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  1. Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed in this post reflect the version of the ship as she appeared during the testing period. These are subject to change before release. The following is aimed at new(ish) players looking to find a little more information about various ships from events, for premium currency or for real-world cash. The goal is to allow players to make an educated decision before parting with their time and money and to find premium vessels that suit their chosen style of play, whether that is competitive, cooperative, or simply for fun. The idea here is to elabourate on information not commonly available through reading statistics and provide some (heavily) biased anecdotal evidence to encourage or dissuade you from making your purchase. The usual disclaimers apply: everyone knows the Matchmaker clearly loves me because I spend money so that's why I occasionally get really good games, not because I have any particular skills of note. Other articles in this series: Ships for Doubloons: Smith, Sims,Atlanta, Texas, Saipan, Tachibana, Atago, Ishizuchi, Aurora,Molotov, Mikhail Kutuzov, Emden, König Albert,Tirpitz, Campbeltown, Warspite, Limited Release Ships: Fujin, Kamikaze, Katori, Yubari, Gremyashchy,Leningrad, Diana,Murmansk, Krasny Krym, Imperator Nikolai I, Anshan, Lo Yang, Marblehead, Indianapolis, Arizona, Prinz Eugen,Scharnhorst, Dunkerque, Blyskawica, Belfast Gift & Reward Ships: Albany, Arkansas, Flint, Iwaki, Mikasa, Arpeggio of Blue Steel Ships: Kongo, Kirishima, Haruna, Hiei, Myoko, Ashigara, Nachi, Haguro Non Premiums: Gneisenau, Bismarck, Iowa,Isokaze, Bogatyr Condensed Reading: Mouse's Quick Summary of Premium Ships Without further ado: The Swiss-Army knife of destroyer mutilation. Quick Summary: A stealthy, Light-Cruiser gunship with a large number of consumables and an additional module upgrade slot. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of this review. Patch & Date Written: 0.5.12.1, October 12th & 13th, 2016. Closest in-Game Contemporary: Cleveland, Tier 6 American CruiserDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class/ Similar Role / Unique At her core, the Belfast is a gunship. She has no torpedoes to speak of and she's armed with twelve 152mm rifles. This makes her, at least superficially, quite similar to the Cleveland in terms of play style. But once you add in all of the weird quirks she gets -- like which modules and consumables she can and cannot arm herself with, the Belfast quickly becomes her own beast. Some may want to point to other smoke-launching cruisers like the Kutuzov or Flint but she's much further apart from these ships because of her limited armament which largely dictates her play style. Maybe she'll find a closer analogue when the Royal Navy joins World of Warships in force. But for now, the Cleveland is the closest ship to which we can compare. PROs: Reasonably durable for a cruiser with 35,700hp and 114mm belt armour. The Belfast can stealth-fire with the proper setup of modules and camouflage, even without a 15pt Captain. Fast rate of fire at 8.0rpm and second highest DPM of the current 6" (150mm to 155mm) armed light cruisers. Good AA armament. Depending on your module & skill choices, the Belfast can have as low as a 8.7km surface detection range. Depending on your module choices, the Belfast can have a rudder shift as low as 4.6s. Has access to Radar and Hydroacoustic Search at the same time. She has access to a Smoke Generator with a longer-than-standard smoke duration. She can mount up to five module upgrades. She's currently the only tier 7 with access to this fifth slot. CONs: Very limited ability to deliver high alpha strikes. For a cruiser, she has a low base chance to start a fire at 9% per shell. Slow turret rotation at 7' per second. No torpedo armament. Low top speed for a cruiser, limited to 32.5 knots. Stock rudder shift is on the slow side at 9.6s. No access to Defensive Fire. No access to Propulsion Modification 2. Smoke Generator creates a tiny amount of smoke before shutting down -- enough for up to two smoke cloud Wargaming continues to outdo themselves in the quality of their models and textures. Can it truly be happening? Is the Royal Navy finally going to be joining World of Warships? Wargaming may just be initiating another Royal Navy tease. We've had the Warspite. We've had the Campbeltown. Now we have the HMS Belfast joining the game. This long awaited ship is a delight to see in game. The model is absolutely gorgeous, representing the post-war refits of this historic vessel. With her inclusion we now have a Battleship, Destroyer and Cruiser in the game. What's next? The Ark Royal? Who can say? But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Lert will be joining me today providing a comparison to some of the Belfast's rival cruisers in the Rivals sections. NoZoupForYou will also be joining us to provide his voice talents to our project. I even got them both to fill in the 'Recommendations' section, so enjoy! Thank you, Zoup! The Lertbox Once again LWM has allowed me space to express my thoughts and opinions about an upcoming premium ship, and this time it's a very interesting one. The HMS Belfast is the first premium Royal Navy cruiser, and possibly even the very first Royal Navy cruiser that you can get your hands on. As such, she will set expectations for the Royal Navy light cruiser line, when it comes out. Belfast as she appears in this game is a tier 7 light gun cruiser with a lot of interesting tricks up its sleeve. It's one of ten Town class cruisers, and she appears as she was after her 1959 modernization, which saw her superstructure rebuilt, lattice masts added and her torpedo armament removed. The premium camouflage Belfast carries is her 1969 museum-ship color scheme. Departing from the usual Lertbox style of direct stat comparisons I will write opinion pieces about how she in my experience compares to Cleveland and Indianapolis, the two ships she'll be most likely compared to. Options There's a whole lot of weirdness going on with the options for the Belfast. First of all, she has four consumables but no choices to change them out for something else. You cannot swap out Hydroacoustic Search for Defensive Fire, for example. In fact, she doesn't get access to Defensive Fire at all, which should surprise some people. Her Surveillance Radar is on par with the American version found on the Atlanta and Indianapolis, with an 8.49km range and 25s active period. Her Hydroacoustic Search is also the standard version found on other nations (as opposed to the souped up version found on the German ships). But it's her Smoke Generator that's truly the odd duck. The deployed smoke has a longer duration than most other nations (103s vs 85s) though it still falls short of the American (121s). However, there's only a 7s window to lay smoke clouds, limiting the Belfast to making only one or two "puffs". Another fun bit of weirdness for the Belfast is that she has five upgrade slots instead of the normal four found at tier 7. This extra slot gives her access to the Concealment, Target Acquisition System and Steering Gears modifications which are gain the normal purview of tier 8 and higher vessels. The Belfast seems to trade for this by being unable to equip Propulsion System Modification 2. Beware of sitting stationary in your tiny amount of smoke. Overall, the module upgrade options are phenomenal for the Belfast, allowing you to choose between excellent agility or improved concealment, depending on your preferred style of play. Consumables: Damage Control Party Hydroacoustic Search Smoke Generator Radar Module Upgrades: Five slots. Does not have access to Propulsion Modification 2 for it's fourth slot.Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Firepower Primary Battery: Twelve 152mm rifles in 4x3 superfiring turrets in an A-B-X-Y configuration. Secondary Battery: Eight 102mm guns in 4x2 turrets mounted amidships. If you strip away all of the toys on the Belfast, what you're left with is a no-nonsense gunship. She doesn't have torpedoes, so she's entirely reliant on the performance of her guns. This may look like a crippling flaw as the Belfast has some of the worst alpha strike potential of any 6" armed cruiser from her individual shells. Indeed, the Belfast is largely bereft of any ability to deal large amounts of damage in a single attack. Her weapons do not have great muzzle velocity either leading to a lot of hang time and necessary lead to land hits and precluding her from using AP against enemy cruisers until she's quite close. But this is all compensated for by a good rate of fire. When measured against other Light Cruisers in and around her tier with a similar armament, she comes in second for AP and HE DPM which is nothing to sneeze at. Just always keep her lack of torpedoes in mind when looking at these numbers. Gun performance comparison between 150mm to 155mm armed Light Cruisers The gun handling of the Belfast is reasonably comfortable. Her turret rotation is slower than I would want at 7' per second (25.7s for a 180' rotation). This value is similar enough to some of the Soviet cruisers like the Mikhail Kutuzov and Shchors and better than that of the upgraded Cleveland. It's not fast, but it's passable. Your shell flight time will always be on the long side, however. These are not the high velocity shells found on the Soviet cruisers or the Mogami's 155mm. They share a lot similar flight patterns to the USN Cleveland, so you're going to struggle a bit to hit anything but large or predictably moving ships at range. You can expect to see up to 11s lead times while stealth-firing, which this ship can manage at ranges from 14.5km with Concealment Modification 1 or 13.3km when combined with Concealment Expert. While the ship's range is nothing impressive at her tier, she is sneaky enough to easily get within range to be able to engage targets without risk of early detection. While this looks like good news, it's that low chance to set fires that really hurts the Belfast and precludes her from ever being considered an optimal fire-starting gunship. In the practical sense, when engaging other capital ships, her damage potential falls away if she cannot start sufficient blazes to give enemy Battleships pause. So she's rather RNG dependent in this regard. This is very important to keep in mind as the Belfast can (and will) go up against the more heavily armoured Battleships at tiers 8 & 9 where plating in excess of 25mm will result in zero-damage hits from her high explosive rounds. Still, the 9% fire chance is passable. It can do the job. It's just not optimal, especially when compared to her competitors.. Like all cruisers, her secondary armament is pretty forgettable. It has some good traits, though. She has a 5.0km base range with them and they fire 20rpm. But this isn't like you'll win a war with them. I did finish off a Leningrad with my secondaries, so that was cute. But I wouldn't expect this to be the norm with her. Overall, her guns are very well suited to putting the hurt on lightly armoured ships. Combined with other features, her weaponry seems almost ideally designed to make destroyers balk at being anywhere within 10km of a Belfast. She will also give pause to other cruisers, while being passable (but not ideal) for harassing Battleships in between interdiction missions. I'm not in love with her guns. They are decent though and they do the trick. Just don't expect miracles or fast results. You'll be dodging torpedoes a lot in the Belfast -- mostly because your guns, concealment distance and consumables make you an absolute nightmare for enemy destroyers. Rivals: The Cleveland Let's get the obvious comparison out of the way. At first glance Belfast comes across as an up-tiered Cleveland with added toys. This isn't an unfair assessment, as they share many attributes. Both are 32 knot, agile light cruisers with twelve rapid fire 6" guns. Neither have much armor, but both have a module layout that makes them a bit more survivable than their tier- and class mates like Budyonny, Shchors and the like. Both have a generous bag of hitpoints. Cleveland is more durable though. Her hit points last just a bit longer because of her lower tiering, and her citadel is notoriously difficult to hit reliably. Belfast feels a bit softer when under fire, mostly due to her citadel area being considerably longer than Cleveland's. The Cleveland is more agile with a faster rudder shift and a slightly tighter turning circle. Also, Cleveland gets a defensive fire consumable that Belfast doesn't, making her a nightmare for enemy carrier jockeys. Finally, Cleveland will theoretically light more fires per minute than Belfast. Where Belfast beats out the American fighting lady though is in pure volume of fire, 96 shells per minute verses Cleveland's 90. She has a higher base DPS on her AA, higher DPM on her guns and that very valuable fifth equipment slot which can fit either concealment to make a very stealthy cruiser or rudder shift to make her more agile than Cleveland will ever be. Also, the added value of smoke and radar can not be denied. It might not be fair to compare a tier 7 CL to a tier 6 one, but Cleveland is slated for an up-tiering when the CA / CL split happens, and since Belfast and Cleveland share so many play style elements the comparison holds. Belfast is by far the more versatile ship. Maneuverability Top Speed: 32.5 knotsTurning Radius: 680mRudder Shift: 9.6s The Belfast has a bit of a sluggish rudder shift. That's the bad news. The good news is that she can take two module upgrades to mitigate this, dropping it down as low as 4.6s which is downright awesome. With just the first module, you'll be looking at a 7.7s rudder shift time which is still a bit clunky but manageable. With her fair turning circle, she has a lot of hustle in her bustle. The Belfast doesn't get down to American levels of cruiser wigglyness (Zoup told me this was a perfectly cromulent word), but it's still more than sufficient to throw off the aim of enemies at range if you keep your patterns irregular. So, if you take a module or two to tighten up the response time of her rudder, the Belfast will feel very nimble with her handling. This compensates somewhat for her only modest top speed which is again, downright American in that respect. The 32.5 knots is the same legwork found on the Pensacola, Atlanta, Flint and Indianapolis. This lags well behind the more fleet footed Soviet and Japanese cruisers. As such, it will be impossible to run down all but the most complacent of destroyers. You'll also have a hard time fleeing from a fast Battleship that's intent on closing with you. There are few things more frightening than an Iowa bellowing, "Get in me belly!" while it chases your Belfast. Fire and maneuver is the name of the game with the Belfast -- tossing evasive maneuvers in between salvos. This isn't a ship with which you'll want to ever be caught stationary. Wargaming seems to be going out of their way to discourage this. First, they've removed the option to take Propulsion Modification 2 which would provide her with a lot more startup agility when caught sitting still. Second, her smoke screens are pathetically small requiring her to be at a near dead stop before activating or she risks slipping out of her tiny bank of fog. This makes her an easy target just before deploying her concealment and should make many a Belfast player think twice about using it this way. DurabilityHit Points: 35,700 Citadel Protection: Up to 114mm.Bow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 13mm each.Torpedo Damage Reduction: 4% The armour setup on the Belfast is a bit of a mixed bag. She has 114mm belt armour, which is rather good for a light cruiser, and certainly well above what we might see on her Soviet counterparts. Unlike ships like the Budyonny or Shchors, her citadel is at or below the waterline of the ship. Combine this with her 35,700hp and she's looking rather well protected -- or at least as well protected as a cruiser could be. And that's really the catch, isn't it? You cannot expect the Belfast to repulse Battleship caliber firepower, especially not at tier 7+. They will happily oblige you by emancipating your ship of it's hp poolt with a storm of 380mm+ shells. Don't give them the opportunity if you can at all help it. Use your agility and your stealth as your defense. What this level of armour plate will actually provide is reasonable protection from small-caliber (180mm or smaller) guns trying to throw AP at you. This can be rather commonplace as you close in with enemy destroyers and cruisers that will switch ammunition types if they think they can catch your broadside. Use your rudder, force those bounces off your angled sides. It is fun to note that the Belfast does have some small anti-torpedo bulges, providing a 4% damage reduction. Once you plug in Damage Control System Modification 1, this jumps up to 7%. It's not great by any means, but hey, cruisers should rejoice with any little durability bonuses they can claim. The angled belt armour of the Belfast bounces a 210mm AP round from a German Yorck-class cruiser. This is an uncommon occurence. Even bows on, the Belfast's prow is overmatched by 203mm shells or greater. Be very careful when engaging heavy cruisers at point blank range. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 11.3km Air Detection Range: 8.1 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 8.7km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +4.56km (vs 15.4km gun range) Don't let these numbers fool you. Like her rudder shift time, the Belfast's concealment rating is something you can play with right out of the box with module choices. This is an either-or choice, though. You can either have gorgeous rudder shift or improved concealment rating, as they both take up the 5th module slot. This is very important feature to remember. With Concealment Modification 1 and her premium camouflage, a starting Belfast with a fresh Captain will have a 9.9km surface detection range and nearly a 1km window from which it can stealth fire at enemies from open water. Any Atago player will tell you the wonderful merits of a cruiser that's able to sneak within 10km of an enemy ship. This opens up the door for all sorts of clever play, including interdicting enemy destroyers and sneaking onto caps the enemy thinks are reasonably covered. Once you add a 15pt Captain with Concealment Expert, this range drops down to 8.7km which is just outside of the Belfast's radar range. This can quickly spell the doom for an enemy DD that's not paying attention to enemy team lists. It can find itself with a rapid fire light cruiser at point blank range, hammering it with salvos of 152mm with no easy way to escape. Hydro will sniff out any desperate torpedo drops. Radar will keep them lit even if they attempt to blow smoke. Her concealment allows the Belfast to contest capture points in Domination maps, especially from destroyers that have outstripped their support. In my test games, this became a rather common occurrence. Often happening not just once but twice in several encounters. Even without a 15pt Captain, I was comfortably able to pull off ambushes against lower tiered destroyers, like IJN Minekaze, Mutsuki and Kamikaze-class destroyers that often risked getting within 8km to launch torpedoes. USN and Soviet cruisers that popped smoke and began firing from within the cover of their concealment were simply ringing the dinner bell for my Belfast to come feast. Good times. This same concealment rating is also the Belfast's best armour when facing off against enemy cruisers. She has one of (if not the) best concealment ratings for her tier bracket. When you don't want to fight something, silence your guns and turn away. You're almost like an oversized destroyer in this respect. This ability to drop back into stealth is imperative given the rather modest top speed of the Belfast. You'll need to plan your escape at an early juncture if the enemies are pushing your flank aggressively. Lastly, special mention should be made towards the Belfast's Smoke Generator consumable. It's ... well, it's odd. It does not create a lot of smoke, but the smoke that it does leave down lasts longer than that of the Soviet or IJN ships. You have a little over a minute and forty seconds worth of concealment from the Belfast's smoke but you're not likely to get more than two smoke clouds out when you activate the consumable. It seems that Wargaming intends that the Belfast's smoke to be used primarily on the defensive rather than offensive role. This is further paid evidence to with her lack of the Propulsion Modification 2 -- slowing to a stop in your own tiny smoke screen is all well and fine, just be aware that you're not going to be able to get up and go in a hurry afterwards. Rivals: The Indianapolis Ah, the other tier 7 premium cruiser with a gimmick, this being radar in the Indianapolis' case. Here the difference is that the Belfast is a light cruiser and Indianapolis a heavy cruiser, armed with very potent 203mm guns. These USN 8" rifles have a very unique attribute: they are better at defeating angled opponents by virtue that they have a wider angle to work with before autobounce starts becoming a thing. This makes the American 203mm AP very dangerous to soft cruisers like Belfast. In a pure gun duel, I would imagine a smart Indianapolis drive to defeat an equal-skilled Belfast driver. The Belfast can't run away from the Indianapolis, so any duel between them comes down to using the environment and concealment versus gunnery skills, and the best the Belfast can do is try to not get shot too much. But these ships don't fight in a vacuum, and 1v1 fights are rare. Indianapolis' radar has proven itself a very useful piece of equipment, and Belfast gets access to an equally potent one. But where Indianapolis has to choose between hydro and defensive fire in one slot and radar and a fighter in the other, Belfast gets to use hydro, smoke and radar at the same time. It's hard to say which is the 'better' ship. They serve distinct roles. Indianapolis is better at putting the hurt on battleships and annoying carriers, Belfast is better at ferreting out destroyers, both can put the hurt on cruisers. But where Belfast might rely on a combination of HE spam, fire-hosing and some AP damage, Indianapolis can get away with relying on AP more. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 102mm / 40mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5kmAA DPS per Aura: 72 / 140 The Belfast does not get access to the Defensive Fire consumable. This isn't a matter of having to choose between it and Hydroacoustic Search -- it's simply not an option at all. This immediately precludes the Belfast from being a dedicated anti-aircraft escort, which is a bit of shame because she has some rather impressive anti-aircraft firepower. When you compare her to the other tier 7 cruisers, her AA DPS is quite respectful -- the second highest overall. 224dps - Flint 212dps - Belfast 207dps - Pensacola 202dps - Indianapolis 182dps - Yorck 177dps - Atlanta 153dps - Shchors 151dps - Myoko Of course, there's a lot more to AA gunfire than raw DPS. Having it concentrated in the large caliber AA guns is important for a start. This is what makes the Atlanta and Flint so dangerous -- having enormous 127mm dual-purpose batteries. The Belfast does alright here, having 5.0km reach on her 102mm batteries with good DPS. She backs this up with the always reliable 40mm Bofors at a good defensive range of 3.5km. If the Belfast did have access to Defensive Fire, she'd be an absolute monster for enemy CVs. Without it, she's still a target to be respected but she won't be causing any form of disruption to aircraft groups. I was frequently shooting down a half dozen same-tier planes in games where there was an enemy CV present with only Basic Fire Training to improve my ships gunners. To this end, if you fancy playing the role of a makeshift AA escort, keep close to the ships in need of protective cover. Just be aware that you will never reach the same levels of anti-aircraft firepower as Defensive Fire spikes the DPS of the ship in question up tremendously when active, on top of its other benefits. Without Defensive Fire, even Dive Bombers present a serious threat to the Belfast as she has no way of disrupting their drop patterns. Her AA defense is good overall, and you can expect to seriously punish any groups making their attack runs against you. But you're still going to have to weather their drops. Overall Impressions Skill Floor:Simple/ Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling:Low/ Moderate / High / Extreme The Belfast looks complicated, but she's really not. For all of the confusing mess of consumables and modules, the Belfast is, at her core, a light cruiser gunship. It's all about avoiding the attention of warships bigger than you while picking on those that are smaller. Even a novice player can take her into a match, rig her for concealment and do reasonably well farming HE and fire damage off of enemy capital ships at extreme range. The meta for her is making destroyer lives miserable and bullying capture points which is a high-risk, high-reward style of play but one that can quickly decide a match when done correctly. The Lertbox Belfast is perhaps the most versatile ship in the game at this moment, depending on captain skills and equipment fitted. You could go for a ballerina build and bring her rudder shift down to ridiculous levels, or go for a concealment build and have an almost comically sneaky little cruiser. Her AA is formidable even lacking a defensive fire module and properly specced she can function as AA escort, but she can just as easily ferret out destroyers trying to hide inside their smoke screens, while sitting comfortably in her own. She can even lay down a strategically placed puff of smoke to help conceal her team. During playtesting I found that a very effective tactic was to appropriate a friendly smoke screen in or near a cap and popping my own when it started running out, thereby extending the duration of the smoke screen by a considerable margin. Not many people dare attack a smoke screen that threw as many shells as these did, as well as intermittent torpedo fire from the friendly destroyer which laid the original screen. One misses defensive fire and her fire chance is a bit low, but were those present she'd be overpowered at tier 7. I can't stress how potent the combination of hydro, smoke and radar available without having to choose between them is. It's enough to elevate what is basically a very potent tier 6 ship up to tier 7. Mouse's Summary: The Belfast is the Inspector Gadget of warships. You have a gizmo for most situations, especially when facing destroyers. You'll have to pick between awesome rudder shift and awesome concealment. The lack of Defensive Fire and a high-alpha strike attack keeps her from being immediately overpowered. Best played patiently with a slight aggressive streak where DDs are concerned. The Belfast makes me miss a lot of things. I miss Defensive Fire. I miss being able to deliver high alpha strikes. I miss going fast. But if she had access to any one of these things, she'd be overpowered. The Belfast is a very comfortable ship to play. Once you wrap your head around the fact that you're not going to kill any big ships quickly, it gets quite easy. Avoid being spotted by capital ships. Get wiggly when you are spotted. Punish destroyers that over extend. That's about it, really. Where she gets very interesting is all of the wonderful tools you have to make destroyer lives miserable while not quite having the absolute optimum load-out to do so. Out of the ships presently available in the game, it would still be hard to argue that the Belfast is probably the best destroyer hunter out there. And that's what the Belfast truly embodies -- it's the destroyer hunter that we've all been wanting. Radar is fun and all on an Atlanta or a New Orleans, but neither ship can risk getting in close to make use of it to counter the Udaloi, Bensons or Blyskawicas out there that are sitting in their smoke screens and dropping pew pews on our team. The Belfast can risk it. She's got the tools to get in. She's got the tools to quickly isolate and punish the enterprising destroyer. And she's got the tools to get out afterwards. Top on my wish-list to make her even better at destroyer hunting would be a little more speed. It's just not there. Her 32.5 knots means that you're relying on destroyers making mistakes more than actively pursuing them. Hear that, DDs? It's your own darned fault that I'm making a mess of your ships with my Belfast. That the Belfast is so good at putting the hurt on over extended destroyers is likely going to make her a high priority target when word gets out. The mere presence of this rapid fire cruiser near a cap point can lock down any attempts by the Red team to ninja cap. It becomes suicidal for an enemy destroyer to venture anywhere near the Belfast's zone of control without big guns backing her up. This ship may shake up the current Random Battle meta somewhat. It's certainly going to make playing the lone-wolf destroyer much more difficult. The Belfast counters the Minekaze just as readily as she does the Udaloi and I was very happy to see that consistently in play. The only thing that would make me back off from a destroyer would be a Battleship lurking in the area. But if this capital ship was distracted or more than 14km off from my area of engagement, I was still going to eat me some destroyer goodness. When it came to pelting bigger ships with her guns, the Belfast wasn't anything special. She bombards predictably moving capital ships about as well as you can expect. She'll set a fair number of fires but not a whole lot unless your enemy plays dumb. This can make trying to accumulate high damage totals a bit of a challenge, but it's again just a matter of patience and picking your targets. Your enjoyment of the Belfast will largely be determined if you can make these 152mm guns work. Like many light cruisers, you're dependent on fire damage to maximize your output against Battleships. They're perfectly suitable for blowing up enemy light cruisers and destroyers, however. Would I Recommend? Heh, this is one of those ships that I feel like it doesn't matter what I say, people are still going to grab it. It's the first Royal Navy Cruiser available in the game. On top of that, it's a Premium Cruiser leading the release of the Royal Navy Cruiser line, so people will be wanting to grab her for a training analogue for their Captains. To top it all off, she's a museum ship. This is a difficult ship not to recommend, with the only caveat of course being that if you don't like mid-tier cruiser game play, this ship will not sell you on it. ForRandom Battle Grinding: Mouse: The Belfast is a good Random Battle boat. She can cap and defend. She can harass big ships. She can interdict and assassinate destroyers. Her big weaknesses are, of course, competently played Battleships. You'll also have to worry a bit about good carrier and cruiser players, but not nearly as much as the big capital ships trying to delete you. As she's designed to pick on destroyers, she nets quite a healthy sum of credits and experience for even small damage totals off these fragile boats. When pressured by enemy BBs, however, her performance really starts to hurt as I had to go gun silent to avoid getting obliterated. This in turn really affected my rankings and experience gains. The other thing to consider is that if you go premium consumable heavy (and you can go really heavy in the Belfast), you'll eat into your earnings very significantly which will hurt the rate at which you're grinding credits. Lert: Yeah, Belfast is a fun and comfortable, reliable if fragile, very versatile ship. Smacking destroyers around is not only a lot of fun, but nets you a nice amount of credits and XP as well. Zoup: I find the Belfast to be highly enjoyable in random battles. Despite this, I don’t find that I’m putting the amount of damage out that I would like. I attribute this to the fact that the Belfast has a low burn percentage. It isn’t really a ship that you want to go toe to toe with against Battleships unless their attention is already occupied by other ships. Against other CLs, its more than capable though, with HE or AP. The Belfast has a specific mission, and that is to aide your team by being a destroyer’s worst nightmare. And that is exactly what the Belfast is. You get all the normal goodies that come with premium ships and premium ship camo, but the most important thing is that you have a trainer for the RN cruiser line. I don’t see myself playing the Belfast exclusively over and over in randoms, but I will definitely play it often. It’s fun and offers something different from the other ships in the game. For Competitive Gaming: Mouse: The Belfast would have been a very interesting choice in Season 4 of Ranked Battles, when tier 7 was the top. I don't think she would have been capable of toppling the unfortunate meta that resulted in that season, but she certainly has the concealment and spotting tools to have upset the occasional game. Her lack of any high alpha strike limits her somewhat and her fragility would make her a rewarding target that would no doubt get her focused early when lit. Lert: I can only imagine what havoc a ship as versatile as Belfast would've wrought on the tier 7 portion of the previous ranked battle season. It's almost like this ship was made for competitive play. While she lacks the firepower of larger gunned ships, competitive play ensures that there are teammates with said bigger guns ready to pick up the slack, while you concentrate on spotting and intercepting destroyers and other cruisers. Zoup: The jury is out whether or not the Belfast would have succeeded in the Tier 7 battles from previous ranked gameplay. I’m going to go out on a limb though and say that it would make a good competitive ship. For this basis, I am going to point to the Atago and its stealth capabilities. I believe that it’s the 8.7km concealment that will make the Belfast a valuable ranked cruiser if we ever go back to Tier 7. Its stealth combined with hydro and radar allow it to both cap while defending against enemy destroyers. It has the ability to remain hidden from larger ships by use of low surface concealment and smoke. While it may not have torpedoes and the healing capabilities of the Atago, I feel it is ultimately the Atago’s concealment which helps it to excel in ranked gameplay. The same likely will prove true for the Belfast. Only time will tell. For Collectors: Mouse: She's a museum ship. She's also gorgeous. Absolutely, yes. Lert: This is a storied ship that still exists as a museum ship you can visit to this day. How storied, you ask? She participated in the battle that sunk Scharnhorst as well as being part of the escort fleet to the carriers that launched an attack on Tirpitz that saw the latter disabled and immobilized for several months. Though Belfast never fired on Tirpitz, she did on Scharnhorst and it was her fire combined with that of Norfolk and Sheffield that turned Scharnhorst into the waiting jaws of the heavier task force that eventually sank her. Zoup: This one is easy. Absolutely. She’s dead Sexy and I still remember seeing her sitting on the Thames when I vacationed in England back in 2012. She will be a must buy for many. For Fun Factor: Mouse: The Belfast is a very comfortable ship to play. She has the same foibles as most cruisers -- notably the fragility when Battleships are looking at her. So if that doesn't appeal, I would keep away. But as a light cruiser enthusiast, I really enjoyed her. Lert: She's very comfortable and versatile. You can adapt her to almost any role you could conceivably want a light cruiser to play. If you like cruisers, you'll like Belfast. Zoup: You can customize the Belfast to your hearts desire in more ways than most ships. She's fun to play for the ability to live on the edge of danger with her awesome concealment and destroyer destroying capabilities. Care must be taken though. You're still a cruiser. If you hate taking damage or like to show your broadside often, this ship will make you pay for it. This ship plays like a big destroyer that lacks torpedoes. The fun factor is there indeed. The question is: How long will the novelty of the extra module last, or is this what we should expect with the RN Cruiser line as a whole? Outfitting your Belfast isn't complicated as she doesn't specialize for any role other than "make a destroyer's life miserable" very well. You can try and make her an AA cruiser but she'll never really compete with dedicated AA escorts. Outfitting your Belfast Unlike other cruisers, there aren't multiple builds for the Belfast to allow her to accomplish different rolls. Without access to Defensive Fire, she's never going to be a specialized AA escort. This isn't to say you can't try and improve her anti-aircraft firepower -- it's just not going to have the same effect as it might on a Soviet or American cruiser, for example. Recommended Modules The list of modules to equip your Belfast are pretty straight forward. Do keep in mind that she gets five module upgrade options instead of the normal four found at tier 7. For your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is probably the best choice. This will help keep your four turrets in the game. However, as a Light Cruiser, you have to contend with detonations more frequently than a Heavy Cruiser or Battleship. So Magazine Modification 1 isn't a poor choice. I was detonated once during playtesting by a Fuso AP shell without this mod equipped. For your second slot, you have three choices. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is arguably the most optimal. This will tighten your shell fall and give a slight bump to your secondary performance. Anti Aircraft Modification 2 isn't a great choice but it certainly has its merits. This will extend your AA umbrella up to 6.0km which may cause a CV Captain to pull his planes back. I wouldn't count on it though. Lastly, Main Battery Modification 2 will accelerate her turret rotation from 25.7s for a 180's rotation down to 22.3s. This will cost you some of your DPM, bringing your rate of fire down from 8.0rpm to 7.6rpm. For your third slot, Damage Control System Modifcation 1 is the best choice. They're all pretty terrible really. For your fourth slot, Steering Gears Modification 2 is optimal. This will reduce your rudder shift time from 9.6s to 7.7s. And finally for your fifth slot, there are two interesting choices. Concealment Modification 1 is arguably the best choice. This drops your surface detection range with camouflage from 11.0km down to 9.9km. This will also allow you to fire from stealth at a range of 14.5km. Alternatively, if you want to give her destroyer like turning, take Steering Gears Modification 3. This will reduce your rudder shift from 7.7s to 4.6s. Recommended Consumables You don't have any consumable options for the Belfast, short of deciding if you're going to pay for the premium versions or not. Out of these, Damage Control Party is hands down the best one to take as a premium, as it will help mitigate fires and other critical hits. Taking premium versions of Surveillance Radar and Hydroacoustic Search really only come into play when facing multiple destroyers for an extended period of time. This will reduce their reset timers from 3 minutes down to 2 minutes. Keep in mind that stocking up on premium consumables will quickly eat into any earnings you're making and with four consumable slots, if you went all out, that's a 90,000 credit deficit you need to make back each and every game. Recommended Captain Skills From the first tier, Basic Fire Training is the best choice. This will give a boost to your AA firepower as well as accelerating the reload of your secondaries. From the second tier, you have a choice. Expert Marksman is nice for accelerating the turning speed of your main battery. WIth as much maneuver as you will be doing in the Belfast, this can assist with keeping your guns trained on target, or at least hasten bringing them to bear when re-engaging. Alternatively, Last Stand will help keep your ship operable when taking critical hits to the rudder or engine, which happens often enough in Light Cruisers. From the third tier, there are two very good options. Vigilance will help with spotting the torpedoes launched form the Destroyers you will be pursuing. Alternatively, Superintendent will provide an extra charge for three of your four consumables which is also handy -- especially if you're not taking the premium versions. Unlike most cruisers, it's Demolition Expert which is the hands down best choice at tier 4 for Captain Skills. This will bump up your chance to start a fire with your main battery from 9% to 12% which is huge. Advanced Fire Training is reasonable, but be aware that the AA power of the Belfast will forever be held back by her lack of Defensive Fire. This 20% increase to your range can get her reach out to 7.2km with assistance from the Anti Aircraft Modification 2. In addition, this will bump up your secondary gun range to 6km from stock or 6.3km with Aiming Systems Modification 1 which will come in handy when you're using radar and hydro to flush out destroyers. Finally, at tier 5, Concealment Expert is your best choice. This really puts the Belfast's stealth rating at whole other level, dropping her surface detection range to as low as 8.7km and allowing her to fire from stealth at a range of 13.3km.
  2. The_first_harbinger

    Premium Ship Proposal: Tier IX KMS Z40

    Premium German tier IX destroyer Z40 Spähkreuzer 1939 class reconnaissance cruiser/large destroyer The following is a in-depth exploration of a laid-down, but never completed project of the Kriegsmarine's Plan Z. Featuring peculiar artillery, handsome AA defense, an option to mount unique consumables and improved protection. On deutschekriegsmarine.de, in an entry about the spähkreuzer project, these large destroyers were described as the following: "The considerations of the contents of the Z-Plan also included naval warfare with the heavy units of the Kriegsmarine. For the battleships to be deployed, adequate backup by support units was deemed necessary.On the one hand this involved the aircraft carriers, which were to provide protection against enemy air forces, on the other hand, ships such as destroyers, which were able to act against attacking submarines or lighter surface units thanks to their high speed and maneuverability.The shortcoming of the existing destroyers at the time of development of Z-Plan destroyer was their overtly short operational range. Their supply of fuel oil did not permit the continuous combat with the battleships into the Atlantic. The escort destroyers would have had to resort to tanker support or oiling by the battleships relatively often." The text explained the development of the project, that 1 of such vessels were laid down, with 5 more planned or ordered. Yet, after allied air raids in 1942 destroyed the design documents, the project was halted and canceled. This proposal would be very light on graphics and history, please bear with me. Let's talk performance. I believe that this ship would fit the game well as a tier IX destroyer. There are 3 designs for the Spähkreuzer project: 1938, 1939, and 1940. I choose the 1938 and 1939 design proposals as 2 different hulls variants available to the ship, for it gives the ship a very unique niche that sets her apart from all existing destroyers in the game, more on that later. She's a chubby gurl. With some substantially sized dakka. Tonnage: 5700 tonnes (!) (for Spähkreuzer 1938) And with WoWs' ship hit points formula, this will give her 29000 HP. With survivability expert, her totally hit points can reach an astonishing 32600. This makes her the healthiest of all destroyers in world of warships, but she is a large ship, and will likely take battleship full AP pen, so she still needs to be very worried about what she can fight, and what she cannot. Armor: This is where things gets very controversial. According to deutschekriegsmarine.de, our chubby gurl have very fitting protection for the "Kreuzer" in her name. Main deck: 20-25 mm Upper deck: 12-15 mm Belt: 50 mm Inner longitudinal bulkhead (turtleback): 12 mm Conning Towers: 15-30 mm Sorry for the lack of visualization via 3D models, because there's honestly nothing currently in the game that have a remotely similar armor scheme, the closest I could think on top of my head is the tier V German cruiser Königsberg. If the main 50mm belt extends from the waterline to the upper deck, this will mean that our chubby gurl have a very substantial lead over every other destroyer in the field of survivability, shattering cruiser and below caliber high explosive, and auto bouncing battleship AP shells. But unlike the other destroyer with a suit of troll armor, our Spähkreuzer does not have an impervious deck, and long range battleship penetrating AP is still a very real threat. Her turtleback is too fragile to have any substantial meaning in game, especially in the context of citadel-less destroyers, but I could see this translate into enhanced engine and rudder survivability, allowing captains to consider other commander skills that would've went to last stand on other destroyers. Main Armament: 3x2 150 mm L/48 with a A-XY set up. This is the same dual 150mm turret that we see on the Z-23 and Z-37 that we know and....probably loved. Or hated. It's already a very atypical destroyer weapon. Reload time 7.5s 180° Turn Time 22.5s HE Alpha 2200 Fire Chance 12% HE Penetration 24mm AP Alpha 3700 Initial Velocity 875 m/s Instead of the sheer DPM machine like the Jutland and the Kitakaze, Z40 relies on heavy alpha, consumables and survivability to fight against enemy destroyers. Large guns also means that she cannot benefit from AFT and BFT commander skills, what you see is what you get, which is part of the reason why the ship has such a tremendous hit point pool. To wind trades against enemy destroyers as well as dealing damage in general, Z40 captains should also make use of her devastating AP shells whenever possible, which is not an easy feat for such an unwieldy gun for a destroyer. Auxillary Armament & Torpedoes: FUN AND ENGAGING GAMEPLAY WARNING Remember how I mentioned there would be 2 different hulls with two different armaments suites for this ship? First let's talk about the boring and more traditional armament suite 2x2 105mm L/65 DP 4x2 37mm SK C/30 2x4 20mm Flak C/38 2x5 533mm G7 Wolfsbarsch Maximum Damage 14,400 Torpedo Speed 67 knot Torpedo Range 9.99 km
  3. This is a random battle in playing a tier 3 premium ship Katori on the Big Race map. I got to say this is the Match Maker at its worst in creating a match. It is bad enough one tier 4 carrier, but six of them in a match? I don't think WG thought this through all the way. IMO, Tier three AA is more broken, than compared to the higher tiers. There is no check and balances at this level. You can't even dodge the planes. In the end I did a Notser and did myself in. I thought I was cleared of the island corner but wasn't.
  4. The following is a review of Loyang, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. These stats are current as of November 16th, 2017. The classic spy. Quick Summary: A C-Hull Benson-class lolibote with less hit points (for some reason), two torpedo options and access to an improved version of the Hydroacoustic Search consumable. Cost: Sold in bundles starting at $33.99 USD including a port slot. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.13.0 to 0.6.13.1, November 9th, 2017 to November 16th, 2017 Closest in-Game Contemporary Benson, Tier 8 American Destroyer Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Loyang is USS Benson which was transferred to the Republic of China Navy in 1954. In game, she closely resembles a C-Hull Benson-class destroyer with some changes. She has 800 less hit points. Maybe it's harder for her to get cheeseburgers in Taiwan? Loyang has access to Hydroacoustic Search. Benson has 40m more main battery firing range than Loyang (seriously?) Her optional Mark 31 torpedoes are 13 knots faster than Benson's upgraded Mark 15 Mod 3 torpedoes at the cost of 2.5km worth of range. PROs Armed with four USN 127mm/38s with their super-twirly turret rotation and ridiculous rate of fire. Access to two different torpedo armaments. Uses standard torpedoes, not the deep-water variants of the Pan Asian line. Fast, agile, and very, very responsive. Stealthy as all get-out, with a great surface detection range. Decent AA firepower values for a destroyer. Uses an American Smoke Generator, with longer emission time and longer lasting clouds. Loyang's Hydroacoustic Search has a fearsome 5.4km range for peeping on enemy ships and lasts for a minute and a half. CONs Small hit point pool of 14,600hp. Armed with four USN 127mm/38s with their horrible gun ballistics and anemic fire chance per shell. Her first torpedo armament is very slow with anemic warheads Her second torpedo armament is dangerously short ranged with painfully long reload. Without Defensive Fire, her anti-aircraft firepower just doesn't cut it when you're cornered by a carrier. It's been a long time since I last looked at Loyang. I first reviewed her when she was released, almost two full years ago and so much has changed with the game in that time. We've seen a minor and a major skill overhaul, an upgrade module overhaul, the death of open water stealth-firing, changes to concealment in smoke and a direct buff to Loyang as well. It's well worth looking at her again. Looking Back... Loyang was originally released back in patch 0.5.3 back in February of 2016. With patch 0.6.6 in early June of 2017, Loyang received a series of buffs which upgraded the performance of her short-ranged torpedoes and the acquisition range of her Hydroacoustic Search consumable. Acquisition Range of Torpedoes: from 2.52 to 3.75km Acquisition Range of Ships: from 3.48 to 5.43km Torpedo Range of "533 mm Mk15 mod. 0": from 6.0 to 6.7km Same great C-Hull Benson-flavour, with only 14,600 hit points. Options You are spoiled for choice with Loyang. First off, you have the choice between two torpedo armaments. The one that's quick and dangerously short ranged while the other one is safer, slower and marshmellow squishy when it strikes (seriously, it should make a squeaky-toy sound when it hits). Next you have your choice of three different consumables for your third slot. Her Damage Control Party and Engine Boost is standard for a lolibote. Loyang uses an American Smoke Generator. This is improved over the standard version of other nations. It has a longer emission time (28s versus 20s) and each cloud lasts longer too (124s vs 89s). Loyang's Defensive Fire is again standard for a destroyer. This has a shorter active period than a cruiser's (30s instead of 40s) but it multiplies the damage of her 127mm and 40mm guns by four instead of three as it would for a large vessel. But it's her Hydroacoustic Search consumable which really deserves special attention. This is the equivalent of a German tier VII cruiser's version of the consumable in terms of range, though it has a shorter duration of 90 seconds. It will spot ships at 5.43km and detect torpedoes at 3.75km. Having Loyang near a contested cap circle is a nightmare for the enemy team as she'll easily light up all of the ships hiding in smoke for her allies to tear apart while she can remain safely hidden within her own smoke. I dunno -- it seems kinda pervy to me -- like Loyang is some peeper hiding in the bushes with a pair of binoculars and streaming the whole thing on her smartphone. The poor lolibotes have no idea she's about to spy on them when they're at their most vulnerable until it's too late. Really, you should be taking Hydroacoustic Search. This is what makes Loyang special... and a criminal. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost or Defensive Fire or Hydroacoustic Search Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard destroyer upgrades Premium Camouflage: Standard Type 10. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. When equipping Loyang, be sure to take premium versions of all of your consumables. Yes, this is expensive. Yes, this is going to eat into your earnings. Unless you're playing co-op against bots, pull the trigger here. You'll need them. Loyang's upgrades are pretty standard fare for a destroyer. Take Magazine Modification 1 in your first slot. Next, equip Aiming Systems Modification 1. This doesn't provide a real boost to your guns accuracy (the gains are minuscule) but it does provide a nice rotation speed increase to your torpedo armament which is nice. Alternatively, you can take AA Guns Modification 2 here, but Loyang isn't known for her AA power. In your third slot, take Propulsion Modification 1. Fourth comes Propulsion Modification 2. And finally, take Concealment System Modification 1 in your final slot. Special Upgrades! At the time of publication, Loyang has access to five Special Upgrades, but only one is worth considering. Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 changes the active period of her consumable from 90s to 108s. This replaces Propulsion Modification 1. If you do not have access to this consumable, you are missing out as it makes Loyang all the more dangerous to her enemies. They are typically found within Supercontainers. Before you buy this ship, it's worth checking your account inventory in port to see if you have earned one of these to immediately equip it to this ship. Firepower Primary Battery: Four 127mm/38 rifles in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedo Armament: Ten tubes in 2x5 launchers straddling the rear funnel. Choice of either Mark 15 Mod 0 or Mark 31 torpedoes. Loyang's guns really emphasize how much you're going to need to outplay your opponents make this ship work. Truth be told, she's under armed as far as gunnery is concerned with only four Mark 30 USN 127mm/38 rifles. While these guns have excellent handling and can dispense almost eighteen rounds per minute, this won't be enough to keep up with other destroyers if it comes down to a slugging match. Do these graphs look familiar? They've been requisitioned from my USS Kidd review. USN 127mm/38s Mark 30s are a common weapon used across many ships (including no less than four premium ships currently) so data in these graphs will get some mileage. Loyang sits in the middle of the pack for damage output. Her shell flight time precludes her from trying to engage destroyers at long range. She cannot out-muscle enemy destroyers in gunnery duels, not without a plan. Fortunately for Loyang, her preferred hunting ground is cap circles where enemies often oblige you by staying close and making terrible mistakes. Loyang isn't very tough and she doesn't hit especially hard. But what's important is that she hits hard enough -- often enough to prompt them to use smoke. Loyang's secret weapon is the combination of her Smoke Generator and her Hydroacoustic Search. Regardless of which destroyer smokes up first, Loyang can activate her second consumable and continue to spot enemy destroyers. The range of Loyang's Hydroacoustic Search will nearly span the diameter of many cap circles leaving enemy lolibotes no where to hide from this Peeping Penelope. If they foolishly try and continue to contest the cap, Loyang has all of the time in the world to tear them apart. This combination of an American Smoke Generator duration combined with what amounts to a German Hydroacoustic Search consumable allows Loyang to sit comfortably in smoke, unafraid of ambushes from torpedoes and cycle her guns to her heart's content. This can really help her attempt to pad her damage stats by bombarding enemy battleships at medium ranges. Given the low fire chance of her shells, this time is greatly appreciated. Without her consumables to support her, Loyang's gunnery feels lackluster. To this end, premium consumables help considerably -- providing an extra charge and reducing the reset timers of each. When her consumables run dry, Loyang is easily outgunned by just about any destroyer she may encounter due to the combination of poor ballistics, only middling DPM and her own small hit point pool. Torpedoes Loyang gives you the option of using one of two different torpedo armaments. One is fast, short ranged and reasonably hard hitting. The other is slow, long ranged and downright tender and nurturing when it comes to touching enemy ships with their tiny warheads. One of these armaments has a ton of street cred -- I'll let you decide which. Mark 31s. Live fast. Die young. Leave a beautiful corpse. Mark 15s. Magical baby bunny kisses from the sea Stats wise, the MANLY METAL DEATH FISH OF JUSTICE are no harder hitting than Benson's upgraded torpedoes. They also share the same reload time with Benson's upgrade. With the prevalence of Surveillance Radar, float plane aircraft and Hydroacoustic Search among Loyang's manly prey, making proper use of these torpedoes presents a very high risk and it's no wonder only the most brutal and cunning Loyang commanders elect to use this armament. This is an armament suitable for giant-mans. Instead, most choose to wuss out and use the Happy Marshmellow Springtime Friendship torpedoes (yay!). These are identical to Benson's stock (baby) torpedoes with a comfortable range but anemic warhead that hits for less than 10,000 damage per strike against large targets. The flooding chance on these fish is worse by a large margin too. While they're easier to land hits on target, the chance for doing catastrophic damage is greatly reduced. What did you expect of a torpedo armament suitable only for tiny-baby-mans? Flooding chance per torpedo hit against tier VIII Battleships with Damage Control Modification 1 installed. These apply only to hits which strike their anti-torpedo bulges amidships. Hits that strike unprotected ships (or the bow or stern) have a 89.3% chance of causing flooding for the Manly Metal Death Fish of Justice while the Happy Marshmellow Springtime Friendship Torpedoes (yay!) have a 60.8% chance. Once you've unlocked a 10pt Commander, either one of these torpedo armaments may be launched from concealment. The question really becomes how close do you dare get to the enemy? There's no doubt that the stock Benson-torpedoes are much safer and easier to use, even if they are wanting in their damage totals. The 'upgraded' torpedoes are just too short ranged to be effective outside of ambushes and suicide strikes. You're just so very likely to be spotted before you get a chance to use the shorter-ranged fish which will often end in disaster. Loyang has more of a dependence upon her torpedo armament to stack up impressive damage totals, however, it would be a mistake to think of her primarily as a torpedo-based destroyer like some of the Japanese ships. Summary: vs USN 127mm/38s, we meet again. Her guns by themselves won't let you win knife fights. You're going to have to play smart. Deep Water Torpedoes Loyang does not use the deep-water torpedoes of the Pan Asian Destroyer line. Unlike her sister ships within the tech tree, she's capable of engaging all types of enemy ships with her fish instead of merely being limited to larger vessels. The down side is that her Loyang's torpedoes are more easily spotted (and thus easier to avoid) than the other Pan Asian lolibotes. A large portion of Loyang's effective damage is going to be done just like this -- sitting in smoke, cycling her guns as quickly as she can. Her USN 127mm/38s are not the hardest hitting of guns, with terrible ballistics and horrible fire settings properties. Given enough time, however, they can stack up some respectable damage totals, especially when supplemented by the torpedo style of your choice. DurabilityHit Points: 14,600Maximum Protection: 19 to 20mm *Hsienyang is still in testing and her statistics many not be final. There's not a whole lot of good news here. Loyang has the second lowest hit point total among the tier VIII destroyers. This puts her on lower footing than even some tier VI and VII destroyers, such as the German Ernst Gaede, the upcoming T-61 premium (still a work in progress) and Leberecht Maass along with the Soviet Leningrad-class destroyers. This should further emphasize how important it is for Loyang to use every tool she has at her disposal to outplay enemy gunships rather than simply trying to trade fire with them. It's almost an imperative that you invest three commander skill points into Survivability Expert to bump Loyang's totals up to a more competitive 17,400hp. Fighting in and around cap points is exceedingly dangerous and not for the faint of heart. Loyang is well equipped to bring vision into these control points and bully enemy destroyers out of them. However, when radar-packed ships appear, even she needs to beat a hasty retreat. Compared to the other gunship destroyers at tier VIII, Loyang is fragile and she doesn't stand up to such abuse very well at all. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 38.0knotsTurning Radius: 570mRudder Shift: 2.7s Maximum Turn Rate: 8.5º per second. In all respects, Loyang has the exact same agility as USS Benson, right down to their rate of turn. She shares the title of being, hands down, the most agile destroyer at her tier. This doesn't quite make her the most agile ship within her matchmaking spread, though. She still pales compared to 9.2º/s rotation rate and the 38.5 knot speed of USS Sims. Loyang should be used carefully to try and control engagement distances -- whether that is keeping out of the range of Surveillance Radar armed cruisers or sprinting the distance between itself and a newly raised Smoke Generator cloud to light the occupant with your Hydroacoustic Search. Rivals: USS Kidd When it comes to being tough, few tier VIII destroyers can boast the kind of durability that USS Kidd has. For those who have been living under a rock, USS Kidd has access to a Repair Party consumable -- currently, she's the only tier VIII destroyer with this ability. All told, this functionally gives her upwards of 30,724 hit points under perfect circumstances. This isn't the only trick up Kidd's sleeve -- she also has excellent anti-aircraft firepower for a destroyer. Unlike Loyang, she doesn't give up access to Defensive Fire for her gimmick, keeping her a credible threat and nuisance to enemy aircraft carriers. Kidd risks supplanting Loyang's supremacy in the competitive scene. At the time this is being written, we haven't seen another season of tier VIII Ranked Battles, but there's a lot of excitement to see how this new tier VIII destroyer will fare. In a straight up match, Loyang may be able to bully or even destroy Kidd in the short term provided she falls for Loyang's usual peek-a-boo tricks. What Kidd wants to do is get a few licks in with every such encounter and then break contact. In this manner, she can turn the fight into one of attrition -- one that she will win given enough swings. Her five-gun firepower will out muscle the four of Loyang and her ability to recover from damage done is likely to overwhelm to peeper. Like Loyang, Kidd is a difficult destroyer with which to be successful. While Kidd trivializes dealing with enemy aircraft, her offensive firepower is lacking with only half of a torpedo armament. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 7.38km Air Detection Range: 3.60 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.80km Main Battery Firing Range: 11.55km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.7km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: Tied for 5th with Benson & Kidd, sitting behind the Kagero-sisters. Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: Tied for 6th out of 36 places. Like USS Black, Loyang is a creepy pervert that likes to peek in on ships hiding behind their blinds. Loyang didn't invest in the deluxe, top of the line binoculars the way Black did with her Surveillance Radar, opting instead for a handsome, German-engineered Hydroacoustic Search she bought on sale. However, unlike the lonely German destroyers, Loyang has the short ranged surface detection to get very close to her targets before she's spotted -- almost within the same range of her Hydoacoustic Search consumable which makes her nearly as good as Black at catching her prey unawares. Fully specialized for stealth, Loyang's surface detection range is 5.8km compared to the 5.4km range of her hydro. Loyang can sneak right up to point blank range against enemy destroyers, initiate a knife fight and when they smoke up, continue keeping them spotted for all of the world to see. Unlike Black's victims, Loyang can keep said targets lit for up to one minute and 48 seconds with the right upgrades, which is insane. She can even do this through her own smoke. What's more, her Hydroacoustic Search has the dual function of lighting up torpedoes too, so the vain flailing by the enemy lolibote to try and cover herself with a spread of fish goes all for naught. This gets especially funny if you can pull it off against larger targets like Mikhail Kutuzov or British & Commonwealth Cruisers. Just beware of enemy radar ships. Loyang blends well into the crowd too, with a competitive surface detection that matches Black, Benson, Kidd and Fletcher. This is bested only by a couple of Japanese Destroyers -- Kagero and Harekaze. She's an excellent agent to contest and push on capture points, putting pressure on enemy destroyers that have the misfortune of crossing her path. Her Hydroacoustic Search is best foiled by simply opening up the distance. However, this very act often surrenders the cap circles her enemies had originally come to take in the first place. The only reliable ways of pushing Loyang back when she takes root is with Surveillance Radar or another larger ship engaging her with Hydroacoustic Search. Aircraft can pressure her too, but she'll simply hide in smoke until the control point is secured before sneaking away like the criminal voyeur she is. Finally, opponents can try and charge her and close the distance -- hoping to weather the torrent of fire her 127mm/38s will spit out before they can close to 2.7km and dodge any MANLY or Friendship fish she might spit out to deter their reckless advance. Loyang patrols around the border of a capture circle as the Reds begin to secure it. She has spotted a smoke cloud at the far side of the capture point and readies torpedoes to try and snipe the enemy lolibote before giving away her presence, ready to move in to prevent them from capturing the area uncontested should her fish miss. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 42.8 / 22.6 / 14.4 Loyang shares USS Black's vulnerability to aircraft. Both ships sacrifice their Defensive Fire consumables to gain access to their detection consumables instead. While Loyang could, in theory, forgo taking her Hydroacoustic Search to gain a strong measure of anti-aircraft defense, this would be surrendering one of her greatest advantages. As a matter of course, players should rightly assume that Loyang's defenses against aircraft will be lackluster and that she shares the same vulnerabilities to aircraft predation as German and Japanese destroyers. Just think of aircraft carriers as the neighbourhood watch, keeping an eye out for dirty peepers like yourself. Rivals: HSF Harekaze In terms of accessibly, Harekaze is a better premium destroyer than Loyang. Using Harekaze is straightforward. She's a torpedo destroyer with decent guns. If your goal in your premium destroyer is to play it safe, stand off and dump fish into big-dumb-battleships, then Harekaze is hands-down preferable to Loyang in this regard. She's capable of some gunnery action too, though this is often locked behind taking the proper commander skills to make these weapons sing. Loyang is the better premium destroyer between the two, but there's a very high skill threshold to unlock her potential in this regard. This doesn't preclude novice and casual players from having some success with her. Her Happy Marshmellow Springtime Friendship torpedoes (yay!) are still capable of putting out decent numbers, but this play style would be better served with a destroyer that would reward such play more, like Harekaze. Loyang's full potential is only unlocked in the thick of the action -- hunting down enemy destroyers and unmasking lurking cruisers. This is a very dangerous game to play and it's not for the inexperienced. Players lacking the situational awareness, map knowledge and tactical acuity to pull this off will not find Loyang a comfortable fit. In this regard, Harekaze is more ubiquitous and better suited to the population at large than the Pan Asian destroyer. Posting your Treasures on Instagram Your first ten skill points are going to look like standard fodder and fare for a gunship destroyer. Begin with Priority Target to know when it's time to disengage. Don't let yourself get blindsided in a knife fight when a new challenger joins unexpectedly. Next, the old destroyer standby, Last Stand is imperative to keep your engine and steering gears operational when they inevitably get knocked out. Cause they will. Often. Take Survivability Expert (3pts) to nudge your hit points up to 17,400. This will make you more of a credible threat in a knife fight when your Hydroacoustic Search consumable is down And finally grab a nice big, roomy trench-coat & fedora in the form of Concealment Expert to complete your super-sneaky look. Your next nine points are yours to spend as you see fit, with high value skills including Radio Location (4pts), Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (4pts), Superintendent* (3pts), Vigilance (3pts), Demolition Expert (3pts), Basic Fire Training (3pts), Torpedo Armament Expertise.(3pts) and Adrenaline Rush (2pts) * A Not so Super Superintendent Mouse, why aren't you recommending Superintendent for Loyang in the first 10 skill points? Surely, having up to four charges of your oh-so powerful consumable combination would be best? It's funny what happens when you sit down and do the math. Loyang's Smoke Generator dispenses smoke for 28s and it takes 160s for the reset timer to expire. This gives us 188s -- or a little over three minutes, per charge. Her Hydroacoustic Search is even worse, with upwards of a 108s active period and a 120s reset timer. This adds up to 228s or almost four minutes between charges. When you lay out the time between charges, you can calculate how long a match needs to run to make use of all four charges. 00:00 - Both consumables used. (Base charge) 03:08 - Smoke Generator is available and used again. (Base Charge) 03:48 - Hydroacoustic Search is available and used again. (Base Charge) 06:16 - Smoke Generator is available and used again. (Premium Charge) 07:36 - Hydroacoustic Search is available and used again. (Premium Charge) 09:24 - Smoke Generator is available and used again. (Superintendent Charge) 11:24 - Hydroacoustic Search is available and used again. (Superintendent Charge) Note, these times are assuming you're using them immediately when they become available. Any lapse in the action and this delays even further. This may not look too bad -- most games are going to last 12 to 15 minutes or so, but this isn't including the delay before the first time you're going to need to use your consumables. It often takes as much as three to four minutes before you'll be prompted to use your first cloud of smoke. never mind reaching for Hydroacoustic Search. Where Superintendent will come into play are hard carries -- where the game is coming right down to the wire after nearly 20 minutes of play and you're milking every last drop of performance out of your destroyer. For most players, these situations are going to be especially rare and you really need to be realistic with how much you're willing to prepare for outside occurrences like this. You will definitely get more mileage out of skills that you use more regularly. You can rig your Loyang into a torpedo boat if you wish. This will make her easier to play. However, to get the most out of her, you're going to have to go destroyer hunting and that's a far riskier venture. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult As far as American-style destroyers go, Loyang is forgiving. At her simplest, Loyang can stand off at the edge of her Happy Marshmellow Springtime Friendship torpedo (yay!) range and just lob fish and hope to score a few hits. This is far enough away that she can turn and run from radar armed vessels and her hydro will also keep her mostly safe when she does have to fight other destroyers. Your team mates may curse the wasted potential of this ship, but it will get the job done. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Loyang is well loved by players with an eye on the more competitive meta. As far as Randoms go, she's arguably the most powerful of the tier VIII destroyers, contending only with the USS Kidd for primacy. In the hands of an expert, she can control vision, bully capture points, dig out cruisers and destroyers hiding in smoke and still manage to put out reasonable levels of damage herself. Her only real weaknesses are radar-equipped cruisers, aircraft and being caught between Smoke Generator resets by more powerful gunships. Mouse's Summary: I spy with my hydro-eye... Does anyone actually use the MANLY METAL DEATH FISH OF JUSTICE? I mean, I totally see why people don't. I'd want to give people seaborne magical baby bunny kisses too. Loyang is HMS Belfast in lolibote form. I exaggerate, but only a little. Loyang is a trapbote in the same vein as the infamous British premium. She forces enemy players to re-evaluate the manner in which they normally play. Rushing headlong into a cap -- already a risky venture, becomes downright suicidal if Loyang is present. A team that exploits the advantages Loyang can setup is well placed to take an early lead; especially if they can uncover an enemy unfamiliar with the threat Loyang presents. I cannot stress this enough: The ability to dominate the vision game early on and catch ships unaware is overpowered. Loyang surrenders two things to pull this off: hitting power and defense. Though she's built and billed as an American-based ship, she cannot fend off enemy aircraft. She also sits with a hit point deficit compared to every other gunship at tier VIII. What's more, having only four guns to the standard five puts her on the back foot when it comes to knife fighting. Her torpedoes are similarly cropped, with either short-ranged or anemic fish (player's choice). Thus, while Loyang is still capable of stacking the hurt, she doesn't hit as hard and she cannot last as long in a straight up fight. Wargaming would call this balance. Personally, I'm not sure if they pushed her back far enough. The only thing that keeps me from condemning her outright as overpowered comes from the not-unsubstantiated rumours that the Pan Asian destroyer line will have access to the Surveillance Radar consumable at high tiers, so we may be about to see a proliferation of this meta. Loyang is one of the best destroyers at her tier, bar none. In the hands of a purple player, she's an absolute nightmare to face for the enemy team. I suppose the only saving grace is that while she's gentle enough for a casual player to score some damage and maybe secure a cap, she's not so forgiving with mistakes. Knife fighting in capture points is a recipe for disaster for inexperienced players and it will just get you sent back to the port in a hurry if you try and pull it off. This speaks a lot to the wasted potential of this destroyer in the 'wrong' hands (I hate to use that term). There's just a vast gulf between what she can do and what she will do in a given match depending upon who is using her. Effectively, this means that your mileage with Loyang will vary considerably -- almost as much as with USS Kidd. I do believe Loyang is the easier to use destroyer between the two of them. You can stand off, build her to drop baby bunny kisses every 97 seconds and hope to get lucky with stacking floods. This really makes her more accessible and perhaps better than Kidd overall as a premium for the community because of this ease of use. However, I caution players that in this lower-skill threshold, Loyang isn't rewarding. You would be better served buying yourself a Harekaze instead if this is the style of play you want to espouse. So, are you hungry for a destroyer that will make you a better player? Loyang is a powerful ship that will challenge you and reward you for patience as well as aggressive plays -- just don't think that it will necessarily be easy. (Economic) Rivals: Anshan If you're looking for a trainer for the Pan Asian destroyer line, why should you get Loyang when you could get Anshan instead? Anshan is a dream premium, to be sure. She's a Gnevny-class destroyer but without the Gnenvy-class weakness of short ranged torpedoes. The 8km range on her fish is perfectly serviceable, giving this lolibote a wonderful bit of balance between her guns and torpedo armaments. Within her own tier, she's a perfectly competitive ship, well balanced against her peers. The real icing on the cake for those looking to use her as a trainer is her premium camouflage bonus. Anshan's premium camouflage earns double the free experience gains on top of the usual premium camouflage bonuses. This makes her better suited for use as a trainer than Loyang -- allowing you to better amass free experience for use of unlocking modules to accelerate progression through the tech tree. Loyang can't really compete this way short of earning more base experience grace of her higher tier. However, the gains between the tier disparity aren't so much that this will undo Anshan's free experience bonus. Where Loyang stands above Anshan is her ubiquity in other game modes. Loyang, at tier VIII, is better positioned for the competitive arenas. For players looking to graduate towards more aggressive, high skilled play, Loyang is the premium to choose. If you are looking to find a good trainer for the Pan Asian line and you've no interest in competitive battles, Anshan is the better purchase. She's less expensive and the free experience gains will serve you well. Would I Recommend? Loyang has had new life breathed into her import with the release of the Pan Asian destroyers. She can now assist with training up commanders and assisting the transfer of captains from one ship to the next. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Very yes. Bots are dumb. Loyang has sufficient hitting power to punish them and their inevitable headlong charge. The combination of her Smoke Generator and her Hydroacoustic Search will allow her to let the bots get in close before shoving torpedoes up their nose. In this manner she can be quite profitable. Just don't go ham on buying premium consumables -- it will eat into your profits. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Again, very yes. Loyang is arguably the best premium tier VIII destroyer in the game when it comes to ruling the roost in Random Battles. Her combination of smoke, torpedoes, hydro and stealth is almost Belfast-worthy (almost). For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes with a but. American-style destroyers with their good manoeuvrability, concealment and super-long smoke time have always been highly sought after in competitive environments. The addition of USS Kidd, however, may have supplanted Loyang here. While still an excellent choice, if enemy aircraft carriers are prevalent then Kidd becomes more advantageous, if only just. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. She's a destroyer that was built in steel. In USN service, she earned four battle stars. Her service with Taiwan appears to have been largely uneventful. I dunno, I could take it or leave it. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? If I say 'yes', does this brand me as a lewd? What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  5. The following is a review of Azuma, the tier IX Premium Japanese Super Cruiser kindly provided to me by Wargaming. Please be aware that though this represents the release version of the ship, her statistics may change in the future. To the best of my knowledge, these stats are accurate as of patch 0.8.2. If you have any questions regarding any changes to this ship after subsequent patches, please feel free to contact me. Okay, this is getting ridiculous. I really don't know what to call these things. I'm defaulting to "Super-Type A" cruiser for Azuma because that's what my sources said the Japanese called her, but I reiterate that we really could use a catch-all term to describe these kinds of ships in World of Warships. Between Stalingrad, Alaska, Kronshtadt, Graf Spee and now Azuma and now with Yoshino on the horizon, we've got enough of these ships that they could use a name. PROS Large health pool of 58,350hp. Excellent range of 19.1km on her main battery guns. Good alpha strike and penetration for a cruiser. Increased penetration on her secondaries. Good long-range anti-aircraft firepower. Decent top speed of 34 knots. Extra charge of her Repair Party consumable with a faster reset timer. CONS Octagonal citadel which sits high over the water. Relatively thin armoured belt for a large cruiser. Large target and vulnerable to HE shells and AP overmatch with few sections thicker than 25mm. Takes increased damage over time effect damage like a battleship. Most of her continuous AA DPS is located in 1.9km range small caliber guns. Enormous 920m turning radius and poor rudder shift time. Large surface detection range. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL/ Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme Azuma's pretty new-player friendly. This is largely owing to her range and speed which allows her to camp the back, dump HE shells at a distance and generally frustrate their own team by being a non-entity. But hey, at least this is easy to do. Skilled players can bring Azuma closer and do a bit of tanking, but not much. While her guns are perfectly capable of pressuring the enemy, she doesn't have an extensive toolkit to facilitate carries, nor the damage output to make them balk. Using and abusing her belt armour and anti-torpedo voids allows for some trollish moments, but these are exceptions rather than the rule. Skill will only take you so far. – 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. The "fair" evaluation belies the power of Azuma's guns. They're just not as good as those found on Alaska or Kronshtadt. While she has a lot of hit points and great heals, her citadel vulnerability holds her back on Defense. Similarly, she has great speed but her turning radius is so large as to push her into "bad" territory in regards to her agility. Her AA power is alright but she's too large to earn anything other than a "bad" value in Vision Control. Options Oh goodie, a tier IX cruiser. There's going to be a lot to talk about when we get to her upgrades. Consumables Azuma's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with a 5s active period and a 90s / 60s reset timer. This has unlimited charges. In your second slot, the default choice is Defensive AA Fire. As per usual, this doubles the firepower from her 100mm AA guns (both sustained DPS and damage from flak bursts) for 40s and starts with two charges base. This has a 120s / 80s reset timer. Alternatively, you can swap out Defensive AA Fire for Hydroacoustic Search in slot two. This has two charges base and a 100s active period. This extends her torpedo detection to 3.5km and ship acquisition to 5.0km. This has a 180s / 120s reset timer. In slot three, she has a Spotter Aircraft. This increases her range by 20% for 100s. For Azuma this gives her a reach of 22.9km / 26.6km depending on upgrades used. She has three charges base and this has a 360s / 240s reset timer. Finally, she has a Repair Party in slot four. This heals back up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds, queuing 50% of penetration damage, 33% of citadel damage and 100% from all other damage types. She starts with an extra charge base for three total. In addition this has a much faster reset timer with a 60s / 40s cool down. Upgrades There's a lot of choices to be made with Azuma's upgrades however they're not too complicated when you break them down: Your first choice is whether to emphasize main battery performance or anti-aircraft firepower. If you select main battery firepower, choose if you want to do this through firing at range or emphasizing her rate of fire. In terms of survivability, choose if you want to reduce damage over time effects or attempt to dodge fire by improving her rudder shift time. You can mix and match if you so choose, but it's generally optimal to pick a specialization and go full hog down that route. The best performance build will stress DPM and concealment over AA power and dodging. There's also one stupid choice: see if you can spot it. In your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is preferred for most builds. You can take Spotter Aircraft Modification 1 if you really want to stress her range advantages. Special Upgrades are best in your second slot. Take either Defensive AA Fire Modification 1 or Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 for whichever consumable you prefer. If you can't afford the special upgrades, default to Damage Control Modification 1. Unless you're specializing for AA firepower, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is your best choice. For the latter, take AA Guns Modification 1. If you're only intending to use Azuma in Co-Op, then man up and take Secondary Guns Modification 1. Totally worth it. Now we start to get into defensive choices. If you want to focus on agility, take Steering Gears Modification 2 & 3 in slots 4 and 5. Otherwise take Damage Control Modification 2 and Concealment Expert. Finally, slot 6 lets you punctuate your specialization. Main Battery Modification 3 emphasizes DPM. Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 boosts her range. AA Guns Modification 2 improves her AA firepower. Camouflage Azuma comes with Type 10 - Azuma camouflage. This provides the usual 3% bonus concealment from surface targets, 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion, 20% reduction to post-battle service costs and100% bonus to experience gains. Default camo is grey and more-darker grey. You can unlock the green and grey camouflage through completing the "Uniform Items" of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection. You can tell this is a pre-8.2 screenshot from the gun screens on her forward AA nests. Those are her old 40mm guns and did not make it to the live version. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 310mm guns in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 100mm/65 guns in 8x2 turrets. For a large cruiser, Azuma's firepower is odd. Every other large cruiser I've played, AP shells are the default. They're the shell I wanted to use. When playing Alaska, Kronshtadt and Stalingrad, I hunted for targets that would let me capitalize on their AP performance. And here's where Azuma differed. I defaulted to using HE when sailing her -- rather, I felt like Azuma's guns encouraged me to default to her HE shells. I told myself that my reasons for doing so were elementary. Azuma does not have the god-tier ballistics and penetration values of the Soviet large cruisers which lets them easily citadel battleships at most engagement ranges. Similarly, she lacks the improved auto-bounce angles found on Alaska which helps reduce the number of AP shell ricochets. Finally, Azuma has improved HE damage (as do most Japanese ships). However, these feel like excuses rather than justified defense at my myopic ammunition preference. Putting Azuma's main battery firepower under the microscope shows that, true to her Large Cruiser pedigree, dynamic ammunition choice is not only encouraged but also necessary to enjoy success. She's reliant upon AP and HE, no matter how comfortable the latter will make her feel. Azuma has comparable DPM output with her HE to Dmitri Donskoi but with better HE penetration (and worse accuracy). I'm keeping this graph simple -- so no bonuses have been accounted for. The only weirdness you need know is that when Saint Louis activates her Main Battery Reload Booster, she has comparable DPM to Buffalo over 60s. This assumes the improbabilities of 100% hit rate and no fire resistance on enemy ships. Actual fire output of these ships is much lower, with fire resistance at tier X cutting the fire chance effectively in half. Tack on the accuracy issues with Azuma and she's not taxing anyone's Damage Control Party by herself without a lot of luck. Again, I am not confusing things further by including Saint Louis' Main Battery Reload Booster. Mega-Zao she is not Azuma's HE shells hit like trucks. However, for a cruiser she's not particularly good at starting fires nor is her damage per minute inspiring. The best that could be said about Azuma's HE shells is that when you're not firing AP, you're not hemorrhaging as much lost damage output as you might in other large cruisers. At least, she doesn't have the inherent weakness of her contemporaries where they struggle to deal significant damage per volley against destroyers. However, this is all assuming you can land hits regularly. While Azuma's HE shells are safe, her AP shells decidedly are not. She lacks the god-tier penetration values from Kronshtadt's high velocity railguns. She doesn't have Alaska's oh-so forgiving improved autobounce angles either. Unless Azuma can line up shots on perfect broadsides, it's all too common to see her AP shells ricochet or shatter against targets. This is 180 shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso without camouflage. Azuma and Alaska were both equipped with the Aiming System Mod 1 dispersion mod. Contrary to what's advertised, Azuma's guns performed more accurately for me than their datamined stats indicated they should. Alaska's and Azuma's horizontal dispersion should be close to comparable. Borrowed from my Alaska review to save time. These are the approximate penetration values of the large cruisers compared to the best-performing 203mm armed heavy cruiser at tier IX, USS Buffalo. Azuma's penetration is comparable to Alaska's, being slightly better over range but not by enough to get excited over. Go Fly a Kite Azuma's fragility keeps her from safely fighting on the front lines (see the Defense section below). She's largely relegated to firing from the second line, keeping her distance from her opponents in order to protect her vulnerable citadel. This works to the further detriment of her AP shells, eating away at their penetration value with increased distance. Thankfully, she's well setup for this role. Not only does she have excellent reach, she has a good top speed and her gun fire arcs are perfect for kiting opponents. Azuma has some excellent fire angles for kiting. Her turret traverse isn't so great. She starts with 5º per second, but once you add on Main Battery Modification 3, she starts being able to out turn her turrets. Taking Expert Marksman to combat this is recommended. Bolted-on Duckies I don't like wasting a lot of time talking about cruiser secondaries. It's so rare they do anything of value. However, Azuma's secondaries bug me a lot because they could have been amazing. She uses the same 100mm/65 caliber guns found on the Japanese gunship destroyers Akizuki, Kitakaze and Harugumo. These have the same ridiculous 20rpm rate of fire and more importantly, they also have their increased 25mm penetration. While I giggled for joy at the prospect of a fully secondary specialized cruiser (including taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells to be able to blast stupid battleships) there are two flaws with this: Brawling with Azuma tends to end messily with your ship exploding in a horrendous, greasy kablooie. Azuma's secondaries only have a 5km base range. This just isn't enough reach in high tier matches to be effective. We'd really want to see a 6km to 7km base range, minimum. Without reach and with Azuma's exposed citadel, there just aren't many opportunities to make use of what could have been a very fun addition to this ship. Outside of co-op, it's just not a viable choice. Summary Azuma's guns aren't bad. They're more accurate than I thought they'd be. They have great range. Her HE shells do a nice chunk of damage. Her AP shells and her fire chance aren't terrible but they are disappointing, especially when compared to previous outings with Alaska and Kronshtadt. Kite, kite and kite some more. Look for opportunities to use AP, but you're probably going to be stuck with HE. You're not going to get to use her secondaries often, which is a shame. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Azuma needs to be able to compete with Alaska and Kronshtadt on equal footing. Kronshtadt has DPM and penetration advantage. Alaska has her improved autobounce angles and similar accuracy to Azuma. Azuma's HE performance isn't quite good enough to keep pace with these two. Defense Hit Points: 58,350 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 25mm anti-torpedo bulge + 195mm transverse bulkhead. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% Azuma has less health than Alaska but with her extra charge of her fast-reloading Repair Party consumable, Azuma has more potential HP. This is nice and all, but I would take Alaska's citadel placement and belt armour over Azuma's extra potential health any day. Extra health only counts when you can avoid exploding suddenly (and often). It should be noted that Azuma, like other large cruisers, takes damage over time effects (fires, floods) like a battleship, resulting in more damage. Much ado has been made about Azuma's durability. For a cruiser, she's pretty tough. She has a thick belt. She has anti-torpedo bulges. She has a lot of hit points and even a mildly improved Repair Party. Unfortunately, Azuma isn't a regular cruiser -- she's one of those hybrid large / battle cruiser type deals like Alaska and Stalingrad. So let's put this into context: For a cruiser, Azuma's protection scheme is great. Any complaints about her not being good are just being nit-picky. Azuma is very durable when compared to Ibuki or Seattle or what have you. It's only with a narrow focus on other large-cruisers (and battlecruisers) that her level of durability falls apart. Let's start listing the fails... Her citadel is raised above water. It's easy to hit. She doesn't have much citadel protection. Azuma's citadel protection is limited to a 178mm belt covered by a 25mm anti-torpedo bulge. So not only is she easy to hit, there's not a lot of armour preventing shells from punching into her vitals. This is easily within the scope of AP penetration for some 203mm armed Heavy Cruisers. Her citadel is octagonal (sorta). This is arguably the worst geometric shape you could choose for a citadel (short of a stretched oval). It all but guarantees a relatively flat surface for shells to penetrate into no matter how she angles. So now angling isn't an effective countermeasure to mitigate citadel hits. Her external hull armour doesn't exceed 25mm. Small and medium caliber HE loves farming damage off Azuma. It's not like Azuma isn't without merit, though. She has an enormous chunk of hit points for a cruiser, which is nice. In addition, the 25mm armour over her belt counts as an anti-torpedo void and it eats HE shells for zero damage. In addition, AP shells which shatter or ricochet off her internal belt also count for zero damage even if they penetrate her outer 25mm bulge. This bulge isn't an especially large target, unfortunately. Furthermore, she has a turtleback that's 125mm thick which will cause a lot of internal ricochets. Her final durability bonus is her improved Repair Party. She begins with 3 charges instead of 2 like most cruisers, giving her a maximum of 5 with a premium version of the consumable coupled with Superintendent. To facilitate this further, her reset timer is cut in half, with a 60s / 40s cool down depending if you're using a premium version or not (use a premium version!). The extra charge generally gives Azuma more effective hit points than Alaska provided you use it perfectly. Azuma's waterline anti-torpedo bulge counts as spaced armour and will eat HE shells for no damage. Similarly, AP shells that punch through her there don't automatically cause penetration damage and must contend with her belt behind it. Unfortunately, you won't have more effective health than Alaska because Azuma eats citadel hits for breakfast. While she can recover from citadel hits like other cruisers (queuing up 33% of citadel damage done) that doesn't do you any good if you get deleted outright. Thus, as great as that extra potential HP is, it's more likely that because of these catastrophic hits, you either won't survive long enough to make use of all of the charges or you simply won't be able to recoup enough HP to make up the difference. So that's all pretty damning for a ship type people equate with a baby battleship. It's really much better to think of Azuma like a standard heavy cruiser. If you wouldn't try tanking it with Ibuki, you shouldn't try tanking it with Azuma. Given her size, large turning radius and lack of concealment (see below for that), this has the unfortunate effect of pushing Azuma back from the front lines to keep her safe. I'm reminded of Abruzzi. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : It's telling just how exposed Azuma's citadel is that she doesn't automatically take a : rating here. She's close, though. Better external armour, something that would let her autobounce 380mm guns, for example, would help a lot. Agility Top Speed: 34.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 920m Rudder Shift Time: 13.9s Estimated 4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 4.6º/s Azuma's fast. Speed helps Azuma overcome some of her other manoeuvrability ills. To be clear, Azuma handles like a battleship, albeit a fast one. Her turning radius is appalling and she comes about about as quickly as a South Dakota-class battleship. Her rudder shift time is comparable too. For a ship with such a large, exposed citadel, even at her best, she exposes her broadside for far too long to ever be considered safe. In short, rely on Azuma's speed. It's arguably one of her best features. It allows her to dictate the engagement range against her opponents and flex where opportunities arise. If Azuma is far enough back, it also gives her better chances of dodging incoming fire. If you're beginning to notice a kiting theme, there's a reason... Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : It's that 920m turning radius which holds her back. Drop it down to even 820m and Azuma's easily one of the better cruisers at tier IX, agility wise. Anti-Aircraft Defense Long Range: 8 explosions at 1,470 damage each and 255dps from 5.8km to 1.9km Short Range: 519dps from 1.9km to 0.1km Right, it's theory-crafting time. I don't like doing this, but I don't have much choice in the matter. I only got to play Azuma's finalized AA armament on the 0.8.2 test server. I'm not terribly confident with my AA assessment here as the test server is the test server (with tier 10 carriers that couldn't drop torpedoes successfully on a stationary ship). The big difference was that Azuma shed her 40mm twins she had for much of the live-server testing, losing her medium caliber aura and replaced some of her triple 25mm guns with twins. So let me touch upon briefly what was and theory-craft what she has now. Azuma's current AA layout on top and the layout used during play testing on the bottom. Twin 100mm in red, twin 40mm in pink, enclosed 25mm triples in green, open-air 25mm triples in yellow, twin 25mm in blue. Maybe we'll see the old AA version on Yoshino. Azuma's AA DPS is ALMOST good. ALMOST. Her large caliber guns are great. They don't have the 6.9km reach to make them amazing, but they put out a huge chunk of sustained damage starting at 5.8km -- more damage than anything else at tier IX other than Neptune which is wonderful. Unfortunately, Azuma lacks any medium caliber AA guns, so her large caliber have to carry the weight as planes close. This gives her some of the worst mid-range AA DPS until her small caliber guns can pick up the slack. At close range, Azuma's damage output is again wonderful but it's a mistake to think that short-ranged DPS is going to do much in a given match unless your CV opponent is a complete tater-bot and likes to do flyovers without dropping ordnance for some reason. Maybe (MAYBE!) you might inconvenience them by shooting down aircraft that complete an attack run. Maybe. I wouldn't count on that ruining their day, though, unless you're facing a tier VIII CV that's already heavily taxed on aircraft recovery. Going back to Azuma's long range AA firepower, she throws out an average of 8 explosions with a meaty 1,470 damage per blast. These unfortunately have no impact on aircraft that are on their attack runs (with the exception of Hakuryu's torpedo bombers, because they're special -- maybe this got fixed in 0.8.2). This largely relegates them to being used to protect other ships rather than seeing to her own defense. The final take-away here should be that without Defensive AA Fire active, Azuma's only going to mildly inconvenience carriers. Lacking a catapult fighter, she will look like an inviting target, so expect regular attention. 404'd. Medium Caliber AA not found. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : A lot. It would have to start with a catapult fighter and then we can talk options. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 15.12km Aerial Detection: 10.73km Minimum Surface Detection: 11.88km When Firing in Smoke: 11.73km When Firing in Open Water: 19.09km to 26.57km Azuma really drops the ball when it comes to Vision Control. Not only is she fat (without the ph), she lacks Surveillance Radar found on Alaska, Stalingrad and Kronshtadt. She's just not that helpful at projecting vision. Her dependence on Defensive AA Fire to keep her safe also makes taking Hydoacoustic Search a risk. Combine the deficiencies of her agility and defense and it's all too easy to relegate Azuma to a back-of-the-pack support sniper. The further back you park Azuma, the more likely you're going to have to depend on her HE shells to do all of the heavy lifting and the more boring she becomes. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's going to need a lot of help here. Go West Azuma meshes very well with Japanese battleship commander skills. In particular, fire mitigation combined with Superintendent are optimal. This isn't the only option, of course. You can opt for more specialized builds, including anti-aircraft or, (if you're a complete nutter) a secondary build if you prefer co-op. Take the skills in green first and then double back with those in yellow. This will help mitigate damage over time effects for Azuma. Final Evaluation It feels kind of redundant to write one of these when it feels like the community has already largely condemned the darned thing before I publish. The amount of commiserations I received when people learned I was play testing Azuma just goes to show the kind of uphill battle Wargaming faces with trying to get people to spend money on this ship. Azuma isn't obviously powerful, thus she's been relegated to the mehbote pile, already dismissed. On the one hand, it's nice that my job is done for me: the player base is cautious and they're not going to throw money recklessly at Wargaming over the newest shiny on offer. On the other hand, it concerns me how many times I've heard the same inaccuracies about the ship repeated over and over. Azuma isn't a bad ship. Unfortunately, because she's not optimal, people will call her garbage (or whatever expletive substitute they prefer) and that's just not accurate. Azuma's flaw isn't that she's weak. Her flaw is that she's inconsistent, dependent on her citadel not blowing up and relying on fire damage from her HE spam to pad out her numbers. Some times things will go amazing. There will be those players who swear by her. Contrarily, there will be those who will damn her outright because of real or imagined flaws. For all my grumbling, Azuma's on my "forget" pile too. Once I'm done with this review, I'm not going to be playing her. She's not a ship I enjoyed outside of derping around co-op. You could argue this is owing to her power level. She's middling. While she does present a fun challenge to do well in, she's more work than she's worth, in my opinion. It was hard to feel that she presented me with the tools needed to outplay my opponents. Giving it my all didn't yield much improved results over just hoping nobody shot at me. That's not a formula for a fun time, in my opinion, but your own mileage may certainly vary. The most damning thing I could say about Azuma is this: I know I have a contrarian streak. When a ship gets bad-mouthed while still in development, I'm usually inspired try and find some limited element about their performance to champion. I came up empty on Azuma. Believe me, I looked hard too, driven by this inner snootiness to laud some useless factoid that could redeem her in my eyes. That way I could dangle it over the masses. You all might have damned her but I was going enjoy her as only the upper-crust of top-hat wearing, be-monocled World of Warships connoisseurs could. Except, I couldn't. I didn't like playing this boat. Instead of supping with the elitists where we all play eclectic premiums, I'm going to have to choke on some base experiences with the commoners and play Giulio Cesare like a bloody peasant. Screw you, Azuma. Would I Recommend? Azuma comes with a 1M free experience price tag, the same as Alaska. If you were to pay for it using the 1 doubloon for 25 free experience cost, you're looking at a price tag of $164.24 USD. I'm not of the opinion this is worth it (especially when there are tricks to farm up free experience at a reasonable rate), but to each their own. For PVE Battles? How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Azuma does very well in Co-op. You can even get away with that aforementioned secondary build and pad out your damage in close quarters (cuz bots are dumb). For Random Battle Grinding? This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. Azuma works well enough for training Japanese battleship and cruiser commanders, with comparable skill overlaps. For Competitive Gaming? Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Taking any ship with an enormous, vulnerable citadel into competitive is a loser move. It's on par with stapling your upper lip to your computer desk and standing up suddenly -- it's so bad, it's painful to watch and people will beg you not to do it (and some sickos will encourage you to do it anyway). For Collectors? If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. No. Azuma, though an interesting "what if" ship, it doesn't have the collector's appeal for me. For her Fun-Factor? Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? No. If I'm going to sit in the back and spam HE at things (with the occasional AP shell to prove I'm not a complete scrub), I'll play Conqueror. At least she has a fun hotto doggu theme song. 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 Closing For my next review, I will be reviewing... well, this is where I would be saying something witty in light of it being April Fool's. I dunno, Thunderer Two? Famous and Historical Monarch? I don't have two brain cells to rub together at this point. I'm going to try and finish talking about the premium carriers. The next part, rocket aircraft, is due out this week and dive bombers should be the week after. Then I just need to talk about the ship's hulls and that will finish off Saipan, Graf Zeppelin, Enterprise and Kaga. After that I think I'm well overdue for a long vacation.
  6. The following is a review of Asashio, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of April 15th, 2018. Abandon all hope, all ye of heavy displacement. Quick Summary: A stereotypical high-tier Japanese destroyer with specialized, 20km-range deep water torpedoes that make battleship players wet themselves with terror and unicum rage on the Forums and Reddit. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch and Date Written: 0.7.3, April 9th to 15th, 2018 PROS: Powerful torpedo armament. Enormous damage potential per torpedo hit at 20,967hp per unmitigated strike. Highest flooding chance in the game at a base value of 436% per torpedo hit. Her fish are fast (67 knot), long ranged (20km) and stealthy (900m detection) Excellent gun fire angles. When rigged for concealment, she can get her surface detection down to 5.37km. Access to a Torpedo Reload Booster consumable without sacrificing her Smoke Generator (!). Easy to learn and she makes scoring big damage totals trival. CONS Smallish hit point pool of 15,100hp. Slow firing guns with a 7.1s reload time. Sluggish turret traverse at 6.9º/s (26.1s for 180º). Torpedoes can only engage battleships and aircraft carriers (!!) Laughable AA defense. Slow for a high tier destroyer with a top speed of 35.0 knots. Matchmaking significantly affects the ability to influence a match in a positive way. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Asashio is a paradox. She is, simultaneously, one of the easiest and the most difficult destroyers in the game to play. This is a destroyer where a novice can score huge damage totals. It's also a destroyer where veterans are challenged to use every trick in their arsenal to get a win. Unlike other "easy to learn, difficult to master" ships, Asashio doesn't present a high skill curve. She presents a wall. Asashio's over specialized torpedo armament is terrible -- effectively limiting your tool kit so much that you cannot effectively engage two-thirds of the enemy roster. While she easily farms damage and kills on battleships, influencing the overall outcome of a close match is near insurmountable without a hell of a lot of skill and game knowledge. Thus, there are two tiers to Asashio game play and some players simply are not skilled enough to make her work in these situations. - 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. Most of Asashio's ratings aren't up for debate. She is the at stealth at her tier, bar none. Nothing is sneakier though some do have competitive Vision Control. Her anti-aircraft firepower is so as to be laughable. While she rates in both agility and durability, she only just manages to eke out these evaluations. She's on the very low-end for both and the introduction of another agile or another tough ship would knock her down into the rating. Where the debate will reside, if anywhere, is how to categorize her offensive capabilities. No one would argue that among the tier VIII destroyers, she has the firepower against battleships. At the same time, her firepower against cruisers and destroyers is downright . I give her the evaluation as a result -- a middle-ground compromise though her in-game performance may fluctuate wildly based on target availability. Options Consumables: Asashio has four consumable slots. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. In her second slot, she has a standard Japanese Smoke Generator. This has a 28 second emission time and each cloud lasts for 89 seconds. Asashio's Engine Boost is standard. And finally, she rounds out her consumables with a Torpedo Reload Booster. This reloads her torpedoes in 8 seconds like Kagero, Harekaze and Yugumo. Unlike many other IJN destroyers, you'll note that Asashio does not have to choose between this consumable and her Smoke Generator. Upgrades: Five slots, standard destroyer upgrades. In your first slot, take Magazine Modification 1. You're a destroyer. You explode violently often. Next up, take Propulsion Modification 1. Speed is life for a destroyer and this will help keep your engines in the game. or Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal, providing a small improvement to your dispersion and accelerating the rotation rate of your torpedo tubes. Alternatively, you can try to correct her sluggish turret traverse with Main Battery Modification 2 at the cost of her already abhorrent rate of fire. Propulsion Modification 2 is generally preferred in slot number four. This gives improved acceleration from a dead stop. Asashio will spend some time parked within her own smoke and the extra pep in her engines is welcome. This is a no-brainer for most. Concealment Modification 1 will help her reach her maximum level of concealment. Black becomes green. Blue becomes black. White turns to more-different white. Thanks, Yamamoto collection! Camouflage: Asashio comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides a 10% reduction to repair costs, a 50% bonus to your experience gains, a 3% reduction in surface detection and a 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Similar to Atago, this camouflage starts off with a blue pattern, but you can change it to green if you've completed the Yamamoto Uniform collection. Firepower Main Battery: Six 127mm rifles in 3x2 turrets in an A-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedo Armament: Eight torpedoes in 2x4 launchers. Asashio has a singular designed purpose: to make the two principal warring factions on the World of Warships Reddit, the BBabies and the DD-Mafia, down-vote each other into oblivion. Wargaming knows that by doing this they can eliminate their two most vocal detractors, or at least keep them distracted long enough to finally get around to balancing Aircraft Carriers without interruption. TORPEDOES Asashio will slaughter your battleships without remorse and there's not much you can do to stop her. Asashio's tools of destruction are a pair of quadruple torpedo launchers mounted amidships. These have excellent fields of fire, a horribly long reload and they break often when you look at them funny. All of this is pretty standard fare for Japanese destroyers. What makes Asashio so special is that she effectively mounts the equivalent tier X, Shimakaze warheads two tiers lower. They are blisteringly fast, ridiculously long ranged and have enough striking power to end worlds. Wargaming has "balanced' this (ha!) by modifying them into a Deepwater variant -- because zero reaction time is what makes facing torpedoes fun and fair. This Deepwater thing has two components. First, it limits the number of targets that can be hit. Destroyers and Cruisers need not fear Asashio's torpedoes at all. She's utterly incapable of striking them. She is instead limited to damaging aircraft carriers and battleships. Given the logistical nightmare of encountering an aircraft carrier in the modern meta, Asashio therefor has a rather myopic fixation on nuking dreadnoughts. You can allay any fears you may have had about poor Asashio's success rate with landing hits, though. The second part of Deepwater torpedoes is their tiny surface detection. Asashio's fish are only spotted at a range of 0.9km. With the added nerf to aerial detection, her torpedoes can safely run their full track with little fear of being seen until it's too late. Short of preëmptive WASD hax, battleships do not have enough time to avoid Asashio's attacks if they wait until they're spotted which all but guarantees hits for well-aimed strikes. Even stacking anti-torpedo skills and modules does little to help. It's only those battleships with the Hydroacoustic Search consumable that have any hope of belatedly dodging Asashio's fish, and even then, Vigilance is almost a must. You have no real hope of trying to dodge Asashio's torpedoes in a battleship if you're only reacting the moment you spot them. Only those battleships with the Hydroacoustic Search consumable can afford complacency. Duke of York (tier 7), Bismarck (tier 8), Friedrich der Große (tier 9) and Großer Kurfürst (tier 10) are only ever safe while their consumable is active, however. The Two Layers of Stupid Asashio double-stacks the stupid with two scoops of insanity. Mindfuc ... er, "Vigorous Sexing of the Brain" the First: Asashio has a 20km range with her torpedoes. Alright, so Asashio has ridiculously long ranged fish. The implications of this are pretty horrifying when you stop to think a moment. With her 112s reload (which reduces down to 100.8 seconds with Torpedo Armament Expertise), Asashio is making her first cross-map launch before anyone has finished deploying. This means that in the opening minutes of a match, from the moment they are spotted, battleships must anticipate incoming torpedoes. Most battleships have scarcely moved beyond their starting location by this time and may only be taking their first speculative, long-range shots at their counterparts. There is unlikely to be any effective torpedo detection screen between them and this first salvo from Asashio, so battleships must begin evasive manoeuvres within the first two minutes of a match or risk taking torpedo hits. The travel time for Asashio's 67 knot torpedoes is less than two minutes to their maximum range. Battleships must make course adjustments with this 100 second reload timer in mind -- every minute and a half, change course and heading. The other element Asashio's ludicrous reach allows for is taking advantage of the Torpedo Acceleration skill without losing significant amounts of range. Asashio with Torpedo Acceleration now has 72 knot torpedoes at up to 16km, further reducing reaction times. This greatly increases their threat and this does very little to limit their practicality in long-range engagements. The only salve to all of this is that the gaps between torpedoes at very long ranges are huge. It is unlikely that more than a single torpedo will hit per launcher at ranges of 15km or more, even if they're perfectly aimed with a narrow spread. Asashio players that insist on trying for these Hail Mary shots will not prove very effective in the long run. But, of course, Wargaming thought of this, which leads us to... Vigorous Sexing of the Brain the Second: Asashio has access to the Torpedo Reload Booster consumable. If you thought there was any pretense of making this fair, Asashio can double-up on her torpedo drops every four to six minutes, allowing her to go Super-Saiyan and turn into a blonde-haired Shimakaze for a moment. Within 9 seconds, she can dump a full sixteen (!) torpedoes, dispensing a veritable "wall of skill" for battleships to face. At long-range, this increases the likelihood of landing multiple hits -- though usually no more than four on a single target. But that's not the real danger presented by this consumable. It's far more deadly when used to space out torpedo hits so that they land in between uses of the battleship's Damage Control Party. It's all but guaranteed that if one of Asashio's torpedo hits causes flooding that battleships will immediately patch this up. By waiting a mere 10 or so seconds to launch their second wave of torpedoes after the first, any follow-up hits are likely to stack the dreaded damage over time effect. And if you thought your anti-torpedo defenses on your Yamato-class battleship would keep you safe, I have news for you... Asashio Doesn't Care Whatever pretty little torpedo defense you think your battleship has, Asashio doesn't care. She's blessed with the highest flooding chance in the game. Even when facing targets with the best torpedo damage reduction and striking them directly on their anti-torpedo bulge, she is still likely to open them up to sea water and cause critical flooding. You know you're dealing with a monster when some of the best-protected ships in the game can't prevent flooding two-thirds of the time. This makes follow-up strikes much less of a gamble. Even a lone torpedo can doom a battleship to slowly hemorrhage up to 60% of their hit points. The inclusion of Torpeedo Reload Booster to Asashio's arsenal is that much more dangerous because of this fact. It's a damn good thing that her torpedoes don't override the damage mitigation provided by TDS as well or we'd have words. Asashio has the best flooding chance in the game currently. Even with maximized TDS, most battleships are very likely to take flooding critical hits. Even Kagero's torpedoes don't compare. Großer Kurfürst, Friedrich der Große, Lion, Iowa, Missouri, Kii, Nagato, Ashitaka, Dunkerque, Tirpitz, Bismarck, Monarch, Gneisenau, Scharnhorst, King George V, Duke of York, Mutsu, Warspite, Queen Elizabeth, North Carolina, Nelson, Bayern, Lyon, Hood, and Normandie have zero chance of preventing Asashio from flooding them. The absolute minimum torpedo defense system a battleship requires (before upgrades) to prevent flooding is a 28% reduction. Less than that and your TDS is trash. Torpedo Summary Asashio has some great torpedoes. They're so good in fact they outright negate most defenses battleships can take to mitigate them. Unless your battleship has a minimum of 28% base torpedo protection, Damage Control Modification 1 does nothing to increase your chances to mitigate flooding. Target Acquisition Modification 1 and Vigilance will not give enough warning to help avoid Asashio's torpedoes. Only Hydroacoustic Search does. Asashio's torpedoes are, by design, a hard counter to battleship play. It's too bad that's all they're good for. GUNS! To the detriment of many a team reliant upon Asashio doing more than farming damage off battleships, Asashio's guns will be a mere afterthought. Short of Akizuki, no other Japanese destroyer is as dependent upon her main battery armament for her success as Asashio. With her torpedoes so heavily specialized, proper management of her guns is absolutely critical for helping your team win. Ignoring or dismissing them will cost you many games. You cannot (and must not) ignore destroyers and cruisers in favour of making battleships poop themselves with rage. Like it or not, you're going to have to use your guns in Asashio if you want to succeed. For such a critical weapon system, they suck moose balls. Her gun armament is almost identical to that of a fully upgraded Kagero or an A-Hull Harekaze. The only difference is range where Asashio enjoys an extra 1.6km reach. While this does give her a larger surface detection bloom when she opens fire, the extra distance is quite welcome given the different targets you will have to attack with these guns. While they have excellent ballistic arcs and shell performance, they are utterly lacking in rate of fire and damage output. Their traverse rate is horribly sluggish. You cannot and will not enjoy firepower superiority over anything short of select lower-tier IJN destroyers, and then only if your guns are already facing in the right direction. Yet, you will be repeatedly asked (and expected) to take on the likes of Bensons, Fletchers and Khabarovsks in Asashio if you want to win. The nightmare scenario for Asashio is to find herself in end-game of a close match facing a hale and healthy cruiser or destroyer. To this end, aggressive plays with her guns are often a necessity early on in engagements where friendly ships can help secure a kill or drive off enemies. However, these attacks are not without their risks and attempting them at the wrong time against the wrong target will simply make you look foolish. Make use of smoke and every cheap tactic you can imagine. Join fights late to preserve your own hit points and take pride in whatever licks of damage you can get in. You don't want to have to do this on your own late in a game. Asashio's guns are utterly ill-suited for the heavy lifting that's asked of them, but they're all you've got so make the most of it. Asashio isn't outgunning any of her contemporaries without help. So this is the part where I'm supposed to tell you that disparity of the two weapon systems creates some semblance of fairness. I'm not gonna. The asymmetry of the power level between Asashio's guns and torpedoes does make an interesting case study on the subject. My own opinion is that Asashio is decidedly lopsided -- downright comically so. This is a ship whose success can largely be attributed to team Matchmaking. If there's a lot of battleships on the enemy team and not many destroyers, you'll have a great game and likely come out as MVP if you time and aim your fish correctly. When it's not, most players will fail their teams utterly and it's really not their fault. In this regard, Asashio is best compared to HMS Conqueror, the tier X Royal Navy battleship. Armed with twelve 419mm guns spamming nothing but HE shells, Conqueror often tops the team lists and gives the illusion of being an absolute rock-star. No enemy battleship can stand against Mega-Zao (thank you, Flamu, for that wonderful name). Similarly, no battleship stands any kind of chance against Asashio. Facing either of these monsters is not fun. However, they won't win as many games as their ridiculous damage totals indicate they should. Short of an early Devastating Strike or gutting several battleships at once, Asashio's influence is surprisingly limited. I cannot stress this enough, and it will be difficult for some players to reconcile -- Asashio's armaments are as controversial and heavy-handed as Royal Navy battleship HE. They will seem to contribute far more to team success than they actually do. For some players that are just looking to get some big damage numbers, Asashio will be a dream boat. For those where winning is more important, Asashio is a liability if Matchmaker is unkind. The more I played Asashio, the more I began to appreciate and value gun-kills over torpedo kills. I loved the challenge of contesting and battling over cap circles. My torpedoes farmed some easy damage, credits, experience and complete missions (often with trivial levels of difficulty), but the real battle was taking on and besting enemy destroyers and cruisers with her artillery. For high-end play in this ship, it's all about how and when to use her guns rather than maximizing her torpedoes which I find delightfully ironic. This isn't easy and this isn't for everyone. If you prefer, you can just mindlessly dump fish into battleships at the cost of objectives and winning. It's what everyone is expecting you to do. Summary Asashio's torpedoes are brainless easy-mode. Asashio's torpedoes will not win you games. You're going to have to use your guns if you want to win. Often a lot. And it's not always going to work out for you. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : I was really on the fence with this one. I almost bumped her up from a rating, so it's not going to take much to upgrade. Faster firing guns alone would probably do it. If her torpedoes became even more versatile she'd be so broken it's not even funny. Defense Hit Points: 15,100hp Maximum Protection: 20mm gun turrets. Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour:19mm Red bars are not to numerical scale (just to feels scale). For those without feels: You're an inhuman monster. Evaluating destroyer durability is pretty straight-forward. At tier VIII, there's only one destroyer with a gimmick and that's USS Kidd with her Repair Party. All of the other destroyers conform to the norms found at tier VIII, with 19mm worth of armour covering the hull and deck and 13mm superstructures. Thus comparing them is simply a matter of looking at hit point totals and lining them up from best to worst. Kidd wins out with the third highest overall hit point pool and her mutant healing powers. Asashio doesn't come out well in this line up, truth be told. She's not as as Harekaze and she even beats out Loyang, but it would be a mistake to think that she's in a good place. She's just not strong enough to trade with enemy destroyers at her tier. All of those problems with her guns compound because she's just not tough. In order to have any chance of staying alive, it's imperative that you invest in Survivability Expert to give Asashio an additional 2,800hp. While you're likely to meet opponents who have the same skill, in those encounters where you bump into someone without, this can make all the difference. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Kidd's Repair Party or 5,000 more hit points. Asashio is nowhere close to being in this category. Agility Top Speed: 35.0 knots Turning Radius: 640m Rudder Shift Time: 3.6s Maximum Rate of Turn: 7.0º/s How to have not-terrible agility at tier VIII: Stand next to ducky. Bonus points if it's a static bot. This works well for tier VII battleships too, though they must stand next to Colorado. All jokes about Akizuki aside, Asashio's agility is not in a good place. Her 35 knot top speed is slow for a destroyer. Once outliers are removed, 35 knots is among the slowest top speed you'll find within her Matchmaking spread. She's not alone at this value, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Fubuki and Shinonome at tier VI, Mahan at tier VII, Kagero at tier VIII and Black at tier IX. Combined with her large(ish) turning radius of 640m and Asashio doesn't come about particularly quickly. She's no slug, but she's definitely no American DD. This package of traits is nothing new. Most IJN destroyers share the same combination of lackluster traits which makes them vulnerable to being run down by enemy gunships and it complicates avoiding aircraft. This is definitely one of Asashio's weaknesses, but it's not an exaggerated or crippling weakness to be sure. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Asashio is only because Akizuki is also a tier VIII destroyer. She's right on the cusp of being . To get her out of the doldrums, she would really need something special here, like an extra five knots of speed at the very least and more perks besides. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 25mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 3.1km AA DPS per Aura: 10 Please note the sarcasm. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Not allowed. This is the fulcrum upon which all Asashio balance is based. Honest and for true. I mean it for realsies, guys. Refrigerator Surface Detection Range: 6.84 km Air Detection Range: 3.78 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.37km Concealment when Firing in Smoke: 2.55km Asashio is not only the stealthiest destroyer at her tier, she's the stealthiest destroyer within her Matchmaking spread. While she is matched by Kagero and Harekaze for surface detection, Asashio squeaks out a smaller aerial detection on top of this. Now this is really splitting hairs, given that it's a paltry 60m, but still. For a destroyer that boasts upwards of a 14.63km stealth-launching window for her torpedoes, her surface detection range looks like complete overkill, but it's not. It's one of the few tools that gives Asashio any pretense of supporting her team, should her player be so inclined. Like IJN destroyers, Asashio has the stealth advantage and can usually spot enemy destroyers before being spotted in return. The safety window for doing this is tiny in some cases and always full of risk. Short of tripping over some of the biggest thunder-chunkers masquerading as fellow lolibotes (Khabarovsk, I am looking at you), there's often not time enough to turn away before being seen in return. Given Asashio's weakness to winning one versus one engagements, it's imperative to capitalize on these early encounters when there are still friendly guns around to provide backup. Don't be shy of sacrificing a few hit points to help ensure that an enemy lolibote gets wrecked. Don't be so quick to reach for your Smoke Generator either -- try to force the enemy to smoke up first and keep providing eyes for your team. As wonderful as Asashio's dominance of stealth is, she doesn't have everything her own way. She cannot scrape off enemy aircraft to save her life which can easily keep her perma-spotted. In addition lots (and lots) of radar / sonar equipped ships would love to trip over a vulnerable Asashio. Once they get on your butt, you're in for a rough time. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : This is much closer than it looks, with Loyang being an easy contender for the best at her tier and Harekaze & Kagero sharing functionally the same concealment. While Asashio dominates in stealth, Loyang combines reasonable concealment with her totally-not-overtuned-in-the-slightest Hydroacoustic Search with its extended range. How to Help Control the Battleship Overpopulation Asashio makes a great trainer for higher tiered IJN destroyer commanders, though she may not be ideal for lower tiered ones. The following is the ideal build for Asashio. Feel free to follow along using ShipComrade's Captain Skill Calculator to try out various test builds. Start with Priority Target. This skill has lesser value in IJN destroyers (if you're seen, it's pretty safe to assume everyone is shooting at you), so I would value Preventative Maintenance with equal weight here. You're still a destroyer, so Last Stand has the highest value at tier 2. Next up, take Torpedo Armament Expertise. This will drop your reload time from 112 seconds to 100.8 seconds. For your 10th skill point, Concealment Expert shouldn't surprise anyone. And finally, double back to tier 3 and take Survivability Expert to boost up your hit points from 15,100 to 17,900. After this, it becomes a question of choosing between some high value skills between your six remaining skill points. At tier 2, Torpedo Acceleration is of the highest value, with Adrenaline Rush and Expert Marksman following in order. At tier 3, Basic Fire Training is of higher value than Superintendent. At tier 4, Radio Location is invaluable for influencing vision control. Between these six skills, distribute your six remaining points as you choose. During play testing, I used a 15 point commander that took Torpedo Acceleration. Development Version 1.0 She began life in late December of 2017. Her first iteration was little more than a Kagero-clone in terms of game play. The reactions to her announcement were... well, they were to be expected. Version 2.0 Fast forward to early February and we received a new version of Asashio. She acquired her now infamous Deepwater Torpedoes and her Torpedo Reload Booster no longer competed with her Smoke Generator. I had a lot of fun playing this version of Asashio. I admit, I gave her a big ol' thumbs-up during my first few times out in her and she kept right on delighting me. The honeymoon I was having with her was short-lived, however. A week later and I began having concerns that she was a little overtuned as it was far too easy to damage battleships, though I admit this view was narrowly focused. Not all the other testers were enjoying the same level of success. Version 3.0 Two weeks after version 2.0, we received the third and what would prove to be the final version of Asashio. She received a slight increase in the surface detection of her torpedoes. This change would not significantly affect her performance. This brought her gun handling and rate of fire to the same level as Kagero. This opened up the possibility of engaging lower tiered IJN destroyers in uneven gun fights. It was clear that Wargaming wanted a battleship hunting monster and that was the ship Asashio was to become. My views would mellow out over time, however... Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: Asashio won't break the game. When you look at her analytically, she's not a very competitive destroyer all told. The current battleship-heavy meta empowers her. She's only as good as the persistence of that environment. Asashio, by her very design, will polarize opinions. She is very good at being simultaneously a battleship assassin and a punching bag for cruisers and gunship destroyers. This is a ship built upon the principle of no counter-play, exaggerating the old paper-rock-scissors design of 2015. Dreadnoughts that are alone and/or exposed or those that are sailing predictably at long-range are going to get punished and punished hard. One on one, they also stand no chance. Similarly, there is very little Asashio can do to an enemy gunship destroyer or cruiser that wants her booty when she's caught without support. She is, in all aspects, a comical exaggeration of the IJN destroyer stereotype, for good and for ill. I do not see her being much different from a less versatile version of an old-timey Shiratsuyu or a similarly myopic Kamikaze-sisters that's all about the battleship damages. Really, boiled down to the sum of her parts, Asashio is a trashbote that is poorly equipped to play objectives, but at least she'll wreck something. This makes evaluating her fun. Let's use the Angry Youtuber scale for this. I know, I know, I'm getting this review format slightly out-of-order, but indulge me: 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 On the one hand, you've got the obvious Battleship perspective: To Battleship Players: Asashio is the end of all things. Game balance and fun as we know it is doomed. Uninstall now. The good times are over. Despite Asashio's predation techniques already being present in the Pan Asian destroyer line, this time it's super-cereal because it's now in the hands of an IJN destroyer that couldn't fight their way out of a wet shoe-box. At the other extreme, we have the perspective of someone who abhors the current BB-heavy meta: The Return to Eden. This is the destroyer those BBabies deserve. Now you can punish those BBabies for having the nerve, nay the audacity to dare enjoying that ship type and game play. They're about to Get Balanced™ in the most extreme way possible. It's doubly delicious that it's coming from an IJN destroyer, whose tech-tree line has suffered the ignominy of being nerfed over and over and over again while battleships have only ever received buffs! Don't fact check that last part! For anyone else, she's just another IJN destroyer but with gimped torpedoes. Asashio is about as terrifying as a cute little bunny. Most ships in the game can counter her easily with a simple count of three (counting to five is right out). Still, you've got to give her mad props for flying about and decapitating BBabies. Asashio is not well designed. In the hands of the masses, I predict she will hoover up some ridiculous damage totals but her win rate is going to suck. She should mirror Shimakaze in many respects. Most players will enjoy her -- she'll do some nice damage but short of being in the hands of a unicum, her influence on the overall outcome will be dictated by what Matchmaker hands to her. It's a fallacy to think that she will greatly influence the meta. Battleships are already loathe to push if they even smell a destroyer ahead of them. Few take the time to differentiate the threat between ship classes, treating all destroyers as if they had the ability to catastrophically end them suddenly. Similarly, assuming that Asashio will unnecessarily punish any battleship that does have the audacity to push is also fallacy. ALL destroyers (and all cruisers and other battleships) will always focus on the closest battleship. It's already chronic on how many players will focus on the ease of stacking damage against battleships over more critical (and perhaps closer) targets. Asashio does not change this. What Asashio does do is exaggerate these bad habits. I grant you: she's not well designed. But at least she does this because she has to rather than by the fault of the player. Would I Recommend? Asashio absolutely trivializes a lot of requirements for missions and campaigns. She's also going to be a great ship for people that are trying to unlock achievement badges for destroyers and Japanese ships. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No, I wouldn't. The mirrored team building in Co-Op means it's possible for you to end up in matches with only a single target for your torpedoes. This makes it hard for her to earn XP and Credits. Similarly, if there was ever a Scenario which didn't have a plethora of enemy battleships to target, Asashio would suck hard and not in the sexy way. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Very yes on toast. This is where she belongs and she'll reward you well. Devastating Strike, Witherer, High Caliber and LIquidator medals will come easy. You may struggle to achieve Confederate medals however, unless Matchmaker REALLY likes you. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Please don't bring this on my team in Ranked. I'll forgive you if somehow the meta is something other than destroyers this season. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes, Asashio is a storied vessel with not only an extensive service record, but a sad and honourable end. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? I enjoy this ship a lot, though I do so with some mild pangs of guilt. They're only mild, though, so I wouldn't call the affliction serious enough to stem any recommendation. In Closing I had a lot of fun putting this one together. I've hoped you enjoyed reading it. This is one ship where I would love to look over Wargaming's shoulder an analyze the meta-data as it comes in after it gets a general release. There have been all sorts of predictions on how she will perform and what influence she will have on the game. Being able to see which side of the debate is vindicated by official stats would be interesting. My thanks go out to my Patrons on Patreon. Dozens of hours of work were put into the review you just read including time spent play testing, writing and doing graphics. Working around my schedule to get these out on time is difficult and the financial support provided by my patrons facilitates this. Every dollar helps. So thank you all -- not just those who donate, but those who read and enjoy these reviews. It means a lot to me. Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews. For the complete list of my other reviews, please go here:
  7. I took a little break from the other few models I am working on to figure out some geometry on them. In the mean time I was dinking around with the idea of converting Graf Spee into the Deutschland. Deutschland's more famous sister is in the game. You Know, Graf Spee. She is more famous due to the battle of the river plate and was scuttled there. 5 ships were planned with only 3 being built. Deutschland was finished first and then Admiral Scheer, and finally Admiral Graf Zeppelin. Deutschland had her name changed to Lutzow because of the war starting and Hitler was very afraid of Deutschland being sank, and then used as propaganda by the Allies. It wouldn't look good to have a ship named after the nation sank. When Deutschland was launched and even before it started much speculation and shock around the worlds navies. It was obviously built to commerce raid and was superior to any heavy cruiser in the world. The British were concerned that they could really only deal with these ships with a few battle cruisers. It was the British press that coined the phrase (Pocket Battleship) in reference to this ship. I also want to give a shout out to modeler Maxromash for the models and kit bash materials that considerably speeds up the modeling process. Its hard to see, but I moved the rangefinders on the turrets to match the earlier model that was on Deutschland.
  8. LowSpeed_US

    Nerf to Sims? why?

    What is the reason for reduction of deck armour of SIMS? I don't mind the other two destroyers, since they are within the tech tree of their nation. But, SIMS? it being a Premium ship, I think this is rather distasteful.
  9. The following is a review of Huanghe, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. To the best of my knowledge, this is the release version of the ship and the stats are current as of November 30th, 2017. Red River, Yellow River, Red River, Yellow River, Red River, Yel -- ow, I just bit my tongue. Quick Summary: A British light cruiser with Soviet guns, a Japanese destroyer torpedo reload consumable and a Commonwealth cruiser's smoke generator. She's fragile, agile and tiny. Cost: $26.49 USD with a port slot. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.13.1 to 0.6.14.0 November 16th, 2017 to November 30th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary Perth, Tier 6 British Commonwealth Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Huanghe is an Arethusa-class light cruiser -- a design that came immediately after the Leander-class. There are a lot of obvious similarities between the two, with the Arethusa being a less expensive alternative, allowing the Royal Navy to get more ships for the equivalent cost. In game, the ships appear similar but their performance values are vastly different. They don't share the same guns, torpedoes, armour, consumables or handling characteristics, with Perth being arguably better built in almost every case. PROs Excellent gunnery performance with great ballistics, high fire chance and good AP penetration. Accelerated rate of fire of 8.57 rounds per minute. Extremely agile with a faster rate of turn than some IJN Destroyers (!) Small surface detection, capable of being reduced to 8.14km. Powerful anti-aircraft firepower for her tier. Equipped with the equivalent of Propulsion Modification 2 for free. Has the option of taking a Torpedo Reload Booster. Comes with HMAS Perth's Smoke Generator, with a 90s emission time, allowing her to stay mobile while remaining concealed. CONs Exposed citadel over the waterline, capable of being penetrated by all German and British battleship HE. FUN AND ENGAGING! Her magazines are not housed in her citadel with as little as 32mm of armour protecting them. She has an absolutely tiny hit point pool for a cruiser at 24,100hp. Small main battery armament of only 6 guns. Terrible main battery range of 13.2km which cannot be extended. Torpedoes may only fire in a thin spread with no option for wide or single fire. No Defensive Fire consumable. No aircraft consumable to assist her in detecting enemies while hiding in her own smoke. This review is being published a little later than I would like. It's been a difficult testing period, frustrated by more limited access to this ship than I would like. The wait to publish hinged on confirming final release details -- looking for issues that were noted during the testing period and seeing whether or not they were corrected when she went live. These were tidbits that wouldn't be covered in patch notes or described on third party datamine sites, such as her handling, torpedo spreads or which modules she was compatible with. I didn't get access to the ship until after she had been put up for sale, which is why this is being published now instead of prior to release as I would prefer. Anyway, here we are a day late. Let's hope this review isn't a dollar short. Options Huanghe is weird when it comes to her options. This is, I think, symptomatic of her troubled development cycle as different gimmicks were tried and tested and a hodge-podge of abilities emerged in an effort to balance her. Let's go through them. First, Huanghe counts as a British cruiser for the purposes of her upgrades. As such, she cannot take Propulsion Modification 2 as it's already installed for free. Second, she may take a Torpedo Reload Booster. She's the first cruiser to have access to this traditionally Japanese destroyer consumable. This reduces the reload time of her torpedo tubes to 8 seconds. This has a six minute reset timer for the standard consumable and a four minute reset timer for the premium version. Third, her Smoke Generator is odd, mirroring that found on the tier VI British Commonwealth cruiser, HMAS Perth. This comes with three charges by default and has a 90 second emission time, with each cloud only lasting for 10 seconds. This allows Huanghe to continue to creep forward at 1/4 speed and remain concealed while she moves. The reset timer on her consumable is 240s / 160s depending on if you take the free or premium version. Consumables: Damage Control Party Hyroacoustic Search or Torpedo Reload Booster Smoke Generator Module Upgrades: Four slots. British cruiser upgrades. Premium Camouflage: Standard Type 10. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Huanghe's upgrade choices will deviate somewhat from standard Light Cruiser equipment. Take Magazine Modification 1 in your first slot. Huanghe's magazines are not located in her armoured citadel and they have as little as 32mm worth of armour protecting them. She's as vulnerable to detonations as Perth and Leander are to HE shells of 152mm caliber or larger. If you prefer to live dangerously, you can take Main Armaments Modification 1, but don't come crying to me when you get your ship blown out from under you by a stray 152mm HE shell. In your second slot, you have a choice. You should probably take Propulsion System Modification 1 to protect your engine. However, it's your rudder that will get knocked out most frequently. For that, take Steering Gears Modification 1. For your third slot, take AA Guns Modification 2 for the increased range. Huanghe is a very short ranged cruiser, so it's difficult to justify Aiming Systems Modification 1 as it only reduces her maximum dispersion by a mere 8.7m (from 124m to 115m). And in your fourth slot, take Steering Gears Modification 2. Special Upgrades Huanghe is compatible with the following Special Upgrades. Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 replaces Propulsion System Modification 1 in your second slot. This increases the action time of your consumable to 110 seconds. Smoke Generator Modification 1 replaces AA Guns Modification 2. This increases the active time of your Smoke Generator from 90 seconds to 117 seconds, but shortens their duration from 10 seconds to 9.5 seconds. Both of these consumables are excellent choices for Huanghe. If you have access to them (and no better ships to place them upon), I would highly recommend installing each. Firepower Primary Battery: Six 152mm/57 in three turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Eight 100mm/70s in four turrets mounted behind the funnels Torpedo Armament: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers straddling the rear funnel. A lot of justified disdain will be aimed squarely at Huanghe's main battery. Let's get them out of the way. Huanghe has only six 152mm rifles at tier VI. This is appalling and regardless of what other merits I list here, there's no getting around just how terrible this is. Huanghe's lack of sufficient main battery firepower really holds her back. Are we all clear on this? I'm saying Huanghe's guns are bad. This "badness" is tempered by a few positive traits, that while welcome, they are insufficient to redeem the overall lack of firepower. These traits are: Huanghe uses Soviet 152mm/57 rifles instead of Royal Navy 152mm guns. These are the same guns found on Budyonny, Shchors, Mikhail Kutuzov & Chapayev. These guns have excellent ballistic arcs, great AP penetration and a high fire chance per shell hit which exceeds those found on the equivalent (premium) Royal Navy armament. Huanghe has an increased rate of fire with her guns to help offset her low DPM and overall fire-setting abilities. She reloads in 7.0 seconds flat as opposed to 7.5s of her Soviet counterparts. Yep, that's it. She's using Soviet guns instead of British and they have an increased rate of fire. In practical terms, this means Huanghe does more damage on a per-gun basis than Perth, Belfast or Leander which is definitely a plus. You'll set more fires, land more citadel hits, and generally be more accurate. However, this does not offset the disparity of losing out two rifles. Perth and Leander both struggle to kill even soft targets quickly and Huanghe amplifies this weakness. I wish I could say that was the end of the bad news, but it gets worse. Huanghe does not have access to the Spotter Aircraft consumable enjoyed by her British and British Commonwealth contemporaries. This means she's capped with an awful 13.2km main battery range with no way to fire beyond that. She also doesn't have very good fire arcs, with her C-turret only capable of engaging enemies 37º off her bow. Her rearward arcs are better, but still not great, with all three turrets capable of putting shells on targets 33º off her stern. If there's one area where Huanghe's guns are at least not-terrible, it's fire starting. She can be a respectable firebug -- almost on the same level as a nine-gun Galissonniere if she specializes for it (and I do stress "almost"). This will come at the expense of direct damage, though. Huanghe would need to sacrifice taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells to do it which is almost a must have for all 152mm HE throwing cruisers. I'm repeating myself, but let me be absolutely clear: Huanghe's main battery firepower sucks moose-balls. Not just moose-balls, but hairy and sweaty moose balls. It all comes down to her not having enough guns. Good as they are individually, they can't make up for the fact they're overtaxed for damage output. You're welcome for that moose-visual. Huanghe, on paper, has better overall DPM and fire starting abilities than ships like Aoba and Molotov. What these graphs do not describe is the ease at which this firepower is put to use. Molotov can engage enemies at long distances. Aoba's 203mm guns aren't reliant upon commander skills to ensure her HE shells penetrate. Huanghe is best compared with HMAS Perth and Leander in regards to her damage output -- all three are painfully short ranged. However, all three are capable of maximizing their DPM for short periods of time when they can setup their smoke. Her torpedo armament doesn't make up for the faults of her guns. Huanghe has a pair of triple launchers off each side of her ship. If you're hoping she'll get some world-ending fish to compensate for the problems with her guns, Huanghe will let you down. The good news is that these aren't Deepwater torpedoes -- they can engage any target she faces. The bad news is that these aren't Deepwater torpedoes -- they don't hit especially hard, move particularly fast, have great range or good concealment. Huanghe can't even launch these torpedoes from stealth. What's more, Haunghe's torpedoes appear to have been implemented haphazardly. It's as if they copy and pasted the British torpedo launchers, removed the British single-fire option and then forgot to replace it with the wide spread after the fact. This means Huanghe is limited to a narrow spread and a narrow spread only. It becomes almost laughable that Wargaming baits players to take a Torpedo Reload Booster to prop up Huanghe's firepower. This is the first time this consumable has been made available outside of the Japanese destroyer line. In order to take it, a player must surrender access to her Hydroacousic Search consumable. This gimmick might have more weight and appeal if Huanghe had an impressive torpedo armament -- something with more launchers or more teeth. The ability to double dip with another helping from her triple launchers doesn't strike me as terribly appealing. I can imagine some scenarios where it might change the outcome of a given match, but on the whole it's highly situational for an armament that's already lacking in versatility. In my play testing, I never came across an opportunity where I could have made good use of it. In short, redemption isn't found in Huanghe's torpedo armament. Summary: Garbage-tier firepower. Yeah, there are some redeeming qualities. No one could argue otherwise. But on the whole? Garbage. With all of this poo-pooing of Huanghe's firepower, do not make the mistake of thinking she's utterly incapable of dealing damage. That's not the message I'm trying to deliver. She's not going to put out as much damage as comparable ships, or do so as reliably. More fool you if you underestimate her. Are you regretting purchasing her yet? DurabilityHit Points: 24,100Maximum Citadel Protection: 70mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 16mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: None Everything here is also terrible. Huanghe puts on a whole new level of 'suck' when it comes to defining mid-tier cruiser durability. She makes Omaha look tough. Within her matchmaking spread, there is no cruiser with less hit points. The closest is Königsberg with 24,300hp -- a ship that's already known for capsizing and exploding violently when a loud noise occurs in the next grid-square over. Every other ship has a more significant advantage in health. It's well within the math for some tier VII and VIII battleships to delete Huanghe outright with no more than a pair of citadel hits. It's not like things get any better when you look at her armour scheme. Huanghe shares a similar protection scheme to the preceding Leander-class upon which the Arethusa-class was based, albeit having a weaker scheme overall. This comes with a few quirks: She has a small citadel, composed of only her engine spaces which sits slightly over the waterline. Her citadel wall extends to the exterior of the ship, making them potentially vulnerable to HE citadel hits. Her magazines lie outside of the armoured citadel directly beneath her guns and well submerged. So the only ray of sunshine is that people may miss your citadel when they think it extends further forward and back than it actually does. If you're lucky, you'll take some overpenetrating hits there which will keep you in the game just a little longer. As damning as this assessment is, let's be real: few light cruisers could ever make the claim of being reasonably protected. What's likely to kill an Arethusa-class would be just as traumatic and world-ending to a Nurnberg or Leander. Heavy cruisers will bully you. Battleships will savage you. And, even destroyer-caliber guns can be painful if you have to suffer their attentions for long. But this is worth looking into more closely. Yes, a Leander or Nurnberg may appear on the surface to be as fragile but Leander can heal. Nurnberg or Budyonny can sit back at 14km+ and use that extra range to give them more time to dodge. Huanghe can't. She has to tough it out and 'tough' is something she does not do well. Really, though -- don't expect to live long under fire. Death comes quickly and suddenly to Huanghe -- and it's your own damn fault for buying her. Shame on you. Though Huanghe's durability would have you wanting to hiding around friendly battleships in the second line, her range dictates that she must go forward into harm's way to score any damage. This is a common problem associated with all British cruisers. They get around this vulnerability by making use of a Smoke Generator and good concealment values -- traits Huanghe boasts as well. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 33.0knotsTurning Radius: 570mRudder Shift: 6.7s Maximum Turn Rate: 7.1º per second. Alright, I can almost forgive you for forking out the cash for Huanghe for her agility. If she had a little more speed, she'd put many destroyers to shame. As it is, she out performs all other cruisers with her ability to dodge and twirl. She can even out turn several IJN destroyers. It's strange, but she does this without the funny turning-acceleration quirks found in the Royal Navy cruiser line. Huanghe doesn't preserve speed in a turn the way Leander, Belfast or Minotaur does. She does have the equivalent of Propulsion Modification 2 installed -- her initial acceleration from a dead stop is very comfortable. She just doesn't get all the Royal Navy manouevrability quirks. The only thing she really lacks is a little more grunt in her engine and I could ignore all of the miserable, eye-bleeding terrible aspects of her durability. She's just not fast enough to dictate engagement ranges against anything other than a standard-type battleship and that's a big fly in the ointment. At 33 knots, she's not terrible in this regard, but I would have been much more excited to see her exceed 34.5 knots. At least at this speed she could conceivably run down a destroyer she caught flat footed and out pace any battleships she might face without much issue. I dunno, maybe I'm just being greedy. But after the disappointment of her guns and torpedoes, can you really blame me? Manoeuvrability ratings of the tier 6 cruisers. Note that De Grasse and La Galissonniere have access to the Engine Boost consumable which increases their top speed by 15% for 3 minute intervals. Huanghe's ability to turn and throw herself about is on par with many destroyers she faces. She's only lacking in a good top speed to really allow her to enjoy the same level of flexibility. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 9.54km Air Detection Range: 5.97 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 8.14km Main Battery Firing Range: 13.18km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 4.2km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 1st among 14 cruisers. Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 1st among 43 cruisers Huanghe's concealment also redeems her somewhat, but again it's not without its flaws. This is the sneakiest cruiser within her matchmaking spread and not by a small margin either. When fully specialized, she enjoys as 450m advantage over Perth and a 600m advantage over Leander and Belfast. The closest non-British cruiser comes in with New Orleans with nearly a 1km gap and everything else is considerably worse from there. As good as this looks, let's be realistic -- it's not enemy cruisers that you need to worry about spotting you; it's destroyers and aircraft carriers. We'll speak about the latter in the next section, but let's discuss destroyers for a moment. Huanghe is looking at needing to sprint across as much as a 2.7km gap in order to illuminate what's detecting her, all the while being under fire from the lolibote's big friends in the back. Given her 33 knot speed, it's just not feasible for her to cover this distance unless the destroyer makes a stupid mistake. As good as her concealment is, she can't perform the role of a forward scout even though her main battery range precludes her from skulking in the second line and firing from a distance. You're going to need to use cover to stay undetected to move into engagement ranges -- at least until the herd thins out. Thankfully, she brings her own concealment with her. Smoke Generator Huanghe has the same consumable found on HMAS Perth. While each smoke cloud lasts a mere 10 seconds, it continues to dispense smoke for a minute and a half. While Huanghe's Smoke Generator is in use, she may remain mobile and keep concealed while she does so, though she is normally limited to between 1/4 and 1/2 speed (12.5 knots). This allows her to foil the usual traps of air dropped and ship launched torpedoes aimed at smoke clouds as she slowly crawls away. Allied ships may also make use of this smoke, though doing so is much more difficult and it requires a conscious effort to match speed and heading. Huanghe has less tools to provide her vision beyond her smoke than HMAS Perth, though. While both use the same Hydroacoustic Search consumable, HMAS Perth has the extra advantage of a Spotter Aircraft to assist with detecting enemies. This lack would be damning were it not for the changes in smoke detection while firing. Any enemy battleships that opens fire within 10.5km of Huanghe is visible for twenty seconds and she can use that to give herself something to shoot at. This is a bit of a double edged sword, however, with Huanghe herself being visible within 4.2km within her own smoke when she shoots beyond it. This makes it risky to charge cap circles early on (a challenge she shares with Perth), especially if there are larger craft looming behind the lolibotes that have also rushed the control point. Even with these challenges, Huanghe's smoke is meant to redeem all of the other weaknesses so far described. She may have low DPM, but her smoke allows her to cycle her guns aggressively to take better advantage of their reload time for short periods. Her fragility may be masked behind concealment. Her difficulties in disengaging with her modest top speed can be corrected by hiding in smoke until she can put an island between her and her enemies. This is a huge burden for one consumable to bear, and I'm not certain it entirely corrects the deficiencies found so far within Huanghe. Still, it's not hard to see how powerful Huanghe can be in the right circumstances through clever use of her concealment and smoke. Opening moves on an Epicenter match. Though Huanghe shares a lot of traits in common with destroyers, it would be a mistake to play her as one. You're a support ship, not a front line scout or knife-fighter. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 78 / 73.6 / 28.8 Huanghe doesn't approve of your planes. One of this ship's most surprising characteristics is her anti-aircraft firepower. She uses a modern Soviet anti-aircraft suite -- a combination of dual purpose 100mm guns and 37mm automatic cannon to make the life of any planes within her sphere of influence miserable. It can be a rude shock for carriers that loiter around Huanghe's moving smoke cloud, hoping to spot her when the consumable wears off, only to have their air groups shredded. This is something HMAS Perth could never do. In terms of raw damage, Huanghe sits behind only Cleveland at tier VI in terms of her anti-aircraft firepower, which is no mean feat. Unfortunately, she does not get access to Defensive Fire. This was one of the casualties of Huanghe's long development cycle -- she used to have Defensive Fire and in this role, she could play an excellent support vessel. However, she had to surrender this for her Smoke Generator in one of the updates, so it was a fair trade off. Huanghe's anti-aircraft firepower will never truly be a dominating threat to enemy carriers and remains merely a nuisance that will cause them a few casualties, but it cannot stop attacks from being made. From HuangMeh to HuangGud Like all 152mm HE throwing cruisers at mid tiers, Huanghe's performance is really locked behind getting access to 14pt commander. While she can perform reasonably well before this, it's the ability to direct damage to all targets that makes her come into her own. Give the skills which optimizes her performance, she becomes a poor choice for training Pan Asian destroyer commanders, unfortunately. Here's what your first 10pts should look like: Take Priority Target. Follow this up with Adrenaline Rush. Your DPM needs all the help it can get. Next, take Demolition Expert. Setting fires is the only thing you're good at. And finally take Concealment Expert. The big skill you're racing towards is Inertial Fuse for HE Shells which should be your 14th skill point. This gives her the ability to directly damage large areas of any battleship she might face, along with some of the heavy cruisers when she's bottom tier. Your final 5pts should be placed between Vigilance (which stacks with Hydroacoustic Search to better spot torpedo threats while you're creeping along in smoke) and either Expert Marksman to buff your horrible turret traverse or Last Stand if you're sick of having your rudder shot out. An inefficient, entirely situational build for hilarity's sake is an anti-aircraft build. Drop Demolition Expert and take Basic Fire Training instead. Load up on Advanced Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns and complete the set with Preventative Maintenance. This is hardly a good build, but at least you'll shoot down a lot of planes. Oh, it's going to be like that, is it? Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Huanghe isn't going to do novice players any favours. She's a British light cruiser without a Repair Party that has to sneak in even closer to do damage. That's a recipe for disaster. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Properly managed, Huanghe can pull her own weight -- you just need to really flex those carrying muscles to do it. This makes for an interesting challenge for those inclined. Getting those Soviet 152mm up close opens up the opportunity for all kinds of hilarity, especially against enemy cruisers that are probably not used to getting their citadels shot out from smoke 12km away. However, her overall lack of firepower holds her back. Mouse's Summary: Perth-lite. Same Perth flavour with half the effectiveness! I kid, Huanghe isn't that bad. She's just not as good as Perth. I can already tell there's going to be a counter-culture movement that absolutely loves this ship... Can destroyer-levels of agility, the smoke generator of HMAS Perth along with good values for her AA firepower and concealment make up for garbage levels of firepower and durability? I was full ready to slap a 'Garbage' label on Huanghe and wash my hands of her. I don't care if she has good AA firepower -- that's a window dressing; it doesn't define a ship as being good or bad. Destroyer levels of twirling are nice but without speed to dictate engagement distances, it's a half measure. Her stealth is good, but not good enough especially in light of her weapon ranges. These arguments all strongly point towards a wholesale condemnation of this ship, but there's one thing and only one thing giving me pause. It's her damned Smoke Generator. Without it, this would be cut and dry: slap a trashbote label and move on. But, I cannot ignore how powerful this is when played well. It allowed me in play testing to rip the throat out of several ships that, on paper, had me dead to rights based on firepower, speed and durability. Yet, I must remind myself that a bad ship is still fully capable of doing damage and even sinking another. This isn't a game like World of Tanks where a disparity in power levels can mean outright immunity to a lesser-vehicle's attacks. I cannot outright dismiss the successes I did enjoy with this ship, but I must weigh them in context. Perhaps it's simply best to separate the two. Huanghe is a trashbote with a good Smoke Generator. So ask yourself: What you want to play with? Is it the trashbote, or is it the Smoke Generator? Because if it's the latter, HMAS Perth will be back around in the shops sometime soon... Would I Recommend? I'm forced to ask myself: "Why would you buy this?" If you're looking for comparable game play, HMAS Perth is superior in almost every regard. For trainer for the Pan Asian destroyer line, there are better choices. Loyang is one of the most competitive destroyers at her tier and Anshan comes in at a similar price tag with added economic bonuses baked in to boot. Huanghe is a premium without a purpose... PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Also no. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Very no. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Very no on toast. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Actually, yes. Be advised: Mouse has a soft spot for lame-[edited]ships, like the pre-buff Atlanta, Albany and Prinz Eugen. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion. Her Smoke Generator gets a Gudbote, though.
  10. TheHunter2_EAD

    HMS Ark Royal premium ship

    Every CV player want Ark Royal even me.(except for CV hater). The problem is what tier: VI or VIII. And since azur-lane part 2 is coming out let's have the Capt. & Camo as well. If going be tier VI the aircraft going be Attacker: Fulmar, Torpedo Bombers: Swordfish, & Carpet Bombers: Skua. If going be a tier VIII I don't know they make up something. I know everyone has seen this video let's have a since of humor and watch it again.
  11. The following is a review of Enterprise, a ship provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 29th, 2017. It's about time. Quick Summary: An aircraft carrier with enormous hangar capacity and deep fighter reserves. She's held back by low tier aircraft, weird torpedo drop patterns and an overspecialization for nuking German battleships. Cost: $59.99 USD including a port slot. Patch and Date Written: Patch 0.6.6.0 to 0.6.7 June 10th to June 29th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary Kaga, Tier 7 Japanese Carrier Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Enterprise shares a lot in common with Kaga. They both use downtiered aircraft. They both boast huge reserves. Their torpedo planes both have unique drop patterns. Where they differ primarily is their load-outs. Kaga is more strike-aircraft friendly, with more of her reserves and specializing focusing on the use of her torpedo planes and dive bombers. Enterprise has enormous fighter reserves and attack planes that are far less intuitive to use. PROs Enormous hangar capacity of 96 aircraft. Option of using AP bombs which can (easily) land 8,000 damage citadel hits on enemy battleships per bomb. AP Bombs are easy to use with a very accurate auto-drop function. Balanced 2-2-2 flight groups -- a rarity with American carriers. Fast reload time of her aircraft squadrons for an American carrier. Good anti-aircraft defense. Good anti-torpedo protection. Has access to the 6th upgrade slot. Makes German Battleships cry. It's not only a Yorktown-class, it's freakin' CV-6! CONs Aircraft operate in 5-plane squadrons instead of the usual 6 for American carriers. Enterprise's aircraft are all tier VII instead of tier VIII, making her fighters especially difficult to use effectively. Drop pattern of her torpedoes is enormous and clumsy, making it difficult to land more than 1 or 2 hits per drop. AP Bombs have limited reliability against anything other than battleship targets and are all but useless against destroyers. Her hangar reserves have nearly half their capacity dedicated to her under strength fighters. Largish surface and aerial detection ranges. I can't believe it took Wargaming this long -- almost two years past the start of Open Beta to get USS Enterprise into World of Warships. Well, she's finally here. The hype surrounding this ship on the North American server has been extreme. I have received more messages asking me when this review will be out more than any other ship in the past. I'm happy to finally deliver. GrafZeppelinKai from the World of Warships wiki team will be joining me to provide a look into the history of this auspicious vessel. History Lessons with GrafZeppelinKai Design By the 1930s, the USN had been developing their carrier doctrine for over a decade, and has acquired a wealth of knowledge. The previously built Ranger – while the Navy’s first purpose built carrier – was seen as a failure. As such, the new Yorktown-class carriers were built with protection in mind: the Ranger’s greatest shortcoming. Both the main belt and the bulkheads were 4-inches thick. This was deemed sufficient to mitigate damage from 6-inch shells from enemy cruisers. In consequence, the horizontal protection was limited to just 1.5-inches at the thickest. Later in the war, Enterprise would receive torpedo bulges. It had both air-filled and water-filled pockets to absorb and spread out the shock of impact. To simplify design, the aviation facilities were similar to the ones on Ranger. The single hangar was built on top of the hull main deck, whilst the flight deck was built on top of the hangar. The hangar itself was not fully enclosed, with side panels that opened up to the elements. This allowed for aircraft to be warmed up on the hangar deck, and during combat, fires and fumes could be ventilated. Standard to fleet carriers, Yorktown-class had three elevators, and two catapults on the flight deck. Interestingly, she had a third catapult on the hangar deck for reserve use. In total, the Yorktown-class carried 90 aircraft. Originally, her complement favoured dive-bombers as they were used both as scouts and bombers. By late into the war, her complement shifted to majority fighters, as they were the best defence against kamikazes. In order to make them flexible in combat, the Yorktown-class was designed with over 30 knots as a requirement. As such, they were equipped with 9 boilers and 4 turbines that generated over 120,000 shaft horsepower. In speed trials, this allowed for speeds in excess of 32 knots. The Yorktown-class had a plethora of anti-aircraft weapons for defence. For long-ranges, the class was equipped with the new 5”/38 DP guns. In combat they proved to be excellent weapons. For intermediate ranges the ships were armed with the 1.1”/75 guns, known as the ‘Chicago Pianos’. For short ranges, .50-cal machine guns were peppered over the ships. Over the course of the war, the latter two weapon systems were replaced. The machine guns proved to have inadequate stopping power, and the Chicago Pianos had poor handling characteristics. Throughout her service life, Enterprise underwent constant modifications to maintain combat effectiveness. She was equipped with state-of-the-art CXAM-1 radar set before the war in 1940. This gave Enterprise the capacity to detect enemy planes and coordinate her own: a life-saving ability. In 1942 20mm cannons were slowly replacing the .50-cal guns. As well, her hangar catapult was removed and her wooden crash barriers were changed to canvas ones. In 1943, Enterprise received a major refit. Her ‘Chicago Pianos’ were replaced with 40mm cannons, and she received new fire-directors. She was also the first carrier to receive equipment for night-fighter operations, along with a new CIC. Finally she had her torpedo bulges installed. Enterprise’s last refit in 1945 replaced most of her 20mm for more 40mm cannons. USS Enterprise (CV-6) was the second of the Yorktown-class aircraft carriers. She was laid down 16 July 1934 at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia and launched 3 October 1936. Service History Commissioned into the Navy in 1938, Enterprise spent the first few years of her career as a movie star and as a transport; hauling aircraft to various US airbases in the Pacific. In early December 1941 she undertook such a mission when the Japanese conducted their attack on Pearl Harbour. Although she was due in port on December 6th, the same storm that shadowed the Japanese delayed Enterprise’s arrival. While on-route, her scouts did briefly clash with the attack force. Now on wartime status, Enterprise refuelled and rearmed in a record 7-hours and was back out at sea, in her first wartime patrol. Enterprise was the first US ship to sink a Japanese vessel when, on December 10th, she sunk the submarine I-70. Immediately on the offensive, Big E spent the first four months conducting constant raids against the Japanese. In February she attacked the Marshall Islands to deny the Japanese a forward operations base. Between February and March she raided Wake and Marcus Islands to disrupt troop and supply movements. By April of 1942, Enterprise rendezvoused with her sister ship USS Hornet and provided her an escort while she conducted the famous ‘Doolittle Raid’. In June 1942 Enterprise, along with her sister ships headed to Midway Island in order to ambush the oncoming Japanese Fleet. Over the course of one day, Enterprise’s dive-bombers managed to sink Kaga and Akagi, whilst crippling the other two fleet carriers. The Japanese manage to cause some damage; USS Yorktown was sunk. In the end, the balance of power started to shift. By July, Enterprise was committed to the Guadalcanal campaign in the Solomon Islands, undergoing constant patrols. In August, Enterprise came toe-to-toe with a massive Japanese invasion force. Despite heavy damage, Enterprise managed to aid in the sinking of Ryujo. In October of 1942 the Japanese Navy sent another massive force to combat the beleaguered Americans. Despite serious odds, Enterprise was able to secure time desperately needed by the Guadalcanal garrison to reinforce, but at a heavy cost: USS Hornet was lost. Big E was now the only functioning US carrier in the Pacific Theatre; it was now Enterprise vs. Japan. She needed rest but Enterprise’s presence in the Solomon was crucial; crews were pressed to repair her while she was underway between patrols. She continued to guard the Solomon until the summer of 1943 – engaging the Japanese twice more – until she got some required respite when new Essex-class and Independence-class carriers came into commission. Back in duty by November of 1943, Enterprise committed to the “island hopping” campaign to secure the islands of the central Pacific. During the next seven months, she assisted with the invasions of the Gilbert, Marshall, Caroline, and Mariana Islands; working up to the Philippines. During this time, Enterprise was the first carrier to introduce night-fighter operations in the Pacific. Desperate to stem the US near the Marianas, in June 1944, the Japanese confronted the Americans in the largest carrier battle in history. After two gruelling days the IJN lost three carriers and 500 airmen; Japanese Naval Aviation was no more. By October, Enterprise had fought all the way to Leyte, where she contributed her strength to the eponymous battle. By December, Enterprise had fully converted to night operations and spent the next three months raiding the South China Sea. By February 1945, she supported the landings on Iwo Jima. March was spent raiding the Sea of Japan, and Japan itself. She spent the last two months of her war career supporting the Okinawa invasion until a single kamikaze took her out of combat, and the war in May 1945. Her only post-war service was ferrying back American servicemen from overseas. By now the Navy had dozens of newer fleet carriers and summarily, Enterprise was deemed surplus and decommissioned in 1946. Despite attempts to preserve the highest decorated US ship in history, Enterprise’s story came to its melancholic end in 1960 – in the scrapyards. Dive bombers engaging an enemy Bismarck. Options Enterprise comes with the option of what type of bomb to load on your Dive Bombers -- an HE or AP bomb. These are selected from the modules tab and they're selected the same way you would a researched component but without an attached experience cost. Enterprise also has the same number of upgrade slots as a tier 9 or 10 aircraft carrier, giving her one more than Shokaku or Lexington. Consumables: Damage Control Party Defensive Fire Module Upgrades: Six slots, standard aircraft carrier upgrades. Premium Camouflage: Tier VI+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Your build is going to be pretty standard. In your first upgrade slot, take Air Groups Modification 1. You want that extra 10% dps to your aircraft guns. In the second slot, it's Air Groups Modification 2. Don't neglect your fighters -- they're a huge part of playing Enterprise well. In your third slot, take Air Groups Modification 3. This will give your Dive Bombers and Torpedo Bombers comparable hit points to other tier 8 attack craft. In slots four and five, take Damage Control Modification 1 and Damage Control Modification 2. This will give you a little extra fire and torpedo protection. Finally, take Concealment Modification 1 in your final slot to help you sneak about. Air Groups Aircraft Types: Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat, Grumman TBF Avenger, SBD-5 Dauntless Dive Bomber Flight Control Groups: Two fighter, two torpedo plane, two dive bombers. Base Squadron Sizes: Five aircraft for each squadron type. Hangar Capacity: 96 aircraft with 43 fighters, 25 torpedo planes and 28 dive bombers One thing that will immediately stand out with Enterprise is that all of her aircraft squadrons run at five planes instead of the usual six of American carriers. This provides an accelerated reload time of all of her squadrons compared to Lexington, though she still lags well behind Shokaku. Fighters Similar to Kaga, Enterprise is the second premium carrier to use down tiered aircraft. Her fighters are the F6F-5 Hellcat found on the Ranger at tier VII and the stock Lexington at tier VIII. Nearly half her carrier capacity is given over to these fighters which means, down tiered or not, they form a crucial part of Enterprise's designed role. Functionally, she will have a very hard time running out of fighters. Even with upgraded squadrons of six planes each, you will have to lose five full squadrons before the new ones you launch will be below full strength. I'm not saying it can't be done, but you're going to have to go out of your way (or go full potato) to do it. Enterprise really broadcasts how unfriendly a carrier she is to inexperienced players with these fighters. They're slower than contemporary aircraft with less planes per squadron, less HP and less DPS. Enterprise's Hellcats will be outfought by enemy USN fighters (she can almost hold her own against a Shokaku) and they won't kill attack planes fast enough to save a beleaguered ally. Proper use of the strafe mechanic is key and this will really ramp up the learning curve to be successful with this ship. If you struggle to make use of strafing to engage not only enemy attack planes but to out play other fighters, it will be difficult to enjoy a lot of success with her Hellcats. You'll often feel that you're fighting a losing battle to win air superiority with Enterprise, but the presence of your fighters is paramount to pushing your attacks through and chewing up the enemy reserves. Enterprise has the hangar capacity to pull it off, but it will often feel like an exercise in frustration to wrest away air superiority. Torpedo Planes Like Kaga, Enterprise has her own, unique drop pattern with her torpedo bombers. This is done in two lines, with two torpedoes in the front and three in the rear. Casualties come from the rear most aircraft first, starting from the outside and working their way in. Enterprise does not carry very deep reserves of her torpedo planes with a total of twenty-five on board when the match starts. At first glance, Enterprise's torpedo planes are largely disappointing. Their drop pattern is enormous and easily avoided. The torpedoes themselves run a parallel course and do not converge or diverge in the same manner as Japanese or other American carriers respectively. About the best thing that could be said about these torpedoes is that they can cover a large area when it comes to flushing out ships hiding in smoke. However, the large gaps from her individual salvos are mitigated with Enterprise's second torpedo plane squadron. A stacked drop may provide sufficient density in the pattern to make dancing to the torpedo beats a real challenge. This by no means makes Enterprise's torpedo planes "good" -- they're not. But used in this manner, they're at least functional. Wargaming clearly didn't want to make Enterprise outright overpowered with normal USN CV drop pattern with two torpedo squadrons, especially when combined with the outstanding damage potential of her dive bombers (see below). As a result, we have this rather unfortunate drop pattern which on its own isn't very exciting but is no doubt an important balance mechanic. One of the oft spoken downsides to Enterprise's attack planes -- their low hit points, can largely be mitigated by giving her the upgrade Air Groups Modification 3 which isn't available to Shokaku or Lexington. This bumps up Enterprise's 1,510hp torpedo aircraft up to 1,736hp per. This compares very favourably to the 1,710hp found on Lexington's TMB-3s, giving Enterprise's attack planes only slightly less overall survivability due to the 3 knot difference in top speed and having one less aircraft per squadron. In summary, Enterprise's torpedo planes take skill to use effectively. Stock, they're terrible. Once upgraded with the proper module, they have an acceptable level of survivability little different from Lexington's. Individual drops are easy to avoid so it's imperative they be used on either vulnerable targets or that you stack or cross-drop with your squadrons. On a per squadron basis, Enterprise will not be doing as much damage as other CVs with her torpedo bombers and you're unlikely to be able to a delete an enemy ship at will. However, they form an important component of her strike package. Reference Mahan (104m long) for scale. If you find the gaps between Enterprise's torpedoes look punitively large, it's not just you: they're enormous. Enterprise has arguably the most ineffective torpedo drop pattern yet seen in the game per individual squadron. Coordinated drops with both of her squadrons are needed to land an acceptable number of hits per sortie. However, even with such tactics, it will be incredibly challenging to cause catastrophic levels of damage to a target in a single pass. You're going to have to do a lot of work to get the same damage output another carrier might manage with less effort. Dive Bombers Part of the explanation of Enterprise's lackluster torpedo drop pattern resides with the damage potential of her dive bombers. She's the first carrier to be given the option of using armour piercing bombs and it really feels like her damage output has been balanced around their inclusion. As such, Enterprise is one of the first carriers to where dive bombers aren't playing second fiddle to torpedo planes when it comes to damage output. Now, Enterprise may still use HE bombs -- these may be selected in port before starting a match through the list of upgrades available for the ship. These bombs have the same performance as those found on Ranger and Lexington -- she's just dropping one less bomb per sortie with Enterprise's reduced squadron sizes. Things change when she uses her armour piercing (AP) bombs. These weapons cannot start fires. They can ricochet if they strike a surface at less than a 45º angle. Effectively, they count as a 305mm AP shell being dropped vertically onto the decks of her targets. These weapons detonate for up to 8,000 damage each on a successful citadel hit, giving the maximum damage potential for a fully upgraded, six plane squadron at 48,000hp. The auto-targeting area is oblong, almost conforming perfectly with the dimensions of a Bismarck-class battleship. A manual drop reduces this by 10% easily ensuring all bombs will land atop of her decks but I found this to be generally unnecessary -- left to their own devices, the bombers were accurate enough to ensure 2/3s of their ordnance landed against most targets. Citadel hits are commonplace, especially German Battleships, making hit point recovery through their Repair Party consumable from such attacks problematic. Realistically, you can expect between 10,000 to 30,000 damage per bombing run against most battleships. And this is really the best target for Enterprise's AP Bombs -- enemy battleships (especially German ones). The performance of the bombs becomes suspect, at best, against any other targets. They will land nothing but 800 damage over penetrating hits against destroyers. Against cruisers, their performance is a mixed and unreliable. Some targets, like Moskva, are as vulnerable as Battleships. Others, not so much. Enemy Shokaku can only take citadel hits to small sections over her overall length. Lexington takes even less, making it nearly impossible to land anything more than 800 damage hits per AP bomb. Like Enterprise's torpedo planes, her dive bombers greatly benefit from taking the upgrade Air Groups Modification 3, which puts their hit points per aircraft better than those of Lexington, though it's worth keeping in mind that there are less aircraft per squadron giving the flight an overall smaller hit point pool. Air Group Performance A lot of undue fuss will be made about Enterprise's tier VII aircraft, but I've found their tiering to be largely irrelevant for her attack planes. Air Groups Modification 3 gives her comparable survivability for her bomber squadrons. Enterprise's Hellcats are really where the struggle is found and yet she can hold her own against a Shokaku with the proper skill setup. It really comes down to which CV player can better manage her planes. However, it's worth saying that Enterprise cannot stand up to Lexington's Corsairs. When Enterprise takes AP bombs, she's really choosing to specialize in damaging enemy battleships over all other targets. Her wide torpedo salvos already damage her ubiquity in engaging targets like destroyers and the ammunition selection of her dive bombers will remove any pretense of being able to threaten them. Enterprise can deal big damage numbers in a game, but like any ship that focuses primarily on farming damage against enemy BBs, I don't find these damage totals to be nearly as effective as those from other carriers. Enterprise struggles to assist in neutralizing destroyers -- a key component to stealing the initiative from the enemy, especially in early stages of a match when they're often operating beyond the smothering flak umbrella that's so dominant in high-tier game play. This specialization doesn't necessarily make her better at killing enemy battleships than other carriers -- it just gives her a different method of doing it when she takes AP bombs. A battleship would be just as dead from taking a double stack of Shokaku torpedoes chased with dive bomber fires. Summary: Fighters are under-strength, but between an enormous hangar capacity and proper skill setup, she can hold her own against a Shokaku. Good luck against an Air Superiority Lexington, however. AP armed Dive Bombers are a fun gimmick and are very effective against battleships -- not so much against anything else. They are super easy to use, however, and are a good fire and forget weapon. Enterprise's torpedo bombers are much harder to use efficiently because of their enormous and ineffective drop pattern. Stacking the squadrons or using cross-drops is key to ensure hits but she will not output more damage than a Lexington with her torpedo planes or compete with the effectiveness of a Shokaku's torpedoes. Enterprise's fighters have an uphill battle ahead of them in every match. Don't dismiss them out of hand, though. Firepower Secondary Battery: Eight 127mm guns in single mounts, four to each side. Enterprise's secondaries aren't anything special. She has eight single mounts of her 127mm guns, four to a side with four mounted forwards and four aft. They have a 4.5km range and are immediately forgettable. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 32.5 knotsTurning Radius: 1070mRudder Shift: 13.1s Maximum Turn Rate: 3.14º per second. Enterprise truly is a fleet carrier with her decent (but not great) top speed. This will largely keep her out of trouble, at least until her team goes belly up. Like all carriers, her turning circle is enormous which in turn leads to a horrible rate of turn. You're not going to be dodging much in Enterprise, but I don't think anyone really expects her to. DurabilityHit Points: 51,400Maximum Protection: 21mm + 102mm through the bow to a transverse citadel bulkhead. Min Bow & Deck Armour: 21mm extremities, 25mm flight deckTorpedo Damage Reduction: 28% At 51,400hp, Enterprise has the exact same hit point total as Shokaku when she's fully upgraded. This pales compared to the enormous Lexington which has an advantage of an additional 5,900hp. Enterprise is very lightly armoured overall, with her thickest steel plates being found in transverse bulkheads protecting her citadel fore and aft, with most of everything else being sandwiched layered compartments between 19mm and 40mm thick. For HE protection, Enterprise isn't well set up to resist damage. Her flight deck is 25mm. Her flight hangar is armoured at 38mm, but there are large sections of her hull that are 19mm to 21mm thick. One thing she does boast over other carriers is excellent torpedo damage reduction at 28%. With Damage Control System Modification 1, this increases up to 30%. This is the second highest damage reduction for any CV in the game behind only the tier 9 Essex. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 14.6km Air Detection Range: 13.8 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 10.7km Minimum Aerial Detection Range: 10.4km As high tier American CVs go, Enterprise isn't out of the ordinary when it comes to her concealment rating. For surface/aerial detection, Lexington comes in at a whopping 17.5km / 15.0km surface detection range. Ranger came in at 14.2km / 13.3km and Essex at 14.9km / 14.4km, so she's right in the ballpark of what we would expect. The combination of modules and Captain Skills can bring this right down to an acceptable level and it's not like she's going to be up close where the action is anyway. So her stealth rating is not bad, but it's not great either. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 64 / 185 / 180 Enterprise has respectable anti-aircraft firepower, though it is primarily built around personal defense. It pales compared to Lexington's own strength of fire and she's especially lacking in long-range firepower needed to blunt strike aircraft. Enterprise does have the carrier version of Defensive Fire, this may thwart a clumsy carrier-sniping attempt but overall, her anti-aircraft firepower isn't sufficient to keep her safe from multiple strikes. At best, you can hope to make such attempt expensive. An Enterprise captain cannot be complacent. Bad drop. Only two out of six bombs hit this North Carolina due to a hasty aim. Jedi Training Enterprise conforms to most of the skill choices for strike-squadron aircraft carriers for the American navy but with one catch. Your core skill build should be the following for the first 11pts: Take Aircraft Servicing Expert at tier 1. Also take Dogfighting Expert right away before moving up to tier 2. The order isn't particularly important, just take both before moving on. Follow this up with Torpedo Acceleration at tier 2. Next comes Torpedo Armament Expertise at tier 3. And finally take Air Supremacy at tier 4. This all should look pretty normal, especially for players that normally play Japanese carriers. The importance of Dogfighting Expert is paramount for Enterprise. This will bump her fighter DPS when she engages planes from Shokaku or Lexington, bringing it up to a maximum of 68dps when combined with Air Groups Modification 1. Lexington's Corsairs will have 69dps.and Shokaku's Shiden have 77dps. From there, take the usual assortment of skills that help carriers. Concealment Expert should be at the top of the pile. AA guns skills, Advanced Fire Training, Basic Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns are nice but not amazing on Enterprise. Emergency Takeoff is situational -- you're likely dead anyway if it comes to this, but if you have the points to spare, go for it. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Welcome to Hell! To succeed with Enterprise, new players must master fighter strafing. On top of this, they also have to have a good grasp of manual torpedo dropping -- except this is hard-mode manual torpedo dropping, not regular ol' easy-mode of torpedo dropping with Lexington torpedoes. To top it all off, they also have to keep an index of high AA firepower ships in their heads from tiers 8+ otherwise their planes will evaporate when they're not top tier before they drop. This all just to do an acceptable level of damage. For the veteran knowing when it's acceptable to sacrifice planes to make a drop on a high-value target is difficult. Managing Enterprise's reserves to win this war of attrition efficiently is key. Trying to juggle your fighters against forces that can outrun and/or outgun you isn't fun. And finally, getting her ordnance on target is always a challenge, particularly when it's not just sniping dumb, lone battleships. Then comes the question of juggling damage over time effects versus with fires / floods or eschewing that and going for AP bomb drops instead. There's so much to know for small but appreciable gains in performance! Mouse's Summary: This is not a new-player friendly carrier ... and carriers aren't new player friendly to begin with. This is worse. This is an expert's carrier and they may not want to bother with the amount of work needed to make it excel. I'm happy to see they went with what amounts to a historical load-out of Enterprise's air groups. I just wish that had a more positive effect in game play. I totally get why the torpedo drop pattern is enormous. No one wanted to see two carrier flight groups dump double-USN torpedo strikes and make CV-6 overpowered. They're just not that fun to use though. German Battleships: Beware! Enterprise isn't broken. She's not a bad ship either. In the right hands, she can be a very good tier 8 carrier. Her tier 7 fighters, with the right skills and consumables are workable. They're not doing you any favours, but you can make them work. Being downtiered with her attack planes doesn't matter. I personally feel that only having 5 aircraft per squadron is more of an issue than them being tier 7. Access to the 6th module slot largely mitigates this flaw. Her dive bombers are actually a lot of fun. It's very satisfying to drop bombs and see them do as much as 30,000+ damage to an unsuspecting battleship. I'll be honest -- her torpedo planes are not great. It takes two squadrons to do the job of one of Lexington's squadrons. And even then, they don't do the job as well, at least not with a whole lot of cleverness on behalf of Enterprise's player. I understand why they're like that. If they had any tighter of a drop, they'd be too good. So fine, I can swallow that especially given that her dive bombers spit out so much damage on select targets. I think Enterprise's greatest flaw is also her greatest strength. She's built to make battleship lives miserable and short and she's damn good at it. Meta wise, this will make Enterprise will probably end up with some respectable average damage totals because of this preferred enemy type, but I fear that she's not as versatile as other carriers when it comes to engaging other ship types. The argument will be made by some that Enterprise does not up-tier well. This is fine. Neither Lexington or Shokaku. When she's top tier, the lives of ships like Bayern, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Tirpitz and Bismarck are going to be especially bleak if they don't run with air cover protecting them. German Battleships are finally going to be collecting all of those citadel hits they've been dodging since their release, and that makes me smile. I would have to say that, overall, I am pleased with the end product Wargaming has produced. I was doubting for a time that they would be capable of producing a premium aircraft carrier that wasn't polarized between being absolutely worthless and ridiculously overpowered. Enterprise strikes a very good balance, all told (even if she's a nightmare for inexperienced players). I can't say how the consumer will respond -- Enterprise is not the next best and brightest star in the game. She won't be the flavour of the month, not with her current stats. As difficult as this review process was, Enterprise is a welcome addition to the game in her current form. Would I Recommend? Let's clear the air: Enterprise wasn't a fun ship for me to play. I hated playing her. I don't want to play her again. This entire testing period was an exercise in extreme frustration and one of the most negative experiences I've had yet as a Community Contributor. I've tried to remain as objective as I could through this review and not let these bad feels get in the way of covering her merits and flaws objectively. I don't think I was entirely successful in that, and for that I apologize in advance. For PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Mouse: Enterprise isn't going to be a big credit earner in Co-Op battles, though she doesn't have any overhead costs to worry about except repair and rearming fees. She can do just fine against bots. She doesn't have the big "delete anything" punch of Shokaku, though. Still, she's pretty profitable even without a premium account, so I'll give her a green light here. GrafZeppelinKai: I was able to perform well with Enterprise against bots. As I didn't have to worry about enemy fighter strafes and I was able to autodrop my AP bombs, it made micromanaging my aircraft more simpler. I could see this as a benefit for newcomers to CVs. For Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Mouse: Tier for tier, Saipan is the better boat. It's hard to recommend a tier 8 carrier when the tier 7 carrier is just so much better. If you don't have access to Saipan and you're looking for a trainer and credit earner, don't get Enterprise. Get a Saipan. So again, a big nope. The only way I could really justify it here is if you really hate German Battleships and want to pee in their cornflakes. GrafZeppelinKai: She will not be forgiving to newcomers here. Enterprise counters certain targets well and will naturally fall into a specialist role. This means players will have to have a greater understanding of proper target selection; something that only comes with experience. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Mouse: No, Shokaku is better at nearly everything short of landing citadel hits with bombs. GrafZeppelinKai: Although I'm very curious as to see how AP dive-bombers will alter the current meta, I feel her decreased effectiveness in engaging cruisers and destroyers means she isn't as versatile as her tech-tree comrades. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Mouse: Absolutely here. It's the USS Enterprise! GrafZeppelinKai: To quote Pigeon_of_War: “Mother. F***ing. Enterprise!!!” For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Mouse: I didn't like her, but I hate carrier game play, so that probably isn't the most objective answer you're going to get. Her AP Bombs are fun though and I do have to say, it's very cathartic to land regular citadel hits on German BBs with them. GrafZeppelinKai: Although I'm a terrible CV driver, the AP bombs have really intrigued me and I enjoyed learning how to use them. The feeling of watching the enemy hitpoints melt is therapeutic. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  12. 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.
  13. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: HMS Nelson

    The following is a review of HMS Nelson, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of August 14th, 2017. The Walking Dead. Quick Summary: A slow Royal Navy battleship with all of her guns mounted forward on her bow. Her repair party consumable can allow her to come back from the dead twice over. Cost: 375,000 free experience. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.9. August 10th through 14th, 2017 Closest in-Game Contemporary Imperator NIkolai I, Tier IV Russian Battleship Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Whoa, no one panic! Nelson is not the second coming of the Nikolai. She simply shares a very similar gun layout and achieves a similar state of resilience (though admittedly through different means). They also share the affliction of having a very high citadel which means they both fold like a deck of cards if someone catches their side with battleship AP. Finally, like Nikolai, Nelson's big weak spot is her bow. While the Russian battleship really only has to worry about shells punching through the upper part of her snout, Nelson's entire bow can be easily overmatched by most of her contemporaries, but this is a common affliction to all tier VII Battleships. PROs Powerful Repair Party consumable, restoring up to 40% of the ship's hit points per charge. Good armour protection versus American AP Bombs. Good 1.9 sigma value which helps tighten up her dispersion. Flexible gun layout, able to switch fire from port to starboard very quickly. Short fuse timers on her AP shells, leading to less over penetrations. Ridiculous HE performance, with 101mm of penetration, high alpha strike and a 46% chance of starting fires per shell. CONs She feels blind with no consumables to aid with spotting (plane, radar, hydro) Citadel sits high over the waterline. Lackluster penetration values, comparable to HMS Warspite at tier VI. Slow turret traverse of 4.0º per second Anti-aircraft firepower is concentrated in short range (and excessively fragile) batteries. Nelson is slow with a maximum speed of 24 knots. Large surface detection range of 15.3km. HMS Nelson is the last of the so-called "Big Seven Battleships" to find their way into World of Warships. These were the battleships of the United States, Japan and Great Britain that were allowed to be armed with 16" guns under the Washington Naval Treaty after World War One to put an end to the naval arm's race. They consisted the Nagato-class, represented by Nagato and Mutsu, the Colorado-class of three ships, Colorado, Maryland and West Virginia and Nelson-class with Nelson and her sister ship, HMS Rodney. Of these seven vessels, the Nelson-class are certainly the standouts where design is concerned. There's no denying that their silhouette is very distinctive. When play-testing her, I received many comments about her looks (often derisive, but a few people had the right of it and called her 'awesome looking'). I can say that her play style is as distinctive as her appearance. Let's get into the hows and wherefores of their performance in game. Options Nelson has access to an improved version of the Repair Party consumable. This restores 1,188hp per second for 20 seconds, healing up to 40% of the ship's hit points per charge. However, this only comes with two charges as opposed to the usual three for battleships. Nelson queues damage in the similar manner as other Royal Navy battleships. She uses the same Damage Control Party of other Royal Navy Battleships (except Warspite) with a 15 second active period. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard Battleship options. Premium Camouflage: Type 10, tier VI+ standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. For your upgrades, you'll be picking standard battleship options. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. You're going to be tanking a lot with your bow and turrets, so your guns take a lot of abuse. In particular, her B turret gets disabled and destroyed frequently. In your second slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is your best choice. Nelson's horizontal dispersion is not as good as previous Royal Navy premium battleships, so the extra accuracy is sorely needed. Her anti-aircraft guns and secondaries are not worth upgrading. In your third slot, take Damage Control System Modification 1. This will boost your torpedo damage reduction up to 21%. And in your fourth slot, you have a choice. Steering Gears Modification 2 will reduce your rudder shift down to 11.9s. Alternatively, you can take Damage Control System Modification 2 to reduce fire and flooding damage if that's your preference. Special Upgrades The only special upgrade that has any sort of application on HMS Nelson is Damage Control Party Modification 1. When applied to HMS Nelson, this would increase the active period of her consumable from 15 seconds up to 21 seconds without affecting the reset timer. This competes with Main Armaments Modification 1 in HMS Nelson's first upgrade slot. Given the amount of abuse her main battery takes, this special upgrade isn't worth applying. Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 406mm rifles in 3x3 forward facing turrets in an A-B-C layout on the bow with B superfiring over A. Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm rifles in 6x2 turrets and six 120mm rifles Nelson's approximate penetration values for her AP shells are 550mm at 5km, 450mm at 10km and 350mm at 15km. Like Dunkerque, Nelson is largely defined by the layout of her primary gun battery. She mounts all nine of her guns ahead of her superstructure. Veterans who have played Izumo and are concerned about her gun handling can rest easy -- Nelson's gunnery is very comfortable; more akin to the Soviet tier IV Battleship, Imperator Nikolai I than the tier IX Japanese vessel. Her A & B turrets have excellent fields of fire with a 300º and 322º firing arc respectively. C is more limited, but still easy to use. It can engage enemies 25º to 137º off its side for a total combined field of fire of 224º. In most engagements, you'll be primarily making use of A & B turret with C being used to take opportunistic shots where possible. Nelson's turret rotation may not be fast at 4º per second (45 seconds for a 180º rotation), but with these guns all being forward facing, it's very easy to shift fire left to right as needed. Overall, Nelson's gun placement makes gunnery enjoyable. Even firing over the shoulder isn't too difficult. Nelson's accuracy, however, is a bit of a mixed bag. Her shell groupings are rather tight with a 1.9 sigma value, however she does not have the vaunted Royal Navy battleship shell dispersion seen previously on HMS Warspite and HMS Hood. Her linear horizontal dispersion appears to be the same as USN Battleships. This is still better than French and German vessels, but it's hardly enviable. As a result, when firing Nelson's guns, you can be blessed by a string of really tight shell groupings and then suffer some really wonky strays. Nelson's AP shells aren't terribly inspiring but her HE shells are phenomenal. The latter does not replace the former, however. Nelson's AP shells have almost identical penetration over distance to HMS Warspite's 381mm guns, while having a shorter- fuse timer as seen on HMS Hood. This is perfectly adequate (and even ideal) for bullying any cruiser within her matchmaking spread, but it's a different story where battleships are concerned. Her 406mm gun caliber ensures she can overmatch the bows of any cruisers she encounters, as well as the bows of battleships at tiers VII and below. Unfortunately, her ability to land citadel hits against enemy battleships has largely fallen away by ranges of 12km except for the softest skinned targets such as Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. Landing reliable penetrations becomes questionable outside of 14km. These ranges drop further when Nelson is bottom tier or she's shooting at thick skinned dreadnoughts. Closing the distance isn't always the best option with HMS Nelson. While this does greatly enhance the penetration powers of her 406mm guns, the backup provided by her secondaries is less than inspiring. Nelson's secondary gun complement is divided between 120mm dual-purpose guns in single mounts and six, large twin-gunned 152mm turrets. They are better positioned than those on Dunkerque, but these guns are still poorly laid out to support an attack. The volume of fire they put out is also less than stellar. Her 152mm guns fire a mere five rounds per minute with their AP shells. Her 120mm fire twelve rounds per minute with HE and a great 8% fire chance per hit, but these are largely rear facing and cannot begin engaging an enemy until they're alongside Nelson. Nelson does not appear to use the same dispersion model as Warspite and Hood. Her 1.9 sigma value keeps her groupings tight, however. Nelson's main battery HE shells are something to behold. They boast 6,900 alpha strike per shell, 101mm of penetration, and a 46% fire chance. The list of ships that Nelson can citadel with her HE shells is long -- long enough that a player might be tempted to think that spamming HE shells is an optimal way to play this battleship. While each penetrating hit does land an impressive 2,277 damage, this number quickly falls away as areas become saturated. This leaves her impressive fire starting ability to take over damage dealing which can be hit or miss on focused targets that already have blazes set. Nelson's AP shells should be relied upon as the principle damage dealer for this vessel, with HE used as situational backup. Nelson's HE shells are best used opportunistically, such as when an enemy battleship angles in at a distance, or as a one-off to help support a friendly CV by knocking out masses of AA guns in a single volley. The enormous 39.2m blast area of her shells will cause extensive module damage against any target she strikes, even if they fail to penetrate. These shells have a larger and harder hitting explosion than anything short of the Yamato, Lion and Conqueror. This can leave a formidable AA armament in tatters. It may also force ships to reach for their Damage Control Party consumable to repair disabled engines and steering gears, leaving them vulnerable to follow-up fires. It can even set off the magazines of destroyers and cruisers with the concussive force alone. An Iowa-class battleship can be stripped of all (yes, all) of it's small and medium caliber AA gun mounts in as little as two to three volleys of Nelson's guns. Peppering a few preliminary HE shells around like this in the early stages of a match can go a long way towards helping your CV allies out, especially before closing into more effective AP shell range. Just don't forget to prioritize nailing those cruisers with AP when you see them. Between gun handling, AP and HE performance, Nelson's firepower is incredibly forgiving. A novice player could, in theory, spam HE constantly and still amass some pretty respectable damage totals provided they survived long enough. They would definitely lose out to a Nelson commander who varied their ammunition choices, however. Rivals: Battlecruiser HMS Hood HMS Nelson is the second tier VII premium British battleship in the game, with HMS Hood preceding her by a few months. The two ships are so very different in design and game play as to be almost laughable. Nelson is a slow, enduring and relentless. Hood is fast, flexible and fragile. Nelson is victimized by aircraft and Hood is a nightmare target for enemy carriers. Both struggle when facing tier IX ships. It's HMS Nelson's gunnery which sets her ahead of HMS Hood, in my opinion. Nelson deals damage reliably -- something the British flagship cannot claim, even with its (much) improved accuracy. With the coming of the rest of the Royal Navy line, I wonder if we'll see HMS Hood get some minor tweaks and buffs to bring her into line with the rest of the British ships. Only time will tell. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 24.0knotsTurning Radius: 750mRudder Shift: 14.9s Maximum Turn Rate: 3.71º/s Nelson is slow. 24.0 knots is almost acceptable. Almost. Nelson is a full knot slower than Nagato which is already a ship that struggles somewhat with agility. This limits Nelson's flexibility and her survivability. She cannot control engagement distances. She cannot escape by outrunning her opponents or the reach of their guns. These problems compound when she faces tier VIII and tier IX opponents where not only are most ships faster than her, the map sizes make her low speed especially punitive. It's only when Nelson is top tier that her low top speed is less of a liability as she faces more of the standard-type American battleships and the distances she needs to cover are further reduced by the smaller maps. Now don't get me wrong -- this isn't Arizona-slow. And while she does have a three knot advantage over Colorado, she does not get Colorado's special speed preservation in a turn. Like most battleships, Nelson bleeds off 25% of her velocity when she's under manoeuvres, slowing down to 18.0 knots with her rudder hard over. If you're applying WASD hax as you should, you'll often see your speed struggling to get over 20 knots and this can feel like a real crawl when you're trying to get into position or you're trying to get away. Nelson is a pig in a turn. Nelson's only saving grace is that she rotates 0.1º/s faster than a Nagato, which isn't saying much. The good news is that she's incapable of out turning her turrets, even with their slow rate of rotation. The bad news is that while she may answer her rudder quickly, the effect of her rudder just isn't substantial enough to throw the ship about. This makes her very vulnerable to torpedo and aircraft attacks. DurabilityHit Points: 59,400Citadel Protection: 32mm anti-torpedo bulge + 356mm belt. Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 19% Armour layout of Nelson's belt, turrets and citadel. The only additional protection is a 32mm outer hull and upper deck not shown. At first glance, Nelson has horrible durability for facing off against enemy battleships. She has a citadel that sits so high over the water line, you would think she was a copy-paste job of the old Iowa and Montana-class battleships. What's worse, she's tier VII so her enormous bow is only 25mm thick. It gets overmatched by all AP shells larger than 356mm which includes the guns of all tier VII+ battleships with the exception of Scharnhorst. While she does boast some decent armour values, with up to 356mm of belt armour and a 305mm transverse bulkhead on her citadel, they are both heavily overtaxed trying to protect her vitals. The sad reality is that it's this 305mm bow plate which is HMS Nelson's achilles heel. Even with perfect angling (approximately 25º to 26º) bow on to the enemy, this plate just cannot stand up to any guns that can overmatch her bows. Bayern, HMS Hood and Queen Elizabeth need to get close to citadel her through the bow like this. They can only do so at ranges of 12.0km or less. Warspite and Mutsu can pull it off at at 13.0km. Things jump up considerably from there. Colorado can do so reliably from 18.0km. Everything else can do so at ranges in excess of 20km. When under fire from enemy super dreadnoughts, angle as best you can, know your ranges and hold your breath. In short: She eats citadels for days and then begs for a second helping when facing enemy battleships with 380mm guns or larger. Things don't get much better in regards to soaking up torpedoes. HMS Nelson has terrible torpedo protection with only a 19% reduction that can be boosted to a mere 21% with Damage Control System Modification 1. While this is better than that of HMS Hood, at least HMS Hood begins her turns faster. I lost this ship more often to torpedoes than any other damage source. Sometimes it was my own dumb fault. In others, the lack of damage mitigation simply overwhelmed the modest hit point pool of this battleship. Finally, there's the issue of her turrets. I have not been able to isolate why it happens so frequently, but HMS Nelson has her main battery guns disabled very often. B-turret seems especially susceptible. This is strange given the thick armour of her turret faces (406mm) and her barbettes (356mm). My guess is that shells are striking her barbettes or catching the softer sides of the turrets and prompting the critical damage rolls. Whatever the reason, you can expect to have one of your guns temporarily disabled at least once in a match. Yet for all of the deficiencies and even her modest hit point total, Nelson is quite easily capable of being the toughest ship afloat at her tier. This is all thanks to her Repair Party consumable. Unlike most battleships that recover up to 14% of their maximum hit points over 28 seconds, Nelson recovers up to 40% over 20 seconds. Yes, you read that right. This works out to 23,760 hit points that Nelson can heal with each charge of her Repair Party consumable. Nelson will, time and again, appear to be on her last legs only to spring back, hale and healthy and itching for a fight. Adding a India Delta increases this value up to 48% (or 28,512hp) per charge. With Superintendent, this provided HMS Nelson with a theoretical maximum damage total of 173,448 hit points needed before she sinks, provided her consumable is used optimally. I cannot stress this enough. Warspite, a ship known to be a tough little monster, would call receiving 80,000 damage before sinking a good match. This works out roughly 1.5 times her starting health. For Nelson, that number sits around 150,000 damage -- in excess of 2.5x her health pool. You can delay the enemy team simply grace of being a damage sponge they cannot sink quickly. This makes Nelson an absolute beast when it comes to facing enemy cruisers. She can soak the bombardment and the resulting fires for days and deny them any progress with a touch of a button. The only thing that keeps this from being disgustingly overpowered is the aforementioned tendency for Nelson to eat citadel hits. Her Repair Party consumable only queues 10% of citadel damage into the healing pool, while 60% of normal penetrations and 100% of flooding, fire, ramming and over penetrations make it into the queue. Her consumable also shares the long reset timer of other battleships. Large alpha strikes or masses of sustained damage can (and will) sink this ship in between cooldowns. Finally, she only gets two base charges of her Repair Party as opposed to the usual three. Overall, Nelson is incredibly resilient to fire damage because of this consumable. She simply laughs it off and heals all of the damage back, undoing the burn stacked by cruisers, destroyers and dive bombers without issue. This makes this vessel particularly well suited to farming up Fireproof and Dreadnought awards. Nelson is a zombie. If you do not put her down properly, she will keep coming back from the dead. Head shots, in the form of citadel hits or mass torpedo strikes, are the only way to ensure she goes down for good. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 15.30km Air Detection Range: 12.36km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.76km Main Battery Firing Range: 18.21km Min Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 2nd out of 7 Min Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 19th out of 37 Wargaming has hyped that the Royal Navy battleships at tiers VII+ will have great surface detection stats. That's not present here. Within her own tier, when all of the ships are rigged for stealth, she sits 500m behind King George V and ahead of the Scharnhorst-sisters by 300m or so. In a cross-section of all of the battleships she may face, she's decidedly average, sitting right in the middle of the pack. Regardless if she's top tier or bottom, there are potentially battleships that she'll spot first and others that will be more stealthy. Concealment for a slow warship helps keep them alive. When Nelson silences her guns, her surface detection range goes down to 12.8km with a full stealth build. This can allow her to sneak up on unsuspecting targets until she gets within a more optimal firing range or angle. Sadly, she does not have the speed to really allow her to take advantage of this. Short of one-time ambushes or picking on distracted enemies, it will be very difficult to sneak up upon wary targets. It should be noted that Nelson is a terrible ship for doing her own spotting. She's effectively blind without any consumables to help her in detecting enemy ships, aircraft and torpedoes. Skills like Vigilance become increasingly important for her as a result, especially when it comes to navigating around islands or through channels. Nelson's concealment is alright. It's not a real telling strength, but it's not a liability either until she's uptiered. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 120mm / 40mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.5km / 2.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 36 / 119 / 126 (133 in 0.6.10) Do not let the big DPS numbers fool you. Nelson's anti-aircraft firepower isn't as healthy as it looks. It boils down to two issues. Nelson's AA firepower lacks range. Nelson's AA firepower is concentrated in a small number of fragile mount-clusters. Nelson doesn't boast the best range with her anti-aircraft firepower. The 4.5km reach on her dual-purpose mounts is disappointing but would workable if they did more damage. Unfortunately, the majority of her strength is located in her small and medium caliber mounts. Nelson's 40mm pom-poms only reach out to a range of 2.5km and her 20mm guns reach out to 2.0km. This largely limits her anti-aircraft firepower to self defense actions only and she cannot provide fleet support, even when specialized with AA Guns Modification 2 and Advanced Fire Training. The small firepower total from her 102mm guns ensures that Manual Fire Control for AA Guns just isn't worthwhile. But it gets worse. Her anti-aircraft defense is easily knocked out by even small amounts of HE fire. Nelson only has six of the octuple pom-pom mounts. Losing one reduces her medium range AA firepower by 19.8dps, and four of these guns are mounted in pairs along the long axis of the ship, making them easy prey for bombs and HE spam. Things don't get any better with her 20mm Oerlikons. She has thirty five scattered across the surface of the ship (with two more being added in 0.6.10). However, they are packed closely together in large groups which reduces their survivability. For example, ten of these reside in a tight cluster on her bow in front of A-turret. Any HE salvos will usually knock out these small caliber mounts in handfuls, quickly decimating Nelson's AA effectiveness. The only real ray of sunshine is that Nelson has fairly decent protection against American AP Bombs. Tests have shown that only a rare drop with all bombs hitting will cause anywhere close to 10,000 damage. More often than not this sat at a considerably lower total. Preliminary tests with Graf Zeppelin's AP bombs were much more damning, however, but these are still in the development phase and very much a work in progress. In summary: Nelson has pretty good raw AA values, but this is only useful for self defense and it will not hold up over the course of a battle. Taking even minor HE damage can quickly gut the potency of her flak. While the ship is pristine, she'll put up a good fight against aircraft, but their short range means that the enemy will still drop their ordnance. With luck, you'll simply make it expensive for them to do so. Dive Bombers do not present Nelson with that much of a threat, even if they're armed with AP Bombs. She's able to heal back any resulting damage with ease. Torpedo bombers are another matter, however. Nelson's anti-aircraft firepower isn't up to the task of keeping her safe. Nevermind the Manoeuvres HMS Nelson is a little weird when it comes to choosing her skills: short of her core skills, she just doesn't care. Optimizing HMS Nelson really doesn't go beyond ensuring she has Superintendent and Concealment Expert. After that, do what you want. There are three general builds which will likely end up popular. Of these three, a Survivability Build is optimal. Next comes a general anti-aircraft build (minus Manual Fire Control for AA Guns which is all but useless for her). This second build will be pretty similar to low-tier (and very high tier) Royal Navy battleship builds. Finally, you can specialize towards spamming HE like a derp cause it's hilarious. The core for all three builds is as follows: At the first tier, Preventative Maintenance is the optimal choice, but only if your own situational awareness is elevated to such a degree that you can track threats when spotted. If not, then Priority Target should be your default choice. At tier two, take Adrenaline Rush. As you take damage, your DPM will increase. Note that with the huge jumps back and forth with Nelson's hit point pool, the gains from this skill vary considerably. Alternatively, you can take Expert Marksman for better gun handling, though Nelson isn't hurting here much. At tier three, take Superintendent. This will increase the number of charges of your Repair Party by one. And finally, at tier four, take Concealment Expert. You're a big ship, but you're not Fuso-Fat. This will help keep you alive and give you more time to use your Repair Party. You can place the next nine points where you wish. Survivability Build This is, in my opinion, the best way to build up Nelson. Reach for skills that will keep you in the fight longer and improve your damage output. High Alert, Basics of Survivability, Vigilance, and Fire Prevention are all great skills for this, so pick and choose your favourites. Make sure you take Preventative Maintenance too if you took Priority Target as your first skill. Your guns are going to get knocked out a lot. Anti-Aircraft Build Be aware that while Nelson has some pretty potent looking AA DPS numbers, her anti-aircraft firepower will only ever be for self-defense purposes and not fleet support. In addition, it's incredibly fragile and easily knocked out by even a small volume of HE fire. While the ship is pristine, she can be a thorny target for carriers but she's never going to be considered a "good" flak platform. If you wish to go this route, take Basic and Advanced Fire Taining for a total of 7pts. High Alert or Expert Marksman (or Adrenaline Rush if you opted for the other) are your best choices for the remaining two points. HE Spammer Now, for the player that wants to derp around with HE shells, let's talk about specific HE-boosting skills. DO NOT take Demolition Expert. The difference between 46% and 48% fire chance just isn't worth the investment. This is too expensive a skill for too little gain. Expert Loader might actually find some use, though, when you need to smarten up and reach for your AP shells. Now let's talk about Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. HMS Nelson is fully capable of damaging any ship within her matchmaking spread with HE without any need for taking this skill. This includes battleships and the armoured deck of carriers like Taiho. Her penetration is so high, she can citadel almost half of the cruisers in her matchmaking spread. Doing so provides a big boost to Nelson's damage totals, but this is a harder shot to land than with AP shells. Here's the list of cruisers HMS Nelson can citadel stock with HE: France: De Grasse, Charles Martel, St.Louis United Kingdom: Emerald, Leander Soviet Union: Kirov, Murmansk, Krasny Krym, Molotov, Shchors, Chapayev, Mikhail Kutuzov United States: Omaha, Marblehead, Pensacola, Atlanta, Flint, Indianapolis Japan: Furutaka, Aoba, Mogami, Ibuki Others: Perth. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells only opens up small sections of battleships to penetration damage and none of them large enough to be worth it (with the exception of HMS Hood and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya which each have large sections of their upper hull that becomes vulnerable). It does nothing to help you with aircraft carriers or destroyers. Where it does come into use is against cruisers. Taking the skill adds the following ships that HMS Nelson can now citadel: France: La Galissonniere, Algerie, United Kingdom: Fiji, Belfast, Edinburgh, Neptune Soviet Union: Budyonny United States: Cleveland, New Orleans Japan: Myoko, ARP Myoko, ARP Ashigara, ARP Haguro, ARP Nachi, Eastern Dragon, Atago, ARP Takao You'll note the absence of German cruisers and the Italian premium, Duca d'Aosta. The spaced armour around their citadels prevents HE from penetrating their machine spaces (though the modules themselves can still be damaged by the shockwave). Note that all of the French ships listed above are also largely immune but they were included because of small sections directly beneath their turrets that will allow HE to citadel them. Landing citadel hits with HE is different than landing them with AP shells. HE shells detonate immediately upon contact with any surface. Thus, you need to bulls-eye the outer citadel wall to land these high-damage hits. On some of these vessels, the amount of surface area is painfully small -- sometimes only a sliver over the waterline. The only consolation is that HE shells don't concern themselves with angle at all. Whatever surface upon which they first make contact is the one affected by the attack, so you can do some rather rude things to select ships that might otherwise bounce AP shells. I must stress, however, that as fun as it may sound to citadel cruisers with HE shells no matter how they angle, Nelson can do this with AP shells most of the time anyway. AP shells also do more damage. As hilarious as it is to make Belfasts cry when you not only carve out most of their hit points with an HE volley but also blow apart their modules and set fires, your four skill points could be better spent elsewhere. You don't really need any special skills if you want to be an HE spammer in this ship. Feel free to toss your Belfast Captain in here if you want, though. Jack Dunkirk The Legendary Commander, Jack Dunkirk, makes a rather good Royal Navy Battleship captain. His Smoke Screen Expert bonus is wasted upon these Dreadnoughts, however, but the bonuses he provides to Jack of All Trades and Expert Marksman makes him very appealing for ships like Nelson. Remember, so long as the commander build includes the skills Superintendent and Concealment Expert, Nelson is largely forgiving. So, if Jack has skills specialized for one of your cruisers, he can still train in Nelson with only a small dip in expected performance. Boom, baby! Nelson using HE in the opening stages of a match, bombarding an enemy Scharnhorst at 17km. By her fourth salvo, Nelson had destroyed both of the Scharnhorst's torpedo tubes, set three fires and crippled her anti-aircraft battery. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Nelson is really going to punish novice players. They're going to make mistakes and Nelson is going to slap them around for it. Her armour needs a subtle touch to be angled properly. Spamming HE doesn't generate great damage numbers. Her AP will bounce a lot at long ranges. She's too slow and too big to easily extract herself from trouble situations or to position herself where she's needed most. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme In the hands of an expert, Nelson becomes a different beast altogether. She just will not die. Proper management of her Repair Party will have her coming back from the dead twice over, ensuring that her team can have a near full-health battleship late in the game, even after tanking a ton of damage. Similarly, proper ammunition use can pay enormous dividends. Her carry potential is limited by her slow speed and lack of vision control, however. Mouse's Summary: She's like a zombie. Without a headshot to put her down for good, she keeps rising from the grave. Her HE shells are a hella fun to use, but it's a mistake to rely on them heavily. You'll kick yourself for every time you have HE loaded and some dumb cruiser or battleship suddenly offers up her broadside. She does not up-tier as well as Nagato, Gneisenau or Scharnhorst. This ship is so much fun. So I know the big question on everyone's mind: Can you spam nothing but HE shells and make this thing work? The answer is 'yes'. You won't do as much damage as you would if you fired AP shells, but it's entirely possible for you to just spit out walls of HE shells instead of anything else and rack up some decent damage and kill totals. The catch is always going to be that you could have done more damage if you fired AP instead. In close matches where the outcome is neck and neck, the lost opportunities to land AP citadel hits may well end up costing you the game. The wiki-editors and I challenged one another to try playing some matches where we shot nothing but HE. Topping 120,000 damage was more difficult than a mix of AP and HE, but it was possible, especially with stacking fires. So, go ahead and spit out nothing but flaming death onto your opponents if you want, just be aware that your damage (and win rate) will take a small hit as a result. This ship seems to be designed to farm salt from the enemy. Between the fires she can set and the absolutely trollish heals, she'll make the enemy want to focus you down hard and fast (lewd!). It's absolutely mean what you can do with her HE shells. See that Scharnhorst / Gneisenau / Tirpitz that's trying to brawl your friends? It would be a shame if someone tore off their torpedo tubes, wouldn't it? Or how about that North Carolina that thinks itself immune to air attack from your tier VII Kaga division mate? It would be a shame if someone stripped them of all of their close and medium range AA power. This is the kind of nonsense that Nelson's HE allows you to do better than other battleships at her tier and it's a very fun shakeup of the usual game play. For all of these tricks and hilarity HE can offer, her AP is still just so much better. Why butcher a New Orleans' AA firepower when you can just blow their citadels out of the water instead? While it's fun to congratulate yourself for a 5-shell, 11,385 damage high explosive volley, this is still less than a single AP shell citadel hit (barring fires of course). There are right times to fire HE, do not get me wrong, but AP should really be the staple of your damage totals in this vessel. Nelson is a good ship, but she's not great. She's got three big flaws in my opinion: Her citadel is too high. She's blind. She's too slow. That high water citadel is going to be a deal breaker for some. When you're up against someone that really knows how to aim (or simply in a tier IX battleship), her weak spots are all but impossible to protect. This all but negates the awesomeness of her Repair Party consumable. And speaking of negating her Repair Party, torpedoes have a habit of doing this too. She has no tricks to help her spot these warheads or their source before it's already too late -- destroyers can pester you with impunity. Given the island humping meta that's so essential to master, Nelson really feels the pinch when she can't send up a plane to take a quick peek on what's going on around the corner. Finally, she is slow. And, I think the worst thing about Nelson's slow speed is that she's not slow enough that many players will see it for the flaw that it is. Nelson will get caught out on occasion and it will cost you games -- not a lot of them, but enough to impact her overall performance. Her big gimmick, though, is damage management. I put an India Delta signal on my Nelson and I took no small amount of pleasure announcing in all chat, "Watch my hp," as my poor, battered dreadnought jumped from 1/3rd of her hit points remaining back up to a hale and healthy 5/6th remaining. The outrage was delicious. I even made a Belfast player complain Nelson was OP when I denied him a kill by healing up from 1,200hp to almost 30,000. Pulling this off requires careful management of your concealment and positioning, disengaging from the thick of the fighting to lick your wounds and then returning to the fray as fast as your slow speed will allow. If it weren't for those three aforementioned flaws, Nelson would be overpowered as all get out. As it is, she's an excellent competitor for any veteran player and she will challenge you to find balance between ammunition choices, fighting at the head of the pack and withdrawing to conduct repairs. Rivals: Battleship USS Missouri HMS Nelson is the second premium vessel to be made available for free experience. The first was USS Missouri, the tier IX American battleship. Missouri's price tag weighs in at a hefty 750,000 free experience -- double that of HMS Nelson. So the question becomes: if you had to choose one, which one would you get? Obviously, if a player prefers one nation's game play over another, that will bias them in favour of a given vessel, but in terms of raw utility, it's hard to argue against the American juggernaut. Missouri has an enormous credit-earning coefficient baked into the ship. She trivializes the earning of credits, with even a poor game netting players in excess of 200,000 to 300,000 credits. Players that own Missouri have posted battle results screens showing them earning over 1.5M credits in a single match. No other premium vessel in the game is as profitable. HMS Nelson simply cannot compete with her on that level. Would I Recommend? Nelson can only be acquired (so I'm told) by spending 375,000 free experience. At a 1 doubloon to 25xp conversion rate, this works out to a cost of $63.25 USD for this ship if you had to buy the 15,000 doubloons necessary at full price. Weigh this against the cost of Scharnhorst, another tier VII premium battleship which weighs in at $42.99 including the port slot (which you'll have to pay extra for with Nelson). PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Battleships almost always do well in Co-Op battles. Nelson does alright, though be aware that things can get a bit tight on coin if you run with premium consumables and you don't have a premium account. We haven't seen any tier VII scenarios yet, so it's difficult to say if she'll meet their requirements well or not. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. If you're not going to get USS Missouri, then hells to the yeah. If nothing else, Nelson will print Fireproof and Dreadnought medals like you will not believe. She's not a bad Arsonist and Witherer farmer either if you want to derp around with HE shells. She's a great trainer for your Belfast Captains in this regard (even if there are going to be some wasted skills here and there). She also works well for training your RN Battleship commanders given that she accepts most builds with a shrug of her shoulders. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Nelson will rock people's socks in Ranked Battles. A fire slinging, super-healing, bow-tanking battleship? Unless she's put down quickly, she's just going to keep coming back and driving the enemy team nuts. When she's not on your team, you're going to hate it when your team mates waste ineffective firepower on her. She gets my vote. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. I would have preferred HMS Rodney -- Nelson's sister ship has a much more storied history. While HMS Nelson served throughout WWII, her exploits mostly involved catching 4 torpedoes and 3 naval mines through the course of her career. She saw little to no surface action, being too slow to catch the Scharnhorst-sisters and too far away to participate in engaging Bismarck. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Depending on your play style and your tolerance for derp, Nelson is either going to be the most fun you can have in a battleship with your pants on or a lackluster mehbote that does nothing for you. I have a high stupid-tolerance, so I say yes. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  14. The following is a review of Monaghan, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 8th, 2018. Cue crowd singing: "Monaghan! Monaghaaaan! Monaghaaaaaan! MONAGHAN!" (Mono...! Doh!) Quick Summary: An AA-specialized Farragut that has the option for being outfitted as a gunship or torpedo-specialist. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Can be won through the American Cruiser Collection crates. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.5. May 30th to June 8th, 2018. PROS Option of two different armament load-outs -- a gunship or a torpedo-destroyer. Gunship destroyer has solid DPM on her main battery. Long fuse timers on her AP shells make them excellent at citadelling cruisers at point-blank ranges. Torpedo destroyer has access to quintuple torpedo launchers with tier VIII fish and has a Torpedo Reload Booster too. Good AA power for a tier VI destroyer with access to Defensive Fire. Fast and agile. CONS Horrible ballistic arcs on her 127mm/38 main battery. Very long range on her main battery which increases her surface detection while firing her guns. Gunship destroyer has short ranged torpedo armament. Torpedo destroyer only has two guns mounted on the bow, making her largely unable to defend herself. Her tier VIII torpedoes are slow at 55 knots. Large surface detection range. Does not have access to the American Smoke Generator. (!) Defensive Fire and Torpedo Reload Booster are mutually exclusive. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Monaghan appears deceptively simple on the surface. She's a Farragut-class destroyer -- a destroyer even relatively new players can get access to even with only a week's worth of casual play. This will suffice to familiarize most inexperienced players with the first hull option. The second, however, is more reminiscent of the tier V Japanese Mutsuki. I would not recommend Monaghan for novice players that haven't already got a handle on these two types of game play lest they frustrate themselves. Monaghan's play style is immediately familiar to Veterans. However, her torpedo-specialist build will feel awkward given the size of her surface detection range. Here's the break down of her components: - 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. Whichever hull option you choose, Monaghan will have either guns or torpedoes. This hurts her overall Firepower performance with her overspecialization leaving her with a rating. Her Vision Control (Refrigerator) and Defense are unremarkable while her Agility is . Her Anti-Air is weird, having the potential to be the at her tier, but only if you specialize deeply into it. Monaghan only really excels in one place, and that's the potential (not the initial value) of her anti-aircraft guns. Most of the time, you're not going to want to bother with touching them anyway. On the whole, the ship rates only a rating in the categories where it matters. Ye be fairly warned, says I. Options Monaghan is two premium ships in one. She has two armament choices between her A-Hull (four guns, eight torpedoes, or "four-eight") and her B-Hull (two guns, ten torpedoes, or "two-ten"). The former is a gunship, with short-ranged torpedoes that best performs as an anti-destroyer role with spotting and harassing of larger ships as secondary role. The latter is a torpedo destroyer, woefully under-armed to perform any kind of interdiction against enemy lolibotes. She can scout as a secondary role, but she must give way to any enemy opposition in between her torpedo reloads. Consumables: Monaghan's consumables are odd. Her Damage Control Party and Engine Boost are standard for an American destroyer, but her Smoke Generator is not. You also have a choice in your 4th slot on which consumable to take between Defensive AA Fire and a Torpedo Reload Booster. Be warned, running this ship can get hella expensive. Normal American Destroyer Smoke Generators have a longer emission time. In addition, their smoke clouds last longer than either Russian, British, French or Japanese destroyers. For whatever reason, Monaghan doesn't get access to the American consumable and has to make use of the ghetto one instead. This has a 20 second emission time and each cloud lasts 81 seconds. By contrast, Farragut's smoke has a 26 second emission time and each cloud lasts for 118 seconds. Boo-urns. Monaghan defaults to a Defensive AA Fire consumable in her fourth slot. This has a 30 second action time and it increases the damage done by her 127mm/38 and 40mm Bofors by a 4x multiplier. You can swap this for a Torpedo Reload Booster. This will reload all of her torpedo tubes in 30 seconds. Camouflage Monaghan comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to repair costs 3% reduced surface detection range 4% increased dispersion of incoming fire Upgrades For Monaghan's upgrades, they're mostly standard for a destroyer. Start with Magazine Modification 1 to reduce your detonation chance. If you like to live dangerously or you intend to be using a Juliet Charlie signal most of the time, then Main Armaments Modification 1 is superior. Take Propulsion Modification 1 in your second slot. Speed is life for a destroyer. In your third slot, you have a choice. Take AA Guns Modification 2 if you intend to specialize her as an anti-aircraft ship. Otherwise, stick with Aiming Systems Modification 1. Finally, take Propulsion Modification 2 to increase Monaghan's acceleration. Firepower A-Hull Main Battery: Four 127mm/38 in four turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. A-Hull Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers mounted amidships B-Hull Main Battery: Two 127mm/38 in two bow-mounted turrets in an A-B superfiring configuration. B-Hull Torpedo Options: As A-Hull above or ten tubes in 2x5 launchers mounted amidships Both versions of Monaghan use the infamous American 127mm/38. It's renown comes from it's excellent rate of fire, gun handling and good shell damage with both AP and HE. Its infamy comes from horrible ballistics and terrible fire setting properties on a per-shell basis. Mongahan's range with these guns borders on ridiculous, rivaling even USS Sims for maximum reach which is a mixed blessing (though primarily a liability). With sufficient numbers of these weapons, Monaghan becomes a fierce prospect in a knife fight. Without, she's a victim. USN 127mm/38 guns are some of the most interesting destroyer weapons in the game. They are plagued by horrible shell flight times which makes them lob shells in "rainbow arcs" at even modest ranges. Yet somehow they are among the best AP shell throwers -- rivaling even Soviet 130mm -- with their ability to devastate cruisers at point blank ranges with citadel hits. These are weapons you need to be in close to make operate efficiently, particularly in an anti-destroyer role. There, with her fast reload, a four-gun Monaghan can shred opponents in short order. Four-Eight Monaghan Monaghan's four-eight configuration is a near-identical load-out to that found upon a C-Hull Farragut. This is the knife fighting variant of Monaghan, designed to excel in close quarters combat. Her short range torpedo launchers necessitate using ambush tactics to put them to use outside of suicidal brawls with larger ships. On paper, four-eight Monaghan is only outgunned by contemporary destroyers Aigle and B-Hull Farragut. In practice, she's an excellent contender for one of the better cap-point bullies at her tier, but this performance falls away quickly when facing higher tiered opponents. Outside of knife fights, this version of Monaghan begins to struggle. The horrible ballistic arc on her 127mm/38s, while facilitating catapulting shells over obstacles like islands, makes gunnery against anything but slow and predictable targets almost impossible at range. Monaghan can seldom take advantage of her phenomenal reach. However, she still must suffer the additional spotting range every time she opens fire. Without Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, her ability to directly damage tier VI and VII battleships is limited to superstructure hits. Even with the skill, she cannot hurt the extremities of tier VIII battleships wiht her HE shells. Her short-range torpedoes are limited to ambush uses which are most easily deployed around islands. Four-Eight Monaghan's torpedoes are limited to the short-ranged, Mark 12 torpedo. With a full concealment build, it is possible (if only just) for Monaghan to launch these weapons from concealment. You have only a 210m window of opportunity to do this and it's best done by sailing just in front of an enemy ship and dropping her fish into their path with the hopes that they sail into them. This tactic is easily foiled by any form of detection consumable, however. This version of Monaghan's armament does not up-tier well. Not only must she contend with other gunships with better DPM and larger hit point pools, some are stealthier besides. In higher-tiered matches, engagement ranges increase and the amount of island cover decreases -- two banes for a close quarters specialist like four-eight Monaghan. Opportunities to use her torpedoes outside of knife fights melt away when she's bottom tier. The prevalence of Surveillance Radar and longer-ranged Hydroacoustic Search further compounds the difficulty of making her short-ranged weapons work. Four-Eight Monaghan peaks early, often having its most dramatic moments when top-tier and early on in matches. Two-Ten Monaghan The Two-Ten Monaghan gives up any pretense of being a gunship destroyer (or even being able to adequately defend itself) to turn into a torpedo specialist. I must stress this is an option -- you may still equip the two quadruple launchers with the short-ranged torpedoes if you wish, but that would be a mistake. Her access to the quintuple launchers firing tier VIII fish is probably the reason most players have any interest in this destroyer in the first place. First, the bad news: if your Two-Ten Monaghan gets tracked down by another destroyer, you're dead. In theory, you may be capable of outfighting a Mutsuki, but that would be a closer battle than anyone would want to reasonably admit. Monaghan sacrifices of any pretense of competency with artillery to get access to the following: Those are Benson's upgraded torpedoes and ten of them between two launchers. While they're pretty meh at tier VIII, they're hella powerful at tier VI. Even one of those slammed down the throat of an enemy lolibote at tier VI and VII will kill them good. Only a scarce few German destroyers (and Aigle) are able to suppress their gag reflex and manage to hold on after getting one of those shoved in their faces. These fish are not without their flaws, however. They are slow -- their 55 knot speed means that it takes almost 62 seconds for the torpedoes to reach the end of their run at 9.2km. If they're spotted anywhere along their course, even at close to their 1.1km detection range, they're quite easy to dodge. In addition, their flood chance is only on the better-side of average for a tier VI destroyer. It's comparable to that found on the IJN torpedo boats. Finally, being quintuple launchers, they have an appalling two-minute reload timer. I strongly recommend looking at Torpedo Armament Expertise for any commander dedicated to sailing Monaghan. All of these flaws can largely be forgiven when you account for Monaghan's Torpedo Reload Booster consumable. Before you get too excited (because you skipped the Options section and didn't read it there first), this isn't the lightning-quick, 8 second torpedo reload consumable found on Japanese destroyers. Monaghan isn't capable of deploying a twenty-torpedo wall of skill. Her consumable accelerates the reload to 30 seconds. Those of you with a touch of evil in them will have realized that this is just long enough for an enemy that got hit by your first wave of torpedoes to go "Oh, shoot, I'm flooding!", activate their Damage Control Party and have it go back on cooldown before your second wave hits. Hilarity and Liquidator medals ensue. That's Monaghan in a nutshell really and why people will want her. You can turn a Farragut-class destroyer into what amounts to a Mutsuki with a consumable that allows her to double-dip fish into unsuspecting enemies sailing in straight lines. As good as this sounds, it barely keeps pace with ships like Fubuki or Shinonome. If you map out the maximum number of torpedoes that can be fired over ten minutes, Monaghan puts out 70 torpedoes compared to 72 of Fubuki and 81 of Shinonome (Fubuki needs another 8 seconds to get out her next 9). Monaghan just doesn't quite keep up with these torpedo specialists, especially given the versatility of three triple launchers and the massive Japanese warheads on their torpedoes. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Of her two builds, the Two-Ten Monaghan is closer to boasting a rating but even that's a long ways off. She's not as good of a torpedo destroyer as Shinonome or T-61 for example. In Monaghan's gunship build, she doesn't stand up to Farragut (B-Hull) and Aigle. Defense Hit Points: 13,900hp Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour: 16mm Remember when destroyer durability was relegated to just hit point totals? It's nice being back at a tier where it's just about hit points again and not wonky armour schemes or Repair Party consumables. Compared to Farragut, Monaghan has a fine ol' slug of hit points. Skills like Suvivability Expert will help, adding another 2,100hp putting her just shy of Gaede. This is especially handy in her Four-Eight build where she's expected to trade hit points in gun duels with enemy destroyers. In the grand scheme of things, though, she's decidedly average for a tier VI destroyer -- neither fragile nor tough. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Monaghan would need another 2,000 hit points to be any kind of contender here. Agility Top Speed: 36.5kts Turning Radius: 560m Rudder Shift Time: 3.4s Maximum Rate of Turn: 8.4º/s Monaghan is almost identical to Farragut in terms of her agility, with only a minor disparity in her rudder shift time to differentiate the two. What defines Monaghan (and Farragut's) agility the most is their small turning radius of 560m. American destroyers have always been incredibly agile with tight turning circles and Monaghan are no different. She's only outdone by HMS Gallant in this regard at her tier. Monaghan also boasts a decent top speed which helps her progress through her turns faster while also giving her the option of dictating engagement distances against slower ships, like Japanese destroyers. Overall, Monaghan handles beautifully. This is arguably one of her best traits and it makes her super-comfortable in knife fights. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Rejoin the British Empire, you rebel. Gallant has a tighter turning circle and nearly as much speed which makes her more nimble by far. Anti-Aircraft Defense A-Hull AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 20mm A-Hull AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 2.0km A-Hull AA DPS per Aura: 22 / 28.8 B-Hull AA Battery Calibers: 127mm/ 40mm / 20mm B-Hull AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km B-Hull AA DPS per Aura: 6 / 49.8 / 21.6 It's time to celebrate mediocrity! Monaghan, regardless of her configuration, has the potential to have the best anti-aircraft firepower at her tier. Lemme preface this by saying that stock, she doesn't have the best anti-aircraft firepower among the tier VI destroyers. That honour belongs to Hatsuharu (of all things) which really puts everything into perspective. Monaghan does take upgrades well -- specifically, she takes Defensive Fire well and, on paper, she looks like she may be a competent anti-aircraft picket ship. With her consumable blazing and every upgrade stuffed down her throat, Monaghan puts out some decent killing power. But at what cost? Let's be real: If you're using the Two-Ten Monaghan, you're going to want Torpedo Reload Booster instead of Defensive Fire in your final consumable slot. Upgrading her for anti-aircraft firepower is a waste of points and upgrades that could be better spent on emphasizing her torpedo performance. It's only the Four-Eight Monaghan where taking Defensive Fire makes any kind of sense and even then, I'm not entirely convinced you wouldn't be better served sticking with the Torpedo Reload Booster anyway. If you do go this route -- if you go full hog and bathe Monaghan in all of her anti-aircraft potential, then you get comparative killing power to a mid-tier British cruiser while Monaghan's Defensive Fire is active. Unlike a British cruiser, you will have the added bonus of a disruption effect. This can be hella-annoying for enemy CVs; especially for inexperienced aircraft carrier commanders not expecting this from a mid-tier destroyer. They may even make the mistake of trying it twice, not recognizing that you're the one scattering her drops. Throughout this, you shouldn't expect to swat down entire waves of aircraft. You're likely only to bruise them unless the squadrons linger. Still, this can be a nice supplementary source of credits and experience if you want to go this way. Just keep in mind what you're giving up. So Monaghan has great AA power -- AA power you're unlikely to ever exercise to its full potential because there are better choices out there. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Don't take Defensive Fire. If you don't, then Hatsuharu is better. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 7.2km Air Detection Range: 3.48km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.29km A-Hull Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.68km B-Hull Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.43km Main Battery Firing Range: 12.51km Much ado has been made that Monaghan has better surface detection range than the lead of her class, Farragut. This is accurate. It's entirely irrelevant, mind you, but it is accurate. Monaghan is a total cow when it comes to being stealthy which is really not what you want to be when you're a gunship that specializes in close-range knife fights. It's even less desirable in a torpedo-destroyer that can scarcely defend itself from a Japanese destroyer, never mind a competently played hunter. While Monaghan is able to stealth fire her fish in both configurations, her large detection range is a nuisance. Her guns make it worse. Her main battery range is an alarming 12.51km but most of this range is already useless given the horrible shell flight times. So not only do you have useless range, it also allows Monaghan to be spotted from a long ways away when she has to pull the trigger. Where this gets just downright idiotic is that this range weakness compounds if you have the audacity to try and specialize Monaghan towards her AA power -- y'know, one of the selling features of the ship? Yeah, tacking-on Advanced Fire Training to boost the range of your AA power also boosts her 127mm/38 guns to have a reach of 15km. So she's a stupid, fat cow with a bullhorn screaming at the Reds to shoot at her. And for whatever reason, Monaghan doesn't even get access to the improved American Smoke Generator consumable. Instead she has to make do with the same one found on Soviet, British, French and Japanese destroyers. This means less smoke made and your smoke clouds don't last nearly as long as other American destroyers -- because reasons. Ugh. Monaghan's only saving grace is that she's not German. Or tier VII. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She needs to get her surface detection below 6km with upgrades. Genuine Bona Fide Electrified Six-Tier Monoghan There are two builds to consider with Monaghan. First off, though, a caution: A full anti-aircraft build just generally isn't worth it for this destroyer. Her Two-Ten hull doesn't have enough AA DPS situated in her 127mm/38s to be worth upgrading with Manual Fire Control for AA Guns and Advanced Fire Training is a loser-skill option that will only make it easier for enemy ships to spot you when you're engaged in gunnery battles which is bad news for both hull types. For both builds, start with Priority Target and then pick up Last Stand at tier 2. Tier 3 is where all of the choice begins and where the two ships diverge. For the Two-Ten Monaghan, take Torpedo Armament Expertise to accelerate your reload. The Four-Eight Monaghan should look at Survivability Expert or Basic Fire Training for their first tier 3 skill. Grab Concealment Expert at tier 4 next for both builds. For your next nine skill points, you're spoiled for choice. The Four-Eight Monaghan should look towards skills that help with gunnery. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will help damage battleships. So too will Demolition Expert. However, Superintendent is very useful for the extra smoke charge which, in long games, will allow you to sit still and bombard enemies with less worry about being damaged. With any points leftover, take Adrenaline Rush or wherever you wish. The Two-Ten Monaghan should look to skills like Survivability Expert, and Superintendent as a matter of course. Any leftover points can go where the player wishes, though I would highly recommend trying to squeeze in Radio Location so you can be where other destroyers aren't. Final Evaluation Harekaze 2.0 this is not. You're getting the choice of playing a Mutsuki or 4/5ths of a Farragut How many people use the C-Hull on their American DDs anyway? Am I the only one that avoids it? Two different armament options!? Sign me up! That was my initial thought when I heard that Monaghan could swap between two very different builds. This got me all kinds of excited. I loved the change in game play styles offered when you can equip different weapon types. This is part of what makes Harekaze and Mogami so much fun, in my opinion. Yet for whatever reason, Monaghan just hit a sour note with me. I never found my earlier excitement stoked further with compelling game play. I find this incredibly strange given the enjoyment that can be found in torpedo destroyers and gunships respectively. It took me a while, but I think the issue that makes me feel 'meh' (foreshadowing!) about Monaghan is her surface detection range. I guess the Japanese destroyers have spoiled me. If I'm running with so few guns, I want to get close to ensure torpedo hits. But Monaghan's too fat to get that close and unlike the higher tiered American destroyers, she doesn't have the self defense armament to protect herself if she gets spotted by a picket ship. Once you factor in the slow running speed of her torpedoes, this extra launch distance really makes landing those hits difficult. Benson, with Concealment Modification 1 can get a whole 500m closer to fire off her fish and she's generally not worried if she's lit by another destroyer beforehand. As for her Four-Eight hull, well -- I have never found the C-Hull variants of the American destroyers particularly compelling. Give me the choice between more dakka versus surface ships or more dakka versus planes, I am going to choose the former every time. So Four-Eight Monaghan feels just under-gunned for me. Her extra concealment over Farragut helps a bit here -- I mean, you can choose to turn away, rather than engage some of the bigger, scarier boats but I'm still left wanting more. Oh well. Monaghan isn't terrible, she's just not for me. The variety offered by this ship is a good thing. Would I Recommend? This isn't a ship I would get for myself. If I won it in a crate, hooray! It would still most likely sit in my port unused barring use in some occasional Daily Mission. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Monaghan can spit out a lot of damage very quickly with her massive torpedo walls. So long as you can survive closing with bots, you should be able to derp fish at point blank range up their nose and score some big damage in Co-Op. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. Monaghan makes a great trainer for either your gunship destroyer captains or if you've specialized some of your high tier American destroyers commanders to emphasize throwing torpedoes instead. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Monaghan doesn't have a competitive edge over ships like Shinonome, T-61 or Aigle. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. Monaghan earned 12 battle stars in her service during WW2, including fighting at Pearl Harbour. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? No. This one surprised me, but I just couldn't get into this ship. You would think with two hull options, the variety would appeal, but we just never clicked, Monaghan and I. Your mileage may vary, though. 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 This took longer than I had planned. I caught the summer flu that's been going around locally and that cost me a few days. My next review will be USS Salem, the tier X American cruiser. Expect it around the week of June 18th. Thank you all for reading. If you enjoy my work and find it useful, please consider sponsoring me on Patreon. Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.
  15. Capt_Ahab1776

    Got the JB

    Just recently got the Jean Bart with coal out of the Armory. Very pleasantly surprised. First ship with all forward facing guns. Just my opinion it's design has a advantage over the other forward facing BB's with the fact there is just two turrets. stacked, so can face directly ahead or slightly angled on bow and still give a "broadside" without having to show broadside. Longer range than anticipated. Just hadn't really researched main battery range. Fairly nimble, reload booster, speed booster. A well designed battlecruiser in my opinion. Smaller calibre rifles is the only reason I say that. A nice compliment of 2ndaries. Overall, I give it a thumbs up. If anybody was thinking of getting it. Speaking personally, I don't think you will regret it.
  16. Koogus

    Yuudachi changes

    From what I've seen and heard about the current version of yuudachi is that she seems to be a weaker version of the shira with worst torps. I am just wondering what other people would want to change to make her better or more interesting
  17. I was surprised to learn I have both. Played them 5 times between them. A year ago. So, I really know nothing about them. Coming back now. Comments, insights, please. (Any mods?)
  18. Hey guys, im running low on credits and decided to get a T8 premium ship to grind them out, the problem is i dont know what ship to get that will give me consistent good battles and credits, so far i have heard good things about Alabama and Atago so i dont know which one of these to get, any other ships are welcome for suggestion aswell! Edit: Hey guys! thanks for all the replies, i have read every comment and despite many people recommending ships like Scharnhorst and Tirpitz due to my experience with German Battleships, i have decided to get Atago, i have seen a couple of videos of it and looks very fun, the concealment, access to health repair party and great torps are very appealing to me. Reasons for not getting scharnhorst or Tirpitz is because i dont really want another close range Brawler battleship, Bismarck and Kurfurst are really fun but i do want to explore other game styles aswell. Thanks again for all the help, i didn't expect this many people to reply and help me out, what a great community! P.S: dont say Missouri 😂
  19. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Kaga

    The following is a review of Kaga, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 1st, 2017.The awkward teenager. Quick Summary: An enormous carrier with specialized dive bomber and torpedo bomber squadron attack modes. Her fighters are not up to snuff.Cost: $43.99 USD including a port slot.Patch and Date Written: May 17th to May 30th, 2017. Patch 0.6.5 to 0.6.5.1. Closest in-Game Contemporary Hiryu, Tier VII Japanese Aircraft CarrierDegree of Similarity:Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Kaga is only superficially similar to a stock Hiryu. At least then Kaga shares Hiryu's fighters, torpedo planes and dive bombers. However, all of Kaga's strike aircraft have unique ordnance, strike patterns and squadron sizes. The physical ship itself shares very little with the other carriers, with her hull based on that of a battleship. PROs Large hit point pool. Well protected citadel, including anti-torpedo bulges. Specialized large dive bomber squadrons with super-accurate drops. Specialized, large torpedo plane squadrons with a special drop pattern. Enormous carrier capacity of 85 planes. Excellent (and optimized) Flight Control Group of 2-2-1, allowing her to use and abuse two torpedo squadrons at the same time. CONs Huge target with large, soft areas that are easy for any HE shell to penetrate. Her impressive looking secondary compliment is more for show. Fighter groups are only tier VI, making them the underdog in almost any match-up. Poor damage potential from her aerial bombs. Her larger flight groups lead to longer reload times for her strike aircraft. Only modest AA power. She turns as like a one legged cow. She's about as fast too. Very easy to spot. Enormous aerial detection range and a large surface detection range too. Kaga is a beast and she looks the part. This carrier is absolutely enormous and she looks armed to the teeth with huge aircraft squadrons cluttering her decks and massive, heavy-cruiser sized defensive batteries. Tack on all of the history behind the vessel and what's not to love? In World of Warships, she's a very interesting aircraft carrier and worth taking a closer look, even if you're not a fan of the ship type. OptionsKaga has the option of using two different Flight Control groups, divided between 1-1-3 squadrons and 2-2-1 squadrons between fighters, torpedo planes and dive bombers respectively. For the first Flight Control group, the hangar capacity is divided between 11 fighters, 21 torpedo planes and 53 dive bombers. The second splits the hangar capacity with 28 fighters, 43 torpedo planes and 14 dive bombers. Consumables:Damage Control Party Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard aircraft carrier upgrades. Premium Camouflage: Tier VI+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. For upgrades, I would select the following: In your first slot, take Air Groups Modification 1. Your secondaries and AA guns aren't good enough to be worth hurting your fighters any further. In your second slot, you have a choice. Flight Control Modification 1 is probably considered optimal. Kaga's larger strike air groups have almost a 30s reload time between waves and this will reduce them down by about four seconds. Alternatively, you can try and make your fighters a credible threat by using Air Groups Modiifcation 2. Understand that if you go this route, it's an uphill battle. Your fighters alone aren't likely to win you air supremacy that wasn't already gift wrapped for you by your opponent selecting a Strike-Ranger. In your third slot, take Damage Control System Modification 1. This will get your anti-torpedo protection up to 24% which is quite nice for a carrier. And in your final slot, take Damage Control System Modification 2. You will come under attack and you will suffer fires and floods. It's possible this last module will be the difference between surviving or not. Besides, nothing can really help Kaga pretend to be nimble, so don't kid yourself that the other mods will do you any service. Air Groups Aircraft Types: Mitsubishi A6M2 fighter, Nakajima B5N2 torpedo plane, Aichi D3A1 dive bomber Flight Control Groups: One fighter, one torpedo plane and three dive bombers (1-1-3) or two fighter, two torpedo plane, one dive bomber (2-2-1) Base Squadron Sizes: Four fighters, Six Torpedo Planes, Six Dive Bombers Hangar Capacity: 85 Like Saipan before her, Kaga has some unique features where her air groups are concerned. Fighters Kaga uses tier VI A6M2 "Zero" fighters. These are the exact same fighters you first unlock on the tier VI Ryujo and use again with the stock tier VII Hiryu. They even come in the same squadron size of four fighters which can be upgraded to five if you take the Air Supremacy skill. With mirrored matchmaking between carriers, these fighters have an immediate disadvantage over most other fighters you will encounter. Proper use of the strafe mechanics is key to doing the most damage possible. This will buy your strike aircraft time to do their job. You'll hemorrhage fighters quickly in most cases and eat through even Kaga's substantial reserves. So long as this is used to make strikes to the betterment of your team, the losses are acceptable. It can be worthwhile to freely offer up your fighters to lock down those of your enemy to give your bombers a clear attack run -- with Kaga, this is often all that's needed. More than any other carrier, Kaga benefits from the skill, Dogfighting Expert. It's rare that she will ever face same-tier fighter squadrons, and this provides a ready boost to their (in)efficiency. While this won't give her close to parity in performance with A6M5s or Hellcats (never mind Corsairs), it will give them a bit more attack power to help draw out fights. A6M2 Zeroes hound a Ranger's TBF Avengers. Dive Bombers There are several odd points about Kaga's dive bombers. Superficially, they share the same baseline stats as Ryujo's tier VI D3A1s. This includes hit point total and speed, but the similarities end there. Kaga organizes her dive bombers in squadrons of six planes instead of the usual four found on standard IJN Carriers. Their turn around time in the hangar is 31 seconds up from 19 seconds for Hiryu's dive bombers. In addition, they use a different armament. Kaga's D3A1s are armed with the Type 99 N6 Mod 1 bomb. Compared to those found on Hiryu, they have less armour penetration, a smaller blast-size, reduced fire chance and, most crucial of all, they do less damage. All of these drawbacks are compensated by having an dispersion radius nearly half that of normal IJN dive bomber squadrons and could be closely compared to that from Saipan's. Unlike the American premium, Kaga can tighten this further with a manual drop, landing nearly all of her bombs with pin point accuracy. Properly aimed, you can guarantee all of her bombs will strike a target. This is very necessary as her bombs only do 858 damage per hit (or less on saturated targets). An upgraded squadron with seven planes is only going to put out a maximum of 6006 damage with their strikes which is a far cry from the destroyer-busting salvos from Saipan. With a manual drop, it's unlikely that more than a single fire will be lit as they will all cluster on a single section and most ships will laugh off this kind of damage. It's only through the use of multiple dive bomber squadrons that Kaga can stack any substantial amount of damage and it's not easy going. Moreover, it's often not worth the effort of trying to land these pinpoint strikes and this, in turn, diminishes the value of the 1-1-3 control group. I've found that it's not really necessary to manually drop Kaga's dive bombers. I will spend little more time with them than to align their approach vector along the long-axis of the ship and let them auto drop. This will not result in as many hits overall, but it is more likely to spread fires across multiple sections of the ship. This in turn taxes the Damage Control Party of my target and sets up follow up attacks with torpedo planes quite nicely Overall, Kaga's dive bombers are interesting but they're not the weapon of choice for maximizing damage with this vessel and they largely play a secondary or follow up role. Blast radius of the dive-bombers from tier VII carriers with a reference-Mahan for scale. Kaga is the least likely to detonate targets she strikes with bombs as hits must be grouped quite precisely over top of the magazines to set them off. Other carriers need only land them within the same postal code to have a chance at damaging a whole number of modules. Torpedo Planes Once more, Kaga borrows from Ryujo with the B5N2 torpedo plane. In this case this isn't acting at a disadvantage to Hiryu as both carriers use this aircraft. Immediately players will notice that Kaga's squadron size for her torpedo planes is enormous, comparable to the six-plane squadrons of USN carriers. Their reload time is 29 seconds compared to 21 seconds for Hiryu's squadron of four, but is far in advance of Ranger's 41 seconds. This even compares well to Saipan's 22 second rearmament with her Skyraiders. Taken in isolation, Kaga can turn around more torpedo bombers faster than any of the other tier VII carriers. The large squadron size also comes with the option with the 2-2-1 load-out to operate two squadrons simultaneously (with 31 reserve bombers!), opening up all sorts of brutal meta play. Kaga's torpedoes travel at 48 knots compared to the 35 knots of Hiryu's torpedoes with only a minor sacrifice of 400m worth of range, bringing their reach down to a 3km. This all comes without sacrificing damage which is obscene. Kaga's torpedo drop takes a unique pattern. Rather than dropping line abreast, the formation of six planes drops in two lines, one in front of the other. Each line has three fish. The torpedoes released closest to the target are spread further apart. The second line is more tightly packed -- akin to the initial spacing of USN aerial dropped torpedoes. Casualties taken from Kaga's torpedo planes removes aircraft from this second line first, diminishing the tighter cluster. Like all IJN torpedo aircraft, their torpedoes take a convergent path on a manual drop. The net of this drop is quite different from the usual pattern players are used to evading. By playing with the range of the attack and overlapping salvos, different combinations can be used depending on the target. The wide spread of advanced torpedoes can be ignored in favour of focusing on emphasizing the narrow spread that drops behind. These drops at near point blank range can see players panic to avoid the wide-spread fish only to expose themselves to the cluster coming in behind. The variations are many, especially when doubled up with a second squadron for a cross drop, bullet-hell nightmare that will make for some great YouTube montages. Kaga's torpedo planes allow her to assassinate most surface vessels outright through either a combination of overwhelming damage or a mix of direct assault and damage over time effects. She can afford to attack targets that other carriers might not brave grace of her deep plane reserves. Approximate size of manual torpedo drop spreads at minimum arming range for Ranger (left) and Kaga (right). Both carriers have comparable widths at this range, but Kaga's will converge the further her torpedoes run while Ranger's will diverge over distance. Reference-Mahan used for scale. Load Outs Given the ridiculous strengths of Kaga's torpedo bombers, her 2-2-1 build is optimal. A single torpedo hit against most targets will do more damage than an entire squadron of dive bombers. This build also gives her more fighters to work with to help unstick her attack planes from enemy bandits. The carrier-snipe potential from this build is very real and anyone facing a Kaga should be wary of misplacing Kaga's torpedo plane squadrons lest they find themselves ambushed. So while air superiority is difficult for this carrier to achieve, she can wrest it away by going for the source of enemy aircraft with alarming ease. Firepower Secondary Battery: Ten 200mm guns in single casemate mounts, sixteen 127mm 8x2 turrets. On paper, Kaga appears to carry more firepower than the mid tier IJN Heavy Cruisers. It would be a mistake to expect too much out of these weapons. First of all, they are divided into port and port and starboard batteries, giving her a maximum broadside of five 200mm guns and eight 127mm guns. Second, their fire angles preclude all of the guns from engaging a target in her forward aspect until they're 45º off her bow (or 30º off her stern). Third, their range is limited to 4.5km. And finally, Kaga is an aircraft carrier. She's not built to trade fire with surface ships. While it may be tempting to toss a secondary-specialized Captain in her, it's your funeral. Short of a low health, Soviet destroyer being stupid enough to stray into gun range, your secondaries aren't going to get a whole lot of exercise. Attempts to do so often end hilariously and with a sad trombone sound effect. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 28.0 knotsTurning Radius: 1080mRudder Shift: 14.4s Maximum Turn Rate: 2.69º per second. Kaga doesn't do anything particularly fast. Her top speed isn't impressive and this leaves her dangerously vulnerable if one flank collapses. When it comes to agility, whole generations live and die before she can manage to turn herself 90º, never mind coming full about. DurabilityHit Points: 51,000Maximum Protection: 19mm + 76mm + 152mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm extremities, 21mm flight deckTorpedo Damage Reduction: 22% Kaga has an enormous hit point pool for a tier VII carrier, which she deserves given the size of her. Being built on a battleship hull, her layers of protection around her citadel are quite formidable. Her citadel itself has 76mm of protection and is almost entirely submerged. At medium to close ranges, one must also punch through 152mm armoured belt and 19mm anti-torpedo bulges. While this won't turn away battleship shells, it does provide a reasonable obstacle for cruisers and destroyers, giving Kaga some survivability in such encounters, so long as they're kept brief. The downside is that all of this armour around her citadel is made largely irrelevant when it comes to high explosive attacks. Kaga is enormous and most of that upper structure right to her deck is easily penetrated by any high explosive shells she's likely to face. It's almost impossible to miss her once you start shooting and her tall silhouette makes a tempting target. Her torpedo damage reduction isn't great, but at least she has some. Not every carrier can boast that. This can save her from flooding damage and frustrate would-be carrier snipers. Secondary batteries exchange between Kaga and Dunkerque. Don't try this at home. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 12.6km Air Detection Range: 13.6 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 10.3km Minimum Aerial Detection Range: 11.4km Kaga makes Großer Kurfurst look like a modest design. This ship be huge. Specifically, Kaga is very tall. Her flight deck is almost at the same height as the top of Yamato's rangefinders. Yeah. She's that big. This comes with some understandable complications. Aside from just being easier to hit, she's also very easy to spot. Kaga has a larger aerial detection range than she does a surface detection range. Stray float planes and wandering enemy fighters are likely to uncover her at inopportune times. This makes taking an aggressive position filled with more risk than it might in a Hiryu or Saipan, for example, especially given her less than exemplary speed and agility. Once Kaga is detected by surface vessels, disengaging is all but impossible. She doesn't have the speed or stealth to open up the distance and, short of sinking her pursuers, she can only hope to make use of island cover to make her escape. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 25mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.1kmAA DPS per Aura: 81 / 70 Kaga's anti-aircraft armament isn't up to the task of keeping her safe. To be fair, it's only slightly behind that of Hiryu, but even being up to par with that CV wouldn't be anything worth bragging about. Kaga's fighter cover is really necessary to keep her safe from enemy attack, taxing her already over burdened (and up tiered) fighters even more. This makes Air Groups Modification 2 look even more appealing to provide her fighters with improved endurance to continue to harass and shoot down approaching attack planes. Given her large aerial detection range, you can expect to be sniffed out early and for many opponents to try their luck at taking you out with a snipe. Worse, her large aerial detection range far exceeds even the maximum upgraded range of her AA batteries, necessitating the use of fighters to search for and clear out spotters to keep enemy surface ships from trying their luck with a long ranged pot shot or two. How to Increase your Joy The commander skills needed to optimize Kaga aren't anything special. Her AA power and secondaries aren't really worth spending skill points into to try and emphasize. This leaves us with a focus of skills to improve her aircraft performance and rearmament times -- skills that mesh well with most of the other IJN carriers, making Kaga a decent training ship once the minimums have been selected. As usual, we'll be racing to select a top tier skill first before doubling back. To this end, we'll be selecting one skill from each tier for our first 10pts spent. Start with Aircraft Servicing Expert -- Kaga's reload timer with her strike aircraft is quite long compared to other IJN Carriers. Follow this up with Torpedo Acceleration at the next tier. This will drop your effective range of your torpedo planes to 2.4km but it will increase the speed of your torpedoes to 53 knots which is hilarious. Next, take Torpedo Armaments Expertise. Finally, take Air Supremacy. Now we can double back through the lines. For your 11th point, take Dogfighting Expert. Few carriers benefit from this skill as enormously as Kaga does with her tier VI fighters. With that, your fighter squadrons are now a credible threat to a stock Hiryu and a mismanaged Saipan. From this point, you can take skills to taste. I would strongly recommend taking Concealment Expert with your next 4 skill points -- Kaga gets spotted often and this can really help mitigate that. If you choose to live dangerously (or decide that being spotted is a forgone conclusion), you can elect to take Basic and Advanced Fire Training to prop up her modest levels of flak and pretend that her secondaries are a serious threat -- which they aren't. Skills like Expert Rear Gunner and High Alert are great follow up choices for the more serious minded. She's hyooj. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Carrier game play is largely unforgiving as a rule. That said, Kaga is about as suitable for a new player as any aircraft carrier is likely to be outside of tier IV. She's very auto-drop friendly and she can land a large number of bomb and torpedo hits, even if you don't know how to manually aim. In the hands of an expert, Kaga is easy-mode on a whole new level. I dread seeing the damage totals this thing will spit out when the veterans get a hold of her. She offers so much control of damage-over-time effects and high alpha strikes. The biggest hurdle will be proper management of her under-performing fighters while ensuring that her own strike craft deliver their payloads quickly and efficiently. Mouse's Summary: How did this get past testing in this form? The 2-2-1 load out is disgusting. The only real challenge with her is managing her under-strength fighter squadrons. The rest is easy mode. I'm sorry, Ranger. I am so sorry. Kaga is very powerful. Maybe too powerful. I get how Wargaming might considered her balanced. Her fighters, even when fully specialized, will never be match for her contemporaries. Kaga's strike squadrons take a long time to reload. Her dive bombers don't hit especially hard and, when manual dropped, aren't likely to set more than a single fire. She is awkward and she is slow to respond. She is clumsy. She's easily spotted even when she thinks she's being subtle and sneaky. And, of course, Kaga has really big guns that will only get her into trouble if she tries to flaunt them. I am getting high school flashbacks. This all goes towards making her 2-2-1 build acceptable at a cursory glance, which it really shouldn't be. I am not expecting the population at large to dominate with Kaga. Her performance is locked behind a skill wall. However, I do think attention needs to be justly placed on her potential. Facing off against a competently captained Kaga will be a nightmare. I had some serious open-Beta Midway flashbacks during my play-test sessions. It felt cruel how easy it was to stack floods, set up cross drops and largely abuse surface ships. I cringe to think why Wargaming decided this game play was unacceptable for Midway, yet perfectly cromulent for Kaga, especially when under performing ships like Ranger go without. Yet, Kaga won't paint any potatoes purple. She doesn't come with training wheels. Waste time setting up attacks and your team will melt around you. Botch a carrier snipe and you'll pay for it. Choose the wrong target and your planes will evaporate before placing their drop. Mishandle your fighters against a Saipan or HIryu and you'll be on your back foot from the word go. Kaga is easily a contender for the best carrier at her tier. She's hands down better than Ranger. On the attack, she's better than Saipan or Hiryu, but she's weaker than both defensively in terms of her fighters and also the vulnerability of the carrier herself. Is she overpowered? She definitely has facets -- or rather, one facet, that smacks of such. Would I Recommend? I should preface this with the following: Kaga isn't likely to convert any new carrier players to the fold. If you haven't enjoyed playing carriers before, I don't think she'll win you over. While the attack patterns of her dive bombers and torpedo planes are interesting, they are not some miracle fix to the disparate game play between carriers and surface vessels. For PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Very yes. Kaga can carry a PVE-match. Her damage output with the proper build is ridiculous. Snipe the enemy Kaga then farm damage at will. Her repair costs are just shy of a 34,000 credits while she'll gross between 75,000 to 100,000 easily on a decent match. For Random Battle Grinding This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. I could easily recommend Kaga to grind up through Random Battles, with the one provision that she only makes a suitable trainer for commanders with at least 10pts invested in aircraft carrier skills. Without these, she really struggles against anything short of a Strike Ranger. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. In competitive environments, a well commanded Kaga is a potential nightmare for the enemy team and a strong contender for one of the best carriers at her tier. In the hands of an expert, she can delete enemy ships at will. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Kaga has an extensive history, including her famous end at the Battle of Midway. For World of Warships players, she also represents the first IJN carrier premium, which is something in of itself. She's also the second carrier premium ever. For Fun Factor:Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? I generally dislike carrier game play so it was hard for me to enjoy my time with Kaga. Take that with the necessary pinch of salt. I didn't find anything particularly compelling about playing her. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE- Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  20. Ok. So first, a little bit of info on my experience First, I bought a 20 pack of crates and got both saipan and enterprise. I also have the midway and have sunk a fair bit of games in all three +Lexi. I do not have graf zeppelin or kaga or any other nations carriers higher than tier 6. With that in mind, here are my thoughts Out of all of the carriers I currently own, enterprise is my favourite. She is basically a flexington with AP bombs and an amazing fighter consumable. Seriously. She spawns 10 fighters (11 with direction center for catapult aircraft) in a 3.5km range which is insane! In comparison, the midway spawns about 7 or 8 fighters with the same patrol radius. If any squadron steps into these fighters, they will be shredded, so use them to protect your DD's and focused capital ships. Her torpedo bombers are about the same as Rexingtons and I found those torps fun to use when I was grinding midway. What really sells this ship for me is her AP bombers which are a lot like the old American AP bombers, in my experience, they are extremely effective against cruisers of all armor and German battleships, other nations battleships that I dropped were rarely citadeled and aircraft carriers were the same story. All of this coupled with the quick squadron refresh and fair rockets make her my favorite carrier so far Saipan is a bit of a different story. While I don't think she is terrible, I definitely don't think she is easy to play as her refreshment time is extremely punishing for newer CV players. Her planes are individually amazing (as expected! They are t10 aircraft) but are limited by small squadron sizes and lower HP pools than her American counterparts due to the small squadron size. The armament on the saipan is awesome though. The fighters drop the same number of tiny Tim rockets as the Keckxington drops, the HE bombs are good and have a decent fire chance and finally, the torpedoes have great alpha damage, but are slow and have short range (a trait common with American air-dropped torpedoes). The kicker is the same as her rockets. You get 4 torpedoes per drop (2 a plane) and you can do large chunks of damage to ships if you line up all of your torpedoes correctly. Overall, saipan is much more difficult to use, but can be very rewarding if you play your cards right. So why do choose the enterprise over the saipan? Well that brings me back to the biggest point of all. MATCHMAKING! Matchmaking for tier 8 carriers is probably the worst it will be right now and it doesn't show any sign of changing any time soon. The reason for this is that a tier 8 carrier has no problem dealing with tier 8 ships as of now, but as of late, matchmaking has been pretty atrocious for tier 8 carriers with many tier 10s and tier 9s in queue. One or two tier 10s can be managed as you can be sure to give them a wide berth to avoid unnecessary losses. But more often than not, you will have games where the enemy team is filled to the brim with tier 10 AA. I have seen people feel so helpless that they immediately quit the battle when they see that they are the only tier 8s in the game. This is why I rate the enterprise as the easier ship to play because of the fact that its aircraft regeneration is so fast and saipan's is so very slow. If the meta was a bit different without constant uptiering for carriers, I would say it would be a harder choice. But the meta isn't changing and neither is carrier matchmaking. As for kaga and graf zeppelin, I really can't comment on them since I didn't have the luck of getting one in a container and I don't think I want to sink any more money into the game. Still, that doesn't mean they are bad, I just don't have the experience to comment on them. This is all just my opinion and observations. I don't really like spewing data numbers on a page so that's why I don't have data crammed in here. Hope this helps!
  21. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: USS Kidd

    The following is a review of USS Kidd, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of November 9th, 2017. With historical ties to the vessels Essex, Alabama, Arizona and Black which also appear in World of Warships. Quick Summary: A Fletcher-class lolibote that sacrifices one quintuple torpedo launcher and manoeuvrability for improved speed, anti-aircraft firepower and a Repair Party consumable. Cost: The equivalent of 9,100 doubloons Patch and Date Written: Patch 0.6.12.1 to 0.6.13.0, October 28th to November 9th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary Fletcher, Tier 9 American Destroyer Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique There are many small differences between the two ships. The most telling are their speed, consumables, torpedo armament and anti-aircraft firepower. Kidd is faster than Fletcher but she doesn't handle as well. She has only a single quintuple torpedo launcher and she's stuck with Fletcher's stock torpedoes. Her anti-aircraft is improved with additional 40mm Bofors and 20mm Oerlikons. As a tier VIII ship, she has less hit points than Fletcher but she compensates for this with a Repair Party consumable. There are other minor differences too, such as Kidd having slightly worse concealment by air. PROs Comes with a Repair Party consumable. Armed with five rapid-fire 127mm rifles with amazing turret traverse speeds of 34º/s. Excellent AA power for a destroyer, including access to Defensive Fire. Good top speed of 38.0knots. She's very stealthy with a 5.80km surface detection range with a full concealment build. Combined features make her an excellent forward scout. CONs The shell flight time on her 127mm/38 guns is horrible. She has only a single torpedo launcher. The torpedoes are the same fish found on Benson (the stock torpedoes for Fletcher -- boo-urns). The reload on this torpedo launcher is longer than HMCS Haida's development time (Summer 2018, maybe?) Emphasis on "for a destroyer" in regards to the excellent AA power thing. They require a deep investment in skills to make them a credible threat and then only with her Defensive Fire consumable active. Large turning circle for a destroyer at 620m. She's not doing a lot of damage on her own with her current build, making her more reliant on support-damage to be profitable. I'm always excited to see new tier VIII premiums. They feel, I dunno, more legitimate than other premiums. It's a silly sentiment, but they truly are the flagship vessels in a given line. People look to them not only for grinding out experience to train Captains, but also to earn credits to help maintain their fleet. Tie in the added bonus of the competitive meta surrounding tier VIII in Ranked Battles and tournaments and it's hard not to get excited. Seeing the United States Navy finally get some tier VIII premium love in 2017 with Alabama and Enterprise has certainly been a highlight for me. I couldn't be happier to see USS Kidd join the fleet. At least, that was my initial sentiment until I played her. For those unaware, she had a rather troubled and delayed development cycle and for a while, it was anyone's guess whether she'd actually make it into the game or not. The ship we received looks normal enough on paper, but her looks can be deceiving. What we've received is a highly specialized vessel with a very distinct role at which she excels. Getting the most out of this vessel is a real challenge. Truth be told, USS Kidd reminds me a lot of USS Sims in terms of game play. Options Well, there's one fun little surprise here with Kidd's Repair Party, but the rest is to be expected. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. Kidd is an American lolibote. Right out of the gates, she has access to the improved Smoke Generator for that nation. This improves not only the smoke cloud's duration (124 seconds vs 89 seconds at tier VIII), but also the emission time of the smoke (28 seconds vs 20 seconds at tier VIII). In short, it allows USN destroyers to lay more smoke which lasts longer. In practical terms, Kidd can generate up to 10 individual smoke clouds maximum. This comes with the standard two charges by default. Now let's talk about the exciting bit: Kidd's Repair Party is a standard version of this consumable. Kidd queues up 100% of fire, flooding, ramming and overpenetration damage. She queues up 50% of everything else. It's nice not to have to worry about citadel hits. Each charge heals up the standard 14% of the ship's maximum HP (2,338 damage in Kidd's case) over 28 seconds. This comes with two charges by default. Finally, Kidd must choose between the Engine Boost consumable or a Defensive Fire consumable. I say this is a "choice" but it's not. Take Defensive Fire. The destroyer version of Defensive Fire has a reduced active period of 30 seconds compared to the 40 seconds of a cruiser version while sharing the same 180/120 second reset timer. However, the DPS gain from the destroyer consumable has increased from x3 to x4 with patch 0.6.13. Either one of these consumables comes with two charges by default. Make sure you load up on as many premium consumables as you can afford. Kidd is an expensive ship to run. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Repair Party Engine Boost or Defensive Fire Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard destroyer upgrades Premium Camouflage: Type 10. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. This is the gorgeous Measure-22 paint scheme which you will also see on other American premiums like Missouri, Alabama and Massachussetts. We're going to build Kidd to emphasize her AA power. In her first slot, take Magazine Modification 1. She's a destroyer with a Repair Party. Your cause of death to detonations just went up because you can take more hits than other destroyers. In your second slot, take AA Guns Modification 2. This will bump up your AA range handsomely and better allow you to assist allies when they come under aircraft attack. In your third slot, take Propulsion Modification 1 to help keep your engines intact. It will help a little and speed is life. In your fourth slot, take Propulsion Modification 2. You may find yourself parking in smoke on occasion and this will give you a nice jump start. And finally, take Concealment System Modification 1 to make yourself sneakier. Special Upgrades! There are three Special Upgrades worth considering. If you don't have access to these, don't worry about it. They are rare. You can win them from Super Containers or from Ranked Battles and other events. Smoke Generator Modification 1 would replace AA Guns Modification 2 in the second slot. This increases the smoke generation time for Kidd from 28 seconds to 36 seconds but reduces the individual cloud duration to 118 seconds. This isn't a very strong choice. If you wanted to throw away Kidd's anti-aircraft firepower advantages and reduce your spotting-experience gains, go nuts, but it's a loser move. Next up in the Special Upgrades you won't be using but technically are compatible with Kidd is Engine Boost Modifiaction 1. This competes with Propulsion Modification 1. You won't take this because you'll have Defensive Fire and not Engine Boost on this premium like a smart person. And finally, also competing with Propulsion Modification 1 is Defensive Fire Modification 1. Now this seems like a no brainer -- it increases the active time of Kidd's Defensive Fire from 30 seconds to 36 seconds. The only reason I would imagine that someone wouldn't want to stick this on Kidd would be the rarity of the consumable and the demand to put it on other ships before giving it to a destroyer. Firepower Primary Battery: Five 127mm/38 rifles in an A-B-P-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedo Armament: Five tubes in a 1x5 launcher behind the funnels facing forward. Kidd's firepower sucks. USN 127mm/38 Mark 30s, we meet again. The last time we crossed swords with these weapons on a premium ship was with USS Sims at tier VII. These are the same guns found on Fletcher, Black and Benson, so veterans of the American destroyer line should immediately be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of these guns. They mirror these other ships identically with their excellent rate of fire, the wicked fast gun traverse, the horrible muzzle velocity and the oh-so infamous shell flight time. Penetration and fire chance are all on par too. The detection in smoke while firing is different, however, with Sims having a 2.8km detection while everyone else has a 2.7km. Don't ask me why. It's not even a contest. The shell flight time for the USN 127mm/38s is terrible. We're probably going to have to wait for the Royal Navy destroyers before we see Kidd's shell flight time compare favourably to anything. This is compensated for by some of the highest HE DPM among the high tier destroyers. The lesson here is that Kidd can potentially do a lot of damage with her guns -- but only so long as you can overcome the challenges of her weak penetration and horrible ballistics. In theory, these guns are ideal for short range knife fights with enemy destroyers where they can throw out a wall of rapid fire shells and pummel their opponents into submission. The reality is that outside of 8km, it becomes very difficult to lead other lolibotes properly -- especially if you're working with a 1920 x 1080 screen resolution (or smaller) and you have a habit of firing from maximum zoom. Kidd needs to seize enemy destroyers by the belt buckle, keep close to them and hammer shells home lest she embarrassingly gets outgunned by a Yugumo. Once ranges increase beyond this comfort zone, it's better to go gun silent, dodge and disengage; especially if they run away to tattle on you to bigger boats. The stranger-danger presented by grown-up ships is quite palpable given that you cannot rely on Kidd's torpedoes. The USN 127mm/38s really struggle at tiers VIII+ to put out the damage on larger vessels. Their anemic fire chance, horrible ballistics and poor penetration values all compound to a muddy mess. Kidd's HE penetration sits at 21mm which can be boosted to 27mm with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells at the expense of her chance to set fires. This is already quite low on a per-shell basis, though the recent changes to the skill have softened this blow somewhat. This improvement to penetration will allow Kidd to damage the extremities of all battleships at tiers VI and VII, along with those of most cruisers up to tier X with the exception of the American and German cruisers at tiers VIII+. Without this boost, she's reliant upon setting fires and peppering superstructures to do the lion's share of her damage. Damage saturation mechanics, the reduced fire damage on cruisers and the increased prevalence of fire resistance skills and upgrades among battleships only makes it harder on Kidd to be relevant with her guns alone. If this sounds bleak, it's because it is. Kidd is reliant on landing a high volume of hits to start fires. The numbers presented here are very generously assuming 100% accuracy which is a pipe dream. In addition, high tier ships will reduce these numbers further, cutting them almost in half. Starting two fires per minute with Kidd is an ambitious goal. Start praying to RNGesus. There's a grim methodology to engaging enemy capital ships with Kidd's guns. Choose a target. Struggle to hit said target. Laugh as you suddenly light two fires in quick succession. Rage as your target uses their Damage Control Party and you're unable to light a subsequent blaze for the next two minutes. Hoover up a pittance in shell damage as you quickly oversaturated their superstructure. Slowly lose your sanity as that ship heals up all of the damage you did and then some. Question the meaning of life, the prevalence of the battleship meta and why oh why didn't you heed Mouse's colourful graphs and charts!? Their colours warned you! THEY WARNED YOU IT WOULD BE LIKE THIS! Kidd's guns may not be terribly effective against larger ships when you get down to it, but at least they're fun to use. The sheer volume of fire they put out is meme worthy (plus it's fun to say "pew!" every time they fire). They're decent enough against close range targets but because of the prevalence of Surveillance Radar and Hydroacoustic Search, it's dangerous to get that close, so pick your battles carefully. Still, they'll shred other destroyers, so that's something at least. Kidd needs more 'pedos. They took five of her 'pedos away to give her more AA power. You only have a single torpedo launcher on USS Kidd. Yes, this sucks. No, you don't get Fletcher's upgraded Mark 16 torpedoes with their awesome range and hitting power. No, they didn't improve Kidd's torpedo soft-stats to compensate. These are the exact same torpedoes as on the stock-Fletcher or upgraded Benson. They have decent range and modest damage totals, but they're slow as all get out and their reload time is downright punitive. So not only do you have your torpedo armament halved, you're also waiting just as long to fire them off as Benson does. If you're hoping to make torpedo soup with USS Kidd, your broth is going to taste pretty thin. Getting the most out of this horrible helping of fish requires a lot more skill than just dropping the pip onto the torpedo lead indicator and hoping for the best. You can't saturate an area or hedge your bets with a second launcher. Picking the right target at the right moment and anticipating how they're going to move in the 60 some odd seconds it will take for your torpedoes to reach their maximum range is a real challenge, even for veteran commanders. Landing even a couple of hits really helps pad the terrible damage numbers that USS Kidd puts out. The threat of Kidd's torpedoes is often worth more than the actual damage they put out. Your opponents are inclined to be more cautious if they believe you're able to dump a salvo into them when they're most vulnerable. Their imaginations will often envision far more devastation than Kidd can actually conjure, so sometimes it's worth holding onto your fish just for this bully-factor. Summary: Kidd's firepower is terrible. Same ol' USN 127mm/38s we know and love (and hate). Kidd's 'pedos suck -- and not always in the sexy way. USN 127mm/38 gunnery in a nutshell: First, pick a target. Next, setup outside of radar range. Step three: deploy smoke. And finally, step four: put four salvos into the air before your first shells connect. DurabilityHit Points: 16,700Maximum Protection: 19 to 20mm Well, this is shaping up to be a pretty negative review so far, innit? Thankfully, it gets better from here on out. Kidd comes with a healthy chunk of hit points -- 1,300hp more than Benson and 2,100hp more than Loyang. This still pales compared to the tier VIII thunderchunckers Akizuki and Z-23 which have a 3,700hp and 2,800hp advantage respectively over Kidd, but at least she can say that she's not at the bottom of the pile here. Taking Survivability Expert can prop this number up further, bumping Kidd up another 2,800hp which would make her competitive against some of the tier IX and X destroyers as well. However, she's not as reliant upon this skill as other destroyers and the points are better spent elsewhere. Kidd joins Khabarovsk with a fun dose of Russian-bias in the form of a Repair Party consumable. Each charge can heal back 2,338 hit points (this does not change if you take Survivability Expert). She begins the game with two charges that can be boosted up to four with a premium version of the consumable combined with the Superintendent commander's skill. Without a citadel, Kidd can always heal back a minimum of 50% of damage done to her which ensures you get the maximum use out of each charge. I tell myself that this is the reason that Kidd gives up a second torpedo-launcher. It's not the real reason, but it certainly has improved my attitude towards this ship. Kidd's Repair Party is a real boon. She effectively has up to 30,722hp if fully optimized for maximum toughness (Superintendent, Survivability Expert, premium Repair Party used four times, India Delta signal), allowing her to take an absolute beating, survive and later return to the fight hungry for more. This gives her endurance and longevity that Benson, Fletcher and Black could only dream of having. So while it may take forever to do any appreciable damage with Kidd's terrible weapon load-out, her improved survivability all but guarantees she's got the time to do it. The only thing you need fear is taking massive alpha strikes or sustained burst damage. Watch out for Surveillance Radar equipped vessels and practice dancing to those torpedo-beats. The John McClane of destroyers. Kidd rarely comes out of a match without looking like she was thrown through a plate glass window. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 38.0knotsTurning Radius: 620mRudder Shift: 3.9s Maximum Turn Rate: 7.9º per second. As far as destroyer agility goes, Kidd is decidedly average and is best compared to the Soviet destroyer Ognevoi in terms of her speed and handling. For a Fletcher-class destroyer, she's much faster than either Fletcher or Black but this comes at the cost of her turning circle which is 60m wider. Overall, this gives her power and speed enough to run down any Japanese torpedo destroyer within her Matchmaking spread and enough wiggle in her tush to dance to torpedo beats and dodge incoming shellfire. However, she won't feel as nimble as either of her sister-ships. For those who intend to play Kidd aggressively, I cannot stress enough how important the Vigilance skill on your commanders will be. High alpha strikes are the bane of this ship and there's few things worse than being blindsided by a wall of skill you didn't anticipate and being sent back to the port early. Pertinent agility statistics for Kidd's contemporaries (click to enlarge). She's decidedly average, with her high top speed compensating for her larger turning circle compared to Fletcher and Black. If you want to try out Kidd's handling for yourself before making a purchase, play around with the tier VIII Soviet destroyer, Ognevoi. The two are very similar in their overall handling characteristics with the biggest difference between them being their rudder-shift-time. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 53.5 / 65.7 / 36.6 In exchange for losing a quintuple torpedo mount, Kidd gains 21dps over Fletcher. Most of this DPS advantage doesn't come from the 40mm quad Bofor nests that replaced her torpedoes, but rather from the upgrade of her 20mm Oerlikon from single to twin-gun mounts. Her anti-aircraft firepower is good for a destroyer, but terrible overall if you merely wish to rely on her raw damage numbers alone. Kidd has less AA firepower than Tirpitz and no one would ever claim that Tirpitz has good AA firepower at tier VIII. It's only with a heavy investment in AA skills that her DPS truly becomes something to concern enemy carriers. So your choice to keep your lolibote safe from white-van driving CVs is to have them stay close to grownup ships like Kii and North Carolina or activate their 'emergency whistle'. Note that this whistle got extra loud in 0.6.13, multiplying your 40mm and 127mm DPS by four instead of just three. This is reflected in the animated gif above which turns Kidd into a pocket North Carolina temporarily in terms of AA power. The game changer is her access to the destroyer version of Defensive Fire. While some other tier VIII destroyers also get access to this consumable, only Kidd has the numbers to make it truly effective beyond a disruption effect. Like them, she must exchange her Engine Boost consumable to gain access to this but it's well worth the trade. Under the effects of this consumable, she becomes a credible threat to enemy aircraft and she may even be able to drive off fighters sent to perma-spot her. Let's be clear: Her anti-aircraft firepower under Defensive Fire will maul attack craft waves from tier VI and even some tier VII carriers but it cannot be relied upon the prevent a strike altogether. This may be enough to make a carrier look for a less thorny target, but against veteran CVs, it's simply going to delay their attack while they wait on your 30s consumable to run out of steam. Destroyers are too valuable a target to leave unmolested. It's possible, albeit very expensive to deep specialize Kidd into anti-aircraft firepower to try and make her more formidable against aircraft. Realistically, however, it's unlikely for Kidd to have this kind of specialization in the face of more survival based skill choices. Still, Kidd can survive better than any other destroyer under the eye of an enemy carrier. This gives her a little more autonomy than other scouting destroyers and it also allows her to play the supporting role in disrupting attacks against her allies if you're so inclined. More importantly, this gives Kidd the ability to extend beyond the cover of your team mates to better play out the role of a scout. Now you know what to do when an enemy CV offers you free candy. White van, white plane -- same difference. I DON'T KNOW THIS PLANE! THIS PLANE IS NOT MY MOM! HELP! HELP! STRANGER DANGER! STRANGER DANGER! Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 7.38km Air Detection Range: 4.11 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.80km Main Battery Firing Range: 12.1km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.7km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: Tied for 5th with Benson & Loyang, sitting behind the Kagero-sisters. Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: Tied for 6th out of 36 places. This graph shows the advantage in surface detection Kidd enjoys over her contemporaries. All of the numbers are assuming the destroyers in question are fully rigged for stealth with all of the applicable options available to them (Concealment Expert, Concealment Camouflage, Concealment System Modification 1). Thus, the disparity in these numbers may be even greater to Kidd's advantage in select cases. For those that are math inclined, you can use this to estimate how much of a reaction time you have to steer away from enemy ships in order to preserve stealth and remain undetected. For example, if you stumble across a Mahan running perpendicular while you sail towards it at 38 knots, you have approximately 11 seconds to adjust course. However, if the same were to occur with a Z-23 heading towards you with both of you at full speed, this reaction time drops to a little over 2 seconds. There are very few destroyers that are more stealthy than USS Kidd. Kagero, Harekaze and Yugumo exceed her stealth rating. Benson, Loyang, Fletcher & Black match her. Hatsuharu and Shiratsuyu are close enough to make little difference. Against any other opponent she enjoys a minimum of a 140m surface detection advantage. When she's top tier, her advantage is almost comical. Between her speed and concealment, she can easily dictate engagement distances or simply keep enemies spotted. And herein lies Kidd's greatest strength. More than any other destroyer in the game, she is almost an ideal scout. Kidd is well suited to spotting targets for your allies to kill. She's tough, she's fast, she has excellent smoke and she has one of the best surface detection ranges within her matchmaking spread. And, it's a damn good thing too -- outside of a knife fight with another destroyer, she sucks at dealing her own damage. The only other traits you could ask for would be some punchier guns or some form of detection consumable like Hydroacoustic Search. Still, she's very well equipped for this task. This makes Kidd a real threat on cap circles. She may not be the immediate terror like Black, but she is dogged. Her presence around one of these control points is a real obstacle for the enemy team. Spotting Economy I had the pleasure of speaking to Boyarsky regarding the economy surrounding destroyer spotting mechanics. While I will compile a more complete article later, I thought it worth sharing with USS Kidd, given how dependent she can be upon the rewards earned from providing vision for her team. There are two types of spotting (as if it wasn't complicated enough). The first is simple and easy to understand. There is a reward for the first ship to detect an enemy that has not been seen before. This is a flat value. The second type of spotting is where you facilitate damage done to the enemy team. What it is: A destroyer can receive substantial rewards by scouting ahead of the allied fleet and keeping enemy ships detected to facilitate gunnery and torpedo attack for allies that would not otherwise be able to see them. How it works: An ally shoots at a target that the destroyer can see. The ally must not be able to see the target themselves. The destroyer earns a bonus percentage of the rewards that ally receives for damaging that target. Reward amount: The destroyer receives approximately 45% of the experience and credits for applicable damage done to targets they spot. Other ships may earn an award too, but they do not earn nearly as much as destroyers. Multiple spotters: If multiple friendly ships are providing vision upon a target and an ally who cannot see the target fires, the rewards are divided by the number of allies present. So if two destroyers and an aircraft carrier providing vision, the reward for the destroyers would be divided by three. Errata: Note that the destroyer only receives the reward if, when the attack was launched, the ally could not see the target and the destroyer could -- not when it strikes the target. This applies to all shell and torpedo attacks. These rewards scale as you would normally expect. In other words, you will earn more rewards for assisting a lower tiered ship to do 10,000 damage to a destroyer two tiers higher than you would for helping a higher tiered ship do 10,000 damage to a battleship that's two tiers lower than itself. The big complication for earning these rewards comes from the spotting mechanics themselves. If your allies can see the target without your help, then you earn nothing. Given the recent changes to smoke, this pretty much means you're not going to earn much of anything at all sitting between two groups of warships shooting at each other in open water. The bloom of their surface detection every time they pull the trigger is going to make them visible to one another. Similarly, the presence of aircraft carriers will also eat into your earnings as their planes put eyes on targets you're spotting. Spotting is a high risk venture and it does not always pay well. A keen understanding of vision mechanics and how ships interact with smoke is paramount to increasing your earnings One of the tricks to earning more spotting damage is to use your Smoke Generator to hide your allies. At full speed, lay a long 10-cloud fog bank between your friendly ships and the enemies but don't hide in it yourself. Then position yourself between your smoke and the enemy team. The concealment bonus provided by smoke will reduce the surface detection of both sides -- protecting your allies but also blinding them to the enemy team save for the data relayed by your spotting. In this manner, you help keep your team safe AND you collect a handsome reward for the damage you helped inflict. How to Avoid Pedo-Bears You can't. Far too many people told me that Kidd was too sexy. We have a real epidemic in our community, I swear. Your first ten points should be distributed like this: Start with Priority Target. Take Last Stand. Next grab Superintendent. This will give you an additional charge of smoke, heals and emergency whistle. And finally, take Concealment Expert. This should be considered the absolute minimum to take to do well with Kidd. From here, there are high value skills and players should mix and match based on their preferred play style. Demolition Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells may seem like gimme skills for dealing more direct damage with Kidd. Tag on Adrenaline Rush and you are good to go for pew pews. For those who are super-salty about the stranger-danger presented by enemy carriers, Basic Fire Training and Advanced Fire Training pair nicely to give you some good punch against incoming planes and also let you help out beleaguered allies. Just beware of your increased spotting range from AFT when you fire your main battery. If you are more concerned with personal defense than helping others, swap Advanced Fire Training for Manual Fire Control for AA Guns. The survivability skills Vigilance and Survivability Expert make Kidd harder to kill. Not much harder, mind you, but you're less likely to get obliterated by a high alpha strike. I tried out a lot of different commander builds when testing Kidd. I did everything from loaning an anti-aircraft specialized Atlanta-captain to failing horribly with a 3pt newfish. If I had a dedicated Kidd 19pt commander dropped on my lap, I would take the initial 10pts skills listed above plus Vigilance, Demolition Expert and Survivability Expert. You'll note the lack of any anti-aircraft firepower skills and a reliance on fires to deal damage to larger vessels. "Fire Alarm..." In case you're wondering, the Legendary Captain, Steven Seagal, doesn't really add anything useful when he commands a destroyer. His skill bonuses apply to Expert Loader and Expert Marksman skills -- neither of which are of particular use on a ship that already has ridiculously fast reload times and turret rotation rates. However, if you want to phone it in the same way he narrated his dialogue, feel free to use him here. Kidd's bread and butter: Trading fire with other destroyers and outlasting them between her Smoke Generator and Repair Party. She didn't choose the scout-life. The scout-life chose her. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Kidd struggles to do damage. Her improved survivability traits are locked behind proper consumable management and having a commander with not only enough skill points, but the correct setup as well. And even then, her play style is going to be utterly alien to many players. NOT shooting? NOT firing torpedoes? Wut!? Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Kidd is all about surviving some of the most dangerous encounters in World of Warships -- namely, dominating cap circles early on in a match. She's got almost all of the proper tools to do it short of some form of Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar. Correctly managed, Kidd can survive for a very long time, making life miserable for the Reds. With such limited firepower, you're really going to have to milk every advantage to get the most out of this ship but she'll reward you handsomely for it. Mouse's Summary: "Tough" really defines Kidd. She's tough in that she can take a lot of punishment. But she's also a tough ship with which to do damage. In this regard, she's also tough to love. Poor child. She's totally going to become a delinquent when she grows up. Like USS Sims before her, she's going to be doomed to mediocrity in Randoms. A lot of people will pick her up, wonder why all of the CCs were enthusiastic about her and let her collect dust in their ports if they bothered to pick her up at all. Then someone's going to rockstar with her in Ranked or some other competitive mode and everyone and their mother will suddenly want one. I'm disappointed to see Repair Party used to balance yet another premium. Healing potion proliferation feels like an arms race waiting to happen. Remember, you didn't trade your torpedoes for more AA power -- you traded them for her Repair Party. All of the banes she suffers from her poor torpedoes should be made up for with the advantages her Repair Party provides. Really focus on outlasting your opponents. Take a few extra risks that other destroyers wouldn't dare and hold onto your fish for the best target possible. Scouting feels super rewarding. It's hard to pull off, but it pays well if you can manage it. Few ships have made me feel as categorically stupid as USS Kidd did during play testing. I got myself delorted in the opening minutes of a match more often in this destroyer than I have in any of the others I've tested this year. It's only when I smartened up and exerted a little more caution that things (mostly) got better. Vigilance helped too. Let this be a lesson -- be aggressive; just don't be stupid. So let's get to the meat of the matter: Is Kidd a good ship? My answer is: Yes, absolutely. She just totally sucks at doing damage and killing things. This does not preclude her from winning games. In fact, she's quite good at doing that so long as you don't trip over your own ego and pull a few stupids trying to pad your damage numbers instead of focusing on winning. The toolkit with which they've equipped her makes her an absolute beast when it comes to helping your team win matches. The manner in which she helps dominate spotting and cap control will secure you many wins. The trouble is that spotting is feast or famine. If there's aircraft carriers present or the enemy team roster is composed primarily of battleships, you're not going to earn many rewards for sitting gun silent. Under the correct conditions, you can earn a lot of rewards for providing vision. At others, you might struggle to scrimp out competitive gains compared to other tier VIII American premiums like Alabama or Enterprise. Economy concerns aside, Kidd does win matches. She's just not doing it with her own firepower most of the time. To this end, if grinding for credits and experience is your goal, I would have to give Kidd a solid pass. However, if your goal is simply to win -- such as in Ranked Battles where the quality of the win doesn't matter, just the win itself -- then Kidd is an amazing ship. Kidd is a premium with a purpose. If you don't espouse this purpose, you're going to really struggle to find satisfaction with what she can do. Would I Recommend? Let me apply a filter to my recommendations here. I must stress the skill floor to play Kidd well. If you're a novice destroyer player, you'll have a hard time with Kidd. Just because she gets a nod from me as being good at X does not mean that you'll be good with Kidd at X. This is not an easy ship to play. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Very no. While she can turn a profit with a 47,250 repair cost and less than 10,000 on ammunition costs for a long game, Kidd struggles to do damage quickly. And let's face it -- that's really what you want in Co-Op battles; that knockout punch. Kidd does't have that. She licks things to death. It's slimy. It's awkward. It's not very fast. It's kinda hot, really, but not terribly effective or fun. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Do you like a challenge? Do you have enough patience to stomach hoping the lottery will hand you a team that can capitalize on the opportunities you'll create? Do you like working super hard so that other people get all of the rewards? Then go nuts. Otherwise? Stay clear. This is a support ship. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Very yes. Really, this is the primary reason you'll want Kidd. A tier VIII destroyer with Repair Party and Defensive Fire? She'd have to be a steaming turd in all other aspects to not to kindle people's interests in this vessel for Ranked Battles. Be aware that her role is to provide vision and cover, brawl with enemy destroyers and above all else: Survive. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Museum ship? Check. Tons of history? Check. Awesome looking boat? Check. We are good to go. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? I really enjoyed playing her, but she wasn't like ... Okhotnik fun. The enjoyment I got out of Kidd was learning how to rise up to a challenge. So it's probably safe to say that you have to be all kinds of weird to find this ship fun. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  22. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship PREVIEW: USS Black

    USS Black is still a work in progress. Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed here are subject to change before release. Hell and fire was spawned to be released. Quick Summary: A reward-version of the Fletcher-class Destroyer with Radar. Cost: Black is not for sale and can only be earned by achieving Rank One in five seasons of Ranked Battles. Patch & Date Written: 0.6.1, February 11th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary: Fletcher, Tier 9 American DestroyerDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique USS Black is a Fletcher-class destroyer but, like most premium ships, she has a few changes to make her stand apart from her sister ships. The changes summarize to the following: Black has access to the USN Radar consumable as an option in her third consumable slot. Her deck armour is 19mm instead of 13mm. The torpedoes she launches are slower, longer ranged and harder hitting than Fletcher's with a faster reload. Black swaps out the two twin-gun 40mm Bofors mounts behind her #2 turret for a pair of twin-gun 20mm Oerlikons instead. She's slower than Fletcher by 1.5 knots. She turns slightly better than Fletcher. PROs Armed with five, rapid fire 127mm rifles. She can fire up to ten 13.7km range torpedoes, doing 21,600 damage each and a with reasonable 96s reload per launcher. Decent anti-aircraft armament for a destroyer, including the option to take Defensive Fire. Excellent handling, including a small 560m turning circle, a 3.0s rudder shift time and 34º per second turret traverse. Good concealment values, dropping down to 5.8km with proper specialization and providing a huge stealth-firing window. USS Black can combine smoke and radar, making her the ultimate spotting & support ship. CONs Her 17,100 hit points are on the low side for a tier 9 destroyer. Horrible gun ballistics which makes gunnery of any target outside of 10km punitive. Her torpedoes are the slowest ship-launched fish in the game at 43 knots, taking a full two minutes to reach maximum range. On the slow side for a higher tier destroyer with a maximum speed of 35 knots. Her consumable "options" aren't really optional. If you take anything other than Radar in her 3rd slot, you're a fool. Doesn't appear to have Missouri's massive credit-earning potential. Here it is. This is the second reward ship for Ranked Battles, requiring primacy in five seasons to unlock her. Even in her preview state, Black has caused a lot of fuss. This seems to be a trend with these reward vessels. This is not likely to ever be a common ship. While it can be argued that over time, more players will have reached rank one in five seasons, the natural attrition of the player base will also see some of these veterans hang up their cap and stop playing. Flint isn't commonplace. Black promises to be even more rare. That doesn't undermine the dangers to the meta that an unbalanced ship can present. Still, the alarm that has met Black's preview statistics has been considerable. While not quite an Alabama Drama Llama in scale, the sky is once again (or is it still?) falling in certain community groups. I stress that what we're seeing presently is nothing more than a preview of the ship and not her final form. Things can change. Hopefully this thorough look into USS Black's current build will provide enough insight to see where changes may or may not be needed. Black shares the same camouflage scheme as USS Flint, the first premium reward ship for Ranked Battles. #GetBoat OptionsBlack has the same options as the Fletcher-class but with the added bonus of getting access to Radar in her third consumable slot. You have to swap out Engine Boost for this. Her Radar is identical to that found on Baltimore and Missouri, with a 9.45km acquisition range for 35 seconds. I firmly believe that Wargaming made a misstep with Black's consumables. Swapping her Engine Boost for Radar is a non-decision with radar being optimal in the majority of situations. A more balanced option would have been to make players of USS Black choose between a Smoke Generator and Radar. Thinking this would balance her is, of course, contingent on believing that a destroyer having radar is acceptable at all. We'll see if this consumable combination survives testing. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost or Defensive Fire or Radar Module Upgrades: Six slots, standard USN Destroyer options.Premium Camouflage: Can I call this tier 9+ standard? It provides the same bonus as the Missouri: A 3% concealment bonus, a 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion and a 100% bonus to experience gains. Firepower Primary Battery: Five 127mm rifles in single turrets in a superfiring A-B-P-X-Y arrangement. P turret is forward facing behind the torpedo launchers. Torpedo Armament: Ten 533mm tubes in 2x5 launchers mounted before and behind the rear funnel. Black is armed with five 127mm/38 Mark 30 naval rifles. These are the same guns first seen on the Benson-class destroyers at tier 8 without any significant improvement in performance. This staple of the USN Destroyer line is known for its tremendous rate of fire and excellent gun handling but also its famously poor ballistic qualities that lead to a very high shell arc over range. So while Black can potentially dish out monstrous levels of damage, landing those hits is considerably more of a challenge than the 130mm of Soviet Destroyers, for example. These weapons are very much par for the course for American destroyers and offer nothing in the way of surprises for veterans of the American destroyer line. By tier 8, destroyer caliber guns begin to lose the arms race versus the armour values found on capital ships. Even upgraded with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, her rounds cannot penetrate tier 8+ Battleships anywhere except their superstructure. Her 127mm guns can only penetrate 21mm of armour without the skill while being able to best up to 27mm of armour with it. This value is important -- it's sufficient to damage the bows and sterns of all cruisers and select deck areas on most of these ships. But it's as a destroyer hunter where these guns excel, provided you can close the range. Their very fast turret traverse rate of nearly 34º per second allows the ship to be thrown into evasive maneuvers while maintaining her gun lock on target. This makes her a very real threat to any rival torpedo or gunship. Like USS Sims before it, Black has what the community has often referred to as "naval mine" torpedoes. Their speed is downright laughable at 43 knots (115.1 meters per second under the game's compressed distances). It takes these torpedoes almost a full two minutes to reach the end of their impressive 13.7km range. With a 96s reload, this allows you to put a second salvo in the water before the first is little more than 3/4s done their first run. The good news is that they have a very short surface detection range of 0.9km. However, given their slow speed, her targets have approximately 7.8s worth of reaction time which is fairly standard. Their real weakness is if they're picked up early. They're so slow that some ships can turn away and even outrun the darned things.Black's torpedoes are, at best, area denial weapons. While possible to ambush someone at point blank range and make their life miserable (and short), more often they're used as a fire and forget series of water-mines, helping push the Reds away from a given area. During testing, there was a bug present where Black's torpedoes weren't doing anywhere close to the right amount of damage. Though listed as capping out at 21,600, their damage was all over the map and never where it should have been. Several of the testers and I took USS Black out into training rooms and slammed fish into various bots, ensuring we got midship strikes with single torpedoes. Strikes against ships without anti-torpedo defenses never got higher than 12,804 damage. Hits to the Yamato's torpedo bulges did 8,368. Yet hits to a Mogami (A-Hull) did 13,093 while hits against the upgraded (C-Hull) did 12,397 damage. This is despite the torpedo bulges for these three respective ships reducing damage by 55%, 13% and 18% respectively. The math doesn't add up. Bug reports were filled out. Did I mention this ship was still very much a work in progress? Black's torpedoes will be a heck of a lot more fun to use when they work properly. Maneuverability Top Speed: 35.0 knots Turning Radius: 560m Rudder Shift Time: 3.0s The Fletcher-class, and by extension USS Black, has great agility. With a tiny turning circle and excellent rudder shift time, Black appears equally well set up to dodge fire as Fletcher. However, it should be noted that she's 1.5 knots slower than her sister ship. But there's more to this ship than that. Black bleeds speed faster than Fletcher does in a turn while maintaining a comparable maximum speed with her rudder hard over. It takes Fletcher approximately 20.4s to drop down to 30.6 knots in a turn while Black will drop to 30.3 knots in roughly 12.9s. This makes the Fletcher "skid" more through the first leg of the turn while Black's hull bites in. Thus, Black has a quarter of a second's advantage in progressing through a 90º turn at top speed and almost two-thirds of a second for full a 360º turn. Though Black has the same rudder shift time and turning radius of Fletcher, Black is slightly more agile in a turn despite their similar stat profile. Who'd have thought? Durability Hit Points: 17,100 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm One of the strange differences between Black and Fletcher is Black's deck armour. It's 19mm on Black versus the 13mm found on Fletcher. This isn't a significant change but it has two highly situational benefits. First, it provides some protection against high explosive shells smaller than 120mm in diameter. HE Shells of this size, without a buff from the tier 4 Captain Skill, Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will simply shatter on impact for no damage. However, this caliber of gun isn't too commonplace within Black's matchmaking spread, being limited to the main battery of the Akizuki and the secondaries off of Russian and German Cruisers (yeah, like those are worth fussing over) and some of secondaries off of German Battleships (okay, THOSE are worth fussing about). Second, 19mm armour provides some defense against AP shells. Anything smaller than the 283mm off the Schanrhorst is unable to overmatch Black's armour. If (for whatever reason) a heavy cruiser decided to shoot AP shells, this creates a chance for the shells to ricochet off her deck if they come in at too shallow an angle. Yes, I know. Neither benefit is going to come into play very often. Overall, Black's hit points are on the low side for a Destroyer -- well behind the German Z-46 and the Soviet Destroyers (including the new ones which are also works in progress). It's only against the Yugumo that she has any advantage. Thus, engaging enemy destroyers isn't without risk -- Black simply doesn't have the big hit point totals to trade fire effectively, especially if she begins to struggle to land hits. This Akizuki didn't have the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill on her Captain. Short of hitting Black's superstructure, she couldn't hurt her with her HE. Had she been shooting a Fletcher, it's possible some of the splashes against her upper hull might have struck the deck and penetrated, but that's very unlikely given their flat trajectory at this close range. Concealment and Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 7.4kmAir Detection Range: 4.0kmMinimum Surface Detection Range: 5.8kmConcealment Penalty while Main Battery Fire: +3.81km (vs 12.9km gun range) Black has excellent concealment values for a tier 9 destroyer, bested only by the Yugumo. When fully kitted out for stealth, she weighs in with a 5.8km surface detection range and just over 9.6km when firing her guns in open water. Without boosting her range with Advanced Fire Training, this gives the ship a 3.3km stealth-firing window with her main battery. It's not unreasonable to see why there's very little need to extend the range of Black's guns, especially given the punitive ballistics at targets more than 10km away. More importantly is how this rather small surface detection range allows Black to shadow enemy ships and keep them spotted. There is no ship currently in the game that is as adept at spotting as Black. By keeping her guns silent, she can creep along, trailing enemy vessels from a safe distance. Should they try and blow smoke, she can make use of her Radar consumable which has a 9.45km range to continue to provide eyes on a beleaguered target. The only answer to such sneaky spotting tactics is to hope that a friendly ship can spot Black and put an end to her shenanigans, usually in the form of aircraft or an enemy vessel also equipped with radar, like a Soviet Cruiser. Black's worth is often measured by how well she can support her team. Black gives you some very powerful tools for controlling vision, with an American Smoke Generator, which provides 127s worth of cover to team mates while at the same time lighting up the enemy. In this way, under ideal circumstances your team can see the enemy and the enemy won't see yours. Black can continue to contribute by dropping her fish without losing her concealment values. Where her torpedoes are concerned, Black has an enormous stealth firing window when specialized for concealment. This is an obscene 7.9km. However, it should be noted that it will take Black's torpedoes 52 seconds to reach a target that's a mere 6km out. That's a long time for a ship not to make any course adjustments, so it's best not to use the lead indicator on the torpedoes and instead go for more of an area-denial approach to hedge your bets. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Gun Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 54 / 34 / 37 It's possible (though admittedly a bit of a waste with Black) to turn this ship into a passable AA escort. It's unlikely that this ship will ever be without some form of buff to its AA firepower, as Captain Skills aimed at improving her firepower will also affect her AA suite. This provides Black with an approximate DPS value per Aura of 64 / 41 / 45 which is rather respectable, especially for a destroyer. However, this isn't going to dissuade tier 9 and 10 air-groups from loitering in your vicinity. It's only with a heavy investment in skills and (for some reason) taking Defensive Fire that Black can make her anti-aircraft armament into a very real threat to enemy attack planes. As this would require you to drop Surveillance Radar, it's really not worth it. Black's AA firepower is enough to dent attack plane squadrons. But like most destroyers, you'll want to keep your AA turned off most of the time. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Playing destroyers in general isn't easy. However, Black is a little more forgiving than most. The Fletcher-class is already one of the better destroyers at tier 9 (and arguably, in the game as a whole). Black provides a set of training wheels in the form of her radar consumable to make life just that little bit easier for an inexperienced player. In the hands of a veteran, the combination of Black's consumables, concealment rating, agility and torpedo armament make her an enormous threat to the enemy team. For players who enjoy the support role, I can think of few ships as exciting as the (arguably overpowered) potential that Black provides. With the monopoly on radar for a ship with such a small surface detection range, Black will inspire many rage-threads in the future, I have little doubt. This ship lives to use and abuse spotting mechanics and strip any pretense of vision control from the enemy in local engagements. Mouse's Summary: Black is a Fletcher-class destroyer with Radar. If you didn't know it already, the Fletcher-class is hella-good in World of Warships. And now it has radar. The most rewarding use of this ship is through the control of vision in an engagement. Spot the enemy and protect your own team with smoke. The torpedo bug annoyed me to no end. Black is still very much a work in progress. Be aware this is a preview, people, not a review. So, this is a rather late preview. It's not a lack of effort, but moreover from a change in preview policies from Wargaming itself. Community Contributors should be getting earlier access to ships. What's more, we should also be providing our content much earlier within development cycle. But this in turn presents a problem: Ships early in their development cycle aren't necessarily well balanced and are likely to undergo a change or two before release. This should explain why I'm saying, over and over, this is a preview. This is why you'll see "Work in Progress" (WiP) watermarks on videos produced by my fellow contributors. It's also why there was a bit of concern about articles like these going into extensive depth about the current statistics of a ship rather than simply a broad overview. My own release was delayed until I got the specific okay to go into the minutia of this upcoming release. Playing USS Black was a real treat for me. First, it's a Fletcher-class and I have a real soft spot for the Fletcher. When I was little, my father had an old DOS-box he liked to keep running long past obsolescence which had a game "Wolfpack" on it. This pit Type VII, IX and XXI U-Boats against American Fletcher-class destroyers. It had a hot-seat PVP mode. My father would always play the Germans and I would get to take my turn as the Fletchers trying to defend my poor freighters and tankers from his predation. This mostly involved me chasing after his pillenwerfer and blowing the snot out of them with copious amounts of depth charges and hedgehog mortars. My father loved lording his gaming superiority over his then eight-year old daughter... USS Black brings back the warm fuzzies of those memories. Instead of chasing down U-Boats, I instead get to chase down enemy ships trying to hide in smoke while screening my own forces. It's a very rewarding style of play and it's such a shame that it's limited currently only to the Black. With that said, it's not without its dangers to the meta of game play. If Wargaming were to make such a combination more commonplace (either through many USS Blacks becoming available within the community or through the addition of Radar to a destroyer-line), combat in and around capture points would certainly chance towards the more passive. The only thing worse about being the first ship spotted is being the only ship spotted and focused by the entire enemy team. I personally think that combining radar AND smoke one a low surface-detection ship is the wrong way to go. I hope to see USS Black have to choose between the two. But who knows? We'll see how her development continues. In Closing As a final reminder, take what you've read in this preview with a pinch of salt. There's plenty to discuss, maybe even a few elements to be concerned about but I would hold off on brandishing torches and pitchforks if you object too strongly about something you see in USS Black. Similarly, don't get too excited or married to the idea of a particular combination of stats if you think this ship is a must-have. Things will change.
  23. HMS Vanguard is the ghost of the Royal Navy battleship tech tree everyone wanted to see. Ostensibly, HMS Vanguard was designed to be a tier VIII version of HMS Warspite. However, Vanguard falls short of this aspiration. For a high-tier Royal Navy battleship, she's surprisingly not idiot-proof, with a vulnerable citadel that needs to be protected with angling and manoeuvres. What's most exciting: Her AP shells are wonderful. Wargaming has offered some concessions to both of the fans of the current Royal Navy battleship line. They included HMS Monarch's excellent high explosive shells to Vanguard's arsenal, ensuring that these two players can continue spamming HE without a guilty conscience while everyone else rolls their eyes. 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 15th, 2018. PROS Large hit point pool of 71,700hp. Main battery has a quick 25s reload and excellent gun handling. Has the same dispersion pattern as Warspite, Hood and Queen Elizabeth and boasts 2.0 sigma, making her one of the most precise battleships in the game. Excellent AP and HE performance for a 381mm shell, including good penetration and damage values, rewarding versatile ammunition choice. Very fast rudder shift time for a battleship of 9.7 seconds. Improved Repair Party, queuing and healing back more than standard and with fast reset timer. CONS Exposed, above-water citadel. Absolutely appalling firing angles on her main battery. Main battery is only eight 381mm rifles creating issues with overmatching and DPM. AA defense is for self defense only and is concentrated in 3.5km range, medium caliber mounts that are easily knocked out. Large turning radius of 850m and slow rate of turn exacerbates the issues with her fire angles. Overview The maximum rotation positions of X and Y turret (her rear guns). They are not new-player friendly. They're not even veteran-player friendly. Vanguard's terrible fire angles so utterly dominate her game play, I felt the tremendous compulsion to wear white-lace and beg her to be gentle. These fire angles screwed me over more times than I can count. Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Vanguard encourages players to sail with their broadsides exposed. With her above-water citadel, you can imagine how well she's going to go over with novice players. You know what? Never mind the novices. The veterans are going to find this frustrating too as it limits the amount of firepower she can dish out when trading. She's a battleship that reward cautious, opportunistic play -- which is review-speak for "hide in the back, shoot when you can and don't brawl". – 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. Vanguard has strengths and weaknesses across the board, giving her a rating in Offense, Agility, Anti-Air and Vision Control. It's only in Defense where she stands out with a rating. Her citadel is very vulnerable for a battleship, however she counters this with a the largest hit point pool at her tier and an amazing Repair Party consumable. Options Aside from Vanguard's Repair Party, there's nothing out of the ordinary to be found here. Consumables Vanguard's Damage Control Party is standard for a British battleship. She has unlimited charges. It has a 15 second action time and a 120s / 80s reset timer. Her Repair Party is improved. See the DEFENSE section below. There's a lot to go over. This starts with 3 charges base. Upgrades Optimization of Vanguard's upgrades will see the usual suspects rear their tired old heads. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next take Damage Control Systems Modification 1. You've got a choice in your third slot. As ever, emphasizing gunnery is best so your first pick here should be Aiming Systems Modification 1. However, if you're salty about CVs, taking AA Guns Modification 2 is an okay choice. It's not great, but it's okay. Damage Control Modification 2 is arguably the best choice for most players in slot 4. You can elect to take Steering Gears Modification 2 to emphasize the strengths of her already quick rudder shift time. Be aware this is harder to make use of optimally even if it can yield higher results -- it's easier to tank damage than it is to dodge it, after all. Finally, take everyone's favourite no-brainer: Concealment Modification 1. Camouflage Vanguard comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 381mm guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 134mm guns in 8x2 turrets. These are superfiring with two forward facing and two rear facing per side. Secondaries Let's start with the small guns. You can largely forget that Vanguard has secondaries. These 134mm guns lack the range, reload time and volume of fire needed to present a credible threat to opponents. This is really unfortunate given their nice shell weight and fire chance. If they had the range or they had the rate of fire, maybe a secondary build would be fun to play around with. Lamentably, it's a mistake to invest anything in upgrading these weapons -- they simply can't do what you need them to. At best they might be able to start a fire on an enemy capital ship that strays too close. However, with Vanguard's high citadel, getting into a brawl is a death sentence, so stay out of secondary range. Main Battery Precision There's so much to like about Vanguard's main battery. First of, there's her precision. Vanguard is a blast from the past, sharing same horizontal dispersion value of the older British premium battleships, including Hood and Warspite. Inside of 12km, she overtakes even the vaunted Japanese battleship accuracy, making her much more adept at picking off close range targets like destroyers. Combined with her 2.0 sigma value, landing hits feels very comfortable, even at long ranges. Standard dispersion test for my reviews -- 180 shells fired at 15km locked onto a stationary target Fuso without camouflage. She was equipped with Aiming Systems Modification 1. Vanguard doesn't quite enjoy the same level of precision as Warspite owing to her faster shell velocity and energy preservation. This gives her a larger vertical dispersion area at all ranges. However, this does lead to improved shell lead times making gunnery easier. Note that Vanguard suffers from a lot of "downward drift" which adds a margin of error to these shell maps as I had to readjust aim with every volley fired. Thus the dispersion area maybe slightly smaller than shown. Shell Performance Vanguard's HE shells don't share the same performance anachronism as her dispersion. They're modern, almost (but not quite) matching HMS Monarch's HE, including her shell damage and penetration. Monarch's have a 1% higher chance to set blazes over Vanguard, though -- don't ask me why. Vanguard doesn't quite match up to the tech tree Royal Navy battleships for fire setting ability. This is good news to me -- it removes some of the brainless quality of HE spam. When you do reach over for her AP shells, you're rewarded with a welcome change from other Royal Navy battleship AP. Like Warspite before her, Vanguard has a longer fuse timer with her AP. This has a few effects. The downside is that she's more likely to overpenetrate soft targets, including broadside cruisers and battleship extremities. The upside is that it provides her AP with increased bite for reaching machine spaces and magazines buried deeper within the core of enemy warships -- especially those with spaced armour protecting their citadels. Vanguard is especially good at punishing broadside battleships at range. Approximate penetration values for Vanguard's AP shells. Vanguard's HE shells are fixed with 95mm of penetration -- not quite enough to punish the few exposed citadels found on high tier cruisers. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will add a few more ships to the roster that her HE can punish, but it's not worth the points investment. Data pulled from World of Warships AP Calculator. Site linked in the appendix. Penetration wise, her AP shells are well setup, having comparable bite to Tirpitz and Bismarck. It pays to keep their caliber in mind, however. Her 381mm shells cannot overmatch the 27mm bows of American and German heavy cruisers. As good as Vanguard's AP shells are, spamming nothing but won't do you any more favours than if you used HE shells exclusively. Switch shells often in Vanguard and she'll reward you. Vanguard's fast 25 second reload facilitates swapping between ammunition while also padding her damage output when it comes time to cycle her guns. Damage output among the tier VIII battleships is very close. Vanguard keeps pace with her fast rate of fire, compensating for her smaller armament. As ever, take these numbers with a pinch of salt -- they do not represent the challenges of getting shells on target or penetrating when they get there. For whatever reason, Vanguard's HE shells only have a 34% base fire chance as opposed to Monarch's 35%. This creates an increased gap in their fire setting potential and makes Vanguard no better of a fire starter than American battleships. Still the increased damage she dispenses makes this more than worthwhile. Before any of you get yourself all hot and bothered about Monarch's fire setting, Cleveland (the gold-standard of tier VIII burnination) can spit out 9.97 fires per minute with the IFHE penalty and no other buffs. The same disclaimers apply for this chart as the others -- this is merely an indicator of performance and does not represent actual in game results. A myriad of factors will always conspire to mitigate a ship's ability to set fires including (but not limited to), target selection, opportunity, shell dispersion, fire resistance, etc. The Deal Breaker All of these strengths are present to pad for one massive weakness: Vanguard's appalling fire angles. Vanguard has a fast rate of fire, great HE shells, fast turret traverse and excellent precision because her fire angles are so bad. It's all meant to be compensation because Vanguard must present a near perfect broadside in order to fire all eight of her guns at a target. This leaves her incredibly vulnerable to reprisals. She is functionally incapable of autobouncing enemy shells while firing her full armament and instead she must rely on her armour thickness to repel shells. At anything but the longest of ranges, this is a fool's errand. Thus, Vanguard often has to sacrifice firepower in order to properly angle against her enemies. This is why her gun performance is so good: she's often forced to fight with only half of her weapons. Wargaming have done everything they can to make it easier to bring the other half to bear when possible. Her gun traverse is quick. Her reload is fast. She answers her rudder quickly too to help swing her butt out to unmask her guns. I'm not going to lie: These bad fire angles are enough to put me off this ship entirely, which is saying a lot given all of the wonderful perks her guns otherwise enjoy. Vanguard has the same (terrible) forward firing angles as the King George V-class battleships. However, her rearward firing angles are worse than the tier VII battleship. No matter how you choose to engage an enemy, when you use all eight of Vanguard's guns, you open yourself up to return-fire and potential citadel damage. Bad firing angles are one of my personal pet-peeves. I can stomach a lot of things, up to and including sluggish gun traverse, but not bad fire angles. This has greatly soured my opinion of this ship. Summary Secondaries are bad. Her main guns perform beautifully provided you can use all of them. Her fire angles will get you killed. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : I almost gave her a rating here -- that's how bad her fire angles are. However, there's just too many perks glued onto her weapons to make that a fair assessment. She'd need a much faster rate of fire before I would consider bumping this up. Or, you know, completely redesign the ship to give her better fire angles. That would work too. Defense Hit Points: 71,700 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 356mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25% Armour Protection The 356mm/343mm armour is replicated again around her rear magazine. Her turret faces are 343mm front, 228mm side, 178mm rear, and 152mm on top with 305mm barbettes. Let's start with the elephant in the room: Vanguard's citadel sits over the waterline. Much fuss will be made over this and rightly so. Only Roma shares this high-water vulnerability and the Italian ship is much better equipped to angle and bounce incoming fire. The net effect is that Vanguard is more likely to take citadel damage than other battleships when someone catches her side. This isn't to say that citadel damage is an exclusive weakness to Vanguard. However, it pays to keep her vulnerability in mind. Her aforementioned firing angles on her main battery guns exacerbates this problem. When Vanguard is firing all eight of her weapons, whatever she's shooting at has an easy target from which to farm damage. What makes Vanguard's fire angles such a liability compared to other battleships has to do with autobounce mechanics. Let's get technical for a moment to explain why. If AP shells cannot overmatch armour, there's an autobounce check. This occurs before any penetration attempts are made. The angle of the shell is compared to the angle of the surface it strikes. Normally, battleship AP shells that hit with an acute angle of 30º or less will auto-ricochet. This is why bow-tanking is so prevalent -- shells simply slide off the ship's bow and deck, unable to bite into the armour. No matter how much penetration a shell has, if it strikes at too shallow of an angle, your ship can avoid damage. Normally, battleship AP shells that hit with an angle of 45º or more cannot autoricochet. Any shells that strike between 45º and 90º to the hull will follow normal penetration mechanics. In between these two values, the auto-ricochet chance scales linearly. For Vanguard, when she fires her all eight guns forward at a 43º angle, any return fire from her target has only a 13% chance of suffering a ricochet. When she fires all eight guns to the rear at a 40º angle, this improves to a 33% chance. Most battleships are capable of firing all of their guns 35º off their bow, allowing them to ricochet shells automatically 2/3s of the time. The steeper they angle themselves, the better this defense. This mechanic is absolutely essential for keeping battleships safe from the monstrous levels of penetration found at higher tiers. Not only does it provide a better chance of automatically deflecting shells, it adds relative thickness to their armour belts. The steeper you angle, the greater the effective thickness. Vanguard's belt has between 503mm and 522mm worth of protection at 43º. However, if she could fire at 35º off her bow, this would increase to 598mm to 621mm. Data pulled from proships.ru (link in the Appendix). Values are approximate, usually with about 5% higher estimates than Wargaming's values published in their Armada series of videos. You can see by these values that at range, Vanguard makes an excellent bully when top tier -- with rare exceptions, she can unmask her X and Y turrets and fire, confident that her belt will be proof against return fire. This falls away when dueling with tier VIII+ opponents. With few exceptions, they all have the raw penetration needed to best her belt while she fires a broadside. Her citadel protection isn't all bad, though. First off, AP bombs can't citadel you. Hooray! Second, shots that land high that attempt to bi-pass her belt and drop down into her citadel have to contend with a 32mm citadel roof. Only Yamato and Musashi's 460mm guns can overmatch this, meaning that any other shell will skip off the top of her machine spaces for only penetration damage. Thus it's only shots fired directly at her waterline which can damage her citadel. The use of Priority Target is almost a must to alert you when enemies are looking your way to give you time to angle in and protect yourself. Vanguard needs time to stack damage -- to find those moments where she can sit broadside and make excellent use of her precision and rate of fire but don't push your luck when you're taking hits. There's one last little point of contention with Vanguard's protection scheme: With the entirety of her deck and extremities boasting no more than 32mm of armour, Vanguard is a juicy target for light cruisers. Expect to burn a lot if they catch you out in the open. Provided you can protect Vanguard's citadel (and that's a pretty big if), she has the largest effective hit point pool of any of the tier VIII battleships. With optimal use of her consumable, her theoretical maximum (less Survivability Expert) effectively doubles her hit point pool. In practice, you're never going to see that kind of number. Repair Party If Vanguard appears a little squishy, she all but makes up for it with her excellent Repair Party consumable. While she doesn't boast the same portable dry-dock found on HMS Lion, Nelson and Conqueror, she has the next best thing. Here's the bonuses she has baked in: Her Repair Party resets quickly. The reset timer on consumable is 90 seconds / 60 seconds for standard / premium. Compare this to the usual 120 seconds / 80 seconds of the normal Repair Party. She queues up 60% of penetration damage. This is admittedly standard for Royal Navy battleships, so Vanguard doesn't stand apart from the rest of the ships in her line. For most other battleships it's 50%. Vanguard queues up 33% of citadel damage. This is huge. While it would best to avoid taking citadel damage of any kind, Vanguard heals up more than the 10% of other battleships. Keep in mind, this also applies to torpedo damage which is the most common form of citadel damage battleships receive. This is especially good in Vanguard's case given her poor anti-torpedo protection. She heals up to 16.8% of her hit points per charge. Normal Repair Party mechanics heal up only 14% over 28 seconds -- or 0.5% per second. Vanguard enjoys a 20% boost over this like Warspite, healing 0.6% per second over the same time period. With up to five charges at her disposal through the use of premium and skills, Vanguard's faster reset timer ensures that she's able to make full use of her health regeneration. Her enormous hit point pool also guarantees big returns as Repair Party scales with a ship's starting hit point total. Summary For all of Vanguard's potential vulnerability with her high citadel, she's well equipped to mitigate and manage said damage. When she's top tier, the vulnerability of her citadel drops down considerably, making her very powerful. Light cruisers are always going to be pain in the butt, though, and beware HE spam from battleships too. Vanguard isn't done yet with her tricks, though, as you'll see in the AGILITY section below. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Can a battleship with an exposed citadel even be considered ? It feels a bit of a stretch to me, but if you can keep her citadel protected, Vanguard is hella tough. That's a pretty big 'if' though when she's not top tier. She may lose her current rating when the North Carolina Repair Party buff goes through. Agility Top Speed: 30.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 850m Rudder Shift Time: 9.7 seconds (!) 4/4 Engine Speed Turning Rate: 4.1º/s The big thing to talk about here is Vanguard's rudder shift time. Now I've harped on rudder shift before -- it's a mean to an end, not an end of itself. Boasting that a ship has a great rudder shift time is like boasting that a ship has great range on its main battery guns -- it's nice to have but it's not a good indicator of a ship's performance. The same applies here. Vanguard answers her rudder quickly and her movements are much more precise as a result, but it would be a mistake to call this ship agile. Vanguard's rate of turn holds her back. 4.1º/s is painfully average for a high tier battleship. She sits well behind ships like the Richelieu-class sisters and the South Dakota-class sisters. This is caused by two things. One, her turning radius is big. Two, she doesn't have any baked in bonuses to help her preserve speed in the turn. The upside to her modest handling (and it's a stretch to call this a benefit) is that she can't out turn her turrets. She starts with a 5.0º/s rotation on her main battery guns and Expert Marksman only widens the gap, making adjusting her fire very comfortable if it weren't for those damned firing arcs. Vanguard's fast rudder shift time is almost good enough to allow her to fire her guns and angle back quickly enough to avoid reprisals. Almost. The simple fact of the matter, going from a 30º aspect to a 43º and back again takes too long. I never managed better than 15 seconds during trials. You might be able to pull this off against an inexperienced opponent but this is owing more to their mistakes rather than the merits of the ship itself. If you want to be able to fire all eight of Vanguard's guns while not getting your citadel blown out, you're going to have to play clever. Now just because Vanguard can't wiggle-wiggle-shoot doesn't preclude her from being able to dodge. This is something she's quite good at and where her rudder shift time makes her deliciously unpredictable. You'll still need range in order to pull this off, but you can pretend to begin unmasking your guns in order to bait shots and then double back on your course to bounce their shells. Similarly, the amount of bounce and twirl in her badonkadonk makes her a real nuisance for destroyers to land torpedoes. Vanguard is all about frustrating gunnery -- both yours and your opponents. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's not a speed demon like the French botes nor wiggling like the SoDaks. She's also not a thunderbutt like Kii, so there's that. I was personally hoping to see her preserve a little more speed in the turn to get her rotation rate up -- that would have done it, but it didn't pan out during testing. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Gun Calibers: 134mm / 40mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.2km / 3.5km AA DPS per Aura: 68 / 413.1 For personal defense, Vanguard's anti-aircraft firepower is excellent -- comparable to the American battleships. However, that's about as far as it extends. Vanguard lacks the weight of fire with her dual purpose guns to be a credible threat to aircraft further out. This precludes any claims of efficiency with Manual Fire Control for AA Guns -- too much of her flak is focused upon her 3.5km 40mm batteries. This adds a second weakness: her medium caliber weapons don't stand up to punishment very well. If you've taken even a light dusting of HE shells, odds are your anti-aircraft firepower is nowhere near as formidable as it once was. So, while you're pristine and perfect, you'll shred planes. It's worth investing in Advanced Fire Training to help boost this further, but that's about as far as improving her anti-aircraft firepower should go. Hey look, I made it through a section without mentioning her awful fire ang -- aw, damn it. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's very close. Were it not for FOUR American battleships all having very similar AA firepower (and Kii besides), she might be able to muscle in and make her presence felt. As it is, she sits in their shadow. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 16.04km Air Detection Range: 13.7km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.04km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.73km Main Battery Firing Range: 20.0km There's not much to go over here. Vanguard's concealment is "sufficient unto the task" and nothing more. She sits in the middle of the pack for surface detection behind Monarch (14.6km), Roma (14.9km) and North Carolina (15.7km) and just ahead of the Alabama-twins (16.2km) and Bismarck-sisters (16.4km). Vision Control consumables are rare at this tier, being limited to Bismarck's Hydroacoustic Search and various spotter and float plane fighters found on select ships. Vanguard doesn't have access to any of them and she ends up feeling blind without them. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : More stealth or a spotting consumable other than an aircraft. Alpha and Omega There's not much to say in regards to the skill choices for Vanguard. You can buff up her anti-aircraft firepower if you're super salty about CVs, but on the whole a generic battleship captain build emphasizing fire resistance would serve you better. Start with Priority Target. Take Adrenaline Rush as your second skill. Follow this up with Basics of Survivability at the third tier. For your 10th point-skill, choose between Concealment Expert and Fire Prevention with your 14th point-skill, take the alternative. With your remaining 5 points to spend, customize as you will. Advanced Fire Training will serve you well if you want a little more teeth to your AA guns -- especially when paired with AA Guns Modification 2 from your upgrades. For your remaining 1pt, take either Preventative Maintenance or Expert Loader. Alternatively, you can mix and match between Superintendent, Expert Marksman, Jack of All Trades and High Alert. Keep those tier 1 skills in mind as filler. Final Evaluation She has two main flaws and only two: Her citadel sits high over the water and her fire arcs suck. If you can mitigate these two weaknesses, this boat is amazing. She's been padded with all of the perks possible to compensate for these challenges. If you can't mitigate them, or you find it frustrating, Vanguard is a steaming pile of doo. "The second coming of Warspite" has such a nice ring to it. So many of us were hoping that the Royal Navy battleship line would have borrowed heavily from Warspite's game design -- namely her gun's precision, sluggish gun handling, good agility and improved heals. Instead we got a pack of flame throwers with cloaking devices and portable dry-docks. Complaining about what became of the Royal Navy battleships is so 2017, though. I had pinned my new hopes that Vanguard would be my baebote #2, echoing a lot of what made Warspite great. She almost got there which is pretty surprising. But let's not sugarcoat things -- Vanguard fell short of the mark. This isn't a tier VIII Warspite. So is Vanguard "good"? Well, yes. Yes, she is. However, there's a big ol' butt attached. She's good but she's also potentially frustrating as all get out. I've grumbled enough about her fire arcs. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, if you can't tell. This right here is what would relegated Vanguard to a port-queen for me. For others, her exposed citadel is going to be a big no-no. Why play a battleship that can get her machine spaces easily blown out when you could play something similar that doesn't have to put up with that nonsense? Her inability to overmatch select heavy cruisers will be a turn-off for others. It will keep her from being a contender in competitive play because of it. Finally, her longer AP fuse timer gives her an increased chance of overpenetrations. There's few things as heart breaking as lining up that perfect shot on a cruiser only to watch your shells sail clean through, inflicting minimal damage. One of the ways a premium ship can get in my bad books is by forcing a player to take extra steps to accomplish the same task as other vessels. Vanguard ticks this box. If Famous and HIstorical Monarch can do what Vanguard does and with less frustration, why bother picking up Vanguard? If the comparison to Monarch is bringing you pause, good. The two ships have very similar play styles with the tech tree ship being idiot-proof. I think this is perhaps the most damning thing that could be said about Vanguard: like Monarch, she's a little dull. Thankfully, Vanguard does borrow just enough from Warspite to spare her being called the second coming of the King George V that never was. I'm just not sure it's enough to redeem the ship in my eyes. Her perks are compelling, but it keeps coming back to those frustrating elements for me. I suppose that says it all right there. Know thyself. If those elements seem like turn-offs to you, then stay away. Otherwise, she'll do you no wrong. Would I Recommend? Vanguard acted as the gatekeeper to the initial offering of HMS Dreadnought. If you wanted the latter you had to also buy the former. Make sure you weigh the merits of both ships before pulling the trigger on a purchase like that. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Bots are dumb. Battleships vs bots is always a good fit. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. No. You are absolutely spoiled rotten for choice when it comes to Royal Navy premium battleships. Warspite, Hood, Nelson, Duke of York and Dreadnought are all on offer. Vanguard does have the advantage of being the highest tier, and thus potentially making the most bank, but you could do almost as well for yourself in most of the others. (I can't believe I'm recommending Duke of York as a reasonable alternative...) For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Get yourself Massachusetts or Alabama instead. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. She's the last Royal Navy battleship ever -- built in steel and she's drop dead gorgeous. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? No. I didn't find her fun to play. However, that's because I'm a whiner when it comes to firing arcs. Maybe your own mileage will be different. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on oh-so scientific, not-sarcastic at all, 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 It's only a week late. That's unfortunately going to be the status quo going forward as I perpetually play catch-up with releases. Since Dreadnought and Vanguard were ninja-announced last week, Bourgogne has been finalized. In addition Charleston was released without any warning, so there are three new reviews in the queue. What's more, the Black Friday ships, Massachusetts, Tirpitz, Atago and Asashio are on their way out. While Tirpitz and Massachusetts' reviews are still reasonably up to date, the changes to the latter two could warrant a revisit. Given the limited access I'm going to have with Bourgogne, I'll probably be prioritizing that one as my next review unless something else comes up. Thank you all for reading. Thank you very much to everyone that supports me on Patreon for helping me produce this content. Appendix Armour penetration data was pulled from two sites: http://proships.ru/stat/ships/ https://mustanghx.github.io/ship_ap_calculator/
  24. It may be a bit earlier to ask this but, how is the Kaga currently? I am in a bit of a mood to waste $60 on a virtual boat
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