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Found 73 results

  1. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Ise

    The following is a review of Ise, the tier VI premium Japanese hybrid battleship-carrier. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself; I did not pay to get access to her. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.4. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: An Ise-class battleship refit into a hybrid carrier. Her stern-mounted X and Y turrets have been removed and the deck-space converted over to aircraft operations and anti-aircraft firepower. She may launch an attack group of four torpedo planes every 2 minutes. PROS Large hit point pool of 58,700hp. Excellent range on her main battery guns with a reach of 21.4km. Good accuracy with 2.0 sigma. Excellent anti-aircraft firepower for a tier VI battleship. Access to an air wing of torpedo bombers, allowing her to scout and deal damage. CONS Same wonky citadel geometry as Hyuga. Lots of shell traps thanks to her raised flight deck. Horrible gun handling and fire angles. Only eight 356mm guns with a 30 second reload, leading to poor damage output. Her 356mm AP shells lack the ability to overmatch other battleships and higher tiered cruisers. Large turning circle radius for a tier VI battleship of 750m and a slow rate of turn. I'll get into the specifics of the PROS and CONS of her aircraft down below in the Torpedo Bombers section rather than cluttering up this initial list. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / EXTREME I'm a bit iffy on my skill floor rating, to be honest. Battleship game play is not hard. Aircraft carrier game play is not hard. However, the two combined may be a bit much for some players, if only because one comes at the expense of the other and that's a bit of a trap. I'll go into more detail about this down below, but the TL:DR is that there are right and wrong times to use Ise's aircraft. And there are a lot of wrong times to use her aircraft. Most of these wrong times will simply compromise the efficiency of this ship's damage output but some of them will downright handicap your involvement in the match if not effectively remove you from it entirely. And that's not counting the times it will simply get you killed. For veterans, there's a lot of wonderful finesse that having an air group provides, including being able to scout and spot for your team (which is all kinds of amazing). So you get all of that nice, sniper battleship game play combined with some of the most broken CV elements? Yeah, there's a lot of potential here, even if her damage output suffers as a result. Options Ise's options are stupid simple and that's one of her drawbacks. She has no access to aircraft carrier consumables, upgrades or skills to improve her air group. Thus you're stuck building her the same way you would an artillery battleship, stressing survivability and main battery performance. You might be tempted to go with AA firepower, but the returns aren't as worthwhile as a survivability build. Consumables Her Damage Control Party is standard for a Japanese battleship, meaning that it's only active for 10 seconds as opposed to 15 seconds for most other battleships (and 20 seconds for Americans). It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. It's worth knowing that this cannot be used while controlling Ise's aircraft. I'm going to mention this a few times over the course of this review. Her Repair Party is also standard. It queues up to 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. From this queue, it will heal back up to 14% of the ship's starting hit points per charge over 28 seconds. It starts with four charges and has an 80 second reset timer. Like with her Damage Control Party, this cannot be used while controlling Ise's aircraft. See? I'm repeating myself already. Upgrades Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Damage Control Modification 1 is up next. You have two choices in slot three. You can reduce her dispersion somewhat with Aiming System Modification 1. Alternatively, you can (and probably want to) reduce her gun traverse time by taking Main Battery Modification 2. It's important to note that if you're going to for the second option you should also consider taking the commander skill Grease the Gears. The upgrade alone increases Ise's traverse from 4º/s to 4.6º/s. Both jumps it up to 5.5º/s. Damage Control Modification 2 is best in your final slot. Commander Skills With Dead Eye dead (and buried), battleship builds are getting pretty cookie cutter. Start with your choice of either Gun Feeder or Emergency Repair Specialist. Next, grab Grease the Gears at tier 2. If you want, you can swap this for Priority Target. Basics of Survivability is next up at tier 3. And finish things off with Fire Prevention Expert at tier 4. For your next eleven points, take the following: Concealment Expert (4), Emergency Repair Specialist (4) and Adrenaline Rush (3). Easy-peasy. Camouflage Hyuga comes with Type 10 Camouflage providing the following bonuses: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains.  You can unlock Ise's alternative (blue) camouflage by completing the appropriate section of the Yamamoto Isoroku collection. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 356mm guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-P-Q in superfiring pairs. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 127mm guns in 8x2 turrets with a pair on either side of the main superstructure. Secondary Battery Let's start with Ise's secondaries as they're largely forgettable. Ise takes Hyuga's layout but nixes all of the 140mm casemate mounts leaving just eight pairs of 127mm guns mounted around the superstructure. Without any remarkable increases to range, accuracy or rate of fire and their crappy fire angles, it's safe to say Ise's secondary firepower sucks (and not in a sexy way). Ise's secondary firepower is worse than some cruisers. If you encounter Ise, forcing her into a brawl is a smart play. Her secondaries are of little threat and between her wonky citadel protection and horrible fire arcs, she's highly vulnerable. Ise belongs back on the second line, not up front. Main Battery When imagining Ise's firepower, think "Kongo". Ise brings an eight, 356mm broadside, the same as the tier V Kongo-class, but with the following changes: Improved sigma value (2.0 vs 1.8) A slight increase in base range (21.4km vs 21.2km) But no ability to increase it further (Ise lacks a Spotter Aircraft consumable that Kongo has). Improved gun handling (4.0º/s vs 3.3º/s) HORRIBLE, AWFUL, MISERABLE and WORSE gun fire angles. Ise's firepower is better than Kongo's. In theoretical engagements barring attacking targets at very long ranges, she'll generate a few more hits over time than Kongo grace of her increased accuracy. In practice, Kongo is the easier gun platform to use even with her horrible gun traverse. A 0.2 sigma difference is all but imperceptible to the best of players on a per-game basis. While Ise's improved gun traverse is nice, it does not make up for her horrible gun fire angles (not even a little bit). Don't even think about kiting. So for a tier VI battleship, Ise's main battery artillery is definitely not-great and arguably some of the worst at her tier (I personally rate P. E. Friedrich's as worse overall). Bad as this may seem, it's not unusable. Ise is still quite capable (and rather good at) obliterating cruisers and her 356mm AP shells have enough penetration to pose a threat to most broadsiding battleships up to about 15km. It's only when other battleships angle or if they're too far away that these weapons start to feel a bit weak. Overall, Ise's main battery firepower is poor for a tier VI battleship but workable. Their 356mm calibre, the lack of an increased rate of fire and the small number of guns keeps them from being competitive. They work, but they're not going to win you any races. Pick your targets where your individual hits will have the most impact. No surprises here. With only eight 356mm guns and a 30 second reload, Ise's AP damage potential is the worst at her tier. Thanks to Japanese HE shells doing more damage relative to their calibre, she's not quite in the doldrums for HE damage output, but spamming HE does not (and will not) make her competitive. Japanese HE shells have no bonus penetration the way German and British battleships do and their fire setting is among the worst at their tier. As an aside: Andrea Doria is the only battleship presently that uses SAP shells (hence the different colour and pronounced DPM presence on this chart). Though the Japanese 356mm may appear to rank closer to the bottom in this list, the difference between her penetration and that of Izmail and Arizona is so minor as to be a non-issue. At this tier, 356mm guns are quite comfortable, though when it comes to besting battleship belt armour, engagement distance below 15km are preferred Standard dispersion tests. This is 180 AP shells fired at a stationary Fuso bot that lacks camo at 15km. Shots were coming in from right to left with the bot effectively bow-tanking. All ships were using Aiming Systems Modification 1. From left to right, Fuso's 1.5 sigma vs Hyuga's 1.8 sigma vs Ise's 2.0 sigma. Ise has TERRIBLE firing arcs. They're almost British, they're so bad. In kiting scenarios, it's best to pretend that Ise is a six-gun battleship. Unmasking Q-turret guarantees that return fire will skip any ricochet-check mechanics. VERDICT: Individually, her main battery guns are fine. However, they are hamstrung by poor fire angles and the ship simply not being able to throw enough shells downrange fast enough to be terribly competitive. Durability Hit Points: 58,700 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 26mm / 16mm / 26mm / 35mm to 44mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm anti-torpedo bulge + 299mm belt + 32mm turtleback + 32mm to 230mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 26% Ise is a chonk. Ise's durability is ... well, it's okay. She has a lot of health for a tier VI battleship, and that's nice. There's nothing special about her heals, though. She doesn't have improved damage queuing like Warspite and Queen Elizabeth. She doesn't recover more health per charge the way New Mexico and Baebote does. She just has a lot of health which, in turn, gives her a larger healing potential. In terms of overall armour protection, she's soft but not irredeemable. Her positive traits include a dispersed armour scheme including a reinforced amidships deck and thicker upper hull plates scattered here and there. Similarly, she has massive anti-torpedo bulges that act simultaneously as armour voids while also being immune to overmatching from anything within her matchmaking spread. As if that weren't enough, immediately behind them are 199mm to 299mm thick belts which will again prompt a ricochet check, allowing Ise to double-dip this mechanic against incoming rounds. Unfortunately any good coming from these is largely undone by the massive areas of 26mm armour on her bow and stern, the latter of which creates an awful shell trap which greatly reduces the efficacy of angling. Similarly, because of her wonky citadel geometry, it's not only possible but quite likely for Ise to take citadel hits through her bow beneath her A turret, even when she's aggressively angled. Battleships armed with 380mm guns are especially dangerous due to their overmatch potential through these soft areas. Given how much broadside you need to give when unmasking her guns for any shot, Ise gives away a lot of hit points when she takes return fire. As I've already said, she's not agile enough to Just Dodge™ her way out of trouble. The biggest issue she suffers from when it comes to her durability is consumable management. You're often not going to be at the helm when damage comes in, so knowing when to stop playing with airplanes in order to deal with threats is an important skill to master. Seriously, just take my word for it -- Ise's citadel geometry is wonky in the extreme, especially with how it interacts between her belt and turtleback. It's a nightmare. Speaking of belts, hidden behind Ise's enormous 32mm anti-torpedo bulge are her upper 199mm belt and her lower 299mm belt. Behind the lower belt is a 32mm turtleback that's not angled steeply enough to repulse fire. Her turret faces are 305mm thick with 299mm barbettes. VERDICT: Not terrible. Those shell traps are a pain in the butt, though. Agility Top Speed: 24.5 knots Turning Radius: 750m Rudder Shift Time: 14.8 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.8º/s at 18.5 knots There's not a whole lot to go over in this section. Ise handles poorly and she feels like a big ol' dumb battleship. She isn't fast. Her rudder shift time is on the poor side of average. Her turning circle radius is large for a tier VI battleship. As a consequence of all of this, she takes a long time to come about. If you haven't upgraded her turret traverse, her lack of agility is very apparent, and doubly so if you're trying to run away from anything while shooting over her shoulder. With her bad fire angles and small number of guns, you will be tempted to swing out to unmask as many weapons as possible to maximize firepower. However, Ise is not nimble enough to be able to swing back in time to avoid return-fire in an exchange. This will just get you killed, especially in head-on engagements with so many AP shell traps towards the rear of her hull. Ise's only saving grace is that she nearly manages 25 knots in a straight line. At this tier, that will help control engagement distances. That I will give her credit for. Everything else is crappy. Yikes. She makes Izmail look good. VERDICT: Pretty damn bad. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 5 + 1 explosions at 1,260 damage per Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 164.5dps at 75% accuracy (123.4 dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 262.5dps at 85% accuracy (223.1dps) Brace yourselves: A Japanese battleship has managed to have the best anti-aircraft firepower at her tier. It's a close contest between Ise and Izmail for the best array of AA defences but Ise has the lead with the combination of weight of fire and flak. Izmail edges her out in range but only in range. For personal defence, the Japanese battleship generates bigger numbers and will cause more casualties. Though I don't want to take the win from Japanese battleship enthusiasts, it's important to keep in mind that "best in tier" is not the same as "good". Ise cannot prevent tier VI carriers from making an attack run and she barely has enough to ensure that they can't make two. Against tier VIII carriers, it's not even a contest. They can and will make repeated drops if they're willing to soak up the casualties to do it. Against carriers like Enterprise and Kaga, these casualties are not likely to be consequential enough from repeated waves pulling off the same stunt. Given that you're not always going to be at the helm when aircraft are coming in, Ise makes a tempting target with her predictable movements and lack of focus fire. With apologies to the colour blind. VERDICT: Best at tier but still lacking. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.84km / 13.83km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.84km / 8.86km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 13.81km Maximum Firing Range: 21.4km Most of what's going on here has to do with Ise's aircraft, but I'll save that for the section below. For the rest, all you really need to know is that Ise is a big girl. This is bad news for a ship with some fragility issues and one that you're not always at the helm when bad stuff starts going down. Though it's tempting to always keep Ise on the second line to help combat this, this really damages her artillery performance, especially against other battleships. When she's top tier, you can afford to be closer (so long as no one's throwing torpedoes around) but in higher tiered games that's seldom a safe option, at least not if you want to make any good use of her planes. This often relegates Ise to staying much further back than a battleship normally would (which is already saying something), if not camping out near islands. This temptation to keep her out of harm's way entirely is usually a mistake. She is still a battleship, after all, albeit one that brawls horribly. Her guns need to be kept in the game as much as possible. Nothing unexpected here. How about that loot-box bait, though? VERDICT: Predictably not good but bad habits and practices will make things worse. Torpedo Bombers Aircraft Type: Aichi M6A2 Seiran Ordnance: Two Type 5 Torpedoes per aircraft Group Size: Four aircraft, forming both the squadron size and attack wing Hit Points: 1,820hp per Aircraft Min/Cruising/Boosted Speed: 95kts/122kts/140kts Ise's bombers look gorgeous. Welcome to baBBy's first aircraft carrier! I saved this for last for a reason. Ise's aircraft are weird. Their game play is generally the same as carrier-borne aircraft however their resource-management is completely different. I skipped a break down of the PROS and CONS of Ise's aircraft to keep the initial list tidy, so here they are now: AIRCRAFT PROS May launch four torpedo bombers every two minutes, regardless of air group casualties. Good concealment on bombers with a 7.5km detection radius. Bombers drop two torpedoes each for a massive spread of eight fish from a full attack flight. Her torpedo planes have a lot of health for a tier VI plane with 1,820hp each. Aircraft launch from steam catapults with rocket-assisted boosts, giving them an initial high speed (up to 210 knots) for 10 seconds after launch. AIRCRAFT CONS Only four planes per flight, meaning any casualties taken immediately reduces the size of her drop. Unable to upgrade torpedo bombers short of flooding-boost signal flags. Torpedo bombers have no consumables. Individual torpedoes deal very little damage and have poor flooding chance. The spread of her torpedoes is too wide for all hits to land against a single target. Boost provides only an 18 knot increase to speed instead of the normal 35 to 40 knots. Player loses control of their battleship while flying aircraft. Dispensing BALANS™ Let's start with aircraft management. Ise's torpedo bombers DO NOT launch the same way as aircraft carrier bombers. She starts with no aircraft on deck. She has no hangar space. She does not passively regenerate aircraft one at a time. It is easier to compare Ise's aircraft to deck-mounted torpedo launchers rather than a carrier's hangar. Like torpedoes, Ise's aircraft have to be "reloaded" at the start of the match. This takes two minutes exactly. Once loaded and then launched, it takes another two minutes for them to reload again. Like torpedo tubes, as soon as the catapults are empty, the reload timer starts -- so this means that while the aircraft are flying around, the reload timer is passively ticking down back on your battleship. If you leave your "loaded" planes on deck, the reload timer won't start again until planes are launched. There is no way to decrease this reload time. Adrenaline Rush has no effect upon it. Played optimally, Ise can launch a maximum of 9 waves of aircraft over the course of a 20 minute match with the tenth coming off cooldown just as the game ends. Ise's aircraft do not "return to carrier". They despawn after climbing to disengagement altitude following an ordnance drop or being recalled. Their survival or destruction has no bearing on the reload time or composition of the next wave. It is always a flat two minutes from the last time planes were launched (not recalled, not destroyed, not after they dropped their fish -- launched) and each reload always has the full complement of four torpedo bombers. There is no way to reduce or increase this. Every launch is always going to be a full attack flight of four bombers. If aircraft are not launched right away then they remain "loaded" the same way torpedoes do. They cannot be damaged while on deck. There's no way of temporarily or permanently disabling their catapults (short of the destruction of Ise herself). The ship may still launch while on fire. This is very different from managing hangar capacity and aircraft restoration. Ise's aircraft have rocket-assistance to get them aloft. This provides a tremendous speed increase for the first 10 seconds of flight. Your boost can add onto this. Once the squadron is formed up, their speed can reach 210 knots, allowing them quickly cover the first 5km away from their mothership by the time they drop their boosters. The Empty Husk Remember how mad people were that Wargaming was taking away a lot of the ship-management details from aircraft carrier players? Almost nothing is automated on board Ise while you're away controlling your bombers. If you don't set your battleship some automatic way points or put the rudder hard over, she's going to wander in a straight line. If you listen closely, you can already hear destroyers drooling. You cannot use your ship's consumables while flying around. Furthermore, your ship isn't going to do it for you the way aircraft carriers will. Fires and floods will burn and bubble unattended. Heals will go unused. Perfect shots will go to waste. Only your secondaries and AA will fire, but otherwise Ise remains an empty husk while you're zooming around making airplane noises with your lips. Make sure you preset your planned course changes and lock your guns appropriately when you launch planes or you can come back to unmitigated disasters. This has gotten me killed a couple of times during play-testing. I cannot stress this enough: Stop using your bombers the moment your battleship comes under threat. Aircraft Agility Meanwhile, veteran CV players will notice some general weirdness with Ise's aircraft from the moment they're launched. First point of weirdness: Her rocket-assisted launching. Normally aircraft are slower on the takeoff but not with Ise. With the assistance of her boost, Ise's bombers become some of the fastest aircraft in the game, albeit for a mere 10 seconds. Second point of weirdness is the boost of her aircraft. It only has 10 seconds of charge instead of the normal 20 for torpedo planes. It keeps being weird with only providing +18 knots worth of speed instead of the usual 35 to 40 knots of other bombers (though if you use it when her rockets are active, you get +27kts which is better but still wrong). Finally the last point of weirdness, her bombers have no energy retention whatsoever. The moment your finger leaves the throttle, she bleeds all of the gained speed. This makes her bombers overall slower than her contemporaries despite her nominal speed looking pretty average. This will leave aircraft carrier players feeling like Ise's torpedo bombers fly more like attack aircraft. For those of you still relatively inexperienced with carrier game play, Ise's torpedo bombers do not behave as torpedo bombers should. Trust me. They're weird. They're supposed to be better than this. The rest of her aircraft performance appears normal or close enough not to matter. Their rate of turn increases and their turning radius decreases as the aircraft slow down. The inverse happens under boost, with slower rates of turn and greatly increased turn radius sizes. Their disengagement and recall timers all appear normal as well. Ise's aircraft do not gain as much speed from boost as other torpedo bombers. This is the approximate amount of time it takes for the respective tier VI torpedo bombers to bleed off their boosted speed (which is usually a bonus of 35 or 40 knots). Deceleration is (mostly) linear. Most torpedo bombers can hold onto their boosted speed for about 9 to 10 seconds, gradually losing it over time allowing them to maintain a higher cruising speed than their in-port values might otherwise indicate. Some keeners like Ark Royal and Weser exceed this by a couple of seconds. Ise not only gains less from her boost (only 18 knots), she loses it all in 2.5 seconds and her aircraft feel much slower as a result. Upgrades & Survivability With 1,820 hit points per aircraft, you could be forgiven for thinking that Ise's bombers have some reasonable survivability. However, their inability to receive any kind of improvements from upgrades or commander skills greatly impairs their durability. Flak and sustained AA DPS is more dangerous to Ise. What's more, she does not have the extra planes in a given attack flight to soak up casualties to be able to push through against high-priority but well defended targets. Every loss Ise's squadrons takes hurts the size of her ensuing torpedo drop. The only upgrades that can be made to these aircraft is through the use of signals to increase the chance of flooding from individual hits. Given the relatively low speed of these aircraft, Ise's planes are not only taking more damage from AA defences, they're also exposed to it longer. While they are tougher than your typical Co-Op bomber, they still melt like a bot's planes would. Ise's 1820hp per bomber doesn't look so impressive now, does it? It pays to keep in mind that the survivability increases for carrier aircraft don't stop there. The carrier commander skill Aircraft Armor (3pts) effectively gives the bombers the equivalent of 10% more health against sustained AA DPS while the skill Enhanced Aircraft Armor effectively gives the bombers the equivalent of 25% more health against flak explosions. This would put Weser's fragile plane totals when fully upgraded at the equivalent of 1,880hp vs sustained DPS and 2,136 versus flak, well ahead of Ise's flat 1,820hp. Crappy DamageYou might be thinking "Okay, Ise's guns aren't the best, but that's okay. Surely her torpedo bombers make up the difference!" Yeah, no... Her torpedo bombers are amazing and are definitely a feature worth celebrating on this ship, but it's not because of their damage output. In most cases, your main battery guns are better damage dealers. At its most basic, it comes down to alpha strike potential. Each one of Ise's AP shells has a chance to citadel for up to 10,200 damage. To match that, she needs to land four torpedoes. The same math works out for three unsaturated penetrating hits. That's again worth about four torpedoes. And Ise doesn't make it easy to land all of those fish. Drop pattern of the tier VI Torpedo Bombers. A special thanks to @Lert for making this easier to collect. Lining up my Reference Fuso™ with the replay camera for each replay in order to get the correct scale per screenshot was a pain in the butt. Arizona took less than 7,000 damage from this strike. Ise's bombers drop a massive spread of eight warheads, but it's very difficult to land all eight against a single target -- even if they're sitting stationary and broadside on. The dispersing fan-spread of her fish casts a wide net which is pretty nice for catching unsuspecting lolibotes and cruisers with individual hits, but it makes it all but impossible to smoosh more than a handful into the hulls of most targets. For a "perfect strike" to occur, you need to attack a long ship moving at speed from it's rear quarter (just behind the midway point of the ship) and hope that it doesn't dodge. Each torpedo hits for a maximum of 2,767 damage minus the effects of saturation and anti-torpedo defences. While it's theoretically possible to score a jackpot in excess of 20,000 damage for a single drop, I've only pulled it off in Training Rooms on bots. In practice, a "nice" drop will yield about four to six hits and maybe 8,000 damage if your opponent is moving predictably. More average drops typically sit in the 3,000 to 6,000 damage band once you factor in player avoidance and anti-torpedo defences. With only a 17% flood chance per hit (before being plugged into an equation), do not expect to cause many damage over time effects. Those are numbers easily reached by her main battery guns against most targets with single salvos, nevermind the repeated salvos that could be fired in the same time it takes for aircraft to fly to a target and setup a drop. The net result here is that against most targets, using Ise's torpedo bombers as damage dealers to supplement her main battery guns results in a net LOSS of damage potential. It takes Ise's torpedo planes 25 seconds to cover 10km from launch, and that's with riding the boost as efficiently as possible and taking full advantage of that brief period of her 210 knot advantage. Realistically, most engagements occur over larger distances, further increasing flight time and taking away time she could be cycling her guns. For her torpedo bombers to compete, she has to be dealing more damage on a strike than she could over the comparable number of salvos she could be firing. This is before we even get into the issues with dealing with anti-aircraft firepower. Any losses to the bombers on their way in reduces the damage potential of the strike. So you may be wondering why they're such a big deal if their damage output is patently inferior to the potential of her guns? Ise may miss out on the increased attack run upgrade, but her shorter aiming time means that she's actually faster at lining up her fish than most other tier VI carriers. The potential for damage is there. In theory, a perfect strike (however unlikely) is worth a pair of AP citadel hits which is hard to ignore. Reaching that potential is a lot harder with Ise's bombers. Once you factor in Just Dodging™ and anti-torpedo defences, Ise is nowhere near as far ahead. UNLIMITED POWAH The thing to remember is that battleship guns are not always effective. Their potential does not equate real world performance (it seldom gets close). There are plenty of instances where Ise's main battery guns just aren't up to the task. Maybe a target is out of range. Maybe it's behind island cover. Maybe it's a bow tanking battleship. Or maybe it's a cute whiddle destwoyer what needs a spankin' (oh yes it does! ♫) and your overpenetrating AP shells aren't a big enough paddle. It's in these instances where Ise's torpedo bombers become the better choice for dealing damage. But their function goes well beyond just hurting stuff. There's different kinds of hurt it can dispense too. The first difference is that while Ise's torpedo bombers may not hit particularly hard, because they're using torpedoes with a blast radius, the damage they deal is often to citadels. This means that ships hit by Ise's torpedo bombers are less likely to be able to heal back whatever damage is done. Against battleships, especially some of those Royal Navy battleships, she can deliver far more harm than the meagre damage totals of her fish may otherwise indicate as they can't claw back the health as readily as the penetrating hits that would likely result from AP shells. The second difference is flooding damage. Flooding isn't the terror of terrors that it used to be once upon a time, but it is another damage over time effect which stacks with fires. Attacking a target with an already taxed Damage Control Party can yield some nice juicy number padding so long as RNGeebus is feeling like a bro. The third type of hurt is a subtle one. Ise can force ships out of position. Players HATE torpedo bombers and will go out of their way to steer to avoid them. This instinct to Just Dodge™ can be used to force players to make disadvantageous moves. Ise can use her bombers to force a ship out of a smoke screen. She can make a battleship turn and flash their broadside to you or your friends. She can shepherd an enemy ship on the straight and narrow by running torpedoes parallel to their course from behind. She can even force them to turn away from an objective or vulnerable ally. NEVER underestimate the potential of this. Even without actually dropping fish, the mere threat can make your opponents make all kinds of zany manoeuvres. But that's not the most potent kind of damage Ise can deal. This last type of hurt is probably the most insidious. Ise can scout and spot. Getting destroyers killed wins games and Ise's ability to light up destroyers with her planes far outweighs any damage potential from her bombers. This is especially potent in the late game as she can quickly shut down marauding lolibotes that have survived to this stage, hounding them and forcing them to either smoke up or suffer the hail of fire from Ise's allies. You can even spot for your own main battery guns this way provided you've got your guns pre-trained and you're quick on the trigger after recalling. This extends not just to destroyers, of course. Anything with either crappy AA or an enormous aerial detection range is susceptible to being lit by Ise. If you're willing to sacrifice your squadron, you can even go after island-hugging cruisers, providing vision for your team to punish them. Heck, light carriers for your 20km range Fusos to snipe. Have fun with it. The further into a game you go, the more power Ise torpedo bombers have. Their ability to help reset caps alone while tanking all kinds of damage has won me a game that would have been lost in any other ship (and gave our last surviving destroyer a Solo Warrior achievement, how cool is that?). Stronger than the Sum of Its Parts As a weapon's platform, Ise isn't impressive. Yeah, her torpedo bombers are annoying but any ol' Bayern can (and will) rip her a new one provided they can get within 14km of her and don't flash their broadside to her guns. She doesn't outfight opponents, she outplays them. Ise does not have the raw firepower to win straight up trades. Instead, her torpedo bombers are a tool that helps wins games. They finish off low health targets. They slow your opponents approach to given objectives. They reset caps. They push ships out of smoke screens. They keep destroyers spotted. And sometimes they even do damage. Do not underestimate a well played Ise that knows how to make use of these planes. Their influence far outstrips their damage potential. VERDICT: Meta changing. Final Evaluation Ise is a paradigm shift. Now you can have carriers in your games without having carriers in your games. Ise upsets game balance in a similar manner to asymmetrical CV matchmaking. When one team has Ise and the other does not (and there are no other carriers present), one side has the decided advantage in vision control. While this may not matter as much in solo-play in Random Battles, in divisions or in any kind of competitive environment, the disparity will be much more pronounced. While I don't expect Ise to be a powerhouse in terms of damage dealing, she doesn't have to be to influence the course of a battle. Like Haida and Asashio before her, Ise's ability to change behaviours of the enemy team is what makes her overpowered. This is one of the first ships in a long time where I still feel I have yet to master her full potential. I can't say with 100% certainty what I would expect the upper damage totals for this ship to be. My own results while play testing this ship were highly volatile, though that was in part due to the experimentation I was constantly undertaking with each and every match-up. Ise is a ship that will grow with you. Those who choose to play her often and specialize into getting the most out of her performance will be frightening opponents. While I'm not too scared of encountering a random Ise on the enemy team, you can bet that I will pay close attention to how well they're performing, especially if they are coordinating with a division. Ise is fun in the same way carrier game play is fun. It's an entirely one-sided affair where your enjoyment comes at the expense of others. She's a strong ship. Mouse out.
  2. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Agincourt

    The following is a review of Agincourt, the tier V British premium battleship. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself; I did not pay to get access to this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.4. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Summary: A slow but stealthy WWI era Dreadnought armed with fourteen 305mm guns in seven turrets (!) and a powerful secondary battery. PROS Dispersed armour scheme with an icebreaker bow & stern and resilient upper hull and amidships deck. Comfortable forward fire angles for most guns and that gorgeous Friday 360º turret traverse. Massive broadside of fourteen 305mm guns. Improved HE penetration. Powerful, accurate secondaries with long range and increased rate of fire. Tiny surface detection. CONS None of her armour is especially thick, making her easy to damage with battleship AP if not perfectly angled. Painfully long 36 second reload. Horrible main battery dispersion with 1.5 sigma. Terrible ... nay, craptacular AP penetration. Reduced HE damage. Slow and cumbersome. No anti-aircraft firepower whatsoever. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme For an inexperienced player, Agincourt is a bit of a rough ride. This is all down to her horrible rate of fire. At 36 seconds, a missed volley is downright painful and this is further complicated by the poor performance of both her AP and HE shells. You might aim properly but still find everything shatter or ricochet. There are further challenges with trying to manage her poor armour values and sluggish handling. At least they don't need to worry about managing AA defence as she doesn't have any. Admittedly, Agincourt's skill ceiling all comes from managing the brawling side of things. If you ignore that potential, then her skill ceiling is no higher than Moderate. But Agincourt fully encourages you to get your brawl on and it's a lot of fun. Agincourt embarrasses a full health KGV in a joust with a Devastating Strike. Options One of the nice things about reviewing lower-tiered ships is that there are fewer options to worry about. Still, there's quite a bit of weirdness going on here so pay attention. Consumables Her Damage Control Party is standard for a British battleship. It is active for 15 seconds, repairing all critical damage and removing fires and floods. It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Agincourt's Repair Party is strange only in that it's perfectly normal. It lacks the additional damage queue normally found on British battleships nor does it heal an additional amount. Instead it queues up 50% of penetration damage from shells, bombs, rockets and torpedoes, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of everything else. Each charge heals up to 14% of her starting health over 28 seconds. She begins with four charges and an 80 second reset timer. Upgrades Business as usual here. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Then take Damage Control System Modification 1. For your third slot, you have a choice between main battery optimization or going with some secondary craziness. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is generally optimal for your main battery performance though there's a good argument to be made for taking Main Battery Modification 2 to reduce the time it takes to switch aim between targets. HOWEVER, the Agincourt does very well with a secondary specialization (yes, you read that right), so taking Secondary Gun Battery Modification 1 is the start of that magical journey. Commander Skills There are two builds worth considering here. The first is your typical fire resistance specialization. Start with your choice of Emergency Repair Specialist (1) or Gun Feeder (1). That's 1pt spent. Grease the Gears (2) is next. That's 3pts total. Basics of Survivability (3) is the first of our fire-mitigation skills. We're now up to 6pts. And Fire Prevention (4) caps us off. That's 10pts. From here, you're encouraged to pick skills that again emphasize survivability and main battery performance where possible. Good skills include: Emergency Repair Expert (4), Concealment Expert (4), Adrenaline Rush (3) and Priority Target (2) along with doubling back for the tier 1 skill you skipped. The second build is a brawling spec. You want to pair this with the Secondary Gun Battery Modification 1 upgrade for maximum effect. It starts pretty familiar with either Emergency Repair Specialist (1) or Gun Feeder (1) again but we also toss on Pyrotechnician (1) as a tertiary option (in both meanings of the word). That's 1pt spent. Grease the Gears (2) is still the best option, though Priority Target (2) is equally good for dealing with low-tier lolibotes, so it becomes a choice here. Now we're up to 3pts. Long Range Secondary Battery Shells (3) is the first major deviation we're seeing. Grab it. This is 6pts spent. Finish this off with Improved Secondary Battery Aiming (4). And that's 10pts. From here, grab a mix of survivability and gun performance skills along with doubling back for some of your favourites you had to pass over. Good skills include: Emergency Repair Expert (4), Concealment Expert (4), Adrenaline Rush (3). Fire Prevention (4) and Basics of Survivability (3) still have their place but you'll have to make some compromises somewhere. It is worth mentioning two controversial skills for Agincourt's secondary build. These are Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (2) and Swift in Silence (4). The former will make Agincourt's 76mm secondaries capable of directly damaging most tier VI and VII destroyer extremities, along with buffing her 152mm secondaries to be capable of doing the same versus tier VI and VII battleships. This comes at the cost of gutting their fire chance, which is a pretty stiff blow when dueling other dreadnoughts, especially with the prevalence of dispersed armour schemes that even the improved HE pen on her 152mm won't be able to best. Still, it's hard to argue with more direct damage. As for the latter skill, I go into more detail in the agility section below. I'm not a fan. Camouflage Agincourt has access to two camouflage patterns, Type 9 and Veteran of Jutland. They are cosmetic swaps of one another and both provide the following bonuses: 3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells -10% to post-battle service costs +50% experience earned. You can unlock the alternative colour palette (the blue) by completing the appropriate section of the Royal Navy Destroyers collection. Agincourt's Jutland camo. Like the ship itself, this is only available from a loot box. Where's that puky emoji? Firepower Main Battery: Fourteen 305mm guns in 7x2 turrets in an A-B-P-Q-X-Y-Z layout. A-B are in a superfiring configuration. P faces forward, Q aft. Y-turret superfires over X and Z, with X facing forward. Secondary Battery: Twenty 152mm guns and ten 76mm guns. Fourteen 152mm guns are mounted in casemates in the upper hull, four mounted in casemates in the fore and aft superstructure and two deck mounts straddling the main bridge. Eight of the 76mm are mounted in casemates on the upper-superstructure with a pair of turrets one platform higher on the rear superstructure. Fourteen Guns and They're All Crap Agincourt's guns are terrible. Ostensibly she uses the same guns as Bellerophon and Dreadnought, the tier III British battleships. However, they somehow manage to be worse on a per-gun basis. Specifically, Agincourt's 305mm guns have a longer reload than her tier III predecessors, worse dispersion and gutted HE performance. Yes, you have fourteen of the bloody things, but they're terrible. Unequivocally terrible. If Oklahoma weren't a thing, Agincourt's guns easily takes the prize for the worst gun performance at her tier. Thankfully, they have two redeeming qualities. She has fourteen of them. She has improved HE penetration. The major issue facing Agincourt's gun performance is her AP shells. If Oklahoma's AP was bad, Agincourt's is worse. It's so bad you can't reliably penetrate battleship belt armour outside of 8km distances. This necessitates keeping a ready list in your head of what the armour thicknesses are of select battleships and, in turn, what ranges you can engage them. Does New York have in excess of 340mm of belt armour, or is it only 280mm? At what range can Agincourt citadel a broadsiding Izmail? How much relative armour does a Conte di Cavour have at a 50º angle? When in doubt, you can always aim higher and hope for penetrating hits but you're working against troll, 1.5 sigma dispersion. Now you could be forgiven for thinking that Agincourt's AP penetration woes would make her better at landing citadel hits on cruisers, but this simply is not the case. Unlike other low-tier, small-calibre guns, she does not have the shortened, 0.01s fuse timers ideally set to for dealing with the smaller breadth of low-tier cruisers. Instead she has the longer, 0.033s fuse timers that are better suited for plunging deep into a heavily armoured vessel in order to destroy machine spaces and magazines. Thus, Agincourt's AP shells work at cross purposes to themselves. She does not have the penetration to readily duel with other dreadnoughts and her fuse timers are poorly set for popping the thinner citadels of low-tier cruisers. About the only targets where this low penetration and long fuse timers work to her advantage is blasting shells down the length of bow-in ships you can overmatch. Waiting that painfully long 36 second reload, setting up for that perfect broadside shot only to watch everything thrown at your opponent over penetrate or shatter is heartbreaking. That's painfully commonplace. Agincourt has some of the worst AP penetration values at her tier. And just to make things more frustrating, she has abnormally long shell fuse timers too which makes over-penetrations against cruisers more likely. So they suck on both ends of the spectrum. The two differences between the HE shells on HMS Dreadnought and Bellerophon versus those of Agincourt. Graphic pulled from gamemodels3d.com which i cannot recommend highly enough for players looking to expand their knowledge into the more esoteric details of World of Warships. Things get a little better with Agincourt's HE shells, but it's not all sunshine, rainbows and puppies here either. You need only look at the difference between Bellerophon and Dreadnought's HE shells versus those Agincourt was dealt. Dreadnought's HE shells hit 18% harder than Agincourt's and have slightly improved fire setting characteristics. Thus Agincourt's broadside is the equivalent of a 12-gun British battleship, not 14. Agincourt's HE DPM is little better than Wyoming, the tier IV American battleship, though the differences count. Perhaps the best saving grace of Agincourt's HE shells is that they retain the 1/4 HE penetration of the British battleship tech-tree. At 76mm, the modest damage output of her HE rounds becomes much more formidable and she is capable of landing citadel hits on a whole list of cruisers within her matchmaking, including but not limited to such prominent targets as the American Omaha-class and Pensacola-class. Farming up some of those black ribbons with HE shells is very satisfying, especially after being repeatedly trolled by her AP, let me tell you. Guess which ammo you'll be relying on? Agincourt's a decent fire setter. If you can land the hits, a full broadside is quite formidable. The catch to that, of course, is landing those hits in the first place. Her dispersion isn't kind nor is her reload. There just isn't anything really redeeming about Agincourt's main battery firepower short of the number of barrels. That 36 second reload is painful in the extreme. Her 4º/s gun rotation is lame, but at least she cannot out-turn her turrets (even if you slap on a Sierra Mike signal and the Swift in Silence commander skill). Her fire arcs aren't great on the whole. Some of her gun turrets are amazing but in order to maximize her firepower, you have to expose a lot of broadside. Her ballistics are incredibly floaty, with her shells suffering from a heavy amount of drag. And finally there's that awful shotgun dispersion of her's which can foil even the most carefully aimed shot. On the flip side, every now and then you'll land this amazing, Devastating Strike and it will make you wonder why you can't do it more consistently. I'm not a fan of Agincourt's main battery guns, if you can't tell. You can make them work, don't get me wrong, but it's an uphill battle. Okay, making this graphic nearly broke my brain. Y-Turret is my favourite (TGIF! ♥). Not only does it have great arcs, it can also rotate 360º. So long as you keep P and Q turret masked, Agincourt's forward fire arcs are very good. Historically, these seven turrets were named after the days of the week, from Sunday through Saturday, fore to aft. One of my standard dispersion tests. This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km. Agincourt is equipped with Aiming Systems Modification 1. Shots are coming in from right to left with the stationary Fuso-bot effectively bow-tanking. Agincourt's 1.5 sigma makes her gunnery all kinds of wonky. Their low velocity has their shell fall angle coming in at a rather steep 17º angle. I Need a Hero! ♫ Agincourt's secondaries to the rescue. Low-tier secondaries have long sat in the shadow. This was largely owing to the old Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament skill which provided a 60% dispersion reduction to tier VII+ ships that designated a target for their secondaries but only a 15% for lower tiered vessels. For four skill points, it just wasn't worthwhile. That's changed with the skill rework, with low-tier battleships gaining the same flat 35% dispersion reduction as higher tiered vessels. So while high-tiered battleships definitely had the potential of their secondaries nerfed with the rework, lower-tiered vessels had their's buffed. But there's more to secondary performance than how well it synergizes with a particular commander build. There are four main elements to look for to see if secondaries are worth specliazing into: Range. This is the real kicker. If your secondaries don't have the reach, they're not of much use. A 5km base range is really the minimum I consider to be viable for secondary builds. Between skills, signals and upgrades, a 5km secondary can reach out to 7.56km which is outside of torpedo range for most destroyers, giving the guns some comfortable use. Most low-tier secondaries sit between 4km and 5km in reach. Agincourt's have a 5.5km base range, maximizing out to 8.32km which is very usable in lower-tiered matches. Volume of Fire. You need a lot of guns and/or a fast rate of fire to make a secondary build worthwhile. This simplifies to looking at the damage-per-minute potential of the base secondaries and seeing if they're putting out big enough numbers to make opponents balk. Agincourt has more DPM potential than a lot of the high-tier secondary heavy-weights. Yes, really. The reload on her guns is ridiculously short, with a mere 2.7 seconds on her 76mm and only 4 seconds on her 152mm guns. She puts out a lot of fire, very quickly. Penetration. Having a lot of potential damage doesn't matter much if those guns are incapable of directly doing any harm to the targets they hit. This is what largely damns a lot of high-tier French battleships. This is one area where low-tier battleships luck out. Structural armour plate at low tiers allows for even small calibre guns to be useful. Agincourt's 76mm can still directly damage the hulls of all tier IV and V cruisers and destroyers and even those of the very light cruisers at tier VI and VII. Her 152mm are a threat to anything but tier VI+ battleships and select heavy cruisers. Accuracy. The final piece of the puzzle is accuracy. If this isn't present but all of the others are excellent, then it can be overlooked. However, having this is definitely the icing on the cake. Agincourt has improved secondary accuracy on ALL of it's guns, not just the casemate weapons as found on ships like Warspite and Iron Duke. This gives her Massachusetts-style dispersion patterns on her secondaries. Agincourt's secondaries fall under the "accurate" category. Agincourt ticks all of the right boxes. Good range, solid DPM, workable penetration and great accuracy. I am firmly of the opinion that if you do not specialize Agincourt with a deep secondary build, you are doing it wrong -- or at the very least, you are missing out on one heck of a ride. While I can appreciate that some people do not find the AI driven guns to be entertaining, there is no arguing their efficacy on this ship. Fully tricked out, Agincourt's secondaries shred exposed destroyers and I've seen them make cruisers and battleships panic. As if their direct damage weren't enough, they're INSANE fire starters -- like Worcester levels of fire starting potential. If you've already been throwing HE shells from your main battery guns about, your secondaries will often find targets that have their Damage Control Party consumable on cool down, making for some easy damage as you move in to a joust. I cannot sing high enough praises for these weapons. Bring them into range whenever possible. You won't be disappointed. Have some perspective. Of the 452k done by Agincourt's secondaries, 330k comes from her higher penetration 152mm casemates. These can be buffed with IFHE to make them capable of damaging the hull extremities of anything within her matchmaking. If mapping her main battery guns nearly killed me, this turned me into a trigonometry zombie. This maps the fire arcs of Agincourt's secondaries with her 152mm in red and her 76mm in light blue. Agincourt's secondaries have most of their arcs weighted rearward. However, do not ignore the fact that she can still bring six of her 152mm guns to bear on a 30º angle forward, giving her a very meaty weight of fire on a brawling aspect while maintaining auto-ricochet angles. Go ahead and take IFHE if you want. She's got FPM to spare. Summary Terrible (HORRIBLE) main battery AP shells but decent HE. Long reload and wonky dispersion makes for very trollish gunnery. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it's heart breaking. If you're not spec'ing Agincourt for secondaries, you're missing out. Seriously. Durability Hit Points: 48,400 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 152mm / 38mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 229mm belt + 38mm turtleback + 38mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 14% Dispersed Armour The thickness of Agincourt's armour is a serious issue. In order to cram so many guns onto her hull, her armour was compromised, shaved down to the level of a WWI era battlecruiser. She simply does not have the overall thickness needed to repel battleship calibre AP shells at any range. Even heavy cruiser AP rounds become an issue at closer distances. Without careful angling, Agincourt surrenders too many hit points to high-penetration AP attacks. The thick plates covering the ship ensure that every AP shell that does best the armour will fuse for full damage. The only ray of sunshine here is that while she may not have thick armour overall, it is well dispersed which can be downright troll against certain attacks. For cruisers and destroyers slinging HE and SAP shells, Agincourt has only a few vulnerable areas, namely her bow, stern and her small superstructure. Everything else they throw at her will shatter or ricochet which makes Agincourt feel quite tanky. Similarly, these vulnerable points are the only areas where battleships can land overmatching penetrating hits when Agincourt angles correctly. With her icebreaker bow, waterline shots will simply ricochet off. It pays to keep her gun fire angles that we discussed earlier in mind. Unmasking P & Q turret will generally leave her vulnerable to returned AP shells. You don't want to nose in perfectly as this will bait shots into her vulnerable upper snoot and barbettes, but sit her at a slight angle. If you can unmask everyone's favourite day of the week (Y-Turret) then you're doing it right. Thus Agincourt's armour protection rewards player skill; both for the attacker and defender. Knowing how to exploit her weaknesses bipasses a lot of her strengths. Knowing how to properly angle her can mitigate a lot of incoming damage. Look at that lovely dispersed armour scheme. Agincourt's armour is excellent when angled in a close-range brawl, though it doesn't quite stand up to long-range punishment. Still, keep her angled and she'll serve you well, resisting AP, SAP and HE shells equally. Do it wrong and those thick armour plates will ensure that battleship calibre AP shells fuse and deal full penetration damage. Her big 19mm snoot and butt are obvious weak points. Citadel & Turret Protection Understandably, the issues with her thin belt carry over to a poor citadel protection scheme. In particular, Agincourt is highly vulnerable to 380mm+ calibre AP shells as there are sections of her citadel which may be overmatched; namely the walls of her boilers, machine spaces and the roof. Still, Agincourt isn't a free meal for overmatching weapons. There is a hidden 25mm and 38mm plate in her bow and stern that caps directly on top of her 102mm and 152mm belt respectively, along with her 38mm turtleback. While the 25mm plate cannot resist 380mm+ AP shells, the latter 38mm will foil shots that come in a bit higher. Her turtleback isn't a significant barrier on its own. However, if she is angled, it's one more plate that may prompt a ricochet and save her for from taking a citadel hit. And really, that's the best you can hope from Agincourt's citadel protection: to turn a catastrophic hit into merely a serious one. One of the things AP shells LOOOOOVE to fuse on are Agincourt's turrets. She has a lot of them and they act as catchers mits for battleship calibre rounds. This leads to a lot more damage than you might otherwise expect and it's definitely a weakness to exploit when going toe to toe against her. While their turret faces are a chunky 305mm in thickness, this isn't enough to repel anything but the longest range fire from the weakest guns out there. Furthermore, below deck, the barbettes of her P, Q and X turrets are just 76mm. Penetrating AP hits love arresting within these rings and blowing up your guns. Similarly, the roofs of her guns are only 76mm. While their slope alone is more than enough to see off AP and SAP shells, Royal Navy battleship HE can and will penetrate if you're unlucky enough to get hit there. This will deal HE penetration damage AND prompt a critical damage check and again, you may end up temporarily losing a turret. Because so much of Agincourt's deck space is taken up by main battery guns, they get hit often. This in turn means more critical damage rolls so be prepared to see more temporarily disabled weapons on this ship than you might otherwise be used to. That's okay, though. You have more where those came from. The last thing to touch upon here is that with Agincourt's citadel being so long (long, long maaaaaan! ♫) every torpedo that hits you will be causing citadel damage. Agincourt has almost nothing in the way of usable anti-torpedo defence. She floods easily and you're not healing back much (if anything) from torpedo hits. Agincourt's main battery turrets are not very well protected, with P, Q and X-turret having very thin barbettes. It is not uncommon for any of her weapons to be disabled or permanently knocked out over the course of the battle when trading fire with other battleships. Y and Z turrets mirror B & A's barbettes respectively. Furthermore, Agincourt's citadel has 25mm sections of it vulnerable to 380mm+ AP shells overmatching. Be careful when facing battleships with these higher calibre weapons. Do keep her hidden geometry in her bow to help protect from overmatching hits punching through her 19mm bow and stern. Also, there's a 38mm turtleback that runs from the 152mm plate in the fore to the one dittoed in the rear, adding to her citadel protection but it's angled incorrectly to prompt ricochet checks. Health and Heals The strangest thing about Agincourt's durability is that it's so normal. Royal Navy battleships have, since their introduction into World of Warships, had special Repair Party consumables. While the portable dry-docks of Nelson, Lion and Conqueror are perhaps the best known among the community, Warspite always healed back more damage per charge of her consumable while also queuing up more damage as well. Even Iron Duke queues up 60% of penetration damage. Agincourt doesn't have any of that. Her Repair Party consumable is completely normal, healing back a "mere" 14% of her starting hit points per charge (base) and queuing up a "mere" 50% of penetration damage. The only ships she has a leg up on are Soviet battleships with their reduced number of healing charges. So while she may have a comparable number of starting hit points to Oklahoma, for example, she has less overall healing potential. Similarly, while Iron Duke's theoretical hit point pool is smaller, the tech-tree battleship has more efficient heals. So there's nothing really worth getting excited about. Thanks to the smaller hit point pools of Conte di Cavour and Viribus Unitis, Agincourt has a better-than-average base hit point pool but that's nothing remarkable. Nothing too out of the ordinary here. For those wondering, Agincourt's maximum effective health is 2.61 Viribus Unitis while New York, the best of the bunch, has 3.05. Summary Agincourt's dispersed armour scheme is a mixed blessing. It's good against small and medium calibre HE and SAP but only good against AP when perfectly angled and useless when not. Her guns get knocked out often and this has a spillover effect leading to Agincourt taking more penetrating hits. Nothing special about her heals. VERDICT: Pretty average for a low-to-mid tier battleship. Better than some, worse than others. Agility Top Speed: 22 knots Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 13.4 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.8º/s at 16.6 knots While Agincourt may have a battlecruiser's armour, she does not have a battlecruiser's speed. This is a slow, cumbersome ship. Her only saving grace is that there are a lot of slow, cumbersome ships at tier V so she doesn't feel horribly out of place. This said, her turning radius is one of the largest at her tier. And while a 670m turning circle radius looks pretty good if you're used to higher tiered ships, this is pretty bad down here in the kiddy pool where islands are plentiful. When paired with her pedestrian top speed, this results in one of the slowest rates of turn for a low-tier battleship. Agincourt feels big and sluggish. What's more, she doesn't get anywhere quickly. This isn't so bad if she ends up on a low-tier map, but when Agincourt gets uptiered, you really start to feel this lack of flexibility. Maybe there's room for the new Swift in Silence skill? I want to be able to recommend it. I would love it if the skill was competitive for certain ships and certain builds, but it's so hard to justify. With it and combined with a Sierra Mike signal, Agincourt's speed gets up to an impressive 25.4 knots, which largely corrects any flexibility deficiencies. That's incredibly enticing. The catch is, of course, that she needs to go undetected in order for this to work. Put one aircraft carrier in play or end up on a flank with a concealed lolibote and her boost goes away. One of the major reasons I want the extra speed is to allow Agincourt to kite but if she's detected (or firing her guns), that's not going to work. Furthermore, the skill and signal combined do not significantly boost her rate of turn, upping it to 4.0º/s. This comes at the cost of her turning circle, jumping up Agincourt's radius to 730m. At four skill points, it's just not quite there in my opinion. Maybe if the speed was always on? Maybe if it provided more speed? I dunno. Agincourt has some of the worst agility at tier V. She's not only slow, but she has a large turning radius at her tier too. Granted, that 670m is pretty small compared to higher tiered battleships, but still, it gives her some of the worst handling at her tier by a noticeable margin, making her feel like one of the higher tiered thunderchunkers when she tries to come about. VERDICT: Crap. Arguably one of, if not the worst at her tier. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: None Long Ranged: None Medium Ranged: None Short Ranged: None There are two ways of looking at Agincourt's complete lack of anti-aircraft firepower. The first is to look at it as a crippling flaw. Any aircraft carrier that knows that Agincourt is bereft of AA defence can attack her with impunity; especially if she's isolated. Furthermore, tier VI carriers can drop fighters on top of her and keep her perma-spotted until she sails out of their spotting range. At her slow speed, this will take quite a while and it strips her of her stealth advantage. The general lack of long-range AA support at low tiers makes this quite likely and carriers can engage her confident that they will less planes than if they attacked one of her supporting team mates. Playing on the receiving end, it's a bit disheartening to know you're going to take repeat drops and it necessitates changing some behaviours. We already know that Agincourt is not agile enough to pretend to Just Dodge™ ordnance but if the CV player is in a hurry, they might flub a torpedo or bomb drop. But what's most important is to properly gauge when to use her Damage Control Party. Don't make the mistake of dousing fires too early or patching up floods you could just heal through. The second and cynical way of looking at things is that Agincourt's lack of anti-aircraft firepower doesn't matter. Few tier V battleships have any kind of anti-aircraft firepower worth getting excited about nor can they see to their own protection. In this sense, Agincourt dispels any illusions of counterplay against a carrier. There's not much anyway, so removing it entirely provides a more "pure" CV vs Surface Ship experience. Man, that's [edited]. And they said there's no such thing as a free lunch. VERDICT: There is now a level zero. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.24km / 10.69km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 8.7km / 7.83km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 9.35km Maximum Firing Range: 15.34km Upgraded includes the use of a camouflage providing a concealment bonus and the use of the Concealment Expert skill and Concealment System Modification 1 upgrade if available. Agincourt has no right being as stealthy as she is. She is the stealthiest battleship in her matchmaking pool. If she were a tier V cruiser, she'd be sneakier than half of them. It's a shame she's not a faster battleship because she could then take full advantage. The closer Agincourt can get, the better. Her armour just isn't thick enough to trade at range and her own AP shell performance is piss-poor until you're up close -- sometimes point-blank-range close. As it is, you can almost (almost!) get her to within secondary battery range before she's detected which is pretty hilarious. You need simply sprint the last 2.37km to start opening fire. Unfortunately, that 2.37km "sprint" is more of a wobbling bag of rancid liposuction meat gently rolling downhill. 2.37km is pretty substantial for a ship that can only manage about 22 knots; it takes her a full 40 seconds to cover that distance. Without the use of island cover, boxing your target in or your opponent making a mistake, Agincourt's not sneaking up on anyone this way. Agincourt's stealth is meant to band-aid a lot of other flaws. Bad AP penetration? Sneak up and get closer. Reliant upon secondaries? You can almost sneak into range. Poor armour protection from long range fire? Keep silent and go stealthy to mitigate it. I mean, Agincourt's stealth certainly helps but again, that lack of speed really makes it difficult to fully capitalize upon. It's only on those claustrophobic, island choked maps where this stealth + speed combination works in her favour and can be used offensively. In all other aspects, Agincourt's stealth becomes a purely defensive ability and used whenever she holds fire. Now this can be used to great effect by an experienced player. Disengaging at the right time will keep you alive, after all. But there are a whole range of "what ifs" that undo it -- the most simple of which being a shadowing lolibote or aircraft. Agincourt's stealth is a trait that's nice to have but it's hard to argue that it's especially powerful without speed to control engagement distances. VERDICT: Cool to have but not game-changing. Final Evaluation As Drachinifel has elucidated, Agincourt has always been a troublesome vessel. Her acquistion caused problems then and it's causing problems now. The only way to get Agincourt at her launch was through gambling through loot boxes. There was no direct sale offered. Using my press account, it took me 11 pulls before she dropped. That's 8,250 doubloons worth if I bought the crates individually. I didn't, I bought a huge bundle so it technically would have cost me 13,750 doubloons. That's the cost of a tier VIII premium for a tier V ship. While receiving dragon signals is nice, I have no practical use for any of the other contents from the containers. Ergo, these loot boxes are worthless to me but for the ship and the permanent camos. If I didn't get access to Agincourt via Wargaming, I would not touch this vessel with a ten foot pole. And that's a shame. This is a really fun ship. I've enjoyed Agincourt immensely and I highly recommend her for anyone that misses brawling in higher tiered vessels. But I hate loot boxes. I cannot and will not support them. So hard pass on Agincourt until she's made available by more conventional means. Thank you for reading.
  3. The following is a review of Paolo Emilio, the tier IX Italian destroyer. Wargaming was kind enough to provide me access to this ship at no cost to me -- be aware: I did not have to pay for this. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics and performance discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.9. Please be aware that said performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: A torpedo destroyer hiding behind a gunship facade but her painfully long main-battery reload hamstrings her gunnery. She is wicked fast and comes with an Italian Exhaust Smoke Generator. Both traits allow her to suicide-charge targets with her short-ranged fish. PROS Massive health pool of 24,400hp. Very heavily armoured for a destroyer including a 60mm belt. Huge SAP broadsides of up to 8,052 damage per salvo. Powerful torpedo armament with twelve tubes and 23,767 damage per fish. Base top speed of 43.5 knots. Engine Boost consumable provides a 25% speed increase giving her a maximum speed (with flag) of up to 56.7 knots in sprints (!) Has access to an Exhaust Smoke Generator. CONS Painfully long main battery reload of 10.7 seconds. Horrible fire-starter. No AP shells at all which makes generating citadel hits nigh-impossible. Torpedoes are very short ranged at 6km. Enormous turning radius of 810m. Horrible concealment values. Engine Boost only lasts for 50 seconds. Paolo Emilio is a very hungry ship when it comes to commander skills & upgrades. You will not have enough points and slots to go around. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH/ Extreme New players stay away. Paolo Emilio is not an easy ship to play. The challenge resides in her poor concealment, her weird gunnery and short-ranged fish. While suicide-torping in PVE-modes will certainly pay dividends, this all falls apart against human opponents. Paolo Emilio's modest gunnery damage out-put, her lack of stealth and her painfully short-duration consumables makes heads-up encounters against just about any opponent super-dangerous. If you cannot kill them quickly, you're not likely to escape. Options Consumables Paolo Emilio's consumables are weird. Whether or not this ends up being normal if and when the Italian destroyer line launches remains to be seen. At least her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. This has unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 40 second reset timer. She uses an Exhaust Smoke Generator in her second slot. This generates smoke for 35 seconds (40.25s with X-ray Papa Unaone signal) and will conceal Paolo Emilio for this duration even while she moves at full speed. Each cloud dissipates in 10 seconds. She starts with five charges (which is admittedly a lot!) and they have a 140 second reset timer. Finally, she has a weird Engine Boost consumable. The candle that burns twice as bright burns for half as long. Paolo Emilio's boost provides a 25% increase to her speed instead of the usual 8% for most destroyers. However, it only lasts for 50 seconds instead of the typical 120 seconds. She starts with five charges here as well (which, again, is a lot) and it shares the 140 second reset timer of her Exhaust Smoke Generator. Pay special attention to the synergy between her Engine Boost and Exhaust Smoke Generator's reset timers. They very conveniently line up and almost match her torpedo reload time. Upgrades There are, ostensibly, two ways of specializing Paolo Emilio. The first is a more conventional destroyer gunship build, focusing upon stealth, damage output and making use of stationary bits of cover. The latter favours an open-water style of engagement, firing at range and focusing upon agility at the expense of stealth. Obviously there's a lot of overlap between these two so you can mix and match to suit your style. You'll note that I'm not fussing overmuch about upgrading her torpedoes. They honestly don't need any help. Main Armaments Modification 1 is optimal in your first slot. Though if you really hate detonations and are running low on Juliet Charlie signals, Magazine Modification 1 isn't a terrible choice. In slot two, Engine Boost Modification 1 is a must if you can afford it. This costs 17,000 from the Armory and is well worth the price. This increases the action time of her Engine Boost from 50 seconds to 70 65 seconds which is a lot more comfortable. If you can't afford this then default to Engine Room Protection as you would for most destroyers. In her third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. However, Paolo Emilio's gun handling could use a little help when she's bobbing and weaving in open water. Main Battery Modification 2 can help keep her guns on target when you're zooming past a target at high speed (especially given the current bug with the Expert Marksman skill). There is an argument to be made for Torpedo Tubes Modification 1 in slot three, not so much for the gains in torpedo speed, but for keeping her torpedo launchers alive and speeding up their traverse rate. Knowing what I know about critical damage and destruction mechanics, I'm not sold on this upgrade. Aiming System Modification 1 is hands down better, in my opinion, even if its gains are similarly minimal. For your fourth slot, it's really up to you. Propulsion Modification 1 provides the biggest boost to how your ship performs but only from a dead stop. Your ship has to be stationary (and stationary often) for this to be worthwhile. If you prefer an island or allied-smoke camping style of play, this is the one to grab. Otherwise, default to Steering Gears Modification 1 to drop her rudder shift time down from 5.3s to 4.2s. So, Concealment Modification 1 is always going to be optimal for slot five. The combination of increased stealth and increased gunnery dispersion from enemy ships is too good to pass up. Still, if you would prefer a more active style of play, you can opt for Steering Gears Modification 2. On it's own it drops Paolo Emilio's rudder shift time from 5.3s to 3.2s. If you pair it with Steering Gears Modification 1 from the previous slot, you can get this all the way down to 2.5s. Finally, we have a game play choice. Main Battery Modification 3 is definitely the front-runner. This reduces her gunnery reload time from a painful 10.7s to 9.4s. Pair it with Basic Fire Training and you can get this down to 8.5s, which is still awful but not abhorrent. This comes at the expense of her gun rotation rate which drops from 10º/s to 8.7º/s. That's not enough to allow her to out-turn her turrets, but it's still uncomfortably close. The alternative is grabbing Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 to increase her range from 11.3km to 13.11km which definitely helps with the open-water gunship style of play. Paired with Advanced Fire Training, you can get her range up to 15.73km. So more pew-pews or more comfortable, long-range gunnery. It's up to you. So for a super-specialized, open-water build, you might go for: MAM1, EBM1, ASM1, SGM1, SGM2, GFCM1 with the option of swapping out SGM2 for CSM1 based on preferences. But a more generic build might look like: MAM1, EBM1, ASM1, PM1, CSM1, MBM3. Commander Skills There's a lot to unpack here. Lemme explain what all of the shapes and colour coding mean: Blue circles: Pick ONE. (1pt) Red circles: Always take these. (5pts combined) Red squares (double outline): Highly recommended. (8pts combined) Yellow squares: Great if you can afford them, but lower-priority than red-squares. (14pts combined) Blue squares: Nice to have but not optimal in most builds. (10pts combined) So just touching base on the necessities and the highly-recommended stuff, you're looking at 14pts spent so it gets pretty messy to fill out the last five points. I never found a build that I was 100% happy with while play-testing Paolo Emilio. I go into more detail about the conflicts and struggles here in the Firepower section below. Camouflage Paolo Emilio comes with Type 10 Camouflage providing the usual tier IX premium-ship bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. Italian ships are just plain gorgeous. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 135mm guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Torpedoes: Twelve torpedo tubes in 3x4 launchers with one wing mount to either side between the funnels and one mounted centerline behind the second funnel giving her up to an eight-fish broadside. With few exceptions, firepower defines a ship's performance. Paolo Emilio presents a rather extreme example in this instance, dictating (or at least pressuring players towards) a particular play style. Despite her apparent heavy gun armament, she is not a gunship. She is a torpedo-destroyer. Relying upon her main battery weapons to carry the day makes about as much sense here as it would on ships like Kagero, Benham or Fujin. While occasional successes may come at the hands of a well placed main-battery broadside, it is capitalizing upon her torpedo armament which makes or breaks this ship. Let's go into the wherefores. Limited by a Long Reload There are two primary drawbacks to Paolo Emilio's main battery firepower: She has no access to AP shells. She has a painfully long reload. The former is, honestly, only a minor issue. Paolo Emilio's lack of AP shells is really only a factor when it comes to engaging cruisers and aircraft carriers at point-blank ranges where, theoretically, whatever AP shells she might have had would be capable of landing citadel hits. In all other engagement ranges and types, her SAP shells provide superior performance. So, like I said: Paolo Emilio's lack of AP is a drawback but it's so minor that it's no real loss. Her slow reload time, however, is another matter entirely. Paolo Emilio's guns are bloody brilliant aside from her rate of fire. Check out these strengths: 23mm of HE penetration (28mm with IFHE). With the right skill build, her 135mm shells are capable of directly damaging the extremities of any cruiser she comes across. 38mm of SAP penetration. This is enough to directly damage all battleship extremities and the upper hulls of those snooty American battleships. Massive 8,052 damage SAP broadside. The alpha strike from her SAP shells is capable of shredding between a third and half of a destroyer's hit point pool in a single salvo if all eight shells strike it amidships. Excellent forward fire angles. All eight guns can engage targets 27º off the ship's bow. All of this gets matched with decent gun handling, a good fire chance per shell, decent range, and reasonable HE shell damage. But no matter how good all of these traits are, being shackled to a 10.7 second reload makes her guns junky. Their only saving grace thus becomes that alpha strike off her SAP shells so let's talk more about them. Paolo Emilio's main battery damage output is pretty crappy. In theory, her SAP is pretty formidable, however you cannot count on your opponent giving you enough of a broadside for it to work. She cannot win protracted gunnery duels against most other destroyers. Crappy Sappy SAP performance is all over the map. While they all have high-alpha damage per shell, they do have drawbacks -- namely their propensity to ricochet when striking targets at acute angles. "Good" SAP shells have very forgiving ricochet angles while "bad" SAP shells have scarcely better ricochet angles than AP shells. Because I'm thorough (and stupid), I collected all of the SAP ricochet angles so we could better evaluate Paolo Emilio's SAP rounds: 80º to 85º - Nino Bixio, the tier II Italian tech-tree cruiser. 70º to 80º - The tier II through X tech-tree cruisers with SAP including the premiums Genova & Gorizia. 70º to 80º - Impero, the tier VIII Italian battleship premium that didn't make it out of testing. 60º to 75º - Paolo Emilio With the ricochet angles mapped out, it looks like this: Paolo Emilio's SAP shells are a LOT less reliable than other SAP shells with which you may be familiar. They are far more prone to ricochets. When it comes to ricochets, Paolo Emilio's SAP shells are like very forgiving AP rounds rather than SAP from Italian cruisers. Once an enemy ship (particularly a destroyer) appears to be turning towards or away from you, it's time to switch over to HE rounds. Given her slow rate of fire, this normally only allows for two salvos to be fired off before an enemy has angled enough to make her SAP rounds unable to sustain damage. This is, of course, barring obliviousness, but any weapon can appear amazing if the enemy doesn't fight back. Thus Paolo Emilio's SAP rounds perform best against distracted targets or in ambush situations and there's a lot of mileage for taking skills like Expert Loader to fully capitalize on on SAP opportunities. When to Use Guns Like Japanese destroyers, Paolo Emilio's guns should be used opportunistically but carefully. Every pull of the trigger should be calculated. While it does pay dividends to invest in improving Paolo Emilio's gun performance for those lean spells where you can't make use of her fish, it would be a mistake to think that her guns alone can consistently carry a match. Ideally, when you do elect to do some gunnery, you want to be using SAP as much as possible. You can largely forget about setting fires with Paolo Emilio's HE rounds. While she does have a respectable fire chance per shell, her slow rate of fire will make taxing a battleship's Damage Control Party exceedingly difficult. Getting more than a single blaze to stack, never mind two, will require some hefty bribery to RNGeebus. To this end, taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells isn't a terrible option to boost the direct damage performance of her HE rounds, but I'm generally of the opinion that this is way too expensive for what is very much a secondary ammunition choice on an already secondary weapon system. You can play Paolo Emilio as an open water or island-camping gunship. Hell, you can go for a full Khabarovsk or French Destroyer style build and play up the harassment meta all game. Increase her range through Advanced Fire Training or an upgrade and shoot and scoot to your heart's content. But that's not what she was designed for and it's again going to set you back a whole lot of skill points. Missile Command's MIRVs What Paolo Emilio is designed for, is drive-by deposits of torpedo broadsides at point-blank ranges. On paper, the setup is dirt simple: Use her ridiculous high-speed provided by her Engine Boost consumable to race directly towards a vulnerable target. Activate her Exhaust Smoke Generator just before you reach your own surface detection range in order to stay unspotted. Sprint the remaining distance and dump two launchers worth of torpedoes into the exposed broadside of your hapless enemy. With each fish dealing upwards of 23,766 damage per hit, any target you select is doomed. From the enemy's perspective, all they see is an aggressive moving smoke cloud that suddenly explodes into salvos of torpedoes. If Paolo Emilio is on the enemy team, you have to treat these incoming smoke clouds like one big torpedo that's about to MIRV into separate warheads. In PVE modes, this works as exactly as Wargaming designed. In PVP, it's a much less certain prospect. Paolo Emilio has some pretty gorgeous fire arcs and a couple of meh. It's only her dorsal torpedo launcher with it's forward fire arc that's crappy. The reason is pretty simple: Paolo Emilio's torpedoes, as formidable as they are, are very short ranged. To be clear, they hit like trucks and they're super fast (23,677 damage and 67 knots respectively). However, with only a 6km range, you're only getting hits with them if one of two conditions re met: Make a 200 IQ play at an aggressively moving enemy that doesn't know you're there, ambushing either through the slimmest margins of open-water stealth-torping or using island cover. Play as Wargaming designed her, and make a mad dash at an exposed enemy, using consumables to close the distance. I stress that the enemy must be exposed. An opponent that knows you're coming and takes steps to avoid your fish may not escape damage entirely but they're not going to get sunk. And then you've got nothing but your crappy, slow firing guns to see you out of trouble with a very angry enemy spotting you for not only their own weapons but those of all of their friends. Failing one of these Paolo Emili-yolos will cost you most, if not all of your health. So the counter is pretty basic. Activate Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar if you have it and point your butt and guns at the cloud, moving directly away from it at speed. You might take a torpedo hit or two in battleships but anything else should avoid the worst of it. This active counter-play means that Paolo Emilio is not a forgiving destroyer to play. There are more counters than this, of course. An ill-timed, broken module can similarly flub one of these attack runs, be it Paolo Emilio's engines or one of her torpedo launchers. The long reload of her fish in conjunction with the necessity of timing her consumables means that in PVP, you have to pick your targets and your moment of attack carefully or you'll just end up a greasy stain on the ocean's surface. If this ship becomes commonplace in the community (and I doubt it given the resources needed to unlock her), you can expect to see not only a lot of failed attacks but attacks that do nothing more than sink someone that was already over-exposed anyway and the Paolo Emilio that landed the killing blow dies in the attempt. So, despite the obvious memes, success with Paolo Emilio's torpedoes has a lot of skill-based elements to it -- at least outside of PVE. So some caveats apply here. These numbers are before you account for fire resistance of a given target which, at high tiers, is close to 50%. So, generally speaking, if you want to know how many fires per minute you can expect, take the numbers here, halve them and then compare them to your gunnery accuracy in the respective ship. So if you're hitting about 60% of the time in your Tashkent and you've fully spec'd her out to burninate, you can expect to set about three fires every sixty seconds against a Yamato. Also, Friesland still has zero chill. Summary There's surprising depth to Paolo Emilio's weapon systems. For example, her guns are terrible but if you build them properly, they become dangerous enough to pull out some wins in select encounters. You can brainlessly YOLO with her torpedoes but to get more than one success in three games, you have to plan your attacks carefully. I'm reminded a lot of Haida's weapon systems -- not in that their performance is comparable, but more that while it takes a lot of work to get results, said results feel earned. Paolo Emilio's weapons are very satisfying. VERDICT: A few crippling flaws but there's some fearsome potential here both with her torpedoes and her guns. Defense Hit Points: 24,400 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm & 20mm respectively Paolo Emilio is what the kids like to call "a heckin' chonker." She has 24,400 base hit points and 27,550hp with Survivability Expert (and you will take Survivability Expert). While she does not have any healing capacity, the sheer bulk of hit points provides effectively more health than some of those tier IX destroyers that do have heals due to the inefficiency of getting the maximum potential from every single consumable charge. Now that's a lot of potential damage! With Survivability Expert, Paolo Emilio has comparable durability to Jutland, Udaloi and Östergötland given typical use of their Repair Parties. Getting the "Maximum Healing Potential" as listed on these graphs is a bit of a pipe dream. Part of the reason she's so hefty is that she's actually armoured! Khabarovsk and other high-tier Soviet destroyers show their Italian pedigree when you look at what Paolo Emilio is sporting here. She has belt armour. She has armoured turrets and barbettes. She actually has reinforced magazine protection and a turtleback to protect her machine spaces for crying out loud. You could be forgiven for mistaking her for a very light cruiser. The practical effect here is that not every shell fired at Paolo Emilio will do damage. HE shells aimed at her amidships hull have a very good chance of shattering against her 60mm plates which is proof against HE shells of up to 360mm (240mm if they have 1/4 HE penetration). In addition, British 113mm guns from destroyers like Jutland and Daring cannot penetrate her deck without IFHE, further increasing the effectiveness of her steel. AP shells of all calibers will ricochet off her belt at acute angles. Combined with her enormous hit point pool, Paolo Emilio feels tougher than her destroyer-status would otherwise suggest. If she had the DPM to compete, out-trading with Paolo Emilio would be downright overpowered with this build. As it is, her toughness can kinda-sorta bail her out of tough situations and protracted duels, but she doesn't fare well in trades. The best use of this durability is at range, using her speed smokes to perform short-term hit and runs and then disengage and reposition. Being so tough will reduce the impact of those incidental hits and short-term exchanges. But don't think for a second that this will allow you to survive failed YOLO-torpedo charges. Paolo Emilio has a multitude of hidden armour geometries that are more curious than practical. If anything, they may end up being more of a drawback, ensuring that small and medium caliber AP shells fuse properly inside her. I did not include the 20mm turtleback (angled approximately 50º to 60º from the vertical) which connects the 60mm belt to the main deck as it would get lost in the clutter of her 20mm deck. Graphic was pulled from assets from gamemodels3d.com, a great site for advanced users that are interested in a more detailed look at the mechanics of World of Warships. VERDICT: Tough enough to surprise opponents but not so tough that she survives over-extending. Agility Top Speed: 43.5 knots Port Turning Radius: 810m Rudder Shift Time: 5.3s 4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 7º/s Paolo Emilio is stupid fast and that solves a lot of potential problems with this ship. She has the speed to dictate engagement ranges. She can pick her fights. Her high speed helps make up for her horrid turning circle radius, providing a modest rate of turn instead of an abysmal one. If all she had was this 43.5 knot top speed, that would be remarkable enough unto itself, but she also has access to an improved Engine Boost consumable. Paolo Emilio's ridiculous high speed helps counteract her horrible turning radius, giving her a still reasonable (but still admittedly slow) rate of turn. Her Engine Boost consumable is simultaneously awesome and crappy. It provides a 25% boost to her speed instead of 8%, which is awesome. But it lasts 50s instead of 120s which is such a tease. Just as you're finally ticking over those last few tenths of a knot to reach her theoretical maximum of 56.7kts (with a Sierra Mike signal), the damn thing cuts out. Taking the special upgrade, Engine Boost Modification 1 extends this up to 70 65 seconds, but it's still painfully short of what other versions of this consumable provide. This makes it less useful as a "navigate from A to B" consumable and more of one dedicated to Paolo Emilio's singular purpose: suicide torping. Her Engine Boost consumable synergizes well with her Exhaust Smoke Generator, encouraging their paired use. Activate her Engine Boost first to build up speed and then activate her Exhaust Smoke Generator just before you're spotted and lunge towards your selected target. This does not guarantee success, however. Even at her maximum boosted speed, Paolo Emilio does not have enough longevity in her Exhaust Smoke Generator to allow her to cover the entire distance between herself and a stationary target before the smoke cover expires (to say nothing of a target that's moving away). For those wondering, the distance compression in World of Warships is 5.22x. The purpose of these numbers is to illustrate how much range you can close when lunging after a target with Paolo Emilio. I covered her basic stats against stationary targets where the closing speed will be Paolo Emilio's speed at the time. However I also wanted to simulate approximately the closing distance when a target was either closing or moving away. To this end, I included entries where Paolo Emilio was racing after an enemy where she was outrunning them by 20 and 30 knots respectively. I also included the opposite end of the spectrum, where there is a target unwittingly charging towards Paolo Emilio and the combined closing speed amounts to 70 and 80 knots. The values are admittedly modest rather than a best / worst case scenario but should provide enough data to illustrate my points of caution. The actual relevant distance Paolo Emilio needs to close is 2km less than the values listed. Once you're in auto-detect range, it doesn't matter if her smoke is active or not. Similarly, if your target is going to oblige you by presenting the perfect torpedo target when you're still 4km out (such as by swinging out and presenting their broadside), then you need not run the full distance as your torpedoes can cover the remainder. Still, it pays to keep in mind just how long you'll need to push in order to guarantee those torpedo hits. This is a harrowing experience and every bit of speed you can squeeze out of Paolo Emilio's engines counts. This all comes back to Paolo Emilio having a pretty steep learning curve. What appears on the surface to be a straight forward calculation is far more nuanced. With this speed and decent agility, she should be an excellent kiting gunship if it weren't for that horrid reload. Suicide-torping should be easy if it weren't for the fact her consumables had such short active-periods. Worse, Co-Op won't help you learn these traits. Bots are dumb and they will make this ship's speed seem just right for pulling off shenanigans that will only get you killed against human opponents so you're not going to get any reasonable practice there. VERDICT: Damn-fast but not damn-fast for damn-well long enough. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 2 for 1,540 damage per blast. Long Ranged (up to 4.6km): 52.5dps Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 96.4dps Paolo Emilio's anti-aircraft damage numbers aren't terrible. They're downright respectable even. The issue here is that she doesn't have the range to give her guns enough time on target to do anything. She's a ready victim to dedicated air attack without the concealment to avoid being detected in the first place and lacking a long-lasting smoke screen to discourage CVs from loitering. While not quite on the level of French destroyer vulnerability, Paolo Emilio is a juicy and easy target for carriers. VERDICT: Yer dead. I did not shoot those Messerschmitts down. That was done by the combined firepower of the Baltimore and North Carolina behind me. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 9.08km / 7.13km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.68km / 2.98km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 3.65km sea / 2.7km air Main Battery Firing Range: 11.3km to 15.73km with full upgrades. The last piece of the Paolo Emilio puzzle is her Vision Control (or "Refrigerator" as Lert coined it many years ago). Let's start with the obvious. Paolo Emilio's surface detection range is nothing short of appalling. To give you an idea, there are only five destroyers with worse surface detection ranges. They are: 10km - Khabarovsk, tier X Soviet 9.88km - Kléber, tier X French 9.54km - Mogador, tier IX French 9.40km - Tashkent, tier IX Soviet 9.20km - Udaloi, tier IX Soviet In most destroyer versus destroyer encounters, you are not sneaking up on your opponent. With the exception of those those five ships, you will always be spotted first. Taking Radio Location to help identify the vector of spotting destroyers is quite handy, albeit an expensive solution to this problem. Heads-up encounters with destroyers should largely be avoided given Paolo Emilio's poor gun damage output unless the target is exposed and/or crippled. Trust her speed to keep enemies at arm's length, but be aware that playing keep-away constantly will surrender map control and probably cost you the match. Similarly, using her speed to charge headlong into cap circles is a great way to get Paolo Emilio sunk so it's best to play more passively around objectives lest she have a ton of ready support. Next on the list is what she does not have: Namely any detection consumables. As the meta has progressed, Hydroacoustic Search has become more commonplace on high-tier destroyers. Surveillance Radar too has proliferated. This is doubly important to keep in mind when her Exhaust Smoke Generator is active as she is effectively flying blind during the 35 to 40 seconds that it's active. While battleships with active firing guns are easy to see through her smoke, smaller vessels are not. Speaking of her Exhaust Smoke Generator, it is painfully easy to forget how short-lived this consumable operates for. While the X-ray Papa Unaone signal helps immeasurably with its added fives seconds of emission, this still gives her a pittance when it comes to concealment time. Do not panic-blurt her smoke. Also: don't panic fire her guns while she's in smoke lest you light yourself for an enemy you didn't know was there. The reset timer on her smoke is still painfully long (two minutes and twenty seconds) and a premature blast of smoke inside of radar or hydro range will do her no favours. The same can be said if she's being hounded by aircraft or enemy lolibotes. Once the smoke clears, Paolo Emilio may still find herself in trouble. While her smoke is useful defensively, it's best to keep her out of such problem situations in the first place, preserving it for the suicide-rushes she was designed around. Paolo Emilio's vision control is pretty terrible all told. She's reliant on her speed to make up for it and as shown previously, she's not fast enough for long enough to correct all of these problems. Her Exhaust Smoke Generator is powerful, opening up the possibility of some nice offensive and defensive actions but it has its drawbacks too. It's too short lived and she flies blind while its operating. Her fortunes tend to reside on how well her smoke is utilized. VERDICT: Her success is dictated by how well you can use her smoke. Final Evaluation Wargaming designed Paolo Emilio to be a one trick pony. In their own words: Yet despite this, she ended up being delightfully more complex. She can run and gun. She can even play the role of a destroyer interceptor, trusting on her alpha strike and durability to outlast her opponent. She's not good at either of these roles, but she does demonstrate flexibility enough to pull these off in a pinch. They're just not something you should base her entire play around. It's easy to dismiss Paolo Emilio as nothing more than a YOLO-bote. But even in that role, pulling this off successfully isn't always simple. Well, outside of co-op, it isn't simple. Paolo Emilio is like one of the strongest co-op botes I've ever played. Wait in the wings for the enemy DDs to be taken out and then YOLO your way to 130,000+ damage easy as you slash through the enemy cruisers / battleships with her fish. As a crusty ol' veteran, I unduly appreciate complexity in ship performance. But therein lies the trap. Just because a ship is complex, that doesn't necessarily make it good. Paolo Emilio makes you jump through a few hoops to get her to perform even to a reasonable level (again in most PVP encounters -- PVE need not apply) but that's not necessarily a good thing for the average consumer. There are a lot of ways to counter a YOLO-rush from Paolo Emilio and running into these counters time and again can be discouraging. Do I think Paolo Emilio is worth it? Yeah, she's fun. I like her. I'm not sure she's so much fun that I'd go through the slog of regrinding through the Research Bureau over and over and over again. I'd do that for Siegfried but Paolo Emilio is a much harder sell that way. Now I say this without having enjoying much success in Paolo Emilio in PVP battles. My first forays into PVP with her were downright disastrous, if not comical. She really is not an easy ship to play but that, to me, is definitely part of her appeal. Like Haida, if you do well in Paolo Emilio, it's because you played well. Furthermore, it's not because you overcame an unfair set of difficulties either. I will say this: If Wargaming opens up a 1 vs 1 Ranked Battle season at tier IX, Paolo Emilio will be HILARIOUS. Paolo Emilio swatting simulator. Kill it quick before it MIRVs. Conclusion Can't talk. Wargaming released Florida without warning. Must review.
  4. Hey all, Recently started up a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKRhs69P1wojb-JKVz7jLPg) which features weekly videos with my opinion on the ships I'm playing and some commentary (both the good and bad) of my gameplay. I'll add a post with each new video, so please scroll to the end for the latest iteration. This week's video features a game in the Tier V Hawkins. So come on over to watch me make some boneheaded plays and talk out of my aft porthole! Thanks and happy sailing! Caffeinicus
  5. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Hyuga

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

    Premium Ship Review - Tiger '59

    The following is a review of Tiger '59, the tier VIII premium British light cruiser. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself; I did not pay to get access to her. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.4. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Tiger '59 borrows heavily from Wargaming's Box o' Gimmicks. There is so much about her that's non-standard. Look at this laundry list of improvements: Better healing queue, better healing amount, better smoke duration, better dispersion, improved acceleration, tiny turning circle radius, improved auto-ricochet angles, shortened fuses, 360º gun traverse and finally getting access to a Surveillance Radar and Smoke Generator at the same time. This is all meant to pad out a ship with bad damage output, slow speed and poor durability. Let's see if those gimmicks can make her workable... Summary: A slow and thinly armoured light cruiser with smoke, radar, DFAA and heals. She's armed with a pair of HMS Minotaur's rapid-firing 152mm twin-turrets slinging RNCL modified AP rounds. PROS Phenomenal turret traverse rate (an insane 38º/s) with 360º rotation arcs. Her AP shells have vastly improved auto-ricochet angles (60º to 75º) and very short fuse timers (0.005s). Excellent main battery dispersion. Improved acceleration. Tiny turning circle radius and comfortable rate of turn. Sneaky, with a surface detection range as low as 9.19km. Access to Surveillance Radar and a Smoke Generator simultaneously. Powerful "portable dry-dock" Repair Party with improved damage queues. CONS Small hit point pool and very thin belt armour. Only four main battery guns with very low combined damage output and no big alpha-strike potential. Only armed with AP shells. No HE, no SAP, no torpedoes, no secondaries, no planes. Short 15.6km range. Slow, with a top speed of only 30 knots. No access to Hydroacoustic Search. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme New fish: Keep away. Tiger '59 is comfortable to play for new players right up until the point their first Smoke Generator charge goes on cool down. From then on, it's a severe uphill battle with a slow, very fragile ship with very limited hitting power. In order for Tiger '59 to perform, she needs to survive and outlast her opponents. While between stealth, agility and her heals, the toolkit is provided to do just that, sudden and outright deletions are not uncommon, nor does she come out well when it comes to trading damage, even with some gunship destroyers. Options Consumables Tiger '59 has a glut of consumables but it's important to keep in mind what she's missing. She does not have access to a Hydroacoustic Search. Tiger's Damage Control Party is standard, coming with unlimited charges. When activated, it repairs all temporarily knocked out systems, extinguishing fires and patching floods for 5 seconds. It has a 60 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is one of the infamous British "portable dry-dock" versions, healing back up to 40% of the ship's health per charge over 20 seconds at a rate of 2% per second. She queues up and improved 60% of penetration damage, 50% of citadel damage and 100% of everything else. It comes with three charges and an 80 second reset timer. Tiger's Smoke Generator is identical to Edinburgh's old smoke consumable before she got hit with the nerf bat. It has a 15 second emission time and each cloud disperses in 106 seconds (Edinburgh's used to do this, now it's 99 seconds). This includes the usual British cruiser tropes including a large emission radius (600m) and a 160 second reset timer. It starts with three charges. The ever so popular and controversial Surveillance Radar makes an appearance here. Tiger's version has a 9km detection range for 30 seconds (!), coming with three charges and a 120 second reset timer. Finally, she has access to Defensive AA Fire. This comes with three charges and is active for 40 seconds, providing the usual 50% increase to sustained DPS and 300% increase to flak explosion damage. It has an 80 second reset timer and starts with three charges. Upgrades Tiger '59's upgrade choices are straight forward. The optimized build starts with Main Armaments Modification 1 is slot 1. Next, take Surveillance Radar Modification 1 if you can afford it. It costs 17,000 from the Armory. If you cannot afford that but you have access to a Defensive AA Fire Modification 1 consumable, go ahead and put that in (but I would not waste the coal on that). If you do not have access to either, default to Engine Room Protection. Now it gets brainless. Take Aiming Systems Modification 1 in slot three. Yes, even with her improved dispersion, this is still the best choice. Sad, innit? Steering Gears Modification 1 goes in slot four. And finish things off with Concealment System Modification 1 in slot five. Commander Skills The commander skill rework was simultaneously kind and cruel to the AP-slinging British light cruisers. On the one hand, there's not a whole lot to spend your points on so it's easy to max out on efficient choices. On the other hand, there's not a whole lot to spend your points on so there's not a whole lot of variety to play with. Here's the build I settled upon: Start with Last Stand. Next take Consuamble Enhancements. We'll be doubling back for Priority Target later. Superintendent is next, but we'll be wanting Adrenaline Rush after we spend our 10th point. And finish things off with Concealment Expert. After doubling back for Priority Target and Adrenaline Rush, you've got 6 points to spend where you will. I recommend Radio Location but that leaves a clumsy 2 points remaining that's kinda hard to fill. You could always go for Grease the Gears for the luls, I guess. Like I said, British light cruisers kinda miss out. Camouflage Tiger '59 has access to two camouflage patterns: Type 10 and In Memory of Jutland. Presumably, these are cosmetic swaps of one another (I have not seen the In Memory of Jutland camo first hand) and both provide the identical bonuses of: 3% reduction to surface detection. 4% increase to enemy dispersion. 10% reduction to service costs. 50% increase to experience earned. You can unlock Tiger '59's alternative camo palette (the darker one) by completing the appropriate section of the Royal Navy Destroyer Naval Aviation collection. At the time of publishing, I do not have any information on how to get this camouflage or its stats. Firepower Main Battery: Four 152mm guns in 2x2 turrets in an A-X configuration. Secondary Battery: None Torpedoes: None I should really include dispersion on these going forward. Tiger '59 has an approximate dispersion calculation of: Dispersion in Meters = [ ( range in km ) x 3.5 + 15 ]. Tiger '59 has bad DPM. Tiger '59 hides her crappy firepower behind a veritable wall of creature comforts and quality of life improvements. She has excellent turret traverse rates. She uses the same improved gunnery dispersion as the new German destroyers. Her forward fire arcs are super comfy (they're not so great to the rear, but whatever). Her guns rotate 360º. She has improved auto-ricochet angles on her shells. Her fuse timers are super-short. She has smoke to hide in! She's good at lobbing shells over islands. She has Surveillance Radar to sniff and dig out lolibotes. Her guns reload in 3.2 seconds! But you get four guns. Just four. And they can only fire British modified AP rounds. You get no HE shells. You get no SAP shells. You get no fish. You can't even summon aircraft like some of those newer ships do (Ise and you Dutch boys, I'ma lookin' at you). Yes, these are Minotaur's guns but you are only getting 40% of Minotaur's guns and none of her torpedoes. Nor are you getting access to a slot-six upgrade that would further boost DPM the way it would on the tier X British cruiser. Tiger '59's gunnery DPM is just slightly better than Belfast '43's but without the ability to rely on HE shells and fire to pad her numbers. This isn't quite tier VI cruiser levels; Leander manages only 193k DPM for example, but it's still on the low side. Tiger '59 is largely reliant upon picking on distracted targets, either firing from her smoke clouds or using her super-floaty ballistics to lob shells over islands and annoy them steadily over however many minutes it takes to make them die. Even with her improved dispersion, those floaty, Minotaur ballistics (almost 12 seconds to 15km!) means that any kind of wiggle in your opponent's butt and you're not guaranteed to hit. So pick on parked or predictably moving targets. Despite having Surveillance Radar, it's a good idea to bring a friend along to make sure that the maulings Tiger '59 delivers turn into guaranteed kills. It's really annoying to see destroyers successfully limp away what would otherwise be a certain pasting had she more guns or more variety in ammo. Without torpedoes, she's very much in danger of having her own smoke screen charged and there's not a whole lot you can do to dissuade this. Can you make these guns perform? Absolutely. It's all about positioning and picking your targets. But you've got an uphill battle when it comes to a damage farm and nothing is going to die especially fast to Tiger '59's attentions. So flex that map knowledge. Use that smoke. Harass and reposition as needed and keep the engagement running as long as it needs to in order to secure kills. Her forward fire angles are much better than her fire angles to her rear. Tiger '59 has 360º rotation arcs on her guns! She's the poster child for demonstrating why the percentage-based upgrade system is both stupid and meme-worthy. Stock Turret Traverse: 38º/s Main Battery Modification 2 (MBM2) Turret Traverse: 43.7º/s MBM2 + Grease the Gears: 50.3º/s! VERDICT: Gunnery with Tiger '59 largely boils down to "angry smoke cloud" with some island humping tossed in which is pretty much Royal Navy light cruiser 101. Still, that low damage output hurts. Edinburgh is miles away a more reliable weapon's platform and even Belfast '43 feels like she has better (or at least more reliable) damage output. Durability Hit Points: 35,700 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 25mm/13mm/25mm/27mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 83mm belt. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 4% Made of squish. Tiger '59 has awful citadel protection but there are two good things to take away here. The first, she has better structural armour than very light cruisers like Edinburgh. Second, she wasn't afflicted with the 'camel hump' citadel that makes Cheshire's survivability so volatile. The bad news is that 13mm hole in her citadel roof is easily overmatched by any AP shells greater than 186mm in size, so heavy cruisers have a habit of deleting Tiger rather spectacularly -- especially American heavies with their improved auto-ricochet angles. High tier British light cruisers are infamous for their "portable dry-dock" superheals. Tiger '59 joins Edinburgh, Cheshire and Albermarle with access to this god-tier heal BUT with the added bonus of queuing up 60% of penetration damage instead of the usual 50%> She still gets the 50% citadel damage queue of most cruisers. On top of that, she has better structural plate than Edinburgh, so that's nice. Furthermore, she doesn't have Cheshire's citadel "camel hump" which makes her slightly less of a citadel magnet that the other premium. Slightly. Of course, her armour protection is otherwise crappy as all get out. With only an 83mm belt and a citadel roof that's easily overmatched by 203mm AP shells, Tiger '59 is damage farm for anything that catches her out. She can even citadel herself when angled at 60º at ranges of 7km or less, so beware of jousts with your doppleganger in Co-Op. Larger calibre guns with improved auto-ricochet angles eat this ship alive, with Baltimore's 203mm AP shells capable of citadelling her a 60º angle at 14km. Seriously. It's hilarious. It's almost as funny as losing one of your guns either temporarily or permanently as they're not particular well protected (but no cruiser is, if that's any consolation). It doesn't help that she's a huge, squishy target for small and medium calibre HE shells to farm, never mind the possibility of Royal Navy battleship HE shells citadelling her outright. The best solution, of course, is to avoid damage as much as possible. Stay hidden. Use your heals whenever you can because you're not likely to survive if you hold off for that "optimal" heal. Her armour may be crappy but provided she doesn't get deleted outright, Tiger '59 has a lot of potential health to play with. VERDICT: Nice heals but an absolute mess when it comes to citadel protection so you're probably not going to live long enough to make good use of them. Agility Top Speed: 30kts Turning Radius: 590m Rudder Shift Time: 8.9s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 6.4º/s at 24.3kts The only thing bad about Tiger '59's agility is her low top speed. Everything else is excellent. Tiny turning circle radius, improved acceleration, rate of turn; all great. Even her rudder shift time is on the better side of average. But her lack of a decent top speed is a real bother, especially when paired with what she lacks: Improved British energy retention. Unlike the tech tree cruisers and destroyers for the Royal Navy, Tiger '59 matches Belfast '43 in that she gets their improved acceleration but instead of bleeding only 2% to 3% of her speed in a turn at maximum engine power, Tiger '59 bleeds the nominal 20% most cruisers do. Thus, under any kind of manoeuvres, Tiger '59 is even slower and that 30 knots quickly falls away to the mid-twenties. Controlling engagement distances in this ship is something with which players must always be proactive. If the enemy gets too close, there's no way to reliably disengage. Good gravy, there are a lot of tier VIII cruisers. VERDICT: Great except for that crappy top speed. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 2+1 explosions for 1,750 damage per blast at 3.5km to 6.9km. Long Ranged (up to 6.9km): 59.5dps at 90% accuracy (53.6dps) Medium Ranged (up to 4km): 217dps at 90% accuracy (195.3dps) Who says modern ships get better AA? Ships are ordered here by the formula { [ range - 1km ] x dps.} Tiger '59's anti-aircraft firepower is a bit of a complicated discussion. On the one hand, her range is phenomenal. Once upon a time, dedicated AA cruisers could throw damage out beyond 7km so seeing Tiger's 6.9km range is giving me all kinds of nostalgia feels even if the overall efficacy isn't there. Still, while she's not the first cruiser to have a 6.9km aura, she is the first cruiser at tier VIII to have it which is definitely noteworthy. So her range is great. This is a large window from which she can be dealing damage early on top of which, her flak radius is increased too. For poor tier VI carriers with their slower aircraft, this increase in range presents a signifcant obstacle and Tiger '59's presence is enough to make them nope right out of there. In terms of an AA support cruiser, she's the knees of the bees. Sadly she does not follow this great range up with chunky damage values. Ranked by the efficacy of her guns, taking range as well as damage output into account, she's arguably no better than Edinburgh. If you go by raw damage alone then she drops even further, sitting in the doldrums ahead of Mogami and the Atago-clones but behind Belfast '43 and Anchorage. This looks bad and it is bad, however it does not tell the whole picture. Unlike many tier VIII cruisers, Tiger '59 has access to Defensive AA Fire. When active, her damage jumps, giving her equivalent DPS to Edinburgh but with better aura bubbles. "Only" reaching Edinburgh's level of AA DPS with DFAA active should really put this discrepency between range potential and DPS potential into the proper perspective. Tiger '59's AA defence is only ever "okay". It's not great. You'd have to invest a whole lot of skills and upgrades to even approach it becoming "good". VERDICT: Disappointing for such a modern ship. Good enough to make tier VI CVs balk if you're supporting the target they're trying to bomb, but not much beyond that. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 11.7km / 9.19km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 8.52km/6.9km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 5.52km Maximum Firing Range: 15.6km Yay, data! This is the ship's main selling feature. For all of the fun quirks of her guns, they're not good enough. Her extra acceleration and small turning radius are nice, but are similarly found wanting because of her low top speed. Her AA power is defined by her good range but not by good damage output and her durability is suspect at best. So here it is. This is what makes this bote. She is sneaky. She has Surveillance Radar and she has Edinburgh's old Smoke Generator. Tiger '59 can't quite stealth-radar, but the disparity between her fully upgraded surface detection and her radar range is less than 200m; if you get spotted by something you can't see, wait 2.5 seconds and blow your consumable. At 30 knots, you'll have covered that 200m in that amount of time and odds are they'll be closer than that if you on any kind of closing course. Tiger '59 isn't quite so comfortable with her Smoke Generator unfortunately. This is largely owing to the complete lack of access to Hydroacoustic Search. Smoke screens attract torpedoes and even with Tiger '59's improved acceleration, she's not the best at dancing to torpedo beats. Bring a friend with hydro if you can and promise to pay them back by sharing your large smoke clouds and some easy kills when you light your radar. And that's really it. She's an angry smoke cloud with almost-but-not-quite stealth radar. With Cleveland having had her Surveillance Radar active time nerfed recently, Tiger '59's 30 second duration on her consumable (up to almost 40 seconds when fully kitted out) looks all the more appealing. VERDICT: She's a long-duration Surveillance Radar delivery system. Final Evaluation Replay of Tiger '59 trying to stamp out a lolibote and Belfast '43 thinking he's just doing a super-job. Edinburgh suffers being associated with them. One of the dangers of having such low DPM is that these cruisers can actually be out-traded by some of the more ferocious gunships out there. Especially if said destroyers do something unsportsmanlike, such as blowing out their citadels. The value of Tiger '59 is found in its utility. Her 30 second duration Surveillance Radar combined with its 9km range and her low surface detection makes the ship. That the ship doesn't sacrifice access to either a heal (the way Belfast '43 does) or smoke (the way Edinburgh must) "pays" for her low damage output. As a bonus, they slapped on another questionable consumable with Defensive AA Fire which again adds (somewhat) to her teamplay utility. It's not a terrible combination. I can't say I'm a fan, though. Here's where we get to the "fun" part of the review where I have to make a judgement call if Tiger '59 is good or not. It would be foolish to argue that Surveillance Radar on any platform with low surface detection isn't situationally powerful, if not downright "broken" (I'm using the Angry YouTuber hyperbolic version of that term). Killing destroyers wins game. Tiger '59 facilitates lolibote destruction. Ergo, Tiger '59 must be good, right? That's the grossly oversimplified way of looking at things and if Tiger '59 were the first cruiser to provide this kind of game play, it would be an easy case to make that Tiger '59 has a defined role, she is the best at it and you need to add her to your collection right now now now now. However, we're in 2021. World of Warships is fast coming up on her six-year anniversary of her Open Beta this July. We've come a long way since tier VIII had only Atago, Mogami and New Orleans as options. Look at the lineup: This is all of the tier VIII cruisers currently in the game, including those still undergoing testing. Of the 32 vessels (yes, really), 11 of them have access to Surveillance Radar. So the question isn't so much "is Tiger '59 good" as it is "is Tiger '59 good enough?". And here I can safely say "no". Just within the Royal Navy cruiser line, Edinburgh is the better bote. If you want teamplay in a division or competitive, she can dump her smoke, grab Surveillance Radar and still bring some significant punch to the table. If you're going to solo route, Edinburgh is just so much more flexible with way more carry potential. This doesn't make Tiger '59 bad, per se. Heck, she might even be optimal in certain ship combinations and game modes I'm not considering. But for the average player looking at Random Battles and Co-op battles? Very to the No. Pass on this one, boys and girls, especially if you're a Co-Op fan. She's one of the worst performers there being highly vulnerable to getting her citadel blown out and not having the alpha strike that's so very much needed in that game mode. At least in PVP Tiger '59 has a role. In Co-Op, I'd rather play Cheshire than Tiger '59. And I hate Cheshire.
  7. Poopin' rainbows. Quick Summary: A fragile anti-aircraft cruiser with radar and armed with sixteen 127mm rifles and short-ranged torpedoes. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.1. February 3rd, 2017 Cost: 9,000 doubloons. Closest in-Game Contemporary Flint, Tier 7 USN Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Flint is an Oakland-subclass of the Atlanta-class cruiser, so it stands to reason that the two ships would be very similar. Flint has an upgraded medium-range anti-aircraft suite. She loses out on the two wing turrets found on Atlanta giving her a maximum of a twelve-gun broadside. Flint's superiority is very firmly set by her torpedoes which have a reach out to 9.2km. Lastly, the two ships trade out their third consumable, with Flint having a USN Smoke Generator instead of Atlanta's Radar. PROs Armed with sixteen, rapid fire 127mm rifles in eight turrets dispensing up to168 rounds per minute from a fourteen gun broadside. Turret traverse is blinding-quick at 25º per second. Able to fire over intervening terrain quite easily. Her main battery customizes incredibly with the 0.6.0 Captain Skills. Her torpedoes are very fast and very hard hitting for a cruiser of her tier. Powerful anti-aircraft armament, with unlimited charges of her Defensive Fire consumable. With a full AA-upgrade build, she has some of the best AA-power in the game, tier for tier. She has access to the USN Radar consumable. CONs Tiny hit point pool of 27,500hp. Her machine-spaces citadel sits over the waterline and has a maximum of 89mm of protection. Her bows are overmatched by 203mm guns or larger. Her turrets get temporarily disabled easily. Painfully short ranged at 11.1km stock. Very poor ballistics, with shells being launched into low orbit even at modest ranges. Poor penetration values on her AP and HE shells. She struggles to do damage to tier 8+ Battleships. Torpedoes are pathetically short ranged at 4.5km. Large surface detection range of 11.0km. My last review of Atlanta was over a year ago and there have been some rather significant changes to the game in that time. Atlanta has been graced by some better fortunes, including one direct buff and many smaller, indirect buffs caused by differences in new mechanics and systems. This time last year, she was an overspecialized oddity, unable to perform in the manner players wanted and expected her to perform. She remained a favourite to eccentrics and experts and downright punitive to novice players. Atlanta's fame (or infamy) has waned considerably over the year. She is no longer commonly available, having been removed as a permanent fixture from the online store. She is also gone from the in-game tech-tree where she could be bought with doubloons. Though far from rare, it is likely that as the game matures she may become a more uncommon sight. This said, her game play style has been diluted somewhat by the inclusion of USS Flint, an Oakland-subclass of the Atlanta-class cruiser. Flint shares many characteristics with Atlanta but with the benefits of better torpedoes and a smoke generator -- two fixes for the Atlanta-class many fans of her were clamouring for. We received different fixes for Atlanta instead of questionable effectiveness. This does raise the question if Atlanta is now worth purchasing for those who do not have her, especially given her limited availability. Hopefully this review will address said concerns. Atlanta subscribes to the original Wargaming design for premium vessels in World of Warships, where candidates were to be selected from ships that didn't fit in the tech tree. These "weird" vessels included ships like Kitakami and Tone. Options Atlanta's Defensive Fire is special. Unlike other ships, she has unlimited charges of this consumable. Its other characteristics, including reset timer, duration and intensity remain the same. Atlanta is also one of the few tier 7 ships with Radar. This has an 8.49km range, 25s duration and two or three minute reset timer depending if you took the premium version or not. Consumables: Damage Control Party Defensive Fire or Hydroacoustic Search Radar Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard USN Cruiser options.Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy Firepower Main Battery: Sixteen 127mm rifles in 8x2 turrets with an A-B-C-P-Q-X-Y-Z arrangement. A-B-C and X-Y-Z are superfiring, with all three turrets capable of shooting unobstructed directly forward or aft respectively. P and Q are wing turrets mounted just ahead of X-turret and behind the torpedo launchers. This gives the ship a fourteen gun broadside. Torpedo Armament: Eight tubes between 2x4 launchers. One is mounted to each side of the ship behind the rear funnel. Let's start with Atlanta's torpedoes; they are terrible. While individually hard hitting at 16,663 damage per and fast at 65 knots they are pathetically short ranged at 4.5km. This limits their utility to ambush scenarios and acts of desperation. In order to properly make use of Atlanta's torpedoes, your opponent has to have made a serious mistake. In such scenarios, a broadside of all four fish will be catastrophic and your opponent deserves the punishment these can dish out for being so horribly out of position. In close range brawls with enemy cruisers, a broadside of her AP shells is often more reliably devastating than her torpedoes. That's really all that needs to be said about these weapons. Main Battery Atlanta has arguably the most entertaining main battery armament in the game. There are few guns as interesting as the USN 127mm/38 rifles in World of Warships. They are not without their controversies either. With 0.6.0 they received a significant buff in regards to how they interact with select Captain Skills and the variety of builds centered around improving these weapons is diverse. But let's start with looking at their raw performance before we worry about how we can modify them. Common Captain Skills taken by Atlanta players to buff their Main Battery. Few ships benefit so greatly from Captain Skills as the Atlanta. From left to right: Basic Fire Training, Advanced Fire Training, Demolition Expert, Inertia Fuse for HE Shells, Adrenaline Rush and Expert Marksman. Not all of these skills should be considered optimal or even necessary. The 127mm/38 rifles found on Atlanta are similar to, but not an exact match to the weapons found on the USN Destroyers. They fire the same shells, with the same relative range, ballistic qualities, alpha strike, penetration values and fire chance to her line's destroyers. However, Atlanta doesn't enjoy the same rate of fire found on vessels like Mahan, Farragut or Sims. Farragut, at tier 6, fires 15 rounds per minute -- a value matched by Mahan at tier 7. Sims gets this volume of fire as high as 18.2 rounds per minute while Atlanta has to make do with 12. For those wondering, this isn't historical and has been reduced for balance reasons. Atlanta may appear to have the equivalent broadside to three USN Destroyers combined, once you factor in her reload time, this works out closer to two. And this brings us to our first two Captain Skills. Rate of Fire Atlanta reloads every 5s giving her fourteen gun broadside a potential rate of fire of 168 rounds per minute. There are two ways to increase this. As a destroyer-caliber weapon, Atlanta enjoys full benefits of Basic Fire Training which drops her reload down to 4.5s and increases her rate of fire up to just over 186rpm. As if that weren't enough, you can also take Adrenaline Rush which increases her rate of fire as your ship takes damage. At half health, this drops Atlanta's reload by another half second, increasing it to 210rpm. Let's look at some real-world examples. Assuming penetrating hits from her HE shells (594 damage per), a full 14 gun volley (8,316 damage per) yields the following. Against saturated areas, the damage will be half this. At 168rpm: 99,792 damage. At 186rpm: 110,494 damage. At 210rpm: 124,740 damage. This is contingent on being able to land hits with that level of accuracy and penetrate vulnerable areas. Like all guns, Atlanta's rifles are exceedingly dangerous up close. Landing with ten or more shells per volley is easy enough inside of 7km ranges. However, even veteran Atlanta players only land between 29% and 35% of their hits overall which much of the accuracy disparity coming from her poor ballistic qualities at range. Range and Ballistics One of Atlanta's biggest weaknesses is her lack of reach relative to her surface detection. Stock, Atlanta's guns can theoretically hit targets up to 11.1km away while she's detected from the surface from 11.0km. This 100m buffer for such a fragile ship forces her to be placed in harms way anytime she pulls the trigger. Taking the skill, Advanced Fire Training extends her reach up to 13.3km. Between camouflage and skills, it's possible to get her surface detection down to 9.4km. In theory, this opens the tiniest of stealth fire windows (less than 100m) but in all practical sense, Atlanta cannot engage targets and stay hidden without the use of cover. This is further compounded by the appalling ballistic qualities of her shells. At her maximum range, her shells are taking a full second per kilometer of distance traveled. This leads to horrible lead times. Depending on game resolution, some players may be prevented from using the maximum zoom when ranging their shells as their targets will be well off screen. This can make targeting specific sections of ships very difficult This is a necessary skill when facing off against heavily armored targets which her HE shells can struggle to damage.Penetration and Fire Atlanta has one of the lowest average damage per game values of any tier 7 cruiser. Stock, Atlanta's high explosive shells can penetrate a maximum of 20mm of armour. Aside from destroyers and some light cruisers, her shells just don't have the penetration power to directly affect vessels short of their superstructures. So while her guns may murder a destroyer with some alacrity, when facing against cruisers and battleships, Atlanta was often on her back foot. Atlanta's AP shells can be truly monstrous when properly applied. However, their penetration values due to their low muzzle velocity and poor ballistics arcs prevents them from being used efficiently outside of 7km ranges. Inside this distance, Atlanta is more than capable of blowing out the citadel of heavy cruisers or hammering the upper hull or extremities of a Battleship with her AP shells and wracking up enormous damage totals quickly. It's not uncommon for Atlanta to deliver seven to ten citadel hits against a broadside cruiser inside of knife fighting range. This can deal a whopping 29,400 AP damage if you can land 14 out of 14 shells as citadel hits. For this reason, Atlanta's torpedoes are often forgotten in the heat of a brawl as her AP can be more than sufficient to put down an enemy cruiser. Outside of this range or against even slightly angled targets, her AP performance becomes quite anemic. For this reason, the ship has often lived and died by her high explosive shells. In the past, this forced Atlanta Captains to rely on the fire potential of her weapons to inflict damage against larger capital ships. As a flamethrower, she was quite good at this in theory but in practice, this was never sufficient. Her individual shells have a poor base fire chance at 5% per hit. Demolition Expert can nudge this number up to 7%. However, this plugs into a larger formula: [Fire Resistance Coefficient x ( 1 - [Damage Control Modification 1 - [Fire Prevention ) x ( [Projectile Base Fire Chance + [Demolition Expert + [signals - [inertial Fuse for HE Shells) = Fire Chance Fire Resistance Coefficients vary, from 0.8668 for a stock tier 5 to 0.5671 for a fully upgraded tier 9 vessel. This makes the chances of stacking fires much easier against lower tiered targets than higher tiered, which is ironic given that Atlanta can often deal more damage directly to lower tiered targets than needing fires to prop up her damage totals. Here are some real world examples: Atlanta with Demolition Expert facing an upgraded Kongo with Damage Control Modification 1 (0.8335) x [1-(0.05) - (0) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0) = 5.54% per shell Atlanta with Demolition Expert facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0) = 3.37% per shell Combine this with Basic Fire Training on the Atlanta (186rpm) and a 30% accuracy and you're looking at 3.1 fires per minute against the Kongo and 1.9 fires per minute against the Iowa. Based on these numbers, an Atlanta should be able to easily stack a fire or two past Kongo's Damage Control Party and disengage. Against an Iowa or similar tier 9 Battleship, it's questionable whether any fires will stick at all if the target Captain manages their consumable properly. Dueling with either Battleship for longer than a minute greatly increases the changes of reprisals from the now-annoyed battleship from which Atlanta is unlikely to survive, so it's important to stack fires in a limited time frame and disappear. Without the ability to do damage quickly to larger targets and her own poor survivability when such ships elect to shoot back, it's perhaps no wonder that Atlanta's average damage has been so low. There is a ray of sunshine, however. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells All light cruisers have benefited massively from this skill and it has been a real game changer. For Atlanta, this increases her HE penetration from 20mm to 27mm allowing her to now damage the extremities of tier 6 and 7 battleships and all cruisers within her matchmaking spread. With this skill, now Atlanta can drop those theoretical 8,314 damage, 14 penetrating hit HE volleys against most of her opponents. Only tier 8+ Battleships retain an immunity to her shells with the exception of their superstructures. This skill isn't without its trade-offs, however. It's an expensive investment for one, requiring the sacrifice of one or more beneficial Captain Skills. In addition, it damages her already poor base fire chance by a whole 3%. It's this latter trade off which can really hurt as her (in)effectiveness against tier 8+ Battleships plummets even further. Let's look at our Iowa example again. Atlanta with Demolition Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0.03) = 1.92% per shell And if you can no longer afford Demolition Expert: Atlanta with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0) + (0) - (0.03) = 0.96% per shell Once again, assuming Atlanta is using Basic Fire Training and attaining 30% accuracy, this works out to 1.1 fires per minute with Demolition Expert and 0.5 fires per minute without. So it becomes a question of a trade off. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells greatly increases Atlanta's lethality against same tier or lower tiered battleships but worsens her performance against those found at tiers 8 and 9. Conclusions: Few ships have their performance defined so significantly by Captain Skills as Atlanta. With her torpedoes being a mere afterthought, how a player customizes and elects to use Atlanta's main batteries will largely define their level of success with this ship. There is no build that is optimal against all targets and some that are superfluous or even damaging to Atlanta's damage output depending on the ship type engaged. A player must decide well in advance what kinds of ships she wishes to specialize against and build her Atlanta accordingly. One of Atlanta's more infamous traits is the awful shell flight times. At maximum range (13.3km) it's possible to begin firing a fourth volley volley before the first has hit the target. This makes lead times downright punitive and adjusting fire difficult. Maneuverability Top Speed: 32.5 knots Turning Radius: 610m Rudder Shift Time: 8.4s Atlanta's top speed of 32.5 knots isn't particularly exciting. It's sufficient for her task as an escort cruiser, but she doesn't have the speed necessary to challenge evasive destroyers. Perhaps more pressingly, she is also lacking in sufficient speed to outrun fast Battleships that may seek to engage her, such as Bismarck, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau or Iowa and she has no chance of outpacing Soviet and Japanese cruisers. So while not slow or inflexible, some care needs to be taken when planning Atlanta's course lest she find herself out of position or over extended. This is a problem common to all USN Cruisers. Ship rotation times from starting at maximum speed and rudder hard over. Each ship was run through the course five times (except Flint and Atlanta which were run for ten to confirm their similarities) and the average taken. Deceleration is the time taken for a ship to reach it's lowest speed in a turn. The two most important factors for determining ship rotation speed is the radius of her turn combined with the average speed while turning. Smaller turning circles and higher average speed will result in faster rotation rates. The tier 7 and tier 8 American cruisers are all very similar to one another in their performance, but Atlanta and her sister, Flint, are hands down the most agile of all of the mid tier USN Cruisers with between a 0.5s and 1.0s advantage in turning 90º. Atlanta's handling is almost identical to other vessels found in the American cruiser line. This similarity between mid-tier USN Cruisers makes for easy skill transference from one ship to the next. If you can torpedo beat in a New Orleans, you'll find Atlanta answer similarly to her rudder. Atlanta's turrets have no difficulties tracking targets, even with her rudder hard over. They traverse at a rate of 25º per second compared to the 6.3º per second she turns at full speed, allowing Atlanta to quickly acquire targets and engage new threats from one side of the ship to the other even while under heavy maneuvers. This makes the Captain Skill, Expert Marksman, much less valuable for Atlanta than on other USN Cruisers. Atlanta is rather agile and can be a real bothersome target for destroyers. Durability Hit Points: 27,500 Citadel Protection: 89mm of belt armour Min Bow & Deck Armour: 13mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: None. Over the last year, Atlanta has enjoyed a considerable buff to her turret durability. Patch 5.5 from April 26th, 2016, all small caliber weapons had their hit points increased as much as 2.6 times what they had been. Prior to this, Atlanta's turrets had 1,500 hit points each while she now enjoys 4,000 hit points per. Previously, it was a rare occurrence for Atlanta to survive a battle without losing some of her main battery. Now it's rather uncommon for Atlanta to permanently lose any of her weapons. However, much of what was previously said about Atlanta's durability still holds true.Atlanta is one of the worst protected cruisers in the game, making her truly a glass cannon. She has a pittance when it comes to her hit point total. Her armour layout is laughable with 89mm of belt armour. Her large citadel has a section that sits above the surface running beneath the twin superstructures, from the bridge to the wing turrets. Her bow has only 13mm worth of protection, making it possible to overmatch it with 180mm guns found on the Kirov, Molotov and Dmitri Donskoi, never mind the larger caliber guns found on heavy cruisers and battleships. There are few HE shells not capable of landing penetrating damage on Atlanta, no matter where they strike her. In short, an exposed Atlanta is very likely to become a dead Atlanta. It's imperative to make use of her concealment and agility to stay alive. Hug islands and use them to block incoming fire. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 11.0 km Air Detection Range: 6.4 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.4km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +3.8km (vs 11.1km gun range) For such a fragile and short ranged vessel, Atlanta is shackled with an enormous surface detection range. She is utterly incapable of engaging enemy targets with her torpedoes without giving her position away. It's only when either her main battery range or her concealment is upgraded that she can ambush surface targets with her guns. Even with a full investment into concealment and range modifiers, Atlanta cannot stealth-fire from open water and remains dependent upon friendly smoke or island cover to stay concealed. At best, Atlanta can get her surface detection range down to 9.4km which is still punitive for a ship of her size and range. She's unable to sneak up on destroyers and, unlike HMS Belfast, her surface detection range exceeds that of her radar, giving destroyers time enough to begin evading before Atlanta can light them up with her consumable. It is worth mentioning that Atlanta, with her radar consumable, can make better use of borrowed smoke clouds than some other ships. When divisioned with smoke-laying vessels, Atlanta can help provide eyes for herself and allies while remaining obscured within the smoke clouds. Though her radar has a very short duration, this can tip the balance in some engagements to let this fragile vessel exploit concealment mechanics within the game to her advantage and decide the local fight. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 28mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.1km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 121 / 27 / 29 Atlanta used to have the best anti-aircraft armament at tier 7 without contest She has been partially eclipsed by her sister ship, Flint, which has a modernized suite of weapons which replaces Atlanta's 28mm 'Chicago Piano' mounts with the famous (and more reliable and powerful) 40mm Bofors. This gives Flint a better punch at medium to close range while Atlanta dominates at a distance. When combined with Captain Skills and module upgrades, Atlanta competes very well with her sister. The image below breaks down how Atlanta's anti-aircraft power can be modified. * Bonuses are multiplicative, not additive. Note that all DPS values are approximate with some weird rounding occurring (which is why the tool-tip in port is weird when you begin stacking bonuses). This table can be used to calculate partial bonus stacks. For example, a 127mm mount (121dps) with Basic Fire Training (x1.2) Priority Target (x1.1) and Defensive Fire (x3) bonuses would generate an average of 479dps. The maximum output of Atlanta in an optimal situation would be a combined total of 1,215dps. Fully specialized and in an optimal situation, Atlanta puts out 1054 / 118 / 42 dps (a combined total of 1,215 dps) at ranges of 7.2km / 5.0km / 2.9km. Flint manages a combined total of 793 / 392 / 62 dps (a total of 1,247dps) at the same range intervals. No other ships at her tier come close to Atlanta as her sister-ship. With Atlanta's anti-aircraft firepower focused on her 127mm rifles and their 7.2km range, she makes a much better anti-aircraft escort over Flint and bests just about any other cruiser in the game, tier for tier. Atlanta's anti-aircraft advantages do not stop with just raw damage. Her aerial detection range is only 6.4km. If she keeps gun silent and switches off her AA guns, she can ambush incoming aircraft squadrons by sailing into their path to intercept them. By keeping her AA guns silent up until they're all in range, she gives the CV player no warning of her presence and can devastate a concentrated attack wave before the CV player can react. In addition, her and her sister Flint are the only ships in the game with unlimited charges of their Defensive Fire consumable. Specialized in this role, Atlanta becomes a 7.2km no-fly zone which any CV player is fool to test, no matter what their tier. But don't kid yourself. Without this specialization, without Defensive Fire specifically, you're only going to damage attack craft waves, not rout them. Any carrier wishing to delete you will be more than capable of doing so. In her element and unconcerned. Overall ImpressionsSkill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / DifficultSkill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Atlanta is not a friendly ship for beginners. Her weapons are too short ranged with a very temperamental damage output. Her surface detection range is too large and she has no easy-escape tools. She is far too fragile to account for any mistakes. While it's terribly fun to hold down your left mouse button and poop out rainbows of 127mm high explosive rounds, the efficacy of doing so is highly suspect at best. You can't deal damage quickly with Atlanta unless you get in close and without proper forethought, that will simply get you killed before accomplishing anything of note. The influence a well played Atlanta can have on a game is telling, but it depends entirely upon her Captain / Consumable / Module build. She's a good support ship, however the decision on how to support your team will largely dictate the spheres of influence you can perform. When Atlanta is caught out of position (which, let's admit, occurs almost continually in this ship), her ability to affect the outcome of the match falls away to nothing. Mouse's Summary: One of the oldest premiums in the game. She's also one of the most unforgiving ships in the game. The recent buffs were nice... sort of. I wanted Atlanta to get what Flint has. Despite all of her troubles, Atlanta is a riot to play. What a difference a year makes. Here's the long list of changes that occurred directly or indirectly to Atlanta between February 2016 and 2017. Her main battery durability was buffed, increasing her hit points 2.6 times. She no longer loses her turrets constantly (HOORAY!). The Situational Awareness skill was given out for free. Her AP shell normalization was changed from 8º to 10º. This means that if her shells strike at a 10º angle to the flat broadside of a ship, her shells will treat it as 0º and calculate as if they had struck flush. She received Radar. The new Matchmaker system places her at top tier very frequently. The Captain Skill changes have benefited Atlanta greatly, with easier access to quality of life improving skills like Concealment Expert and the introduction of Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. In addition, many players can't easily afford fire-mitigation skills like they used to. Atlanta has seen both feast and famine. During Closed Beta, when AP shells were dominant, she was as powerful as she has ever been. The changes to AP and HE shells nerfed her considerably, but she still had a lot of functionality with asymmetrical carrier Matchmaking and how common carriers were during Open Beta. There was almost always need for an AA escort and Atlanta filled that role nicely. Once deployment symmetry became a thing when the game was released in September of 2015, Atlanta's popularity began to severely wane. Now in 2017, it's the increase in smoke generators, specifically those of the British Cruisers, that have breathed new life into USS Atlanta. She has a purpose now -- an ability that's always welcome when there's an enemy that needs digging out. It's sad to say, but she gets more use out of that than she does her Defensive Fire consumable. Inertia Fuse for HE Shells has restored some of the bite Atlanta once enjoyed back in Closed Beta. While her upgraded HE shells don't have quite the same ubiquity as AP did back in the day, the average damage that Atlanta is dealing out has been on the rise in the last six months. Looking at a two-week snapshot of her performance ranks her 6th overall for damage output among tier 7 cruisers. It's still not a good performance, but it's definitely better than has been for the last year. Atlanta isn't back to her glory days from Closed Beta. Would I Recommend?Atlanta is a weird ship. She's not something you invest in because you think she's good. You do it because you want something unique. While it is possible to earn an equivalent through Ranked Battles in the form of USS Flint, Atlanta's analogue is likely to be out of reach for much of the player base. For Random Battle Grinding Atlanta isn't going to make it easy on you to earn rewards like High Caliber, Confederate or Kraken Unleashed. While she or any premium will earn a fair amount of experience and credits, Atlanta is difficult to make perform to make such numbers consistent. There are definitely better investments. So no. For Competitive Gaming No. There are much better ships to bring in a competitive environment than Atlanta. She's too fragile and if caught out of position, she has no get-out-of-jail cards to play. For Collectors Yes. They saw lots of action early in WWII and enjoyed success and tragedy (Google the Sullivan brothers and have tissues handy). For Fun Factor Very yes on toast. Her guns are hilarious. Staying near islands is imperative for the longevity of your Atlanta. Use it to set up attacks and cover your escape. Atlanta is not an easy ship to play. She's not like the British Cruisers or premiums like Mikhail Kutuzov or Flint where you can pop an easy smoke consumable and trump any attempts to engage you. Outfitting AtlantaAtlanta can be one of the most complicated premium ships to equip in the game presently. It's important to decide on a role for your Atlanta first. From there you may select Captain Skills and equip consumables which best support the role that you've decided upon. Modules: All of my builds for Atlanta include the same module choices. Main Armaments Modification 1, AA Guns Modification 2, Damage Control Modification 1, Steering Gears Modification 2. There's some pretty simple reasons for this. In slot 1, you can take Magazine Modification 1 if you're really paranoid about detonations. If you're intending to take Atlanta into a competitive environment, this choice should be moot as you should be using Juliet Charlie signals instead to mitigate detonations. Personally, detonations don't bother me. Atlanta does pop a little bit more than other cruisers, so keep that in mind. In slot 2, you may be wondering about the viability of Aiming Systems Modification 1. Skip it. At maximum range, and by that I mean 13.3km from Advanced Fire Training, ASM1 provides an eight meter dispersion reduction. Yep. That's it. Eight whole meters. It's 6.9m at 11.1km. Whoo. Exciting! Take the AA mod. You'll get more use out of it. All of the choices in slot 3 are terrible for the Atlanta. Take what you want. In slot 4, Propulsion Modification 2 is also a fair choice. However, Steering Gears Modification 2 will shave almost half a second off of a 90º turn going at full speed. Core Skills: Despite the 0.6.0 Captain Skill overhaul making several builds viable, there remain some skills that are optimal for Atlanta. They re included in all of the builds below. Your tier 1 skill for Atlanta should be Priority Target. Knowing when you're targeted and when you're not will save your ship and allow you to pull off some rather audacious feats. None of the other tier 1 skills is as useful. At tier 3, Basic Fire Training is the second essential. This increases your main battery rate of fire by 10% and your AA dps by 20%. Few ships gain so much as Atlanta from this skill. Bombardment Build This build focuses upon doing damage to larger ships -- specifically cruisers and tier 6 and 7 battleships. The idea is to keep her guns singing as often as possible and to use intervening terrain to keep safe. Because you're expected to be shooting almost non-stop, stealth abilities are less of priority. This build, grace of taking skills which improve her gunnery, also makes a passable anti-aircraft cruiser but this isn't our focus. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Defensive Fire II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1000000000000011000010100010100019 This build is all about maximizing the performance of your guns against these targets. Basic Fire Training and Adrenaline Rush increase your rate of fire. Inertia Fuse for HE Shells allows you to land damaging hits against the plethora of 25mm armoured sections found on ships of your chosen targets. Demolition Expert helps mitigate some of the lost fire-potential. Variant: Swap Inertia Fuse for HE Shells for Concealment Expert. This changes the build from doing direct damage to relying on fire damage to affect your targets. This will generally result in increased survivability but you'll pay for it with lower damage totals. Destroyer Hunter The idea here is to sneak up as close as possible to destroyers and annihilate them at close range. She's built for stealth. This ship is rather vanilla when it comes to the performance of her weapons against larger targets, but such is the price you pay for being a specialized hunter. Keep your anti-aircraft guns disabled until you absolutely need them. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Hydroacoustic Search II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1000000000000011000011000000001119 The first thing that should stand out is that this will keep your Atlanta shorter ranged than other builds. This will also impair her anti-aircraft power somewhat. Radio Location is used to assist with finding the little blighters. Concealment Expert is used to reduce the range at which you're spotted to give destroyers less time to react. In addition, you will have to go gun silent to evade return fire from larger capital ships. Superintendent provides an additional charge of your Radar and Hydroacoustic Search consumables. You'll use Radio Location to home in on the destroyers until you're spotted. If haven't uncovered the destroyer within 20 seconds of being lit, activate your Radar to light the destroyer and be ready to evade any return fire. Last Stand is there to help keep you alive when your rudder gets shot out as you try to evade. The destroyers will shoot back and they always seem to hit your rudder and set you repeatedly on fire. The last thing you want to be doing is spinning in circles. Anti-Aircraft Escort As the name suggests, this build focuses on protecting friendly ships from air attack. This is hardly an optimal build in the current Random Battle meta -- carriers are not as commonplace as they once were. However, few can argue against Atlanta's efficiency as an AA-platform with this build. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Defensive Fire II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1100000001000000000010000000110119 Everything pushes towards increasing Atlanta's AA range and DPS. Basic Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Armament boost your DPS directly while Advanced Fire Training provides the range. Concealment Expert provides some survivability while also helping prevent you from being spotted early by surface ships. This can allow you to better intercept an inbound bomber stream and ambush them. Jack of All Trades is used to reduce the reset timer of your Defensive Fire consumable so that it will always be ready when the next attack wave comes in.
  8. The following is a quick review of Viribus Unitis, the tier V Austro-Hungarian battleship flying under the Pan European flag. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to me (thankfully). To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are current as of patch 0.9.10. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. In the spirit of getting through some of my backlog, here's a stupid-quick review. Facilitated by the graphic production from working on Oklahoma, today we'll be looking at everyone's favourite standard unit of battleship health measurement: Viribus Unitis. This ships is as relevant to the tier V meta as that joke about her hit points: they're both stupidly obscure to the point of irrelevance. I keep forgetting that I should review this darned thing after I put out a warning about her back when she was first released. For those who don't remember, there was an enormous gap between her final test iteration and her release -- so much so that some of the advertised changes that were said to applied didn't go through. Huh, there's been a lot of that lately. Anyway, long story short: This ship isn't worth the time and effort I'm about to put into this review, so I'm giving myself an absolute time limit for the production of this article. Wherever I end up after 8 hours is where I'm calling it. Let's see what I can do. Quick Summary: A soft-skinned, over-tiered battleship with good gunnery but appalling fire angles on her main battery. This issue is compounded with a tiny health pool and poor armour layout. This ship is only good if no one shoots back. As a WWI era dreadnought, her AA power is about what you would expect -- limited to a crewman with a bullhorn whining at airplanes to please stop. Kinda like Reddit. PROS: Dispersed armour scheme giving her decent HE protection. Large broadside of twelve 305mm guns with good accuracy and high DPM. Tiny turning circle radius and good rate of turn. My ship's captain has an epic moustache. Tiny surface detection range. CONS: High-water vulnerable citadel. Poor armour geometry with tons of shell-traps. Tiny hit point pool. Absolutely appalling fire arcs. Relatively short ranged for a tier V battleship. Hilariously bad anti-aircraft firepower. Slow. Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme There's really not a whole lot to Viribus Unitis. She dittos a lot of the low-tier battleship game play. The only complication is that her fire arcs are total crap and this travesty is forced to face tier VII opponents. That kinda hurts her chances and makes her not new-fish friendly. For veterans well... there's again not a lot to her so short of angling and managing consumables and ammo, that's pretty much the limits to her complexity. Options Consumables There's nothing special here. Viribus Unitis' Damage Control Party is standard for any battleship that's not American or Japanese. It is active for 15 seconds with unlimited charges. It has an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard. It queues up to 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of every other kind of damage. It heals back up to 0.5% of her starting hit points per second over 28 seconds. She starts with four charges and it has an 80 second reset timer. Upgrades Again, very standard fare for a not-American tier V battleship. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control System Modification 1. Finish things off with Aiming Systems Modification 1. Commander Skills Grab the same ol' battleship build I've been complaining about all year. With the commander skill rework coming, odds are I will only be able to use this like ... six more times. Camouflage Viribus Unitis has a single camouflage pattern. It provides: 3% reduction to surface detection. 4% increase to enemy dispersion. 10% reduction to service costs. 50% increase to experience gains. Viribus Unitis is a gorgeous looking ship. I love WWI era dreadnoughts. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 305mm guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 150mm guns mounted in casemates along the sides of the hull. The 1.8 sigma of Viribus Unitis' guns can be devastating in the claustrophobic, short-ranged engagements found at low tiers. A Farragut is discovers this to its peril, getting picked off as it accidentally slips out from its smoke screen. Viribus Unitis has very high shell drag coefficients which hurts her ballistics and penetration over distance. Twelve guns solves a lot of problems. Twelve guns with better-than-expected accuracy and without reload penalties solves a whole bunch more. That's the going theory with Viribus Unitis. She's a glass cannon, designed to put more hurt downrange than any of her contemporaries, her flaws be damned. All of her crappy features can be explained as paying for the boons of her gunnery. I'm frankly of the opinion that Viribus Unitis pays way too steep a price for what she gets. She deserves more given what a sorry excuse for a ship she ends up being, all of the sake of this 30 second reload and 1.8 sigma. Here's where I take issue: First and foremost: firing arcs and her gun handling sucks. She has some of the worst battleship fire angles in the game with her rear turrets only able to shoot at targets 47º off her bow and her forward turrets only capable of shooting at targets 41º off her stern giving her 92º of overlapping fire per side. NoW to be clear, there are battleships with worse overlapping fire arcs but they're usually suffering because they're mounted in wings or in P, Q and R positions amidships with superstructure blocking the guns. But for a battleship with a simple bow and stern mounting, Viribus Unitis is among the worst. Mikasa comes to mind as one of the few that is worse off (56º forward, 57º back with only 67º of overlapping fire). Vanguard is pretty close (43º forward, 41º back for 96º of overlap) as is Großer Kurfürst (46º forward, 36º back for 98º of overlap). And just to spit in your eye, her turrets are sluggish with only a 4º/s traverse rate (45s for 180º). Ewwww. Bad fire angles has a trickle down effect. To unmask her guns, you have to give up more broadside. Giving up more broadside not only makes her more vulnerable to return fire. It also slows the ship down if you're trying to advance as you have to nose away from your line of attack in order to keep firing. It's far too easy to find yourself veering off towards the map borders (or at least away from objectives) after a couple of minutes of sustained fire. For a ship that's already moving at a crawl, this is bad news. If you try and stay the course, well now you're only a six-gun battleship which means you're not taking advantage of those twelve guns for which you sacrificed so much. There's also the issue of range. While 16km may seem alright at first, there's no way to extend this the way that similarly short-ranged ships like New York or Texas can through upgrades. Nor does Viribus Unitis have access to a Spotter Aircraft consumable the way Kaiser and Iron Duke can. This is not a fast ship either, so it's not like you can make up the difference by aggressively charging towards the action. I mean, you can call it a charge but it's more like the movemement of glaciers. It takes Viribus Unitis almost 3 minutes to cover 10km at her maximum speed to give you an idea. Though she may share the woes of slow speed with other ships at her tier, they at least have the range to engage sooner. Being so short ranged means that she can (and will) be picked on cruisers outside of her reach. In my most recent bouts of playtesting, I faced a very knowledgeable Nürnberg player who knew they had 500m reach on me and played an expert game of keep away. I was being lit by a friendly destroyer and there was nothing I could do. Fun times. Being kited and picked apart by cruisers and other battleships is a very real issue because of this short reach if you can't drop back into stealth. Finally on my list of complaints, there are her secondaries. These prove to be a durability liability (see below in the Defence section) and provide almost zero benefit. They're too short ranged (4km) and fire too slowly (6rpm) to be of any use to anyone. Viribus Unitis does have some good AP DPM. Provided no one shoots back at her, she can put out some respectable damage. She's not a very good fire setter, however. Coupled with her only modest HE shells, she should really stick to firing AP whenever possible. VERDICT: Pretty good, honestly. There's some drawbacks here and there. It's just a shame these weapons are mounted on this particular ship. Defence Hit Points: 35,700 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 150mm / 30mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 150mm belt + 160mm transverse bulkhead or 280mm + 50mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 18% Her hit point pool is such a bloody meme. I would like to tell you that all of the criticism about Viribus Unitis' fragility is just the internet being the internet -- magnifying a small problem and making it an undeserved crisis. Sadly, the rumours are true. She is a piece of crap. At first blush, her protection scheme looks hella exciting. It's got Soviet-levels of bullpaddies going for it with very few thinly armoured sections for HE damage or for large caliber AP shells to overmatch. Combine that with hidden geometry preventing AP shells from capitalizing on the sections they can overmatch. She should be able to tank for days, shrugging off AP hits left right and center with impunity not seen since the days of Imperator Nikolai I's reign. In practice, however, she's a wet noodle. While she does have some resilience to HE fire, she takes so much damage from AP shells it's downright comical. So what's the deal? The issue is shot-traps. Viribus Unitis' hull is riddled with shot-traps. Her secondary casemates are the most egregious of these. Even when the ship angles perfectly, it's possible to slam shells down into these traps and get penetrating hits with battleship and heavy cruiser caliber AP shells. But that's not all. Behind the 19mm hull sections are similar plates to ensure battleship shells fuse and detonate -- and every battleship caliber shell can overmatch these areas. This problem is, of course, exacerbated by her horrible gun firing angles. While her fire angles to the rear may seem more forgiving, her armour layout there is much softer making her more likely to take big damaging hits. But there's worse geometry to consider. Taking Viribus Unitis into a brawl is a death sentence. Not only does she not have the health to survive any torpedo strikes, her citadel is horribly vulnerable. It sits high over the waterline and, though she has a turtleback scheme, it isn't sloped sufficiently to repulse incoming fire. In jousts she's meat on the table for an enemy battleship. Worse, she has an octagonal-shaped citadel, similar to Yamato. Shots aimed beneath her first or last turret have a good chance of causing citadel hits even when the ship angles so your opponents have a chance of landing citadel hits against you before you can do the same to them. Her icebreaker bow should provide protection against this but only if you nose in perfectly. Give up any of her side to try and bait early shots can still see you sunk if you're not absolutely careful with the firing angles. All of these problems are mated to a hull with the hit points of a tier III dreadnought. She just doesn't have the health to take those high alpha hits, with even a single torpedo hit from a Japanese lolibote capable of gutting a third of her health at once. She is a Devastating Strike medal waiting to be printed. There's some hidden geometry to Viribus Unitis' armour scheme in her bow and stern. There is a 30mm thick deck under her 19mm prow, sitting on top of the 110mm icebreaker belt, effectively running nearly the whole length of the ship stopping at her Y-turret. This means that even if shells overmatch her 19mm bow they can't dive into her citadel. In addition on her there is a 43mm plate running along the base of the 150mm waterline belt of her bow (48mm on her stern) mating up to the base of the 160mm transverse bulkhead of her citadel. This prevents shells from diving down into the 25mm transverse citadel section. As nice as this protection scheme seems, she has an octagonal citadel. Shots aimed beneath her A or Y turret will slam into her citadel. Pay attention to the 180mm upper hull section of Viribus Unitis. These indents for her secondary battery make perfect shell traps for catching incoming AP shells. Even when Viribus Unitis angles perfectly, shells aimed high will penetrate for full damage as they catch off this geometry. Her protection scheme ends up looking better than it is. VERDICT: She has too little health and she takes far more damage than you would expect. Agility Top Speed: 20.5kts Turning Radius: 530m Rudder Shift Time: 11.5s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.5º/s at 15.3kts Viribus Unitis really shows her lower tiered origins here. Her 530m turning radius is right home among the tier III battleships. Yes, I said tier III. Even at tier IV, her turning radius would be remarkable. For a tier V battleship, it's amazing. So hats off to her. This tiny turning radius gives her some surprising agility despite her pedestrian top speed. Though she can barely hold onto 15 knots in a sustained turn, she comes about rather quickly (for a battleship) at 4.5º/s per second. Sadly there's no way to correct her rudder shift time so while she may turn tightly, she still feels like a chunker. Worse, she totally out-turns her turrets, which makes her gun handling and poor fire angles all the more frustrating. Plan your turns accordingly and make sure you don't over-steer. Remember to protect her citadel as best you can. She isn't fast but at least she gets around (get it?). VERDICT: A mixed bag. She's very slow. It takes her a bit to start turning because of her rudder shift time, but at least she comes about quickly when she does answer her rudder. That tight turning circle is very nice. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: Yeah right. Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km): 14dps at 75% accuracy Yep. 14 whole DPS. Even with sector reinforcement, you're looking at over a minute of sustained fire to shoot down ONE (1) tier IV bomber or attack aircraft, to say nothing of battling it out with the tier VI planes this thing also faces. It's not like this thing is Imperator Nikolai I or König Albert, where you could forgive them for having poor AA DPS because the rest of the ship is god-tier. Nope. Viribus Unitis gets 14dps on top of all of her other issues. VERDICT: Laughably bad. Aww, nuts. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.5km / 10.91km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 6.82km/6.14km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 6.1km Maximum Firing Range: 16km Viribus Unitis has very nice concealment values, even for a low-tier battleship. Like with her health, AA defence and turning radius, Viribus Unitis' concealment values have more in common with tier III and tier IV battleships than those at tier V. For a ship with so many durability problems, this is a breath of fresh air and it really helps her survivability. There are, of course, two caveats to this: There are no enemy aircraft around. Good luck here given her matchmaking. There are no enemy destroyers around. Her concealment is most effective when she's uptiered. In the claustrophobic maps at the lower tiers, it's harder to make use of her open water concealment. It's far easier to use islands to help break line of sight rather than relying on putting what little distance there is available between herself and her opponents. If Viribus Unitis were a little faster, it might be easier to put this concealment to use, but she's not. Thus it remains "nice to have" rather than game changing. VERDICT: Good, but not good enough to save her. Final Evaluation Imagine having the brilliant idea after finsihing Pommern's review to wanna play this thing. Ugh, talk about whiplash -- going from a good ship to bad. I've been planning on squeezing a review of this ship in for a while now, since before ShipComrade shut down. She's one of several reviews that I had started but never finished owing to something of higher priority coming out and bumping her back. It was reviewing Oklahoma that brought her back to the fore, with some of the graphical overlap between the two ships expediting my process here. I played about a dozen games in her since September and this ship and I did not get along, though I think you could tell that from how much I've complained about her. I've made little secret that I hate ships with awful gun angles. Toss on some frustrating speed and range issues and it's no wonder I've come down so hard on her. Viribus Unitis does have some nice guns. Despite all of my bellyaching about everything else, there's no taking away from that. Her 305mm guns are excellent They exist at a tier where overmatching is less of an issue. She has good enough penetration and ballistics. She does more than enough damage. The only proviso is that she needs to be left well enough alone in order to pull it off. Yes, I've had some high damage games with Viribus Unitis but that's owing more to the enemy team enabling this rather than any particular strength of the ship. ANY ship performs so much better when the enemy team leaves you alone, after all, so I find it hard to justify that as a selling feature. Way back in October of 2019, I warned players not to buy Viribus Unitis because of confusion regarding whether or not some nerfs had been applied. With the question hanging in the air, I didn't want anyone buying her expecting X performance only to receive Y instead. Thankfully Wargaming was fast to clear up the issue when it was raised. Sadly, even with that done, I'm sticking to my guns and telling you all, once again, to not buy Viribus Unitis. She's a bad ship. Worse, the health of the game down at low tiers is worse than ever and your money won't be well spent. If you play late at night as I enjoy doing, you're stuck facing undersized teams, multiple carriers and/or a handful of bots. These are the off-peak hours risks, of course. But even in prime time, do you really want to take this ship out against tier VIs and VIIs? Viribus Units and Oklahoma feel like Wargaming's attempts at penance to pay for the horror that is Giulio Cesare. You shouldn't be put on the hook for their mistake. Thank you all for reading.
  9. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - ZF-6

    The following is a review of ZF-6, the tier IX German destroyers. This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes; I did not have to grind or pay to have access to her. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.3. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. It's dockyard time again! How many of these have we done now? My brain fuzzes over when I try to count. After the Puerto Rico disaster, all of the subsequent dockyard events blur together. Add in the Cossack, Benham and Graf Spee grinds of yesteryear and it's too easy to confuse the two. Anyway, if you want ZF-6, short of outright paying for her, you're going to have to fork over some hard earned cash on top of the grind. This is the first destroyer on offer from the dockyard and it's a German destroyer too. I say this merely to point out that German destroyers in World of Warships do not have the best of reputations. There's a deserved stigma associated with German lolibotes (and the new 150mm armed tech-tree line is not helping). So is ZF-6 worth it? Let's look under the hood. Quick Summary: A small(ish) destroyer with a decent guns and fast, but short-ranged fish. She has access to a weird set of consumables including Main Battery Reload Booster. PROS Excellent AP shells, with good DPM and auto-ricochet angles. Improved penetration on her HE shells. Good fire angles on her guns, making it easy to maximize damage output. Wicked-fast & hard hitting torpedoes. Good surface and aerial detection ranges for a tier IX destroyer. Has access to Defensive AA Fire and Main Battery Reload Booster. Did you hear about her Main Battery Reload Booster? It's pretty important. CONS Small hit point pool for a tier IX destroyer. Anemic HE DPM and fire setting characteristics. Her torpedoes are short-ranged. Not very fast or agile. Shackled with a German Smoke Generator with its short cloud duration. No access to Hydroacoustic Search. (!) Don't worry about these flaws though, guys. She has a Main Battery Reload Booster. Did I fail to mention that she has a Main Battery Reload Booster? Yeah, I dunno what the big deal is either. I'd rather have hydro. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme ZF-6 isn't a ship I would recommend to novice players. Her play style is just going to get them killed. Her torpedoes are too short ranged. She's not fast. Her smoke's duration is very short. She's not very agile. And she's just stealthy enough to let you push in too deep where your friends can't help you. Add on her ammunition demands, her consumable demands and just how much better she performs if you know how to best make use of islands and smoke? Yeah, there's a pretty steep learning curve here. She's effectively a Fletcher with extra-steps. But for all of these same reasons, ZF-6 is a destroyer that will grow with you. Her concealment in particular is fun to use and abuse. The question, though, is if it's worth all of the extra effort to get the same numbers you might on another boat. Options It's easy to get lost in ZF-6 having "ALL OF THE CONSUMABLES!" only to fail to notice what's she's missing: She does not have Hydroacoustic Search as most other German destroyers do. Consumables Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. It has unlimited charges, a 40 second reset timer and a 5 second active period. Her Smoke Generator is also standard for a tier IX German destroyer, which is to say that it sucks. The duration of each individual cloud is only 73 seconds as opposed to the usual 93 seconds of tier IX Japanese and Soviet destroyers (or the 127 seconds of the Americans). So that's awful. Otherwise it's normal enough, starting with three charges, a 20 second emission time and 160 second reset timer. Her Engine Boost is totally normal: three charges to start, 8% boost to her speed, 120 second active period and a 120 second reset timer. We're going to skip slot four to talk about slot five's Defensive AA Fire. It increases continuous damage by 50% and quadruples flak explosion damage for 40 seconds. It starts with three charges and has an 80 second reset timer. and finally, let's backtrack to slot four... ZF-6 has access to a Main Battery Reload Booster. This is meant to be her main selling feature and is identical to that of the tier IX French destroyer, Mogador. It starts with four charges and cuts the reload time of her main battery guns by 50% for 15 seconds. It has a 100 second reset timer. Upgrades The short range of ZF-6's torpedoes precludes her from being a good torpedo boat, unfortunately. I mean, you can do it. But you're probably one of those nutters who enjoyed AL Yukikaze, you sick momo. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1 in slot one. You can use Magazine Modification 1 if you really hate surprises, though. The Special Upgrade, Engine Boost Modification 1 is best in slot two if you can afford it. It wi ll set you back 17,000  from the Armory. If that's not available to you, default to Engine Room Protection. For slot three, you've got a choice. None of them are bad ones, so pick the one you like best. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is easily going to the most popular so you can just turn your brain off and default to this, confident that it will help (a little) with long-range pew-pews. Torpedo Tube Modification 1 is kinda fun, in that it accelerates ZF-6's already stupid-fast torpedoes up to plaid (78.5 knots, WHOO! ♪). If you just want a quality of life boost, then Main Battery Modification 2 is fine for that extra turret traverse speed. Propulsion System Modification 1 is your best choice in slot four, giving you more acceleration from a dead stop which is helpful when island camping or hiding in smoke. To no one's surprise, Concealment System Modification 1 is still optimal in slot five. Double-yawn. ZF-6 isn't agile enough to make Steering Gears Modification 1 and 2 worthwhile for slots 4 and 5, btw. Cap this gunship's performance off with Main Battery Modification 3. Commander Skills This was the loser-build that I ended up playing with while testing ZF-6. It worked alright, but it's sloppy. I'm pretty lax with my commander builds as of late knowing there's a reset coming. It's hard to fuss over optimization knowing that some key changes are in the works.. Camouflage ZF-6 comes with two camouflage options, Type 10 Camouflage and War Paint - ZF-6. If you complete the dockyard event, you get both with the ship. They are cosmetic swap , providing identical bonuses common for tier IX premiums: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. You can unlock ZF-6's alternate palette for her Type 10 Camouflage by completing the first section of the "German Navy" collection. Crates for this can be purchased for 1,000 in the Armory. ZF-6's War Paint camouflage gets less fancy when you bring it into battle. Firepower Main Battery: Five 128mm guns in four turrets with a twin turret mount on the bow and three single mounts in an A-P-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Eight torpedo tubes in 2x4 launchers with one mounted between the funnels ahead of P-turret and the other behind the rear funnel. The Penultimate German 128mm Gun? If you buy into the hype, ZF-6 has the "best" German 128mm gun in the game right now. Compared to those found on the tech-tree destroyers, ZF-6's guns have a higher muzzle velocity and better auto-ricochet angles on her AP shells all for the cost of a slight dip in shell damage. If you're married to the idea that German destroyers should be throwing AP shells whenever possible, then yes, ZF-6's guns are the best of the 128mm bunch. I am not convinced, however -- mostly because German destroyer AP rounds are not the universal shell that we're so easily led to believe. Let's start with overpenetrations. Overpenetrations take the pop and pizzazz out of AP. Their punchy appeal is predicated upon performing properly when presented with paper-thin panelling upon most perimeter parts of the panoply of presently proffered peers. In other words: the shells won't pop if the steel won't stop. [Lert: If the fuse don't start, your damage's a fart.] This limits the functionality of AP shells when they engage soft targets. Knowing what thickness of steel is necessary to prime the fuses is key. And while angled targets do provide thicker absolute values of steel, one must keep the auto-ricochet values in mind. This creates a rather complicated series of angles where AP = very yes and others where AP = very no. All German 128mm AP shells need 21mm worth of steel in order to arm correctly, so the flat broadsides of a 19mm, tier VIII+ destroyer hull simply doesn't have enough steel present to make the shells go boom. And while good ol' Pythagoras will tell you that 19mm becomes 21mm at about 26º from the perpendicular, the complication of normalization rears its ugly head and you won't see the shells arm until 36º from the perpendicular (though this is always somewhat less to allow for the vertical angle). Against tier VII destroyers with 16mm worth of armour, you're looking at 49º from the perpendicular -- well into ricochet territory for normal 128mm AP shells. We get something that looks like this: AP penetration results for approximate engagement angles against a 19mm armoured target with German 128mm guns. A very special thanks to @mofton for showing me similar graphics earlier! ♥ Against 16mm, the margins get even worse, with normal 128mm AP shells having to contend with ricochets and ZF-6's shells losing 5º on their full penetration arc. I think it's safe to say that ZF-6's AP shells are not the best choice when fighting destroyers. Spamming HE will have you losing many DPM races, even with your vaunted Main Battery Reload Booster. Given her smaller hit point pool and lack of a Hydroacoustic Search consumable, knife fights with other destroyers is an uncomfortable. She can pull it off using her Main Battery Reload Booster as a crutch, but that's definitely outside of her comfort zone. She just doesn't have the health or the overwhelming DPM with her HE shells to be able to out-muscle same-tier (or higher-tier) destroyers. You're essentially hoping your opposite number will flinch when your consumable is active. It doesn't last long enough to decide contests. ZF-6 being a crappy lolibote hunter does not make her guns bad or even sub-par compared to other German 128mm weapons, however. Against battleships and tier VIII+ cruisers, it's a non-issue. Be the best angry smoke cloud you can be and spam that AP to your heart's content. This is where ZF-6's gunnery excels and it's super satisfying to watch hit point pools of cruisers and battleships melt when you can cycle her guns with impunity. Good AP DPM and crappy HE DPM. Pretty standard fare for a German destroyers. Do keep in mind that her lower HE DPM is compensated for by increased HE penetration. While this won't help you against other destroyers, it will increase her overall damage output against larger ships. ZF-6's AP penetration is ... well, it's not great. If you're pelting AP rounds and big-stuff, you want to do so no further than 10km or so to ensure your shells don't shatter against the 25mm/27mm/30mm/32mm of structural plate on your target. Outside of 10km, Pythagoras will tell you that your penetration values get kinda dicey and are likely to shatter. Big surprise, ZF-6's base FPM is terrible. Her Main Battery Reload Booster fixes this briefly. All the more reason to lean onto her AP shells when you can. ZF-6 has some very comfy fire arcs. Her turret traverse rate is kinda slow for a destroyer though, especially if you slap Main Battery Modification 3 on it. It starts at 10º/s but MBM3 will drop it down to 8.7º/s. This isn't enough to make her out turn her turrets, but it's less than ideal. Torpeedus I had a lot of good things I wanted to say about ZF-6's torpedoes. But I can't get past their terrible range. Whatever their strengths, that lack of reach undermines any effectiveness they have. Yes, they're very (VERY!) fast. Yes, they hit hard for a German torpedo, which is great! It's nice to see some German fish with some teeth! Their reload time is normal, so there's no extra penalty incurred for being special. But that range. Oh, that RANGE. Outside of using them to sweep smoke clouds, it was a pain in the butt to make use of ZF-6's torpedoes on the regular. After my play test games, I concluded there were really only two opportunities to make good use of them in the average game. The first, as I mentioned before, is to use them to rake through smoke clouds. This typically happens in the early portions of match in those invariable duels against other lolibotes as you contest cap circles. ZF-6's torpedoes are so fast that it's easy for an opponent to misjudge just how much room they have to manoeuvre. While they don't provide much in the way of reduced reaction time, it's that they move so quickly that your opponents may misjudge and mistime their dodges. I had a lot of success picking off destroyers in smoke -- in fact, this was the number one source of damage with my fish, which is kinda sad but kinda hilarious. The second opportunity comes in the end game, when there's a lot more room to manoeuvre and a lot less Surveillance Radar and Hydroacoustic Search being thrown about, where ZF-6 can take advantage of its low surface detection to finally bring its fish into range of juicier targets. Of course, this latter scenario is generally predicated upon carriers being distracted elsewhere or absent from the match entirely. If there are attentive aircraft present, you can generally forget ZF-6 has torpedoes outside of a suicide charge. The same goes for Surveillance Radar equipped cruisers. If they're still in the game and operating anywhere near your side of the map, then forget this ship has torpedoes. Just don't do it. VERDICT: Good AP shells and a good gunnery consumable. It's like spamming shells with a more-different duckybote. Her torpedoes are too short ranged to get used on the regular. Durability Hit Points: 17,000 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 19mm / 19mm ZF-6 has almost the same amount of health as a Fletcher-class destroyer. I am now going to tell you that this is a bad thing. If you don't have heals or a monster-pile of hit points, your destroyer's durability is sub-optimal. The trickle down effect here is that unless your gunship destroyer severely out-muscles her opponents in terms of damage output, this really limits their ability to go heads up in a knife fight. Similarly, not having a whole lot of health limits how often (and how long) a given destroyer can take risks like hammering a larger ship from open water without the cover of islands or smoke to protect it. This is doubly dangerous for ships like ZF-6 that aren't especially fast or agile. A smaller hit point pool acts as a lens, magnifying a destroyer's problems in other areas. For example, remember those torpedo woes we talked about? Because of ZF-6's low hit point pool, creeping in close onto an enemy battleship to use her torpedoes is all the more dangerous because if she gets lit, she's not likely to last very long. The same goes with surprise knife-fights, getting spotted by aircraft, lit by Surveillance Radar and you name it. So, low hit points = bad. Welp, we're at the stage where the vaunted Fletcher-class has been so badly powercrept their hit point totals are considered "bad". VERDICT: Crap. Agility Top Speed: 35kts Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 3.9s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 6.7º/s at 29.3kts It's ZF-6's low top speed that gets her in trouble. She's one of the slowest destroyers at her tier and indeed, within her matchmaking spread. Only Shiratsuyu, Yudachi, Akizuki, Fen Yang, Jutland are slower. 35 knots is pretty much the baseline of most high-tier destroyers so not being able to exceed that largely dooms the ship to mediocre agility unless they have some gimmick to compensate. The British (including the aforementioned Jutland) manage this with improved energy retention and ridiculous acceleration. Others, like Mahan, have very tight turning circles, making them feel more agile than their slow speed would otherwise suggest. But not ZF-6. While her turning radius isn't terrible for a German destroyer, it's certainly not "good". Her rate of turn sits in the doldrums at her tier being among the worst present. The only reason ZF-6 doesn't look worse is that her turning radius is average. VERDICT: ZF-6 isn't Soviet rancid-mayonnaise-bad here, but her speed and agility are both pretty lame. Imagine having just enough speed to get into trouble but not having enough to get out. That's common for most destroyers, frankly, unless you can exceed 37 knots. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 2 + 1 explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 6km. Long Ranged (up to 6km): 52.5dps at 100% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 4km): 70dps at 100% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 115.5dps at 95% accuracy (109.7dps) ZF-6 is advertised by Wargaming as having "powerful AA defenses". Yeah, no. Her AA power is good for a tier IX destroyer. That's factual. But "powerful?" Her sustained AA DPS is comparable to Fletcher. If you consider Fletcher's sustained AA DPS to be "powerful" then sure, ZF-6 is just a small step down. Personally, I consider Fletcher's sustained AA DPS to be "okay" and verging upon "slightly annoying to contend with if I'm playing my CV like an idiot". I only consider Östergötland and Friesland of having "powerful" examples of AA at this tier. ZF-6 can't shred planes the way Friesland does. ZF-6 will get dropped on and she cannot stave off repeated air attacks. Your best defences are not to be made a target in the first place. Use smoke, Just Dodge™ and hope for the best. The good news is that ZF-6's aerial detection is wonderfully small, so you have that going for you. Keep her AA off and they need to get in close in order to find you. Yes, ZF-6 can put some hurt on planes that loiter but it would be a mistake to think that she can prevent a strike, especially when tier X planes get involved. As with most destroyers, you're hoping for the CV player to be inexperienced or to make mistakes. Protecting yourself is kind of a pipe dream unless they're already running out of planes... or you're playing Co-Op. CVs in Co-Op are a bit of a joke. I have these sorted in my usual way, using the formula ( Sustained AA DPS x [ range - 1km] ). It's not perfect but it does give a sense of who has the better base AA DPS values. That's why Z-44's chunky DPS rates lower than Jutland's, for example -- Jutland will keep enemy aircraft under fire for longer, even if the raw damage her guns can put out is overall less when aircraft are in optimum range. VERDICT: Keep your AA off until you absolutely need it and Just Dodge™. Or go play co-op where enemy aircraft are XP piñatas cuz they don't dodge flak. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 7.42km / 5.83km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.2km / 2.59km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 2.79km Maximum Firing Range: From 11.86km to 13.76km I make a lot of lists. Here's a helpful one listing all of the destroyers within ZF-6's matchmaking, ranking them by how low they can potentially get their surface detection range. Her 25th position may look alright, but context matters (for those wondering, ties are 'broken' by tier first and then the order in which nations were released into the game with tech-tree ships having precedence over premiums and reward ships) . Tier VIII is a tough competition with ZF-6 being on par to most of her competitors (100m difference is nothing).. She out-performs most of the VIIs barring Haida and she's reasonably comfortable against most of the tier IXs and Xs. ZF-6's concealment is pretty damn good and, in my opinion, this saves this ship from ignominy. Her guns are decent. Between their auto-ricochet angles and Main Battery Reload Booster, they're more than alright. Her torpedoes are painfully short ranged. You can't really play with those when there's radar lurking about but towards end game? Sure, they're more than workable and their high-speed a nightmare for any surviving battleships. Her agility and speed are both disappointing. Her health is bad for a tier IX destroyer and her AA power is over-hyped. But with stealth, with good concealment, ZF-6 allows for some damn fun shenanigans, especially if you can survive until the latter half of a match. Oh, but if she only had Hydroacoustic Search, she could be the total package -- good early in the game as well as late. As it is, short of sniffing things out with her face, she has no special tools to help her suss out enemy lolibotes when smoke or island cover comes into play and that's a shame. Still, she is small enough to out-spot some of her competitors. To this end, knowing which ships you can comfortably spot while keeping hidden really ups her game. This game play is very reminiscent of that of Fletcher, so those with experience there should be reasonably comfortable with how ZF-6 performs in this regard. If you can afford the points for Radio Location, it will help immeasurably in this regard. Keep a close eye on those team lists. One thing to keep in mind here is that Fearless Brawler will soon be losing its associated concealment penalty and will become a must-have for any and all gunship destroyers that can afford it. Taking it now worsens ZF-6's maximum concealment from 5.83km to 6.12km which is a pretty sizable leap (dropping her to 44th place on the graphic above). That's a pretty hard compromise on one of her best features, so it's a bit of a hard sell at the moment. If ZF-6 had more health or more speed (the latter to help avoid incoming fire), open water firing would be easier to endorse. But as it stands, I'd hold off. VERDICT: Redemption. Final Evaluation "Fletcher with extra steps". That's how ZF-6 feels to me. And the comparison is horribly clumsy, I know. Fletcher doesn't have a Main Battery Reload Booster. She doesn't have improved AP performance, or high-penetration HE. Fletcher's torpedoes are long ranged. Fletcher doesn't scooch about like a dog dragging it's butt on the carpet either. ZF-6 has a lot going for her that Fletcher doesn't, however Fletcher feels more "whole" and "put together" than ZF-6. Her consumables feel like duct-tape keeping the concept from falling apart. I dunno, maybe it's just me. Is ZF-6 any good? Well, she's not awful. Playing against her, I'm certainly going to respect those torpedoes and her Main Battery Reload Booster if I'm in close. But she's not a destroyer I fear to face. Seeing a Kitakaze on the enemy team? Yeah, I sit up and take notice. The same goes for a Fletcher, Jutland or Mogador. I can't say the same for ZF-6. This isn't a ship I'd balk at, I'm happy taking a swipe at in my tier VII Haida, to give you an idea, while I wouldn't contest a duckybote. I think that says a lot right there. Mouse out.
  10. The following is a review of USS Charleston, the tier III American cruiser. This ship was not provided to me by Wargaming. I purchased it all by myself. Lemme tell you, it was a real pain trying to get access to it too. Seriously, this damn thing initially had a limited release-run given away to new players. However, no one I talked to had any idea how these players were selected because it wasn't just any-old new players that were receiving her. Now compound this with trying to get ME access and it was a bloody mess. This was back in November. We're now creeping up on March and stats are changing every other patch. It's hard to keep track. Anyway, this should be considered current with patch 0.8.0.3 from the end of February 2019. Be aware that her stats may change in the future. Charleston is designed to be a new player's first taste of a premium vessel. She's ostensibly the tier III St.Louis tech tree ship painted blue -- about as safe a purchase you could make short of gift-wrapping a Bogatyr... ...except they did gift-wrap a Bogatyr in 2017 and it was a steaming pile. Granted Oleg is much better now but that's only because they carpet bombed some key ships at tier III with nerfs to make her more palatable. Don't get me wrong: Oleg still sucks, but at least you're not actively hating yourself after the ride. But this review isn't about Oleg. This is about Charleston, the Noo Bloo Saint Loo. PROS Enormous hit point pool for a tier III cruiser. Massive broadside of eight 152mm guns. Easily able to shift fire from port to starboard. Good range of 12.5km. It's a premium St.Louis -- one of the most reliable and powerful cruisers, tier for tier, in the game. CONS Slow with a top speed of 22 knots. Only 1.8 sigma on her guns as opposed to 2.0 for most cruisers. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower with no flak bursts. Very large surface and aerial detection for a tier III cruiser. It's a premium St.Louis -- she's not offering you anything more than you'd find in the tech tree. Overview Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme St. Louis has a faster rudder shift time over Charleston. This is the only performance difference between the two that I've been able to find. That's it. You can add on some economic differences and her permanent camo but all other metrics are identical. Protected cruisers are some of the simplest ships to play in World of Warships. They're not my first choice for teaching players the basics -- you'll learn how to aim and maybe how to dodge torpedoes but that's about it. It's only with an appreciation of higher-end player-skills, such as exploiting terrain, engagement distances and target selection that players can differentiate themselves in terms of performance with Charleston. As such these ships are only really useful for instructing the absolute basics of gunnery and navigation yet nothing else. Charleston is defined by her huge slug of hit points and her solid damage output. This gives her a BEST and GOOD rating in Defense and Offense respectively. Her agility and anti-aircraft firepower are scarcely worth noting. She has some of the worst surface and aerial detection at her tier, though, making her BAD overall for concealment and vision control (which I'm still calling Refrigerator because of Lert). – 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. Options There's not much to say here so we'll skip the usual format. Charleston has one consumable - a Damage Control Party. She has two upgrade slots. The first should be filled with Main Armaments Modification 1 and the second should be player's choice, though I'd default to Steering Gears Modification 1 in an effort to keep your rudder intact. With all of the HE shells being thrown about, it's likely to break often. There's no wrong choice here though. And her camouflage is standard Type 10 Camouflage, providing the usual 50% experience gains on top of a 10% reduction to service costs. Enemy dispersion is increased by 4% when shooting at her and her surface detection range drops by 3%. Two camouflages in one. If you complete the 'American Cruisers' collection, you unlock an alternate palette for Charleston, turning her from blue to off-white. New players won't have access to this for a loooong time, so if you see a white Charleston, it's probably me or another a seal clubber. Make sure to say 'hi' before you show us no mercy. Firepower & Defense Main Battery: Fourteen 152mm rifles with one on the bow, one on the stern and twelve in casemates divided evenly on either side of the ship. Secondary Battery: Eighteen 76.2mm rifles in nine casemates per side. Hit Points: 29,500 Maximum Citadel Protection: 102mm belt + 76mm turtleback Minimum Bow and Deck Armour: 6mm I'm smooshing these two sections together with good reason. The St. Louis-class cruisers are some of the best "battleships" at their tier with a combination of good survivability and excellent firepower. Charleston loves it when enemy ships are dumb enough to try and trade fire with her. There are few ships she can't bully. Lemme show you why: Why You Bully Me? Bogatyr is listed here using her upgraded 130mm guns instead of her stock 152mm. The St.Louis-class doesn't quite top the DPM charts at tier 3, but it gets close enough. Don't worry about Kolberg. The apparently monstrous damage output of her guns is tempered by horrible ballistics and terrible penetration. She needs all of the help she can get. "The Best Battleship at tier III" doesn't quite hold water when you compare her effective hit points to an actual battleship. I stuck South Carolina in here to show the starting point of tier III battleships (I could have gone a little lower by using her stock hull, but whatevs). Don't get me wrong, the St. Louis-class has a enormous chunk of HP for a tier III cruiser, but it doesn't compare to an actual dreadnought's. Thankfully, most dreadnoughts won't be running with all of the potential recovery perks ... well, unless someone's seal clubbing. Moreover, short of meaty citadel hits, battleships cannot keep up with Charleston's damage output. When you look at those two charts, it readily becomes apparent that Charleston is well setup to out trade just about any other cruiser she comes across. It's only some of the Russian cruisers that present any sort of competition. This is facilitated by a lack of precision for her guns. Charleston, like St. Louis, has only 1.8 sigma compared to the nominal 2.0 sigma found on other cruisers. You generally won't feel the difference unless you're trading at long range. Even then, taking on a full health St.Louis-class isn't advised unless it's meant to be a game-winning play. Anything that crosses Charleston is going to come out gutted. Turning fights into slug-matches is exactly the American heavyweight's forte. With guns spread evenly down each side, switching fire from left to right is a snap, mitigating the dangers of close-range ambushes so commonplace on the claustrophobic, low-tier maps. Charleston rewards you for firing and manoeuvring, turning about to foil enemy fire and torpedo spreads. IFHE Need Not Apply The armour profile of low tier ships will appear strange to anyone more comfortable with higher tiered matches. Cruisers have almost no protection whatsoever. Contrarily, most battleships have dispersed armour schemes -- making them simultaneously incredibly bouncy while still having very convenient holes to play with. The extremities of battleships within Charleston's matchmaking spread do not exceed 19mm making the need for anything more than the 25mm of penetration from her HE shells largely superfluous. However, these same battleships have decks and upper hulls far exceed this armour value, with large areas with armour so thick that even with the IFHE skill, Charleston wouldn't inflict any damage. Charleston's armour piercing rounds are a bit of a mixed bag. While they are some of the most effective cruiser AP shells at their tier, their penetration performance drops off quickly over range. Most cruisers within her matchmaking spread have less than 100mm of citadel protection, making her AP shells effective at blowing out machine spaces at ranges up to 8km or so. This range is generally a good rule of thumb for engaging battleships with AP as well provided they're offering up a flat broadside. Aim for the upper hull you'll see more reliable damage than trying to find the few squishy spots with her HE. Of course, you could elect to ignore AP entirely and simply hope to set the ship on fire. While this will work (sorta), it's leaning on the hope that your opponents will mismanage their Damage Control Party. Charleston is only a passable fire starter. In this manner she pales compared to the Russian ships at this tier and it's probably the only fault of her weapons. Compared to her tier mates, Charleston is only a modest firebug. Again, Bogatyr is listed here with her 130mm guns. Her own protection scheme demands respect from AP slinging ships. She has an impressive combination of a 102mm belt and 76mm turtleback -- more than enough armour protection to keep out most cruiser-caliber AP shells even at point blank ranges. What's more, there's a hidden 51mm sloped plate that runs the mid-line of the ship from bow to stern, preventing overmatch from any large caliber AP shells trying to strike through her citadel roof. This doesn't give her any kind of immunity to citadel damage from battleships -- they'll happily blow out your machine spaces if you give them a chance. Her defense falls apart in the face of HE spam, however. While her 102mm external belt will shatter its share of incoming rounds, the 6mm and 13mm of external structural plate on the rest of the ship will give away penetration damage like no one's business. Best Battleship In the end, Charleston is very well armed and very well protected for a cruiser. She has comparable firepower to the Bogatyr-class cruisers with a better protection scheme and a bigger chunk of hit points. Given the teething troubles of battleships at low tiers, she stands a good chance of giving novice dreadnought players nightmares. You don't quite have the Russian flame throwers going for you, but you've got everything else on your side. Oh, she also has secondaries but they suck. Charleston's citadel protection is excellent for a cruiser. The rest of her armour is very soft. On the plus side, poorly aimed battleship AP shells will over penetrate. On the negative side, everyone spams HE at low tiers... Summary Tough for a cruiser because of her trolly armour vs AP shells and big hit point pool. Her durability does not compare to an actual battleship, though, and she's highly vulnerable to HE of all gun calibers. Very solid damage output. She's only passable fire starter for a cruiser. She's not bad, but she's not a flamethrower. Firepower Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : I'd have given it to her if she could have topped the fire-setting at her tier along with her solid DPM. Defense Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : The St.Louis-class is pretty safe here. Something bigger and fatter would have to come along -- or something middling with a decent heal and a half decently covered citadel. That's why Caledon didn't make the mark -- her machine spaces are too exposed. Agility Top Speed: 22 knots Port Turning Radius: 450m Rudder Shift Time: 8.5s Maximum Rate of Turn at 4/4 Engine Power: 6.1º/s Low tier cruisers are all wigglebutts. Charleston is in great company here with most low tier cruisers able to turn about at 6º/s or more. Charleston's gun traverse is fast enough to keep up with said manoeuvres which makes her feel very comfortable to play. This contrasts with some of the Russian gunships which are in bad need of some WD40 on their gun mounts. Charleston's relatively slow speed isn't much of a handicap. Lower tier maps are very small. Her 22 knot top speed is more than sufficient to provide her the ability to flex as needed or keep up with the pace of battle. So, other than "twirling Charleston = very yes", the only other element of note is her rudder shift time. It's slower than that of St. Louis which shifts all the way from port to starboard in 6.4s. Charleston's is two seconds slower. That's it. That's the big ol' difference between the two boats. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : More speed. Her turning radius is fantastic but speed would make all of the difference here. Anti-Aircraft Defense Short Range: 27dps between 0.1km and 0.7km Lemme just dig up a quick jpeg to summarize my feels on Charleston's AA firepower. It's the same one I used on Varyag's review and I think it's appropriate: The difference is, of course, Charleston actually has AA guns while a good third of the tier III cruisers don't. It's a shame that doesn't mean much. A handful of 7.62mm machine guns aren't going to do anything to deter a tier IV aircraft carrier from making repeated runs against Charleston. Her AA isn't worth specializing into. Your ship is an ideal, squishy target for repeated rocket and dive bomber strikes. Your terrible armour profile means they'll have no problems stacking damage. Your only hope to shoot anything down is for an already on-fire aircraft to attempt an attack run on you -- so it's owing more to the enemy CV misplaying than your own AA Defense. There are two consolations I can offer. First, as of patch 0.8.0.3, it takes forever for a tier IV aircraft carrier to kill anything. Second, most of the other cruisers also have crappy AA so it's not like you're the juiciest target around. Those CVs WILL kill you, though, if given enough time. So don't make it easy on them. Go hug a Wyoming if they're bothering you. Charleston getting bombed by Langley's dive bombers. Note that tracer firing at the aircraft overhead with a single ineffective "pew". This says a lot about the effectiveness of low-tier anti-aircraft firepower and none of it good. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Not much actually. This speaks to how terrible most of the AA firepower is at tier III. She'd just need a couple of medium caliber mounts to toss out some explosions and BAM, she might even be the best at her tier. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 10.98km Air Detection Range: 5.1km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.59km Detection Range when Firing in Smoke: 5.04km Main Battery Firing Range: 12.5km You don't need to know much else about Charleston's concealment other than this graph. She's chubby, sharing a surface detection range close to some of the low-tier battleships. She's going to be one of the first targets spotted by the enemy team, whether that be with surface ships or aircraft. Note these aerial detection ranges are new with patch 0.8.0.3 representing a 20% reduction. Charleston previously had a larger aerial detection range of 6.3km. I don't know yet if this change will be permanent. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Greatly reduce that aerial detection or shave off a couple hundred meters off her surface detection. Playin' the Blues Charleston is pretty forgiving when it comes to what skills you stick on her. A lot of them simply don't benefit her in any real capacity. To this end, there's only a few skills that are particularly good for her while the rest are kinda meh. Priority Target (tier 1) - Letting you know when it's time to get wiggly because ither a lot of ships are looking at you or when a hidden destroyer just switched from guns to torpedoes and back again. Adrenaline Rush (tier 2) - Increased rate of fire is always good. Demolition Expert (tier 3) - More fire! Maybe. Vigilance (tier 3) - Help you dodge the attacks of those few destroyers that can launch from stealth. Maybe. Concealment Expert (tier 4) - Make yourself less of a target. Final Evaluation It's a blue St. Louis with worse rudder shift that you can buy for 15,000 Coal. What more do you want from me? Okay, okay, okay. The tier III meta is one of the more interesting ones found in World of Warships, even if it's rather simplistic. All of the battleships can overmatch each other, but the prevalence of extended waterline belts makes bouncing AP shells through angling viable. There are almost no vision-projecting consumables but destroyer torpedoes are either too short ranged or the maps so claustrophobic that it's a challenge to remain hidden. The variety of cruisers is amazing. They have everything from armoured cruisers to scout-cruisers to destroyer leaders. Some of the cruisers have durability that almost rivals battleships. Fire and HE shells are a universal threat to all ships. It's unfortunate that low tiers are slapped with the (admittedly justified) label of being a kiddy pool. I wonder if we'll ever see a tier III Ranked Sprint season? For veterans of the game, it may be a bit of a shocker, but the St. Louis-class (including Charleston) are no longer the heavyweight champions at their tier. The nerfs the class received brought them back into line, with attacks to their sigma and rate of fire. Tier III is a much more comfortable contest now with Aurora and Bogatyr being close competitors with the American giants. Varyag and Oleg are still unfortunate, but they're not so far behind that they're not viable (just don't spend money on them). Charleston's champion-status is also more hotly contested now with some strong battleships to face. Gone are the days where she could easily out pace and out range a Kawachi or South Carolina and win the crown. She now contends with more balanced opposition in the form of Nassau, Bellerophon and Turenne (and unbalanced opposition in the form of König Albert). For me, I have two issues with Charleston. The first is that she's a low-tier premium. She's great for having fun, derping around in small maps and against (generally) novice opponents and hunting down other seal clubbers. However, being low tier, she's not great for earning credits and she doesn't earn nearly as much experience as higher tiered premiums. The second is that she offers absolutely nothing different compared to St. Louis except that slower rudder shift. So the take away is this: If you earn her for free, awesome and grats to you. If you have to pay coal for her, you can probably hold off unless you must-must-must collect 'em all. There's nothing wrong with Charleston. She's a great ship. We know this because she's already present in the tech tree under the name St. Louis. Would I Recommend? Eh, unless you're swimming in coal, I'd hold off. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Charleston kicks butt against bots. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. No. While she does well in Random Battles, if you're trying to grind credits or captain experience, there are much better choices out there. Save up your coal and get an Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya instead. For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Do you know why? You can't play in the King of the Sea Tournament with Charleston. Did you know you can register for that right now? IT'S SHAMELESS PLUG TIME! For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Meh. She was built and steel and served during the first quarter of the 20th Century, including some escort roles in WW1. She didn't see combat, however, with most of her cruises being political in nature. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. It's a St. Louis-class cruiser. It's hella fun. 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! Don't worry, kids. That's just ketchup. Maybe. In Closing Shut up. It's still technically "next week". I'm on time. Really. Ugh. I'll have another due out in a few days time, I hope. It's 75% written. I just have ... like ... all of the graphics to do. Which reminds me, I should get started.
  11. The following is a review of HMS Gallant, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming at no cost to me. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of July 19th, 2017. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Are you excited? I'm excited! More Royal Navy ships! Whoo! Quick Summary: A small, agile destroyer with an uninspiring main battery. She has a heavy torpedo armament with the ability to launch each fish individually, but she's held back by poor launch angles. Cost: Bundles started at $21.99 USD with a port slot. Patch and Date Written: June 8th, 2017 to July 18th, 2017, Patch 0.6.6 to 0.6.7.1 Closest in-Game Contemporary Gaede, Tier VI German Destroyer Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique As much as I would like to compare these to the Polish Grom-class, Gallant shares a lot in common with Ernst Gaede, the tier VI German Destroyer, especially when the German ship is armed with its (admittedly awful) 128mm guns. Am I foreshadowing bit? PROs Gallant has an 8% chance per shell to start fires and the highest Fires per Minute chance of any Tier VI DD. Powerful torpedo armament doing 15,433 damage per hit, with 8.0km range and 61 knot top speed. Torpedoes may be dropped individually in the same manner of Royal Navy cruisers. Tiny turning circle of 540m with excellent rudder shift time of 3.0s. Second best surface detection range at her tier of 6.8km. Small target -- less than 100m long. CONs Small hit point pool of 12,000hp. Weak main battery armament of four 120mm guns and low DPM. Short 10.2km range and clumsy firing angles on #4 turret. Worse shell ballistics than the American 127mm/38s with even more "float". Horrible fire angles on her torpedoes with a maximum forward fire angle of 68º off the bow. High learning curve with making optimal use of her torpedoes. An absolute laughable lack of any credible AA power. HMS Gallant surprised me when she was announced to be coming to World of Warships. As fighting vessels go, she was in the thick of the action in the early part of the war but she didn't participate in any major surface engagements as far as I could tell. It made me wonder why we were seeing Gallant represent the G-class destroyers in World of Warships when there were examples such as Glowworm which saw surface action against capital ships to draw from. Everything began making sense when the Dunkirk Scenario was unveiled. She's not the first British premium destroyer released in the game (that honour goes to HMS Campbeltown at tier III), nor is she first British-built destroyer in the game (that distinction goes to ORP Blyskawica). What she does provide, however, is a glimpse of what the British destroyer line may end up being in the future. It remains to be seen how many of the features on HMS Gallant will become standard to the British destroyers. Sharkbait_416 of the World of Warships wiki team has volunteered to join me in this review. He'll be providing a look into HMS Gallant's history and his impressions of the ship. Take it away! The Sharktank HMS Gallant, hull pennant H59, was a G-Class destroyer of the Royal Navy, launched on August 26, 1935. With the outbreak of WWII in 1939, Gallant began operating in the North Sea, primarily tasked with escort and patrol duties. Throughout the course of these duties, Gallant participated in rescue operations which saved the crews of multiple stricken ships, such as SS British Councillor, SS Santos, and HMS Princess Victoria. On May 25, 1940, Gallant was detached from North Sea operations to partake in Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Allied forces from Dunkirk. On May 26, Gallant arrived in the channel. On May 27, Gallant and HMS Vivacious were notified that ORP Blyskawica was tasked to meet them. The Admiralty wanted the three ships to enter the port of La Panne to evacuate RAF personnel. However, Blyskawica was unable to locate the two British ships. The next day, Gallant embarked troops and transported them to Dover. Gallant made a second trip to Dunkirk on May 29, embarking more troops. Prior to arriving at Dover, Gallant was attacked by Luftwaffe dive-bombers. Despite suffering slight damage, Gallant managed to return to Dover under her own power. In total, Gallant rescued 1,466 personnel from the beaches of Dunkirk. In June 1940, Gallant assisted in the search for Scharnhorst and Gneisenau but was unable to locate the two German ships. In July, Gallant was tasked for duty in the Mediterranean, where she joined Allied forces to assist in operations in the West Mediterranean Sea. On October 20, 1940, Gallant used depth charges to assist in sinking the Italian submarine Lafolè. On November 27, Gallant fought in the Battle of Cape Spartivento as a part of Force B. While supporting convoy operations in the Straits of Sicily off Pantellaria, Gallant hit a mine on January 10, 1941. The force of the explosion tore the bow from the ship, killing 65 crewmen and injuring 15. The remainder of the ship was towed stern-first to Malta. Gallant began undergoing repairs, continuing into 1942. On April 5, 1942, a bombing raid resulted in a near miss that severely damaged Gallant. Due to extensive damage, Gallant was declared a constructive total loss. Gallant was used as a blockship in St. Paul’s Bay and scrapped in 1953. Rerences: http://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/4391.html & http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-10DD-25G-HMS_Gallant.htm Picture courtesy of Wikipedia. Options Gallant uses the same Smoke Generator consumable as the Japanese and Soviet Destroyers. This differs from Campbeltown, the other British premium, whose Smoke Generator echoes that found on American Destroyers. On the USN DDs. the emission time is longer and so is the duration of each individual cloud. This isn't the case on HMS Gallant. So, everything is standard here. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard cruiser upgrades Premium Camouflage: Type 10, tier VI+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Remember to equip as many premium consumables as you can reliably afford on a per-match basis. The module options you'll be using are the standard fare for destroyers. In your first slot, take Magazine Modification 1. Seriously, don't take take Main Armaments Modification 1 unless you're going into Ranked and taking Juliet Charlie signals -- you're more likely to have your entire destroyer blown out from underneath you before you permanently lose one of your weapon mounts to direct damage. This way you can mitigate some of those detonations. In your second slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is the way to go. Note, if you're playing the Dunkirk Scenario, you want to take AA Guns Modification 2 for the extra range. It's useless otherwise, but you WILL NEED IT in the scenario if you're trying for 5 stars. Don't skimp out on this. In your third slot, take Damage Control Modification 1. The other two are terrible (not that DCM1 is much better). And finally, in your fourth slot, take Propulsion System Modification 1. If you have access to Super Upgrades, there's only one really worth considering and that's Engine Boost Modification 1. This would replace your Damage Control Modification 1 upgrade in your third slot. Firepower Primary Battery: Four 120mm rifles in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedo Armament: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers rear mounted down the centerline of the ship. Gallant's gunnery is pretty close to terrible. They may have decent gun handling and a nice krupp rating on her AP shells, but almost everything else is awful. Her 120mm guns are the smallest caliber at her tier and an armament we would expect on tier IV destroyers, not VI. Understandably, on a per-shell basis, they have some of the worst alpha strike qualities, besting only German 128mm HE shells. With her four guns, this makes her volleys rather anemic. But there's worse to come: The ballistic arcs on her 120mm/45 guns are worse than the American 127mm/38s. While Gallant has better muzzle velocity than Farragut's weapons, the shells are lighter and lose speed more quickly. At ranges greater than 5.0km, Farragut's 127mm/38s have better shell flight times over distance. Gallant's shells take 8.62s to hit targets at 10km compared to Farragut's 8.31s with HE shells. Gallant's range normally caps out at 10.2km, so this slow shell time to distance cannot be seen in full measure without Advanced Fire Training. With it, you'll see shell flight times of approximately 1 second per km traveled at ranges in excess of 10km. This makes Gallant's guns utterly ill-suited to engaging anything short of a slow turning Battleship or Carrier at range. You can largely forget about making use of AP except at stupidly close ranges where you'd be better of dumping fish into them instead. To engage enemy destroyers, she needs to be close -- ideally no more than 7km to 8km at most before the lead times greatly inhibit accuracy. And more often than not, she will not want to engage enemy destroyers in the first place. Gallant has two saving graces where her guns are concerned. She has a decent (but not great) rate of fire. With a 5.0 second reload, she can put out twelve rounds per gun. So while she may not be able to compete with any of her peers on a per-volley basis, she can out-muscle Japanese destroyers in a protracted gunnery duel through sheer volume of fire. On paper, she should also be able to compete with Ernst Gaede, the German tier VI, however in practice this often proves to be a fool's errand. Gaede's guns have better ballistic arcs and, more importantly, a lot more health. The second saving grace is more memorable. Gallant has a very high chance to set fires per shell. At 8% per hit, when coupled with her four guns and rate of fire, Gallant becomes the best potential fire starter at tier VI. While this will not help her against enemy destroyers, it does speak to a specialization which favours making the lives of enemy Battleships quite miserable. Overall, Gallant is only a better overall gun platform than Fubuki and Hatsuharu which is pretty poor marks. She edges out Shinonome too, but only just. She needs to force a slug fest to out perform the IJN premium. The reliable 6-gun alpha strikes are quite valuable as they can often decide a duel against a mid to low health enemy destroyer, forcing them to back off even if they have a DPM advantage. It's Gallant's ability to set fires which really redeems these guns. Without it, her main battery would be utterly lamentable. The worst part is that Gallant's guns feel very comfortable to use -- so much so that you might grossly over estimate how well they perform. They turn decently. Their rate of fire is nice. They cause lots of fires. This got me into a lot of trouble when it came to dueling with other destroyers. I'd feel I had the advantage only to see just how uneven a contest it actually was when I got myself butchered. Do not make this mistake. Gallant's guns aren't good. They're not terrible, but they can cause you more problems than they'll solve. Gallant largely redeems the poor qualities of her guns with her torpedo armament. They aren't without their (oh-so minor) faults. For a torpedo specialist, her range of 8.0km is decent but not enough to make captains of the Japanese destroyers sit up and take notice. Their 1.3km detection range gives opponents nearly eight seconds to react which is alright, but not great. The same could be said of their 61 knot top speed which is perfectly adequate but, again, nothing special or worth celebrating. But here's where things get exciting: Gallant has the same launch options as British cruisers. To be clear, the two fire options for Gallant are a narrow spread or to fire off her torpedoes individually. She does not have the wide-spread option found on other destroyers. It's this single fire option which is so desirable. This greatly increases the flexibility of Gallant's torpedo armament, whether this be dropping more complex patterns for opponents to dodge or holding fish in reserve when a target may think themselves safe from harm. On paper, the advantages of Gallant's single fire torpedoes are many. In practice? Many of these advantages are locked behind an admittedly difficult set of player skills, acquired only from experience and the lessons learned from lots of mistakes. Veterans of British cruisers will have a leg up on the competition here. Gallant's torpedoes are individually hard hitting at 15,433 damage and with eight tubes, Gallant's potential damage for a full launch exceeds all ships with the exception of Shinonome and Fubuki which launch nine. Even so, Gallant's torpedoes hit harder individually than Shinonome, so she's not far behind these Japanese torpedo specialists. The are a couple of serious flaws with her torpedoes. They have a punitively long reload of 96s for one, even for a quad launcher. This is common to launchers with more tubes, and Gallant loses out so significantly to the other torpedo-specialists with shorter reloads on their triple launchers with Shinonome having only a 73s reload while Fubuki and Hatsuharu make due with 76s. The second drawback are the awful firing arcs of Gallant's launchers. They only have a 55º launch arc with a rearward bias. The furthest forward they can target is nearly 70º which is appalling and can really hurt Gallant in close quarter brawls or when navigating through islands. This limited fire sector also means she can't use her torpedoes defensively very well, as she has to present her broadside to dump them into the water. So for all of their good hitting power, Gallant cannot launch her fish often and when she can, you may find yourself fighting the fire arcs of her launchers in order to do so. Summary: Her torpedoes are powerful. Single fire torpedoes are awesome, but it's going to take some practice to make them work. The limited fire arcs of her torpedoes can be immensely frustrating. The only thing saving Gallant's guns from being a complete write off is their good rate of fire and high fire chance. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 36.0knotsTurning Radius: 540mRudder Shift: 3.0s Maximum Turn Rate: 8.6º per second. Gallant is rather average for a tier VI destroyer when it comes to her top speed, though all of the destroyers with the exception of the Gnevny-class (including Anshan) slot in and around 35.5 to 36.5 knots. What she does have is great handling, however. She answers her rudder very quickly and can throw herself about in the water like no one's business. She's only held back by he modest top speed. She keeps over 30 knots in a turn, though just barely, and this limits her maximum rate of turn to 8.6º per second. DurabilityHit Points: 12,000Maximum Protection: 16mm Gallant's 12,000 hit points sits on the low side of average at her tier. She has more hit points than Farragut or Hatsuharu but less than the Gnenvy-class and Fubuki-class ships which make up more than half the destroyer population at tier VI. Gallant is tiny as far as ship length goes, but sadly she's also rather tall. This combines to make her a comfortable target to shoot at, unfortunately. Gallant does not have the DPM or accuracy over range to afford trading fire with other gunships. This is a risky venture even when she's top tier against tier V gunships like Podvoisky, Nicholas and Okhotnik. Only do so from a position of extreme advantage if you have to at all. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 6.84km Air Detection Range: 3.36 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.97km Main Battery Firing Range: 10.18km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 2nd Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 16th of 34. Gallant has a decent concealment rating. Properly specialized with a 10pt Captain and with her Premium Camouflage, Gallant will get her surface detection range down to just a hair beneath 6.0km. The only ship at her tier that bests her here is Hatsuharu with a 5.8km surface detection range. This is good news for an under-gunned destroyer that struggles to trade blows with any of her contemporaries. Perhaps most impressive is her small aerial detection range which is better than any of the other destroyers at her tier. As a tier VI destroyer, Gallant sits in that unfortunate 'sweet spot' shared with tier VII destroyers where their concealment seems decent until measured up against the ships she faces. She's larger than most of the tier V destroyers she faces, and while she's much more stealthy than tier VII DDs, she finds herself out done by tier VIII gunships like Lo Yang, Benson and Akizuki -- all of which can make her life miserable in short order. It's a rare game where she'll ever be the stealthiest thing out on the water. Gallant is really built for this short-ranged attack. Her torpedoes give her a 2.0km stealth firing window which is enough room to comfortably manoeuvre. Sadly, this does fall within the range of radar equipped ships that begin appearing at tier VII. Skirting too close to the edge of her launch window also puts her dangerously close to the 5.58km range of Hydroacoustic Search on tier VIII German Cruisers It pays to take a moment to study team rosters and identify problem ships lest you trip over them at inopportune moments. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 12.7mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 4 No. That small cloud of smoke is about to get really crowded with air dropped torpedoes in a moment. Pageantry and Gallantry Thanks to the Dunkirk scenario, there are going to be another build to consider for HMS Gallant, optimizing for achieving 5 stars in the scenario. For now, let me cover the basics for Random and Ranked Battles. As ever, we start with a core build of 10 skill points. Begin with Priority Target to increase your situational awareness when you no longer have concealment. Next, take the destroyer standby, Last Stand to give you passable engine power and rudder shift when these modules get damaged. You have a choice at the next tier. Torpedo Armament Expertise should be taken if you want to emphasize your torpedo rate of fire. Alternatively, take Demolition Expert to supplement your already excellent fire starting qualities on your guns. Do not double up on these at this stage. Finally, take Concealment Expert to get your surface detection down to 5.97km with camouflage installed. Here are the next skills to consider: Tier 1, Preventative Maintenance. For those who hate Priority Target, this can be taken as an alternative. This reduces the likelihood of critical damage occurring to any of your modules (except the Magazine). Tier 2, Jack of All Trades. This is handy for those players that like dropping smoke for their allies. Tier 2, Expert Marksman. This will increase your gun rotation rate from 10º per second up to 12.5º. Tier 2, Smoke Screen Expert. Are you a bro that drops smoke for your big friends in Ranked? Be an even bigger bro with bigger smoke! Tier 2, Adrenaline Rush. This is a long running favourite of many players. It increases your rate of fire of guns and torpedoes as you take damage. At 50% health, this shaves off almost 10s from your torpedo reload and increases your rate of fire from 12.0rpm to 13.2rpm. Always handy. Tier 3, Survivability Expert. This will increase Gallant's hit points from 12,000 to 14,100hp. Note that this won't give you advantage enough to reliably outgun other gunships that are at the same health you are, but it does provide more of a buffer. This can be especially handy in Ranked Battles. Tier 3, Basic Fire Training. Bump up that rate of fire from 12rpm to 13.2rpm. Don't worry about what it does to your AA power. It's not relevant in these game modes. Tier 3, Vigilance. Spot those torpedoes early for your big friends. Tier 4, Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. You can bump up her effective HE penetration from 19mm up to 25mm with this skill. This is enough to stack direct damage against any capital ship you face in Ranked Battles, provided you don't hit the armoured belt, as opposed to being stuck trying to hit the superstructure. Tier 4, Advanced Fire Training. I would recommend against taking this one, but it does have it's uses. This bumps up your maximum range from 10.2km up to 12.2km. Keep in mind your shell flight time is almost 1s per kilometer at those ranges. Tier 4, Radio Location. Like high tier IJN Destroyers, sometimes it's nice to know where the things you don't want to face in a gunfight are likely to be. I personally would recommend the following builds: Random Battles: Core skills (Demolition Expert and Torpedo Armament Expertise both for a total of 13pts). Then take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells and Adrenaline Rush. Ranked Battles: Core skills (Torpedo Armament Expertise or Demolition Expert, not both to start). Then take Survivability Expert. Spend the last six points where you will based on your play style. For cap control, take Basic Fire Training and Adrenaline Rush. For support, lean closer to Vigilance and Smoke Screen Expert. Finally we come to the scenarios. For Dunkirk, you want to emphasize your AA power (silly, I know, but you'll need it). Your core skills look like this: Take Preventative Maintenance first. No surface ships will be targeting you with their main batteries. Next, take Last Stand. The artillery will knock out your engines and steering gears on occasion. After that, take Basic Fire Training to buff your AA power. Then take Advanced Fire Training to buff your AA range up to a "massive" 1.44km. This build is pretty useless for outside of the scenario, but what are you going to do? This "AA Build" only works because of the funny low-health values of planes in this specific scenario, so don't hold any illusions this has any worth outside of it. Some other useful skills include: Tier 2, Jack of All Trades, to help bring your smoke generator off cool down faster. Tier 2, Smoke Screen Expert, to give your allied ships more cover when you drop your smoke. Tier 3, Vigilance, to spot those torpedoes sooner. That's it. This is such a specialized build, I really doubt anyone will have the spare Captain to do it, but maybe you have more doubloons available than sense? When in doubt, you can always suicide-torp battleships at close range. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Gallant is very much like IJN Destroyers where she requires just a little more understanding of destroyer game play to make her perform. She isn't utterly dependent upon her torpedoes for doing damage, but without a good grasp of how best to optimize them, inexperienced players will find this ship frustrating. The good news is that her guns are quite comfortable to play with. The bad news is that her guns will get her into more trouble than not which is a formula for disappointing many consumers. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Gallant will challenge players to really master aiming their torpedoes manually without the use of the leading marker. This is a new skill for some players to learn and it will only improve their overall game play. This bumps up her carry potential somewhat in the hands of a true expert. Her guns are also quite serviceable in the right circumstances, but knowing when to fight and when to cut your losses is something that comes only with experience (or spider sense). The Sharktank HMS Gallant can be a thorn in the side of the enemy team throughout a match if played properly. My overall impression is that she is very good at one thing—launching torpedoes from concealment. Her single-fire torpedo launchers enable her to achieve more hits than the wide-spread setting. This is exceptionally useful in launching torpedoes at ships that are bow-on, such as those charging a smoke screen. However, this may also result in missing all torpedoes if they are improperly aimed. Gallant benefits from excellent maneuverability and a tight turning circle, which enables her to weave and dodge incoming fire if spotted. Much like the British cruisers, Gallant is most effective when maintaining her concealment, whether it be in a smoke-screen or skirting her detection range. Her mediocre HP pool and poor gun performance mean that direct engagements with cruisers and other destroyers are not recommended unless in self-defense. Her abysmal anti-aircraft armament rating means that an enemy carrier may freely fly squadrons of planes over the Gallant, keeping her spotted. To have a great battle, it is imperative to pick-and-choose engagements wisely. Because of this, Gallant truly excels when she has a commander that is specialized with Concealment Expert. This provides Gallant with a 2-kilometer stealth-firing window for torpedoes, and ample range for maneuvering and repositioning while avoiding detection. Gallant’s playstyle is very appealing, but it is important that players have a solid understanding of spotting and detection mechanics in-order to utilize Gallant to her maximum potential. She is not the type of ship that can outgun an enemy destroyer in the beginning of the game after charging into the objective. Instead, patience and smart tactics will result in players being rewarded with opportunities to take advantage of Gallant’s primary strength, her torpedo armament. In summary, I feel that Gallant is a strong torpedo boat, but suffers from being situational, especially in matches with aircraft carriers. It requires a patient and vigilant captain who takes note of the positions where enemy ships were last spotted to predict their movements. These predictions are essential in maintaining concealment and succeeding in carrying out ambush style attacks on enemy ships, a tactic that Gallant excels at. Mouse's Summary: Gallant plays closer to an IJN DD than a Soviet or USN Destroyer Single fire torpedoes are nice .. but only if you can aim. They'll be a detriment otherwise. Her guns feel more comfortable to use than her torpedoes, but her torpedoes are more powerful than her guns. Like IJN Destroyers, she becomes more deadly the longer she can survive into the match. If you die early, you're not getting the most out of this ship. Stay alive. Then she'll shine. HMS Gallant is a pretty uninspiring premium. Her gimmick resides solely in her ability to drop single-fire torpedoes. Should the future British Destroyer line have this ability too, short of them having some flaw (like no HE shells), Gallant isn't going to age well. Her guns are okay, but she doesn't have enough of them and they don't hit hard enough. Her torpedoes are really good, but they didn't blow me away. Specializing a ship around their torpedo armament really makes their performance flirt with feast or famine -- either you have jaw dropping, amazing games or you strike out and muddle through with a pittance of rewards. It frustrated me to no end that her guns are comfortable to use and (generally) suck while her torpedoes are not comfortable to use and (generally) rock. If only I could bring the latter to bear more often without finding myself beached or making myself a bigger target for guns / torpedoes / airplanes. If only the former wouldn't let me down when I find myself going toe to toe with anything more shooty than a Fubuki. For all of the average components that make up HMS Gallant, she's not without her charms. The sum of her parts creates a versatile ship that, while vulnerable to enemy destroyer gunships (and aircraft -- but all destroyers suffer equally there), can still manage to be a thorn in the side of the enemy fleet. Success with this ship hinges on how well a player can make her torpedoes perform. And she's got most of the right tools for facilitating that. She's not slow. She's pretty stealthy. She handles like a dream. She's got enough guns to defend herself. In theory, Gallant should work for most players. I wasn't inspired, however. Gallant didn't romance me the same way some other premiums have -- even the lackluster ones. Is that a flaw of the ship? I think so. I couldn't get excited for this ship. Time will tell if I'm proven wrong and the community embraces this one as one of their own. Would I Recommend? PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Mouse: The big question is how will she do in the Dunkirk scenario? Well, she combines elements of both freely available destroyers. Gallant has the fast gunnery of Anthony and the Smoke Generator of Cyclone, so she'll do alright against the Schnellboots but she'll really struggle to shoot down aircraft unless you've built her with AA pew pews in mind. In regular PVE play, treat her like an IJN Destroyer and you'll do alright. Sharkbait_416: Yes; I would recommend Gallant for PVE battles. At Tier VI, Gallant has minimal service costs. She maintains a fair margin of profitability in well-played PVE battles, but premium consumables should be avoided to maximize income. Gallant fares well against bots due to her concealment. She can provide support to teammates, such as a smoke screen, while also engaging enemy ships with her single-firing torpedo launchers. However, her main battery guns are of a small caliber and suffer from long shell flight times, which makes hitting small and agile targets, such as PT boats, difficult. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Mouse: It all comes down to how well you think you can perform with your torpedoes. Personally, I would give Gallant a pass here. While she's perfectly adequate when top tier, she's really going to struggle when bottom tier in the same manner as Fubuki and Shinonome. If that's your cup of tea or you can stomach being the (severe) underdog, then go nuts, my friend. Sharkbait_416: Yes; I highly recommend Gallant for random battle grinding. She truly shines with a 10-point commander that is specialized with Concealment Expert. With this skill, Gallant has a 2-kilometer stealth-firing window for her torpedoes. Those who are familiar with single-firing torpedo launchers may be able to hit a target with every torpedo in the salvo. Good concealment and high-damage potential equate to a ship which is highly rewarding for those grinding for XP and rewards. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Mouse: Is Gallant better than the other tier VI destroyers for Ranked Battles? She's not better than Anshan or Shinonome, but I would say she's better than Gaede or Farragut in this environment. I'll give her a green-light here, but you'd be much better off with Shinonome or Anshan if you can your hands on them. Sharkbait_416: No; although Gallant is very powerful due to her torpedoes, she is easily countered by aircraft. Additionally, she is not very competitive in a fair fight with other destroyers of the same-tier, due to a smaller pool of hit points and poor gun performance. As much as I like her, Gallant is situational in competitive gaming scenarios. Generally, I would advise players to choose another ship for competitive gaming unless they are extremely competent in maintaining concealment, dodging incoming gunfire, and avoiding overextension on the map. Still, an aircraft carrier can easily ruin Gallant’s match by keeping her spotted with squadrons of aircraft. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Mouse: Eh. HMS Gallant has some story to her, but my initial reaction when I heard this ship was coming was "why not Glowworm?". I suppose if you want to own a little piece of Dunkirk memorabilia then snag her up. Sharkbait_416: Yes; Gallant served the Royal Navy honorably. Throughout the course of her service history, she saved the lives of nearly 1,500 personnel and sailors. Though she may not have the fame of other ships in the Royal Navy, Gallant served in numerous operations and escorted multiple convoys before being mined in the Mediterranean Sea. With her addition to the game coinciding with the Dunkirk Scenario, players can recreate her heroic actions in saving over 1,466 personnel from the beaches of Dunkirk in May 1940. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Mouse: Nope, I did not enjoy my time with Gallant. Her torpedoes are frustrating to use. Her guns aren't. Her guns suck though and her torpedoes don't. How to frustrate Mouse 101. Sharkbait_416: Yes; Gallant is very fun to play. As mentioned above, a captain specialized with Concealment Expert provides Gallant with a 2-kilometer stealth firing window for her torpedoes. Her single-fire launchers allow for the possibility of hitting every torpedo in a salvo. Gallant does best in battles with a high number of battleships and no aircraft carriers. In such games, Gallant can inflict serious casualties on the enemy team. It’s very satisfying to watch a single-file line of 8 torpedoes swim toward a battleship, knowing the unsuspecting battleship is in for a world of hurt! What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Maybe it sucks. Maybe it's boring. Maybe I resent how it was implemented in the game. You won't know unless you read the full review, but this is quotable, gosh darn it, so you'll forget anything the article actually said and run with this. Mehbote – It's alright. Frankly, this describes almost every ship in the game. People get really cheesed when I describe their favourite, super-competitive ship as meh, so I do it often. Gudbote – The best thing ever. These are ships I like to play. Maybe it's good. Maybe it's fun. Maybe I'm trolling you. You dunno, but you'll make a big deal that I said X was a good ship when you preferred Y. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it!
  12. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Pommern

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

    Premium Ship Review - Champagne

    The following is a review of Champagne, the tier VIII French premium battleship. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself; I did not pay to get access to this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.3. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Behold the Imperator NIkolai I of the French battleship line. Champagne has been on sale all of twice. Form June 26th to July 10th, 2020 and from October 10th until 16th, 2020. She has been locked in the vault since then, available only through lucky drops through Supercontainers. Like Enterprise before her, Champagne's sale window has been exceedingly brief which begs the question if she has been removed for over-performing or not. Well, according to my contacts at Wargaming she has neither been removed nor is she over-performing. Like the abomination known as Cheshire, she simply is not put on sale very often. Performance not-withstanding, the argument has been made that she's the worst thing in the history of ever and not good for the game. Let's go into why this ship (and others like her) earn so much ire... Summary: A long-range sniper armed with six, quick firing 406mm guns that have improved accuracy and penetration. The ship itself has weakened structural armour and survivability over other tier VIII battleships. PROS Very long ranged with a 25.02km base reach. Excellent gunnery accuracy over distance using battlecruiser dispersion and 2.0 sigma Increased rate of fire with a 28.6 second reload. Ridiculous levels of AP penetration. Very high fire chance per shell at 49% per hit. Good gun handling with a 6º/s turret rotation rate. Very fast and very agile, handling more like a fat heavy cruiser than a battleship. CONS Small hit point pool for a tier VIII battleship. Very thin belt at only 240mm. Thin overall structural plate with 32mm upper hull and deck and only 25mm on her bow and stern (!). Bad forward fire angles. Small main battery with poor overall DPM potential. Crappy anti-aircraft firepower. One fewer charges of her Repair Party than most battleships. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme Champagne's game play is pretty comfortable for an inexperienced player provided they can steer away from any impulse to move up to the front lines. If said new-fish is more inclined to sit back and shoot from the A-line, then Champagne will reward them with some semi-reliable damage. Neat! I'd give her a Simple rating but she's too darned fragile and long-range gunnery does take some getting used to. Once you learn to play keep away and can lead a target comfortably? You're good to go. High-end game play with Champagne largely comes down to positioning, situational awareness and target selection. Yes, you could conceivably push up and take a cap or brawl or do all of the other loser-stuff that will most-likely get anyone but a pogchamp clobbered. There's the possibility of that. However, it's so unnecessary to get the most out of this ship. Sit back. Load AP. Farm damage. You're good to go. Options Consumables There is a lot of weirdness to Champagne and her consumables are no exception. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a French battleship. It comes with unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. It removes critical effects, extinguishes fires and repairs floods instantly for 15 seconds. Her Repair Party has one fewer charge than you would normally expect for a French battleship, allowing for three uses instead of the usual four. Otherwise, it behaves as expected, queuing 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It will heal back up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds and it has an 80 second reset timer. In her third slot, you have the choice between a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The former comes with four charges, increases her main battery range by 20% (up to 30.02km!) for 100 seconds and has a 240 second reset timer. The latter launches three fighters which stay on station, orbiting the ship at a range of 3km for 60 seconds. It comes with three charges and has a 90 second reset timer. Her Engine Boost consumable provides an 8% speed increase (up to a maximum of 38.5 knots with this consumable and a Sierra Mike signal) for 180 seconds. It has a 120 second reset timer and comes with three charges. Upgrades Champagne's upgrades provide no surprises. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Like other French battleships with only a pair of turrets, you cannot afford to lose either one. Next up, you'll want the special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1. This will increase the action time of her Engine Boost from 180 seconds to 234 seconds (!). It can be purchased for 17,000 from the Armory. If you can't afford that, then default to Damage Control System Modification 1. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is the only upgrade worth considering in slot three. You have a choice in slot four, with either being decent. Damage Control System Modification 2 will help mitigate fire damage. Though Champagne outranges most cruisers, she still has to contend with battleship HE spam so this is still a good idea. Alternatively, you can Just Dodge™ by taking Steering Gears Modification 1, though be warned, this won't make her cruiser-nimble and dodging only really works at very very long engagement distances. Finally, finish things off with Concealment System Modification 1. Commander Skills Well, Dead Eye is on it's way out. Champagne's nominal build included it. When it gets axed, you're probably best served just sticking to the same ol' survivability build you run on most of your French battleships anyway. This said, there's a very strong case to be made for a specialized Champagne captain that forgoes optimized fire mitigation to instead take Super Heavy AP Shells for that extra bit of long-range farming punch. Camouflage Champagne has only has access to Type 10 Camouflage, providing the usual bonuses for a tier VIII battleship: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% experience earned. Champagne's default camo is the darker of the two. The lighter alternative palette can be unlocked by completing the appropriate section of the Legion of Honour collection. Firepower Main Battery: Six 406mm guns in 2x3 turrets with one mounted fore and the other aft. Secondary Battery: Nine 152mm rifles in 3x3 turrets mounted down the centreline, twenty-four 100mm rifles in 12x2 turrets with six to a side. If you're going to make a good sniper out of a battleship, you need the appropriate toolkit. While just about any battleship with Dead Eye could sit on the back line and huck spitballs vaguely in the direction of the enemy at maximum range, to make this kind of gunnery consistent you have to be a Royal Navy battleship spamming HE (lul). To use real ammo that people won't whine about, you're going to need to have a lot of special traits to make it effective. Wargaming could have padded Champagne's gunnery by delving into their Box o' Gimmicks™ and fished out some consumables to boost her performance, but instead they went with altering her gunnery stats directly. They did this in three ways: She has improved accuracy. Her AP shell penetration is phenomenal for its calibre. Champagne has excellent range. She is purpose built for sitting on the back line and giving Hell to anything that isn't perfectly angled that falls under her crosshairs (and some targets can't angle against her at all). A Thunderous Salute This is a standard dispersion test with 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso bot that had no camouflage. Shots are coming in from right to left with the Fuso effectively bow tanking. Champagne was using the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade but not Dead Eye. And this is with Dead Eye and ASM1. Champagne seemed purpose built to take advantage of it. Or maybe that was just coincidence. It was ships like her and Thunderer that helped get this skill axed. The first piece of the Champagne sniper-puzzle is her dispersion. She joins the ranks of Georgia and Thunderer as a battleship using battlecruiser dispersion, a vast improvement over the dispersion used by the French battleship line. Champagne combines this with 2.0 sigma, clustering a bigger majority of her shells towards the centre of her aiming circle. This is an improvement over even Georgia's 1.8 sigma and Thunderer's 1.9 sigma, making her one of the most accurate battleships at long-range in the game (it's not Slava-good, but she'll get her own review and a deep-dive on vertical dispersion eventually). What is perhaps most important is that Champagne's vertical dispersion (the overshooting and undershooting of a target) is much reduced over comparable French battleships. Thus, for a battleship, her accuracy is downright reliable. Aim well, you'll get hits. However there's a double edged sword here. Aim poorly and you'll get nothing from the one-two combination of Champagne's small number of guns and the lack of scatter from her shells. Krupp is Balans™ Champagne still manages 545mm worth of penetration at 20km, making her a threat to most battleship citadels inside of her nominal range. Champagne has some of the highest AP penetration in the game for 406mm guns. At her nominal maximum range, she still manages around 500mm worth of penetration, making her fully capable of landing citadel hits against most battleships even at this considerable distance. At anything less than that and ANY battleship flashing their sides is just asking to get punished. Champagne's phenomenal AP penetration comes from a combination of factors, including a very high muzzle velocity for a battleship. But more to the point, she has a very high Krupp rating on her shells, giving her around 20% more penetration than expected at any given range. These shells are purpose built to punish battleship belt armour and at medium to close ranges, even angling isn't proof against their bite. If the shells don't ricochet, they have enough energy to bore clean through even the thickest of plate. Against more lightly armoured targets, Champagne inherits a lot of the same problems as Roma had. There's just too much speed and energy in her shells for her fuses to arm properly while still inside a cruiser. For example, to properly fuse inside a broadsiding Baltimore (152mm belt), Champagne must be at least 12km distant. For a broadsiding Cleveland-class cruiser, this range increases to in excess of 16km. The only way around this is to either dunk the shells into the water just in front of the target or to hit them while they're angled. Thankfully, Champagne's 406mm gun calibre gives her the ability to overmatch up to 28mm of armour, more than enough to punch through the extremities of any of the cruisers she faces. This isn't quite enough to best the 30mm deck and upper hull armour found on many of these ships, so it's not like it's idiot proof. The better solution is just to fire at a distance. And Champagne loves to fire at a distance. No Plunging Fire Champagne has a 25km range base. If you elect to use her Spotter Aircraft (and you SHOULD), then this increases to a whopping 30km for a short period of time. At this distance, Champagne has similar dispersion to a British, American or German battleship at 24km and still packs approximately 450mm worth of penetration (it's not quite guaranteed citadel hit range but you should still be able to land some penetrations). Champagne's shell fall angle never gets steep enough where deck penetrations is possible beyond overmatching, so you can ignore that. Sum of her Parts These three elements combine to make Champagne one of the best snipers using AP shells in the game, at least in terms of individual hits. Ignoring Slava (which is, for all intents and purposes, a Stalinium-built up-tiered improvement over Champagne), there are still other ships which do what Champagne does. But most of these are higher tiered ... and British. Champagne is to AP spam what Conqueror is to HE spam; it's easy and it chalks up an unreasonable amount of damage for so little effort all while largely keeping the ship out of harm's way. While other AP throwers have to worry about penetration (and thus engagement distances), Champagne is almost always in range and she's almost always going to be able to penetrate (if not land citadel hits). She sits so far back that the only real return fire you have to worry about comes from American battleships or vessels two tiers higher. Not only is Champagne's gunnery easy, it's stupidly safe too. Champagne has crappy DPM, what with having only six 406mm guns and nearly a 30 second reload. But don't let that fool you. As ever, there's more to the story than just DPM potential. It's too damn easy to fall into the trap of thinking that Champagne's six-guns are big liability but they really aren't. She arguably lands just as many hits as her contemporaries with fewer guns. However, her individual hits are often meatier because she's capable of (and quite likely to) land citadel AP citadel hits. The only thing that compares to the ease of her damage output are (say it with me one more time:) Royal Navy battleships slinging HE at other battleships. Champagne's damage totals are easily drawn from a larger pool of targets, as she can pick damage up from cruisers just as readily, so long as they're picked off at a distance. Given the ease at which this ship maintains said distance and her comfortable kiting angles, this is a non-issue. Champagne has very comfortable turret traverse rates of 6º/s. Her rearward arcs are much better than her forward arcs, so taking up a kiting position is preferred for maximizing firepower and defence. Summary Why use HE and who cares about her secondaries? Champagne makes sniping with AP fun. Champagne makes sniping with AP easy. Champagne can punish any ship that's not perfectly angled against her. A North Carolina angled at 55º takes a magazine citadel hit from Champagne at a range of 23.4km. This shot bothered me so much, I sent the replay into Wargaming to have them confirm the shot details. This is the kind of crap Champagne pulls off. Durability Hit Points: 52,600 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 25mm / 19mm / 32mm / 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm anti-torpedo bulge + 240mm belt + 30mm turtleback + 50mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 28%  Ships marked with an asterix (*) have re-skinned clones not listed on this chart. Champagne has Odin levels of health with Soviet battleship levels of healing. Both suck and not in the fun, sexy way. In order to apply BALANS™ to Champagne's gunnery performance, Wargaming took lessons learned from my firstborn child, HMS Thunderer, and whacked Champagne's duriability hard over the head with the nerf-bat (my second is due any day now -- stay tuned). In order to shrivel up her Gascogne-style defences, they had a four-point plan of attack. Limit the size of her hit point pool. Reduce the efficacy of her Repair Party. Shave off 25% of her belt armour and make it possible for large calibre AP shells to overmatch her turtleback. Give her heavy-cruiser structural plate on her extremities. Champagne's hit point pool wouldn't be out of place at tier VI. Her lower hit point pool means that she doesn't heal as much as other battleships but oh, it gets worse: she has one fewer charges of her Repair Party so she effectively has a smaller potential hit point pool than a lot of tier V battleships (seriously, she has less effective health than USS Texas and only slightly more than HMS Iron Duke). This has little to no bearing on her ability to heal back fires, rams and floods but when it comes to penetration damage, it takes fewer hits to sink Champagne than any of her contemporaries to a hilarious degree. Going a step further, her reduced armour and citadel protection is designed to make these damaging hits more frequent. Her 25mm extremity armour makes her vulnerable to overmatching 380mm AP shells, but it also opens the door for larger areas for destroyer and cruiser calibre HE to snatch up some of Champagne's hit points. Furthermore, her belt protection is ridiculously bad at only 240mm and her citadel protection is never any better than a combined total of 352mm (though it's as low as 332mm). While the different angles present, the effective thickness is higher than this -- for example, a North Carolina shell tossed at 18km has roughly an 18º shell fall angle. Accounting for the 6º of normalization, a perfectly broadside Champagne's 332mm combined armour over her machine spaces increases to a whopping 352mm or so. Yeah, the angles of her armour aren't really that effective. Champagne's armour protection scheme is that of a thoroughbred battlecruiser. Her citadel roof lies one level down, matching the top of the 355mm transverse bulkhead. It's armour thickness is 40mm. The root of her barbettes is 85mm thick. Champagne's crappy durability balances her the same way Asashio's inability to torpedo destroyers and cruisers balances her: It doesn't. Asashio doesn't have to engage cruisers and destroyers in order to be effective and Champagne doesn't have to expose herself to enemy fire in order to hoover up big damage. So none of this really matters because Champagne is so long ranged that she's not really going to take all of that much hurting unless you put her in harm's way. And there's no need to put her in harm's way. VERDICT: Squishy but it doesn't really matter. Agility Top Speed: 34 knots Turning Radius: 850m 7Rudder Shift Time: 15.5 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.7º/s at 25.4 knots The other reason you don't need to put Champagne in harm's way is that it's so gosh-darned easy to play keep-away. Her top speed of 34 knots is faster than a number of tier VIII cruisers and that's before you account for her access to her Engine Boost consumable. Seriously, Champagne is faster than Baltimore, Cleveland, Montpelier, Wichita, Anchorage, Chapayev, Tallinn, Mikhail Kutuzov, Admiral Hipper, Prinz Eugen, Mainz, Edinburg, Albemarle, Cheshire, Belfast '43, Irian, Wukong and Charles Martel. And those are just the tier VIII cruisers. It's a shorter list once you account for all of the other cruisers in her matchmaking spread and you need to add on a handful of destroyers besides. Champagne is fast. Anyone that's paid attention to my semi-coherent rants and explanations about warship rates of turn, speed is the name of the game. Tight turning radii are great and all, but without the speed to navigate those turning circles, it's all for naught. Champagne's high speed means that she has the best rate of turn of any of the tier VIII battleships, even better than the previous SoDak front-runners, Alabama and Massachusetts. It's a good thing her turret traverse rates are so good so she doesn't out-turn her turrets. It would be a mistake to think that Champagne's speed and agility allows her to Just Dodge™ the way a cruiser or destroyer can. She can't make torpedoes whiffa yu . She's not that nimble. However, put enough distance between Champagne and whatever is shooting back at her and yes, between varying throttle and course, you can throw off a lot of steel and high explosive thrown her way. This is where that 25km range and excellent penetration on her main guns once again comes into play. Champagne can comfortably operate 20km distance from targets, dealing reliable damage and this just so happens to put her far enough away that her tush-wiggle becomes good enough to avoid shells coming back. This in turn mitigates the deficiencies of her armour protection, largely making it a non-issue. And I remind you, her rearward fire angles are very good. She's purpose built for playing keep-away. Champagne has the best agility of any of the tier VIII battleships and her on-demand Engine Boost consumable makes it even more pronounced. With a Sierra Mike signal and her Engine Boost active, Champagne's rate of turn spikes at 4.8º/s but increases her turning circle to a 900m radius. VERDICT: The best at her tier (and the best at tiers VII, IX and X too). Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 5+1 explosions for 1,260 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 140dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3km): 52.5dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 112dps at 70% accuracy There's only one real problem with Champagne's AA defence and that's where it comes to the DPS totals from her medium and short-range mounts. She has decent long-range fire. She also spits out a decent number of flak clouds (admittedly, these don't hit as hard as her contemporaries, but whatever). So in a big ol' cuddle puddle of mutually supporting AA fire, she pulls her weight, adding some good long-range damage. It's only when planes take a particular interest in her (or if they perform a fly-over) that she doesn't have the teeth to do more than mildly inconvenience a carrier. This is a weakness to be sure, but to bring up my earlier comparison, Asashio also has crappy AA firepower and that's not really a drawback for something that's so far away from the action. Sure, if Champagne is the only target on a given flank where a CV is operating, she's going to get dropped on. But if she's at the back of the pack, is it worth taking the extra fly-time to dunk on her? Maybe. Maybe not. In the end, I don't think it really matters. Few battleships are a significant enough obstacle to bring tier VIII and X carriers pause and tier VI carriers (generally) have to respect all higher tiered AA. Champagne's AA power (third from the bottom) is all kinds of crappy which is distinctly out of character for the high-tier French battleships. VERDICT: Bad, but that's okay. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.38km / 12.87km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 11.01km / 8.92km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 15.82km Maximum Firing Range: Between 25.02km and 30.02km Champagne's biggest weakness is that her game play is reliant upon other people doing the spotting for her. Were Champagne ever forced to do the spotting herself? Well, then things like her armour or hit point deficits might mean something. But as it is, you're all but guaranteed to have someone able to light something up for Champagne to shoot at. And odds are, there will either be someone closer to the target for them to shoot at or Champagne will be so far back that she can make it exceedingly difficult to hit her. It's really only in very close games or in losing matches where Champagne's vulnerabilities owing to reliance on friendlies doing the spotting really come into play. The hope is that she's done enough damage and mauled her opponents to such a degree that this should be a non-issue. Similarly, she is fast enough to redeploy to hide behind someone else's skirts if needs be; again, taking the onus away from her to detect her own targets. Overall? It's not terrible. VERDICT: It's not terrible. Maybe it should have been. Final Evaluation Champagne's gameplay in a nutshell. It took a long time for Wargaming to realise their concept of a sniper battleship. The final iterations as evidenced by Florida, Slava and Champagne, have three elements in common: Very long range. Improved gunnery. Reduced survivability. Kinda. See, there are technically four of these sniper-battleships in World of Warships but HMS Thunderer did as HMS Thunderer does and ruined everything for everyone (and I could NOT be more proud). While my accidental British love-child has reduced survivability compared to Conqueror, it's nowhere near nerfed enough to matter. Ironically, I still don't think Wargaming has quite made these sniper fragile enough, but here we are. I still personally feel that the original version of Duke of York with no heals whatsoever is the way to go but I am not being listened to, otherwise we would have seen this on HMCS Yukon. But enough of my dream-botes. Sniper-battleships in World of Warships are as effective, compelling and healthy for the game as the Royal Navy battleships and aircraft carriers. They're about as fun too. It's HILARIOUS when you're the one dropping bombs on the enemy but it's Fun and Engaging™ when you're on the receiving end (please note the sarcasm). Yes, there's skill involved with playing Champagne well. Yes, you have to pick your targets. Yes, positioning matters. Yes, you can suck at it and do poorly. However, sniping in a battleship is World of Warships comfort-food: It's simple, straight forward and easy game play that gives you the euphoria of seeing big numbers and citadel ribbons appearing up on your screen. While playing Champagne I couldn't help but think back to when I was seeing how easy it was to farm Witherer medals with Conqueror. It was initially shocking at just how achieveable it was. Champagne reminds me a lot of that. She's not an "I win!" button, but barring RNGeebus saying "very no", getting good a good damage farm going was all but guaranteed, win or lose. My contact at Wargaming have told me that Champagne isn't over-performing. I don't know what their numbers are looking like, but from third party sites, Champagne is one of the highest damage dealers at tier VIII right now. Her bias is going to come from sniping other battleships, so it's to be expected, however unlike Asashio who shares this same target preference, Champagne can (and does!) pick on cruisers and other ship types too. So is Champagne good? Sure. She gets big numbers. Like playing a sniper in a First-Person Shooter, you get to feel like a professional badass, clicking on heads so long as your team's front lines hold up. If you can farm damage fast enough, it can turn games around. But big numbers in of themselves don't win games. I keep coming back to comparing Champagne to the Royal Navy battleships and there's a reason for it. The damage numbers these ship generate is disproportionate to their win rates. You don't play Champagne to win. You play her to farm damage. To me, she proves that battleship HE spam isn't cancerous so much as damage farming itself is. Champagne is not a team-player. She is a very selfish boat and that's why I keep coming back to the British BBs. She's great at what she does but not great for your team and arguably not good for the game either. With that in mind, she's totally a safe purchase if this kind of game play appeals. As for me? I'm emotionally obligated to stick with Thunderer. Remember, if it's not Champagne, then it's sparkling white cancer.
  14. Hello everyone! Shield here, with my first written review of a ship in World of Warships. I am better at writing than I am at video editing, so I am gonna leave the video reviews to the people who actually know what they are doing. This is meant to be more casual, statistics used to explain the ship and not just thrown at you. This is meant to be a review you can read while at an airport, sitting in traffic, or just generally bored. I will try and keep it entertaining and yet still helpful/informational. It will be split up into 7 sections: History, Ships in Class, In-Game Statistics, Results, Personal Overview, and Overall Thoughts. I will add in tactical opinion as well as how the ship feels to play, so I hope you enjoy! So sit back, make sure your boss isn’t looking, your coffee is warm (or your beverage is cold), and enjoy this written review on the Cleveland class Cruiser! History: The Cleveland class of cruiser was a group of light cruisers built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. At the end of the war, they were the most numerous class of light cruisers to be ever built. The ships were designed with the goal of increased cruising range in terms of nautical miles per tank of fuel, increased anti-aircraft armament, and better torpedo protection as compared with earlier U.S. cruisers. Fifty-two ships of this class were originally planned, however, nine of them were completed as the light aircraft carriers of the Independence class (I have no idea how they thought of this but hey, if it works it works), and two of them were completed to a somewhat different design, with more compact superstructures and just a single stack (funnel for exhaust for non-boat people). These two were called Fargo class cruisers. Of the 27 Cleveland-class cruisers that were commissioned, one by the name of the USS Galveston (CL-93), was completed as a guided missile cruiser. Five were later modified as Galveston and Providence class guided missile cruisers. These ships were all named, as per usual at the time, after US cities and towns. The Cleveland-class cruisers served mainly in the Pacific Fleet during World War II (seeing as they were not built for anti-submarine or convoy-protection as the Atlantic Fleet would have been), especially in the Fast Carrier Task Force, but some of them served off the coasts of Europe and Africa in the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. All of these warships, no matter how heavily worked and damaged they might have been, survived the war. All of this class were initially decommissioned by 1950, except for Manchester, which remained in service until 1956. Six were later finished or converted to guided missile cruisers, and these served into the 1970s. The Clevelands suffered from increasing stability problems as anti-aircraft armament and additional radar was added during the war. They kept piling on more AA mounts and radar modifications and the ship was notoriously top-heavy. None were recommissioned for the Korean War, as they required a crew almost as large as the Baltimore class ships, and those ships were reactivated instead as they were the superior vessel at the time. All non-converted ships were sold off from the reserve fleet for scrapping beginning in 1959. The six that were completed as guided missile cruisers, or converted to be so, were reactivated during the 1950s and then served into the 1970s. All, particularly the Talos-armed ships (Talos being a long range surface-to-air missile), suffered from greater stability problems than the original design due to the extra radar equipment and top weight. This problem was particularly severe in Galveston, leading to its premature decommissioning in 1970. Multiple ships had to have large amounts of ballast and internal rearrangement to allow for their continued service into the 1970s. The last of these missile ships in service, Oklahoma City, was decommissioned in December 1979. Only one Cleveland-class ship remains in the world. She is the guided missile cruiser Little Rock, now a museum ship along the Niagara River in Buffalo, New York. USS Cleveland (CL-55) Talos Missile USS Galveston (CL-93) All Ships of the Cleveland Class: USS Cleveland CL-55 USS Newhaven CL-76USS Columbia CL-56 USS HuntingtonCL-77USS Montpelier CL-57 USS Dayton CL-78USS Denver CL-58 USS Wilmington CL-79USS Amsterdam CL-59 USS BiloxiCL-80USS Santa Fe CL-60 USS Houston CL-81USS Tallahassee CL-61 USS Providence CL-82 (later CLG-6)USS Birmingham CL-62 USS Manchester CL-83USS Mobile CL-63 USS Buffalo CL-84USS Vincennes CL-64 USS Fargo CL-85USS Pasadena CL-65 USS Vicksburg CL-86USS Springfield CL-66 (later CLG-7) USS Duluth CL-87USS Topeka CL-67 (later CLG-8) USS Newark CL-88 USS Miami CL-89 USS Newark CL-100USS Astoria CL-90 USS Amsterdam CL-101USS Oklahoma City CL-91 (later CLG-5) USS Portsmouth CL-102USS Little Rock CL-92 (later CLG-4) USS Wilkes-Barre CL-103USS Galveston CL-93 (later CLG-3) USS Atlanta CL-104USS Youngstown CL-94 USS Dayton CL-105USS Buffalo CL-99 (no, this is not a mistake, there were two USS Buffalos) Okay, now that all of the history portion is done, I will now move on to the stats of the Cleveland in the game. Cleveland Statistics (from Wargaming Wiki): Stock: Top: I decided to hop in and play three random battles just right off the bat, to give you a realistic idea of what can be expected from this ship. These are older battles, as you can tell by the halloween missions (lol), but this goes to show that the Cleveland is still a good ship even in the older versions of the game. Battle 1: Battle 2: Battle 3: So as you can see, the Cleveland is quite the ship to have fun in. Survivability kinda sucks but it helps you to learn how to save your HP more effectively. A plus to these photos is also kinda proof that I don’t suck, well, at least not too badly. Personal Overview So my thoughts on this boat. First off, she is a looker. Well, that is my opinion but that does not matter. Some screenshots to make you happy: Whenever you are playing the Cleveland, you have to make sure you are extremely aware of your surroundings. The armor is non-existent, so you have to make the initial approach up to the enemy team under the cover of smoke, behind an island, or behind a meaty wall of friendly BBs and other, more heavily armored, CLs. Her guns don't pack the 203mm punch of the Pepsicola (Pensacola for those less informed), but they can make the life of any enemy ship living hell if played correctly. I would recommend firing your turrets as two "teams". The front two and rear two always shoot together, but never all four at once. This will allow you to designate multiple targets and be able to lay down more constant fire upon your enemies. The Cleveland has 4 turrets of 3x152mm guns, and the HE is very fun to play with. The American Gun Arc that this ship so proudly boasts is both a blessing and a curse. You can lob shells over islands you are using for cover, as well as those that the enemy (mistakenly) thinks can provide them cover. The HE fire chance is 12%, but can be further upgraded if you like with flags or commander skills. The penetration of the HE is decent (formula being Gun Caliber / 6 = Penetration) so the Cleveland gets roughly 25mm of HE penetration. "Well Shield, that is abysmal! You can't pen anything with that kind of value!" Don't get your knickers in a twist, I hadn't finished yet. HE shells do not lose their penetration values over distance like AP does, so these shells have 25mm of pen at ALL ranges. This meaning they can penetrate the bow armor of most Tier 4-7 BBs (with exceptions, I know) and do damage unless your shell is shattered by sheer armor value (angling) in what I call "anti-overmatch", where your shells just won't penetrate at any value at all due to the sheer effective armor of that ship. Anyways, I digress. So, the HE is brilliant but what about the AP? Well, honestly, it isn't too shabby. Sure it isn't great but you can deal some serious damage as shown in Battle 3 above this section. I got 8 citadels against the enemy team, and that was all fine and dandy in my book. I would recommend a range of 5-8km when firing AP so your shells have a better chance of penetrating, but any closer and you will basically be in suicide range because most ships Tier 5-Up can citadel you for days within 1-4km. The Cleveland has some grunt getting off the line, but it still isn't quite as much as the British CLs with their Bugatti-Veyron off the line speed. She is nimble and quick and can usually hide from St. Nick, but you have to make sure you are alternating both speed and course when trying to evade shells. You have two "Hello!" turrets and two "F*** This S*** I'm Out" turrets. Their names should be self-explanatory, but if you do not quite get what I mean let me spell it out for you. The front of your ship should be pointed towards the enemy 90% of the time, using your two forward turrets to send gloriously dispersed HE at your opponents. The other two turrets are great for either A) pissing off attacking BBs who see you running away or B) broadsiding the occasional DD. Your broadside is a delicious target for all of the enemy team and should not be shown to them, so please, be modest. Furthermore, you are a DD assassin of glorious proportions. Your 152mm HE can shred enemy DDs within 3 full salvos and the splash damage is great for absolutely wrecking the occasional cocky DD who wants to "sneak up" on you. Hey DD drivers, here is a video of How Not To Be Seen: Hope that helps. Imagine the Cleveland as the narrator and the poor chaps being exploded as you, the DDs. I personally love to play the Cleveland, and it is a fun ship all around to play. You just have to stay cautious of your surroundings, work with your team, and sacrifice the occasional mature goat to the MM Overlords. Overall Thoughts: The Cleveland is a solid ship in general. I hate to quote QuickyBaby and say it is "generic" because it really isn't, but on the surface there is nothing special about it. I love to play her often, and divisioning up with a buddy in these you can have a blast. I was solo fr the above-mentioned games but if I was partnered up with someone we could have both easily done the same amount (or more) of damage by calling our targets and focusing our fire. She is quick and nimble but needs to be cared for. Stay away from the direct fire of enemy ships and be the assassin of the team, never fully up front but always ready to dart in, do 10k dmg to a poor and unsuspecting peasent, and dart back into the cover of an island or friendly smoke. I truly hope you guys enjoyed this and I would love to hear back from you about how this was! This is not meant to be an inch-by-inch review of the ship, check out some of the Youtubers for that style of content, but instead a casual overview of the ship and her history to read while waiting for an airplane, a red light, or trying to procrastinate at work (not recommended). Feel free to leave your constructive critism below as well as your thoughts and how you liked it! Remember to vote above for what ship you would like to see next! Thanks, - Shield
  15. The Tier 8 German Battleship Bismarck "Legendary" Quick Summary: A specialized brawling Battleship that's near impossible to citadel at close ranges. Her strengths include great secondaries, a high top speed, good durability and the German hydroacoustic search consumable. Patch & Date Written: 0.5.10.1. August 25th to August 27th, 2016. Premium Ship Shortcuts Closest Premium Ship: TirpitzDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class/ Similar Role / Unique Well, who didn't see this one coming? The Tirpitz is the obvious closest analogue to the Bismarck, what with being her sister ship. Still if you're looking to skip the grind with purchasing a premium ship rather than researching your way to the Bismarck you're going to miss out. Though they are sisters, their game play is different in a few places. PROs: Excellent citadel protection with her turtleback armour, making her functionally immune to citadel hits. Bow armour of 32mm and deck armour of 50mm allows her to easily tank when prow on towards enemies at medium to close range against guns up to 420mm. Large hit point pool at 69,200hp. Fast reload time on her 380mm rifles with with a 5' per second turret rotation which provides good gun handling. Good range of 21.2km which can be extended with a spotter aircraft. Excellent secondary armament with massive 7.0km base range. Well balanced anti-aircraft complement. Good top speed of 31.0 knots. Has the Hydroacoustic Search consumable. Enormous carry potential -- incredibly forgiving. CONs: Armour isn't overall as thick as some advertise, leading to many normal penetrations unless properly angled. Poor anti-torpedo defense with only a 22% base damage reduction. German Battleship dispersion on main batteries can feel punitive at times. Small main battery with only eight 380mm rifles. Poor HE performance with 4,400 alpha strike. Awful handling, with a 16.0s rudder shift time and 850m turning circle. Enormous surface detection range of 16.4km and aerial detection range of 14.7km. Rough stock-grind until you unlock her Hull Upgrade. Rest easy, fans of the Bismarck. Her legacy is safe in this game. The Bismarck is for World of Warships what the Pz.Kpwf. VI Tiger is for World of Tanks. She is the stuff of legends and surrounded by so much hype and misinformation to make it difficult to separate fact and reality. Sensationalized documentaries often describe her as the single greatest threat that the British Royal Navy ever faced in the Second World War. This leads to some very high expectation (and trepidation) in regards to her inclusion in World of Warships. The Zoup Can For those adverse to reading and who enjoy the soothing tones of a Virginian gentleman, NoZoupForYou has offered to collaborate. He reads out the summary of this article along with the list of Pros and Cons for the Bismarck. One of our North American Community Contributors, Zoup does his own reviews which you should check out. Personally, I'm a big fan of his "Real Warship Genius" series. Options The headliner for the Bismarck's options is the inclusion of the German Hydroacoustic Search. This is identical to that found on the German Cruisers of the same tier with their extended range. This makes closing in to brawling ranges a lot more comfortable. Harrowing panic situations when enemy DDs or smoke-launching cruisers are harassing you become almost laughable. This pairs well with her heavy secondary armament which can quickly doom lightly armoured ships caught out by your consumable. Consumables: Four slots Damage Control Party Repair Party Choice between Spotter Aircraft and Float Plane Fighter Hydroacoustic Search Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard German options.Camouflage: The Bismarck has the option of purchasing premium camouflage for 3,000 doubloons. This provides -3% to your surface detection range, increases enemy dispersion by 4%, provides a 50% bonus to experience gains and reduces your repair costs by 5%. Firepower Primary Battery: 380mm guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y arrangement.Secondary Battery: 105mm guns in 8x2 turrets, 150mm guns in 6x2 turrets. At first glance, the Bismarck looks under gunned compared to the other tier 8 Battleships. And you wouldn't be remiss in thinking so. Her eight 380mm rifles pale compare to the nine 406mm found on the North Carolina or the ten 410mm guns found on the Amagi. She compensates for this by having the same reload time as the Gneisenau -- a mere 26s per volley. This helps pad her DPM numbers somewhat but she's still trailing the leaders in terms of potential damage output. The 380mm caliber guns first introduced at tier 6 with the Bayern are starting to feel a bit long in the tooth by tier 8, even with the improved performance over their WWI predecessor. With their accelerated reload and reasonable alpha strike, they can be quite the nightmare for unwary cruisers. There's enough punch in each AP shell to take the fight out of anything smaller than a Battleship. But you're not going to find the single, overwhelming blows found on the North Carolina's 406mm shells. Fights with other BBs can take a while. Her HE shells also are downright terrible, but that's nothing new for German ships. Another point of contention is the wide spacing of her guns. This tends to exaggerate the wonky dispersion RNG occasionally throws your way. Still, with a 5' per second turret rotation, the gunnery on the Bismarck is pretty comfortable -- comfortable enough that you'll likely forgive her being a bit lacking on alpha strike and DPM. Where the Bismarck really shines is with her secondary armament. She not only has a lot of guns (14 per side) but their range is incredible at 7km. With the right upgrades, skills and signals, you can get her range up to 10.58km which is insane at her tier. Many a Bismarck captain has decided to specialize their ship around these guns and few are disappointed. This makes a 10-skill Captain almost a must to maximize the Bismarck. My only area of contention with the Bismarck's secondaries is that they appear to have a bit of a blind-spot directly ahead of the ship. The good handling and fast reload on her main battery combined with her fearsome secondaries makes the Bismarck a real monster in a brawl. Her firepower traits make her very forgiving to play. A missed salvo with the Bismarck doesn't hurt as much as you can reload and readjust sooner than other Battleships. Her secondaries passively stack damage and can wrack up impressive totals without much input from the player. Summary: Main armament is very comfortable to use, with good turret rotation and a faster reload. Heavy secondary gun battery with excellent range for her tier. Ship is somewhat lacking in alpha strike and DPM potential. Gun accuracy can feel a bit off at times with the wide gun spacing on her turrets. Secondaries have a blind spot directly forward of the ship. From left to right, the Bismarck (tier 8), Bayern (tier 6) and Gneisenau (tier 7). Each use 380mm guns with comparable hitting power, though only the Gneisenau and Bismarck use the same type. The Bayern uses a WWI era 380mm rifle with different characteristics for its reload and shell. Compared to the Tier 7 Gneisenau The Bismarck feels like a linear upgrade to the Gneisenau. You do lose a couple of nice features though. You're upgrading from 6 guns to 8. They're the same weapons as you've used before, you're just getting more of them. Your secondary guns change from being powerful to godly, with an enormous reach. You do lose your torpedoes. Your armour improves overall, with excellent bow armour though you lose some along your waterline. The Bismarck will feel much tougher against most opponents. Your AA power improves but not enough to feel like a big step up from the Gneisenau. The Bismarck will feel tankier than the Gneisenau. You can take more hits and you no longer have to fear 380mm or 410mm guns if you angle properly at the right range. You'll be delighted to have the Hydracoustic Search module -- enough that you'll really miss it if you go back to playing lower tiered German Battleships. The loss of your torpedoes will be felt, but the secondaries from the Bismarck almost make up for it. Maneuverability Top Speed: 31.0 knots.Turning Radius: 850mRudder Shift: 16.0s The Bismarck is one of the fastest Battleships in the game at present. Only a handful of enemy capital ships can outrun her. This gives the Bismarck a tremendous amount of flexibility, especially when top tier. She can dictate the ranges at which combats will occur and force enemy Battleships to play on her terms. It's only when facing the higher tiered German Battleships and the Iowa that she needs to be wary. Largely, you'll want to hold off on using her speed in the early portions of the game until you can best isolate the opening you want to exploit. The downside to all of that speed is that the Bismarck doesn't turn very well. Stock, her rudder shift is an absolute nightmare and it only gets marginally better with her hull upgrade. The good news is that she'll never out turn her turrets. However, that's small consolation when enemy destroyers send a swarm of torpedoes at your broadside. Durability Hit Points: 69,200Citadel Protection: Up to 315mm + turtlebackBow Armour: 32mm (immunity to 410mm rifles)Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% Tier for tier, you're going to struggle to find a Battleship as well protected as the Bismarck at medium to close ranges. And there's the key -- getting her in close. Bow on, she can deflect the 283mm to 420mm rifles found at tiers 7 through 10 with ease, having only to worry about the shells striking her turret faces or barbettes. Properly angled at this engagement range, she can repulse any guns she faces, bouncing even the fearsome main battery of the Yamato. Against the IJN flagship, you'll need to angle 20' to 30' and bait shots against your belt armour as her 460mm guns can still over match your bow. She is also functionally immune to citadel hits against her broadside at ranges up to (and including) 16km. One of the few ways to land citadel hits is to strike her while she's sailing directly towards or away and slam shells down the length of her ship or through her deck armour. This is much easier said than done and the Bismarck can largely ignore the threat of citadel damage. This immunity comes from the layer of her turtleback armour -- angled armour plates behind the belt designed to deflect shells up and away from the machines spaces and magazine. As good as this all sounds, the Bismarck isn't impervious to damage. Far from it. While citadel hits are difficult (nay, nigh impossible) to land on her, this doesn't mean you can sail around exposing your broadside. Her belt armour is only 315mm. And while the turtleback internal armour will protect your vitals, you will still take a lot of damage from penetrating hits. If you expose her broadside, do not be surprised to take in excess of 20,000 damage from a rival Battleship smacking you upside the head with full penetrating salvos. It's critical to keep your Bismarck angled and to use your rudder and speed to avoid incoming fire. One "interesting" (read: overpowered) consequence of the difficulty of dealing citadel damage to the Bismarck is that her main hull can be over saturated. This reduces the damage of AP hits from 0.33x maximum damage down to 0.165x maximum damage, greatly increasing the amount of punishment needed to put her down. Once all of the localized hit points of this section are reduced, it's possible for the Bismarck to take full on penetrating salvos for zero-effective damage. Enemies must switch their fire to the bow, stern or superstructure to finish off the Bismarck in these cases. You're rarely ever going to encounter a situation where the Bismarck is taking zero-damage penetrating hits to a section of her hull, but damage saturation is commonplace. Be aware you may need to shift your fire when facing her if your damaging hits aren't quite up to muster. Another benefit to this immunity to citadel damage is that this greatly increases the efficiency of her Repair Party consumable. Only 10% of the damage done to the citadel of a Battleship may be recovered, while 50% of penetrating hits may be restored. It's easier to get more use out of your Repair Party in the Bismarck as you don't have to worry about being "cheated" out of 40% of a heal from a citadel hit. Her larger base hit point pool also means she recovers more hit points per charge than a North Carolina or Amagi. The Bismarck doesn't have everything her own way. She is very vulnerable to torpedo hits, reducing the incoming damage from those waterborne warheads by 22% before modules, and only against hits that strike her bulges amidships. Coupled with her large turning circle, she needs to be wary of destroyers and their main armament. This said, with her Hydracoustic Search consumable, she can give herself a big head start on getting out of the way of incoming strikes. Summary: Very large hit point pool & functionally immune to citadel hits except from torpedoes. Repair Party synergizes well with citadel immunity and large hit point pool. Good armour that can be actively angled to foil or minimize damage -- best suited at medium to close range. Still vulnerable to penetrating hits which can be quite commonplace if not angled properly, especially at range. Very vulnerable to torpedoes. Into the Maelstrom. The Bismarck is tough enough to forgive many a mistake -- such as finding yourself over extended and facing the teeth of the enemy fleet. If this happens, turn around and get out. Unlike other Battleships, you have little to fear from citadel damage and the sooner you can mitigate the harm being done, the better. Find cover, begin regenerating health and go at them again. The Stock Grind: The Bismarck is one of those ships you're going to want to have some free experience saved up to take the sting off of playing her stock. It's only the one module, her hull, that needs addressing immediately. Without it, your AA power is bad but most distressingly, your bad rudder shift time is downright awful at 22.4s. The first module you'll want to upgrade is her hull. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you use any saved free experience to accelerate this. At 52,000xp, it is expensive but worthwhile. It provides the following: 4,700 extra HP, a 6.4s improvement to your rudder shift time and it overhauls your AA armament from 203dps to 374dps. The rudder shift time alone will make this feel worthwhile. Everything else is a bonus. With her stock engine, the Bismarck makes 28.5 knots which isn't bad. This will allow you to keep pace with the flow of battle though you may struggle to close into brawling ranges until you get this upgraded to her 31.0 knot top speed. Without her rangefinder upgrade, the Bismarck has a reach of 19.3km. On some of the larger maps you'll find yourself, this may feel a bit lackluster. You can prop this up through the use of her spotter aircraft for small windows of opportunity. With her final upgrade, her range increases to 21.2km. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 16.4kmAir Detection Range: 14.7kmMinimum Surface Detection Range: 12.31kmConcealment Penalty while Firing: +11.40km The Bismarck is a large Battleship with a surface detection range to match. You can invest heavily in trying to camouflage her but this will largely be an exercise in futility. A heavy investment may pay dividends in late-stage matches where there are no aircraft present. This will allow you to "sneak" to almost within extended secondary gun-battery range on open water. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 105mm, 37mm, 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.5km, 3.5km, 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 133 / 103 / 138 The Bismarck may feel like a small step backwards from the Gneisenau in terms of AA defense. Where the Germans enjoyed overall anti-aircraft superiority at tier 7, they are very much put in their place by the arrival of the North Carolina and her modernized AA batteries. It's not that the Bismarck's AA power is bad. It's very well balanced between her three umbrellas, almost evenly splitting into thirds at each step. The only real unfortunate change from the Gneisenau to the Bismarck is the loss of the 5.2km range from the Gneisenau's dual purpose 128mm rifles. The Bismarck is armed with 105s instead which go back to the Bayern's maximum range of 4.5km. This is a marked downgrade and should be treated as such. Though the overall values of the Bismarck's aircraft damage per second have gone up, this loss of range should be as keenly felt as a significant dip in DPS. This does mean that tier for tier, the Gneisenau has better AA power than the Bismarck. It also reduces the standing of the Bismarck's AA power from "good" to "average", sitting just over the Amagi but several steps behind the aforementioned laurels of the North Carolina. Functionally, when facing same tier or higher enemy carriers, you can expect the Bismarck's AA to bloody incoming attack planes but not see them off. You're also going to be the preferred prey of torpedo bombers if they're given the choice between you and an American Battleship. Thanks to the Tirpitz's reputation as a poor AA boat, many CVs may be more inclined to try their luck against your hide. It's important to stay with the fleet and to not isolate yourself when there's an enemy carrier on the team. Your AA power isn't bad, it's just not enough to keep you safe if you're caught out alone. You will bloody their noses, but that's small recompense when aircraft are easy to replace. Your hit points are less so. The Bismarck warily eyes fifteen dive bombers passing 4km away. These planes had no interest in the German Battleship and were on their way back to their ship. The Bismarck's flak only managed to shoot down one of them. She has decent AA power, but not enough to give a tier 10 carrier pause. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult The Bismarck is one of the most forgiving Battleships in the game. She has good armour, good speed, good gun handling, good reload times and AA power. She will reward a Captain playing her over cautiously from the second line and she'll be equally as forgiving to a Captain that pushes a little too aggressively, keeping her alive long enough to repeatedly pull the trigger. Neither Captain will be helping their team very much, but the Bismarck Captain will feel like they contributed. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme The meta for the Bismarck is a game of patience. You're excellent up close but you cannot risk over exposing yourself early on. Her game play, at it's most complicated, is looking for an opening where you can close in to within 8km of an enemy and put your tremendous secondary gun batteries and your excellent armour to work. Otherwise, she can sit back and snipe with the rest of the fleet without too much of a depreciation of her combat abilities. Her carry potential is enormous and you don't have to be unicum to exercise it. Mouse's Summary: Her main battery isn't her strong point nor is it a liability. Her secondaries are excellent -- the best for her tier. Ridiculous potential durability, making her one of the tankiest Battleships in game when played well. She has the speed, flexibility and firepower to help decide matches. As a veteran of World of Tanks from 2013, I am still a little gun-shy regarding German vehicles in Wargaming's IP. I keep expecting them to have larger-than-necessary drawbacks, or to be significantly up-tiered from what they were designed to face. You can well imagine what a pleasant surprise the Bismarck has been for me. Short of her handling like a fat cow, she really does not have much in the way of serious weaknesses. And these balancing measures are, if we're completely honest, insufficient from keeping her from being an overpowered monster. There, I said. I'm in for it now. The Bismarck is overpowered. I can't take it back. She is, hands down, the most forgiving Battleship I've played -- and I own the Imperator Nikolai I. This doesn't make her more powerful than the Russian Behemoth, tier for tier. She's not firing at poor baby seals with twelve laser-accurate rifles after all. But she does have enough going for her that I seriously question if she can evade the nerf hammer for long. A lot, if not all of it, has to do with her durability. It would be enough of a bonus if she simply had her functional immunity to citadel damage short of torpedo strikes, but it goes beyond that. She has good overall armour which lets her face-tank against anything short of a Yamato. She's got a bucket load of hit points which, when combined with "only" taking penetrations, allows her Repair Party to work that much more efficiently. Unlike the Imperator Nikolai I, she's got reasonable AA power too. Oh, and she's got secondaries for days. Anything that gets within 8km of a Bismarck needs to start living in fear of watching their HP hemorrhage between small-caliber shells and resulting fires. I'm very tempted to crown the Bismarck as THE ship to grind for in the German line. As nice as the improvements are on the Friedrich der Grosse, the Bismarck can see tier 6 Battleships. And you haven't seen disgusting levels of puppy kicking until you've seen a Bismarck wade into the ranks of several tier 6 vessels at point blank range and come out with several kills and most of her hit points intact. It's downright obscene. It's even more disgusting when you see her pull the same stunt against tier 7 ships. With careful play, she can also pull it off against tier 8s. It seems silly to call the Bismarck overpowered and not raise the same flag over-top of the Tirpitz, her premium sister-ship. There are differences between the two craft and I think they're telling. Between 2km extra range on her secondaries, her better AA power and her hydroacoustic search, I feel that the Bismarck is more forgiving than her sister ship. The Bismarck has eyes (and guns) trained against all threats. Her player doesn't need to actively participate to dissuade a destroyer from slipping within 10km or to handle incoming aircraft as much as they would at the helm of the Tirpitz. The only thing that's going to keep her in line are those eight 380mm rifles. She might dodge immediate nerfs if her damage totals aren't through the roof. She may even escape player attention because of it (players are so enamoured with high damage totals). But damage doesn't tell everything. The Bismarck, when played with even a modest bit of skill, will really make the enemy team work at trying to sink her. Seriously, get out there and enjoy. The Bismarck-class and Admiral-Hipper-class together once again. These make good division mates and look awesome too. Stay tuned for a review of the Prinz Eugen! Compared to the Tier 9 Friedrich der Grosse: When you unlock the Friedrich, you're essentially getting a bigger, fatter Bismarck. A lot of the upgrades are simply mediocre. Her AA bumps up, primarily with her 37mm mid-range auto cannons but this still keeps her a far cry from comparing to the USN Battleships. Her secondaries are identical to those of the Bismarck, but at a tier higher. She's not as fast. She's got even worse handling. And she even loses out somewhat on the Bismarck's range if that can be believed. All of these lackluster "improvements" pave the way for a single gain: You upgrade to fast-firing 406mm rifles or the incredibly punchy 420mm guns. This gives you the choice of keeping to the rapid-fire gun play that you were accustomed to through the Gneisenau and Bismarck or trading up for the apocalyptic smash of Montana-equivalent shells on a longer reload. Sadly, the Friedrich only has the eight guns between four turrets like her predecessor. So even as the German Battleships finally reach gun caliber parity with their contemporaries, they continue to trail on DPM. Still, the Friedrich der Grosse preserves the vaunted durability of the Bismarck class. You just need to play her a little more carefully. Outfitting the Bismarck Recommended Modules The big decision you need to make with the Bismarck is whether or not you want to heavily invest in her secondary armaments or not. Like the Gneisenau, you're going to feel spoiled for choice. For your first slot, I'm going to do the rare thing and recommend two different options. Main Armament Modification 1 should be your default option. However, for those of you raising a fuss about being detonated, Magazine Modification 1 will keep you safe from those rare torpedo-inspired explosions that make your face turn purple with the rage. The mod will reduce the likelihood of those occurring from an approximate 1 in 100 scenario to 1 in 300. For your second slot, you need to decide if you want to focus on her primary battery or secondary battery. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is definitely the better choice, providing a modest boost for both systems. This will nudge her secondary range up to 7.35km. However, you can go full hog and grab Secondary Battery Modification 2 which will up her range to 8.4km. The third slot options are still terrible. Take Damage Control System Modification 1. It will help reduce flooding and fires and give you a 2% boost to your damage reduction against torpedoes. At your fourth slot, you've again got a choice to make (yay, no obvious min-maxing!). The decision rests between trying to improve her sluggish handling with Steering Gears Modification 2, or reducing the impact of fire and flooding damage with Damage Control System Modification 2. The former will reduce her upgraded rudder shift time from 16.0s to 12.8s. This is arguably the best choice. However, with as much high explosive fire as the Bismarck will take, it's hard to discount the merits of reducing fire damage and taking the burden off her Damage Control Party. For your final slot, you have the choice between reducing her detection range by 10% with Concealment System Modification 1 and boosting her minimum acquisition ranges for torpedoes and enemy ships with Target Acquisition System Modification 1. With her Hydroacoustic Search, the latter is of less value IMO, making the Concealment mod more attractive. Recommended Consumables Like most Battleships, the Bismarck should equip a premium version of her Damage Control Party. This will reduce the reset timer from an appalling 120s down to an almost manageable 80s. It's up to player choice if you wish to also follow suit with a premium version of your Repair Party. Along with reducing the cool down, this will provide an additional charge which can be very useful for this front line brawler. You have your choice of using either a Spotter Aircraft or a Float Plane Fighter in your next slot. Float Plane fighters are perilously short-lived in higher tiered matches with the massive, overlapping AA umbrellas. To this end, I tend to prefer the Spotter Aircraft for it's early-game utility to help snipe when ranges are still wide open. Still, the Fighter isn't without its merits, particularly in end game scenarios where there aren't many ships left. This can help spot enemies and incoming torpedoes, reducing the burden on your Hydroacoustic Search. Recommended Captain Skills The Bismarck's skill choices will be pretty standard for a high tier German Battleship. From the first tier, Basic Fire Training and Basics of Survivability are both valuable, with the former being more optimal as it boosts your secondary batteries and your AA power. I would strongly recommend grabbing both. From the second tier, Expert Marksman is your best choice. This will increase your turret rotation from 5' per second to 5.7' per second -- a 14% increase. At the third tier, you have three choices depending on how you want to specialize your ship. Vigilance will give you increased time to react to enemy torpedoes. Note that this does stack with Hydroacoustic Search and can be invaluable this way. High Alert helps ease the burden on your often overtaxed Damage Control Party, reducing it's reset timer by 12s / 8s. Lastly, Superintendent will provide an extra charge for all of your consumables -- very handy for both your Hydroacoustic Search and Repair Party. At tier 4, Advanced Fire Training is the most valuable choice. This boosts both your AA and secondary battery range. When coupled with your second module, this will boost your secondary range to 8.82km / 10.08km depending on your choice. At tier 5, I strongly recommend Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament. This concludes the closer look at the Bismarck. A special thanks to Lert for being my division-buddy and helping gather screenshots and game play. Stay tuned every Friday on ShipComrade.com for a new review of a tech-tree ship. You can request the next non-premium ship I look at.
  16. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Dunkerque

    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: Atlanta, Texas, Tachibana, Atago, Ishizuchi, Diana, Aurora,Murmansk, Molotov, Mikhail Kutuzov, Emden, Tirpitz, Campbeltown, Warspite, Blyskawica Limited Release Ships: Fujin, Kamikaze, Katori, Yubari, Gremyashchy, Krasny Krym, Imperator Nikolai I, Anshan, Lo Yang, Smith, Sims, Marblehead, Indianapolis, Arizona, Saipan, Scharnhorst, Dunkerque Gift & Reward Ships: Albany, Arkansas, Flint, Iwaki, Mikasa, Arpeggio of Blue Steel Ships: Kongo, Kirishima, Haruna, Myoko Condensed Reading: Mouse's Quick Summary of Premium Ships Without further ado: The Tier 6 French Battleship Dunkerque "Battlecruiser 2: Revenge of the Battlecruiser" Quick Summary: A lightly armed and armoured battlecruiser with eight 330mm guns mounted between two quadruple turrets on the bow. The ship is fast, her reloads are quick and her muzzle velocity is excellent. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of writing this article. Patch & Date Written: 2016.07.30 & 2016.08.12, Patch 0.5.9 to 0.5.9.1 Closest in-Game Contemporary: Molotov Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Despite the superficial similarities to the Izumo, the Dunkerque has much more in common with the play style of the Soviet premium cruiser, Molotov. Both are fast, fragile vessels with more speed than agility. Yet they both rely on engaging enemies at range with hard hitting alpha strikes from high-muzzle velocity weapons. Both are unable to conceal themselves. They are gunship support vessels, relying on clever use of speed and turning to keep themselves safe from reprisals. PROs: All of her guns are mounted on the bow, making it easy to maximize firepower. Fast turret rotation of 5' degrees per second. Good rate of fire with a 28 second reload. Excellent muzzle velocity on shells of 870 & 885m/s between AP & HE. Good HE performance with 4800 alpha strike and 35% chance of starting a fire. Excellent range of 18.2km which can be extended with a float plane. Secondaries have a 5.0km range Fast with a top speed of 29.5 knots. CONs: All of her guns are mounted on the bow. She is unable to fire to the rear. Turrets are very vulnerable at close ranges. Losing one halves her firepower. Ship ripple fires 4 guns at a time. Lowest alpha strike and Armour Piercing DPM of any of the tier 6 Battleships. Very weak belt armour and citadel protection of only 225mm. Small secondary gun battery compliment with highly restricted arcs. Poor overall AA defense. Sluggish handling, with a large turning circle of 730m. Very large surface detection range of 16.4 km. The first of the French Navy warships has arrived in the form of the Dunkerque. This all-bow mounted gun design will be something we see repeated in the Richelieu-class and may become something the French ships are known for. Once more into the breach. Today Lert and I will be looking at the first French warship to join World of Warships -- the Dunkerque. She's an odd ship, a true Battlecruiser in my opinion and she needs to be played as such to get the most out of her. I had a lot of success with her right out of the gates though speaking with other contributors, this wasn't something that was universal. This prompted a long discussion about her merits and flaws and I'm happy to share them with you today. Lert will be joining me, providing a voice of moderation to my more emotionally enthusiastic descriptors. You can find his contribution in the separated (and ostracized!) Lerboxes. Take it away, grumpy-kitty-man! The Lertbox Once again LWM has graciously allowed me some space in her review to post my own thoughts about an upcoming premium ship. This time a ship that I had some trouble getting my head around, but which after a dozen battles or so finally started to 'click'. It's the first French ship in the game, and it offers a unique and unprecedented playstyle. But then, it wouldn't be properly French if it didn't have some quirks to set it apart, would it. For this review I will be comparing her to Fuso, New Mexico and Warspite. Options There are no surprises with the Dunkerque. If you were hoping for some unique French flavour to be found in her consumables or modules, I didn't find any present here. The only option she has unique to Battleships at tier 6 is the option of swapping out her Spotting Aircraft for a Catapult Fighter, but that's hardly enough to get excited about. She does not get access to the Artillery Plotting Room 1 Modification. That remains American only.Her Damage Control party conforms to the standard we've seen so far for German and Russo-Soviet Battleships. This provides a 15s immunity window and a 120s / 80s reset timer. Similarly, her Repair Party is also standard, restoring up to 14% of her maximum base HP per charge. Consumables: Three slots Damage Control Party Repair Party Your choice of a Spotting Aircraft or Catapult Fighter. Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard options. 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: 330mm in 2x4 turrets mounted in an A-B superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: 130mm in 2x2 turrets in wing mounts, and 3x4 turrets on the stern. The most defining feature of the Dunkerque is the layout of her primary battery. She has only two turrets but they sport four guns each. At 330mm, these are the smallest caliber weapons found on a Battleship at tier 6. You could be forgiven for expecting them to have a bunch of excellent traits to justify her matchmaking weight. The Bad News Let's get the bad news out of the way. The Dunkerque is not going to be wracking up big damage totals as quickly as her peers. She's an eight-gun Battleship with a lot of short comings in terms of firepower. The Dunkerque is competing head to head with twelve-gun, Super-Dreadnoughts like the New Mexico-class, Fuso-class and the Arizona. The Bayern and Warspite may also only have eight guns, but their shell caliber is much larger at 380mm. While the Dunkerque has an accelerated reload to help prop up her DPM, this isn't any faster than the Fuso's. At 28s per volley, she doesn't really gain any ground n the DPM race. The Dunkerque's armour piercing DPM weighs in at a theoretical maximum of 166,300hp, while the twelve gun Dreadnoughts all top well over 215,000hp. Even the Jutland veterans manage over 175,000hp with their eight guns. To put this into perspective, the tier 5 Kongo with a 30s reload manages 163,200hp. The Really Bad News On paper, her secondary compliment looks like it can take up some of the slack from her primaries. With a total of sixteen 130mm rifles mounted in some impressive looking turrets, they have an excellent range for their tier of 5km. However, the angles at which they can fire are horrid. All of the quad-mounts are facing the stern and will only engage enemies once they clear well past 40' off the bow of the Dunkerque. This is hardly ideal with her primaries all mounted forward. It's best to forget any pretense of her secondaries helping at all. This leaves only a pair of 130mm rifles off each side (each in a dual mount) that will attack enemies coming from the front. The Really, REALLY Bad News I was hoping to see the Dunkerque's 330mm turrets modeled with their historical compartmentalization when it came to taking damage. Without going into too much detail, the big quad-mounts were divided into two pairs of guns so that a single hit to the turret wouldn't deprive their ship of half their firepower. If modeled correctly in World of Warships, while the ship would have two turrets, it would take four separate critical strikes to knock out all of her guns. Except it isn't present here. I heard rumours to the effect that the game engine couldn't handle half of the turret being knocked out at a time. I don't know the truth of this rumour but it sounds feasible enough. Hopefully this could be remedied in the future, the same way AA mounts couldn't be mounted on turrets previously. As it stands, the Dunkerque's 330mm turrets can and will be knocked out wholesale by single hits. Though effectively immune to 203mm batteries head on up to (and including) point blank range, even the 283mm rifles off of the Scharnhorst are capable of catastrophically damaging the Dunkerque's turrets. As you'll want to be facing bow on to enemies to minimize her profile, your gun mounts often take the brunt of the punishment. Don't be surprised if you lose a turret. Don't be surprised if you lose both turrets if you end up in close-range encounters with enemy Battleships. The main batteries of the Dunkerque are not compartmentalized. Critical hits will temporarily damage or destroy the entire turret, not two guns at a time. Why Can't I Quit You? Yet for all of these faults (and some minor ones besides), the Dunkerque's gun batteries perform very well. The first thing you'll notice is that she has rather fast turret traverse. At 5' per second, she'll complete a 180' rotation in 36 seconds -- except that she never really has to complete a 180' rotation. With all of her guns mounted on the bow, adjusting fire takes mere moments. Tracking targets or acquiring a new one is a breeze. And let's emphasize this. All of her guns are on the bow. Short of wiggling your tush at the enemy, you can always fire all eight guns at a target. This is something the other Battleships can't boast -- not without risking exposing themselves to return fire and getting spanked. The Dunkerque can point her snout right at the enemy and confidently unload all eight barrels with every reload cycle. My feeling is that while she may not have the same theoretical DPM as her competition, it's far easier to maximize the DPM of the Dunkerque than say the Fuso, Arizona or New Mexico. And it gets better. Her shell grouping is downright fantastic. Unlike recent German Battleships, the Dunkerque's dispersion is very kind. On paper, she has the same linear value as the German warships, however the concentration of all four guns in close proximity combined with what appears to be a very favourable sigma variable means that her shells seem to stick together in flight and land in tight clusters. You can (and should) equip Aiming Systems Modification 1 to further capitalize on this great accuracy. With very little flight time from her high velocity shells, you can try taking pot shots at even elusive targets like dodging cruisers and slippery little destroyers with surprising levels of success. At 9,700 damage per AP shell, this is punchy enough to really thoroughly gut a target that you hit. While it pales compared to the 380mm of the Bayern or Warspite, it's less than 1000hp behind the New Mexico and Arizona. This is enough to make a cruiser suffer a significant emotional event when you disembowel him with a single hit. With her accuracy, it's rare that it's lone shells that strike the target in this manner. With some good aim, you will readily print yourself some Devastating Strike medals. Against heavily armoured or angled targets, you can reach for her fantastic HE shells. With 35% per shell to start a fire, the Dunkerque's HE volleys are something to be respected, especially with their 28s reload. Stacking fires is childishly easy and you can force higher tiered Battleships to turn away when sufficiently scalded. The Lertbox Artillery: Dunkerque has eight 330mm rifles, in two quadruple turrets mounted up front. While historically these turrets were subdivided into two groups of two barrels per turret separated by a thick armored bulkhead, in-game this is not the case. These turrets behave as two quad-barrel turrets, and getting one turret knocked out means you lose half your firepower. Further bad news comes in the form of having the lowest theoretical DPM in class and tier, significantly behind Warspite even. Finally, their dispersion is nothing to write home about either. Fortunately that's where the bad news ends. Dunkerque turrets have the best traverse time in class and tier, and the guns reload the quickest of the four battleships in this comparison. Also, because of the way the guns are mounted, the shells leave the ship in a nice tight cluster which negates a part of her bad dispersion. Finally, despite all the major caliber guns being up front, this French fighting lady has remarkably generous 'over the shoulder' shooting angles. Still her low alpha damage and low DPM means Dunkerque loses this category. New Mexico comes third, with a powerful set of 14" /50 guns, but the range and dispersion let her down. Warspite comes second in this category with the power of a heavy 15" and very accurate punch, but the sheer range and volume-of-fire of Fuso gives the fighting Geisha the win here. Dunkerque: 1 pt Warspite: 3 pts New Mexico: 2 pts Fuso: 4 pts Secondary firepower: On paper Dunkerques secondary battery is not bad with a total of sixteen 130mm guns, but the way they're mounted mostly in the rear gets in the way; the arcs are just horrible and superstructure often gets in the way, precluding the secondary turrets from acquiring targets. Plus, the use of quad turrets means that a single hit to a secondary turret can seriously cut into your backup firepower. Warspite shares the same 5km base secondary range that Dunkerque has, but boasts a more intelligent layout of her eight 102mm and eight 152mm guns. New Mexico has the familiar mid-tier american 127mm guns divided into anti-surface and dual-purpose guns, but they only reach out to 4km base. Fuso brings to bare an impressive set of eight 127mm guns and a further fourteen 152mm cannons. She wins this category, despite these guns only having a range of 4km. Dunkerque: 1 pt Warspite: 3 pts New Mexico: 2 pts Fuso: 4 pts Summary: Great gun handling with a fast turret rotation and good range. Easy to maximize firepower and keep all eight barrels singing. Only modest alpha strike potential from AP. HE is decent. Lowest potential DPM. Guns are very accurate with excellent shell grouping. The potential of her secondaries are limited by poor gun arcs. Losing a gun halves her firepower. Ill suited to brawling other Battleships. The Dunkerque can make a very dangerous opponent for destroyers that get too close. While her secondary armament is light and poorly arranged, her main battery is very easy to bring to bear. With good HE shells, excellent accuracy and tight shell grouping, enterprising destroyers can find themselves taking several penetrating hits at a time. This poor Minekaze made this discovery to her cost as did the Kiev the Dunkerque sank moments before with the same trick. ManeuverabilityTop Speed: 29.5 knotsTurning Radius: 730mRudder Shift: 14.0s The Lertbox And this is where the good news begins. Dunkerque is the most mobile and agile out of these four ships. Despite having the second largest turing circle, her high top speed and par rudder shift means she feels very agile, and can flex across the map far better than the other ships. And now the bricks: Warspite is second despite a relatively pedestrian top speed, but the best turning circle of the four and par rudder shift. Fuso comes third with a fair-to-middling top speed, but it's her turning circle that lets her down, combined with the fact that Dunkerque will easily race past. New Mexico is last, at this tier a 21 knot top speed just doesn't cut it anymore. Dunkerque: 4 pts Warspite: 3 pts New Mexico: 1 pt Fuso: 2 pts The Dunkerque has a really good top speed. And it will get you killed on occasion. At 29.5 knots, she's the fastest of the tier 6 Battleships. This isn't by a small margin either with a 4.5 knot advantage over her closest competitor. This exceeds all of the 7 Battleships as well with the exception of the Scharnhorst against which she can claim near parity. It's important to keep the engagement range up in the Dunkerque when there are enemy Battleships present. The flip side to this is that you do want to get closer to cruisers and the occasional destroyer to ensure their demise. It's very tempting in the Dunkerque to find yourself a good gunnery position and then cut the engines. Bow onto the enemy, with your finger on the rudder for little adjustments, you can easily seesaw back and forth at 1/4 to 1/2 ahead and then alternate with reverse to throw off the aim of your opponents. Players of the North Carolina will recognize this maneuver. With all of your firepower mounted on your forward decks, it's easy to see the merits of not moving if you don't have to. Smart opponents will punish you for this though. As a Battlecruiser, her speed is supposed to be her armour and there will be times you will need to open up the throttle. While her straight-line speed is excellent, her handling is best described as poor. With a similar turning radius and rudder shift to the Fuso, she doesn't corner well or quickly. The one consolation is that she will not out turn the traverse of her guns. Still, when engaging enemies at the limits of her range, even this poor agility can throw off the desperate return-fire of your opponents. The Dunkerque pursues a fleeing Cleveland-class cruiser through the narrows of the Two-Brothers archipelago at nearly 30 knots. DurabilityHit Points: 52,600Citadel Protection: Up to 225mm.Bow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 25mm each.Torpedo Damage Reduction: 27% The Lertbox Here again Dunkerque shows herself to be a ship of extremes. She is by far the softest of the four ships on trial here, possessing the lowest hit-points, the thinnest armor and the second worst torpedo belt. But it's worse than that. While on paper her armor should be better than that of Kongo at tier 5, in practice it feels a lot worse. Dunkerque can't tank hits to save her life. Kongo's armor is troll. Dunkerque's armor is paper. Anything more than 20 degrees off a bow-on position, and Dunkerque's armor starts falling apart versus 14" AP, with 15" AP and bigger just being able to sail clean through the tin foil and into the gooey bits inside. New Mexico is the other extreme. Tough, tanky, hard to take down. She is followed by Warspite which retains her troll armor and good hit-point pool, despite her healing potion having been nerfed before. Fuso takes up third place. Despite being the healthiest of the four ships, she has the second thinnest armor and a lot of holes in it you can exploit when she's angled to your fire. Dunkerque: 1 pt Warspite: 3 pts New Mexico: 4 pts Fuso: 2 pts So ... 225mm of belt armour. That about summarizes the fragility of the Dunkerque. Think of the Dunkerque like a tier 6 Kongo and you get a better appreciation of how much damage she'll take from various sources. You can bounce battleship shells off her belt with some angling and the 25mm of bow armour is proof against most 356mm rounds thrown at you. The landscape of tier 6 battles is changing, however. 380mm will soon be the new normal, found on the Bayern as well as the Warspite. Like the 410mm guns found at tier 7, these can and will overmatch the 25mm sections of your bow and deck and result in penetrating hits, regardless of the angle. It's worth speaking again about the vulnerability of her turrets. The casemates have a maximum of 225mm of armour, which makes them rather vulnerable to Battleship caliber shells. Thankfully, the front face is rather small -- little taller than the gun barrels themselves and the roofs of the turrets are sloped. However, torpedo strikes hitting the bow or midships can also knock them out as the blast damages the barbettes or ammunition magazine. She has poor torpedo mitigation so be very conscious of this. Sitting stationary, bow onto the enemy is just asking to get plastered by these large caliber shells or long range torpedoes. This is where the speed of the Dunkerque becomes key and you'll need to keep the distance open to give yourself time enough to shift and dodge incoming fire -- or at least minimize the damage it will do. Concealment & Camouflage16.9km Surface Detection, 12.0km Air Detection You're not hiding this ship. Battleships generally have poor concealment. However, there's poor concealment and then there's poor concealment. In her matchmaking spread (from tier 5 through to tier 8) only two Battleships have a larger surface detection range, and that's the Fuso & Nagato. The Colorado comes close at 16.7km. Why is her poor concealment a big deal? The Dunkerque will usually be one of the first ships spotted. Short of having a Fuso beside you, you can count on being the first target lit on your team. This means that every gun on the enemy team will be pointing at you from the onset and you need to take defensive measures immediately until more of your team engages and fire disperses among your allies. The hail-mary shots from every Battleship will be heading your way early on in the match, so take care. Her large surface detection range also makes it easy for stealth-gunships -- those boats that can sit in open water and fire without being spotted, to pick out the Dunkerque. Short of clever use of terrain, you'll never be sneaking up on anyone. The Lertbox Warspite wins, New Mexico second, Dunkerque third, Fuso last. It's as simple as that. Dunkerque: 2 pts Warspite: 4 pts New Mexico: 3 pts Fuso: 1 pt Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 130mm, 37mm, 13.2mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.2km, 3.0km, 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 54dps, 12dps, 40dps Time for some more bad news: The Dunkerque has rather poor anti-aircraft defense. As a Battleship scuttled in 1942, she never received the upgraded AA armaments that became commonplace later on. Think of her like the Arizona ... but worse, which is definitely saying something. She does have some good range with her 130mm dual-purpose secondaries and they're pretty punchy for their tier but her smaller caliber weapons really let her down in either DPS or range. You could attempt to bolster her poor numbers by heavily investing into anti-aircraft buffs -- most notably, Basic Fire Training, Advanced Fire Training & Manual Fire Control for AA Armament from your Captain skills. This would boost her 130mm DPS from 54dps to 130dps at 6.2km against targets that you manually select.. Still, even coming in the 650hp pulses every 5 seconds, the Dunkerque will not be likely to shoot down more than a plane or two before competent CV players complete their attack runs. This will murder any planes that loiter around her and is worth considering. You can also prop up her flagging AA power with the choice to use her Catapult Fighter instead of a Spotter Aircraft. I have found these to be very handy in helping relieve some pressure off my Dunkerque, but these aircraft never last long in the face of a concerted attack. Still, this is a pretty heavy investment to nudge her AA rating from "poor" to barely acceptable. Still, when working with other warships, you can surprise yourself by racking up a good number of air-kills this way. The Lertbox Dunkerque's AA is just a hair above 'terrible'. She has the lowest DPS at all ranges out of the four ships on trial here. Warspite's is better, but only just. Fuso manages to beat them both, by a very small margin, but the clear winner here is New Mexico. Not that this surprises anybody... Dunkerque: 1 pt Warspite: 2 pts New Mexico: 4 pts Fuso: 3 pts The Dunkerque burns after being struck by American dive bombers. She was unable to shoot down any of the attack planes as they made their approach, but she shoots down two before they escaped with the help of her Catapult Fighter. Overall Impressions Mouse' Summary: Interesting guns, both in gun layout and performance but hampered by low overall DPM. Prefers to engage at range and very vulnerable in a brawl. Poor armour protection. Losing a gun halves her firepower. Good speed, poor agility and impossible to hide. Meat on the table for enemy CV attacks. The Lertbox Adding up the numbers: Dunkerque amassed 10 points Warspite gathered 18 points New Mexico scrounged 16 points Fuso tallied 16 points So, Warspite is the best and Dunkerque is hopelessly outclassed? I'm sure LWM will consider half of that statement undeniable truth and to anyone trying to play Dunkerque like a typical battleship the second half would ring true as well. Dunkerque can work, in the hands of a skilled player who understands her intricacies and follies, and in certain situations. But in the hand of the average player, this French ship will fold and collapse like a house of cards. She also really doesn't hold her own against tier 7 and 8 battleships. Dunkerque is a showpony. Warspite, New Mexico and Fuso are workhorses. If you drive Dunkerque like she was made out of glass, you can make her work. 'Play her like Molotov' you'll hear people say. I'm more tempted to say 'play her like a tank destroyer in WoT'. Park her next to a rock to protect your flank, keep your bow pointed at the enemy and let the rest of your team go first - because if you get focused, you die, and quickly so. Present the smallest target, keep map features between you and any flanking enemy, and Dunkerque might even reward you with her unusual play style. Objectively, there's not a lot to like about the Dunkerque. She pays a very big price for having all of her firepower easily accessed upon her snout. Bad armour, bad handling, bad camouflage, bad anti-aircraft guns, bad secondaries ... bad, bad, bad. So why the heck do I love her? I think it's a simple case of the comfort level that comes with the ease of use of her guns. Unlike other Battleships, I never found myself fighting with her guns. They turn well (and they never have to turn much). And the shots go where you point them. There's little to none of this wonky fire where shells go flying everywhere, so it gets pretty easy to stack appreciable damage with her. And for that, I think I was willing to forgive a whole lot. When you compare her gun handling to other Battleships, it's hard to find one that has the same combination of good turret traverse with good accuracy and a good range and a non-punitive reload. Playing the Dunkerque was relaxing for me, like lying on the beach at Marseilles. Her carry potential really isn't there, let's be honest. She specializes in murdering cruisers and when those targets dry up, she's a little out of her element. Though she's classified as a Battleship, she's truly a Battlecruiser at heart. Her guns can out-range and out-muscle any cruiser she might face. And she's got the speed to out run the Battleships she can't outfight. It's a bit of a delight to see that this original design brief for a Battlecruiser is alive and well in the Dunkerque... even if it is a little underwhelming overall. If this style of play doesn't appeal, I would keep clear of her. Would I Recommend?Yeesh, this is going to be a tough one to recommend. For Random Battle Grinding: Mouse: Maybe? You'll get your money's worth here. Her accuracy and gun handling will make farming the damages (and thus the credits and experience) easy enough. At tier 6, you're not going to recoup tons of credits. Also, keep in mind that as a Battleship, you're likely going to be running with at least one premium consumable, so that's going to eat into your earnings. I found her a delight to play, but she doesn't have tremendous carry potential. So that in turn is going to hurt those looking to pad their win rates. She can do very well, but like the Molotov, you need to do well early with overwhelming ad strategically placed damage to effect a win. Lert: No. She requires a silken touch and a captain who pays constant attention. Plus, she gets her face pushed in by tier 7s and 8s. For Competitive Gaming: Mouse: No. I wouldn't recommend the Dunkerque for things like Team or Ranked Battles. She takes damage too easily and losing one turret to a single torpedo or volley of shells will really set your team back. There are much better ships at her tier. Lert: Oh hell no. For Collectors: Mouse: She's the first French ship in the game. That's novel enough for many to grab her. She didn't have an illustrious career, so that tarnishes her worth, but at least she's a historical vessel. Lert: Yeah, sure. Dunkerque offers something no other ship in the game offers so far. For Fun Factor: Mouse: I would pick her up for this alone. Her guns are a joy to use -- so much so that I am willing to forgive a whole lot of her flaws. I'll be putting a lot of play time into the Dunkerque. Lert: Maybe. She can be rewarding if you treat her right, but is very unforgiving of mistakes. In defense of the base, this badly damaged Dunkerque pursues and destroys an enemy Myoko-class cruiser. While the IJN warship is faster than the Dunkerque in a straight line, she made the mistake of turning to launch torpedoes which allowed the French ship to keep within close range and finish her with two salvos of her 330mm rifles. Outfitting your Dunkerque Recommended Modules There's thankfully few surprises here. It's an absolute necessity that you equip Main Armaments Modification 1. You need to do everything you can to prop up your main battery. If you lose even one, you're in very rough shape. Take Aiming Systems Modification 1 for your second slot. None of the others are worthwhile. For your third option, I take Damage Control System Modification 1. I keep hoping they'll make these choices more interesting for Battleships, but until they do, this module is the only one worthwhile. And for your fourth option, you have a choice. I would strongly recommend Damage Control System Modification 2 to reduce the amount of time a fire burns. You can opt to take Steering Gears Modification 2 to reduce her rudder shift time from 14.0s down to 11.2s. Recommended Consumables As a Battleship, taking a premium Damage Control Party is always a sound investment. This reduces her reset timer to 80s from 120s which can be the difference between life and death when fires and flooding begin stacking. You can expect a lot of pressure from aircraft attacks, especially when facing higher tiered CVs so proper use of this consumable to mitigate damage is imperative. There's less need to take a premium version of her Repair Party. I usually favour doing so with my Battleships for the shorter reset timer (80s from 120s). The extra charge is nice but often not needed. For your third slot, you have the choice on which to take. Both are rather good options. Her Catapult Fighter helps with her AA defense. They also have a long air-time which can help with spotting incoming torpedoes. Alternatively, her Spotter Aircraft plays to the strengths of her main battery and it's unlikely you will ever play a game without an opportunity for very long range shots. Recommended Captain Skills The Dunkerque uses a fairly standard set of Battleship skills for her tier. The first skill I would grab for the Dunkerque is Basics of Survivability. Your secondaries are poorly placed and your AA power is overall lacking to make Basic Fire Training a first choice, but it's decent enough for a follow-up. For your second skill, take Expert Marksman. This will reduce the time it takes your guns to rotate 180' from 36s down to 31.6s. At tier three, there's always the debate. Superintendent gives your Repair Party an extra charge. I would only take this if you're good at disengaging with the Dunkerque to give yourself time to use all of the charges. Vigilance is very handy for helping spot torpedoes, especially with her poor handling where every second counts. Lastly, High Alert is probably your best choice to give you a faster reload on your Damage Control Party. At tier 4, Advanced Fire Training should be considered the best choice. Your AA guns and secondaries will reach out to 6.2km (with Aiming Systems Mod 1). This can set you up to take Manual Fire Control for AA Armament and make her dual purpose 130s really put the hurt on attack craft and maybe bluff your way out of being picked on. This will preclude you from being able to take a tier 5 skill, however. At tier 5, Jack of All Trades is your best choice. This reduces the reset timer on all of your consumables which is helpful. Concealment Expert looks nice, but combined with camouflage this will only reduce your surface detection range to 14.1km which is better but not really amazing.
  17. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Florida

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

    Premium Ship Review - Anchorage

    The following is a quick review of Anchorage, the tier VIII American heavy cruiser. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes. I did not have to pay for it (though I did spend time grinding it out after-the-fact). To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are current as of patch 0.9.10. Please be aware she may change in the future. And now for something completely different. This is going to be a shot-review of Anchorage rather than an exhaustive one, greatly sped up thanks to being able to piggy back some of the graphics I did for Belfast '43. Anchorage is one of those ships that looked hella-interesting when announced but she didn't pan out. To this end, I'm glad that a lot of players earned her at a discount. I don't think she's really worth the full asking price (spoilers) but that's mostly owing to her slow rate of fire and wonky consumable options. Anyway, here is my review of ship named after the capital city of wannabe-Alberta. Quick Summary: An American heavy cruiser with smoke and torpedoes! PROS: 27mm external armour, preventing overmatch of up to 381mm AP rounds. Respectable anti-torpedo protection. Has "American Piercing" AP shells with improved auto-ricochet angles. Big alpha strikes from individual volleys. Good fire angles on her main battery. Strong torpedoes with a 66kt speed, 10.5km range and over 19k damage per hit. Has access to a Smoke Generator with increased emission time. CONS: Only a modest gun range of 15.6km. Long, 15.5s reload which hurts her DPM and fire setting. Slow gun traverse of 6º/s. Like, ew. Bad torpedo firing angles, making them awkward to use. A total chungus with a modest top speed but horrible handling. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower. Large surface detection radius when firing in smoke. Spartan consumable options. Overview Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Difficult Anchorage is a dirt simple ship to use. Park in smoke. Select HE shells. Cycle guns and hoover up damage. Even a complete novice can score some respectable damage and maybe even shark a kill this way. Compared to other cruisers, this is pure easy mode, even if it's not terribly efficient. And that's really Anchorage's flaw. She's not efficient. Her long reload really holds back her carry potential, but there are other issues too. She's nearly blind which is kind of a shocker for an American cruiser. She's almost entirely reliant on having team mates spot for her whether she's parking in smoke or behind an island. This hurts her team-play contribution as it largely relegates her to just dealing damage and she's not particularly good at that. Yes, her alpha strikes are nice but that sustained output just isn't there. Similarly, her short range prevents her from kiting very effectively which is a shame because she has some nice fire angles. Overall, she's just not a carry-boat. Options Anchorage's consumables define her as much as her painfully long main battery reload (more on that later). It's not that her consumables themselves are odd, it's the combination of how they're allotted and which one she gets access to. You'll see what I mean: Consumables Anchorage starts off normal with a standard cruiser Damage Control Party. This has unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 60 second reset timer. Her second slot is a tangled mess. By default, she has a Catapult Fighter. This deploys 4 fighters which orbit 3km around the ship for 60 seconds. It starts with 3 charges and a 90 second reset timer. This can be swapped out for a Spotting Aircraft. Active for 100s, it increases Anchorage's range up to 18.72km. It starts with 4 charges and has a 240 second reset timer. What's weird is that this slot also competes for her Hydroacoustic Search. Yes, really. Other than this weirdness, this consumable is normal for a tier VIII cruiser with a 3.5km torpedo detection range and a 5km ship detection range. It's active for 100 seconds with a 120 second reset timer. It starts with three charges. Finally, there's the craziness of giving a heavy cruiser a Smoke Generator. It generates smoke for 30 seconds with each smoke cloud lasting for 104 seconds. It has a 160s reset timer and it starts with three charges. Upgrades Outside of destroyers, my recommendation for the first slot in most ships is dirt simple: take Main Armaments Modification 1 and be done with it. However, this is a case for Anchorage to take the oft maligned Spotting Aircraft Modification 1 special upgrade instead. At a cost of 17,000 from the Armory, this increases the duration of her consumable from 100s to 130s -- synching it up its duration almost perfectly with the combined emission and dissipation time of her Smoke Generator. This of course hinges on not taking Hydroacoustic Search in her second consumable slot. Speaking of her Hydroacoustic Search, I default to recommending Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 in slot 2 if you're not going to pull off that Spotting Aircraft combo in slot 1. Again, you're looking at a 17,000 cost from the Armory to equip this. If you can't or if you won't, take Engine Room Protection instead. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is (still) the optimal choice for slot 3. Because you're going to be parking in smoke or behind islands, Propulsion System Modification 1 is optimal in slot 4. If you prefer to fire from open water, you may take Steering Gears Modification 1 instead. Finally, Concealment System Modification 1 is still (disappointingly) optimal in slot 5. Captain Skills Anchorage doesn't reinvent the wheel. You can use whatever American heavy cruiser captain you're currently training or using and get solid results. She's not a very hungry ship when it comes to getting improved performance from her skills. For example, here's a quick throw-away build. Pick one of the tier 1 skills in green, then grab the ones in yellow. Perfect? No. Good enough? You betcha. Camouflage Anchorage has two camouflage options and they both share the same statistics, making them simple cosmetic swaps: 3% reduction to surface detection. 4% increase to enemy dispersion. 10% reduction to service costs. 50% increase to experience earned. Anchorage's Type 10 camouflage. You can unlock a palette swap for it. Anchorage's "National" camouflage. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 203mm/55 guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Eight 127mm/38 guns in 2x2 turrets with one mounted fore and aft and 4x1 in open-air mounts with two to each side. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers with one mounted to each side in the hull adjacent to the rear funnel. If it weren't for that reload, these guns would be great. That sounds like my complaint of Vermont. The more I played Anchorage, the more her firepower reminded me of Mogami, the Japanese tier VIII heavy cruiser. I don't mean the cool, fun Mogami. I mean the far more pedestrian 203mm armed variant that's overshadowed by it's stock 155mm guns. This is a bit unfair of a comparison to Anchorage because her weapon systems are a lot of fun -- or they would be if her guns weren't shackled to a 15.5 second reload. That's honestly their biggest drawback despite otherwise having a lot of cool features. Like Mogami, individual salvos, be it from Anchorage's guns or her torpedoes, are super satisfying. You just don't shoot often enough. But here's some of the reasons I generally like Anchorage's weapon systems: Her torpedoes are excellent. Their 66 knot top speed is amazing for a cruiser-launched fish and their individual hits are super-meaty. They're even beefier than IJN cruiser-launched torpedoes, surpassing those tossed by Mogami and Atago which is saying something. They even have more reach, albeit a mere 500m more for a 10.5km range. She's not quite able to launch them from stealth but that's close enough. Their only real downside is their horrible launch angles which forces you to give up a full broadside to send them off. She has American piercing shells. Anchorage's AP rounds enjoy the improved auto-ricochet angles of other American heavy cruisers. Their ricochet chance starts at 60º (rather than 45º) and doesn't become guaranteed until 67.5º (rather than 60º). They have good penetration for an AP round. The only downside is that these are New Orleans and Wichita's AP rounds, not the super-heavy versions found on Baltimore -- so they're not the god-tier version, just the good version. Her alpha strike from her individual broadsides is excellent. With twelve guns, the punch she delivers per salvo is sizable. Compare her HE penetrating broadside of up to 11,088 damage compared to Baltimore's 8,316. She even comes off better when compared to the Japanese heavy cruisers with their improved-damage HE shells. They only manage 10,890 damage per broadside ("only", she says -- that's still chunky). Slap a lolibote with that and they'll feel it. She has great fire angles. She can bring all four turrets onto a target 30º off her bow and 31º off her stern. Beauty. Her gun traverse sucks butts, but whatever. So there's a lot of good here. It's just unfortunate that it's all locked behind that painful main battery reload or those poor fire angles on her fish. Anchorage's good AP shells help pad her numbers here despite her poor rate of fire. Approximate penetration values of Anchorage (and New Orleans & Wichita's) penetration. American HE shells are nothing special though. Even with twelve guns Anchorage barely keeps ahead of Atago's 10-gun DPM despite having more guns and half a second faster reload. Her fire setting is pretty average for a tier VIII heavy cruiser, so that's a plus. Anchorage has "better than Benham" torpedoes. They're faster. They hit harder. They reload just as quickly. That's pretty impressive. It's just a shame they have limited arcs and they're not mounted on a ship that could take better advantage of them. So don't forget about these. Use them when you can because their stats are damn good. VERDICT: Almost excellent, but gutted so badly by that long reload that it crashes and burns. Defence Hit Points: 41,800 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 27mm / 16mm / 27mm / 27mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 152mm belt Torpedo Damage Reduction: 16% Anchorage's turret faces have some nice 203mm armour plate on them. Anchorage is a normal American heavy cruiser. This comes with some pretty nice perks in the form of being blanketted in 27mm worth of plate. 27mm is one of those key armour thresholds that have artificial importance due to the shell penetration mechanics in the game. 381mm AP shells and smaller cannot overmatch 27mm worth of steel. Furthermore, tier VII and lower 152mm HE rounds don't have enough base penetration to damage it without the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) skill. Finally, 120mm HE rounds (found on many British-derived destroyers) cannot penetrate it either even with IFHE. This opens up the opportunity to pull of some pretty fun shenanigans provided your facing off against the correct opponent. Anchorage can bow-in and joust against 381mm-armed battleships and wreck 'em with her fish... provided they don't blow out her citadel with AP rounds as you cross alongside one another -- make sure you bait those shots first! This is by no means guaranteed outside of PVE battles, but it's nice to have. She's otherwise unremarkable for a heavy cruiser. She doesn't have a lot of hit points, but she's not squishy in that regard either. She doesn't have any extra thick armour plates on her deck or any hidden geometries to wreak havoc on internal AP ballsitics. If you expose her broadside, you will take citadel hits -- especially through her machine spaces where her citadel pokes up over the waterline. She's vulnerable to AP bombs owing to her 76mm citadel roof. She does have some respectable anti-torpedo protection for a cruiser, namely because she actually has anti-torpedo protection. Many cruisers don't. Anchorage's longevity is thus linked to her ability to dodge, hide behind islands or use her smoke to extend her survivability. Trading in open water is a bad idea, but that's normal for any cruiser -- not just Anchorage. Pretty uninspiring but her smoke should (in theory) make her modest hit point total last longer. VERDICT: Hella normal. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Agility Top Speed: 33kts Turning Radius: 800m Rudder Shift Time: 11.2s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.1º/s at 26.4kts There's not a whole lot to say here. Anchorage's handling is terrible. She has a large turning radius. She's not especially fast. Given her Smoke Generator, you're likely going to want to install Propulsion Modification 1 instead of Steering Gears Modification 1, so her rudder shift time feels chunky too. I don't have anything nice to say about her handling. Given her slow gun traverse, this feels even more pronounced as you'll be tempted to use her rudder to bring guns to bear faster which will just open up her squishy sides to getting citadelled. Poor marks all around. VERDICT: Terribad. She handles like a Soviet cruiser but at least those ships are usually high-speed. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 3+1 explosions for 1,470 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 87.5dps at 90% accuracy (78.8dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.4km): 213.5dps at 85% accuracy (181.5dps) Again, I don't have any nice things to say here, so forgive me while I grouch a bit at the state of Anchorage's AA firepower. Why was her Catapult Fighter equipped to the same slot as her Hydroacoustic Search? I am never going to take her fighter because of this which only increases her AA defence issues. While it's nice that she has a respectable amount of AA firepower in her 5.8km batteries, her supporting batteries are too short ranged to be anything other than 'vengeance weapons' -- you know, the kind that might shoot down a plane after the CV has finished dropping. This is a really poor showing. For such a large, cumbersome ship, she's meat on the table for carriers. Yikes. Are we sure this ship is American? VERDICT: Japanese-cruiser levels of bad. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 13.62km / 10.7km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 8.02km/6.5km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 7.98km Maximum Firing Range: 15.6km to 18.72km with her Spotter Aircraft. So this is arguably Anchorage's strongest area after her firepower and we've already established that her firepower is a bit hit and miss (get it?). Concealment wise, she's decent. She has average surface detection for a tier VIII cruiser, so there's nothing to get excited about there. I'll be honest, this surprises me given the size of the ship, but I'll take it. Her aerial detection is a bit on the large size, but again it's nothing unmanageable or out of the ordinary. This just leaves her consumables to talk about. Had Anchorage been released anytime before the autumn of 2017, she would have been the bees knees. Back then, Smoke Generators were THE team-play consumable of choice. As it is now, smoke is still highly appreciated but detection consumables, namely long-range Surveillance Radars, are valued more. Anchorage flips the dynamic of American cruisers on its head when it comes to its consumables. It forgoes detection consumables -- even making Hydroacoustic Search compete for its slot in favour of her Smoke Generator gimmick. Now this is a good gimmick, do not mistake me. Anchorage doesn't just have a Smoke Generator, it has an American Smoke Generator which comes with increased emission time and duration. However, it doesn't quite ditto the improved performance of other American smoke generators when it comes to duration. For example, Benson and Kidd's smoke lasts for 124 seconds. Flint's smoke lasts for 121 seconds. However, she does have a leg up on Mikhail Kutuzov whose smoke is only emitted for 20 seconds and lasts 89 seconds. Sadly for Anchorage, she's not well setup to take advantage of her own consumable. Her 7.98km (effectively 8km) detection range when she fires within smoke greatly reduces its efficacy. She's simply too loud of a target to take full advantage of the smoke she drops. This is especially pronounced if there are any surviving lolibotes on the enemy team, sneaking around and sniffing out smoke-cloud contents. Anchorage's detection range when she fires in smoke is almost as long as some Surveillance Radar detection ranges -- it's that bad. She has to be one of the safest cruisers to approach when she's parked in her smoke. Yes, her torpedoes are a risk but their fire angles are bad so she'll clearly broadcast when she's about to launch them when she swings out her broadside. This largely relegates Anchorage's smoke use to firing from the second line. The short range of her guns precludes her from doing this from a comfortable distance unless she forgoes the use of Hydroacoustic Search to take a Spotter Aircraft, and even then that only mitigates the problem temporarily. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Anchorage's Smoke Generator isn't a good fit despite the good stats of the consumable. Had Wargaming ditched that and given her a Soviet style, short-duration but long-ranged Surveillance Radar, Anchorage would have been a lot more interesting and practical. VERDICT: She came with the wrong consumables for 2020. Final Evaluation There have been a lot of forgettable and unfortunate ships released in 2020. Anchorage is an excellent example of this -- where her design looks interesting but there's some game play element that just doesn't quite click and the ship ends up largely forgotten. Ironically, Anchorage is exactly the kind of premiums I was hoping to see in World of Warships back when I joined in 2015. She's different without being overpowered -- clearly sitting a step behind the tech tree ships in terms of her power level. I should be celebrating her release as-is but she merely feels like a missed opportunity. Still, I'm glad she ended up (mostly) free for players if they wanted to invest the time and handful of doubloons into unlocking her. As far as American premium heavy cruisers go, she's definitely not my top pick or even in my top three. Indianapolis and Wichita are more compelling choices in my opinion, with Alaska sitting as the crème de la crème. Anchorage is just too weird to tickle my fancy. She's not terrible, but she now sits alongside Puerto Rico as ships I'm never going to take out of port short of knocking off snowflakes or completing very specific missions where her tool-set will allow me to break the system. The best thing about her is her cool camouflage and looks, in my opinion. She's not a good PVP boat (she's not terrible either, but she's hardly advantageous), however she's a great Co-Op monster if that's your thing. Frankly, this is what Anchorage is best for: derping around in Co-Op and pulling off crap regularly that you'd only see once in a blue moon in PVP. In Closing Normally when I finish a big review like Belfast's, I can't stop work immediately afterwards. I need to wind down. Usually I take on a pretty small project and work a half-day. This may involve playing one of the test-ships that Wargaming has lent me or maybe collecting and revising some twirling data. Maybe I might map dispersion or simply spend time chatting with players, answering questions and reviewing their replays. The whole idea is to unwind slowly. I get something done, but it's at a much more relaxed pace than the gruelling final push to get an article out. With so many ships left to review in 2020, I've tended to default to getting started on the next review. Normally this is just filling out my template for these articles, getting the PROs and CONS settled and maybe filling out the Options section before calling it a day. With Anchorage... well, a lot of the work had already been done. I literally wrote this over the course of 8 hours. I had already play tested her extensively back in August-September (and didn't like her). I have most of the graphics done for her grace of just finishing Belfast '43. So I thought: "why not?" and tried to get this out in a single sitting. Hooray for me! This certainly isn't my best work and I definitely cut a lot of corners to get this out, but hey, it's done. For a ship I'm not interested in playing, that's more of a relief than I would like to admit. I don't want to have to come back to this one weeks or months down the road and have to remind myself of what she's like and spend hours (and days) doing graphics for a review I'll not enjoy doing. So Anchorage is done. I'm happy. What's more, I think I can take an honest to god break now. Thank you for reading, everyone. 
  19. The following is a review of Marco Polo, the tier IX Italian battleship. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.1. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Marco Polo's gimmick is that she's a perfectly reasonable, nine 406mm-gun armed battleship; a gun calibre not present in the main Italian tech-tree. While there are some Italian flavour-crystals mixed into Marco Polo's build, the concentration isn't as high as the rest of the line. It's not like buying Marco Polo gives you the full Italian battleship experience; you're paying for her 406mm gun calibre by losing out on an Exhaust Smoke Generator. What's more, arming her with nine 406mm guns makes Marco Polo analogous to a whole slew of ships at tier IX. Iowa, Missouri, Izumo, Bajie, Sovetsky Soyuz, AL Sovetskaya Rossiya and Lion all offer variants of this nine 406mm gun armed game play. Does Marco Polo do it better or even more-different enough to be worth playing? Quick Summary: A short-ranged Italian battleship with nine, slow-firing 406mm guns and no Exhaust Smoke Generator. PROS Trollish outer-armour, good for foiling HE spam. Comfortable fire arcs and decent gun handling Access to SAP shells Good AP penetration for a 406mm shell, even over distance Decent agility for a tier IX battleship CONS Small hit point pool Same wonky dispersion as Roma Short ranged for a tier IX battleship Painfully long reload time on her main battery guns. Flawed anti-aircraft firepower Lacks an Exhaust Smoke Generator (!) Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme The only thing that keeps Marco Polo from earning a Simple rating owes to her exposed citadel. So, she's not German-battleship easy. However, she does inherit the ease-of-use of the Royal Navy's singular ammunition type. You can spam nothing but AP or SAP shells (player's choice) and do alright, so that removes that element from the equation. If you can get used to one, you'll do fine. For expert players, dynamic ammunition choice is definitely one of those key elements which will spike Marco Polo's performance. Knowing which boolets to put into which heads will make this Italian Heavy happy. From there, though, the well gets pretty dry. Her short range and large surface detection radius make flanking difficult and this also makes taking a central positions more tricky as she has to continually watch her sides. She does tank well, especially cruiser-calibre HE shells, but that's not something she (or any other battleship) can stand for long as she burns just as well as any other. Options Consumables The only thing out of the ordinary with Marco Polo's consumables is her lack of access to an Italian Exhaust Smoke Generator. Otherwise, her consumables are standard for a tier IX battleship. Marco Polo's Damage Control Party is identical to those found on anything that's not weird (Warspite, most Soviet, American and Japanese battleships are all weirdos). This has unlimited charges, an 80s reset timer and a 15 second action time. Her Repair Party starts with four charges. It heals back up to 14% of the ship's health over 28 seconds, queuing 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It has an 80s reset timer. In her third slot, you have the choice between a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The former comes with four charges, increases her main battery range by 20% for 100s and has a 240s reset timer. The latter launches 3 fighters which stay on station, orbiting the ship at a range of 3km for 60s. It comes with three charges and has a 90s reset timer. Upgrades Start with Main Armaments Modification 1 Start your anti-fire based regimen with Damage Control System Modification 1 in slot two. Buffing your main battery guns is the best option for slot three, so grab Aiming System Modification 1. Your next stop into just saying no to fires is Damage Control System Modification 2 in slot four. Concealment Expert is still the best choice in slot 5. Wargaming, can we have some variety in this slot, please? It's worse than slot 3. Main Battery Modification 3 is arguably the best choice for slot 6, dropping her reload from a miserable 36 seconds down to a merely mildly upsetting 31.7 seconds. However, if you want to buff your range (and increase the window in which you can use Dead Eye) then Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 isn't a terrible choice. This will increase he reach from 19.02km to 22.06km. Commander Skills This is the commander build I settled on. I dropped Dead Eye for hipster reasons, but I've included the math for you to take it if you wish. Marco Polo, like many battleships, benefits from anti-fire, survivability build and that served me well during play-testing, even without the memes of back-of-the-line sniping (which, quite frankly, Marco Polo doesn't do well for a number of reasons I'll get into in the Firepower & Vision Control sections). There is a little wiggle room with tier 1 and 2 skill choices. Pick your favourites. Grease the Gears will help counter the traverse slow down of Main Battery Modification 3, for example. Camouflage Marco Polo has access to two kinds of camouflage. Type 10 and Legion. The Type 10 Camouflage has the following bonuses. -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains.  I have not yet seen the Legion Camouflage in game. I have been told by Wargaming that it has the same bonuses as Type 10 above but until I see it, I cannot confirm that. The promotional image for Marco Polo's Legion camo by Wargaming. Marco Polo's lines and camo are reminscent of Roma. She's not quite as pretty as the Littorio-class's lines, but Italian battleships are gorgeous. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 406mm guns in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm guns in 4x3 turrets with two turrets per side and twenty-four 90mm guns in 12x2 turrets clustered around the funnels. There's is ironically a lot to go over here but at the same time, not a lot to say. The TL:DR is this: Use Dead Eye, keep way back and spam SAP. Secondaries? More Like Moist Flamethrowers Let's get the largely irrelevant out of the way first. Marco Polo's secondaries are terrible. Their range is fine. Their rate of fire is okay. Their damage output is on the low side for secondary guns, but it's not so low that it's not comparable to other tier IX battleships (it's about on par with Georgia's DPM). However, it's the penetration from her 90mm guns that holds her back. Like the French battleships, the bulk of Marco Polo's secondary fire comes from guns too small in calibre to directly damage the hulls of destroyers or the superstructures of battleships. At best you can hope for them to break the occasional module or to start fires. They are not worth specializing into and their poor performance is a good reminder to keep this ship outside of brawling range. SAP Delivery System It's that Armour Overmatch which matters so much. Let's pretend citadel hits are an impossibility -- that they simply do not exist. What reason would you ever have to use Marco Polo's AP shells? That's the crux of Marco Polo's game-play (and indeed, the entire Italian battleship line). If you struggle to land citadel hits with Italian battleship guns, then SAP is the hands-down better ammunition to use. This goes double for Marco Polo grace of her excellent overmatch potential with her SAP rounds. Other Italian battleships cap out at being able to overmatch 26mm of hull armour with their 381mm guns. Marco Polo overmatches 28mm. The phenomenal auto-ricochet angles on her SAP rounds outright ignore all cruiser extremities in the game. If you hit a cruiser on the butt or the bow, you will do damage. If an enemy battleship doesn't angle just right and you boop their snoot, you'll do damage. And not just damage; chunktacular damage. SAP rounds do not over-penetrate. Short of striking a lolibote or an oversaturated hull section, that's a guaranteed 2,327 to 4,653 damage per penetrating hit And with 102mm of flat penetration regardless of range, there's a whole lot of hull sections she can hit without worrying about her shells shattering. It's that simple, it's that easy to use. I won't go so far as to say it's that good, but it's consistent at least. This is the reason Marco Polo has such a terrible rate of fire. Her 36 second reload is downright appalling. Main Battery Modification 3 can drop this down to 31.68 seconds, but you'll really feel that slow reload and that's only if you choose to equip it rather than trying to band-aid her sorry range. Her 19.02km reach hurts. It really does. You can forget about taking a comfortable central position on the map, confident you'll be able to reach exposed targets on either side. You can forget being about to out-range most cruisers. You can forget having a comfortable window to activate Dead Eye. With her god-awful concealment, Marco Polo is largely relegated to moving up on one side, sitting bow in and trading fire with whoever is parked right in front of you. They'll try and burn you. You try and SAP them into submission. If it sounds boring, that's because it is. Marco Polo totally sucks at damaging destroyers. Paolo Emilio players take note: YOLO rush the Italian BBs. Between bad secondaries, long reloads and ineffective ammunition, they're a good target. Marco Polo has THE worst AP DPM at her tier, and by an appreciable margin. This is yet another reason you want to stick to SAP rounds as much as possible, dipping into AP only when there's a chance to land citadel hits in order to spike your damage totals. Why you should probably use AP SAP is wonderful and all, but it's largely limited to chip-damage. Here's a thought exercise: Iowa and Marco Polo are each trading fire with a bow-tanking Friedrich der Große (84,300hp). Iowa is using HE rounds and Marco Polo is using SAP. Our battleships are only using their front two turrets. Assuming a modest 1/3 accuracy rate and all hits penetrate for full damage (an abstraction, though Friedrich could be using their Repair Party to extend the de-saturation point) we get the following numbers: Iowa: 7,524 damage Marco Polo: 15,510 damage However, if Iowa gets one fire through Friedrich der Große's defences, that brings her number up between 16k and nearly 23k damage. So, you might think that my argument is that HE is better than SAP. That's not the argument I'm making. There are many holes in this brief SAP vs HE example, not the least of which is that it's going to take Iowa (on average) a minimum of three full salvos to guarantee their first fire which is a point in SAP's favour. Similarly, there's also the chance of stacking multiple fires which swings the argument the other way. The point I'm trying to make here is that the SAP's damage output is limited to just steady penetrations. It takes a long time to kill anything with SAP. While citadel hits with SAP rounds are possible (for example, I had a very satisfying citadel hit on a Seattle in one of my test-games) the number of ships vulnerable to taking those hits is severely limited. By and large, SAP is only going to land penetrating hits, which is fine. It's consistent. But it does not offer the highs and lows of AP shells, the RNGeebus-blessings of fire stacks nor the jackpot lottery winning when you detonate someone. There were few things so infuriating in my test games than having been trading SAP with an opponent only for them to finally (FINALLY) flash their broadside. And what did I have loaded? Not AP rounds. So the salvo that landed did no more than the chip-damage I had been harassing them with the whole time anyway. For this reason, I strongly (STRONGLY) advocate having the Gun Feeder commander skill to swap out shells when those opportunities arise. To do well, not just middling performance, but well in Marco Polo, you need to take those AP citadel shots when they're available. Now if only her guns would behave to make those citadel hits happen. Marco Polo has excellent AP penetration values for its tier, almost rivalling the high-velocity, high Krupp Izumo rounds. Roma Gunnery I was kind of concerned when I heard some players describing Marco Polo as "accurate". She's not. Not unless you think Roma's accurate. Marco Polo has the same dispersion pattern and sigma value as Roma along with comparable ballistics. This means that sometimes RNGeebus will play nice and you can't seem to miss. At others, her shells overshoot / undershoot by an enormous margin and make you want to pull your hair out in frustration. For a ship with such a horribly long reload, watching your shells scatter to the four winds is incredibly infuriating -- especially if it's one of those rare opportunities where you're going fishing for a citadel hit. Given her poor concealment, this is a ship that's going to tend to be firing from 16km+ away from targets if you intend to make use of the Dead Eye commander skill. I certainly recommend that you make full use of it while you still can as it does tighten up Marco Polo's dispersion to a more tolerable level. This won't fix all of her gunnery woes, but it will make her a little more consistent while camped in the back line. As much as I hate to advocate for this kind of passive game-play, Wargaming has painted Marco Polo into a corner with the combination of fragility, small hit point pool, short range and poor concealment. If you're going to invest into this ship, it's best to accept that now. 180 AP shells fired at a stationary Fuso bot with no camo at 15km. Marco Polo was using Aiming System Modification 1 (but not Dead Eye). Summary Her SAP shells are powerful and easy to use, providing very consistent damage. You should still fire AP shells when you have a chance of landing citadel hits. Beware destroyers. You have very poor weapons for dealing with them. An extra couple of degrees on A & B turret and I would have nothing but praise for Marco Polo's fire arcs. Oh well. Her gun traverse is alright, but if you pair it with Main Battery Modification 3 Marco Polo is capable of out-turning her turrets which isn't fun. VERDICT: Spam SAP. (Pro-Gamer Move: Don't.) Durability Hit Points: 69,100 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 70mm to 80mm / 55mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 320mm belt + either 25mm turtleback or 50mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 27% Yikes. You doin' okay there, little Marco? I only ask cuz you seem a little anemic. Like a little French battleship. Marco Polo has the hit points of a tier VIII battleship; an admittedly chonky tier VIII battleship, but a tier VIII battleship none the less. Thankfully, her Repair Party consumable hasn't been neutered in any way, unlike those of the Soviets and Hizen. Still, Marco Polo is near the bottom of the pile for effective health. Individual damaging hits hurt her more than her contemporaries (though fires and floods hurt everyone the same). Instead of tanking and healing damage, Marco Polo is designed to shrug it off entirely. She's almost good at it. In World of Warships, reinforced upper hulls and deck armour has little to do with resisting battleship calibre AP rounds or aircraft bombs and everything to do with shattering the binary penetration of HE rounds. At 55mm thick, Marco Polo's deck is proof against most standard HE rounds up to 330mm in calibre (or 220mm for 1/4 HE penetration ammunition). This is just thick enough to shatter the HE bombs off Lexington's planes and all British bombers, but not enough to see off those from Midway or Franklin D. Roosevelt (Lowenhardt's can too but you're only going to see her if someone horribly fail-divisions). Similarly, Marco Polo's deck is proof against most rockets but not Tiny Tims. Generally speaking, HE attacks form cruisers and carriers aimed at her amidships will get less consistent results making her seem tougher under these kinds of attacks than her contemporaries. However, without an ice-breaker bow and extended waterline belt, her bow and stern are big damage sponges just waiting to squeeze out some tasty hit points for commanders who know to aim there. Marco Polo (and the Italian battleships) are KINDA troll versus cruiser-calibre HE shells. Soviet battleships do it best, though. And don't think for a second her armour will help you versus Royal Navy battleship HE spam. This is why you have to suffer a 36 second reload. Like other Italian battleships, Marco Polo has good external armour. It's not quite Soviet-good, but it's very respectable and downright troll for repulsing cruiser-calibre HE spam. The odd armour and geometries on deck both help and hinder incoming AP rounds that are aimed at the superstructure. Sometimes they may cause a ricochet. At other times, they'll simply arm the shells that might have otherwise over-penetrated. Do keep that stepped deck on her butt in mind. That acts as a shell trap which can cause you problems while kiting. Against AP shells, things get much (MUCH) worse. To the rear, her stepped decking makes for an obvious shell trap. When kiting, Marco Polo takes more damage from incoming AP than I would have liked. Her (almost) good gun angles do facilitate maintaining auto-ricochet angles against single targets, especially on the attack but they're less reliable when she withdraws. Her citadel protection is trash-tier. Her 320mm belt, though reverse sloped, isn't thick enough to seriously contest the kind of ammunition being thrown about at high tiers. Without angling, just about any battleship you face can punch through her belt and get to her gooey centre within most engagement ranges. That's not a death-sentence in of itself, it's uncommon for a belt to be thick enough to break up incoming AP rounds when flashing too much broadside. However, where Marco Polo's defences fall apart is her citadel protection. Her 25mm turtleback is easily overmatched by 380mm+ AP shells. That means if the shells DO get in past the belt armour, shells of this calibre, so long as the shell's path strikes this bit, angle, shell trajectory and armour thickness is irrelevant. It will result in a citadel hit. Marco Polo gives up citadel damage on the regular. Do NOT take her into brawls. Be exceedingly careful when you come about. Her small hit point pool will vanish in a hurry if someone gets her flank. Internally, Marco Polo's protection scheme is disappointing. She echoes the tech-tree Italian battleships with a super-thin turtleback sloping that can be overmatched by 380mm and greater AP shells, providing easy-access to her magazines and machine spaces. This is disappointing. Given the slope and citadel height, she could have been a lot tougher. All this means in practice is that if you give up her broadside, you can expect to take big damage which is nothing new for battleships. Keep her out of a brawl and be careful when coming about and you'll be fine. VERDICT: Decent protection against cruiser and destroyer calibre guns. When properly angled, she's a tough cookie, but when flanked, battleship AP shells will tear her apart with alarming alacrity. Agility Top Speed: 32 knots Turning Radius: 860m 7Rudder Shift Time: 16.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.3º/s at 24.1 knots I don't have a whole lot to say here. While it's true that Marco Polo has decent agility for a tier IX battleship, she's just one spoonful of Crisco away from being a tub of lard. None of the tier IX batleships handle especially well. Marco Polo stands out only in that she handles like an average tier VIII battleship at tier IX. Battleships take a steep step down in how well they wiggle at the very high tiers while not increasing much in speed since tiers VII and VIII. With ballooning turning radii and rudder shift times, they simply lack the flexibility of their lower-tiered brethren. That's good news for Asashio and other torpedo destroyers, I suppose. Marco Polo has some of the best agility for a tier IX battleship, though she definitely sits behind Georgia's flexibility in this regard. This doesn't make her agility good, though. That's the reason you're squinting at this graphic and aren't able to find her easily. She's #4 on the list. VERDICT: Good for a tier IX battleship, but unremarkable if she was just a tier lower. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 6 + 2 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast at 3.5km to 4.6km. Long Ranged (up to 4.6km): 196dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 199.5dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 206.5dps at 70% accuracy When I started doing the math and making my comparisons, I almost got excited here. Yes, Marco Polo (and most Italian battleships) have terrible range on their large-calibre AA artillery BUT the numbers she was putting out looked respectable enough. I was naive enough to think that big numbers might make up the difference until I started stacking up the tier IX battleships and comparing them. Marco Polo has comparable AA DPS to Alsace & Wujing which isn't terrible. But that lack of range means less exposure to both flak and that long-range aura. Yes, Marco Polo can mess up a squadron that loiters in her AA bubble. Co-Op bots are prone to doing this but you cannot count on players to be so myopic. The best individual defence that Marco Polo can put it up is to launch a Catapult Fighter and hope that discourages attack. Given Marco Polo's lack of range, it's tough to give up her Spotter Aircraft however. I guess it's back to the same old tricks: Group up and Just Dodge™. Once upon a time, I actually looked forward to talking about AA firepower. It's been a long time since I've had anything nice to say about it and the constant negativity is really starting to wear me down. VERDICT: Admittedly not as bad as it could have been. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.8km / 13.2km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 12.98km / 10.51km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 16.26km Maximum Firing Range: Between 19.02km and 22.06km (max of 26.48km with Spotter Aircraft). This honestly surprised me. And I think it's arguably the most disappointing flaw Marco Polo has after that 36 second reload. There are two elements here: Marco Polo's poor surface detection and her lack of an Exhaust Smoke Generator. The latter is what it is. I was surprised to see that she didn't get one but I can make do without it. Without smoke, players must be more cautious when it comes to flashing Marco Polo's sides. They can't rely on being able to pop smoke to cover such manoeuvres. Similarly, you have to watch your mini-map more with Marco Polo, keeping an eye on when it's time to disengage if your flank starts to fall. Finally, the lack of smoke also limits those rare (in PVP but common enough in PVE) moments where you can use her smoke offensively to foil torpedo attempts, make a move out of island cover to setup a flank or set up a favourable joust. As for her surface detection, I admit a bias here made by previous premium Italian battleships. Both Roma and Giulio Cesare are very stealthy battleships for their respective tiers. I had it in my head that this would likely be a trait that carried forward with the rest of the Regia Marina dreadnoughts. So colour me surprised when Marco Polo ends up being on the poor-side of things when it comes to surface detection. I think I know why. The cynic in me wants to believe this has something to do with mitigating Dead Eye's influence on her poor gunnery dispersion. I base this only on my previous experience with open-water stealth firing back in the day, when this increasingly became the defining feature my peers looked for in new lolibotes, we ended up seeing Wargaming take measures to limit it, such as adding a 2km "stealth tax" onto German destroyers when they launched. This is where my cynicism took root, imagining that it was a knee-jerk response by Wargaming to downplay the awkwardness of the new meta. Given that her surface detection has been nerfed since she was announced, dropping from an impressive 15.3km base detection range (12.02km when fully upgraded), my feelings seem more and more justified. Of course, Wargaming could have changed it for any number of reasons. I do not know what the official reason is for gutting her concealment. I just know that it has been made pretty terrible. The drawback to such poor concealment stacks with Marco Polo's poor reach. Unlike Roma and Giulio Cesare, you cannot get this ship out onto a flank very easily. This limits the effectiveness of her AP, which in turn overvalues her SAP rounds even further. If you can't get the flanking shots you need to make AP shells effective, you may as well just stick to spamming SAP, right? It's disappointing. Poor rate of fire? I can deal with. Her short reach is a problem but I can manage by sneaking into positions. But taking away concealment means that Marco Polo doesn't so much outplay her opponents as she relies upon her enemies to make openings for her. Her game play becomes even more passive as a result. Ironically, if my suspicion of her concealment nerf having been made to make Dead Eye less effective, Wargaming has actively encouraged Marco Polo players to take Dead Eye more as they're forced into a passive camping meta due to their poor concealment. And passive game play sucks. Take Dead Eye. Sit back with your bow pointed at the enemy. Spam SAP. Top-tier Marco Polo game play in a nutshell. VERDICT: Terribly disappointing. I'm with you, Obélix. Final Evaluation Back in 2019 we were introduced to the Soviet battleships. They launched with powerful (if temperamental) guns, tremendous HE and fire resistance and superb, BALANS™-based bow-in technology. They quickly established themselves as the new meta just as the British and German battleships had in years prior. Here we are, two years later and the Regia Marina battleships have arrived. Surely THEY will now take their turn and become the new hotness? Italian battleships, after all, have powerful SAP ammunition, good cruiser-calibre HE resistance and can similarly troll ships that don't bow in directly at them. And that smoke! Ooh, that smoke! So weird! So strange! So vaguely useful in very specific circumstances! I dunno about you, but the Italian battleship releases feel less like a Soviet, British or German battleship release and more like a French one. I mean, yeah, there's a couple of nice ships in the line but République and Alsace made some noise but hardly changed the entire King of the Sea tournament line ups the way the Soviet battleships did. And while it's still early, we haven't seen social media on fire the way Conqueror lit up the enemy battleship lines in Randoms. So what hope does Marco Polo have in being good when the rest of the line is merely interesting? Well, what Marco Polo has is British HE levels of stupidly easy ammo to use. Take Dead Eye. Build for stealth & fire resistance. Park yourself nose in. Load SAP. Spam it at anything that moves. Given your general inability to land citadel hits, it doesn't really matter what you shoot at. Aim for the upper hull and pull the trigger. Pray RNGeebus that dispersion is less troll than it usually is and hoover up some respectable but not terribly interesting damage totals. At least the Soviets made you change ammunition choices. And that's really the summation of Marco Polo. She's Royal Navy battleship brainless gunnery slapped onto a Soviet-lite battleship hull. Yeah, you're more vulnerable to fire and you can't start fires yourself, but so what? Marco Polo's pretty darned easy to use. You just have to watch out for citadel hits, torpedoes and being set ablaze. Easy peasy. In my playtesting, I admit to having resisted spamming SAP as much as I could. I tried just to use AP rounds, going so far as to use just that over SAP; y'know, the other kind of myopic ammunition choice espoused by the community from 2015 until 2017 when it finally became socially acceptable for battleships to use HE. My results were predictably less than stellar. Her AP works. But if you're going to be a hipster like I was, understand that you're severly handicapping yourself and you may as well play an American battleship or Soviet battleship instead. The reason to buy and play Marco Polo is to play with that 406mm SAP and to spam it as often as possible. If you like big numbers then those opening salvos are super worth it. Savour 'em, though, cuz once saturation kicks in Marco Polo's numbers look pretty mediocre. There's no constant damage ticking in from multiple fires. There's no cataclysmic one-shots coming from multiple citadel hits. Only one person got salty at me for spamming them with SAP constantly. I had tons of people get mad at me for throwing HE around in British battleships. If that's not a sign Marco Polo isn't as powerful as she could be, I dunno what is. So yeah. That's Marco Polo. She's a big ol' fat Italian battleship. She's reasonably competent. Her SAP spam is much more reliable than the tech-tree battleships because of her higher gun calibre. She's also kinda tough. Kinda. My time in her wasn't terrible but it's hard for me to think highly of a ship that I was so thoroughly bored in. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it!
  20. The following is a VERY hasty review of HSF Harekaze II. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge, the performance discussed here is current as of patch 0.10.3. Please be aware that her performance may chance in the future.= So, first things first. It may be obvious to some but it isn't obvious to others. HSF Harekaze II is not HSF Harekaze. HSF Harekaze II does not come with multiple hull and camouflage options like her predecessor did. If you're hoping to play with Japanese 100mm/65 guns or a cute kitty camo, this isn't the ship for you. HSF Harekaze II comes with a singular armament of three German 150mm/55 SK C/28s as found upon the ship during the events of the High School Fleet: the Movie (2020) (or is it the OVAs?) to which this crossover ties in. The original Harekaze was a true hybrid with good guns (using her 100mm/65s) and good torpedoes. Harekaze II is a torpedo destroyer with German destroyer consumables and three of their 150mm guns (but weird ammo). Between the servers melting and the limitations imposed by the licensing agreement, HSF Harekaze II was not available for Community Contributors to play-test before her release. So this is kinda rushed. The last time I had a hold of her was August 11th 2020, where I wrote the following to Wargaming (she was play-tested under the working name "Arashi"). Oh, past-me. So young. So optimistic. So "hasn't just spent the last three days recovering from vaccine reactions so she probably isn't grumpy like I am now". I'ma rip this ship a new one. Harekaze did not get the German 1/4 HE penetration. Her gun performance remains very niche. Her AP shells allow you to citadel select cruisers with minimal citadel protection at very close ranges. However, having only three guns with a 5 second reload time precludes her from having anything close to competitive damage output with her small main battery. Harekaze II is a torpedo destroyer and her individual performance is dictated by how well you can land those incredibly powerful fish. However, unlike most Japanese torpedo destroyers, she turns things upon its head with her access to a Hydroacoustic Search consumable. Harekaze II has the potential to be a strong forward scout, good at projecting vision for her allies. This is a very high risk play, however, as she does not have the firepower, speed or health to survive an encounter that goes pear shaped. Before we begin... A bit of a caveat for this review: It has been made as quickly as I could. I played ten games in this ship yesterday as soon as I got up, made notes and compared them to my older notes back when this ship was called Arashi. I then borrowed my Fen Yang data-set (from January 2021) and began updating it. There are no pretty graphs in this review, just screenshots of crap I C&Ped into notepad. I did this for expediency's sake; each pretty graphic is anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours worth of work which would have added literal days to this reviews production. These collaboration ships are never on sale for very long and I wanted to get my take on this ship while it's still out there. If you want to hear more about elements I did not cover, such as fire setting, AP fusing angles versus destroyers, etc, I have the info available. So without further ado: PROS Large calibre guns for a destroyer providing good penetration and punchy individual shells. Excellent gun arcs and a 360º gun rotation on X-turret. Whoo! ♪ Love me some good gun arcs. Hard hitting torpedoes. Great concealment with a surface detection as low as 5.37km. Access to a German destroyer Hydroacoustic Search. Her permanent camouflage provides 50% bonus commander training. CONS Tiny hit point pool for a tier VIII destroyer. Bad gun handling. Poor main battery DPM. Not very fast or agile. Her AA defence is a joke. She uses a German Smoke Generator with shorter smoke duration time. Entirely reliant on never being spotted ever. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / EXTREME I'm normally pretty forgiving when it comes to evaluating the skill floor of torpedo destroyers. Her potential is through the roof. Actualizing that potential is another matter entirely. That doesn't make her powerful, per se, but it does mean you have to respect a Harekaze II in the hands of an expert more than you might a Kagero, for example; especially if she's in a division. Still, I gotta give HSF Harekaze II a bump up in difficulty for new players, if only because her survivability is so terrible. If you pull the trigger against the wrong target with your guns, you are doomed. If you over-extend, you are doomed. If you over-estimate the duration of your smoke: also doomed. Options Consumables HSF Harekaze II has German-destroyer consumables instead of those from a Japanese-destroyer. Her Damage Control Party is standard. It has a 5 second active time, unlimited charges and a 40 second reset timer. Her Smoke Generator is that of a German destroyer. It starts with 3 charges and it has a 160 second reset timer. It emits smoke for 20 seconds with each cloud having a 450m radius which is normal enough. However, the clouds only last for 69 seconds (nice) instead of the expected 89 seconds for a Japanese destroyer. We come back to normalcy with her Engine Boost. This provides the usual 8% speed increase for 120 seconds with a 120 second reset timer. It comes with 3 charges to start. And finally we have her glorious Hydroacoustic Search consumable. This has 3 charges to start, 100 second active time and a 120 second reset timer. It detects torpedoes up to 3.5km away and ships up to 5km away. This is identical to that found on ships like Z-23 or Z-35, for example. For those curious, this is still a step behind Loyang's and Siliwangi's. Upgrades It may appear that there's a variety of choice here, but there's really not; at least if you're worried about optimization. Take Main Armaments Modification 1 in your first slot. If you're allergic to Fun and Engaging™ game-play, then Magazine Modification 1 will help mitigate that somewhat. The special upgrade Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is the best choice in slot two. Engine Boost Modification 1 is the next best choice. Each of these will cost 17,000 from the Armory. If you can't (or won't) afford that, then default to Engine Room Protection. Harekaze II is a torpedo destroyer. Play to your strengths. Take Torpedo Tubes Modification 1 in slot 3. If you want to pretend that you can prop up this ship's weaknesses than take either Aiming Systems Modification 1 or Main Battery Modification 2 to assist with aiming and gun handling respectively. You do have an honest choice in slot four. You won't be sitting in smoke often, so Propulsion Modification 1 may not give you the mileage you might be used to with other destroyers, however I still think it the better of the pair. Otherwise you can put a tiny bit more precision in her agility with Steering Gears Modification 1. Finally, take Concealment System Modification 1 in slot five. Commander Skills Build for and prioritize survivability, stealth, speed and torpedo performance. In a perfect "I'll never be spotted never mind shot-at" world, your 21pt commander should look something like this: There's a lot of wiggle room here. At tier 1 you can swap for Grease the Gears. At tier 2, take Priority Target or Last Stand if you prefer. At tier 3 you do not want to deviate from the two skills listed, but if you can free up points from a tier 4 skill (or two), then Adrenaline Rush or Superintendent aren't terrible picks. At tier 4 you absolutely must keep Concealment Expert. Given Harekaze II's low speed, I strongly recommend Swift in Silence (it's a permanent Engine Boost while hidden) but between that and Radio Location you can drop one (or both) to free up points for other choices. Though you gotta wonder, if you're never supposed to be seen, do you really need Survivability Expert? Seems to me like that 'never being spotted' thing is a bit of a pipe dream, no? Camouflage The original Harekaze absolutely spoiled players for choice. It came with both the High School Fleet themed camouflage and a more traditional Japanese destroyer camo as her inclusion into the game predated the expanded use of content filters we now enjoy in port (before, if you disabled being able to see the High School Fleet camo, the game demounted the camo). This latter changed the geometry of the ship to appear "normal" removing the fantastic elements from the anime and, provided you completed the first part of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection, it also provided an alternate palette. Finally, you could later buy the infamous (and amazing) Isoroku camo which turned your ship into a kitty-cat. Harekaze II has no such options. She comes with a single camo which also means you cannot palette swap her skin if you disable viewing the High School Fleet content with your port-filters. It provides the following bonuses: A 3% reduction in surface detection ranges. A 4% increase to the dispersion of enemy gunfire. A 10% reduction to post-battle service costs. A 50% increase to commander experience earned. A 50% increase to experience earned.  (These bonuses are identical to the optional "Isoroku" camouflage on the original Harekaze. However, Harekaze's default camo had 100% bonus free experience instead of 50% commander experience found here). No fun kitty camo here. Summary HSF Harekaze II has German-destroyer consumables. She should be built as a torpedo-destroyer with her upgrades and commander skills. Her camouflage options are limited to a single camo unlike her predecessor. Firepower Main Battery: Three 150mm/55 guns in 3x1 turrets in an A-X-Y superfiring arrangement. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers mounted fore and aft of the rear funnel down the centre-line of the ship. Gun fire arcs are: A-Turret: 312º X-Turret: 324º with a full 360º traverse. Y- Turret: 314º While HSF Harekaze II may be using German guns, she's using very Japanese ammunition. And this is very good ammunition to be clear (despite it's faults). If she had more than just three guns to play with, this destroyer's main battery firepower might have been interesting in game rather than simply academically. Here's what it gives you: Her AP penetration is excellent for a destroyer; well above and beyond German and Soviet destroyer AP penetration. This makes her a credible threat to most broadsiding cruisers up to distances of about 8km or so. Her HE shell damage is much higher than expected for a German styled weapon. HSF Harekaze II's shells deal a maximum of 2,500 per hit instead of the wimpy 1,700 of German shells. They have very high fire chance for a destroyer-mounted 150mm shell at 11% per hit. Here's what you're not getting from their German heritage: Improved German 150mm-gun dispersion. Improved German 1/4 HE penetration. Improved (60º to 67.5º) auto-ricochet angles. Look, there is so much I could talk about with these weapons. The interaction of their fuse sensitivity with destroyer hull angles, their long (for a destroyer) fuse timers and how this interacts with her AP penetration over distance, how good they are at setting fires, etc. But the simple fact of the matter is that HSF Harekaze II does not have enough barrels to make these guns work effectively. Harekaze II's weapons are weapons of opportunity. If you see a vulnerable, low-health target? Feel free to open fire. It doesn't matter if it's a destroyer, cruiser, battleship or carrier. Otherwise, don't bother. It's never worth giving your position away and making landing torpedoes harder. You know you're in a rough spot when the Japanese torpedo destroyers look like better gunships than you. Taking HSF Harekaze II into a knife fight is the wrong move against nearly any full-health opponent you can name. Her AP performance is at least respectable which makes her much more of a threat against low-health cruisers and battleships; especially to the former if they flash their sides. I put this together for three reasosn. First, Harekaze II's AP shells are really neat. I popped a low-health München at 6.5km with a brace of citadel hits which felt amazing. Second, it's an excuse to show off how different HSF Harekaze II's AP shells perform compared to other German 150mm armed destroyers. Third, it also allowed me to show one of the many differences between the old German destroyer 150mm performance (Z-39) and the new (Maerker). Torpedoes Tier VIII destroyer torpedoes have this annoying habit of being "almost amazing". There's always something wrong with them. Maybe they don't hit hard enough. Maybe they're really slow. Maybe the destroyer simply doesn't have enough of them. This is, of course, to encourage players to continue to look every upward and push onto those tier X destroyers where such flaws are reduced (if not absent entirely). For HSF Harekaze II, that issue is range. Let's be clear: HSF Harekaze II's torpedoes are some of the meanest at her tier. They hit like trucks. They're fast. She fires a good spread. While the detection range (and reaction time) of Japanese fish is notoriously over-generous, their biggest flaw is that they put these fragile and flighty destroyers within Surveillance Radar range. Their 10km reach just isn't ideal and an extra 2km would make a world of difference in their efficiency, which is exactly why they don't have it. Each torpedo hit from HSF Harekaze II chunks the red team of up to 20,967 damage, so even a trio of hits is a decent battle result. Four to five is a solid game and should put you near the top of the team lists. Six or more and you should start to feel sorry for the Reds. While this may not seem like a tall order, the reality is that you're as much reliant upon your own skill set as your are on the misplays of the Red team in order to get these kinds of results. Torpedo destroyers are generally very inconsistent, with high peaks and low valleys when it comes to individual games. Their volatility is what makes them so exciting ... and frustrating. Worse, their efficiency can be neutered by something as simple as an overflying group of enemy aircraft that had no intention of dropping on her. HSF Harekaze II, like all torpedo-destroyers, works best when they don't see the attack coming. A wary target may not be able to avoid every torpedo thrown at it, but it's the difference between scoring multiple hits or getting MAYBE one. Between the time it takes to setup, get into position and her own reload, she can't put enough fish into the water to guarantee a reasonable result that way. This is, of course, nothing new. It's a common lament for all torpedo boats out there. Except for Asashio. Asashio don't play by those rules. Asashio makes her own damn rules. Both versions of HSF Harekaze use Kagero's torpedoes. The original Harekaze uses her stock fish while HSF Harekaze II uses her upgraded ones. VERDICT: Her guns suck not because they aren't good, but because she doesn't have enough of them. Her torpedoes are great, though. Durability Hit Points: 13,300 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 19mm / 19mm No. Just, no. HSF Harekaze II's effective health is pathetic for a tier VIII destroyer. VERDICT: Very, very bad. Agility Top Speed: 35kts Turning Radius: 640m Rudder Shift Time: 4s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 7.0º/s at 29.1kts A top speed of 35 knots is the basement of acceptable destroyer speeds. Anything less than that and it's a crippling flaw. So HSF Harekaze II's speed is barely adequate and will (frankly) get her into a lot of trouble. This is a ship that lives and dies by controlling engagement distances. While her excellent concealment does wonders for assisting her with this, without speed to back it up, it's by no means an easy contest. The worst case scenario for HSF Harekaze II is being pursued; especially by a ship equipped with either Hydroacoustic Search or worse Surveillance Radar. Her 35 knot top speed just isn't enough to open up the distance, If you touch her rudder at all, that speed falls below 30 knots and most cruisers going flat out can not only keep pace, but actively gain upon her. To this end, it's hard not to look favourably upon the commander skill Swift in Silence. The extra speed at least allows her to play keep-away from (most) cruisers. I'm recycling this from my Z-35 review for the sake of saving time. HSF Harekaze II has almost identical performance to Kagero, Harekaze, Asashio and AL Yukikaze. VERDICT: Okay, but only just. Anti-Aircraft Defence Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 14dps at 95% accuracy (13.3dps) No. Very no. She struggles to shoot down summoned fighters, to say nothing of attacking planes. VERDICT: Even worse than her durability. I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN RIGHT NOW! Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 6.84km / 5.37km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.06km / 2.48km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 2.96km Maximum Firing Range: 11.4km There is a lot of good going on here. First thing's first, the Kagero-class (and related) destroyers are the stealthiest ships within their Matchmaking. They have the surface detection to outspot everything else out there. Similarly, HSF Harekaze II's aerial detection is downright excellent. Planes have to be literally over-top of her in order to spot her which makes rocket attacks difficult unless the CV knows well in advance where the destroyer is (or is going to be). And let's not ignore the fact she also gets access to Hydroacoustic Search, giving her the ability to screen for enemy fish and the potential (I stress: potential) to spot concealed enemies. The only downside, really, is there's not much HSF Harekaze II can do with this great concealment offensively on her own. As great as her Vision Controll toolkit is, what can she really do with it other than to play keep away? Taking the Radio Location and Swift in Silence commander skills are nearly a must to give her both the advanced warning and extra speed necessary to ensure she can control engagement distances on lurking lolibotes. While she may be able to outspot anything she faces, she's not agile enough to come about in the short span of time between spotting a destroyer heading her way and when they make up the difference in surface detection and spot her right back. With HSF Harekaze II's fragility and poor DPM, this is rarely an encounter she comes out the better for if it comes down to trading fire. And if you do the smart thing and keep your guns silent and run away, you're still going to sacrifice a big chunk of her admittedly small health pool. The bad news with taking Radio Location is that it warns ships that you're lurking in the area, which hurts the efficiency of her torpedo ambushes. But it's not like you can really afford to go without. To this end, HSF Harekaze II's Vision Control is so damn frustrating. It's god-tier, but slapped on a boat that can do almost nothing with it. I got myself killed time and again making bold plays for my team -- spotting lolibotes, contesting cap circles and hoping against hope whatever group of random players I was teamed up with would take advantage of the forward positions I was taking. You can guess how my average game went. In a division, HSF Harekaze II's god-tier concealment and access to Hydroacoustic Search are worth so much more. But for her own merits, she's just a sneaky torpedo destroyer that doesn't have to worry about getting hit by enemy torpedoes. This is a list of all of the tier VI through X destroyers, ranked by their fully upgraded surface detection range. When there's a tie, I sort them by the following criteria. First, lower tiered ships get preference over higher tiered ships. Next, I sort them by the date of their nation's inclusion into World of Warships (Japan, USA, USSR, Germany, etc). Tech tree ships have preference over premiums. After that, I try and go by release date but that's not strictly adhered to. VERDICT: So damn good and so damn frustrating. Final Evaluation Forward scouting in HSF Harekaze II is ... well, it's a bit of a loser move outside of divisions. I want to play HSF Harekaze II like Haida II, the Cobra Chicken Boogaloo. Her great concealment and that long-range Hydroacoustic Search? It's SOOOO good when it works. If it works. I must stress both that 'when' and 'if'. If you can't rely on your team mates to shoot at what you spot, when you put yourself up on the firing line like that, you're just going to die and lose. It takes only a mildly aggressive enemy destroyer to see you off. And if you're stupid (or stubborn) enough to stick around when they've already sniffed you out once and know they can outfight you, then this happens: I must stress that even an Asashio can outfight you. HSF Harekaze II just plain sucks at dealing with enemy lolibotes outside of those she can outspot by a mile (and I do mean a literal 1.6km mile) or those who walk into one of your torpedoes. To this end, even trying to contest cap circles is an idiot-play and will only serve you well if your opponents are idiots. Given the quality of Random Battle teams, this means it will happen just often enough to make you think you can pull it off on the regular only to wonder why it fails so spectacularly when one of the Reds decides to do more than run screaming from the cap-buoys. This takes the potential of this ship in solo-play from amazingly versatile to a one-trick pony. You spam torpedoes. That's it. Your team mates will get mad at you for not spotting, for not pushing caps, for not sticking your neck out and pew-pewing that low-health target but HSF Harekaze II's just not built to take those kind of risks without backup. I was genuinely terrified whenever I saw a Kidd, Cossack or Lightning on the enemy team, to say nothing of the higher tiered A-tier gunships. While this is a common lament in most torpedo destroyers, I kept (stupidly) trying to play the forward spotter and I kept feeding myself to these destroyers. Now I admit, that's my own damned fault for playing her this way, but I had to prove to myself that attempting this without division backup wasn't viable. I would have been much better served thinking myself a Kagero that had already taken a broadside from a British battleship and thus, low on health, I should play cautiously. This largely means discarding what makes HSF Harekaze II interesting: her Hydroacoustic Search. In solo play, don't try and use it aggressively. Pretend it's not there. Use it to screen for torpedoes for your team. This all changes in a division, of course, but for solo-play? Without good team mates? No. Very no. So that leaves HSF Harekaze II to be evaluated upon how well she dispenses torpedoes. And in that regard, she's really no better than Kagero with one fewer degrees worth of torpedo arc off her stern. Is HSF Harekaze II good? Well, 5.37km surface detection + Hydroacoustic Search is good. 21,000 damage, 67 knot torpedoes with a 10km range are good. The rest of her isn't. You need to bring a friend along to do the shooting for you if things get hot. Do I like this ship? No. Would I recommend this ship? No. She's a pale shadow of the original HSF Harekaze and if Wargaming wanted to sell a 150mm armed version of her, they should have figured out a way to monetize buying another upgrade slot on her original hull. I suppose that causes all sorts of issues with the crossover license, so that's my guess why we didn't see it. HSF Harekaze II's implementation just makes the original look all the better, so go buy that one instead if you want a piece. I won't be playing this ship going forward unless in a division where I can count on my team mates to shoot what I light up. Then she's fun. But alone? No. If I want to play a tier VIII dedicated torpedo destroyer solo, there's always Kagero, Asashio, AL Yukikaze, etc. Conclusion Not bad. This review took me a little over 30 hours to put together from start to finish, including getting those 10 games in and a good night's sleep besides. Please let me know if you want me to spend some time turning those notepad screenshots into pretty graphics. Otherwise, I'm putting this one to bed and begin the next one. Thank you very much for reading and a very special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for helping keep my lights on.  
  21. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Wujing

    The following is a review of Wujing, the tier IX premium Pan Asian Alsace-class battleship. This ship has kindly been provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes -- I did not have to spend money to get access to this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the performance statistics discussed in this review are accurate as of patch 0.10.2. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Look, this one is pretty simple: = Wujing is a Pan Asian, premium version of the fully-upgraded French tier IX tech-tree battleship, Alsace. She clones Alsace's performance in every respect barring economy where Wujing earns more and comes with free premium camouflage. If you want to try her out for "free" (barring the time to accomplish the grind), unlock Alsace, play a few rounds in it and imagine yourself earning more credits because, y'know, Wujing is a premium. Bam, there you go; that's Wujing. For posterity's sake, I'll record her stats as she appeared at the time of this article's publishing but I'm not going to do a deep-dive into her performance. Quick Summary: Wujing is a Pan Asian Alsace. Seriously, we just went over this. If I have to explain everything twice, this is going to take forever. PROS Good citadel protection with stacked layers of armour amounting to 482mm of straight-line protection. Large main battery of twelve guns. Heavy secondary battery with good fire setting abilities. Decent agility with her Engine Boost assisting with her flexibility. Good AA firepower when it comes to supporting allies with much of her DPS focused in long-range batteries & flak. CONS Only 32mm of structural steel on the entirety of the ship, making her very vulnerable to cruiser HE spam. Her 380mm AP shells are incapable of overmatching a lot of the structural armour on cruisers she faces. Long, 32 second base reload. Unfortunate 1.6 sigma makes her guns fire like a shotgun spread. Her secondaries look much more capable than they actually are, having accuracy and penetration problems which keeps them from pulling their weight, even with a deep-specialization. Enormous turning circle radius of 910m. I'm not a fan of Wujing, not because she doesn't perform well (though I could go on a small rant about the nerfs made to Alsace in order to make room for Bourgogne), but because she's simply a clone. As nice as the skin looks, she feels very low-effort. Bajie is a much more interesting choice, given that Wargaming at least massaged her stats a little. It's a bit of an aside but with Yukon on the horizon, I feel like we dodged a bit of a bullet that she's at least getting the Bajie treatment instead of a simple copy-paste performance job like Wujing. Overall? Skip this one unless you really (REALLY) love your Alsace and want a premium version of her. Alternatively, you could just toss the money into a premium, perma camo for Alsace. The economy gains won't come close but it's the principle of the thing. Stats Dump:
  22. Cossack is a stealthy British gunship destroyer armed with eight 120mm/45 naval rifles and a single bank of four, high-tier torpedoes. She is defined by her good concealment values and awkward firing arcs. Cossack also has access to the Engine Boost consumable while maintaining improved British acceleration and energy preservation. Game play wise, Cossack is very similar to Lightning with an overlap in consumables and commander skill choices. Wargaming has set her price tag at 9,600 doubloons. This is the second Tribal-class destroyer introduced into World of Warships following the release of HMCS Haida earlier this year. She is less remarkable than her sister-ship but that's largely owing to the unforgiving environment in which she plays. Cossack contends with being up-tiered more often than her Canadian counterpart and higher tiered matches are far more radar intensive. Moreover, at tier VII Haida has a defined role -- she's a lolibote-molester. This role is generally lacking among the other tin-cans at tier VII which makes Haida stand out. Cossack doesn't share this same kind of defined specialty. She's more of a generalist scout or gunship -- roles that are replicated by other destroyers at her tier. Thus, Cossack is a workhorse, one gunship among many. She gets the job done in a tough environment which is worth noting, though she is not deserving of any acclaim in this regard. PROS Good DPM performance on her guns and excellent chance at starting fires. Powerful torpedoes for a gunship which may launched individually. Improved engine performance with increased acceleration and energy preservation in a turn while also having access to the Engine Boost consumable. Ridiculous rate of turn, throwing herself about at almost 9.0º/s! Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 5.48km. Access to a long-lasting British Hydroacoustic Search consumable. CONS Poor fire angles on all weapons. Terrible gun ballistics -- worse than American 127mm/38s. Limited to a single torpedo launcher. Her anti-aircraft firepower is effectively non-existent. Poor quality Smoke Generator consumable with short emission time and duration. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Cossack is not a forgiving ship to play. For a novice player, she has many strikes against her. She struggles to do damage, hamstrung with restrictive fire sectors on all of her weapons and poor performing guns. A deep skill build is necessary to allow her to do direct damage with her artillery against larger opponents and the range of targets she can engage is limited. Having a single torpedo launcher does her no favours either. She is at her best at what amounts to point-blank ranges. At high tiers this is a range where you will get killed in short order for making a mistake. Cossack has the speed, stealth and agility enough to make her attractive to a veteran but her engagement range, optimized for short-distances and limited attack power are a severe mark against her carry potential. Still, she has a diverse toolkit that will earn her some devoted supporters. – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Cossack's damage output and durability are best described as average. While she does have her strong points, a combination of drawbacks with her guns keeps Cossac from outperforming her peers. Her low hit point total similarly holds her back. She gets a rating in both categories. Her anti aircraft firepower is virtually non-existent and she earns a evaluation as a result. It's arguably worse than the IJN torpedo boats which is saying something. Where Cossack stands apart truly is her agility and stealth. She takes primacy from Lightning in terms of flexibility and speed. It's a closer contest for Vision Control, but she wins out against Loyang. She's the in both categories among tier VIII destroyers. Options Cossack's options are almost all standard for a British destroyer. Cossack like (new) British destroyers cannot make use of the Propulsion Modification 2 upgrade as she already has an improved version built in. Consumables Cossack's Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. It has unlimited charges, a 60s/40s reset timer and a 5s active period. Cossack uses a British destroyer Smoke Generator. This has 5 charges base and a 90s/70s reset timer (it's not just you, that number is stupid-weird). It emits smoke for 10s and each cloud lasts for 40s. Unlike other (new) British destroyers, Cossack has access to Engine Boost. This is a standard destroyer-version of the consumable providing an 8% speed increase with 2 charges base, an 180s/120s reset timer and a 120s active period. Cossack uses a British destroyer Hydroacoustic Search. This has 2 charges base, a 180s/120s reset timer and a 180s active period. It detects torpedoes and ships at a range of 3.00km. Upgrades Cossack should equip Magazine Modification 1 into its first upgrade slot. If you like to live dangerously, then Main Armaments Modification 1 is fine. In your second slot, the special upgrade, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is optimal. If you do not have access to it, then the next upgrade you should reach for is the special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1. If you're lacking that, then default to Propulsion Modification 1. Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal for slot 3. The only reasonable choice in your fourth slot is Steering Gears Modification 2. Similarly, the only reasonable choice in your fifth slot is Concealment Modification 1. Camouflage Cossack comes with Type 10 Camouflage. For 2,000 doubloons you may purchase Royal Navy - Cossack as a cosmetic swap. Both camouflages provide: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Cossack comes with Type 10 Camouflage in mottled grey. I personally think she looks prettier in Royal Navy - Cossack in green, black and grey, but that's only for players with deep pockets. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 120mm/45 guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Four torpedo tubes in a 1×4 launcher mounted amidships. The 120mm/45s that Cossack uses for her main batteries have a lot of problems at tier VIII. While perfectly serviceable at tier VII with ships like Jervis and Gadjah Mada, against the upgraded opposition faced at higher tiers they're nowhere near as competitive on a per-gun basis. This is largely owing to penetration issues due to gun caliber but there are other things to remark. They have a modest rate of fire, damage per shell and poor ballistics. The mountings on HMS Cossack are poorly situated with limited fire arcs and a lackluster traverse rate. Their only real strength is a high fire chance per shell. Her saving grace is that she has a lot of guns -- quantity has quality all of its own. However, the competition is fierce at tier VIII and even armed with eight rifles Cossack struggles finding the edge she needs. Destroyer AP shells are highly circumstantial in their utility. Most simply do not have the penetration or damage output to make them worth chancing the risk of a bounce using except in specific circumstances. Still, when a broadside is offered, switching to AP provides a much improved damage increase -- especially if your target is already burning from fires set. HMS Cossack's poor penetration values limit the range at which she can make these exchanges successfully, with her ability to citadel enemy cruisers falling off at 4km and her ability to reliably penetrate the extremities of battleships dropping off between 9km and 11km.1 Cossack's HE damage potential looks impressive, though it's important to cross reference it with her penetration values. The chart on the right shows the armour value the respective guns can best while the extremity armour on the bottom lists the prevalence of different armour types for the bow and stern. The number in brackets is the (current as of 0.7.9) number of ships with these armour values. There is a long list of targets she is incapable of damaging directly which will necessitate her making the attempt with AP shells instead. The arcs of fire on A and Y turret are terrible, contrasting the excellent arcs on B and X. On top of this, B-turret may rotate 360º which facilitates keeping it engaged even while Cossack manoeuvres. It's thus very easy to keep six guns on target most of the time but especially difficult to keep all eight firing. Bringing all eight guns to bear makes her an easy and predictable target due to the limited fields of fire on her foremost and rearmost turrets. Sacrificing a turret makes Cossack's gunnery no better than a tier VII destroyer. Cossack doesn't have the DPM advantage to be able to best contemporary gunship destroyers. The race is very close. Once you factor in the hit point totals and detection consumables, the margins get even smaller. Against anything higher tier, Cossack comes out the worse for it. This said, Cossack does have the muscle to bully anything smaller than herself short of HMCS Haida. She can play the role of a destroyer hunter provided she can ensure the detection, hit point and DPM advantage, but she has nowhere near the primacy in these categories at her tier. Against larger vessels, Cossack's guns are a mixed bag. Her ability to deal direct damage is compromised with her poor penetration values but she's an excellent fire starter. Note that this is largely owing to volume and accuracy of fire -- Cossack must be cycling all eight of her guns onto a target and landing with most of her hits to be a credible threat this way. Where Cossack truly excels is her potential to set fires. This is especially true of she eschews the use of IFHE in her commander skill build and elects to just focus on Demolition Expert instead. While this is unlikely to ever give a hale and healthy cruiser pause, it is very effective against battleships. Note, in practice these values are approximately halved when striking ships and represent only the raw fire starting potential. Thus, against a Montana, Cossack with a DE build could expect to set about 4 to 5 fires per minute. Be warned, though, the efficiency of focusing on fires leaves a lot to RNG. Cossack's performance will not be consistent. The final issue facing Cossack's gunnery is one of range and detection. She has adequate reach but she suffers from horrible ballistics. British 120mm/45 guns have worse shell arcs than American 127mm/38s. Cossack has similar gunnery challenges to Loyang, Hsienyang, Kidd and Benson without their fast rate of fire to facilitate aim correction. Cossack is greatly endangered by the prevalence of Surveillance Radar within her matchmaking tier where her short engagement range is more likely to bring her within reach of this consumable. Furthermore, her Smoke Generator does not allow for long bouts of gunnery within the safety of concealment. Cossack must contend with much of her gunnery being done while she is vulnerable to return fire if she cannot make use of island cover. Thus, Cossack must be opportunistic. Whatever ability she has to bully other destroyers falls away as she faces same or higher tiered opponents. Her guns can terrorize lower tiered vessels, including battleships but they lack the caliber needed when facing higher tiers. Throw in the usual challenges of radar in this matchmaking spread and a pattern emerges: The power and flexibility of Cossack's guns varies considerably upon the hand which she's dealt by Matchmaking. Cossack's torpedo launchers have much better rearward arcs than forward. Like her guns, Cossack is going to have to give up her full broadside to be able to fire her torpedoes at a target. Cossack's torpedoes are decent individually, but she has too few of them and bad firing arcs to boot. Cossack has HMS Daring's torpedoes but at tier VIII instead of tier X, which looks nice on paper but that single launcher holds her back. The saving grace of Cossack's torpedo armament is her ability to fire them one at a time. While getting good accuracy with single-launch torpedoes is locked behind a skill wall, once mastered it helps greatly with making up for the lack tubes. For a gunship, Cossack has better individual torpedoes than those found on the Soviet, American or German destroyers. However, like with her guns, she places a distant second to Akizuki, lacking both striking power and being unable to keep up with her damage output Furthermore, Cossack's individually more powerful torpedoes in no way makes up for having only one launcher. Like Cossack's guns, her torpedoes perform much better when she's top tier than bottom. Their 10km range is fairly standard (and an improvement on the 8km on Lightning's), however as Surveillance Radar becomes more and more prominent in higher tiers, this reach just doesn't provide the same level of safety. Ideally, a player should be able to combine Cossack's torpedoes with her excellent fire setting to stack damage over time effects on a given target. In practice, this is much easier said than done. Their limited arcs makes finding opportunities to use them difficult, especially in a pinch. When the stars align (or skill prevails), Cossack can doom an enemy vessel in short order by overtaxing their Damage Control Party between fires and floods and score herself an easy kill. However, these will be rare events rather than commonplace. As discussed, use of Cossack's gunnery and torpedoes are both steeped in challenges. One of the drawbacks of British torpedoes is their large detection range. While not quite on the same level as Japanese destroyer torpedoes, this does limit their effectiveness. Summary: The potency of her guns varies considerably based on the tier of the target she faces. Her gunnery performance is inconsistent. Her torpedoes are individually excellent but they're difficult to use, locked behind a higher skill wall. Cossack must present a lot of broadside to cycle her weapons which can make her unfortunately predictable. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Cossack never quite gets her act together to seriously contest the Japanese gunships for their primacy at this tier. Yeah, I'm as shocked as you are that Japan now dominates the destroyer firepower meta at tier VIII. I always thought it would have been the Soviets, but here we are. Defense Hit Points: 15,200hp Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm The Lolibote with a redundant name sure looks OP when you lay out the maximum effective hit point total of the tier VIII destroyers like this. However, making perfect use of all four charges of her Repair Party happens so seldom. Still, she's way tougher than Cossack. Cossack has nothing going for her in this category. She has a downright middling hit point total and no fun quirks to her armour profile. This is a destroyer where you will have to manage any gunfire trades carefully to preserve your health. Her DPM advantage is not so high that she can afford to simply slug away at an enemy lolibote and hope to come out the better. The Survivability Expert skill, which ups her to an even 18,000hp should be considered mandatory lest she fall behind the staying power of other gunships. Veterans who are familiar with the play style of Loyang and Benson will no doubt be able to relate to the need to properly spend their hit points when making gunship attacks. The difference between Cossack and these American-based gunships is her worse Smoke Generator performance which limits her ability to make escapes when things go pear shaped. Cause they will. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Cossack is in the bottom half of the vast tier VIII destroyer population. It's going to take a lot to move her up in rank -- namely another 5,000 hit points or a Repair Party consumable. Agility Top Speed: 36.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 610m Rudder Shift: 3.6s Maximum Turn Rate: 8.9º/s There's a lot to cover here. Let's hope I can put it in some semblance of good order without melting the brains of my readers. Your take away should be this: Cossack is far more agile than her in-port stats might otherwise indicate. She comes about quickly. She accelerates fast. She doesn't lose speed in a turn. Stay with me here, this graph isn't as scary as it looks. In purple, we have the sustained 4/4 speed of the tier VIII destroyers with their rudder hard over. This is how fast these destroyers can move while wiggling, dodging and coming about. In green is their nominal maximum speed -- for Cossack and Lightning, that's 36 knots. In blue, we have their engine boost speed. What makes Cossack so remarkable is that her maximum speed and turning speed pretty much overlap AND she access to an Engine Boost. This makes her a much harder target to hit, akin to a fast Soviet destroyer in terms of her forward momentum but with the added bonus that she can change her heading much more quickly. Cossack doesn't have the straight-line speed of some of her contemporaries. However, she's functionally faster than many of them. Like destroyers from the Royal Navy tech tree, Cossack preserves almost all of her speed while under manoeuvres. Most destroyers bleed off between 15% and 18% of their top speed while wiggling and dodging. Cossack loses less than 2%. In addition, Cossack comes about almost as nimbly as USS Sims -- one of the most agile mid-tier destroyers in the game, and at a higher sustained speed. For enemies trying to pick her off at range, Cossack presents the dual challenge of a ridiculously high top speed with an nimble target, giving the best traits of both American and Soviet lolibotes in a single package. It doesn't stop there. From a dead stop, Cossack accelerates as much as 25% faster than a similar destroyer equipped with Propulsion Modification 2. From a dead stop, Cossack is quick to get moving again, helping her avoid sudden threats like incoming torpedoes or being lit by Surveillance Radar. Cossack gets the best of both worlds when it comes to upgrades; she enjoys better acceleration than she would have receive with Propulsion Modification 2 and she gets the improved rudder shift time of Steering Gears Modification 2. Unlike other Royal Navy destroyers, Cossack gets all of this without sacrificing access to Engine Boost. Combined with a Sierra Mike signal, she can get her speed up to 40.8kts for these brief spells while keeping all of the aforementioned bonuses to her handling. While ships like Kiev and the upcoming Le Terrible can outpace her in a straight line, Cossack wins out in overall handling and flexibility in combat situations. She trivializes dodging incoming fire and dancing torpedo beats. Paper stats won't tell the whole story. If you looked at a combination of Cossack's top speed, turning radius and rudder shift time, she'd look deceptively mediocre. The engine power of the Royal Navy destroyers and their energy preservation means that they perform on an entirely different level from the other lolibotes, making Cossack far more nimble than her stats otherwise indicate. Her Engine Boost consumable adds even more flexibility than even Lightning can boast, making Cossack the most agile destroyer at her tier.[/caption] Summary Boosted acceleration. Little to no loss of speed in a turn. Cossack can rocket-butt with Engine Boost unlike other British DDs. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Loss of her Engine Boost consumable would be enough. This is a closely contested category at tier VIII with Lightning being hot on Cossack's heels with better rate of turn and a smaller turning radius. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 40mm / 12.7mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 2.5km / 1.2km AA DPS per Aura: 12.9 / 4.2 Hahaha, no. Cossack has no large caliber AA guns to speak of. Even cursory HE damage is likely to strip her of all of her remaining defensive weapons. Enemy aircraft carriers should feel completely safe in having their planes loiter over Cossack and friendly carriers should abstain from dragging enemy aircraft near Cossack. She'll be of no help. ... except I did. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Cossack only barely ekes out the worst AA rating at tier VIII. Asashio is only marginally better with less DPS but more range. In theory, it wouldn't take much to nudge Cossack up the ladder, but don't ever assume this would make her evaluation passable here. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 6.97km Air Detection Range: 3.90km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.48km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.48km Main Battery Firing Range: 11.89km Detection Consumables: Smoke Generator / Hydroacoustic Search There's a whole lot of weirdness crammed into Cossack's refrigerator. She is currently the rated tier VIII destroyer in terms of stealth and detection, however this is a title she doesn't claim easily. There are three elements which define her concealment: her surface detection range, her Hydroacoustic Search and her Smoke Generator. Surface Detection Spotting distance delta (in meters) between HMS Cossack and the destroyers within her matchmaking spread when fully upgraded for concealment. This chart is restricted only to those destroyers within +/- 500m spread of Cossack's optimized stealth rating. Note that a distance of at least 200m is necessary to have a plausible chance of a reactionary advantage over an opponent and more is preferable. There are few destroyers that can challenge her concealment rating. Cossack is one of the stealthiest destroyers not only at her tier but also within her matchmaking spread. Only the Kagero-class sisters (Kagero, Asashio, Harekaze) have an improved stealth rating as low as 5.374km to Cossack's 5.476km. In open water with every other match-up, Cossack will detect enemies before she herself is seen. Generally speaking, when Cossack is top tier, she will dominate scouting. It's only when she faces tier IX opponents that things get harried, with detection ranges being close enough that Cossack is likely to trip over an enemy destroyer without enough time to react. Surveillance Radar, always the bane of destroyers (and gunship destroyers especially), is a very real and especially prevalent threat to Cossack's well being. When she's bottom tier, Cossack faces several ships with radar that meet or outstrip their surface detection range. There is very little counterplay she can exercise against ships armed with this consumable short of having advanced knowledge of their approximate location. Keep a wary eye on team rosters and behave accordingly. Hydroacoustic Search HMS Cossack comes with a Royal Navy Destroyer safety blanket -- her Hydroacoustic Search. In the radar-heavy environment in which she plays, this lacks the offensive utility found on HMCS Haida and it's largely reserved for simply sniffing out torpedoes. Still, it is possible for Cossack to unmask ships hiding within smoke screens while using her consumable, however she needs to get even closer than her Canadian counterpart to do it. This tactic is largely inadvisable given Cossack's difficulties in getting away once detected but it can be pulled off in a pinch, especially in late game scenarios where an enemy destroyer lacks support. Exploit that three minute duration -- she can outlast the longer ranged (and easier to use) consumables found on Loyang and German destroyers. Outside of these very specific instances, Cossack's Hydroacoustic Search is better used defensively -- giving her the time necessary to avoid incoming torpedo strikes. In most games, this will largely be its purpose. Vigilance is a helpful skill in this regard for team play purposes if you can afford it. Still, this consumable provides a degree of flexibility to the ship that expert players can exploit and to underestimate or dismiss it would be a mistake. Cossack belongs up on the front lines, projecting vision forward for her team and sniffing out early torpedo threats. Smoke Generator There's a big ol' "but" looming over Cossack's superior vision control. She may have great surface detection. She may have a very handy detection consumable that keeps her safe from torpedoes and can be used offensively in a pinch. Butt, her Smoke Generator stinks. Shackled to the same terrible smoke consumable as the British destroyers in the tech tree, Cossack is held back by its low emission and duration times. She doesn't make many smoke clouds for one. What smoke she does make doesn't last nearly long enough to be comfortable, undermining both Cossack's survivability and her ability to deal damage. When used offensively, Cossack can only park in smoke for 40 seconds at a time. With American battleships boasting up to 20s worth of immunity with their Damage Control Party, Cossack isn't going to seriously contest her opponent's ability to put out fires. This necessitates other tactics to get the most out of the potential damage output of her guns. Borrowing the smoke from another ship is one way such as in a division. She can also take a page from American cruiser and destroyer game play and use island cover to lob her shells at enemies that cannot see her but her lack of reach makes this difficult. Finally she can simply elect to fire from open water and risk trading her hit points. I would hardly call this ideal given her low hit point total. Defensively, her smoke is also found wanting. At top speed in a straight line, Cossack drops all of three (count 'em) smoke clouds. If you install the special upgrade, Smoke Generator Modification 1 you get one more puff. That's it -- hardly worth the coal investment. Cossack's consumable is not so much a smoke screen as a squid's ink-squirt. If Cossack has been firing her guns, she may not being able to create enough smoke to block line of sight to multiple opponents (which will make you wonder why you even bothered). Fortunately, if you cut your speed the moment you activate her consumable, Cossack will come to a stop inside the last cloud. Don't wait on the throttle though -- you need to be decelerating the moment you begin laying down your rings. At least Cossack's smoke reset timer isn't punitive. The delay between dissipating and the availability of her next charge can be as little as 20 seconds with the correct commander and signal combination. With up to seven charges available, Cossack simply needs to hold her fire for brief intervals before setting up for another round of shooting. Patience and careful planning can almost make up for all of her consumable's shortcomings. Closely Contested Cossack is an excellent scout. Few destroyers at tier VIII can sit as comfortably on the front lines, broadcasting back enemy positions for their team as Cossack can. In addition, her forward position helps protect her allies from long range torpedo salvos which become quite commonplace within her matchmaking. This isn't a safe place to be, however, and Cossack lacks reliable smoke from her toolkit to give her a sense of security. Cossack may be one of the stealthiest ships at her tier and one of the best destroyers for controlling vision for her team. However, this is very little room for error. Summary Great open water concealment. Hydroacoustic Search combined with her great acceleration and handling makes enemy torpedoes launched at range a non-threat. Her smoke smells like butts. At least she gets a lot of quick-reloading charges. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Top spot among the tier VIII destroyers is heavily contested. The Japanese torpedo ships have the best raw concealment values. Loyang has arguably the best combination of detection consumables though her surface detection is too big to take the crown. Cossack wins out on primacy despite the flaw of her Smoke Generator, but not without contention. Keeping Oskar from becoming a Sam Skills rated by their utility in descending order from purple, to blue, to green, to red. For the colourblind, they're also rated by hearts. Cossack's initial skill choices are fairly standard for a gunship. Start with Priority Target. Next take Last Stand at tier 2. Survivability Expert is optimal at tier 3. And finish off your 10th point with Concealment Expert. Basic Fire Training should be a must on anyone's list after that and Adrenaline Rush is also optimal. From there, spend your last four points as you will. Final Evaluation I'm not one to blame matchmaking. However, Cossack's fortunes are more firmly tied to matchmaking than many other ships I've played in recent memory. I think it's largely owing to how Cossack performs when she up-tiers. To be absolutely clear, Cossack is a beast when she's the top of the pile. There are very few opponents she cannot engage comfortably and it's only those vessels at her own tier which give her pause. However, Cossack doesn't feel anywhere near as comfortable when she has to go up against tier IX and X opponents. This isn't a problem unique to Cossack, but it is more pronounced in her case. Her guns have a very limited menu of appetizing targets when she faces same or higher tiered opponents. It's not that she can't deal damage when bottom tier, it's simply more of a challenge than for other destroyers. She reminds me very much of most tier V battleships, where they can feel like real powerhouses in those rare times that matchmaking favours them and victims otherwise. Your mileage in Cossack will vary based upon not only where your placed on the Matchmaking roster but what's on the enemy team. So long as she's facing enemy destroyers and cruisers with soft squishy bits she can pelt with her pew pews, you're going to have a great time regardless of her tier. If you suddenly find yourself facing down tier VIII+ American and German heavy cruisers, a heavy battleship lineup or Japanese ducky-destroyers, life's going to be a lot more difficult. Fortunately, Cossack still has a role when she can't be the big dog. When she's no longer able to deal direct damage easily, she excels at simply putting eyes on targets and pressuring cap circles. It's difficult to dislodge an RNDD that has setup shop around a given cap short of using concerted air power or a constant barrage of radiation from Surveillance Radar to drive them back. Cossack won't come out of said matches with much to show for it other than a win if everything goes right, unfortunately. I do like Cossack, but she doesn't inspire the same kind of awe her sister ship, Haida did for me. There's a lot to enjoy with this ship. Few feels as comfortable as she does when top tier and even in those uptiered matches, she can serve you well provided you meet the right opponents. However, in those games where there's nothing but hard targets, the pickings get mighty slim. I dunno why, but I'm a fan of Cossack's alternative camouflage. I wish it didn't cost 2,000 doubloons to make my ship look pretty, but oh well. Would I Recommend? Cossack was originally made available through the Royal Navy event which ran in the last quarter of 2018. Wargaming assigned her a cost of 50 Guineas with players able to earn up to 48 Guineas over three patches. It's not you -- the math doesn't add up. The assumption is that players will have to pay for the difference with a Guinea setting you back around $1 USD. Otherwise, players may acquire her for the equivalent cost of 9,600 doubloons + the price of a port slot. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No. Cossack does alright in Operation Dynamo, but her contribution is very one-sided with being largely limited to engaging the torpedo boats. Her AA power is virtually non-existent. Co-Op isn't kind to gunship destroyers, particularly those with only modest hit point pools and limited torpedo options. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes with a butt. Cossack doesn't play much differently than the other Royal Navy destroyers and her skill choices overlap nicely (especially with captains for Icarus, Jervis, Jutland and Daring). The only issue is that earnings get a might bit slim of matchmaking doesn't love you. For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. There are better choices, namely Loyang and Akizuki. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. Now you too can own a memento of the ship that predicated the early invasion of Norway! Slap on a Hotel Yankee signal, board some enemies and cause an international incident! For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. While I'd rather play Haida, that's my own Canadian bias speaking. Cossack is a fun ship though be warned, she is a tier VIII destroyer. That comes with all of the hangups that tier VIII destroyers face. What's the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE- The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes. Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal. Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task. OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely In Closing Is it over? I think it's over! Cossack (and Haida) have been on books since January of 2018 -- that's over nine months of work that has gone into reviewing her and her sister ship with too many different versions between them. As you can imagine, there was a lot of information to keep track of with her performance changing so regularly. While I'm happy the two ships aren't terrible, I'm very (very) glad to be able to stop worrying about Cossack for a while. I want to thank my readers and fans who helped keep me sane over these months and an especially well deserved thanks to my Patrons on Patreon who helped keep me fed. I won't have to dig her out again until there's another tier VIII destroyer to review for a comparative study. But that won't happen for another ... Aww, sh-- ...!  Appendix (1) Penetration data courtesy of Proships.ru (https://www.proships.ru) and World of Warships AP Calculator (https://mustanghx.github.io/ship_ap_calculator/).
  23. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Flandre

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

    Premium Ship Review - Hizen

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

    Premium Ship Review Okhotnik

    While steps have been taken to ensure accuracy, Okhotnik was a work in progress at the time of testing. Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed here are subject to change before release. HMS TOG II* eat your heart out. Quick Summary: A Viking long-ship. A TOG II* in World of Warships form. A fish story. A destroyer that's happy to see you. A meme waiting to happen. Patch & Date Written: 0.6.1 - February 16th, 2017 Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publication. Closest in-Game Contemporary Izyaslav, Tier 4 Russian DestroyerDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Okhotnik feels like something that would be concocted if someone was trying to describe the Izyaslav in a fish story. She's an exaggeration of the tier 4 Russian destroyer in almost every dimension (particularly length) while still keeping close enough to the source material. She really should be a cruiser, but she's not. PROs Armed with seven (!) 130mm rifles, delivering a massive alpha strike potential per volley. All guns can rotate 360º, allowing for easier re-engagement of targets from one side to the other. Also armed with twelve (!) dorsally mounted (!!) torpedo tubes divided between four launchers. Fast reload time on her torpedoes of 47s per launcher. Her torpedoes provide some of the shortest reaction-time for her opponents with a mere 1.0km detection range. This gives targets about 6s to respond. Good concealment values for a ship of her length, with a 6.5km surface detection range while stock. She looks absolutely hilarious. CONs Short ranged main battery with a reach of 9.2km Horrible turret traverse of 5.5º per second. Receives the 2.0km Soviet-destroyer stealth-tax to her surface detection range when she fires her main battery for a total penalty of +5.9km. Her torpedoes are short ranged with restricted forward fire angles. Pathetic AA armament and a big target for enemy aircraft -- because she's long. Enormous turning circle of 730m and slow rotation speed of 6º per second. Because long ship is long. Heavy reliance on a significant number of Captain Skills to make the ship competitive and enjoyable. Okhotnik makes me think of what would happen if you asked a small group of six year old children to design a destroyer and they each tried to one-up each other. “My destroyer is going to have four guns and six torpedoes.”“Yes, but MY destroyer is going to have FIVE guns and EIGHT torpedoes!” By the time you get to the kid that designs Clemson, with her twelve torpedoes and six rifles, you know things are getting a bit out of hand. The Okhotnik is the next abomination to be conceived and you should probably stop the exercise there before someone reinvents the Kitakami.This thing looks ridiculous. As a weapon system, Okhotnik looks as subtle as stuffing a brick into a sweat sock and swinging it around your head. It's cumbersome, awkward and things get horribly stretched out. It's also absolutely devastating when it lands a blow. I normally reserve all accusatory judgments to the end of the article but I'll say this right from the start: Provided you've got a highly-experienced Captain at the helm with the right skills, you're going to love playing this thing. Okhotnik is hilarious looking and a riot to play. She can be an overpowered little monster in her current iteration and there's only a few checks in place to give her the illusion of balance.Lert's joining me to show you how she compares directly to her competitors while I go over the nitty-gritty to explain how she can be used and abused. The Lertbox Mmh? ... I'm up. I'm awake, promise. zzzz .... What? Oh. Right. Okhotnik. Okhotnik has a very distinct (and low) silhouette. This latter trait plays very much to her advantage, making her difficult to shoot. Options No surprises here. Okhotnik uses the same three-tone camouflage scheme found on Imperator Nikolai I and Aurora. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost Module Upgrades: Three slots, standard destroyer options.Premium Camouflage: Tier 2 to 5 Standard. This provides 30% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. As with most ships, you'll want to splurge on premium versions of consumables on an “as you can afford” basis. I strongly recommend taking a premium version of Okhotnik's Smoke Generator and Damage Control Party. A premium Engine Boost consumable is also nice to have, but it's not necessary. For her module choices, it's the same picks you'll take for most destroyers. For your first slot, Magazine Modification 1 is your best choice. Your guns are fragile, though, so if being detonated doesn't bother you, then taking Main Armaments Modification 1 is a reasonable alternative. In your second slot, you have a choice. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is best. This reduces your maximum dispersion by 7m at 11km... which isn't a lot, but it is preferable to assist with your torpedo traverse. Alternatively, you can take Main Battery Modification 2 to increase your turret traverse but this comes at a minor loss to DPM. And for your third slot, take whatever because they're all terrible. Firepower Primary Battery: Seven 130mm rifles, two on the bow and five on the stern. None of these guns are superfiring. Torpedo Armament: Twelve tubes in 4x3 launchers Okhotnik naval rifles are the 130mm/55 B-7 and she gets a lot of them. This gun was first introduced to us last year with Krasny Krym, the modernized version of Svietlana. These are also found on Podvoisky, the new tier 5 Destroyer supplanting the Gnevny-class. They differ somewhat from the 130mm B-13s that are found on the higher tier Soviet destroyers. They have a slightly lower muzzle velocity and a worse penetrating shell. These do the same 2,500 AP and 1,900 HE damage with an 8% fire chance. Okhotnik is very short ranged for a tier 5 destroyer at 9.2km, which helps keep her power level in check.Okhotnik trades away DPM for alpha strike. A single broadside of all seven rifles lands for 4,389 HE damage when they penetrate an unsaturated target. This is one third of a tier 5 destroyer's health pool and amounts to a larger alpha strike per volley than the tier 7 Blyskawica. Landing hits like this made most of my opponents get all squirrely for some reason. They often elected to disengage rather than press any DPM advantage they had over me. Of course, missing with one volley is more tragic in Okhotnik than other destroyers and poor gunnery will punish you especially hard. Make those shots count or reap the consequences.Some of the negative traits of Okhotnik's guns will be very familiar to veterans of the Russian and Soviet Destroyer line. First of all, she has the same 2.0km “stealth tax” when firing her guns. Instead of receiving a nominal 3.9km surface detection penalty (gun calibre x 0.3km), Okhotnik gains 5.9km of surface detection range when shooting. This precludes her from ever being able to fire from stealth short of lobbing shells from smoke or behind an island. She also shares the horrible gun traverse rate of the Gnevny-class. It takes her almost 33s to traverse her guns 180º which is downright appalling. However, you might not notice it as much given Okhotnik's handling, but more on that later. The good news is that Okhotnik compensates for this by having a 360º rotation on all of her guns. Okhotnik has next to no deck clutter. What's more, her guns aren't mounted in partially or fully enclosed turrets. Heck, they don't even have gun shields. So while her guns may not be mounted in a superfiring configuration, it's surprising how many you can bring to bear. All seven rifles can be aimed at targets 30º off her bow to either side. More surprising is that gun #2 can fire through gun #1. Yeah. Weird. This gives you two rifles that can shoot directly forward but only one gun can shoot directly astern. As you'll often be tacking towards or away from your targets at an angle, you'll often only need to adjust your heading by a little to bring all of your guns to bear. TorpedoesOkhotnik's torpedoes are almost as hilarious as her gun mounts. She has four triple launchers, mounted dorsally. She can dump a broadside of 12 torpedoes at a target at once. This is a feat that isn't matched until the Shimakaze at tier 10. These “walls of skill” are an absolute nightmare for enemies to try to avoid and it's not uncommon to see players freeze in the face of the approaching doom. The only thing that keeps this balanced is the horrible performance of the torpedoes.Okhotnik's fish are unique currently. They have a 13,667 maximum damage listing which isn't bad for a tier 5 destroyer (especially not one that can spit out twelve of the little blighters). They're very quick too, traveling at 62 knots with a 1.0km surface detection range, giving opponents a mere 6.1s worth of reaction time when their death approaches. Worse, these things can be veritably spammed with their 47s reload per launcher. With their respectable damage output, Okhotnik can keep tubes in reserve, launching only what's needed and keeping others on hand for a follow up target. The only thing gives these things a modicum of balance (and only just) is their short range of 4.5km.Her torpedoes are one of the most unbalanced features about Okhotnik, and if she were any faster they would be horribly overpowered. With the ability to get the ship's surface detection range down to 5.7km with Concealment Expert, Okhotnik can sprint the last 1.2km she needs to dump her fish against a chosen target in as little as 13 seconds against a ship running a perpendicular course. This isn't a lot of time to react to the ambush. The only fly in the ointment here is that Okhotnik doesn't have very good forward torpedo arcs as her first three launchers are sandwiched in between the fore and after superstructure and funnels so it will require her to manoeuvre to swing out her weapons.Expect to see a lot of spectacular suicide torpedo runs and close-range island ambushes in this boat paying big dividends. Rivals: Gremyashchy Lert: Gremyashchy is faster and has more range. She has better torpedoes, turns better and can fire from stealth in open water. She'll be spotted before Okhotnik is though, and if you catch a Gremy with its pants down you can smash him in the face with superior alpha strike, giving you the edge in the DPM fight that follows. Be wary of Gremy's torpedoes, which have twice the range of yours. Always be wary of potential torps and maneuver accordingly, you don't have the agility to dodge torpedoes you didn't expect. If Gremyashchy comes within 4km, flood the ocean with metal fishes, though a smart Gremy driver will avoid this situation. Try to control the engagement, difficult as it seems versus a ship that is faster and turns better than you. Keep the pressure on him, and you might come out of this engagement still floating. It's very important to get that first strike in though, and your superior stealth helps in this regard. Even then, it's an uphill battle and a savvy Gremyashchy driver will use his speed and agility to try and dictate the fight. Okhotnik is good, but it doesn't challenge Gremy's crown of best Russian destroyer at tier 5. Wall of skill deployed. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 34.5 knots Turning Radius: 730m Rudder Shift Time: 3.2s So here's where the bad news lies, and it's all in one trait, really. Okhotnik has a lower-than-average top speed and decent rudder shift. But where she really hurts is her turning radius, which is comparable to that of a Battleship. This is to be expected given her length. It takes Okhotnik just over 15 seconds to make a 90º turn and almost a minute to rotate 360º, slowing down to 28.9 knots with her rudder hard over. For comparison, a Farragut can make the same 90º turn in 11 seconds and the full rotation in 43. Okhotnik just doesn't answer her rudder quickly. This makes her rather vulnerable to enemy torpedoes as you can well imagine. Torpedo bombers are a particular weakness of Okhotnik's, as she has a rather large surface detection range for a destroyer while simultaneously having pathetic AA power (more on that later). The length of her hull only exacerbates the problem of avoiding these waterborne warheads. Still, even with this sluggish handling, she's still capable of out turning her even more sluggish turret traverse (6º ship turn, 5.5º turret traverse). Thankfully, her 360º turret rotation more than makes up for this. Okhotnik's lack of agility also makes dodging incoming fire a little more challenging. However, her low profile does maker her a difficult target to land reliable hits against, especially at range. Durability Hit Points: 12,700 Maximum Protection: 16mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 10mm Okhotnik has a slightly-more-than-average hit points total for a tier 5 destroyer, but nothing to get too excited about. Her exposed main battery mounts have only 6mm of armour protection but they can absorb just as much damage as the weapons on other DDs. Still, expect HE splashes from large caliber guns to disable and destroy these vulnerable weapons regularly. With the length of her hull, it's important to keep incoming AP shell penetration mechanics in mind. Shots that strike her broadside are likely to over penetrate while those that travel the length of the ship are more likely to result in full penetration damage. Be careful on your approaches against Battleships. This makes the Captain Skill, Priority Target, worth it's weight in gold. Pay attention to what ships are shooting at you and with what ammunition types to best protect yourself. Rivals: Nicholas Lert: The American fighting lady has a hit point advantage, superior gun DPM, better range, better speed and is more agile. Her torpedo armament is arguably weaker than yours by volume and damage output, though not by range. This theoretical duel will depend greatly on who gets the initiative. Although she's faster, Nicholas has slightly worse detection than you, giving you a small advantage here. Make sure your first salvo hits, and hits hard. This will give you an advantage that you need to press. If Nicholas makes a mistake and comes close enough, perhaps to try and launch her torpedoes, make sure you close the gap and get your wall of skill in the water to crush her. Your volume of fish will mean no escape if the Nicholas makes the mistake of coming within 4km. Still, this is an uphill battle that depends greatly on who takes the initiative. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 6.5km Air Detection Range: 4.3km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.7km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +5.9km (vs 9.2km gun range) I dunno what they were thinking here.Okhotnik is an enormous destroyer, yet she has better concealment values than Gremyashchy, Gnevny, Podvoisky, Nicholas and T-22. Her enormity is in one dimension only, however, and that may explain why she gets such a generous surface detection range. Okhotnik sits very low in the water, with her raised forward bow section lower than that of the Kamikaze-class and her bridge being much lower still. Within her Matchmaking spread, from tiers 4 through 7, only the IJN Destroyers Isokaze, Minekaze, Kamikaze, Mutsuki and the tier 4 German V-170 have a better surface detection range. Short of being sniffed out by aircraft or tripping over one of these ships, Okhotnik is going to see her opponents before being detected in turn. This is good news for the Russian Destroyer given the short range of her weapon systems. She is utterly incapable of firing either her torpedoes or her guns without being detected by her enemies. Every time you pull the trigger, you're putting your ship in harm's way. One of the few balancing measures for Okhotnik shows up here with her very large detection range from the air. She's spotted 4.3km out, which is closer to the range you would expect for a destroyer-leader like the Tenryu or Yubari. Okhotnik moored alongside a reference-Minekaze. You can very clearly see the difference in length and height between the two images. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 76.2mm / 7.62mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 3.0km / 1.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 3 / 7 Ha-ha, who are you kidding? Okhotnik is dangerously vulnerable to aircraft and should be made a priority target by any CV that spots her on the team line up. Her long keel and horrible turning radius makes her a juicy target for torpedo planes though she is rather slender, making her a harder target for dive bombers. This is one of the few destroyers where you can safely keep her AA turned on at all times as their range is actually shorter than her aerial detection range. Rivals: Minekaze Lert: She's stealthier than you, faster than you, more agile than you and can fire torpedoes from outside her detection range. In Minekaze's ideal hypothetical scenario, you'll never see him coming and the first notice you have of him being near is the Sixth Sense warning icon appearing on the screen. Expect torpedoes in the water, and turn towards where you suspect he is. The concealment difference between the two is only 100 meters base, so if you guessed right, you'll be able to spot him once you make your turn. Smack him upside the head with a devastating volley and hope he doesn't just turn and run, in which case you'll never catch him. Any Minekaze driver worth his salt knows he'll never win a gunnery duel with a Russian gunboat, and will not engage in one if he has any say. Skills to Beat Sneaker wearing HedgehogsOkhotnik has a real dependence on Captain Skills to make her an enjoyable and effective destroyer. Arguably, most destroyers manage this level of competitiveness with 10 skill points -- when they unlock Concealment Expert. This makes Okhotnik very much a late bloomer. Whether a player considers her powerful will largely depend on the skills available to their Captain. While there's always some mutability in skill choice between players, the five skills below should be considered “must haves” for Okhotnik. As a trainer for your Soviet Captains, this dependence on certain skills can make Okhotnik ill suited to performing optimally with skills that run contrary to this recommended build.Priority Target (tier one)Okhotnik cannot engage enemies without being seen herself, short of abusing island and smoke cover. These forms of concealment will not always be readily available, so it's important to know when it's safe to pull the trigger and when you should go gun-silent to preserve your hit points. Due to Okhotnik's middling speed and manoeuvrability, dodging fire isn't as viable as dropping off the radar and disappearing. Knowing when you can continue pulling the trigger safely and when you should probably disengage will help keep this ship in the game. This can also allow you to know when it's safer to attempt a point blank torpedo drop.Expert Marksman (tier two)During play-testing, Okhotnik was shackled with the same awful turret traverse with which Gremyashchy was originally introduced. This 5.5º per second rotation didn't feel as limiting for this destroyer though. The reason was simple enough -- unlike Gremyashchy, Okhotnik could only turn the ship itself at 6º per second. So while she could out turn her turrets, it wasn't to such a dramatic degree as the original Soviet Premium Destroyer.So Okhotnik's turret traverse doesn't feel as punitive as Gremyashchy's did while the ship is under manoeuvres. However, Okhotnik struggles to use her rudder to help bring her guns to bear on a new target. To this end, Expert Marksman is a very important skill to help her re-engage targets quickly.Without this skill, Okhotnik is still playable though switching sides with her guns takes a very long time (as much as 33 seconds). This said, having a 360º rotation on her turrets will help some, at least with tracking a new target. Thus, this should be the last skill you pick up.Last Stand (tier two)You're a destroyer, and one that cannot stealth-fire at targets. It's safe to assume your steering and rudder will be knocked out regularly. Take this one on your first pass through the skill list.Concealment Expert (tier four) Take this as your first tier four skill. This may seem like a no-brainer. There are very few destroyers in the game where Concealment Expert doesn't provide a tremendous bonus to their effectiveness. Okhotnik isn't special this way by any means, but it's worth paying special attention why she gains from this skill. With camouflage, this drops her surface detection range from 6.3km to 5.7km. This does not allow Okhotnik to torpedo without being detected or to fire from stealth in open water, even with Advanced Fire Training . With this in mind, some players may be outright dismissive of the necessity of this skill, but it shouldn't be skipped over.With Concealment Expert, Okhotnik gains the ability to spot other gunships before she herself is detected. Provided her turrets are properly aligned, this all but guarantees her to get off the first volley of shells. As Okhotnik focuses on alpha strike and not DPM with her guns, this can mean the difference between clinching an engagement with that first strike or being on the back foot every time she meets another destroyer. Finally, when things do go south (and they will), it provides an additional 600m distance buffer to allow you to drop back into stealth when you silence your guns.Advanced Fire Training (tier four)One of Okhotnik's biggest flaws is the short range of her main battery. Her 9.2km stock range may seem like a nuisance at first, but it works considerably to the detriment of the ship when it comes to engaging capital ships. Advanced Fire Training opens Okhotnik's range up to 11km and the importance of this range increase cannot be understated. Her guns, with their good ballistic qualities, are still very accurate to this range.Okhotnik shares a low surface profile, similar to the German V-170. With almost no deck structures, hitting Okhotnik with main battery fire is a challenge. The more range you can open up between yourself and your targets, the safer Okhotnik becomes. While you can never remove the threat of return fire in Okhotnik, you can make it so annoying to shoot her that opponents elect to fire somewhere else.So if you intend to use Okhotnik to abuse larger ships, this skill is almost a must. This should be acquired as soon as you have Concealment Expert.Final Note on Captain SkillsIf you've done the math, you'll note that with taking only a single tier 3 skill, this adds up to 16pt Captain. The only real variety and choice for Okhotnik comes in with her tier 3 skills and there are a lot of good options there. I personally prefer taking Basic Fire Training as my primary skill at tier 3 and Demolition Expert as a follow up. Decent alternative skills include Survivability Expert and Superintendent. I firmly believe that a 14pt Captain is really needed to enjoy this ship, though 16pts is ideal. When combined with the inflexibility of skill choices, her uses as a Soviet training ship are much more limited. Recommended Build: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1000000000100001000010100000100119 Skills should be taken in this order: Priority Target Last Stand Basic Fire Training (or tier 3 skill of choice) Concealment Expert Advanced Fire Training Demolition Expert (or tier 3 skill of choice) Expert Marksman Inertial Fuse for HE Shells Okhotnik doesn't need to take the tier 4 skill, Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. Her 130mm rifles are capable of penetration up to 21mm of armour without it. When she's top tier, short of the belt armour and turrets of larger warships, there are very few sections of any ships she cannot damage directly. If you can scrounge the points for it, this will give her the ability to extend this ability to penetrate all targets just about everywhere up through tier 6 and 7 battleships and some of the IJN and German Cruisers at tiers 6+. The only problem with taking this skill is finding the points necessary to afford it. The easiest place to acquire them would be to drop a tier 3 and a tier 2 skill to shoe horn this into your build. Alternatively, you could drop Concealment Expert, but this would prevent you from being able to effectively engage enemy destroyers.Alternative IFHE Bombardment: Build One: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1100000000000001000000100010100119 Build Two: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1000000000100001000010100010100019 Aircraft carriers should make taking this destroyer out a priority. However, they need to switch up the tools they use to do so. Torpedo bombers are very effective against this clumsy ship. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme As far as destroyers go, Okhotnik is pretty forgiving but only with the right Captain Skill choices. Properly set up, she can hide from anything she can't outfight and barring tripping over a Belfast or Atlanta, she can outfight anything from which she can't hide. She's always going to be detected when you engage enemy targets, so there's no fussy stealth-firing calculations to make. You can blindly rush unwary capital ships and make their lives miserable with a suicide torp-wall of doom and they're equally effective at deterring enemy destroyers from knife fighting. About the only bad trait about her for inexperienced or novice players is her horrible handling but don't let that stop you.But again, that's contingent on having the right skills to optimize this destroyer's strengths. Without the right setup, novice players may find this ship frustrating.For veterans and skilled players, Okhotnik is going to be a little monster. The damage this ship can put out demands a lot of respect and her base concealment rating allows players to control the engagement. Her ability to deliver sudden and massive alpha strikes with her torpedoes and guns will put many inexperienced opponents on their back foot right from the word go and allow Okhotnik to bully with ease. The Lertbox - Final Words Okhotnik struggles against same tier opponents in theoretical 1v1s. If you only read my three comparisons you might get the idea that she sucks. However, that's only if the opponent presses their advantage and pursues the engagement. Plus, Okhotnik is unrivaled in delivering apocalyptic devastating ambushes versus battleships - in a training room I was able to reliably one-shot (stationary and unarmed) Grosser Kurfuersts with her torpedo broadsides. Versus other destroyers, she relies on smashing alpha strike from a situation of stealth. She relies on dissuading gunship destroyers from engaging her by biting their face off, without warning. Once so hit, the enemy destroyer driver may panic and try to disengage or smoke up, at which point you've got them. Against cooler heads though, you're on the defensive. Against destroyer drivers who aren't intimidated by your first salvo you've got your work cut out. Without the ROF to pummel them down or speed to disengage, you're facing an uphill battle. I just don't think she's as OP as Mouse says. Time will tell though. Mouse's Summary: Longship is long. It should come with Vikings. She doesn't handle very well, but that didn't bother me. Her torpeedus are amazing. She's the perfect ship to dig out an enemy destroyers and cruisers hiding in smoke. Why is she so stealthy!? As far as Soviet-bias goes, Okhotnik isn't too bad -- she's only a little overpowered (like that's a good thing). Her performance is gated behind a combination of skills so not every Okhotnik is going to be awesome. She isn't unbalanced in the same manner as the Belfast. Her strengths are more well-rounded, with good guns, good torpedoes and good concealment without any gimmicks. This makes her strong without being dominating in a single arena. A lot of focus will be put on her torpedoes as THE defining feature of what makes her so advantageous, but this would be a mistake. If her torpedoes had more range, then certainly, I could agree with that sentiment, but it's the combination of traits rather than any one single element that makes her overpowered. She has great stealth but she can't stealth fire. She has a great torpedo armament, but good luck getting those off against tier 7 ships. Her guns are hard hitting, but they're not going to let you knife fight an American destroyer that wants to fight back. You're not fast enough to get away from an Atlanta or Belfast that's running you down with radar. Okhotnik dances the fine line between risk and reward. Aggressive players will love her. Cautious players might not.Okhotnik up-tiers rather well, having little trouble facing off against tier 6 opponents as well as she might against tier 5. It's only when the tier 7s appear, with higher velocity guns and ships like Belfast, Fiji and Atlanta, that she begins to feel a bit long in the tooth. Battleships also get faster and the maps are less claustrophobic making for fewer ambush-opportunities at close range. It's a testament that Okhotnik is at least a little more balanced than Gremyashchy which scarcely notices when she's up-tiered.Okhotnik's strengths really lie with her concealment / alpha strike ability. With this, I could engage even tier 7 Kiev-class destroyers and remain confident of winning. It's not hard to land 6 or 7 shots when the engagement range begins at 6km and this initial 3,000 to 4,000 hammer blow into their hit points sets the tone for a winning battle. A second volley could often be delivered before the Kiev could bring all of her guns on target. It's no wonder most of them would try to smoke up and reset the engagement at this stage. It was often wise to blow my own smoke at the same time and back off if the Kiev had spotters in the area keeping me lit. If not, there was no harm in dropping a wall of skill into their smoke screen. Easy money.I had a lot of fun playing Okhotnik; she surprised me. I admit, I took one look at this derpy boat and thought I'd hate it but she won me over. Once I dropped my Gremyashchy Captain into her, she took me for a ride and I was grinning the whole time. Changes from Play Test Okhotnik changed somewhat from the play test sessions I enjoyed to her release on live. Two were minor and one was rather significant. All of these changes have been considered and folded into the review already, so you don't need to back track and re-evaluate what was written. Okhotnik's turret rotation was buffed from 5º per second to 5.5º per second. Okhotnik's guns used to traverse with the same sluggish handling as Gremyashchy. A large number of the Soviet Destroyers got a gun traverse buff with 0.6.2 and Okhotnik was no exception. Originally only Okhotnik's two forward turrets could rotate 360º. This is a minor change, really. Now all five rear turrets can also rotate in a full circle. Combined with the minor turret traverse buff, this is a nice quality of life change but again not too significant. Fire angles of the aft guns (except for the last one) is limited to +/- 30º off the ship axis. Now this one is a kicker and represents a more significant (but not terribly damaging) nerf. Okhotnik's five rear guns used to be able to engage targets 20º off the forward or rear arcs of the ship. Okhotnik already has a small profile and being able to aggressively angle her towards or away from a foe while firing five (rearward) or seven (forward) guns was pretty huge. She doesn't have enough armour to auto-ricochet anything but a select few destroyer-caliber AP shells, but it did make her a much smaller target to bulls-eye. The individual fire angles for the rear guns began as little as 16º off the bow (#7). Okhotnik belongs up front in an aggressive stance. Use her excellent concealment values to spot for your team and screen them from attack. Would I Recommend?Players are spoiled for choice where Russian premiums are concerned. Okhotnik competes directly with Leningrad (and for old, crusty veterans, Gremyashchy) for primacy among the Soviet Destroyers. She's not as powerful as Gremyashchy, that's for sure, but she will be less expensive than Leningrad which may immediately appeal to some consumers. Overall, I think Leningrad is the better boat for most of the reasons you'd buy a premium, but Okhotnik is definitely more fun (and stupid looking). For Random Battle GrindingThis includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Mouse: Well, maybe. She can do very well in random battles, earning you credits and medals galore. I found it an easy feat to get three or four kills per match, which made unleashing the Kraken not too much of a stretch. The problem is that she's reliant upon having a Captain with the right skill combination to truly play efficiently. This precludes her use as a comfortable trainer for all but the last few skill points (and you're completely out of luck if your skill choices don't gel with Okhotnik's needs) which sort of undermines the purpose of a premium ship. So your mileage will definitely vary. For me? I'd take her to farm achievements and Kraken medals. Lert: Maybe. She doesn't really need premium consumables to shine, but tier 5 is in a bad MM spot right now, and tier 5 premiums are not really the greatest captain trainers or credit earners. Tier 6 is where you really want to be for that, minimum. Plus, she relies on a set of advanced captain skills to really shine, which makes her less ideal as a captain trainer. For Competitive GamingCompetitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Mouse: Her concealment value alone will make her a good choice for competitive environments, especially combined with her ability to deliver high alpha, opportunistic strikes with her guns. The only major downside is her lack of agility which makes her torpedo bait. She cannot compete with Gremyashchy (what can?) but for people looking to pad their win rates, Okhotnik is a good ship.Lert: No. Too slow, too vulnerable to torpedo strikes, not agile enough. The only things she really has going for her is her stealth and initial alpha, which isn't enough in a competitive environment. For CollectorsIf you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Mouse: Ha! No. Okhotnik was never built in steel.Lert: This is a paper ship with no actual history behind her. She looks amazing though. If you're looking for historically significant ships, look elsewhere. For Fun FactorBottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Mouse: Very yes. She's a party boat.Lert: Yes. Alpha strike is fun. Driving odd ducks is fun. Ships with interesting playstyles are fun. Crushing battleships as they round the headland is fun. Okhotnik is fun.
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