stealth-snipe aircraft. Final Evaluation From KC Green's fantastic Gunshow comic. I bloody hate this ship. I've hated working on this review all month. I've rewritten this damn thing so many times, never happy with the tone, never happy with the message. Even now I'm not sure I've properly communicated how frustrating it is to face off against a well-played version of this thing. I don't want to water down this sentiment (which I have so many times before) by mathing out the odds of actually meeting a competent Smolensk player or how, yes, it's technically possible to counter it with X, Y and Z. I don't like facing this ship for the same reasons that I cringe when I see a Flint, Belfast or Kutuzov on the enemy roster. In the end, it doesn't matter if the enemy Smolensk is good or not. My sentiments about the match are already soured. I consider myself a patient person and the presence of a Smolensk taxes even me. I am someone who can stomach playing against carriers. I enjoy my troll-ships. However, even I have my limits. I don't like playing Smolensk. It feels grossly unfair. It feels the same way as playing Belfast, Kutuzov or Flint. She has all of the advantages and few match-ups are unfavourable (short of derping into a Shimakaze torpedo like I did one game). The deeper I looked into Smolensk, the more concerned I became. There's a lot going on here -- a perfect storm of potential and so many different combinations to analyze that it's easy to see why Smolensk not only can be a piece of garbage in one player's hands and an absolute beast in another. If you don't have Smolensk yet, I dunno what to tell you. On the one hand, I don't want to play against your new ship. On the other, I know that there's a risk you could miss out. She's a bona fide reward ship -- not sold for cash money so nerfs are possible. What you invest in now might not be the ship we have six months from now. If you're hoping to preserve this sense of superiority, then she might not be worth the investment. This changes if she's eventually sold for cash. As a tier X ship, I see that as unlikely. This might change come Black Friday through Christmas, though. Wargaming does like to bundle everything together and ring the dinner bell. This is also the first year where we've had a veritable glut of tier X reward ships available. Once cash changes hands, Smolensk's performance is locked in. The only recourse from then on is to hope she becomes rare. And if that happens, if you haven't got her already, you're unlikely to ever get her. To Hell with it: If you don't have her yet, get her ASAP. Play her often. Play her so often that it chokes the matchmaker. T-59 this momo and have popularity necessitates re-evaluating her performance and availability. I don't see Smolensk surviving either change-free or remaining freely available, though who knows what kind of timeline this is on. She's that good. She's that annoying. How to Balans the Spreadsheets Recommended Upgrades There's a lot to unpack with the upgrades of high-tier ships, but it's generally simple. You want to build Smolensk for agility and gunnery. Everything else is secondary to this. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1 in your first slot. In your second slot, take the corresponding Special Upgrade for either Defensive AA Fire or Hydracoustic Search -- whichever consumable you tend to favour using. Barring that, default to Steering Gears Modification 1. You're going to be doing a lot of gunnery at range so Aiming Systems Modification 1 is a good investment (if only because the other upgrades are crap). If you prefer to play Smolensk more static -- hiding in smoke and behind islands, take Propulsion Modification 2 in your fourth slot. Otherwise, take Steering Gears Modification 2 for better open water agility. Similarly, if you prefer open-water play and feel confident with your ability to dodge, Steering Gears Modification 3 will serve you well. Otherwise take Concealment Modification 1 to make hiding easier. Between the two best options here, Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 is the preferred choice, extending Smolensk's range. This puts less of a strain on her commander skill options (the effects here can be replicated with Advanced Fire Training). If you've 4 skill points free, then by all means, take the range-skill instead and default to Main Battery Modification 3 for the increased reload speed. Or, you could get all the range and combine the two -- but at least one range upgrade is needed. Recommended Skills There's a bit of a balancing act going on here. You need to have at least one range-upgrade for Smolensk (need is a strong word, but trust me, it makes all the difference). So if you haven't taken Gun Fire Control Modification 2 then you have to select Advanced Fire Training for example. So let's look at the worth of individual skills rather than the total package: At tier 1, there are three skills worth considering. Priority Target and Incoming Fire Alert are the first pair and tend to be mutually exclusive -- take one, not both. The former gives you more information. The latter gives you more critical and specific information. The last skill that's worthwhile here is Preventative Maintenance, but it's definitely sub-optimal compared to the other two for Smolensk. At tier 2, Last Stand is highly recommended. While not on Destroyer levels of fragility, Smolensk's rudder gets shot out often and near misses from large caliber HE shells can (and will) knock out her engines. Adrenaline Rush is also a great skill if you have the leftover points to spend on it. Jack of All Trades is handy for reducing consumable reset timers, particularly when the action is heated and in combination with the November Foxtrot signal and premium consumables to further drop their cool down. Similarly, Smoke Screen Expert is nice for the extra room to move around, especially if you plan to be sharing your smoke with a friend. At tier 3, there's a glut of choices here. Superintendent is arguably the best of the lot for the extra heal and extra charge of Smoke Generator. Basic Fire Training and Demolition Expert also play to Smolensk's best strengths. Beyond this, there are skills that are simply "nice to have" but hardly an efficient use of points including Vigilance and Torpedo Armament Expertise. The tier 4 skills are contentious and, frankly, are largely a matter of personal taste. Advanced Fire Training is all but mandatory in the absence of Gun Fire Control Modification 2 (how many times have I said that now?). Concealment Expert is amazing for its points cost, improving not only her survivability but opening up the door to ambushing aircraft with Concealment Modification 1, yet I wouldn't consider this skill required. Probably the best investment is Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, opening the door for Smolensk to directly damage the extremities of all heavy cruisers within her matchmaking. But even this isn't mandatory if you just want to make battleships burn. Finally, for the truly eclectic, there's Radio Location for those who fancy themselves as destroyer hunters in the late-game. Green = All but Mandatory. Yellow = Highly recommended. Red = Situational. Note this only applies to normal commanders. Special commanders, with their baked in bonuses, changes things. Last Bits And here I told myself this was going to be a short review. The amount of prep-work for this review was insane. I started mapping the dispersion of cruisers (ugh!), tested battleship AP fuses, did more work on torpedo damage, played with AA, did even more twirling, never mind all of that dirty, DIRTY play testing. You'll note a lack of an Angry YouTuber jpeg at the end of this article. That's deliberate. Some of my readers get too hung up on the soundbite at the end rather than the message as a whole. They might return at some point, but I'm retiring them for the time being. Thank you for reading. 
  23. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Mysore

    The following is a review of Mysore, the tier VI British Commonwealth cruiser. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.1. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Mysore is a curious ship. She competes directly with not only HMAS Perth, the other tier VI British Commonwealth light cruiser but also Huanghe, the Pan Asian tier VI light cruiser. All three ships are of British design and incorporate, to varying degrees, elements of the British tech tree light cruiser game play while adding on a Crawling Smoke Generator. Mysore keeps to the "AP only" element of British gunnery, for example, while Perth and Huanghe more closely match the British energy retention. Throughout this review, I'll be touching base back to how Mysore matches up against these other two premiums while using Leander, the tier VI British tech-tree light cruiser as a baseline measurement. Quick Summary: A slow-firing, nine-gun armed British light cruiser with excellent handling and agility and a Crawling Smoke Generator. She has no torpedoes or HE shells, using only modified AP rounds. PROS Improved auto-ricochet angles on her AP rounds AP shells have shortened fuses with improved sensitivity to limit over-penetrations Excellent acceleration and agility Stealthy Has a Repair Party Has a Crawling Smoke Generator CONS Short range Slow reload on her main battery, greatly reducing her DPM No access to HE shells or torpedoes Struggles to damage severely angled targets Short fuses makes it difficult to land hits on internal citadel spaces No access to Defensive AA Fire. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Mysore looks new-player friendly on the surface -- sneak around, park in smoke, apply pew-pews. Her fragility and short-range make this risky though. It's not the firing in smoke that presents any kind of challenge; it's surviving in between those smoke clouds which is difficult. There are other challenges too, but they're relatively minor compared to managing her consumable use properly. It's her low damage output which limits her performance in the hands of an expert, however. Her inability to deal large alpha strikes or even output damage reliably holds back her carry potential. Options Consumables Mysore's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with a 5 second active period, a 60 second reset timer and unlimited charges. She has a standard Repair Party. It heals back up to 14% of her starting health over 28 seconds. It queues up 10% of citadel damage, 50% of shell, bomb, rocket or torpedo penetration damage and 100% of everything else. Her Hydroacoustic Search is also standard for a tier VI cruiser. Active for 100 seconds and with a 120 second reset timer, it comes with three charges to start. It detects ships at 4km and torpedoes at 3km. Finally, she uses a Crawling Smoke Generator. It belches out smoke continuously for 90 seconds with each cloud only lasting 10 seconds. It starts with three charges and has a 160 second reset timer. Upgrades Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. The special upgrade Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is the best choice in slot two if you can afford it. It costs 17,000 from the Armory. If you cannot afford that, default to Engine Room Protection. Also for 17,000 (and best in slot) is the Smoke Generator Modification 1 special upgrade. If you can't afford that, default to Aiming System Modification 1. And finally, take Steering Gears Modification 1 in slot four. Captain Skills For testing, this was the build I settled upon for Mysore. I started with Last Stand. Though ships can still crawl when their engines are knocked out and still turn (kinda) with their rudders damaged, this gives a bit more speed and agility which is life for a cruiser under fire. Priority Target is too good of a skill to pass up at tier 2 and was my go-to choice there. I grabbed Superintendent at tier 3 as my first pick for more smokes and heals. And finally Concealment Expert just makes the most sense at tier 4. That doesn't leave a whole lot of viable skills beyond that for Mysore to take. Adrenaline Rush is easily the most advantageous, but after that, the pickings get pretty slim. I eventually settled upon skills that would help Mysore play keep-away, namely Radio Location and Outnumbered. Camouflage Mysore has access to Type 10 Camouflage providing the usual tier VI bonuses of: A 3% reduction in surface detection ranges. A 4% increase to the dispersion of enemy gunfire. A 10% reduction to post-battle service costs. A 50% increase to experience earned.  Mysore's simple, uniform colour scheme is kinda nice. She comes with the default blue, but you can unlock the tan-colour by completing the "Naval Aviation" collection. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 152mm/50 guns in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Eight 102mm/45 guns in 4x2 turrets, with two turrets per side, mounted behind the rear funnel facing forward and back. Only having one ammunition type sure simplifies this data dump. Mysore pays dearly for her access to her consumables. Her firepower is downright terrible, owing to the staying power of this ship. Between her Repair Party and her Crawling Smoke Generator, Mysore has a good survivability toolkit -- better than Leander, Perth or Huanghe. Thus, Wargaming has paired her with bad damage output, probably figuring that given she'll be around longer (on average), her numbers over time will win out. Given that I prefer glass-cannons to cast-iron squirt-guns, you can guess why this disappoints me. The problem here is three-fold. Mysore does not have access to HE shells. Mysore does not have access to torpedoes. Mysore's reloads more slowly than my 2021 update schedule. A lack of any one of these isn't damning in of itself (though it does bear investigating). But having all three shoves Mysore into the doldrums of damage-output. Let's look at why. A More-Different Perth The lack of HE shells on Mysore immediately sets her apart from Huanghe & Perth. Like Leander, short of (somehow) managing to pepper targets with her secondary batteries, Mysore cannot start fires. She cannot take advantage of skills like Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, Pyrotechnician or Heavy HE and SAP Shells. Mysore is restricted to firing AP shells, slightly modified versions to those tossed out by Leander herself. These behave like normal 152mm AP shells with the following differences: They have improved auto-ricochet angles. Mysore's AP shells do not check for ricochet until they strike at an angle of 60º to the perpendicular as opposed to the nominal 45º. The do not auto-ricochet until they strike at an angle of 75º as opposed to the nominal 60º. Thus Mysore's AP shells are much less likely to ricochet off an angled target, making them more viable against enemies that aren't offering up their flat broadside. Note that this does not come with increased penetration values. These shells have the same normalization as other 152mm armed guns (8.5º) and must contend with the increased relative armour thickness the same was any other AP round. Thus, Mysore's shells may be less likely to ricochet, they may still shatter if the sloped plate of steel has a relative thickness too great for her to punch into. Furthermore, it is still possible to ricochet these shells by angling aggressively against incoming fire from Mysore. They have improved fuse sensitivity. Mysore's AP shells arm upon impact with thinner steel than other 152mm rounds. Normally, a 152mm AP shells needs to strike steel 25mm thick (relative thickness due to angling counts). Without this, the shells will not arm and you will only see overpenetrations. For Mysore, her fuses are much more sensitive and need only 12mm to activate. Thus penetrating hits are more likely. They have shortened fuse timers. On top of their increased sensitivity, Mysore's AP shells explode more quickly when the fuse is armed. This again reduces the chances of the shells overpenetrating. In this case, they are more likely to blow immediately after entering a ship. In Mysore's case, her fuse timers are a mere 0.005s -- translating into a maximum distance crossed at muzzle velocity of 4.4m. Had she normal fuse timers, this would have translated to as much as 21.8m (though keep in mind, no shell will arrive inside a ship travelling anywhere close to muzzle-velocity; air friction and punching through steel slows them down appreciably). The reduced fuse timer is bit of a double edged sword, however. While it does mean that Mysore's shells are more likely to deliver penetrating hits, they cannot punch deep into a ship to strike buried citadels. Thus against ships with fully internalized citadels or with anti-torpedo protection, it's entirely possible that Mysore is patently incapable of landing citadel hits. Mysore's shells have a bit more punch than Leander's, grace of increased damage, shell mass and muzzle velocity, though this comes at the expense of less Krupp. So Mysore's AP shells are good, but they're not so great that they replace HE (or SAP) shells entirely. To this end, it's Huanghe and Perth that take the lead here when it comes to gunnery and I'm inclined to give it overall to the Pan Asian ship simply because she can make best use of both ammunition types with her high-velocity Soviet AP shells that make her a little more capable of landing citadel hits at range. Mysore comes dead last, of course. Mysore's not too far behind Huanghe in terms of penetration values over distance. While she is capable of landing citadel hits against soft-skinned cruisers that have their machine spaces abutting against the exterior of the hull (such as the Omaha-class for example), her ability to do so against other cruisers largely falls away after 10km. This isn't a problem unique to her but she feels it more with AP being her only ammunition choice. No Country For No-Fish Cruisers Why are torpedoes good? Well, three reasons. They can be used to aid in gunnery. No, really. When in doubt about the direction or velocity of a given target, switch over to your torpedo launchers and take a look at the lead indicator. This can tell you if a bow-on ship is reversing or not. It can also show you when a ship is slowing down, speeding up or changing direction. This is easily the most minor bonus having torpedoes provides, but it's handy and Mysore misses out. Obviously, they can be used to deal big alpha strikes. Individual torpedoes easily deal damage equivalent to a battleship-calibre citadel hit (or greater!). Land multiple fish at once and print those Devastating Strike medals. Mysore obviously doesn't get this and what's more, she's largely left without an ability to rack up damage quickly save for against specific cruisers and a few aircraft carriers that have their citadels abutting against the exterior of their hulls. It takes her time to chew through an opponent's hit point pool and she's generally incapable of dealing singular knockout blows. Torpedoes are a deterrent. You have to be stupid-confident (or just stupid) to close with an enemy ship with loaded torpedoes. Closing with an enemy ship that has torpedoes is always a gamble and this can be enough to deter people from trying to sniff out your ship in smoke, for example. Similarly, torpedoes can be used offensively to prevent people from camping their own smoke cover or for pushing them away from a strong-point such as an island. Short of supporting fire, there's nothing to deter an enemy from charging Mysore when she's sitting in smoke. Especially coming at her bow-on, they can largely mitigate any damage she can do them as they charge in. Leander and Perth have the best torpedo armaments of the four (naturally). Huanghe sits well behind them, not only for having triple launchers instead of the quadruples boasted by the Leander-sisters, but because she cannot single-fire her torpedoes as they can and is stuck with only a narrow-band when launching. Mysore really feels her complete lack of torpedoes, particularly when enemy ships come sniffing her out in her crawling smoke. Heavy Cruiser Reload The lack of alpha-strike potential on Mysore gets even worse when you consider her poor damage output. Her 10.7 second reload is just downright painful and greatly hurts her damage output. You can't count on Mysore to be able to out-trade some destroyers, particularly in close-range knife fights where they might be able to land the occasional citadel hit. Just look at this shoddy DPM: Mysore's slow reload gives her less potential DPM than Huanghe, despite having 50% more guns than the Pan Asian cruiser! Granted, it's easier to damage with Mysore's AP shells than it is Huanghe's. Now down to brass-tacks. Mysore's AP DPM is so low that some of the better HE DPM at tier VI rivals her. HE has the benefit of being much easier to use and it stacks some tasty fires as well. The only drawback to HE is that it's very skill-hungry in order to optimize. And even then, for a tier VI cruiser, it doesn't optimize well. Odds and Never-Ends-Well Overall, Mysore does not put out damage quickly, but she does do so steadily provided she's picking the right target. To this end, close-range fights are invariably a disaster with all but the most fragile of targets. Instead she's best served by keeping at a distance and peppering shells annoyingly at exposed enemies. She can use her Crawling Smoke Generator to do so for long periods (largely) uninterrupted, and really, the strength of this shouldn't understated. With her smoke deployed, Mysore's gunnery switches over to easy-mode and she can cycle her guns with near impunity for nearly two minutes (fully buffed). It's what comes after that's more difficult. When her smoke is on cooldown, she's reliant on either firing from open water (bad idea) or using island cover to keep bombarding targets. Otherwise, she'll have to go dark and redeploy. Mysore's range is on the short side -- just 14km, so the islands she uses has to be close to the front. This same lack of reach makes firing from open water stupid-dangerous. While she is an agile little boat, the shell flight time for incoming battleship rounds is much too short to be able to dodge effectively and her thin extremity plate and exposed citadel makes every hit hurt a lot. As for the rest of it? Her traverse rate is mediocre. Her gun fire angles are trash. Her ballistics are kinda floaty (though admittedly better than Leander's) and her her AP penetration sucks. Overall, Perth takes the big win here. Perth has both ammunition types. Perth has good torpedoes. Perth's reload rate doesn't suck and she has eight guns. Mysore is sadly at the bottom of the pile. This imposes limits on how Mysore can be played. It's too dangerous for her to be up on the front lines or to try and rush down targets because she simply cannot kill most enemies with any kind of alacrity. While the other three cruisers are not front-line brawlers, they can manage it in a pinch. Mysore's fire arcs are pretty terrible (most Royal Navy ships have poor fire arcs). Her 7º/s gun rotation rate is pretty meh too. Summary It's all about the AP spam. Her low DPM and lack of torpedoes makes her struggle to kill anything quickly. Play keep away and just keep spitting out shells. VERDICT: Pretty uncomfortable, I'm not going to lie. She's the worst of the four. What's worse, Mysore's gunnery isn't fun which is pretty damning for a premium. Durability Hit Points: 30,600 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 16mm/10mm/19mm/19mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 114mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: None Mysore is easily the best-protected of the tier VI British light-cruisers. Objectively, Mysore is the most resilient of the four cruisers. She has Leander's ability to heal coupled with better citadel protection than any of the other ships. Her armour profile is overall better too. It doesn't hurt that she comes with more hit points than any of the other ships either. For a cruiser, for a light cruiser especially, Mysore weighs in well. Her 114mm belt armour is very respectable at her tier. Her citadel placement, while peeking just over the waterline, isn't so high that it's a ready flaw. Furthermore, she doesn't have any "camel hump" shell traps that afflicts so many British cruisers (infamously damning some of the British heavies). The stepped section of her belt leading up to the 51mm portion of her deck doesn't count as part of the machine spaces the way it does on Perth and Leander. While admittedly her citadel is larger than her three competitors, it's hard to argue that she's more vulnerable than Perth or Leander due to their wonky citadel geometry. Huanghe arguably has the best citadel layout but hers has the worst protection. All four ships have an easily overmatched "hole" directly overtop of the machine spaces where any shells coming in high can easily dip into the citadel and generate big damage. Unlike Leander, all of the premium ships conform to normal, tier VI light-cruiser armour layouts, with 16mm extremities and 19mm upper hull and deck armour. Leander only has 13mm on her bow and 16mm on her upper-hull and deck, leaving her vulnerable to overmatching through her butt and snout by 203mm AP shells to which the premiums are thankfully immune. As for heals, only Leander and Mysore have them which puts them well above the others in terms of survivability. Combine this with Mysore's Crawling Smoke Generator and Hydroacoustic Search and she is easily the most survivable of the four. Her consumables remove many opportunities to easily pick her off with either torpedoes, aircraft or shells making her very annoying to deal with. The elephant in the room is, of course, that heals don't amount for much if you lose all of your hit points quickly. Mysore's horrible gun arcs means that any target she's engaging with all three turrets can damage her back and quite easily. The nightmare scenario for this poor ship is knife fighting with any other vessel. Even some destroyers are capable of out-trading her provided they keep angled to foil her AP rounds. And if Mysore is trying to protect her own citadel, this disparity in damage output only increases further. Her defence is far from perfect. While she is a tough little ship for a light cruiser, she is still a light cruiser. Keep her to the second line. Your best defence is to keep from being spotted in the first place. Mysore's base hit point values are pretty modest, but the presence of her heals makes her far more resilient. When you include how often her Exhaust Smoke Generator keeps her from being an easy target, she fast becomes one of the longest-lasting cruisers at tier VI. Her opponents really need to prioritize bringing her down in those rare occurrences where she's exposed or she'll keep coming back. Of the four British light-cruisers (highlighted in red) she has the most effective health to play with. VERDICT: Great survivability, especially for a light cruiser. She's the best of the four here and beyond that, she's one of the best cruisers at her tier for survivability. Very respectable. Agility Top Speed: 31.6 knots Turning Radius: 610m Rudder Shift Time: 8.6s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 6.5º/s When evaluating a ship's agility, there's a checklist of factors I consider. I tend to favour a high-top speed over most other factors, especially when paired with a quick rate of turn. But there are other things to weigh my decisions, including turning radius, rudder shift time, energy preservation and acceleration. Mysore is weird in this regard. Top Speed: Let's start off with how slow she is. Mysore's top speed is slow for a cruiser. She's not in the thunder-chunker, waddle-bert zone of Graf Spee, but make no mistake, she is not quick. She is one of the slowest of the tier VI cruisers. Unlike the slugga-butt La Galissonniere, she does not have access to an Engine Boost consumable to help pad her numbers. Equipping the Sierra Mike signal is a very good idea to help cover this mistake. Similarly, the captain skill Outnumbered can help, but generally speaking, if the enemies are in that close, you're in a whole lot of trouble anyway. Turning Radius: Mysore has a nice, tight turning radius. She'd be best in category if it weren't for Huanghe. So this is great. Rudder Shift Time: Mysore's rudder shift time is a bit chunky. It's not terrible, mind you, but it's on the slow-end for a tier VI cruiser. However, with her lack of access to Propulsion Modification 1 means that you will always have Steering Gears Modification 1 installed instead. Granted, most other cruisers will too, so Mysore's not gaining a leg up here, but the raw value isn't as bad as it looks. Acceleration: Mysore has ridiculously-good acceleration. She reaches 30 knots in almost no time at all with a similar kind of rocket-butt acceleration Propulsion Modification 1 applies to the first get-up and go from a dead stop. This is all but identical to the same acceleration found on Royal Navy tech tree cruisers like Leander. Energy Preservation: Mysore does not have any special energy preservation. The Royal Navy tech tree ships are famous for bleeding little to no speed in a turn (they maintain upwards of 98% of their 4/4 speed setting while turning). Mysore is decidedly normal in this regard, keeping the usual 80% of her 4/4 engine speed while turning. Rate of Turn: Her lack of improved energy preservation means that her rate of turn is normal for cruiser with her speed and turning radius. Though she is slow for a tier VI cruiser, it's not by such a large margin that her tighter turning radius doesn't end up being the deciding factor here. Mysore's rate of turn is better than average, but far from the top competitors at her tier, behind the likes of Hangue, Perth, Leander and Trento. Altogether, Mysore is a very responsive cruiser with good handling but a slow top speed. She has much more in common with Huanghe than Perth or Leander in this regard. While none of these four ships could be considered fast, Mysore is definitely the slowest of them. On top of this, due to the improved energy retention on Perth and Leander, they can at least maintain their top speed for longer (on average) than Huanghe or Mysore. Mysore really struggles to control engagement distances, subject to its whims rather than being able to comfortably dictate to it. For a cruiser that really doesn't like being up-close in a brawl, this is bad news. While she has a lot going for her, it's this lack of speed which bothers me the most. VERDICT: Good overall handling but she's not perfect, not with that slow top speed. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 2 explosions for 1,120 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 52.5dps at 90% accuracy (47.3dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 161dps at 90% accuracy (144.9dps) Lemme open with this graph: These are sorted roughly by effective AA DPS using the formula [DPS x (range -1km)] to value longer-ranged defences more. Mysore looks pretty good sorted like this. Mysore almost has good anti-aircraft firepower. Almost. The catch is that it's hard to claim that any tier VI cruiser has "good" AA defences, especially when they're regularly forced to contend with tier VIII aircraft carriers. I'm aware this is a bit of an unfair comparison; weighing the merits of a given system against ships two tiers higher. I didn't weight Mysore's DPM against tier VIII cruisers, for example, nor her durability. Maybe this says something towards my frustration with surface ship interactions with aircraft in general? Be aware of the author's bias, peoples! Mysore's numbers are 'okay'. With all of her guns intact, she has enough DPS to knock down a plane or two, but she's not going to prevent drops, never mind provide adequate defence for ships around her. Generally speaking, what tends to make or break whether or not these ships can deter same-tier carriers is their access to Defensive AA Fire. And most of these ships have to choose between taking that or Hydroacoustic Search. The latter usually wins out from a pure utility standpoint which weakens AA power as a whole in a given match. This said, Huanghe, Perth and Mysore definitely have it easier time protecting themselves from bombers, but not because of their AA firepower. Their crawling smoke really gives them an edge in frustrating carrier drops so it would be inaccurate to label any of them as 'useless' when it comes to seeing to their own protection. Mysore and Huanghe especially are particularly good at chewing up aircraft that make the mistake to linger over their smoke screens, but that's a rookie mistake you can't count on a CV to make. It's disappointing that the best AA feature of Mysore comes from her smoke. But it is what it is. VERDICT: Mysore and Huanghe are definitely the better of the four (with Huanghe being way at the top) but tier VI AA firepower just isn't good on the whole. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 10.98km/9.59km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 6.44km/5.8km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 5.04km Maximum Firing Range: 14km What Mysore does well (and what all of the tier VI British-designed cruisers do well) is her vision control. This is a stealthy ship that easily gets her surface detection down below a sub-10km range (which is great). On top of that, she has Hydroacoustic Search which is always a plus for sniffing out fish and the occasional ship hiding in smoke. But moreover, it's her access to her Crawling Smoke Generator which is the feather in the cap of this ship's design. Of the different varieties of Smoke Generators in the game presently, Crawling Smoke Generators are one of the more powerful for individual ship play (they have less value in team-based, competitive modes). The moving nature of the rolling smoke screen allows Mysore to take it with her. It helps frustrate torpedo salvos intent on combing her out of her cover and similarly, it provides some protection against counter-battery fire from people trying to blind-snipe Mysore from smoke. Finally, it's a very effective from of AA defence. While said smoke can be used offensively (as Haida has want to do), Mysore does not belong up on the front lines due to her poor damage output and alpha-strike potential. This all combines to make it a lot more difficult to take out one of these ships using Crawling Smoke. Perth, for example, is notorious for her longevity because of this. Mysore inherits this but couples it with her improved durability and heals, giving her even greater staying power. Short of charging this ship in point-blank encounters or scoring a lucky broadside's worth of battleship-calibre citadel hits, Mysore is a difficult ship to put down quickly. If she had a little more range, she'd be downright overpowered even with her horrible DPM, simply because it's such a nuisance to put her down permanently. Her points of vulnerability here come from the usual suspects: Surveillance Radar - There's not much you can do about this short of doing your best to keep out of range. Generally speaking, you should be far enough back that only Soviet Surveillance Radar should pose any kind of threat. While you may be picked up from other sources, you can usually count on there being an island being in the way. However, in those circumstances where Mysore is caught flat footed by a radar-flash, she gets wrecked in a hurry. Keep an eye on those team rosters and watch your minimap. Aircraft - There's not much you can do here. If you're in danger, you can try hiding in smoke. Destroyers - These present a much greater threat to Mysore than they do to many other cruisers. This is largely owing to her low-damage output which is easily foiled by aggressive angling on the part of the destroyer in question. While having some friends nearby should (SHOULD!) discourage a lolibote from sniffing around, if Mysore is caught alone, she's in for a lot of trouble -- especially if the destroyer knows what they're doing. Smoke on Cool Down - And here is perhaps the greatest challenge to playing Mysore well. With as much as two and a half minutes in between smoke charges, figuring out how to engage the enemy without getting blown up is just something you have to figure out for yourself. Take a page from the old light-cruiser playbook; make an island your waifu and rain fire as your ballistic arcs and range will allow until your smoke allows you to get a little more adventurous. The temptation with Mysore is to be overly reliant upon her smoke. Want to shoot someone? Blow smoke! Aircraft overhead? Blow smoke! Get spotted by some under-aged boat? Blow smoke! Battleships looking at you funny? Blow smoke! Sometimes it's definitely the right call, but using her smoke preemptively will greatly reduce her efficacy. This isn't easy to get right and it's dirt-simple to get wrong. VERDICT: Excellent vision control, easily on par with Huanghe and Perth. Final Evaluation Mysore feels like a British light cruiser that's been sprinkled with British heavy cruiser flavour crystals. She espouses the same game play from that whole line. To refresh people's memories (or to educated those who have wisely kept away from them), the British heavy cruisers have poor damage output but improved survivability. The premise is simple enough; these ships survive longer, ergo they will have similar damage output to more fragile, harder-hitting cruisers -- at least on average. The combination of consumables on Mysore makes her VERY likely to survive a long time (provided she's played reasonably) so her damage output really sucks butt. Is she BALANS™? Probably. I suspect Mysore's numbers will end up being pretty decent once they've had some time out in the wilds for a few months. She can be really slippery so there's plenty of opportunity to make even her modest guns put out some hurt. Is she fun? Not in my opinion. Mysore's game play is excessively passive. What's worse, she only deals one particular type of damage -- AP chip-damage, specifically. She doesn't have HE. She's not farming fires. There are no big alpha strikes from fish. And she's not even likely to be landing citadel hits either. You're just going to see penetrations, saturated penetrations and the rare over-penetration with Mysore. If you play in PVE modes, MAYBE you'll see a few citadel hits at point blank ranges. Her need to play constant keep-away in PVP modes really limits the variety of her game play. There's still enough to do, I suppose, in between managing her smokes, reset-timer and making best use of islands. But that lack of variety (and quality) in damage output really bugs me. The bad news for Mysore is that Perth is a thing that exists. These two ships directly compete with one another and Perth is, hands down, the more interesting ship to play. I would have much preferred to see Wargaming shove Mysore in at tier VII and maybe stuck their hand into their bag of gimmicks to make her more interesting. Honestly, if they had just given her a British dry-dock heal and/or massaged her reload time to 8 seconds, she would have made a great tier VII cruiser. I don't understand why she ended up at tier VI. It doesn't make sense to me, business wise. But I can't see the full picture there. As it is? Mysore's a hard pass for me. Perth's the better bote. It's not that I think Mysore is awful, perse. She's just not fun. Heck, I'd rather play Huanghe and I didn't enjoy her the first time around. I think that says a lot right there.
  24. No one needs a premium ship. No tech tree line needs a trainer. No ship or ship class needs to be added to the game. But sometimes, man, I think that there are good reasons that a ship ought to be added to a game. Any one of those arguments above is decent on their own, but sometimes there is a ship that ticks more than one box to recommend its inclusion. Very rarely is there a ship that can tick every single box for being added into the game at the same time. HMS Sirius, as you could guess by the thread title, is that rare ship. This ship is the closest that I think we will ever get to a ship that needs to be added to World of warships. I am going to spend the next very many words detailing every reason why this ship should be added, how it should be added in, the role that it would fill, all the stats, how it should play, and why this ship is economically viable for Wargaming to add in the vain hope that maybe we can finally get a ship that WOWS blitz has had for years now. To start with, why on earth should people care about HMS Sirius to begin with? HMS Sirius, a Primer. HMS Sirius is a Dido class light cruiser, laid down in 1938, launched in 1940, and finally commissioned in May of 1942. In mid-1942, the main concern of the Royal Navy was the Mediterranean theater (although the Atlantic was not doing great either to be fair), and mainly the island of Malta. Malta served as an important base for intercepting Axis convoys to Rommel in North Africa, servicing submarines, aircraft, and light cruisers and destroyers. In mid-1942, the Germans and Italians were putting all their efforts to knocking Malta out of the war, which would vastly improve their supply situation. And they were getting close to doing that by July. Thus, the Royal Navy launched Operation Pedestal, a last-ditch attempt to resupply Malta with 15 ships of oil and supplies, along with major elements of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet. Included in this were 3 aircraft carriers, the Nelsons, and numerous destroyers and light cruisers. HMS Sirius was among them. I would be lying if I said that Sirius made or broke the operation, but this operation was the turning point in the battle of the Mediterranean. Only 5 of the 15 supply ships made it to Malta, but they made it, allowing the RAF to fly interception missions against the German and Italian merchant fleets, as well as ensuring that the submarines at Malta could continue operations. These would be a constant thorn in the Axis powers side, causing the chronic supply shortages that would lead to Rommel’s defeat at the Second Battle of El Alamein. Indeed, after Pedestal, with the strategic picture in the Mediterranean looking up, Sirius provided support for the Operation Torch landings, then was assigned to force Q, a cruiser and destroyer force with the goal of attacking Axis shipping. On December 2 of 1942, she had her first surface engagement at the Battle of Skerki Bank. In this battle Sirius, her sister ship Argonaut, Arethusa class cruiser Aurora and 2 Q class destroyers fought a convoy of 4 troop transports escorted by 3 destroyers and 2 large torpedo boats. At 40 minutes past midnight Sirius and Aurora stumbled upon the isolated German transport KT1, separated from the convoy by a missed signal to turn. The two cruisers quickly set it ablaze and it blew up. Knowing there were more ships out there, Aurora and Argonaut started looking for transports while Sirius looked to engage the escorts. One of the Italian destroyers charged at the cruiser line, and when Sirius illuminated a transport with searchlights the destroyer dumped a spread of torpedoes at her from a range of 2000 yards. Sirius dodged, and then sank the offending destroyer with help from Argonaut. Only a minute later Sirius mauled one of the torpedo boats, which fled without firing a shot. Sirius and Argonaut then set upon the transports, with Sirius torpedoing the largest of the 3 remaining and sinking it. A second Italian destroyer charged to make an attack, but Sirius and the two British destroyers fired upon it at 4500 yards, knocking out its weaponry and engines and leaving it a immobile hulk. Sirius had damaged or sunk 3 of the 5 Italian escorts, as well as 2 of the 4 transports. In all it was a crushing defeat for the Italians. Sirius would spend the better part of 1943 sailing from invasion to invasion providing naval fire support, and even being a landing craft for British paratroopers to take Taranto by sailing into the harbor with 3 other Didos just after the Italian surrender, preventing it from falling to the Nazis. In October it, along with Aretheusa class Penelope and two destroyers ran into a invasion convoy of a submarine chaser, a cargo ship, and 7 large landing craft. All but one was sunk. Hardly a week later after bombarding a harbor with Aurora, the ships came under air attack, Sirius was hit by a 250 KG bomb and raked with 4 near misses, causing a fire and 44 casualties, 30 wounded and 14 killed. The ship was repaired until February 1944, when she was sent to England to prepare for D-day. She provided naval bombardment at Sword Beach then was sent to the Mediterranean to assist with the Operation Dragoon landings, providing bombardment against St. Madrier. After this, she remained in the Mediterranean and Aegean for the rest of the war, being present at the liberation of Athens. Alright, now we know about the ship. Let’s get into why this particular ship should be added. Why a Dido Class? Before we answer why Sirius should be added to the game, we should probably discuss why a Dido class in general should be added to the game. The reason is simple. This was the largest class of British cruisers to serve in the war. Currently there are representatives of every class of British cruiser to serve in WWII except for the Didos, which served for the duration of the war and fought in every theater, and the Swiftsures, which had only one member commission in time for the war. This gap in the representation needs to be filled. So now, we can ask why Sirius. With 16 members of the class, what makes this ship the most laudable? First, I would discount the Bellona (or Improved Dido) subclass as being sufficiently different as to be its own class that should be added at some point. That removes 5 ships from the equation. Charybdis and Scylla are similarly different from the remaining Didos to be their own thing that should be added at some point in the future as well, so now we are down to 9 ships. I would cast out ships that were sunk in the line of duty, removing Naiad, Bonaventure, and Hermione. With 6 ships left, the field has narrowed. Now, I would prefer ships that fought in surface actions. Euryalus and Phoebe now hit the bricks. Argonaut and Cleopatra had their third front turret removed after combat damage, so unless their early armament is used, these should be removed from consideration. That leaves us with Sirius and Dido left. Let’s be blunt here, Dido had a more exciting career than Sirius. Dido has the same design and layout for the whole war as Sirius (except for the initial 4 turret layout because they just could not build enough turrets at the start of the war), is in surface actions, and has the Kriegsmarine surrender on her decks. So why am I not going with her as the premium ship? Deep down, in my heart of hearts, I want a tech tree to be added for Royal Navy AA Cruisers. And I want Dido, the lead ship of her class, to be in that tech tree. This leaves Sirius as the ship that should be implemented as a premium. So, how do I think that Sirius should be implemented? HMS Sirius in WOWS. Sirius would be a tier VII light cruiser for the Royal Navy. She would have all the benefits of the tech tree RN CL’s, meaning that she has great acceleration, she retains her speed in turns, has the special AP with improved auto-bounce and shell fusing but no HE, and comes with hydroacoustic search, repair party and smoke as consumables. In essence, after all this time, the RN CL line would finally have a ship that pairs well with the existent captain skills (and don’t come at me with that upcoming HMS Tiger nonsense). Tier VII may sound like a bit too much, but hopefully I will be able to explain myself well enough as to why this ought to be her tier. Alright, to stat listing I go. Survivability: Sirius will not be doing anything too impressive concerning her ability to take incoming shellfire. Her armor will be universally poor. The turrets and barbettes all have a maximum of one inch of armor, like on Leander. The belt armor is only 3.5 inches. The plating should be so thin that any HE shell will penetrate, and 8-inch AP will probably autopen a lot of the plating. The only quirks regarding the armor profile are with her citadel. the citadel should extend far above the waterline at the engine and boiler areas to the main deck and be situated behind the belt. In game the RN cruisers around her tier count the 10mm spall deck over the physical boilers and engines as the citadel roof, and Sirius should get this treatment too. However, Sirius would have a single advantage that sets it apart from Fiji and Edinburgh, that being the fact that her citadel is totally underwater unlike on the other RN CL’s where the top of the citadel rides just above the waterline. Also, the magazine citadel roof of Sirius is uniformly 51mm, meaning that unless the belt armor is penetrated at the boiler rooms and the shell plunges through the thin 10 mm roof at that section any ship will have issues getting a citadel on Sirius. Apart from that, the big question is on HP pool. I would say 26000 HP. That makes it last in the tier at tier 7 and pretty much last in tier even at tier 6. However, this ship would have a heal. 3 charges for 130 HP/sec for 28 seconds. Add these in and the ship gets a potential HP of 39090 base, and with the appropriate flags and captain skills can be bumped up to a whopping 47570 max possible HP. Not bad at all. With that taken care of, what would the guns look like? Armament: Sirius is armed with 5 twin 133mm turrets, the same as the secondary battery of the king George V’s. In game these have some stats, but because they are secondary weapons that only fire HE and Sirius won’t fire HE none of these stats mean anything to us. So, we are going to make them up on our own. First, lets take care of the reload rate. In game, the current rate of fire for one of these guns is one round every 6.25 seconds, or 9.6 rounds per minute. Over 10 guns that is 96 rounds a minute. Now, some note has been made that these guns could only sustain 7-8 rounds per minute in prolonged engagements. However, in bursts of nonstop fire for up to 2 minutes Euryalus fired off “some 200 rounds.” So, reloading every 6.3 seconds makes sense to me, but I would prefer a reload every 6, for an even 100 rounds per minute. The range of these shells should be greater than that of the Atlanta or Flint, but less than any other cruiser at the tier if possible. This really narrows the field. Atlanta has a range of 13.3 km, and Boise has a range of 13.6. We will give Sirius a 13.5 km range. Muzzle velocity is 814 m/s, and I think that based on its historical range it should hold its velocity well, but that can be messed with. The shells maintain the generous auto-bounce angles and extremely low fuse times that all RN CA’s get. As for the damage per shell, Norman Friedman in his book “British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After” has the bursting charge of the BL 6 inch cannon as 3.75 pounds, and 3.25 for the 5.25 inch cannon on the Dido’s. Taking a ratio from these and applying it to the 3100 damage per shell of the RN cruisers in game and we get around 2700 max damage per shell. When compared to the other ships of the tier, she come ahead of theoretical DPM of all the heavy cruisers, as well as Abruzzi and Lazo. While with her shells it will be hard for her to get citadels on higher tiered opponents, penetrating belt and deck armor for good damage against most of her opponents should be readily doable. Something that is not talked about much, but is very important, is train and fire angles. Sirius is a incredibly mixed bag on this front. On the plus side, the guns are able to train 360 degrees, so when switching sides to fire on instead of haveing to make a 180 degree plus rotation, they will simply be able to take the quickest route to get on target. This is very much like how the guns work on the tier VII-X Rn Destroyers. The bad news is that offically, they have firing arcs of 280 degrees, meaning that the ship must be angled 40 degrees off of dead on in order to get all of its guns on a target. this is far outside of Auto-bounce angles and means that this ship will have to show a lot of broadside in order to do mnax damage output. However, C turret can theoretically use firing angles of 300 degrees, meaning it can shoot 30 degrees over the shoulder without hitting the conning tower. better still, X turret can theoretically fire in a arc of 320 degrees, meaning that it can engage ships only 20 degrees off the bow. This would be how I would recommend having the firing arcs. There is no secondary armament. Torpedoes are a bit of a question mark. Either they should just be the same as on Fiji, (8 km, 72 second reload, 15867 max damage, and 61 knots with ability to single fire) or the same as on Edinburgh, with 10 km range. Again, playtesting. But I do love the idea of stealth torping with this thing. Which leads us to the concealment. Concealment: Based on the size of the Dido class, this should have more concealment than any other ship at the tier, with only the Atlanta’s being close. The real ships of similar size are a tier lower, with Leander being larger and having a base surface detection range of 10.3 km, and Huang He, with a base surface detection of 9.54 and being the stealthiest cruiser in game. Sirius, being based on the Arethusa class that Huang He is from, should be closer to this 9.54 rating. I would say 9.75 km base. With camo and commander skills, this goes down to 8.51 km. She also has a smoke screen, which should be identical to that of Fiji. 3 charges, 16.5 seconds to disperse, and it sticks around for 100 seconds. While mentioning this, she also has 3 charges of hydro so that you do not get surprised by torps in your smokescreen, and this would have the exact same stats as Fiji’s. Spots torps at 3 km, ships at 4, and lasts 110 seconds and recharges in 114. Agility: The Dido class has a rated speed of 32.25 knots. However, Sirius retains all the good features of the RN mobility, being the improved acceleration and the retaining speed in a turn. She would also have the same turning characteristics of Huang He, having essentially the same hull as that ship. This means that she has a turning circle of 570 meters and can put her rudder hard over in 6.7 seconds. However, after calculating how quickly Sirius would turn based on @LittleWhiteMouse's formula and data from this thread (by the way, massive thanks for doing that, it did kind of matter!) I quickly decided to bump the turning radius to 620 m, giving a rotation rate of 7.86 degrees per second. Despite turning at destroyer levels, she does not outrun her guns 10 degrees per second turn rate. So shes average speed, but very very agile, which combined with the relatively small size means she should be able to survive longer than expected under gunfire. Only one more thing to go. AA: AA poses something of an issue for this ship, because when deciding how this AA will work and what AA suite it will have, I am really deciding what paint scheme this ship will be operating under. The initial aa outfit that it had in the Mediterranean during Pedestal and Skerki Bank is the least whelming, sure, but the camo scheme is by far the most interesting. Look at it! In 1944 it has a pair of single mount 40mm bofors added, but, well… It’s boring. I am going with a mid-1943 Sirius then. This means that she has 7 20mm cannons, a pair of quadruple pom poms, and the 5 twin 5.25 inch cannons. So, after doing some wild calculations where I take the values of other ships mounts and apply them here, I have the AA values. Sirius would do 57 DPS at 2 km (based on dps of one 20mm mount from HMS Nelson times 7), 70 DPS at 2.5 km (based on Haidas quad pom-pom times 2) , and 150 DPS at 6 km (i made this one up, sorry). She would put up a flak barrage of 5 bursts doing 1617 per burst. She actually has a lower raw AA value than the other RN cruisers at her tier, but more of it is focused on the long-range aura. And that’s that for the stats. She is a smaller and stealthier Fiji, but with worse DPM and a lower Hitpoint pool to draw from. That was fun, but time for what matters. Why people will buy this ship if it gets implemented. However entertaining all of this may have been for me, and however worthy I deem Sirius of being introduced into the game, none of that is important. What matters is people dropping their hard-earned dollars into Wargaming’s bank account because of them getting this ship. that means that before Wargaming lifts a finger to add this ship, they must know there is an audience. In this case, lucky them, I believe there are several audiences. Let’s run though them. People looking for historical ships who are not interested in paper ships or ships of noncombatant navies will now have a chance to pick up a historical ship, that fired its guns in anger at other ships, that is a representative of a class not currently in game. For folks that like the more historical aspects of the game, Sirius is a good deal. People looking for a cruiser that they can train RN captains on, that keep their captain skills relevant, will like this ship because this will be only the second ship to fit that bill. People who dump dollars on Azur Lane stuff… Yeah, probably going to like this ship. That is 3 groups of people who would want this ship, and with its great concealment and good AA values, maybe it would even be good for ranked play. I don’t know, but maybe. From where I sit, it looks like a slam dunk.
  25. The following is a review of Paolo Emilio, the tier IX Italian destroyer. Wargaming was kind enough to provide me access to this ship at no cost to me -- be aware: I did not have to pay for this. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics and performance discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.9. Please be aware that said performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: A torpedo destroyer hiding behind a gunship facade but her painfully long main-battery reload hamstrings her gunnery. She is wicked fast and comes with an Italian Exhaust Smoke Generator. Both traits allow her to suicide-charge targets with her short-ranged fish. PROS Massive health pool of 24,400hp. Very heavily armoured for a destroyer including a 60mm belt. Huge SAP broadsides of up to 8,052 damage per salvo. Powerful torpedo armament with twelve tubes and 23,767 damage per fish. Base top speed of 43.5 knots. Engine Boost consumable provides a 25% speed increase giving her a maximum speed (with flag) of up to 56.7 knots in sprints (!) Has access to an Exhaust Smoke Generator. CONS Painfully long main battery reload of 10.7 seconds. Horrible fire-starter. No AP shells at all which makes generating citadel hits nigh-impossible. Torpedoes are very short ranged at 6km. Enormous turning radius of 810m. Horrible concealment values. Engine Boost only lasts for 50 seconds. Paolo Emilio is a very hungry ship when it comes to commander skills & upgrades. You will not have enough points and slots to go around. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH/ Extreme New players stay away. Paolo Emilio is not an easy ship to play. The challenge resides in her poor concealment, her weird gunnery and short-ranged fish. While suicide-torping in PVE-modes will certainly pay dividends, this all falls apart against human opponents. Paolo Emilio's modest gunnery damage out-put, her lack of stealth and her painfully short-duration consumables makes heads-up encounters against just about any opponent super-dangerous. If you cannot kill them quickly, you're not likely to escape. Options Consumables Paolo Emilio's consumables are weird. Whether or not this ends up being normal if and when the Italian destroyer line launches remains to be seen. At least her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. This has unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 40 second reset timer. She uses an Exhaust Smoke Generator in her second slot. This generates smoke for 35 seconds (40.25s with X-ray Papa Unaone signal) and will conceal Paolo Emilio for this duration even while she moves at full speed. Each cloud dissipates in 10 seconds. She starts with five charges (which is admittedly a lot!) and they have a 140 second reset timer. Finally, she has a weird Engine Boost consumable. The candle that burns twice as bright burns for half as long. Paolo Emilio's boost provides a 25% increase to her speed instead of the usual 8% for most destroyers. However, it only lasts for 50 seconds instead of the typical 120 seconds. She starts with five charges here as well (which, again, is a lot) and it shares the 140 second reset timer of her Exhaust Smoke Generator. Pay special attention to the synergy between her Engine Boost and Exhaust Smoke Generator's reset timers. They very conveniently line up and almost match her torpedo reload time. Upgrades There are, ostensibly, two ways of specializing Paolo Emilio. The first is a more conventional destroyer gunship build, focusing upon stealth, damage output and making use of stationary bits of cover. The latter favours an open-water style of engagement, firing at range and focusing upon agility at the expense of stealth. Obviously there's a lot of overlap between these two so you can mix and match to suit your style. You'll note that I'm not fussing overmuch about upgrading her torpedoes. They honestly don't need any help. Main Armaments Modification 1 is optimal in your first slot. Though if you really hate detonations and are running low on Juliet Charlie signals, Magazine Modification 1 isn't a terrible choice. In slot two, Engine Boost Modification 1 is a must if you can afford it. This costs 17,000 from the Armory and is well worth the price. This increases the action time of her Engine Boost from 50 seconds to 70 65 seconds which is a lot more comfortable. If you can't afford this then default to Engine Room Protection as you would for most destroyers. In her third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. However, Paolo Emilio's gun handling could use a little help when she's bobbing and weaving in open water. Main Battery Modification 2 can help keep her guns on target when you're zooming past a target at high speed (especially given the current bug with the Expert Marksman skill). There is an argument to be made for Torpedo Tubes Modification 1 in slot three, not so much for the gains in torpedo speed, but for keeping her torpedo launchers alive and speeding up their traverse rate. Knowing what I know about critical damage and destruction mechanics, I'm not sold on this upgrade. Aiming System Modification 1 is hands down better, in my opinion, even if its gains are similarly minimal. For your fourth slot, it's really up to you. Propulsion Modification 1 provides the biggest boost to how your ship performs but only from a dead stop. Your ship has to be stationary (and stationary often) for this to be worthwhile. If you prefer an island or allied-smoke camping style of play, this is the one to grab. Otherwise, default to Steering Gears Modification 1 to drop her rudder shift time down from 5.3s to 4.2s. So, Concealment Modification 1 is always going to be optimal for slot five. The combination of increased stealth and increased gunnery dispersion from enemy ships is too good to pass up. Still, if you would prefer a more active style of play, you can opt for Steering Gears Modification 2. On it's own it drops Paolo Emilio's rudder shift time from 5.3s to 3.2s. If you pair it with Steering Gears Modification 1 from the previous slot, you can get this all the way down to 2.5s. Finally, we have a game play choice. Main Battery Modification 3 is definitely the front-runner. This reduces her gunnery reload time from a painful 10.7s to 9.4s. Pair it with Basic Fire Training and you can get this down to 8.5s, which is still awful but not abhorrent. This comes at the expense of her gun rotation rate which drops from 10º/s to 8.7º/s. That's not enough to allow her to out-turn her turrets, but it's still uncomfortably close. The alternative is grabbing Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 to increase her range from 11.3km to 13.11km which definitely helps with the open-water gunship style of play. Paired with Advanced Fire Training, you can get her range up to 15.73km. So more pew-pews or more comfortable, long-range gunnery. It's up to you. So for a super-specialized, open-water build, you might go for: MAM1, EBM1, ASM1, SGM1, SGM2, GFCM1 with the option of swapping out SGM2 for CSM1 based on preferences. But a more generic build might look like: MAM1, EBM1, ASM1, PM1, CSM1, MBM3. Commander Skills There's a lot to unpack here. Lemme explain what all of the shapes and colour coding mean: Blue circles: Pick ONE. (1pt) Red circles: Always take these. (5pts combined) Red squares (double outline): Highly recommended. (8pts combined) Yellow squares: Great if you can afford them, but lower-priority than red-squares. (14pts combined) Blue squares: Nice to have but not optimal in most builds. (10pts combined) So just touching base on the necessities and the highly-recommended stuff, you're looking at 14pts spent so it gets pretty messy to fill out the last five points. I never found a build that I was 100% happy with while play-testing Paolo Emilio. I go into more detail about the conflicts and struggles here in the Firepower section below. Camouflage Paolo Emilio comes with Type 10 Camouflage providing the usual tier IX premium-ship bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. Italian ships are just plain gorgeous. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 135mm guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Torpedoes: Twelve torpedo tubes in 3x4 launchers with one wing mount to either side between the funnels and one mounted centerline behind the second funnel giving her up to an eight-fish broadside. With few exceptions, firepower defines a ship's performance. Paolo Emilio presents a rather extreme example in this instance, dictating (or at least pressuring players towards) a particular play style. Despite her apparent heavy gun armament, she is not a gunship. She is a torpedo-destroyer. Relying upon her main battery weapons to carry the day makes about as much sense here as it would on ships like Kagero, Benham or Fujin. While occasional successes may come at the hands of a well placed main-battery broadside, it is capitalizing upon her torpedo armament which makes or breaks this ship. Let's go into the wherefores. Limited by a Long Reload There are two primary drawbacks to Paolo Emilio's main battery firepower: She has no access to AP shells. She has a painfully long reload. The former is, honestly, only a minor issue. Paolo Emilio's lack of AP shells is really only a factor when it comes to engaging cruisers and aircraft carriers at point-blank ranges where, theoretically, whatever AP shells she might have had would be capable of landing citadel hits. In all other engagement ranges and types, her SAP shells provide superior performance. So, like I said: Paolo Emilio's lack of AP is a drawback but it's so minor that it's no real loss. Her slow reload time, however, is another matter entirely. Paolo Emilio's guns are bloody brilliant aside from her rate of fire. Check out these strengths: 23mm of HE penetration (28mm with IFHE). With the right skill build, her 135mm shells are capable of directly damaging the extremities of any cruiser she comes across. 38mm of SAP penetration. This is enough to directly damage all battleship extremities and the upper hulls of those snooty American battleships. Massive 8,052 damage SAP broadside. The alpha strike from her SAP shells is capable of shredding between a third and half of a destroyer's hit point pool in a single salvo if all eight shells strike it amidships. Excellent forward fire angles. All eight guns can engage targets 27º off the ship's bow. All of this gets matched with decent gun handling, a good fire chance per shell, decent range, and reasonable HE shell damage. But no matter how good all of these traits are, being shackled to a 10.7 second reload makes her guns junky. Their only saving grace thus becomes that alpha strike off her SAP shells so let's talk more about them. Paolo Emilio's main battery damage output is pretty crappy. In theory, her SAP is pretty formidable, however you cannot count on your opponent giving you enough of a broadside for it to work. She cannot win protracted gunnery duels against most other destroyers. Crappy Sappy SAP performance is all over the map. While they all have high-alpha damage per shell, they do have drawbacks -- namely their propensity to ricochet when striking targets at acute angles. "Good" SAP shells have very forgiving ricochet angles while "bad" SAP shells have scarcely better ricochet angles than AP shells. Because I'm thorough (and stupid), I collected all of the SAP ricochet angles so we could better evaluate Paolo Emilio's SAP rounds: 80º to 85º - Nino Bixio, the tier II Italian tech-tree cruiser. 70º to 80º - The tier II through X tech-tree cruisers with SAP including the premiums Genova & Gorizia. 70º to 80º - Impero, the tier VIII Italian battleship premium that didn't make it out of testing. 60º to 75º - Paolo Emilio With the ricochet angles mapped out, it looks like this: Paolo Emilio's SAP shells are a LOT less reliable than other SAP shells with which you may be familiar. They are far more prone to ricochets. When it comes to ricochets, Paolo Emilio's SAP shells are like very forgiving AP rounds rather than SAP from Italian cruisers. Once an enemy ship (particularly a destroyer) appears to be turning towards or away from you, it's time to switch over to HE rounds. Given her slow rate of fire, this normally only allows for two salvos to be fired off before an enemy has angled enough to make her SAP rounds unable to sustain damage. This is, of course, barring obliviousness, but any weapon can appear amazing if the enemy doesn't fight back. Thus Paolo Emilio's SAP rounds perform best against distracted targets or in ambush situations and there's a lot of mileage for taking skills like Expert Loader to fully capitalize on on SAP opportunities. When to Use Guns Like Japanese destroyers, Paolo Emilio's guns should be used opportunistically but carefully. Every pull of the trigger should be calculated. While it does pay dividends to invest in improving Paolo Emilio's gun performance for those lean spells where you can't make use of her fish, it would be a mistake to think that her guns alone can consistently carry a match. Ideally, when you do elect to do some gunnery, you want to be using SAP as much as possible. You can largely forget about setting fires with Paolo Emilio's HE rounds. While she does have a respectable fire chance per shell, her slow rate of fire will make taxing a battleship's Damage Control Party exceedingly difficult. Getting more than a single blaze to stack, never mind two, will require some hefty bribery to RNGeebus. To this end, taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells isn't a terrible option to boost the direct damage performance of her HE rounds, but I'm generally of the opinion that this is way too expensive for what is very much a secondary ammunition choice on an already secondary weapon system. You can play Paolo Emilio as an open water or island-camping gunship. Hell, you can go for a full Khabarovsk or French Destroyer style build and play up the harassment meta all game. Increase her range through Advanced Fire Training or an upgrade and shoot and scoot to your heart's content. But that's not what she was designed for and it's again going to set you back a whole lot of skill points. Missile Command's MIRVs What Paolo Emilio is designed for, is drive-by deposits of torpedo broadsides at point-blank ranges. On paper, the setup is dirt simple: Use her ridiculous high-speed provided by her Engine Boost consumable to race directly towards a vulnerable target. Activate her Exhaust Smoke Generator just before you reach your own surface detection range in order to stay unspotted. Sprint the remaining distance and dump two launchers worth of torpedoes into the exposed broadside of your hapless enemy. With each fish dealing upwards of 23,766 damage per hit, any target you select is doomed. From the enemy's perspective, all they see is an aggressive moving smoke cloud that suddenly explodes into salvos of torpedoes. If Paolo Emilio is on the enemy team, you have to treat these incoming smoke clouds like one big torpedo that's about to MIRV into separate warheads. In PVE modes, this works as exactly as Wargaming designed. In PVP, it's a much less certain prospect. Paolo Emilio has some pretty gorgeous fire arcs and a couple of meh. It's only her dorsal torpedo launcher with it's forward fire arc that's crappy. The reason is pretty simple: Paolo Emilio's torpedoes, as formidable as they are, are very short ranged. To be clear, they hit like trucks and they're super fast (23,677 damage and 67 knots respectively). However, with only a 6km range, you're only getting hits with them if one of two conditions re met: Make a 200 IQ play at an aggressively moving enemy that doesn't know you're there, ambushing either through the slimmest margins of open-water stealth-torping or using island cover. Play as Wargaming designed her, and make a mad dash at an exposed enemy, using consumables to close the distance. I stress that the enemy must be exposed. An opponent that knows you're coming and takes steps to avoid your fish may not escape damage entirely but they're not going to get sunk. And then you've got nothing but your crappy, slow firing guns to see you out of trouble with a very angry enemy spotting you for not only their own weapons but those of all of their friends. Failing one of these Paolo Emili-yolos will cost you most, if not all of your health. So the counter is pretty basic. Activate Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar if you have it and point your butt and guns at the cloud, moving directly away from it at speed. You might take a torpedo hit or two in battleships but anything else should avoid the worst of it. This active counter-play means that Paolo Emilio is not a forgiving destroyer to play. There are more counters than this, of course. An ill-timed, broken module can similarly flub one of these attack runs, be it Paolo Emilio's engines or one of her torpedo launchers. The long reload of her fish in conjunction with the necessity of timing her consumables means that in PVP, you have to pick your targets and your moment of attack carefully or you'll just end up a greasy stain on the ocean's surface. If this ship becomes commonplace in the community (and I doubt it given the resources needed to unlock her), you can expect to see not only a lot of failed attacks but attacks that do nothing more than sink someone that was already over-exposed anyway and the Paolo Emilio that landed the killing blow dies in the attempt. So, despite the obvious memes, success with Paolo Emilio's torpedoes has a lot of skill-based elements to it -- at least outside of PVE. So some caveats apply here. These numbers are before you account for fire resistance of a given target which, at high tiers, is close to 50%. So, generally speaking, if you want to know how many fires per minute you can expect, take the numbers here, halve them and then compare them to your gunnery accuracy in the respective ship. So if you're hitting about 60% of the time in your Tashkent and you've fully spec'd her out to burninate, you can expect to set about three fires every sixty seconds against a Yamato. Also, Friesland still has zero chill. Summary There's surprising depth to Paolo Emilio's weapon systems. For example, her guns are terrible but if you build them properly, they become dangerous enough to pull out some wins in select encounters. You can brainlessly YOLO with her torpedoes but to get more than one success in three games, you have to plan your attacks carefully. I'm reminded a lot of Haida's weapon systems -- not in that their performance is comparable, but more that while it takes a lot of work to get results, said results feel earned. Paolo Emilio's weapons are very satisfying. VERDICT: A few crippling flaws but there's some fearsome potential here both with her torpedoes and her guns. Defense Hit Points: 24,400 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm & 20mm respectively Paolo Emilio is what the kids like to call "a heckin' chonker." She has 24,400 base hit points and 27,550hp with Survivability Expert (and you will take Survivability Expert). While she does not have any healing capacity, the sheer bulk of hit points provides effectively more health than some of those tier IX destroyers that do have heals due to the inefficiency of getting the maximum potential from every single consumable charge. Now that's a lot of potential damage! With Survivability Expert, Paolo Emilio has comparable durability to Jutland, Udaloi and Östergötland given typical use of their Repair Parties. Getting the "Maximum Healing Potential" as listed on these graphs is a bit of a pipe dream. Part of the reason she's so hefty is that she's actually armoured! Khabarovsk and other high-tier Soviet destroyers show their Italian pedigree when you look at what Paolo Emilio is sporting here. She has belt armour. She has armoured turrets and barbettes. She actually has reinforced magazine protection and a turtleback to protect her machine spaces for crying out loud. You could be forgiven for mistaking her for a very light cruiser. The practical effect here is that not every shell fired at Paolo Emilio will do damage. HE shells aimed at her amidships hull have a very good chance of shattering against her 60mm plates which is proof against HE shells of up to 360mm (240mm if they have 1/4 HE penetration). In addition, British 113mm guns from destroyers like Jutland and Daring cannot penetrate her deck without IFHE, further increasing the effectiveness of her steel. AP shells of all calibers will ricochet off her belt at acute angles. Combined with her enormous hit point pool, Paolo Emilio feels tougher than her destroyer-status would otherwise suggest. If she had the DPM to compete, out-trading with Paolo Emilio would be downright overpowered with this build. As it is, her toughness can kinda-sorta bail her out of tough situations and protracted duels, but she doesn't fare well in trades. The best use of this durability is at range, using her speed smokes to perform short-term hit and runs and then disengage and reposition. Being so tough will reduce the impact of those incidental hits and short-term exchanges. But don't think for a second that this will allow you to survive failed YOLO-torpedo charges. Paolo Emilio has a multitude of hidden armour geometries that are more curious than practical. If anything, they may end up being more of a drawback, ensuring that small and medium caliber AP shells fuse properly inside her. I did not include the 20mm turtleback (angled approximately 50º to 60º from the vertical) which connects the 60mm belt to the main deck as it would get lost in the clutter of her 20mm deck. Graphic was pulled from assets from gamemodels3d.com, a great site for advanced users that are interested in a more detailed look at the mechanics of World of Warships. VERDICT: Tough enough to surprise opponents but not so tough that she survives over-extending. Agility Top Speed: 43.5 knots Port Turning Radius: 810m Rudder Shift Time: 5.3s 4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 7º/s Paolo Emilio is stupid fast and that solves a lot of potential problems with this ship. She has the speed to dictate engagement ranges. She can pick her fights. Her high speed helps make up for her horrid turning circle radius, providing a modest rate of turn instead of an abysmal one. If all she had was this 43.5 knot top speed, that would be remarkable enough unto itself, but she also has access to an improved Engine Boost consumable. Paolo Emilio's ridiculous high speed helps counteract her horrible turning radius, giving her a still reasonable (but still admittedly slow) rate of turn. Her Engine Boost consumable is simultaneously awesome and crappy. It provides a 25% boost to her speed instead of 8%, which is awesome. But it lasts 50s instead of 120s which is such a tease. Just as you're finally ticking over those last few tenths of a knot to reach her theoretical maximum of 56.7kts (with a Sierra Mike signal), the damn thing cuts out. Taking the special upgrade, Engine Boost Modification 1 extends this up to 70 65 seconds, but it's still painfully short of what other versions of this consumable provide. This makes it less useful as a "navigate from A to B" consumable and more of one dedicated to Paolo Emilio's singular purpose: suicide torping. Her Engine Boost consumable synergizes well with her Exhaust Smoke Generator, encouraging their paired use. Activate her Engine Boost first to build up speed and then activate her Exhaust Smoke Generator just before you're spotted and lunge towards your selected target. This does not guarantee success, however. Even at her maximum boosted speed, Paolo Emilio does not have enough longevity in her Exhaust Smoke Generator to allow her to cover the entire distance between herself and a stationary target before the smoke cover expires (to say nothing of a target that's moving away). For those wondering, the distance compression in World of Warships is 5.22x. The purpose of these numbers is to illustrate how much range you can close when lunging after a target with Paolo Emilio. I covered her basic stats against stationary targets where the closing speed will be Paolo Emilio's speed at the time. However I also wanted to simulate approximately the closing distance when a target was either closing or moving away. To this end, I included entries where Paolo Emilio was racing after an enemy where she was outrunning them by 20 and 30 knots respectively. I also included the opposite end of the spectrum, where there is a target unwittingly charging towards Paolo Emilio and the combined closing speed amounts to 70 and 80 knots. The values are admittedly modest rather than a best / worst case scenario but should provide enough data to illustrate my points of caution. The actual relevant distance Paolo Emilio needs to close is 2km less than the values listed. Once you're in auto-detect range, it doesn't matter if her smoke is active or not. Similarly, if your target is going to oblige you by presenting the perfect torpedo target when you're still 4km out (such as by swinging out and presenting their broadside), then you need not run the full distance as your torpedoes can cover the remainder. Still, it pays to keep in mind just how long you'll need to push in order to guarantee those torpedo hits. This is a harrowing experience and every bit of speed you can squeeze out of Paolo Emilio's engines counts. This all comes back to Paolo Emilio having a pretty steep learning curve. What appears on the surface to be a straight forward calculation is far more nuanced. With this speed and decent agility, she should be an excellent kiting gunship if it weren't for that horrid reload. Suicide-torping should be easy if it weren't for the fact her consumables had such short active-periods. Worse, Co-Op won't help you learn these traits. Bots are dumb and they will make this ship's speed seem just right for pulling off shenanigans that will only get you killed against human opponents so you're not going to get any reasonable practice there. VERDICT: Damn-fast but not damn-fast for damn-well long enough. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 2 for 1,540 damage per blast. Long Ranged (up to 4.6km): 52.5dps Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 96.4dps Paolo Emilio's anti-aircraft damage numbers aren't terrible. They're downright respectable even. The issue here is that she doesn't have the range to give her guns enough time on target to do anything. She's a ready victim to dedicated air attack without the concealment to avoid being detected in the first place and lacking a long-lasting smoke screen to discourage CVs from loitering. While not quite on the level of French destroyer vulnerability, Paolo Emilio is a juicy and easy target for carriers. VERDICT: Yer dead. I did not shoot those Messerschmitts down. That was done by the combined firepower of the Baltimore and North Carolina behind me. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 9.08km / 7.13km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.68km / 2.98km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 3.65km sea / 2.7km air Main Battery Firing Range: 11.3km to 15.73km with full upgrades. The last piece of the Paolo Emilio puzzle is her Vision Control (or "Refrigerator" as Lert coined it many years ago). Let's start with the obvious. Paolo Emilio's surface detection range is nothing short of appalling. To give you an idea, there are only five destroyers with worse surface detection ranges. They are: 10km - Khabarovsk, tier X Soviet 9.88km - Kléber, tier X French 9.54km - Mogador, tier IX French 9.40km - Tashkent, tier IX Soviet 9.20km - Udaloi, tier IX Soviet In most destroyer versus destroyer encounters, you are not sneaking up on your opponent. With the exception of those those five ships, you will always be spotted first. Taking Radio Location to help identify the vector of spotting destroyers is quite handy, albeit an expensive solution to this problem. Heads-up encounters with destroyers should largely be avoided given Paolo Emilio's poor gun damage output unless the target is exposed and/or crippled. Trust her speed to keep enemies at arm's length, but be aware that playing keep-away constantly will surrender map control and probably cost you the match. Similarly, using her speed to charge headlong into cap circles is a great way to get Paolo Emilio sunk so it's best to play more passively around objectives lest she have a ton of ready support. Next on the list is what she does not have: Namely any detection consumables. As the meta has progressed, Hydroacoustic Search has become more commonplace on high-tier destroyers. Surveillance Radar too has proliferated. This is doubly important to keep in mind when her Exhaust Smoke Generator is active as she is effectively flying blind during the 35 to 40 seconds that it's active. While battleships with active firing guns are easy to see through her smoke, smaller vessels are not. Speaking of her Exhaust Smoke Generator, it is painfully easy to forget how short-lived this consumable operates for. While the X-ray Papa Unaone signal helps immeasurably with its added fives seconds of emission, this still gives her a pittance when it comes to concealment time. Do not panic-blurt her smoke. Also: don't panic fire her guns while she's in smoke lest you light yourself for an enemy you didn't know was there. The reset timer on her smoke is still painfully long (two minutes and twenty seconds) and a premature blast of smoke inside of radar or hydro range will do her no favours. The same can be said if she's being hounded by aircraft or enemy lolibotes. Once the smoke clears, Paolo Emilio may still find herself in trouble. While her smoke is useful defensively, it's best to keep her out of such problem situations in the first place, preserving it for the suicide-rushes she was designed around. Paolo Emilio's vision control is pretty terrible all told. She's reliant on her speed to make up for it and as shown previously, she's not fast enough for long enough to correct all of these problems. Her Exhaust Smoke Generator is powerful, opening up the possibility of some nice offensive and defensive actions but it has its drawbacks too. It's too short lived and she flies blind while its operating. Her fortunes tend to reside on how well her smoke is utilized. VERDICT: Her success is dictated by how well you can use her smoke. Final Evaluation Wargaming designed Paolo Emilio to be a one trick pony. In their own words: Yet despite this, she ended up being delightfully more complex. She can run and gun. She can even play the role of a destroyer interceptor, trusting on her alpha strike and durability to outlast her opponent. She's not good at either of these roles, but she does demonstrate flexibility enough to pull these off in a pinch. They're just not something you should base her entire play around. It's easy to dismiss Paolo Emilio as nothing more than a YOLO-bote. But even in that role, pulling this off successfully isn't always simple. Well, outside of co-op, it isn't simple. Paolo Emilio is like one of the strongest co-op botes I've ever played. Wait in the wings for the enemy DDs to be taken out and then YOLO your way to 130,000+ damage easy as you slash through the enemy cruisers / battleships with her fish. As a crusty ol' veteran, I unduly appreciate complexity in ship performance. But therein lies the trap. Just because a ship is complex, that doesn't necessarily make it good. Paolo Emilio makes you jump through a few hoops to get her to perform even to a reasonable level (again in most PVP encounters -- PVE need not apply) but that's not necessarily a good thing for the average consumer. There are a lot of ways to counter a YOLO-rush from Paolo Emilio and running into these counters time and again can be discouraging. Do I think Paolo Emilio is worth it? Yeah, she's fun. I like her. I'm not sure she's so much fun that I'd go through the slog of regrinding through the Research Bureau over and over and over again. I'd do that for Siegfried but Paolo Emilio is a much harder sell that way. Now I say this without having enjoying much success in Paolo Emilio in PVP battles. My first forays into PVP with her were downright disastrous, if not comical. She really is not an easy ship to play but that, to me, is definitely part of her appeal. Like Haida, if you do well in Paolo Emilio, it's because you played well. Furthermore, it's not because you overcame an unfair set of difficulties either. I will say this: If Wargaming opens up a 1 vs 1 Ranked Battle season at tier IX, Paolo Emilio will be HILARIOUS. Paolo Emilio swatting simulator. Kill it quick before it MIRVs. Conclusion Can't talk. Wargaming released Florida without warning. Must review.
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