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  1. The following is a review of Brandenburg, the tier VIII premium German battleship, was sponsored by my patrons on Patreon who helped me afford this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.11.4. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. The purpose of this review is to support the players, not the company behind the product. Isn't Brandenburg just a better Odin? That was my initial thought when I heard Brandenburg's announcement. I appreciated that they were different animals, with Brandenburg being derived from concept work leading to the Bismarck-class. However, it's hard not to see parallels between the two. I was worried that Brandenburg would make her obsolete. Then I remembered that Odin was already obsolete upon release and stopped feeling bad. WELCOME TO MY REVIEW OF BRANDENBURG! ♫ I started this review on March 20th, 2022. I had a lot of tier VIII battleships in my backlog, so I was using Atlântico's upcoming (at the time) release this as an excuse to try and clear out some of these neglected vessels. My usual turn around time for a review is about two weeks so long as I do absolutely nothing else during that time period. Updating my tier VIII battleship database would speed up the review process for subsequent ships by a few days. With this in mind, I was certain I could get a couple out before unlocking Atlântico. Brandenburg was the first one up and I planned to queue up Borodino and Constellation afterwards. It was going to be a hellish six weeks, sure, but knocking out four reviews in that time would be so worth it, at least so long as nothing went wrong. And oh boy did things go wrong. I got immediately sidetracked by projects like: ... pointing out all of the bad copy in Wargaming's premium shop and Armory. ... working on that AA catalogue I started back in January. ... putting time in to work on some related art projects with @Chobittsu. ... continuing to play with submarine damage models and depth charge mechanics. ... surviving COVID. So ... yeah, it's been a trip. I'm terrible at planning. I set myself some outrageous goals that don't allow for any leeway should things go wrong. I then proceed to beat myself up for not being able to fold space and time itself to meet said deadlines. Before we get started... You're going to notice a slight change with some of the graphs in this review. I experimented with trying to cut down the bloat that's ever increasing in World of Warships. There are thirty-one tier VIII battleships in World of Warships presently with more on the way. Rather give everyone eye-strain trying to compare them all in individual graphics, I cut things down to the tech tree battleships plus the other German premiums. This reduces the count down from thirty-one to twelve which is a lot more manageable. Now I'm not entirely happy with this and I recognize the flaws. For one, it shapes impressions. A given premium might stack really well against the tech tree ships but still be a poor offering compared to its peers. For another, these graphics have proven to me to be a quite helpful snapshot about the meta at a given point in time. Missing data points will make that harder to track in the future. Finally, it feels like I'm wussing out. I'm sure I could make thirty-one data points fit, gosh darn it, if I just tried a little harder! Oh well, what's done is done. Just thought you all should know. Please leave me some feedback on your thoughts and ideas. PROS Dispersed, heavy armour scheme and full icebreaker bow. Thick turtleback citadel. Good gun handling. Surprising accuracy for a twelve-gun armament with 1.8 sigma. Powerful secondary battery with improved accuracy, good fire arcs, long range and 1/4 HE penetration. Good top speed of 32.5 knots and fast rate of turn. She has torpedoes! CONS Small hit point pool for a tier VIII battleship which also compromises healing. Poor anti-torpedo protection. Short ranged at 18.5km. APPALLING FIRE ANGLES. [edited] ME, THEY'RE BAD. Small calibre AP shells lack overmatch potential and penetration. Unlike most other high-tier German battleships, she lacks Hydroacoustic Search. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme What happens when you take a brawling battleship, give it bad guns and chain it to a small hit point pool? You get a YOLO disaster waiting to happen again and again and again. Brandenburg is a bad battleship for inexperienced players. Her guns seem trollishly designed to punish new players. Her bad AP performance and her bad fire angles force inexperienced players to flash their broadsides and get themselves killed. Without a big hit point pool, they die in a hurry. The only bit of saving grace here is that at least she comes with a German battleship protection scheme, but even that seems flawed. This thing is fast too, so it's easy to over-extend and get sent back to port for being the easiest thing to shoot at. Experienced players can do a bit of flexing with Brandenburg, showing off their in-game knowledge on where it's best to change up ammo, how to optimize her with commander skills and when and how to brawl. I'm not saying she's going to be a successful ship because of this -- Brandenburg, like a lot of 2021 ship releases, punishes players for trying to play her as designed. It's just that an expert player can get a bit more out of her. Options Nothing too surprising here, other than what's missing. Brandenburg doesn't have access to Hydroacoustic Search. Otherwise, you'll have to choose whether or not to specialize in brawling, but that's an easy choice to make. If you want to win, you'll avoid brawling. If you want to be cool, brawling is the only acceptable answer. Now, you're not some kind of sensible LOSER, are you!? Options Brandenburg's Damage Control Party is perfectly normal for most battleships. It comes with unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. It's active for 15 seconds. In slot two, you get a standard Repair Party for a battleship. 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 and starts with four charges. In Brandenburg's third slot, it's choice time with either a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The Spotter Aircraft comes with four charges, increases her main battery range by 20% for 100s and has a 240s reset timer. Her Catapult Fighter launches 3 aircraft 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 Let's go down the list! Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Damage Control System Modification 1 goes into slot two. It's choice time. If you're cool, you'll take Secondary Battery Modification 1. If you're smart, you'll take Aiming Systems Modification 1 instead. You're not one of those smart people are you? Let's hope not. Damage Control System Modification 2 is the better choice at slot four. You can take Steering Gears Modification 1 if you prefer, just be aware that fires are going to hurt all the more. And because I know you're super cool, you're going to compromise your fire setting in the commander skills section in order to build for secondaries, right?2 Finally, grab Concealment System Modification 1 because Wargaming still hasn't gotten around to giving us a competitive alternative in slot five, making it a non-decision for most ships. It's just a dumb 2M credit tax at this point. Commander Skills There are obviously two commander skill builds I'll champion. The first is the basic survivability build. Memes aside, this is hands down the optimal build for Brandenburg as it emphasizes fire resistance. But that's boring. A brawling build for Brandenburg plays up to the novelties (and stereotypes) of the German battleship line. As a less than optimal build, there's a lot more leeway on what you pick and choose for your backup skills -- the idea being that you're already compromising on optimization, so you may as well just try out some fun and weird combinations. Still, the general idea is to emphasize your secondary strengths. Beyond the obvious Manual Secondary Battery Aiming and Long Range Secondary Battery Shells you want to look at grabbing either Demolition Expert or Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (or both). The latter-most skill is contentious given that it compromises the fire setting of your entire armament. It's really only worthwhile if you intend to throw Brandenburg into brawls on the regular with high-tier battleships (though it does help with high tier cruisers too, especially with amidship hits). So you may want to hold off on IFHE. Boooooring. Tasty! Camouflage Brandenburg was sold with two camouflage options, Type 10 and German Eagle. They provide identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. This is the only screenshot I took of Brandenburg's German Eagle camouflage and it's terrible (the screenshot, not the camouflage). The camo was only available in a bundle when the ship was initially sold and I have not seen it made available since. I didn't pick it up at the time and it seems I've missed out. Brandenburg's base Type 10 camouflage is a striking black, white and grey. It's quite handsome. I am not a fan of the alternative palette for her Type 10 camouflage. You can unlock this via completing portions of the German Navy Collection under your Profile tab. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 305mm/56 guns in in 4x3 turrets with an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Twelve 150mm/55 guns in 6x2 turrets and twenty 105mm/65 guns in 10x2 turrets. The large calibre guns are set on the main deck with the 105mm guns superfiring on one deck higher. The secondaries are divided evenly down each side. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers mounted behind the funnel on either side of the ship. Brandenburg has crappy guns, but she gets a lot of them and they're reasonably accurate. Gun Calibre, Penetration & Reload Time Brandenburg has small calibre guns for a high-tier battleship. Her 305mm weapons are the same as those found on Odin. For 305mm guns, her shells have good ballistics and penetration, but that's only for a 305mm gun. You're not contesting battleship belt armour at battleship engagement distances with her AP rounds, for example. You're also missing out on overmatching anything greater than 19mm with her AP rounds. Her individual hits aren't particularly powerful and her HE shells suffer from the usual German affliction of dealing less damage per hit than similar shells of their calibre. It's the quantity of shot that's supposed to make up for all of this, but even here, Wargaming pulled their punches. This is a recycled graphic pulled from my Odin review. Odin and Brandenburg have identical AP penetration performance. These numbers are approximate and pulled from wowsft.com. Brandenburg's AP penetration isn't great. She largely loses the ability to contest battleship belt armour outside of 12km if there's even a bit of angling going on. You want to throw AP shells as much as possible with Brandenburg, even against soft targets. Unlike other nations, her anemic HE shell damage is so much lower than her AP shells that they're only competitive when her HE is guaranteed to deal full penetrating damage. If a target has been partially saturated, her overpenetrating AP rounds will put out more hurt. This limits the optimal use of HE rounds to the following situations: (1) Against targets you cannot hurt at all with AP. (2) You're trying to start fires. Even against submarines at periscope depth, Brandenburg's AP will deal more damage. The only catch here is that Brandenburg's AP shells just don't have the bite needed to work against heavy armour. So you're forced to HE and suck up the damage disparity. Allow me to elaborate. For the longest time, I have held that 30 seconds is the standard reload time of battleship guns. This isn't necessarily true, but it's been an unspoken standard for a number years. So much so, that you could safely predict that any new battleship being added to the game would have it. Wargaming has begun to deviate from this standard. This largely began with the Soviet battleship line. Where once the odd ship with a weird reload added a little variety to a tech tree line, we're seeing slow or faster reloads defining and entire swathe of releases. Still, I find myself trained to look for a 30 second reload on any new battleship Wargaming adds. When the number is greater or lesser, it shapes my perception of its intended performance. For ships to match the 30 second reload output with a smaller armament (be it number of guns or smaller in calibre), I expect to see a faster reload. If an armament is especially large or hard hitting, then I expect to see a slower. So let's look at where Brandenburg's armament and reload sits: 22.5 seconds - Zieten with 3x2 406mm 23.0 seconds - Odin with 3x3 305mm 25.0 seconds - Famous & Historical Monarch with 3x3 381mm, Vanguard with 4x2 381mm 26.0 seconds - Bismarck & Tirpitz with 4x2 380mm 26.5 seconds - Brandenburg with 4x3 305mm 28.0 seconds - Gascogne with 2x4 380mm 28.6 seconds - Chamapgne with 2x3 406mm 30.0 seconds - Amagi & Kii with 5x2 410mm, North Carolina, Alabama & Massachusetts with 3x3 406mm, Constellation with 4x2 406mm, Richelieu with 2x4 380mm, Roma & AL Littorio with 3x3 381mm and Atlântico with 5x2 381mm 31.0 seconds - Borodino with 2x3 406mm 33.0 seconds - Ignis Purgatio & Ragnarok with 5x2 410mm, Vladivostok & Lenin with 3x3 406mm, Flandre with 3x3 380mm 34.0 seconds - Vittorio Veneto with 3x3 381mm 40.0 seconds - Kansas with 4x3 406mm This looks reasonably competitive, at least until you account for all of the flaws with her shells. I'm still balking that they didn't give Odin the same 20 second reload as Scharnhorst and Brandenburg's 26.5 second reload feels like more of the same mistreatment. Brandenburg isn't a particularly hard-hitting ship. Or rather, her guns just don't scale well against higher tiered targets and other battleships. Overall, her 26.5 second reload time isn't a flaw, per se, but it's not a strength either. It seems carefully measured to ensure she's reliant upon her other weapon systems. More on that later. Brandenburg's potential AP DPM looks great. But this doesn't account for the woes of dispersion, penetration, firing angles, auto-ricochet checks, etc. The POTENTIAL is there, sure, provided you've got an opponent willing to make things easy for you. Short of picking on lower-tiered cruisers or inside of brawling scenarios, the potential is difficult to realize. Like most German battleships, her HE shell DPM falls off the rails. I'd like to make a big deal about her improved HE penetration but Brandenburg's 76mm penetration just isn't impressive when compared to the 68mm being tossed around by most of the American, Soviet and Japanese battleships at this tier. So yeah, Brandenburg has good HE penetration for a 305mm armed battleship but that's only for a 305mm armed battleship. When stacked against the 406mm guns or the 1/4 HE penetrating 380mm/381mm guns from the Royal Navy and other German ships (and nevermind the Italian SAP shells), Brandenburg's HE looks crappy. It would be a struggle to call any of the tier VIII battleships "good" fire starters. King George V is pretty much the gold-standard of this for mid-tier battleships and she comes out just shy of 10 fires per minute before you account for things like accuracy (cut that number down to a third) and fire resistance (reduce it again to two thirds its initial value). Once reality sets in, you're looking at about two to three fires per minute for KGV. Apply the same approximates to Brandenburg and you come out at nearly two. This is probably the most reliable way for her to attempt to stack damage against enemy battleships. But unlike the British, don't expect a whole lot of direct damage to accompany Brandenburg's HE spam. There are tricks to make these guns work. HE spam is one such way. Your direct damage numbers will suffer, sure, but they won't suffer as badly if you simply stuck to AP rounds the whole time. You can try the whole "aim higher" with AP, hoping to bullseye the upper hull and superstructure of enemy battleships at range, but dispersion will troll you outside of near brawling ranges, so that's not entirely reliable. Brandenburg's guns are just not fun to use and you have to overcompensate a whole heck of a lot to get those numbers to stack. Gun Handling & Accuracy While Brandenburg's reload time is only ever going to be decent, her accuracy isn't as bad as I was expecting for a twelve-gun armed ship. 1.8 sigma isn't terrible. In fact, for a ship with as many guns as she has, it's higher than I thought it would be. Coupled with American battleship dispersion and a twelve-gun broadside, she isn't as likely to get trolled by RNG(eebus) as ships with fewer guns or worse sigma. This ultimately comes down to feels -- Brandenburg's salvos feel reasonably accurate even if their dispersion describes her as being only average. It's rare that a well aimed shot isn't going to yield at least a handful of hits. Brandenburg is good at putting warheads on foreheads at least so long as you ensure that all twelve guns are firing. And this is the other issue -- getting all of those guns firing. And maybe this helps explain some of my gripes with her reload. Brandenburg's arcs are HORRIBLE. For those unaware, I have a bias against crappy firing angles. Outside of PVE situations, Brandenburg when she fires all twelve of her guns. She's unable to angle correctly against return fire while doing so, which opens her up to taking some pretty bad hits in return. As you'll see in the Durability section, Brandenburg doesn't have a lot of hit points and she cannot afford to trade them away for the modest returns another six guns bring. Without a fast(er) reload on her guns and without good firing angles, her DPM suffers appreciably. So that paper DPM value shown before falls even further into the toilet. One of my standard dispersion tests. This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso bot. Brandenburg is using Aiming System Modification 1, while the Fuso is completely stock and without camo. Shots are coming in from right to left with the Fuso effectively bow tanking. At 1.8 sigma and German dispersion, Brandenburg's gunnery feels "average", at least until you remember she has twelve guns and a quick(ish) reload. Volume of fire lends a sense of accuracy all on its own and Brandenburg ends up feeling more accurate than she actually is, even with a full secondary build. The HORROR. Main Battery Gun Summary Brandenburg has crappy guns, but she gets a lot of them and they're reasonably accurate. I wish I could say she had good fire angles or that they reloaded fast enough for that not to matter, but they don't. I found these guns to be incredibly frustrating to use, especially when facing same tier or higher opponents. The AP doesn't hit hard enough. And even when you do land some good hits that don't ricochet or shatter, they just don't do enough damage. Every time I reached for HE, it felt like I was giving up and begging for fires that usually didn't come. Brandenburg's gunnery takes a long time to stack appreciable damage. Brawling battleships are cool It's a good thing she's a brawler. She's designed to supplement her damage by creeping into secondary range (where possible) and spraying enemy ships down with a torrent of cruiser and destroyer-calibre HE. Up close, the deficiencies of her 305mm AP penetration falls away too and they become a lot more threatening. She's fully capable of blowing out the machine spaces of any enemy battleship with a vulnerable citadel and her twelve gun broadside ensures that it will hurt. The threat of her torpedoes makes even other heavy weight brawlers take notice. This is where she belongs. This is where she demands respect. And for a German battleship, her secondaries are contenders for the best out of all of them with better firing angles and more DPM and FPM than most. Combined with improved German secondary accuracy, 1/4 HE penetration and more guns than other German battleships, Brandenburg has some of the best brawling armaments at her tier. Check it out: Some notes to keep in mind: Massachusetts, Atlântico and Brandenburg have the same DPM when brawling, kiting or firing broadside. Zieten has the same DPM when brawling or kiting. Before you get too excited and run out and buy a Flandre or Kii, I remind you that DPM charts are not the be-all, end all. The majority of Flandre's damage comes from 100mm secondaries that only have 17mm of penetration and no improved accuracy (Gascogne has this same problem). A lack of improved accuracy also plagues Kii on top of having only a range that caps out at just shy of 10km with all buffs. Brandenburg combines good range, good penetration and good potential damage on top of solid firing arcs. She's the total package. The only thing we could ask for more would be a further improvement on her already improved "German" secondary accuracy or upgrading her 105mm to 128mm like Odin so that she can pen battleships without needing IFHE. Spreadsheets are not cool So Brandenburg has better secondaries than the other tier VIII German battleships, right? That's what the numbers say? Good, cuz I couldn't tell. Seriously, this is one of those cases where my notes on how a ship felt to play did not reflect the data I collected afterwards. I should explain -- my process for writing these reviews is to play the ship, take notes while doing so and then as questions come up, look at the ship's stats to try and understand where the feels are coming from. At no point in my play testing of Brandenburg did her secondaries stand out in any appreciable way from other German battleships I've played. I seriously thought her secondaries were bog-standard for a German brawler. It was only as I put together the graphics for this section that I said "wait, hold up" -- she has more DPM and better fire angles? Huh! So why didn't it come up? You'd think counting an extra pair of 105mm would have tipped me off. While I was conscious of them, they weren't anything to get terribly excited about. I liken it to the extra 100m Odin has on her secondary range. It's nice but it's not game changing. It was the same case for her firing angles. They're good, sure, and better than most of the other German battleships. But there's still that ugly deadzone straight ahead. Ultimately, this blasé attitude says a lot about how situational brawling is. In PVP, good brawls are so uncommon that they're an event when they finally happen. Thus, it's hard to get a good sense of value out of a secondary armament. This goes double when you've invested in them so heavily between skills, upgrades and consumables. And this is what it came down to: Brandenburg's secondaries didn't feel appreciably better than those of Tirpitz or Odin. So it was hard to care about them when the awesome experiences just didn't happen. So yeah, Brandenburg has good secondaries. But as far as I'm concerned, that trait is shared by all other German battleships so it's not a stand-out feature, so don't look at me singing Brandenburg's praises for her secondary potential as a selling feature of this ship over other German premiums. They all perform very much alike in this regard -- their potential is there, but it's so terribly situational. The pain and suffering that went into making this. Brandenburg was originally launched with bugged, asymmetrical secondary arcs on her forward-most 105mm guns. Those on her starboard side could fire up to 20º off her stern while the port side could only fire 30º off her stern. I've highlighted this difference with the two arrows in the graphic above. This was corrected with patch 0.11.4 with her port side now mirroring her starboard side (they can both shoot 20º off her stern now). Brandenburg's secondary arcs are okay. They're not great. At least she can bring all of her weapons the bear 30º off either her bow or stern, so you can use those to help ensure you're auto-ricochet safe in a brawl. I was going to ramble on about her torpedoes, but I think I can just summarize them here. Brandenburg's fish are short ranged but pack a comfortable punch, perfect for delivering a crippling blow in a brawl. The four she launches per side will not guarantee a kill on an enemy battleship unless they're already mauled, so keep that in mind. Her fire arcs are decent, able to launch 30º off her bow and just over that off her stern for a total of a 119º firing arc per side. Like other German battleships, her torpedoes are pretty fragile and have a habit of getting destroyed if she takes a lot of HE fire, so make sure they're still operable before committing to a joust. Summary Brandenburg may have crappy guns but she has good secondaries backed by short-range torpedoes. Firepower wise, she sucks if you can't get her into a brawl. If you can, Brandenburg's numbers jump tremendously. While you can all but guarantee this each and every time you take her out to a Co-Op battle, it's harder to ensure in PVP. I don't rate Brandenburg's firepower very highly. It's alright. When the stars align, it can be good. But you're setting yourself up for disappointment in PVP outside of those rare games where your enemies make the mistake of letting you brawl. VERDICT: Situational. Unreliable. Inconsistent. Durability Hit Points: 58,800 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 145mm / 50mm to 80mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 350mm belt plus 110mm to 120mm turtleback plus 45mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 23% Third from the bottom. A German juggernaut Brandenburg is not. Remember how players made a big stink about Odin's lack of health? Well, if you weren't around at the time, Odin was largely panned by the community for her tiny (52,800) hit point pool. Brandenburg has just 6,000 more. That's not a lot. That's like two more penetrating hits from battleship AP, and given Brandenburg's crappy fire angles, those penetrating hits are coming sooner rather than later. Brandenburg's hit point pool would be dead average for a tier VII battleship. And that's bad. That's very bad. Thus, Brandenburg suffers a lot of the same problems as Odin -- namely, not having enough HP left over to successful brawl when the opportunity finally arises in the mid to late game. Brawls always cost HP. Brawls can cost a lot of HP. And if you've already bled a lot of your initial health, it can be hella disheartening to not have the staying power to actually enjoy a good scrap. What might have been a game winning situation is now just a spiteful act of defiance before you're sent back to port. Even setting brawling aside, with the teething problems of her main battery guns, Brandenburg is just plain bad at trading. She doesn't have the health to spare to exchange body blows. This is partially mitigated by what appears to be a traditional German battleship protection scheme. Brandenburg has dispersed armour, including a full length 60mm icebreaker bow, thick upper hull and deck armour that will troll most HE (and some SAP!) thrown her way. This just leaves her (admittedly huge) superstructure and the tiniest portions of her bow and stern vulnerable and makes her largely proof against AP shells when angled. As for her citadel? I have ... mixed feelings... about Brandenburg's citadel protection. It's geometry is weird. It comes to a narrow point towards the bow. This creates some odd angles reminiscent of Yamato's octagonal citadel -- Brandenburg has similar "cheeks" that can theoretically yield citadel hits even when the ship is angled. Now, ostensibly, her turtleback should mitigate this. Unfortunately, I took a massive double-citadel hit early on when testing Brandenburg. Granted, these came from long range fire and double-granted, it was my fault for flashing that much side in the first place (gawd, I hate her firing angles). But given the tiers at which Brandenburg operates, most of what's going to be thrown at you from other battleships will be at long range so I got incredibly gun-shy after this. I couldn't play Brandenburg with the same confidence I could with other German premiums. I fully accept that this could have been an exception; an anecdote that biased me towards keeping a sharp eye out for repeat occurrences in a way I might not have otherwise fussed over. But it's definitely coloured my experiences. I'm aware that the odd citadel hit can (and do) happen with other German battleships so I dunno why this one shook me up as much as it did. I blame her fire angles. I'm always going to scapegoat her fire angles. Brandenburg feels squishy for a German battleship and I don't like that. Brandenburg has a dispersed armour scheme and odd citadel geometry I'm still torn if the latter is a blessing or curse.. Her citadel's 180mm tip is very thin. Combined with her icebreaker bow, this ship is incredibly difficult to citadel directly from the front when perfectly nosed in. However, that same tapering tip does make her more vulnerable when angled, in a similar manner to Yamato's infamous "cheeks" (though nowhere near to that extreme). Losing 25,000 health in a single salvo and these aren't even citadel hits. VERDICT: Squishier than her pedigree would otherwise suggest. Agility Top Speed: 32.5 knots Turning Radius: 820 meters Rudder Shift Time: 15.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.6º/s at 24.3kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 6.0º/s Brandenburg (8) joins the SoDak-twins (2), Constellation (10) and Champagne (12) as one of the best turning ships at this tier. This is largely thanks to her high top speed. Brandenburg has a great top speed, a decent (but not good) turning circle radius and a rudder shift time on the poor side of average. These latter traits obfuscate what is, in fact, a quite agile vessel as far as battleships go. Speed corrects a lot of issues with agility, especially when they're only held back by "average" values elsewhere. Brandenburg's good top speed and modest turning circle radius translates to one of the best rates of turn for not only the tier VIII battleships, but most battleships in the game. Let's talk more about speed. It is a tremendous advantage. Not only does it allow you to get where you need to be faster, a greater range of speed makes it harder for opponents to properly guess your ship's momentum and lead appropriately. It also allows for a greater degree of control while kiting opponents which is arguably one of the most effective solo damage-farming techniques in the game. Being able to control engagement distances is a duel-winning strategy (though not necessarily a match winning one). In one game I managed to run down not one but two destroyers that strayed too close. Despite fleeing after being lit, they were unable to open up enough distance to get themselves out of spotting range before my secondaries chewed them to bits. Brandenburg's speed ostensibly makes it easier for her to commit to a brawl and use her secondaries and torpedoes, though there's a catch here. While speed is powerful, it can also be dangerous. If you're not careful, you can find yourself over-extending and making yourself an easy target for enemy focus fire. It's important to temper Brandenburg's potential with caution. She doesn't have a lot of health and it doesn't last long under concerted enemy attention. Mind that throttle. Vary your course and speed and beware blind corners. Please keep in mind that I'm comparing Brandenburg's agility to other tier VIII battleships and battleships as a whole. Brandenburg's handling still sucks compared to a cruiser. She does not compare well to Warspite's handling either. You're not going to be able to juke incoming fire or easily thread the needle and dance to torpedo beats. Finally, you can forget about Just Dodging™ air strikes. Still, Brandenburg's handling is very comfy. Good marks here. VERDICT: One of the best at her tier. Under attack from a Kagero and an Asashio. It's a losing battle from the start, but Brandenburg's agility at least frustrated the two destroyers, completely avoiding four salvos before finally being taken down by a fifth. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 6 + 2 explosions for 1,400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.2km. Long Ranged (up to 5.2km): 192.5 dps at 75% accuracy (144dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km): 511dps at 70% accuracy (358dps) DPS Aura Ranges Total DPS by Range Effective Damage vs 186.2knot Aircraft Alright, let me try and talk about this without being snarky or going on a huge rant. Some facts: Brandenburg's large calibre AA is short ranged at only 5.2km. Brandenburg has the best AA values among all of the tier VIII German battleships. In terms of effective sustained AA DPS, Brandenburg sits just behind Kansas and slightly ahead of Kii, putting her solidly in the upper third for sustained damage output among tier VIII battleships. She generates a lot of flak for a tier VIII battleship, though not enough to make her stand out. The individual hits from her flak are fairly average for a tier VIII battleship. Because of her short main battery gun range, she is unlikely to be using a Catapult Fighter over her Spotter Aircraft. She does not have access to Defensive AA Fire, not no tier VIII battleship has that presently. Where my snark and rants will stem comes from the fact that as good as this all looks on paper, it's not enough to keep her safe. A hale and whole Brandenburg is an inconvenient target for tier VI carriers as the attrition rates will erode their hangar capacity eventually. Against higher tiered carriers, short of them obliging you by faceplanting into flak bursts repeatedly, Brandenburg cannot inflict casualties quickly enough to compromise their hangar capacity, never mind stop individual strikes. Her presence will not dissuade a CV on her own and owing to her short range, she is not a particularly good asset to help protect others. As such, when she is not top tier, she is a ready victim to air attack. She might pad her experience and credits earned with some air kills, but you cannot trust Brandenburg's AA defences to do anything to protect the ship in the current meta. And that's really all AA is for as far as surface ships are concerned: printing credits and xp in compensation for letting CVs have their way with you. VERDICT: Brandenburg is better at squeezing out rewards for being [edited]-slapped by aircraft than most at her tier. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.2km / 12.73km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 11.22km / 9.09km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 12.78km Maximum Firing Range: 18.46km Hydroacoustic Search. Bismarck has it. Odin has it. Zieten has it. Tirpitz (and her clone) does not. Neither does Brandenburg. This consumable has increased value as Wargaming works towards completing submarines in World of Warships. This comes not only for the ability to spot incoming torpedoes but also for detecting submarines that might be lurking nearby. German secondaries are excellent anti-submarine weapons provided their target is spotted and can be shot at. The general inaccuracy of these weapons isn't nearly as much of a problem as it is against destroyers when shells only have to land nearby to score damage. Thus lacking a Hydroacoustic Search is notable. As far as surface detection goes, Brandenburg's alright. She just barely manages to squeak into the top third within her matchmaking with her concealment. It's neither a tremendous help nor a significant hindrance. It's comfortable enough to be a non issue for most game play though you'll be hard pressed to turn it into a reliable advantage. Given her relative fragility compared to other German battleships, I would have preferred her to be a bit more sneaky, but as it is, her concealment is workable. I feel her lack of a Hydroacoustic Search more than whatever is going on with her surface detection. If I've counted, calculated and transcribed everything correctly (and I'm almost certain I have not), Brandenburg sits tied for 39th out of 110 battleships within her current matchmaking. This is sorted by columns, so 1-37 in the first column, then 38 to 75 in the second, 76 to 110 in the third column. VERDICT: Meh. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike from 0.5km to 10km (plus part of the bomb drop column) Number of Salvos: 2 Reload Time: 30 seconds Aircraft: Two Blohm & Voss BV 138C with 2,000hp each Drop Pattern: 3 bombs each dropped evenly over 1.1km column Maximum Bomb Damage: 2,800 Fire Chance: 21% Bomb Blast Radius: 300m Submarine game play is still ever changing. This section largely serves as a snapshot of how ASW worked at the time this article was published. No doubt further changes will occur before submarines get finalized. That said, Brandenburg and tier VIII German battleships in general have the best anti-submarine warfare load-out of their peers presently. Bismarck, Zieten and Odin sit at the top of the pile, combining the best air-dropped depth charges with great secondaries and Hydroacoustic Search to mitigate the influence submarines have on their game play. Brandenburg and Tirpitz have to make do without the consumable to spot fish and occasionally help sniff out subs. Now this doesn't make any of the German battleships good submarine hunters by any means -- it just means they're the best equipped battleships at their tier to fight back against submarines should they be called upon to do it. I've spent some time mapping out depth charge pattersn -- both from ships and aircraft and I'll probably publish an article a little later showing the coverage at a particular tier. VERDICT: She has the best battleship launched air strike at her tier combined with good secondaries. U-190 got too close to Brandenburg and pays the price. Final Evaluation I like Odin better than Brandenburg and I like Scharnhorst better than Odin. I think that sums up my feels about these "large cruiser" armed battleships. Short of dusting off snowflakes or whatever I'm required to test in the future, I'm not taking Brandenburg out. I don't like her guns. That's really all there is to it. Why would I want to play a ship where my primary way of interacting in the game is such a miserable experience? I mean it's a doubled-stacked turd sandwich with bad gun performance and bad fire angles. Blech. Brandenburg is just Odin-Two. The biggest difference between them is that Odin has Hydroacoustic Search and Brandenburg has more guns. There are other differences than that obviously. Brandenburg has more guns, more secondaries with better firing arcs but worse penetration. Brandenburg is faster and has better AA power and just enough more HP to fool you into thinking she might be a better experience overall. Odin is more stealthy and her guns fire faster and with much more comfortable gun laying. So pick your poison. I'm not convinced either ship is worthwhile. My honeymoon period with Odin has long since past -- as I feared in my review of her years ago, once her torpedoes became common knowledge and players became more familiar with her gimmicks, success became increasingly volatile. That volatility is alive and well with Brandenburg's game play too. It's that same feast-or-famine that so many brawling battleships struggle. It's hard to appreciate a vessel whose fortunes are so closely tied not only to what tiers matchmaker places you in but what kinds of ship you end up facing. The presence of a single carrier or a glut of torpedo boats or a brace of submarines and Brandenburg faces an uphill battle. And like most tier VIII premium battleships, facing tier Xs is never comfortable. Still, if you can manage to get her into brawls and win those scraps, her performance is fantastic. How frequently you can make that happen will dictate your success in this ship. If you can't tell, I couldn't make that happen often enough to put a smile on my face. So no thank you, Mister Brandenburg, you are not the ship for me. Of course, all of these complaints apply only to PVP game modes. In Co-Op, Brandenburg is a thug. Her guns still suck butts in there, unable to overmatch as the bots suicide charge, but at least her secondaries and fish can rip them open and help pad her numbers. Brawling in that game mode is guaranteed, so her success is all but guaranteed. Still, if you're going to buy a tier VIII German premium battleship, just buy Tirpitz. In Conclusion This one ballooned out of control. I spent way too much time fussing over getting a better understanding of AA and ASW mechanics that sidetracked me down several week-long exploratory tangents. I mean, I'm happy that I understand ASW and AA much better than I did at the onset and it's nice to be able to put into context how Brandenburg (and other future ships) will slot into this developing meta. But stack on some other projects and RL issues and the content drought really bugged me. I dunno which ship I'm going to review after this. I'm kind of "battleshippped out" at the moment. Maybe I'll poke Maya. We'll see. Speaking of other projects, you may have noticed that I changed avatars in my graphics. @Chobittsu did a wonderful job putting together this cute Fantasy Dwarf ship's captain per my request. Animating a bouncy version of her as a forum avatar is one of many things on my to-do list. Thank you all for reading and thank you so much for your continued support. ♥
  2. The following is a review of Cheshire, the tier VIII British heavy cruiser. This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes. To the best of my knowledge, the performance and statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.3.1. Please be aware that the ship may change in the future. Quick Summary: A stealthy, but terribly squishy British heavy cruiser with a small battery of powerful 234mm guns. PROS AP shells can overmatch 16mm worth of armour, including the extremities of many lower-tier cruisers and destroyers. Good AP penetration and improved auto-ricochet angles. Excellent HE penetration, capable of directly damaging most battleship decks. Good gun handling with 10º/s gun rotation rate. Excellent AA firepower. No, really. Yeah, I'm surprised too. Stealthy, with a surface detection as low as 9.5km. British "portable dry dock" Repair Party, healing up to 40% of her health per charge before modifiers. CONS Only six main battery guns, greatly reducing her alpha-strike and DPM. Her "stepped" citadel presents a shell-trap for large caliber battleship AP shells. Only modest gun fire angles, leaves her vulnerable to return fire from AP shells. Mediocre range on main battery guns for so vulnerable a ship. Torpedoes are short ranged at 8km. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual/ CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme This ship doesn't do anyone any favours, new players least of all. Like the tier VII Pensacola of years prior, Cheshire is a lemon that will punish you for simply choosing to shoot your guns at the wrong time. As players become more familiar with the foibles of the British heavies, Cheshire (and her sister Albemarle) will become primary targets for the farming of easy Devastating Strike medals. For veterans, as appealing as the on-paper potential for this ship appears, in practice she's just too fragile to really feel worthwhile. You can do better in almost any other ship where skills like angling, island use, etc will serve you much better. Options Consumables There's nothing much out of the ordinary here short of her god-tier healing potion. Keep in mind that all consumables will be the premium version soon so I'm just listing those values. Cheshire's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with a 60s reset timer. It's active for 5 seconds and has unlimited charges. Her Repair Party heals back up to 40% of her health base per charge over 20 seconds. She starts with two charges with a reset timer of 80s. You have the choice between two consumables in her last slot. Both consumables start with three charges base. Her Defensive AA Fire is active for 40s, increasing sustained DPS by 50% and explosion damage by 300%. It has an 80s reset timer. Her Hydroacoustic Search is active for 100s. It detects torpedoes at 3.5km and ships at 5km. It has a 120s reset timer. Upgrades Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. In your second slot, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is optimal if you can afford it. Obviously this dictates that you'll be eschewing using Defensive AA Fire but that's okay. This will set you back 17,000 Coal . Otherwise, default to Engine Room Protection. Aiming System Modification 1 is really the only upgrade worth taking in slot three. You have a choice in slot 4 depending on how you like to play. If you prefer island humping, then Propulsion System Modification 1 is preferable to improve your acceleration from a standstill. Otherwise, Steering Gears Modification 1 is your best bet. ER MAH GERD choice in slot 5!? Well, it's not really. Concealment System Modification 1 is still optimal. But, for the sake of argument, let's look at Ship Consumables Modification 1 and how it affects her consumables: With this, her Damage Control Party will now last 5.5 seconds. Yawn. Cheshire's Hydroacoustic Search will increase from 100s to 110s (or to 132s if you have Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 installed). This is nice. It's not game changing, but it's nice. Her Defensive AA Fire increases from 40s to 44s ... which doesn't really help. The duration of Defensive AA Fire was never the issue, but rather the damage it does. And here's the juicy bit: Her Repair Party adds another 2 ticks worth of healing -- or between 4% and 4.8% of her total health depending on if you're using the India Delta signal or not. This amounts to an additional 1,700 to 2,040hp per charge used with an upper maximum of 6,120 additional hp with three charges blown. So, is that worth giving up Concealment System Modification 1? Heck no. But Ship Consumables Modification 1 isn't terrible. It's just that Concealment System Modification 1 is (still) too damn good. Captain Skills Cheshire isn't a very skill-hungry boat. For the first 10 skill points, take the usual suspects. Your choice of a tier 1 skill -- I prefer Priority Target to let me know when my doom is nigh. Adrenaline Rush is optimal at tier 2. Through my play-testing, I used Superintendent as my skill of choice at tier 3, thinking I would get to make use of my Repair Party's extra heal. And to no one's surprise, Concealment Expert rounds things off at tier 4. Pick and choose your favourites for your remaining points. Camouflage Cheshire has two camouflage options: Type 10 and Victorian White camouflage. They both provide identical bonuses: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% experience earned. I do like the camouflage schemes for Cheshire. She's a nice looking ship. Firepower Main Battery: Six 234mm/50 guns in 3x2 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondaries: Sixteen 113mm/45 guns in 8x2 turrets with four mounted each side in superfiring forward and rear positions. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2×4 launchers with one on each side mounted in the hull beneath the first funnel. Celebratory Pew-Pews Let's start with Cheshire's secondaries because they're largely forgettable. They are decent for cruiser secondaries. However, given that Wargaming has yet to implement any cruiser with kick-butt secondaries 'decent' doesn't matter. At least they have 19mm of penetration, so they're capable of directly damaging anything she faces. Their high rate of fire does spit out a lot of shells. But without phenomenal range or improved accuracy, they're just window dressing. I did kill a Dallas with one, so that was fun. The muzzle blasts off of Cheshire's guns are huge. Are 234mm guns worthwhile? This is the big question at the core of not only Cheshire's worth, but her higher-tiered sisters as well. What's the big deal with large-caliber guns on a cruiser? What can they do that faster-firing (or more plentiful) 203mm guns can't? What are their drawbacks? And finally, are they any good? In theory, a larger caliber gun provides inherent benefits over its smaller brethren. These include higher penetration values for both HE and AP shells, including energy retention over distance (which factors both into penetration and ballistics). In addition, the shells will individually cause more damage and have a higher chance of starting fires. The final benefit is that depending on the size of the shells, it's possible for their AP rounds to overmatch key armour values, ignoring ricochet mechanics. These benefits are typically off-set by a smaller number of barrels, a larger dispersion area, a slower rate of fire and worse gun handling. In summary, larger guns make it more likely that individual hits will cause significant damage but with fewer hits overall compared to smaller-caliber guns. Whether or not this exchange is worthwhile depends upon just how much these guns gain versus how much they surrender. For the sake of Cheshire's 234mm caliber weapons, we have a direct same-tier analogue to compare them to in the form of Albemarle's 203mm armament. Alpha versus DPM You would think that larger caliber guns, though fewer in number, would allow you to deliver more devastating volleys. The idea being that while you might not shoot as often, the fewer salvos hit harder. I wish that were the case. Let's take Albemarle vs Cheshire as an example. Citadel Penetrations (AP): 40,500 Albemarle vs 34,500 Cheshire Citadel Penetration (HE): 29,700 Albemarle vs 23,100 Cheshire Penetration (AP): 13,365 Albemarle vs 11,385 Cheshire Penetration (HE): 9,801 Albemarle vs 7,623 Cheshire Yeah, so that's a wash. A small bump up in gun caliber size does not provide an advantage in damage output on anything but a per-shell basis. So the increased shell damage does not make up for a three-gun deficit (though in theory it could make up for a two-gun deficit). Understandably, with a slower reload, the gap only opens up further. And it's not like Cheshire's reload is particularly slow either. Let me be clear, one of her gimmicks is the accelerated reload on her main battery guns. Drake and Goliath, using the same weapons, have a base reload time of 18 seconds. This can be modified down on these ships with the use of Main Battery Modification 3, providing them with a 15.8 second reload. Cheshire, meanwhile, boasts a 12.5s reload timer which is amazing -- this is a half second faster than Albemarle. So if there's any benefit to be found here, it has to be on how easily it is to make those shells deal damage rather than the damage potential itself. Cheshire's raw damage output values suck, so every hit needs to count. A cruiser with only six heavy guns has crappy DPM. Who knew? AP Performance Cheshire's AP shells are pretty good at ensuring they deal damage compared to 203mm AP shells found on Albemarle. I say 'pretty good' and not 'great'. There are three factors where they hold an advantage over her counterpart. She has high penetration. She has improved auto-ricochet angles. She has overmatch potential against a key structural armour value. ] Cheshire has Baltimore's AP penetration values with Japanese 203mm ballistics. Note that while Cheshire does have slightly improved auto-ricochet angles, they are not on par with Baltimore's. Her AP shells feel less effective overall because of this, even though they have about the same punch over distance. British 234mm AP shells have higher penetration than 203mm guns -- enough that it matters, but not so much where it's an advantage except at very close ranges. Like with HE shells, AP penetration values are important when they cross various functional thresholds -- like being enough to citadel cruisers at very long ranges or having enough to penetrate battleship belt armour at specific distances. Cheshire (and British 234mm guns in general) are capable of both of these things. Albemarle struggles but can still manage the former and is generally unable to do the latter. Understandably, this provides Cheshire with a bit more utility out of her AP shells -- at least in theory. That theory is much harder to put into practice. Punching through battleship belt armour is only possible at suicidal ranges -- well within 7km. At such distances, you're better suited to making use of her torpedoes rather than relying on the bite of her AP shells. I suppose every little bit helps, especially given that not all cruisers are capable of doing so. At least against cruisers, her AP shells are much more reliable, with enough extra penetration to contend with the relative increase in armour thickness due to angling. Of course, this only works up to a point. Curiously, Cheshire's 234mm AP shells have slightly improved auto-ricochet angles, though only slightly -- Cheshire's AP shells automatically ricochet at an angle of 65º instead of 60º though the chance for it to happen still starts at 45º. This runs contrary to the 234mm AP shells found on Goliath and Drake -- so it's something special found only on Cheshire. So it's less likely that Cheshire's shells will slide off before getting a chance to punch in, but only slightly. For example, 203mm AP shells normally have a 50/50 chance of ricocheting at 52º or so. That doesn't happen to Cheshire until about 55º. This a far cry from the American auto-ricochet angles, which on Baltimore run from 60º to 67.5º, This keeps Cheshire's AP from being a universal shell. Still, there are some targets that even angling against Cheshire will not avail them. Her AP shells can overmatch 16mm hull sections; an important armour threshold being found on the extremities and hulls of tier VI and VII heavy cruisers and tier VIII+ very light cruisers. It's also the armour value found tier VI and VII destroyer hull forms, providing the 234mm AP shells a whole range of targets where they need not wait for perfect broadsides in order to be effective. So that's kinda nice, if a bit of a niche superpower that 203mm AP shells can't pull off themselves. I did get a chance to put it to good effect against a Dallas in a brawl during playtesting which was nice -- he couldn't angle against me while I was able to smash shells down the length of his hull even when he angled. But that was one time in all of my play-testing. Matchmaking was part to blame in this -- being continually up-tiered meant that there were fewer targets where Cheshire's overmatch could be used, but even seeing an opponent I could overmatch didn't guarantee that I would have an opportunity to do so. These three elements make Cheshire's AP shells more useful than the AP shells of Albemarle though they don't stray into the potency of American Piercing shells which can be used a lot more often. So British 234mm AP shells are "more gooder" than Albemarle's 203mm AP shells, but I'd argue they're not good enough to make up for that alpha / DPM disparity. HE Performance The big numbers to concern ourselves with here are the thresholds needed to directly damage various parts of tier VIII+ battleships. These thresholds are: 1.) Their extremities (32mm) 2.) The upper hull and amidship deck of British & French battleships (32mm) 3.) The amidships deck of American battleships (38mm), 4.) The amidships deck of German battleships 50mm 4.) The amidships deck of Japanese battleships (57mm) 5.) The amidships deck of Soviet battleships (60mm). There is one thing, and one thing only to get excited over in regards to Cheshire's HE performance and that's her improved HE penetration. Cheshire has 59mm of base HE penetration as opposed to the 39mm she would be expected to have. This crosses an important (albeit, not crucial) threshold, allowing her to directly damage the amidship decks of many battleships along with the infamous extended armoured prows of Soviet ships. This, to me, creates a target preference for Cheshire . Specifically, she's better suited to hammering any vessel with extensive deck armour which includes most high-tier battleships (with the exception of the French and British) than most 203mm armed heavy cruisers. Cheshire is capable of stacking direct damage here where other cruisers will have their damage partially mitigated by shells that stray onto these thicker armoured sections. As nice as this is for Cheshire, it's a bit of a booby prize. While it does allow her to damage a wider variety of targets, when it comes to that DPM disparity mentioned previously, this advantage only comes into play in those select circumstances. HE penetration is a binary after all -- you can either penetrate or your shells shatter. There's no advantage to having more than you need. There's no point to Cheshire's 59mm of HE penetration when she's shooting up a destroyer or light cruiser. Thus, the only way her 234mm HE shells keep up with Albemarle's 203mm guns is through farming damage off of select battleships. That's really it. I've included the FPM of heavy cruisers using IFHE for the sake of comparison when trying to encroach upon Cheshire's massive penetration values (don't do this, it's silly). Overall, Cheshire is not a bad fire starter for a heavy cruiser. She's not great, mind you,but she's not bad. Cheshire may single fire her torpedoes like other British ships which is nice. I wish she had more range. These weapons are nice and hard hitting and could have done a lot to pad her mediocre gun DPM. But are they worth it? Heck no. Look, 234mm guns aren't terrible but short of pounding high-tier battleships with HE, Cheshire's main battery firepower offers nothing worthwhile. They didn't stand up to a direct comparison to Albemarle's guns and they're no rock stars, so where does that leave these things? Well, not in a good place. This isn't a ship that kills anything quickly, and that can be a real problem if she doesn't have the longevity to farm meaningful damage. To me, this means that the ship better have some miracle or gimmicks buried in the hull itself in order to make it worthwhile. Sadly, these don't materialize in her weapon systems. While Cheshire's six-guns are definitely a hurdle to overcome, I lay a lot of the blame with this ship's performance on her range. Her 16.1km main battery reach and her 8km range on her torpedoes makes maximizing Cheshire's firepower difficult. As you'll see in later sections regarding this ship, she just doesn't stand up to return fire. More range would have provided her with at least the semblance of being able to dodge. At 17.5km or more, I think I would have felt a lot more comfortable in this ship. 10km fish wouldn't have hurt either. In short, Cheshire's firepower is just plain bad. Her main battery guns can't keep up. Her torpedoes are too short ranged to be used in any role save that of desperation and cruiser secondaries are (still) not worth it. Like London, Cheshire's fire arcs aren't particularly good but at least they're consistent. For those wondering, "good" entails being able to fire 30º off the long axis of the ship, allowing the ship to fire while still giving her the best chance to take advantage of auto-ricochet mechanics. Still, Cheshire's 10º/s gun traverse is sexy. Verdict: Awful because she only has six guns. Also her torpedoes are too short ranged, but mostly because she only has six guns. Defense Hit Points: 42,500 Minimum Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm extremities with 30mm plating and deck amidships. Maximum Citadel Protection: 152mm belt armour Torpedo Damage Reduction: 19% With Cheshire's firepower woes, I was really (REALLY) hoping for some miracles in regards to her durability. I was an early optimist until I started playing this damn thing. Lemme show you why: [ Cheshire is a certified chungus. Look at that. Big healthy heals and a pretty chunky hit point pool to boot. Awesome! There's a whole lot to love here -- namely that Repair Party isn't a universal upgrade at tier VIII and just having one is a pretty solid advantage. Having a British "portable drydock" which heals back up to 40% of the ship's health per charge is amazing. In theory, Cheshire is built to outlast most of her contemporaries, which should largely make up for any deficits in her firepower. In theory. Cheshire's 30mm deck stands out -- normally tier VIII heavy cruisers only have 27mm thick decks. This does provide some benefits against small caliber HE shells from destroyers and overmatch protection against battleship caliber AP shells smaller than 429mm. That all falls apart when you realize that her protection scheme is a joke. Her citadel is specifically designed to maximize the number of citadel hits she takes -- I wish I was kidding. It's nigh impossible to angle Cheshire successfully against battleship fire of 380mm caliber or greater. Every incoming salvo is potentially world ending. She practically prints Devastating Strike medals for enemy battleships if they catch her out in the open, which means the best protection she could hope for is a big ol' rock to hide behind. The guilty party here is Cheshire's "stepped" citadel. Not only does this section sit up significantly higher (and let's keep in mind, the rest of Cheshire's citadel already peeks over the waterline), but the upright angles ensure that battleship caliber shells that are slamming down the length of the ship will still smack against the citadel if they're aimed high. Furthermore, it creates a weak point where ships capable of overmatching her 27mm upper hull can STILL dunk shots into her citadel when she's steeply angled where as other cruisers could at least content themselves that their belt armour will keep out the worst of it. And, while Cheshire does have some hull sections that can ricochet up to 381mm AP shells, her soft bow and stern provide openings that even these will get through. This isn't a problem unique to Cheshire, it's shared by Albemarle and to a lesser degree by Goliath. But spreading the pain doesn't make this any more acceptable. Kiting and dodging in open water a fool's errand -- any shots that come in are potentially lethal. When Cheshire is top tier, on the rare occasions where she's facing 356mm armed battleships (or smaller), surprise-surprise, she becomes a little monster. But banking on that kind of Matchmaking is a fool's errand for a tier VIII cruiser. I'm no stranger to playing squishy cruisers, but I'm used to there being some trade-off for it. Maybe the ship has excellent firepower. Maybe her consumables are amazing. Maybe she has excellent agility and speed to facilitate dodging. Maybe her Repair Party could come off cooldown very quickly? I dunno, I would expect something for all of Cheshire's woes. So here's the bad news. That 'hump' of Cheshire's stepped citadel is her Achilles' heel. It's too easy to hit and it makes angling in this ship next to impossible against high penetration AP shells. Oh, those thick citadel decks will also guarantee that AP bombs wreck you thoroughly. Verdict: Her Repair Party is amazing. Too bad she can't survive long enough to take advantage of it. Agility Top Speed: 34kts Turning Radius: 720m Rudder Shift Time: 10.5s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.8º/s On the whole, I have to give Cheshire decent marks here. Her top speed is respectable for a cruiser. Her turning radius isn't horrible. Her rate of turn is acceptable. The only real glaring flaw is her rudder shift time and even that's not irredeemable. Don't get me wrong, she could certainly be better -- but she's not terrible. The only thing that I wish she had was better acceleration, especially given her love of island-humping. That can be partially corrected by taking Propulsion Modification 1 but that would preclude her from fixing her rudder shift time with Steering Gears Modification 1. I certainly value the former over the latter given the current meta. Given Cheshire's firepower and durability problems, "respectable" agility just doesn't cut it. In of itself, Cheshire's agility would be fine for a heavy cruiser -- even good, but with everything else stacked against this ship, it's just not enough. I would kill for her to have British light cruiser improved engine power -- to make taking shelter behind islands easier or to facilitate dodging. I would love it if she was even two knots faster, to make running down destroyers or dodging in open water feel a bit more viable, but it's just not there. Man, I've gotten to re-use this graphic three times now. All the time saved makes me very happy. VERDICT: She's not terrible, but she doesn't stand out here in a good or bad way. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 7 explosions for 1,470 damage per blast Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 168dps at 90% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 2.5km): 228dps at 90% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 249dps at 85% accuracy Cheshire has some truly monstrous levels of AA firepower -- it's enough to grant her near immunity to tier VI carriers. This, of course, translates to merely inconveniencing tier VIII and X aircraft carriers. Cheshire will shoot down a lot of planes. Given that she's not starved for commander skill points, you could even go so far as to spend a few towards boosting her AA performance further if you were so inclined. This ship has to be good at something, after all. With apologies (still) to the colour-blind. Cheshire has arguably the best AA firepower of any tier VIII vessel. Unless it was show-stopping levels of air-defense, you couldn't sell me a premium based on its AA firpower, though. Verdict: Really good. Like, "make tier VI carriers cry" levels of good. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.1km/9.51km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 7.51km/6.08km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 7.5km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.1km Cheshire has good surface detection values. They're not great, but they're good. Any cruiser capable of dropping their concealment below the 10km range is really nice and I can't complain here at all about Cheshire's concealment values. Had this been paired with benefits anywhere else, such as agility, durability, firepower, good consumables, etc, I would probably be singing this ship's praises, but here we are. Cheshire doesn't interact well with smoke -- her 7.5km detection range when opening fire is scarcely better than her improved surface detection so she can't dare follow destroyers in to take advantage of their advanced smoke screens. Again, this further relegates this ship to humping islands and hoping against hope that she's an unappealing target. Verdict: Good, but not enough to save the ship. Final Evaluation I'm not going to mince words here. I hate this ship. I hate playing it. I'm glad this review is over. I'm not touching it again until Wargaming does something to improve her lot. Cheshire offers nothing, nothing of value. Her 234mm guns with their improved HE penetration could have been a very interesting armament but their performance stops well short of that mark. This ship needs more range, more agility and/or a faster reload before I would consider her to be a worthwhile investment. Even in co-op battles, while it's certainly possible to do well, you're not really gaining anything over taking out Albemarle instead. Yes, you might be able to get a few more HE penetrations on high-tier battleships, but you could get the same if you just stuck to peppering superstructures or the bows with 203mm guns. While overmatching the snoots of charging tier VI and VII bot-cruisers with AP shells is entertaining, it's not worth the price paid to acquire this ship. I'm sorry I didn't get this review out sooner. Keep well clear of this failure. Conclusion Reviewing Cheshire has been really taxing. My enjoyment of World of Warships was severely compromised with having to keep coming back to this damn thing. It's bad enough to play a bad ship, but it makes every little frustration just that much more poignant. Anyway, it's over, finally. I'm going to go do something else for a bit to recharge my batteries.
  3. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Repulse

    The following review of Repulse, the tier VI premium British battleship, was sponsored by my patrons on Patreon who helped me afford this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as patch 0.10.11. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. I've had my head down for over a month, working on a handful of projects (including, but not limited to tier VIII submarines, tier VI carriers and updating my databases). However, even I've noticed the growing hype surrounding HMS Repulse and it's prompted me to throw this together. There's good reason that Repulse is creating a lot of noise. I played the Hell out of her back earlier this year when she was in testing. She was a monster then. She's a monster now. To be clear, Wargaming has nerfed her since I was testing her. The following changes were made: Her reload time was nerfed from 26 seconds to 27 seconds. Engine Boost's speed increase dropped from 15% down to 10% down to 8% (from ~36.5 knots down to it's current ~34.3 knots when the consumable is active) Her main battery rotation rate was buffed from 3.33º/s to 6º/s. Having taken her out again (yes, I whaled all the way up to Marlborough for this review -- thank you, patrons!), this hasn't been enough to tone Repulse down. And, as this review will detail, I'm expecting her to receive another round of nerfs once the population at large gets a hold of her. For those tempted to throw money at guaranteeing getting a hold of her, this may be reason for caution. No one wants a ship they spent time and money on to get nerfed out from under them. So, let's get stuck in on why I see Repulse as being a potential problem vessel that Wargaming will have to reign in with future patches. Quick Summary: A soft-skinned battlecruiser (with surprisingly trollish durability) that has incredible speed and accuracy. PROS Long ranged with a 19.76km reach which can be further boosted with a Spotter Aircraft. She uses Graf Spee (battlecruiser) dispersion combined with 2.0 sigma, giving her excellent accuracy. Her 381mm guns can overmatch up to 26mm of armour with AP shells. Her 381mm guns have 95mm of HE penetration. Decent fire angles and good gun handling. Fast reload at 27 seconds. VERY fast with a top speed of 31.7 knots. Has access to an Engine Boost consumable. Her Repair Party queues up 60%/33% of penetration/citadel damage. CONS Soft skinned structurally, with only 16mm of extremity armour (!) Thin belt of only 229mm. Main battery is only six guns which makes RNG feel more punitive. Only modest AP penetration and inability to overmatch 27mm+ hull sections. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower. Enormous turning circle radius of 860m. Only three charges base on her Repair Party. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Repulse's appeal for new players is the simplicity of her main battery firepower. Her guns are long ranged and accurate. Her ammunition choices are simplified too, with newer players able to spam either AP or HE and generate reasonable results (though AP is preferred). The two strikes against her for inexperienced players are her speed (which can get her into trouble with over-extending) and her soft protection scheme. These will both spake people who like to play aggressively. However, a cautious player won't struggle overmuch with either one of these problems. For veterans, Repulse is a kiting-daemon. You have the speed. You have the stealth. You have the range. You have the accuracy. You have the overmatch. Play keep away and farm damage like a boss. Options Repulse's consumables stand out while the rest is fairly standard. Consumables Her Damage Control Party doesn't have anything unusual about it and is normal for a British battleship. It is active for 15 seconds and it has an 80 second reset timer. It has unlimited charges. It's her Repair Party which is unusual. While it does heal up to the standard 14% of her starting HP over 28 seconds (with an 80 second reset timer), like other British battleship, it queues up to 60% of penetration damage received instead of the usual 50% for most other nations. In addition, Repulse queues up to 33% of citadel damage too. However, unlike most battleships, Repulse only starts with three charges instead of four. We go back to normalcy with her Spotter Aircraft. This increases her range by 20% (up to 23.71km) for 100 seconds. It has a 240 second reset timer and it comes with four charges. Finally, she gets access to a unique Engine Boost consumable. This provides an 8% speed increase for 180 seconds with only a 90 second reset timer. Repulse comes with three charges. Upgrades Start your upgrades with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next up, if you can afford it you should definitely grab Engine Boost Modification 1 from the Armory for 17,000 . This increases the action time of your Engine Boost consumable from 180 seconds to a whopping 234 seconds. If you can't, default to Damage Control System Modification 1. Aiming System Modification 1 is the only upgrade worth considering in slot three. In slot four, you have the choice. Because of her vulnerability to fires, Damage Control System Modification 1 is arguably optimal. However, expert players may want to swap that out for Steering Gears Modification 1 to help with kiting at very long ranges. Commander Skills I wish I could tell you that it was worth having a unique commander for Repulse, if only to make things more interesting. However, you really can't go wrong with a standard battleship build that you're going to use for the British battleship tech tree line. It should look something like this: You're not going to need Grease the Gears given Repulse's very fast turret traverse, so I suppose that's kinda nice. But given that you probably picked it up to help with some of the awful traverse rates found on the rest of the Royal Navy line, it's not the end of the world. I much prefer Priority Target, but that's a personal bias. Camouflage Repulse comes with two camouflages, Type 10 and Snows and Stars. These are cosmetic swaps of one another with the following stats: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. Her basic Type 10 camouflage. If this looks familiar, it's because the devs gave it to HMS Hood for some reason. You can unlock this palette swap of her Type 10 camouflage by completing part of the "Naval Aviation" collection. The Snow and Stars camouflage is pretty terrible. Firepower Main Battery: 3x2 381mm/45 guns in an A-B-X superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Fifteen 102mm/45 guns with nine in 3x3 turrets with a pair straddling the first funnel and the final one superfiring over X-turret and then six single guns with three to each side. Let me get Repulse's secondaries out of the way first: They're terrible. She doesn't have enough of them, they're not accurate and they don't hit especially hard. The only thing decent about them is their range. Do not sink any upgrades, signals or skills into these things. Moving on. Repulse has some of the best, tier VI battleship main battery firepower. Here's why: Battlecruiser Dispersion + 2.0 sigma Nearly 20km worth of range 27 second reload 381mm AP shells with 26mm overmatching 95mm of HE penetration Good gun fire angles with 6º/s gun rotation But she only has six guns, Mouse, you might say. And you're correct to be wary of small gun armaments on battleships. Having only six guns means that Repulse has smaller alpha strike potential and lower DPM than her contemporaries (even with her faster reload time). This spills over to her fire-chance as well, making her one of the worst at her tier. One of the less appreciate drawbacks of smaller main battery armaments is that RNG feels more punitive with fewer guns. When firing with larger broadsides, having a pair of shells scatter wide is annoying but less impactful than it is for Repulse where every shell counts. The quality of her individual hits is an issue too. Repulse does not boast the high-performance Royal Navy HE shells, but rather a chimaera that uses the more modest baseline stats from HMS Hood (lower damage, lower fire chance) yet maintains the 1/4 HE penetration from Queen Elizabeth (95mm of penetration instead of 64mm). So her HE alpha strikes aren't terribly impressive and she's a poor fire starter. Repulse's HE would be largely forgettable were it not for the issues with her AP rounds which will force you to still use HE on occasion. Though the Royal Navy 381mm AP shells are capable of overmatching most targets up to tier VII, that doesn't quite reach the 27mm+ threshold found on many higher-tiered cruisers and battleships. Additionally, their penetration values are only good at medium to close-range and they're largely incapble of dealing with battleship belt armour at distances in excess of 14km. This complicates Repulse's gunnery if you're looking to maximize its efficiency, requiring that you aim more carefully, choose the correct ammunition and pick your targets. Thus, when Repulse is top-tier on those smaller, claustrophobic maps, her guns (specifically her AP shells) are much more impressive. When bottom tier, their efficiency falls away. Yet conscious of these drawbacks, the only other guns at tier VI I'd rather have are the 406mm off West Virginia '41 and I only say that by the slimmest of margins. Repulse's guns are hella-comfortable to use. Aim well, and you'll hit what you shoot at. Pick the correct ammo and aim at the right hull locations and you'll see consistent damage. What's more, between the ship's gun handling, long range and high speed, these guns are excellent for over-the-shoulder kiting, taking steady bites out of your opponents. Woe betide the cruiser that flashes broadside to Repulse up to (and including 20km) ranges. She can (and will) punish careless players spectacularly. Graphic dump time! Here's the bad news. In terms of raw numbers, Repulse's six guns just don't cut it, even with their faster reload. This doesn't tell the whole story though. You have to keep shell performance (penetration, overmatch) and accuracy in mind. Andrea Doria is the only tier VI battleship using SAP on the right graph. It's the same news when you look at her fire setting potential. It's not great but her accuracy helps ensure she gets more hits than these raw numbers would otherwise indicate. Royal Navy 381mm AP penetration obviously improves as you climb the tiers, but it's not exactly an impressive round when it comes to penetration. You want well in excess of 350mm of penetration to contend with most battleship belts (allowing your rounds to defealt some angling). Repulse doesn't have this until you get 14km or closer. Compare Repulse's dispersion (blue, on the left) with Ise's dispersion (peach, on the right). Both ships have 2.0 sigma. Repulse's battlecruiser dispersion gives her a tighter overall dispersion area, making those central-landing shells pack in even closer. Still, if you manage 25% accuracy in Fuso, you'd need to managed roughly 45% or better to keep pace with Repulse; which is a pretty tall order. The alternative is to get her guns in action for longer to compensate, and that relies on good positioning and survivability. Very comfy fire angles paired with a very fast (for a battleship) gun traverse speed gives Repulse brilliant gun handling. VERDICT: Their excellent accuracy and overmatch potential makes them deadly. Kite and kill. Durability Hit Points: 56,100 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 16mm / 16mm / 38mm / 26mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 26mm anti-torpedo bulge + 229mm belt + 102mm citadel turtleback. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 16% I've removed Repulse's 26mm anti-torpedo bulges to reveal the 229mm belt armour underneath. Note that normal tier VI battleships have 26mm extremities. Repulse has ... issues. I suppose it's kinda fluffy that a British battlecruiser has durability problems. In Repulse's case, this comes from two sources: Her extremities are VERY soft. Her citadel is vulnerable to overmatching from 380mm calibre guns or greater. The 16mm bow and stern sections of Repulse's armour makes her vulnerable, not just to AP overmatch (which I'll get into) but all calibres of HE rounds as well. Repulse's extremities and superstructure can be penetrated by HE rounds of 96mm or greater. So not only is every destroyer out there very happy to make your acquaintance, even the small calibre secondary guns off a lot of battleships are capable of plinking some damage off your soft snoot and butt. Combined with Repulse's horrid anti-torpedo protection, getting in close to enemy lolibotes is generally a terrible idea unless you're particularly good at blapping them with your main battery guns. Note that this issue isn't unique to her. Other tier VI and VII battleships may also contend with small calibre HE shells doing damage to them, but normally, the offending vessel must have the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells commander skill to do so. So from an HE perspective, Repulse's extremities are a weakness but not a glaring one. That actually carries through when you look deeper into her AP protection. While her 16mm extremities look like huge weak points, there's hidden armour geometry that prevents these from becoming an automatic pass to her citadel. To be clear: Repulse still takes massive amounts of penetration damage through her butt or snoot, but it's not always going to be catastrophic citadel hits. Repulse has a lot of these hidden armour plates, including a 76mm turtleback along the interior of her anti-torpedo protection and hidden decks. While Repulse's citadel is still vulnerable, the slope of her turtleback is enough to prompt (though not guarantee) ricochet checks for shells fired at close range, giving her some rather trollish survivability at times. Hits from further out are a much greater danger in this regard, but thanks to her agility and speed, these are easier to avoid. Still, playing catch with large-gunned battleships is generally a bad idea in Repulse. It's best to break contact or Just Dodge™ until you can disengage. Though Repulse is capable of recovering up to 33% of citadel hits (be they from bomb, shell or torpedo), it's not something you want to fall back on. It's not all doom and gloom here, though. Extremities asside, Repulse's amidships hull cannot be overmatched. If you can bait shots here while angled, she can ricochet and shatter stuff for days. Similarly, while she may have fewer charges of her Repair Party, she still retains that Royal Navy 60% penetration damage queue, on top of that 33% citadel damage queue I mentioned before. So clever play can help mitigate this damage, particularly if you fight at a distance to give yourself more time to avoid return fire. The 25mm armour plate over Repulse's machine spaces and the 26mm citadel wall is a big weakness against 380mm+ AP rounds which can overmatch. From gamemodels3d.com. The arrow is pointing to the hidden 102mm v-shaped plate protecting Repulse from overmatching AP rounds. This links up to the fore-end armour belt which is visible in port. Repulse's effective hit point pool looks pretty average. Her 60% penetration damage queue and 33% citadel damage queue does allow her to make better use of her Repair Party than the ships like Dunkerque through Mackensen. Unfortunately, she's only working with four charges of her Repair Party which gives her less overall health than her hit points would otherwise suggest. VERDICT: Bad, but not like "historical British battlecruiser" bad. Agility Top Speed: 31.7 knots Turning Radius: 860 meters Rudder Shift Time: 14.4 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.3º/s at 23.7kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 6.0º/s Repulse's turn radius is bad and her rudder shift time isn't good either, but thanks to being able to overtop 30 knots in a straight line, her rate of turn isn't horrid (but I wouldn't call it anything more than average). Though she needs a lot of room to come about, she doesn't take forever to do it, so that's nice. Better still, with her excellent turret traverse rates, she can't out-turn her guns which is a novelty for British battleships. High speed solves a lot of issues, though it's not without its own set of troubles. Repulse is made to kite and control the engagement distances. Between her own high top speed and her Engine Boost consumable, she's more than capable of outrunning just about any threat she faces (or running it down for that matter). Stack this onto her good main battery gun range, decent fire angles and her not-terrible concealment values and you would struggle to find a battleship better suited to dictating when she gets spotted by her opponents short of the smoke-on-demand Italian designs. On paper, she is theoretically capable of playing keep-away to such a degree that she should be capable of mitigating any of the aforementioned durability issues raised earlier. However, the reality is that her tier bites her in the butt. As nice as Repulse's top speed is, lower-tiered maps are often too claustrophobic for her to make proper use of it defensively. So while her offensive power shoots up when she's top tier, her defensive attribute granted by her speed is compromised to a degree. This can be mitigated somewhat by choosing where to fight, ensuring you have enough open water to take full advantage of her speed, but this does limit some corridors through which she can fight and avoid damage. This is much less of an issue on mid-to-high tier maps when facing against tier VII and VIII opponents. This is, in of itself, a mixed blessing given the increase of larger calibre battleship guns at these tiers, to say nothing of the reduced efficiency of her own 381mm battery. The final issue with her speed is that it's far too easy to over-extend in Repulse. Though she's fast enough to disengage, she's also fast enough to be the first ship spotted if you're not careful. Note that Novorossiysk is not included here. I did not have her unlocked to confirm her in-port turning data when I made this graphic. I have her now, but I'm not redoing this! VERDICT: I love her speed and I'll overlook her other agility woes because of it. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 1 explosion for 980 damage per blast at 3.5km to 4km Long Ranged (up to 4km): 28 dps at 75% accuracy (21 dps) Medium Ranged (up to 2.5km): 140 dps at 75% accuracy (105 dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 105 dps at 70% accuracy (73.5 dps) I'm not going to dwell on Repulse's anti-aircraft firepower very long. It's awful; some of the worst at her tier. All of her damage is focused around her 40mm pom poms and 20mm Oerlikon batteries which can only shoot when aircraft are on their final attack run. Thus, they're best described as a "revenge weapons", where any damage you're doing is after already suffering from the CV's predations. While this may end up netting you a kill or two against tier VI aircraft, Repulse stands no chance at dissuading the attentions of a tier VIII carrier. You're never going to deplane a CV with Repulse unless they deliberately orbit around your ship for minutes at a time. Though, this said, it's not like any of the tier VI battleships are particularly fearsome when it comes to their AA defense. Most are just practice targets for even mid-tier CVs. Thus, Repulse has to stick with her allies to have any hope of keeping CV-safe. This runs contrary to her preferred playstyle though -- where she takes up a flank and snipes. This leaves her dangerously vulnerable to aircraft attack. I suppose that's historically accurate and all but it makes for crappy game play whenever a CV is present and intent on ruining your day. VERDICT: Terrible. Just like the state of low-tier surface ship interaction with aircraft. Repulse's AA is so crappy, I couldn't even shoot down this single Bf 109 that didn't even know how to raise its landing gear. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 14.4km / 12.57km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.62km / 8.66km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 13.19km Maximum Firing Range: Between 19.76 and 23.71km when using her Spotter Aircraft Repulse pairs average visibility with excellent range. Combined with her accuracy over distance and her great top speed, Repulse feels far stealthier than her visibility attributes would otherwise indicate. It's only the presence of aircraft, submarines or aggressive destroyers that easily sniff her out. While a quick scan of the enemy roster will give an indication of how effective Repulse's ability to control engagement distances, the size of the map matters a lot as well. The ballistics of her guns do allow her to make use of island cover to a degree (though nowhere near as effectively as a cruiser might), these same islands can be her bane, concealing spotting elements and limiting her ability to kite effectively. Open water is truly where her home is and being able to dictate the range between herself and her chosen target is her bread and butter. VERDICT: Unremarkable concealment but good enough to make use of her speed and range. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike from 1.5km to 8km (plus bomb drop column) Number of Salvos: Up to two Reload Time: 75 seconds Aircraft: Two S.25 Sunderlands with 2,000hp per plane. Drop Pattern: 4 bombs each dropped evenly over roughly a 1.75km column Maximum Bomb Damage: 3,000 Fire Chance: 12% Nothing written here is going to last. We've already received word that with patch 0.11.0, ASW is changing significantly. I'm merely recording this for posterity -- Repulse's anti-submarine airstrikes were pretty good. Without knowing how the bomb blast radius is changing, I can't say for certain, but from the looks of the devblog, submarines are getting a whole lot more survivable against not only battleship airstrikes but gunnery as well. I'm taking you with me! Final Evaluation Repulse comes with a pretty hefty pricetag. If you don't want to participate in any of the dockyard missions, you're looking at a minimum cost of 20,400 doubloons. Alternatively, you can spend the dozens upon dozens of hours grinding to unlock her. If you're already planning to spend a lot of time playing World of Warships this holiday season, you can probably unlock her for free. Just be aware that this is a time commitment and any stages you're missing towards the Dockyard event's end will set you back 1,500 doubloons per. Repulse has a nominal value of 6,800 doubloons (including a port slot) -- so if you're shelling out more than for five stages, it's not worth the dollarydoos. Repulse is a great ship. She carries on the trend Wargaming has had as of late to reduce the theoretical damage output. In terms of balance, I think Wargaming's close, but I'm foreseeing this ship getting hit with the nerf hammer again before 2022 is out. A 28 second or even as much as a 30 second reload may be in the cards for this ship. It will depend how she fares in the wild in the hands of the community. I could be totally off base here, with her speed and survivability creating a perfect storm to make her newfish-bait wherein she gets herself killed way too early (and often) to bring the average score down. But it's hard for me not to see the potential here and worry. For those of you on the fence about opening your wallets, I would strongly caution you to expect the ship to get her efficiency reduced in some way. Instead of Repulse, I think the average player would do much better buying Warspite instead. Warspite trades a little main battery performance and straight-line speed for a slightly larger broadside, better secondaries (they're so good you can do a full secondary spec if you want), better armour and hit point recovery, better fire management and much (much!) better agility. Repulse goes fast and she snipes. Warspite can also snipe, though nowhere near as far. But she can brawl too. She's the better ship for all kinds of PVE engagements too if that's your thing. Repulse uptiers better, I'll give her that much, though the Grand Old Lady is no slouch. You might think Hood a better comparison to Repulse, but tier for tier, Repulse is so much better than Hood that it's no-contest. Here's the list of best to worst British battleship premium and reward ships in my opinion. Thunderer -- I'm biased. Warspite -- I'm very biased, but she's still amazing. Nelson -- ♪ Burn, baby, burn! ♫ Agincourt -- Are they ever going to sell you again? Repulse -- Repulse only rates this low because three of the above ships aren't even available anymore cuz of their performance. How bae-bote has dodged this bullet, I have no idea. Duke of York -- You're not terrible, but I hate what we had to lose to bring you into the game as you are now. Vanguard -- I hate your fire arcs, but you're better overall than Hood. Hood -- The CV rework butchered this ship. Dreadnought -- I want to rate you higher, but Wargaming has neglected low-tiers so badly that you're nothing but a bot-farmer. Marlborough -- Spoilers for my upcoming review! I'm happy to have Repulse in my port, but I am a self-avowed teaboo, so be aware of my bias. If you're a fan of historical British vessels, she's a must have and will serve you well. For anyone else, she's a good ship. Just be aware that her performance statistics aren't permanent.
  4. Wargaming doesn't just make fictional ships, it makes whole CLASSES of fictional ships! The following is a review of Giuseppe Verdi, the tier IX premium Italian battleship, was sponsored by my patrons on Patreon who helped me afford this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.11.2. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. The purpose of this review is to support the players, not the company behind the product. Posting this review is not an endorsement of current goings on nor is it a statement about them. Giuseppe Verdi was released at the tail end of 2021 without much fanfare. I had hoped to review her immediately following my look at Marlborough. I could piggyback a bunch of graphics I had done for the British-chonker and even sneak some of my earlier Marco Polo graphics to speed up production. But then I got it in my head that I should finally get around to properly evaluating anti-aircraft DPS for the sake of tidying up future reviews. The idea seemed sound -- produce an active database of relative efficiency of AA DPS in World of Warships. Little would I appreciate just how big of a job that would prove to be and as such, Giuseppe Verdi's review sat in a "not even halfway finished" limbo as the days rolled by. Following Dido and Canarias' review, I had a brief window to squeeze another review out before patch 0.11.2 dropped, so I've done what I can to get this out the door in a timely manner. As is becoming increasingly commonplace, I grossly underestimated just how big of a job this project would be and I've spent more time with Giuseppe Verdi than I thought. Given that she's a ship that was largely dismissed by the community when she first arrived, this attention is perhaps undeserving. However, I feel this time has been well spent. Giuseppe Verdi surprised me. I hope you find this review worthwhile. I'm not expecting this review to change your mind about the ship, but maybe you'll learn something new. Oh, and keep this copy by Wargaming in mind. This is how they advertised the damn thing. We'll come back to it later. Quick Summary: A short-ranged Italian battleship with nine 406mm guns with HE shells, SAP-firing secondaries and an improved Exhaust Smoke Generator. PROS Dispersed armour scheme High velocity shells and good AP penetration HE shells deal increased module damage. Good gun handling and decent fire arcs. SAP armed secondaries. Competitive agility for a high-tier battleship Improved Exhaust Smoke Generator CONS Exposed citadel with easily overmatched turtleback Small hit point pool for a tier IX battleship Wonky dispersion Anemic HE shells and poor AP DPM. Short ranged main and secondary gun batteries. Crappy AA defences Differences Between Sisters Giuseppe Verdi borrows heavily from Marco Polo. She has identical durability, agility, anti-aircraft and detection parameters. The primary difference between the two vessels comes in the form of their firepower. Giuseppe Verdi's guns reload faster but don't hit as hard and her secondaries are significantly improved. In addition, the two ships have different consumables. The specific differences between the two vessels are: Canarias is only the most recent victim of weird shell weight nerfs. Before her, Giuseppe Verdi was attacked! Marco Polo on the left and Giuseppe Verdi on the right. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme I struggled a bit on where to slot Giuseppe Verdi for inexperienced players. Her exposed citadel and advertised secondaries sounds like a recipe for disaster. I had to conclude that if you played her as advertised, you were in for a rough time. The moment you try and bring those secondaries to bear, you also expose Giuseppe Verdi's weaknesses. Her guns don't perform well. Her citadel protection falls apart. However, were you to keep Giuseppe Verdi at a comfortable distance, then her initial skill floor drops down to a Casual rating. There's nothing much to worry about there short of "don't flash your sides" and vary your ammunition as needs be. Giuseppe Verdi has a very high skill ceiling, almost enough to warrant an Extreme rating. The extra level of game play provided by her Exhaust Smoke Generator when paired with possible brawling builds is just that much more enticing for players with a broad knowledge of systems and mechanics in World of Warships, especially spotting and auto-ricochet angles. This is a battleship with just that extra bit of special sauce which allows you to outplay others with its expanded toolkit. Options There are a couple of things to keep an eye on with Giuseppe Verdi. The first is her improved Exhaust Smoke Generator, which is so far unique in World of Warships. The second comes down to how you choose to build her -- wether that follows your more traditional battleship build or if you go down the brawling-battleship rabbit hole. Consumables Her Exhaust Smoke Generator is weird. Damage Control Party is standard for an Italian battleship. It comes with unlimited charges, an 80s reset timer and a 15 second action time. Her Repair Party is also standard. 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 and starts with four charges. Her Exhaust Smoke Generator is something special. I'll do a quick side by side comparison with the one that comes on Lepanto, the tier IX Italian tech-tree battleship, which we'll use as our "normal" version of the consumable. Like the standard consumable, Giuseppe Verdi's version starts with 3 charges and it has a 180 second reset timer. But after that, things deviate. Giuseppe Verdi's version creates huge smoke clouds, 1.8km across! Lepanto's are 1.02km across. Furthermore, Giuseppe Verdi issues smoke for longer, pooping out clouds for 60 seconds instead of 45 seconds. And finally, the clouds take longer to dissipate. Normally, Italian Exhaust Smoke Generator clouds disappear within 10 seconds of being generated. You have a bit more leeway with Giuseppe Verdi as they last 15 seconds. In her final slot, you have the choice between a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The Spotter Aircraft comes with four charges, increases her main battery range by 20% for 100s and has a 240s reset timer. Her Catapult Fighter launches 3 aircraft 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 Let's do this! It's decision time. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Damage Control System Modification 1 is the only one that makes sense in slot 2. It's a shame she can't take some kind of smoke-making-better upgrade. You've got to choose your Destiny in slot three. The most efficient choice is Aiming Systems Modification 1, especially with how wonky Italian ballistics are. BUT, if you're going to be a CHAD-BRAWLER, then take Secondary Battery Modification 1 instead for the extra range and rate of fire. Damage Control System Modification 2 is the best choice in slot three. You can take Steering Gears Modification 1 instead if you want, but be prepared to burn. Still, for someone intent on brawling and knife fighting, it's not a terrible choice. Concealment System Modification 1 is still the only choice worth considering in slot five. And finally, you can choose between Main Battery Modification 3 to help with her shoddy reload or Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 to make up for her lacklustre range. Commander Skills Now OBVIOUSLY, the optimal build here is the same tried, tested and true battleship survivability-focused commander. You specialize in fire-resistance with your choice of skills at the lower, mandatory tiers. It's worth noting that for Italian battleships especially, the second tier Brisk is particularly effective. The extra jump in speed kicks in everytime they activate their Exhaust Smoke Generator, on top of the extended periods of time between their salvos owing to their longer (and sometimes downright punitive) main battery reload times. As a nerd that has spent way too much time twirling ships, I like the extra kick it provides to a ship's rate of turn. With Giuseppe Verdi's smoke lasting longer than other Italian battleships, she stands to benefit from this longer and getting her up to X knot top speeds is thrilling. It's like combining Engine Boost to your Exhaust Smoke Generator. Very fun. But SURELY you didn't come here for optimization; you came for AWESOME. I know your type. You're a Giga-Chad who plays a secondary-spec'd Montana. You're the Boss-[edited] who took Survivability Expert on your battleships. Well, Giuseppe Verdi will not let you down. Her SAP-firing secondaries are SCREAMING for a dedicated commander build to fully optimize the ship, citadel exposure be damned. Well, worry not my valiant, hyper-morphed blokes and lasses, I've got your needs covered. Brisk comes up once again as an excellent skill for this build. Secondaries don't increase a ship's spotting radius in smoke, allowing Giuseppe Verdi to close to knife fighting range while still delivering the hurt. Between Secondary Armament Modification 1, the November Echo Setteseven signal and the following build, she can yeet her shells out to a respectable 10.51km, making her a threat to anything she wants to flex on. Only Manual Secondary Battery Aiming and Long Range Secondary Battery Shells are truly mandatory for this build, leaving you with lots of options to play around. I'm a fan of pairing this with Concealment Expert and Emergency Repair Expert but you're free to pick and choose your favourites. Obviously, I'm biased towards a secondary build. You'll understand why by the time you get to my Final Evaluation, if not before with my Firepower section. Of course if you elect to use secondary build, that precludes Giuseppe Verdi from being an effective commander trainer for your other Regia Marina battleships. That's a significant strike against her and worth keeping in mind. Camouflage Giuseppe Verdi only has access to a single Type 10 camouflage. It provides the usual bonuses for a tier IX premium battleship: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. Giuseppe Verdi's base camo looks fine. It's helped that Regia Marina battleships look bloody gorgeous. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 406mm/50 guns in in 3x3 turrets with an A-B-X superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm/55 guns in 4x3 turrets and twenty-four 90mm/50 guns in 12x2 turrets superfiring over the 152mm guns. These armaments are spread evenly along each side of the ship. Main Battery Let's do things a little different this time and start with the main battery. There's a world of difference between Giuseppe Verdi's main battery firepower and Marco Polo's and it's worth reiterating them. Giuseppe Verdi has a faster reload by 5 seconds. Marco Polo is more precise with 1.9 sigma to Giuseppe Verdi's 1.7. Giuseppe Verdi's AP shells do 450 less damage and are lighter. Marco Polo has SAP shells, Giuseppe Verdi has HE shells. While it's nice that Giuseppe Verdi does not to have Marco Polo's 36 second reload, the rest of the changes suck monkey butts. I mean, I can accept having HE instead of SAP. It's a fair trade for the reload reduction. But, I have to ask just what the heck is going on with her AP shells? 450 less damage on a citadel (149 damage on a penetration) isn't a lot but that makes me wonder why it was even necessary. Now, I do like my consistency so incongruencies bother me more than they should. So I'm left scratching my head at this design decision. I think it points to Wargaming fussing with things that don't matter for the sake of making their "behind the scenes" performance-graphs look pretty. The same goes for a 31 second reload instead of the standard battleship 30 second reload. That smacks of Wargaming looking for optimization so someone can make their bonus rather than a design decision that's to the benefit of the players. That kind of change is a nuisance to players. Seriously, there's been a lot of this unnecessary fidgeting with stats away from established norms and I can't see the reason why. Giuseppe Verdi could have had a 30 second reload and 13,050 damage on her AP shells like her sister and it wouldn't have made an enormous difference -- her DPM would have still sat beneath Hizen's (freakin' Hizen for crying out loud). Wargaming could have bought back their numbers with something that players can't perceive anyway, like a 0.05 sigma reduction or whatever. When is Wargaming going to learn that messing with main battery performance is a sure-fire way to annoy their customers? Giuseppe Verdi isn't winning any prizes for sustained damage output. I'm aware I forgot Prinz Rupprecht. She's at the bottom of both. I'm not redoing these. Again, Prinz Rupprecht is missing, this time because I recycled this from my Marlborough review. She sits beneath Giuseppe Verdi and above Georgia. Speaking of annoying, let's talk about dispersion. Giuseppe Verdi's accuracy is ... well, it's not good. It combines the triple headache of French & Italian dispersion formulas AND Italian high-velocity vertical dispersion AND 1.7 sigma on top of that. Even if you do hit your targets, Giuseppe Verdi is likely to yeet her AP rounds clean through the broadside of a cruiser at anything less than 12km. Now, this is countered by the fact that her AP rounds retain a lot of energy over distance, so smackin' battleships for citadel hits at long range is totally in her wheelhouse... or at least it would be if she could reach out to 20km. You need to activate her Spotter Aircraft or install Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 in order to shoot that far. Her short range is a real pain in the butt sometimes, so ditch the Catapult Fighter and keep the other consumable on standby. You're going need it. If you don't, you'll have to install the range module instead and that's only going to push her DPM potential further down the list. Giuseppe Verdi's dispersion with 1.7 sigma on the left. Marco Polo's with 1.9 sigma (and minor ballistic changes) on the right. Giuseppe Verdi doesn't quite top the charts in terms of her AP penetration for a sixteen-inch gun but it's pretty darned close. She's a threat to battleship citadels up to 20km and beyond. A Curious Note Towards the tail end of this review, I noticed something weird in Giuseppe Verdi's datamined stats. This came from spotting a typo on one of my graphics. I got the HE damage value wrong, so I went back and double checked all of the info for her main battery HE shells just to make sure that I wasn't misquoting other stats. That's when this little value jumped out at me: "Alpha Damage 9,230" Now, Alpha Damage is weird. It's not the same as regular damage. That regular damage value for Giuseppe Verdi appears normal -- it's 5,700. It's the same amount of hurt that Iowa and Missouri spit out with their 406mm guns. Alpha Damage for HE shells is a bit of a holdover from the Closed Beta days where HE shells had a splash effect that could even damage ships on a near miss. To my knowledge, this may have had an effect still on modules (WG never gave me a clear answer on this as a Community Contributor). With the inclusion of submarines taking splash damage from near misses, it was something I had ear marked to explore when I could take submarines into the training rooms finally. So what does this value do? Well, frankly, I don't know. It could mean that Giuseppe Verdi will do more damage to submarines with her HE shells than she should. It could mean that she does more damage to modules (including exposed magazines of destroyers and some cruisers) than her contemporaries. Maybe it's more HE penetration against modules (they have a kind of armour -- module damage is hella weird). It could mean absolutely nothing and it's just a holdover from Closed Beta. Just be aware that she has more of this than Iowa and Missouri (4,620), Thunderer (7,730) or even Incomparable (7,800). I'll make some inquiries and keep you posted. [ Edit - This has been confirmed. Giuseppe Verdi does more module damage than other battleships. ] I'm borrowing this graphic from my Marco Polo review. The two sisters have the same firing angles. They're almost good. Almost. Main Battery Summary Giuseppe Verdi's main battery firepower sucks. She has bad range. Her AP shells have nerfed damage. She has only nine guns and yet she's stuck with an abnormally long reload. Her HE shells aren't SAP and they suck at starting fires. Her dispersion is also terrible. Her guns' redeeming qualities are decent fire arcs and gun handling, good AP penetration over range and you're playing with a larger calibre of gun than you normally can with Italian battleships. Seriously, that last bit is meant to be a selling feature of the ship and it makes me laugh. "Ooh, you get to play with 406mm guns!" Yeah, everyone else already does that and has been doing that since as early as tier VII. 406mm SAP with a bad reload was novel on Marco Polo. Nerfed 406mm AP with a bad reload is just a bad tier IX ship -- being Italian doesn't make that better somehow. Wargaming is obviously banking that her secondaries will make up the deficit. Her Secondaries Don't Make Up the Deficit There are four things I look for when evaluating if a ship's secondaries are worth upgrading into: Range: Look, you gotta have range. I don't care about the rest if a ship can't reach its target. Without range, secondaries are not going to come into play often enough to be worthwhile. The next three are all distant seconds to this first criteria. I cannot stress this enough: without good range, your secondaries suck. End of story. Dispersion: Dispersion helps put more hits on target for few shots. This can be counteracted somewhat by a high volume of fire (more bites of the apple) or meatier individual hits (good penetration / high damage or fire chance per shell). Penetration: Will my hits do damage when I get there? Like Dispersion, this can again be overlooked if the other two boxes are ticked . The idea being that if you don't have good penetration to hurt all targets, landing enough hits may pad the numbers through fires. Potential Damage: This category is kind of a catch-all. It combines volume of fire with fire arcs, shell damage and fire chance per hit. We're evaluating if the ship has the potential to deal a lot of damage -- pretty much, if all of the ducks were in a row, how much hurt can this ship dispense? A ship with poor potential damage may still be a decent contender for a secondary specialization if dispersion and penetration are present -- the idea being that you make up for the deficit by hitting more often and the quality of said hits being higher than average. We can look at a few examples: Prinz Rupprecht has arguably the best secondary battery at tier IX. She combines accurate "Massachusetts" level of accuracy with 1/4 HE penetration. Her 105mm guns fire quickly and her 150mm casemates hit like trucks. With nearly an 8km base range, the only marks against her are the poor firing arcs on her casemates and the fact that her 105mm can't quite penetrate 32mm battleship hull sections without dipping into IFHE. Still, she can do without and rely on fires to carry over the rest. Georgia is a step down from Prinz Rupprecht. Though she dittos the German battlecruiser's accuracy, she has slightly less range. Furthermore, her 127mm/38s don't have the penetration needed to contend with anything short of destroyers and very light cruisers. Dipping into Inertial Fuse for HE Shells allows her to engage cruisers, but this hurts her poor fire-setting ability when facing other battleships, forcing a choice. Her fire arcs, however, are excellent, ensuring she can bring her full secondary broadside on anything that creeps within range. Alsace has the range and massive volume of fire but she lacks everything else. Her penetration is infamously terrible with her 100mm guns unable to directly damage destroyers or the superstructures of ships at tiers VIII+ and her dispersion is just the baseline secondary accuracy which is awful. Still, she's one of the best potential fire starters. Marco Polo has absolutely nothing going for her. On paper, she can deal more potential damage than Georgia but her range is even worse. Furthermore, she inherits Alsace's penetration issues. The bulk of her fire comes from her 90mm guns and they can't hurt anything directly. She's only a modest fire starter and her accuracy is terrible. So where does Giuseppe Verdi fall on this spectrum? Giuseppe Verdi, Marco Polo and Friedrich der Große have the same brawling and kiting DPM. Pommern and Georgia have such good fire arcs that they can fire all of their guns whether kiting or brawling. Giuseppe Verdi's SAP ammunition provides tremendous potential, both through her theoretical DPM but also her high penetration. There's just one problem... SAP Armed Secondaries SAP secondaries are a game changer. On paper, Giuseppe Verdi's secondaries have more damage potential than Alsace's, which is pretty frightening. And this comes paired with high(ish) penetration. Her 152mm secondaries can smack 42mm hull sections and her 90mm can hurt up to 26mm. Pair this with (very) high damage per shell and she appears capable of front-loading some big alpha when her secondaries start singing. I was initially skeptical, expecting most of these shells to ricochet but her 152mm have VERY forgiving bounce angles. Her 90mm are less so, but still highly respectable. This was enough to make me curious. I could accept her not starting fires or damaging internal modules with these kind of stats (you're not detonating anyone with SAP). It stung a bit that her 90mm were stuck at 26mm of penetration -- 27mm would have been preferred to hurt ALL cruisers within her matchmaking, but I could deal with that, especially when her 152mm guns had been buffed with a slightly faster reload over those on her sister ship. Things were looking up. At least, they were until I looked at their range. Lemme dig up that meme I used on my Marco Polo review. There we go. With a 6.95km base range, Giuseppe Verdi's secondaries cap out at a modest 10.51km. That's a kilometre and a half shorter than Alsace and Prinz Rupprecht. That hurts. That sucks. What is it with these Italian battleship premiums post-Cesare being so close to good but fumbling at the last minute? Thus, Giuseppe Verdi ends up having excellent potential damage, good penetration, poor accuracy and, most damning of all, modest range at best, though I'm loathe to call it anything other than 'poor'. It's not that a 10.51km range isn't workable, it very much is, especially if you're a PVE-junky. Giuseppe Verdi's secondaries are boss-level badass in Co-Op and it's not uncommon to see her do in excess of 40,000 damage with her secondaries if you throw her headlong into jousting scenarios with a full secondary build. However, you can't expect this kind of regular performance in PVP where brawling scenarios are less common. Giuseppe Verdi doesn't pair these secondaries with a citadel profile that's healthy in a knife fight. That's not to say that there isn't some use for her secondaries in PVP, it's just not idiot proof the way it is on German battleships. Giuseppe Verdi's ace in the hole when it comes to making use of her secondaries is her Exhaust Smoke Generator. She can blink off people's radar, show up closer than people are expecting and saturate them with a hail of surprisingly damaging fire. This works best against destroyers and cruisers, obviously, and only select cruisers at that. But still, it opens the door for some fun, dynamic and aggressive plays that are so very dear to my blood thirsty heart. You just can't count on it being the trump card that people so often envision brawling to be. I really do like the combination of decent secondaries (I am loathe to say 'good') and an Exhaust Smoke Generator in brawling scenarios. So long as no one brings Hydroacoustic Search or a Surveillance Radar to the party, it's going to be amusing. I can't promise it will be game winning or even a good idea, but it will be amusing. After the disappointment of her main battery armament, having "amusing" secondaries is high praise. If you can fire all six of her 90mm guns at a target, you're showing waaaay too much broadside. Secondary Summary They're better than I initially thought. Their short(er) range is a pain in the butt and really hurts what could have been an impressive and novel armament. It would have been nice to see them reaching out to at least Georgia levels of range (7.5km) or getting at least German battleship levels of accuracy. Still, the way her secondaries synergize with her Exhaust Smoke Generator is a lot of fun, so top marks there. VERDICT: Giuseppe Verdi's offensive capabilities are only "okay". Her main battery firepower is pretty bad compared to her contemporaries and if you're not interested in a secondary-build, then you should probably stay clear of this ship. 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% Marco Polo and Giuseppe Verdi share the same hit point pool, which is really generous of them considering it's not very big. Giuseppe Verdi entirely clones Marco Polo's armour and hit point profiles. This means she has a tiny hit point pool for a tier IX battleship, a dispersed armour scheme and a highly vulnerable citadel. Giuseppe Verdi's armour is excellent for resisting cruiser calibre HE, SAP and AP rounds, even the latter two which may have improved auto-ricochet mechanics. Her amidships deck and upper belt are immune to HE rounds from even small battleship calibre weapons, being proof up to 330mm calibre guns. She can similarly shrug off the 1/4 HE penetration of 203mm calibre weapons found on the German cruisers. Similarly, all cruiser-calibre SAP rounds are patently incapable of damaging the ship in these places. This limits the effectiveness of these attacks to her extremities and superstructure. Given the difficulties of accuracy at range, the further away Giuseppe Verdi is from said cruisers, the more effective her armour becomes if only grace of dispersion. Even players who know what to target will find their shells occasionally straying and piffing off Giuseppe Verdi's thick plate ineffectively. Against battleship calibre rounds, she fares alright. She can bow-tank with the best of them, though she has to worry about the usual 460mm+ guns like everyone else. This all changes if she gives up a little too much side, however. Barring having an ice-breaker on her bow and stern, Giuseppe Verdi's external armour is excellent. The citadel protection of the Marco Polo-class isn't great. It's almost good enough. Almost. Against anything 356mm or smaller, it holds up well. Her turtleback is sloped steeply and it prompt ricochets (or at least ricochet checks) against most incoming rounds, deflecting them up and away from her magazines and machine spaces. However, at only 25mm thick, any larger AP shells simply ignores the armour entirely through overmatch mechanics. Similarly, ships with improved auto-ricochet angles like American heavy cruisers and battleships like Duke of York won't bounce off this plate. Granted these two ships in this specific example need to be extra close in order to get through her belt armour, but ships like Stalingrad and the Alaska-class do not. Exposing Giuseppe Verdi's sides is baaaad juju and it's just begging to get her sent back to port from the ensuing big citadel hits. That 25mm turtleback is just begging to be overmatched. It may as well be non-existant for any AP shells greater than 356mm. Flash her sides at your own peril. This raises the point on how it's generally a REALLY STUPID IDEA to bring this ship anywhere close to brawling distances against other battleships in PVP. Like, seriously. You'd have to be a flaming moron to want to engage in knife fights using Giuseppe Verdi and expect her to come out the better for it. Even her Exhaust Smoke Generator can't keep her safe at these ranges (and that won't save you from enterprising blind fires at a distance either, btw). Even if you don't get flashed by Surveillance Radar or sniffed out by a Hydroacoustic Search, the guaranteed detection range will ensure she gets lit. Barring "being the torpedo", you'll have to expose your sides to your quarry (if not their friends) and probably suffer for it. As good as her secondaries (potentially) are, Giuseppe Verdi's citadel protection should make you think twice about getting her anywhere close enough to use 'em. Or you can live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse. Up to you. Shut up. I look fabulous. VERDICT: Nice external armour. She doesn't have enough HP, though and her healing suffers because of it. Furthermore, citadel gets tapped too easily especially at brawling distances where WG wants her to be played. Agility Top Speed: 32 knots Turning Radius: 860m Rudder Shift Time: 16 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.3º/s at 24.1 knots Main Battery Traverse Rate: 5.0º/s Fourth from the top in bright, booger green. There's nothing really special about Giuseppe Verdi's handling. Her 860m turning radius looks decent. Her 32 knot top speed is good, but she's not the fastest at tier by a long shot. She lacks the Engine Boost consumable which makes Alsace, Wujing, Georgia and the Jean Barts so flexible. And finally, her rudder shift time is only kinda-sorta okay. Plug this all in and you get a ship that isn't exemplary in any one area, but she's not terrible in any of them either. And yet, she strangely feels kinda lame. This is largely owing to the empty niche at high tiers. We have fast battleships but we don't have any nimble ones. Put Giuseppe Verdi at any of the lower tiers and sure, her speed stands out, but her handling would be all kinds of meh by comparison. At tier VII, Gneisenau has a comparable top speed but scrapes off another 30m from her turning radius (and over a second from her rudder shift time), allowing her to manage a comfy 4.5º/s rate of rotation. The German tech tree ship feels fast and aggressive. Yet just a few different paraemeters undermines Giuseppe Verdi. The end result is that she only feels okay. There's room at this tier for Wargaming to play with agility as a perk if they wished. Something with short rudder shift time like Vanguard or Yukon would be welcome, especially if it came with something close to (or just below) an 800m turning cricle radius and around a 30 knot top speed. As it is, Giuseppe Verdi's agility misses the mark here. Because of this, I fell in love with the Swift commander skill in my play tests. Paired with the Sierra Mike signal and her Exhaust Smoke Generator, it gave her a top speed of 37.1 knots in a straight line and a maximum rate of turn of 4.5º/s over a 910m turning circle radius at a sustained turning speed of 26.6 knots (for those unaware, when you exceed your in-port top speed, your turning circle radius increases in size). Giuseppe Verdi can very comfortably come about 180º under the cover of her Exhaust Smoke Generator with time to spare. Furthermore, her Exhaust Smoke Generator ensures she can always have access to this extra speed on demand, allowing her to redeploy even from hotly contested fights. I know I'm making more of a big deal about her synergy with this skill than it perhaps deserves but I was delighted by this pairing and I'ma spread the word to mah peeps. Overall, Giuseppe Verdi's agility is "good enough", I suppose. It's not bad but there are better ships at her tier, like Georgia and Jean Bart. VERDICT: It's not terrible. It's not good either, but it's not terrible. 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 (147dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 199.5dps at 75% accuracy (150dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 206.5dps at 70% accuracy (145dps) Range of Gun Types and DPS Combined AA DPS by Range Look, the only thing "good" going on here is the wall of flak that Giuseppe Verdi puts out and even that's held back by the pathetic short-range of Italian large-calibre batteries. You can count on anything short of dive bombers being able to engage an attack run before they have to consider dodging and that really undermines their efficacy. On paper, she has enough sustained DPS to do some damage to loitering planes (if they loiter), but in practice she's one of the softer battleship targets at her tier. You're pretty much hoping that enemy aircraft will run into a combined flak-wall or be out-muscled by Giuseppe Verdi's DPS paired with something much more frightening, like an American or French battleship. Here's how Giuseppe Verdi's sustained AA DPS holds up against the best three and worst three battleships at her tier. This is the approximate damage done by sustained AA DPS against a fictional, 186.2 knot squadron travelling in a straight line from max range to 0km over a ship. The colours separate the damage done by mount type, with darkest being the large calibre mounts, the medium being the medium calibre and lightest being the small calibre mounts. Iowa (5833) Missouri (5019) Jean Bart & Jean Bart B (4884) Marco Polo & Giuseppe Verdi (2948) Hizen (2157) AL Sovetskaya Rossiya (1914) Musashi (1198) Overall, your best AA defence is going to be to activate her Exhaust Smoke Generator if you come under concerted attack. Make sure you put the rudder hard over to Just Dodge™ any blind drops of rockets, fish, bombs, or Soveit easy-mode ordnance. VERDICT: Not enough so it's entirely forgettable. 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 19.12km and 22.18km (max of 26.62km with Spotter Aircraft) 52nd (or 53rd) out of 93 vessels listed here. Giuseppe Verdi (and Marco Polo) have concealment on the poor side of average for a battleship within their matchmaking (the average being an upgraded concealment of 13.05km). That's not surprising given that short of Roma (and her unfortunate AL clone), most Italian battleships tend to have unremarkable surface detection ranges. However, with very few exceptions, it isn't the raw concealment value that's the interesting aspect of a given battleship's vision control -- it's what consumables they bring to the table to shake things up that makes individual ships stand out. With Italian battleships, it's access to their Exhaust Smoke Generator consumable that's their defining feature here. This provides concealment on demand, at least so long as they haven't fired their main battery guns recently. That Marco Polo lacked this consumable at all was a big hit against her comfort-level which was admittedly already suffering due to her punitive reload time on her guns. Well, it seems that Wargaming has taken the Exhaust Smoke Generator Marco Polo should have gotten and added it onto her sister-ship, because Giuseppe Verdi's smoke is strange and powerful. It provides all of the usual benefits for an Italian battleship, giving cover to allow it to disengage and manoeuvre as needs be. With her great secondaries, you can also use it offensively, spitting ribbons of SAP fire into the faces of enemies that get close without being spotted in return -- at least until someone activates Surveillance Radar or Hydroacoustic Search or slips within 2km of her. Still, this can be enough to cause some amusing shenanigans, such as foiling early torpedo attempts and getting a leg up on damage done, especially against the impatient. It might be enough to protect her citadel against some opponents. Exhaust Smoke Generators are a selfish consumable by their very nature. They don't really provide smoke that can be shared by other ships unless you VERY tightly coordinate with a peer. That's nominally beyond the scope of trying to help some Random Battle buddy you meet in a one-off match. The Exhaust Smoke Generator clouds don't last long enough for another ship to hide in them comfortably. Trail behind an Italian battleship by more than a boat length and you're not likely to keep hidden, especially if you're struggling at all to match their exact course and speed. This is where Giuseppe Verdi stands out. Her Exhaust Smoke Generator can be shared. While most Italian Exhaust Smoke Generators create smoke circles that are 1.02km in diameter, Giuseppe Verdi's is a massive 1.8km. The extra duration of each individual cloud also ensures that it lasts long enough for a friendly ship to be able to follow in her wake. Finally, the extra emission time gives a bit more room too coordinate. While this may still be beyond the average player in a pick-up battle, it is enough to provide at least temporary cover and easily too. That can make all of the difference in a Random or Ranked battle. Still, I wouldn't go so far as to say that Giuseppe Verdi's Exhaust Smoke Generator is game changing. It's just that much more comfortable to use and it opens the door for some team play options that didn't readily exist before. Lepanto on top with a standard Exhaust Smoke Generator. Giuseppe Verdi's smoke is large enough to hide a small fleet inside, provided they can keep up. VERDICT: Bad unless you account for her Exhaust Smoke Generator. Then it's at least interesting, if not downright competitive. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike from 1.5km to 10km (plus bomb drop column) Number of Salvos: Up to two Reload Time: 30 seconds Aircraft: Two Kawanishi H8K with 2,000hp per plane. Drop Pattern: 3 bombs each dropped evenly over roughly a 900m column Maximum Bomb Damage: 2,800 Fire Chance: 21% Not much to say here given that submarines were largely a non-entity during my playtesting. I'm recording these stats for posterity and they're likely to change in the future. VERDICT: I'm not looking forward to when this section becomes relevant, if only because these reviews will get even more complicated. #MouseTroubles Final Evaluation Marco Polo, was entirely forgettable and short of Christmas events, I never see any reason to take her out. This is largely owing to Marco Polo's atrocious main battery reload time. Seeing that corrected with Giuseppe Verdi caught my interest, especially when paired with the missing Exhaust Smoke Generator. But when I became aware of the other gunnery flaws, namely the 1.7 sigma, the terrible range, the 31 second reload (for some reason) and nerfed AP rounds, my enthusiasm was dashed. I resigned that she would never be anything more than another forgettable offering from Wargaming, not worth a deep dive. I began framing this review as a quick comparison between the two ships. That was until I took a look at how Wargaming was promoting her. I told you we'd come back to this. What stood out to me was the claims of a powerful secondary armament. Now, I was aware of her development and how she had been touted as having SAP secondaries. But just looking at their range gave me reservations, to say nothing when datamining pulled up that her dispersion wasn't improved. But the more I looked and the more I played Giuseppe Verdi, I felt it wrong to be so dismissive. There was something interesting there. Oh, my forays into trying to make her secondaries work in PVP were largely disastrous -- I'm not about to tell you that Giuseppe Verdi is a good ship, don't you worry. But what I did find was that they were fun, especially in PVE. I don't usually focus on individual game modes much in my reviews but I think it's worth examining here with Giuseppe Verdi. If you are a co-op main, Giuseppe Verdi is a fantastic ship. Secondary-heavy battleships and battleships with torpedoes do extremely well in PVE modes and Giuseppe Verdi is no exception. If you're looking to scratch of some event mission that requires secondary hits, this isn't a bad pony to bet on. In PVP modes, she's only alright though. You can pull off some fun shenanigans every now and then the same way you could with say, Tirpitz or Odin. I just don't feel that her long range fire is good enough to warrant purchasing. Yes, it's nice to have an Italian battleship with 406mm AP rounds AND smoke. But given how heavy handed Wargaming has been to balance her, I don't think she's worth while. Similarly, close combat just doesn't happen often enough in PVP battles to allow you to enjoy what makes her novel. Her shorter ranged secondaries make that even more challenging -- you're getting less secondary incidental fire than you would from any other specialist and that's a shame. I want to like Giuseppe Verdi, but I cannot in good conscious recommend her for anyone that enjoys Random and Ranked Battles. She's not terrible. She's certainly more novel than her sister ship, but I'ma stick to my guns. Give her a pass if you're a PVP junky. Thanks for reading. Mouse out. <Sinister pasta noises!>
  5. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: California

    The following is a review of California, the tier VII American battleship. This ship has been provided to me by Wargaming for evaluation purposes -- I did not have to pay for this thing, which is a good thing because I would have felt offended had I shelled out money for this horribly mistreated piece of history. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are current as of patch 0.9.5.1. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. I'm not going to waste too much time on this review (she says, and then spends four whole days on it). USS California's inclusion in World of Warships bothers me on so many levels. I should preface this by saying that I love the American standard-type battleships. I think they are some of the most interesting warships of the Second World War. They are phoenixes that rose from the ashes of Pearl Harbor. Despite their outdated designs, they went on to not only find a role in the fast-modernizing US Navy but they went on to engage triumphantly in one of the final battleship surface actions in history. They could have just as easily remained a footnote in the war, left behind by fate. So, you can keep your Iowas, the romance (to me) lies in names like West Virginia, Tennessee and California. This is why I took issue with West Virginia appearing in her Pearl Harbor mien and not that of Surigao Strait. So imagine my disappointment when, against all advice, Wargaming stuck to their guns and pulled a copy-paste job of USS Arizona's performance and tacked it onto California. Now, let me be clear: Arizona, the tier VI American premium, is awesome. Lert really helped me appreciate the game play of the "American Bricks" way back in 2016. However, I do not love Arizona so much that I think cloning her game play and asking people to pay a premium price tag for a tier VII version is right. While California does have some minor improvements over Arizona, they are (in my opinion) inconsequential. I fear that these buffs will blindside people to what is nothing more than an already existing tier VI premium with a tier VII price tag. With that in mind, this review is going to myopically focus on the differences between Arizona and California and why one ship is worth the money and the other is a slap in the face. As much as I need a break right now, USS California is a big enough name to elicit sales simply merely by reputation. I know it. You know it. Wargaming knows it too. I want to head off any impulse purchases and warn players that they're not getting a ship worthy of California's name. Quick Summary: A slow American standard-type battleship with horrible gun firing arcs but improved long-range gunnery with her twelve 356mm guns. She has excellent AA firepower. PROS Fully submerged citadel. Heavy broadside of twelve 356mm/50 guns. Long ranged with a starting reach of 19.9km which can be extended to as much as 27.7km between upgrades and consumables. Decent gunnery dispersion with 1.9 sigma. Small turning circle radius of 640m. Excellent AA firepower, equivalent to a tier VIII American battleship. Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 11.8km. CONS Painfully long, 34.2s reload. 356mm guns lack overmatching ability against targets with 25mm+ extremities. Horrible gun handling and appalling gun firing angles. Very slow top speed of 20.5 knots and poor handling as a result despite her smaller turning circle radius. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging/ Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme California isn't difficult to play. Picking her up and farming some damage is pretty easy. Were it not for her horribly slow speed, I'd have given her a 'simple' rating. All you really need to know are the battleship basics: use the correct ammo, beware of flashing your sides, try not to get left behind. California's speed is a severe handicap, but you knew that coming in. California gets no tools to seriously mitigate this. Long range is nice, so flex those aiming skills you've acquired, but her gun caliber and long reload will largely limit the impact this has. You can largely forget applying those brawling skills or getting to cap or even angling to mitigate damage -- it's just not applicable. There's a pretty hard cap on how far skill will take you with this ship. Options There's nothing too surprising about California's options. She conforms to the norms for American battleships. She doesn't get access to Aiming Systems Modification 1 to reduce her main battery gun dispersion. Instead, she has Gun Fire Control Modification 1 which increases her main battery gun range. Consumables California's Damage Control Party is standard for an American battleship. It comes with unlimited charges and an 80s reset timer. For US battleships, this is active for 20 seconds rather than the 15 seconds for other nations, so bonus there. Her Repair Party is also standard. It queues up 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of all other damage types. Each charge heals a base of up to 14% of the ship's health over 28 seconds. She starts with four charges. In her third slot, you have the choice between a Spotting Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The former increases range by 20% for 100 seconds. It comes with four charges and a four minute reset timer. Her fighter is active for a mere 60 seconds (like all Battleship fighters) and resets in 90 seconds. It has three charges base and sends up a squadron of 3 planes. Upgrades There should be no surprises for anyone here. Build for survivability and fire resistance. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. In the second slot, begin your fire resistance build with Damage Control Systems Modification 1. Most people are going to want to spring for more range for California and thus Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 will seem optimal. However, once you get behind the helm of California and play with her (as I have), you'll come to hate her sluggish gun traverse as much as I do and Main Battery Modification 2 will look hella appealing. Damage Control Systems Modification 2 is your best choice for slot four, however, given California's ridiculously-poor fire angles, you will not be blamed for reaching for Steering Gears Modification 1 in order to help with rudder shift time to swing her butt out and back in between salvos. Commander Skills Time to re-use a graphic because battleship skill optimization has stagnated! Same old, same old. Build for fire-resistance first, then double back for your other skills. You probably want Expert Marksman over Adrenaline Rush on your first pass. Camouflage California has access to two camouflage patterns: Type 10 Camouflage – California and Freedom -- California. The two are merely cosmetic swaps of each other, providing the same benefits. You'll probably have to shell out some extra cash for the Freedom camo, whether that will be through a bundle or with doubloons after the fact. 3% bonus concealment from surface targets 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion 10% reduction to post-battle service costs 50% bonus to experience gains. Summary so far: Well, so far so good, I suppose. There's nothing out of the ordinary here. I dunno what's going on with California's turrets with her Freedom camouflage. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 356mm/50 guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 127mm/38 guns in 8x2 turrets in superfiring pairs on either side of the ship facing fore and aft. Arizona & California's Main Battery Differences California has more range (19.9km vs 16km) California's AP shells do more damage (10,500 vs 10,300) California has a faster reload (34.2s vs 35s) California's AP shells have higher penetration. California's shells have higher muzzle velocity. California has higher sigma (1.9 vs 1.8). California has much reduced firing arcs (102º broadside vs 113º) California uses New Mexico's 356mm/50 caliber guns rather than Arizona's 356mm/45s. A lot of what's listed above owe to the differences of the gun calibers. Compared to New Mexico, California has increased range (19.9km vs 16.1km) and better sigma (1.9 vs 1.5) but again that horrible deficit in fire arcs (102º broadside vs 109º). So while California is an obvious gunnery upgrade over New Mexico, California is only a soft upgrade on Arizona. The biggest advantage here is her increased range with the rest largely being window-dressings. Calfornia does have a higher muzzle velocity and thus better AP penetration over distance. However this gap isn't quite as pronounced as the difference in speed would suggest as Arizona has higher Krupp, a coefficient WG uses to directly modify penetration values. California's increased rate of fire, higher shell damage and sigma are all nice but the difference is so minor as to be largely unnoticeable. California is a slow reloading, reasonably accurate 356mm armed battleship. The 0.8 second faster reload still does not make her feel like she has anything but a painfully slow rate of fire. The 0.1 sigma difference is imperceptible in game play -- you couldn't tell the difference if you tried. And finally, as nice as the extra damage is, these are still 356mm guns. Compared to the 380mm, 406mm and 410mm shells being thrown about by some of her tier mates, their individual shell performance is middling at best. Thus cutting through all of the crap, California's only significant change is her range increase over Arizona and she pays for this with truly appalling gun fire arcs. Observe: California has absolutely horrid main battery traverse rates, coming about at a glacial 60s for 180º. California has tier VI firepower with tier VII range. As much as I would like to be excited about her range, she needs it or the ship simply doesn't work. Wargaming will try and sell you this ship bragging that this reach is to California's advantage. Simply put, it's the only thing which makes this ship viable as a tier VII vessel and even then it barely passes muster. This ship is slow. Unlike Arizona which finds herself occasionally enjoying the 36km x 36km claustrophobic maps of lower tiers, California more often than not sees the 42m x 42km and 48km x 48km maps of higher tiers. That extra reach is an outright necessity to bring her guns into play before the battle moves on without her. Even then, it's often not enough. You can get a taste for this already by playing Arizona in bottom tiered matches and struggling to keep up with the pace of battle. California's reach partially mitigates this, but only partially. Her horrible gun fire angles necessitate that she swing out and show a lot more broadside in order to bring the weight of fire to bear on targets. This exaggerated manoeuvre bleeds speed (to say nothing of changing her heading and possibly navigating away from battle), further slowing her already ponderous pace. Thus her range becomes even more important. Are California's main battery guns better than Arizona's? Absolutely. Are they good enough to be tier VII guns? Sure -- they have better range and much better sigma than New Mexico's. The issue, though, is that they're not improved enough over the tier VI premium's to be worthwhile. Arizona's weapons are amazing at tier VI. California's weapons are only okay at tier VII. This means, gunnery wise, you're paying more money for a worse experience. This means for California to be worth her price tag, she's gotta make it up elsewhere. Once again, here are some dispersion tests. These are 180 shells fired at 15km locked onto the stationary Fuso bot. The bot was without camouflage. Unlike my normal dispersion tests, as Arizona and California can't equip the dispersion reducing ASM1 upgrade, their fields look comparatively larger than ships of the same tier. Shots are coming in from right to left with Fuso bow-tanking. One of these is California, the other Arizona. I'm not telling you which ship is which. If you're struggling to see a difference in as clinical and sterile a trial as this, you have no hope of feeling the difference through normal game play. In battle, targets are moving at different angles and speeds which makes any reasonable evaluation exceedingly difficult unless there is a tremendous change in performance. This is why I frown on a difference of 0.1 sigma being used as a selling feature -- it's a "spreadsheet" value that will affect a ship over the course of several games but isn't likely to be significant within a single match. A Missed Opportunity California doesn't make up for her main battery gunnery with her secondaries. California's secondaries are crap and they didn't have to be. Despite constant suggestions to give her improved accuracy and/or range on her secondaries, Wargaming wouldn't budge on keeping them standardized. These weapons are not worth upgrading any more than you would find it worthwhile to upgrade North Carolina's or Alabama's secondaries. California's AP penetration is okay. It's not high-velocity Soviet-good like Poltava's, though, nor does it have Duke of York's improved auto-ricochet angles (which shares the same penetration as KGV). Landing citadel hits against enemy battleships tends to fall off at ranges over 14km or so, but you should still be able to land penetrating hits through most belts you'll encounter. In theory, California has some pretty good AP damage output. She doesn't have boosted HE shell damage the way Japanese and British battleships do, so she's kind of lackluster there. That hurts given her inability to overmatch 25mm armour that's so commonplace within her matchmaking spread. Arizona sits just behind California in AP and HE DPM, but not so much that you'll notice in most cases. Summary so far: You're buying a longer-ranged Arizona. The 0.8s improved reload time and harder hitting AP shells are okay, but you can't feel the 0.1 sigma difference. However you're paying for the improvements with very crappy gun fire angles. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability Hit Points: 58,300 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 26mm extremities, upper hull and deck with some 31mm rear deck sections behind the superstructure. Maximum Citadel Protection: 35mm anti-torpedo bulge, 343mm belt and 44mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 36% California's protection scheme is perfectly adequate for a tier VII battleship. It's comparable to Arizona's and they each have their strengths. California versus Arizona's Durability California has more health (58,300hp vs 57,200hp) Arizona has better anti-torpedo protection. No, really. (37% damage reduction for Arizona vs 36% for California) Arizona has better upper-hull armour. (Arizona has a strip of 37mm armour above her belt while California's upper hull is only 26mm). California has better deck protection (California's deck behind her superstructure and around her X & Y turrets is 31mm thick. All of Arizona's decks are 26mm). Overall, the ships are very comparable in terms of their protection and durability. While California has the slight edge in health, it pays to keep in mind that Arizona has a large hit point pool for a tier VI battleship while California is on the low side of average for tier VII. Tier for tier, Arizona is the better protected ship with her armour and hit points meaning more at tier VI than California's at tier VII. That 35mm anti-torpedo bulge covers a huge section of California's side. All things told, it's not bad for helping keep shells out (especially when angling). Her 31mm rear deck will help shatter small-caliber HE shells too, as will her 50mm armoured secondaries. Look at this chungus. This is a top-down view of California with her 343mm belt highlighted in red. You can see just how massive her 35mm anti-torpedo bulges are. Shells which fuse inside this bulge but outside of the hull spaces underneath result in zero damage penetrations. Here's a better view of how deep California's belt extends. The dark red is 343mm thick while the orange strip at the bottom is where it tapers to 273mm. In order to land citadel hits, shells must contend with her 35mm anti-torpedo bulge then her 343mm belt and finally her 44mm citadel wall. California's citadel (in yellow) is fully submerged well below the waterline. Short of adding a turtleback, it's as well protected as you could hope it to be. The most dangerous shots come from medium to long range where shells have a bit of drop going for them to strike beneath the waterline and angle towards the citadel. As good as California's lateral protection is, her big weak spot is her bow. Her stern is made up of composite layers of armour beneath the 26mm outer shell in a similar vein to Giulio Cesare's bow. It isn't anywhere near as vulnerable. But her bow? It's just the 26mm outer portion until you smack the transverse bulkheads protecting her citadel. They're not thick enough to keep battleship caliber shells out. Furthermore, that big 26mm area is just begging to receive hits from HE spam. California faces a lot more opponents that can easily best her extremity and deck armour -- not only with battleship caliber AP but also HE spam from cruisers with enough base penetration to out-muscle her structural protection. Once engaged at medium-range, there's really not much this ship can do about it short of trying to fight her way out. As we've already covered, she doesn't really have that much better of a chance of doing so than Arizona. California's protection scheme is decent for a tier VII battleship but it's nothing special either short of her anti-torpedo protection (which is good but not as amazing as the size of her bulges would suggest). She doesn't have improved heals like the British battleships. She doesn't have a nigh-impervious citadel like Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. She's missing an ice-breaker bow like the aforementioned German ships. The Soviets infamously have it too. Were it me at the helm of California's project, if improving her offense was off the table I would have done something here. There's lots of ways they could have gone about it, though I think the most elegant solution would have been to give her 32mm structural plate on her bow, stern, deck and upper hull, akin to a tier VIII battleship. She would have felt immediately tankier but still vulnerable to higher tiered ships. Oh well, missed opportunities. California's on the low end of average for her potential health. This isn't exactly welcome for such a slow brick with a big squishy snoot to boop. California has a boring ol' 14% healed over 28s, not the 16.8% of the KGVs and Hood, the 40% Nelson or even Colorado's 18.48%. It could be worse, I suppose. She could have ended up like Poltava with a max of 4 charges of heals. Summary so far: Worse protection than Arizona, tier for tier, but that's largely owing to a deficit of hit points as a tier VII battleship. Her protection scheme is otherwise fine though her snoot is a huge weak spot. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability: Comparable durability to Arizona even though she sits a tier higher. Agility Top Speed: 20.5 knots Turning Radius: 640m Rudder Shift Time: 14.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.7º/s So, there are slow battleships in World of Warships and then there are the American premium standard-types. You see, the normal American tech-tree battleships have an artificial boost added to their engines -- they don't bleed speed like normal battleships do. It's akin to (but not a copy of) the UFO-style acceleration found on British cruisers and destroyers. However, the premium standards Arizona, West Virginia 1941 and now California, all lack this boost. They decelerate like normal battleships. This means the moment you touch their rudder, they dump their speed faster than a tweaked-out college student having their dorm inspected. The net effect is that though California has a 20.5 knot top speed, she's usually flirting with much less -- as little as 15.3 knots at 4/4 engine settings. Colorado at least manages 19.2 knots under heavy manoeuvres. The horrible fire arcs on California's guns will necessitate more manoeuvring to swing out her guns and then duck back which will only ensure she's stuck on the lower end of this speed. I have no idea why Wargaming didn't provide her with the tech-tree style energy preservation. This would have made her functionally as fast as Nagato under manoeuvres. So you can largely forget about getting anywhere fast. You can forget keeping up with the pace of battle. You can also forget about successfully kiting or disengaging when things turn sour. I think the real unfortunate detriment here is that it makes California more vulnerable to torpedoes. If you're trying to get from A to B as fast as possible, you're not going to want to touch your rudder. That just makes her easy meat for enterprising lolibotes. Ostensibly, California's range is supposed to help her here. She might not be physically present in the heat of combat, but her reach should allow her to at least offer some contribution while she lags way in the back. Summary so far: California's agility is absolutely appalling and worse than it had to be. Still, she's not far removed from Arizona -- like, the differences are barely perceptible. However, the larger map sizes makes this a lot more problematic. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability: Comparable durability to Arizona even though she sits a tier higher. Agility: An ever-so-slightly worse Arizona but now deployed on larger maps. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 5 explosions for 1,400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 137 dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 364 dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 490dps at 70% accuracy So here's California's main selling feature. You get tier VIII American battleship AA firepower at tier VII. This is in contrast to Arizona which has like ... no practical AA to speak of. As far as gimmicks go, it's downright laughable in the current meta. This might have meant something back before the CV rework, but it's a joke currently. Before patch 0.8.0, the levels of AA firepower California puts out would have been formidable and worth celebrating. She would have been a meme the way USS Texas used to be down at tier V. Now such AA firepower is merely an inconvenience to CVs. While tier VI carriers have to respect your AA firepower they can still strike you. Furthermore, it's not going to put off a determined tier VIII carrier even for a moment. The best that can be said is that California won't be high on the enemy aircraft's priority list. However, she has enough problems already without considering CV strikes. I've sorted these ships by the formula I like to use (DPS x [range-1km]) to give a better, but not entirely accurate, impression of AA effectiveness -- the logic being that longer range AA is better than shorter range AA. Hood is listed without DFAA active, just know that the numbers shown here jump by 50% when she pulls the trigger. Nothing can touch California, though, which sits smack in the middle of the tier VIII American BB range, rubbing elbows with Alabama, North Carolina and everyone's favourite: Massachusetts. Summary so far: California has absolutely amazing AA levels. She's boasting not only tier VIII AA firepower at tier VII but good tier VIII firepower at tier VII. Unfortunately the state of the CV rework makes AA unrewarding and frankly useless at times no matter how much of it you have. This is a booby prize in the current meta. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability: Comparable durability to Arizona even though she sits a tier higher. Agility: An ever-so-slightly worse Arizona but now deployed on larger maps. AA Defense: Excellent and sadly irrelevant. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 13.5km / 11.79km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.69km/ 8.72km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 11.71km California is very sneaky for a tier VII battleship. I wish this could have meant more than it does. This ship isn't likely to sneak up on anyone, mostly because it's patently unable to catch up to anything that doesn't want to be caught. At best, you might be able to setup an ambush and catch someone unawares but that's not likely to happen -- again because of that lack of speed. Ostensibly, this should allow her to disengage more easily by holding fire but let's not kid ourselves into imagining that she can escape pursuit. Without allies to road-block, California will be run down, sneaky or not. The final thing to keep in mind is that because of her long range, every time she pulls the trigger, she rings the dinner bell. This can be especially problematic if you've boosted her range and there are silly things like a bored Musashi or Champagne itching for targets. So California has good concealment! Unfortunately she can't really take advantage as well as another battleship might because of her slowness. Summary so far: California's concealment is meant to be her saving grace. With a base 900m advantage over Arizona, this is supposed to facilitate not only engaging the enemy but escaping from difficult situations. However, without it being paired with improved agility or durability, this bonus is merely nice to have, rather than ship-defining. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability: Comparable durability to Arizona even though she sits a tier higher. Agility: An ever-so-slightly worse Arizona but now deployed on larger maps. AA Defense: Excellent and sadly irrelevant. Vision Control: Better than Arizona by a lot, but she isn't able to take ready advantage of it. Summary: California vs Arizona California is a longer ranged Arizona with slightly improved damage output between better AP shells and a faster reload. Her improved dispersion via sigma will only be apparent over the course of multiple games rather than individual matches. She has greatly improved anti-aircraft firepower and she's more stealthy. However, she has very poor gun fire angles, horrible agility and no appreciable gains in defense all while being up-tiered to tier VII. The final difference is cost. Arizona will set you back the equivalent of 6,900 doubloons. California will cost you around 10,000 for a worse experience, tier for tier. It's worth being said: Arizona over-performs at her tier. She is a powerful tier VI battleship, so you might think my comparison unfair. California isn't broken, she's just not over-tuned the way Arizona is. And that's fair to say. However, for a consumer looking for the best bang for their buck, why buy California when Arizona is available? If you had to choose one, Arizona is the better purchase, hands down. What's more, California does not offer anything novel in the way of game play short of having better AA firepower. Are you really inclined to pay to play Arizona with worse matchmaking for the simple sake of being slightly less victimized by aircraft? Arizona is "long ranged" for a tier VI battleship once you install Gun Fire Control System Modification 1, so you largely duplicate California's schtick there too. California plays like Arizona but she plays less comfortably owing to her worse fire arcs and even more sluggish handling. I'm left to wonder what the point of California's design implementation as is. Rather than look for something new or novel, Wargaming played it safe. This might have worked had Arizona not been on offer -- California would have been more rightly compared to New Mexico and her strengths would seem obvious. "Ooh, 1.9 sigma with twelve guns? That's MUCH better than 1.5 sigma on New Mexico!" But again, Arizona is a thing. We already got that game play and at a better price and matchmaking. Hell, if you're a fan of PVE you get an even better deal with most scenarios now being limited to tier VI these days. With Arizona existing, Wargaming should have either retired the Pearl Harbor monument or dredged up something from their box o' gimmicks for California to compensate. California is a ship without game play identity. She is to Arizona what Alabama is to Massachusetts & North Carolina-- entirely forgettable and an unfortunate waste of money for worse game play. California is a beautiful port queen that doesn't live up to her fantastic history. It's such a bloody shame. This screenshot makes me sad. Once upon a time, seeing a ship with this much AA would have made me very excited. Now it's just a reminder of how much potential is wasted in the current meta. Final Evaluation Let's pretend Arizona doesn't exist. Is California worth it? No. No, she isn't. I love my standards -- I love them to death. But playing a standard-type battleship at tier VII or above needs to come with some pretty juicy perks or I'm not biting. The issue is their inflexibility. Once you start stacking on any other flaws and they just become unpalatable -- and California's gun handling and reload are some pretty wonky flaws, especially when paired with her slow speed. And she gains naught for these handicaps. The perks they gave her to compensate, namely good AA, nice range, good concealment and more accurate guns, don't cut the mustard for me. This is largely owing to what should be her main selling feature being laughable. Phenomenal AA power is watered down more heavily than American Lite Beer. Like American Lite Beer, the CV rework has a lot to answer for. It should be hella tasty and refreshing. Instead, it's so much thinned out swill with a rancid aftertaste, leaving you to wonder what could have been. California isn't fun to play and that's her greatest crime. If she can't be powerful, she needs to be interesting and she fails at that utterly. I'll play a shoddy ship back to back for hundreds of games provided she's fun (I've done it too -- I loved Atlanta before Surveillance Radar was a thing). I don't want to touch California. I'm constantly fighting with her rudder or her guns and she has nothing I value to compensate for it. Hard pass, ladies and gentlemen. California is a hard pass. Conclusion I was going to take a break after Siegfried and Agir's review was published. However, California's an important release and, more pressingly, I don't feel she's a good ship. Had she been strong, I think I could have just sat aside and let people discover that for themselves. But seeing how she was being released reminded me of why I write these reviews in the first place: To protect other players from making bad purchases. Wargaming burned me once too often in World of Tanks. If I can help others avoid that, I will. Now that said, with this high-profile release covered and my feels (hopefully) clearly broadcast, I'm taking some much needed time off.
  6. 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.
  7. This is a ship I hope gets added to the game despite it being in the game already and that is the Lion or Temeraire as the ship in this proposal is called. The ship is a mixture of Two Designs made for lion to complete it postwar; the first from the last 1944 proposal and the second is the 1945 Proposal A. These two come together to form Temeraire as the HP, secondary armament layout and speed are taken from the 1944 design and the size, aa defenses ,armament ,appearance and armor are from the 1945 version. (Credits to Tzoli for the Pictures and Tzoli and Navweaps for specifications). I think this would be the usual accompanying premium that comes with the British Battlecruiser line and would either be for coal to be Thunderer's Direct Replacement or for research points in the Research Bureau Here is the Description it would have in game then I will post the pictures right after this.. The last British battleship designed and laid down before the breakout of World War II. In many respects, the ship was a development of previous ships, she had greater dimensions, heavier armor, and modern 406 mm main guns. The Design was Modified in light of experience in the war and enlarged with additional AA defenses ,torpedoes and torpedo protection. Here are the features of Temeraire: Quick Speed at 33.5 knots stock and improved acceleration and deacceleration (20 seconds for full ahead and full reverse each) with good ruddershift Fast Reload reloading main guns that have Excellent Dispersion and Sigma and have the same penetration angles as Duke of York 4 Charges base of Specialized Repair teams and Engine Boost 2 sets of quintuple torpedo Launchers that can be Single Fired with excellent arcs of fire with good range and speed Fast firing secondaries Large Hitpoint Pool Here are the Drawbacks: Bad Armor plating only 27mm on the sides and 32mm on the deck Citadel is the length between the front and rear turrets and sits above the waterline, encompassing 50% of the armor belt High Detectability for a British Battleship and bad turning circle radius Big Deck area is vulnerable to fires Torpedoes can be knocked out at times if not destroyed. Slow Shells Bad HE fire Chance Leave your feedback Below I couldn't decide between both designs so I decided to combine both of them into one as I didn't like the armor on the 1944 one but didn't like the speed of the 1945.
  8. 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.
  9. The following review of Marlborough, the tier IX premium British battleship, was sponsored by my patrons on Patreon who helped me afford this ship. Yes, I whaled for this damn thing. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as patch 0.10.11. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Wargaming has gone out of their way to actively sabotage anything redeeming about Marlborough. I would like to say that this is the kind of design I would have cooked up if I was actively trying to troll the community, but I have to be honest with myself: I am not capable of coming up with something this frustrating to play. Marlborough's sins are many, though the base premise is one that is very appealing: Lots of guns big guns firing very quickly. It's a testament to how badly the ship is built that this core design gets mangled so thoroughly. Quick Summary: A tier IX battleship with an enormous battery of sixteen, quick-firing 356mm guns. She has poor fire arcs, poor gun handling, anemic AP and HE shell performance, horrid accuracy and bad armour. PROS Enormous battery of sixteen 356mm guns with ridiculous DPM potential and fire setting. HE shells have 89mm of penetration. Solid top speed of 31.5 knots. Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 12.07km. CONS Horrible citadel placement and protection. Highly vulnerable to HE spam with her homogenous 32mm structural plate. Poor anti-torpedo defence. Some of the worst battleship sigma in the game at 1.4. Only modest range. Awful fire arcs and poor gun handling. Terrible shells with anemic individual performance across AP penetration, HE damage and fire chance. Slow rudder shift time. Unlike other British battleships, her Repair Party only queues 50% of penetration damage. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Marlborough punishes players. If you try and use her as designed, you'll end up back in port very quickly. Her horrible citadel placement combined with terrible fire arcs means that if you open fire and the enemy shoots back, you're going to lose the exchange. And better still, she's just fast enough to get you into position to get spanked without enough agility or protection to survive attempting to disengage. This is toxic to inexperienced players who will find themselves getting smoked for playing the ship exactly as envisioned. How is that fair? Marlborough's carry potential is as mild as may. The surest path to reasonable numbers from this thing is to spam HE. But those reasonable numbers won't come quickly and you better know when it's safe (and necessary) to push. Marlborough doesn't do you any favours when it comes to outlasting the enemy and you're certainly not going to win any damage trades. Most of your game play in this thing devolves to bow tanking and hugging islands. Options The only surprises with Marlborough's options is how few (and crappy) they are. Consumables For instance: Marlborough only has two consumables. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a British battleship with a 15 second active period, unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard, but not for a British battleship, which often have all sorts of weirdness going on. Instead, Marlborough's consumable is akin to one you might find on a French, German or Japanese battleship. Marlborough's version comes with four charges base and an 80 second reset timer. It heals up to 14% on her maximum health over 28 seconds. It queues up 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage coming from torpedoes, bombs, rockets and shells and 100% of all other damage types. Upgrades I'm not a fan of using upgrades to band-aid over flaws, but on Marlborough, it's almost necessary. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, start building up your anti-fire regimen with Damage Control System Modification 1, though we might not go full hog here. You have a choice in slot three. Aiming System Modification 1 is generally going to be optimal, HOWEVER, Marlborough's fire angles are crap and her gun handling isn't good, so Main Battery Modification 2 isn't a bad idea. it will also save you a couple of commander skill points from having to purchase Grease the Gears. Priority Target is much more important for Marlborough, so saving those two points here is pretty important. Similarly, in slot four, Damage Control System Modification 2 is optimal for reducing fire damage. HOWEVER, Marlborough's fire angles are crap and her gun handling isn't good. Therefore, having the improved rudder shift time from Steering Gears Modification 1 isn't a terrible idea. Concealment System Modification 1 is the only consumable worth considering in slot five. You've got another choice to consider in slot six. Understandably, having an even faster reload is most appealing in Marlborough. Main Battery Modification 3 enables that, dropping her reload from 25 seconds down to 22 seconds. However, given Marlborough's fragility woes, standing further back from the action isn't remiss. Taking Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 increases her range from a modest 20.86km to a respectable 24.2km. Commander Skills I don't think anyone is really surprised I get to re-use this same battleship commander skill graphic yet again. Without improved secondaries, there's nothing really noteworthy here, so fall back on the standard battleship survivability build. Camouflage Marlborough came with two camouflages when you unlock her via the dockyard. They provide the usual bonuses for a tier IX premium: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. Marlborough's War Paint camo is the typical over-the-top patriotic style we've seen repeatedly in World of Warships. As garish as the War Paint camo is, Marlborough's default Type 10 camo makes it look downright appealing. Blech. This camo pattern is hideous. The alternative palette (unlocked through the Naval Aviation collection), tones down the Type 10's garish colours at least. Firepower Main Battery: Sixteen 356mm/45 guns in 4x4 turrets with an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Sixteen 133mm/50 guns in 8x2 turrets in superfiring pairs firing forward and aft down each side. Let's start with the obvious: On paper, Marlborough has fantastic damage output. Sixteen battleship calibre guns with a 25 second reload are a potential nightmare. With the right upgrade, Marlborough can reduce this to 22 seconds. Marlborough puts a lot of shells downrange very quickly and she has the potential to stack damage out faster than her contemporaries. This is the dream that Wargaming is selling, but it's not a dream that's easily realized. As we'll see, there are a stack of problems that get in the way, making this advertised gameplay challenging to achieve at best and downright frustrating to pursue. Marlborough is a case study on why DPM charts shouldn't be taken at face value. Problem the First Much ado has been made about Marlborough's poor dispersion but it's not as bad as players imagine. This lies solely at the feet of her 1.4 sigma which is among the worst sigma values in the game. Marlborough's dispersion values are otherwise normal for a British battleship, using the same horizontal dispersion values as most of the British, American and German vessels. Thus any accuracy woes the ship suffers must be laid at the feet of her shell grouping. So the question becomes just how bad is 1.4 sigma? Well here, judge for yourself: These are three of my "standard dispersion tests". This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a Fuso bot. All of these tests were conducted using the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade to reduce dispersion by 7%. The Fuso bot was stationary and lacking camouflage. Shots came in from right to left. Two of these dispersion tests were conducted with Marlborough's 1.4 sigma. One was conducted with King George V, who uses identical guns but has 1.8 sigma instead. The difference may be a little harder to discern than expected. Sigma is an often overvalued statistic among players and represeents only a trend, not a guarantee of better accuracy on a per volley (and per match) basis. Dispersion is highly volatile, even with excellent sigma parameters. Marlborough's poor sigma makes it less likely that shells cluster towards the centre of the target area, spreading them out to the same overall area as her contemporaries but more like a "shotgun blast" than ships with higher values. Still, thanks to RNGeebus, it's entirely possible to have good salvos with poor sigma and terrible salvos with excellent sigma. With how few salvos are often fired in a single match of World of Warships and how few key "match defining" shots are needed to make accuracy stand out for good or ill, Marlborough's poor sigma value generates vastly different experiences for players. Missing key citadel hits when the perfect broadside is available is infuriating and likely to stick in someone's head, especially with the knowledge that had the shells behaved, a Devastating Strike was guaranteed. I spent a few days combing over accuracy statistics of some of the better players who had unlocked Marlborough and compared them to how said players did in HMS Lion. The overall accuracy difference was about 1% to 4%. So Marlborough's accuracy is worse, but it's not worse on a level that would be readily apparent if you just went by number of hits. That's perhaps misleading as the quality of said hits will also suffer. There's an enormous disparity in player experience for having a salvo land three citadel hits versus one that lands three over penetrations through the super structure. So yes, Marlborough's sigma value is bad, but it's not game-defining terrible. It's a flaw that's worth keeping in mind, but I personally feel that the import of sigma is overvalued. Problem the Second Marlborough's TERRIBLE fire angles are why I hate playing her. It's no secret that I despise a ship with poor firing angles, particularly if it's paired with shoddy gun handling. Marlborough ticks both of these boxes and, as we'll later see in the durability and agility sections, compounds it with hilariously bad protection and sloppy turning. In order to fire all sixteen guns, Marlborough opens herself up to taking citadel hits in return from not only enemy battlehips but some high-tier cruisers as well. This danger is so pronounced that you can only cycle all your sixteen guns when the Red Team is too busy to shoot back. And so, her main selling feature is horribly compromised. In practical terms, Marlborough is not a sixteen-gun battleship. She's an eight-gun battleship, incapable of using her full broadside for fear of getting clobbered or beaching herself every time she does. For expert players, the big drawback here are her rearward firing angles. Marlborough cannot kite to save her life. In order to trade fire, her only option is to fight bow-in, preferably keeping an island to one flank to prevent crossfire. This severely limits not only her firepower but overall flexibility. Marlborough should be treated as an eight-gun battleship that can occasionally fire sixteen guns. Between her awful fire angles, poor protection and agility, she cannot take advantage of her full broadside unless the Reds are already losing or they're idiots. While bow-tanking at high tiers is nothing new, it is much more pronounced iwht Marlborough. Thus, I feel that it's this second issue, Marlborough's gun handling and fire arcs, that is the most damning for the ship. But we're not done trash-talking yet... Problem the Third Marlborough's AP shells are effectively non-functional. Alright, I'm exaggerating but Marlborough's AP shells are very bad. As 356mm rounds, they lack penetration necessary at this tier. Outside of 14km, they lose all ability to contest battleship belt armour and their ability to citadel enemy battleships falls away significantly closer. Given Marlborough's horrible fire angles, gun handling and protection woes, taking her into a brawl to be able to use her AP decisively is a loser-move. Firing at range means aiming for superstructures and the upper hull, but her dispersion makes that a bit of a crap shoot anyway. You would think that it would get better when facing cruisers but it's still a mixed bag. While she has the penetration necessary to land citadel hits against cruisers at just about any range, she lacks the ability to overmatch anything but very light cruisers like Minotaur, Edinburgh or Smolensk. I would have thought Wargaming would have at least gone so far as to give her AP rounds improved auto-ricochet angles to prop up their poor penetration values and lack of overmatch but it's not meant to be. This means that most cruisers can simply face-tank Marlborough's salvos, risking only taking over penetrating hits through their superstructure or turrets. And speaking of over penetrations, Marlborough doesn't even benefit from the short fuse timers of other Royal Navy battleships. Her 0.033s fuse timers makes over penetrations much more likely against cruisers, especially ships with a narrow beam like Ochakov and Smolensk. With her AP rounds being such poor performers, that just leaves her HE. Problem the Fourth So Marlborough is ostensibly relegated to being an HE spammer. With Marlborough's AP being so crap, I would have thought that Wargaming would have leaned more heavily on Marlborough's HE performance but that's not the case. Like Agincourt and Repulse before her, Wargaming has been nerfing the HE performance of newer Royal Navy battleship designs. But while Agincourt's HE was only gently nudged away from these higher damage and fire setting values, Marlborough's were thoroughly gutted. So while Marlborough is an HE spammer, she's a bad HE spammer, especially when you remember that between fire arcs and accuracy, you're not landing as many hits as her on-paper design would have you think. Those fearsome 10k+ salvos just don't materialize very often and Marlborough is usually only slapping targets for 3k at a time (if even that -- her individual shells usually strike for 480 to 1,584 damage). She's not even a particularly fearsome firebug. On paper she's the best at her tier. In practice, Alsace and the German battleships are more apt. Marlborough just doesn't get to fire all sixteen guns often enough (or hit often enough) to realize anywhere close to her potential. The best thing she has going for her is the increased HE penetration on her shells, but 89mm of HE penetration isn't that much more effective than the 59mm of HE penetration she would have otherwise had. There's a few decks and upper hulls that she can now directly damage that she might not have otherwise, but it's such a niche ability that it's not a merit worth considering. Marlborough's fire setting potential is the best at her tier though it's surprisingly only marginally better than that of Lion. This, of course, hinges on the ability to be able to fire all of her guns and hit stuff reliably ... which you won't. Problem the Fifth This last bit is just nit-picky but it plays into how inept Marlborough's base design is. The best way to counteract all of Marlborough's gunnery and durability issues is to keep her at range. From further away, she's a less appealing target. This, in turn, gives her more opportunity to take full advantage of her fast-reloading broadside. Her HE (crappy as it is) isn't affected by distance and her armour becomes more effective against AP rounds fired back at her. But, once again, Marlborough is held back. While her 20.86km range isn't terrible (it's average for her tier) there's two things to keep in mind. First, Marlborough does not have access to a Spotter Aircraft consumable to provide a temporary boost to her reach. Second, unlike most of the other battleships at her tier, Marlborough's performance improves considerably the more reach she has. When you're bad or your battleship is bad, humping the back of the map and farming fire damage is the way to go. If Marlborough had a few more kilometers of base range, then her design would work as advertised. As it is, taking Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2 helps band-aid a lot of her other problems. Secondaries They suck. Ignore them. Summary Marlborough is a ship that punishes you for trying to play her to her advertised strengths. Her guns are difficult to bring to bear. And when you do get guns on target, she's not going to land as many hits as you might imagine. And what few hits you do land aren't likely to be effective on a per-hit basis. Would that Marlborough's problems end here, but there's more problems coming that compounds her gunnery woes. Her dispersion is bad, but it's not as bad as you're imagining. She has a lot of guns and they do fire quickly, but it's rare you get to use all sixteen of them. Her individual shell performance sucks. Unless you can land a lot of hits, her salvos don't feel particularly strong. VERDICT: Wargaming believes that you should be punished for wanting to shoot Marlborough's guns. Shame on you. Durability Hit Points: 76,800 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 32mm / 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 381mm belt Torpedo Damage Reduction: 23% You could be forgiven for imagining that Marlborough's citadel layout mirrored that of Vanguard or the King George V-class battleships. But it's worse than that. It's much worse. While those battleships have citadels that sit at or just slightly above the waterline, Marlborough's citadel is hiked up to her nipples. The one (and only) advantage of this is that her citadel roof is made up of the 152mm reinforced deck found on most ships that's usually hidden by the armour viewer, making her immune to overmatching AP rounds that strike at a shallow angle. But, because her citadel sits so high (indeed, taking up the full height of her belt armour) the above advantage is irrelevant by making lateral hits against her citadel such an easy shot. I might have been okay with this if she had REALLY THICK armour, but 381mm of nearly vertical plate with no extra bells and whistles is pathetic at tier IX. Marlborough is dangerously vulnerable to citadel hits against her contemporaries at almost any distance. But it gets worse. Remember those awful fire angles we discussed earlier? If you try and fire sixteen guns at a target, their return fire can (and will) citadel you. Marlborough's fire angles are so terrible that incoming shells striking her belt will auto-pass their ricochet check a minimum of 81% of the time when she's firing forward and ALWAYS when she fires over her shoulder to the rear. It's never (EVER!) a good idea to trade fire with enemy battleships using all of Marlborough's guns. You'll give up huge chunks of your health if you don't simply die. Things don't get much better against cruisers or destroyers. Her homogeneous 32mm structural plate makes her an easy HE damage farm from heavy and light cruisers. Given her damage output woes, she's not likely to fare well in these trades. Incoming torpedoes from lolibotes and subs don't have to contend with very much anti-torpedo protection either. And if you're thinking "oh, well she's soft skinned because Royal Navy battleships get a good heal", stop right there. Marlborough has a worse heal than any of the other Royal Navy battleships in the game. So not only does she take more damage than other Royal Navy battleships, she doesn't recover health anywhere near as quickly. If you see Marlborough on the enemy team, know that she's an easy target. As an xp pinata, there's a lot to like with Marlborough. But playing her? She's a total drag. Marlborough's potential health is totally average. But when you combine this with her poor protection scheme, she's a lot more fragile than these numbers suggest. There are hidden armour plates in the bow and stern of Marlborough. Unfortunately, her citadel sits so high that any shells bouncing off these plates will just slam into her 305mm bulkheads and citadel her anyway. VERDICT: Bad, horrible and terrible. Agility Top Speed: 31.5 knots Turning Radius: 860 meters Rudder Shift Time: 16.8 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.2º/s at 23.5kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 4.0º/s I wish Marlborough's agility was enough to bandaid her other problem. Sadly, one issue sours the experience. Let's start with the good: Marlborough's top speed is great. 31.5 knots is very comfortable at this tier. Similarly, her 860m turning radius isn't terrible; it's better than a lot of the other high-tier battleships, so I've got to give her a pass here as well. These two factors combine to a 4.2º/s rotation rate when she's at top speed which isn't stellar but it's okay. Unfortunately, this is enough to allow her to out-turn her turrets, but I've already complained enough about that. So you're probably wondering where the issue is. It's her rudder shift time. 16.8 seconds isn't appalling but it's pretty bad. And given her fire angle woes, her lack of torpedo protection and her citadel vulnerability, it's just that much worse. Marlborough feels like she handles poorly. Just Dodging™ isn't in her repertoire and you can forget being able to swing her butt out and back in order to flash her guns and avoid return fire. If she had Vanguard or Yukon's rudder shift time, I might be more forgiving here but given what Marlborough needs, her agility just doesn't deliver. Two things to note with this graphic. First, Giuseppe Verdi's agility is assumed -- I have not tested it yet. She appears to have the same agility as Marco Polo (I suspect her agility performance is cloned) but until I get my hands on her, I won't know for sure. The second item to note is the lack of data for Prinz Rupprecht. I have not unlocked her yet to test her. VERDICT: Close but no cigar. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 3+1 explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 6km Long Ranged (up to 6km): 80.5 dps at 75% accuracy (60 dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 528.5 dps at 75% accuracy (396 dps) There's not much to say here. Marlborough doesn't put out a lot of damage overall. She's pretty crappy when it comes to how many flak explosions she generates (even if the individual hits are beefier than many at her tier). The best that could be said about her is that she has good reach with her long-ranged batteries so she can support her allies decently. But she just doesn't generate the numbers needed to make any CV player balk. VERDICT: A whole lot of meh. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.36km / 12.07km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 11.94km / 9.67km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 13.35km Maximum Firing Range: Between 20.86km and 24.2km when equipped with Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2. Marlborough's concealment is good. As it stands presently, Marlborough has the tenth lowest upgraded surface detection of all of the battleships within her matchmaking spread. She ends up with a surface detection around 12km which is very comfortable and about on par with a lot of cruisers she faces. With her guns silenced, she has little to fear from being spotted by larger ships, with only the usual culprits of submarines, aircraft carriers and destroyers being able to routinely outspot her. In late game settings, this gets quite powerful, particularly when she needs to disengage. It's unfortunate that she cannot pair this with good kiting fire angles, but such are the woes of her design. There are two other flies in the ointment. The first is her relative lack of range with no ability to boost it short of taking a 6th-slot upgrade. The second is a lack of any bonus detection consumables. Though the days are long gone where orbiting aircraft could help sniff out threats, consumables like Hydroacoustic Search aren't unheard of on a fair number of battleships and Marlborough goes without. Overall, her concealment is one of the few straight-up good things about the vessel. Marlborough has excellent concealment for a battleship. VERDICT: Good, but not good enough to save the ship. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike from 1.5km to 10km (plus bomb drop column) Number of Salvos: Up to three Reload Time: 75 seconds Aircraft: Two S.25 Sunderlands with 2,000hp per plane. Drop Pattern: 4 bombs each dropped evenly over roughly a 1.75km column Maximum Bomb Damage: 3,000 Fire Chance: 17% I'm again merely reporting this for posterity's sake rather than speaking towards its efficacy. The Royal Navy battleships have some of the better airstrikes in the game at this stage in testing. But with overhauls planned, who knows how things will change in the future? VERDICT: Don't know, don't care until things get closer to final. Final Evaluation Welcome to flavour country. Like the tobacco industry, Wargaming will tell you their product is well researched and fine for consumer consumption. This is despite their own evidence that players do not enjoy ships with compromised main gunnery performance. Playing Marlborough isn't likely to give you cancer as far as I'm aware. It just feels like it. This is a bad design on Wargaming's part. The amount of arrogance or ignorance needed to think that it's a good idea to [edited]-slap players for playing the ship the way they promoted her is just astounding. The worst thing is that Wargaming is patently aware that frustrating gunnery isn't received well by the player base, yet they go out of their way to cook up this mess. I'm glad most players I've encountered seem aware that this ship is poorly designed and are keeping away. I really wish Wargaming would stop jerking us around with bad products like this. But let's talk about what a "bad" product means in the context of this game, because invariably there's going to be someone that enjoys this ship -- whether by it's own merits or simply to because they're an unrepentent hipster that can't help but find enjoyment in things panned by the community. It's important to appreciate that unlike her sister game World of Tanks, bad premiums in World of Warships create the illusion of being redeemable. Any ship in the game is capable of damaging any other. It was a meme back in the day, but you could take a tier II Umikaze into tier X matches and with a bit of skill, still pull of some surprising numbers. This addage holds true for Marlborough. She's a bad ship, make no mistake, but she can still generate numbers. Fire and HE spam are the great equalizers after all. All it takes is someone stubborn enough to sit behind the helm and keep trying and Marlborough will eventually deliver. What makes Marlborough bad is the amount work needed to get the same results as other ships. Meanwhile, your team is forced to carry harder to make up for your ships deficits. This isn't an insurmountable ask by any means given how World of Warships is designed. But Marlborough is still a liability. This is obviously in the context of PVP modes. Bots are dumb and you can make nearly anything work in Co-Op. It wouldn't take much to make Marlborough less punitive to play. Wargaming can't do much about her fire angles without clipping into the ship's geometry, so that's a wash. But they could do one of or any of the following: Drop her citadel down another deck. Give her an improved Repair Party. Increase her range by 2.5km. Give her Duke of York's improved auto-ricochet angles (60º to 75º) on her AP shells. Give her King George V's HE rounds. Improve her rudder shift time dramatically. Improve her gun handling dramatically. Even the addition of only of these would vastly improve the experience of playing Marlborough. Some are admittedly powerful (KGV HE, I am looking at you) and might necessitate further balancing measures. Preserving her as-advertised 25 second reload might necessitate giving up range, speed and concealment. I would happily sacrifice those to make her a better gun platform. Main battery performance is the key aspect of game play for battleships in World of Warships and Wargaming screwed it up bad with Marlborough. You shouldn't feel like you're fighting with the ship in order to fire her guns -- especially not with a vessel that comes with a $200 price tag. Shame on you, Wargaming. Mouse out.
  10. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Dido

    The following is a review of Dido, to tier VI premium British light cruiser, supported by my patrons on Patreon. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.11.1. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. The purpose of this review is to support the players, not the company behind the product. Posting this review is not an endorsement of current goings on nor is it a statement about them. It's been a while, and not for the lack of trying. I have a half-finished Giuseppe Verdi and Kearsarge reviews archived before I got distracted with mapping sustianed AA DPS (kinda important when talking about Kearsarge's planes). My AA project has ballooned out of control which I feared it might. I'm putting those reviews on hold to get a (relatively) faster one out. Now Dido is a ship that players have wanted for a long time. A quick forums search finds talk about these ships going all of the way back to the game's launch, with players eagerly looking forward to more "Atlanta-style" ships. This ship has definitely been one I've highly anticipated knowing how important it is to not only Royal Navy enthusiasts but also players in the Commonwealth nations where she might be used (with modifications) to represent HMNZS Bellona or HMNZS Black Prince. Wargaming seems to have developed allergies for rapid-fire ships over the course of 2021 (to say nothing of AA specialists), with ships increasingly having longer and longer (and unfun) reloads and Dido's implementation obviously suffers from this new design direction. I was expecting Nürnberg levels of rapid-fire. Instead we got Dallas with much weaker guns. The silver lining (supposedly) is that they gave her smoke. So let's see if reaching into the Box o' Gimmicks™ has saved us from unfun design choices. Quick Summary: A fragile British light cruiser with ten, slow-firing destroyer-calibre guns. She's agile with good concealment and boasts a Short-Burst Smoke Generator. PROS Small citadel. Large battery of ten 133mm guns that fires both HE and AP. 360º traverse on rear turrets. Powerful, single-fire torpedoes. Excellent acceleration and decent agility. Good concealment. She has smoke. CONS Tiny hit point pool. Very thin citadel protection, vulnerable to even 203mm AP overmatching. Uses cruiser dispersion instead of destroyer dispersion. Slow firing for such small-calibre guns. Low HE and AP penetration. Clumsy main-battery firing angles. Bad anti-aircraft firepower. No access to Hydroacoustic Search. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Dido has a nice, comfortable skill floor for inexperienced players. Park in smoke, apply HE to faces. Displace. Rinse and repeat. For veteran players, there's a lot to know. Map awareness, map positioning, proper smoke use habits, commander skill builds, ammunition juggling, using and abusing concealment, etc. They'll all serve you well here and help pad some of the ship's obvious weaknesses. Dido's carry potential is somewhat limited, however, by the issues with her penetration and damage output. She just doesn't hurt things quickly enough for bold plays barring a torpedo strike, so this is a ship that requires patience, caution and even more patience. Options The most variety you're going to find in optimized Dido builds comes from commander skill selection, and that's mostly focused around whether or not to take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells or to emphasize fire setting instead. One of these is a bad idea. Consumables Dido's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser. It comes with unlimited charges and a 60 second reset timer. It is active for 5 seconds. Her Defensive AA Fire consumable is standard for a non-American cruiser at this tier. It starts with three charges and it has a 40 second active period and an 80 second reset timer. While active, it increases sustained damage by 50% and quadruples flak explosion damage. Dido comes with a Short-Burst Smoke Generator reminiscent of that found on Belfast '43 and British destroyers. However, it's very much its own beast with no direct clones that I could find. It starts with five charges and emits smoke for 15 seconds. However, the smoke clouds only last for 35 seconds each (Belfast '43's smoke lasts for 40) . Her reset timer is also longer than her tier VIII cousin, with an 80 second wait time instead of 70 seconds. Upgrades Not much variety here. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Engine Room Protection. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is the only upgrade worth considering in slot three. And finally, Steering Gears Modification 1 is also the only upgrade worth taking. Commander Skills Why haven't you taken Heavy HE & SAP Shells yet? YOU MUST TAKE HEAVY HE & SAP SHELLS for Dido. There's no reason not to. Take it now. NOW. Have you done it yet? Okay, good. Now we can talk. You're going to want to pair that with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells along with the usual light-cruiser suspects of Concealment Expert and Last Stand is also recommended. You've got some wiggle room after that. I highly value Priority Target and I wanted the extra charge of smoke with Superintendent (though you're not always going to get to use it). With such as a small hit point pool, the extra 2700 (or 11% total) hit points from Survivability Expert is worth taking, though you could trade one of the latter two for Adrenaline Rush if you wanted. Finally, I had a point leftover which I dropped into Grease the Gears. Here's some of the skills I'd consider but didn't have room for in my current build: Gun Feeder - On more than one occasion, I wish I had this skill when the flat broadside of a cruiser finally presented itself. Demolition Expert - Nice to have, but expensive at two points. Adrenaline Rush - Mentioned above. Radio Location - See Demolition Expert. This would be nice to have but it's too expensive given Dido's priorities. Of course, if you're only playing Co-Op and scenarios, than other than Heavy HE & SAP Shells, your choice of skills doesn't matter much. Camouflage If you unlock Dido through the Gibraltar Pillars event, she comes with two camouflage options. Her Type 10 and Atlantic camos are palette swaps of one another, providing the identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. This is Dido-s standard Type 10 camouflage. If she's put on sale on the regular later, this is the paint scheme with which she'll come. You can unlock this alternative palette for her Type 10 camouflage through completing a specific part of the Naval Aviation collection. For early adopters, they also received this Atlantic - Dido camouflage which is nice and striking. My guess is we'll see this as a purchasable option for and estimated 1,000 doubloons or 6,000 community-tokens for later-comers if they become available separately. Firepower Main Battery: Ten 133mm/50 guns in 5x2 turrets in an A-B-C-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers on wing mounts straddling the rear funnel. Dido barely survives a ram attempt from Kijkduin, using her powerful torpedoes to sink the cruiser just before impact. Dido has better rearward than forward torpedo arcs. Torpedoes Let's start with the fish! Dido has surprisingly powerful fish for her tier. This is owing to her using the same torpedoes found on the tier VIII destroyer, Lightning, giving her quite a heavy punch. Their 8km range means you're not stealth firing at anyone barring extreme kiting situations or using concealment to setup a torpedo attack. However, their individual hits are devastating. A full broadside of her torpedoes will sink just about any cruiser she comes across. BUT (and I stress this but!) three torpedo hits aren't enough to take down any of the battleships she faces short of Viribus Unitis, so don't suicide charge anything that's not already damaged. Like other British cruisers and destroyers, Dido can single fire her fish which is welcome. It's just a shame these aren't a little longer ranged. Oh well, they're good at what they do when you are able to use them. Those these may be destroyer calibre, they do not have a destroyer's rate of fire. Tech Tree versus Premium I'm honestly surprised Wargaming chose to release another premium with destroyer-calibre guns, to say nothing of a whole tech tree lined based on the armament, without first addressing player concerns about their performance. Firepower wise, specialized cruisers are in a rough spot since the commander skill rework a couple of years back. Wargaming has made improvements, but super-cruisers and cruisers with destroyer-calibre weapons had their efficiency severely reduced. Ostensibly, Dido's arrival long after the rework (nevermind a full Pan Asian line dedicated to this armament choice) means that Wargaming has designed these ships with these deficits in mind. Ostensibly. Maybe they're couching their implementation with the promise of future fixes. I dunno. I can't hold their feet to the fire like I used to. These teething troubles are still apparent with Dido's gunnery and it takes a careful hand (and careful skill choices) to fix these issues. She's not quite a comfortable gunnery platform -- she gets close, but her weapons are far from the fun weapons of Atlanta and Smolensk, for example. As a premium version of Rahmat, the tier VI Pan Asian tech-tree vessel, it's natural to want to compare her and Dido. There's a lot of give and take between the two ships. Dido has better range than Rahmat, with a reach of 14.1km to Rahmat's 12.496km. This is a huge improvement. Rahmat has better fire angles on her Y-turret with a 270º arc compared to Dido's 268º. Minor, but still. Rahmat has the better rate of fire, reloading in just 7.5 seconds to Dido's 8.5 seconds. This is pretty big. Dido's shells have less drag and thus better ballistics. This is important. The reduced drag gives Dido's AP shells better penetration too. This is not so important, as we'll cover. Dido's AP shells have longer fuse timers of 0.033s instead of 0.025s. This is more of academic interest than practical. This all translates to Dido being a more comfortable platform to engage targets at a distance, which is good, but you pay for it with overall damage output. Of course, besting Rahmat's range is like bragging that your ship is faster than New Mexico. It's a pretty damn low bar to hurdle. Dido is short ranged, make no mistake, but she is the longest-ranged of any of the smoke-bearing cruisers at this tier barring Trento. Between having to choose between range and rate of fire, I'll take the range, especially when paired with Dido's improved ballistics. I'm not happy about Dido's rate of fire, especially when paired with her penetration woes. This isn't a cruiser that kills things quickly. Dido's DPM is middling. Her lack of penetration makes it very difficult to realize these numbers, however. It should be noted that Dido (and Rahmat) can boost these listed numbers by 10% by taking the Heavy HE and SAP shells commander skill, which they totally should. This bumps up Dido's AP DPM from 180,000 to 198,000 and her HE DPM from 134,118 to 147,530. With her guns being only 133mm in calibre, she doesn't suffer the accompanying concealment penalty normally associated with this skill. Dido's improved ballistics means that her AP penetration is lightly better than Rahmat's, even though they're using the same guns. This ballistic difference translates into Rahmat's shells taking 10.63 seconds to reach 12.5km. Dido's cover the same distance in 9.46 seconds and doesn't experience the same kind of floaty arc as Rahmat until a range of 13.47km. These arcs allow Dido to make good use of terrain cover to lob shells over islands. Dido's penetration isn't good. Her AP penetration is among the worst for cruisers at tier VI. Landing citadel hits against cruisers requires not only the enemy ships to provide a broadside to shoot at, but also specific armour thresholds. While something soft and squishy like Pensacola's 76mm belt over her machine spaces can be contested in excess of 12km, the 102mm plating over her magazines is proof until you get into sub-10km ranges. Dido's AP works well against lower-tiered and very light and scout cruisers but it's nowhere near reliable against higher tiered ships. The long fuse timer on her shells also makes overpenetrations more likely against soft parts like battleship superstructures. Her HE penetration doesn't get much better. Sure, the 22mm she starts with is enough to contest all destroyers and most (but not all) tier V, VI and VII cruisers she might face. This is also enough to hurt the extremities of tier V battleships and the superstructures of the remaining vessels. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells greatly expands the targets she can directly hurt, being able to smouldering HE holes into any cruiser she might come across as well as opening up the extremities of tier VI and VII battleships as well. Pair this with the Heavy HE and SAP Shells commander skills and Dido's DPM starts to look respectable. This comes at the expense of setting fires, of course, but Dido's not a great fire starter to begin with. Even with a deep build into fire setting, she barely gets close to the stock-values of the 152mm armed ships. So I stress again: Take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells and Heavy HE and SAP Shells on your commanders or Dido's gunnery performance suffers. I'm not happy with this solution. It means that in order to be competitive, destroyer-calibre armed ships like Dido must pay a commander skill tax. If skills like these are so game-changing as to become mandatory, that's bad for the player-base. Players are punished if they don't take them. Dido is only ever a modest fire-setter. You can dump skills and consumables into trying to improve it, but you're only ever going to be as good as a stock Makarov. It's better to bite the bullet, take IFHE and go from there. British ships are notorious for having bad fire angles. Dido's forward fire angles are good for four out of her five turrets, but Y-turret sucks. Her rearward fire angles are pretty bad, though. There are two good points though: Her X-turret has phenomenal fire arcs and both it and Y-turret have a 360º traverse arc. Gun Handling & Accuracy Dido keeps up with the British tradition of cramming their guns in so tightly to their superstructures that it impedes their gunnery arcs. Her fire arcs are bad, with her Y-turret being especially awful. You can mostly ignore this when firing forward, with four guns capable of addressing very accute fire angles. It's just Y-turret that's nigh-impossible to bear without flashing your full broadside. Unfortunately, things are worse rearward, with her forward turrets having bad arcs. At least her turret traverse isn't painfully slow and her rear turrets can rotate 360º. So you're not going to be able to fire all five guns safely without cover. Being out in the open is just asking for trouble with Dido anyway, so use the crummy arcs as a bit of a reminder to get back into cover ASAP. Special mention should be made about her dispersion. Dido, like Rahmat, uses cruiser horizontal dispersion formulas; namely: dispersion in meters = {[(range in km) x 6.9]+33 } as opposed to the more accurate destroyer dispersion formula {[(range in km) x 7.5] + 15}. Wargaming has never been consistent with when it applies one formula or the other. Bogatyr and Krasny Krym, for example, use cruiser dispersion while ships like Atlanta, Flint and Smolensk use the destroyer version. The difference isn't huge, but it is noticeable -- especially with destroyer calibre guns that fire as slowly as Dido's do. Summary As a weapon platform, Dido is okay, but only okay. There's nothing novel about her gunnery. She's not like Atlanta or Smolensk or Colbert where a smaller calibre weapon brings the promise of a greater rate of fire. This is a shame, because spamming small calibre shells is a lot of fun. Instead, it's better to think of Dido as analogous to a 152mm-armed ship but with nerfed AP and HE performance. Her shells are bad; they can be made functional with the correct commander skill build, but that's more of a bandaid solution than a true fix. You can bring them up to a state of usability but they're never going to cross that threshold into being truly competitive. The same goes for her fish. They hit like trucks (which is awesome), but having only three isn't enough to make them a true trump card. Furthermore, her 8km range is only ever going to be okay and not great. She'd need another 2km onto their range to become something that could be used on the regular and another 2km beyond that to become a mainstay weapon. VERDICT: Very meh. Functional, but very meh. Durability Hit Points: 23,600 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 13mm / 10mm / 89mm / 25mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 89mm belt Torpedo Damage Reduction: 4% That's not a lot of health. I don't think anyone was expecting Dido to be anything but squishy. She's not a heavily armoured cruiser and as far as tonnage goes; she's quite small compared to her contemporaries. The only question I had was whether or not she would get access to a Repair Party consumable to pad these vulnerabilities and the answer is decisively: "Very no". As it stands, it takes as little as a pair of 381mm citadel hits to send her to the bottom. Fun! I'm not going to tell you that "Akchooally, dis is gud," cuz it's not. This sucks. This sucks moose balls. This sucks so much that it makes Survivability Expert not only a viable skill choice, but arguably a necessary one. The commander skill-tax on patching Dido's flagging performance gets more and more expensive (for those keeping track, we're up to 10 mandatory skill points). The only decent thing about Dido is the size of her citadel. It's a small target and in my playtesting, its small size has kept me alive just a little longer as players overestimate it's scope. So catastrophic ends, while still possible, are a little less likely owing to this small target. Of course, once word gets out and familiarity with this ship jumps up with exposure, this advantage will mean less and less. Most of us now know how to blow apart an Omaha-class or an Emerald, for example, despite their citadels being smaller than higher-tiered cruisers. That same kind of baseline knowledge will eventually disseminate down to Dido as well and she'll pop as readily as the rest of them. Still, you might be able to pull off the occasional troll manoeuvre. Angling in Dido is generally a bad idea as even 203mm AP shells can overmatch her bow and blow her machine spaces apart (incidentally 203mm AP can overmatch much of her citadel roof too, so dueling with American heavy cruisers is generally a stupid idea). Remember that at ranges less than 8km, it's better to show a full broadside to most enemy battleships than to try and angle against them, trusting that their AP shells don't have sufficient time to arm inside your ship. This doesn't work for shorter-fuse timers from AP shells, such as the 305mm rounds on König, Scharnhorst's 283mm or Yukon's 381mm guns, but go nuts on trying it out against other battleships. Just remember: flat broadside. Any kind of angle and you risk giving enough room for those shells to pop you good. Given Dido's short range, German secondaries ended up being something I dreaded facing. HE of just about any calibre hurt and it's important to keep a respectable distance away from anything bristling with functional (or semi-functional) secondaries. This dittos for HE spam from gunship destroyers, but they tended to keep a healthy distance from Dido's guns for the most part. So, yeah. Dido's durability sucks. No surprises there, though, so don't get hit. Dido is made of squish. Dido's citadel is much smaller than players might think. You have to aim beneath her funnels to score citadel hits. Otherwise, you're very likely to overpenetrate. Dido's citadel is shown here in yellow. Her magazines do not count as part of the citadel and are featured here in dark red. This image comes from Gamemodels3d.com.. VERDICT: Bad but not like, meme-worthy bad (which would be kind of redeemable). Shooting beneath Dido's turrets may disable them or even knock them out, but you're not getting citadel hits if you aim there. You can try baiting shots here by offering up a full broadside at very close ranges, trusting her thin armour to prompt overpenetrations from battleship calibre guns. Agility Top Speed: 32.3 knots Turning Radius: 580 meters Rudder Shift Time: 6.5 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 6.9º/s at 25.8kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 10.0º/s Dido does not have all of improved agility characteristics as other British light cruisers do. Still, Dido has some pretty good agility according to her in port stats. She has a tiny turning circle radius and a good rudder shift time. However, the tech tree British light cruisers and destroyers have improved engine performance, given them much better handling than their stats alone would otherwise indicate. Dido gets a half-measure of this bonus. She accelerates much faster than normal ships. However, she doesn't get the improved energy retention in a turn, decelerating to the normal 80% of maximum speed when she comes about instead of retaining 97.5% to 98.5%. You can see this here in the time it takes the tier VI cruisers to each 30 knots. The percentage in brackets is how much 30 knots is relative to their top speed, with the idea being that the closer this is to a ship's maximum speed, the longer it will take them to accelerate. 10.0 seconds Dido (92.9%) 10.5 seconds Perth (92.3%) 10.8 seconds Leander (92.3%) 11.3 seconds Mysore (94.9%) 22.9 seconds Dallas (92%) 23.8 seconds Molotov (83.3%) 24.3 seconds Budyonny (85.5%) 24.5 seconds Duca d'Aosta (82.0%) 24.9 seconds Trento (85.5%) 26.5 seconds Aoba (85.5%) 27.0 seconds De Grasse (89.6%) 27.5 seconds London (92.6%) 27.9 seconds Huanghe (90.6%) 28.8 seconds Pensacola (92%) 29.8 seconds Kijkduin (90.6%) 30.8 seconds Canarias (90.6%) 32.1 seconds La Galissonniere (96.8%) 32.1 seconds Nurnberg (93.8%) 32.1 seconds Makarov (93.8%) 35.5 seconds Devonshire (95.5%) It's obvious looking at this that Dido, along with Perth, Leander and Mysore, has much improved acceleration over their peers. She's hitting 30 knots while they're struggling to make 10. Even when her rivals are equipped with Propulsion Modification 1, their acceleration just doesn't compare. Here's a few examples of the same test, but this time equipped with the upgrade: Dallas: 20.8 seconds (2.1s faster) Budyonny: 19.2s (5.1s faster) Nurnberg: 26.9s (5.2s faster) Duca d'Aosta: 19.4s (5.1s faster) (Note: There's something weird going on with Dallas). So other than that, there's nothing too surprising going on here. Dido's not especially fast (she's not slow either). She has a good rate of turn, but not outstanding. Her turning circle radius is nice and tight, which is great. She doesn't get top marks in this category (Perth and Leander are a thing), but she's pretty damn good. Dido combines the small turning circle radius of Huanghe and Rahmat with the improved acceleration of Mysore, Leander and Perth. She does not have the improved energy preservation of the latter two, though, which would have spiked her rate of turn from 6.9º/s up to 8.4º/s! VERDICT: On a scale of one to awesome, Dido is super-great. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 2+0 explosions for 1,260 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.2km Long Ranged (up to 5.2km): 63 dps at 90% accuracy (56.7 dps) Medium Ranged (up to 2.5km): 63 dps at 90% accuracy (56.7 dps) Short Ranged (up to 2km): 94.5 dps at 85% accuracy (80.325dps) DPS Aura Ranges Total DPS by Range Effective Damage vs 186.2knot Aircraft Dido's AA firepower stinks worse than unwiped monkey butts. And I take issue with this. Dido's 133mm only have a 5.2km range and this makes me grumpy. 'What's the big deal?' you might justifiably ask. After all, the dual purpose guns on the KGV-class, Famous & Historical Monarch and Yukon all share the same range. It's that consistency which is bothering me. You see, Rahmat, using the same guns, gets a 5.8km range. Yeah! No consistency there. In the Pan Asian cruiser's case, I imagine it's to make the 133mm guns feel like a 100% upgrade over her 113mm weapons. Can't have the upgraded guns making her AA worse now can we? I also take exception to Wargaming's game design in regards to large calibre anti-aircraft firepower. It's been troublesome and busted since the rework back in 2019 and no iteration has worked sufficiently to my liking. It nerfed the Hell out of Hood's defensive AA rockets. It made Atlanta's AA power go from top tier to bottom. It makes Dido's AA power terrible in game, despite having a good track record historically. This is not the first ahistoric gameplay element to marr World of Warships but given the sorry state of surface ship to aircraft interaction, it's infuriating to me that Wargaming still hasn't ressurected the AA-picket ship role that has been gone since patch 0.8.0. Dido was a chance to amend this and they didn't take it. I'm not surprised they didn't. The whole CV rework reeks of incompetence three years on. Dido's AA, when paired with Defensive AA Fire will shoot down a plane or two so long her small and medium calibre AA guns are still intact (these will break as soon as you get hit by HE). She doesn't do enough damage, nor does she spit out enough flak bursts for any specialization into this role to be worthwhile. So don't bother. A few HE rounds between the funnels will strip her of most of her small and medium calibre AA and there's nothing you can realistically do about it. VERDICT: Ahistorical and laughably bad. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 10.54km / 9.2km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 5.78km / 5.2km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 4.43km Maximum Firing Range: 14.1km There's good and bad here. THE GOOD Low surface detection Upgraded aerial detection matches her long-range AA battery range Smoke! THE BAD Cannot stealth-fire torpedoes No access to Hydroacoustic Search Each smoke cloud only lasts 35 seconds (a max of five salvos) It's the lack of access to Hydroacoustic Search that stings the most. Especially because her Defensive AA Fire is so bloody useless when paired with her abysmal AA values. Parking in smoke out in open water is just asking to get fish shoved up your butt, which is an embarrassing and carpy way to go out. I found myself prefering to keep smoke on standby while using islands as my prefered way to keep out of sight. Using smoke if spotted by aircraft or by an unseen vector became the better play. I even used it to help flush out a destroyer in a Ranked Batlte which was much more useful than parking in it. If Dido did have hydro, she could make some aggressive plays on occasion and behave a little more comfortably in open water, but it's not meant to be. Overall, she's good here. As limited as her Short-Burst Smoke Generator is, it's still very handy to have and it will help you win games. I'm just being bitter. Islands make better waifus than smoke. VERDICT: Good save for lacking hydro Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Depth charges Number of Bombs per String: Five Number of Strings Carried: Two (may be increased to four with Depth Charges Modification 1) Reload Time per String: 40 seconds Drop Pattern: Rolled off rear deck in a line. Maximum Bomb Damage: 5,000 (estimated 2,567 damage) Fire Chance: 20% At the time of writing, submarines have been removed from public testing. I'm merely recording the data as it exists. It may become relevant later. Without Hydroacoustic Search, taking on subs is going to be a bad idea with Dido. Drop order of Dido's depth charges. Final Evaluation So Dido's good. Not great, but she's good. She's a cruiser with smoke that exists in an environment that's not saturated with Surveillance Radar and claustrophobic maps with lots of islands to shoot over. She'd have to be pretty terrible across most metrics not to do well. I'm not a fan of her given her lack of Hydroacoustic Search, mostly because I like bold-aggressive plays at low and mid-tier matches and not having the tools to dig out lolibotes sours me to the whole experience. Go figure, I don't have fun when my own idiocy gets me justifaibly blown out of the water for over-extending. Her lack of AA performance also bothers me considerably more than it should, admittedly. I wasn't looking for her to be god-tier when it came to shooting down planes. I just expected her to be better than bloody Molotov and Leander for crying out loud. But such isn't meant to be. Sucks to be me and have my preferences, I suppose. I admittedly haven't played her as much as I should, what with trying to get some Ranked Battle time in and poking at Canarias too. Still, the more I played her, the better things were turning out. I'm very curious to see how the community receives her. I personally feel her tiering holds her back. Wargaming just isn't incentivizing playing mid-tiers enough and they really should. I think it's a riot, but that's just me. Speaking of preferences, London is the better buy when it comes to tier VI premium British cruisers. She's much more reliable and nasty. In Closing I want to talk a little about what goes into making one of these reviews and just how much of a time investment these are. This one graphic demonstrates it quite well, I think. It takes me about two hours to put together one of these twirling graphics, assembling it through assets I make by hand with MS Paint and a calculator and then importing them over to photoshop to piece together in layers. That's already a lot of work, but it's only scratching the surface. There was no template for this. I had to make it. That took a lot of trial and error and a lot of botched attempts. I listened to feedback from my readers and my peers on how to improve my earlier results until I could create something that would show with a reasonable level of accuracy, how individual ships performed in a way that cut through the obfuscation of in-port statistics. I'm reasonably happy with how these turned out, though the number of ships at a given tier is making them too cluttered, so I will have to pair them down to only the relevant ships. But that still doesn't speak to all of the work that went into this, because there's all of the data collection that went into it as well. Simply timing ships twirling isn't all of it either (as arduous a task as it is keeping that database up to date). That ignores all of the testing and head scratching and math that went into figuring out how the in-port stats were created in the first place. This was further complicated by just how many ships had incorrect values listed in port too which created further hurdles. I have over 100 hours of recorded twirling data in my archives. 100 hours spent watching ships twirl in circles. And this is just for one graphic, I remind you. This has been repeated for other elements as well, be it detonations and module damage, smoke emission and ship hit boxes or god knows how much time I've lost trying to map dispersion. I'm not getting that time back short of using the data to share information. And I'm just speaking about my own time invested in these. @Lert and @Chobittsu are right there beside me, listening to me grumble. They provide feedback and suggestions, art and editing. To be able to speak confidently about any one aspect of a given ship's performance -- something I can back with actual provable stats -- takes time. It takes more time than you might assume from some throwaway DPM graphic or a funny little blurb about moose-testicles or an Angry YouTuber "meh". These reviews stand upon a a mountain of 'behind the scenes' work, an investment of a bunch of time about a video game that, let's be honest, hasn't treated me well over the last couple of years. It's hard producing these reviews. It's a lot of hard work that's built upon a lot of other work done in the past. Every new ship that's added to the game increases the workload. The last time I reviewed a tier VI cruiser, I didn't have to worry about Rahmat, Canarias, Dido or Kijkduin. Now I have to make sure those ships are covered too. I say this all not to complain, but to express my gratitude. The only thing that makes all of this time spent worthwhile is that you all see value in what I do here. For that, I am forever grateful. Thank you for reading.
  11. so with San Diego coming to wows we now have a total of four Atlantas in game ignoring Atlanta b and San Diego's stats are concerning. as it is basically a low tier austin a ship that is known to not be that good. to make San Diego more enjoyable it should get the same consumables as Atlanta and 3 second reload with a heal instead of the unlimited MBRB. that is all.
  12. In March of 2021, more or less on a whim, I wrote a proposal for HMS Sirius to be added to the game. As I did my research and created the proposal, I discovered what I thought was a veritable goldmine of ships. The Dido class of light cruisers had a wide range of variations under it, from the 5 turret ships that we think of first when we think of the class, the improved 4 turret ships such as Black Prince and Bellona, the 4.5 inch toothless terrors Scylla and Charybdis, and even some wilder things such as HMNZS Royalist and the proposed 1951 emergency cruiser, there was a wide berth of potential within these ships. And the most surprising part of this was that of the 16 ships built, the largest class of cruisers that the Royal Navy had in the war, none were featured in the game. But after 6 years, we now have a member of the class ingame, the lead ship no less, HMS Dido. I haven’t bought a premium ship in ages. The last one was HMS London and that was early 2020. But with HMS Dido in the game that has changed. Should it have? Was HMS Dido a ship worthy of being a premium? Is Dido a good ship? Is Dido a fun ship? Does Dido like headpats?And did WG relent and change the camouflage? In this, hopefully the most comprehensive review (sit this one out @LittleWhiteMouse, I got it) we will cover all of this. The history of the ship, the strengths and weaknesses of her in game, and finally, if this boat is worth your hard earned currency. HMS Dido, a brief history Dido commissioned in September of 1940, one main gun turret short of the 5 she was supposed to have. 1941, Dido would get her combat introduction in the costliest engagement the Royal Navy had in the entire war. At the battle of Crete she was part of a force that destroyed a Italian invasion force, and during the evacuation she was hit with a 1000 KG bomb that destroyed B turret and almost caused a magazine detonation. She was refit in New York with two new turrets and returned to the Mediterranean. From here she was in the Second Battle of Sirte, where she and 3 of her sisters faced down an Italian fleet featuring the modern battleship Littorio, and while no Italian ships were sunk, neither were the British, and the convoy that Dido was escorting was not attacked by the Regia Marina. The Regia Aeronautica had a hell of a time with it though. She served in the Mediterranean until in September of 1943, she sailed into the harbor at Taranto along with Sirius and the fast mine-layer Abdiel and deposited the British first airborne, seizing the harbor. Through the middle of 1944 she provided shore bombardments up and down the Italian and French coasts. In the winter of 1944, she joined the arctic convoys and acted against German convoys off Norway. And finally, at the end of the war she sailed to Copenhagen to accept the surrender of the Kriegsmarine, firing the last naval round of the war in Europe at a Luftwaffe plane on the way. Days later, the Kriegsmarine surrendered on her deck. Dido is very worthy of having a premium in game. HMS Dido in game. HMS Dido is a tier 6 Royal Navy premium light cruiser, using small caliber guns for her tier and relying on her excellent stealth, maneuverability, and DPM to overcome her armor and hit point deficiencies. As with my premium ship proposals, I will be discussing all these characteristics in the order they appear in port, which means that we will be talking about armor first. Armor. Didos armor, as visualized by a her Anime doppleganger Dido’s anime doppleganger likes headpats. Dido in WOWS does not. Dido in WOWS has armor that can be best described as objectively terrible, and a HP pool that does no favors for that terrible armor. So, what makes this armor so bad? 1.The plating is 13mm. the good news is that this is capable of bow tanking 152mm AP shells and below. That is all the good news. 8 inch shells will autopen the armor, meaning that bow tanking gives them guaranteed pens… at a minimum. HE will always pen the armor, and apart from the armor belt, there is essentially no area of armor that will bounce HE, so you will take tons of damage from HE spam. 2. Unlike ships like Emile Bertin that have such little armor that AP often overpens, Dido’s 89mm belt armor is enough to arm AP fuses and guarantee full pens from the side. The only plus is that if you angle against cruisers and destroyers trying to citadel you, you can bounce AP with this belt, and you will shatter HE that hits the side of the ship here. 3. Dido has a above water citadel, modeled with a 13mm roof over the machinery spaces that means that shells dropping down will overmatch and penetrate. The rest of the roof is a measly 25mm. Between these three things, Dido takes damage, and quickly. Which would be fine if she had a large healthpool, or a way to regenerate health. But she doesn’t, and she doesn’t. With a health pool of a miserable 23600 HP she is last in tier, and she has no repair party like all the other Royal Navy cruisers to keep her in the game. In essence, every ship that shoots at Dido is going to be getting their moneys worth out of their shells. Module health is pretty pathetic too. With a whopping 13mm of armor on the turrets, you will lose these if you come under fire. With this miserable survivability, Survivability Expert becomes a must. The 2700 HP you gain from it amounts to a 10% HP buff, and you need it. Even still, Dido will have the lowest HP for her tier. With this kind of protection, how does Dido make up for it? Armament. Well, don’t look to her guns to really make up for her armor, because they aren’t great. They aren’t horrible either, but they are lacking in one very important field, and that’s DPM. As we can see from the DPM chart, Dido sits in the middle of the pack as far as HE DPM goes. Most of the other light cruisers beat her, with only La Galissonniere, stock Rahmat that no one should use, and Huang He being lower in HE DPM. And La Galissonniere has main battery reload booster to up its DPM on occasion, so really Dido has the second lowest HE DPM of the tier 6 light cruisers. Its guns fire at a rate of 7 rounds per minute, or one salvo every 8.5 seconds, and as a historical footnote this is the absolute lowest that Dido’s could fire in combat without the gun crews getting court martialed. As a personal footnote, I'm of the belief that the Didos could maintain 10 RPM indefinitely, but that's for another topic. AP DPM is similarly low, with Dido only outperforming Huang He, Mysore, and the 113mm Rahmat as far as light cruisers go. And things get worse… and maybe a bit better when we consider the gun angles that Dido can shoot at. Her over the shoulder arcs are pretty bad, no one is excited about angling 37 degrees when the armor is as bad as it is. The fourth turret has really good arcs though, needing only 20 degrees off the bow before it can start shooting. But the final turret, oh goodness. It requires a crushing 47 degrees of traverse before you can get it into action. The only good thing about this atrocious angle is that Didos armor is horrid to begin with, so all you will really lose with getting this last turret into action is a smaller profile to hit, and 152mm autobounce. In some situations, the benefits of getting all guns into action outweigh the armor advantage. With miserable DPM for a light cruiser, concerns that the shells won’t perform and will reduce DPM even further are not unwarranted. The concerns are as follows. 1. Her shells may be too small, unable to do direct damage and unable to meet the theoretical DPM. 2. Her fire chance may suck, meaning that she doesn't do damage over time as often as the others. Well, she doesn’t have to worry too much about her shells. Dido’s HE penetrates 22mm of armor natively. Now that may not seem like much and is out-penetrated by the 25mm of armor penetration that the 152mm gun cruisers have, but with IFHE we see the difference. Dido with IFHE penetrates 27mm of armor. A 6-inch cruiser with IFHE penetrates 31mm of armor. What 27mm of armor penetration means for Dido is that it can penetrate every heavy cruisers plating in the bracket, and the plating of tier 6 and 7 battleships. What 31mm of armor penetration means for the 6-inch cruisers is that it can penetrate every heavy cruiser’s plating in its bracket, and the plating of tier 6 and 7 battleships, but not 8. Dido is on a level playing field with the 6 inch cruisers in terms of actually penetrating with her shots. And with a skill that can best be applied to Dido, her per shell damage is not too far off. The Heavy HE shell skill allows cruiser HE to do 10% more damage per shot, and for ships with less that 149mm main caliber weapons (like Dido) there is no downside to taking this. With this skill, Dido goes from doing 300 less damage per shell than a 152mm cruiser to 110. Not bad. And the AP… it really isn’t bad either. It has no special gimmicks like improved penetration angles or improved fuses, but the 5.25 inch cannons were actually pretty capable weapons, able to penetrate 76mm of armor at 13 KM and 100mm at 10, Dido can reliably do AP damage and score citadels to cruisers that give her a broadside, same as any other light cruiser at her tier and differentiating herself from the Atlantas. So, with her guns being not at too big a disadvantage in damage on a per shell basis, perhaps the great difference is in her chance to cause fires. There’s a lot of data on here, but this chart basically shows a tier 6 ships fire per minute chances against another tier 6 ship if it lands all of its shots. The blue line is for base fire chance, red with Demo expert and all flags, yellow for IFHE, and Green for IFHE, flags, and Demo expert. And Dido does not do well here. With a decent 8% fire chance per shell, it’s the reload that cuts into her ability to start fires, with only Duca d’Aousta performing worse as far as the in tier light cruisers go. Even some of the heavy cruisers will start more fires per minute stock, and if Dido takes IFHE she becomes almost the worst fire starter in tier. As one last thing, the guns feel comfortable enough once you get past the gun angles. The turrets rotate at 10 degrees per second, so she wont outturn them. The rear turrets can rotate 360 degrees, which for some reason the front turrets cant do. Further, the shell arcs are very comfortable. They have a arc but not near as bad as something like Atlanta, allowing you to fire over islands without such a issue with leading targets. In all, apart from their DPM, these guns are potent for their size. Only their reload holds them back. Torpedoes: Dido’s torpedoes, they're pretty good too. Familiar as well, because they are just Fiji’s torpedoes. Put simply, they have average speed (61 knots) average damage (15833 per torp) and a pretty good range of 8 km. They are helped by pretty darn good torpedo angles, able to be fired from only 33 degrees off the bow and 25 degrees off the stern. Add in the single torps, and the fact that the tubes reload in 72 seconds, and you have a versatile tool. Don’t expect to get too many devastating strikes on full health battleships, but as a finishing blow, a harassment tool, and a damage enhancer these are pretty great. In situations where you have to retreat from a flank, these torps should be your go to before your guns. Man, getting all three torps is glorious... he lived though. Depth Charges: This is a new one, and as a testament to the ASW mechanics current, this is a afterthought. When you hit G, 5 charges roll off of a rack on the back of the ship, there is no fancy pattern, just a simple line of charges that you put on the sub. If you manage this, you will most likely kill it. This is only valuable late game, and if the sub is too far away to call his friends. Otherwise, going sub hunting will get you sent back to port. The only thing that makes sub hunting not totally suicidal is the smoke generator which you can activate once you sunk the sub to try and avoid extra damage from the ships which will doubtless be shooting at you. AA: Get ready for a shock, but Dido… does not have good AA. In fact, I’d say that its AA is bad. Now you may be thinking “what, a AA cruiser with bad AA?” and I don’t blame you, as the description of the boat calls it a anti-aircraft cruiser, but its aa is bad. And that’s because Dido isn’t a AA cruiser. Dido was designed as a trade protection cruiser, with the guns main goal being to destroy auxiliary cruisers and merchant raiders, and destroyers. Now, the guns did have a aa capability, but if these were truly supposed to be AA cruisers, they would have been designed to use the 4.5 inch cannons that you can see on Rahmat. These would have a faster fire rate while still maintaining more than enough payload to take care of aircraft. The 5.25 was designed to shoot at ships first , and planes second. But even with a historical precedent for the AA being not great… its worse than it should be. So what are the problems with the AA? 1. It's too short ranged. the one thing that the 5.25 could proudly be best in class at as far as naval AA guns go was its range, outdoing the american 5"/38 and numerous other guns. in game it gets outranged by these and frustratingly even the 4 inch guns found on Leander, London, and Devonshire. With only 5.2 km in range to their 5.8, it has less influence and allows enemys to get through quicker when attacking. Being too short ranged is also a issue with the intermediate armament. the pom-poms only reach out to 2.5 km tops. 2. The flak bursts are underwhelming. For a start, they perform worse than the 5”/38 of the Americans with only 1323 damage as opposed to 1330. Even wors, there’s only 2 bursts per cycle, which happens every 2 seconds. And finally, they stop at 3.5 kilometers, leaving a kilometer dead zone between the bursts and the pom poms where enemy planes won’t be taking much damage. When you rate Dido by raw dps she’s in the bottom half of her tier, and when you adjust for range she’s almost in the bottom quarter. But Dido does have a button you can push to make all that better, Defensive AA. But even with this skill, which adds 50 percent to your continuous damage and quadruples your flak power, Dallas, Pensacola, Rahmat and Huang He still put out more effective AA fire WITHOUT Defensive AA, and Devonshire and La Gal are not far off. And Dallas, Pensacola, Rahmat and Devonshire can all take Defensive AA as well. Really, with Defensive AA, you are hoping that the flak bursts spawn in the right place, and with only 2 (max 3), the odds aren’t great. I would have loved to see Dido with the same stats but with the 5.25’s range and flak bursts buffed. With a 6.2 km umbrella and 3 bursts (4 upgraded) with something like 1400 damage, Dido could have been a good AA ship. As it is, if you are looking to get a AA cruiser that punishes aircraft carriers, this ain’t it chief. Against a Kaga, with Def AA, I shot down 1 plane in this attack. Yay. Oh well, maybe someday we’ll get Scylla. Maneuverability: Dido is not a particularly fast ship, topping out at 32.25 knots. But Dido’s great strength is not speed, but agility. Dido has a lot of things going for her with regards to her ability to turn. First, she has the second tightest turning radius in her tier at 580 meters. Second, she has the RN CL acceleration, meaning that she can go from a standstill real fast. And third is that because she cant take propulsion mod 1, she will by definition take steering gears mod 1 giving her a rudder shift time of 5.2 seconds. She is only beaten by Huang He in terms of turning radius and turning rate, and can pretty comfortably maneuver around. With this, it is somewhat possible to dodge shells at range. Use this to your advantage. Summed up, Dido doesn’t go fast, but she can dance. Concealment: Dido’s concealment is pretty good. With 10.54 km base detection she can get that number down to 9.2 km. While not enough to outspot any destroyer, she will either outspot or spot enemy cruisers at about the same time, with only the other British light cruisers beating her. Only Huang He has such a advantage that she can use her concealment to dictate the engagement against Dido, as opposed to the ships just blundering into each other. But Dido does not only have pretty good base detection to help her concealment, for she gets smoke as well. With a 15 second action time, 35 second dispersion time, and 80 second reload between 5 charges… this smoke isn’t great. For starters, this smoke has the shortest usage time in the whole game. From the second you hit the key to when the smoke dissipates you have 45 seconds. This is only enough for 5 salvos. If you were moving when you popped the smoke and want to hold fire until you stop , this is reduced to 4. Also not great is the total amount of time the ship can spend in smoke in a match. With 225 seconds of total time, its second lowest in its MM spread, only just beating the German tier 5 destroyer T22. Even the time you spend between smoke is not great. With 45 seconds between charges, you do beat the Germans, Japanese, Soviets, and British cruisers but are left out longer than the Americans, British destroyers, and Pan-Asians. By raw numbers, this is one of the worst smoke consumables in the game. Dido being sneaky. I'm sure shes in there somewhere Even still, smoke is such a powerful consumable that there is a silver lining. Burning a charge just to break line of sight and reposition does not leave you waiting minutes for your next smoke, and this allows for probably the most flexibility with regards to smoke usage in game outside of the RN DD’s. Under air attack? Pop smoke and Def AA and angrily shoot out. Caught out of position? pop smoke and plan your getaway. See a enemy ship and have no cover nearby? Pop smoke and blast them. The short duration even helps alleviate one of the main concerns that I had with Dido, that being that without hydro, she’d be torpedoed in her smoke often. But with the short duration, usually you are already gone by the time torps get to you. You do have to think a bit more using this smoke, but despite its shortcomings it can still be potent. So now, with all the stats covered, the big question. Should you get Dido? PROBABLY NOT This is not the conclusion that I wanted to reach. I mean, I’ve centered my whole WOWS identity around this class of ships. But I cannot really recommend anyone get Dido for any reason. And this is because of one fact. We already got one. And it’s a bit better. Rahmat is just Dido. Not simply a Dido class, but Dido herself. As a bit of Dido lore, there were precisely 2 distinguishing features between Dido and the rest of her class. One of them is the degaussing wire. On Dido, it is external. On the others it is internal. The other factor is that Dido had a cross bracing on her forward tripod. Guess what Rahmat has? Now you may say that Rahmat doesn’t have the degaussing wire, and also has different AA. The problem with this is that 1. Dido doesn’t have the right AA either (she’s been robbed 2 20mms on the bridge wings) and 2. Dido was scheduled for a refit in 1945. With the tiniest bit of imagination, we can say the refit moved the degaussing wire internal like her sisters, and upgraded the AA. And boom, Rahmat is just Dido in 1946. And Rahmat is better than Dido. Let’s go through the list. The guns on Rahmat top the HE DPM of the tier. Dido has better ballistics and better range (guess the Malaysians thought ballistic caps weren’t worth it) and can citadel destroyers a bit better and hit far off targets a bit easier so it isn’t all one sided, but in most situations DPM is King. The torpedoes on Rahmat are longer ranged, and sneaker. Yes the torpedoes on Dido can be single dropped for more accuracy and can hit destroyers, but in general Rahmat’s are a better pick. For ASW work Rahmat gets 9 depth charges a drop to Dido’s 5. Rahmat’s AA is so much better than Dido’s that she does more damage without Def AA than Dido does with Def AA. Rahmat has better concealment Rahmat has a better smoke in most every circumstance. Rahmat has the same armor and HP. And Dido finally scores a win with better acceleration and rudder shift. A few of these things Rahmat is indisputably better than Dido. AA, Concealment, ASW, its no contest. Survivability is literally the same. Dido wins in Agility. But in 3 fields Dido is ‘situationally’ better. There are times in Rahmat where I miss the ballistics of Dido or the range of Dido. There is never a time in Dido where I don’t want better DPM. There are instances where the single launched torps are better. Usually, they aren’t. And you can use Dido’s smoke in situations where you just wouldn’t use Rahmat’s. but playing Dido, I feel like I am having to work harder to get the same results. Rahmat is better in coop and operations, better in randoms, I can’t imagine getting Dido into Ranked or competitive. Now, this isn't say that Dido is necessarily bad. I have pretty much enjoyed my time playing her on the live server. I just think I may have enjoyed that time a little bit more in Rahmat, and I am sure that it would have been easier Even getting Dido for historical reasons has some issues. For a start she’s missing some of her AA (as mentioned above) and… I'm going to talk about the camo for a moment. The Camo Didos camo as announced and as it is in game. From day one, the first day that this ship was announced, I was very publicly banging on about how Dido’s camo was not right. This went through the NA Forum guys, and through reddit, all the way up to Sub_Octavian. He talked with the history guys, and they said it was good to go. I implored them to dig a bit deeper, and be sure. They replied with a public post, where I learned that the source that they were using was Malcolm Wrights “British and Commonwealth Warship Camouflage volume 3.” This is not a good source for ship camouflage, as the author didn’t record where he got his information from and in many cases was recalling details he had heard 25 years prior to writing the book. So again, I pressed Wargaming and they resolved to look into it further. In the end the changes that we have gotten were a change of the hull color to be accurate and a removal of the rust. On my scale of happiness with changes, that’s a 2/5. But, this isn’t over. I’ve been in contact with Wargaming since then and they are very aware of the camouflage issues with the ship. Perhaps they will update the camo. Perhaps they will add a new one. Perhaps nothing will happen. In all, WG has been remarkably receptive to hearing feedback, and have been nothing but incredibly cordial in all communications, even when I got a little salty. Which is good. Hopefully they will throw Malcolm Wrights book in the trash as a bad source that can be easily proven wrong. I just wish that their turnaround time was a bit better. But if you want the Historical Camoflauges, and are OK with not being able to see the anime skins and king kongs, id recommend downloading this mod by Albrecht_Brandi, which gives you the Camo Dido wore in late 1943 during the landings at Taranto and Salerno. So when you get enough of these Mediterranean tokens to get a ship, get Canarias, or at least get Canarias first. I don’t know if Canarias is better because I haven’t played her but I know that she is unique and Dido is a ship with the same playstyle as a ship that is 99% the same but a little better. Equipment But, if you are crazy, and are just hell bent on getting Dido for whatever reason, this is how you should set her up. Being tier 6, Dido has only 4 equipment slots. And good news is that there is only really one way to load these out. Slot one is going to be main armaments modification 1. The turrets are weak enough to need this. Don’t take auxiliary armaments because you don’t have any. the odds of detonation are very low as the magazines are underwater. And for the love of god don’t spend coal on damage control party 1. Slot two is a toss-up between engine room protection and defensive AA mod 1. Engine room protection will help if you’re getting shot, but Dido has such crappy armor and so few hit points that the odds of you benefiting from this skill is low. Defensive AA 1 fire 1 requires you to shell out 17,000 coal, and is only decent when there is another carrier, but having longer lasting Def AA that reloads quicker is nice when there’s another carrier. Slot three is just aiming systems modification 1. Improving dispersion and torpedo train rate is better than all the other options here. And for slot four , steering gears modification 1 should be your pick. Captain skills. Going to say this one last time, there really isn’t a good reason to get this ship because she is also a horrible captain trainer, using wildly different skills than every other ship in the Royal Navy. Like her Azur Lane counterpart, she really needs a dedicated commander. You still getting Dido? OK. for your one point skill, either grease the gears to give yourself more comfortable gunnery, especially when turning, or incoming fire alert to give you time to dodge long range fire. For your two point skill, either demo expert, or focus fire training to try and redeem the AA. I’d take demo expert. For your first skill 3, take heavy HE and SAP shells, adrenaline rush, or survivability expert. For your first skill 4, take IFHE or concealment expert Your next skill 4 should be the one you missed last time, Finally, get the skill 3’s that you missed first time around, and cap it off with the missing 1 pointer. This is my recommended build. Conclusions I hope I helped people determine where to put their hard-earned tokens, or even hard earned doubloons, and hope that anyone who is getting Dido at least knows what they are getting into. I will not make this a habit, holy ship, reviews require a lot of work, and my graphics are comparatively terrible next to what LittleWhiteMouse does. But, if WG ever puts out a Scylla, or a Bellona or Babur, or a Royalist or emergency cruiser, you can bet I’ll come running.
  13. Complete List of all Canadian Warships that fit into World of Warships. Hello Fellow Canadians! I am here to create an complete and comprehensive list of all Canadian warships which are capable enough to be added to the game (so no minesweepers/escorts) and what class they are, and as to which tier they can be added, to the game. This list is to include warships from all era's, as well as any notes I may make about particular ships if they have differences from the standards of their class. I've tried to list each class in order of their tier, and then the ships in alphabetical order. Destroyers: Thornycroft M-class This class would provide gameplay that would probably be a Hybrid between Umikaze and Storozhevoi gameplay. Tier 2 -HMCS Patriot -HMCS Patrician Wickes Class: The Canadian Navy acquired several Wickes Class destroyers. As that class is already present in game, it would take nearly no effort to make any of these ships a premium. The un-modified ships are suitable as Tier 3 -HMCS Annapolis (Has a removed Funnel, due to a boiler that was damaged and never replaced, still tier 3) -HMCS Caldwell -HMCS Chelsea (Tier 2 at best due to modifications for fighting submarines due to escort duties) -HMCS Columbia -HMCS Georgetown (Tier 2 at best due to modifications for fighting submarines due to escort duties) -HMCS Hamilton (Tier 2 at best due to modifications for fighting submarines due to escort duties) -HMCS Leamington -HMCS Lincoln (Tier 2 at best due to modifications for fighting submarines due to escort duties) -HMCS Mansfield (Tier 2 at best due to modifications for fighting submarines due to escort duties) -HMCS Montgomery (Technically all ready exist in the game, this is ex-USS Wickes herself, leadship of the Wickes class, would be similar case to the USS Benson, which exist in game as a USN ship, as well as after she was renamed to "Lo Yang" by China) -HMCS Niagara -HMCS Richmond -HMCS Salisbury (Tier 2 at best due to modifications for fighting submarines due to escort duties) -HMCS St. Clair A - Class Also known as River Class in the Canadian Navy, This Class is Solidly Tier 3 or 4, depending on torpedo quality and stealth perimeters WG gives it. -HMCS Saguenay (Noteworthy as being one of the only two River class destroyers built specifically for the RCN) -HMCS Skeena (Noteworthy as being one of the only two River class destroyers built specifically for the RCN) C - Class Also known as River Class in the Canadian Navy, This Class is Solidly Tier 3 or 4, depending on torpedo quality and stealth perimeters WG gives it. -HMCS Assiniboine -HMCS Fraser -HMCS Ottawa (H60) (Had "Y" gun & her rear torpedo launcher removed for submarine warfare purposes. Tier 3) -HMCS Restigouche -HMCS St. Laurent D - Class Also known as River Class in the Canadian Navy, This Class is Solidly Tier 3 or 4, depending on torpedo quality and stealth perimeters WG gives it. -HMCS Kootenay (Tier 2 at best due to modifications for fighting submarines due to escort duties) -HMCS Margaree E - Class Also known as River Class in the Canadian Navy, This Class is Solidly Tier 3 or 4, depending on torpedo quality and stealth perimeters WG gives it. -HMCS Gatineau (Had "Y" gun & her rear torpedo launcher removed for submarine warfare purposes. Tier 3) G - Class Also known as River Class in the Canadian Navy, This Class is Solidly Tier 3 or 4, depending on torpedo quality and stealth perimeters WG gives it. -HMCS Ottawa (H31) F - Class Also known as River Class in the Canadian Navy, the only members of this class had been converted for escort duties, by the RN, thus they are probably tier 2. -HMCS Qu'Appell -HMCS Saskatchewan H - Class Also known as River Class in the Canadian Navy, This Class is Solidly Tier 3 or 4, depending on torpedo quality and stealth perimeters WG gives it. -HMCS Chaudière (Had "Y" gun & her rear torpedo launcher removed for submarine warfare purposes. Tier 3) Clemson Class: These are all second hand ships from the US, Clemson class all ready being in the game, thus these ships can be implemented easily and cheaply. Tier 4 -HMCS Buxton (Was sold to Britain, who then gave it to Canada, While it was in british hands, was stripped down to escort duties armaments, with just torpedoes and anti-sub weapons, tier 2 at best, would not recommend) -HMCS St. Croix -HMCS St. Francis Cr Class: The Cr Class is a British design, built from 1941-1944, and if implemented into the game, would be suitable for tier 5-6 -HMCS Crescent -HMCS Crusader V Class: The V Class is a British design, built from 1941-1944, (Not to be confused with the OTHER "V class" destroyer, also from Britian, but from WWI, represented in-game with the HMAS Vampire) and if implemented into the game, would be suitable for tier 5-6 -HMCS Algonquin -HMCS Sioux Tribal Class: Probably the most prominent class of interest for players, Easily Tier 7, or even higher if WG gives the class exceptional statistics for its torpedo armament and stealth. -HMCS Athabaskan -HMCS Haida (Is a premium already) -HMCS Huron -HMCS Iroquois -HMCS Nootka Cruisers: Prince Class Prince Class refers to a series of Armed Merchant ships, each varying in their statistics wildly. One in particular however can make it in as a possibly comfortable ship at tier 2. -HMCS Prince Robert Diadem Class: A British Protect Cruiser class. Very similar to the Saint Louis and Varyag in-game, with slightly better artillery power but slower speed, greater tonnage. Tier 3 -HMCS Niobe Minotaur Class: This Class of cruiser was a light cruiser design typical of the RN, with 3x3-152mm guns. Easily Tier 6. -HMCS Ontario -HMCS Uganda (Do you know de wey?) Aircraft Carriers: Ruler Class: The Ruler class was a class of escort carrier for the Royal Navy, built by the US, where it was known as the Bogue class. Being a Bogue class it can be implemented into the game really easily. The Ruler class was however never commissioned into the RCN, rather, it was only crewed/commanded by the RCN, (with the exception of the Air Wing, which was British crewed) as preparation for when Canada would have its own carriers. Tier 4 or 5, depending on the equipped aircraft. -HMS Nabob -HMS Puncher Majestic Class: British Aircraft carrier, which a hangar capacity of 37 aircraft. Tiering will depend on which aircraft WG chooses to use, as well as whatever squadron gimmicks are added. This class is rather small, so I'd expect good stealth parameters, but they have abysmal AA to balance that out. Tier 6 or Tier 8 -HMCS Bonaventure. (T8) -HMCS Magnificent (T6 or T8) Colossus Class British Aircraft carrier, which a hangar capacity of 58 aircraft. Tiering will depend on which aircraft WG chooses to use, as well as whatever squadron gimmicks are added. Tier 6 or Tier 8 -HMCS Warrior Battleships: Queen Elizabeth Class: The Canada Naval Aid Bill of 1913 was intended to fund 3 new modern battleships, thought to be Queen Elizabeth Class Battleships, but due to failures to pass the funding in congress, the order was never placed. These ships would of differed from Britain's own QE class Battleships by having adjustments to the bow to handle Canada's icy waters, as well as secondaries mounted a deck higher to operate better in Canadian bay's and rivers. If the ships were ever modernized, I could imagine then ending up looking different then the RN version, maybe even importing parts from the USN for the refit. (Though that is just speculation) Tier 5 or 6, depending on if there are theoretical refits applied or not. -HMCS Acadia -HMCS Quebec -HMCS Ontario Submarines: H-Class This class is relatively small, if they add submarines on odd tiers, I'd put this as a T5. But because submarines currently only exist at odd tiers, I have to put this at T6. Its smaller then her current Tier counterparts. -HMCS CH-14 -HMCS CH-15 Type IXC/40 Class Two members of this class were surrendered to Canada when Germany was defeated in 1945. They were immediately put into canadian service, though neither served particularly long. U-190 is in fact in the test for submarines right now as a researchable T8, so I would retain this tier. -HMCS U-190 -HMCS U-889 Balao Class Canada had one member of this class, commissioned for 8 years. This class exist in the game already as the upcoming researchable T10 USN SS, so a model is already prepared if they want to give Canada a freemium T10. I would retain this tier. -HMCS Grilse Oberon Class -British Submarine sold to canada while it was under construction. Currently still exists today as a museum ship. Its displacement and armament is not dissimilar to the T10 submarines being tested, despite being a more modern ship. It should be comfortable to balance at T10. -HMCS Ojibwa Trench Class: A slight improvement over the Gato and Balao classes of the United States. Quite modern, but not employing any new tech that would make it problematic to balance for the game. T10 -HMCS Rainbow Sidenotes: If there are any gimmicks to be added to Canadian warships, the only thing that comes to mind is Hydro. During WWII it became the Canadian standard that all destroyers they had, (At Least the ones which weren't totally gimped by British conversions for escort duties) that they would be equipped with Hydroacoustic Search. So lets say to differ them from German destroyers who also have hydro, it could be changed to having a more passive functionality, much shorter ranged, but much longer lasting, for example. Gimmicks of course are not necessary. Another pattern I noticed compiling this list is that most of the destroyers which had modifications made to them were the ones which served in the RN for any amount of time. The ones which didn't receive such nerfes to their main armaments were the ones which were transferred directly into the RCN from the USN, or were built by the RN for the RCN. Please, if you know of the existence of any other Canadian warships which fit into WoWS that are not on this list, let me know so I can add it to the list.
  14. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Agincourt

    The following is a review of Agincourt, the tier V British premium battleship. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself; I did not pay to get access to this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.4. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Summary: A slow but stealthy WWI era Dreadnought armed with fourteen 305mm guns in seven turrets (!) and a powerful secondary battery. PROS Dispersed armour scheme with an icebreaker bow & stern and resilient upper hull and amidships deck. Comfortable forward fire angles for most guns and that gorgeous Friday 360º turret traverse. Massive broadside of fourteen 305mm guns. Improved HE penetration. Powerful, accurate secondaries with long range and increased rate of fire. Tiny surface detection. CONS None of her armour is especially thick, making her easy to damage with battleship AP if not perfectly angled. Painfully long 36 second reload. Horrible main battery dispersion with 1.5 sigma. Terrible ... nay, craptacular AP penetration. Reduced HE damage. Slow and cumbersome. No anti-aircraft firepower whatsoever. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme For an inexperienced player, Agincourt is a bit of a rough ride. This is all down to her horrible rate of fire. At 36 seconds, a missed volley is downright painful and this is further complicated by the poor performance of both her AP and HE shells. You might aim properly but still find everything shatter or ricochet. There are further challenges with trying to manage her poor armour values and sluggish handling. At least they don't need to worry about managing AA defence as she doesn't have any. Admittedly, Agincourt's skill ceiling all comes from managing the brawling side of things. If you ignore that potential, then her skill ceiling is no higher than Moderate. But Agincourt fully encourages you to get your brawl on and it's a lot of fun. Agincourt embarrasses a full health KGV in a joust with a Devastating Strike. Options One of the nice things about reviewing lower-tiered ships is that there are fewer options to worry about. Still, there's quite a bit of weirdness going on here so pay attention. Consumables Her Damage Control Party is standard for a British battleship. It is active for 15 seconds, repairing all critical damage and removing fires and floods. It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Agincourt's Repair Party is strange only in that it's perfectly normal. It lacks the additional damage queue normally found on British battleships nor does it heal an additional amount. Instead it queues up 50% of penetration damage from shells, bombs, rockets and torpedoes, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of everything else. Each charge heals up to 14% of her starting health over 28 seconds. She begins with four charges and an 80 second reset timer. Upgrades Business as usual here. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Then take Damage Control System Modification 1. For your third slot, you have a choice between main battery optimization or going with some secondary craziness. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is generally optimal for your main battery performance though there's a good argument to be made for taking Main Battery Modification 2 to reduce the time it takes to switch aim between targets. HOWEVER, the Agincourt does very well with a secondary specialization (yes, you read that right), so taking Secondary Gun Battery Modification 1 is the start of that magical journey. Commander Skills There are two builds worth considering here. The first is your typical fire resistance specialization. Start with your choice of Emergency Repair Specialist (1) or Gun Feeder (1). That's 1pt spent. Grease the Gears (2) is next. That's 3pts total. Basics of Survivability (3) is the first of our fire-mitigation skills. We're now up to 6pts. And Fire Prevention (4) caps us off. That's 10pts. From here, you're encouraged to pick skills that again emphasize survivability and main battery performance where possible. Good skills include: Emergency Repair Expert (4), Concealment Expert (4), Adrenaline Rush (3) and Priority Target (2) along with doubling back for the tier 1 skill you skipped. The second build is a brawling spec. You want to pair this with the Secondary Gun Battery Modification 1 upgrade for maximum effect. It starts pretty familiar with either Emergency Repair Specialist (1) or Gun Feeder (1) again but we also toss on Pyrotechnician (1) as a tertiary option (in both meanings of the word). That's 1pt spent. Grease the Gears (2) is still the best option, though Priority Target (2) is equally good for dealing with low-tier lolibotes, so it becomes a choice here. Now we're up to 3pts. Long Range Secondary Battery Shells (3) is the first major deviation we're seeing. Grab it. This is 6pts spent. Finish this off with Improved Secondary Battery Aiming (4). And that's 10pts. From here, grab a mix of survivability and gun performance skills along with doubling back for some of your favourites you had to pass over. Good skills include: Emergency Repair Expert (4), Concealment Expert (4), Adrenaline Rush (3). Fire Prevention (4) and Basics of Survivability (3) still have their place but you'll have to make some compromises somewhere. It is worth mentioning two controversial skills for Agincourt's secondary build. These are Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (2) and Swift in Silence (4). The former will make Agincourt's 76mm secondaries capable of directly damaging most tier VI and VII destroyer extremities, along with buffing her 152mm secondaries to be capable of doing the same versus tier VI and VII battleships. This comes at the cost of gutting their fire chance, which is a pretty stiff blow when dueling other dreadnoughts, especially with the prevalence of dispersed armour schemes that even the improved HE pen on her 152mm won't be able to best. Still, it's hard to argue with more direct damage. As for the latter skill, I go into more detail in the agility section below. I'm not a fan. Camouflage Agincourt has access to two camouflage patterns, Type 9 and Veteran of Jutland. They are cosmetic swaps of one another and both provide the following bonuses: 3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells -10% to post-battle service costs +50% experience earned. You can unlock the alternative colour palette (the blue) by completing the appropriate section of the Royal Navy Destroyers collection. Agincourt's Jutland camo. Like the ship itself, this is only available from a loot box. Where's that puky emoji? Firepower Main Battery: Fourteen 305mm guns in 7x2 turrets in an A-B-P-Q-X-Y-Z layout. A-B are in a superfiring configuration. P faces forward, Q aft. Y-turret superfires over X and Z, with X facing forward. Secondary Battery: Twenty 152mm guns and ten 76mm guns. Fourteen 152mm guns are mounted in casemates in the upper hull, four mounted in casemates in the fore and aft superstructure and two deck mounts straddling the main bridge. Eight of the 76mm are mounted in casemates on the upper-superstructure with a pair of turrets one platform higher on the rear superstructure. Fourteen Guns and They're All Crap Agincourt's guns are terrible. Ostensibly she uses the same guns as Bellerophon and Dreadnought, the tier III British battleships. However, they somehow manage to be worse on a per-gun basis. Specifically, Agincourt's 305mm guns have a longer reload than her tier III predecessors, worse dispersion and gutted HE performance. Yes, you have fourteen of the bloody things, but they're terrible. Unequivocally terrible. If Oklahoma weren't a thing, Agincourt's guns easily takes the prize for the worst gun performance at her tier. Thankfully, they have two redeeming qualities. She has fourteen of them. She has improved HE penetration. The major issue facing Agincourt's gun performance is her AP shells. If Oklahoma's AP was bad, Agincourt's is worse. It's so bad you can't reliably penetrate battleship belt armour outside of 8km distances. This necessitates keeping a ready list in your head of what the armour thicknesses are of select battleships and, in turn, what ranges you can engage them. Does New York have in excess of 340mm of belt armour, or is it only 280mm? At what range can Agincourt citadel a broadsiding Izmail? How much relative armour does a Conte di Cavour have at a 50º angle? When in doubt, you can always aim higher and hope for penetrating hits but you're working against troll, 1.5 sigma dispersion. Now you could be forgiven for thinking that Agincourt's AP penetration woes would make her better at landing citadel hits on cruisers, but this simply is not the case. Unlike other low-tier, small-calibre guns, she does not have the shortened, 0.01s fuse timers ideally set to for dealing with the smaller breadth of low-tier cruisers. Instead she has the longer, 0.033s fuse timers that are better suited for plunging deep into a heavily armoured vessel in order to destroy machine spaces and magazines. Thus, Agincourt's AP shells work at cross purposes to themselves. She does not have the penetration to readily duel with other dreadnoughts and her fuse timers are poorly set for popping the thinner citadels of low-tier cruisers. About the only targets where this low penetration and long fuse timers work to her advantage is blasting shells down the length of bow-in ships you can overmatch. Waiting that painfully long 36 second reload, setting up for that perfect broadside shot only to watch everything thrown at your opponent over penetrate or shatter is heartbreaking. That's painfully commonplace. Agincourt has some of the worst AP penetration values at her tier. And just to make things more frustrating, she has abnormally long shell fuse timers too which makes over-penetrations against cruisers more likely. So they suck on both ends of the spectrum. The two differences between the HE shells on HMS Dreadnought and Bellerophon versus those of Agincourt. Graphic pulled from gamemodels3d.com which i cannot recommend highly enough for players looking to expand their knowledge into the more esoteric details of World of Warships. Things get a little better with Agincourt's HE shells, but it's not all sunshine, rainbows and puppies here either. You need only look at the difference between Bellerophon and Dreadnought's HE shells versus those Agincourt was dealt. Dreadnought's HE shells hit 18% harder than Agincourt's and have slightly improved fire setting characteristics. Thus Agincourt's broadside is the equivalent of a 12-gun British battleship, not 14. Agincourt's HE DPM is little better than Wyoming, the tier IV American battleship, though the differences count. Perhaps the best saving grace of Agincourt's HE shells is that they retain the 1/4 HE penetration of the British battleship tech-tree. At 76mm, the modest damage output of her HE rounds becomes much more formidable and she is capable of landing citadel hits on a whole list of cruisers within her matchmaking, including but not limited to such prominent targets as the American Omaha-class and Pensacola-class. Farming up some of those black ribbons with HE shells is very satisfying, especially after being repeatedly trolled by her AP, let me tell you. Guess which ammo you'll be relying on? Agincourt's a decent fire setter. If you can land the hits, a full broadside is quite formidable. The catch to that, of course, is landing those hits in the first place. Her dispersion isn't kind nor is her reload. There just isn't anything really redeeming about Agincourt's main battery firepower short of the number of barrels. That 36 second reload is painful in the extreme. Her 4º/s gun rotation is lame, but at least she cannot out-turn her turrets (even if you slap on a Sierra Mike signal and the Swift in Silence commander skill). Her fire arcs aren't great on the whole. Some of her gun turrets are amazing but in order to maximize her firepower, you have to expose a lot of broadside. Her ballistics are incredibly floaty, with her shells suffering from a heavy amount of drag. And finally there's that awful shotgun dispersion of her's which can foil even the most carefully aimed shot. On the flip side, every now and then you'll land this amazing, Devastating Strike and it will make you wonder why you can't do it more consistently. I'm not a fan of Agincourt's main battery guns, if you can't tell. You can make them work, don't get me wrong, but it's an uphill battle. Okay, making this graphic nearly broke my brain. Y-Turret is my favourite (TGIF! ♥). Not only does it have great arcs, it can also rotate 360º. So long as you keep P and Q turret masked, Agincourt's forward fire arcs are very good. Historically, these seven turrets were named after the days of the week, from Sunday through Saturday, fore to aft. One of my standard dispersion tests. This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km. Agincourt is equipped with Aiming Systems Modification 1. Shots are coming in from right to left with the stationary Fuso-bot effectively bow-tanking. Agincourt's 1.5 sigma makes her gunnery all kinds of wonky. Their low velocity has their shell fall angle coming in at a rather steep 17º angle. I Need a Hero! ♫ Agincourt's secondaries to the rescue. Low-tier secondaries have long sat in the shadow. This was largely owing to the old Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament skill which provided a 60% dispersion reduction to tier VII+ ships that designated a target for their secondaries but only a 15% for lower tiered vessels. For four skill points, it just wasn't worthwhile. That's changed with the skill rework, with low-tier battleships gaining the same flat 35% dispersion reduction as higher tiered vessels. So while high-tiered battleships definitely had the potential of their secondaries nerfed with the rework, lower-tiered vessels had their's buffed. But there's more to secondary performance than how well it synergizes with a particular commander build. There are four main elements to look for to see if secondaries are worth specliazing into: Range. This is the real kicker. If your secondaries don't have the reach, they're not of much use. A 5km base range is really the minimum I consider to be viable for secondary builds. Between skills, signals and upgrades, a 5km secondary can reach out to 7.56km which is outside of torpedo range for most destroyers, giving the guns some comfortable use. Most low-tier secondaries sit between 4km and 5km in reach. Agincourt's have a 5.5km base range, maximizing out to 8.32km which is very usable in lower-tiered matches. Volume of Fire. You need a lot of guns and/or a fast rate of fire to make a secondary build worthwhile. This simplifies to looking at the damage-per-minute potential of the base secondaries and seeing if they're putting out big enough numbers to make opponents balk. Agincourt has more DPM potential than a lot of the high-tier secondary heavy-weights. Yes, really. The reload on her guns is ridiculously short, with a mere 2.7 seconds on her 76mm and only 4 seconds on her 152mm guns. She puts out a lot of fire, very quickly. Penetration. Having a lot of potential damage doesn't matter much if those guns are incapable of directly doing any harm to the targets they hit. This is what largely damns a lot of high-tier French battleships. This is one area where low-tier battleships luck out. Structural armour plate at low tiers allows for even small calibre guns to be useful. Agincourt's 76mm can still directly damage the hulls of all tier IV and V cruisers and destroyers and even those of the very light cruisers at tier VI and VII. Her 152mm are a threat to anything but tier VI+ battleships and select heavy cruisers. Accuracy. The final piece of the puzzle is accuracy. If this isn't present but all of the others are excellent, then it can be overlooked. However, having this is definitely the icing on the cake. Agincourt has improved secondary accuracy on ALL of it's guns, not just the casemate weapons as found on ships like Warspite and Iron Duke. This gives her Massachusetts-style dispersion patterns on her secondaries. Agincourt's secondaries fall under the "accurate" category. Agincourt ticks all of the right boxes. Good range, solid DPM, workable penetration and great accuracy. I am firmly of the opinion that if you do not specialize Agincourt with a deep secondary build, you are doing it wrong -- or at the very least, you are missing out on one heck of a ride. While I can appreciate that some people do not find the AI driven guns to be entertaining, there is no arguing their efficacy on this ship. Fully tricked out, Agincourt's secondaries shred exposed destroyers and I've seen them make cruisers and battleships panic. As if their direct damage weren't enough, they're INSANE fire starters -- like Worcester levels of fire starting potential. If you've already been throwing HE shells from your main battery guns about, your secondaries will often find targets that have their Damage Control Party consumable on cool down, making for some easy damage as you move in to a joust. I cannot sing high enough praises for these weapons. Bring them into range whenever possible. You won't be disappointed. Have some perspective. Of the 452k done by Agincourt's secondaries, 330k comes from her higher penetration 152mm casemates. These can be buffed with IFHE to make them capable of damaging the hull extremities of anything within her matchmaking. If mapping her main battery guns nearly killed me, this turned me into a trigonometry zombie. This maps the fire arcs of Agincourt's secondaries with her 152mm in red and her 76mm in light blue. Agincourt's secondaries have most of their arcs weighted rearward. However, do not ignore the fact that she can still bring six of her 152mm guns to bear on a 30º angle forward, giving her a very meaty weight of fire on a brawling aspect while maintaining auto-ricochet angles. Go ahead and take IFHE if you want. She's got FPM to spare. Summary Terrible (HORRIBLE) main battery AP shells but decent HE. Long reload and wonky dispersion makes for very trollish gunnery. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it's heart breaking. If you're not spec'ing Agincourt for secondaries, you're missing out. Seriously. Durability Hit Points: 48,400 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 152mm / 38mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 229mm belt + 38mm turtleback + 38mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 14% Dispersed Armour The thickness of Agincourt's armour is a serious issue. In order to cram so many guns onto her hull, her armour was compromised, shaved down to the level of a WWI era battlecruiser. She simply does not have the overall thickness needed to repel battleship calibre AP shells at any range. Even heavy cruiser AP rounds become an issue at closer distances. Without careful angling, Agincourt surrenders too many hit points to high-penetration AP attacks. The thick plates covering the ship ensure that every AP shell that does best the armour will fuse for full damage. The only ray of sunshine here is that while she may not have thick armour overall, it is well dispersed which can be downright troll against certain attacks. For cruisers and destroyers slinging HE and SAP shells, Agincourt has only a few vulnerable areas, namely her bow, stern and her small superstructure. Everything else they throw at her will shatter or ricochet which makes Agincourt feel quite tanky. Similarly, these vulnerable points are the only areas where battleships can land overmatching penetrating hits when Agincourt angles correctly. With her icebreaker bow, waterline shots will simply ricochet off. It pays to keep her gun fire angles that we discussed earlier in mind. Unmasking P & Q turret will generally leave her vulnerable to returned AP shells. You don't want to nose in perfectly as this will bait shots into her vulnerable upper snoot and barbettes, but sit her at a slight angle. If you can unmask everyone's favourite day of the week (Y-Turret) then you're doing it right. Thus Agincourt's armour protection rewards player skill; both for the attacker and defender. Knowing how to exploit her weaknesses bipasses a lot of her strengths. Knowing how to properly angle her can mitigate a lot of incoming damage. Look at that lovely dispersed armour scheme. Agincourt's armour is excellent when angled in a close-range brawl, though it doesn't quite stand up to long-range punishment. Still, keep her angled and she'll serve you well, resisting AP, SAP and HE shells equally. Do it wrong and those thick armour plates will ensure that battleship calibre AP shells fuse and deal full penetration damage. Her big 19mm snoot and butt are obvious weak points. Citadel & Turret Protection Understandably, the issues with her thin belt carry over to a poor citadel protection scheme. In particular, Agincourt is highly vulnerable to 380mm+ calibre AP shells as there are sections of her citadel which may be overmatched; namely the walls of her boilers, machine spaces and the roof. Still, Agincourt isn't a free meal for overmatching weapons. There is a hidden 25mm and 38mm plate in her bow and stern that caps directly on top of her 102mm and 152mm belt respectively, along with her 38mm turtleback. While the 25mm plate cannot resist 380mm+ AP shells, the latter 38mm will foil shots that come in a bit higher. Her turtleback isn't a significant barrier on its own. However, if she is angled, it's one more plate that may prompt a ricochet and save her for from taking a citadel hit. And really, that's the best you can hope from Agincourt's citadel protection: to turn a catastrophic hit into merely a serious one. One of the things AP shells LOOOOOVE to fuse on are Agincourt's turrets. She has a lot of them and they act as catchers mits for battleship calibre rounds. This leads to a lot more damage than you might otherwise expect and it's definitely a weakness to exploit when going toe to toe against her. While their turret faces are a chunky 305mm in thickness, this isn't enough to repel anything but the longest range fire from the weakest guns out there. Furthermore, below deck, the barbettes of her P, Q and X turrets are just 76mm. Penetrating AP hits love arresting within these rings and blowing up your guns. Similarly, the roofs of her guns are only 76mm. While their slope alone is more than enough to see off AP and SAP shells, Royal Navy battleship HE can and will penetrate if you're unlucky enough to get hit there. This will deal HE penetration damage AND prompt a critical damage check and again, you may end up temporarily losing a turret. Because so much of Agincourt's deck space is taken up by main battery guns, they get hit often. This in turn means more critical damage rolls so be prepared to see more temporarily disabled weapons on this ship than you might otherwise be used to. That's okay, though. You have more where those came from. The last thing to touch upon here is that with Agincourt's citadel being so long (long, long maaaaaan! ♫) every torpedo that hits you will be causing citadel damage. Agincourt has almost nothing in the way of usable anti-torpedo defence. She floods easily and you're not healing back much (if anything) from torpedo hits. Agincourt's main battery turrets are not very well protected, with P, Q and X-turret having very thin barbettes. It is not uncommon for any of her weapons to be disabled or permanently knocked out over the course of the battle when trading fire with other battleships. Y and Z turrets mirror B & A's barbettes respectively. Furthermore, Agincourt's citadel has 25mm sections of it vulnerable to 380mm+ AP shells overmatching. Be careful when facing battleships with these higher calibre weapons. Do keep her hidden geometry in her bow to help protect from overmatching hits punching through her 19mm bow and stern. Also, there's a 38mm turtleback that runs from the 152mm plate in the fore to the one dittoed in the rear, adding to her citadel protection but it's angled incorrectly to prompt ricochet checks. Health and Heals The strangest thing about Agincourt's durability is that it's so normal. Royal Navy battleships have, since their introduction into World of Warships, had special Repair Party consumables. While the portable dry-docks of Nelson, Lion and Conqueror are perhaps the best known among the community, Warspite always healed back more damage per charge of her consumable while also queuing up more damage as well. Even Iron Duke queues up 60% of penetration damage. Agincourt doesn't have any of that. Her Repair Party consumable is completely normal, healing back a "mere" 14% of her starting hit points per charge (base) and queuing up a "mere" 50% of penetration damage. The only ships she has a leg up on are Soviet battleships with their reduced number of healing charges. So while she may have a comparable number of starting hit points to Oklahoma, for example, she has less overall healing potential. Similarly, while Iron Duke's theoretical hit point pool is smaller, the tech-tree battleship has more efficient heals. So there's nothing really worth getting excited about. Thanks to the smaller hit point pools of Conte di Cavour and Viribus Unitis, Agincourt has a better-than-average base hit point pool but that's nothing remarkable. Nothing too out of the ordinary here. For those wondering, Agincourt's maximum effective health is 2.61 Viribus Unitis while New York, the best of the bunch, has 3.05. Summary Agincourt's dispersed armour scheme is a mixed blessing. It's good against small and medium calibre HE and SAP but only good against AP when perfectly angled and useless when not. Her guns get knocked out often and this has a spillover effect leading to Agincourt taking more penetrating hits. Nothing special about her heals. VERDICT: Pretty average for a low-to-mid tier battleship. Better than some, worse than others. Agility Top Speed: 22 knots Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 13.4 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.8º/s at 16.6 knots While Agincourt may have a battlecruiser's armour, she does not have a battlecruiser's speed. This is a slow, cumbersome ship. Her only saving grace is that there are a lot of slow, cumbersome ships at tier V so she doesn't feel horribly out of place. This said, her turning radius is one of the largest at her tier. And while a 670m turning circle radius looks pretty good if you're used to higher tiered ships, this is pretty bad down here in the kiddy pool where islands are plentiful. When paired with her pedestrian top speed, this results in one of the slowest rates of turn for a low-tier battleship. Agincourt feels big and sluggish. What's more, she doesn't get anywhere quickly. This isn't so bad if she ends up on a low-tier map, but when Agincourt gets uptiered, you really start to feel this lack of flexibility. Maybe there's room for the new Swift in Silence skill? I want to be able to recommend it. I would love it if the skill was competitive for certain ships and certain builds, but it's so hard to justify. With it and combined with a Sierra Mike signal, Agincourt's speed gets up to an impressive 25.4 knots, which largely corrects any flexibility deficiencies. That's incredibly enticing. The catch is, of course, that she needs to go undetected in order for this to work. Put one aircraft carrier in play or end up on a flank with a concealed lolibote and her boost goes away. One of the major reasons I want the extra speed is to allow Agincourt to kite but if she's detected (or firing her guns), that's not going to work. Furthermore, the skill and signal combined do not significantly boost her rate of turn, upping it to 4.0º/s. This comes at the cost of her turning circle, jumping up Agincourt's radius to 730m. At four skill points, it's just not quite there in my opinion. Maybe if the speed was always on? Maybe if it provided more speed? I dunno. Agincourt has some of the worst agility at tier V. She's not only slow, but she has a large turning radius at her tier too. Granted, that 670m is pretty small compared to higher tiered battleships, but still, it gives her some of the worst handling at her tier by a noticeable margin, making her feel like one of the higher tiered thunderchunkers when she tries to come about. VERDICT: Crap. Arguably one of, if not the worst at her tier. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: None Long Ranged: None Medium Ranged: None Short Ranged: None There are two ways of looking at Agincourt's complete lack of anti-aircraft firepower. The first is to look at it as a crippling flaw. Any aircraft carrier that knows that Agincourt is bereft of AA defence can attack her with impunity; especially if she's isolated. Furthermore, tier VI carriers can drop fighters on top of her and keep her perma-spotted until she sails out of their spotting range. At her slow speed, this will take quite a while and it strips her of her stealth advantage. The general lack of long-range AA support at low tiers makes this quite likely and carriers can engage her confident that they will less planes than if they attacked one of her supporting team mates. Playing on the receiving end, it's a bit disheartening to know you're going to take repeat drops and it necessitates changing some behaviours. We already know that Agincourt is not agile enough to pretend to Just Dodge™ ordnance but if the CV player is in a hurry, they might flub a torpedo or bomb drop. But what's most important is to properly gauge when to use her Damage Control Party. Don't make the mistake of dousing fires too early or patching up floods you could just heal through. The second and cynical way of looking at things is that Agincourt's lack of anti-aircraft firepower doesn't matter. Few tier V battleships have any kind of anti-aircraft firepower worth getting excited about nor can they see to their own protection. In this sense, Agincourt dispels any illusions of counterplay against a carrier. There's not much anyway, so removing it entirely provides a more "pure" CV vs Surface Ship experience. Man, that's [edited]. And they said there's no such thing as a free lunch. VERDICT: There is now a level zero. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.24km / 10.69km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 8.7km / 7.83km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 9.35km Maximum Firing Range: 15.34km Upgraded includes the use of a camouflage providing a concealment bonus and the use of the Concealment Expert skill and Concealment System Modification 1 upgrade if available. Agincourt has no right being as stealthy as she is. She is the stealthiest battleship in her matchmaking pool. If she were a tier V cruiser, she'd be sneakier than half of them. It's a shame she's not a faster battleship because she could then take full advantage. The closer Agincourt can get, the better. Her armour just isn't thick enough to trade at range and her own AP shell performance is piss-poor until you're up close -- sometimes point-blank-range close. As it is, you can almost (almost!) get her to within secondary battery range before she's detected which is pretty hilarious. You need simply sprint the last 2.37km to start opening fire. Unfortunately, that 2.37km "sprint" is more of a wobbling bag of rancid liposuction meat gently rolling downhill. 2.37km is pretty substantial for a ship that can only manage about 22 knots; it takes her a full 40 seconds to cover that distance. Without the use of island cover, boxing your target in or your opponent making a mistake, Agincourt's not sneaking up on anyone this way. Agincourt's stealth is meant to band-aid a lot of other flaws. Bad AP penetration? Sneak up and get closer. Reliant upon secondaries? You can almost sneak into range. Poor armour protection from long range fire? Keep silent and go stealthy to mitigate it. I mean, Agincourt's stealth certainly helps but again, that lack of speed really makes it difficult to fully capitalize upon. It's only on those claustrophobic, island choked maps where this stealth + speed combination works in her favour and can be used offensively. In all other aspects, Agincourt's stealth becomes a purely defensive ability and used whenever she holds fire. Now this can be used to great effect by an experienced player. Disengaging at the right time will keep you alive, after all. But there are a whole range of "what ifs" that undo it -- the most simple of which being a shadowing lolibote or aircraft. Agincourt's stealth is a trait that's nice to have but it's hard to argue that it's especially powerful without speed to control engagement distances. VERDICT: Cool to have but not game-changing. Final Evaluation As Drachinifel has elucidated, Agincourt has always been a troublesome vessel. Her acquistion caused problems then and it's causing problems now. The only way to get Agincourt at her launch was through gambling through loot boxes. There was no direct sale offered. Using my press account, it took me 11 pulls before she dropped. That's 8,250 doubloons worth if I bought the crates individually. I didn't, I bought a huge bundle so it technically would have cost me 13,750 doubloons. That's the cost of a tier VIII premium for a tier V ship. While receiving dragon signals is nice, I have no practical use for any of the other contents from the containers. Ergo, these loot boxes are worthless to me but for the ship and the permanent camos. If I didn't get access to Agincourt via Wargaming, I would not touch this vessel with a ten foot pole. And that's a shame. This is a really fun ship. I've enjoyed Agincourt immensely and I highly recommend her for anyone that misses brawling in higher tiered vessels. But I hate loot boxes. I cannot and will not support them. So hard pass on Agincourt until she's made available by more conventional means. Thank you for reading.
  15. The following is a review of Haida, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 28th, 2018. I'm so happy, I'm crying. Quick Summary: A stealthy British gunship destroyer with a weird Smoke Generator and a single torpedo launcher. Cost: The equivalent of 5,600 doubloons. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.5.1 , June 20th, 2018 to June 28th, 2018. PROS Surprisingly tough for a tier VII destroyer with 15,700 hit points and large areas of 19mm armour. Enormous alpha strike on her HE shells and excellent HE DPM. Powerful torpedoes that hit for 16,767 damage and travel at 62kts. She can single-fire her torpedoes. Incredibly stealthy. Able to drop its surface detection down to 5.7km. Equipped with a British destroyer Hydroacoustic Search with a 3 minute (!) active time. Uses a Commonwealth Smoke Generator with a 90s emission time, allowing her to continue moving while staying hidden. The power (and comfort) of this ship spikes considerably with access to the Special Upgrades, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 and Smoke Generator Modification 1. CONS Poor gun firing arcs on A and Y turret. Horrible shell flight time and very high ballistic arcs at range. Struggles to do damage against larger targets with poor penetration on AP & HE shells and poor fire chance. Only armed with a single quadruple torpedo launcher with a long reload. Not especially agile with a modest top speed of 36.5 knots and a 630m turning radius. Her Hydroacoustic Search is very short ranged, scarcely operating beyond the auto-detection radius. Her Smoke Generator is selfish and difficult to use to protect allies. As a Commonwealth ship, Haida has limited use as a commander trainer. Good day and welcome to the Canadian Corner. I'm Mouse and this is my grouchy editor from across the pond, Lert, eh. HMCS Haida is finally here. Finally, Canadians will stop complaining on Reddit, eh? Well maybe. Haida and the Tribal-class took a while getting through development. It's not like there isn't a small bit of controversy regarding how well this ship performs. My fellow Canadian, iChase, quite rightly pointed out that she's not going to be a ship for everyone, y'know? Who was the hoser that thought up a gunship with bad guns, eh? And it's not like she's got a lot of torpedoes to fall back on. Anyway, let's get this review started. It's gonna be a long one cause there's lots to go over and I have to pretend I'm not fangirling all over the place. Before we go any further, make sure you look up several reviews before opening your wallets for this one, okay? Like hold your horses, eh? Okay, that's my intro. Good day. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme This isn't a ship for new players. Haida struggles to deal reliable damage with either her guns or her torpedoes. Her ballistic arcs, poor penetration and horrible fire chance makes standing off at a distance and trying to deal damage challenging at best and horribly frustrating at worst. Her single torpedo launcher compounds this difficulty. This is a ship that belongs on the front lines where mistakes get punished absurdly quickly. Her only saving grace is her excellent concealment. Veterans will love this boat. She's uniquely designed to bully control points and extend vision for her team. This ship is a catalyst, facilitating wins by dominating caps and shutting down enemy destroyers. She rewards an aggressive play style that espouses knife-fights at point-blank ranges while harassing larger enemies. - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Haida's Firepower is a story of contrasts. Her guns are temperamental but their HE is incredibly hard hitting. She has only a single torpedo launcher but she has the ability to single fire them and deliver monstrous damage per hit. For sheer raw potential, though, she cannot escape being one of the most difficult ships to use on the attack at tier VII. She gets a rating. Haida has a high number of hit points combined with some minor armour improvements. She earns a rating. Her agility and anti-aircraft firepower are nothing to get too excited over, deserving the same evaluation. It's in Vision Control (Refrigerator) where Haida dominates. Even giving her a rating doesn't do her justice. This isn't a torpedo-boat that skulks, frightened of being discovered. Haida uses her concealment and detection abilities to hunt down those who want to remain hidden and punish those who think themselves safe. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida-Players In this short documentary series, we will be exploring four of the different types of Haida-players. They are easily identified by their distinct behaviors and performance, how they react to threats and the level of contribution they provide to their teams. Being able to recognize one of these Haida players and their potential impacts on the game will go a long way towards improving your experience. Click the image for a Youtube playlist of timeless Canadiana! Options Haida's gimmick is focused upon her two consumables. Haida makes use of the new Royal Navy destroyer Hydroacoustic Search consumable while borrowing a modified version of Perth's "creeping" Smoke Generator. In addition, Haida has access to two different premium camouflage patterns. Consumables Haida's Damage Control Party and Engine Boost consumables are normal for a tier VII destroyer. Haida's Smoke Generator is a modified version of that found on Perth and Huanghe -- two cruisers from the Commonwealth and Pan Asian tech trees respectively. Each cloud only lasts a mere 10 seconds but the generator continues making smoke for 90 seconds. With this, Haida can continue moving at speed (up to 12.5 knots) and remain hidden, covered by a continually deploying smoke cloud. Unlike the cruisers which also use this version of the consumable, Haida's reset timer is 120s / 80s between uses -- half the time of Perth's or Huanghe's. Her Hydroacoustic Search is that of the upcoming Royal Navy destroyer line. It's incredibly short ranged, detecting torpedoes at a mere 2.13km and ships at 3.12km. However, it's duration is 50% longer than that of standard cruiser-versions lasting 180 seconds. Upgrades In your first slot, you have a choice. Magazine Modification 1 will help mitigate some of the Fun and Engaging mechanics in World of Warships if you're adverse to that kind of thing. As a destroyer, you will detonate suddenly and often. If you like to gamble, then take Main Armaments Modification 1 instead. In your second slot, take Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1. This is one of the special upgrades and it will extend her Hydroacoustic Search's active time from 180s to 216s which is insane. You could use Propulsion System Modification 1, but that's for quitters. If you don't have the special upgrade, get one ASAP. In your third slot, take Smoke Generator Modification 1. This is another Special Upgrade. It increases the action time of your Smoke Generator from 90s to 117s. If you don't have access to one, you can use Aiming System Modification 1 like a poor person until you get enough sense of self worth to chase your dreams. Spend your coal on Special Upgrades! Unlike other destroyers, Haida doesn't spend very much time stationary, so the value of Propulsion Modification 2 is slightly reduced. To this end, it's really up to you on whether to take this or to reach for Steering Gears Modification 2 instead. They're both good. Camouflage Haida comes with Type 10 Camouflage. Players may also acquire Haida: Maple Leaf camouflage as an aesthetic swap. Both types provide: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Haida's optional Maple Leaf camouflage. This is camouflage is simply cosmetic and provides the same bonuses as her default camouflage. Haida joins Texas and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya with awesome, over-the-top patriotic camo. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Beaver Haida-Beaver is a passive, inexperienced destroyer player. Timid, her concealment & consumables are used as a security blanket and solely to keep her safe. Haida-Beaver sits within the sanctum of her pond (built from hydro and smoke) and hides from any and all threats. She might venture out and do a little bit of damage, but it's all done at range. This is about as exciting as Molson Canadian beer. You can expect to see her on the second line or off at the extremes of the map border, well away from predators. She'll only venture as close as needed to drop torpedoes or fire her guns and then quickly scurry away. Her success will be limited, like a border humping Shimakaze. Firepower Main Battery: Six 120mm/45 rifles in 3x2 turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Two 102mm/45 rifles in 1x2 turrets mounted where X-turret from the main battery would be located. Torpedoes: Four torpedo tubes in 1x4 launchers mounted amidships. Balancing the Tribal-class destroyers for World of Warships was never going to be easy. The 120mm/45 guns aren't exactly known for their incredible striking power, rate of fire or their excellent ballistic qualities. Similarly, being limited to a single torpedo launcher greatly hinders Haida's damage potential. She has the worst weapon arrangement of any of the tier VII destroyers. These are not easy weapons to use and played improperly, some will struggle to see reasonable damage output. The Guns The single biggest disappointment I have with Haida's weapon systems are her uninspiring AP shells. For small caliber guns, AP shells are important against larger and more heavily armoured targets that are capable of shrugging off their HE damage entirely. Poor energy retention saps the penetration power of Haida's AP over distance, creating a very limited window at which this ammunition can be used effectively. Even slight angling by larger targets will foil their damage attempts. Among the tier VII destroyers, Haida's 120mm AP shells have the worst penetration values outside of 9km, being overtaken by the 128mm German AP. This issue of penetration is compounded by the low damage Haida's AP shells do when compared to her HE. There's only 200 hit points difference between them -- when factoring in for 0.33x multiplier of a penetrating hit, this disparity drops down to just 66 hit points. Given the unreliability of AP shells between overpenetrating hits and ricochets, Haida's AP is only worth firing if one of two conditions are met: Her HE shells must be completely incapable of damaging a given target, or... Her AP shells must be capable of delivering citadel damage. In all other cases, firing HE is superior given the bonus chance of starting fires and the resulting module damage that can occur from the blast of HE shells. This is owing not only to the deficiencies of Haida's AP shells, but the strengths of her HE. Whatever lamentations I have about Haida's AP shells are largely corrected with her HE. These munitions are not without their issues, but I'm of the opinion that their strengths far outweigh their deficiencies. Haida's core strength lies in the striking power of her HE shells. Her HE shells are listed with a maximum damage of 1,900 per hit, the same as Soviet 130mm rifles. Accounting for penetration damage, each of her hits will strike for 627hp, giving her a broadside alpha strike of up to 3,762 damage per volley. This is the second largest alpha strike at her tier, just behind Blyskawica's own 3,927hp if she hits with all seven of her guns. Haida has a faster reload than her Polish-twin, though, and she unleashes the highest damage per minute of any of the tier VII destroyers, outstripping even the B-Hull Mahan's five, rapid-fire 127mm/38s. She's fully capable of out-trading any of her contemporaries and can even make higher tiered lolitbotes balk at the power of her bite. DPM of the destroyer-caliber tier VII gunships. Haida has got it where it counts but it's one Hell of a close race. I must emphasize that this is limited to soft targets, however. The small caliber of Haida's HE shells leads to penetration issues. Stock, she may only directly damage areas of 19mm or less, which thankfully accounts for all destroyers and the superstructures of larger ships within her Matchmaking. This also includes most cruisers at tier VII or less, though thicker hull plating begins to appear around tier VI for some of the heavy cruisers. By tier VIII+ only British light cruisers remain vulnerable. For battleships, the range of targets is considerably smaller, with only tier V battleships having extremities she can punish. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells broadens the number of targets she can damage, but it by no means is a cure all. The skill increases her penetration to be able to damage areas of 25mm or less. This provides no benefit for engaging enemy destroyers whatsoever. It adds a handful of cruisers to her list of available targets and all of the tier VI and VII battleships as well. However, Haida can not directly damage the extremities of battleships nor the hulls of American and German heavy cruisers at tier VIII or higher. Against these targets, she's limited to dealing direct damage to superstructures and these areas saturate quickly. Haida must switch to her torpedoes or AP shells to hurt these more heavily armoured behemoths. She's not likely to hurt them with fire. She's a poor fire starter. Her fire chance will fluctuate based on skill choice with as low as 4% per shell and as high as 8% with a combination of Demolition Expert and the two fire-chance increasing signals. This pales behind the 7% to 11% on ships like Blyskawica and Gadjah Mada. Destroyers already struggle to stack fires effectively and Haida is unlikely to tax an opponent's Damage Control Party with the blazes she sets. This makes Inertial Fuse for HE Shells more valuable in my opinion -- better to play to her strengths rather than attempt to prop up a weakness. Haida's strength resides in delivering these meaty hits with her HE shells, bringing all six guns to bear and chewing on their hides. Fires per Minute of Tier VII Destroyers before mitigation from the target is applied. "Upgraded" includes the use of Basic Fire Training, Demolition Expert and both fire boosting signals. Haida is never going to be considered a "good" fire starter. You can invest heavily into increasing her chances to set blazes if you wish, but you're unlikely to make more than a single fire stick per minute on an enemy battleship. Note the extreme difference between Haida's fire starting and Gadjah Mada's. They both use the same 120mm/45 guns but Haida uses a modified HE shell with increased damage at the cost of reduced fire chance. This will turn a lot of players away. The Tribal-class destroyers do not have particularly good firing arcs, which necessitates presenting more of a broadside to engage with all three of her turrets. The strengths and flexibility of the ship's gun coverage was supposed to reside in their B and X turrets. With X-turret removed to make room for a 102mm dual-purpose secondary, this leaves all of the heavy lifting on B's shoulders. Thankfully, they're a broad set of shoulders. Not only does B-turret boast great fire angles , but it can also rotate 360º, giving faster coverage from left to right while Haida is sailing evasive on the retreat. This is good news given the modest 10º/s rotation rate of her weapons. In most engagements, Haida will be able to easily bring four of her guns to bear, but you have to give up a lot of side to fire her Y-turret and that's necessary to really capitalize on this ship's strengths. Of course, stacking said damage presents more of a challenge than it should. Other than her fire arcs, Haida has poor shell ballistics. Up to 7km ranges, they're comparable to American 127mm/38s. I'm aware this isn't a flattering comparison given the flaws of American destroyer-caliber guns. Unfortunately, things get worse after that. British 120mm/45s have worse shell flight times than the Yanks. Seriously. These aren't weapons you'll want to stack Advanced Fire Training on. The shell flight time over distance is just too punitive to land hits against anything further out than 9km. So let's recap: The fire arcs on her main battery are not great. Her shell ballistics for HE and AP are terrible. She has bad AP penetration. The small caliber of her HE shells makes her HE penetration bad too. Her HE shells have a terrible fire chance. Her HE shells hit like a truck, however. Haida can out trade just about any destroyer she comes across, provided you can land the hits. Success with Haida as a gunship thus resides in emphasizing the accuracy and frequency of her HE hits against vulnerable targets and switching over to AP only when citadel opportunities arise. In both of these cases, this clearly involves getting in close -- dangerously so. These are knife-fighting ranges and Haida's artillery would seem to point that she should specialize towards hunting and engaging enemy destroyers, with cruisers and battleships as targets of opportunity. This premise is largely reinforced by her torpedo armament. The Fish Haida only has a single torpedo launcher. You can forget any pretense of playing this destroyer as a torpedo-boat for obvious reasons. While having a quadruple launcher is nice, it also comes with the downside of a downright painful 96 second reload. These two traits combined with a mediocre range of 8km may make her torpedoes seem like a complete write-off but they're not without some very strong merits. When compared to work-in-progress Royal Navy destroyer torpedoes, Haida's fish look amazing being comparable in performance to those off the tier X Daring-class in all aspects but range. Haida's torpedoes individually hit almost as hard as Shiratusyu's and Akatsuki's torpedoes. At 16,767 damage per hit and a 282% base flooding chance, Haida can devour large chunks of the enemy hit points with just a couple of strikes. This sits just behind the 17,233 damage and 287% flooding chance of the IJN fish. Haida is fully capable of one-shotting many of the destroyers she faces with a single torpedo. Haida's torpedoes have a 62 knot speed. They close the distance quickly and are on par with the IJN torpedoes at her tier. Haida's torpedoes are an improvement on the Japanese fish, though, with 200m less detectability and 1.2s less reaction time at 8.4s. Haida may single fire her torpedoes. Admittedly this is very difficult to exploit to its fullest. The potential on paper is devastating. In theory, it should allow you to guarantee more hits per launch when precisely aimed. Similarly, it opens the possibility of stacking flood effects to tax and overwhelm the Damage Control Party of enemy vessels provided you can space the time between hits. Finally, it can be used to bait ships into believing you're out of torpedoes when they dodge the first torpedo only to be caught out when they manoeuvre by the other three. However, these techniques are locked behind a very high skill wall barring the incompetence of your opponents. Make no mistake, while there is a lot of potency in Haida's single torpedo mount, it's not easy to use. I didn't forget about Haida's secondary. The British 102mm/45 is a great mid-tier backup weapon. Its high rate of fire is wonderful and it has a better fire chance that Haida's primary battery. There's the added bonus having great fields of fire, so it's very easy to bring it in on a fight. There are two problems with it, though. The first, it's linked to Haida's AA guns. Enabling one enables the other and with a long reach, this can give Haida's position away prematurely which can get you killed. Second, Haida's secondary is very short ranged -- a mere 4.0km. You're going to have to get in stupidly close to make this work for you, or you're going to have to give up on more advantageous skills and upgrades. In playtesting, I did manage to sink two ships with Haida's stock-secondary, so it's not useless. Like all of Haida's weapon systems, it's simply awkward to use. Summary Trying to deal damage at range will yield poor results. Haida is a knife-fighter. Get her in close. If you haven't yet learned how to stack damage with single-fire torpedoes, now is the time. She has a secondary. Sometimes it will kill stuff. Make sure to brag about it when you do. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : On the whole, Haida's weapon systems are the worst at tier VII. It's not by much. Sims and Minsk are similarly lacking. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Moose Dangerous when crossed, the Haida-Moose is one that plays the role of a forward scout. Her Smoke Generator and Hydroacoustic Search are used defensively but she places herself up on the front lines to make sure her team has vision for as much time as possible. She prefers to keep enemies at arm's reach. If startled, Haida-moose may charge unexpectedly and can be devastating in these limited encounters. However, she's skittish and is just as likely to flee. Her suicidal bull charges are just as dangerous to Haida-Moose herself as the vehicle their opponents are driving. Haida-Moose will win more often, but no more so than any other destroyer. Haida-Moose's contributions to her team are unpredictable and caution should be exercised whenever you encounter one. Defense Hit Points: 15,700hp Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour: 16mm bow and rear quarter and 19mm stern, sides & deck. It's hella weird. See below. Normally for destroyers, the only thing worth talking about is their relative hit point total to one another. Haida comes out alright here. She ranks third overall for hit points among the tier VII DDs which is pretty impressive, what with Z-39 and Leberecht Maass to compete against. Clearly, Haida has been eating too much poutine. The healthy slug of hit points Haida boasts further improves her ability to out-trade enemy destroyers with her high HE DPM. But there's a further oddity with her armour layout. Large areas of Haida's hull and her entire deck are 19mm thick. This can provide some limited amount of defense against small caliber (114mm or less) HE shells, particularly those fired from battleship secondaries. Finally, the vulnerability of her main battery is worth mentioning. Without Main Armaments Modification 1 or Preventative Maintenance, you can expect Haida's main battery guns to be knocked out frequently. Like Blyskawica, her guns mounts are not fully enclosed turrets. Her gun shields are a mere 6mm thick with open backs. It is not uncommon for high explosive shells to disable one or multiple turrets in an engagement. For a destroyer who is reliant upon winning DPM races at close quarters, this can be crippling. Choose your skills and upgrades with this in mind. Hit point totals of tier VII destroyers. For a gunship, Haida is very well setup to bully other tier VII ships. It's only the Germans that outweigh her in this regard, but she easily caps them in damage per minute totals when firing HE shells. Angling will be key for besting their high AP shell damage. Make sure you take Survivability Expert to further boost your hit point totals. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Haida's already close here, but to top German DDs she's going to need much thicker armour, a bloated hit point pool or access to a Repair Party. Agility Top Speed: 36.5kts Turning Radius: 630m Rudder Shift Time: 3.8s Maximum Rate of Turn: 7.5º/s There's a whole lot of "meh" here. Haida's top speed is alright. It's not great, though -- not in a tier populated by the likes of the Leningrad-class (43 knots), Blyskawica (39 knots) and Sims (38.5 knots). Haida is more reliant upon her concealment rather than her flat out speed to control engagement distances. In a running battle, she's at a disadvantage. She's also pretty lackluster with her turning radius. At 630m, you're going to need some advance warning when enemy fish are on their way. You're also going to need a bit of distance from enemy cruisers and battleships in order to dodge effectively. Keep this in mind. Her overall rate of turn is on the low side. Haida's not going to win any prizes for agility. She's comparable to Leberecht Maass in overall agility which isn't a very flattering. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Yeah, this isn't going to happen. It's only thanks to Shiratsuyu and Z-39 that she comes away with a rating at all. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Wolverine Small and scrappy, Haida-Wolverine challenges cap-circle dominance and is eager to fight with other destroyers. Though a solitary hunter, she's a team player and she uses her consumables to get the upper hand when contesting caps and to ensure the enemy never gets the drop on her friends. Haida-Wolverine is looking for a close-range brawl and she's going to use her concealment value to get it. At this tier, you can expect to see her smoke being used more aggressively rather than just an escape tool. Spotting her in a cap circle won't cause her to immediately flee and you're going to have to dig her out with planes, radar or focused fire. Expect some clever use of her consumables and good coordination with team mates. Haida will win a lot more once you're comfortably at this level. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 102mm / 40mm / 20mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 2.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 9.4 / 13 / 36.6 I wish I could just say that Haida's anti-aircraft firepower sucks and be done with it, but there's one more point to cover. Disabling Haida's AA firepower to keep her from being prematurely spotted by aircraft also disables her secondary. Not cool. Haida's AA defense is pretty shoddy, but she's in good company at tier VII. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Not a whole lot. Tier VII AA power is pretty shoddy and no one really pays it much mind anyway. Just showing up with a specialized AA build alone would make her better than most of her contemporaries, but that's true for any of the DDs. Moving on. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range (stock/min): 6.49km / 5.67km Air Detection Range (stock/min): 3.90km / 3.51km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.31km Main Battery Firing Range: 12.3km Detection Consumables: Smoke Generator / Hydroacoustic Search Haida has the best surface detection of any of the tier VII destroyers. It's not even a close contest. Her surface detection is so low, it almost appears that she has the Concealment Modification 1 upgrade built in (we'll see what happens with HMS Cossack!). It's only when Haida is compared to ships at this higher tier that her surface detection appears almost normal. In fact, out of all of the ships she may encounter, Haida ranks 12th out of some 50 rival destroyers for best concealment. Those that out-spot her are primarily IJN destroyers. Few of these destroyers present any kind of threat to Haida. Generally speaking, Haida can outfight anything that out-spots her and she can outspot anything that could be considered a threat, giving her the opportunity to control the engagement. Ten Best Upgraded Concealment Values Between Tiers 5 & 9 5.37km - Kagero (8), Asashio (8) & Harekaze (8) 5.41km - Fujin (5), Kamikaze R (5), Kamikaze (5), Minekaze (5), Mutsuki (5) 5.44km - Yugumo (9) 5.66km - Okhotnik (5) & Chung Mu (9) 5.67km - Haida (7) 5.80km - Benson (8), Loyang (8), Hsienyang (8), Fletcher (9), Black (9) 5.81km - Nicholas (5), Hatsuharu (6), Shiratsuyu (7) 5.94km - Akizuki (8), Z-46 (9) 5.97km - Jianwei (5), Gallant (6) 6.08km - Ognevoi (8) Smoke Generator As good as her surface detection is there will be times where she has to reach for her Smoke Generator. And here's where Haida gets weird. For a destroyer, Haida is unique, deploying the same "creeping smoke" as HMAS Perth or Huanghe. This consumable constantly deploys smoke for one minute and thirty seconds (or up to one minute and forty-seven seconds with the Smoke Generator Modification 1 special upgrade). However, each smoke cloud disappears in ten seconds (nine and a half with the special upgrade). This allows Haida to remain mobile. In order to stay hidden, Haida must maintain a speed of 12.5 knots or less. Haida moves at between 9.0 and 10.4 knots at 1/4 speed, with the latter value being from a combination of a Sierra Mike signal and her Engine Boost consumable. You can flutter the engines up to 1/2 power for brief intervals to get a little more thrust, just be careful not to exceed the 12.5 knots. Combined with her Hydroacoustic Search, while moving in smoke, Haida trivializes the dangers of incoming torpedoes. Haida's smoke is very selfish. She lacks on team play as she cannot effectively cover allies with her consumable without a high degree of coordination. This isn't something I would expect most friendly players encountered in Random or Ranked Battles to know how to do, especially in the heat of combat. Poor understanding of Haida's consumable will only get her allies killed that presumptuously attempt to rely on it in a moment of crisis. It is possible for Haida to provide cover. There are three ways to do it: The ship needs to synch their speed with Haida and sail in close proximity. Haida needs to call out her speed and announce any course corrections. This is best done in division over voice coms. Haida sails in front of a larger ship that needs cover while both ships move at high speed. Haida herself will not be concealed in smoke -- constantly outrunning it, but the friendly ship will be. Both ships park their butt in what amounts to a single puff of continually reissued smoke. Mind those incoming torpedoes. Haida's mobility with her smoke is very welcome in situations where the battle progresses and you need to redeploy. Haida can accelerate out of her smoke and bring it with her, allowing her to setup in a second location and continue making aggressive plays. The catch is that even when she's not spotted, Haida broadcasts her position. The palls of moving smoke are hard to miss. You cannot count on taking anyone but the most distracted players unawares this way. Speaking of awareness... Hydroacoustic Search Haida is the first ship to be released with what appears to be the new Royal Navy destroyer Hydroacoustic Search consumable. Haida was the test-bed for this new consumable and it's proven to be quite powerful. At first blush, it doesn't look like it, though. The range appears too short to be used offensively and like her Smoke Generator, Haida's Hydroacoustic Search appears very selfish, being only able to spot torpedoes in her immediate vicinity. However, the duration of this consumable more than makes up for any lack of range, providing Haida (and her team) with increased situational awareness. This facilitates Haida's presence up on the front lines. The longer she can remain there confidently, the more her team benefits. Her torpedo detection may seem small, but it provides Haida with all of the time she needs to manoeuvre. The 2.13km range can be modified with Vigilance if a player desires, bringing her torpedo detection range up to 2.66km. For a destroyer, none of these values present much in the way of concern. Short of point blank drops (aerial or otherwise), Haida should have no problems avoiding torpedoes in any given situation so long as her Hydroacoustic Search is running. If she's upgraded with Hydracoustic Search Modification 1, the run time of her consumable is three minutes and forty-six seconds which is an enormous window of relative immunity to torpedo attack. However, there's one more way of putting Haida's Hydroacoustic Search to use -- and that's on the attack. While her Hydroacoustic Search picks up enemy vessels just 1.12km beyond standard auto-detection range, this buffer is more than enough for Haida to abuse. Whether its creeping up on enemies hiding in their own smoke or slipping into range with her own, Haida is stealthy enough to pull it off. What's more, her guns have a tiny stealth bloom in smoke of 2.31km, giving Haida 800m of stealth-firing window to begin hammering targets without being seen in return. For a destroyer with such a high DPM, this is often all that's needed to doom an enemy DD (or a low health cruiser). With the long duration of Haida's Hydroacoustic Search, these attacks don't need to be rushed. You can take your time ensuring you get the proper setup, outlasting enemy Surveillance Radar or even German destroyer Hydroacoustic Search, letting you take them unawares. Crappy Weapons, God Tier Concealment Haida's excellent Vision Control largely explains why her weapon systems are of poor quality. Were her guns or torpedoes any better, she'd be overpowered. Seriously. Summary: Her Smoke Generator is selfish, but it's at least very flexible. Her Hydroacoustic Search's duration is its best feature. It's amazingly comfortable. Haida is stealthy as all get out.. She has no right being this sneaky, especially when firing her guns from smoke. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : The only way Haida is giving up her crown here would be if another destroyer was added with similar concealment levels with American-style smoke and either Surveillance Radar or a cruiser's Hydroacoustic Search. They'd have to downtier Loyang. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Cobra-Chicken Psychotically aggressive with seemingly little to no sense of self-preservation. Haida Cobra-Chicken will wreck you and poop on your corpse. Unlike the reckless bull-charge of Haida-Moose, Haida Cobra-Chicken's hatred for you is calculated despite appearances. You can think you're safe, hiding in smoke or behind cover, but she'll come and get you. She'll come and get you and you won't see her coming until she's hissing in your face. She doesn't care if you're a destroyer or HMS Belfast. God help you if she migrates into the cap you're contesting. The existence of any enemies on her territory is met with extreme aggression until they're dead or driven off. Haida Cobra-Chicken will abuse her concealment to make seemingly reckless plays to pick off enemies at point blank ranges. She'll knife fight not only with destroyers but cruisers and battleships when opportunities arise. Most of her kills will happen inside of 4km ranges and you'd never expect this level of aggression from something so derpy looking. Enemy radar and hydro is only a temporary deterrent and, like an aggressively swung umbrella, it can only keep enemies safe for so long. Her consumables are used to close the distance unseen, abusing vision to bring hot, poutine-flavoured death to people who dismissed her out of hand. She'll then make her escape to go back to nesting upon her cap circle until the next fool trespasses on what's rightfully hers. The test environment for Haida was about as nightmarish as it gets. All of her balance testing was done amidst the release of the American cruiser line. It was not uncommon for between one third to half of the enemy team having access to Surveillance Radar. If Haida could thrive in that environment, she can make it anywhere. A DeWolf in Sheep's Clothing Haida is a skill-hungry ship. You're going to feel starved for skill points, with so many viable and competitive choices, you're going to feel stretched thin. I played several different builds over the course of play testing and it's the one below that I found worked best for me. Start with Priority Target. This lets you know when it's time to get out of Dodge. Next take the no-brainer, Last Stand at tier two. At tier 3, take Survivabiliy Expert to increase your hit point total. This saved me more times than I care to admit. And then move up to tier 4 to take Concealment Expert. Cuz, duh. From here, it comes down to improving the quality and quantity of her HE direct damage. Basic Fire Training comes first. Haida primarily picks on destroyers and this will help ensure her dominance. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will facilitate doing direct damage to cruisers and battleships. And finally Adrenaline Rush will further increase her DPM. There are lots of other viable skills, but they are, in my opinion, less worth while than the ones selected. Still, I highlighted skills that are reasonable substitutions. Here's why they didn't make my cut: I value information more than I do a better RNGesus roll. So Preventative Maintenance is less valuable to me than Priority Target. Haida can't out turn her turrets, so Expert Marksman is more for comfort than a necessity. Smoke Screen Expert can be a viable choice if you plan to division often with Haida. This will help your allies cuddle in your smoke screen. Haida doesn't set fires well. Demolition Expert can help pad her up to Sims-levels of fire starting, but it's bit of a waste. Vigilance is a good skill if you intend to division often. It also has some value in competitive for team play. Radio Location isn't really necessary if you focus on dominating capture points. Eventually they'll have to come to you. Besides, Haida isn't quite fast enough to put this to the best use. ... and finally... If you have access to the special upgrades for smoke and hydro, then Superintendent isn't necessary. Most games will end by the time you've used 3 charges. Still, for those marathon, nail-biter games, this could be nice to have. So get those special upgrades. Spend that coal! Final Evaluation I have been horribly stressed while following the development of Haida. It was really hard not to let bias take over my wants and wishes for Haida. I'm Canadian. Haida is my ship. It's likely the only Canadian vessel I'm ever going to see in World of Warships. I wanted her to be good. Worse, I recognized that I wanted her to be perceived as a good ship. I was excited about her. I wanted others to be excited along with me, even if I understood this was foolish and damaging to any review I might do. More than anything else, I feared Haida would end up bland and uninteresting. I could stomach her underperforming. If she was fun to play, I could forgive a lot. As someone who writes reviews, this is incredibly dangerous and I hope I've been successful in reigning this in. If you feel yourself cautious about this ship based on this review, then I've been successful. If you're overcome by hype, please, please, please, stop reading this and go find another review of Haida before your money explodes recklessly out of your wallet and into Wargaming's coffers. Haida that we've been given is a destroyer-hunter. She specializes in close-range knife fights where her high damage output overwhelms her opponents in short order. Contrary to American destroyers, she doesn't do this grace of excellent gun handling, phenomenal fire arcs and fast-firing weapons. Instead she relies on stealth to get in close, mitigating the weaknesses of her poor arcs and shell flight times to deliver several high damage hits before her opponent can react. If a fight opens up at range, she can still maintain a DPM advantage over select lolibotes, but her superiority falls away quickly. It's ill advised to attempt to pursue all but the most badly damaged vessels. Her ideal engagement distances are within 7km and she can be absolutely devastating at closer ranges. I cannot stress this enough: Haida's ideal engagement range is at distances that would be suicide to any other vessel. What is most remarkable about her is that she not only pulls it off, she excels in this environment.With her tiny surface detection, her access to a weird creeping Smoke Generator and an even weirder Hydroacoustic Search, she is well suited to not only closing into these ranges and engaging the enemies, but doing so without giving herself away. These close-range engagements are key to her success and not just with enemy destroyers. The closer you are, the easier it is to land hits, not only with her guns but with torpedoes too. Though Haida is limited to just a single torpedo-launcher, her individual fish are incredibly hard hitting. Haida deals nearly as much damage with her four torpedoes as Sims does with eight. Haida lacks the overwhelming alpha strike normally associated with close-range torpedo attacks, however. You can't count on being able to land Devastating Strike on capital ships. There's little chance of her ever nuking anything but a lower-tier battleship down from full health short of a lucky detonation. Thus attempts at these suicide rushes will, at best, cripple a target and leave you open to reprisals. This does work devastatingly well against cruisers, however, provided you can survive the gamut of Hydroacoustic Search and Surveillance Radar pickets that will be trying to sniff you out. Haida is a weird destroyer, borrowing elements from Kidd, Loyang and Perth with just enough Fujin in there to make you blink. I have found Haida to be a wonderful fit for me and I played the absolute Hell out of her during testing with over 150 games in her final iteration. But therein, I must stress caution. I remember my first dozen games played and it was a steep learning curve. Haida and I fought one another until things clicked and I didn't like her during this learning period. For some of the other testers I've spoken to, this kind of connection never happened. Enjoyment in Haida remained elusive for them and it could happen to you too. Your own mileage can (and will inevitably) vary. Would I Recommend? I suspect Haida will be a source of frustration for many players. This will come from three distinct areas. Players that want to like her but can't make her work for them. I sympathize, really. She's not an easy destroyer to play. I suspect there will be a number of people that pick her up, hit the wall and relegate this ship to a port queen. Players that end up with a Haida on their team that doesn't push. For a ship with so many tools available to facilitate contesting capture points and spotting, few things will be as more infuriating as seeing a Haida that plays passively and hides in the back in their own smoke. Players that end up with a well-played Haida on the enemy team. This is the only thing that's going to be worse than a bad Haida on your team is a good one on the enemy team. While the skill floor is high on Haida, in the right hands she's an absolute monster. She's well set up to bait radar, survive and then double back and do all sorts of mean things to your team. Without coordination and/or aggression, putting her down is difficult. It's not going to be fun watching your destroyers melt to preventable losses like sitting in their own smoke. It pays to keep Haida's strengths in mind -- she is not an easy destroyer to play. Please don't take just my word for it. Check out some of the other reviews on HMCS Haida before taking the plunge. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No. Haida doesn't have the raw alpha strike needed to contend with charging bots in Co-Op. You can make her work, but you'd be much better suited with Leningrad, Sims, Blyskawica, Z-39 or any of the tech tree ships. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. In the chaos of Random Battles, Haida shines. She'll earn you lots of credits and experience. There are two downsides to keep in mind, though. There's no Commonwealth tech tree and there's never likely to be any Commonwealth tech tree. Haida has very little utility as a trainer until you max her commander to 19 skill points and farm elite commander XP which can then be distributed elsewhere as needed. She's not easy to use. While a given players' mileage will vary, Haida can seem very lackluster to those unwilling or unable to play aggressively. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. Haida is well suited to Ranked Battles where destroyer duels and selfish plays are heavily rewarded. She will struggle towards the end-game of matches, however, when there are just larger ships left. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. Haida is a ship steeped in history having seen a lot of combat in WW2 and Korea. In addition, she's a museum ship. She's the last of the surviving Tribal-class destroyers and the first Tribal-class and first Canadian vessel added to World of Warships. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. I love this ship. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. In Closing I owe a lot of thanks yous for this one. Chobittsu went above and beyond helping provide artwork for this review. Many of my Canadian readers stepped forward with suggestions and support, eagerly anticipating this review. Finally, Pigeon_of_War at Wargaming has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to help make HMCS Haida a reality. He has been wonderful for listening attentively to feedback from the North American community regarding including Haida in World of Warships. On a more personal note, he's been very attentive at addressing my concerns about this ship during its development. I can't thank him enough. And that's it! I'm done! Haida's published and Hell-month is over. I've been working non-stop since mid-May on reviews. Thunderer, Kronshtadt, Monaghan, Salem, Massachusetts and now Haida -- six weeks straight of reviews with little more than a couple days off. I can finally breathe and enjoy summer. I dunno when the next review will be -- probably not for a fortnight. If you're looking for me, I'll be pool side, soaking up some summer sun before the Canadian snows come again on Tuesday. Thank you all for reading. If you enjoy my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon. P.S. There's no codes or clues in this review! Spare your eyes!  Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.
  16. Tank_Grrl

    30 days Premium. How?

    UPDATE: Apparently I got it from Verizon (but I don't remember ever linking them to my wargaming account). -------------------------------------- I logged in today and got 30 days Premium added to my account. I'm not complaining, but I don't know how or why? I started playing exactly one month ago because of a nice Amazon Prime starter pack. Is it like a new Amazon Prime bonus or something - (I checked and didn't see anything new)? Or maybe are they billing me? I don't see any charges... Hmm... happy accident?
  17. WHY DOES THE ITALIAN DD "Leone", (A Premium DD) LACK any Depth Charges? Apparently WG dropped the ball yet again and failed to provide it's Premium DD's with means of defeating submarines. I am getting seriously dissatisfied with the lack of clear oversight routinely exhibited by WG in terms of how they do and develop stuff. The biases are clearly obvious, as is WG's contempt for it's customer base. Apparently they have a routine habit of breaking their promises, (Such as the famous "No Submarines" Pledge.) and also of continuously nerfng their premium ships. This is getting ridiculous. No wonder people are leaving the game.
  18. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Congress

    The following is a review of Congress, the tier VIII American Large 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 0.10.9. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. I'm approaching this review a little differently. I want to examine Congress the way an experienced player might; one that followed the quick descriptions made about her around the time of her development. Namely: "Congress is a tier VIII Alaska with two fewer gun barrels." I want to explore how close this kind of shorthand is and if it actually reflects how Congress plays. To this end, I will be directly comparing Congress to Alaska; a ship that has since been retired for "too much battle influence" (or too much popularity). For someone fearing of missing out, knowing Alaska's fate (and that of most large cruiser premiums in World of Warships), Congress might not be available forever. So let's get stuck in. PROS Congress has the largest hit point pool of the tier VIII cruisers. Access to a Repair Party. Excellent armour protection for a cruiser with 229mm belt, 27mm extremities and 36mm thick deck. Excellent AP performance, including good penetration and improved auto-ricochet angles. Good accuracy with battlecruiser dispersion and 2.05 sigma. Good anti-aircraft firepower. Access to Surveillance Radar. CONS Fires burn for a full 60 seconds. Main battery only consists of seven guns, making bad RNG feel a lot more punitive. Floaty ballistics at long range. Poor damage output and fire setting. Bad rearward firing angles. Sluggish handling and poor overall agility. Bad concealment. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Wargaming really missed the mark when designing Congress. She struggles to win any of the fights she picks. While she is tough for a cruiser, she's not battleship tough. For a new player, this means low-damage games or quick returns to port. Sometimes both. The real damning element here is her reload time and the small number of gun barrels. She punishes bad aim and bad RNG can punish even well aimed shots. For a ship that struggles to put out the damage, this is the kind of thing that quickly erodes player confidence. For someone inexperienced with the game, Congress is setup to frustrate rather than delight enterprising players. For veterans, Congress' durability is more exploitable. Similarly, her vision control, grace of her consumables, can turn key moments in game play. Finally, the improved auto-ricochet angles on her AP rounds is also something that can be exploited. However, the small number of guns limits this last influence considerably. There's some carry potential here, mostly in a team-comp setting where being able to bring a radar with heals matters. Options There are a few differences to note between Alaska and Congress here, but they're both very influential. The most notable is that Alaska has access to the 6th upgrade slot while Congress does not. The second is a modification to her Repair Party consumable, with Congress having one fewer charge than Alaska. Third, if you take her Catapult Fighter, Congress launches 3 aircraft instead of Alaska's 4. I've highlighted these differences in purple. Consumables At a glance, Alaska and Congress have the same consumables, but there are some slight differences between the options available to the two ships. Congress's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser. It has a 60s reset timer with a 5 second active period and unlimited charges. You have two choices for her second slot. Defensive AA Fire provides a 50% sustained DPS increase for 40 seconds along with quadruple flak burst damage. This has an 80s reset timer. Congress receives the American cruiser bonus with this consumable, starting with four charges instead of three. Hydroacoustic Search detects torpedoes at 3.5km and enemy ships at 5.0km. This has a 100s active period and a 120s reset timer. It comes with three charges base. Her third slot presents the choice of three options: Her Surveillance Radar has a 10km range, a 35s active period and a 120s reset timer. It comes with three charges. Her Catapult Fighter launches 3 planes. The aircraft remain active and on station for 60s at a range of 3km. It has a 90s reset timer and three charges base. Finally, her Spotter Aircraft increases her firing range by 20% for 100s (to 21km). This has a 240s reset timer and comes with four charges base. Finally, Congress' has a Repair Party. This comes with two charges base. Each charge queues up to 50% of penetration damage and 10% of citadel damage. She heals up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds with an 80 second reset timer. Upgrades There's a lot to cover here, including multiple Special Upgrades which can be purchased through Armory for 17,000. Remember that Alaska can take the sixth upgrade slots while Congress is limited to these five. Otherwise, their choices of upgrades are identical in the current meta. For your first slot: Main Armaments Modification 1 is arguably your best choice to help keep your guns in the game longer. However, there are some choices (and I can't believe I'm about to suggest the following): Given the extra burden being placed on Congress' Damage Control Party with the unmitigated disaster that is submarine implementation at the moment, there's a good argument to be made for taking the special upgrade, Damage Control Party Modification 1. I don't feel this is optimal but I would be remiss not to suggest it given the careful timing needed to kill torpedo guidance on top of Congress' vulnerability to fire. Finally, extra range makes this ship easier to play, so the special upgrade, Spotting Aircraft Modification 1 is worth mentioning. Alaska is unlikely to take this mod given her improved gunnery range over Congress. For your second slot, it's again a glut of choice. The special upgrade Surveillance Radar Modification 1 is arguably best. This is closely followed by Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 which is also a special upgrade. Taking this precludes you from using her Defensive AA Fire consumable, though (not a terrible loss, admittedly). Finally, if you cannot afford either, default to Damage Control System Modification 1. In your third slot, things calm down considerably. Aiming System Modification 1 is your best choice, hands down. Like, it's not even close. However, if you hate slow turret traverse rates and find yourself losing out on damage because of how much time you spend waiting for turrets to catch up, then there's a case to be made for Main Battery Modification 2. In your fourth slot, we're back to a glut of choice. Damage Control System Modification 2 will help reduce the damage over time effects from fires and floods. Steering Gears Modification 1 is my preferred choice as it helps avoid damage in the first place. However, I don't think that she mathematically exceeds the efficiency of DCSM2 by much, if at all. Finally, there's a VERY strong case to be made for Propulsion System Modification 1 in the current submarine-meta. Island camping is the best way to avoid torpedoes and fast acceleration throws off their tracking considerably. In your fifth slot: Concealment System Modification 1 is best. There's a case to be made for Steering Gears Modification 2 as an option, particularly when paired with the same upgrade in slot four. Alaska has a sixth slot. Congress does not. Camouflage The main difference here is that Alaska has tier IX permanent camo with improved economic gains. Congress's camo provides the usual tier VIII bonuses: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. Alaska receives -20%. +50% to experience gains. Alaska receives +100%. Congress comes with the dark blue camo scheme. You can unlock the (much better looking) pale grey version through completing the 5th tab of the American Cruiser Collection. Differences in Options The biggest difference between Alaska and Congress is one of tiering. Being a higher tier, Alaska has more upgrade options and better camouflage. The only other differences of note are with their consumables, with one being minor (one fewer aircraft for their catapult fighter squadrons) and one major (Congress receiving one fewer charges of her Repair Party than Alaska). To me, only the Repair Party disparity really stands out as something somewhat unexpected for a tier VIII version of Alaska but it's easy enough to justify if the ship was too survivable at her tier. We'll have to keep this difference in mind for the Durability section below. Firepower Main Battery: Seven 305mm/50 guns spread between three turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration with the guns laid out in a 2-3-2 pattern. Secondary Battery: Twelve 127mm/38 guns in 6x2 turrets with one superfiring forward over the main battery forward, one superfiring aft and the other four divided evenly along the sides. Congress has the same AP penetration values as Puerto Rico and Alaska. For a large cruiser, her AP penetration is decent, but not top of the line. The 305mm/50 guns found on Congress, Alaska and Puerto Rico are excellent weapons. Their AP shells boast improved auto-ricochet angles, akin to the "American Piercing" shells found upon their heavy cruisers. They do not begin checking for ricochet until they strike a plate angled 60º from the perpendicular as opposed to 45º for most AP rounds. They are not guaranteed to ricochet until they hit a plate 67.5º from the perpendicular instead of 60º. This almost (ALMOST) makes their AP shells the only ammunition you need to have loaded. However, there are still many instances where their HE shells are still necessary. Anything other than very light and some lower tiered cruisers and destroyers can bow-in an auto-ricochet their AP rounds. You'll want HE shells against the lolibotes because they only take 10% damage from penetrating battleship calibre AP rounds (and these shells certainly qualify). Obviously the biggest difference between Congress' armament and that of Alaska is the number of guns. But there are three other differences of note. The first is something minor. Congress' X turret has better fire angles than Alaska. She's capable of maintaining auto-ricochet angles on her hull while still engaging targets which is REALLY nice but ultimately not game changing. While this will allow her to (partially) bully 381mm armed battleships and large cruisers, there's a glut of battleships that can overmatch her 27mm snoot. And it's not like those extra few degrees are inaccessible to Alaska either; she just needs to flutter her rudder back and forth between salvos. Thus this is really more a quality of life benefit than anything worth celebrating. The second is one of range. Alaska has excellent range, able to reach out to almost 19km. Congress makes do with a respectable but nowhere near as amazing 17.5km. Unlike Alaska, Congress cannot elect to increase this further through a sixth-slot upgrade. While people are more likely to reach for a faster reload if this option were available, it's still worth noting. The third (and most pressing) is Alaska's guns reload 2 seconds faster base. Congress's 22 second reload is identical to that of Puerto Rico two tiers higher. But unlike the higher tiered ships, Congress cannot take the sixth upgrade slot's Main Battery Modification 3 to accelerate her rate of fire. Combined with the two fewer guns you get the following shell outputs for the three ships (stock/MBM3) Puerto Rico: 32.7 / 37.2 rounds per minute Alaska: 27 / 30.7 rounds per minute Congress: 19.1 rounds per minute This is a HUGE disparity, with Congress having less than two-thirds the firepower of Alaska despite having over three-quarters of her main battery. This right here is what turns many people away from Congress who are expecting Alaska-levels of performance Congress looks even worse when you compare her to other cruisers and she's not even competitive with tier VIII battleships despite her faster reload. The reality is that Congress' damage output is painfully low if you cannot reliably land citadel hits. Her HE damage output and fire setting is especially pathetic. This isn't a ship designed to out-trade opponents, but rather one that's in it for the long haul; taking opportunistic bites where they present themselves and keeping an eye out for vulnerable targets where she can blow out their machine spaces and magazines. Even then, her alpha strike is much more limited and with a smaller number of guns. Her DPM is appalling and made worse that her gun accuracy is worse than all of the other cruisers on this list. It's important to keep in mind that larger gun calibre ships tend to have lower DPM. To put this in perspective, stock Alaska (which is a good ship) has 240,300 AP DPM and 116,100 HE DPM which would look rather modest when stacked against tier VIII cruisers, to say nothing of tier IX ships. You're not going to find anything redeemable about her fire setting either. After you account for innate fire resistances of higher-tiered targets and your own dispersion, you'll be lucky to make a single fire stick onto a target. If you're trying to set blazes, pick on something that already has her Damage Control Party taxed from submarines or HE spam. Congress has the same gunnery dispersion as Alaska (shown here). This is 180 AP shells fired at a stationary Fuso bot at 15km. The Fuso lacks camouflage while Alaska was using Aiming System Modification 1 to reduced dispersion by 7%. Shots were coming in from right to left. Alaska, Puerto Rico and Congress all use Graf Spee's horizontal dispersion formula (Range x 8.4 + 48m). Alaska and Congress both have 2.05 sigma. So what gives? Is Congress crap? Does her poor firepower reign her in? Has Wargaming nerfed the concept too much that it's no longer competitive? Well, no. Her numbers are fine (in fact, she's one of the better performers at her tier). The issue is that her gunnery feels miserable. This is largely owing to the fewer gun barrels. RNG feels much more influential when a ship fires fewer shells per volley. You'll notice that one stray shell more than you would in a broadside of nine, ten or twelve guns where one or two errant trajectories is more easily dismissed. Compound this with her long(ish) reload and her dispersion feels downright cruel at times despite being no different than Alaska's -- doubly so when you're not always in range. This is the same affliction which makes German battleship dispersion feel terrible despite them having comparable accuracy to British battleships. Fewer shells means RNG matters that much more. So while Congress is capable of putting out some reasonable amount of damage, you're much more likely to remember that time RNGeebus gave you the finger and made you miss the citadel of that broadsiding Mogami. Unlike Alaska, Congress' selling point isn't her guns. They're decent but they don't feel anywhere near as good as her tier IX counterpart's. If you need your premiums to wow you with their firepower, then stay away from Congress. Differences in Firepower Alaska has better firepower across most parameters. Alaska has nine guns to Congress' seven. Alaska's guns reload faster. Alaska's guns have more range. Alaska can mount an upgrade to either increase her range or reload time. Alaska has longer ranged secondaries. The only places where Congress is better is that she has an extra 6º worth of fire arc on her X-turret and her shells are 90 credits each instead of 125 credits. VERDICT: Unimpressive. A combination of slow-reload, only modest range and few guns dulls the performance of her otherwise excellent AP rounds. Durability Hit Points: 51,150 Maximum Citadel Protection: 27mm extremities + 260mm athwartship or 229mm belt + 19mm citadel roof or water + 178mm belt + 26mm citadel wall Min Bow and Deck Armour: 27mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 13% Chonkzilla. Meet the best-protected tier VIII cruiser. Congress is a ship of durability superlatives at tier VIII. She has the best armour. She has the most hit points. She has the best-protected citadel. She even has a Repair Party -- something two thirds of the tier VIII cruisers lack. Congress has a larger effective health pool with her heals than anything short of the portable-dry-dock equipped British ships. Even her structural plate is the best you'll find at her tier, with extremities capable of auto-ricocheting up to 381mm AP shells and an amidships deck immune to 203mm HE rounds. Add on hidden deck, a waterline citadel placement and turret faces and barbettes in excess of 300mm thick and Congress resists damage better than any of her same-tier competitors. Like her sister ship, Congress is tough enough to take a turn up on the front lines if needs be and help the battleships tank incoming fire; especially when she's top tier. Short of hit points and heals, Congress shares the same protection scheme as Alaska BUT she has the bonus of facing lower-tiered opponents. Tier VI and VII light cruisers with 152mm guns cannot penetrate any of her structural armour without Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. She easily (EASILY) bullies lower tiered cruisers with almost disdainful ease and can even strong-arm some of the battleships at medium-to-close ranges thanks to her structural plate. Congress feels ridiculously overtuned when she's top tier because of this protection scheme, with only same-tier cruiser and battleship opponents being credible threats. When facing tier IX and X ships, her durability falls away to more reasonable, though still highly competitive levels. Would that this applied against all threats. Fire and torpedoes are Congress' bane, particularly the 0.9.10 threat of submarine launched fish. Though she has a cruiser's (relatively) fast-reloading Damage Control Party, in the current meta, it's easily overtaxed. Fires burn for full 60 seconds (18% of her total health instead of 9% like other cruisers). Her anti-torpedo protection is insufficient to resist all but air-dropped torpedoes and most hits strike her citadel, allowing only 10% of their damage to be healed back from her limited charges of Repair Party. Submarines absolutely LOVE her clumsy agility and allergy to fires. Congress is prone to having her Damage Control Party on cool down and she's not agile enough to dodge guided fish. As tough as she is, as big as her hit point pool might be, it only takes a few torpedo hits to send her to the bottom. While Congress is fairly resistant to shell damage, that's really the extent of it. Thus she's most comfortable against other surface targets slinging AP and HE shells at her. This extensive durability and survivabiliy is Congress's main selling feature. While Alaska is a more well-rounded when it comes to the balance between firepower and durability, Congress relies much more heavily on her durability to keep her competitive. The idea is that she outlasts other cruisers and can stay in the game long enough to make up for her lacklustre striking power. This definitely works. It's not terribly exciting, but it works. The Alaska-class has layers of hidden armour beneath her maindeck that you can't see in the port, including a 96mm/102mm deck between the upper deck and citadel roof (her roof sits just under the waterline). There are three ways for AP rounds to citadel Congress. The first is a subsurface hit that strikes the lower belt and punches into the 26mm citadel wall. Any battlehship calibre AP shell greater than 356mm can overmatch the 26mm citadel wall, so even heavily angled shots that barely passed the ricochet check against the outer hull can still cause citadel hits this way. The second is a bow or stern shot that goes through the 27mm extremities and then smacks into the 260mm transverse bulkheads that cap the citadel at either end. Finally, shells can punch through the 229mm upper belt and then overmatch through the 19mm citadel roof at a very shallow angle. Overall, Congress's armour is excellent for a cruiser. Differences in Durability There are three main differences between the two ships. Alaska has more hit points than Congress. Alaska an extra charge of her Repair Party. This gives Alaska a much larger potential health pool -- just over 100,000 hit points if all of her heals can be used optimally (and they never will) while Congress tops out just over 75,000. Alaska's superstructure hit-box does not include the extra bit of 16mm plate in front of her armoured conning tower. The 3D geometry of the two models is identical, but Congress maps out that hit box while Alaska does not. This makes Congress the slightest-bit more squishy to small and medium calibre HE shells as hits in this exact spot to Alaska will shatter off the armoured bridge. It's a silly, inconsequential difference, but hey, it's there. VERDICT: This is the best thing about her. Heals at tier VIII is huge, to say nothing of taking fewer citadel hits than her contemporaries. Agility Top Speed: 33 knots Turning Radius: 850 meters Rudder Shift Time: 13 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.8º/s at 26.4kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 6.0º/s | Insert sad trombone noises here. Congress handles like a battleship, albeit a fast one with good turret traverse rates. Her 850m turning radius is appalling and her rate of turn lamentable. Pair this with a sluggish rudder shift time I've seen dogs drag their butts across the carpet with more grace than this ship handles. Congress isn't a fast cruiser either, by any means. Her speed of 33 knots (34.7 knots with a Sierra Mike signal) isn't enough to dictate engagement ranges at high tiers. Sure, while she's top tier she can run rings around most of the tier VI and VII super-dreadnoughts and post-treaty era battleships but nearly every capital ship gets going in a hurry once you cross that tier VIII threshold, to say nothing of the cruisers. Of course, running out in open water isn't exactly Congress's style either. She has horrible rearward gun angles which are patently ill-suited to kiting. Her horrible agility, modest top speed and similarly modest range don't lend well to trying to actively dodge either. Congress is most comfortable with an island protecting her side with her bows peeking out to take pot-shots at vulnerable targets. Sadly, this is more comfortable than effective. Differences in Agility Congress and Alaska have the exact same agility. Congress does NOT have very good fire angles for kiting with terrible rearward fire angles. Seriously: Booooo! And I don't mean that in the Hallowe'eny way either. Her forward fire angles are good though. It's kind of funny how the 6º/s gun rotation on Congress feels okay but this exact same value on a 203mm heavy cruiser feels painfully slow. VERDICT: She sucks and not in a sexy way. 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): 108.5dps at 90% accuracy (97.7dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 273dps at 90% accuracy (245.7dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 150.5dps at 85% accuracy (127.9dps) So this section is why this review was so delayed (I was originally planning to have this review out a week ago). You see, Congress inspired a project. Annoyed with the post-rework AA, I wanted to see how well Congress' AA would stack up back before patch 0.8.0 dropped. This involved way too much research time and digging through the Wayback Machine to look at archived stats. Before I knew it, I was collecting the old AA values for every single AA mount in the game and it was suddenly Wednesday. Whoops. For those unaware, unlike today, the old system had AA values determined by weapon mount. A quad-barrel 40mm Bofors nest always generated 15.9 at 3.5km per mount (these could then be modified by skills, upgrades, consumables, player actions and signals). So if you saw a ship with eight of these Bofors nests, you knew that this ship generated 127.2 dps at 3.5km. It didn't matter what tier the ship was. It didn't matter what type the ship was. You also knew that each Bofors nest lost through combat would reduce your AA DPS by that same 15.9 value. It was very intuitive, even if the rest of the AA system was a convoluted mess (seriously, lots of RNG to determine if an individual plane was shot down). But it meant that you could look at historical ships and get EXCITED if they had a lot of AA mounts on a given ship. That's something that's been lost since the rework. Wargaming makes up the values with a hefty-dose of BALANS™ thrown in and we get what we get. Now, the reason I did all of this was because I wanted to see if Congress would have been a GOOD AA ship back in the day. If I can't be excited for what we have (spoilers!) then maybe I could sigh whimsically at what could have been. Anyway, that just explains the delays. It's a going-nowhere project sparked by a heavy dose of nostalgia for the game as it existed back in 2018. I blame everything that happened with Yukon and the current submarine mess for making this trip worthwhile. Anyway, back on task! You could be forgiven if you mistake Congress for having a similar AA layout to Alaska minus some Oerlikon mounts. Wargaming did make some significant changes, though, halving the number of Bofors barrels by cutting Alaska's quads down to twins on Congress. As a result, Congress has about two-thirds the effective AA firepower to Alaska which puts her right-around Cleveland and Montpelier levels of overall effective AA cover. By the standards of today, this makes her AA power "good" for a tier VIII cruiser though it's hard to call any tier VIII AA firepower "effective" against anything other than tier VI CVs. Sure, you can bruise incoming squadrons but you can't prevent drops. The best you can hope for against tier VIII and X CVs is to be too expensive of a target to drop on repeatedly. However, if it comes down to winning the game, there's not much you can do to prevent them from taking you out. Your AA is good, but good doesn't cut it these days. Congress' AA firepower will not keep you safe. At best, it makes you a lower priority. Differences in AA Defence Let's do the list. Alaska's twelve 127mm/38 guns generate 94.5 dps while Congress' twelve 127mm/38s generate 97.7. No, this does not make sense. Yes, they are the exact same mount. Alaska has fourteen quad-40mm Bofors generating 337.1 dps while Congress has fourteen twin-40mm Bofors generating 245.7 dps. Alaska has thirty-four 20mm Oerlikons generating 208 dps while Congress has only twenty 20mm Oerlikons and generates 127.9 dps. Alaska's flak explosions deal an average of 1,610 damage. Congress' do 1,540 damage because she's lower tier (flak explosions scale with tiers). Alaska's flak explosions have a slightly larger blast size. VERDICT: Functional. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.5km / 12.18km Base/Minimum Air & Underwater Detection Range: 9.72km / 7.87km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 12.09km Maximum Firing Range: 17.5km This all suuuuuucks! But she can have an American Surveillance Radar, so that's pretty good. Differences in Refrigerators Nadda. Alaska and Congress are identical here. VERDICT: Suuuuuuuucks except for the radar. Find island. Make them your Waifu. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike up to 5km away Number of Salvos: Up to two Reload Time: 90 seconds Aircraft: Two flights of two PBY Catalinas with 2,000hp per plane. Drop Pattern: 6 bombs each dropped evenly over roughly a 4km column Maximum Bomb Damage: 2,100 Fire Chance: 12% The usual caveats for discussing anything related to submarines apply here: submarines and anti-submarine warfare are all highly volatile at the moment. I didn't get to playtest Congress much against submarines, so I don't have a lot to add. Her armament represents the current low-bar minimum for high-tier ASW, with a pathetic 5km range (and 4km drop column) on a spread of depth charges. This is, unfortunately, more effective than depth charges as Congress can launch these without needing to drive right overtop of a sub. While depth charges will do more damage, Congress is more likely to survive attacking a sub. In my not so humble opinion, all ships should have access to ASW airstrikes as subs are designed currently. Yes, even destroyers and cruisers with depth charges. They should get airstrikes too. Differences in ASW None. Again, Alaska and Congress ditto one another here. VERDICT: I regret that this section is a thing. Final Evaluation Let's start off by addressing this assumption: "Congress is a tier VIII Alaska with two fewer gun barrels." She isn't. Congress is a nerfed tier VIII Alaska with two fewer gun barrels, most notably losing out on health, heals, rate of fire, range and AA firepower. If Alaska is a fun, competitive tier IX premium, Congress is merely an average tier VIII offering. Yes, Congress is tough as all get out. Yes, her individual AP shells hits are frightening but as a 'total package' kinda deal? Don't buy into the hype. Congress is a shadow of her tier IX sister-ship. Really, the best thing about this ship is her survivability and that only applies if you play her conservatively. Still, tough as she is, she's not going to stay in the game long if you play recklessly (believe me, I tested this thoroughly with VERY aggressive pushes). Her small main battery makes it very difficult to win in straight up trades provided your opponent isn't an idiot.. And even when they mess up and give you one of those juicy broadside hits, a bad bout of RNGeebus will exaggerate Congress' small broadside weight. It's a tough pill to swallow when a ship's performance is so closely tied to taking opportunistic shots when so few shells fly downrange on a per-volley basis. It's hard to find much endearing with a ship who sells itself on citadel-striking ability but it can't deliver on that promise. All of this is made worse in that Wargaming totally butchered the historical design they claim Congress is based upon. Congress isn't the CA-F2 project. Wargaming very-lazily cloned Alaska's hull assets and swapped around her armaments with guns inspired by (but not matching) CA-F2's layout. @Kingpin61 put together this post way back in April 2021 and I'm shamelessly borrowing one of his jpegs here so you can see for yourself. This is the ship we should have gotten: Note the twin funnels and placement of the rear catapults, to say nothing of the four-guns forward, three guns aft layout. Congress reminds me of Yukon on so many levels. She's tough. She doesn't hit very hard. Her name sucks. She's a disappointment to those who were most invested in seeing her added to the game. Congress isn't terrible, but lordy, she's very obviously intended to ride the Alaska hype-train and hope that generate sales. When you look at her on her own, washing away the Alaska pedigree, there's not a whole lot to love here. This is a ship that needs time (and enemy mistakes) to do well in. Her durability combined with the utility of her Surveillance Radar guarantees that she's got enough of a toolkit to be useful. But lordy, I miss the days when premium ships had some striking power to them. I did not have a good time with Congress. Not during testing and not during my revisit of her in October to refresh my memory. I don't think very highly of Wargaming's design and I didn't find her game play entertaining. If I'm going to play an anemic tank, I'll play the one Chobi and I had a hand in making. Solid pass from me.
  19. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Oklahoma

    Massachusetts she is not. The following is a review of the tier V American premium battleship Oklahoma. This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes; I did not have to pay for her. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are accurate as of patch 0.9.10. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Unfortunately for Oklahoma, Texas exists. In nearly every respect, Texas is the better state ship. Oklahoma doesn't clone Texas' performance but gives you the choice of a "more different" alternative that dittos Texas' game-play with some style changes. Specifically, Oklahoma is an attempt to provide Massachusetts-style game-play at tier V, with improved secondaries though this comes at the expense of her reload times and horrible (HORRIBLE) AP shell performance. Quick Summary: A slow-firing American standard-type battleship with crappy AP shells but improved range, heals and secondaries. PROS Good main battery range of 17.13km (19.87km with APRM1) Secondaries are long ranged (5.5km) with improved dispersion. Small surface detection range of 13.52km. Improved Repair Party which heals back 18.48% of her health per charge instead of 14%. CONS Soft-skinned externally, with most of the ship covered by only 19mm worth of steel. Painfully long reload time of 40 seconds on her main battery,. Horrible AP penetration. Like seriously. Lacklustre AA defence. Sluggish and slow. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Difficult Battleships at tier V and below don't have it easy. They play on claustrophobic maps. CVs abound as do seal-clubbing torpedo destroyers. Furthermore, every single battleship can overmatch the bows of every other battleship (barring Gangut & Pyotr Belikiy), so you can't simply nose in and face-tank. The good news is that it's relatively easy to score some big numbers as everyone can reliably damage everyone else. Their primary prey, the plethora of light and scout cruisers, are made of citadels so Devastating Strike medals are commonplace and help offset the constant barrage of tier IV planes and constant waterboarding from torpedo-soup. And that's the joys when they're top tier! When bottom tier, they are outclassed so hilariously that the map size alone is enough to ruin their experience. So... yeah. Tier V battleships aren't in a good place. Inexperienced players can manage, but there's a lot of unpleasantness to watch out for. For veterans, Oklahoma offers nothing that Texas doesn't already, and Texas scales better with player skill with her dispersed armour values. Options Oklahoma doesn't have anything out of the ordinary beyond her Repair Party. Consumables Her Damage Control Party is typical for American battleships. It has a 20 second rather than a 15 second active period common to battleships from most other nations. It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also an American battleship version, though this version doesn't tend to appear on premium battleships. It has four charges base and an 80 second reset timer. It queues up 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It heals back up to 0.66% of her health every second for 28 seconds instead of the usual 0.5% found on most battleships. Finally, Oklahoma has a Spotting Aircraft. It provides a 20% bonus to her range for 100 seconds. It starts with four charges and a 240 second reset timer. Upgrades There are pretty much two builds to consider with Oklahoma: Choose between either increasing her main battery gun range with Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 or emphasizing the strength of her secondaries Secondary Battery Modification 1. Captain Skills You're again making a choice between two different builds. The first is the boring ol' battleship build where you focus on mitigating fire damage. Or you can build for her secondaries. With Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament having the efficacy wall at tier VII+, it's not worth taking. Veterans will recognize this build as being analogous for a classic Warspite build. This is a lot more interesting, in my opinion, even if it's less effective overall. The graphic on the left is the default battleship build. The one on the right is chock-full of pluck and awesome. Pick your favourite tier 1 skill (in green) and then hoover up all of the yellow circles. Camouflage Oklahoma has two camouflage options. The first is her standard Type 9 camouflage. They're simply cosmetic swaps of one another. They both provide: 3% reduction to surface detection. 4% increase to enemy dispersion. 10% reduction to service costs. 50% increase to experience gains. The alternative dark-blue on her Type 9 camo is nice and striking, but it's the military camouflage I like the most. Gotta love that checkered funnel!d Firepower Main Battery: Ten 356mm/45 rifles in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration with three-gun turrets for A & Y mounts and two-gun turrets in B & X. Secondary Battery: Ten 127mm/51 single guns in casemate mounts and eight 127mm/25 singles in open mounts mounted a deck higher. Main Battery In the spirit of not spending forever writing this, I'm going to cut right to the chase. There are two stupidly-huge flaws with Oklahoma's main battery guns. The first is pretty obvious -- they say it right on the tin: Oklahoma has a 40 second reload. That's terrible. It seriously hurts her damage output and it's just plain not-fun to have to wait so long in between trigger pulls. Admittedly, this isn't that much longer than the already painful 34.3s reload on USS Texas, but I hate that reload too and this is worse. If this were Oklahoma's only main gunnery flaw, maybe I could overlook it if this paid for a bunch of other fun stuff, but the ride doesn't end there. She has horrible HORRIBLE AP penetration values for a battleship. Oklahoma makes use of the old-timey, not-in-the-game-anymore stock New York AP shells. These are so terrible she cannot best battleship belt armour outside of 10km engagement distances -- and even then, there will be some battleships she can't best until she gets even closer. You must aim for weak points which, with battleship dispersion, is tricky. So not only are you dealing with a very long wait between shots, but when you're finally reloaded, there may not be anything worth shooting at because of how poorly her AP rounds perform. It's tempting just to spam HE, but USN battleship HE shells are pretty terrible. In short: Her main battery gunnery sucks moose-balls. It's a disaster to use against other battleships. Stick to picking on cruisers unless you have no other choice. Oklahoma's AP penetration of her released version (patch 9.10) is buttacular. This runs contrary to how it performed during the last leg of testing (patch 9.9). See my rant below with the In Closing section about this. Have a quick DPM graphic. Oklahoma wins no prizes here. American battleships aren't particularly good fire setters. Oklahoma's fire arcs are decent. Her gun rotation rate of 3º/s is pretty terrible, though. Secondary Battery Ostensibly the woes of her main battery armament are counteracted by her secondaries. Ostensibly. Sure enough, if you can get Oklahoma in close enough to activate her secondaries, her opponents are going to have a bad time. Oklahoma has the same improved secondary dispersion as found Massachusetts and Georgia. What's not as well known is that this is the same secondary dispersion as found on all large calibre secondary gun batteries, such as the 152mm on Kongo and Warspite. I don't say this to nay-say Oklahoma's secondary performance, but rather to illustrate that one element isn't so rare at this tier, as a lot of the casemate weapons of tier V battleships are larger calibre. This said, what is out of the ordinary is Oklahoma's range. With a base reach of 5.5km, between upgrades, skills and signals, it can be extended out to 8.32km which is very impressive for her tier. It's a shame Oklahoma isn't faster because you're only bringing those into range if the enemy comes to you. I found the volume of fire coming from her secondary batteries to be a bit wanting. Her longer-barrelled 127mm/51 guns in the lower casemates have a 7 second reload compared to the 4.5 seconds of the upper-deck 127mm/25s. On top of this longer reload, they also have a worse fire-chance per shell, so it's the shorter-barrelled weapons which are really carrying the weight when it comes to shell volume. At least her forward fire angles are generous with six guns being able to open up at targets as little as 10º off her bow, with a maximum broadside of 9 guns from 40º off her bow to 108º. These are not good weapons for kiting, as towards her rear-quarter she is typically stuck with only three weapons firing. Overall, I rate Oklahoma's secondary weapons as "nice to have" but not game-changers. They're definitely more powerful against lower-tiered targets where their 21mm of penetration can hurt everything they come across. I again lament that Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament's efficacy is tied to tiering, because super-accurate secondaries could have been a game changer for Oklahoma. While a 30% buff is alright, it's a big point sink -- points that could be much better spent on fire mitigation and concealment. Oh well. VERDICT: Her secondaries are nice. Her main battery guns are anything but. That reload sucks. That AP penetration sucks more. Defence Hit Points: 48,200 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm extremities, 25mm upper hull & 19mm deck Maximum Citadel Protection: 25mm anti-torpedo bulge + 343mm belt + 51mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 18% I was going to make an armour profile graphic, but it's pretty uninformative. She's a standard-type battleship (one of the first) so she doesn't have a dispersed armour scheme with interesting bits like extended waterline belts or what have you. Oklahoma's extremities and deck are all 19mm thick. Her belt is completely covered by her 25mm anti-torpedo bulges and this armour value extends up to that aforementioned 19mm deck amidships. Thus, barring her 13mm superstructure, everything you can shoot at on Oklahoma is either 19mm or 25mm, which is all kinds of squish. The downsides to this layout is having that 19mm armour almost everywhere. It can be overmatched by any battleship caliber AP shell you come across, to say nothing of allowing HE penetrations from even destroyer-calibre rounds. In this regard, she's hardly unique. New York and Texas suffer from similar problems, even with their dispersed armour scheme, but it's only found on the American battleships at this tier. All of the other battleships have at least some amidships deck armour values that are higher, allowing them to ricochet and shatter AP and HE shells respectively. Thus, Oklahoma takes a lot more incidental damage than her contemporaries. To compensate she has access to the improved Repair Party of American tech-tree battleships. This heals up to 18.48% of her hit point pool per charge instead of the usual 14% of most Repair Parties. In theory, this gives her a larger effective health pool if properly managed. The catch, of course, is that she has to survive long enough to make use of all of those healing charges for this to off-set her fragility. Her citadel is at least reasonably protected. It sits at the waterline with turtleback sloped sides. The 51mm of the turtleback and citadel walls stacks nicely with her 343mm belt giving her some healthy protection. Her citadel roof is 38mm thick so it can't be overmatched. Oklahoma will take citadel hits if you expose her sides but overall the protection isn't bad. Overall, Oklahoma'a durability is alright. It's not fun to take damage from everything being thrown at you but at least she's given something to compensate for it. Viribus Unitis is a standard unit of measurement for battleship health. VERDICT: You're a piñata with a soft outer-skin but decent citadel protection. Manage your heals carefully and be careful of exposing your sides. Agility Top Speed: 19.7 knots Turning Radius: 610m Rudder Shift Time: 13.4 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.7º/s at 14.7 knots It's rare to see such an obvious and clear loser like this. This is downright embarrassing. Oklahoma manages to simultaneously be the slowest and the least agile of any of the tier V battleships. That's a pretty damning rap sheet right there but it gets worse. She lacks any kind of energy preservation. While New York was also stripped of her own improved energy retention in patch 0.9.6, Texas still maintains hers. This means that under any kind of manoeuvres, Texas is the fastest of the three, holding onto a minimum of 18.7 knots while New York flounders at 15.9 knots and Oklahoma wallows with 14.7. And you'll be putting her through manoeuvres often, if not to throw off the aim of your opponents then to try and counteract her horrible turret traverse. The 3º/s rotation speed of her guns often needs help and you'll be sore tempted to accelerate acquiring a target by swinging the ship's butt about. This has the net effect of further slowing down Oklahoma's average speed. The 19.7 knots you see on the tin is more like a constant 18.5 knots in practice as you're seldom going in a straight line long enough to take advantage of it, even when redeploying. Just to add insult to injury, even a slug-lord like Oklahoma can still out-turn her turrets unless you stack on Expert Marksman at a minimum -- Main Battery Modification 2 does not provide enough of a bonus to mitigate this disparity. For a ship reliant on making her secondaries count, it's not just her lack of speed that's disappointing, but her lack of energy retention too. She's not just slow, she's consistently slow -- unable to catch a break. The only way to make her secondaries work for her is to either corner someone when the opportunity presents itself on one of those smaller, low-tier maps or hope someone brings their ship into range for you. VERDICT: I cry everytime. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 3 explosions for 1190 damage per blast at 3.5km to 4.8km. Long Ranged (up to 4.8km): 95dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km): 21dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 1.5km): 84dps at 70% accuracy Aircraft carriers are omnipresent within Oklahoma's matchmaking. It is not uncommon to face two carriers -- and sometimes two tier VI carriers at that, so anti-aircraft defence is more important for ships at this tier than any other. I'm sorry to say that Oklahoma doesn't have good AA firepower by any measure. She has neither the damage-per-minute, range or consumables to truly be a threat to aircraft. She has about as much sustained DPS as König but with worse range brackets and one fewer flak bursts. This means you're going to get dunked on. A lot. In my test games, even a Langley to perform two drops with the same squadron of torpedo bombers -- and that's with my ship being pristine AND having my AA boosted with Basic Fire Training and focus-fire. Yes, I ended up shooting down a few planes. Yes, this will probably unsustainable for the carrier in the long run. No, that's not going to save you. VERDICT: Not good enough to matter. Sigh. With Oklahoma's uniform 19mm thick deck armour, she's exceedingly vulnerable to rockets and the bomblets dropped by Hermes and Ark Royal. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 13.52km / 11.8km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 10.25km/9.23km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 7.12km Maximum Firing Range: Between 17.13km and 23.84km Oklahoma has better-than-average concealment for a tier V battleship. It's not god-tier by any means. It's not like Viribus Unitis where she can manage a 10km and change detection range. Still, make sure you use and abuse this concealment whenever you need to, especially in the later stages of the game when destroyers are thinned out. This can help you set up ambushing shots on cruisers or simply give you more time to come about or let a key consumable come off cool-down in order to save your ship when you're on low health. If Oklahoma had more speed, this trait would have more value, allowing her to flex unseen and pop up in places people do not expect. VERDICT: Nice to have but not game changing. Final Evaluation I'm glad you can earn this one for free. I don't like Oklahoma. Her gunnery is frustrating. Her agility is frustrating. She wasn't a fun experience for me. I hate waiting on her stupidly long reload. I hate having to wait even longer for a proper target to appear because my stupid AP shells can't reliably penetrate other battleships. I hate how stupidly sluggish her gun traverse is. I hate how slow she is. Hate. Hate. Hate. Sure, you can have some alright games in her, especially when she's top-tier. And in Co-Op, you don't have to worry about her AP penetration or struggling to bring her secondaries into range as the bots will oblige you by driving in close. In those two aspects, she's perfectly reasonable. But taken as a whole? Blech. Skip this one. Do not pay cash-moneys for her. That's my hot take, anyway. But lemme step away from quotable crap and elaborate further. I love American standard-type battleships. I love how they look. I love their history. And for the first few years of World of Warships' life, I loved how they played. New Mexico was my bae for a time. Lert and I had a great time playing our Arizona bricks side by side. I didn't mind Colorado, though she was my least favourite of the early three. I was disappointed when West Virginia appeared not in her late-war rebuild but in her 1941 state, adding my own voice to those dissenting Wargaming's choice to use her as a stock-Colorado instead of a phoenix that rose from the flames of Pearl Harbour and kicked so much butt at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. While West Virginia 1941 was at least a reasonably powerful ship, the offerings since then have not been. California was a disaster. She's been relegated to being one of the least memorable ships of 2020. Oklahoma is destined for similar ignominy. Her secondaries are meant to be fun, but there are so few opportunities to use them decisively. Had Oklahoma the old-style American battleship energy retention of yesteryear, it might be a different story. Like with West Virginia and California, Wargaming missed the opportunity to make a truly interesting vessel. Oh well. In Closing Before I conclude this review, I feel I need to speak to some of the challenges faced preparing these articles. My aim is to be as accurate as possible. While I don't feel that any of my fellow content creators would go out of their way to present false information, sometimes Wargaming makes it difficult for us to be accurate. The Community Contributors were told on October 22nd that Oklahoma had been finalized and that we were free to begin creating content which could be published on October 27th. I began work on the written portion of this review over the weekend of the 24th and 25th. Part of my process is to cross-reference the statistics of the current test-ship to the development blog's list of changes. Sometimes stuff gets changed at the last minute. Sometimes announced changes don't go through at all. Without clarification from Wargaming, it's impossible to know what the final product will look like. I've been burned by making assumptions here and I've learned to get specifics from Wargaming directly. In Oklahoma's case, the test-ship I had access to and was being asked to make content for was not what was going to be released. We were being asked to make content based on a ship whose performance was changing significantly post-launch. In Oklahoma's case, it was her Krupp rating -- a statistic which directly affects AP penetration values, which was being dropped by a whopping 40%. The 0.9.9 version of Oklahoma had better AP performance than any other tier V 356mm armed battleship. She could blow out the citadel of a Colorado at 16km. The launched version has the worst by far -- so bad she can't pull the same trick until she's within 5km of Colorado. This is a big deal! It completely changes how the ship feels to play. I didn't like Oklahoma's test version -- she was slow with a slow reload, but at least her main battery guns had some punch to them. Now I spoke to Wargaming about this and they were very open in acknowledging that the disparity between test-ship performance and release-ship performance is very much a serious issue when it comes to Community Contributors producing content about a ship. Steps are being taken to help mitigate any misinformation coming out in the future (how well this pans out will have to be seen). HOWEVER, the point I am making is that it's very important that when you're making buying (or time investment) decisions in regards to a premium vessel, check out multiple sources before pulling the trigger. This discrepancy was found in time for my review, but what about the other Community Contributors? More importantly, what did I miss? I'm not perfect. I don't have a team of fact-checkers dedicated to helping me spot things. I coordinate and collaborate with the other Community Contributors to try and find stuff like this but stuff will inevitably fall through the cracks. Please, please, PLEASE make sure you check out multiple reviews before you make a decision. You can always message me here or via Discord (AprilWhiteMouse#0536) if you have any questions about ship performance. If I don't know something, I will admit to as much and we can go find the missing information together. Thank you for reading, and thank you to my patrons on Patreon for supporting the production of these reviews.
  20. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Yukon

    The following is a review of HMCS Yukon, the tier VII Canadian Famous & Historical Monarch-class battleship. There's three things you need to know about Yukon before we begin. Yukon was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost. I did not pay to get access to her. Yukon's performance may change in the future. As with all premiums added after April 1st, 2021, nerfs as well as buffs are always possible. As we saw with Hyuga, these changes can come very quickly and may sting early adopters. @Chobittsu and I are responsible for HMCS Yukon being added to the game. Yes, really. While I will try and be objective about Yukon, my opinion on this ship should not be trusted. Now more than ever, you should really (REALLY) check out some other reviews before deciding whether or not you want to add Yukon to your collection. Do not take my word alone; my bias should be obvious. Now, this is not like HMS Thunderer where they took a joke idea of mine and ran with it. We were involved with the project from day one, eighteen months ago when the need was first identified and sixteen months ago when it formally began. Quick Summary: A stock Famous & Historical Monarch-class battleship with powerful heals. She lacks the improved HE shells from the Royal Navy battleship line and she has very (very) poor range. However, she has good concealment and handling for a battleship. PROS Armed with nine 381mm guns capable of overmatching up to 26mm hull sections. Good accuracy with 1.9 sigma. Shortened fuse timer on her AP shells helps reduce over-penetrations. Very fast rudder shift time of 9.7 seconds. Good concealment, with a surface detection as low as 11.5km. Her powerful Specialized Repair Team queues up to 60% of penetration damage dealt & restores up to 40% of her health per charge. CONS Horrible citadel placement. Very soft skinned and highly vulnerable to HE spam, rocket attacks and AP overmatching. Poor anti-torpedo defence. Her main battery guns are short ranged with a reach of 15.65km Slow reload of 31.5 seconds. Bad fire arcs and slow gun traverse. Though Yukon is a British Famous & Historical Monarch-class battleship, she does not have improved HE penetration, damage and fire chance. Our country reeks of trees...! ♫ Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme It's hard to recommend Yukon to inexperienced players, which is a shame. There's a lot that's very forgiving about her. She has great heals. Her ammunition choice is very simple (use AP -- always use AP). She handles well and her concealment is good. The downside, of course, is that you have to put her in harms way in order to pull the trigger. Her (very) short range greatly hampers not only her survivability but her flexibility. If you play passively, the battle can outpace you, keeping enemies out of reach and functionally eliminating your from the match. If you play too aggressively, her soft skin and exposed citadel will get her blown up. Worse, her long reload punishes poor gunnery. Yukon doesn't offer anything new to veteran players. Her higher skill ceiling comes from using and abusing her concealment, including using islands to mask her approaches. Her good rudder shift time allows for some clever dodging and she can flirt with brawling so long as you respect her highly vulnerable citadel. If this sounds familiar, her game play largely echoes other sneaky, flanking battleships like Roma or skulking, island-bound heavy cruisers. Options The only two things to get excited about are Yukon's Specialized Repair Team and her Maple Leaf camouflage. Consumables Yukon's Damage Control Party will be identical to those found on most battleships with a 15s active period, an 80s reset timer and unlimited charges. Her Specialized Repair Teams is identical to that found on HMS Nelson; a slightly nerfed version of the same consumable found on Lion and Conqueror. It queues up to 10% of citadel damage, 60% of penetration damage that misses the citadel caused by bombs, torpedoes, rockets or shells and 100% of everything else. It heals back up to 40% of her health per charge over 20 seconds. It starts with 3 charges and has an 80 second reset timer. In her third slot, you have the choice between a Spotting Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The former (which you will always use) comes with 4 charges, boosting her main battery range by 20% for 100s (up to 18.78km) with a 240s reset timer. The latter (which you'll never use) launches three aircraft which orbit on station for 60s. It has three charges and a 90s reset timer. Upgrades I don't normally recommend this, but Spotting Aircraft Modification 1 has some value with HMCS Yukon given her range woes. This increases the action time of her Spotting Aircraft from 100 seconds up to 130 seconds. You may purchase this from the Armory for 17,000 though I'm not convinced it's worth the coal. If you have one already kicking around gathering dust? Go ahead and use it but don't go out of your way to buy one. Otherwise, default to Main Armaments Modification 1. In her second slot, take Damage Control System Modification 1. In her third slot, you have the choice of improving her accuracy or her gun handling. Take Aiming Systems Modification 1 for the former to decrease her horizontal dispersion by 7% and Main Battery Modification 2 for the latter to improve her gun rotation rate from 4º/s to 4.6º/s so that she can no longer out-turn her turrets. You again have a choice in her fourth slot. Damage Control System Modification 2 is optimal for reducing the duration of fire and flooding. However, if you want to play to Yukon's strengths, you can take Steering Gears Modification 1 to decrease her rudder shift time from 9.7 seconds down to 7.8 seconds. Commander Skills Dust off a boring ol' survivability build. Yukon does best with that. You've got some choice here, but it's not particularly interesting. At tier one, pick between faster shells swapping with Gun Feeder or a slight reduction to the reset timer on your Specialized Repair Team and Damage Control Party from Emergency Repair Specialist. Those are your best two options. A distant third is to shave off 24 seconds from your Spotting Aircraft consumable from Consumables Specialist. At tier two, choose between increased gun traverse speed with Grease the Gears or the still totally broken and ridiculously helpful Priority Target. The former is really helpful if you haven't taken the upgrade Main Battery Modification 2 as Yukon can (and will) out turn her turrets without at least one improvement. I will [edited] about this often in this review. For your first ten skill points, grab Basics of Survivability and then Concealment Expert. Then grab the other two tier 4 skills before finally taking Adrenaline Rush. Camouflage Yukon has access to two camouflage patterns, Type 10 and the gruesomely patriotic Maple Leaf. They are cosmetic swaps of one another and provide the usual bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. Yukon's Type 10 Camouflage doesn't have a palette swap for the moment. She will in future updates according to Wargaming, it's just a matter of when. It's nice looking, though it's not visually striking. Our yaks are really large....! ♫ Firepower Main Battery: 3x3 381mm/45 guns in an A-B-X superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Sixteen 133mm/50 guns in 4x2 turrets arranged in superfiring pairs fore and aft on each side of the ship straddling the two superstructures. Butt-first, a word on Yukon's critical flaw Let's start with Yukon's deal breaker. She's short ranged. How short ranged, you might ask? Take a look for yourself. Here's all of the battleships in her matchmaking spread: You knew Yukon wasn't going to be in the top 25. APRM1 is the American Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1. It increases a ship's base range by 16 and is available to American battleships from tiers V and up (Arkansas Beta gets it too). GFCSM2 is the upgrade Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 for tier IX+ ships. These upgrades are mutually exclusive. Keep scrolling. We haven't even gotten to the sub-19km ranges yet. Almost there! There she is. Just to give you an idea, if we included every single battleship in the game, not just those within her matchmaking, Yukon comes in at 118th out of 133 battleships. Even South Carolina, a tier III battleship, has better range than Yukon. Yukon has tier IV range on a tier VII hull. If there's any reason not to get this ship, this is it. It predicates all of the quirks with this vessel and it's what makes her harder to play for inexperienced players. As Chobi put it: 'To use Yukon effectively, you'll have to break social distancing rules and close to well inside the range of literally everyone else'. Activate your inner Karen and get close enough to cough on people. This has some interesting side effects, both good and bad (but mostly bad). The bad generally speak for themselves so let's focus on the hilariously good consequences of this. First, her AP shells feel far and away more punchy than they actually are. British AP shells have long been overshadowed by their HE performance. With Yukon lacking the extra kick with her HE, the former has their time to shine. Yukon's AP penetration isn't that far off from those on Gneisenau and Bismarck and they do more damage per hit. Furthermore, with her shortened fuse timer, overpenetrations are less likely -- at least so long as the fuse hit a plate sufficiently thick to arm them (64mm). Cruisers beware. This combination of short range with completely reasonable AP penetration means that Yukon's guns hurt when they hit. And being up close also means that her dispersion feels far less wonky too. Again, this is not caused by any special gimmick; it's simply a factor from having to play closer to your targets than you may otherwise be accustomed with a mid-tier battleship. The final benefit to Yukon's painfully short range is that it shapes player behaviour. You can't camp the back with this battleship; you have to be up front. You have to be tanking and/or actively kiting. And while this may have lurking lolibotes licking their chops, it has the additional effect of pushing enemy cruisers back. Yukon inadvertently forces her captains to play the objective. Imagine that. Let me be clear: Yukon isn't a good ship because she's short ranged. It's a huge flaw. All of those above benefits could be realized in any other ship simply by playing more aggressively. It's just one of those "feels" things. Yukon's AP will feel more punchy than it is. Yukon's dispersion feels less punitive even though it's completely normal. Yukon's performance feels more successful only because she encourages good positioning and manoeuvring habits. A comparison of the tier VII fifteen-inch gun AP performance (and Vanguard from tier VIII). Yukon's AP feels strong, only because she has to engage targets at such close ranges. Her shortened fuse timer also helps ensure fewer overpenetrations, provided the shells strike a sufficiently thick plate in order to activate their fuse. Yukon's other flaws There are three other gunnery drawbacks to keep in mind: #1: Yukon does not have improved Royal Navy HE shells. Famous & Historical Monarch is one of the worst HE spammers of the entire British Royal Navy line with relatively weak HE compared to other British ships. Yukon' is even worse, using the same HE shells as Hood; so she gets no 1/4 HE penetration. She has worse damage. She has worse ballistics than Monarch. She has a worse fire chance. Don't spam HE in Yukon unless you have to. Your AP shells are your primary damage dealer. #2: She has awful gun handling. Check out my gun fire arc graphic below in the Agility section. Pair this with sluggish turret traverse rates and you'll find yourself fighting with Yukon's guns as often as the enemy. I've made it no secret that I loathe poor fire angles, especially when paired with bad traverse rates so I'm going to make a bigger stink about this than it perhaps deserves. Taking at least one gun traverse improvement, be it an upgrade or commander skill, is almost a must. #3: Yukon does not have Monarch's improved reload time. Monarch, for all of her flaws, has one really good thing going for her and that's a 25 second reload. It would have been amazing to see this preserved on Yukon in some form, but that would have been a completely different ship. Instead Yukon has a 31.5 second reload time. This is bad, but it's not like... American battleship bad. She had a 33 second reload during testing at one point, to give you an idea -- that was bad. That was a miserable, terrible, horrible experience. Now just you wait, I've gone and jinxed it and Yukon will get nerfed back down to a 33 second reload. 31.5 seconds is just long enough to put a serious dent in her damage output and complicate things like gunnery (missing with a long reload hurts), switching ammo (Gun Feeder is a must if you do this on the regular), or simply trading fire with a dangerous opponent (German and American heavy cruisers, I'm looking at you). Furthermore, this all but kills her chances to be a semi-decent fire-starter. Nine 381mm guns with a slow reload means that Yukon sits on pretty modest AP totals. Without the improved British HE shells, her HE DPM sucks monkey butts and should be avoided in preference to her AP. Yukon is in the wrong half of this list for a Royal Navy battleship. Like Hood, she's not a good fire starter and you'll struggle to set more than a single perma-fire if your opponent's Damage Control Party isn't already taxed. These are the raw fire-per-minute value and do not take into account the fire resistance of a given target. Against most ships in Yukon's matchmaking, the actual chance of setting a fire will drop by about 30% to 50% depending; so pretty terrible overall, especially once you account for dispersion too. Yukon Gold Guns They're potatoes. And while quality potatoes are the basis of any good poutine, Yukon's guns do not make the grade. Her guns do not up-tier well. Her 381mm weapons cannot overmatch the 27mm hulls of tier VIII+ American and German heavy cruisers, to say nothing of the extremities of tier VIII+ battleships. In higher tiered matches, the simple act of pulling the trigger may get you killed. Yukon is stealthy as we'll cover later, but flashing her guns gives away that advantage. Yukon so often rides the edge of her concealment in order to bring her weapons in and when lit, she is often the closest, if not the easiest target for the Reds to shoot at. So not only is her 31.5 second reload slow, you're encouraged to throttle your own rate of fire for the simple sake of staying hidden and staying alive. Only pull the trigger if (a) it's not going to get you killed and (b) your AP shells will actually do something. And because you're not shooting as often, any RNGeebus shenanigans like wonky dispersion, are only going to feel more pronounced. Yay! Aren't you glad you shelled out money for this crap? So that's fun -- you know, not being able to do effective damage and all. I cannot stress enough how frustrating these guns are and how bad of an experience they create when Yukon isn't top-tier. What, you joined the battle hoping to be able to SHOOT? Yukon's too Canadian and polite to do something so unneighbourly, you big silly! I wish I was exaggerated, but Yukon's gunnery has had me in tears, it's so frustrating. I want to rate Yukon's firepower more highly (mostly because of her ability to overmatch up to 26mm hull sections), but even this out-dated meme can't save her from an overly dramatic F-tier evaluation. Not that there's anything serious going on in this graphic. VERDICT: How to ruin a ship: 101. Bad range. Bad reload. Bad gun handling. Hell, even the secondaries (which I didn't talk about) are terrible. Do you really need to read any further into this review? Durability Hit Points: 60,500 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 26mm / 16mm / 26mm / 26mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 356mm to 381mm belt Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% This is Yukon's main selling feature. With Nelson being retired, Yukon becomes the new zombie-bote. Just when you think she's on the ropes, she regenerates a whole new version of herself. This effect is VERY disheartening to Yukon's opponents. The only way to keep her down is to either focus fire in between her healing charges or hit her citadel so that her damage queue is only 10%. Coming back from the dead is fun. It's probably the most fun thing about this ship (cuz it sure as Hell isn't about dealing damage). Yukon is the new zombie bote, joining the ranks of Nelson, Lion and Conqueror with having a Repair Party consumable that allows her to claw back from death's door. Watching one of these ships go from nearly dying to returning to fighting condition is incredibly demoralizing for Yukon's opponents. While I'm not convinced this is the healthiest of mechanics for the game, there's no arguing that it isn't strong. It's so strong in fact, it band-aids a lot of the problems with Yukon's gunnery. A correction to either Yukon's range or the rest of her protection scheme would easily push her into overpowered territory with this ability, that's how reliant this whole design is upon this one consumable. It holds the whole mess together, like a big ol' helping of Red Green's duct tape. For skilled players, this heal is especially potent when paired with the Adrenaline Rush commander skill. Choosing when (and if) to use it after taking damage gives a measure of control over Yukon's shoddy reload time. Yukon's heal contrasts with her armour and citadel protection. They're anything but good. The King George V-class are notoriously soft-skinned. Their structural armour never gets over the minimum at their tier, which is 26mm in Yukon's case. This makes her vulnerable not only to AP overmatching from larger calibre battleship shells but HE shells from even destroyer calibre weapons. Worse, her citadel protection is horribly flawed. It is artificially huge . It has a T-shape with the cross made by an additional deck over top of the magazines and machine spaces. This abuts against the hull and sits just over the water line. It's impossible to angle the ship to prevent citadel hits from guns capable of overmatching her bow or stern. The only thing keeping AP shells out of her citadel is the straight-line thickness of her belt and for that to work, her opponents have to be at ranges greater than 15km. And guess what? Your guns are going to force you to get in close so that belt of yours means nothing if you're not angling it. Yukon is similarly soft-skinned when it comes to taking torpedo damage with minimal anti-torpedo defence. Citadel hits, forever the bane of battleship healing, are doubly potent here as they neutralize the advantage of Yukon's Specialized Repair Team. She only queues up 10% of citadel damage, so the surest way to sink her quickly is through citadel and torpedo hits. Yukon trades best with HE spam and battleships with 356mm guns or smaller. Against these opponents, she can angle, she can tank, she can soak and she can heal. Naturally, when this ship is top tier, she feels like an absolute monster. Take her out of that environment and her durability sucks. If your opponents don't focus fire and if you can keep Yukon from being the most appealing target, this ship has some very long legs when it comes to survivability. This is the catch, of course. This is the challenge with playing the ship: How to keep from becoming a target when you need to put yourself in harm's way just to use her weapons? I mean, the obvious solution is just not to use her weapons at all and play Yukon as Wargaming intended: a soft-skinned piñata for the Reds to beat up. If you truly insist on fighting back, you'll have to make use of every trick at your disposal to keep her alive. Use islands. Use and abuse her advantages in Agility and Vision Control. Wait for your opponents to get bored and shoot someone else. Yukon doesn't tank so much as bleed strategically. Whatever the case, so long as you survive, you can all but guarantee to win a Dreadnought medal. Yukon inherits a similar armour layout to King George V, including having no structural armour thicker than 26mm. She is highly vulnerable to HE spam from even destroyer calibre weapons, to say nothing of overmatching AP shells. Yukon doesn't tank damage so much as soak it up and keep going despite all of the hurt. She can take a lot of abuse, sure, but don't think for a second you can easily (or safely) repulse incoming fire. This ship gives away citadel hits and torpedoes (even wimpy ones dropped by Ise) are her bane. VERDICT: This ship isn't one for farming potential damage missions -- she doesn't resist damage, she soaks it. Don't kid yourself into thinking she'll resist incoming fire so much as heal through it. Agility Top Speed: 28 knots Turning Radius: 790 meters Rudder Shift Time: 9.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.1º/s at 20.8kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 4.0º/s (uh-oh) Yukon dittos King George V and Duke of York's turning radius and rate of turn (#10 on this list). Rudder Shift TIme King George V: 15 seconds. Famous & Historical Monarch: Also 15 seconds Duke of York: 17.5 seconds Yukon: 9.7 seconds Yukon's short rudder shift time defines this ship's agility. The rest of it is pedestrian. She's not slow, but she's not fast. Her turning circle radius isn't terrible but it's not good either. She has no quirks of energy preservation so the combination of her modest top speed with a modest turning radius means that her rate of turn is predictably meh at 4.1º/s. Again, not awful but certainly nothing worth celebrating. But her rudder shift time...! Her glorious rudder shift time! It's A M A Z I N G ! (for a battleship) Yukon starts turning very quickly. Her movements are very precise, not at all the clumsy, sloppy wallowing that other battleships fumble through. This precise little princess tip-toes and twirls the moment you ask it of her. Granted, she doesn't put a lot of gusto into her spin, but still. Yukon can Just Dodge™, which is rather impressive for a portly battleship. This is life saving, not only for dancing to torpedo beats but also for juking incoming, long range fire. Being that Yukon is so often the closest visible target, having this extra level of wiggle is a godsend. It's so good it almost (ALMOST) makes me want to take Steering Gears Modification 1 instead of Damage Control Modification 1 just to make it even better. I cannot overstate how pleasant Yukon's handling is. It's important to appreciate that this only means she starts turning quickly. She can begin one turn, arrest it and go the other way much faster than contemporary battleships. Once she's locked into a turn, Yukon does not spin quickly. Thus you're not going to foil strike groups from aircraft carriers by spinning in place, for example. You might be able to throw off their aim by waiting for them to commit to an attack run and THEN throwing your rudder hard over. This isn't going to guarantee you take no hits, it just might mean you take fewer. Similarly, for this to work against gunfire, it needs to be done against opponents pretty far off to give Yukon enough time to get out of the path of shells. Would that she had better gun fire angles and didn't out-turn her turrets. It's this crap -- this crap right here -- that will get you killed more often than anything else. Yukon baits you into touching her rudder (her awesome, super-nice, candy-coated rudder) in order to unmask her guns. This invariably makes you flash a broadside and then you take the big damages you can't come back from. Stock up on either the Grease the Gears commander skill or Main Battery Modification 2 (or both) to help prevent Yukon-broadsiding. Yukon has slightly improved fire arcs over the King George V-class battleships, but she still has to expose a lot of broadside to fire all nine guns. VERDICT: Surprisingly pleasant ship handling. Unsurprisingly horrid gun handling. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 3 + 1 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.2km. Long Ranged (up to 5.2km): 84dps at 75% accuracy (63dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 311.5dps at 75% accuracy (234dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 175dps at 70% accuracy (123dps) Yukon's anti-aircraft firepower is surprisingly decent for a "stock" ship. Yukon is using Famous & Historical Monarch's A-Hull with some modifications but her AA firepower is unchanged. Stock hulls are notorious for having bad AA suites so I was expecting Yukon's defences here to be akin to that of a typical IJN battleship but this isn't the case. The difference between Monarch's A and B hulls is largely focused around increasing the range of her medium-calibre guns from 2.5km to 3.5km. There's only a modest uptick to the DPS to her overall damage output. Thus, while Yukon's sustained AA DPS and flak values are pretty good for a tier VII battleship. There's just a slight step down in efficacy from Duke of York's and those are respectable, at least as far as the average goes. In play testing, Yukon's certainly not capable of driving off a tier VIII aircraft carrier's attacks but she can bloody their nose a bit. Something like Enterprise or Kaga will soak up those casualties and keep coming back over and over but the tier VI carriers like Ranger or Ryujo won't be as comfortable after a wave or two. I even managed to skunk a Weser, shooting down all of his dive bombers consistently before their drops. So... yeah. Not great, but relative to the other tier VII battleships? Yukon's AA is decent. Yukon ends up with marginally better AA power than King George V owing to having more of her DPS focused in her 2.5km pom-poms than her 2.0km Oerlikons. Overall, her AA power is very much focused upon personal defence rather than lending support to allies. VERDICT: Surprisingly not as bad as it could have been. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 13.18km / 11.51km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.06km / 8.15km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 12.17km Maximum Firing Range: Between 15.65 and 18.78km when using her Spotter Aircraft You'll have to click to expand this list if you want to see the values. The forums does not let me show graphics in any resolution higher than 800p. Or you could just squint at the red box and appreciate that Yukon has the 4th best concealment within her Matchmaking, just behind Viribus Unitis, Famous & Historical Monarch and Conte di Cavour. Yukon is one of the stealthiest battleships within her matchmaking spread. She has comparable concealment to a Myoko-class cruiser which, while impressive for a chungus, it isn't very competitive in the grand scheme of things. Still, her concealment is workable. For a ship with zombie healing powers, workable is all that's really needed. Her game play mirrors that of a heavy cruiser in this respect but with the twist that you're able to absorb a lot more fire than any cruiser ever could. Yukon must keep an an eye on which ships can spot her when she fires her guns. Once she is spotted, she doesn't need to hide right away; at least until the enemy starts firing back. Once that begins, she needs to drop back into concealment. The idea is to strategically break contact whenever things get too hot, give time for Yukon's zombie-healing powers to recover any lost health and then re-engage on more favourable terms. This largely involves rotating Yukon from the front lines to a secondary line while she heals and then pushing back out onto the front when she's good to go. The challenge in playing Yukon has less to do with getting (and keeping) her guns in range than it does with surviving whenever she is lit. The short range of Yukon's main battery guns makes it very likely that she will be one (if not the) closest spotted ships for the enemy team to shoot at. Knowing when and how to drop contact when things get spicy is the key to Yukon's success. This is why I subscribe so heavily to the Priority Target skill for Yukon. It lets you know when it's safe to keep cycling her guns and when it's probably time for you to go silent and drop back, letting her good surface detection conceal her once more. This has more use than the more reactionary Incoming Fire Alert, allowing you to preempt enemy gunnery, taking evasive action with her excellent rudder shift time. This won't prevent you from taking damage, keep in mind, it will simply limit the amount taken and hopefully keep you alive a little longer. Shadowing lolibotes and orbiting aircraft are Yukon's bane as they limit her ability to drop back into stealth. If there's still a significant lineup of enemy ships taking pot-shots at you, there's not much to be done. Use islands if you can, but if that doesn't work, just keep falling back. Yukon's goal is to keep the rate at which she's being damaged below that of her healing potential. She can take a lot of abuse, but you need to pump the brakes when this damage spikes in order to give your heals time to recover. Like her agility, Yukon's concealment is just good enough to give you the tools needed to facilitate but not guarantee this improved survival. VERDICT: Great for a battleship. Not quite good enough to be a reliable asset but certainly a weapon in Yukon's survivability arsenal. Yukon-Ho! Let's talk about the project itself and Chobi's and my involvement with adding HMCS Yukon to the game. I'll let Chobi take first chair. There's about to be a very stark whiplash in tone and for that, i offer a sincere Canadian apology. Chobi's Chibi-Chair Bonjour, mes amis. Plenty of you already know me, but for those who don't, I'm Chobittsu. Normally I just support Mousey by providing her with cute art and some minor little visual tweaks to her reviews like turning a spread of torpedoes into bunnies wearing snorkels... but this is a rather unique tale, one that requires us both to tell. Once upon a time in the far off land of Febuary 2020 Mousey, and I were approached by someone at the Wargaming North American office (name withheld deliberately, do not ask) and they offered us a chance that even my grumpy ol' cynical bones couldn't pass up... the chance to design a Canadian ship for the game [ There's some clarification about this in my section below. It's marked with bold text and a (1). If you have any questions about this, please ask us to explain. Do not assume. - Mouse ] . The only problem was we had a time budget; it had to be ready for Canada Day 2020. This ruled out modelling a ship from scratch, it takes many months of round-the-clock work to build a ship model, texture it, code everything related to it... there just wasn't time. Our only option was a clone with only tiny cosmetic changes. Several ideas were pitched around, some good, some silly, some that might even still be used. The initial proposal of one of the Royal Canadian Navy's (RCN) historical cruisers was dashed when it was noted that they had vastly different models than the in-game Fiji, there was no time to rip off a whole turret and slap an HMCS Quebec bumper sticker on it... but in mid-march we'd settled on our pick; a fictional Canadian Monarch clone. Right from the start we were stoked and immediately set to work, Mousey with most of the heavy lifting on balance and features while I tackled the visuals, chiefly the ship's camouflages. The initial project name we started with was HMCS Acadia; improved accuracy but with weaker HE shells and a reduced heal, but the added quirk of an Italian Exhaust Smoke. A glass cannon, as Mouse put it, something that could appear, take a big bite outta your stern and then try to slip away under a veil of smoke. But after a while under this name, we traded it out as Mousey wanted to save "Acadia" for the Queen Elizabeth variant that was actually proposed to parliament in the interwar period, and so by mid-2020, we'd settled on a new name; "HMCS Nunavik", as a tribute to the much under-loved peoples of the northern reaches of Canada. And with this name, we wouldn't step on anyone's toes for other historical ships as none were ever named for this northern Quebec region. We spent the next months fiddling with the details and pushing the date back a full year to make sure we had all the time we needed to develop a proper ship (in hindsight, maybe could have pursued the HMCS Quebec or Ontario after all, c'est la vie). All the while I bashed together a pair of camos for the ship, a crest, some flags and plenty of fun stuff in between. The original special camo was to make the ship look like an enormous war canoe of the Haida tribe (because most Inuit canoes are frankly rather plain)... and that was goin' great... until USS Anchorage was released with almost exactly the sort of special camo that I'd been developing... like, straight up uncanny resemblance. So that was a month and a half down the drain for me! But hey, at least I had the standard camo done; an up-scaled version of HMCS Sackville's camo and tribute to our use of Flower-class corvettes, small punchy escort ships and sub-chasers that would normally be too small to appear in WoWS. Put a pin in this part, we'll come back to it. Fast-forward now to the start of 2021. It's been a few months since we started this adventure, and things are going well. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the worlds on fire with Spanish Flu Too: Electric Boogaloo and we're hit with the first punch in the gut from the devs; They've vetoed the name "Nunavik" as their naval historians felt the region was too small to warrant a ship being named for it. Now, I'm not an expert on these matters, but 443,685km² is pretty damn far from small. They instead chose to call the ship "HMCS Yukon", after a Canadian territory of about 482,443 km²... but lets just ignore that battleships have been named for places smaller than the difference between these two regions... And the fact that we had a Mackenzie-class HMCS Yukon in 1963... With this new name, I had to throw out much of the work I'd already done. Name plates, crests, commemorative flags... back to square one. The only upside with this ship's new name was that I very quickly had ideas for where I could take the motifs: Huskys, Fireweed and Gold. I quickly had a new flag featuring the provincial flower of the Yukon; a husky wreathed in fireweed (a pink but rather poisonous boreal flower) on a background of golden yellow. The crest; a heraldic husky prancing over snow-capped mountains and blue skies with a band of gold. The camos? That same Sackville blue and white from the Nunavik I'd brushed up (don't take that pin outta this just yet, it'll come back again a few times), with the big fancy camo you'd get from the special premium edition of the ship being... the exact same camo again~! But this time with veins of gold cracked through the structure of the ship. Not any fancy geometry mind you, just clever bumpmaps and reflective texturing to make the ship appear as though it had bean carved from the Klondike itself. Add onto that the name plaque of the ship, similar in design to the one adorning HMCS Haida, a piece of history I've personally visited several times. And lastly, to top it all off, a large steel maple leaf afixed to her aft funnel, painted a vibrant green; a tradition our navy still follows to this day, though with a more crimson hue. My work was done, there wasn't anything left to do but wait and muse about what I could work on next for Wargaming, perhaps another ship when this one proved to be a resounding success~! Months pass while I wait to see the results, I was vibrating with excitement so much that I nearly phased between the molecules of my chair and ended up in the basement. Then the big day arrives, the first hinting of the ship being released! It was a rocky road but we'd done it! Our very own ship! The community gets hyped, there's naturally some who bemoan that it's non-historical, and I feel for those players, I too would have loved to have seen a built-in-steel ship instead, but with what we had to work with, I felt we'd accomplished something truly special, something unique. ... and then Wargaming arrived. With each successive change-log, the ship lost another element that made it worth looking into. The smile faded from our faces as the "fun-tax" was applied. But this was just the beginning... Remember that Sackville camo I designed? A tribute to the literal hundreds of corvettes that saw service around the world with only one remaining today as a museum? Well it's time to go back to that pinned note from earlier, spit on it, throw it in the shredder, and dump what's left into Halifax Harbour for the gulls to peck at. While I fully and completely admit that the standard Type-10 camo Wargaming designed for the ship is gorgeous, they entirely missed the point of the one I'd designed. And that gold vein version? Nope. Instead we got another post-1965 Canadian flag camo like what Haida has. A safe, boring choice... The ship's brass and wood nameplate was replaced with a stamp down on the stern... The crest? Well this is the part I turned out to be entirely wrong about, as our navy reuses crests when ships share the same name, but with the Mackenzie-class HMCS Yukon being made first I was a lil bit blind to that footnote, kinda glad that Wargaming caught it and I learned something new too. But back to being grumpy; Remember that husky flag? It's the only part I can say with confidence that you can see my involvement in. The finished product? No no, it looks nothing like the golden banner from before. This one is blue, no fireweed, and with the husky silhouetted on a yellow circle. (I'll hazard a guess that it's supposed to be the moon, which would then make it a wolf... not a husky.) They got the maple leaf on the funnel though, but since that was a historical element on our ships anyway I can't even claim credit for that... I literally have had more content added to the game as a result of being one of the finalists for the community patch design contest, at least my mermaid arrived with only a few minor changes. This was, in my opinion, a year of work wasted. Thankfully it didn't consume much of my time, but this was not the vision that I set out to pursue. As for Mouse's work, she can describe it better than I ever could. I'm just the visuals and "Can I secondary-build it?" guy... but this project, I had hoped, would lead to a whole series of fictional role-filler ships that would plug up gaps normally present in the Commonwealth tree. Once the Yukon's camos were done, I also started work on a proposal for a Maori camo once HMNZS Achilles finally appears on the development slipways, as well as additional fictional ships I'd love to help design for nations without large capital ships like fleet carriers or battleships... but this whole experience has left a terrible taste in my mouth... And while (our immediate contact within the company) was more than helpful in getting this project off the ground, I can't help but feel that everyone after them in the chain of development simply said "Y'huh, that's nice, here's what we're gonna do instead". So while Yukon got started as a result of the work Mouse and I did... this is anything but our ship. I can only apologize profusely to the other thirty eight million Canadians on this planet for this incredibly flaccid result, a travesty of poor representation and mediocre game-play. I've always been critical of Wargaming's decisions, always looked over them with a fine-toothed comb, always wanted to make sure that the content we get was the best it could be. And for the first time, I had the chance to actually truly shape some content... but in the end, it was an illusion. The hope I'd built for over a year, all the "maybe this time they won't disappoint me"s that I'd stashed away for winter... well, it's late spring now, just about summer... but I have yet to see the fields of pink boreal flowers bloom and bring life to this barren tundra... I genuinely hope it can be fixed, that the ship will grow into the hype we originally had for it, but it's out of my hands. All there is left for me is to eat my soup and watch the show unfold. Chobi even went so far as to play with Azur Lane designs. Mouse's Minutes Chobi and I are clearly entitled idiots for thinking anything good would come of this. Somehow, Wargaming didn't know we were involved. Chobi and I came into this project with high hopes. Wargaming was unaware where all of the ideas were coming from and didn't pay our dreams much heed. The decision to step over Chobi's and my submissions had nothing to do with malice and everything to do with ignorance; while our contact knew who we were, this wasn't important further up the chain. It seems our contributions were perceived as suggestions from random Canadian players. Yet somehow these suggestions were sufficient enough to get the Yukon project off the ground in the first place? I don't quite understand it either. Famous & Historical Monarch's a bad ship, there's no two ways about it. The only way to make a successful premium out of it, especially for a non-existent (and possibly dead-end) tech-tree like the British Commonwealth, is to have solid appeal. It needs to look good. It needs to feel good. You're sure as Hell not going to get that appeal based on the parent ship's reputation. If you can't hit either of those first two points, make it disgustingly overpowered. I would not have suggested Monarch if I had known how little influence my designs would have on the project. While I did not expect any proposed game play element to survive development fully intact, the spirit of it certainly could. I wanted a glass-cannon Monarch at tier VII, in the spirit of what Ashitaka is to Amagi. Wargaming went the complete opposite direction, giving us a damage-sponge. This is where I clarify that (1) footnote above in Chobi's section. Like Chobittsu, based upon my conversations with Wargaming North America, I thought that we were being asked to design the ship. According to Wargaming we were not asked to design the ship (1) (and this was only clarified now). Apparently, we were just to be reached out to if they needed us.... despite needing us right from the word go. No one at Wargaming thought to tell us this for well over a year. They took our design submissions. They took Chobi's art. They took our discussion and built the ship we have now. They took sixteen months of time, energy and enthusiasm from us. And all we knew was the devs liked our ideas and were moving forward with the Monarch premium. We had to figure out for ourselves how much or how little Wargaming was going to use because they weren't going to tell us. It turns out they used almost nothing. And we didn't figure this out fully until May 25th of 2021 when her Type 10 camo was finally datamined and the last element that could have been something Chobi and I made didn't materialize. For sixteen months, they have unwittingly dragged us along. Again, I must stress, this was not out of malice but out of ignorance; almost every WG employee I have spoken to since seems genuinely surprised I had anything to do with Yukon. My feelings really don't care about that, though. Wargaming had given me hope. They could have known if they bothered to look and listen to the feedback I was giving. Once Yukon was in testing, I was obviously upset. I was making noise about it. Wargaming still hadn't put two and two together. No one had reached out to us. No one had clarified our position or the worth of our submissions. "You were not asked to design a ship (1)" is only being mentioned after the fact. Like this week. Had they told us this back in February of 2020, it wouldn't have mattered. Expectations would have been set. Chobi's and my level of investment would have been set appropriately. But we weren't told. And the project went forward. Here's the final result. A crappy Monarch-clone and the players responsible disillusioned. This is where it gets fun. You're not reading the first draft of this review. You should really find some other reviews of Yukon and here's why: Being the nice Canadian I am, I went out of my way to warn Wargaming that Chobi and I were going to voice our upset about our contributions being ignored about having been left in the dark for so long. I submitted a preview of this article to them and they finally reached out: They didn't like our first draft. We apparently had some facts wrong (our bad!). They asked that I make sure that this review is clear about the following: They did not ask us to design a ship. They took our suggestions and feedback but they designed and made Yukon, not us (1). They said we should feel proud that some of our design elements made it into the final product. Yeah, what elements exactly? There's so very little in this ship that's actually ours. Not her name. Not her feel. Not her look. They even butchered poor Chobi's husky flag and turned it into a bloody wolf. Yukon is in the game. She's a Monarch premium. Should I feel happy about that? Should I be happy that I worked hard and waited over a year for a promised vessel that bares no resemblance to the project I wanted? Should I be happy they want to celebrate our involvement despite not even being aware of it until I bloody-well pointed it out? I don't feel happy. Crazy, I know. They talk like players getting a ship into the game is new and unprecedented. They're forgetting who they're bloody talking to and the abomination known as HMS Thunderer. They're forgetting that Chobi has literal art-assets already in the game between a patch and another flag. They talk down to us like we should be sparkly-eyed and enthusiastic for this humiliation. They've pushed me even further away from this ship over the last couple of weeks and I did not think that possible. I'm supposed to be on break and now they're jeopardizing me ever coming back after this crap. I feel disrespected, hopeless and sad. Please do me a favour: I know Chobi's all for pitchforks, tar and feathering but I'm not. If how Chobi and I were treated bothers you, speak with your wallet, not with drama and sensationalism. I won't think less of you if you ignore all of this and want Yukon anyway. All I ask is that things be kept civil. The HMCS Sackville camouflage included with our proposal for HMCS Nunavik. This included the green maple leaf upon her rear funnel, ship badge and name plate. We couldn't get you a historical Canadian ship so we thought we'd at least dress her up in the colours of one of our honoured vessels that did a lot of heavy lifting. Final Evaluation I'm not sure I can trust myself to be objective about this ship's performance given my history with her, but here goes. I don't think Yukon is terrible, but let's not kid ourselves: she's saved by her mega-heal. Her 15.7km range sucks. Her 31.5 second reload also sucks. Her gun handling and fire arcs suck. Her armour sucks. Her citadel layout sucks. Having 381mm guns at tier VII is great, but using them is a struggle. It's heart breaking when they misbehave. Yukon's heal holds everything together but even that cannot be relied upon. I think if it weren't for her comfortable rudder shift time, I'd genuinely hate this ship. Scratch that, I do hate this ship. I'm just capable of seeing some elements of redemption. That won't save her from a GARBAGE Angry Youtuber rating, however. Famous & Historical Monarch is a bad tier VIII battleship. Yukon is a bad tier VII battleship but she has a good heal. Yukon is ostensibly the new HMS Nelson. Yukon has better survivability from the OG zombiebote, but this comes at the expense of her firepower. It's not an even trade, however. There's no compensating for the loss of (a) 406mm AP shell overmatching (b) Royal Navy HE spam, (c) a 30 second reload and (d) not-horrible gun range. In exchange, Yukon gets a "better"hull design than Nelson's (though it's certainly not good), with the Canadian battleship being faster, more agile and downright sneaky. I think it's Yukon's 28 knot top speed which Nelson-fans will appreciate most. That's the flexibility Nelson lacked. Still, it's hard not to miss those sixteen-inch guns and that rage-inducing HE, to say nothing of Nelson's comfortable (yet modest) 18.2km range. Yukon has none of Nelson's reliability when it comes to dealing damage. The new Canadian-bote's performance is far more volatile, especially when she isn't top tier. Sometimes you like unto a God of War, long of neck, black, white and brown of plumage and full of hiss. At others, you're just a poor beaver, frantically just trying to plug leaks. If you're someone who prides themselves on consistency, this isn't your chariot of choice. Yukon upsets me. She is not the ship Chobi and I proposed. There's nothing about the ship that's ours; not her name, not her game play, not even her look. What should have been an easy PR win for Wargaming is anything but. The two Canucks responsible for this Canada Day ship feel alienated and are actively bad-mouthing the experience. Like, seriously, I would have gushed about this ship had we felt our contributions mattered. It's silly, but had Wargaming just provided Yukon with her Sackville-camo and the whole tone of this article would be different. I'm trying to like this ship. I really am. I've put in dozens upon dozens of games since she was finalized hoping to get past my own bias but my experiences out of game regarding her are insultingly-bad. I honestly hope that those players who do pick her up find her enjoyable. It would be wonderful to hear that I'm completely off-base and that Wargaming has served up a winner in the eyes of the community. I think there would be some kind of catharsis to hear that Yukon ends up being horribly overpowered in Ranked Battles, or beloved by Newfoundlanders or something like that. I just don't see it. I'm not capable of seeing it.
  21. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Fen Yang

    o The following is a review of Fen Yang, the tier VIII premium Pan Asian destroyer. 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 0.10.0. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: An Akizuki-class destroyer with improved AP shells instead of improved HE shells commonly found on the Akizuki-class. She has weird, battleship & carrier-only deep-water torpedoes. Finally, she comes with a Defensive AA Fire consumable. PROS Large, 19,700 hit point pool. Improved auto-ricochet angles on her AP shells. Good fire setting ability. Comfortable gun fire arcs and nice gun handling. Good anti-aircraft firepower defence for a destroyer. Her Smoke Generator has two additional charges. Access to the Defensive AA Fire consumable. Suck it, duckies! CONS Shockingly slow 5.2 second main battery reload. Only has 17mm of HE penetration, making her unable to directly damage tier VIII+ destroyer hulls and battleship superstructures. Her guns are VERY skill hungry. Single torpedo launcher (with crappy fire angles) that can only damage carriers and battleships. Slow and clumsy. Large surface detection range. Horrible premium for training Pan Asian captains. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Fen Yang presents too many challenges to make her a comfortable ride for novice players. Her ammunition is temperamental. Her concealment sucks. She's slow. She has only a single torpedo launcher. She's very reliant on a 'proper' skill build to pad her strengths and mitigate weaknesses. Her saving grace is that she has a nice consumable suite to help correct some of these deficiencies, but even they require some knowledge to make them effective. New players beware. Fen Yang's gameplay largely revolves around being an angry smoke cloud and spitting hot death at anything that comes within range. Expert players will be rewarded with smart ammunition choices, making bold plays to get torpedo angles on targets and knowing which destroyers they can out gun. Options Consumables Fen Yang comes stocked with a glut of consumables. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer with unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 40 second cooldown. Fen Yang uses a standard Pan Asian Smoke Generator, identical to the ones found on Siliwangi and Hsienyang also at tier VIII. It comes with a 30 second emission time, 100 second reset timer and each cloud of smoke lasting 70 seconds. She has five charges to start. Her Engine Boost consumable is also standard for a destroyer, providing an 8% boost to engine speed for 120 seconds with a 120 second reset timer. It starts with three charges. Next up we have her Torpedo Reload Booster. When activated, it reloads her torpedoes in 5 seconds. It has a 160 second reset timer and starts with three charges. Finally, she has access to the Defensive AA Fire consumable. When activated, it provides an X increase to sustained DPS and Y increase to flak explosion damage for 40 seconds. It has four charges to start and an 80 second reset timer. Upgrades As far as upgrades go, there's not a whole lot of choice to worry about here. Main Armaments Modification 1 is optimal in your first slot. If you want to stem the tide of Fun and Engaging™ mechanics, then take Magazine Modification 1 instead if you don't want to dip into your supply of Juliet Charlie signals to mitigate detonations. The special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1 is the best choice in slot two if you can afford it. It will set you back 17,000 from the Armory. If you cannot, default to Engine Room Protection. Aiming System Modification 1 is the only upgrade worth considering in slot three, and that's not saying much. Fen Yang loves camping smoke, so Propulsion Modification 1 is the best choice here for the extra pep in her engines when moving from a dead-stop. You can take Steering Gears Modification 1 instead if you prefer a more open-water play-style but it's the lesser choice. Finally, and perhaps to no one's surprise, Concealment System Modification 1 is still the best (and overpowered) option in her fifth slot. Don't even look at the other options. Skills You have to decide how often you're going to reach for Fen Yang's AP rounds before you settle on a commander's skill build. The primary difference will be if you decide to invest in Inertial Fuse for HE Shells or not. Generally speaking, IFHE will yield better numbers overall and it makes the ship much easier to play. But for the connoisseur, being all snooty and tossing mostly AP will necessitate a different build. Your core build for destroyers has changed with Priority Target no longer being a 1pt skill. Most of the tier I skills are pretty situational, but you can default to a "safe" (but not quite optimized) 10 points that look like this: Start with Preventative Maintenance. Take Last Stand. Next comes Survivability Expert. Finish it off with Concealment Expert. From here you have 11 points to spend. The default, no-brainer build is: Inertial Fuse for HE Shells Main Battery & AA Specialist Extra-Heavy AP Shells This gives a comfortable mix of improved HE penetration, better AP shells, and improved main battery DPM, allowing her to engage all targets she comes across with her guns. This leaves three skill points to be spent how you wish. Superintendent is the obvious choice, giving her an extra charge of all of her consumables. Adrenaline Rush is useful for propping up her low DPM. However, I found myself instead reaching for Priority Target (I love this skill too much) and Consumables Specialist. Alternatively, you could drop Inertial Fuse for HE Shells and take Pyrotechnician. This would give you four points to spend which could be put towards extra range (Main Battery & AA Expert) or increased rate of fire while spotted (Fearless Brawler). It is early yet in the 0.10 patch cycle, though. I am sure my preferences on skills will evolve as we all get more comfortable with the new skill system. This was the build I settled upon as being most comfortable (and ultimately brainless) for playing Fen Yang. This is a very specific build for this ship providing little overlap with other Pan Asian DDs, greatly limiting this ship's effectiveness as a tech-tree commander trainer. Camouflage Fen Yang has two camouflage option. The first is the standard Type 10 Camouflage. There is also the Lunar New Year - Fen Yang camouflage as a cosmetic option (which I like because it glows). Both versions provide the identical 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. It may not be realistic or historical but her Lunar New Year camo sure is pretty. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 100mm/65 guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Four tubes in a 1x4 launcher mounted on the centre-line. All four of Fen Yang's A & B gun turrets can fire 31º off her stern and her X & Y turrets can fire 30º off her bow. This is pretty good. You could be forgiven for imagining this ship providing you with hawt, ducky-action. Sadly, Fen Yang does not duplicate Akizuki's cork-screwing gunnery ability. Fen Yang may be an Akizuki-class destroyer but she does not replicate Akizuki's gunnery. I will say this again so it's crystal clear: FEN YANG DOES NOT HAVE AKIZUKI'S GUNNERY She has a 5.2 second reload, NOT 3 seconds like Akizuki She has 17mm of HE penetration, NOT 30mm like Akizuki In fact, other than gun handling, Fen Yang's main battery performance is a complete departure from Miss Ducky. DPM numbers can be terribly misleading as they don't account for things like accuracy, penetration and ricochet mechanics. Always take such numbers in context and with all of the facts possible. High Explosive Let Down Down the rabbit-hole we go. Starting us off, Fen Yang's HE shells are a far-cry from those of Akizuki. This is, in part, to compensate for her sloppy reload time, giving her a bigger punch and better fire starting on a per-shell basis. While these individual hits are bigger (and fierier -- I can't believe that's an actual word) she does not hold a candle to Akizuki's damage-per-minute or fire setting ability once you factor in the differences in their reload. Fen Yang's HE damage output is comparable to (in more than one way) to HMS Lightning, the tier VIII British destroyer. Her fire setting is better, but we'll get to that. Overall, her raw numbers aren't terrible but for a ship-class that's known to be a potent gunship this represents an enormous performance gap. Of course, with Fen Yang, her HE deficit goes beyond just raw DPM numbers. While her slow reload isn't enough to damn her HE performance, the lack of penetration on her HE shells certainly does. At 17mm, Fen Yang cannot directly damage the hulls of other tier VIII+ destroyers nor the superstructures of tier VIII+ battleships. The shells will simply shatter. While taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells helps, bumping her penetration up to 21mm this comes at the further expense of the only thing really good about her HE rounds which is that respectable fire setting. So just to make her useful with her HE rounds against all targets, she has to kill the one thing she has going for her. To make this worse, Fen Yang's boosted 21mm of penetration is a far cry from Akizuki's 30mm of base value, to say nothing of the 37mm she accomplishes with IFHE. In short, while Akizuki's HE shells are ubiquitous, capable of comfortably damaging just about any opponent she comes across, Fen Yang's HE shells barely pass muster. Unmodified, use them to engage lower-tiered destroyers and light cruisers. You can also have them set fires on battleships, just be aware that they will not be doing much direct damage. Fen Yang's HE shells are incredibly situational and only get promoted to "meh" with a lot of skill points spent. For those who only speak Angry YouTuber: "They're useless." Note that there are two versions of Le Fantasque and Le Terrible. Those marked with an asterix (*) are using their Main Battery Reload Booster for 15 seconds of 60 seconds. Fen Yang has some very respectable fire setting potential, especially when fully gussied up for the role. Of course, this precludes her from stacking direct damage with her shells, so the trade off isn't a good one. Taking IFHE drops her fire setting to about 6.5 fires per minute, assuming you take all of the other buffs described here. Maybe AP Can Save Her! Fen Yang is designed instead to be an AP spammer. Dust off your shiny, new Extra-Heavy AP Shell skill, because here we go. With all of the problems plaguing her HE shells, Fen Yang's AP shells are a breath of fresh air. Like her HE rounds, they have improved damage performance over those found on Akizuki's. Again, the deficit in reload times means that even with this improved damage-per-hit, she cannot rival the overall damage output of the Japanese ducky-bote, assuming every shot hit and did damage. However, this gap narrows considerably with Fen Yang's improved auto-ricochet angles. Akizuki's AP shells have a chance to begin ricocheting at 45º and automatically fail this check at 60º or more. Fen Yang has the same angles found on "American Piercing" AP rounds found on their heavy cruisers, with ricochet checks not beginning until 60º with the automatic failure occurring at 67.5º. Her AP shells are thus less likely to slide off her target if they hit at a sharp angle which can (but doesn't necessarily guarantee) better performance in fighting scenarios. The extra damage and improved auto-ricochet angles are nice, but they do not make Fen Yang's AP rounds a universal shell. They still require a minimum of 17mm worth of steel to arm their fuses or they will over-penetrate and deal minimal damage. This precludes them from being effective against the broadside of lower-tiered light cruisers and destroyer hulls, along with the superstructures of lower-tiered battleships. Such targets need to be angled at a minimum of 20º for the relative thickness of the steel to be great enough for Fen Yang's AP fuses to arm. Against such opponents, she must reach for her HE shells. Finally, there's her raw penetration to consider. As high-velocity as Fen Yang's 100mm rounds are, their Krupp value is poor leading to lower penetration values. This means it's just one more think to keep track of when engaging targets; knowing which ones are vulnerable to AP and which are vulnerable to HE. Finally, as good as her auto-ricochet angles are, a target coming in too steeply will automatically bounce everything you throw at her. Without HE to fall back upon, Fen Yang simply cannot damage those targets. This is made worse by the specific ineffectiveness of her torpedoes which we'll get into. So while Fen Yang's AP shells are more use than on your typical destroyer, they are not without the usual problems facing lolibote pea-shooters. Fen Yang's torpedo arcs are pretty bad, only able to hit targets 55º off her bow or 63º off her stern, necessitating her giving her full broadside to launch. Feels and Fish Ignoring all other comparisons, Fen Yang's gunnery is barely adequate right out of the box. The inability of a main battery gun at tier VIII being unable to penetrate 19mm worth of steel without IFHE is inexcusable. The improvements made to her shells, both AP and HE do not make up for this deficit and she's an uncomfortable gunnery platform as a result. Wargaming is clearly trying to minimize the number (or effectiveness) of angry smoke clouds dispensing hailstorms of bullets. Honestly, I would have preferred losing access to a Smoke Generator in order to keep that vaunted 3 second reload of the Akizuki-class. Oh well. You can (and probably should) spend a lot of commander skill points to improve their performance. Extra-Heavy AP Shells is one such investment. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, Main Battery & AA Specialist, and Adrenaline Rush are all but must haves. And let's not forget Main Battery & AA Expert, Pyrotechnician and even Fearless Brawler being capable investments too. It's far too easy to break the bank on skill combinations here and I profess having not found one with which I was 100% comfortable. Can Fen Yang's guns work? Sure. Is she a powerful gunship? Meh. She's far from optimized and she doesn't fill a niche that was lacking in any regard. What you have here is a worse ducky-bote. This leaves a lot of heavy lifting to be performed by her torpedo launchers. As you can guess, with but a single launcher, this is a pretty tall order, but Wargaming went on to decide this wasn't good enough and Fen Yang had to experience torpedo hard-mode. Her fish are the deepwater type but what's more, they're incapable of hitting not only destroyers but cruisers too. I say again: FEN YANG'S TORPEDOES CAN ONLY HIT BATTLESHIPS & CARRIERS. Hooray! (Please note the sarcasm). It almost makes you wish she didn't have them at all so her guns could be a little better. So not only does Fen Yang have selective targeting on her HE rounds, her torpedoes do too! If you get charged by a cruiser or other destroyer, fighting your way out is really, REALLY challenging. Summary Fen Yang's weapons are best described as "not good". Her guns demand a huge investment in skill points to bring them up to speed, making her a very poor commander trainer for your other Pan Asian destroyer captains. With the right upgrades & skills, she's a gunship worth respecting but she can never be the fearsome "do not touch!" threat a full-health Akizuki presents. Fen Yang's weapon systems are just too fussy to ever be endearing. Even Asashio's limited arsenal is more compelling -- at least she does one thing stupidly well. Fen Yang's weapons are very middle-of-the-road, at least once you get around to souping them up. But right out of the box? Hard pass. Blech. VERDICT: Her guns aren't good until you invest pretty deeply with commander skills. Her torps are never good unless a battleship is being an absolute moron. Durability Hit Points: 19,700 Minimum Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm It's not terrible! There's not a lot to go over here. Fen Yang has a nice chunk of hit points for a tier VIII destroyer. That's good. It's not excellent, though. She doesn't have improved armour beyond the 19mm base structural plate. Furthermore, she lacks a Repair Party consumable to recover health which becomes increasingly commonplace among destroyers at higher tiers. Thus, while she is setup to trade health at an advantage against many opponents, her durability isn't idiot-proof. Spending her hit points recklessly will greatly compromise her effectiveness. It's worth keeping her main battery DPM deficit in mind when going toe to toe with other gunships. Watch their health. Watch your health. If you start shattering HE rounds or ricocheting AP shells, even with a head start on HP, you can still lose. VERDICT: Pretty good. Heals would be nice, but I can't say bad things about her here. Agility Top Speed: 33 knots Turning Radius: 730m Rudder Shift Time: 4.5s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.9º/s Fen Yang sucks absolute monkey butts here. She is not only slow for a destroyer, she handles more like a chubby cruiser. That's pretty damning. If you split hairs, she has better energy preservation and thus a better rate of turn than Akizuki, but you'd never know it from day to day play. Treating Fen Yang like a destroyer will get you killed. Propulsion Modification 1 is a must-have if you intend to stay in smoke for any duration, with the acceleration needed to help avoid inevitable washes of torpedoes sent to scrub you out of cover. Her Engine Boost consumable is best used for emergencies -- for dodging fish or trying to control engagement distances when an enemy you can't fight gets too close. She's too fat of a destroyer (and a gunship besides) for Swift in Silence to be a reasonable investment, which is a shame given that she could really use the extra speed. Fen Yang is not a comfortable ride, agility wise. I'm being lazy, but I'm saving myself a couple of hours worth of work here by not redoing this graphic from my Z-35 review. Look all the way to the bottom. Fen Yang turns just slightly better than Akizuki but otherwise keeps her turning radius. Look at the difference between Benson and Loyang. It's like that -- just a nubbin on the end of Akizuki's pale green sadness. VERDICT: Horribad. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 4+1 explosions for 1,400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 112dps at 100% accuracy (112dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 133dps at 100% accuracy (133dps) Defensive AA Fire: Very yes! Dauntless dive bombers from a stock-Lexington get a little too close to Fen Yang's angry smoke cloud. Fen Yang has good AA defence for a tier VIII destroyers. It's not just good, it's great even, besting a good number of cruisers out there. When you weight her sustained AA DPS by range, she's at the top of the pile among tier VIII destroyers. What's more, she also has a respectable amount of flak explosions (five of 'em) and finally she has Defensive AA Fire -- something that's been long overdue on an Akizuki-class destroyer given their design role. So why am I not more happy about this? Fen Yang's AA defence is comparable to that of USS Kidd; just slightly better. As has been painfully demonstrated in videos and memes since, even Kidd's solid AA defence does not keep her safe. Fen Yang may be able to fend off bot-driven carriers in Co-Op mode (and this is a great way to farm AA kills for missions, by the way), it's a different story against players. Yes, tier VI aircraft carriers will have a hard time making repeated runs against Fen Yang. Yes, she can make it expensive for tier VIII carriers as well. But let's not kid ourselves: This will not keep her safe from a determined opponent. They can (and will) still drop on you. If they can line up an attack on you, you're taking damage. The only defence is to Just Dodge™ or blow smoke and hide. Blasting at planes from smoke will net some nice damage so the carrier's planes are not likely to stick around. With the extra charges she has on her Smoke Generator this is one of the better uses for it. I miss the AA picket-ship role, I really do. I was hoping that the skill rework might give this a big shot in the arm but it just didn't materialize. Fen Yang's AA is almost good enough. Almost. VERDICT: She could have been made interesting here. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 7.76km / 6.1km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.55km / 2.88km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.2km Maximum Firing Range: 12.46km to 14.95km To no one's surprise (I'm sure), Fen Yang's surface detection range is pretty crappy. She matches Akizuki here, so it's not like this is beyond the norm. She is tied for 18th place out 23 tier VIII destroyers in terms of concealment which is pretty bad. Her 6.1km minimum surface detection range sits almost in the middle of the 5.37km found on the five Japanese torpedo-destroyers and the appalling 7.07km of Kiev, though this Soviet ship is an extreme outlier with the French destroyers coming in at 6.43km and 6.65km, showing that Fen Yang is a significant chungus. This deficit of concealment is further magnified if the Fearless Brawler skill is taken to try and pad her poor reload rate on her guns, giving her an (at best) 6.4km surface detection range. Fen Yang's lack of heals and her general lack of agility makes taking the skill Fearless Brawler a significant risk. It's an expensive skill and Fen Yang is not best suited to firing out in the open. You can make it work, but this is down more to the idiocy and complacency of your opponents than the brilliance of Fen Yang's own design. This is not a ship that dodges very well, given her pedestrian speed and clumsy handling. Trading health with a larger ship while spotted just doesn't make a whole lot of sense, especially not when her guns have reasonable ballistics to make use of islands (at least at range) and her plentiful Smoke Generator charges should preclude her from the necessity of being spotted in the first place. Pan Asian smoke may not last as long as the smoke from other nations, but she gets more charges to compensate -- up to six with Superintendent. There's an argument to be made that she'll be out-spotted anyway by just about any destroyer she faces, to say nothing about the predations of aircraft braving her AA power. There is a maximum of a 30 second gap between the last cloud generated by her Smoke Generator dissipating and the consumable being ready again which may prompt an open water fight. Fen Yang is going to be lit by Surveillance Radar, to say nothing about the occasional close-range knife fight by an enterprising destroyer or charging cruiser. Ultimately, Fen Yang punishes, rather than rewards getting in close. Her torpedoes are ineffective against ships that are likely to charge her hiding places. Her guns, while not incapable of fending off snoops, aren't the powerhouses her ship's class would suggest. Regardless if she's going to be out-spotted or not, keep back. This ship does not take well to being up front. VERDICT: Poor and inflexible, saved only by her smoke. Firing AP shells from smoke. Fen Yang's bread and butter. Watch those blind return-fire shots. Final Evaluation For those wondering, here is the list of all of the differences between Fen Yang and Akizuki: This was my early draft of the review from back in early January. Slap on a title, add a few snarky lines and call it done. I'm not sure that the full review is an improvement. You'll note that there are some differences between Fen Yang's final performance stats and those listed here, including changes to her range and ballistics. Such is often the case when composing these reviews, with last-minute changes between the final test version and the released version of the ship being commonplace. Thus, the final main battery gun range difference between the two ships is a whopping 3m in Akizuki's favour. There are some over-specialized premium ships that are defined by what they can do. Take everyone's favourite destroyer that single-handedly wiped out the battleship meta (HA!): Asashio. Despite all of the limitations placed upon this ship, she's known for being an excellent battleship-killer. She's known not for her weaknesses, but for that one insurmountable strength. The same goes for other specialist destroyers like Haida, Friesland or Kamikaze. You don't dwell on the slow speed of Black's torpedoes, for example. You focus on the (Balans'd™) combination of her Smoke Generator and Surveillance Radar consumables. The doesn't happen with Fen Yang. The closest she comes to that kind of comparison is with her AA-firepower. And it speaks to the horrible surface ship versus aircraft carrier meta that this isn't something worth celebrating. This was something worth celebrating in the past; take HMS Hood as an example, where her AA ridiculousness was meme-worthy. But we have not yet seen a premium of this type since the CV rework in 0.8.0. I do not like Fen Yang. I won't say she's terrible. She certainly can perform, but she'll make you work for it. She is to Akizuki what Belfast '43 is to Belfast. She leaves you asking the question: She might have been rescued with better AA firepower. She could have been saved by preserving Akizuki's rate of fire, even if this had come at the expense of smoke or torpedo performance. However, I think her cardinal sin is that Fen Yang doesn't work even as a commander trainer. The role of premium ships has changed with patch 0.10.0. Commanders can now have four builds at the same time, one for each ship type. Thus, you could conceivably buy a premium cruiser and use it to train a battleship commander as the skills you select for optimum (or fun) performance on the premium ship would not limit the performance of the battleship. But Fen Yang is a premium destroyer and, barring the tier I Chengan, there aren't any other Pan Asian tech tree ships that aren't destroyers. With Fen Yang demanding such a specific set of skills to unlock even an acceptable baseline level of performance which have little overlap with other Pan Asian lolibotes, she is worthless as a commander skill trainer. She misses the mark in so many ways, but this really bugged me. There's a lot of fail here. Fen Yang misses the mark. I cannot recommend her to anyone. If you want a good Pan Asian destroyer, Loyang is still top of the pile all of these years later. Gallery This are a few of the screenshots of Fen Yang I took making this review either that didn't end up in the review itself or that had words written all over them. For use as thumbnails on YouTube or what have you.
  22. So, its been a while since we have heard anything about Huron since WG announced it. if I recall correctly, wasn't there going to be regular updates as to the process of developing Huron? a peeling back of the curtain as to how a ship gets made? been a little while and... I haven't seen anything about this. Thanks, @Chobittsu Should we proceed, we will gladly support your idea to highlight Huron development more and give some extra details and behind-the-scenes insights. I think we could send this extra information to you and @LittleWhiteMouse so you can share it with the community as you'd like. But, that is not the main reason for me putting this thread out. If WG is still out in the early stages of development, I strongly urge that we get Huron as DDE 216 In its inital 1953 refit, it had 3x2 4 inch cannons, as well as the ASW squid launchers and bofors for AA. I implore WG to use this version of the ship because A) it isn't a copy-paste job and shows some appreceated effort, B) the gameplay could be different from Haida, or at least different enough C) With subs practically guaranteed, a ship that is geared towards taking them out would be well appreciated. That's all. Thanks.
  23. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Rochester

    The following review of Rochester, the tier VIII premium American heavy cruiser, was sponsored by my patrons on Patreon who helped me afford this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as patch 0.10.9. Quick Summary: Imagine a Baltimore-class cruiser with slight tweaks (generally nerfs) across all performance parameters and strip out her access to Surveillance Radar. In compensation, give her access to Defensive AA Fire and Hydroacoustic Search and a Smoke Generator consumable. PROS American/German 27mm hull extremities. Access to "American Piercing" AP shells with higher shell damage, penetration and auto-ricochet angles. Great gun fire angles, especially to the rear (it's about time I got to review another ship with these). Good anti-aircraft firepower for a tier VIII cruiser. Competitive concealment and decent stealth range while firing in smoke for a 203mm armed cruiser. Does not have to choose between Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive AA Fire. Has a Smoke Generator. CONS No health regeneration. Low DPM & fire setting for a pure-gunship heavy cruiser. Painfully slow turret traverse. Not terribly agile. No access to Surveillance Radar. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Rochester pretty new-fish friendly. Without Surveillance Radar to worry about, there's no reason to push in too close which may help reduce the amount of "death by over-extending". Furthermore, her good concealment and decent smoke-firing properties give her a comfortable buffer. Firing from smoke is pretty easy and Rochester makes it about as comfortable as it can get for an American heavy cruiser. Furthermore, the forgiving nature of 203mm HE and her AP auto-ricochet angles will take the sting out of sloppy ammunition choices. So good marks here. Her carry potential in the hands of an expert is a little more limited. Good knowledge of how to use and abuse islands will take you far, as will proper ammunition use. Abusing her concealment along with her 27mm bows can yield some pretty meme-worthy encounters against 381mm and smaller-armed battleships that keep trying to use SAP or AP against her at close range. But, while her Smoke Generator does have some team play uses (along with her DFAA and Hydro consumables), her lack of Surveillance Radar is dearly felt. She just doesn't put the pressure on destroyers like she should, not without some incredible risk taking. Options Rochester is defined by her consumables. Really, it's the reason you're buying this ship. So if this doesn't intrigue you, close your wallet now and skip to the end. Consumables Rochester's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser. It has unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 60 second reset timer. Her Defensive AA Fire is also standard for an American cruiser providing and additional 50% continuous damage and 300% flak damage for 40 seconds. Like many other American cruisers, it comes with a bonus charge to start (four total instead of the usual three) and an 80 second reset timer. The Hydroacoustic Search Rochester detects torpedoes at 3.5km and ships at 5km for 100 seconds. It comes with one fewer charge than normal Hydroacoustic Search consumables with only two (instead of three) but it has a standard reset timer of 120 seconds. Finally, Rochester has a Smoke Generator in her fourth slot. Like other American smoke consumables, this generates clouds for a full thirty seconds (which is good). It comes with two charges and a 160 second reset timer. The duration of each smoke cloud is a bit odd. She matches Anchorage's duration of 104 seconds which is decent, but not quite top grade. Here's some of the equivalent smoke duration times at tier VIII for Smoke Generator consumables. 124 seconds: American Destroyers, Loyang 104 seconds: Rochester & Anchorage 99 seconds: Edinburgh 89 seconds: Most destroyers, Mikhail Kutuzov 70 seconds: Lightning, Cossack, Z-35, Belfast '43 (these have very quick reset timers) 69 seconds: Z-23, Harekaze II 10 seconds: Italian Exhaust Smoke Generator equipped ships (these have longer emission time) The only other comparable values to consider are Flint (121 seconds) and Smolensk (89 seconds). I'll talk about this more in the Vision Control (Refrigerator for you old-timer readers) section below. But suffice to say, Rochester's smoke is pretty good. She makes a lot of it and it lasts a fairly long time. Upgrades Your choices here aren't anything revolutionary. The big decision here is whether or not to focus her upon camping in smoke or for more open-water manoeuvrability. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Generally speaking, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is your best choice in slot two. It will cost you cost 17,000 in the Armory. If you cannot (or will not) afford that then default to Engine Room Protection. In slot #3, Aiming System Modification 1 is best. However, if her sluggish gun traverse ticks you off as much as it does me, you can sacrifice some accuracy for Main Battery Modification 2. This latter choice is more worth while in an open-water build if you plan to be actively wiggling and dodging. If you're planning to hug islands or camp in smoke primarily, then the extra acceleration provided by Propulsion Modification 1 is optimal. Still, there's a place for Steering Gears Modification 1 if you're planning to aggressively pursue a more open-water style of play. Finally, Concealment System Modification 1 is generally considered optimal because of the stacked bonuses of air, sea and underwater stealth AND the increased dispersion to incoming fire. However, if you're a smoke-hiding, island-humping pro, or just intent on once again going full-hog to the open-water route, then you can get Steering Gears Modification 2 instead. Commander Skills I haven't talked about heavy cruiser commander skills much since the (repeated) skill rework earlier this year. It's going to be difficult to do so without going on a prolonged rant, but here goes: Cruisers got screwed with the rework. While battleships had to spend more points to get the same features as before, I really don't feel like there's enough good choices for heavy cruisers to be worth investing into. If your ship doesn't need Inertial Fuse for HE Shells then you're kind of starved for compelling, competitive options. I would love to be able to say that this is a good thing; that you can pick among your favourites without much fear of losing in-game performance. But the rework didn't really add anything worth discussing to heavy cruiser game play. The most daring build would be to eschew any shell-performance buffs and dip your toe into trying to be an AA ship if you wanted. That's kinda neat, I guess, but AA performance isn't interesting anymore. It hasn't been since the 0.8.0 rework. It's a shame. For a 10 point, brainless standard build, go with: Grease the Gears at tier 1. Reasonable alternatives (in no particular order) include: Gun Feeder, Incoming Fire Alert and Last Stand. The extra turret traverse is best if you're going to grab Priority Target as I recommend at tier 2. If not, then Incoming Fire Alert goes way up in value. Priority Target remains my favourite tier 2 skill and I admit a healthy bias towards it. Alternatives include: Demolition Expert and our first AA skill: Focus Fire Training. With Rochester's reliance on smoke, it's a pretty simple choice to default to Superintendent. Adrenaline Rush and Heavy AP Shells are the best alternates. To no one's surprise, Concealment Expert is best at tier 4. Don't get me wrong, Radio Location is nice, but give us some variety please, Wargaming! The only other skill that vaguely interests me at this tier is AA Defence and ASW Expert and that's only if you're building an AA ship for the memes. Feel free to double back through the options here to mix and match for a build you find works for you. You really can't go wrong here, so don't sweat it. Camouflage You got one camo. It provides the usual: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. Rochester's default (pale) palette looks best in my opinion. You can unlock the darker version through completing the 5th tab of the American Cruiser Collection. Firepower Main Battery: 3x3 203mm/55 guns in an A-B-X superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Twelve 127mm/38 guns in 6x2 turrets with one superfiring forward over the main battery forward, one superfiring aft and the other four divided evenly along the sides. American Piercing Rochester has comfortable if unimpressive firepower for a tier VIII cruiser. Her main battery of nine 203mm guns are unbacked by any other competitive assets with both her secondaries and her ASW airstrike both being entirely forgettable. For being Rochester's sole weapon system, there is an expectation of competitive damage output from them to compensate for the lack of any other. She kinda-sorta gets there with her improved AP shells. For those unaware, American heavy cruisers tend to have better AP shells than their contemporaries. Despite their low muzzle velocity, they have good penetration. This is joined by good damage values for their calibre and reduced chance of ricochets from angled armour. Grace of her Smoke Generator consumable, Rochester has the ability to cycle her guns more often than other American heavies -- she is not as reliant on making use of island cover to fire and stay alive. Let's reuse this older penetration graphic from my Anchorage (and earlier, Wichita) review. Anchorage and Wichita share the same AP penetration values. Rochester has the same AP penetration as Baltimore, which is among the best at her tier. At point blank ranges (such as the frequent jousts in co-op) Rochester has enough AP penetration to citadel through the belt of some battleships. Rochester pays for this ease-of-use granted by her smoke with a less-than-ideal reload time on her guns. While Baltimore and Wichita may cycle their weapons every 10 seconds, Rochester needs 12. This extra bit of wait is just enough to take the edge off the competitiveness of her weapons whenever she's using anything other than AP shells. Her damage output between fires and HE spam is comparable to that of Atago without the latter's ability to back this up with the occasional torpedo strike. As such, it's imperative to use Rochester's AP shells whenever the opportunity arises. Rochester can and will citadel just about any other cruiser it comes across at any engagement range if they present a broadside. She can even smack shells into their machine spaces when they angle thanks to that one-two combination of great penetration values and those improved auto-ricochet angles. The only issue with relying too heavily on AP rounds is the lack of fire-setting. I can't count the number of times I got a target low with AP and they successfully managed to disengage. A fire might have finished them off, you know, provided Rochester could stack one past their Damage Control Party. However, Rochester isn't good at this, being among the worse fire-setters at her tier. Charles Martel is listed twice. That with the asterix (*) is using her Main Battery Reload Booster for 15 seconds. Amalfi uses SAP instead of HE. Rochester's AP DPM is competitive while her HE DPM is not. Rochester's fire-setting ability isn't great -- especially when you appreciate that your actual chances of setting a blaze are roughly half of what you see here once you account for your target's innate fire resistance. She's comparable to Atago and most of the heavies pale in fire setting compared to the light cruisers. The best light cruisers have FPMs up near 16 and 17 blazes, but this gets butchered if they take the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells commander skill. Despite having a Smoke Generator, Rochester's game play does not stray very far from that already established by the American tech-tree heavy cruisers. This generally summarizes to: Find island. Peek from island. Cycle guns until you get their attention and hide until contact is broken / their attention goes elsewhere. Rinse and repeat this until it's time to push forward or fall back. The ballistics on Rochester's guns (especially her AP shells) makes her very comfortable in this role, allowing her to snuggle quite close to landmasses that will safely screen return fire from battleship calibre and higher-velocity rounds. In open water, Rochester doesn't fare so well. The same ballistics that make yeeting AP rounds over islands makes her long-range gunnery rather poor against anything but the most predictable of targets. Combine this with a slow rate of fire and every dodged salvo hurts that much more. But worse, Rochester's sub-16km range (with no way of increasing it) makes her dangerously vulnerable to return fire. Even with the comfortable over-the-shoulder fire angles, Rochester doesn't kite particularly well, having neither the speed, range or agility to pull it off. Add on the only modest damage output with anything other than AP broadsides and she's only a modest damage-dealer. So yeah, Rochester is just your typical American heavy cruiser when it comes to her firepower. The pair of wrinkles to keep in mind is that she has smoke to facilitate her slower reload. Yaaaaaaaas! ♪ It's too bad she doesn't pair this with some great turret traverse rates. Oh well. VERDICT: Comfortable yet ultimately unimpressive. Durability Hit Points: 41,900 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 27mm / 16mm / 27mm / 27mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 152mm belt (+27mm bows for head on shots) Torpedo Damage Reduction: 13% Rochester has a reasonable slug of hit points for a tier VIII cruiser, at least so long as you ignore her lack of a heal. While you might not feel this lack when she's top tier, against tier IX and X opponents, her inability to recover health becomes a serious handicap when every other cruiser (and many destroyers besides!) can claw back health. I can't talk about tier VIII cruiser survivability without addressing the elephant in the room: Repair Party consumables. Fully one-third of tier VIII cruisers have the ability to regenerate health and this creates a huge disparity between the survivability of those who can and those who cannot. Ostensibly, the balance is supposed to wors out. Those ships with heals are either extremely fragile (generally prone to giving away Devastating Strike medals to their opponents) or their damage output sucks, with the idea being that they need to survive longer (on average) in order to make up for the damage disparity. That only kinda works out in practice and these rules do not apply universally across all of the ships at tier VIII. This makes the lack of a heal feel much more pronounced on ships that go without when the difference of which ships have it (particularly legacy vessels) isn't clearly defined. Rochester is semi-okay without heals. I mean there are other ways to keep a ship safe and her Smoke Generator sure goes a long way to helping with that. However, it would be a mistake to think she's going to shrug off much in the way of damage. Her 27mm hull plating is nice but not as nice as it was, once upon a time. While she can still troll 381mm or smaller calibre AP shells by prompting ricochets with steep angling, with penetrating hits to turrets and barbettes now giving away damage, face-tanking isn't anywhere near as effective as it used to be. Thus, barring bullying the occasional Italian, German or British battleship at stupidly-close ranges, you can't count on her structural plate for repelling AP rounds. Her citadel protection is decent for a cruiser though nothing remarkable. Her citadel abuts against the exterior of the hull around her machine spaces and sticks up over the waterline besides. Her citadel roof cannot be overmatched, however, so you're only giving away citadel damage to shells that strike near or at the water's surface, so that's okay. Her 152mm belt also means she's proof against citadel hits from HE shells from enterprising Royal Navy battleships. She also has a pretty healthy numberof hit points, being in the top third for her tier if you look past healing potential. Finally, she does have at least some anti-torpedo protection, which is more than can be said for most cruisers. It's not really going to do much against ship or submarine-launched fish but it may protect you from some flooding from carrier-borne weapons. Rochester's armour profile is pretty straight forward for an American heavy cruiser. VERDICT: I wish she had a heal when she's bottom tier. Otherwise, she's okay. Agility Top Speed: 33 knots Turning Radius: 750 meters Rudder Shift Time: 10.5 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.4º/s at 26.4kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 6.0º/s Rochester's agility is very middle-of-the-road. If your cruiser can't be fast, you want to turn quickly. Rochester can do neither. I gotta give Rochester poor marks here. Comparing her to other cruisers, you can make the following claims about Rochester's agility: She's not fast. Her turning radius isn't small. Her rudder shift time is slow. Her rate of turn is sluggish. Being on the poor side of average has a lot of stacked detriments for a cruiser. The most effective combination for a cruiser is range and high speed -- this allows a cruiser to stand off at a distance where she can pummel enemy ships and give herself the maximum amount of time to avoid enemy fire. Even with horrible handling, high speed and enough range can make up for any other agility detriments to keep a cruiser in the game longer than it has any right to be. Rochester's downright pedestrian 33 knots doesn't provide that speed threshold needed and her sub-16km range doesn't tick the other box either. Now if you can't have that speed + range combination then hopefully you have a very tight turning radius and good rudder shift time. Up close, your reaction times to dodge are much reduced and unless you can change course and/or speed quickly, dodging fire gets that much more difficult. And here, again, Rochester falls short. Her 750m turning radius isn't appalling nor is her 10.5 second rudder shift time the worst we've seen (it is pretty bad, though), but neither hit the benchmarks needed to help her avoid damage. As a result, Rochester punishes you more than other cruisers for being caught out. Combine this with what I said earlier about the lack of health recovery and being in the wrong place at the wrong time gets her punished hard. It's very difficult to extract her when she over-extends and she's heavily reliant upon her Smoke Generator to band-aid misplays. Now, it really doesn't matter what the source of incoming damage is -- be it battleship shells, HE spam, torpedoes or an air-drop of some sort, Rochester just doesn't avoid things well. She's certainly better at it than a battleship, but not by much, all things told. Her reliance on her smoke kinda precludes her from making good use of rudder-shift upgrades (you'll really want the extra acceleration provided by Propulsion Modification 1). That, in turn, hurts Rochester's already mediocre open-water fighting ability. Add on her sluggish turret traverse and I'm not a fan of fire and manoeuvre in this ship. She can do it (all cruisers can), but she's not built for that kind of game play. It's better to stick to the American standbys of finding an island and making it your waifu interlaced with a bit of smoke play. This isn't a problem unique to Rochester by any means. Only Wichita, out of the American tier VIII heavies, breaks the mould. VERDICT: A whole lot of meh.. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 5 + 1 explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 108.5dps at 90% accuracy (97.7dps) Medium Ranged (up to 4km): 353.5dps at 90% accuracy (318.2dps) Anything that doesn't specify whether it cannot or will always have DFAA has the choice of taking it, usually at the expense of relinquishing access to their Hydroacoustic Search. Rochester's As the meta stands currently, Rochester stands in contention for having the second-best AA power among the tier VIII cruisers (way) behind De Zeven Provincien. The Dutch cruiser is an AA powerhouse, and one of the few rare examples in the game after the butchering of the anti-aircraft interdicting cruiser role with the CV rework (more on that in her own review). Rochester's AA power is closely comparable to that of Cheshire. While she lacks the higher overall damage output of the British heavy cruiser, she has better range on her medium-calibre guns, allowing them to put out damage for longer. In addition, Rochester will always have access to Defensive AA Fire while the British heavy might not. This may sound like pretty high praise, but it's really not. Yes, Rochester has good AA firepower values for at tier VIII cruiser, but she's not a complete monster in this regard. Even with Defensive AA Fire active, she's still not reaching De Zeven Provincien's levels of sustained AA DPS. In practical terms, this means that a pristine Rochester, correctly played is all but untouchable to tier VI carriers. Fully specialized she can almost prevent tier VIII carriers from dropping. Tier X can still dump on her but it gets expensive fast. That may be enough to discourage carriers from even attempting to poke at her but in end-game situations with the game in the balance, I wouldn't count on being immune to high-tier carrier attacks. You'll have to Just Dodge™ like the rest of the plebs. VERDICT: Good as Rochester's AA firepower is, the AA interdiction cruiser archetype is still missing from World of Warships. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.06km / 9.48km Base/Minimum Air & Underwater Detection Range: 7.25km / 5.87km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 6.79km Maximum Firing Range: 15.86km So, here's the 11,300 doubloon question: Is it worth dropping a Surveillance Radar to get access to a Smoke Generator? Conveniently enough, this question has already been answered in another tech tree line. The British light cruisers allow you to swap smoke for radar from tier VIII+ starting with the Edinburgh. Generally speaking, Surveillance Radar provides more influence in a battle with the provision that you have team mates that will capitalize upon your spotting. Sinking destroyers early on wins games, after all. However, in solo-play, a Smoke Generator is the safer option. If you only have your own self to rely upon, then increasing your own survivability is the way to go. It's a bit of a fallacy to say that Rochester is just a Baltimore that drops radar for smoke. Rochester isn't a Baltimore-class cruiser. There's a lot of small differences between them that adds up quickly to disparities of performance, even before you swap out consumables. Thus, the question on whether or not smoke is worth more to radar between the two vessels is complicated. Specifically to this section of my review, Rochester has much better concealment than Baltimore. Rochester shaves a whole 540m off her base surface detection range. After all of the upgrades are applied, this shrinks to a 420m advantage which is still noticeable. Rochester sits towards the upper half of concealment within her tier and near the very top within her matchmaking. So her concealment is good and in select scenarios can even be abused to flex, attack or disengage as needs be without the use of her smoke. But even her use of smoke is remarkable as she has better concealment values while firing in smoke than Baltimore or Anchorage which are visible at 7.18km and 7.98km respectively compared to Rochester's 6.79km. Rochester isn't the first "sneaky" American heavy cruiser. We've seen all of this before in Wichita. She and Rochester share concealment values and I find her a better ship to compare Rochester to than Baltimore. Both Rochester and Wichita can make some pretty bold plays by using and abusing their stealth and then following it up with clever consumable use. However, I prefer Wichita's consumable combination for this, though. Surveillance Radar is my kinda jam as it lets me abuse lolibotes and smoked up cruisers in all kinds of hilarious ways that Rochester simply can't. Rochester's smoke is good, do not mistake me. It provides Rochester with a greater level of survivability than that enjoyed by most of the other American cruisers at this tier barring Congress. However, the ability to scatter the roaches is still preferable in my books, especially when a lot of what Rochester's smoke provides can be made up for with good use of terrain. Who needs smoke when you have an island waifu? VERDICT: Wichita-good, but not Wichita-great. I'd rather have radar. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike up to 5km away Number of Salvos: Up to two Reload Time: 90 seconds Aircraft: Two flights of two PBY Catalinas with 2,000hp per plane. Drop Pattern: 6 bombs each dropped evenly over roughly a 4km column Maximum Bomb Damage: 2,100 Fire Chance: 12% Rochester's air strike reticule with some ships for scale. The length of this column is roughly 4km. Hey, new section! Oh, how I wish I could take subs into the training rooms or populate them as targets. Rochester's airstrike ability is brand new with patch 0.10.9 and represents the bare minimum Wargaming will issue for anti-submarine warfare for those who have so far gone without. It's so new, I have barely time to do any testing of it short of derping bombs into open water because no subs are available to test against at the time I'm writing this. Anticipate anything and everything having to do with subs still to change significantly. So let's theory-craft a little. Note that Rochester's 5km range is where the strike starts,. The drop pattern covers approximately a 4km stretch with six bombs dropping per plane at fixed intervals with a left/right scatter, effectively allowing her to engage submarines up to 9km away. It takes 15 seconds from the time the airstrike is called for the first set of depth charges to detonate. The bombs themselves are listed as having a maximum damage of 2,100 but the reality is that like all submarine damage, this appears to follow a blast-style damage similar to that used by torpedoes, meaning there's a whole bunch of parameters modifying this damage that I don't yet understand. Don't even get me started with how this damage scales up with skills because I have no idea. The in port values jump up to 2,415 with all bonuses applied. Will that reflect in game? NO IDEA! It's a brave new world, people. At any rate, to engage submarines with Rochester, you're going to have to get pretty damn close which means taking an active role in order to do so. Barring submarines being stupid (please be stupid) this largely relegates Rochester's anti-submarine combat to late-game if it materializes at all. VERDICT: Still not ready for Random Battles. I do love me some PBYs. Final Evaluation Do you want a premium Baltimore? You're spoiled for choice. If you want a Baltimore that trades AP shell performance for stealth and agility, get Wichita. If you want a Baltimore that trades AP shell performance and radar for smoke and torpedoes, get Anchorage. If you want a Baltimore that trades radar for smoke and stealth, get Rochester. Rochester's strength here is that she more closely duplicates Baltimore's AP gunnery than Wichita or Anchorage and changes up the game play from team-based with Surveillance Radar to a more selfish style with her Smoke Generator. That's really not my cup of tea, so I'm not going to be playing Rochester much (if at all) after this review. Wichita is the more compelling choice for me; I prefer that aggressive style of play of providing vision and molesting lolibotes over Rochester's admittedly easier "angry smoke cloud" game play. This said, it's not like I'd be running out to throw money at Wargaming to get Wichita either. I'm not in the market for a premium Baltimore-class. Maybe you are. That's really all I have to say about Rochester. She's not terrible -- anything with smoke and not-horrible range is always going to be competitive. She's just not offering me the kind of play that I want. I had only modest success in her with no amazing games (rushing this review out precluded me from getting in only a handful of games to confirm her performance) but I'm certain that some players will be able to get some truly monstrous results out of her if people let her farm. Overall? I'm likely to forget about her before long. She's ultimately a very "safe" premium. There's nothing surprising here to trip up the developers when it came to balancing her or for tripping up consumers who bought her blind. She is exactly what you'd expect out of an American heavy cruiser premium. Thanks for reading. Mouse out!
  24. The following is a review of both Agir & Siegfried, the tier IX German large cruisers. These ships have been provided to me by Wargaming at no cost to me (though I do have to unlock Siegfried again). To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are accurate as of patch 0.9.5. Please be aware that their performance may change in the future. Whoo, double-header! Wait, does this count as reviews #150 and #151? Bah, I'll figure that part out later. Welcome to my mistake! There is a lot of similarities between the two O-class sisters, but there are some marked differences too -- not the least of which is their actual game play. I've tried to separate things out to make things more readable but it's kind of a mess with all the back and forth going on. I'm worried that I've focused too hard on one ship over the other. Oh well, I committed to this folly and I'm going to ride it out to the very end! Let's begin! Agir Summary: A tier IX Odin in cruiser-form with improved main battery guns, but she has worse protection and secondaries. Siegfried Summary: A tier IX Gneisenau in cruiser-form with better guns, secondaries, torpedoes, AA power, agility and concealment. She is squishier than the tier VII battleship though. Difference Summary: Siegfried and Agir share the same protection scheme agility and concealment. However their weapons differ. Siegfried's has more powerful 380mm guns, is more accurate, has fewer but (much) longer-ranged secondaries. Agir has 305mm guns and an extra two-pairs of short-ranged secondaries and better torpedo arcs. In addition, Siegfried gets more consumables. Because reasons. SHARED PROS Strong citadel protection for a cruiser with a 190mm belt backed by an 80mm turtleback and 45mm to 60mm citadel wall. Good structural armour protection with 27mm thick extremities, 90mm thick upper hull and 30mm thick deck. Phenomenal anti-torpedo protection for a cruiser with a 37% damage reduction. Hell, most battleships would love to have this level of defense. Long ranged main battery guns (18.5km for Agir, 20.64km for Siegfried). Excellent main battery HE penetration for both ships. Secondaries have 32mm of penetration, making them capable of directly damaging the extremities of even tier VIII+ battleships. Good anti-aircraft firepower. Access to the improved German cruiser Hydroacoustic Search consumable with it's increased detection ranges of 4km for torpedoes and 6km for ships. SHARED CONS Turtleback isn't angled steeply enough to guarantee auto-ricochets, leaving their citadels potentially vulnerable. Wait, how is this a flaw, really? Most cruisers would give away their X-turret for this level of citadel defense. Agir and Siegfried's not-perfect turtleback be damned. Fires spank for a full 60s, and floods waterboard you for 40s. Kinky. Poor main battery HE DPM. Horrible main battery gun fire angles both forward and backward. Torpedoes are pathetically short-ranged at 6km. Chunktacular agility with handling for a cruiser that feels like sticking your hand in cottage cheese or duck puke. Large surface detection for a cruiser. SPECIFIC PROS Excellent AP penetration and overmatch ability with Siegfried's 380mm guns. Siegfried makes use of cruiser dispersion (!) with her battleship caliber guns. Siegfried has long range-secondaries with good fire arcs (better than Agir's for some reason). Agir has the same fire-setting ability as Azuma and Alaska with her main battery guns. SPECIFIC CONS Low AP DPM on Siegfried's guns (combined with that earlier low HE DPM). Siegfried is a bad firebug with a low fires-per-minute. Agir's main battery lacks AP penetration making it difficult to contest battleship armour except at ranges of less than 12km. Agir may have more secondaries but they too short ranged to be useful. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High/ EXTREME Large cruisers tend to be pretty forgiving as far as cruiser game-play goes. They borrow a lot from battleships which are some of the easiest ships to play. For beginners, Siegfried and Agir provide these training wheels along with very forgiving gunnery dispersion. For veterans, imagine German battleships that actually hit whatever you aimed at. Yeah, scary, especially in Siegfried's case. Stack onto that good survivability, brawling, kiting, DD hunting with their hydro, using islands for ambushes / cover -- yeah, there's a lot of room for skill to affect game play. Let's do these next few sections out of order and focus first on where they're similar and then touch on where they're different. Defense Hit Points: 62,850 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 27mm extremities, 90mm upper hull & 30mm deck Maximum Citadel Protection: 190mm belt + 80mm turtleback + 45mm to 60mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 37% How the hell are these things balanced? Siegfried and Roy are just a couple of key-features away from having a god-tier cruiser protection scheme. Let's go through the checklist: Anti-torpedo damage reduction in excess of 25% Citadel capable of repelling even large-caliber AP shells 27mm extremities or greater Upper hull in excess of 30mm Amidships deck in excess of 30mm Ice-breaker bow & stern So barring having a Furutaka-style deck and a Stalingrad ice-breaker, Siegfried and Agir have about the best defenses for cruisers that are available. But let's go into the details: Anti-Torpedo Protection Look, most cruisers don't have any torpedo damage reduction to speak of, never mind the "better-than-many-battleship" levels boasted by Siegfried and Agir. At present, they have the BEST fish-protection found on any cruiser in the game. Let's not forget that these two ships also have a German Hydroacoustic Search which further reduces the dangers presented by torpedoes. Short of these ships being more nimble (which they are decidedly not), you have the best defense you could ask when it comes to mitigating torpedo damage. Cruiser Turtlebacks & Internal Citadels Taken from GameModels3D.com with colours exaggerated to show the different layers of citadel protection on the O-class battlecruisers. This way you can clearly see the external 190mm belt in red (sloped at -1º to -21º), the 80mm turtleback in yellow (sloped 49º to 60º) and the citadel itself shown in blue (0º). Most AP shells have to contend with passing at least one auto-ricochet check to punch through her turtleback. The protection scheme of the O-class battlecruisers citadel protection closely resembles that of a German battleship. Their armour is optimized to protect the magazines and machine spaces in medium to close range encounters. However, it remains vulnerable to high-penetration, long-range fire. While these ships are not immune to citadel hits, they are about as well protected as you could hope for a cruiser to be. The effectiveness of their citadel protection varies depending upon where the ship is struck and the angle of incoming fire. Their lateral belt + turtleback protection covers the whole range from "impossible to citadel" to "difficult but not impossible" depending. Barring a shell moving at a perfect horizontal or slightly upward motion (possible due to normalization after penetrating the reverse-sloped belt), the O-class's turtleback isn't inclined enough to guarantee ricochets. Thus there's always a chance of a shell with sufficient penetration to punch into their magazines or machine spaces. The two layers of armour work in tandem with the near vertical sections of belt armour around the funnels being mated with the most steeply sloped turtleback and the more shallow angled turtleback around the magazines is paired with the most exaggerated reverse slope of the belt. The biggest danger to these ships when caught broadside are the (relatively) low velocity but high penetration shells of American battleships or the massive shells off Yamato, Musashi and Shikishima. At range, every battleship becomes more dangerous. Every time you get shot, you're rolling the dice and hoping that RNGeebus will be kind. So don't go offering up your broadside unless you're one pious momo. Their biggest citadel weakness is their enormous 27mm thick snouts which can be overmatched. Unlike other high-tier German cruisers, they have no 'ice-breaker', no extended waterline belt to help foil shots aimed at their squishy bits. For opponents that aware of this vulnerability, this area can be hit for days for easy big-damage. I'm not going to lie -- it can be frustrating to try and protect this weakness. If your opponents aren't playing ball, you're going to have a bad time. Make no mistake: Agir and Siegfried are not battleships -- they can't stand up to battleship levels of punishment. The O-class's 90mm upper hull is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it helps you resist HE shells and ricochet AP rounds when you're angled. On the flip side, it guarantees fusing every single AP shell it faces if the shell manages to penetrate, leading to Siegfried and Agir taking big damage. The recess into which Siegfried's hull-mounted torpedoes are set opens up a further shell-trap that can be exploited by your opponents. Be careful. Suck it, 381mm Guns You too, 127mm guns. Let's step away from dwelling on citadel hits and simply talk about resisting damage entirely. Given the glut of 381mm and smaller caliber guns throwing AP shells about at high-tiers these days, these ships can face-tank select targets with relative impunity. Furthermore, the 27mm threshold makes them immune to direct damage from 127mm HE shells even if they're using the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill, so that's pretty nice too. Their 90mm upper hull is again capable of being pretty troll when it comes to resisting damage -- both AP and HE shells, though you need to angle to resist the former. This opens the door for some interesting (if limited) brawling opportunities. The flip side is that this thicker armour all but guarantees everything (and I do mean everything) will have their AP shells fuse properly and deal chunktacular penetration damage. This can be as devastating as individual citadel hits. Overall, though, these ships are better at resisting citadel hits than they are direct damage. HE spam from cruisers is stupid-dangerous. Siegfriend and Agir's 30mm decks and 27mm extremities are big weak spots for HE to exploit. Lemme repeat myself: these are not German battleships -- they're not built to shrug off damage to the same level as those Deutsches-Stahl leviathans. You can lose HP in a hurry even if you never take a single citadel hit. So beware. Barring exceptions, most cruisers can queue up to 33% of citadel damage for repairs. Agir & Siegfried's large hit point pool gives them access to better heals, but this still falls behind the extra Repair Party charge enjoyed by Azuma and the portable` dry-docks of the British cruisers. Overall Feels The O-class sisters remind me a lot of tier VI and VII battleships -- tough but not invulnerable, with stupidly-big weak spots that are easy to exploit. Fire is a problem. Overmatch is a problem. HE spam is a problem. AP penetrating hits are a problem, but proper angling can help mitigate it. Citadel hits happen but they're uncommon and largely caused by your own mistakes, so that's easier to stomach. If you think of playing one of the O-class as the equivalent of bringing a tier VII battleship up into a tier IX match, you're not far off in terms of considering their durability. Their protection level is much better than that of the typical cruiser, but they fall well short of god-tier. VERDICT: Hella good, very rewarding and lots of fun. Agility Top Speed: 33.5 knots Turning Radius: 880m Rudder Shift Time: 14.0 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.7º/s These aren't cruisers. Well, they are -- they conform to cruiser norms in terms of energy retention, for example. The rest of their agility parameters are very much those of a battleship. These aren't ships with which you can wiggle and dodge. Their bad fire angles on their guns, especially when kiting, makes this dangerous to attempt -- doubly so with their 27mm extremities being the literal back door into their citadel. They barely have more speed than most of the battleships they face, to say nothing of the cruisers, so kiting is made even harder. You have to pay close attention to the flow of battle and plan your moves accordingly. This largely limits their manoeuvres of defense to flashing their sides just enough to bait hits into their belt rather than their honkers and playing keep-away from the second line until it's time to brawl. It could be worse, I suppose. They could crawl like Roon does. Apparently Dmitri Donskoi's in-port stats are being fixed soon! VERDICT: One of the weaknesses of these ships. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.12km / 11.88km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 10.74km/8.7km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 11.9km Hydroacoustic Search Ranges: 4km torpedo detection, 6km ship detection. If these were battleships, their Vision Control would be excellent, but they're not. They're cruisers, so their Vision Control kinda sucks. While they do bring the German cruiser Hydroacoustic Search to the table, they're not pairing it with great surface detection or good sprinting speed. This largely limits aggressive use of the consumable to misplays on your opponent's part. Otherwise, it's just there to keep you and your allies torpedo-safe. Like Azuma before them, these ships also lack the Surveillance Radar boasted by American & Soviet large cruisers. That consumable is nearly a must-have in team settings, so going without a huge strike against these ships. Overall, Siegfried feels this deficiency in concealment much less than Agir. Siegfried's guns are more comfortable at a distance and she has longer range to boot. Heck, Siegfried can almost stealth-fire her secondaries (one of these days, WG will screw up and I will have my stealth-firing secondary cruiser). This, in my opinion, makes her the easier and more powerful ship between the two when combined with everything else. VERDICT: This is another area where they perform poorly, but it's not unexpected. Alright, that's all of their similarities. Let's go over what makes them unique. Options Let's start with the pretty mild differences of their option optimization. Consumables Agir and Siegfried differ in their consumable load-outs with Siegfried having more options than Agir. I've highlighted the consumables that are Siegfried-only. Agir and Siegfried share the following consumables: Their Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with a 60s reset timer and 5s active period. It comes with unlimited charges. They have access to a German Cruiser's Hydroacoustic Search with a 4km torpedo detection range and a 6km ship detection range. Both start with 3 charges and have a 120s reset timer. Finally, they both share a Repair Party. This heals back 14% of the ship's health over 28s. 50% of penetration damage is queued up along with 33% of citadel damage and 100% of all other damage types. This starts with 3 charges and has an 80s reset timer. For Siegfried, I prefer a Hydroacoustic Search along with a Spotting Aircraft for my consumables of choice. SIEGFRIED ONLY CONSUMABLES Siegfried may swap its Hydroacoustic Search for Defensive AA Fire which comes with three charges and an 80s reset timer. Siegfried bumps her Repair Party over to the fourth slot and has the option of both catapult aircraft in her third slot. Her Spotting Aircraft provides the usual 20% bonus to range for 100s. It comes with 4 charges and a 240s reset timer. Alternatively, she can use a Catapult Fighter. The squadron is active for 60s with a 90s reset timer and comes with three charges. Upgrades There's a smart way to build for these ships but there's also the fun way. Being some of the first cruisers with capable secondaries, it's fun to build for them for a lark. In Siegfried's case, this may even be slightly competitive. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. You have a choice in slot two. Fire damage is pretty dangerous for these ships so Damage Control System Modification 1 is a sound investment. Alternatively, you can go into the Armory and spend 17,000 for Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1. In slot three, Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal for both ships. Alternatively, you can grab Secondary Gun Modification 1 for the memes. This will pay off more for Siegfried but it can work for Agir too, especially in PVE modes. Again, with full-damage fires being a threat, Damage Control System Modification 2 is optimal for slot four but you can swap it out for Steering Gears Modification 1 if you prefer to take a more active hand in your defense. Concealment Expert is too good not to be the optimal choice in slot five. For those who like to live fast and dangerous, Steering Gears Modification 2 is an option, but keep in mind that these ships have bad fire angles for kiting so this isn't ideal. Finally, let there be no doubt that Main Battery Modification 3 is the best choice for slot six. Captain Skills There's a smart way to build for these ships and then there's the German secondary battleship build. The smart way borrows the entirety of the "fire resistant battleship" build. I agree, girls. So dull even if it is the "ideal build". You can swap out Priority Target for another tier 1 skill of your choice. Expert Loader is a good idea, but the usual standbys of Preventative Maintenance and Incoming Fire Alert are reasonable. German battleship build, recently recommended with my Odin review! Make sure you take Secondary Gun Modification 1 for this build and load up on Mike Yankee Soxisix signals. All of the cool kids are doing it. Camouflage Both ships have their default Type 10 Camouflage and you can purchase the Nordic Camouflage separately as a cosmetic swap. Both provide identical bonuses, so don't stress about missing out on possible economic gains by not spending more money. These are standard bonuses for tier IX premiums: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. So nothing too extreme there. Let's move onto their anti-aircraft firepower. Verdict: Siegfried has better options than Agir by a country mile, offering two distinct and viable play styles not only in PVE but PVP as well. Siegfried's default camo scheme, which is pretty sexy. Agir's default camo scheme is more grim. The Nordic camouflage looks good on Siegfried. But it looks better on Agir, in my opinion. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 5 explosions (6 for Agir) for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 6km. Siegfried / Agir Long Ranged (up to 6.0km): 102 / 130 dps at 90% accuracy Siegfried / Agir Medium Ranged (up to 4.0km): 329 / 364 dps at 90% accuracy Siegfried / Agir Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 147 / 119 dps at 85% accuracy Agir has better raw AA numbers than Siegfried. Siegfried has access to Defensive AA Fire (if she chooses to ditch Hydroacoustic Search). Both ships have "good" AA firepower, but this doesn't particularly matter. Individually, these ships have enough teeth on them to make dropping on them expensive in the long run. However, it would be a fool's mistake to think they're capable of fending off a determined CV by themselves. Apply the standard anti-CV tactics in order to keep safe. Blob-up and Just Dodge™. Otherwise, you're food. Long story short: Agir's AA is noticeably better (flirting with Alaska-levels) but Siegfried can take DFAA. I've ranked these in order of "effective AA DPS" -- meaning simply that I applied a formula (DPS *[range-1km]). This weights longer ranged AA mounts more than shorter ranged ones but it doesn't do so perfectly. This order only really gives an impression of ranking of personal AA defense, not overall effective values (such as providing support to an ally). At the end of the day, everything between Brindisi and Saint Louis are very, very close and this ranking doesn't really speak to in-game effectiveness. That's because none of this really matters. Sadly, CVs can still dunk on you no matter what and the idea that REALLY GOOD AA firepower could somehow prevent drops is a thing of the distant past. VERDICT: Disappointingly good. I say disappointing because good AA doesn't really mean anything unless the enemy CV is a total novice. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 305mm guns in 3x3 turrets (Agir) or six 380mm guns in 3x2 turrets (Siegfried). Both are setup in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Eighteen 128mm guns in 9x2 turrets (Agir) and fourteen 128mm guns in 7x2 turrets (Siegfried). Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers mounted on either side amidships. Let's start with the similarities between the two ships. Torpeedus Agir and Siegfried both have access to the same Steinbutt torpedoes (heh, butts). If you imagine Tirpitz's torpedoes but add an extra knot of speed, you're bang on the money. So they're stupid short ranged and kinda wimpy on a per-torpedo basis all things told. You're only ever going to get to use them in brawls or ambushes so keep that in mind. I can forgive their performance as both Agir and Siegfried feel like battleships, even if they are ostensibly cruisers. Their fish are super fun to use but you won't get to use them in every game. Still, those moments are always memorable and totally worth it. The big difference between the two ships in terms of their torpedoes are how they're mounted. Agir has them on deck giving her good forward firing arcs. Siegfried houses hers in the hull lower down, greatly reducing their field of fire (and opening up a potential shell trap besides). Agir has good torpedo arcs and terrible gun firing arcs. Siegfried has terrible torpedo arcs and less terrible (but still awful) gun firing arcs than Agir. Secondaries Siegfried has the better secondaries. This is despite Agir having more of them. Normally I wouldn't bother wasting more than a couple of sentences on cruiser secondaries, but these ships are special ... and not in that "Kiev also has a secondary!" kinda special. Siegfried's secondaries are so good, she's arguably the first cruiser in World of Warships where a full secondary build is competitive. While Siegfried doesn't have the broadside weight of a battleship, her secondaries are good enough with the combination of high penetration, good range and a decent rate of fire. Mouse's impression of the effectiveness of most cruiser secondaries. Agir should be in a similar state but she's not. Despite having the same penetration and an even better volume of fire grace of having an extra turret firing broadside, her arcs are slightly worse and she loses out on range. While you can still make this work in Co-Op battles, it's really not viable in a PVP environment -- not for the returns you get. Personally, I totally blame Flamu for this as he spilled the beans on how fun this is. Now your only way to get access to this game play is by grinding out the Research Bureau. BOOOO, Flamu! BOOOOO! You ruined everything! ♥ I stress it's this deficit of range that really hurts Agir and range remains the key factor that determines secondary-build viability in Random Battles. Agir's 5.3km base range can only be upgraded as far as 8.01km with a deep secondary build -- compare that to Siegfried's 11.49km and there's just too much of a gap. Perhaps more importantly, Siegfried's main battery gun performance isn't as hurt by spending her third upgrade slot to increase range as it is with Agir, owing to Siegfried's improved main battery gun dispersion (more on that later). You can make a secondary build on Agir work, but it's a pale shadow of the potential found on Siegfried. On the whole, it's exciting to see secondaries on cruisers being viable both to a lesser and greater degree on Agir and Siegfried respectively. I would have preferred to see this on a 203mm or 152mm armed cruiser rather than a near-perfect battleship analogue, but hey, it's progress. No, it doesn't make sense. Whatever logic was used to determine these fire angles, it's not consistent between the two vessels. Siegfried simply has better arcs on her secondaries. I have no idea why. Main Battery Guns These two ships couldn't be any more different when it comes to their main battery guns. Since I recently finished reviewing Odin, let's start with Agir's armament first because there's a lot of parallels there. Odin, Perfected If you read my review of Odin, the tier VIII German battleship, I wasn't very flattering when it came to my evaluation of her guns. Odin's 305mm guns struggle to put enough shells on target. Her battleship dispersion and her slower rate of fire just means that not enough shells stack to keep up with the damage she needs to put out. This might not be such a big issue if Odin struck like a hammer from on high, but she doesn't. While her 305mm guns are pretty good cruiser killers once you compare them to the other super cruisers, they're really lacking. Alaska & Stalingrad have improved auto-ricochet mechanics. Kronshtadt and Stalingrad have god-tier levels of AP penetration. Azuma and Yoshino have improved HE damage. So without any of these specialities, Odin was left struggling to deal damage when someone angles or plays a battleship that won't brawl with them. For comparison, here is Odin's main battery dispersion (in yellow on the left) using a standard dispersion test. This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km, locked onto a stationary Fuso bot. The Fuso lacks camouflage and Odin is using Aiming Systems Modification 1 to reduced her dispersion by 7%. Shots are coming in from right to left (Fuso is bow-tanking). Odin's 'good for a battleship' dispersion is alright, but it doesn't do the ship any favours given the rather wimpy punch of her shells. Agir's main battery gun dispersion (in pink on the right) following the same parameters as Odin's above. While Odin makes use of the American-British-German battleship dispersion area, Agir makes use of the Graf Spee (aka "Battlecruiser") dispersion. Agir inherits Odin's lackluster AP penetration and anemic HE issues. Boooo. However, her improved dispersion and faster rate of fire compensates somewhat for this disparity in performance. Her shells are "bad" but she fires enough of them and hits often enough to kinda-sorta offset her disastrous ammunition. Still, this isn't a ship in which you want to be actively trading fire with opponents. She's not a high DPM monster nor are her alpha strikes particularly impressive barring a cruiser derping monstrously. Fire opportunistically and avoid return damage as best you can. I struggle to call Agir's main battery firepower "good". It's alright -- I'd give it no more than that. There's nothing here really to get excited over. Siegfried, on the other hand... Gneisenau, Perfected Imagine if Gneisenau (or Tirpitz for that matter), hit with nearly every shell she fired. German 380mm guns are notorious for their inaccuracy so that might be a little difficult, but make the effort. Difficulties visualizing aside, take a cruiser and equip it with a small battery of battleship caliber weapons and make them stupid-accurate. That's Siegfried. That's her thing. It goes beyond that though. Siegfried takes Gneisenau's offensive abilities and improves upon them to such a degree that it's hard to believe Siegfried made it out of testing without significant nerfs. She boasts a slightly more powerful torpedo armament than Gneisenau. Her secondaries are longer ranged, using the same excellent 128mm L/61s with their improved penetration. And finally, Siegfried's main battery guns hit whatever you aim at -- something the tier VII and VIII German battleships could only dream of. It's this last part, it's her main battery guns, which puts her head and shoulders above Gneisenau despite the similarities of their armaments. Let's take a blast from the past to illustrate why Siegfried's accuracy is so jaw dropping. This is Bismarck's old dispersion (in yellow on the left), back when she was still using the French & Italian battleship patterns. Gneisenau and Tirpitz shared in this performance, with all three ships having 1.8 sigma. Things have improved slightly -- at 15km the width of their fall has reduced by 3 meters from 198m shown here (with ASM1 installed) to 195m with the new American battleship dispersion they're presently using. Yeah, you kinda got bamboozled if you thought the recent changes fixed anything. Siegfried (in blue on the right) uses cruiser dispersion. No, not battlecruiser -- actual cruiser dispersion. She has the same spread of shots as you'd find on Cleveland or Henri IV. She has their 2.05 sigma too unlike the 1.8 sigma you played with when using German battleships. Aim well and you can hit with everything. It's for this reason that Siegfried can get away with upgrading her secondaries rather than focusing on reducing her main battery dispersion -- it's baseline value is already good enough and ASM1 isn't changing much. Aim well and you can hit with EVERYTHING. Look, German 380mm L/52s aren't the most impressive of battleship weapons but they're certainly novel on a cruiser. Even with that said, landing six out of six battleship caliber shells of a given volley is enough to make anyone sit up and take notice regardless of the ship type. Like Jean Bart, Siegfried will tear you a new one if you're foolish enough to give her a broadside. While the French battleship will do it through volume of fire, Siegfried will do it with a single well placed shot. Even her awful HE performance is counteracted (somewhat) by this phenomenal accuracy she boasts. Siegfried almost feels Soviet, what with firing high-velocity shells and having the ability to snipe destroyers from a distance. It's that accuracy that solves a lot of Siegfried's woes -- not all of them, mind you, but a lot. Without landing citadel hits or steady penetrations, Siegfried will lose just about any damage race. So while her individual hits are pretty jaw dropping, it's a struggle to land enough of them to make a difference if you're not prioritizing targets properly. As good as Siegfried's guns are on paper, without a good head behind the helm, she can be pretty terrible. Unlike Agir's guns, which improve upon pretty forgettable weapons, Siegfried's are an improvement on some rather novel guns. If nothing else, Siegfried makes for some interesting gunnery. Imperfect Perfections As different as the guns are on the two ships, Siegfried and Agir share a couple of problems. Poor damage out put. Poor gun firing angles. As good as Siegfried and Agir's guns can be, they're fouled by angling. Granted, Agir is more vulnerable to this than Siegfried, but Siegfried performs even more poorly when it finally meets a target it can't overmatch. German HE performance is notoriously terrible and if these ships are forced to fire it for long, their numbers will tank. Agir's only saving grace in this regard is her fire setting ability which is ... well, it's not great but it's not at the appalling levels Siegfried suffers. In short, these ships struggle in head-up fights where they can't brawl and they can't use their AP shells reliably. If an enemy is aware of them and reacts accordingly, they can largely shut down their damage output outside of close-range knife fights. Agir's AP DPM is pretty darned respectable -- more-so if you consider she can make ready use of it more often than many other cruisers. Siegfried, by contrast, is way behind. But when you remember she has battleship caliber guns, capable of actually landing citadel hits reliably at a distance, this helps make up for it. However, she's always going to lag on damage output, so she needs to aim well and survive long to keep up. I made this graph the same scale as the AP DPM so you could compare them. The O-class cruisers really miss out on HE DPM -- Siegfried's is especially appalling. Landing six penetrating HE shells is only 8,712 damage -- and that's a best case scenario every 22.9 to 26s. While this will ruin any destroyer's day, other targets can shrug that off, especially when it halves due to saturation. While Agir's HE shell performance may be lacking, her fire setting is on par with Azuma and Alaska, which is respectable. Siegfried is again pretty embarrassing. As for firing angles, well... they're terrible, frankly. You have to expose a whole lot of broadside to fire forward and even more to fire rearward. Agir is especially bad for this which opens up these ships to taking a lot of damage they should otherwise be able to avoid. Furthermore, this makes both ships very poor choices for kiting. When engaging targets chasing them, their guns are doubly terrible. First, their overmatch potential is limited -- Agir moreso than Siegfried, but the latter has her problems too. Next, you're faced with the loser choice of either firing with a single turret or slowing yourself down when you open up your broadside to return fire with their A & B turrets. Agir is much worse for this than Siegfried -- as if Siegfried needed any more improvements over her sister. The only place where Agir's gun handling performs better is her faster turret traverse. Once you stack on Main Battery Modification 3, Siegfried's gun traverse gets so sluggish she can actively out-turn her turrets. I hate that. You'll want Expert Marksman if you can afford it, but Siegfried's deep secondary build might preclude you from having the points to pick it up. Finally, the biggest drawback of these ships is the need for time deal their damage. While you can hope for some cruiser to offer themselves up as an easy meal, their low damage output means that you're leaning on their survivability to last longer -- giving you more opportunities to make their weapons count. This can be from stacking fires in Agir, padding numbers with Siegfried's secondaries or finally getting a chance where you get to use their fish. Siegfried's numbers are especially volatile with her 380mm guns providing periods of both feast and famine. More time gives you more chances to finally find those opportunities. Agir Summary Agir corrects some of the problems found with Odin's armament but then takes on additional problems of poor fire angles and ineffective backup weaponry. Firepower wise, I'd rather have Alaska or Azuma. These ships all have similar AP penetration but Alaska has her improved autobounce angles and Azuma has way better HE shells. All three are comparable firebugs. Still, the torpedoes that Agir has are nice but I can't see myself enjoying her secondaries outside of co-op. So yeah, poor marks here. Siegfried Summary By contrast, Siegfried's main battery guns are exciting and so are her secondaries. Yeah, she has problems but they're not insurmountable and it's a worthwhile price to pay to have access to 380mm guns that hit with (almost) everything. Verdict: Siegfried's weapons are fun and unique. Agir is Odin Two: The Electric Boogaloo with better main battery guns but worse secondaries which is boring as all get out. Final Evaluation I have nothing but praise for Siegfried and I'm generally dismissive of Agir. The basis of these feels is pretty simple: Siegfried's game play is new and novel -- she's effectively a glass-cannon version of Gneisenau, greatly improving offense at the expense of durability. Agir, by contrast, is a more-different Odin but she loses out entirely on secondaries and adds durability issues. The other way of looking at Agir is to compare her to the front-running large cruiser at tier IX, Alaska. Comparing the two of them, Alaska is hands down better -- she has better artillery and better team utility. Agir only wins out in brawls. I wouldn't go so far to say that Siegfried is better than Alaska, but at least Siegfried offers a change in game play. Fun and novelty is a worth the price of optimization in my opinion. I'm not surprised Siegfried is the more compelling choice over Agir, not when she's locked behind the Research Bureau grind. Unlike Agir which seemed to be nerfed every step along the way of her development, Siegfried had only two significant changes made to her since her introduction in early 2019. First, her AA power got played around with. That shouldn't be unexpected given the volatility of the CV rework over that same time period but it is what it is. Second, her torpedoes dropped from an 8km range to a 6km range. Wargaming have, quite deliberately, preserved the attractive secondary-heavy game play that turned people's heads during Agir's development. Siegfried is a big ol' fat carrot on a stick hoping to lure you into regrinding a few tech tree lines. To me, Agir feels like a consolation prize -- a poor man's Siegfried, as it were. Though she is a lot more accessible and she's not terrible, she's a distant second to her sister ship and even further behind Alaska. Given the ongoing events, if people wanted Agir, I'd steer them to Odin instead. I can't speak for Siegfried being "worth it" for having to participate in the Research Bureau, but she is a good ship -- as I have said repeatedly, she's interesting if nothing else. It's up to you if that's worth your time investment. So yeah, that's the O-class. A fun ship locked behind a painful experience and a meh ship that will forever have you looking over your shoulder wondering what you could have had instead. Siegfried turned quite a few heads during play testing. Agir just turned stomachs with her constant nerfs. Conclusion Wargaming is still at it. Champagne has been finalized so there's another ship added onto the pile that needs reviewing. I need some time off after this one, so I don't anticipate having another review out before early July. Thank you very much for reading.
  25. West Virginia is a slow brick with the biggest, baddest guns you're likely to find this side of tier VI -- at least until the upcoming Russian battleship tech tree. I want to thank Wargaming for providing me access to this ship. This is the release version of the vessel and all of the statistics discussed here are current as of November 30th, 2018. Be aware that Prinz Eitel Friedrich's statistics discussed in this article are still a Work in Progress and are subject to change. PROS Armed with 406mm guns with excellent damage, penetration and overmatch ability. That's it. That's all she's got. No, I'm not making this up. That one "Pro" is the reason that decides if you want this ship or not. CONS Small hit point pool of 50,200hp. Highly vulnerable to HE spam. Very slow and no improved energy preservation while turning. Bad anti-aircraft defense. Large surface detection range of 16.4km base. Overview Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Standard-type battleships are some of the simplest ships to play in World of Warships. West Virginia 1941 (WV41) makes this even easier by all but eliminating complicated decision-making for novice players. She's too slow to flex once she's committed to an engagement. Her AP shells are so good that you don't need to consider changing ammo types. She's going to get her bows overmatched by most of the battleships you'll face so don't worry too much about manoeuvres. You're also a ready victim of aircraft attack, so why bother stressing about it? Yep, dirt simple. Of course if you want to try-hard WV41 will reward you for it. She's got enough belt armour and agility to tank effectively. Her gunnery is wonderful so picking the right targets pays off huge. While she is slow, if you fancy yourself a master strategist then knowing just how and where you need to go to have the most influence will make all the difference. – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Her main battery guns are the about her. Her handling and anti-aircraft firepower are just plain . Her defense and concealment are passable, earning a rating. Options The only thing of note with WV41's options are her two camouflage patterns. Consumables WV41's Damage Control Party is standard for an American battleship. This has unlimited charges, a 20 second active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard, healing back up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds. This has a 120s / 80s reset timer. Finally, she has a Spotter Aircraft. There's nothing unusual here, with a 100s active period and a 360s / 240s reset timer. It starts with 3 base charges. Upgrades We're looking at the usual suspects for mid-tier American battleships with the exception of any anti-aircraft modifications. Like Arizona, WV41 doesn't have the AA power worth upgrading. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control Modification 1. Fires are a big concern for USN Battleships. After that, it's Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1. This will get your main battery range up from 16.06km to 18.63km. For your last slot, Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal for helping mitigate Fire damage. However, if you prefer, you can take Steering Gears Modification 2 to help with her sluggish handling. It's not going to do much, but every bit helps. Camouflage By default, WV41 1941 comes with Type 10 Camouflage. Alternatively, you can purchase W. Virginia 1941 as a cosmetic swap for 3,000 doubloons. Both types have identical bonuses, providing: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. The big difference is how they sound. Yes, the W. Virginia 1941 camouflage has a custom horn! http://shipcomrade.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/West_Virginia_shiphorn_2.wav WV41's default camouflage pattern can be swapped for an alternative palette for those who have completed the second-medals section of the American Cruisers Collection. This changes the blue disruption pattern to a pale grey. For 3,000 doubloons, you can unlock the W. Virginia 1941 camouflage in red and brown. While this has the same economic bonuses, you do get a cute horn to toot Firepower Main Battery: Eight 406mm/45s in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Eight 127mm/25s on the deck and and Ten 127mm/51 mounted in casemates. Right, West Viginia 1941's main battery guns are the only good thing about this ship. I'm going to avoid doing Wargaming's hype-job for them by gushing overmuch about how good these guns are. This said, WV41's guns are easily the best battleship-caliber weapons available at tier VI. They're so good you're going to pay for it in almost every other facet of this vessel. If what we go over here in her Firepower section doesn't wow you, then this isn't a ship worth paying for. The Unnecessary I don't want to waste too much time on WV41's secondaries. There's not much going for them. They have a 4km range. They reload in 4.5 seconds. She fires a maximum of four guns (not turrets -- guns) per side. There's no potential here. Obligatory, ugly stats-dump. One of these days, I'll figure out a way to make this look pretty. Sorry, Mutsu WV41 is armed with the same naval rifles as Colorado at tier VII -- and here they are shoe-horned in a full tier lower. She inherits these weapons in full, and not having to suffer with inferior ammunition choices. The few differences summarize to the following: Main Battery Range - Colorado has 2.77km more base reach with her main battery for 18.83km vs 16.06km (or 21.84km vs 18.63km with upgrades). Sigma - Colorado has 0.1 sigma more than WV41 for 1.90 versus 1.80. Standard dispersion test. 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso without camouflage. Colorado and WV41 have identical dispersion areas -- the only difference is how often shells cluster towards the center of your aiming point (as determined by sigma). Warspite, equipped with Aiming Systems Modification 1 has been included as she represents the gold-standard of what precision looks like among battleships at this tier. Penetrate All the Things With WV41's precision and dispersion being considered "average", her guns need to make up some ground to make this vessel worthwhile. Where she does this is in her penetration power. This she has in spades. WV41 has the best AP penetration among tier VI battleships, hands-down. With more than 450mm worth of penetration at 18km, she has enough to penetrate broadside battleship belt armour of anything she might face. Furthermore, the large-caliber of her shells allows her to overmatch 27mm worth of hull plating. WV41 will punish any cruiser within her matchmaking spread while also being able to do the same to tier VI and VII battleships, regardless of angling. This just leaves tier VIII battleships able to bow-tank her. In answer to this, WV41 must reach for her HE shells. She has no special quirks with her HE shells, so use them only when needed. They have 67mm worth of penetration which is more than enough to bruise any opponents pulling off these shenanigans. Unlike other tier VI battleships, WV41 is far less reliant on HE shells than most, so having only mediocre shells here isn't a drawback. Provided you aim well and dispersion doesn't troll you, WV41's AP shells have more than enough penetration to handle almost any target you might face. Let's take a look at some of the raw stats: These are the top 5 battleships at tier VI for AP penetration as of patch 0.7.11. Penetration values are approximate and courtesy of proships.ru (link in the Appendix -- give them some love). Generally speaking, battleships at this tier are forced to choose between having good penetration or the ability to overmatch. WV41 is unique at tier VI for having both. Go figure, bigger shells hit harder. WV41 tops the charts on a per-shell damage basis at tier VI, with one of her hits dealing 18% to 20% more damage than a comparable 356mm shell. This number is important to keep in mind when you account for potential damage output. WV41's precision, penetration and overmatch mechanics make individual damaging hits more likely in many (but not all) situations compared to her peers. They're not God-Tier Good as WV41's guns are, they're far from perfect As any veteran Roma commander will tell you: There's such a thing as too much penetration. It's possible to blow clean through the machine spaces of some cruisers without causing a citadel hit. Thankfully, this is largely limited to point-blank range engagements against the lightest armoured cruisers. WV41 doesn't couple of her enormous penetration levels with high muzzle velocity. Where they're really lacking, in my opinion, is reach. I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to tell you this early that mounting such potential on a standard-type hull is going to cause issues and she struggles to keep up with the flow of battle. WV41's fire angles are only alright. You have to expose a fair bit of side to get her full salvos off. This isn't too bad when she's top-tier. However, when she's at the bottom of the pile, the enormous levels of penetration present makes a mockery of your belt at anything but near autobounce-angles. This problem with being bottom tier compounds with her range. Again, it's perfectly acceptable when she's top-tier, but the large maps she has to navigate when she's facing tier VIIs and tier VIIIs makes me wish she had closer to Colorado-levels of reach. Finally, the last fly in the ointment is this: She only has eight guns. You really need to maximize the opportunities provided by your high-penetration and overmatch potential to make your advantages count. If you're facing opponents that are constantly sailing broadside at medium-close ranges, you would have been better served with a larger battery of smaller-caliber weapons. WV41's theoretical damage output isn't bad at all for an eight-gun warship at tier VI. It's considerably better when you factor in the gimmicks that make dealing said damage easier -- namely her high penetration and her overmatch potential. WV41 has to rely on said advantages to differentiate herself from the twelve-gun heavy hitters which use volume of fire to make something stick. Most of these suffer from 1.60 sigma or less which makes any pretense of precision dubious. WV41's fire arcs are average and on the poor side of average at that, especially when kiting. Her gun handling benefits greatly from Expert Marksman if you have the skill points to spare. You don't need it, but you'll want it. Summary Her guns deliver heavy damage, but they're not flashy. Their big deal is that they penetrate all of the things. Her secondaries suck, but no one's surprised. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Worse sigma, a longer reload, slower gun traverse, etc. Defense Hit Points: 50,200 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 343mm belt + 45mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% I told you: You're going to pay a lot of concessions to have 406mm main battery guns on a tier VI ship. This is the first of many areas where WV41 only manages to be so-so. An Aside about HE Damage Mitigation At tier VI, Fuso here is the gold standard for HE resistance, ticking all five five boxes including a fully reinforced main deck and upper hull. This gives her the best chance of shattering and absorbing HE spam from most CLs, CAs and DDs. Note that on the whole, these bonuses only provide some small amount of protection. Cleveland is still going to melt your face off. Let's talk a minute about HE damage mitigation from cruisers and destroyers. In general, there are five components to look for when evaluating how well protected a battleship is against small and medium caliber HE. The idea is that a ship has either spaced-compartments to absorb the shot or she has heavier armour than normal in a given place. This reduces the surface area where HE shells can land a damaging hit. Extended Waterline Belts must be above the surface to have any value, reducing the amount of target area on the bow and stern. These are typically found on German and lower tiered battleships. Imperator Nikolai I stands out in this regard. An Anti-Torpedo Bulge can have some merit provided it extends upwards to cover parts of the hull that would otherwise be vulnerable. The Queen Elizabeth-class are a great example of this, with bulges that extend forward far enough to help protect part of their bow. Armoured Bridge help foil HE shells from otherwise damaging your super-squishy superstructure. They typically have armour as thick as (or thicker than) the ship's belt which is a no-no for all calibers of HE. Reinforced Hulls and Reinforced Decks come with three distinctions -- no mitigation, partial mitigation and full mitigation. No mitigation speaks for itself. The plating is no thicker than the extremities and cruisers will hoover up damage here for days. Partial is thick enough to repulse some small and medium caliber HE shells, typically those of destroyers. Full mitigation will repulse 152mm shells buffed with IFHE or even some heavy cruiser shells. Note that some ships will only have a small part of their main deck reinforced -- pay close attention to the amount of area covered. The Bismarck-class is a good example of this. The Colorado-class relies on raw armour thickness to repel AP shells. Not much of her plate has any appreciable angle which would further increase its relative thickness. So while her 343mm belt looks solid, you'd get more mileage out of the sloped belts of some of the later USN battleships like the South Dakota, North Carolina and Iowa-class battleships which have better protection for comparable thickness. Given her 25mm extremities and deck plating, WV41 is dangerously vulnerable to AP overmatch mechanics from 380mm guns or larger and most HE shells she'll face. Armour Protection WV41's protection scheme is alright if only just. She relies on raw armour thickness to carry the day and there are glaring holes in her defenses which are easy to exploit. Her 25mm extremities and deck are vulnerable to overmatch mechanics and HE spam. She has poor anti-torpedo defense and no spaced armour around her belt. Her internal citadel wall is only a third as thick as the other standard-types at her tier. Finally, she has one of the lowest health pools at tier VI, barely scraping together 50,000 hit points. There are two reasons WV41's durability is considered adequate and the first isn't exactly flattering. The protection schemes of a lot of the tier VI battleships are found wanting. The other two standard-types are the only ones that could claim to have decent anti-torpedo protection, for example. Vulnerability to overmatch mechanics and HE is a chronic problem at this tier, with only a few ships boasting sections of upper hull or deck greater than 25mm. The list of problems among tier VI super-dreadnoughts goes on, with citadel height, hit point disparity and module vulnerability all plaguing ships to various degrees. So at least WV41's in good company. WV41's second saving grace is that her belt and citadel armour is good enough. When top-tier and with a bit of range or angling, she can avoid the worst from incoming AP shells. The high penetration of her own guns means that her opponent's protection scheme matters much less. If it comes to outlasting tier VI and VII opponents, WV41's defense is sufficient unto the task, allowing you to trade fire effectively. It falls apart against tier VIIIs, though. With her low hit point total, WV41 is second-to-last for effective HP among her peers. This is yet another way WV41 pays for those awesome guns and the cost is getting pretty steep. According to the Devs, WV41 (like other USN Premiums) is NOT slated to get the proposed Repair Party Buff coming to the American battleship line. I predict they'll rescind this statement. Repair Party You can't talk about American battleships without talking about this consumable. The lead of WV41's class, Colorado, has an improved Repair Party that heals back 18.48% of her health over 28 seconds instead of 14%. The entirety line of researched American battleships is getting said buff if the Work in Progress changes go through. The premium battleships are not, WV41 included. In this way, WV41 is being "Mutsu'd". While the Japanese premium was gutted by her poor shells, WV41 really feels the lack of Colorado's regeneration. Her hit point pool feels even smaller without it, and it's already pretty small. To put it another way, I was genuinely shocked when Wargaming told me that WV41 was not currently slated to be getting her Repair Party buffed in 0.7.12. It feels out-of-place. If she does eventually get it, it will be a welcome addition. Summary: Her armour is "okay". Her hit point total is not. Her anti-torpedo protection is unsightly compared to the other standard-types. Overmatch and HE are your bane. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : New Mexico's new Repair Party. Agility Top Speed: 21 knots Port Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 13.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Turning Rate: 3.6º/s WV41 chasing Colorado in a turning radius test. You'll note how the gif "pops" as WV reaches the 9 o'clock position and skips to the 6 o'clock position while Colorado's circle is complete. She's that much slower than Colorado. This test confirmed WV41's port-stats as accurate. However, it did provide proof that Colorado doesn't turn as well as advertised. The lead-ship has a 710m turning radius, not 640m, so WV41 has a slight leg up there. Standard-type battleships are notoriously slow. WV41 somehow manages to be even slower. Yes, really. Wargaming has artificially boosted the engine power of some of the American battleships in a similar way to Royal Navy cruisers and destroyers. For normal battleships, they lose up to 25% of their maximum speed while under manoeuvres. Thus, a 30 knot battleship will drop down to about 22.5 knots in a sustained turn. New Mexico and Colorado both lose less speed in a turn than they should -- much less in Colorado's case; a mere 9%. Not so WV41. WV41 is entirely normal when it comes to manoeuvrability penalties, joining Arizona in this sorry-state. Thus WV41's 21.1 knot top speed falls down to 15.9 knots in a turn. Unless you're sailing in a perfectly straight line, this ship struggles to maintain 18 knots with any consistency. Unlike Arizona, WV41 has a larger turning radius of 670m instead of 640m. The combination of this slow speed and larger turning radius makes WV41 positively glacial when it comes to her rate of turn and arguably the worst-handling of any of the American battleships in the game. The gone ray of sunshine is that she can't out turn her turrets. So yay? So WV41 isn't getting anywhere fast. You can be fatalistic or proactive with this. The former is pretty brainless -- you're not fast enough to flex, so pick a path and accept whatever happens beyond your range as being outside of your control. Blame teams for your losses and decry WV41 as a trashbote because of it. The latter means work -- a lot of work. Develop your situational awareness. Keep a ready eye on the minimap and have a keen sense of predicting the flow of battle. Flex well in advance and give yourself time to intercept key threats. It's exhausting but you can work around this deficiency. The larger the map, the more work this is -- perhaps more work than it's worth. Summary Blame Lert for inspiring this image. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's the worst of the worst here. It would take a lot to redeem her. She'd need a turning radius smaller than 640m or better energy preservation in a turn to overtake Arizona. That still wouldn't improve her standing. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Gun Calibers: 127mm/ 76.2mm / 12.7mm AA Aura Ranges: 4.2km / 3.5km / 1.2km AA DPS per Aura: 58.4 / 11.2 / 30.4 There's more bad news here. WV41's AA power sucks. It's worse than Arizona's, it's that bad. Do I need to elaborate more than that? What's this nonsense? "Effective AA DPS"? On the eve of the Aircraft Carrier rework, stressing over current AA mechanics just isn't worth while. Be glad WV41 isn't being sold on the premise that she has good AA. That might end up not meaning much in a few short months. This chart shows the relative power level of given AA armaments based on not only the amount of damage their mounts put out but also how far they can reach to keep enemy planes under fire. Thus ships which concentrate their firepower into long-range will get a higher rating than one that focuses on medium or short. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Technically she deserves a "" at least going by the metric that she's not the worst or second worst at her tier. However, AA power at tier VI is almost across the board with only a few battleships that have enough to give any CV pause. I'm not pulling any punches here. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 16.42km Air Detection Range: 14.68km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 13.70km Detection Range when Firing in Smoke: 15.9km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.06km (18.63km with APRM1) While it cannot be accurately said that WV41 pays for the power of her guns with a lack of concealment, this definitely isn't one of her strong points. Her concealment is on the bad side of average, sitting just above Dunkerque and Mutsu by 500m, but well behind just about everything else. A full stealth build is highly recommended -- use and abuse what little ability to hide that she has. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Losing two or three kilometers off her surface detection range. Taking Me Home WV41's skill choices are stupidly easy. With no real anti-aircraft firepower worth upgrading and secondaries that may as well shoot spit balls instead of HE shells, that just leaves a survivability build as the only real option here. Start with Priority Target. If you prefer, you can take Preventative Maintenance instead, but it's not optimal. Adrenaline Rush is your second skill choice. Take Basics of Survivability next. Finally, to round out your 10th skill point, choose between Fire Prevention and Concealment Expert. You'll be taking both, so the order is up to you. You'll take the other one for your 14th point. At 17pts you should take Superintendent. Note, if WV41 had the buffed Repair Party the other USN Battleships will be getting, you'd take this before Basics of Survivability and the two skills would trade places in order of priority. Oh well. And finally, round things off with Expert Marksman. If you prefer, you can take Jack of All Trades or High Alert instead. Final Evaluation Unless a ship is particularly novel, I'm not a fan of having to put in extra work to get a ship to perform. West Virginia 1941 is one such vessel. Her guns truly are phenomenal at tier VI. The rest of her, though? Well, it's all poor-to-average at best. There's a trap in such an evaluation though -- just because something measures up 'okay' compared to what else is out there, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's 'okay' on the whole. WV41's concealment is a good example of this. For a tier VI battleship, it's decidedly average. In order to be functionally competitive based on everything else, it's woefully inadequate. The same could be said for her AA power and agility. A case could even be made that her durability is similarly lacking. Those awesome guns have cost her dear. Her firepower up-tiers well even if the rest of her does not. WV41's weaknesses are scarcely noticeable when she's facing tier V and VI ships. This is largely owing to map sizes being so much more comfortable to her 'stately' waddle and modest range. Top-tier, she's truly a monster and you can really feel that this is what she was balanced for. She's on the tipping edge of being too powerful to be a tier VI ship. She's a solid contender for Ranked Battles. If Wargaming were to buff her with Colorado's agility and New Mexico's upcoming Repair Party improvements, she'll give Warspite a run for her money as the best choice in this limited competitive scene. The Random Battles queue won't let you play as top-tier all the time, however, so you have to contend with how WV41 stacks up against higher-tiered opponents. Provided you can get in range with her guns and not get focused, she performs well. The challenge, which is darn well near insurmountable at times, is getting into firing position, keeping up with the flow of battle, and being able to disengage when things get too hot. WV41 compounds the problems facing the Colorado-class as a whole by exaggerating the weaknesses that defined the class. Colorado is slow. WV41 is slower. Colorado isn't very durable. WV41 is weaker still. Colorado isn't flexible. WV41 is even shorter ranged. If a situation makes Colorado struggle, then WV41 founders. I'm not going to tell you this is a good ship. It isn't. I will tell you that her guns are good -- excellent, even. They're unfortunately mounted on an interwar, standard-type hull. In my opinion, the ship's worth playing for her guns alone. However, I wouldn't go so far as to say that the experience of firing her guns is worth paying for. My opinion here will probably change if she gets some small improvements, like that Repair Party buff. Would I Recommend? It's maybe a little presumptuous of me to say, but this isn't the ship that anyone asked for. Almost universally, if someone wanted West Virginia to show up in World of Warships, they wanted to see her late-war rebuild. Her story is a compelling one. She is a phoenix that rose from the ashes of Pearl Harbor and went on to avenge not only herself, but the United States Navy too. On top of that, her late war build is so much more interesting in terms of game play. What-if debates have gone back and forth on what tier she would end up and with what gimmicks to make her competitive. I don't think we'll see West Virginia 1944 anytime soon, though. If Wargaming rushed, they could have her out sometime in 2019, but I just don't think she's high priority. After all, they have West Virginia 1941 to sell. West Virginia 1945's anti-aircraft armament. My body is ready. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes for Co-Op, no for Scenarios. WV41 excels in Co-Op. You can count on the bots to always come charging blindly at you which mitigates her weaknesses. In Scenarios, her speed and lack of AA power is a big liability. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. No. While she's a beast when top-tier, it's a roll of the dice to get that kind of favourable Matchmaking. If you could guarantee it? Absolutely, she's all kinds of fun when she's kicking in the teeth of her contemporaries. For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. Oh look, guaranteed top-tier Matchmaking. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. No. I'm waiting for West Virginia 1944. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes, surprisingly. I enjoyed playing WV41. I do love my standard-type battleships. 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! In Conclusion My goodness, I managed to get a review out on time over the holidays! That's one at least. The next ship to be reviewed is Bourgogne, the tier X French Battleship. I wasn't going to prioritize her initially, but news of Wargaming giving players the opportunity to acquire Steel outside of Ranked and Clan Battles has bumped her up my list. Hopefully I'll have her review out by this time next week. Dreadnought and Charleston remain in my backlog. Prinz Eitel Friedrich looks very close to being released too, so stay tuned!  Appendix Armour penetration data was pulled from: http://proships.ru/stat/ships/
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