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Found 40 results

  1. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: California

    The following is a review of California, the tier VII American battleship. This ship has been provided to me by Wargaming for evaluation purposes -- I did not have to pay for this thing, which is a good thing because I would have felt offended had I shelled out money for this horribly mistreated piece of history. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are current as of patch 0.9.5.1. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. I'm not going to waste too much time on this review (she says, and then spends four whole days on it). USS California's inclusion in World of Warships bothers me on so many levels. I should preface this by saying that I love the American standard-type battleships. I think they are some of the most interesting warships of the Second World War. They are phoenixes that rose from the ashes of Pearl Harbor. Despite their outdated designs, they went on to not only find a role in the fast-modernizing US Navy but they went on to engage triumphantly in one of the final battleship surface actions in history. They could have just as easily remained a footnote in the war, left behind by fate. So, you can keep your Iowas, the romance (to me) lies in names like West Virginia, Tennessee and California. This is why I took issue with West Virginia appearing in her Pearl Harbor mien and not that of Surigao Strait. So imagine my disappointment when, against all advice, Wargaming stuck to their guns and pulled a copy-paste job of USS Arizona's performance and tacked it onto California. Now, let me be clear: Arizona, the tier VI American premium, is awesome. Lert really helped me appreciate the game play of the "American Bricks" way back in 2016. However, I do not love Arizona so much that I think cloning her game play and asking people to pay a premium price tag for a tier VII version is right. While California does have some minor improvements over Arizona, they are (in my opinion) inconsequential. I fear that these buffs will blindside people to what is nothing more than an already existing tier VI premium with a tier VII price tag. With that in mind, this review is going to myopically focus on the differences between Arizona and California and why one ship is worth the money and the other is a slap in the face. As much as I need a break right now, USS California is a big enough name to elicit sales simply merely by reputation. I know it. You know it. Wargaming knows it too. I want to head off any impulse purchases and warn players that they're not getting a ship worthy of California's name. Quick Summary: A slow American standard-type battleship with horrible gun firing arcs but improved long-range gunnery with her twelve 356mm guns. She has excellent AA firepower. PROS Fully submerged citadel. Heavy broadside of twelve 356mm/50 guns. Long ranged with a starting reach of 19.9km which can be extended to as much as 27.7km between upgrades and consumables. Decent gunnery dispersion with 1.9 sigma. Small turning circle radius of 640m. Excellent AA firepower, equivalent to a tier VIII American battleship. Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 11.8km. CONS Painfully long, 34.2s reload. 356mm guns lack overmatching ability against targets with 25mm+ extremities. Horrible gun handling and appalling gun firing angles. Very slow top speed of 20.5 knots and poor handling as a result despite her smaller turning circle radius. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging/ Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme California isn't difficult to play. Picking her up and farming some damage is pretty easy. Were it not for her horribly slow speed, I'd have given her a 'simple' rating. All you really need to know are the battleship basics: use the correct ammo, beware of flashing your sides, try not to get left behind. California's speed is a severe handicap, but you knew that coming in. California gets no tools to seriously mitigate this. Long range is nice, so flex those aiming skills you've acquired, but her gun caliber and long reload will largely limit the impact this has. You can largely forget applying those brawling skills or getting to cap or even angling to mitigate damage -- it's just not applicable. There's a pretty hard cap on how far skill will take you with this ship. Options There's nothing too surprising about California's options. She conforms to the norms for American battleships. She doesn't get access to Aiming Systems Modification 1 to reduce her main battery gun dispersion. Instead, she has Gun Fire Control Modification 1 which increases her main battery gun range. Consumables California's Damage Control Party is standard for an American battleship. It comes with unlimited charges and an 80s reset timer. For US battleships, this is active for 20 seconds rather than the 15 seconds for other nations, so bonus there. Her Repair Party is also standard. It queues up 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of all other damage types. Each charge heals a base of up to 14% of the ship's health over 28 seconds. She starts with four charges. In her third slot, you have the choice between a Spotting Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The former increases range by 20% for 100 seconds. It comes with four charges and a four minute reset timer. Her fighter is active for a mere 60 seconds (like all Battleship fighters) and resets in 90 seconds. It has three charges base and sends up a squadron of 3 planes. Upgrades There should be no surprises for anyone here. Build for survivability and fire resistance. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. In the second slot, begin your fire resistance build with Damage Control Systems Modification 1. Most people are going to want to spring for more range for California and thus Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 will seem optimal. However, once you get behind the helm of California and play with her (as I have), you'll come to hate her sluggish gun traverse as much as I do and Main Battery Modification 2 will look hella appealing. Damage Control Systems Modification 2 is your best choice for slot four, however, given California's ridiculously-poor fire angles, you will not be blamed for reaching for Steering Gears Modification 1 in order to help with rudder shift time to swing her butt out and back in between salvos. Commander Skills Time to re-use a graphic because battleship skill optimization has stagnated! Same old, same old. Build for fire-resistance first, then double back for your other skills. You probably want Expert Marksman over Adrenaline Rush on your first pass. Camouflage California has access to two camouflage patterns: Type 10 Camouflage – California and Freedom -- California. The two are merely cosmetic swaps of each other, providing the same benefits. You'll probably have to shell out some extra cash for the Freedom camo, whether that will be through a bundle or with doubloons after the fact. 3% bonus concealment from surface targets 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion 10% reduction to post-battle service costs 50% bonus to experience gains. Summary so far: Well, so far so good, I suppose. There's nothing out of the ordinary here. I dunno what's going on with California's turrets with her Freedom camouflage. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 356mm/50 guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 127mm/38 guns in 8x2 turrets in superfiring pairs on either side of the ship facing fore and aft. Arizona & California's Main Battery Differences California has more range (19.9km vs 16km) California's AP shells do more damage (10,500 vs 10,300) California has a faster reload (34.2s vs 35s) California's AP shells have higher penetration. California's shells have higher muzzle velocity. California has higher sigma (1.9 vs 1.8). California has much reduced firing arcs (102º broadside vs 113º) California uses New Mexico's 356mm/50 caliber guns rather than Arizona's 356mm/45s. A lot of what's listed above owe to the differences of the gun calibers. Compared to New Mexico, California has increased range (19.9km vs 16.1km) and better sigma (1.9 vs 1.5) but again that horrible deficit in fire arcs (102º broadside vs 109º). So while California is an obvious gunnery upgrade over New Mexico, California is only a soft upgrade on Arizona. The biggest advantage here is her increased range with the rest largely being window-dressings. Calfornia does have a higher muzzle velocity and thus better AP penetration over distance. However this gap isn't quite as pronounced as the difference in speed would suggest as Arizona has higher Krupp, a coefficient WG uses to directly modify penetration values. California's increased rate of fire, higher shell damage and sigma are all nice but the difference is so minor as to be largely unnoticeable. California is a slow reloading, reasonably accurate 356mm armed battleship. The 0.8 second faster reload still does not make her feel like she has anything but a painfully slow rate of fire. The 0.1 sigma difference is imperceptible in game play -- you couldn't tell the difference if you tried. And finally, as nice as the extra damage is, these are still 356mm guns. Compared to the 380mm, 406mm and 410mm shells being thrown about by some of her tier mates, their individual shell performance is middling at best. Thus cutting through all of the crap, California's only significant change is her range increase over Arizona and she pays for this with truly appalling gun fire arcs. Observe: California has absolutely horrid main battery traverse rates, coming about at a glacial 60s for 180º. California has tier VI firepower with tier VII range. As much as I would like to be excited about her range, she needs it or the ship simply doesn't work. Wargaming will try and sell you this ship bragging that this reach is to California's advantage. Simply put, it's the only thing which makes this ship viable as a tier VII vessel and even then it barely passes muster. This ship is slow. Unlike Arizona which finds herself occasionally enjoying the 36km x 36km claustrophobic maps of lower tiers, California more often than not sees the 42m x 42km and 48km x 48km maps of higher tiers. That extra reach is an outright necessity to bring her guns into play before the battle moves on without her. Even then, it's often not enough. You can get a taste for this already by playing Arizona in bottom tiered matches and struggling to keep up with the pace of battle. California's reach partially mitigates this, but only partially. Her horrible gun fire angles necessitate that she swing out and show a lot more broadside in order to bring the weight of fire to bear on targets. This exaggerated manoeuvre bleeds speed (to say nothing of changing her heading and possibly navigating away from battle), further slowing her already ponderous pace. Thus her range becomes even more important. Are California's main battery guns better than Arizona's? Absolutely. Are they good enough to be tier VII guns? Sure -- they have better range and much better sigma than New Mexico's. The issue, though, is that they're not improved enough over the tier VI premium's to be worthwhile. Arizona's weapons are amazing at tier VI. California's weapons are only okay at tier VII. This means, gunnery wise, you're paying more money for a worse experience. This means for California to be worth her price tag, she's gotta make it up elsewhere. Once again, here are some dispersion tests. These are 180 shells fired at 15km locked onto the stationary Fuso bot. The bot was without camouflage. Unlike my normal dispersion tests, as Arizona and California can't equip the dispersion reducing ASM1 upgrade, their fields look comparatively larger than ships of the same tier. Shots are coming in from right to left with Fuso bow-tanking. One of these is California, the other Arizona. I'm not telling you which ship is which. If you're struggling to see a difference in as clinical and sterile a trial as this, you have no hope of feeling the difference through normal game play. In battle, targets are moving at different angles and speeds which makes any reasonable evaluation exceedingly difficult unless there is a tremendous change in performance. This is why I frown on a difference of 0.1 sigma being used as a selling feature -- it's a "spreadsheet" value that will affect a ship over the course of several games but isn't likely to be significant within a single match. A Missed Opportunity California doesn't make up for her main battery gunnery with her secondaries. California's secondaries are crap and they didn't have to be. Despite constant suggestions to give her improved accuracy and/or range on her secondaries, Wargaming wouldn't budge on keeping them standardized. These weapons are not worth upgrading any more than you would find it worthwhile to upgrade North Carolina's or Alabama's secondaries. California's AP penetration is okay. It's not high-velocity Soviet-good like Poltava's, though, nor does it have Duke of York's improved auto-ricochet angles (which shares the same penetration as KGV). Landing citadel hits against enemy battleships tends to fall off at ranges over 14km or so, but you should still be able to land penetrating hits through most belts you'll encounter. In theory, California has some pretty good AP damage output. She doesn't have boosted HE shell damage the way Japanese and British battleships do, so she's kind of lackluster there. That hurts given her inability to overmatch 25mm armour that's so commonplace within her matchmaking spread. Arizona sits just behind California in AP and HE DPM, but not so much that you'll notice in most cases. Summary so far: You're buying a longer-ranged Arizona. The 0.8s improved reload time and harder hitting AP shells are okay, but you can't feel the 0.1 sigma difference. However you're paying for the improvements with very crappy gun fire angles. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability Hit Points: 58,300 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 26mm extremities, upper hull and deck with some 31mm rear deck sections behind the superstructure. Maximum Citadel Protection: 35mm anti-torpedo bulge, 343mm belt and 44mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 36% California's protection scheme is perfectly adequate for a tier VII battleship. It's comparable to Arizona's and they each have their strengths. California versus Arizona's Durability California has more health (58,300hp vs 57,200hp) Arizona has better anti-torpedo protection. No, really. (37% damage reduction for Arizona vs 36% for California) Arizona has better upper-hull armour. (Arizona has a strip of 37mm armour above her belt while California's upper hull is only 26mm). California has better deck protection (California's deck behind her superstructure and around her X & Y turrets is 31mm thick. All of Arizona's decks are 26mm). Overall, the ships are very comparable in terms of their protection and durability. While California has the slight edge in health, it pays to keep in mind that Arizona has a large hit point pool for a tier VI battleship while California is on the low side of average for tier VII. Tier for tier, Arizona is the better protected ship with her armour and hit points meaning more at tier VI than California's at tier VII. That 35mm anti-torpedo bulge covers a huge section of California's side. All things told, it's not bad for helping keep shells out (especially when angling). Her 31mm rear deck will help shatter small-caliber HE shells too, as will her 50mm armoured secondaries. Look at this chungus. This is a top-down view of California with her 343mm belt highlighted in red. You can see just how massive her 35mm anti-torpedo bulges are. Shells which fuse inside this bulge but outside of the hull spaces underneath result in zero damage penetrations. Here's a better view of how deep California's belt extends. The dark red is 343mm thick while the orange strip at the bottom is where it tapers to 273mm. In order to land citadel hits, shells must contend with her 35mm anti-torpedo bulge then her 343mm belt and finally her 44mm citadel wall. California's citadel (in yellow) is fully submerged well below the waterline. Short of adding a turtleback, it's as well protected as you could hope it to be. The most dangerous shots come from medium to long range where shells have a bit of drop going for them to strike beneath the waterline and angle towards the citadel. As good as California's lateral protection is, her big weak spot is her bow. Her stern is made up of composite layers of armour beneath the 26mm outer shell in a similar vein to Giulio Cesare's bow. It isn't anywhere near as vulnerable. But her bow? It's just the 26mm outer portion until you smack the transverse bulkheads protecting her citadel. They're not thick enough to keep battleship caliber shells out. Furthermore, that big 26mm area is just begging to receive hits from HE spam. California faces a lot more opponents that can easily best her extremity and deck armour -- not only with battleship caliber AP but also HE spam from cruisers with enough base penetration to out-muscle her structural protection. Once engaged at medium-range, there's really not much this ship can do about it short of trying to fight her way out. As we've already covered, she doesn't really have that much better of a chance of doing so than Arizona. California's protection scheme is decent for a tier VII battleship but it's nothing special either short of her anti-torpedo protection (which is good but not as amazing as the size of her bulges would suggest). She doesn't have improved heals like the British battleships. She doesn't have a nigh-impervious citadel like Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. She's missing an ice-breaker bow like the aforementioned German ships. The Soviets infamously have it too. Were it me at the helm of California's project, if improving her offense was off the table I would have done something here. There's lots of ways they could have gone about it, though I think the most elegant solution would have been to give her 32mm structural plate on her bow, stern, deck and upper hull, akin to a tier VIII battleship. She would have felt immediately tankier but still vulnerable to higher tiered ships. Oh well, missed opportunities. California's on the low end of average for her potential health. This isn't exactly welcome for such a slow brick with a big squishy snoot to boop. California has a boring ol' 14% healed over 28s, not the 16.8% of the KGVs and Hood, the 40% Nelson or even Colorado's 18.48%. It could be worse, I suppose. She could have ended up like Poltava with a max of 4 charges of heals. Summary so far: Worse protection than Arizona, tier for tier, but that's largely owing to a deficit of hit points as a tier VII battleship. Her protection scheme is otherwise fine though her snoot is a huge weak spot. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability: Comparable durability to Arizona even though she sits a tier higher. Agility Top Speed: 20.5 knots Turning Radius: 640m Rudder Shift Time: 14.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.7º/s So, there are slow battleships in World of Warships and then there are the American premium standard-types. You see, the normal American tech-tree battleships have an artificial boost added to their engines -- they don't bleed speed like normal battleships do. It's akin to (but not a copy of) the UFO-style acceleration found on British cruisers and destroyers. However, the premium standards Arizona, West Virginia 1941 and now California, all lack this boost. They decelerate like normal battleships. This means the moment you touch their rudder, they dump their speed faster than a tweaked-out college student having their dorm inspected. The net effect is that though California has a 20.5 knot top speed, she's usually flirting with much less -- as little as 15.3 knots at 4/4 engine settings. Colorado at least manages 19.2 knots under heavy manoeuvres. The horrible fire arcs on California's guns will necessitate more manoeuvring to swing out her guns and then duck back which will only ensure she's stuck on the lower end of this speed. I have no idea why Wargaming didn't provide her with the tech-tree style energy preservation. This would have made her functionally as fast as Nagato under manoeuvres. So you can largely forget about getting anywhere fast. You can forget keeping up with the pace of battle. You can also forget about successfully kiting or disengaging when things turn sour. I think the real unfortunate detriment here is that it makes California more vulnerable to torpedoes. If you're trying to get from A to B as fast as possible, you're not going to want to touch your rudder. That just makes her easy meat for enterprising lolibotes. Ostensibly, California's range is supposed to help her here. She might not be physically present in the heat of combat, but her reach should allow her to at least offer some contribution while she lags way in the back. Summary so far: California's agility is absolutely appalling and worse than it had to be. Still, she's not far removed from Arizona -- like, the differences are barely perceptible. However, the larger map sizes makes this a lot more problematic. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability: Comparable durability to Arizona even though she sits a tier higher. Agility: An ever-so-slightly worse Arizona but now deployed on larger maps. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 5 explosions for 1,400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 137 dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 364 dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 490dps at 70% accuracy So here's California's main selling feature. You get tier VIII American battleship AA firepower at tier VII. This is in contrast to Arizona which has like ... no practical AA to speak of. As far as gimmicks go, it's downright laughable in the current meta. This might have meant something back before the CV rework, but it's a joke currently. Before patch 0.8.0, the levels of AA firepower California puts out would have been formidable and worth celebrating. She would have been a meme the way USS Texas used to be down at tier V. Now such AA firepower is merely an inconvenience to CVs. While tier VI carriers have to respect your AA firepower they can still strike you. Furthermore, it's not going to put off a determined tier VIII carrier even for a moment. The best that can be said is that California won't be high on the enemy aircraft's priority list. However, she has enough problems already without considering CV strikes. I've sorted these ships by the formula I like to use (DPS x [range-1km]) to give a better, but not entirely accurate, impression of AA effectiveness -- the logic being that longer range AA is better than shorter range AA. Hood is listed without DFAA active, just know that the numbers shown here jump by 50% when she pulls the trigger. Nothing can touch California, though, which sits smack in the middle of the tier VIII American BB range, rubbing elbows with Alabama, North Carolina and everyone's favourite: Massachusetts. Summary so far: California has absolutely amazing AA levels. She's boasting not only tier VIII AA firepower at tier VII but good tier VIII firepower at tier VII. Unfortunately the state of the CV rework makes AA unrewarding and frankly useless at times no matter how much of it you have. This is a booby prize in the current meta. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability: Comparable durability to Arizona even though she sits a tier higher. Agility: An ever-so-slightly worse Arizona but now deployed on larger maps. AA Defense: Excellent and sadly irrelevant. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 13.5km / 11.79km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.69km/ 8.72km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 11.71km California is very sneaky for a tier VII battleship. I wish this could have meant more than it does. This ship isn't likely to sneak up on anyone, mostly because it's patently unable to catch up to anything that doesn't want to be caught. At best, you might be able to setup an ambush and catch someone unawares but that's not likely to happen -- again because of that lack of speed. Ostensibly, this should allow her to disengage more easily by holding fire but let's not kid ourselves into imagining that she can escape pursuit. Without allies to road-block, California will be run down, sneaky or not. The final thing to keep in mind is that because of her long range, every time she pulls the trigger, she rings the dinner bell. This can be especially problematic if you've boosted her range and there are silly things like a bored Musashi or Champagne itching for targets. So California has good concealment! Unfortunately she can't really take advantage as well as another battleship might because of her slowness. Summary so far: California's concealment is meant to be her saving grace. With a base 900m advantage over Arizona, this is supposed to facilitate not only engaging the enemy but escaping from difficult situations. However, without it being paired with improved agility or durability, this bonus is merely nice to have, rather than ship-defining. Options: Nothing unusual, for good or ill. Firepower: Arizona with longer range, slightly improved damage output but much worse fire arcs. Durability: Comparable durability to Arizona even though she sits a tier higher. Agility: An ever-so-slightly worse Arizona but now deployed on larger maps. AA Defense: Excellent and sadly irrelevant. Vision Control: Better than Arizona by a lot, but she isn't able to take ready advantage of it. Summary: California vs Arizona California is a longer ranged Arizona with slightly improved damage output between better AP shells and a faster reload. Her improved dispersion via sigma will only be apparent over the course of multiple games rather than individual matches. She has greatly improved anti-aircraft firepower and she's more stealthy. However, she has very poor gun fire angles, horrible agility and no appreciable gains in defense all while being up-tiered to tier VII. The final difference is cost. Arizona will set you back the equivalent of 6,900 doubloons. California will cost you around 10,000 for a worse experience, tier for tier. It's worth being said: Arizona over-performs at her tier. She is a powerful tier VI battleship, so you might think my comparison unfair. California isn't broken, she's just not over-tuned the way Arizona is. And that's fair to say. However, for a consumer looking for the best bang for their buck, why buy California when Arizona is available? If you had to choose one, Arizona is the better purchase, hands down. What's more, California does not offer anything novel in the way of game play short of having better AA firepower. Are you really inclined to pay to play Arizona with worse matchmaking for the simple sake of being slightly less victimized by aircraft? Arizona is "long ranged" for a tier VI battleship once you install Gun Fire Control System Modification 1, so you largely duplicate California's schtick there too. California plays like Arizona but she plays less comfortably owing to her worse fire arcs and even more sluggish handling. I'm left to wonder what the point of California's design implementation as is. Rather than look for something new or novel, Wargaming played it safe. This might have worked had Arizona not been on offer -- California would have been more rightly compared to New Mexico and her strengths would seem obvious. "Ooh, 1.9 sigma with twelve guns? That's MUCH better than 1.5 sigma on New Mexico!" But again, Arizona is a thing. We already got that game play and at a better price and matchmaking. Hell, if you're a fan of PVE you get an even better deal with most scenarios now being limited to tier VI these days. With Arizona existing, Wargaming should have either retired the Pearl Harbor monument or dredged up something from their box o' gimmicks for California to compensate. California is a ship without game play identity. She is to Arizona what Alabama is to Massachusetts & North Carolina-- entirely forgettable and an unfortunate waste of money for worse game play. California is a beautiful port queen that doesn't live up to her fantastic history. It's such a bloody shame. This screenshot makes me sad. Once upon a time, seeing a ship with this much AA would have made me very excited. Now it's just a reminder of how much potential is wasted in the current meta. Final Evaluation Let's pretend Arizona doesn't exist. Is California worth it? No. No, she isn't. I love my standards -- I love them to death. But playing a standard-type battleship at tier VII or above needs to come with some pretty juicy perks or I'm not biting. The issue is their inflexibility. Once you start stacking on any other flaws and they just become unpalatable -- and California's gun handling and reload are some pretty wonky flaws, especially when paired with her slow speed. And she gains naught for these handicaps. The perks they gave her to compensate, namely good AA, nice range, good concealment and more accurate guns, don't cut the mustard for me. This is largely owing to what should be her main selling feature being laughable. Phenomenal AA power is watered down more heavily than American Lite Beer. Like American Lite Beer, the CV rework has a lot to answer for. It should be hella tasty and refreshing. Instead, it's so much thinned out swill with a rancid aftertaste, leaving you to wonder what could have been. California isn't fun to play and that's her greatest crime. If she can't be powerful, she needs to be interesting and she fails at that utterly. I'll play a shoddy ship back to back for hundreds of games provided she's fun (I've done it too -- I loved Atlanta before Surveillance Radar was a thing). I don't want to touch California. I'm constantly fighting with her rudder or her guns and she has nothing I value to compensate for it. Hard pass, ladies and gentlemen. California is a hard pass. Conclusion I was going to take a break after Siegfried and Agir's review was published. However, California's an important release and, more pressingly, I don't feel she's a good ship. Had she been strong, I think I could have just sat aside and let people discover that for themselves. But seeing how she was being released reminded me of why I write these reviews in the first place: To protect other players from making bad purchases. Wargaming burned me once too often in World of Tanks. If I can help others avoid that, I will. Now that said, with this high-profile release covered and my feels (hopefully) clearly broadcast, I'm taking some much needed time off.
  2. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review #148 - Odin

    The following is a review of Odin, the tier VIII German battleship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are accurate as of patch 0.9.4.1. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: Tirpitz-lite. Same great Tirpitz flavour with half the fat. I mean efficiency. Wait, that doesn't work. I really should mention the guns or agility. How about: Imagine if Bismarck and Graf Spee loved each other VERY much and.... Probably best I stop right there. Uh, okay, here we go: Imagine a tier VIII Scharnhorst that went to the gym and got super cut. She ends up with slightly improved punch but she tore a few muscles dead-lifting so she can't carry anymore. Bam. Nailed it. PROS Excellent citadel protection with turtle-back armour. Good armour layout -- especially for shrugging off HE shells, including a thick deck, ice-breaker extended waterline belt and strong upper hull protection. Heavy secondary battery with very long range, good rate of fire and excellent penetration values. Decent agility, especially for a high-tier German battleship. Good concealment for a tier VIII battleship (especially for a German one). She combines Bismarck's Hydroacoustic Search with Tirpitz's torpedoes. CONS Tiny hit point pool for a tier VIII battleship (which also reduces the amount she can heal). Poor anti torpedo protection with only a 22% damage reduction. Main battery guns are only 305mm in caliber causing all sorts of problems from poor HE performance, poor AP penetration and limited overmatching ability. Secondaries have wonky fire angles. Forward fire angles on her torpedoes are very limited. How to Acquire Her Before I get into the review proper, it's worth mentioning how you're (supposed to be) able to get this ship. Akin to Puerto Rico, Odin is part of a dockyard event. You complete missions to increase the rate of production of the ship itself with the option of spending money to accelerate construction. Unlike Puerto Rico which could technically (and rarely in practice) be earned for free, Odin has specifically been declared as requiring at least some expenditure of cash (or doubloons) to complete her -- something to the tune of a minimum of 3,500 doubloons. Now I mention all of this because the event hasn't gone live yet and, let's be honest, anything can and will change before the event launches. Don't come crying to me if you get burned from buying the pre-hype wholesale. I'm waiting to see how the event finally shapes up, what bugs are present and what the functional asking price for this ship is. Fairly warned be ye, says I. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH/ Extreme Odin has a small hit point pool and crappy guns. You're putting that on a ship that ostensibly is made to brawl and handing that to new players? That's a recipe for disaster -- or at the very least, low damage totals if they manage to keep themselves alive or a quick trip back to port if they push too early. This isn't a ship for new players. For veterans, however, there's all sorts of fun shenanigans that can be accomplished with Odin, aside from the obvious brawling. Good ammunition choices, proper commander specialization, use and abuse of her agility and concealment and map knowledge will all go along way to improving your gains with this ship. The question is, though, is it worth the effort? Options Consumables Her Damage Control Party is standard for a German battleship with unlimited charges, a 15s active period and an 80s reset timer. Her Repair Party is also normal. This heals back up to 14% of her health over 28s and starts with four charges. This has an 80s reset timer as well. Convenient! In her third slot you have a choice between a Spotting Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The former starts with four charges, lasts 100s with a 240s reset timer. This increases her range by 20% (up to 22.9km) for it's duration. The latter has three charges to start, lasts 60s and has a 90s reset timer. She launches three fighters at a time. And finally, Odin borrows Bismarck's Hydroacoustic Search. This has three charges to start with a 100s active period. It detects torpedoes at 3.5km and ships at 5km. It has a 120s reset timer. Upgrades There's not a whole lot of variety here. Optimally, you're going to want to build for fire mitigation and improved main battery performance. To this end, take Damage Control Systems 1 & 2 and Aiming System Modification 1. But nuts to that. That's not fun. What you should do is take Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1, Secondary Battery Modification 1 and Steering Gears Modification 1 to soup-up Odin's performance for those brawls you want to get into. Optimal? No. Awesome? Hells yeah. I said "soup-up Odin's performance", Potage. Captain Skills So, there's a good argument to be made that Odin, like other German battleships, should simply default to the Standard Battleship Build™. That is to say: Priority Target at tier 1. You can swap this for Incoming Fire Alert, Expert Loader or Preventative Maintenance based on your preferences. Take Adrenaline Rush at tier 2. Next up comes Basics of Survivability at tier 3 to help mitigate fire damage. And cap it off with Fire Prevention at tier 4. This will maximize your fire resistance potential. After that, take what you will. Skills such as Concealment Expert, Superintendent, Expert Marksman and High Alert all being suitably hyped to round out your 19pts. Of course, this is loser-quitter talk and what you really should be doing is building for awesomeness: Both Superintendent and Basic Fire Training are equally awesome. I prefer the former, myself, and this is the build I've been using for Odin. Superintendent gives her a bit more survivability. Camouflage Odin has three available camouflage patterns, Type 10 Odin, Nordic and War Paint. They have identical statistics making them just cosmetic swaps between them. They provide the usual tier VIII bonuses: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% experience earned. I like Odin's base camo. When are the Germans going to get an alternate palette swap? ] I'm not a fan of Odin's War Paint camo. But I love her Nordic camo. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 305mm guns in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Six 150mm guns in 2x3 turrets mounted superfiring over B and X turrets and twelve 128mm guns in 6x2 turrets with three mounted per side. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2×4launchers in wing mounted just behind X-turret on the rear deck. The Woes of the Three Oh Fives Let's not mince words. Odin's main battery firepower is trash-tier. This isn't because her guns are "only" 305mm. If 305mm guns were automatically bad, we wouldn't be making the fuss that we do over ships like König Albert, Alaska and Stalingrad. They can be good, gun caliber be damned. It's all a matter of their individual performance parameters at a given tier. In Odin's case, these parameters suck moose-balls. Odin's main battery faults are numerous and I'll go over each. Hits on Target Odin dispersion test while equipped with ASM1. 180 AP shells fired at a Fuso-bot that had no camouflage. Shots were coming in from right to left (Fuso is bow-tanking). Owing to her higher shell velocity, Odin tends to overshoot and undershoot targets more often than American or British battleships despite using the same dispersion formula. This is bog-standard for German battleships. The first hurdle you'll experience with Odin's gunnery is getting enough hits. Now her dispersion isn't terrible -- for a tier VIII battleship it's not only normal, it's fairly decent with her 2.0 sigma value. However, a lack of any improvements to dispersion when stacked with the rest of Odin's woes means that you're not landing the number of hits needed to compensate for the other drawbacks. I could have just as easily griped about her rate of fire for not being better instead. Throughout most of her testing, she reload in 20 seconds instead of the current 23s which helped her put more shells on target through volume of fire (increasing from 23.5 rounds per minute to 27). Either one of these could have been massaged. The simple fact of the matter is that Odin doesn't generate the number of hits needed to be competitive with other tier VIII battleships once all of the other gunnery parameters are considered. AP Penetration & Overmatch Approximate penetration values of the high-tier German battleships. Odin doesn't have the punch necessary with AP rounds to contest battleship belt armour at ranges greater than 12km or so once you account for even slight angling. Belt armour of high-tier battleships easily flirts in excess of 300mm. Alright, so why does she need to get more hits? Well, her low AP penetration is perhaps the biggest problem with Odin's guns. She has similar problems to Scharnhorst in this regard but as a tier VIII ship, there are even fewer overmatch targets. As a German battleship, we can forgive her poor HE shell performance -- the expectation is that her AP shells should compensate for any drawbacks there. In some regards they do -- Odin's AP shell damage is more than sufficient. Even with her 305mm guns caliber and the woes with over matching targets, her AP shells deal almost as much damage as French 340mm weapons. Her overmatch caps out at 21mm -- largely limiting her to destroyers and tier VI and VII cruisers (and the occasional super-light cruiser across all tiers). You can forget about comfortably engaging battleships. She struggles to best battleship belt armour within nominal engagement ranges. It's only in brawls -- where her secondaries are already engaging targets -- when you can expect her to punch through belts without frequent shatters. There are ways around this, of course. You can aim higher and go for upper hull and superstructure hits. I do stress that with Odin's dispersion issues mentioned above that the sheer number of hits made won't equate to the same level of damage as her contemporaries. What's more, she still sees a lot of overpenetrations. She still has 0.033s fuse timers and she still needs 51mm of armour to fuse. So those soft sections of enemy battleships won't necessarily arm or slow down the shells enough to give meatier numbers. This all contributes to further reduces her damage output. It's hard to keep up when you can't land reliable penetrating AP shell hits. As you might expect for a faster-reloading battleship-caliber gun, Odin's AP DPM is decent despite the smaller gun caliber. I do stress here that this is potential damage -- it in no-way represents the actual gun performance, discounting factors such as dispersion, range, firing angles, ballistics, penetration, etc. These are just the theoretical maximums. HE Performance There's a lot of changes coming to the tier VIII meta shortly, though it remains to be seen how these five test ships will finalize. On topic: Odin's HE DPM is kinda terrible. I badmouthed Roma's HE DPM (though granted, that was coupled with her shoddy dispersion) and Odin's damage output is worse than that. No one should be surprised that Odin's HE performance is garbage. It's only her fast reload that creates any semblance of "close to acceptable" damage output and fire setting. Given her poor AP penetration and lack of overmatch, Odin has to reach for her HE shells in spite of this lackluster showing. It's not something you want to spam, mind you -- use them as often as you need to but no more than that. Stacking fires or hoping for big tallies of damage this way just won't happen with some severe hand-holding from RNGeebus (praise be!). It's the disparity between her HE and AP performance which makes her HE shells so unnattractive. An AP overpenetration is worth more than an HE saturated hit -- almost to a 2:1 ratio. Compare: This isn't a problem unique to Odin. The hope is that fires will off-set the damage disparity between the two shells. However, this depends not only upon the chance to actually set a blaze, but also the target that it is set upon. Lighting a destroyer or carrier on fire offers little in the way of damage return where as it's disproportionately more valuable when used against a battleship or large cruiser. Shell choice thus matters greatly and Odin should, whenever possible, lean upon her AP shells instead of her HE. Expert Loader is a very worthwhile skill for this reason -- you want to have the correct ammunition at the ready when opportunity presents itself. I think you'd be hard pressed to call any of the tier VIII battleships "good" fire starters. Nelson and King George V at tier VII really set the bar and Monarch (despite being Famous & Historical) falls short. Once you account for fire resistance and battleship accuracy, these values drop down to about 1/4 to 1/6th of their theoretical averages. Of course, RNGeebus being RNGeebus, lucky volleys can and will change everything (praise be!). All things said, Odin's fire setting isn't terrible but it's certainly not a strength. Overall Feels It's hard to have anything nice to say about these guns. The best I can manage is that some of their parameters are "okay", but there's nothing that stands out as fun or interesting. I honestly prefer Scharnhorst's 283mm guns to Odin's 305mm -- at least Scharnhorst's guns have fast traverse rates and good forward fire angles. Scharnhorst's matchmaking also means she can sometimes see super-squishy tier Vs. Let's talk about Odin's HE for a moment as it sort of encapsulates the issue here -- the improved penetration she gets might have been a plus had she the damage to back it up. But without it, her high HE penetration is just window dressing on more mediocrity. Like her improved rate of fire or meatier-than-they-should-be 305mm AP shells, it just doesn't matter. No other flaw of this ship is as damning as that of her main battery armament. This is where your decision on whether or not to invest in this ship should be made. Stacking reliable damage from Odin's main battery guns is frustrating, especially in the first half of battles where you're trading fire at long range. Her AP shells simply aren't good enough for this and her HE shells only stack damage slowly. Because of these deficiencies, players may be baited into pushing too soon in an effort to make use of her secondaries and torpedoes. This exacerbates the problem of her small hit point pool while simultaneously throwing away her advantages in concealment. In higher tiered games, this will get Odin sunk in a hurry -- players have to accept what little returns their guns can achieve, focusing primarily on softer targets until they can safely begin closing the distance and unleashing her other weapon systems. Odin's forward fire angles on her guns are good and crap on her torpedoes. Her rearward fire angles on her guns are crap and great on her torpedoes. Torpeedus Odin has torpedoes. Evaluating their effectiveness based on early play-testing is difficult. They're easily more potent during this stage as not everyone knows Odin is packing fish. So setting aside the successes during my games (including torpedoing a Kagero, lul), we can look at them more critically by comparing them to those found on Tirpitz. Still, lemme just humble-brag and say that I got to torpedo a LOT of people with Odin during play-testing and it never got old. There are two significant differences between the two ships when it come to their torpedo armaments: Their fire angles. Their survivability. Odin's fire angles on her launchers are pretty terrible. They're limited to launching at 39º off her bow. Rearwards, she's better, needing only a 22º angle off her stern to fire that way (which is amazing), giving her a total launching arc of 119º per side. Tirpitz, by contrast can launch 34º off her bow which is better (not great, but better) but she pays for it with more limited reward launch angles of 33º. This gives the OG German premium a 113º launch window. If you think I'm going to therefore justify Odin's launch angles as "better", you're mistaken. I would much rather have Tirpitiz's launchers based on their firing angles. These ships tend to use their torpedoes offensively rather than defensively, so forward firing angles matter a Hell of a lot more than rearward. So points to Tirpitz here. Odin has to swing herself out more than Tirpitz to squirt off a load which causes all sorts of problems from making her more likely to take damage on the return to simply (and embarrassingly) beaching herself. However, where Odin does get better marks is the survivability of her fish. Individually, the launchers on the two ships are just as squishy, it's merely their position upon the ship that counts here. Having Odin's torpedoes mounted on her stern puts them largely out of harm's way -- they're more likely to be available than Tirpitz's and much less likely to be sniped off. Odin's torpedoes are nice to have, short ranged though they are. They make her an absolute terror in a close-range brawl. Getting that close to her in a battleship is all but a death sentence. Her fish are more awkward to use than Tirpitz's but they're much less likely to get broken beforehand. There's few things as heartbreaking for one of these torpedo-armed battleships than having their torpedo-mounts destroyed when they finally (FINALLY!) get a chance to use them. Secondaries The final piece of Odin's firepower puzzle is her secondaries. I wanted to simply write praise for Odin's secondaries, boasting about their increased range, rate of fire and penetration over Tirpitz's guns, concluded that they were therefor better and been done with it. I was then told by my peers, in so many words, that this would be disingenuous and I should take the time to properly compare Odin's secondaries to the other AI-driven pew-pews. Tirpitz has words regarding my early praise of Odin's secondaries. So let's get into it. The first thing to consider is their raw damage potential. At tier VIII there are six ships which have "good" (or merely goodish) secondaries -- Massachusetts, Bismarck, Tirpitz, Gascogne, Odin and Graf Zeppelin. I'm leaving out Amagi and her clones because, despite having improved accuracy, they are short ranged as all get out and not practical. All of these secondaries put out comparable damage when firing broadside, though the carrier is the hilarious front-runner. However, a more nuanced look changes things when you consider a practical application: There's a few things to keep in mind here. First, Graf Zeppelin and Massachusetts have (much) improved accuracy with their secondaries -- they generate far more hits than their competitors. Second, Inertial Fuse for HE Shell may be necessary to enable these ships to fully maximize their direct damage potential against select targets. Odin doesn't care about that last part, though, so points for that. Odin's secondary firing angles are a bit of a surprise. With all of her 128mm guns mounted flush on the deck, they have limited firing arcs. Her 150mm guns are interrupted by the ship's superstructure and are similarly limited. There's a 20º dead-zone on either side of Odin's prow where only her superfiring 150mm secondary can engage targets. Once you swing out, the majority of her secondaries will begin firing. She is not as well setup for kiting, though. Her butt is a mess though (ew!), with staggered fire angles. Mounted fore and aft, Odin's superfiring 150mm secondaries have limited fire arcs. There's only a small window where all five of her secondary mounts can be brought to bear on a target, and that obviously opens her up to return-fire. It's best just to stick with four on the attack and two when kiting. Odin's secondary fire arcs aren't comfortable. I don't know how much potential damage I've wasted merely because I was sitting bow-in with only my superfiring 150mm gun spitting off the occasional shot. Odin has to angle out at least 20º off her snoot to get a reasonable volume of fire going. This isn't much, but this 40º not-quite-deadzone forward is much more sizeable when you account for manoeuvre, navigation and dodging. This was especially frustrating when dealing with ships in smoke -- having to turn away to begin blasting them with secondaries. All of the other ships fire off with more than a single turret's worth with just a couple of degrees worth of allowance. Still, Odin does have more range than her contemporaries, right? It's not much, really. It's 200m base and 300m when the two ships are fully upgraded with all of the trimmings. Still, it's enough that Odin can almost (ALMOST!) stealth-fire her secondaries in open water, with her surface detection getting as low as 12.02km and her secondaries reaching out to 11.642km. That would have been hilarious had Wargaming accidentally let that happen. Oh well. This is the worst dispersion I got with Odin's secondaries. Most kills occurred within 120 rounds fired (about 40s), so I thought this one would make a more obvious indicator of the total area her shots could stray within. German secondaries are the current runner-up in the secondary effectiveness race. American secondaries, specifically those found on Massachusetts and her descendents, are the current gold-standard. That Massachusetts accomplishes this with only 21mm worth of penetration is testament to just how accurate those weapons are compared to (nearly) everyone else. Against soft skinned targets, it will take Odin twice as long to do comparable damage to Massachusetts. That's not an approximate either. I ran dozens of tests between them and Massachusetts lewds lolibotes two times faster than Odin. The marked difference between them and where Odin claws back a little deserved renown, is with her penetration. Even without Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, she's capable of damaging tier VIII+ battleship hulls with her secondaries without having to wait for RNGeebus to descend from on high (praise be) and gift her with a fire or to disperse one of her shells into their superstructure. This extends also to high-tier cruisers which Massachusetts can only directly damage if she spends the skill points on IFHE. The obvious question is: Are Odin's secondaries better than Massachusetts? Well, no. And that's the wrong question. Are they good enough is more apt. And yes, yes they are. All things told, I rate them better than Tirpitz's secondaries despite being more fussy to use. That extra penetration is just lovely and Tirpitz's 105mm, which form the bulk of her damage output, don't cut the mustard. Odin's secondaries are a reliable workhorse and definitely worth investing into to improve. This goes double given the woes of her main battery firepower. Summary Her secondaries are good. Her torpedoes are nice to have, but they're too short ranged to make regular use out of outside of PVE game modes (and one-on-one Ranked Battles, lul). But at the core, her main battery firepower is a huge let down and it severely compromises all other aspects of this ship. Her secondaries are almost great but they lack accuracy and fire arcs to contend with the current heavyweight champion. Her torpedoes are awkward to use but at least they don't break as often as Tirpitz's. Her main battery firepower is garbage. You can make it work, but you're not going to like it. VERDICT: Your butt belongs to RNGeebus. Praise be, you filthy sinners. Defense Hit Points: 52,800 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm extremities, 45mm upper hull & 50mm deck Maximum Citadel Protection: 320mm belt + 105mm to 120mm turtleback + 45mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% There's no getting around it: Odin's base hit point pool sucks when compared to the other tier VIII battleships. However, her theoretical effective health isn't that much lower than Lenin's -- a ship which is considered Tonka-tough™. Apparently there's more to battleship survivability than base hit point totals including such factors as armour, citadel protection, favoured engagement ranges and many more elements besides. Of course, dwelling upon the esoteric doesn't make for a very good sound bite, now does it? Hit Points We may as well start with the poop-storm that is her hit point total. Odin has less than 60,000 hit points. She has a lot less, in fact. She sits at 52,800hp. Let's put some averages up on the board, ignoring reskinned clones: Tier VIII Battleships (excluding Odin): 66,400hp Tier VII Battleships: 60,200hp Tier VI Battleships: 53,800hp (aww, bae-bote's average! ♥) Tier V Battleships: 46,300hp Odin has the hit point totals of a tier VI battleship -- and slightly lower than average for a tier VI battleship at that. Oof. Yes, this is bad. No, it's not the end of the world. There's more to ship survivability than just their hit points after all, though let me be clear, this does put her at a marked disadvantage. A lack of hit points has a couple of trickle-down effects. Her Repair Party's efficiency is tied to her base hit point total -- 14% of her health healed per charge up to a maximum of 16.8% with a flag. Fires and Flooding are also tied to her base hit point total, with the former doing 18% unmitigated and the latter doing 20% unmitigated). The damage done here can be healed back 100% with sufficient charges of her Repair Party. However, the flat damage done by bombs and shells hurts her more than higher-hit point total battleships. 10,000 HE damage done to Odin hurts more than 10,000 HE damage done to Nagato (18.9% of her health versus 15.4% for Nagato). Simply put, fires hurt all battleships equally but being shot does not -- the latter hurts lower health ships more. Thankfully, Odin is pretty well setup to resist shell damage in the first place. Armour & Citadel Protection A very German armour layout. Odin's protection scheme is analogous to (but distinct from) that of the Bismarck-class. This means ice-breaker bows, an extended waterline belt that covers her stern as well, thick upper hull protection and a reinforced deck amidships. Short of her icebreaker bow extending further up, this is about as good as you could ask for in terms tier VIII battleship protection. Her 45mm and 50mm hull sections along with her extended belt will foil many HE shells (pretty much anything that's not a German or British heavy cruiser or throwing battleship-caliber HE). This improved HE protection does make her more vulnerable to AP penetrating hits if they catch her broadside, so bear that in mind. When you look at her citadel defense, it's S-class -- as German as you can get. If you listen closely, you can hear the AP bombs drooling. Compiled from GameModels3D.com. This highlights Odin's turtleback and the two different armour values present. She has 120mm over her forward and rear magazines and 105mm over her machine spaces. This belt of steeply angled armour keeps her largely immune to AP shell citadel hits except from high-penetration shots at very (VERY) long ranges. Also from gamemodels3d.com. Odin has a "hidden" 60mm deck-plate linking the two sides of her icebreaker on both her bow and stern. Even if Yamato, Musashi or Shikishima overmatches her 32mm upper-extremities from range, this plate will prevent the shell from plunging into the 200mm transverse bulkhead of Odin's citadel. Bismarck and Tirpitz both lack this, having only a smaller (and easily overmatched) 20mm plate protecting this area. This isn't a game-changing bonus, but it's nice to have. Mitigation Odin's low hit point total eclipses her otherwise great survivability traits. These include her decent AA power, better-than-average agility and better than average concealment. All of these combined create a ship that honestly has a lot of tanking potential. Still, I shouldn't sugar coat it -- as well equipped as Odin is to control the engagement and shrug off attacks, her low hit point total is always going to be something you have to keep in mind. Exercising her mitigation tools is the best bet you have to giving Odin some carry potential. Use her Hydroacoustic Search to lower the amount of torpedo damage you take per game. Abuse her good concealment to go dark until there are juicier targets to shoot at. Invest in skills and signals to add efficiency to your consumables. And most of all, keep to the second line until it's time to push. It's a lot of work to keep Odin hale and whole. This is probably off-putting for a lot of people but I find it worth while and accessible. Keeping her healthy for the mid-to-late game allows her to pull off all sorts of shenanigans where her protection scheme and mitigation tools really allow her to flex. In the end, she is still a German battleship -- tough as old boots and built to brawl with the best of them. You just have to live long enough to get to that stage where the opportunities are more likely. I am convinced that her hit points are a bit of a red herring when it comes to the flaws of this ship. With a bit of know-how, the woes of her low hit point total can be easily mitigated. You can't say that about the performance of her 305mm guns, however, which are the real source of woe with this ship. The greatest criminal mastermind of our time. VERDICT: Solid armour, nigh-impervious citadel protection (outside of AP bombs) and good damage mitigation but she's still the Viribus Unitis of tier VIII. Agility Top Speed: 30 knots Turning Radius: 790m Rudder Shift Time: 14.1 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.4º/s "It's not terrible." - Mouse, June 2020. Odin has better-than-average agility for a tier VIII battleship. However, she's no where close to being a top contender, lacking the straight-line speed (Richelieu, Gascogne), turning radius (So-Daks), rate of turn (Azur Lane's Littorio) or rudder shift time (Vanguard). She's just average or slightly better than average in a few key areas without being horrible where she's found lacking. It's worth mentioning that AL Littorio and Champagne are still works in progress and subject to change. VERDICT: It's not terrible. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 5 explosions for 1,775 damage per blast at 3.5km to 6km. Long Ranged (up to 6.0km): 88dps at 75% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 4.0km): 333dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 109dps at 70% accuracy Screw it. I was going to make a pretty AA graphic but you can have my preliminary notes instead. I had a wth moment and ended up spending a couple of hours chasing down leads. APPARENTLY the Japanese Type 96 25mm AA gun is the most accurate mount out of any battleship AA gun. Look, I'm not the most savvy historionatrix -- scarcely better than the History Channel -- but even I know this is a facepalm. Also, Champagne and Borodino are still works in progress and subject to change. I'm not going to waste too much time here. Take a Catapult Fighter instead of a Spotting Aircraft consumable. If you've upgraded your secondaries, you'll have a bit more bite to your AA guns which should be enough to make a tier VI carrier cry and mildly annoy a tier VIII carrier enough to make them alternate aircraft types they hammer you with to mitigate losses. But don't kid yourself into thinking that this provides anywhere close to "good" AA firepower. She has marginally better defense than Bismarck but she still sits well behind ships like the So-Daks, North Carolina and Kii. VERDICT: Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.3km / 12.02km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 9.86km/7.99km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 11.9km Main Battery Firing Range: 19.09km / 22.87km with Spotting Aircraft active Hydroacoustic Search Ranges: 3.5km torpedoes, 5km ship detection. I'm about to heap a whole lot of cautionary praise on Odin's surface detection. Lemme state this fact before I get started: Odin's concealment is nothing special for a battleship; it's simply better than expected. High-tier German battleships are thunder-chunkers with choo-choo thighs. Odin isn't. This opens up the door to actually weaponizing her concealment as some other battleships can and German battleships typically can't. Clear? Cool. Vision control is, in my opinion, the ship's saving grace. Like Roma before her, having good concealment prevents Odin from being an unmitigated disaster of a ship (boy, has my opinion of that ship evolved over time). In particular, it softens the blow of Odin's smaller hit point pool, adding a bit of much needed survivability that she might otherwise lack. Playing up to this concealment advantage will keep this ship alive -- Odin belongs on the second line, playing more like a large cruiser than a true battleship, at least until the end game when she can finally choose to spend her hit points where it will actually matter -- in brawls and securing objectives. Of course, Odin's concealment advantages are easily undone. All it takes is a flanking destroyer or a determined aircraft carrier to undermine her stealth, lighting her up for the enemy team. At least in Randoms you can count on not being the first ship targeted if you're in the second line -- PUBies tend to shoot at whatever is closest rather than what's optimal, so again, I stress -- keep her in the second line, even if her damage output is going to be garbage for a while. Odin's vision control extends beyond playing peek-a-boo whenever she fires her guns from range. Having access to a Hydroacoustic Search is an underrated boon. It is primarily defensive, ostensibly keeping her safe from torpedo hits while it's active. However, I find it much more rewarding to use it offensively to sniff out ships behind cover even if opportunities to do so prove much more rare. This consumable does provide a welcome bit of supporting confidence to aggressively push when the time is right. Finally, like Roma before her, Odin is better equipped to flank and steal shots from an unseen quarter than some other battleships. On my wish list, including a kilometer less surface detection, would be a bit more speed to better take advantage of this ability, but it's good enough. Odin can make good use of islands on top of sneaking through open water to set up ambushes. Unlike her Italian counterpart, she's generally not doing it to put main-battery firepower pressure on the enemy, but rather to safely close and begin using her fish and secondaries. I honestly wish there was more to get excited over about this aspect of Odin. It's a panacea to her durability woes, but a single aircraft carrier will put a fly in that ointment. VERDICT: It's sad when arguably the best thing about the ship is a mediocre showing like this that band-aids other problems. Final Evaluation Odin or Tirpitz? I think that's the big question out there. If you have Tirpitz, why would you want Odin? If you don't have either, which one should you get if you had to choose between the two? Muh History aside, I prefer Odin but I don't think she's better. I admit some of this affection towards Odin is owing to her being new and my rather enjoyable bouts of play-testing. It was a challenge to play Odin well -- to preserve her hit points and then pounce upon the unsuspecting. This probably explains the success I had with Odin. She's so new that the population at large isn't aware of her torpedoes yet. Once they become common knowledge, players will learn to stay away as vehemently as they do from a charging Tirpitz. The shine will come off Odin's star soon enough leaving us with two very similar ships. Is Odin optimal? Hells no. Is Odin better than Tirpitz? Situationally yes. Situationally no. Tirpitz has better firepower, hands down. The overmatch of her 380mm guns is great. Tirpitz is arguably a better top-tier bully too where the deficiencies of her 105mm secondary penetration doesn't matter as much and she can make much more use of her overmatching ability. Odin is no slouch, she just does things a little differently -- playing hit and fade until it's time to stove someone's face in. Despite the deficit in hit points, Odin feels more survivable to me as a veteran player. I don't have to be a damage sponge. The catch, of course, is that her main battery guns suck. Dealing reliable damage outside of a brawl is difficult. And there will be matches where you don't get a chance to wade in and that will show in your results. Frustrations aside, for those who love brawling, it's those matches where you do finally get to sneak up and wade in, where you do get to put torpedoes up someone's nose or rip someone's citadel out at point blank range which makes all of the previous frustrations moot. Bonus points if you use Odin's concealment to set it up. As I mentioned, those games came frequently during play-testing and that's why I enjoyed this ship as much as I did. Was it because Odin is so sneaky or was it simply because people were ignorant of what Odin can do? I think it's both, to be honest. While I do imagine those opportunities will wane somewhat as people get wiser, those opportunities are so worth it. Overall, I think Tirpitz is more consistent, but there's room for Odin in my port. Conclusion Not bad -- a week's turn around time from when Odin's finalization was announced to getting this one out the door. I put a lot of extra work into this one and I hope the quality shows. Thank you to my Patrons on Patreon for their continued support and making these articles possible! ♥
  3. The following is a review of Azur Lane's Sovetskaya Rossiya - the tier IX Premium Soviet Battleship. This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming in order to make this review. I did not have to pay for her. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.6.1. Please be aware her performance may change in the future. After the disappointment of AL Littorio being nothing more than a reskinned Roma-clone, it's a bit of a relief to review AL Sovetskaya Rossiya (hear after referred to only as "Rossiya"). Now, I stress it's only a minor improvement. Like AL Montpelier and AL Yukikaze from the year before, Rossiya does not differentiate herself all that much from other ships already extant within the game. The best that could be said about Rossiya is that she takes the game play from Sovetsky Soyuz, tweaks it oh-so slightly, and makes a premium ship out of it. This is great news if you like Sovetsky Soyuz. AL Montpelier ostensibly did the same for Cleveland, giving players access to a premium version of an already popular tech tree ship and I can understand the appeal. However, if you're looking for new and novel game play, you won't find it here. With all of this in mind, this review is being formatted in the same manner as my reviews of AL Yukikaze and AL Montpelier, focusing on the differences between Rossiya and Sovetsky Soyuz. Players wishing to try out Rossiya for free before purchasing need only unlock Sovetsky Soyuz and keep the differences discussed in this article in mind. Summary of Differences Comparing the differences between Rossiya and a fully upgraded Sovetsky Soyuz, you get the following: The Gud + Rossiya is more precise than Sovetsky Soyuz. + Rossiya's main battery guns are more durable than Sovetsky Soyuz. + Rossiya has improved economy. + Rossiya comes with permanent camouflage. The Meh Rossiya uses American battleship dispersion instead of the Soviet battleship dispersion used by Sovetsky Soyuz. Rossiya has the stock secondary layout of Sovetsky Soyuz instead of her upgraded secondaries. And the Garbage - Rossiya has fewer hit points than Sovetsky Soyuz. - Rossiya has a slower gun traverse than Sovetsky Soyuz. - Rossiya has worse AA defense than Sovetsky Soyuz. Stock-Hull Syndrome Rossiya is ostensibly a stock version of Sovetsky Soyuz but with improved rudder shift time and range so that she matches the tech tree ship. The net effect here is that Rossiya comes with Sovetsky Soyuz's secondary layout, AA armament and hit point disparity of the stock version of Sovetsky Soyuz while still enjoying the upgraded agility and range of a fully researched ship. In this regard, she's quite similar to Ashitaka, the tier VII Japanese premium battleship which pulled a similar trick with Amagi's old stock-hull (though Ashitaka enjoys this at a full tier lower). Categorically, Rossiya's defense is inferior to that of Sovetsky Soyuz, though the amount of disparity is quite minor in truth. The loss of AA firepower is laughable and hardly worth considering in the current meta. Similarly, the difference in secondary arrangement is more of a curiousity than it is advantageous or disadvantageous. Soviet battleships are not known for their secondaries in the first place so the changes here are not worth fussing over. For those that do want to fuss over it, Rossiya's has the larger volume of fire coming off her secondaries but much of that comes at a deficit of HE penetration, making them incapable of directly damaging even the hulls of tier VIII+ destroyers. Her 152mm guns are harder hitting, making them able to directly damage even some cruisers, but they come with a slower rate of fire. Overall, though, Rossiya's secondaries the better fire starter with a theoretical 9.2 fires per minute versus Sovetsky Soyuz's 5.8. HOWEVER, given their short range and the general allergy Soviet battleships have to brawling, celebrating these differences is silly. It's technically correct that Rossiya has the better secondaries. Differences in Hit Points Sovetsky Soyuz's Hit Points: 88,100hp Rossiya's Hit Points: 80,900hp Sovertsky Soyuz's Maximum Effective Health through Heals: 147,303hp Rossiya's Maximum Effective Health through Heals: 135,265hp Individual Component Hit Points breaks down as follows (Rossiya/Sovetsky Soyuz): Hull: 60,700hp / 66,100hp Superstructure: 3,700hp / 4,100hp Magazines (each): 40,500hp / 44,100hp Steering Gear: 24,300hp / 26,400hp Differences in Secondaries Sovetsky Soyuz Secondary Armament: Twelve 130mm/55 in 6x2 turrets 130mm Gun Performance: 5km range with 1,900 damage per shell with 22mm of penetration. They have an 8% fire chance and 5 second reload. Rossiya's Secondary Armament: Twelve 152mm/57 in 6x2 turrets and eight 100mm/56 in 4x2 turrets 152mm Gun Performance: 5km range with 2,200 damage per shell with 25mm of penetration. They have a 12% fire chance and an 8 second reload. 100mm Gun Performance: 5km range with 1,400 damage per shell with 17mm of penetration. They have a 6% fire chance and a 3.75 second reload. Differences in AA Firepower Sovetsky Soyuz's Flak: 5 explosions for up to 1,610 damage per blast, 3.5km to 6km range. Rossiya's Flak: 4 explosions for up to to 1,400 damage per blast, 3.5km to 5.8km range. Sovetsky Soyuz's Continus DPS: 66 at 6km / 187 at 3.5km / 49 at 3.1km Rossiya's Continuous DPS: 58 at 5.8km / 200 at 3.2km Differences in Economy As a tier IX premium, AL Sovetskaya Rossiya is one of the highest credit earners available presently, matching the majority of other tier IX premiums for their gains. Only Missouri (not available) along with Roma & Kii using their Makoto Kobayashi camouflages have higher credit earning potential in the game at present. With her premium camouflage included, she is far and away superior to Sovetsky Soyuz that it's no contest whatsoever. But you should expect that for a premium ship. Whatcha Paid For Like her waifu-avatar, it's all about the big guns. The big difference between the two ships comes with their main battery gun performance. Lemme break down the nitty-gritty of the differences first: Sovetsky Soyuz's Gun Traverse: 6º/s Rossiya's Gun Traverse: 4º/s Sovetsky Soyuz's Gun Hit Points: 20,000 per turret Rossiya's Gun Hit Points: 40,000 per turret Sovetsky Soyuz's Horizontal Gun Dispersion: [ range x 11.9 ] + 33 Rossiya's Horizontal Gun Dispersion: [ range x 10 ] + 60 Sovetsky Soyuz's Sigma: 1.6 Rossiya's Sigma: 1.8 ... and for those that love stupid minor differences: Sovetsky Soyuz's Main Battery Range: 19,382m Rossiya's Main Battery Range: 19,380m So it looks like some of these differences are important. Others, not so much. We can outright dismiss the 2m difference in main battery gun range as being entirely inconsequential, but what about the rest? The most curious change between the two ships is Rossiya's increased gun survivability. Doubling the gun's hit points makes them not only more difficult to destroy but it also makes them harder to temporarily disable. You'll still want Main Armaments Modification 1 to help mitigate critical hits but still, it's impressive. Clearly this chonktacular buff to Rossiya's hit points gummed up the traverse mechanism because Sovetsky Soyuz's turrets turn 50% faster. Once you slap on Main Battery Modification 3, Rossiya's turret traverse gets downright glacial, so make sure you invest in Expert Marksman if this kind of thing bugs you. This is another point against Rossiya keeping pace with Sovetsky Soyuz. For those keeping track, she now has worse AA power (who cares?) along with worse hit points and heals. Wargaming's selling feature for this ship is (and I quote): "Unlike the researchable Soviet battleships, shells launched by AL Sovetskaya Rossiya have standard accuracy parameters for the ship type." If you're wondering what this gobbledygook means, Rossiya has American battleship dispersion patterns instead of Soviet dispersion patterns. Here's what their horizontal dispersion looks like over distance: At very (very) close ranges, Sovetsky Soyuz has a smaller dispersion area than Rossiya. At very long ranges, Rossiya gets more accurate. Couple this with Rossiya's increased sigma value (making it more likely for her shells to group towards the center of her targeting area) and Rossiya is more of a sniper than Sovetsky Soyuz. Her gunnery is more consistent over range than her tech-tree sister-ship. However, before anyone gets too excited, lemme slap a big ol' butt onto this with the following caveat: You're not likely to notice a difference -- and if you do, it's largely in your head. The difference in the gunnery between the two ships is largely a "spreadsheet value" -- like tweaking Kremlin's AA defense. Over the course of many games, the numbers will tell. However, on a per-match or even a per-volley experience, the real-world game play will feel hella-similar. Observe: Again, my standard dispersion test. Each ship fired 180 AP shells at a stationary Fuso that did not have camouflage equipped. Both Rossiya and Sovetsky Soyuz were using the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade. Shots came in from right to left with the Fuso effectively bow-tanking. The target ship upon which they were locked and the open water at which they aimed were both 15km away. Now lemme be clear: AL Sovetskaya Rossiya is the more accurate ship between the two. She is going to land more hits, on average, than Sovetsky Soyuz over the course of normal game play (outside of the rare close-range brawl). Ostensibly, this is what you're paying for when you buy this ship (other than anime boobies): a statistical increase in her main battery accuracy and (much) improved economy at the expense of gun handling and defense, all slapped onto the stupidly-tanky hull that is a Soviet battleship. That's Rossiya in a nutshell. Which Ship Is Better? Game play wise, Sovetsky Soyuz is the better ship by a small margin. Soviet battleships are known for their durability. While Rossiya has a slight improvement over Sovetsky Soyuz's gunnery, the difference in durability definitely goes to the tech-tree ship. This plays up to the strengths the Soviet line is known for and gives her the slight edge. Economy wise, Rossiya is the obvious winner. Cuz, duh. Overview "But Mouse," you cry, "I've never played Sovetsky Soyuz before. I have no frame of reference on if I should buy AL Sovetskaya Rossiya or not!" Well, shame on you. Go unlock Sovetsky Soyuz right now and play a few games to get a better idea. No? That's unreasonable? Fine. Here's a quick rundown of AL Sovetskaya Rossiya: Quick Summary: A high-tier Soviet battleship with American gunnery dispersion. PROS Excellent armour protection against HE shells, including a 60mm amidships deck & upper hull and an extended waterline belt towards the bow. Excellent armour protection for face-tanking AP shells, including the overmatching 460mm+ AP shells of high-tier IJN battleships. Access to the Soviet-battleship Damage Control Party with its very short reset timer. Stupidly-durable main battery guns. Uses American battleship dispersion on her main battery guns, giving her improved accuracy at long-range over other Soviet battleships. CONS Exposed, high-water citadel, making her exceedingly vulnerable if flanked. Limited number of charges on her Damage Control Party. Long, 33 second reload which hurts her overall damage output. Slow gun traverse at 4º/s (45s for 180º) Agility clearly sits in the "Mayonnaise Zone" with an enormous turning radius and slow rate of turn. Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme AL Sovetskaya Rossiya is a relatively easy ship to play. Point your snoot at those who are trying to boop and return fire with her (reasonably) accurate guns. So long as you don't over-extend, she's tanky enough to resist just about any hurt thrown her way. The only hurdles for a new player are protecting her citadel and managing the limited number of charges of her Damage Control Party properly. For veterans, Rossiya is a Soviet battleship in all respects. Use and abuse the hidden geometries of her ridiculously powerful armour layout to shrug off hits you have no business resisting. Trivialize fires and overmatch the snot out of vulnerable ships with her 406mm guns. She doesn't quite have the maximum carry potential -- she is squishier than her tech-tree counterpart owing to her smaller hit point pool and worse heals as a result, but she's definitely no slouch. Summary AL Sovetskaya Rossiya is hands down the best premium purchase of this Third Wave of Azur Lane content. But let's be fair: It's not hard to best a Roma-clone which is her only competition. Rossiya is about as safe a purchase as you could make -- there's nothing wrong with her and the ship upon which she's based is one of the stronger contenders at tier IX. She still sits well behind Missouri and Musashi, though, so don't get the mistaken impression that you're investing in a god-tier ship. She's solid, but she's not redefining the meta in any way. The good news for your non-weebs out there is that unlike when AL Montpelier and AL Yukikaze were first sold, if you disable the Azur Lane content in your port, you do get access to a ship with premium camouflage still intact. Wargaming thankfully did away with that particular goof-up a while ago, so it's welcome to see. Now, it occurs to me that there isn't any click-baity, rage-inducing drama in this review at all, so I'll leave those who want to get their hate on with the following: AL Sovetsky Rossiya is yet another premium ship being made from the stock-hull of an already existing ship. She joins the ranks of many previous premium in this regard. Personally, this doesn't bother me in the least. I don't care if a ship is similar to another existing ship -- I only care if the ship is fun to play. Having a premium version of Sovetsky Soyuz is a pretty darned safe move to make on Wargaming's part, if a little boring. Still, I'll take it over AL Littorio any day.
  4. The following is a review of Azur Lane Littorio, the tier VIII Italian battleship. This ship has been provided to me by Wargaming for evaluation purposes -- I did not have to pay for this thing. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are current as of patch 0.9.6.1. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. So first some bias warning: Wargaming has pissed me off with AL Littorio. You're going to see a lot of negativity in this (blessedly short) review. The worst part is that I'm partially muzzled with NDAs on explaining why I'm mad with Wargaming. I have to be very careful here, but I'll tip-toe and disclose as much as I am able. Weeks and weeks ago, I was play-testing the tier VIII Italian Battleship Impero. Impero, like all test ships, was a Work in Progress -- with any and all of her performance characteristics subject to change at Wargaming's whims. She appeared superficially as a clone of Roma, the tier VIII Premium Italian Battleship but she was armed with SAP shells instead of HE Shells, she had improved agility but her reload was three seconds longer. Finally, she had access to an Italian cruiser Exhaust Smoke Generator. While I cannot comment on how she performed, there was nothing out of the ordinary with receiving a test ship with new and novel game play features. What was out of the ordinary was the trio of mistakes Wargaming would make regarding Impero. The Three Blunders MISTAKE THE FIRST: Impero was called "Impero (AL Littorio)" in Wargaming's internal documentation. When I first saw this, the hype was real. I do so enjoy crossovers. But internal documents are internal documents and subject to NDA so I wasn't going to spread this far and wide. "But how is this a mistake?" you ask. Well, dear reader, according to Wargaming, Impero wasn't meant to be labelled such. MISTAKE THE SECOND: Wargaming accidentally leaked a Supertest announcement: So the above oops was unfortunate but it might not have been so bad if it didn't contain this second element. When new ships are issued to testers, Wargaming messages the individual testers. This contains not only the itemized list of everything that has been credited to accounts, but it also provides links where feedback can be submitted. In or around the second week of April, this message (found below) was sent out accidentally to non-testers. Now Wargaming's "typo" was spread far and wide: MISTAKE THE THIRD: Wargaming failed to notify anyone that Impero was not AL Littorio. With the leak, Community Contributors could now discuss the upcoming Azur Lane crossover. While Impero's performance was (and remains) strictly off the table, her name was now tied to Impero's stats because of this leak. If Wargaming intended to separate the association between the two, they missed their early opportunity to do so with clear communication. This is when you start seeing me include AL Littorio instead of Impero in graphs and charts like this one for Odin's review back in early June: The "AL Littorio" is actually what Impero used to do. Impero, as designed during this test phase, doesn't exist anymore. For the current AL Littorio performance, look at Roma on this chart. The only problem, of course, is that Wargaming didn't think to correct all of the "AL Littorio" feedback they were receiving in place of Impero's. Now I stress that what abilities Impero had were all transitory -- Wargaming could change her however they wished, throwing everything out on a whim. But this does not diminish the fact that Impero's performance was tied to the AL Littorio name in the hearts and minds of testers, to say nothing of the attentive members of the community who were following her development through what snippets they could acquire. Divorcing the notion that AL Littorio and Impero were one in the same should have been high up on the priority list, but apparently this miscommunication slipped through the cracks. It wasn't until the official announcement on the Japanese World of Warships / Azur Lane collaboration stream that this fact came to light in the most jarring way possible. Who doesn't love getting important information from a third party source? AL Littorio was not getting Impero's performance. She was just going to be a Roma-clone in almost every respect. Mouse's Mistake So I have found myself the perpetrator of spreading misinformation. What's extra-frustrating is that the new "lack of preview" system the Community Contributor program has in place is meant specifically to mitigate this sort of thing from happening, but it went and happened anyway. While I reported Impero's performance accurately at the time, it was under the label of AL Littorio which is patently false. Let me be crystal clear: AL Littorio is not Impero. AL Littorio does not get Impero's SAP shells instead of HE shells. AL Littorio does not have Impero's 33 second reload. AL Littorio does not have Impero's Exhaust Smoke Generator. AL Littorio does not have Impero's improved agility. AL LITTORIO CLONES ROMA'S IN-GAME PERFORMANCE IN EVERY WAY THAT MATTERS. AL Littorio is a boring ol' clone of Roma in all respects but one: you can't buy a Makoto Kobayashi "Beer Can" camouflage for AL Littorio and received (much) improved economic gains. So... lesson learned: Going forward, I'm not going to include any test-ship data in any of my graphs and charts, pertinent though they may be to the community discussions going on at the time. Hopefully this will nip any of these miscommunication SNAFUs on Wargaming's part in the bud. I hate to leave stuff out but at the same time, it's not worth having my readers misled. For my part in this whole mix-up, I am truly sorry. I cannot properly express how mad I feel. The lack of clear information from Wargaming, the air of deliberately misleading me through withheld information, pisses me off to no end. I feel very much disrespected, especially when it came to light that, according to the game files, Impero is AL Littorio after all. I was jerked around -- there's no other word for it. I wasn't worth communicating to regarding Wargaming's intentions for the project. No one saw fit to make sure that I was being properly informed. They effectively put the onus on me to fact-check them on EVERYTHING they disclose, no matter how inane. To say that my trust in them is horribly shaken would be an understatement. And best of all, they pulled another Graf Zeppelin / German Destroyer swapperoo -- changing everything at the last minute without telling the CCs first. So not only am I very much a part of the whole spreading of misinformation, I wasn't given the opportunity to undo the damage in a timely manner. The NDAs on these ships have only just been lifted with the ships going on sale with the big ol' butt added on that Impero's performance is still off the table. Yay. Now, as I have said, Wargaming is free to change test-ship performance however they like. They MUST be allowed to try out new things. Sometimes this results in some real gems making it to the live client. For example, Haida's success story could not have come to pass without this level of experimentation. However, for every Haida there are ships like Duke of York where the concept gets axed at the eleventh hour, potentially never to see the light of day again (we STILL don't have a ship that matches the original Duke of York's play style). While I suspect the information collected with Impero may end up shaping the Italian battleship line in some shape or form, Impero's test-ship game play isn't replicated in AL Littorio. I must stress that this is only a suspicion that Impero's performance may re-emerge with the Italian tech-tree battleships. I do not begrudge Wargaming's need to change test-ships. However, if they want me to produce content about these ships, they must appreciate that jerking me around does not make for a happy Mouse. Roma in 2020 Roma hasn't changed much since I first reviewed her two and a half years ago. She's a ship I very much want to like but she's held back by two elements that are difficult to overcome. For those unfamiliar with Roma, her performance summarizes to the following PROS and CONS: PROs Dispersed armour layout with thick upper hull, amidships deck armour and an extended belt, all resistant to HE damage. Good gun handling with fast turret traverse. Phenomenal muzzle velocity and energy retention, giving her fast shell flight times over distance. Great AP penetration power over range, especially for guns of her caliber. Good concealment with a 14.9km surface detection range which can be reduced down to 11.7km. CONs Soviet-style high-water citadel. Short ranged for a tier VIII battleship at 18.1km. Horrible dispersion on her main battery guns. Her high-velocity, high-penetration AP shells consistently over-penetrate cruisers. Her 381mm AP shells cannot overmatch 27mm+ hull sections found commonly on many cruisers within her matchmaking. Awful HE performance with low alpha strike, poor fire chance and mediocre module damage. Large turning radius, mediocre ship rotation rate. Roma are AL Littorio are flanking battleships. The idea is that they're able to get into a forward position and hammer the enemy with crossfire. However, this is where those aforementioned problem-elements come in. The first is that their guns are horribly inconsistent. Their gunnery dispersion is just horrid -- behaving just often enough to give you hope that you can land hits on a crucial shot only to troll you when you need them to behave. Out of all of the ships in the game I have so far mapped dispersion for, Roma has the worst I've seen. It's really bad. Adding to this gunnery inconsistency is the double-feature of struggling to land anything but over-penetrating hits on the flat broadside of cruisers. Roma' and AL Littorio's AP shells are simply too fast and have too much penetration -- they punch clean through cruisers rather than exploding within them unless targets are pretty far away (12km to 14km depending on the chubbiness of the ship in question). Finally, her 381mm caliber means that they can't overmatch the 27mm hull sections found on many tier VIII+ cruisers. American and German cruisers that bow in can bounce their AP for days. Their HE shells are terrible so they don't pick up the slack. The second issue is one of being too easily detected. Back when I first reviewed Roma, carriers were largely a non-issue. Now they're commonplace. Assigning "concealment" as a battleship's strength is a bit of a hard sell when aircraft can undo this even accidentally, without actively trying to keep Roma lit. This means taking up forward or flanking positions is a no-go and simply guarantees you'll be focus fired. AL Littorio and Roma aren't without their merits, though. The punch on their guns really is phenomenal. You can reliable citadel most battleships up to maximum range (provided their citadels are exposed and they're giving you a broadside to shoot at). Their armour layout is super tanky, lacking just the full-on ice-breaker bow to make it perfect. Unlike Soviet ships, they're not shackled with horrible surface detection and agility either, so provided no one's looking, they can redeploy effectively. All things told, AL Littorio and Roma are balanced Mehbotes. I just wish their gunnery was more interesting. Final Evaluation So AL Littorio is Roma with an Azur Lane camouflage. She is a worse Roma, as a matter of fact -- as I said, you can't fork out money to get Roma's beer-can camouflage. AL Littorio is only worthwhile if: (a) you want Roma and (b) you don't have Roma and (c) you never intend to buy Roma's Makoto Kobayashi camouflage because you're allergic to fun and pope hats.
  5. Updated November 7th, 2018 Jean Bart is an upgraded Richelieu-class battleship with improved anti-aircraft firepower and equipped with the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. Unassuming at first glance, she is overpowered in the right situation. Jean Bart annihilates opponents that make mistakes like few other warships can. When capitalizing on these situations, she is without equal. Jean Bart punches much harder than her smaller-caliber battleship guns would suggest. This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming. Please be aware that there are some differences to this ship as of the original publication date. To the best of my knowledge, these stats are accurate as of November 7th, 2018 and represent the release version of the ship. Jean Bart has been made available for 228,000 Coal in the Arsenal as well as being sold directly in the premium shop. PROS Main Battery Reload Booster gives her the ability to brutally punish ships that make mistakes within her line of fire, be it with repeated citadel hits or stacking fires. Entire battery is bow-mounted, making it easy to maximize her firepower on the attack. Heavy secondary gun battery with a fast rate of fire from her 100mm guns. Excellent anti-aircraft firepower -- some of the best found on battleships in the game. Good overall agility for a tier IX battleship. CONS Tiny hit point pool for a tier 9 battleship at 69,000hp. Exceedingly vulnerable to light cruiser-caliber HE spam. Armed with only eight 380mm guns with low damage output. Unable to overmatch the extremities of tier VIII+ German and American heavy cruisers. Majority of her secondaries are incapable of dealing direct damage to most targets. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Jean Bart is an easy battleship to play and quite forgiving. If her guns were of a larger caliber, I'd consider her skill floor to merely be 'Simple' As it is, players must have working knowledge of which ships her AP shells can overmatch and which they cannot which forces players to think ahead with their ammunition choices. As easy as Jean Bart is to slip on, she scales very well with player skill. Few battleships reward careful target selection and ammunition choice like Jean Bart. This is a ship where daring plays and proper consumable use make all the difference. Jean Bart feels very much overpowered in the right hands yet provide only a middling performance to the uninitiated. – 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. Musashi outperforms Jean Bart firepower wise, giving the French battleship a rating. Jean Bart has a low hit point total like HMS Lion but lacks her improved Repair Party consumable. She has a defense. Jean Bart has the agility and anti-aircraft firepower at her tier. Her concealment is only . Options Jean Bart doesn't offer much in the way of surprises. While there is room for some customization, she's fairly predictable. Her big gimmick is access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. Consumables Jean Bart uses a standard French Damage Control Party. This has a 15s active time and a 120s / 80s reset timer. She has unlimited charges. Her Repair Party is also standard for a French battleship and begins with 3 charges. She heals back up to 14% of her health over 28s with a 120s / 80s reset timer. She queues up to 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of any other damage type. Jean Bart comes with a Main Battery Reload Booster with 3 charges. This cuts down her main battery reload time by 50% for 20s with a 180s / 120s reset timer. Finally, she has access to the Engine Boost consumable with 2 charges. This increases her speed by 8% for 180s and it resets within 180s / 120s. Upgrades Jean Bart should begin by taking Main Armaments Modification 1 in her first slot. Optimally, take the special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1 in her second slot. If you do not have access to one, then default to Damage Control System Modification 1. In your third slot, Jean Bart forces a choice on players. Optimally, you should increase the accuracy of your main battery with Aiming Systems Modification 1. However, that's totally boring. If you're feeling MANLY (and stupid), take Secondary Gun Modification 2 to boost your secondary range and show those lolibotes and inferior battleships who their daddy is.But maybe an Aircraft Carrier once touched you in a naughty place. Maybe you're super salty about that. If that's the case, you can always go for AA Guns Modification 2 to increase their range. This will make CV players hate you. And while other players may scoff that your build is sub-optimal, they'll all respect you deep down for making a CV player cry. Things get pretty boring from here on out. Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal in your fourth slot with the amount of HE that's thrown about. Steering Gears Modification 2 is a distant second place in terms of optimization, but if it makes you happy, who are we to judge? Take Concealment Modification 1 for your 5th slot. It's too good compared to the other option. And finally, take Main Battery Modification 3 for your final slot. Camouflage Jean Bart comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This predictably provides: 100% bonus experience gains 20% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 380mm/45 guns in 2x4 turrets in an A-B superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Nine 152mm guns in 3x3 turrets facing the rear and twenty-four 100mm guns in 12x2 turrets arranged in superfiring configurations with three facing forward and three facing rear on each side of the ship. Jean Bart has some of the firepower at her tier. For a battleship armed with only eight, bow-mounted 380mm guns and a small-caliber secondary battery, this is a bold claim. However, for much of Jean Bart's development cycle, she was disgustingly overpowered and there were very real concerns about her performance. Wargaming has scaled her firepower back, but I'm not sure they did it to the degree necessary to ensure balance at tier IX. As it stands now, Jean Bart has the ability to punish opponents like no other battleship in the game. Underestimate her at your peril. Jean Bart firing 180 shells, locked onto a stationary enemy Fuso without camouflage at 15km. She has the same horizontal dispersion pattern as German and Italian battleships. French 380mm guns are well known for their high shell velocity and energy retention. While this does assist in preserving penetration power over distance, this does have the side effect of causing many shells to overshoot or undershoot their target. Penetration values courtesy of the World of Warships AP calculator (link provided in the Appendix). Jean Bart (and Alsace) have the worst battleship penetration at tier IX. However, it would be a mistake to call her penetration "bad". She is capable of landing penetrating hits on enemy battleships at all but extreme ranges. Unassuming Armament Jean Bart's main battery uses the same 380mm guns found on the tier IX battleship Alsace and her tier VIII sister ships, Gascogne and Richelieu. These weapons are characterized by their admittedly large dispersion area, high shell velocity and energy retention, good penetration and middling damage. The precision of her shell fire has been tuned to be identical to Gascogne at 1.9 sigma making her gunnery feel comfortable and rewarding careful aim. While the high velocity of her shells and dispersion pattern does lead to the occasional wonky spread of shells, on the whole these weapons behave themselves better than the infamously temperamental weapons found on battleship Roma. 380mm guns already feel long in the tooth by tier VIII, to say nothing for tier IX. Unable to overmatch the bows of German and American heavy cruisers, their performance is often found wanting. Jean Bart compensates for this with having an accelerated reload of 26s. While this may seem impressive at a glance, it is the same reload timer found on the Bismarck-sisters a full tier lower and it's less than Monarch's 25s with nine rifles also at tier VIII. Still, Jean Bart's firepower is superior to these other ships grace simply of her gun arrangement. Having all of her weapons mounted on her bow facilitates their use which, combined with the higher precision of her guns, allows her to output more damage than any of these lower-tiered rivals. Still, she should not be able to compete with the likes of the Iowa-sisters, Lion or Alsace. And yet, she not only competes with them -- she puts them in their place. Jean Bart wins no prizes for her stock DPM values, but that's not where her strength lies. The Dreaded Box o' Gimmicks Wargaming has produced the horror or horrors in Jean Bart by giving her access to the consumable Main Battery Reload Booster. Originally dispensed to the French cruiser line, Jean Bart is the first (and probably not the last) battleship armed with it. Understand that this, more than any other trait, is what makes Jean Bart so formidable. When her consumable is properly managed, Jean Bart is game breaking. When it isn't, she's an up-tiered Richelieu with good AA power. The Main Battery Reload Booster is still new, so let's start with an explanation of how the version found on Jean Bart works. This should hold true for other ships, but in case it gets grandfathered in with nerfs, this will serve as a handy reference. While active, it doubles the speed at which Jean Bart reloads her main battery. It does not halve the time it takes for a shell to be reloaded. This is an important difference. Allow me to show what I mean: I've redone this damn chart nine ten eleven TWELVE FREAKIN' times. The most recent change to this consumable occurred with patch 0.7.10. While the booster is active every second spend reloading counts as two seconds. What the booster does not do is simply halve the reload time -- ie, turning the cycle time down to 13s for any shells being reloaded during the consumable's active period . There's no way to cheat the system and fire an extra shell at a fully halved reload by timing the consumable use carefully. The benefits of Jean Bart's consumable apply immediately and only for the duration that it's active. The benefits of her consumable stack with the gains made from the Main Battery Modification 3 upgrade and the Adrenaline Rush commander skill. The numbers here get truly frightening, with a Jean Bart at 50% health being able to cycle her guns as quickly as every 10s with her consumable active. For an enemy vessel caught within a turn, this is devastating as Jean Bart is capable of putting repeated volleys downrange before they can turn away or make it into cover. And it's here where this unassuming battleship becomes overpowered. Jean Bart's all-forward gun placement makes her arcs feel very comfortable -- at least until you have to start running. Be very careful of unmasking her B-turret when you do. This will open her up to taking some hard hits from over angling. Devastating Strikes & Burninations on Demand The all-forward gun arrangement on Jean Bart means that her guns are almost always going to be at the ready when a target of opportunity arises. Her Main Battery Reload Booster guarantees she'll have the right shells loaded. Moreover, her consumable makes it very likely she'll be able to take two bites of the apple before they're able to correct their mistake. It cannot be understated how disgustingly powerful this consumable is in the right hands. Jean Bart may not have the same raw damage output of her peers over time, but she has all of the tools, between gun arrangement, precision, penetration and reload time to make her guns far more devastating in the short term. This emphasizes a battleship's strengths -- overwhelming alpha strikes. Jean Bart is better equipped to deal them more often than any of her contemporaries. It goes beyond landing AP volleys on exposed broadsides. Jean Bart is just as capable of stacking fires with her HE shells in short order with the use of her consumable. If an enemy battleship blows their Damage Control Party, Jean Bart's fast rate of fire will deliver upwards of 24 shells inside of 33 seconds. Even with the modest (for a battleship) fire chance, Jean Bart can match the Royal Navy for infuriating stacks of blazes. Duly warned be ye, says I. Almost excellent - Except they totally suck Jean Bart's secondaries suck moose-balls. She boasts a similar secondary load out to her sister Gascogne but she has even more 100mm guns. This looks terribly impressive on paper. They have a good range. Her smaller caliber guns have a phenomenal rate of fire of 20rpm which more than pads their uninspiring 5% base fire chance. And, really, that's all their good for -- setting fires. They can only directly damage areas of 16mm of armour or less -- that's not even enough to contest the hull of tier VIII+ destroyers she faces. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will enable her to the penetrate up to 21mm but that's a damn heavy investment. You can go this manly route if you wish. It's hardly optimal, even if it is hilarious. Jean Bart's armour scheme does not hold up well in a brawl (see below) so this is a heavy gamble. Still, with her Main Battery Reload Booster, she can be a formidable opponent in close quarters if you like to live dangerously. Summary Main battery is unassuming. Secondaries suck unless you invest heavily into them. And opportunist par excellence, Jean Bart can capitalize upon opponent mistakes like no other battleship thanks to her reload consumable. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : An increase in gun caliber would do it, even without the accompanying increase in shell damage. Jean Bart is contesting Musashi for the top spot. Her guns are that good. Defense Hit Points: 69,000hp Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm torpedo bulge + 330mm belt + 50mm turtleback + 50mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 32% Jean Bart holds the distinction of being the most vulnerable of the tier IX battleships. However, she doesn't rank last because of some crippling flaw. Her armour protection is sufficient. Her consumables aren't broken in any way. It's really just a deficit of hit points combined with a vulnerability to HE shells that puts her in last place. Jean Bart's hit point total are not those of a tier IX battleship. With healing scaling directly with a ship's base hit points and lacking the portable dry-dock of the Royal Navy, Jean Bart starts off the Durability-race with an immediate disadvantage, but she's not so far behind as to no longer be competitive. While she doesn't have deep reserves of health to absorb damage (or the healing potion to recover from it), her citadel protection scheme isn't lacking. She has decent anti-torpedo defense, for example, sitting at a modest, but respectable 32% damage reduction (and a far cry better than most of the other tier IX battleships, I might add). Her citadel placement is very-French. Her magazines and machine spaces sit just beneath the waterline, protected by a 50mm turtleback and a reverse-sloped belt. Combined, Jean Bart is all but immune to citadel hits at a distance. However, the steep grade of her turtleback lets her down at point blank ranges. Like Alsace, Gascogne, Richelieu and République, she is exceedingly vulnerable in a close-range brawl to broadside citadel shots from large caliber AP shells. On the whole, Jean Bart stands up well to AP fire and torpedo hits. Against high explosive fire, her defense scheme fails utterly though. Jean Bart's citadel protection is complicated, formed up of no less than four layers, two of which aren't pictured here. The first is her 32mm anti-torpedo bulge (not shown). Then shells strike her upper (330mm) or lower (250mm) belt, though the latter will usually necessitate plunging through water first, further reducing penetration. After that, her 50mm turtleback (not shown) gets in the way. Finally, there's her citadel wall which is between 30mm overt he machine spaces and up to 50mm over her magazines. Jean Bart doesn't sport the weakness of a thin citadel roof allowing for overmatching like some Royal Navy battleships, boasting 50mm on top of her 150mm deck protection. Note this last part differs from her sister, Richelieu which has 170mm of deck protection over her magazines but only a 40mm citadel deck. The entirety of Jean Bart is covered in deliciously squishy 32mm of armour that just loves to give up hit points. The only exceptions are her bridge, main battery and anti-torpedo bulges and that's hardly enough to guarantee a large number of shell-shatters. Jean Bart is exceedingly vulnerable to 150mm+ HE fire buffed with the Inertial Fuse for HE shells commander skill. German cruisers and battleships secondaries can exact a costly sum too This flaw isn't unique to Jean Bart, with American and British battleships sharing a similar fear of HE spam. However, when you factor in Jean Bart's lower hit point total and lack of a British mega-heal, this weakness becomes more pronounced. You're going to want to make American light cruisers die quickly. Make sure you have your Main Battery Reload Booster handy when an opportunity comes up to delete one of those mother truckers. One a side note, her 32mm armour also gets undone by 460mm AP shells from Musashi and Yamato. So there's that too. ] This is why light cruisers (and ducky destroyers) love Jean Bart. Anything that's teal is fair game for ships that can muster up 32.5mm of penetration or more with their HE shells. The brown section along her hull represents her anti-torpedo bulge which will absorb HE hits without taking damage. Finally, Jean Bart enjoys relative immunity to American AP bombs. They lack the penetration sufficient to punch through the multiple layers of armour protecting her citadel. Graf Zeppelin can land the occasional citadel hit but, by and large, she struggles in the same manner as American dive bombers. Jean Bart will still take a healthy amount of damage from these attacks -- overpenetrations will be rare, but at least she won't be deleted outright. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Jean Bart would need a truckload more hit points, a special Repair Party consumable or deck and upper hull armour sufficient to stave off HE attacks from light cruisers. Agility Top Speed: 30.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 850m Rudder Shift: 16.0s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.1º/s Am I really going to talk about the manoevrability of the tier IX thunderchunkers again? Look, none of the tier IX battleships could ever be described as agile. The best that could be said is that some of them have the straight line speed when they care to exercise it. However, we all know that the current meta doesn't let battleships stretch their legs until later in the engagement. Thus those without aren't held back by any means and even Musashi's stately 27 knots is more than capable of keeping up with the pace of battle. Jean Bart isn't the fastest battleship at her tier. With her Engine Boost consumable operating, she can make 32.4kts which is still slower than the Iowa-class sisters. She can't boast the tighter turning radius or better rudder shift time of HMS Lion. What she can claim is to have a good rate of turn, keeping pace with Lion and Alsace. Where Jean Bart claims primacy (and I admit, this claim is tenuous), is the combination of all of her traits. She is not the fastest, but at least she's not the slowest either. She's at least faster than Lion which is arguably one of the frontrunners in this competition. She doesn't have the tightest turning radius, but it's only 20m behind that of the Lion and 40m better than her next closest competitor. Her rudder shift time isn't the fastest, but it's the second best at her tier. Jean Bart matches the best two battleships at her tier for rate of turn. ... and finally, she has the Engine Boost consumable. Engine Boost has always been the trump card of the French warships when it comes to contests of agility. With it, Jean Bart leaves Lion in her wake, not only figuratively but literally as well. She can come about faster. She can control engagement ranges more effectively. With Lion bested, Alsace is her only remaining competitor and Jean Bart's tighter turning radius and rudder shift time makes that a no-contest. Of course, besting Lion and Alsace doesn't make Jean Bart good in this category. In my opinion, none of the tier IX battleships are. But Jean Bart is at least the best of the sorry lot. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Loss of her Engine Boost alone would do it. When it's on cool down, she's no better than Lion. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 152mm / 100mm / 57mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 4.5km AA DPS per Aura: 202.5 / 357 Raw DPS numbers (the graph on the left) can be deceiving. Range is an important factor with anti-aircraft defense and Jean Bart has this is in spades with all of her gun mounts. The graph on the right incorporates range into an equation to better evaluate the overall effectiveness of a ship's AA suite. This is calculated by taking the gun's range less 1km and multiplying it by DPS. While not an absolute measure by any means, it is indicative of the relative AA power of the ships in question. Jean Bart has god-tier anti-aircraft firepower. The only battleship in the game that tops her for effective AA cover is the personal rocket-powered umbrella of HMS Hood, and that's only when Her Majesty's ship is activating her Defensive AA Fire consumable. What makes Jean Bart's AA so effective is the combination of solid DPS numbers combined with her minimum of a 4.5km range. Fully upgraded, she's an absolute monster, outstripping even République and Montana for the potency of her flak. Like most battleships, most of her AA firepower is found in her medium caliber AA guns. Jean Bart's 57mm weapons don't stand up to HE any better than a 40mm Bofors nest, so she can be stripped of most of her threat to aircraft with the gentle caress from a Cockbote. Thus your AA power is inversely proportionate to the amount of HE fire you've taken. Given the current meta at high tiers, that's not going to be very high for very long. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : A Cockbote serenade. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 16.38km Air Detection Range: 14.16km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.30km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 15.05km Main Battery Firing Range: 24.52km Jean Bart's concealment should be seen as "adequate" and nothing more. With the proper concealment build, she shares a surface detection rating with the Bismarck-sisters. She could certainly do worse. Few battleships reward concealment better than Jean Bart. As it is, even her middling concealment value risks making her overpowered. The most obvious use for her surface detection is to drop back into stealth when under fire. Jean Bart doesn't have the deep hit point reserves of other tier IX battleships, and having the ability to disengage at will is a useful trick. However, it's not this defensive ability that risks making Jean Bart an overpowered monster. It's her ability to use it offensively. No other battleship rewards an ambush play-style as much as Jean Bart. With her fast reload, good penetration and her Main Battery Reload Booster, having Jean Bart magically appear when you're at your most vulnerable is a nightmare scenario. This is where she scales so well with player skill -- those with the map knowledge and the willingness to push in order to set up ambushes get rewarded handsomely. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Losing a kilometer or two of surface detection off her base range would do it. How to Make Roma Look Inadequate There are three main builds that are effective for Jean Bart. The Baby Bunny Build is the ol' battleship standby. Go for survivability increase skills including Concealment Expert, Superintendent, Basics of Survivability and Fire Prevention. The Salty About CVs build makes Jean Bart the scourge of the skies. Grab anything that boosts your anti-aircraft batteries like Basic and Advanced Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns. Finally, there's the dubiously effective (but exceedingly Manly) Secondary Build. You'll want all the fixings at tier 4 including Advanced Fire Training, Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. You can choose between Expert Marksman and Adrenaline Rush at tier 2 depending on if you intend to brawl or not. Final Evaluation Jean Bart seems like such an unassuming design. Who would have thought that an upgraded, up-tiered Richelieu-class would be on my watch-list for one of the most over performing releases of this year? I don't doubt that like Musashi, she's going to fly beneath some players' radar. There will be those that simply do not appreciate the imbalance that Main Battery Reload Booster provides, even when shackled to such unassuming weapons as a mere eight 380mm rifles. To this end, I predict that Jean Bart will become the darling of those few that know how to time their shots and don't use it simply for a flat DPM increase. I do foresee Jean Bart causing issue with some of the more veteran players. Grace of her abilities, this is a ship that by her very design punishes people that try and flex. Lord knows I won't dare turn a ship broadside within 15km of her unless I know her consumable is on cool down. While I would like to think that her gunnery may correct some of the popularity of certain American light cruisers, her ballistics just aren't designed for that. In short, Jean Bart is just going to reinforce the passive meta, albeit without the same obvious ability as ships like Asashio. The final bit of upset Jean Bart may deliver is still far off in the future. She is the best anti-aircraft platform found among the current battleships. With the aircraft carrier rework still months away, it remains to be seen what kind of upset she can deliver to the future version of this game mode For now, keep an eye on this ship. She has comparable earning levels to Musashi and Kronshtadt, which is better than most tier VIII premiums (barring the use of Makoto Kobayashi camo). I still haven't been told how she's going to be made available (seriously). If it's for free experience or coal, you cannot go wrong with this ship. She's too good. Would I Recommend? Seeing as I don't know how she's being made available, take this section with a pinch of salt. She could very well be the next steel-ship to reward Ranked Battle players. She may only be available for free experience or coal. Wargaming has not directly sold any tier IX+ premiums yet, so it's doubtful she'll appear in the premium shop or for doubloons. We'll have to wait and see. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Meh. While shooting down aircraft is hilarious in co-op, the propensity for enemy bots to charge bow in makes her 380mm guns feel inadequate. Go for a MANLY build or don't bother. It would be super cool if she could be used in Operation Hermes, though. I'm still poking Wargaming about that one. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. The chaos of Random Battles serves Jean Bart and her god-tier consumable well. She earns a healthy wage too, which doesn't hurt either. For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Unlike in Randoms, it's less likely that your opponents are going to pull a stupid to make Jean Bart's Main Battery Reload Booster pay huge dividends. The more serious the competition, the less appealing she'll become. Plus Missouri has radar. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. She looks gorgeous and she's got a fair bit of history to her. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Very yes on toast. After the first time you obliterate some poor sap coming about, you'll never be able to let go. 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 If I have to do this again, I'm getting out the crayons. In Closing Updated for October 23rd, 2018. Jean Bart was finalized shortly before this article was originally published. Three days later, they announced she was going back into testing because of concerns she was over performing. Frustrating as this could have been, the changes have been simple to account for. Jean Bart still risks being overpowered, but the circumstances are far more specific now. She's still a highly competitive ship, but without the clear cut dominance she could demonstrate with alarming reliability in randoms. Wargaming has been mum on what's coming out next. With the Aircraft Carrier rework choking the airwaves, it's a bit of a toss up. Le Terrible was finalized almost two weeks ago however I have not had access to her in order to be able to finish my review, so she's on hold for the time being. I'm mostly done reviewing Prinz Eitel Friedrich too, so it's a race to see which one gets the greenlight first. Thank you all for reading! Appendix World of Warships AP Calculator (n.d.) https://mustanghx.github.io/ship_ap_calculator/
  6. The Gerkin of Armaggedon. The Doomsday Baby Dill. The original Deathpickle. Quick Summary: A Super-Saiyan Tenryu with a smoke generator, stealth-firing torpedoes, and guns that can be upgraded to some of the most accurate weapons found in the game. Acquisistion: Iwaki Alpha was awarded to testers in March 2015 for those players who had played 100 matches during the Closed Alpha period. It has not been made available since short of the rare press account. Patch and Date Written: Patch 0.6.7. June 30th to July 11th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary Tenryu, Tier III Japanese Light Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Iwaki is a theoretical upgrade with improved engine and weapon performance of the Tenryu-class. She's better armed and much faster than Tenryu, on top of which she has a whole load of gimmicks which sets her even further apart. PROs With upgrades, Iwaki has some of the most accurate guns in the game with good fire arcs. Powerful torpedo armament with a 10km range and 16,267 alpha strike. Very fast with a top speed of 35.0 knots. Tiny turning circle of 580m and a 3.8s rudder shift time giving her amazing agility. Good surface detection range of 10.1km stock, allowing her to potentially fire torpedoes from stealth. Equipped with four upgrade slots at tier IV. Has a Smoke Generator consumable. CONs The entire midsection, from keel to deck is a citadel. Exposed, unprotected magazines vulnerable to HE fire in the bow and stern. Tiny hit point pool of 18,600hp. Slow stock turret traverse. Short ranged main battery of 10.2km Poor forward torpedo arcs. Short ranged AA defense with only modest DPS totals. This one has been on the books for a long time. You don't know how excited I am to be able to cross this one off my list. Short of providing a review for a Kitakami (and I don't know how I'm going to get access to one of those), I will have finally cleared my backlog of older premiums to review. Hooray! Part of the problem with reviewing this ship was getting my hands on one. I am a Closed Beta Tester. I joined the game about two to three weeks after Alpha Testing concluded, so playing one of these (without breaking the EULA) was really tough. Thankfully, I finally given access through a temporary Press Account provided by Wargaming and played as many games as I could in her in the time allotted (sadly, no Kitakami on the account -- otherwise you guys would have got a two-fer). While I could have easily theory-crafted this review earlier, I really wanted to have some hands on experience with the ship before commenting. Now, just to ensure that I'm not all sparkly-eyed about the one ship I cannot have, I made sure to drag in the surliest gentleman I could find to assist me with this review. Their credentials include having Iwaki Alpha forever. So, rest assured they are blasé about the ship to counter balance my flappy-armed, super-bouncy enthusiasm. You all know him and his grumpy puss: Lert! He's (finally!) back in his box and provided us with some insight on the Deathpickle. The Lertbox I protest! I am not a gentleman! It's been a while since I did one of these, hasn't it? The subject of today's review is the Alpha reward ship. Iwaki is a theoretical upgrade on the Tenryu platform and is better than it in every respect. You know, as one might expect for a ship a tier higher. For this Lertbox I will be trying a variation on what I normally write. As the chances of Iwaki ever being released again in any form are slim to non-existent, I will be describing what you might do when you face one in a same-tiered cruiser, rather than how to defeat a same-tier ship while driving an Iwaki. I will be describing this encounter from the viewpoint of the three most popular cruisers by battles played over the past two weeks, which at the time of writing this are Duguay-Trouin, Phoenix and Kuma. The remaining tier 4 cruisers are quite similar in many respects to these three, so I believe this to be a decent cross-section of ships to compare Iwaki to. Poor lambs. They didn't stand a chance. Options Iwaki Alpha has four upgrade slots at tier IV instead of the usual two. Normally this isn't available until tier VI. On top of this, she has access to the IJN module, Aiming Systems Modification 0 which provides a huge list of upgrades, including buffs to the traverse speed of her guns and torpedoes and a 40% reduction to her shell dispersion (!). Last, but definitely not least, she has access to a Smoke Generator consumable. This is a special version with only a 15s emission time as opposed to the normal 20s found on destroyers. The smoke lasts longer than normal tier IV destroyer smoke, having a full duration time of 80 seconds instead of 73 seconds. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Module Upgrades: Four slots, with access to Aiming Systems Modification 0 in slot one. Otherwise standard tier VI cruiser upgrades. Premium Camouflage: Tier II to V Standard (Type 9). This provides 30% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. As a fun little aside, Iwaki Alpha's camouflage is noteworthy because it was the one of the first (if not the first) camouflaged ships available in the game. This originally didn't provide any bonuses and effectively was a unique skin. It earned the ship the moniker of "the Pickle" with all sorts of descriptors tied to this (Death Pickle being the one I heard most often). Little did we know that almost all IJN ships would soon be able to paint themselves to match. You must install Aiming Systems Modification 0 immediately on Iwaki Alpha. You'd be a fool not to. When you slap it on there, her stats change in the following manner: Her main battery traverse changes from 8.49º per second to 10.23º per second. Her torpedo traverse changes from 25º per second to 30º per second. Her main battery dispersion drops from 103m at 10.2km to 62m. In your second slot, I strongly recommend Aiming Systems Modification 1. This takes the aforementioned stats and drops them even further. Her main battery dispersion drops down to 58m at 10.2km. Her torpedo traverse increases again to 36º per second. In slot three, take whatever you like. I prefer Damage Control System Modification 1 but it's really up to you. The gains are minimal for any of the upgrades for this entry. In your final slot, I highly recommend Propulsion System Modification 2. You're going to be sitting in your smoke often enough that it's handy to give yourself a head start when you need to get moving once again. Firepower Primary Battery: Five140mm rifles in single turrets in an A-P-Q-X-Y configuration. Torpedo Armament: Six tubes in 2x3 center line launchers mounted on either side of the funnels Iwaki Alpha gets the same torpedo armament as Furutaka but a full tier lower. These fish are phenomenal and what's more, the platform on which they're launched has a big trick up it's sleeve. An Iwaki Commander with Concealment Expert can get her surface detection down to 8.6km, giving her a 1.4km stealth launching window with her torpedoes. The general lack of spotting aircraft means that these torpedoes are unlikely to be detected until they close with their prey. While they are visible at 1.5km, opponents at low tiers are often unaware anti-torpedo tactics and attempt to dodge at the very last minute. The only flaw with Iwaki as a torpedo ship are the horrible forward fire arcs of her launchers. This is limited to a little over a 45º arc approximately 80º off her beam with a rearward bias. Veterans of the IJN Heavy Cruiser line will be familiar with this kind of limitation. Like with all IJN Cruisers, swinging the ship around to let loose a broadside of torpedoes will often just get your ship blown out from under you if you attempt it against a wary opponent while spotted. Such attempts are an easy telegraph of the coming torpedo attack and any veterans slumming it down at tier IV will have their eyes open for such an opportunity. When these torpedoes do hit, they hit hard and with one of the largest module-damaging explosions at her tier (only rivaled by Battleship caliber HE -- though these do not have as much penetration power). This puts every ship they strike at tremendous risk of not only sinking from multiple hits, but single hits are quite capable of one-shotting even a Battleship with a magazine detonation. The torpedo defense of lower tiered dreadnoughts just isn't up to scratch and these catastrophic hits are far more commonplace at this tier with ships like Iwaki being one of the culprits. Iwaki is armed with an unimpressive number (5) of unimpressive guns (the IJN 140mm rifle) with unimpressive range (10.2km). It's made worse that you're only ever bringing four guns to bear. These are the same weapons on Tenryu and Kuma. Overall, they have rather lousy ballistics, low shell damage and very bad penetration values. What you're left with is a cruiser that really struggles when facing other capital ships. This armament is more than sufficient to bully destroyers but they are not up to scratch to let you go toe to toe with other cruisers, even when she's top tier. The best feature these guns can boast is a very high fire chance -- base 10% per shell. Battleships will learn to hate and fear you, especially when you bombard them from smoke and set them ablaze from stem to stern. There is a ray of sunshine, though. Thanks to her module options, namely Aiming Systems Modification 0 and Aiming Systems Modification 1, Iwaki can have the lowest horizontal dispersion value found on any capital ship in the game. Aim properly and you'll hit your target almost every time -- it's really quite nice. This can (generally) make up for the lower number of guns she sports, particularly when you get the drop on an enemy ship. However, once they find the range to you, short of some epic butt wiggling or hiding in smoke, they will out trade you every time. The Lertbox Duguay-Trouin vs Iwaki: The Frenchman has an advantage in hit points and firepower, but most other categories go to the Iwaki. The Japanese ship has better speed, accuracy, armor, stealth, torpedoes and agility, not to mention her smoke. However, you have a very comfortable five kilometer buffer where you can hit her while she can't hit you back. The problem is that you won't be able to see her without someone else spotting her until it's too late and she's in range. Once you have her spotted though, keep your angles in mind and make your overwhelming firepower count to try and delete her as quickly as you can. Aim for center mass shots, but keep your angles in mind because you're softer than your opponent and her 140mm guns will hurt you badly if you show just a bit too much broadside. Once you've smacked her around a bit she's very likely to smoke up and send a surprise package of seafood your way, so be ready to pop your hydro acoustic and push into her smoke to bully her with your firepower. You might try using your torpedoes, but the fast and maneuverable Iwaki is difficult to hit with such slow fish. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 35.0knotsTurning Radius: 580mRudder Shift: 3.8s Maximum Turn Rate: 7.26º per second. Iwaki is a cruiser with destroyer levels of agility. This probably makes some sense as a destroyer leader, and it's not like this agility is misplaced. Without it (and her Smoke Generator), she'd be a victim waiting to happen. Her most impressive feature, by far, is her amazing top speed. She caps out at 35.0 knots which is nearly the fastest ship at her tier, with only the German V-170 being half a knot faster. This allows Iwaki to run down and pursue any prey worth chasing while also being able to open up the distance on anything bigger than her short of a Phoenix-class cruiser. Iwaki has an excellent rate of turn at 7.3º per second that's almost fast enough to out traverse her turrets. Aiming Systems Modification 0 makes this a non-issue as it greatly improves her gun handling -- as if you needed more excuses to equip this. To put her rate of turn into perspective, USS Clemson, the tier 4 American Destroyer has a maximum rate of turn of 8.6º per second which doesn't place Iwaki Alpha that far behind. So not only as she as fast (or faster) than many of the destroyers she faces, she can also evade just as effectively. Were it not for her larger size, she'd be an absolute nightmare for enemy ships to try and hit with guns, bombs, or torpedoes. DurabilityHit Points: 18,600Maximum Protection: 63mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 10mm Iwaki Alpha is a ship that allows for very little margin of error. Generally, it only takes two mistakes to get this ship sent back to the port. The first mistake is letting something shoot at you. The second is letting something hit you with said attacks. Iwaki Alpha is one big floating citadel. She has enough armour to arm the fuses of any AP shells that strike her amidships and not enough armour to repulse anything bigger than destroyer-caliber. Combine this with the painfully short ranges of low tier maps and you've a recipe for disaster. Iwaki melts under fire. Battleships will one shot you. Cruisers can one shot you with a well placed volley. Destroyers will destroy you in as little as two hits of their torpedoes. The good news is that in low tier matches, it's rare you'll encounter anyone that knows how to properly use their AP shells, never mind aim effectively. And that AP/HE disparity at low tiers would be great except Iwaki's powder magazines lie completely outside of her citadel. These are largely unprotected, with no more than 10mm of armour. While this will be too little to arm the fuses of most AP shells, this does leave them open and exposed to high explosive fire, particularly from 305mm battleship caliber shells, bombs and torpedoes so prevalent at lower tiers. Detonations in this vessel are, for a cruiser, quite commonplace, and shouldn't be unexpected. Sadly, Aiming Systems Modification 0 provides no protection from magazine explosions, so brace yourself for experiencing the occasional bout of fun and engaging fireworks displays at the expense of your ship. So this makes for a fun bit of irony. While Iwaki would succumb very quickly to AP fire, the inexperience of your opponents may just get you detonated dramatically instead through the use of derpy HE fire. Ah, justice never tasted so sweet. The Lertbox Phoenix vs Iwaki: You are the bully in this engagement. Bigger guns and more of them, better range, more hit points, better armor, the same speed and Hydro-acoustic to warn you of incoming torpedoes and ferret your opponent out of smoke should she smoke up. When faced with a Phoenix a savvy Iwaki driver might simply choose not to engage, knowing you have the advantage in a direct slug fest. Iwaki doesn't have the speed to close to engagement range, so as long as you keep your distance you should be able to bludgeon her without fear of reprisal. Should she smoke up, close the distance and push in. Use your hydro acoustic consumable to give you an early warning of incoming torpedoes, and simply devastate her with your far superior guns. Of all the tier four cruisers, Phoenix is perhaps the most well equipped to take out an enterprising Iwaki, and a smart Iwaki driver will avoid a direct confrontation. Unfortunately for you, any Iwaki you will encounter will be driven by someone with 2+ years of experience. That's a whole lot of 'nope'. Iwaki will surprise your opponents with how agile she is, but this will only last for so long. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 10.1km Air Detection Range: 4.8 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 8.6km Main Battery Firing Range: 10.2km Iwaki feels like a big ol' fat destroyer and this holds true with her concealment rating. For a while, she was one of the stealthiest cruisers available in the game, though the British cruisers have made this trait considerably more commonplace. Properly specialized, Iwaki can get her concealment below 9km which allows her to use her 10km torpedo range to engage enemy ships from a position of stealth. This can be devastating, especially against the novice Captains that frequent low tier matches. Her concealment is a necessity, however. Iwaki is such a vulnerable ship that her only real defense when things go wrong is to silence her guns and hide. In the claustrophobic environments of low tier maps, this isn't always an option however which can make playing her successfully quite challenging. It's almost a blessing when you face tier V ships as it means you are (likely) to be on a map where her concealment can be used. Her fallback will always be the use of her Smoke Generator. I tried very hard to save the limited number of charges of Iwaki's smoke consumable for aggressive plays rather than defensive -- to set up opportunities to finish off ships with gun fire or to mask a close range torpedo launch, but this wasn't always an option. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 25mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 3.1kmAA DPS per Aura: 31 For anti-aircraft defense, Iwaki has five triple 25mm mounts. This provides some medium range anti-aircraft firepower which might shoot down a plane or two, but that's not really her best defense against enemy air groups. Dive Bombers are your bane, while auto-aimed torpedo planes are only an issue if they set up a cross-drop upon you. Even then, Iwaki's best defense against aircraft will always be her speed, agility and, (if worse comes to worst) her smoke generator. The Lertbox Kuma vs Iwaki: A more even matchup. Both ships follow a very similar design philosophy, that of a small but fast, lightly armed destroyer leader. You have the same guns as Iwaki, but can bring half again as many to bear, and with superior range. With more hitpoints and armor, any direct gunnery duel between an Iwaki and a Kuma should go to the Kuma. Be wary of Iwaki's torpedoes though, they're considerably superior to your own with better range, speed and damage. The Iwaki is slightly faster than Kuma and has a tighter turning circle, but the real difference between these two ships lies in Iwaki's smoke. Here too the same basic advice goes, once Iwaki smokes up, activate hydro, close in and bully for the victory. Adding Omega to your Alpha With her 140mm guns, Iwaki might not optimize perfectly as a trainer for some IJN Destroyer Captain builds. If you've focused on trying to pad the awful performance of he 127mm/50s on your IJN DDs, those skills will do you no favours with Iwaki. Otherwise, she's a good ship to train up commanders for the Japanese cruiser and destroyer lines. Priority Target should be the first skill you grab. Follow this up with Last Stand. Iwaki takes a lot of damage to her engine and steering gears, much like a destroyer. Arguably the best skill at tier 3 is Torpedo Armament Expertise to reduce her reload time down to 68 seconds. And finally, take Concealment Expert to get her surface detection range down to 8.6km. Other useful skills include Adrenaline Rush, Demolition Expert, Vigilance and Radio Location. But when push comes to shove, she can still play her trump card. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Iwaki is an unforgiving ship. She has a lot of advantages, but one misplay is going to get you sent back to the port in a hurry with your citadel blown out or simply overwhelmed by even a small volume of return fire. In the hands of an expert, Iwaki is a predator -- a barracuda among small fry. She's fast, she's agile, she's accurate and she strikes so very, very hard. Setting up these attack runs in the tight confines of low tier maps is a really uphill battle, though. Mouse's Summary: I feel so dirty. I can understand well why veteran alpha testers love this ship. So many baby seals died to bring you this information. The Lertbox Iwaki tops the leader boards for tier four cruisers, but that's more to do with the caliber of people playing her than with any quality of the ship itself. She is a destroyer lead with superb torpedoes, mobility and a smoke consumable, but sacrifices dearly for these advantages with all-round rather mediocre firepower and very low survivability. A savvy Iwaki driver will always seek to avoid a direct confrontation with same-tier cruisers as they all out-gun her, forcing the Iwaki driver to employ wits and strategy to beat her opponents. She truly is a destroyer lead, playing much like a large destroyer with a citadel. Still, with the caliber of players driving her and the specific tool set she brings to the table, an unchallenged Iwaki is a dangerous opponent. This is a ship that flourishes with player skill, and is owned exclusively by very experienced players. PS. If you ever run into MaliceA4Thought driving his Iwaki, murder him with extreme prejudice and tell him I sent you. It'll be funny. This one has been on the books for a long, long time. Iwaki Alpha has aged very well in World of Warships. She was unaffected by the removal of stealth-firing with main battery guns in 0.6.0. The more recent skill overhaul back in the Winter/Spring of 2017 was kind and skills like Priority Target have simplified playing this fragile ship. She did take a hit back in 0.5.3 when Basic and Advanced Fire Training no longer affected her 140mm guns, but the addition of Aiming Systems Modification 0 seems to me like a reasonable trade-off. For as well as she has aged, Iwaki is an increasingly rare sight and she's likely to become largely irrelevant to the low tier meta balance. On the North American server, it's rare that more than 100 games get played in Iwaki Alpha in a given week. There were nearly twenty times as many games played in the Arkansas Beta. This isn't an outlier, either -- other servers report similarly low numbers. On the EU server, the Iwaki Alpha accounts for less than 0.1% of the total game volume played by tier IV vessels in recent times. If you played tier 4 exclusively, you'd have to play 30 to 35 games straight before you were likely to run into one of these ships and that number is only going to drop as time goes on. When it came to prioritizing a review of Iwaki Alpha, this lack of relevance compounded the problems of access. Why waste time talking about a ship no one can get and so few people play? I'm glad I could scratch this one off my list, but it feels entirely academic. Iwaki Alpha is a pink unicorn -- a rare sight that, short of Wargaming incentivizing tier IV game play, is likely to vanish almost entirely over the life of this game. I enjoyed my time playing with this fossil, but how could I not in such an overpowered little monster? Her fragility was meant to keep her balanced but her Smoke Generator largely makes this a non-issue in my opinion. She hits too hard. She's too fast to catch and too stealthy and agile to stay visible for long with gimmicks to facilitate her escape. I felt super powered while playing her. She may be unforgiving, but once you hit your stride? The enemies just don't stand a chance. Angry YouTube Review How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion. Thank you, Lert, for the Dogebote review. I'd have placed her at overpowered.Lert and I differ on the point of her power level. He has more experience with the vessel, having owned it for two plus years. I got to play it over a weekend. What I saw impressed me greatly. Your own mileage may vary.
  7. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Musashi

    Battleship Musashi was provided to me by Wargaming. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are those of the release version of this ship and are current as of January 17th, 2018. Insert Kancolle boob-wrapping related joke here. Quick Summary: A Yamato-class battleship at tier IX. She has slightly less accuracy, greatly reduced secondaries and AA power. Cost: 750,000 free experience + 1 credit. Patch & Date Written: 0.6.15.1 through 0.7.0.0 -- January 12th through 17th, 2018. PROs At 97,300hp, she has the largest hit point pool of any of the tier IX battleships. Ridiculously thick armour in places with a 410mm belt, 560mm barbettes and 650mm turret faces. Beyond her extremities, her deck armour is a minimum of 50mm, providing her an immunity to most cruiser caliber HE shells. Excellent anti-torpedo defense with a 55% damage reduction. Armed with nine 460mm guns with enormous alpha strike, DPM and overmatch characteristics. Greatly extended active periods and shortened reset timers on her float plane consumables. Players can choose which price they wish to set for this ship, from free to the equivalent of 35,000 doubloons. CONs Citadel is exposed above water and has bad armour geometries which leaves her vulnerable when improperly angled. Horrible gun handling with a painfully slow turret traverse of 2.5º/s. Weak secondary armament, despite their decent range. Worst AA defense of not only any of the tier IX battleships, but also worse than any of the tier VIII battleships. Low top speed, slow rate of turn and an enormous turning circle. Huge surface detection -- possibly visible from space. Her best camouflage is locked behind a 5,000 doubloon additional purchase. Doesn't have Yamato's gun sounds. What the ever loving seagull turds on toast, Wargaming!? Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Even with her exposed citadel, Musashi is dirt simple to play and very casual friendly. By simply pointing her bow towards the enemy, she'll tank tons of damage and deal back a ridiculous amount in return. This same simplicity is also a weakness. There's nothing really fancy a veteran player can do with Musashi -- not without risking blowing out her machine spaces or getting her magazines one shot by a Shimakaze torpedo. She's too big too hide, too slow and clumsy to extract herself from trouble and so vulnerable to air strike, she dare not leave the safety of the herd. It's knowing when to move out and when and where to drop anchor that separates the good from the bad. Her traits break down as follows: These short-hand evaluations are based upon comparing the ship directly with the other tier IX battleships and not across her matchmaking spread as a whole. To say she's a one trick pony wouldn't be far from accurate, but it's one Hell of a trick at tier IX. As you can see, her guns have a lot of heavy lifting to do. Her armour and hit points will go a long way towards buying time to let Musashi lay down the hurt, but only if you can keep her from taking citadel damage. Let's take a closer look at how good these guns are, why they're such a big deal and the controversy surrounding her durability and defense. Options Musashi has a trio of surprises. The first, is the option for her High School Fleet camouflage. The second and third are her non-standard Spotter Aircraft and Float Plane Fighter consumables which have increased active periods and greatly reduced reset timers. Consumables: You have the choice between two aircraft options. The rest of the consumables are fixed. Musashi's Damage Control Party is standard for an IJN Battleship. This has a 10 second active period and a 120 second reset timer for the standard version and 80s for the premium version. Her Repair Party consumable is also standard. This heals back up to 14% of her maximum health over 28 seconds. In her third slot, Musashi has the option of either form of catapult aircraft. The active period and reset timers for these consumables are not standard. Her Spotter Aircraft is active for 120 seconds (instead of 100s) and her reset timer is either three minutes or two minutes depending on if you take the standard or premium consumable (instead of six minutes / four minutes). Her Float Plane Fighter is active for 180 seconds (instead of 90s) and her reset timer is either 90 seconds or 60 seconds on the standard and premium versions respectively (instead of three minutes / two minutes). Musashi's fighter does 55dps with 1,420hp which is on the weak side for this consumable. Premium Camouflage: There are two available to this ship. She comes with her Type 10 camouflage. Y118 - Musashi may be purchased for 5,000 doubloons. Musashi's Type 10 camouflage provides100% bonus experience gains, a 20% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. For fans of the anime series High School Fleet, there's the Y118 - Musashi. On top of the bonuses described above, it also adds another +50% to Commander Experience. There are only minimal geometry changes with the High School Fleet camouflage, limited to the removal of the A-crossing rails on the stern. Module Upgrades: Six slots. Standard battleship upgrades. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. Follow this up with Damage Control Modification 1 in your second slot. If you access to the Special Upgrade, Spotter Aircraft Modification 1, this isn't a terrible option for Musashi given the increased duration time she already enjoys on this consumable. This would increase it's active time from 120 seconds to 156 seconds. Personally, I would prefer the fire chance reduction and increased torpedo damage reduction. In your third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. You do not have the secondary or anti-aircraft firepower worth upgrading. If you're especially salty about turret traverse, you may take Main Battery Modification 2 to drop her 180º rotation time from 72 seconds to 62.6 seconds. This will slow down your reload time from 30 seconds to 31.5 seconds. In your fourth slot, Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal. Taking Steering Gears Modification 2 makes sailing Musashi more comfortable but it does not greatly enhance her agility. In your fifth slot, you have the choice. You may take Concealment Modification 1 to try and reign in your horrible surface detection range (you may as well try bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon, but every little bit helps, I guess). Alternatively take Target Acquisition System Modification 1 for bonuses to spot torpedoes and increase your guaranteed spotting range from 2.0km to 3.0km for what good it will do you. Depending on the skills you are choosing for your commander, one of these two options will make more sense (see below!) And finally, in slot number six, grab Main Battery Modification 3 to reduce your reload time from 30 seconds down to 26.4 seconds. This will sadly increase your 180º turret rotation time from 72 seconds to 81.4 seconds. Enjoy. (If you took Main Battery Modification 2 in your third slot, your reload time will be 27.7 seconds and your turret rotation will be 70.7 seconds for 180º). Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 460mm rifles in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 155mm rifles in 4x3 turrets, Twelve dual-purpose 127mm rifles in 6x2 turrets. If your interest in Musashi had nothing to do with her history, then it's her guns that brought you here. The potential of the Yamato-class firepower being shoe-horned in at tier IX should give everyone fears of this ship being overpowered. Say what you will about the rest of the ship upon which they are mounted, Yamato's guns are arguably the best offensive strike from a gunship available in the game currently. Musashi nearly duplicates her sister ship's firepower but for two very important differences. One of these differences is manageable. The other is not. Let's begin with the latter. In Her Sister's Shadow Musashi's secondary firepower is terrible. She does not duplicate Yamato's secondary battery by any stretch. This is one of the most pronounced differences between the two sister ships. Unlike her anti-aircraft deficit, this is one area which matters. The differences are as follows: Half of Yamato's 127mm secondaries reload in 6.0 seconds. The other half reloads in 5.0 seconds. All of Musashi's 127mm secondaries reload in 7.5 seconds. Yamato has twenty-four 127mm secondaries. Musashi has twelve. Yamato has six 155mm secondaries. Musashi has twelve. Musashi doubles her 155mm complement but halves her 127mm armament. This is a significant drop in firepower even before you account for her increased reload time. The drop in her rate of fire feels unnecessary and punitive. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that Musashi's secondaries do not pose a threat, they are certainly not threatening. You cannot count on them to punish a destroyer or cruiser that gets themselves spotted within their range unless they are on perilously low health. Even then, I wouldn't count on it. Heavy secondary specializations on this ship struggle to earn their keep. Musashi doesn't have the best main battery guns in the game, but she's pretty damn close. The honour goes to her sister and the one small improvement that makes Yamato such a feared presence in World of Warships -- at least when her guns are loaded and trained in your direction. The only difference between Musashi's weapons and Yamato is her sigma value. Yamato has 2.1 sigma. Musashi has 1.8. That's it. That's the only difference. Their range, reload time, rotation rate, dispersion area, penetration -- it's all identical. You're going to hear a lot of noise about how this difference of 0.3 sigma makes all of the difference. They're not wrong in premise, but the emphasis is overblown. Musashi & Yamato's Real Difference All things being equal, Yamato is more likely to land massive, devastating hits than Musashi with her main battery guns. This isn't to say that Musashi isn't equally capable. She is. Statistically speaking, Yamato will simply do it more often. How much more often? I would give it no better odds than one additional time in six going by strict accuracy measures. So for every six devastating strikes you land with Musashi, Yamato will spit out seven. This is a marked difference -- do not underestimate it, but it's not a night and day difference some of Musashi's early detractors would have you believe. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Allow me to explain why these guns are such a big deal. Yamato's 2.1 sigma dispersion (orange) vs Musashi's 1.8 sigma (red). 180 shells fired at 15km, locked onto a Fuso. Both ships are using Aiming Systems Modification 1 against an a target without camouflage. Behind the Hype First and foremost, these guns have one telling flaw: Musashi's gun handling is abysmal. She begins with a 2.5º/s rotation rate and adding Main Battery Modifcation 3 will drop this down to 2.2º/s. And that's about it for weaknesses, truly. Objectively, these are excellent weapons. They are reasonably accurate with the tightest horizontal dispersion values, average sigma, ridiculous alpha strike, penetration and damage per minute properties. These guns hit hard, they hit often, they have tremendous range and you don't need to choose between improved accuracy or improved rate of fire as you might with an American battleship. Anything you hit will be hit hard. A single overpenetration to a destroyer is nearly the equivalent of being hit by two of Scharnhorst's 283mm shells. What's more impressive about them is that like Royal Navy battleships, Musashi can fire one ammunition type exclusively and rack up huge damage totals. Unlike Lion, however, Musashi can rely solely upon her AP shells, confident that she can almost always damage her targets catastrophically when she lands hits. Really, it's as simple as that. Musashi brings the biggest guns in the game to the table. She fires a monstrously huge shell that can damage just about anything it touches. These guns are good -- as you would expect them to be, and a lot of this has to do with their ability to ignore armour that everyone else can't penetrate. Musashi, like Yamato, has excellent fire angles - just a whisker shy of the coveted 300º on each turret. She can nearly guarantee to autobounce any incoming AP rounds while still being able to return fire with all nine gun barrels. Overblown and Overpowered Overmatch If you're unaware, overmatch is the ability for guns of a large enough caliber to outright ignore ricochet mechanics. The idea is simply that the shell is too darned big for a thin piece of steel to deflect them, even at very high angles. The larger the shell, the more steel it can ignore. For Musashi's 460mm guns, this value is 32mm which is a very important value in World of Warships as it forms the bulk of the extremities of high tiered battleships. Her and her sister Yamato are the only ships capable of penetrating the 32mm bows found at tier VIII+. As someone who has played a lot of mid-tier battleship games, I keep forgetting how much of a big deal overmatching is to high tiered battleship players. If you regularly play dreadnoughts from tiers III through VII, you know all about overmatch. Spend any time playing low tier premiums as trainers and you'll learn very quickly that tier III, IV and V battleships are utterly incapable of preventing their bows from being overmatched, even by 283mm battleship guns. You learn to angle, but not angle too much, in order to protect your ship. At tiers VI and VII, you suddenly gain the ability to prevent bow on penetrations from up to (and including) 356mm guns. This is where the laziness begins to set in. At tier VIII, you gain magic bow armour that prevents it from being penetrated by almost everything. Knowing how to angle just right becomes trivial. It always struck me as silly for players to tell me that high tiered game play demonstrated the pinnacle of skill when knowing about proper armour angling became mostly irrelevant thanks to everyone's immunity to each other's AP when they parked bow on. This sparked the outrage that was the Royal Navy HE-fest which runs contrary to the bow-on meta. Well, Musashi's here to shake things up further by making overmatch just a little more commonplace for higher tiered ships. Overmatching in tier VIII+ games is very powerful, if only because the static game play so often espoused in high tier matches makes it so. If someone wants to park themselves in front of your guns, you should absolutely oblige them and stove-in their stupid faces. Against tier VII ships, this is copious amounts of overkill but there are some ships like HMS Nelson that are made all the more vulnerable with the presence of Musashi's armament. Overall, Musashi's ability to overmatch is a very real strength, but moreover, it simply allows her to rely on AP shells and ignore the use of HE almost entirely. For World of Warships, this is very traditional and "proper" battleship game play, even if it as "game breaking" as Royal Navy HE spam. While she is not going to one-salvo delete ships as often as her sister ship, she's still going to do it a lot. So pick your poison. Death by burninating or death by sudden deletion by 460mm blasts of doom. Musashi tops the charts, as you might expect for the biggest guns in the game. Evaluation: BEST What it would have needed to be GUD: Here's where we argue which guns are the second best at tier IX. I'd have to give it to the 419mm found on HMS Lion over the 406mm found on Iowa and Missouri. While the American guns are slightly more accurate and harder hitting, Lion beats them out on penetration and can swap between her AP to her monstrous HE shells giving her so much more flexibility. In addition, Lion doesn't need to choose between accuracy and rate of fire. The ubiquity of Lion's armament almost beat out Musashi -- almost. Slow down Musashi's rate of fire or kick her sigma down lower than 1.8 and she might not be the champ. Durability Hit Points: 97,300hp Maximum Citadel Protection: 410mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: 55% Musashi should be the toughest damn ship at tier IX. She might have been, but she has a crippling flaw: Her citadel sits so high it's nearly in orbit -- even higher than Yamato's own. That Musashi still weighs in as one of the most resilient vessels at her tier when being compared to HMS Zombie-Flanders and the German Juggernaut speaks volumes to the list of her advantages. Excessive Hit Point Total Stupidly Thick Armour Torpedo Defense Citadel Immunity to AP Bombs Musashi has 97,300 hit points. Her closest competitor, one of the H-series amalgamations hiding as Friedrich der Große has 84,300 hit points. This advantage should be obvious, but there's some subtle nuances to it. Players should keep in mind that the maximum hit point total of a ship does absolutely nothing when it comes to mitigating percentage-based damage over time effects like flooding and fire. A single fire on Musashi does just as much relative damage as it would to Kawachi, for example. The flip side of this is that Musashi's large hit point total does provide her with a healthier Repair Party consumable. Each charge heals her back 13,622 hit points over 20 seconds. Why doesn't this make Musashi the BEST? Well, here's why: Musashi loses out on primacy to HMS Lion's zombie-regenerative powers. Interestingly, this only applies if HMS Lion buffs her Repair Party consumable (and she should). In a protracted fight, given enough time to make good use of her consumables, Lion will out last Musashi every single time. Against all other opponents and Lion players that don't know any better, Musashi has the hands down advantage. Unless they burn her to death. Musashi has stupidly thick armour. Most of it is effective, even, which is somewhat of a miracle. Her belt armour is 410mm thick, which doesn't sound like that much until you apply a little trigonometry. At a 45º angle and with the reverse sloping of her belt, Musashi can boast in excess of 600mm of effective plating across her machine spaces. This provides relative immunity to even battleship caliber guns at 15km. So even when not perfectly angled, Musashi's rather well protected. In bow-tanking situations, her turrets protect her from overpenetrations to her superstructure by playing goal-keep with their 650mm turret faces and 560mm barbettes. Overall, Musashi's armour turns away a lot of AP penetrations and AP over penetrations into zero-damage shatters and ricochets. Why doesn't this make Musashi the BEST? Unfortunately, this protection partially undone by her citadel placement and shape. That 410mm armour is Musashi's citadel, so there's no backup behind this. What's more, this isn't the maximum height of her citadel either. There's a turtleback slope, steeply angled that's between 230mm and 340mm thick and with a ludicrious octagonal shape. Because of the angle, the turtleback is typically only vulnerable at very long range, but the vertical slope beneath it is not. This is only 350mm thick (with a 32mm bow on top of that), but given the penetration power of incoming shells at this tier, that's not going to stop anything if Musashi over-angles. Properly angled, Musashi can last for days. It's downright comical watching poor tier VII battleships trying to accost her with their tiny baby weapons. However, when she's facing 460mm caliber shells from another Musashi or Yamato or when an enemy gets her side, any pretense of being able to tank safely goes right out the window and she becomes dangerously vulnerable. I wasn't kidding when I said she had a high water citadel. The octagonal geometry makes Musashi especially vulnerable when she over angles her bow. Her opponents need simply best the 32mm armour there to get a shot into the flat 350mm citadel armour beneath. Musashi has amazing Torpedo Defense. When she takes hit against her torpedo bulges, Musashi outright ignores half the damage done. On top of this, she's incredibly resistant to flooding. Without question, she is the BEST when it comes to torpedo protection at tier IX ... at least when it comes to taking damage. I mean, arguably, it would be best if she could avoid it altogether. Heh, that's a funny joke... Musashi being agile enough to avoid things... Musashi's citadel is functionally immune to AP Bomb Hits. Lert and I spent a lot of time in the Training Room dumping AP bombs over and over and over and over again onto Musashi's decks, hoping to see some big numbers. Neither the American AP bombs nor the German AP bombs ever landed any telling hits. We never saw anything more than penetrating and over penetrating strikes. Math wise, you're looking at well over 30 or more bomb hits to sink Musashi using this ordnance type, which is patently ridiculous. Why doesn't this make Musashi the BEST? Immunity to AP bombs isn't anything new if you're not German. So that's Musashi's durability in a nutshell. Admittedly, it's a mutant, GMO nutshell, but it's a nutshell none the less. When everything goes right (and it will go right most of the time), she absorbs ridiculous amounts of punishment. This is all contingent on identifying where attacks will be coming from and keeping your bow pointed straight towards it. When fire, fish and Yamato-caliber guns appear, it's time to make yourself scarce, but that's a common flaw of all battleships, not just Musashi. Evaluation: GUD What it would have needed to be BEST: Lower her damn citadel. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 27.0 knotsTurning Radius: 900mRudder Shift: 18.7s Maximum Turn Rate: 3.5º/s Don't let the labels fool you: I wouldn't go so far as to call any of the tier IX battleships "good" where their agility was concerned. The Iowa-class sisters are fast but they turn like dumpy ol' butt. Lion has a decent bit of wiggle in her tush but her speed is lackluster and winning out on rudder shift means nothing as it's a garbage stat. It should say a lot that Musashi is the worst out of this sorry bunch. There's no contest here. Musashi wiggles as pleasantly as a syphilitic grandpa without pants. Her top speed of 27 knots is the root of all of her ills. She is not flexible. She cannot dictate engagement distances. Her sluggish top speed makes her middling turning radius into a torturous grind as she slowly wheels about. She takes longer to change her heading than the bricks of the American standard-type battleships at tiers VI and VII. Yet in spite of all of this, she's still fully capable of frustrating players by rotating faster than her turrets. There is nothing pleasant about how Musashi handles. Nothing. Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: Musashi could have had her turning speed artificially boosted in the same manner as Colorado or New Mexico. These battleships have their turning speed penalty slashed in half -- instead of losing 25% of their maximum speed, they only bleed 12.5%. Musashi would turn at 23.6 knots instead of 20.3 knots which would in turn accelerate her rate of rotation from 3.5º per second up to 4.05º per second -- an enormous change. This would make rotate as well as North Carolina or Monarch. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 25mm / 13mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.1km / 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 60.6 / 73.2 / 7 The graph on the left shows the raw AA DPS numbers of the tier IX battleships (and Yamato from tier X). The graph on the right applies a formula {AA DPS x ( Range - 1.0km )} to calculate the overall effectiveness of the ship's AA power. This weights longer ranged weapons as being much more valuable as planes will linger within their effect longer. None of the Japanese battleships shown have what could be described as "good" anti-aircraft firepower. Thus, while Musashi's AA firepower is terrible, it's not like she could have expected things to have been stellar. Musashi's anti-aircraft firepower would be an embarrassment at tier VII, never mind two tiers higher. Musashi is utterly incapable of seeing to her own air defense, regardless of what tier of aircraft are assailing her. A heavy investment into trying to salvage her anti-aircraft firepower can claw her out of the dregs and make her a thorny enough issue to shred a few tier VII planes, but don't kid yourself into thinking you can salvage Musashi's air defense. It will always be terrible. Her improved float plane fighter is probably her best anti-aircraft asset, though this won't prevent a determined CV from burying you. Only a desperate, ill timed and uncoordinated assault on Musashi will ever be thwarted by her float plane fighter. It would be a mistake to think that Musashi's lack of AA defense is a tremendous disadvantage, however. Aircraft carriers are not commonplace. Furthermore, Musashi isn't that bad -- at least in comparison to her tier X sister ship. With the wonderful exception of Kii, anti-aircraft defense has never been a strong point of the Japanese battleships. In fact, Yamato's anti-aircraft firepower would be disappointing at tier IX and only marginally better than Izumo's, so there's no great loss here. If on the off chance you do encounter a Midway intent on deleting you, it doesn't really matter that you're in Musashi. You could have been in Yamato, Lion or Friedrich der Große -- you would still get sunk. The only question is: How many planes would it have cost her when facing those other ships? Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: A miracle. Yeah. That's all you get. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 18.00km Air Detection Range: 15.99km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 13.51km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 19.27km Main Battery Firing Range: 26.5km Detection Consumables: Spotter Aircraft / Float Plane Fighter The only thing you're sneaking up on realistically are two IJN Battleships that should really be put out of their misery. Musashi's surface detection isn't terrible. It's worse than that. You should accept right from the word go that you've lost the surface detection war with Musashi. Short of tripping over an Izumo that's given up on hope, there's really not much in the game you'll ever find yourself being able to out spot. This doesn't mean you should give up on concealment entirely. As tough as Musashi is, there will be times when you'll want to avoid being shot at and rigging this behemoth up for her best impersonation of stealth can keep your ship in the game longer. The situations where this will be useful aren't going to be commonplace. However, with Musashi's anti-aircraft firepower and secondaries being absolutely terrible, you may have a glut of spare skill points to devote to Vision Control. But let's be honest: In an ideal game, Musashi's surface detection should be 26.5km as your guns will be unloading almost non-stop. It's really only when the Red team decides to focus upon you in a rude (and game winning) manner that you should look to see if silencing your weapons can help dig you out of the mess you've put yourself in. Musashi isn't fast, so any extraction plan is going to take some time -- time a better concealment build might afford you. This said, any invested skills and modules sunk into stealth for Musashi goes right out the window if there's an enemy aircraft carrier lurking about or a surviving destroyer. Hell, even a leftover float plane fighter from that cruiser you sunk earlier will spot you from at least 14.4km -- further than you can see it and there's almost nothing your pathetic AA can do about it even if it was directly overhead, you poor thing. The only bit of a good news for Musashi in this whole category is that her aircraft -- both her Float Plane Fighter and her Spotter Aircraft -- last longer than the versions found on other battleships. Of the two, her Float Plane Fighter is the real winner, with a three minute up time, which is fantastic for a battleship. This can help you peak around islands, spot torpedoes and generally help alleviate a feeling of being completely blind. While these planes won't survive long in the flak-heavy environment of high tier matches, their reset timers are also short, so it should be less likely that you're caught completely unawares. If you're not considering a full stealth build, then those four skill points could be much better spent between Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft and Vigilance. Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: Not that much, truly. A couple hundred meters off her surface or aerial detection range could have nudged her down there. The addition of some form of bonus spotting consumable like Missouri's radar might have also done it. As it is, the extended up time on her aircraft is already a good boon that had me debating which evaluation to give her in the first place. Mouse: I need a shorter term than "Vision Control" -- one word preferably so that it fits in the vertical summary pictures.Lert: Refrigerator.Mouse: Synonymous to it, smarty pants. Lert: Oh. Learning to Fight with Two Swords Musashi differs from her sister ship (and indeed, most other IJN battleships) in that she doesn't benefit nearly as much from AA / Secondary boosting skills. While it's always been of questionable merit to emphasize secondaries and AA power in most IJN battleships, with Musashi it's a loser move right from the word go. Here's the skill list I recommend: As ever, start with Priority Target. If you are apt at using the reflections of enemies in your sword blades, then you can take Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft instead. You've got a choice here. Adrenaline Rush is optimal -- it increases your rate of fire further, catapulting Musashi's DPM to beyond monstrous levels. However, for comfort and control, Expert Marksman is probably the better choice to accelerate your turret rotation from a crime against humanity to just a manslaughter charge. Next up, you want to start stacking skills to help with fires. Take Basics of Survivability. Follow that up with Fire Prevention. Your next nine points should be put into Superintendent and then doubling back to grab whichever tier 2 skill you skipped. You have four points left at this stage, which could be put into Concealment Expert (which admittedly, does help but it's not game changer) or a combination of skills like Vigilance and Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft / Preventative Maintenance from tier 1. Final Evaluation Missouri's biggest claim to fame is her credit earning coefficient which is, frankly, off the charts. Thanks to help from within the community, I collected pages upon pages upon pages of Missouri results screens to analyze her credit earning compared to Musashi's. While the sample size from the latter was admittedly smaller, being donated only by fellow CCs and Supertesters, it did give me a glimpse into the earning differences between them. Musashi earns approximately 75% of the credits Missouri earns. Musashi earns approximately 12.5% more than a tier VIII premium. Note I am speaking only of the base credits earned. This doesn't include expenses, premium camouflage or any other bonus. This number was very difficult to isolate and, if truth be told, I'm not sure I nailed it exactly. After analyzing a few hundred results screens from Tirpitz, Roma, Musashi and Missouri, my eyes are ready to fall out of my head. I did learn a few things -- namely that experience and credits are not directly linked, so credit gains differ from experience gains. It should be noted that both Kii and Roma with their Makoto Kobayashi camouflage will have higher credit earning totals than Musashi does. To best them you would need to equip a camouflage with an increased credit earning bonus like the Gamescom 2016. Musashi does earn bank -- never doubt it. She can't threaten Missouri for top spot, however. Musashi (red, long dispersion field) vs Missouri (green, squat dispersion field). Shells recorded with 25% opacity, allowing them to be stacked 4 times. 180 shells at 15km, locked onto a Fuso. Both ships are equipped with their dispersion reduction upgrades (7% Musashi, 11% Missouri). Fuso does not have camouflage. Mouse's Summary: Dirt simple game play. Point your nose at the enemy. Keep pulling the trigger. She's tough as nails until she's not. When one of Musashi's weaknesses (flanking, torpedoes, bombers) gets exploited, she folds quickly. She's closer to Yamato than most people give her credit. So many people dismissed Musashi out of hand: "A downtiered, stock-Yamato," they said, as if this was really something worth derision. The argument went that the free experience costs used to unlock Musashi should be better spent on Yamato instead. That's kind of a silly comparison to make, in my opinion. If you have anywhere close to that much free experience kicking around, you've long made up your mind about whether you want a Yamato or not and probably taken steps to acquire her. Having Musashi on offer isn't going to sudden make buying that Yamato you skipped all of this time worth while. But hey, if she suddenly looks attractive now that Musashi is out, more power to you. This is a very powerful premium battleship. Playing Musashi is all about buying time. She doesn't have Yamato's accuracy. It takes her a little longer to get up to speed -- to make those 460mm salvos really hurt. RNGesus may smile on you early on in a match every now and then, but it's best to bank on the need to stretch out those minutes as best you can to give you more bites of the apple -- to give you more time to drop those 14,800hp warheads on bow-tanking stupid heads and turn the course of battle. Finding a comfortable island shadow to lurk near, probing the enemy until they make a mistake -- that's Musashi's bread and butter. For most players, Musashi promotes static game play, I'm sorry to say. The combination of armour vulnerability, enormous surface detection and slow speed largely relegates Musashi's to such mind numbing simplicity, especially for inexperienced commanders. While she can push, while she can lead a charge and while she can pressure a cap circle, moving away from a safe anchorage undoes all of the benefits of her awesome armour scheme. So long as she has targets in front of her that need killing and she's able to put out effective fire, why risk moving? Frankly, it will win you games. If you do muster up the courage or reckless abandon to sally out in this monster, you're in for a treat so long as the threats to your flank are secured. Musashi is a phenomenal bully when top tier and she's no slouch at tier X either. Putting your ship up on the firing line and absorbing the wall of abuse can spare your team mates undue pressure. You're likely to survive what they can only dream of tanking themselves. There are inherent risks to doing this -- if you team doesn't push while you stick your neck out, no number of heroic damage absorption you demonstrate will turn a losing match into a winning one. You should be able to farm some nice damage before the loss, however, and who knows? The enemy might get reckless enough to drip feed their ships into your guns and turn their victory into a loss. This is why I enjoyed my time with Musashi so much. She's a ship that can really make a difference. Musashi reminded me a lot of my first year with World of Warships where I sank game after game after game into Warspite -- another ship with ridiculously powerful guns and horrible gun handling. I can think of no higher praise than that. There's just one problem... Musashi is overtuned. Musashi does too much damage and she's too tough to be a tier IX ship. The latter definitely helps the former -- whatever accuracy qualms 1.8 sigma may have given the ship design, having Yamato's full health pool a full tier lower gives her enough time to make those weapons sing. This is a ship that needs to be focused down and focused down hard when she's seen or you're going to lose ships quickly. While this ship will not last long when played by someone who doesn't know what they're doing, even in the hands of someone semi-competent, they're going to punch much higher than their weight class. Would I Recommend? 750,000 free experience is a heavy investment and it outright locks out new players. While I'm sure there are those of you out there who have legitimately horded this amount without spending a dime, for most players looking to acquire Musashi, they're going to be looking to use doubloons to convert experience on premiums and elited ships. Newer players have a lot of grinding to do before they can even do that. You're going to need 30,000 doubloons to afford this at the cost of approximately $110 USD or €100 to do this from a zero sum of free experience (and that's not including the extra 5,000 you'll need for her upgraded camouflage or the 300 for the port slot). The longer you spend grinding the experience, the less expensive you can make it. So set your own price. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Absolutely. Musashi's guns seem specifically designed for dealing with bow tanking bots. Her increased credit earning allows her to earn a tidy sum. With her standard premium camouflage equipped, you'll spend 36,000 per match in maintenance with ammunition sitting at 400 credits per shell fired. Just beware dumb bots throwing friendly torps at you. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Very yes. Do you like earning High Caliber and Dreadnought medals? Musashi prints High Caliber and Dreadnought medals. She's one of the best ships in the game for grinding credits -- currently only behind Missouri, Kii and Roma (and the latter two must have the Makoto Kobayashi camouflage). This gets even better with the High School Fleet camouflage for boosting commander experience gains. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. Musashi is very powerful at tier IX. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Very yes. Musashi has the triple incentive of: 1.) Being a free-experience vessel that anyone with a lot of time can acquire. 2.) A beautiful historical vessel with a tragic end. 3.) The option of collecting a fun camouflage for a series players may have enjoyed. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Very yes on toast. Subjecting a Pensacola-class cruiser to 460mm guns is a level of fun everyone should experience before the American cruiser line gets redone. 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 Hey, I made it. This review, like Ashitaka and Makarov before it is being done at the last minute. I hope quality hasn't suffered overmuch. It's still adhering mostly to my vision of what I want these reviews to look like going forward. They will continue to evolve -- you'll note that the Angry YouTuber review was hiding at the end again. Hopefully my "Overpowered" evaluation doesn't take anyone by surprise. I'm confident that over time others will begin to see the horrifying potential of a Yamato-class battleship at tier IX, even without its 2.1 sigma, secondaries, or AA firepower. Thank you all for the feedback on my Roma review. I'm going to continue to try out new things going forward; we'll see what works and what doesn't. Please don't hesitate about reaching out to me to let me know what you like and what you would like to see improved. Hopefully for my next review, I'll have a little more time to experiment more. I really just had to push through this one to try and get it out for the ship's launch. I want to extend a special thank you to my Patrons on Patreon who have already pledged their support. I'm looking to do more with that shortly, including setting up an easier way for you all to contact me. Hopefully this review is indicative of the amount of time and energy that I put towards these projects -- even on short notice, I do my best not to let you guys down. This isn't done without cost, however, and your support really helps me make ends meet. If you enjoy my reviews and are not already a patron, please consider helping out so that I may continue covering ships as they're released. I honestly don't know what's next after Musashi. I think I'm going to have to poke Wargaming and see what's on the docket. Maybe I'll have time to revisit an older review.
  8. The following is a review of both Agir & Siegfried, the tier IX German large cruisers. These ships have been provided to me by Wargaming at no cost to me (though I do have to unlock Siegfried again). To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are accurate as of patch 0.9.5. Please be aware that their performance may change in the future. Whoo, double-header! Wait, does this count as reviews #150 and #151? Bah, I'll figure that part out later. Welcome to my mistake! There is a lot of similarities between the two O-class sisters, but there are some marked differences too -- not the least of which is their actual game play. I've tried to separate things out to make things more readable but it's kind of a mess with all the back and forth going on. I'm worried that I've focused too hard on one ship over the other. Oh well, I committed to this folly and I'm going to ride it out to the very end! Let's begin! Agir Summary: A tier IX Odin in cruiser-form with improved main battery guns, but she has worse protection and secondaries. Siegfried Summary: A tier IX Gneisenau in cruiser-form with better guns, secondaries, torpedoes, AA power, agility and concealment. She is squishier than the tier VII battleship though. Difference Summary: Siegfried and Agir share the same protection scheme agility and concealment. However their weapons differ. Siegfried's has more powerful 380mm guns, is more accurate, has fewer but (much) longer-ranged secondaries. Agir has 305mm guns and an extra two-pairs of short-ranged secondaries and better torpedo arcs. In addition, Siegfried gets more consumables. Because reasons. SHARED PROS Strong citadel protection for a cruiser with a 190mm belt backed by an 80mm turtleback and 45mm to 60mm citadel wall. Good structural armour protection with 27mm thick extremities, 90mm thick upper hull and 30mm thick deck. Phenomenal anti-torpedo protection for a cruiser with a 37% damage reduction. Hell, most battleships would love to have this level of defense. Long ranged main battery guns (18.5km for Agir, 20.64km for Siegfried). Excellent main battery HE penetration for both ships. Secondaries have 32mm of penetration, making them capable of directly damaging the extremities of even tier VIII+ battleships. Good anti-aircraft firepower. Access to the improved German cruiser Hydroacoustic Search consumable with it's increased detection ranges of 4km for torpedoes and 6km for ships. SHARED CONS Turtleback isn't angled steeply enough to guarantee auto-ricochets, leaving their citadels potentially vulnerable. Wait, how is this a flaw, really? Most cruisers would give away their X-turret for this level of citadel defense. Agir and Siegfried's not-perfect turtleback be damned. Fires spank for a full 60s, and floods waterboard you for 40s. Kinky. Poor main battery HE DPM. Horrible main battery gun fire angles both forward and backward. Torpedoes are pathetically short-ranged at 6km. Chunktacular agility with handling for a cruiser that feels like sticking your hand in cottage cheese or duck puke. Large surface detection for a cruiser. SPECIFIC PROS Excellent AP penetration and overmatch ability with Siegfried's 380mm guns. Siegfried makes use of cruiser dispersion (!) with her battleship caliber guns. Siegfried has long range-secondaries with good fire arcs (better than Agir's for some reason). Agir has the same fire-setting ability as Azuma and Alaska with her main battery guns. SPECIFIC CONS Low AP DPM on Siegfried's guns (combined with that earlier low HE DPM). Siegfried is a bad firebug with a low fires-per-minute. Agir's main battery lacks AP penetration making it difficult to contest battleship armour except at ranges of less than 12km. Agir may have more secondaries but they too short ranged to be useful. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High/ EXTREME Large cruisers tend to be pretty forgiving as far as cruiser game-play goes. They borrow a lot from battleships which are some of the easiest ships to play. For beginners, Siegfried and Agir provide these training wheels along with very forgiving gunnery dispersion. For veterans, imagine German battleships that actually hit whatever you aimed at. Yeah, scary, especially in Siegfried's case. Stack onto that good survivability, brawling, kiting, DD hunting with their hydro, using islands for ambushes / cover -- yeah, there's a lot of room for skill to affect game play. Let's do these next few sections out of order and focus first on where they're similar and then touch on where they're different. Defense Hit Points: 62,850 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 27mm extremities, 90mm upper hull & 30mm deck Maximum Citadel Protection: 190mm belt + 80mm turtleback + 45mm to 60mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 37% How the hell are these things balanced? Siegfried and Roy are just a couple of key-features away from having a god-tier cruiser protection scheme. Let's go through the checklist: Anti-torpedo damage reduction in excess of 25% Citadel capable of repelling even large-caliber AP shells 27mm extremities or greater Upper hull in excess of 30mm Amidships deck in excess of 30mm Ice-breaker bow & stern So barring having a Furutaka-style deck and a Stalingrad ice-breaker, Siegfried and Agir have about the best defenses for cruisers that are available. But let's go into the details: Anti-Torpedo Protection Look, most cruisers don't have any torpedo damage reduction to speak of, never mind the "better-than-many-battleship" levels boasted by Siegfried and Agir. At present, they have the BEST fish-protection found on any cruiser in the game. Let's not forget that these two ships also have a German Hydroacoustic Search which further reduces the dangers presented by torpedoes. Short of these ships being more nimble (which they are decidedly not), you have the best defense you could ask when it comes to mitigating torpedo damage. Cruiser Turtlebacks & Internal Citadels Taken from GameModels3D.com with colours exaggerated to show the different layers of citadel protection on the O-class battlecruisers. This way you can clearly see the external 190mm belt in red (sloped at -1º to -21º), the 80mm turtleback in yellow (sloped 49º to 60º) and the citadel itself shown in blue (0º). Most AP shells have to contend with passing at least one auto-ricochet check to punch through her turtleback. The protection scheme of the O-class battlecruisers citadel protection closely resembles that of a German battleship. Their armour is optimized to protect the magazines and machine spaces in medium to close range encounters. However, it remains vulnerable to high-penetration, long-range fire. While these ships are not immune to citadel hits, they are about as well protected as you could hope for a cruiser to be. The effectiveness of their citadel protection varies depending upon where the ship is struck and the angle of incoming fire. Their lateral belt + turtleback protection covers the whole range from "impossible to citadel" to "difficult but not impossible" depending. Barring a shell moving at a perfect horizontal or slightly upward motion (possible due to normalization after penetrating the reverse-sloped belt), the O-class's turtleback isn't inclined enough to guarantee ricochets. Thus there's always a chance of a shell with sufficient penetration to punch into their magazines or machine spaces. The two layers of armour work in tandem with the near vertical sections of belt armour around the funnels being mated with the most steeply sloped turtleback and the more shallow angled turtleback around the magazines is paired with the most exaggerated reverse slope of the belt. The biggest danger to these ships when caught broadside are the (relatively) low velocity but high penetration shells of American battleships or the massive shells off Yamato, Musashi and Shikishima. At range, every battleship becomes more dangerous. Every time you get shot, you're rolling the dice and hoping that RNGeebus will be kind. So don't go offering up your broadside unless you're one pious momo. Their biggest citadel weakness is their enormous 27mm thick snouts which can be overmatched. Unlike other high-tier German cruisers, they have no 'ice-breaker', no extended waterline belt to help foil shots aimed at their squishy bits. For opponents that aware of this vulnerability, this area can be hit for days for easy big-damage. I'm not going to lie -- it can be frustrating to try and protect this weakness. If your opponents aren't playing ball, you're going to have a bad time. Make no mistake: Agir and Siegfried are not battleships -- they can't stand up to battleship levels of punishment. The O-class's 90mm upper hull is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it helps you resist HE shells and ricochet AP rounds when you're angled. On the flip side, it guarantees fusing every single AP shell it faces if the shell manages to penetrate, leading to Siegfried and Agir taking big damage. The recess into which Siegfried's hull-mounted torpedoes are set opens up a further shell-trap that can be exploited by your opponents. Be careful. Suck it, 381mm Guns You too, 127mm guns. Let's step away from dwelling on citadel hits and simply talk about resisting damage entirely. Given the glut of 381mm and smaller caliber guns throwing AP shells about at high-tiers these days, these ships can face-tank select targets with relative impunity. Furthermore, the 27mm threshold makes them immune to direct damage from 127mm HE shells even if they're using the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill, so that's pretty nice too. Their 90mm upper hull is again capable of being pretty troll when it comes to resisting damage -- both AP and HE shells, though you need to angle to resist the former. This opens the door for some interesting (if limited) brawling opportunities. The flip side is that this thicker armour all but guarantees everything (and I do mean everything) will have their AP shells fuse properly and deal chunktacular penetration damage. This can be as devastating as individual citadel hits. Overall, though, these ships are better at resisting citadel hits than they are direct damage. HE spam from cruisers is stupid-dangerous. Siegfriend and Agir's 30mm decks and 27mm extremities are big weak spots for HE to exploit. Lemme repeat myself: these are not German battleships -- they're not built to shrug off damage to the same level as those Deutsches-Stahl leviathans. You can lose HP in a hurry even if you never take a single citadel hit. So beware. Barring exceptions, most cruisers can queue up to 33% of citadel damage for repairs. Agir & Siegfried's large hit point pool gives them access to better heals, but this still falls behind the extra Repair Party charge enjoyed by Azuma and the portable` dry-docks of the British cruisers. Overall Feels The O-class sisters remind me a lot of tier VI and VII battleships -- tough but not invulnerable, with stupidly-big weak spots that are easy to exploit. Fire is a problem. Overmatch is a problem. HE spam is a problem. AP penetrating hits are a problem, but proper angling can help mitigate it. Citadel hits happen but they're uncommon and largely caused by your own mistakes, so that's easier to stomach. If you think of playing one of the O-class as the equivalent of bringing a tier VII battleship up into a tier IX match, you're not far off in terms of considering their durability. Their protection level is much better than that of the typical cruiser, but they fall well short of god-tier. VERDICT: Hella good, very rewarding and lots of fun. Agility Top Speed: 33.5 knots Turning Radius: 880m Rudder Shift Time: 14.0 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.7º/s These aren't cruisers. Well, they are -- they conform to cruiser norms in terms of energy retention, for example. The rest of their agility parameters are very much those of a battleship. These aren't ships with which you can wiggle and dodge. Their bad fire angles on their guns, especially when kiting, makes this dangerous to attempt -- doubly so with their 27mm extremities being the literal back door into their citadel. They barely have more speed than most of the battleships they face, to say nothing of the cruisers, so kiting is made even harder. You have to pay close attention to the flow of battle and plan your moves accordingly. This largely limits their manoeuvres of defense to flashing their sides just enough to bait hits into their belt rather than their honkers and playing keep-away from the second line until it's time to brawl. It could be worse, I suppose. They could crawl like Roon does. Apparently Dmitri Donskoi's in-port stats are being fixed soon! VERDICT: One of the weaknesses of these ships. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.12km / 11.88km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 10.74km/8.7km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 11.9km Hydroacoustic Search Ranges: 4km torpedo detection, 6km ship detection. If these were battleships, their Vision Control would be excellent, but they're not. They're cruisers, so their Vision Control kinda sucks. While they do bring the German cruiser Hydroacoustic Search to the table, they're not pairing it with great surface detection or good sprinting speed. This largely limits aggressive use of the consumable to misplays on your opponent's part. Otherwise, it's just there to keep you and your allies torpedo-safe. Like Azuma before them, these ships also lack the Surveillance Radar boasted by American & Soviet large cruisers. That consumable is nearly a must-have in team settings, so going without a huge strike against these ships. Overall, Siegfried feels this deficiency in concealment much less than Agir. Siegfried's guns are more comfortable at a distance and she has longer range to boot. Heck, Siegfried can almost stealth-fire her secondaries (one of these days, WG will screw up and I will have my stealth-firing secondary cruiser). This, in my opinion, makes her the easier and more powerful ship between the two when combined with everything else. VERDICT: This is another area where they perform poorly, but it's not unexpected. Alright, that's all of their similarities. Let's go over what makes them unique. Options Let's start with the pretty mild differences of their option optimization. Consumables Agir and Siegfried differ in their consumable load-outs with Siegfried having more options than Agir. I've highlighted the consumables that are Siegfried-only. Agir and Siegfried share the following consumables: Their Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with a 60s reset timer and 5s active period. It comes with unlimited charges. They have access to a German Cruiser's Hydroacoustic Search with a 4km torpedo detection range and a 6km ship detection range. Both start with 3 charges and have a 120s reset timer. Finally, they both share a Repair Party. This heals back 14% of the ship's health over 28s. 50% of penetration damage is queued up along with 33% of citadel damage and 100% of all other damage types. This starts with 3 charges and has an 80s reset timer. For Siegfried, I prefer a Hydroacoustic Search along with a Spotting Aircraft for my consumables of choice. SIEGFRIED ONLY CONSUMABLES Siegfried may swap its Hydroacoustic Search for Defensive AA Fire which comes with three charges and an 80s reset timer. Siegfried bumps her Repair Party over to the fourth slot and has the option of both catapult aircraft in her third slot. Her Spotting Aircraft provides the usual 20% bonus to range for 100s. It comes with 4 charges and a 240s reset timer. Alternatively, she can use a Catapult Fighter. The squadron is active for 60s with a 90s reset timer and comes with three charges. Upgrades There's a smart way to build for these ships but there's also the fun way. Being some of the first cruisers with capable secondaries, it's fun to build for them for a lark. In Siegfried's case, this may even be slightly competitive. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. You have a choice in slot two. Fire damage is pretty dangerous for these ships so Damage Control System Modification 1 is a sound investment. Alternatively, you can go into the Armory and spend 17,000 for Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1. In slot three, Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal for both ships. Alternatively, you can grab Secondary Gun Modification 1 for the memes. This will pay off more for Siegfried but it can work for Agir too, especially in PVE modes. Again, with full-damage fires being a threat, Damage Control System Modification 2 is optimal for slot four but you can swap it out for Steering Gears Modification 1 if you prefer to take a more active hand in your defense. Concealment Expert is too good not to be the optimal choice in slot five. For those who like to live fast and dangerous, Steering Gears Modification 2 is an option, but keep in mind that these ships have bad fire angles for kiting so this isn't ideal. Finally, let there be no doubt that Main Battery Modification 3 is the best choice for slot six. Captain Skills There's a smart way to build for these ships and then there's the German secondary battleship build. The smart way borrows the entirety of the "fire resistant battleship" build. I agree, girls. So dull even if it is the "ideal build". You can swap out Priority Target for another tier 1 skill of your choice. Expert Loader is a good idea, but the usual standbys of Preventative Maintenance and Incoming Fire Alert are reasonable. German battleship build, recently recommended with my Odin review! Make sure you take Secondary Gun Modification 1 for this build and load up on Mike Yankee Soxisix signals. All of the cool kids are doing it. Camouflage Both ships have their default Type 10 Camouflage and you can purchase the Nordic Camouflage separately as a cosmetic swap. Both provide identical bonuses, so don't stress about missing out on possible economic gains by not spending more money. These are standard bonuses for tier IX premiums: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. So nothing too extreme there. Let's move onto their anti-aircraft firepower. Verdict: Siegfried has better options than Agir by a country mile, offering two distinct and viable play styles not only in PVE but PVP as well. Siegfried's default camo scheme, which is pretty sexy. Agir's default camo scheme is more grim. The Nordic camouflage looks good on Siegfried. But it looks better on Agir, in my opinion. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 5 explosions (6 for Agir) for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 6km. Siegfried / Agir Long Ranged (up to 6.0km): 102 / 130 dps at 90% accuracy Siegfried / Agir Medium Ranged (up to 4.0km): 329 / 364 dps at 90% accuracy Siegfried / Agir Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 147 / 119 dps at 85% accuracy Agir has better raw AA numbers than Siegfried. Siegfried has access to Defensive AA Fire (if she chooses to ditch Hydroacoustic Search). Both ships have "good" AA firepower, but this doesn't particularly matter. Individually, these ships have enough teeth on them to make dropping on them expensive in the long run. However, it would be a fool's mistake to think they're capable of fending off a determined CV by themselves. Apply the standard anti-CV tactics in order to keep safe. Blob-up and Just Dodge™. Otherwise, you're food. Long story short: Agir's AA is noticeably better (flirting with Alaska-levels) but Siegfried can take DFAA. I've ranked these in order of "effective AA DPS" -- meaning simply that I applied a formula (DPS *[range-1km]). This weights longer ranged AA mounts more than shorter ranged ones but it doesn't do so perfectly. This order only really gives an impression of ranking of personal AA defense, not overall effective values (such as providing support to an ally). At the end of the day, everything between Brindisi and Saint Louis are very, very close and this ranking doesn't really speak to in-game effectiveness. That's because none of this really matters. Sadly, CVs can still dunk on you no matter what and the idea that REALLY GOOD AA firepower could somehow prevent drops is a thing of the distant past. VERDICT: Disappointingly good. I say disappointing because good AA doesn't really mean anything unless the enemy CV is a total novice. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 305mm guns in 3x3 turrets (Agir) or six 380mm guns in 3x2 turrets (Siegfried). Both are setup in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Eighteen 128mm guns in 9x2 turrets (Agir) and fourteen 128mm guns in 7x2 turrets (Siegfried). Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers mounted on either side amidships. Let's start with the similarities between the two ships. Torpeedus Agir and Siegfried both have access to the same Steinbutt torpedoes (heh, butts). If you imagine Tirpitz's torpedoes but add an extra knot of speed, you're bang on the money. So they're stupid short ranged and kinda wimpy on a per-torpedo basis all things told. You're only ever going to get to use them in brawls or ambushes so keep that in mind. I can forgive their performance as both Agir and Siegfried feel like battleships, even if they are ostensibly cruisers. Their fish are super fun to use but you won't get to use them in every game. Still, those moments are always memorable and totally worth it. The big difference between the two ships in terms of their torpedoes are how they're mounted. Agir has them on deck giving her good forward firing arcs. Siegfried houses hers in the hull lower down, greatly reducing their field of fire (and opening up a potential shell trap besides). Agir has good torpedo arcs and terrible gun firing arcs. Siegfried has terrible torpedo arcs and less terrible (but still awful) gun firing arcs than Agir. Secondaries Siegfried has the better secondaries. This is despite Agir having more of them. Normally I wouldn't bother wasting more than a couple of sentences on cruiser secondaries, but these ships are special ... and not in that "Kiev also has a secondary!" kinda special. Siegfried's secondaries are so good, she's arguably the first cruiser in World of Warships where a full secondary build is competitive. While Siegfried doesn't have the broadside weight of a battleship, her secondaries are good enough with the combination of high penetration, good range and a decent rate of fire. Mouse's impression of the effectiveness of most cruiser secondaries. Agir should be in a similar state but she's not. Despite having the same penetration and an even better volume of fire grace of having an extra turret firing broadside, her arcs are slightly worse and she loses out on range. While you can still make this work in Co-Op battles, it's really not viable in a PVP environment -- not for the returns you get. Personally, I totally blame Flamu for this as he spilled the beans on how fun this is. Now your only way to get access to this game play is by grinding out the Research Bureau. BOOOO, Flamu! BOOOOO! You ruined everything! ♥ I stress it's this deficit of range that really hurts Agir and range remains the key factor that determines secondary-build viability in Random Battles. Agir's 5.3km base range can only be upgraded as far as 8.01km with a deep secondary build -- compare that to Siegfried's 11.49km and there's just too much of a gap. Perhaps more importantly, Siegfried's main battery gun performance isn't as hurt by spending her third upgrade slot to increase range as it is with Agir, owing to Siegfried's improved main battery gun dispersion (more on that later). You can make a secondary build on Agir work, but it's a pale shadow of the potential found on Siegfried. On the whole, it's exciting to see secondaries on cruisers being viable both to a lesser and greater degree on Agir and Siegfried respectively. I would have preferred to see this on a 203mm or 152mm armed cruiser rather than a near-perfect battleship analogue, but hey, it's progress. No, it doesn't make sense. Whatever logic was used to determine these fire angles, it's not consistent between the two vessels. Siegfried simply has better arcs on her secondaries. I have no idea why. Main Battery Guns These two ships couldn't be any more different when it comes to their main battery guns. Since I recently finished reviewing Odin, let's start with Agir's armament first because there's a lot of parallels there. Odin, Perfected If you read my review of Odin, the tier VIII German battleship, I wasn't very flattering when it came to my evaluation of her guns. Odin's 305mm guns struggle to put enough shells on target. Her battleship dispersion and her slower rate of fire just means that not enough shells stack to keep up with the damage she needs to put out. This might not be such a big issue if Odin struck like a hammer from on high, but she doesn't. While her 305mm guns are pretty good cruiser killers once you compare them to the other super cruisers, they're really lacking. Alaska & Stalingrad have improved auto-ricochet mechanics. Kronshtadt and Stalingrad have god-tier levels of AP penetration. Azuma and Yoshino have improved HE damage. So without any of these specialities, Odin was left struggling to deal damage when someone angles or plays a battleship that won't brawl with them. For comparison, here is Odin's main battery dispersion (in yellow on the left) using a standard dispersion test. This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km, locked onto a stationary Fuso bot. The Fuso lacks camouflage and Odin is using Aiming Systems Modification 1 to reduced her dispersion by 7%. Shots are coming in from right to left (Fuso is bow-tanking). Odin's 'good for a battleship' dispersion is alright, but it doesn't do the ship any favours given the rather wimpy punch of her shells. Agir's main battery gun dispersion (in pink on the right) following the same parameters as Odin's above. While Odin makes use of the American-British-German battleship dispersion area, Agir makes use of the Graf Spee (aka "Battlecruiser") dispersion. Agir inherits Odin's lackluster AP penetration and anemic HE issues. Boooo. However, her improved dispersion and faster rate of fire compensates somewhat for this disparity in performance. Her shells are "bad" but she fires enough of them and hits often enough to kinda-sorta offset her disastrous ammunition. Still, this isn't a ship in which you want to be actively trading fire with opponents. She's not a high DPM monster nor are her alpha strikes particularly impressive barring a cruiser derping monstrously. Fire opportunistically and avoid return damage as best you can. I struggle to call Agir's main battery firepower "good". It's alright -- I'd give it no more than that. There's nothing here really to get excited over. Siegfried, on the other hand... Gneisenau, Perfected Imagine if Gneisenau (or Tirpitz for that matter), hit with nearly every shell she fired. German 380mm guns are notorious for their inaccuracy so that might be a little difficult, but make the effort. Difficulties visualizing aside, take a cruiser and equip it with a small battery of battleship caliber weapons and make them stupid-accurate. That's Siegfried. That's her thing. It goes beyond that though. Siegfried takes Gneisenau's offensive abilities and improves upon them to such a degree that it's hard to believe Siegfried made it out of testing without significant nerfs. She boasts a slightly more powerful torpedo armament than Gneisenau. Her secondaries are longer ranged, using the same excellent 128mm L/61s with their improved penetration. And finally, Siegfried's main battery guns hit whatever you aim at -- something the tier VII and VIII German battleships could only dream of. It's this last part, it's her main battery guns, which puts her head and shoulders above Gneisenau despite the similarities of their armaments. Let's take a blast from the past to illustrate why Siegfried's accuracy is so jaw dropping. This is Bismarck's old dispersion (in yellow on the left), back when she was still using the French & Italian battleship patterns. Gneisenau and Tirpitz shared in this performance, with all three ships having 1.8 sigma. Things have improved slightly -- at 15km the width of their fall has reduced by 3 meters from 198m shown here (with ASM1 installed) to 195m with the new American battleship dispersion they're presently using. Yeah, you kinda got bamboozled if you thought the recent changes fixed anything. Siegfried (in blue on the right) uses cruiser dispersion. No, not battlecruiser -- actual cruiser dispersion. She has the same spread of shots as you'd find on Cleveland or Henri IV. She has their 2.05 sigma too unlike the 1.8 sigma you played with when using German battleships. Aim well and you can hit with everything. It's for this reason that Siegfried can get away with upgrading her secondaries rather than focusing on reducing her main battery dispersion -- it's baseline value is already good enough and ASM1 isn't changing much. Aim well and you can hit with EVERYTHING. Look, German 380mm L/52s aren't the most impressive of battleship weapons but they're certainly novel on a cruiser. Even with that said, landing six out of six battleship caliber shells of a given volley is enough to make anyone sit up and take notice regardless of the ship type. Like Jean Bart, Siegfried will tear you a new one if you're foolish enough to give her a broadside. While the French battleship will do it through volume of fire, Siegfried will do it with a single well placed shot. Even her awful HE performance is counteracted (somewhat) by this phenomenal accuracy she boasts. Siegfried almost feels Soviet, what with firing high-velocity shells and having the ability to snipe destroyers from a distance. It's that accuracy that solves a lot of Siegfried's woes -- not all of them, mind you, but a lot. Without landing citadel hits or steady penetrations, Siegfried will lose just about any damage race. So while her individual hits are pretty jaw dropping, it's a struggle to land enough of them to make a difference if you're not prioritizing targets properly. As good as Siegfried's guns are on paper, without a good head behind the helm, she can be pretty terrible. Unlike Agir's guns, which improve upon pretty forgettable weapons, Siegfried's are an improvement on some rather novel guns. If nothing else, Siegfried makes for some interesting gunnery. Imperfect Perfections As different as the guns are on the two ships, Siegfried and Agir share a couple of problems. Poor damage out put. Poor gun firing angles. As good as Siegfried and Agir's guns can be, they're fouled by angling. Granted, Agir is more vulnerable to this than Siegfried, but Siegfried performs even more poorly when it finally meets a target it can't overmatch. German HE performance is notoriously terrible and if these ships are forced to fire it for long, their numbers will tank. Agir's only saving grace in this regard is her fire setting ability which is ... well, it's not great but it's not at the appalling levels Siegfried suffers. In short, these ships struggle in head-up fights where they can't brawl and they can't use their AP shells reliably. If an enemy is aware of them and reacts accordingly, they can largely shut down their damage output outside of close-range knife fights. Agir's AP DPM is pretty darned respectable -- more-so if you consider she can make ready use of it more often than many other cruisers. Siegfried, by contrast, is way behind. But when you remember she has battleship caliber guns, capable of actually landing citadel hits reliably at a distance, this helps make up for it. However, she's always going to lag on damage output, so she needs to aim well and survive long to keep up. I made this graph the same scale as the AP DPM so you could compare them. The O-class cruisers really miss out on HE DPM -- Siegfried's is especially appalling. Landing six penetrating HE shells is only 8,712 damage -- and that's a best case scenario every 22.9 to 26s. While this will ruin any destroyer's day, other targets can shrug that off, especially when it halves due to saturation. While Agir's HE shell performance may be lacking, her fire setting is on par with Azuma and Alaska, which is respectable. Siegfried is again pretty embarrassing. As for firing angles, well... they're terrible, frankly. You have to expose a whole lot of broadside to fire forward and even more to fire rearward. Agir is especially bad for this which opens up these ships to taking a lot of damage they should otherwise be able to avoid. Furthermore, this makes both ships very poor choices for kiting. When engaging targets chasing them, their guns are doubly terrible. First, their overmatch potential is limited -- Agir moreso than Siegfried, but the latter has her problems too. Next, you're faced with the loser choice of either firing with a single turret or slowing yourself down when you open up your broadside to return fire with their A & B turrets. Agir is much worse for this than Siegfried -- as if Siegfried needed any more improvements over her sister. The only place where Agir's gun handling performs better is her faster turret traverse. Once you stack on Main Battery Modification 3, Siegfried's gun traverse gets so sluggish she can actively out-turn her turrets. I hate that. You'll want Expert Marksman if you can afford it, but Siegfried's deep secondary build might preclude you from having the points to pick it up. Finally, the biggest drawback of these ships is the need for time deal their damage. While you can hope for some cruiser to offer themselves up as an easy meal, their low damage output means that you're leaning on their survivability to last longer -- giving you more opportunities to make their weapons count. This can be from stacking fires in Agir, padding numbers with Siegfried's secondaries or finally getting a chance where you get to use their fish. Siegfried's numbers are especially volatile with her 380mm guns providing periods of both feast and famine. More time gives you more chances to finally find those opportunities. Agir Summary Agir corrects some of the problems found with Odin's armament but then takes on additional problems of poor fire angles and ineffective backup weaponry. Firepower wise, I'd rather have Alaska or Azuma. These ships all have similar AP penetration but Alaska has her improved autobounce angles and Azuma has way better HE shells. All three are comparable firebugs. Still, the torpedoes that Agir has are nice but I can't see myself enjoying her secondaries outside of co-op. So yeah, poor marks here. Siegfried Summary By contrast, Siegfried's main battery guns are exciting and so are her secondaries. Yeah, she has problems but they're not insurmountable and it's a worthwhile price to pay to have access to 380mm guns that hit with (almost) everything. Verdict: Siegfried's weapons are fun and unique. Agir is Odin Two: The Electric Boogaloo with better main battery guns but worse secondaries which is boring as all get out. Final Evaluation I have nothing but praise for Siegfried and I'm generally dismissive of Agir. The basis of these feels is pretty simple: Siegfried's game play is new and novel -- she's effectively a glass-cannon version of Gneisenau, greatly improving offense at the expense of durability. Agir, by contrast, is a more-different Odin but she loses out entirely on secondaries and adds durability issues. The other way of looking at Agir is to compare her to the front-running large cruiser at tier IX, Alaska. Comparing the two of them, Alaska is hands down better -- she has better artillery and better team utility. Agir only wins out in brawls. I wouldn't go so far to say that Siegfried is better than Alaska, but at least Siegfried offers a change in game play. Fun and novelty is a worth the price of optimization in my opinion. I'm not surprised Siegfried is the more compelling choice over Agir, not when she's locked behind the Research Bureau grind. Unlike Agir which seemed to be nerfed every step along the way of her development, Siegfried had only two significant changes made to her since her introduction in early 2019. First, her AA power got played around with. That shouldn't be unexpected given the volatility of the CV rework over that same time period but it is what it is. Second, her torpedoes dropped from an 8km range to a 6km range. Wargaming have, quite deliberately, preserved the attractive secondary-heavy game play that turned people's heads during Agir's development. Siegfried is a big ol' fat carrot on a stick hoping to lure you into regrinding a few tech tree lines. To me, Agir feels like a consolation prize -- a poor man's Siegfried, as it were. Though she is a lot more accessible and she's not terrible, she's a distant second to her sister ship and even further behind Alaska. Given the ongoing events, if people wanted Agir, I'd steer them to Odin instead. I can't speak for Siegfried being "worth it" for having to participate in the Research Bureau, but she is a good ship -- as I have said repeatedly, she's interesting if nothing else. It's up to you if that's worth your time investment. So yeah, that's the O-class. A fun ship locked behind a painful experience and a meh ship that will forever have you looking over your shoulder wondering what you could have had instead. Siegfried turned quite a few heads during play testing. Agir just turned stomachs with her constant nerfs. Conclusion Wargaming is still at it. Champagne has been finalized so there's another ship added onto the pile that needs reviewing. I need some time off after this one, so I don't anticipate having another review out before early July. Thank you very much for reading.
  9. The following is a review of Ignis Purgatio & Ragnarok, the twin tier VIII Japanese premium battleships for the Warhammer 40,000 crossover. These ships have been provided to me by Wargaming at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge the statistics discussed in this review are accurate as of patch 0.9.5. Please be aware their performance (and their spelling) may change in the future. For those unaware, I have a long history of fandom with Games Workshop's Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 settings. My older brother was a huge influence on me when I was little. Everything he did was immediately fascinating. Despite the years between us, I did my utmost to try and keep up. The source books were among the many edgy things my older brother collected, including Dungeons & Dragons, alternative comics and weird figurines. As the starry eyed, overly enthusiastic and horribly destructive younger sister, I was of course banned from having access to this stuff which was squirreled away in his room. Oh, I would get to see him reading it from time to time, but sibling territoriality ensured I never got within six feet of those books, which only drove my curiousity further. That was until he went off on some school trip for a weekend. My ever industrious mother decided to take the opportunity to deep-clean the dungeon in which he slept. All of that stuff (along with most of his furniture) just-so happened to get moved to the front hallway while she tried to delaminate the layers of accumulated boy-stink from the walls. You can guess what happened next -- I snuck off with as many books as I could carry. Grandfather Nurgle always looks so jolly. This is how I got to sit down with the seminal works Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness (1988) and it's sequel Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned (1990). There was also this super dorky book called Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1987) that made less of an impression, but this Emperor-guy was pretty cool for desiccated corpse. It was the former two, especially The Lost and the Damned which had a lasting influence upon me. It kindled a love of the over-the-top gothic horror that defined a lot of Games Workshop's earlier works. I soon got into collecting books, magazines and miniatures myself. That interest has carried on to this day. One of my Warlord Titans from Adeptus Titanicus (2019) sits upon my computer desk and I have a Lord of Change with resplendent rainbow plumage attended by some wiggly Horrors on my book shelf. So you can kinda guess that the collaboration between Wargaming and Games Workshop has me making happier noises than a daemonette playing with a chainsword. The elements of this crossover relevant to this article are a pair of clones based upon the tier VIII Japanese tech-tree battleship Amagi; the Imperium of Man's Ignis Purgatio and the Primordial Annihilator's Ragnarok. Quick Summary: A pair of identical Amagi-class battleships with improved dispersion but reduced rate of fire over the tech-tree ship. PROS Trollish citadel protection, with surprisingly thick armour. Massive ten 410mm gun broadside with enormous alpha-strike potential. Good dispersion with 1.9 sigma. Excellent AP penetration. Good HE damage. Super accurate secondaries. CONS Weak belt armour, prone to taking penetration hits. 33s reload on main battery. Secondaries have a maximum of a 7.56km range. Poor agility with a large, 870m turning circle radius and pedestrian 4º/s rate of turn. Horrible AA firepower. Horrible concealment. Ignis Purgatio, resplendent in spite of her hidden typo. Ragnarok, without any spelling errors, which makes her clearly superior, you Imperial lapdogs. Versus Amagi Contrary to Wargaming's 0.9.5 patch notes, Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok are not exact copies of Amagi. They're close -- very close, even. They mirror the tech-tree ship in almost every regard. The amount of overlap is so prevalent that I won't cover everything about these ships, just merely some interesting highlights. However, there are two things which set these ships apart. When playing these ships, one of these elements is immediately noticeable. The other is not. Amagi has 1.8 sigma on her main battery guns. The new ships have 1.9 sigma. Amagi has a 30 second reload on her main battery guns. The new ships have 33 seconds. Head-faked with a Sigma Buff A difference of 0.1 sigma is a bit of a booby prize, I'm afraid. Consider these two dispersion fields: Standard dispersion tests. This is 180 AP shells fired at a stationary Fuso bot without camouflage sitting 15km away. Both Amagi and Ragnarok were using the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade. Shots came in from right to left -- the Fuso is effectively bow-tanking. Without labels, they're difficult to tell apart -- and let's keep in mind that this is as sterile a comparison as can be made under perfect conditions against a static target. Taken into the chaos of a live match, these differences all but disappear. The best players in the game are unable to tell the difference between battleships with 1.8 sigma and 2.0 sigma on a per-game basis -- the average player has no hope in Hell of being able to find value in the 1.9 sigma boasted by Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok over Amagi's 1.8. This is the sort of change that will show up over the long-term performance of the ships -- it's a Spreadsheet™ statistic. You won't be able to tell on a per-game basis, never mind a per-shot basis. In short: on a per-game basis, Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok have functionally the same accuracy as Amagi. Let me be clear: Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok DO have better dispersion but it's not significant enough for you to ever be able to notice its influence. Sucker-punched with a Reload Nerf What players will notice (and notice right away) is the three seconds lost every time these new battleships fire. This is pretty harsh though their ten-gun broadsides still keep them as contenders for some of the best damage out-put at tier VIII with their AP shells. So the three seconds lost is more awkward than damning. Ten guns is a rarity at tier VIII. Even sixteen-inch guns aren't standard so it's pretty easy for Ragnarok and Ignis Purgatio to stand apart from their contemporaries. Approximate penetration values for IJN 410mm AP shells. These ships are hella dangerous at all ranges with their AP shells able to land reliable damage to battleship targets even at a distance. Japanese HE shells have a meaty chunk of damage tied to them. But their fire chance is kinda crappy. Amagi is Better From a pure performance point of view, Amagi is the original and best. If you want to try these ships out for yourself, play Amagi and each time you fire, count to three before you pull the trigger. Bam, there you go. You're experiencing Ragnarok and Ignis Purgatio. Miscellaneous Points of Interest Other than her guns, there are three elements about the Amagi-class I find interesting. First off, there's her citadel protection: Compiled from GameModels3D.com showing the different thickness of Amagi's turtleback armour. It's 102mm thick over the magazines and 95mm over the machine spaces. Amagi is notoriously difficult to citadel, especially at close ranges. This isn't because of her turtleback but rather her submersed citadel. Short of dunking shells into the water just before the ship's hull, you're not going to land citadel hits against her up close. At a distance, she's more vulnerable, but only if your shells have a lot of penetration combined with a noticeable shell fall angle. Despite having turtleback geometry to her citadel, this isn't a separate plate the way it is with German battleships. Furthermore, the sloping of this part of the citadel is too shallow to prompt any kind of ricochet check. Thus Amagi tends to be more vulnerable to citadel hits from long range from high-penetration guns. The net effect here is that while Amagi can take citadel hits, her armour is notoriously troll for resisting them. You can have her dead to rights with a near perfect broadside and only get penetrations rather than devastating hits to her machine spaces. For ships with more exposed citadels taking Amagi on in a joust, this will often be their last mistake. Speaking of jousting and brawls, did you know that Amagi has "Massachusetts" secondaries? It's more accurate to say that Massachusetts has Amagi secondaries. All of the large-caliber secondary guns have improved dispersion. Were it not for Amagi's horrible secondary range of 5km (7.56km when fully upgraded) they might be worth investing into. Reference Mahan (104m) for scale. Amagi has the same dispersion as Massachusetts with her 140mm secondaries. They will shred a destroyer in short order, but only if you get them inside of suicidal (for you) ranges. You don't have the agility to dodge the inevitable walls of fish unless they derp massively. Finally, it's worth addressing just how butts her agility is. While she has decent straight line speed, her rate of turn and turning circle radius is flirting with Russian mayonnaise. There's a reason these things tend to fight from a distance. At the time of publishing, Azur Lane's Littorio and Champagne are still works in progress and subject to change. Final Evaluation These two ships aren't very compelling in terms of a design choice when you have free and premium alternatives. These Warhammer 40,000 ships are really only worthwhile for their cosmetic value, not their game play performance. If it's optimized Amagi game play you're looking for, get Ashitaka -- nearly the same Amagi performance but a whole tier lower. If you want gimmicky Amagi performance, get Kii. Alternatively, if Amagi is really your jam, you could just take the same cash-value and glue a premium camouflage onto Amagi herself if that's more your speed. There's nothing wrong with Ignis Purgatio and Ragnarok. But let's not kid ourselves that they offer anything compelling in terms of game play that you can't already get for free with Amagi. They're a downgrade but with some very cool skins. I don't think much more needs be said than that. Do try and surive the hype-train. Lookit what I found. Yeah, I recognized Chaos rune-script and took the time to translate it. Get on my level, nerds.
  10. The following is a review of Mainz, the tier VIII German light cruiser. This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes. To the best of my knowledge, the performance and statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.2.1. Please be aware that she may change in the future. I can't think about this ship without thinking of dseehafer, one of the players and forumites from the North American server. I knew dseehafer from his "Know the Difference" series of articles. My grasp of the history surrounding these ships has always been shaky so I gravitated towards people in the know, particularly those who can present such information in a fun way. I always looked forward to one of his comparisons and history blurbs. Like many of us obsessed with this game, he proposed possible candidates for future vessels in World of Warships. One of his proposals was this very ship -- an Admiral Hipper-class cruiser with 150mm guns. This was the first I became aware of the possibility and it seemed like a wonderful idea. Like many of you, I've been annoying Wargaming about it off and on over the years. Regardless of how it came to be in World of Warships, to me this is dseehafer's ship. He passed away almost two years ago today. I hope he would have enjoyed Mainz. I wish he was still around to be able to tell me everything that's wrong about it. This review is dedicated to his memory. PROS Her citadel protection is very trollish at medium-to-close ranges. Good main battery firing range of 17.5km. Awesome guns with high DPM and HE penetration. Heavy, fast-loading torpedo armament. Impressive levels of AA firepower. German Hydroacoustic Search. Doesn't require a deep commander-skill build to make her effective. CONS Light cruiser armour instead of mirroring Admiral Hipper & Prinz Eugen's structural plate. Bad fire angles on her main battery guns, especially rearward. Short torpedo range. Slow and clumsy. Stonkin' huge and visible for miles. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging/ Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH/ Extreme Mainz is easy to play: Hold down your left mouse button and hoover up massive amounts of damage. Her HE spam and fire setting are both top shelf. I'd rate her as "simple" if it wasn't so hard to keep her alive. Novice players will get themselves killed pretty quickly if they're not careful. For veterans, the combination of her poor agility, enormous surface detection and squishy outer armour holds her back. This ship is on the cusp of greatness if she had just a little bit more armour or heals or something. Still, she can pull off some pretty amazing things provided your opponents are idiots. But that's not a caveat you want to count upon. Options It's kind of refreshing to see a no-nonsense ship like Mainz. Consumables Nothing out of the ordinary here except for the usual German-cruiser hydro bonus. Mainz's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with unlimited charges, a 5s active period and a 90s/60s reset timer. Her second slot provides you with a choice between two consumables: Her Hydroacoustic Search is the improved German-cruiser version. This comes with two charges base, a 120s active period (as opposed to 100s for most cruisers) and a 180s/120s reset timer. Her detection ranges are also improved: 4.0km for torpedoes (instead of 3.5km) and 6km for ships (instead of 5km) . Alternatively you can swap for Defensive AA Fire. This comes with two charges base with a 40s active period and a 120s/80s reset timer. This provides the usual 50% increase to sustained DPS and 300% increase to flak explosion damage. Finally, Mainz has a Catapult Fighter. This comes with two charges base with the fighters patrolling for 60s with a 135s/90s reset timer. She deploys a squadron of three planes. Upgrades This is all pretty standard fare for a cruiser. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. There's a lot of choice in your second slot, but it's really a matter of being able to afford what's best: Get Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 from the Armory. This will set you back 17,000 Coal . This will lock your consumable choice in, but it's a good choice. Heck, it's the best choice right now Defensive AA Fire just isn't what it used to be and increasing Mainz's Hydroacoustic Search run time from 120s to 144s is wonderful. If you can't (or won't) take the hydro-mod, then you have the choice between Engine Room Protection and Damage Control System Modification 1. Neither are going to rock your socks, with the former taking a bit of strain off your Damage Control Party (not that it's especially taxed) and the latter providing a bit of damage-over-time mitigation. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is really the only upgrade worth considering in slot three, I'm sorry to say. For slot four, you're making a choice between two different play styles. If you're intending to make use of island cover, then Propulsion Modification 1 (that rename is throwing me off) is your best bet to give that all important improved acceleration from a dead stop to better duck in and out of cover. If you're more intent on firing from open water, then grab Steering Gears Modification 1 (ugh, rename) instead to reduce her rudder shift time. There's a similar choice to be presented in slot five. Concealment System Modification 1 is still too good to pass up. Increased stealth and increased dispersion from enemy fire? Yeah, it's hard to say no. Even for a thunderchunking tuba-soloist like Mainz, this is still a good investment. If you're feeling brave and want to double-down on that open-water firing, then you can opt for Steering Gears Modification 2 (ugh, rename!). Commander Skills Mainz doesn't require a deep skill build in order to make her effective. This means she's far more forgiving of a captain trainer than many other premiums out there. This makes her an ideal ship for leveling up the captains of your heavy cruisers and battleships. I've circled what are arguably the most effective skills for Mainz in this graphic though your own mileage may vary. For your first 10pts, I would go with Priority Target (1pt), Adrenaline Rush (2pts), Demolition Expert (3pts) and Concealment Expert (4pts), but you have some wiggle room here and there. The only real "must haves" in my opinion are Adrenaline Rush, Demolition Expert and some kind of skill to provide warning of incoming fire, be it Priority Target or Incoming Fire Alert, based upon your preferences. Camouflage Mainz comes with Type 10 Camouflage, providing the usual 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 experience earned. Alternative camouflage not found. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 150mm L/60 guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 105mm L/65 guns in 6x2 turrets with three turrets per side. Torpedoes: 4x4 launchers with two per side straddling the fore and aft superstructures. Mainz's main battery guns are hella awesome. They're the same 150mm/L65 guns found on Nurnberg and Mainz boasts twelve of them. They have three primary strengths which makes them so competitive: They are long ranged. They have an excellent rate of fire. They have phenomenal HE base penetration values. Range Shell flight times for the tier VIII Light Cruisers. Mainz's ballistics are comparable to Mogami 155mm which isn't terrible. Let's start with the simplest element to grasp: Mainz's range. Her 17.5km reach is very comfortable, above the 16.6km average for cruisers of her tier. Range keeps cruisers alive -- it allows them to stand off further away and thus gives them more time to respond to threats and make better use of what concealment they have. To Mainz's benefit, her ballistics allow her to capitalize on said range, with reasonably comfortable gunnery up to about 15km. At the extremes of her range, she has as much as a 12.5s lead time which largely precludes her from bombarding all but the most predictably moving vessels. Still, Mainz won't be lacking for targets like this in higher tiered matches. Furthemore, at these longer ranges, her gun arcs allow her to better capitalize on island cover which will also help keep her alive. Rate of Fire That's a lotta damage. Mainz's targets better have Flex Seal™ on hand. Mainz's guns reload in six seconds; that's hella fast. Mainz easily keeps up with the other light-cruisers in terms of fire setting and damage output, even with her anemic HE shells. When opportunities present themselves for her to make use of her AP rounds, she can really punch hard. These changes aren't commonplace but capitalizing upon them makes all of the difference. But it's Mainz's HE shells that are the real superstars thanks to the changes from patch 0.9.2. I had it in my head that Mainz's AP penetration was terrible, but it's reasonably comparable to everything that's not Soviet. The big thing to keep in mind is that Mainz doesn't have any improved auto-ricochet angles, so you're only really going to get to make use of her AP when you've got some reasonably flat surfaces to shoot at. You can pull this off, even at range, provided you aim for the squishy bits. Penetration values are approximate (like, really approximate) and drawn from proships.ru. Increased HE Penetration Not a whole lot changed for Mainz during testing. It's unfortunate, but she brushes with greatness -- with IFHE she's not quite able to reach the necessary 50mm worth of penetration to make her HE shells the scourge of any Soviet battleship she might face. It's worth keeping in mind that Mainz is capable of doing now what Bayard did previously. Right out of the box, Mainz has 38mm worth of HE penetration. This is enough to directly damage the structural armour (bow/stern) of any ship she comes across. In addition, it allows her to penetrate the upper hull and decks of tier VIII+ American battleships. But there's more to it than that. Mainz doesn't have to choose between direct damage and setting fires. Most other light cruisers are shackled to using Inertial Fuse for HE Shells in order to get similar levels of penetration. Furthermore, taking this skill cuts their fire setting chance in half, forcing them to choose their style of play. Mainz, on the other hand, gets it all. What's more, she gets it for free. The significance of this can't be understated. Mainz keeps old-timey, pre-0.9.2 light-cruiser fire setting capabilities and damage output, all in one. In practice, this makes her one of the better potential damage dealers out there while simultaneously not requiring a deep commander skill-build in order to be at her most effective. In short: Mainz spits out a lot of shells, over long range and most of what those shells will hit will take damage from them and be set ablaze. Because Mainz isn't slaved to the IFHE skill, she's likely to set more fires than other tier VIII light cruisers without compromising her direct damage with HE. She might not rival the raw fire setting potential of ships like Bayard and the Clevelands, but they're likely to slash their fire setting in half in order to gain the ability to hammer battleships directly with their HE spam, giving Mainz the lead. The Party Pooper You have to expose a lot of broadside to bring all of Mainz's guns on target, especially when she's kiting away. Mainz doesn't have everything going her way. First and foremost, her hull is less than ideal. I'll get into more of that in the later sections, but you'll see what I mean. Sticking to just firepower elements, Mainz has poor gunnery fire arcs and modest-to-slow gun traverse. In short, her gun-handling kinda sucks. It's not on catastrophic Vanguard-levels of restricted fire lanes nor Queen Elizabeth sluggish gun-traverse, but neither element is ideal, so I think it worth mentioning. Furthermore, though her torpedo armament is heavy, her reload times fast and their fire arcs good, at a mere 6km range they are hard to use. They're nothing more than weapons of desperation. You're only going to make effective use of them when your opponent screws up. Her individual fish don't hit especially hard either, so you'll need multiple hits to put anything down. Neither of these would make me damn the armament had they been mounted on a ship capable of surviving in brawling ranges outside of co-op but this isn't that ship. Those are some pretty scrumptious fire arcs. Summary Mainz's guns are amazing. Effectively she gets Inertial Fuse for HE Shells for free without having to pay the price for reduced fire setting. Her gun handling and the ship upon which the guns are mounted are less than ideal. They're not terrible, but these are great guns mounted on a meh hull. Mainz's torpedoes are too short ranged to use outside of brawling situations, which she is not built for. Verdict: The guns sell this ship. Seriously, this is the high water mark. If they haven't wowed you, stay away. Defense Hit Points: 42,500 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 25mm/13mm/25mm/27mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 25mm outer hull + 80mm belt + 40mm turtleback Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% Sorry, gang. She gets a light cruiser's armour profile -- not the one found on Prinz Eugen and Admiral Hipper which transforms all of those external 25mm plates to 27mm. Note that Mainz has an Admiral Hipper-style extended waterline belt and not the shortened version like Prinz Eugen. So that's nice. I had very high hopes for Mainz's defenses but she disappoints me. Let me preface this inevitable gripe-fest by saying that her defense is completely acceptable for a tier VIII light cruiser. In fact, she's the best protected tier VIII light cruiser, bar none -- that's even accounting for Edinburgh's portable dry-dock Repair Party. She has good citadel protection with effectively 145mm worth of armour at various angles to keep AP shells out of her machine spaces & magazines. The flatter the AP trajectory, the more effective Mainz's citadel protection becomes. She combines this with good anti-torpedo defenses and a reasonable chunk of hit points. Let me make this clear before I go off on a tangent: Mainz's defense is perfectly acceptable for a light cruiser and has some obvious good points. Got it? Good. Now let me get my rant on: Wargaming missed an obvious opportunity to give Mainz German Heavy Cruiser structural armour. With the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells rework with patch 0.9.2, Wargaming adopted a series of standardized armour values for cruisers. One of the effects of this was to subtly differentiate heavy cruisers from light cruisers, giving the former overall slightly better protection. This is especially pronounced in tier VIII+ German and American heavy cruisers who enjoy the vaunted 27mm bow and stern armour sections. This allows them the chance, when properly angled, to auto-ricochet 381mm AP shells that are so commonplace within their matchmaking. This 27mm armour threshold allows these cruisers to make the occasional bold play against select battleship opponents, engaging in close-range brawls and clinching key encounters. Mainz obviously missed out on this or I wouldn't be whining like a destroyer that just got cuddled 2 minutes into a match by a Midway. Had she been given the same treatment as the other Admiral Hipper-class cruisers, the entirety of her outer hull (less her superstructure) would have enjoyed a homogeneous 27mm armour thickness. While this doesn't guarantee ricochets, it does open up the door for some very interesting possibilities. Brawling possibilities. And I love brawling. With only her amidships deck reaching 27mm, Mainz feels very soft-skinned -- not only against battleship AP shells but also against destroyer-caliber HE shells. While it would have broken with the armour standards set with patch 0.9.2, I think it would have been an easy quirk to differentiate Mainz and make her appeal to expert players. Her lack of a Repair Party coupled with her enormous surface detection range and low top speed were always going to be liabilities that reigned her in. During my playtesting of Mainz, I kept getting surprised that she didn't have the same armour profile as Prinz Eugen and Admiral Hipper -- it seemed like such a natural fit. I'm very sorry to see this potential gimmick didn't make the cut. I just wanted to drive myself closer and hit things with my sword. At 42,500hp, Mainz has just as much HP as Cheshire but without access to a heal or heavy cruiser exterior armour plate. Rule Britiannia! Mainz has a heavy cruiser's health pool and citadel protection but a light cruiser's structural plate. Verdict: Pretty good for a tier VIII light cruiser, which unfortunately means it's terrible when you consider its overall effectiveness. The best you can hope for is to troll some AP fire that tries to citadel you, but that's really it. Agility Top Speed: 32.0kts Turning Radius: 720m Rudder Shift Time: 10.5s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.5º/s There's really nothing but bad news here. It's not tragic news, mind you. Mainz is slow and most of her problems stem from this lack of speed. 32 knots is downright pedestrian for a high-tier cruiser and it has a trickle down effect. Because of this low top speed, her rate of turn suffers. Similarly, there's not as much variance in her forward momentum when she adjusts her throttle settings, making it harder (but not impossible) to dodge incoming fire with extreme-ultra-super-late-braking. Her rudder shift time is slow too, so that adds to the difficulties of dodging. Thankfully she has a decent main battery gun range, so at least she can use that to assist with avoiding incoming fire. Similarly, her Hydroacoustic Search should trivialize avoiding most torpedo salvos, providing ample warning. Given her love of island-camping, Propulsion Modification 2 is highly recommended to provide more grunt to her engines from a dead stop. This will facilitate making best use of the islands as well as dodging incoming attacks when targeted by guns or fish. Mainz wins no prizes here. She does not have a high top speed. She does not have a good rudder shift time. Her turning circle radius is only average and her rate of turn is generally slow. Boooooo. Mainz scores on the average-to-poor side of things for agility. All of her problems stem from her 32 knot top speed. Verdict: Mainz is too slow to be effective here. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 6 explosions for 1,400 damage per blast Long Ranged (up to 5.2km): 119dps at 90% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 319dps at 90% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 147dps at 85% accuracy It's simultaneously awesome and infuriating that Mainz's AA power is so good. On the one hand, she has some of the best AA at her tier, which is really saying something. On the other hand, AA mechanics are terrible, clunky and boring, which is really saying something else. Mainz's AA defense is comparable to that of Baltimore, barring the disparity of range on her long range batteries. She easily dominates both Admiral Hipper and Prinz Eugen in terms of AA defense. The flip side of this is that it means almost nothing. While Mainz is capable of making attacks against herself costly to same and lower-tiered carriers, only a damn fool would think her immune to CV predation. Even with her formidable defenses, the best you can hope is that Mainz appears to be a less appealing target than other ships on your team. Good luck with that. It's for this reason that I don't recommend using Defensive AA Fire. It simply doesn't matter. Mainz's Catapult Fighter serves as warning enough for enemy CVs that coming near will be expensive and that should suffice to keep them away, at least on the short term. With apologies to the colour blind. This graph is the most time-consuming and least-effective at communicating data of all of the graphics I've made for this review. I'm still trying to figure out how to illustrate range and firepower more clearly. I have some ideas but I don't want to spend a day just working on it, especially for a system that really doesn't amount to much in the current meta. Oh well, at least the colours are pretty. I've stacked these ships in order of "effective AA firepower" -- namely an arbitrary way of weighting longer-ranged firepower as being more valuable than shorter-ranged AA. This graph doesn't take Defensive AA fire into account, nor AA gun accuracy or explosion damage. Still, with all of that said, Mainz's AA firepower is hella respectable. Would that this meant anything... Verdict: Bloody respectable for as much as that's worth. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.3km/12.02km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 7.5km/6.08km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 8.41km Main Battery Firing Range: 17.52km Let's recap: Mainz's guns are great. Her torpedoes are meh but at least she gets a lot of them and they reload quickly. If you can get in close, you can really ruin someone's day. Her protection scheme has some trollish parts to her citadel defense. She's otherwise pretty squishy, so good luck with using those aforementioned fish. She's slow and that hurts her overall agility. Her AA power is pretty damn good but that doesn't matter. So we have a soft, slow but reasonably hard hitting cruiser on our hands. The final question is: Can Mainz fight effectively in open water? If she silences her guns, can she sneak into positions to make best use of her guns, torpedoes and cover? The answer is: very no. Mainz's surface detection is horrible -- it's actually the worst among the cruisers at tier VIII currently. It's still ahead of most of the battleships at tier VIII, so that's something, I guess, though Roma can sneak up on you. Still, her surface detection isn't doing the ship any favours and it largely limits her play-style to island humping if she wants to be effective. If she's not hugging an island, Mainz has to stay way at the back so that her modest wiggle gives her even a chance at dodging potential battleship attention. Even then, during playtesting I was loathe to chance it. She's just too sluggish to dodge effectively. It was only against the most novice battleship or heavy cruiser gunnery that I felt Mainz stood a chance of throwing off their aim. The only redeeming factor Mainz is her German Hydroacoustic Search. Sadly, this has less value on Mainz than it does on other German cruisers. She doesn't have the concealment or the armour profile to risk being up on the front lines. You'll have to leave sniffing out destroyers to other ships if there's any enemy support even vaguely present. Verdict: Hella poor. Her Hydroacoustic Searchi is really good, but the opportunities to use it offensively are limited to your opponents being really stupid or just-plain blind. Final Evaluation Remember how much of a fuss was made over Bayard's firepower when she was released back in July of 2019? Mainz is on that level and, what's more, she survived patch 0.9.2 intact. That can't be said about any other light cruiser short of Mogami 155mm. Now this doesn't make Mainz "the new Bayard" -- not by a long shot. Frankly, there's a lot about Mainz that sucks. My bias is to nay-say her agility most of all; that's certainly the area where she differs most from the French demon. I'm still pretty miffed by her armour profile. Without armour, speed is king and Mainz just doesn't have it. Troll citadel protection at point blank range is nice and all, but it's so seldom going to come into play -- not when everything else thrown at her can penetrate (HE) or overmatch (large caliber AP). I don't have anywhere near the confidence in Mainz's ability to dodge in open water as I did with faster ships. The challenge with Mainz comes down to keeping her in the game long enough to make the theoretical potential of her weapons count. I don't feel that this is something many players will find easy in Random or more competitive battles, though it's dirt-simple in PVE modes. Veterans of Light Cruisers, particularly American ones, will have a better time of it -- just pull up your laundry list of workable islands and go from there. More power to you if you can wiggle and dodge to make open water play viable -- it wasn't something I had success with but maybe others can pull it off. Again, in theory, if you can make this work her potential jumps up tremendously and she'll rival what Bayard was one capable of performing. I honestly hope I'm making mountains out of molehills in regards to Mainz's drawbacks. I want this ship to be good and better than I perceive her currently. That's probably blinding me to the overall potential of this vessel. So take what I've said with a big ol' heaping tablespoon of salt. This is dseehafer's ship and I want it to be a good one. Conclusion March can suck it. World of Warships wise, my first couple of weeks was dominated by finishing London and prepping Cheshire. When patch 0.9.2 dropped and Cheshire was sidelined. All of my focus shifted to answering questions about IFHE. Then Wargaming announced to us Community Contributors that Mainz would be releasing April 1st and Cheshire's review again was pushed back in order to try and get this review out in a timely manner. This was annoying because that review is almost finished. Wargaming has changed the focus of the Community Contributor program away from providing previews of in-development ships and towards vessels as they're released. I'm shifting priorities to try and keep up immediately with the release schedule like I did in years previous. It's going to force a few changes in my review backlog, but hopefully it will ensure that going forward, anything new that comes out will have an article out almost as soon as they're released. That is, of course, barring the challenges of self-isolation. Please look after yourselves and your loved ones. Listen to medical professionals and do what they recommend as much as you can. May April be safe and uneventful, pun 100% intended.
  11. The following is a review of Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of July 27th, 2017. You don't wanna know how many times I misspelled that. Quick Summary: An ugly-as-sin Soviet battleship with twelve 305mm guns, surprisingly good anti-aircraft firepower and a unique Damage Control Party consumable. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.8. July 24th, 2017 until July 27th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary Imperator Nikolai I, Tier IV Russian Battleship Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique The Gangut-class of Battleships, to which Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya belongs, precedes the Imperator Nikolai I through the Imperatrista Mariya-class of battleships, making the two ships two generations removed from one another. The two ships look very similar, though Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is quite obviously a more modernized (and ooglay) looking ship that shares the same design philosophy. Overall, Imperator Nikolai I is slower, tougher, with easier to use artillery. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is faster (but not much faster), with a quicker reload and comes with much better anti-aircraft firepower. Tier for tier, Nikolai is the better boat, hands down. I don't think anyone's surprised. PROs Unique Damage Control Party consumable, with an accelerated recovery time (30s/20s) between uses. Excellent waterline protection for bow tanking. Powerful broadside with twelve 305mm rifles, creating large alpha strikes & good DPM. Except for tiny sections of the bow and stern, her main hull and deck are all but immune to cruiser-caliber HE shells. Good anti-aircraft firepower for her tier. Small surface detection range for a battleship of 13.68km. Gangut butt is best butt. CONs Damage Control Party has a finite number of charges per match. Small hit point pool of 42,500. Poor overall protection with 225mm belt armour, 203mm turret faces and 10% torpedo damage reduction. Awkward gun placement combined with a slow turret traverse makes gun handling feel frustrating. Her 305mm lack penetration power, especially when facing tier VII ships. Pathetic secondary gun battery. Short ranged AA firepower and unable to benefit from Manual Fire Control for AA Armament. Feels rather blind without a spotter aircraft or float-plane fighter. This is one of those warships that I've been eagerly awaiting to join the game. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is the lead ship of the Gangut-class Battleships. She's actually the Gangut-herself, renamed by the Soviets after the Revolution. She appears in this game in her full modernization received by 1944/1945. This means she's a contemporary to the British Dreadnought-class battleship gussied up and shoe horned in a tier V. Colour me amused. Let's take a look under the hood. Options Like all battleships that aren't American or Japanese (or Warspite), Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's Damage Control Party has a 15s active period where it will not only remove any critical hits from damaged modules (as well as putting out fires and stopping floods), it will also prevent such damage from being reapplied so long as the consumable is active. Where this ship differs is with this consumable's reset timer. Normally, battleships suffer up to a two-minute cooldown between uses. This can be reduced to a minute and twenty seconds with the premium version. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has a thirty second reset timer, standard. The premium version drops this down to a mere twenty (!) seconds. And you're going to want the premium version of the consumable -- stock, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya can only use this consumable three times. Taking the premium version will not only accelerate her reset timer, it will also provide an additional charge. This can be further boosted with the Superintendent commander's skill to bring the total up to five. Her Repair Party is standard for most Battleships, healing back 14% of her maximum HP over 28s. Oktryabrskaya Revolutsiya has the option of an alternative premium camouflage. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Module Upgrades: Three slots, standard Battleship options. The Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya does not get access to the American Artillery Plotting Room 1 upgrade. Premium Camouflage: Oktyabrskaya has the option of two different camouflages. Her default camouflage is Type 9, tier II to V standard. This provides 30% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Alternatively, you can purchase (for 1,000 doubloons) Krasny Oktyabr - Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. This is a cosmetic camouflage in the same vein as the USS Texas' Stars and Stripes camouflage. This provides the same bonuses as the stock camouflage. The optional Krasny Oktyabr camouflage does not provide any additional bonuses over the default camo and can be purchased for 1,000 doubloons. For upgrades, select the following: In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. This will help keep your guns active and will better allow you to face-tank incoming rounds. Your turrets will be disabled frequently and this will help mitigate this. In your second slot, take Aiming Systems Modification 1. Oktyabrskaya is a Soviet Battleship and she needs all of the dispersion help she can get. Alternatively, if you want to play with something sub-optimal, you can play up to her AA strengths and use AA Guns Modification 2 to help boost their range. This really helps if your Captain also has Advanced Fire Training. This can make tier IV and V carriers cry though be aware she'll never hold a candle to USS Texas. Do keep in mind this is highly situational in its use, it will not protect you against tier VI+ CVs and you do suffer a small performance hit for taking this upgrade instead of the aiming modification. In your final slot, take Damage Control System Modification 1. This will bump your torpedo damage reduction up from 10% to 13%. Firepower Primary Battery: Twelve 305mm rifles in an A-P-Q-X configuration. Secondary Battery: Ten 120mm rifles in casemates with six forward facing and four rear facing emplacements. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has marginally worse shell penetration compared to Scharnhorst which weighs in at 455mm / 363mm / 289mm respectively. This sits much further behind the 356mm guns found on New York and Texas with their values of 575mm / 467mm / 381mm and even the poor penetration values of HMS Hood at 491mm / 406mm / 337mm. This explains some of the difficulty this ship experiences when uptiered, especially against German and American Battleships. When this happens, choose soft targets or be flexible with your ammunition types. Let's start with her secondaries: They're terrible. By late WW2, the Soviet Army had already cannibalized six of her sixteen original secondary gun mounts for use in the defense of the Siege of Leningrad. This leaves Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya with a mere ten gun mounts for self defense and these guns are not up to the task. They are mounted in casemates down the sides of the ship, with three facing forward and two aft per side. In theory you could get five guns to engage an enemy ship, but that's seldom the case. Usually it's only three. They have many problems. We can forgive their lack of range. 4.0km is pretty typical for low to mid tier battleships. What's less forgivable is their horrid rate of fire at a mere 7.0rpm. We'd expect this of larger caliber guns as the alpha damage (and increased penetration) from individual hits would make up for the disparity in DPM. However, Oktyabrskaya Revolutisya's secondaries are a mere 120mm in size, dealing a pathetic 1,700 alpha damage and being capable of penetrating 19mm of armour or less. The only redeemable quality is their high chance to set fires per hit at a respectable 8% which, some will rightly argue, is a very sizable perk. Still, with the low volume of fire coming off the ship, any blazes will be a surprise. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya uses the same guns found Imperator Nikolai I but with improved characteristics in range (16.8km versus 14.1km), rate of fire (1.88rpm versus 1.67rpm) but worse overall shell groupings (1.8 sigma versus 2.0 sigma). Their weapon performance is otherwise identical . While these are formidable weapons in the limited matchmaker enjoyed by Nikolai at tier IV, the maps upon which Nikolai plays are small, the engagements ranges short, the action close and her opponents soft skinned. They really start to feel long in the tooth when regularly facing the demands found at tiers VI and VII that Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya faces. These are not bad weapons. For 305mm rifles, they have very high damage potential. Her AP shells are the hardest hitting of any of the twelve-inch guns with 8,600 alpha strike. The improved rate of fire over Nikolai combined with the twelve rifles enables Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya to compete well with the damage output of her peers. She is quite capable of deleting any cruiser withing her matchmaking spread from nearly any angle and at anywhere within her range, or biting big 9,000 to 12,000 chunks out of a battleship, even without any citadel penetrations. These guns aren't without their issues, however. First, they are not as well situated as Nikolai's guns. One of the notable strengths of Imperator Nikolai I is her ability to quickly reacquire targets on either side of the ship grace of having her A, P and Q batteries all forward facing. This made it very easy for her to brawl and face tank. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's P turret is rear facing, reducing her ability to shift her fire from port to starboard and back with anything resembling alacrity. It's not uncommon for P turret to be horribly out of position and unable to fire, or the ship needing the use of rudder to bring all of her guns on target. With a glacial rate of rotation of 56.3s for a 180º turn, this problem is exacerbated. This is, singly, the most frustrating aspect about this ship. Combined with this, her X turret has limited fields of fire and can only engage targets 39º off her bow. Opening fire with her X-turret opens this ship up to reprisals, so make sure you time your fire correctly. That ticks off problems two, three and four. Problem number five is one of penetration. As mentioned previously, these guns perform brilliantly on Imperator Nikolai I with the close-range encounters she typically faces. With Oktyabrskaya Revolutisya's ability to extend the weapon reach another 2.7km, the deficiencies in shell penetration become much more pronounced. These are not high-penetration guns and their performance drops below 400mm worth of penetration at about 7km, precluding her from reliably landing citadel hits on enemy battleships beyond this range. She loses the ability to reliably challenge battleship belt armour at 11km. Like other low-penetration battleships such as HMS Hood and Scharnhorst, it's important to shift fire from attempting citadel hits to instead aim for the upper hull of enemy dreadnoughts at these ranges. Otherwise, you'll find a lot of shells shatter, scatter and bounce off armoured belts. Her high explosive shells are passable but unremarkable. They do enjoy a high chance to start fires per shell at 33% and this can be a reasonable alternative when facing hard targets. This shouldn't be the default ammunition selected when facing an angled ship, however. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya can overmatch up to 20mm of bow armour which includes all cruisers within her matchmaking spread as well as all tier IV and V battleships. Here's the final fly in the ointment: Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's main battery has only 203mm worth of armour and a maximum of 150mm of barbette protection. Her guns take penetrating hits often. Even with Main Armaments Modification 1 and Preventative Maintenance, critical hits are common place and catastrophic turret destruction isn't a rare occurrence. The closer Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya gets to the enemy, the more often her turrets end up taking a lot of the abuse thrown at her. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has guns that are meant for brawling, but they're not quite ideally suited for such. Her guns are vulnerable for a battleship. The combination of poor turret placement, traverse times and fire angles increases the challenge too, and you can forget about her secondaries helping out. Still, it's hard to argue with twelve rifles that put out more potential damage than ten 356mm guns. Summary: Gun handling is very poor and cannot be significantly improved. Range is decent, firepower is good, penetration is fine at close to medium ranges. Challenging battleships outside of 10km requires careful aim or switching to HE. Her secondaries suck moose balls. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya allows us to now plot the progression of Soviet Battleship dispersion over distance. It appears to be similar to American Battleship dispersion but with very slightly improved accuracy over distance and slightly worse accuracy at closer ranges. This places the Russians behind the Japanese and British for battleship accuracy and ahead of American and German Battleships and probably the French. We'll need another French battleship in game before that can be made conclusive. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 23.0knotsTurning Radius: 630mRudder Shift: 12.6s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.3º per second. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is faster than a brick. Hooray! At a maximum speed of 23 knots (23.2 knots on a good day) she's not much faster, though. In practice, if you're taking the appropriate WASD anti-torpedo hax counter measures in mind (or just helping her sluggish turrets track targets), she's usually sailing at less than 20 knots. Like most battleships, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya loses about a little more than a quarter of her maximum speed while under manoeuvres. With her rudder hard over, she'll bleed down to 17.2 knots and she will not recover this speed quickly. This isn't a very flexible ship and on larger maps, she struggles as much as Warspite does to get from A to B. For a rate of turn, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya measures up rather well. She's not as agile as HMS Warspite -- arguably one of the fastest turning mid to late tier Battleships, but she does alright. At 4.3º per second, she's halfway between Warspite's 4.5º and the 4.0º per second rotation of New Mexico. Her 630m turning circle is comfortable, as is her 12.6s rudder shift time. Both allow her to slip between islands and slide between torpedo runs with ease. Be advised that as a tier V ship she cannot improve her rudder shift in any way. The only downside is that her turrets cannot keep up. They rotate at a mere 3.2º per second, and even Expert Marksman will not correct this, capping them out at 3.9º per second. Players will be tempted to use their rudder to accelerate the rotation of their guns -- a problem compounded by the need for P & X turret to rotate a minimum of 180º to engage targets on the other side of the ship. Given the problems Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has with her armour scheme, the inevitable over angling this causes can lead to the ship's destruction in short order. As you'll see in the next section, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya excels at tanking but from one direction (and one direction only). This places a burden on her movement expectations. You need to very carefully consider your lines of engagement. Her guns will not allow her to quickly acquire a secondary target coming from an unseen quarter and her armour will not stand up to abuse. Over extend, and you're dead. Allow someone to get your flank and you're dead. Careful positioning is the only way to counter this and she's not fast enough to allow you to recover from these mistakes. DurabilityHit Points: 42,500Citadel Protection: 225mm belt + 38mm turtleback + 19mm citadel wall Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm (50mm to 125mm waterline protection) Torpedo Damage Reduction: 10% The major external armour values of Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's protection scheme (rear architecture visible in insert). Note that while her armour isn't thick overall, having a little bit of armour almost everywhere provides some interesting quirks where HE and AP penetration are concerned. Her major weak spot is the 19mm 'beak' of her bow. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya will deliver a lot of mixed messages when you begin to analyze her survivability. She's a story of contrasts. It's best summarized by a quick lists of pros & cons The Good - Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has an armour design of a first generation dreadnought where the armour is spread out across the whole vessel. The armour isn't as thick around her vitals as it will become with more modern designs, but this does provide the following benefits: Short of her superstructure and tiny weak spots on her bow and stern, she is largely immune to direct damage from destroyer and cruiser-caliber HE shells. Only the Yorck can damage her reliably with HE. Even Inertial Fuse for HE Shells does not provide 152mm armed cruisers with enough penetration to regularly land damaging hits. The entirety of her waterline, from bow to stern is covered by a minimum of 50mm worth of armour with most of it being at least 125mm. She will bounce almost everything thrown at her when she angles properly. She can absolutely shut down attempts to stack damage over time effects on her with her short cooldown Damage Control Party. The Bad - The big flaw about having armour spread out everywhere is that it's not especially thick where you need it most. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's citadel protection is the worst at her tier with a maximum of 282mm worth of protection between the three layers of armour over her machine spaces. She is extremely vulnerable to taking citadel hits when she does not angle properly. Her turret faces are extremely thin for a battleship at a mere 203mm thick. Even sloped back as they are (40º) this provides no more than 265mm worth of protection against shots at point blank range. Her barbettes are worse at only 150mm thick. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya takes frequent critical hits to her guns, even from cruiser-caliber shells. She has almost no torpedo protection. Her Damage Control Party can run out. She has the lowest hit point total among battleships at her tier. So, she's a tough battleship that seems to shrug off AP and HE shells without issue one minute and, with one mistake, she's a sinking wreck the next. She can seem very forgiving but she punishes players dearly for their misplays. The end is usually quite abrupt. One of the culprits for this feast and famine durability is her low hit point total. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is not a very large vessel. Not only can she survive less damage overall, this also reduces the amount of returns she sees from her Repair Party. Her healing consumable can only recovery 5,950hp per charge. The two most likely culprits of Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's demise are torpedoes and AP shells. 'Well DUH,' you might say, but Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya takes battleship AP and torpedo vulnerability a step further than most battleships. Over angling is deadly to this battleship, with her belt armour at 31º only increasing to a relative thickness of ~435mm. This is well inside the penetration values of the American and Japanese 356mm guns at 10km or less and can result in the Oktryabrskaya Revolutsiya taking heavy damage from volleys. This is an affliction similar to the one affecting Kongo -- veterans of this ships should be well familiar with this frustration. Texas and König are more forgiving of angling mistakes, grace of the raw thickness of their belt armour which can present a formidable obstacle. Proper management of Oktyabrskya Revolutsiya's angles of approach is key. Never, ever give up her sides. Fortunately, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's armour scheme is proof against most heavy cruiser fire. Even the high penetration, high Krupp values of the USN 203mm from Pensacola and Indianapolis cannot citadel her outside of 5.0km ranges, even against her flush broadside. This ship has very little in the way of torpedo protection, taking near full health strikes from any fish that strike her hull. She starts with only a 10% damage reduction while König, Kaiser, New York and Texas boast a minimum of 22% and as much as 31%. Citadel protection of the tier V Battleships, including the WiP Iron Duke. * Hits penetrating torpedo bulges but not into the ship itself do not strip hit points from a vessel. To this end, the thickness of the belt armour is paramount for preventing ships from taking penetration damage. This explains why ships like Kongo still feel "soft skinned" even though she has similar levels of citadel protection to other battleships. Note that the angle turtleback armour is measured from the vertical, so 90º would be a horizontal piece of steel. Turtleback armour isn't the be-all, end-all for citadel protection. Burying the citadel deep beneath the waterline seems to do more for keeping these vulnerable areas safe. Where Otkyabrskaya Revolutsiya really stands apart from all other Battleships is her Damage Control Party. As previously mentioned in the options section, this has an accelerated reset timer of 30s/20s depending on the stock or premium version. With the skills High Alert, Jack of All Trades and the signal flag November Foxtrot, you could theoretically get this reset timer down to 16 seconds (that's a hell of an investment for a mere four second gain). On paper it would appear to give this Russian battleship near immunity to damage over time effects. However, the limited number of charges on the consumable precludes that. In my experience, it's better to keep to the same habits you would use with other battleships. Do not activate Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's Damage Control Party until there are two fires or a flood present. This will prevent you from running out of charges too early on in a match. You have the option of accelerating the use of the consumable when it will save you, but be cautious of over use. When I played this ship, I always began with five charges available and I only ran out during one match. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 13.68km Air Detection Range: 9.8km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.41km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.83km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 1st Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 3rd Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is one damn stealthy battleship. Only Imperator Nikolai I has less stock surface detection range. Arkansas Beta can out match her grace of its ship-defining access to extra upgrade slots that lets her potentially use Concealment Modification 1. But other than that, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is always going to see enemy battleships before they see her. This is a good thing for this vessel as this not only shores up her survivability, but it also lets her undermine one of the weaknesses of her main battery. She can close the distance and get close to her optimal firing range and not have to suffer the issues of her penetration. I do question how exactly Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is justified as being so stealthy. I mean, she's got a large enough superstructure to make Fuso say: "Whoa, that's a bit excessive, don'tcha think!?" Maybe the lookouts get blinded by the hideousness of this ship that they fail to relay her position? Well, that's certainly one way of staying undetected. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 76mm / 37mm / 12.7mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 3.5km / 3.5km / 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 21 / 103 / 47 For a tier V battleship, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has good AA defense. It's not exceptional, however. She stands above all of her contemporaries with the notable exception of the American premium, USS Texas. She actually shares the Lone Star State's AA flaw with her anti-aircraft guns being limited to self defense ranges. Her DPS weighs in at just shy of half the overall firepower of the American vessel and is comparable to HMS Warspite's totals while being a full tier lower. This is a very respectable sum and can form the basis of an efficient self defense umbrella should a player elect to increase this further. Basic Fire Training and Advanced Fire Training along with the upgrade AA Guns Modification 2 will round out Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's AA total at approximately 207dps with the majority of that firepower reaching up to 5.1km. She does not possess anti-aircraft mounts big enough to benefit from Manual Fire Control for AA Armament, so this skill should be avoided. Short of taking the November Echo Setteseven signal, this is the limit of the pre-game improvements that can be made. Left on it's own, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's anti-aircraft firepower is okay -- enough to bruise carrier squadrons up to tier V and make it far too expensive for tier IV carriers to make continued attack runs against you. The heavy specialization will make her a similarly prickly target for tier V carriers, draining their flight hangars of strike aircraft. However, she cannot make her anti-aircraft firepower strong enough to dissuade tier VI+ carriers, never mind provide her with the illusion of being safe from their predation. As word gets out about her Damage Control Party, it's possible that focus from enemy carriers will drop off. Carriers cannot stack damage over time effects on Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. Dive Bombers start fires? Put them out. Within twenty seconds after it's active period ends it will be available again to stop any follow-up floods. It often takes carriers that long to line up their second attack run so the risks of receiving stacked damage effects is very low. Short of dealing massive alpha strikes, picking on Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya with combined air strikes just isn't worth the time and effort. A Tale of Two Builds Let's not mince words. Here's the optimal build for Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. Here's what you take for your first 10pts: From the first tier, Preventative Maintenance is the best choice. However, if you find yourself struggling not only with situational and map awareness, but risk assessment, then Priority Target becomes more valuable. From tier two, take Expert Marksman. This will increase your turret rotation up to 3.9º per second. This is still terrible, but it's a damned sight better than it was. At tier three, take Superintendent. This doubles up to give you an extra charge of both Damage Control Party and Repair Party. You should still be taking the premium version of both of these consumables, by the way. This skill doesn't substitute the premium consumable, it only supplements it. And finally, take Concealment Expert at tier four. This plays to Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's strengths and lets you get into and out of trouble so much easier. From here, pick up Adrenaline Rush to boost your rate of fire as you take damage. This should be followed up with Basic Fire Training and Advanced Fire Training to boost your good AA power. Carriers are much more commonplace at low tiers, so you will get good use out of these skills, though they have diminishing returns when facing tier VI and VII aircraft carriers. The standard battleship survivability skills have much less value due to Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's Damage Control Party. However, a reasonable alternative to the AA build is to keep Adrenaline Rush but take Basics of Survivability and Vigilance instead. The former will reduce the damage taken from single-fires (which you should normally let run their full course) and Vigilance will give you a bit more warning on torpedoes. This is handy given her preference to be up front. With the one point leftover, double back and grab Priority Target or Preventative Maintenance -- whichever one you skipped out on at tier one. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult I still have concerns that the management of the charges on Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's Damage Control Party will present a skill-barrier for casual players who pick up this ship. Having five charges through the use of Superintendent and the premium version of the consumable is very comfortable. Three would not be. There's the added problems of her bad traverse and her squishy-as-an-Omaha (I exaggerate) citadel. Yeah, I can see a lot of inexperienced players being frustrated with this ship. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme This ship is rather inflexible. While she has the firepower to really carry a match, she's missing that element of speed to take her carries to the penultimate level. Most of the usual battleship tricks apply to this ship. The gimmick of her Damage Control Party is another parlor trick she can play against her opponents. Mouse's Summary: You're probably going to hear a lot of negative press about this ship facing higher tiered ships. Look, if you're normally intimidated by facing ships two tiers higher, then yeah, keep clear. However, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya can easily punch over her weight class. Seriously. Her guns are good. Her stealth is good. Her durability is good. You can make that work. Speaking of her guns -- treat them like Scharnhorst's AP shells and you'll do just fine. It's twelve Scharnhorst guns every 32 seconds as opposed to nine every 20s. The biggest hurdle in this ship is overcoming the awful traverse and placement of P-turret. Seriously, you're going to want to use your rudder to accelerate it's turn. Just don't do it. I dunno how many times this caused me to over angle and get me sunk. I loved playing this ugly ship. It's amazing how many problems you can solve with 5.65 tons of Stalinium. Every thirty-two seconds, there's another problem solved. Despite the teething issues I had with her gun traverse, this is a fun ship to play. She's as unsubtle as she looks. She hits like a truck, she tanks like a truck, and she looks like something a truck ran over. There was only one problem I really had with her: She doesn't brawl well. Imperator Nikolai I brawls with the best of them, so I thought it natural to give it a go in Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. Imagine to my surprise to find out she had issues here. Don't get me wrong -- she's an absolute rockstar from the moment you set your sights on your prey and during the opening stages. She bow tanks with the best of 'em and her 305mm guns really put down the hurt. She just can't seem to finish the fights she starts. Everything on the approach will be just fine, but it's that key moment when your ship's paths cross alongside one another that everything goes to Hell. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya eats citadel hits like an Omaha in these engagements. It's like one moment she's a big ol' battleship and the next she's some wussy German light cruiser with an allergic reaction to loud noises. If you can survive that crossover, you should be okay. Her best-butt is pretty tanky. Just don't over angle. But it's surviving that crossover that's really going to be the clincher. I've only managed it once in all of my test games. It made me have a sad. Overall, this ship is a great addition to the meta. She's strong without being unfair. She's got flaws that can be exploited and I appreciate that not only from the challenge playing her well but also in anticipation of playing against her in the future. This battleship will make cruisers and gunship destroyers cry for the ease at which she shrugs off their fire damage. She'll frustrate CVs by negating their damage over time effects. Yet, torpedo boats will laugh at the ease at which they dispatch her small hit point pool and lack of torpedo protection. Enemy battleships that learn her weaknesses can bully her for days. I am very much looking forward to this ship being made widely available. Would I Recommend? Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is tier V and that's going to be a huge strike against her for many players. This tier is the first one out of the kiddy-pool, so to speak, and she shoulders an undue amount of Matchmaking burden to populate tier VI and VII matches. Tier V faces higher tiered opponents often in Random Battles -- maybe too often in the views of some players. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya isn't ideal for such fights, but she can certainly hold her own and she can certainly perform. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? She does splendidly in PVE Battles, so I would recommend her for Co-Op and Scenario Players. Most battleships tend to do well here and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is no exception. In Scenarios, she might be a bit slow, both on straight-line speed and gun traverse to respond to threats quickly, so make sure you evaluate the needs of the mission before blindly taking this ship out. She's good for applying direct firepower and tanking from one direction (and one direction only). Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. It's harder to recommend her here, so I'm going to give her a pass. Lemme explain why: First, she's not a big credit earner. Anything below tier VI really struggles in that department, so that's out. Two, the experience gains for a truly excellent game will struggling to exceed 1750 base experience. This in turn means lower captain training. Three, she has some pretty specific needs for a Captain that do not gel well with the current Soviet tech tree, so she's a bad trainer. The one thing she is good at is achievements. She farms High Caliber, Confederate and Dreadnought achievements like a champ. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. She'll pad your win rate in Random Battles if you're confident with facing higher tiered opponents. She clubs seals like no one's business on top of that. If Wargaming opens up Ranked Battles for tier V, she'd be a good choice. The mix of firepower, durability, agility and AA power are all welcome. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. I still have very fond memories of sinking the Marat in IL-2 Sturmovik. This one is a no brainer for me, but I have a history with this class of ships. Some of you might not. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? If you can get past her awful turret traverse, then heck yeah, she's a lot of fun. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  12. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Roma

    The following is a review of Roma, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. As far as I am aware, this is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of January 12th, 2018. However, things may change before release. 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. Quick Summary: A fast, sneaky battleship with excellent gun handling on its nine 381mm rifles. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: Patch 0.6.15.1 to January 1st through 12th, 2018. PROs Has an extended belt which reaches halfway up the prow. Excellent gun handling with fast turret traverse. Phenomenal muzzle velocity and energy retention, giving her fast shell flight times over distance. Great AP penetration power over range. Good concealment with a 14.9km surface detection range which can be reduced down to 11.2km. CONs Citadel sits well above the waterline. Short ranged for a tier VIII battleship at 18.1km. Her guns misbehave, with poor dispersion values, overmatch problems and overpenetration after overpenetration. Awful HE performance with low alpha strike, poor fire chance and mediocre module damage. Anti-aircraft firepower is short ranged with only modest DPS. Large turning radius, mediocre ship rotation rate. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme The ease of her game play is facilitated by her excellent gun handling and good concealment values which will make her more forgiving to novice players. However, her raised citadel and gun accuracy will cause them problems. The combination of high concealment, speed and firepower will be of interest to Veterans and the power of these traits must not be overlooked. Roma's citadel and her smaller-caliber AP shells will hold her back from being a true monster, though. Roma is not a complicated battleship to play. She has no gimmicks to espouse. The summation of her various traits is as follows, with a more thorough breakdown found below in the larger sections. GARBAGE - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. MEH - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.GUD - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.BEST - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Roma is no up-scaled Giulio Cesare. Her guns are average and she has mediocre durability and agility. She has no gimmicks to speak of. The only thing she does well is hide and her AA power is hot garbage With all of these disparate traits, she probably doesn't look very appealing. So how the heck did I reach a "Gudbote" conclusion? Well, let's look into that... Options Like the Japanese premium battleships Kii and Ashitaka, Roma is receiving a special camouflage designed by Makoto Kobayashi. This is not just a skin, but a full on geometry change for the ship, including the infamous "beer can" where her rangefinders would be. It will likely be available through the larger bundle packages when you buy the ship through the online store. Consumables: Roma's Damage Control Party is standard for a non-American / Japanese battleship with a 15s active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer depending on which version you purchase. Her Repair Party is also standard, healing back 14% of her maximum health over 28s. Finally, her Spotter Aircraft is normal. You can swap this out for a Float Plane Fighter which provides 57 DPS and boasts 1,590hp. She has higher DPS than Japanese or American float plane fighters and more hit points than Japanese, American or British fighters. Premium Camouflage: There are two available: The default, Standard Type 10 camouflage provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. The Makoto Kobayashi - Roma camouflage provides 100% bonus experience gains, -50% to the post-battle service costs, +20% bonus credit earning, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. When I first saw this alternative camouflage scheme, I thought it looked ridiculous. However it has really grown on me. The amount of small detail is spectacular. Plus, it looks like Roma is wearing a hat. I like it when not-people things wear hats. Ergo, I like this camo. Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard battleship options. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control Modification 1. In your third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. It's not worth trying to upgrade her AA Guns or Secondaries. Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal for her fourth slot. You may be tempted to take Steering Gears Modification 2 but this will not significantly improve her agility . Finally, take Concealment Modification 1 in your final slot. This will reduce her surface detection down to 13.04km with camouflage before Commander Skills or 11.22km with camouflage and Concealment Expert Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 381mm rifles in three turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm rifles in four turrets, Twelve dual-purpose 90mm rifles in single turrets. Roma's main battery guns will deceive you. You're going to imagine them as being far more effective than they truly are. The deceptive veil she'll cast over your eyes has three layers; namely gun handling, shell flight time and penetration. They will cloud your vision and make you less aware of two flaws -- one minor but one pronounced -- the latter of which has the potential to greatly sour your enjoyment of this ship, no matter how comfortable her earlier lies may have felt. Beautiful Lie #1: Gun Handling The first beauty-mark you'll note is Roma's turret traverse rate and she may win you over with just this aspect. Her gun handling is simply gorgeous with her turrets rotating at 6º per second (a mere 30 seconds for 180º). This is 50% faster than the 4º per second rotation of ships like Kii, North Carolina and Monarch and a whole degree per second faster than Bismarck and Tirpitz. Thanks to this, laying her guns on target is a breeze and there's no chance of her aim slipping off target even while under heavy manoeuvres. In brawls, Roma can easily track enemies even on close approaches. Her forward fire angles are similarly wonderful. They almost hit the highly sought after (but so seldom realized) 30º-off-the-bow benchmark which defines truly excellent fire arcs. Her X-turret can engage enemies 31º off her forward centerline, allowing Roma to take very aggressive bow-on attack angles and necessitating only the slightest touches of a rudder to unload all nine guns. In short, Roma's gun handling is fun. You will never feel like you're fighting with this ship to bring your weapons to bear. Beautiful Lie #2: Shell Flight Time Roma has one of the fastest muzzle velocities of any tier VIII battleship, making gunnery a delight. What's more, her shells preserve this energy beautifully over distance which in turn leads to lower shell flight times. She can put a shell out to 10km in less than five seconds and one out to 15km in less then eight. This is something which Bismarck, Amagi, Monarch and North Carolina cannot boast. In the time it takes North Carolina to throw a shell out to 17km, Roma can bullseye a target at 20km. Her short lead times greatly cuts into the reaction time enemy ships have to evade your shells, even at range. Beautiful Lie #3: Penetration The high velocity of Roma's shells translates to great kinetic energy. It's the preservation of said energy over distance which makes Roma's penetration values so frightening. She doesn't have the same raw penetration power at point blank ranges of the Japanese 410mm shells. However, at ranges greater than 10km, Roma takes primacy, outstripping every other battleship with her energy retention. She has comparable and better penetration at 20km than Bismarck and Monarch (respectively) have at 15km. Roma is thus a threat at all ranges, capable of stacking damage even against thick hided battleships within reach of her weapons. These three traits will deceive you into thinking she's well set up to land damaging hits against enemy vessels. Her guns can snap onto a target quickly. Her muzzle velocity makes leading said targets easy, allowing you to catch targets before they're able to dodge or angle. Her penetration power all but guarantees that any hits you land will be damaging ones. That's all well and fine in theory, but in practice, problems arise. Roma boasts good fire arcs forward thanks to the excellent sweep of her X-turret. Her rearward arcs are terrible, forcing you to expose far too much of your broadside. Anytime you fire to your rear, you risk taking catastrophic damage. Harsh Truths No one can take away the awesomeness that is Roma's turret traverse rate and shell flight time. Let me be clear: few battleships have as smooth and comfortable a rotation and short lead times of their main battery as this Italian beauty. However, not everything about her guns lends to good performance. Roma's fire angles are the first let down. It's true, her forward fire angles are wonderful. However, rearward, it's a completely different story. Firing from A or B turret while on the retreat will get you sunk in a hurry. This isn't a problem unique to Roma, but few battleships can be punished as readily as Roma when they over angle due to her high water citadel (more on that later). I've found it preferable to use (and abuse) Roma's concealment if forced to retreat. At close range, her high muzzle velocity can also be a detriment. With the standard 0.033s fuse timer, Roma's shells risk blowing clean through more lightly armoured cruisers, especially at short ranges. To test this, I used a Reference-Omaha™ and found that Roma must be at least 13.3km out in order to land citadel hits on a target showing her flat broadside, provided the shells didn't strike water first. North Carolina can manage the same at 5.0km, owing to her lower muzzle velocity and steeper angle of her shell fall. This is a problem that extends beyond Reference-Omaha™ and it can be infuriating to catch a cruiser broadside with perfectly aimed (and dispersing) AP shells only to watch them all over penetrate a Chapayev or Edinburgh. Being unable to overmatch the bows of select cruisers just exacerbates matters. This leads me to stare down the problems Roma has with AP penetration with her 381mm rifles. She cannot overmatch the 27mm extremities found on many heavy cruisers at tier VIII+. It's surprising how much of an issue this causes. A properly angled American or Japanese heavy cruiser can simply bounce her AP shells for days with the appropriate stance. When combined with the fuse problems mentioned above, Roma must juggle different optimal fire ranges when engaging different targets. To penetrate small, lightly armoured vessels like Nurnberg-class, French or Royal Navy light cruisers you need distance. You may have to wait until the target angles slightly before sending your shells off. For tier VIII+ heavy cruisers, you need to catch them broadside or risk seeing your volleys bounce ineffectively. Roma's dispersion with Aiming Systems Modification 1 installed. 180 shells fired, salvo by salvo at 15km, locked onto a stationary Fuso. One of Roma's more pronounced gunnery weaknesses is her poor dispersion. This isn't so much a trait of her 1.8 sigma, but more of her long vertical dispersion axis which you can see here causing tremendous levels of overshooting and undershooting the target by a whole ship length to either side. This is approximately 50% larger than comparable area of battleship Alabama and Massachusetts which cannot mount any dispersion modification. The Big Fail: Dispersion and HE. Roma's most telling flaw with her guns is her dispersion. The Italian battleships of the Regia Marina use German dispersion patterns. In this regard, Roma's gunnery is most akin to Bismarck with one extra gun barrel and 4 seconds longer on her reload. The high velocity of her guns causes many shots to land long or short. Couple this with the wider base horizontal dispersion than any other battleship group in the game, and Roma's German dispersion leads to a lot of wonky shell groupings. It's not like Roma can simply reach for HE and solve her penetration issues either. Roma's HE shells deal a low amount of damage at 5,100 maximum per shell. That's 1,683 per penetrating hit and 852 damage per saturated penetrating hit. These values do not compare well to the 1,200 damage done by one of Roma's over penetrating AP shells. Her fire chance is abysmal at a mere 24%. She doesn't even have an especially large module-damage radius. For all this lackluster performance, she doesn't even get to enjoy the German bonus HE penetration. You largely want to avoid having to resort to these shells unless circumstance deem it necessary. Relying on Roma's HE shells too often will see her damage potential plummet. In summary Roma's gunnery is inconsistent -- more so than many other battleships. While it is easy to bring her guns on target with her fast traverse and anticipate their manoeuvres with her high muzzle velocity, Roma is unreliable at landing solid, damaging hits. This is very frustrating for a ship where the gunnery otherwise feels very comfortable. Her dispersion forces you suffer the whims of RNG. Even when you line up the perfect shot, over penetrations and ricochets will abound and her HE shells are downright anemic. Roma has two secondary gun types and neither is effective. They lack range, with a 5.0km base reach. In addition, one mount does not fire fast enough and the other is too small in caliber. The most dramatic of the pair are her 152mm rifles, mounted in triple gun turrets, two per side flanking B and X turret respectively. They are incredibly slow firing with a horrendous 12.0 second reload and they use AP ammunition. The best thing that could be said about this particular mount is that the muzzle blast is enormous and your opponents may mistake it for you firing your main battery guns in a brawl and expose their sides, thinking themselves safe to fire back. Roma's 90mm guns fire much more quickly with a 4.0s reload. Though they fire HE, their fire chance isn't particularly good. What's more, their small gun caliber makes them ineffective at dealing direct damage enemy ships. Even most destroyers in her matchmaking spread can boast enough armour to foil the penetration value of her HE shells. Short of peppering superstructures, these guns aren't going to do much in the way of direct damage themselves. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will increase her penetration enough to allow her to directly damage destroyers and some light cruisers with these guns, but that's a heavy investment for questionable gains. In general, it is not worth sinking upgrades, consumables or skills into Roma's secondaries. Conclusions It's hard to call any of Roma's weapon systems "good". Roma's 381mm guns do not enjoy the rate of fire bonus found on Monarch, Tirpitz and Bismarck. Maybe if she had that phenomenal rate of fire or some accuracy tweak, I could shower them with praise with good conscience. However, with a piss-poor HE shell and forgettable secondaries, Roma is reliant upon her main battery AP shells to carry the day. Fortunately, they're sufficient to the task. And maybe that's the best way to define Roma's AP gunnery: It's comfortable and it's sufficient. She won't win any prizes but she'll hold her own. Summary: Roma's gunnery feels so comfortable. Her gunnery performance is spotty. They seem to do really well against battleships (up until they angle) but against cruisers, it's a lot more inconsistent depending on angle, ship type and range. Her secondaries aren't worth specializing into. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Roma's dispersion can be very unkind. A buff to her sigma value would alleviate this. An alternative solution would be shaving a second or two off her reload time. With so many misunderstandings about the reload time of the Littorio-class, I suppose we should be glad that Wargaming kept it to a mere 30 seconds. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 30.0 knotsTurning Radius: 810mRudder Shift: 15.6s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.2º/s Tier 8 Battleship speed, turning radius and rate of turn. Roma doesn't excel in any one area nor does she have any glaring weaknesses. Roma is on the good-side of average for manoevrability for a tier VIII battleship. Her top speed is okay but there are faster ships. Her rate of turn is alright, but she's not exactly agile like the South Dakota-class sisters. Her turning circle isn't terrible, though its certainly not great. Overall, her handling is best compared to Bismarck -- a ship that isn't lacking overall in comparable agility but not a ship anyone would dare say has "good" manoeuvrability. The reason Roma feels so agile is probably due to her gun traverse. At 6º per second, it's rare that you ever need to use your rudder to accelerate bringing your guns to bear onto a new target. It's impossible for this ship to out turn her turrets, so there's little strain on her handling to keep her weapons singing. The best trait about her here is her top speed. 30 knots, while unremarkable at high tiers, is the benchmark I want to see. Anything less is an obvious flaw. Roma has the flexibility to go where she's needed and she's fast enough to make pursuit and escape possible when required. This also allows her to make better use of her concealment to better position herself. Most important of all, Roma's manoeuvrability is sufficient to protect her vulnerable citadel while still maintaining a steady rate of fire with all nine of her guns. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Roma already sits on the cusp of being 'GUD', she would just need a little help. An extra knot of speed, getting her turning radius below 800m or increasing her rotation rate by another two tenths of a degree per second would each tip her over the edge to something quite remarkable. Fortunately, you can pull this off yourself with the use of a Sierra Mike signal. Rate of Turn There are several factors which affect how quickly a ship comes about. The most significant are the ship's forward momentum and the size of her turning radius. As a ship slows down, their turning radius changes, but not always for the better. To make things more complicated, different ships also preserve speed better in a turn. When it comes to changing your heading, maintain speed whenever possible. If you want a tighter turning circle, slow down to 3/4 engine power -- but be aware that your ship will not manoeuvre as quickly. Steering Gears Modification 2 reduces Roma's rudder shift time from 15.6s down to 12.5s. However, this does not appreciably affect her turning values. This upgrade can be seen as more of a placebo than a practical bonus. When attempting to measure the gains made, some of the results fell within the margin of error of my own reaction time -- meaning that a good night's sleep or a cup of tea had more effect on the timed rate of turn than whether or not Roma had this module installed. With torpedo and shell reaction times often being less than 8 to 10 seconds, having this module installed will not help you. You would be better served by having a cup of coffee. Thus, I strongly recommend installing Damage Control Modification 2 in your fourth upgrade slot instead. None of the values found on Roma were far from what was expected. Her measured turning radius was slightly higher than that found in port and she bled the usual 25% maximum speed with her rudder hard over. 360º Rotation Rate (Ship Maximums): 1/4 speed (7.3 knots): 1.0º/s rotation, ~1099m turning radius 1/2 speed (13.8 knots): 2.5º/s rotation, ~851m turning radius 3/4 speed (18.6 knots): 3.6º/s rotation, ~800m turning radius 4/4 speed (22.4 knots): 4.2º/s rotation, ~829m turning radius 90º Rotation Rate (Stock): 1/4 speed: 1.0º/s rotation for 90.7s 1/2 speed: 2.3º/s rotation for 39.0s 3/4 speed: 3.2º/s rotation for 28.5s 4/4 speed: 3.6/s rotation for 25.0s 90º Rotation Rate (Steering Gears Modification 2) 1/4 speed: 1.0/s rotation for 90.6s 1/2 speed: 2.4º/s rotation for 38.4s 3/4 speed: 3.3º/s rotation for 27.4s 4/4 speed: 3.7º/s rotation for 24.2s Roma sits upon the cusp of greatness where her agility is concerned, but she falls short. You're not likely to notice though -- you'll be too enamored with how well her turrets traverse. DurabilityHit Points: 65,400 Maximum Citadel Protection: 375mm + 40mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: 38% Let's start with the bad news: Roma wears a really short skirt. While I appreciate that she wants to show off her lines, her citadel is left exposed over the water's surface by a not-insignificant margin. The exact height of her citadel is easy to see: it's directly behind her 375mm armoured belt. Veterans of the American battleship line that played the ships before the citadels were lowered in early 2017 will remember well what this entails. Roma can and will suddenly explode in a horrendous space-kablooie when she's caught broadside. There's nothing you can do about it but [edited]. There's another piece of not-so-great news. Her A-Turret barbette also seems to be part of the citadel, comprising a rounded 210mm bulge to her transverse bulkhead. This gives shells that might have skipped over a flat surface another bite at the apple if they catch this rounded surface. It's just another little quibble to sour Roma's armour protection. Alright, with that out of the way, let's talk about the good stuff: Her main deck is 45mm thick. This is proof against 152mm HE spam. Hooray! She has a 130mm extended forward armoured belt. When she angles, can foil even 460mm shells. Rejoice! Her upper hull is 70mm thick. This is proof against HE from 420mm or smaller unless it's British BB or German BB & CA thrown. This will also provide you with some very comfortable bounces when you angle just right. Her torpedo damage reduction is pretty darned good, so to speak. At tier VIII, torpedo defenses are either amazaballs (Amagi, South Dakota sisters) or they suck moose balls (everyone else). Roma's in the good half of the dichotomy. Her deck armour profile is a bit of a mixed blessing when it comes to armour piercing bombs, however. In testing, American AP bombs just didn't seem to be able to stack damage quickly. Without heals, it took over 20 bomb hits to sink her from American planes. Graf Zeppelin's (admittedly still in testing) bombs weren't automatic world-enders, but she could reliably sink Roma with two squadrons. On the whole, if it weren't for Roma's citadel situation, she'd have a great armour profile. As it is, it's only okay. Roma face tanks like a boss, particularly at medium ranges (between 8km and 14km) but when things go wrong, she comes apart in a hurry. Roma's armour, including details of her citadel. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Lower her bloody citadel. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 90mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 114 / 128.4 / 54.4 The graph on the left shows the raw AA values per aura range of the AA mounts of tier 8 Battleships. The graph on the right applies a formula {AA DPS x ( Range - 1.0km )} to calculate the overall effectiveness of the ship's AA power. This weights longer ranged weapons as being much more valuable as planes will linger within their effect longer. Weapons with less than a 2km range are only really effective if the enemy aircraft carrier parks planes on top of you. If there's one good thing you could say about Roma's anti-aircraft firepower, it would be that it's at least better than that found on Tirpitz. Roma's AA rating sits squarely in between the German premium and Amagi, and this isn't a good place to be. Worse, it's not like Roma's anti-aircraft guns are a straight up improvement over the performance of the German premium -- she just has more of them. Roma's large caliber, 90mm guns are hands down inferior to the 105s that Tirpitz uses. They have 500m less range and they do less DPS over all, which makes the effective AA defense worse were it not for Roma's 37mm autocannons and Tirpitz's near lack of medium caliber guns. It takes a rather heavy investment to get Roma's anti-aircraft firepower anywhere near effective in terms of range, and it's downright impossible to make it effective in terms of damage done. With Advanced Fire Training and AA Guns Modification 2, you can increase the reach fo her 90mm guns from 4.0km up to 5.76km but they'll never have the punch to make anything but a stock tier VI aircraft carrier balk. Taking a Float Plane Fighter can add a very helpful disruption effect to an incoming wave which can save your ship, but it's so short lived and difficult to rely upon. Roma doesn't have the agility to easily dodge air dropped torpedoes, nor does she have the armour profile to spare her the nightmare of being one-shot by German AP dive bombers. Roma, when isolated from allies, is easy prey for an enemy aircraft carrier and she must be played with this weakness in mind. Evaluation: GARBAGE What it would have needed to be MEH: Roma really needs more range. The 4.0km reach of her large caliber, dual purpose guns does her no favours. Alternatively, it would take a huge DPS boost to make her AA power competitive which is a much more significant change. None of Roma's AA mounts are especially durable. Even her dual purpose AA guns can only boast 800hp with her 37mm and 20mm guns having only 200. A few HE hits will strip her of most of her AA power. Vision Control Base Surface Detection Range: 14.94km Air Detection Range: 13.35km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.22km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 13.68km Main Battery Firing Range: 18.12km Detection Consumables: Spotter Aircraft / Float Plane Fighter Short of the famous and historical HMS Monarch, Roma is the stealthiest battleship within her matchmaking spread. What's perhaps more frightening is that she's stealthier than almost half the cruisers she faces, even when they're rigged for full concealment. Tier VI and VII cruisers are especially vulnerable with 11 out of 24 ships unable to hide from Roma and another 7 unable to hide if they don't have a full concealment build. When top tier, especially against inexperienced commanders, Roma becomes truly a monster. Without spotting aircraft or a destroyer screen, she can move about the battlefield at will, confident she can outfight anything that detects her. Let me stress this: Without aircraft or destroyers, Roma is quite capable of being the stealthiest ship on the playing field. Unlike the famous and historical HMS Monarch, Roma has the speed to better exploit this concealment. And it's here, with this combination of speed and concealment where Roma becomes a truly frightening vessel. Novice players take note: these are traits that expert players exploit to win matches. The longer a match goes on, the more powerful this advantage of speed and stealth becomes. It gives Roma time to heal, to flank, to secure objectives or escape. She can dictate engagement distances, abuse cover and surprise enemies. This is the game changer for this ship. This is what glosses over all of her other mediocre ratings and propels her towards excellence. Now this all said, this is a very difficult advantage to exploit properly and it can be outright negated by aircraft (especially given Roma's poor AA rating) and destroyers. Proper use of her aircraft consumable (with the skills to support it) will help her control vision and make lurking around islands less dangerous. But, it's knowing when to keep her guns singing and when it's best to hold your fire that really defines Roma's use and abuse of her concealment. Evaluation: GUD What it would have needed to be BEST : Monarch has a smaller surface detection range and similar consumable options. The alternative to making her sneakier than Monarch would have been to provide her with some detection consumable like Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar which is bloody unlikely. I think we can all be happy that Roma's concealment is as amazing as it is. Nursing the Twins For Roma, a survivability build is best after grabbing your concealment skills. Start with Priority Target unless you've seen the oracle and you already know the future. Then you can go for skills like Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft instead for your first choice. Next up, we want Adrenaline Rush to increase her sluggish rate of fire. After that, you have your choice of Basics of Survivability or Superintendent depending on how much you hate fire damage. Finally, grab Concealment Expert to level up Roma to her final form. For your next 9pts, I strongly recommend Fire Prevention, whichever tier 3 skill you skipped and your choice of Expert Marksman (cause why not?), Jack of All Trades or High Alert. Now get out there and murder your brother. Tier for tier, Giulio Cesare is the better of the two Italian Battleships. However, the Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camouflage combined with Roma's higher tier will make her the better potential earner. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: Concealment and comfort define this ship. I stress that Roma's high water citadel will be a deal breaker for some. As cool as Roma's secondaries and AA batteries look, they're pretty darned useless. Roma's scorecard looks a little better than my first evaluation once you peel back the layers and take a closer look. Her great concealment might functionally be the best within her Matchmaking spread thanks to her speed. Similarly, her agility is also reasonably good, just not quite enough to make her remarkable. This synergy between speed, gun handling and concealment has all the hallmarks of a competitive ship. Her gunnery and durability are the let downs, though. Her weapons are inconsistent -- prone to bouts of greatness and then some frustrating droughts of non-performance until you figure out her penetration. Knowing what ships you can and cannot handle at which ranges mitigates some of this lack, but only just. Contrarily, her secondaries, like her AA guns are garbage no matter what you do.. Then there's that citadel of hers -- that fly in the ointment that will preclude her from ever being the darling of the competitive scene. In Randoms, with proper positioning, it's not really a big deal, but when it lets you down, it lets you down hard. Roma is so much fun to drive it's hard to dismiss her out of hand, even despite these setbacks. My own experiences in Roma were decidedly mixed. It took me a while to figure her out. Once I accepted I was throwing around what amounted to a squishy, nine-gun Bismarck with no secondaries, things got a little better. To say my performance in her was inconsistent would be an understatement. The number of losses I suffered during the latter half of play testing wasn't fun, however this was broken up by some ridiculously high performing games. Boiled down, Roma is a medium-range brawler. Her gun accuracy and armour profile both excel if she can hold this range -- just on the cusp of her detection radius, and hammer the enemy over and over and over again. Ideally you want to sneak to a vantage where your opponents can't help but give up their side to either you or their allies. If they choose to face you, tank them and do the best you can to hurt them back -- it's not going to be easy with those 381mm guns. If they choose to face your allies, tear them a new one until they smarten up and fall back. The final question is if this is a role that's asked for in the current meta. She's not a brawler like Bismarck or Tirpitz, a DPM juggernaut like Amagi, and she doesn't werf the flammen like the famous, historical battleship Monarch. Roma encroaches upon the flanking meta espoused by the American battleships. She's certainly faster than North Carolina or the South Dakota sisters. She's also more stealthy. However, she lacks the AA power to afford her autonomy when enemy aircraft carriers are in play. -- not that they're out there that often. It's still difficult to call just based on that. Things change when you look at her tiering. Top tier, she's an absolute monster. She would easily hold my pick for one of the best battleships for clubbing lower tiered vessels and this in of itself should say something. That comfort and control pays dividends and her armour maximizes in these encounters where shell penetration may not be enough to seriously threaten Roma's raised citadel. She uptiers alright against tier IX ships, but like all tier VIIIs, she really struggles in tier X matches. If I could guarantee she would never see tier X games, I could slap an "OVERPOWERED" label on her and be done with it, but no such luck. As it is, I'm inclined to say Roma has earned her laurels. Would I Recommend? Some caveats must be exercised here. The Italian Regia Marina is solely comprised of premium ships at the moment. Between the battleships Roma and Giulio Cesare there are also the light cruisers Duca d'Aosta and the upcoming Duca degli Abruzzi. If you had to choose one and only one, Giulio Cesare is still the front runner performance wise, even at tier V. Roma does not displace her. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? We have no tier VIII scenarios (yet), but Roma's a decent ship to take against bots. Her AP shells struggle a little against cruisers at the point blank ranges which so often result. Her running costs are 35,438 credits including the 10% discount provided by her camouflage (this drops to 19,688 credits with Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camo) while you can make around 100k on a decent win. Skip those premium consumables. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. She's a tier VIII premium, so economy wise, she'll do you just fine. The increased earnings will also make her a wonderful trainer. Note if you have the Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camouflage, her earning dividends just got that much better. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. I have to give her a firm pass here. Between her high water citadel, 381mm teething issues and poor AA power, she's not ideal. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. What are you, new? It's not only the first Littorio-class battleships it's Roma. Even as a port queen, she's gorgeous to look at. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Hells to the yeah. Roma doesn't always behave, but when she does... In Closing That about wraps it up for Roma -- arguably the most anticipated premium of 2017. Hey, stop looking at your calendar! She's here and she's not terrible; that's a win. I keep a list of premium ships that I enjoy playing; that I reach for whenever I just want to play World of Warships and unplug my brain from all of this analytical nonsense. These are ships that I play simply for the love of the game. I think it's high praise when a new premium ousts one of the old guard and muscles in on this list. Roma isn't there yet -- we're fighting, truth be told. She's got a long ways to go if she thinks she can earn her keep. I'm very happy with the balanced state of Roma. I'm very happy to have this review done. The next review coming up will be Musashi, the tier IX Japanese battleship that's causing all kinds of controversy. Roma and Musashi both came off of the content-embargo on the same date, but I had no warning about the latter. You can expect this next review in about a week's time with an undue level of snark laced throughout. A very special thank you to Lert for his continued editing efforts and to my patrons on Patreon. With as much time and energy I devote to these reviews, I cannot afford to do it alone anymore. Your continued support means the world to me and allows me to keep my head down and working hard with less worry. Thank you for reading and for all of your feedback, criticism and fun gifs too! My current ten favourite ships. Top Row: Fujin, Atlanta, De Grasse, Prinz Eugen, Atago. Bottom Row: Scharnhorst, Nelson, Harekaze, König Albert, Warspite. Will Roma or Musashi earn a spot? Tune in next week! iChase put together a wonderful little history piece for those who want more Roma in your Roma review!
  13. The following is a review of Massachusetts, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 20th, 2018. Over a year in development. Thanks 'bama. Quick Summary: A South Dakota-class battleship which trades a bit of concealment for more agility. She's the first American battleship with respectable secondaries. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: Patch 0.6.15.1 to 0.7.5.1, January 13th, 2018 until June 20th, 2018. Yes, really. She had a long development cycle. PROs Excellent anti-torpedo protection with a 46% damage reduction. 50% faster reset timer on her Repair Party consumable, allowing her to recover damage more quickly. Low velocity 406mm shells have good overall dispersion area and her AP shells hit like trucks. Improved secondaries compared to Alabama with 2.5km additional range, 50% faster rate of fire and 40% increased accuracy. Excellent anti-aircraft firepower. Very agile for a high tier battleship -- even more so than Alabama -- with a great rate of turn. CONs Very vulnerable to cruiser-caliber HE fire with the majority of the ship having only 32mm of protection. Main battery is short ranged at 18.3km base. Main battery dispersion is a bit wonky with 1.7 sigma. Secondary guns are small caliber and struggle to deal direct damage to most targets. Horribly slow for a tier VIII battleship at 27.5 knots. Large surface detection range for an American battleship at 16.6km base. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Since the lowering of the citadels of high tier American battleships, they've become much more forgiving to play. They're not as brainless as British or German battleships, but they're still a comfortable ride. Any player of any skill level can pick one up and do reasonably well with them. Massachusetts is only a little more difficult (but only slightly) due to her temperamental main battery dispersion. For Veterans, Massachusetts' poor sigma value and mediocre concealment will prevent her from becoming the darling of many. She's a medium-range brawler that falls apart up close. Her overall carry potential is limited. However, she does allow players to make use of island terrain in the same manner as an American light cruiser to lob her secondary shells at targets they cannot hit with their main battery (which is a nice trick). Jousting and brawling skills will also help here. - 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. Massachusetts looks like a rather mediocre and safe offering and that's not far from wrong. While there are remarkable aspects about it, Massachusett's firepower merits only a rating. As good as her secondaries are, they are only a situational weapon. That doesn't make up for the deficiencies with her main battery. With the lowering of the American citadels, their biggest weakness was safely moderated. They're still among the most fragile of the tier VIII battleships. Thankfully, Massachusetts has a Repair Party bonus which puts her solidly in the category. Where the South Dakota-class really shines is in their Agility and Anti Aircraft firepower. Both merit a evaluation. Finally, for Vision Control, Massachusetts has a disappointing surface detection and sits in the bottom half for her tier. She only gets a score here. Options Massachusetts has a couple of oddities to be aware of. First, she's an American Battleship. This has three effects: Her Damage Control Party has a 20 second active period instead of 15 second of other battleships. She does not get access to Aiming System Modification 1 in her third upgrade slot. Instead, she gets access to Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 in her third upgrade slot. Furthermore, Massachusetts has a unique Repair Party consumable with a faster reset timer Consumables: Consumable wise, you have the choice between a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. This latter consumable offers 53 additional DPS. Massachusetts Repair Party has an accelerated reset timer of 60 seconds for standard and 40 seconds for her premium version. This is half the standard timer for other versions of this consumable. Upgrades The big question presented with your consumable options are as follows: You can largely correct her range deficiency by equipping Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1. This will boost her range back up to 21.2km (compared to 21.1km on a stock Alabama) and your Spotter Aircraft consumable can boost it further. The most appealing and gimmicky choice is to emphasize her secondaries and take Secondary Gun Modification 2. Her accuracy with her secondaries will be boosted to 68% greater than most other ships. Finally, in the question of defense, you must choose between fire damage reduction with Damage Control Modification 2 and further emphasizing her good agility with Steering Gears Modification 2 for her 4th slot. In addition, you have a choice between emphasizing the durability of your already-tough main battery armaments with Main Armaments Modification 1 or doubling the hit points of your secondaries with Auxiliary Armaments Modification 1 in your first slot. Camouflage Massachusetts comes with Type 10 Camouflage. During testing this was in the style of Measure 22 historical pattern but is set to change when the ship goes live. This provides: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. During playtesting, Massachusetts used the Measure 22 camouflage (blue hull, grey superstructure). To my understanding, this is being replaced on live when she gets released with the black and grey scheme shown on the World of Warships devblog. Ye be warned, says I. Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 406mm rifles in three turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twenty 127mm rifles in 10x2 turrets, Massachusetts is the fifth American battleship in World of Warships armed with 406mm/45 Mark 6 naval rifles. Colorado, North Carolina, Alabama and Alabama ST all make use of these guns and many players should be familiar with their performance. Generally speaking, these are accurate weapons with comfortable dispersion but they pay for this with lower muzzle velocity. They have longer shell flight times over distance than other battleships. Their heavy shells don't lack for penetration power, however, preserving energy well. They also hit like trucks. Official penetration values of American 406mm/45 Mk 6 Guns, taken from World of Warships Armada videos published by Wargaming. At the time of writing this, Massachusett's guns have the hardest hitting AP shell at tier VIII. They do 500hp more damage per shell than their closest competitor, the IJN 410mm guns found on Amagi and Kii. They far outstrip the 381mm/380mm guns of the Bismarck-class, Monarch, Richelieu, Gascogne and Roma. With nine guns and a 30s reload, Massachusetts is easily one of the hardest hitting battleships at her tier. Massachusetts falls behind the other American battleships for two reasons, however. She has the worst shell grouping out of all four previously mentioned battleships. She is also short-ranged. With a maximum reach of 18.3km stock, Massachusetts is one of the shortest ranged battleships at her tier, besting only Monarch and Roma. The impact of this flaw is mixed. It can largely be alleviated by taking the American upgrade, Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1, which resets her maximum range back up to Alabama levels. This is a less than ideal solution given Massachusetts secondaries which compete for attention with Secondary Gun Battery Modification 2 in the same upgrade slot. The alternative is to make use of her Spotter Aircraft consumable to temporarily boost her range when needed. This range deficit isn't terrible when the ship is top tier, but on some of the larger maps and against higher tiered opponents, this lack really begins to hurt, especially when compounded by her low top speed and surface detection radius. The second issue compounds on this problem, however. Massachusetts has the worst sigma value of any of the aforementioned American battleships with a 1.7 value compared to the 2.0 of North Carolina and 1.9 of Alabama, Alabama ST and Colorado. Her guns, while still boasting good performance, are overall less reliable. It's unlikely Massachusetts will ever be the darling of the competitive scene because of these flaws. On a per salvo basis, most players will struggle to see the difference between Massachusetts' accuracy and that of Alabama. Over the course of several matches this will be far more telling. Massachusetts will average less damage from her main battery due to shells straying from the center of her reticle. Massachusetts' claim to fame in game is that while she has the same 127mm/38 secondary armament as other high tier American battleships, they aren't nearly as lame. These guns are 40% more accurate and reload 50% faster while having 2.5km additional range over those on North Carolina, Alabama and Alabama ST. The range and rate of fire are easy to appreciate -- these are straight up buffs that any player can wrap their minds around. The accuracy buff is a little more challenging, however, and is worth examining further. Secondary dispersion buffs are multiplicative. There are four buffs available in the game currently for tier VIII secondary guns. In ascending order, they are: Secondary Signal: 5% dispersion improvement. 3rd Slot Main Battery Upgrade: 5% dispersion improvement. 3rd Slot Secondary Battery Upgrade: 20% dispersion improvement. 4th Tier Commander Skill: 60% dispersion improvement. Thus, Alabama and North Carolina could reduce their dispersion area down to 30.4% of its normal size with all upgrades and skills applied. Massachusetts, by contrast, can reduce hers down to 18.24% of Alabama's dispersion radius. As fun as these big numbers appear, it really doesn't mean anything without seeing it applied. To this end, I ran tests to compare secondary accuracy with the assistance of the WGNA Forums community (thanks, guys!). Only misses were recorded and then not all of them (there's splash render issues at that much zoom). It took about 20 to 30 hits to sink Mahan, including a fire. Not only does it take Massachusetts less shots fired to sink Mahan, thanks to her faster reload, it takes her less time too. In this demonstration, it took the stock Alabama roughly 4 minutes to sink the destroyer. Her fully upgraded self took less than 66 seconds to do the same. Massachusetts did it in less than 24 seconds. Hopefully that puts it into better perspective. Massachusetts secondaries are awesome at shredding enemy lolibotes. Even intervening terrain doesn't automatically keep an enemy ship safe. These are the same guns Atlanta uses, so their high arcs are legendary. If an enemy ship is hugging their island waifu and lobbing shells at you, your secondaries can hit them back and force them to back off. However there are three main problems with these guns. Her 127mm/38s lack penetration. They can only deal direct damage to areas of 21mm of armour thickness or less. This limits them to damage select cruisers and destroyers or the superstructures of more protected ships. If you take the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells you can increase their penetration to 27mm which will allow them to punish all cruisers within their matchmaking spread and lower tiered battleships. There is a catch to this though. Secondaries tend to aim for the waterline of enemy ships. At very close ranges, this will cause Massachusetts' secondaries to shatter against the thick belt of battleships and cruisers, mitigating some of her damage output. With Massachusetts' improved accuracy, she's very good at hitting the belt armour at close range so they tend to work best at distances of 5km+ against larger targets. Her 127mm/38s are terrible at setting fires. Though these guns have excellent reload rate, each hit only has a 5% chance base to start a fire. They cannot be relied upon to tax the Damage Control Party of enemy vessels. Each fire they do set should be seen as a bonus, not an inevitability. Their predictive aim is lacking. You'll find at the extremes of her range (distances greater than 9km) that these guns struggle to hit small targets that are constantly manoeuvring. This is probably owing to the long flight time of shells out to these distances. Any enemy lolibote would have to be out of her gourd for trying to get Massachusetts-senpai to notice her. Surprisingly, this extends to larger ships as well. Lert and I sat down and conducted some raw Bismarck vs Massachusetts tests. At 6km with both ships fully upgraded into secondary builds, Massachusetts out performed and sank Bismarck every single time (!). Bismarck just doesn't stand a chance against Massachusetts' damage output. Even with each ship destroying a couple of secondary guns per trial, Massachusetts won conclusively. Now that's all in theory, mind you. The reality of Random Battles (or Ranked) has so very often demonstrated that secondaries are a completely situational weapon. For every game where they perform phenomenally, there will be games where they contribute less than 1,000 damage. The question then becomes if Massachusetts' improved secondaries are worth the cost of the sigma and range difference from her sister ship, Alabama. I'm not convinced it is. It's certainly novel, but I wouldn't ever call it a fair trade. Massachusetts has less than ideal fire angles. Unmasking her X-Turret is just asking to get her penetrated through the front. Despite her secondaries, Massachusetts isn't ideally setup for brawling as you'll see in the Defense section below. Summary: 1.7 sigma hurts. Secondaries are surprisingly devastating. Unfortunately you can't always use them. Do you like to gamble? Her firepower is very RNG dependent between bad sigma and her secondary performance. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Amagi and North Carolina jockey for the top spot. Massachusetts would have needed better dispersion on her main battery and her improved secondaries to take this position. DefenseHit Points: 66,300Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm + 310mm + 16mm roof Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: 46% Massachusetts' durability is a bit of a mixed bag. THE GOOD: She has awesome torpedo defense -- one of the best in the game behind Alabama (49%), Musashi (55%) and Yamato (55%). I suppose you could call this good news for a battleship that's meant to be up on the front lines by design, not that I'd recommend eating fish if you can help it. Her citadel is fully submerged. All of the high tier American battleships (including Alabama) had their citadels lowered in early 2017. Massachusetts carries this same trend forward, making her much harder to get her machine spaces blown out. Awesome turret face armour. Massachusetts has 457mm turret faces and barbettes. The sloping on her turrets can bounce battleship caliber shells for days until you're in point blank ranges. Her Repair Party has a short reset timer. Massachusetts' Repair Party comes off cool down in half the time. She's better able to take advantage of multiple charges of her consumable when needed which increases the value of the Superintendent skill. It's easy for her to cycle through the maximum of five charges in a given match, giving her access to a larger health pool per game on average. THE BAD: Her citadel roof is 16mm. So if an enemy battleship shell does manage to penetrate her belt at a shallow angle, she doesn't have roof armour thick enough to cause their shell to ricochet -- it will simply overmatch and deliver a citadel hit. This is devastating, especially at close range. This only applies to the areas over her machine spaces (her magazines are better protected), but her machine spaces are huge. Cruisers love to burn her. With only 32mm or less everywhere except her turrets, barbettes and belt, Massachusetts is highly vulnerable to cruiser-caliber HE shells. With the right captain build, any 150mm+ armed cruiser can hit her over and over and over again for massive amounts of direct damage, never mind the resulting fires. THE UGLY Her secondaries are fragile. Remember those secondaries? Y'know, the gimmick that's the big selling feature of this ship? Yeah, those. They pop easy. Like most secondaries, they are not particularly well armoured and if Massachusetts gets spammed by HE shells or British cruiser AP, she's going to lose these turrets quickly. There's not a whole lot you can do to protect them, either. At best, you can use Auxillary Armaments Modification 1 in your first slot to double their hit point total (from 800hp to 1,600hp) but that's not going to save them forever if they get taxed. Overall, Massachusetts' protection scheme is best suited to medium range (10km to 16km) engagement distances in World of Warships. This gives her a chance to use some of her vaunted agility to help dodge incoming fire (ooh, a segue!). Up close, she becomes too vulnerable to brawl effectively if she gives up her sides. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Massachusetts would need quite a bit to bump her out of the doldrums of mediocrity here. She's far removed from being and little more than a bad citadel placement away from . Bow tanking is still as effective as ever so long as the enemies oblige you by throwing anything smaller than 460mm rounds in your face. Here Massachusetts outplays a tier X Großer Kurfürst, bouncing her 420mm AP shells in a brawl and using her superior agility to keep on the Kurfürst's flank while never giving up her own. If they catch your side, you're dead stupidly quick. Agility Top Speed: 27.5 knotsTurning Radius: 710mRudder Shift: 15.7s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.5º/s Massachusetts is the most nimble battleship of her tier. It's a shame she wasn't faster. Her flexibility is limited. Once she commits to a given part of the map, there's little chance of flexing somewhere else, never mind dictating engagement distances. For a ship with a lot of secondaries, this is a shame -- you're only ever going to bring them to bear if someone makes a mistake (that someone may have been you). Due to whatever quirk it is that dictates energy preservation in a turn, Massachusetts holds onto an extra couple tenths of a knot over her sister ship when her rudder's hard over. Combined with her small turning radius, Massachusetts can change her heading faster than any other tier VIII battleship and giving her comparable handling to a high tier Soviet cruiser but with a much tighter turning radius You can see now why I lament her lack of speed -- she could have been the complete package. Massachusetts is a bit of a sluggabutt when it comes to initiating a turn, however. Her sloppy rudder shift time leaves a lot to be desired, even if it is around the norm for a tier VIII battleship. In order to take advantage of her high rate of turn, it's recommend to equip the Steering Gears Modification 2 upgrade, though this will come at a severe cost to her fire damage mitigation. Given that you're likely going to be eschewing fire prevention skills anyway to upgrade her secondaries, this isn't a bad investment. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : More speed. 27.5 knots just doesn't cut it if you want to be the best. Alternatively, shave off 50m from her turning radius. That will get people to sit up and take notice and steal the crown from Gascogne. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 151 / 238.5 / 120.5 Out of the seven American battleships at tier VIII+, Massachusetts has the least DPS but her effective AA DPS is better than Alabama and Alabama ST's and sits just behind North Carolina. Massachusetts is a powerful anti-aircraft platform. Her heavy secondaries are a mixed blessing as far as her AA defense goes. She's more likely to have skills like Basic Fire Training and Advanced Fire Training which will emphasize her AA power further but her upgrade slots will likely be filled with secondary-specific or range boosting modules rather than AA Guns Modification 2. This upgrade is necessary to truly solidify American battleship AA defense and without it, the range gap is enough to allow aircraft to make their drops. Still, Massachusetts presents a thorny target most CV players would rather avoid. Her dispersed AA guns makes her overall defense less vulnerable to being knocked out by cursory HE shells and it takes a sustained bombardment to suppress them fully. Her small and medium caliber AA guns are nicely dispersed, making them more difficult for single volleys of battleship caliber HE from Royal Navy battleships to neuter her AA power (they may have to shoot you twice instead). Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : More firepower or more range -- something to make her stand apart from the likes of North Carolina & Kii. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 16.56km Air Detection Range: 12.18km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.43km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 16.01km Main Battery Firing Range: 18.27km Detection Consumables: Spotter Aircraft / Float Plane Fighter So now we get to the bad news. Massachusetts has a big butt (and I cannot lie). While none of the American battleships are contending for a top spot in terms of concealment at tier VIII, Massachusetts is definitely the worst of the bunch. North Carolina's stock concealment is 900m better, for example. For a short ranged battleship with secondaries as her gimmick, more concealment would have been preferable, not less. It's only thanks to the failures of Amagi and Kii that Massachusetts has any pretense of mediocrity. As it stands, she hangs out with the chubby Richelieu and Gascogne in the bottom half, just behind Tirpitz in overall badonkadonk size. The only spot of good news is that her aerial detection range is excellent and can be reduced down to just over 9.4km after all upgrades, which gives her a little more flexibility while moving into position. One of the fun tricks you can pull off with Massachusetts involves taking advantage of smoke mechanics. Secondaries won't give away your position in smoke the same way as main battery guns will. So you can park Massachusetts in friendly smoke and let her secondaries go to town. It's hilarious. It's not terribly effective, mind you, but hilarious. Just make sure your friend has Hydroacoustic Search to spot those incoming torpedoes well in advance. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Lose 900m off her stock surface detection range or give her access to a game-breaking consumable like Missouri. No more Drama Llama There's only one skill build worth considering for Massachusetts despite what common sense will tell you: That's to go all out on her secondaries and never look back. No, this build isn't optimal, but it's FUN, damn it. MAN-otaur approved. Seriously, though, if you want a good build, take Superintendent to maximize her awesome Repair Party consumable. Build the rest as you will. Final Evaluation The story of Massachusetts in World of Warships begins with Alabama. Alabama was originally going to be for Supertesters only as a reward ship for those who had performed exemplary service in this volunteer role. The masses like you and I, were going to get her equivalent in the form of Massachusetts -- not-quite a clone with small differences here and there (slightly more agile, slightly less stealthy and a different small & medium caliber AA suite). But it wasn't meant to be. The community blew up and Alabama was released to the masses and Massachusetts suddenly found herself with an identity crisis. I've had my hands on this ship since December of 2017 and she's been in the works since at least August of that same year. This ship has gone through several different iterations with development accelerating towards late Spring of 2018 (which undid a lot of my previous work). I'm pleased with the final result, but there's a caveat: This is one Hell of a fun ship to play but she's not good. Secondary built ships are seldom optimal. Their gimmick is just too situational to top more well rounded ships. Massachusetts gives up a lot to be a secondary monster. As much fun as her pew pews are, they're not going to win many games in of themselves and she's not an ideal platform upon which to base such weapons. Bismarck, Gascogne and Tirpitz could have told you as much. These ships are all reliant upon a combination of factors to keep them relevant and competitive, between turtleback armour, amazing speed, torpedoes, agility, rapid fire guns and/or Hydroacoustic Search. Massachusetts weighs in among these brawlers with arguably the best secondaries of the bunch and a Repair Party that's available in half the time. She has nice agility and good AA power. But she's too slow. She's too easily spotted. This isn't enough to take the top spot from the brawlers. If people were hoping for another Tirpitz, we got what amounts to another Kii instead. So if she's not top dog among the brawlers, where does this leave her? Her artillery is only ever going to be okay with 1.7 sigma, so she's not going to compete with the likes of Alabama, North Carolina or Amagi. Even Kii arguably outshoots her with her ten guns to Massachusetts' nine. She's only ever going to be a mediocre artillery platform. And it's not like the combination of the two unlocks some new paradigm either. No, Massachusetts isn't good. She's not terrible either and her game play is fun and different from anything else in the American battleship line. That's good enough for me. I'm glad to see this final chapter of Alabama-gate come to a close on a relatively positive and interesting note. Would I Recommend? So if you could only have one high tier premium American battleship, which should be it be? Missouri, Alabama or Massachusetts? Not that she's available anymore, but Missouri is the defacto winner. Surveillance Radar and her broken, overpowered economy is just too good to pass up on. Out of the two remaining ships, Alabama is superior. She's well rounded if offering very little that's different compared to North Carolina. What Massachusetts offers is unique game play. That's it, really. She'll earn the same amount as Alabama, but you'll have to work harder for the same gains. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Very yes. Bots will rush you without hesitation, bringing them into secondary range. That's exactly where Massachusetts wants 'em. Easy mode! Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. Massachusetts works well in Random Battles. She's great for farming Close Quarters Expert achievements. Team up with a smoke laying friend for extra hilarity. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. I'd give Massachusetts a pass here. Alabama is superior to Massachusetts and North Carolina bests them both. If you want to bring a brawler, dust off Bismarck or Tirpitz. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. She earned 11 Battle Stars in WW2 and is preserved as a museum ship. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. Secondary spec'd battleships are derpy fun. 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 entirel In Closing This has been one Hell of a busy month. I'm still not caught up on everything that needs doing, though I'm happy to say that I am making gains on my work pile. This review is getting published five days sooner than I thought I might with only minimal corner cutting. So yay! Next up will be a review of HMCS Haida, due out before July 1st. Happy Canada Day to you all! If you enjoy my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon. Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.
  14. I put together a ship review video for the new Anshan which contains my thoughts on the ship and some gameplay footage. I am curious to know how many people ended up buying the premium destroyer and if they enjoy it. Let me know what you all think! The Taste Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJJaSofrJHMcK-yp5ldHT-w/featured Anshan Ship Review
  15. This is a review of Mikoyan, the tier V Soviet light cruiser. She was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to me. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.4. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Hullo, everyone! This review is going to be a little bit different than my other reviews -- mostly because I've assigned myself an artificial time limit. I'm not allowed working past 24 hours total on this article (And I almost made it too. - Future Mouse). This doesn't include play test games but those were similarly cut short from my usual 30 or so to a mere dozen Random Battles and about the same in Co-Op. My reasons for doing this? I'm trying to get another review out before the end of May and to not go nucking futs working on what is ostensibly a free ship. That Mikoyan can be purchased directly to short-cut the event necessitates that she gets a review but I'm not killing myself over this one. Thanks for your understanding! And nuts to you if you don't get it! Quick Summary: A soft and squishy fast-cruiser with a small battery of Soviet 180mm rail-guns. PROS Belt is so thin that it doesn't fuse battleship caliber AP shells that strike her broadside-on. Excellent range and the ballistics to take advantage of it. Great rearward firing angles -- perfect for kiting. High AP penetration. Good HE penetration for a tier V cruiser. Good top speed of 35.5 knots. CONS Tiny 21,000 hit point pool. Wonky dispersion for a cruiser. Very little citadel protection which is vulnerable to larger caliber HE shells. Slow rate of fire. & poor fire setting characteristics. Very sluggish gun handling with poor forward-fire angles. Torpedoes are painfully short ranged. Large turning circle radius and horrible handling. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme Mikoyan is pretty basic. I'd have given her a "simple" skill floor evaluation if she was a little more forgiving when it came to "accidentally pushing". As it is, her gun handling and agility holds that back so I can't quite give her that rating. As it is, though, a novice player can do reasonably well in this ship by parking in the back line and just launching shells down range. For experts, Mikoyan is pretty surprising with her potential. Her thin belt armour is a double edged sword that can allow you to pull off some pretty troll shot baiting. If she was more agile, this could almost be clever but she doesn't have the wiggle needed to pull it off, sadly. Kiting works well, though the claustrophobic maps upon which she plays makes this difficult. You've got your work cut out for you -- carrying with Mikoyan is really difficult. Options Not much to go over here. Tier V cruisers aren't especially outlandish. Consumables Her Damage Control Party is standard for a tier V cruiser, with unlimited charges, an active period of 5s and a 60s reset timer. Her Hydroacoustic Search also conforms to tier V cruiser norms. She starts with three charges and a 100s active period. It detects torpedoes at 3km and ships at 4km. Finally, her Spotter Aircraft has four charges and provides the usual 20% range increase (bringing her up to 19.44km) for 100s. It has a 240s reset timer. Upgrades Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. In slot two, Engine Room Protection is optimal. This may surprise you given that she can take Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 for for 17,000 from the Armory, but she doesn't do well up close so you're better off protecting her machine spaces and steering gears. If you intend to use the commander skill Last Stand then you can grab the Hydroacoustic Search upgrade instead. And to no one's surprise, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is still optimal in slot three. Captain Skills Don't take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells on this ship. Never ever ever. A Soviet destroyer build is pretty close to ideal here, again so long as you avoid IFHE. Start with Priority Target. Depending upon your personal level of situational awareness, you can swap this out for Incoming Fire Alert, Preventative Maintenance or Expert Loader. More on this last skill in a bit. Take Last Stand at tier two. Loud noises a whole grid square over tend to break Mikoyan's engine and rudder. You have your pick of skills at tier three. None of them are particularly good for Mikoyan. I went with Demolition Expert as a default measure, but you could simply go with Survivability Expert for the extra 1,750hp. Finally take Concealment Expert as your last skill. There aren't a whole lot of high-tier skills that otherwise benefit this ship overmuch. If you didn't take it for your first skill, then Expert Loader is definitely worth picking up. Grab Adrenaline Rush and Expert Marksman too. You may as well grab Radio Location as your last skill, but hunting destroyers isn't a comfortable role for this ship. Instead you may want to pick skills that at least make her decent as an alternative captain for some other ship. Camouflage Mikoyan has Type 9 Camouflage. It provides the following benefits: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% experience earned. Mikoyan's default camo scheme. I much prefer the alternative palette which you can unlock via collections. Firepower Main Battery: 3x2 180mm guns in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: 2x3 launchers with one launcher per side mounted between the two funnels. Mikoyan's Fish Let's start with her torpedoes. They're largely forgettable due to their short, 4km range. This limits them to weapons of ambush and desperation -- and these tend to be linked. This ship dies a horrible death in close-quarters brawls. Her protection scheme is entirely ill-suited to fighting up close and the only time you're ever going to use her torpedoes are when you or your opponent has screwed up horribly. Those two are not mutually exclusive either. Outside of co-op, it's best to forget these even exist. Mikoyan's Guns I could go on forever and a day here, but I'll let the graphics do the talking for the most part. Here's what you need to know: Mikoyan is armed with six of the new Soviet 180mm guns. These have excellent ballistics, god-tier AP penetration across all distances, improved auto-ricochet mechanics and are stupidly-long ranged. That's the good news. The bad news is that they have horrible gun handling, poor HE performance and trollish dispersion. These are weapons designed for camping the second line, using AP shells whenever possible (which is more often than not) and praying to RNGeebus for dispersion to be kind. These are NOT weapons for spamming HE. They are very poor fire starters and their sustained damage output with HE shells is just pathetic. Also, don't bring these things into a brawl -- their gun handling is atrocious, to say nothing about their sustained damage output or burst potential with only six rifles. Mikoyan's HE damage output is pretty terrible but her AP performance is good despite her only having six guns and a slow reload. Keep in mind that her AP shells are further strengthened by truly excellent penetration values that easily exceed the 203mm performance of most other ships. Seriously, Mikoyan can citadel battleships at point blank range. Don't try it, though. You'll die. Mikoyan also has improved auto-ricochet angles meaning her shells will bite in more frequently into ships that are trying to deflect your shots. Please be aware that at the time of publishing, Kotovsky has not yet been released and her performance may change in the future. This deficit of HE performance carries over into Mikoyan's fire-setting potential. It's pretty bad. Thankfully, she doesn't need to touch IFHE. Mikoyan has 30mm of HE penetration -- more than enough to directly damage the extremities of any ship within her matchmaking spread. So there's your booby prize. Please be aware that at the time of publishing, Kotovsky has not yet been released and her performance may change in the future. The strangest dichotomy of the new Soviet cruisers (Mikoyan included) is that the ship is designed to perform best at long range due to the combination of poor gun-handling, poor agility and the excellent ballistics and penetration. Simply put, staying further back plays up to the strengths of these Soviet railguns while simultaneously hamstringing the return fire of the enemy and downplaying her own weaknesses. Yet there's a monkey-wrench in the works: As good as Mikoyan's 180mm guns should be, their dispersion keeps them from echoing the performance of ships like Molotov and Pyotr Bagration. Mikoyan's dispersion is trollish. It's not Roma-levels, mind you, but having shots land short or long is very VERY commonplace at ranges of 15km or more. I can't count the number of times I thought I had an enemy cruiser dead to rights -- a perfect broadside where I knew my AP penetration was more than sufficient to end them only to have no hits land. I wouldn't go so far as to say that this sort of thing happens constantly -- but it does happen often enough to be a marked flaw of this ship. It injects a big dose of unreliability into weapons that would otherwise be the best at their tier. 180 AP shells locked on and fired at a stationary Fuso-bot that had no camouflage. Mikoyan was using Aiming Systems Modification 1. Shots are coming in from the right -- Fuso is effectively bow-tanking the incoming fire. Imagine firing this at the broadside of a cruiser -- a lot of shells are going to fall short or fly long. I suppose the best thing that could be said about Mikoyan's gun performance is that they up-tier very well. Her ridiculously long range (pushing almost 20km with her Spotting Aircraft deployed) and effectiveness at this range means that she always has a role no matter what her opponents are. This is good news given how often tier V ships get pooped on in the Matchmaking. Seriously, in my dozen Random Battle playtesting, not once was I top tier. That could have been just a bad run of RNGeebus given how few games that is, but still. Overall, these are effective weapons so long as you can keep your ship in the game. That's what we like to call foreshadowing, boys and girls. Mikoyan's rearward fire angles on her guns are phenomenal. Firing forward, they leave her open to taking citadel hits in return. Her gun rotation is also on the poor side, with only an 8º/s rotation rate. VERDICT: Gun handling and dispersion nerf what are otherwise god-tier guns. Having only six of them holds her back too. Outside of PVE modes, you have to largely forget she has torpedoes. Durability Hit Points: 21,000 Maximum Citadel Protection: 13mm bow + 35mm transverse bulkhead or just a 35mm belt. Structural Armour: 13mm bow & stern, 16mm upper hull, 16mm deck amidships, 10mm superstructure. Torpedo Damage Reduction: None There's a lot to unpack here but I'll try and be brief. First, Mikoyan doesn't have a lot of health. And that's a bit of an understatement. Hawkins has more than 50% more health than Mikoyan and that's even before you account for the British cruiser's Repair Party consumable. Line up all of the tier V cruisers and you'll see a very marked gap in health pools from the top ships and those at the bottom. And Mikoyan sits even lower than that. So yeah, that's not good. So many cute little low-tier cruisers. Look at all of the tiny hit point pools. It would be a shame if someone were to carpet-bomb their 13mm and 16mm decks. Please be aware that at the time of publishing, Kotovsky has not yet been released and her performance may change in the future. This is made worse by her armour. It's standard tier V light-cruiser fare -- which is to say it provides almost no immunity or overmatch protection. Her 13mm bows can be overmatched by AP shells as small in caliber as 186mm -- so from Hawkins' 190mm guns to the 203mm guns on Genova, Furutaka and Exeter, she has to be careful. Similarly, she has almost no mitigation against HE shells being thrown about -- not even her belt is entirely proof there. Much ado is made about Mikoyan's citadel protection. Her 35mm belt is downright meme-worthy. Mikoyan can take HE citadel hits from whole slew of medium and large caliber HE shells. German 150mm guns (Konigsberg, Nurnberg, Makarov and the secondaries off of ships like Scharnhorst) are particularly frightening due to their high rate of fire, but HE shells from any battleship will similarly make her life hilariously short. You also have to worry about the 1/4 HE pen off of German and British heavy cruisers similarly making her life miserable. Coupled with this, her thin belt provides scarcely better than destroyer-levels of protection for her magazines and machine spaces. Near misses from HE explosions will frequently knock out her engines, to say nothing of direct hits. Last Stand is a solid investment to keep her from being caught dead in the water and then made dead in fact. Still, it's not all doom and gloom. Mikoyan's 35mm belt is too thin to arm any battleship caliber AP shells. It's only by striking the belt at an angle -- typically entering auto-ricochet territory -- that battleships have any chance of fusing their shells. There are three catches of course. Shells hitting the water. If the shells hit the water before the ship, they'll fuse beforehand and cause all sorts of unpleasantness. Overmatching down the length of the ship. If the shell penetrates the ship from the bow or stern, they'll have passed through more than enough steel to arm. EVERY battleship can overmatch Mikoyan's bow and stern. HE Shells. Just when you think you've got your auto-ricochet angles all figured out, they'll load the HE and blow you up anyway. Honestly, it's not battleships Mikoyan really has to worry about. It's other cruisers and destroyers -- which brings up an important topic: Do not brawl with this ship. I say again: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BRAWL USING THIS SHIP. Nothing will end your matches faster than thinking "Hey, this looks like a pretty good time to push in!" Don't do it. Resist the urge. Bad things will happen. That destroyer hasn't over-extended. You can't push that smoke screen. Don't attempt to ambush that battleship with torpedoes using that island. You're not going to end that beached cruiser quickly. "But Mouse, when I did it, everything went fine!" Shut up. You got lucky. Maybe the word hasn't been spread far and wide yet, but it will -- mark me, it will. Mikoyan is a victim waiting to happen and her executioners are anyone with a sub-10 second reload. For crying out loud, British 120mm/45 guns -- you know, those ones with the floaty, pissing-in-the-wind ballistics? THOSE can citadel Mikoyan 10km. They don't even have the ballistics to hit the ground at that range (look-out, moon!) and they're capable of punching into her machine spaces. Coupled with her poor DPM, agility (spoilers) and gun handling, bringing her carcass into close range is just serving herself up for the butcher. Your only defense is to keep the range up where their guns suck and yours aren't compromised. Mikoyan's durability is garbage. The only good thing about it is trolling battleships like a Chad-unicum by offering them up broadsides and watching them overpen. Of course if you think that will actually work, I'll remind you that you have even odds that the battleships you'll be facing haven't figured out that they're not supposed to spam HE. Ignoring her belt armour (I know, it's hard), Mikoyan's structural armour is super average (squishy). The geometry of her citadel's butt is more interesting than the flat surface at the front. There too, it's 35mm thick for the upper portion (kinda like a wrap-around belt) with a 6mm lower portion. But her butt (heh) has a weird little step with a 50mm shelf. This 50mm shelf can't be overmatched, so there's some largely irrelevant good news. VERDICT: Yer gunna die. Lul. Agility Top Speed: 35.5 knots Turning Radius: 830m Rudder Shift Time: 5.9s 4/4 Speed Rate of Turn: 5.3º/s She's fast but she turns like butts. Combined with her sluggish turret traverse, this is bad. The disparity between good and bad manoevrability at higher tiers is far more pronounced than down here at tier V, however the maps are a lot more claustrophobic at lower tiers so you'll feel Mikoyan's rancid-mayo handling more. There's not much more to say than that. You're an idiot if you bring her into a brawl and hope for good things to happen. I was an idiot often during play testing. Mikoyan always made sure I felt like one for thinking she had any kind of wiggle that might save me. Mikoyan's agility is "the best of the worst" among the tier V cruisers. Furutaka looks agile by comparison. For those unaware, a lot of the in-port turning radius values are a lie. Ship agility is complicated. Please be aware that at the time of publishing, Kotovsky has not yet been released and her performance may change in the future. VERDICT: Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 1 explosions for 910 damage per blast at 3.5km to 4km. Long Ranged (up to 4.0km): 21dps at 90% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 3.2km): 91dps at 90% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 1.5km): 46dps at 85% accuracy If you were hoping for a colourful, confusing graphic here, I'm sorry to disappoint. It would take too long to say: "all tier V cruisers have crappy AA defense". It's saying something when the best protected cruisers from air-power at this tier are all of those who can call on smoke (Emerald, Exeter and Montecuccoli). Sustained DPS never gets high enough to truly threaten carriers. Range is generally lacking too. Short of having smoke, a Catapult Fighter is the best deterrent you could hope for at this tier. So, lacking smoke and a fighter, you can pretty much tell that Mikoyan is screwed. And not in the fun way. Even if tier V cruisers had AA levels that could be sufficient to seeing to their own defense (or at least frustrating carriers), Mikoyan is in the bottom half (and almost the bottom third) for AA performance at this tier anyway. Mikoyan is boned. Again, not in the fun way. VERDICT: Irrelevant. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 11.98km / 10.46km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 6.38km/5.74km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 6.25km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.2km / 19.44km with Spotting Aircraft active Mikoyan's surface detection is pretty average for a tier V cruiser -- being neither bad nor good. I'd argue that she benefits from this "average" concealment more than many other ships, if only grace of her predilection for firing from the second line. It doesn't hurt that she's painfully allergic to pushing. This is a ship where you want to keep your opponents at a minimum of 12km range -- preferably more if they're trying to shoot back. That way she can silence her guns and easily drop back into concealment to avoid the worst of their return fire. To this end, her Hydroacoustic Search kind of goes to waste. Short of being actively hunted by a Japanese lolibote or in an end-game scenario where you can charge an isolated destroyer hiding in smoke, there's really little need to make use of it. It's a shame really, but this just compounds upon the difficulties this ship has with performing up close. Oh well. VERDICT: Good enough, I guess. Final Evaluation Well, at least she's free. Lemme preface this: I like lower tiered ships. I really do. However, the Matchmaking tier V ships end up facing has definitely curbed that enthusiasm. Tier V ships get the worst luck when it comes to Matchmaking. They either face a glut of carriers when top tier or they end up being the little fish against higher tiered boats. This makes evaluating them difficult -- they're forever in a disadvantageous situation where it's rare to see them at their best. I think it's points in Mikoyan's favour that at least she deals with being up-tiered about as well as you could hope. Still, I feel her design is a poor one for the tier she's placed in. This is a ship with long legs and long range that really wants some room. She is a high-tier ship design -- built for kiting. That's not something that works especially well in lower tiers. The maps down here feel island congested and claustrophobic. Mikoyan can't flex the way she needs to in order to be at her best. Even still, when she finds herself on maps with tier VII ships, her guns are a bit of a let down. Her dispersion really surprised me -- especially after having recently spent so much time with Ochakov and Pyotr Bagration. Her gunnery simply felt "off". This is entirely by design, though it's not a design i find particularly rewarding. I can stomach it more with my battleships for the promise of massive alpha strikes. For a ship that struggles to compete in the DPM races like Mikoyan, it just feels like I'm being cheated when my perfectly lined up shots stray because of RNGeebus (love you, big guy -- mad respect, but can you just chill?). When Mikoyan's guns work, they work beautifully. There's just a dash of inconsistency that makes me wary every time I pull the trigger. Most times they behave. Most times. I'll be damned if my brain doesn't remind me of the occasional failure like it was a constant oppression though. On the whole, I give Mikoyan failing marks. I don't like her. I won't be playing her. If I want this kind of game play, I'll dust off Molotov. I'm glad you can earn Mikoyan for free -- to me, she's not worth the coin needed to buy her. Conclusion I really tried to limit myself with how much time I was going to spend on this review. May has been hella-busy. This is my fifth review published this month behind Cheshire, Orkan, Ochakov and Pyotr Bagration. I wish I could say playing these ships was fun. I really only enjoyed Ochakov and even then, she's not likely to be a ship that I dust off for her own sake. Ugh. This month has felt like a whole lot of work. I cut corners here where I could to expedite getting this one out. I can't say I'm happy with the results, though I am glad to get this out in a timely manner. I won't have the luxury of half-assing the next three reviews coming up, one of which is my 150th. The big one-five-oh should line up with Odin's release if I understand the timing correctly. I think that's reasonably auspicious right there. I've been floating the idea of doing an "open book" review -- showing my process as I go, making rough drafts and notes available as I piece it together in my usual methodology. It's one thing to say that a lot of work goes into these reviews. I think it would be eye opening for some to see everything that doesn't end up in the final review. Lemme know if you think this is something you'd enjoy seeing. It will involve some extra work, but I think it's worthwhile if there's enough interest. For now, I need a break. There's a lot of work still to be done with the submarines on the live server, so I'm going to have to try those out. And that's not discounting the next ships to evaluate which are coming up shortly. I need to fast recharge my batteries.
  16. The following is a review of Haida, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 28th, 2018. I'm so happy, I'm crying. Quick Summary: A stealthy British gunship destroyer with a weird Smoke Generator and a single torpedo launcher. Cost: The equivalent of 5,600 doubloons. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.5.1 , June 20th, 2018 to June 28th, 2018. PROS Surprisingly tough for a tier VII destroyer with 15,700 hit points and large areas of 19mm armour. Enormous alpha strike on her HE shells and excellent HE DPM. Powerful torpedoes that hit for 16,767 damage and travel at 62kts. She can single-fire her torpedoes. Incredibly stealthy. Able to drop its surface detection down to 5.7km. Equipped with a British destroyer Hydroacoustic Search with a 3 minute (!) active time. Uses a Commonwealth Smoke Generator with a 90s emission time, allowing her to continue moving while staying hidden. The power (and comfort) of this ship spikes considerably with access to the Special Upgrades, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 and Smoke Generator Modification 1. CONS Poor gun firing arcs on A and Y turret. Horrible shell flight time and very high ballistic arcs at range. Struggles to do damage against larger targets with poor penetration on AP & HE shells and poor fire chance. Only armed with a single quadruple torpedo launcher with a long reload. Not especially agile with a modest top speed of 36.5 knots and a 630m turning radius. Her Hydroacoustic Search is very short ranged, scarcely operating beyond the auto-detection radius. Her Smoke Generator is selfish and difficult to use to protect allies. As a Commonwealth ship, Haida has limited use as a commander trainer. Good day and welcome to the Canadian Corner. I'm Mouse and this is my grouchy editor from across the pond, Lert, eh. HMCS Haida is finally here. Finally, Canadians will stop complaining on Reddit, eh? Well maybe. Haida and the Tribal-class took a while getting through development. It's not like there isn't a small bit of controversy regarding how well this ship performs. My fellow Canadian, iChase, quite rightly pointed out that she's not going to be a ship for everyone, y'know? Who was the hoser that thought up a gunship with bad guns, eh? And it's not like she's got a lot of torpedoes to fall back on. Anyway, let's get this review started. It's gonna be a long one cause there's lots to go over and I have to pretend I'm not fangirling all over the place. Before we go any further, make sure you look up several reviews before opening your wallets for this one, okay? Like hold your horses, eh? Okay, that's my intro. Good day. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme This isn't a ship for new players. Haida struggles to deal reliable damage with either her guns or her torpedoes. Her ballistic arcs, poor penetration and horrible fire chance makes standing off at a distance and trying to deal damage challenging at best and horribly frustrating at worst. Her single torpedo launcher compounds this difficulty. This is a ship that belongs on the front lines where mistakes get punished absurdly quickly. Her only saving grace is her excellent concealment. Veterans will love this boat. She's uniquely designed to bully control points and extend vision for her team. This ship is a catalyst, facilitating wins by dominating caps and shutting down enemy destroyers. She rewards an aggressive play style that espouses knife-fights at point-blank ranges while harassing larger enemies. - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Haida's Firepower is a story of contrasts. Her guns are temperamental but their HE is incredibly hard hitting. She has only a single torpedo launcher but she has the ability to single fire them and deliver monstrous damage per hit. For sheer raw potential, though, she cannot escape being one of the most difficult ships to use on the attack at tier VII. She gets a rating. Haida has a high number of hit points combined with some minor armour improvements. She earns a rating. Her agility and anti-aircraft firepower are nothing to get too excited over, deserving the same evaluation. It's in Vision Control (Refrigerator) where Haida dominates. Even giving her a rating doesn't do her justice. This isn't a torpedo-boat that skulks, frightened of being discovered. Haida uses her concealment and detection abilities to hunt down those who want to remain hidden and punish those who think themselves safe. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida-Players In this short documentary series, we will be exploring four of the different types of Haida-players. They are easily identified by their distinct behaviors and performance, how they react to threats and the level of contribution they provide to their teams. Being able to recognize one of these Haida players and their potential impacts on the game will go a long way towards improving your experience. Click the image for a Youtube playlist of timeless Canadiana! Options Haida's gimmick is focused upon her two consumables. Haida makes use of the new Royal Navy destroyer Hydroacoustic Search consumable while borrowing a modified version of Perth's "creeping" Smoke Generator. In addition, Haida has access to two different premium camouflage patterns. Consumables Haida's Damage Control Party and Engine Boost consumables are normal for a tier VII destroyer. Haida's Smoke Generator is a modified version of that found on Perth and Huanghe -- two cruisers from the Commonwealth and Pan Asian tech trees respectively. Each cloud only lasts a mere 10 seconds but the generator continues making smoke for 90 seconds. With this, Haida can continue moving at speed (up to 12.5 knots) and remain hidden, covered by a continually deploying smoke cloud. Unlike the cruisers which also use this version of the consumable, Haida's reset timer is 120s / 80s between uses -- half the time of Perth's or Huanghe's. Her Hydroacoustic Search is that of the upcoming Royal Navy destroyer line. It's incredibly short ranged, detecting torpedoes at a mere 2.13km and ships at 3.12km. However, it's duration is 50% longer than that of standard cruiser-versions lasting 180 seconds. Upgrades In your first slot, you have a choice. Magazine Modification 1 will help mitigate some of the Fun and Engaging mechanics in World of Warships if you're adverse to that kind of thing. As a destroyer, you will detonate suddenly and often. If you like to gamble, then take Main Armaments Modification 1 instead. In your second slot, take Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1. This is one of the special upgrades and it will extend her Hydroacoustic Search's active time from 180s to 216s which is insane. You could use Propulsion System Modification 1, but that's for quitters. If you don't have the special upgrade, get one ASAP. In your third slot, take Smoke Generator Modification 1. This is another Special Upgrade. It increases the action time of your Smoke Generator from 90s to 117s. If you don't have access to one, you can use Aiming System Modification 1 like a poor person until you get enough sense of self worth to chase your dreams. Spend your coal on Special Upgrades! Unlike other destroyers, Haida doesn't spend very much time stationary, so the value of Propulsion Modification 2 is slightly reduced. To this end, it's really up to you on whether to take this or to reach for Steering Gears Modification 2 instead. They're both good. Camouflage Haida comes with Type 10 Camouflage. Players may also acquire Haida: Maple Leaf camouflage as an aesthetic swap. Both types provide: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Haida's optional Maple Leaf camouflage. This is camouflage is simply cosmetic and provides the same bonuses as her default camouflage. Haida joins Texas and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya with awesome, over-the-top patriotic camo. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Beaver Haida-Beaver is a passive, inexperienced destroyer player. Timid, her concealment & consumables are used as a security blanket and solely to keep her safe. Haida-Beaver sits within the sanctum of her pond (built from hydro and smoke) and hides from any and all threats. She might venture out and do a little bit of damage, but it's all done at range. This is about as exciting as Molson Canadian beer. You can expect to see her on the second line or off at the extremes of the map border, well away from predators. She'll only venture as close as needed to drop torpedoes or fire her guns and then quickly scurry away. Her success will be limited, like a border humping Shimakaze. Firepower Main Battery: Six 120mm/45 rifles in 3x2 turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Two 102mm/45 rifles in 1x2 turrets mounted where X-turret from the main battery would be located. Torpedoes: Four torpedo tubes in 1x4 launchers mounted amidships. Balancing the Tribal-class destroyers for World of Warships was never going to be easy. The 120mm/45 guns aren't exactly known for their incredible striking power, rate of fire or their excellent ballistic qualities. Similarly, being limited to a single torpedo launcher greatly hinders Haida's damage potential. She has the worst weapon arrangement of any of the tier VII destroyers. These are not easy weapons to use and played improperly, some will struggle to see reasonable damage output. The Guns The single biggest disappointment I have with Haida's weapon systems are her uninspiring AP shells. For small caliber guns, AP shells are important against larger and more heavily armoured targets that are capable of shrugging off their HE damage entirely. Poor energy retention saps the penetration power of Haida's AP over distance, creating a very limited window at which this ammunition can be used effectively. Even slight angling by larger targets will foil their damage attempts. Among the tier VII destroyers, Haida's 120mm AP shells have the worst penetration values outside of 9km, being overtaken by the 128mm German AP. This issue of penetration is compounded by the low damage Haida's AP shells do when compared to her HE. There's only 200 hit points difference between them -- when factoring in for 0.33x multiplier of a penetrating hit, this disparity drops down to just 66 hit points. Given the unreliability of AP shells between overpenetrating hits and ricochets, Haida's AP is only worth firing if one of two conditions are met: Her HE shells must be completely incapable of damaging a given target, or... Her AP shells must be capable of delivering citadel damage. In all other cases, firing HE is superior given the bonus chance of starting fires and the resulting module damage that can occur from the blast of HE shells. This is owing not only to the deficiencies of Haida's AP shells, but the strengths of her HE. Whatever lamentations I have about Haida's AP shells are largely corrected with her HE. These munitions are not without their issues, but I'm of the opinion that their strengths far outweigh their deficiencies. Haida's core strength lies in the striking power of her HE shells. Her HE shells are listed with a maximum damage of 1,900 per hit, the same as Soviet 130mm rifles. Accounting for penetration damage, each of her hits will strike for 627hp, giving her a broadside alpha strike of up to 3,762 damage per volley. This is the second largest alpha strike at her tier, just behind Blyskawica's own 3,927hp if she hits with all seven of her guns. Haida has a faster reload than her Polish-twin, though, and she unleashes the highest damage per minute of any of the tier VII destroyers, outstripping even the B-Hull Mahan's five, rapid-fire 127mm/38s. She's fully capable of out-trading any of her contemporaries and can even make higher tiered lolitbotes balk at the power of her bite. DPM of the destroyer-caliber tier VII gunships. Haida has got it where it counts but it's one Hell of a close race. I must emphasize that this is limited to soft targets, however. The small caliber of Haida's HE shells leads to penetration issues. Stock, she may only directly damage areas of 19mm or less, which thankfully accounts for all destroyers and the superstructures of larger ships within her Matchmaking. This also includes most cruisers at tier VII or less, though thicker hull plating begins to appear around tier VI for some of the heavy cruisers. By tier VIII+ only British light cruisers remain vulnerable. For battleships, the range of targets is considerably smaller, with only tier V battleships having extremities she can punish. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells broadens the number of targets she can damage, but it by no means is a cure all. The skill increases her penetration to be able to damage areas of 25mm or less. This provides no benefit for engaging enemy destroyers whatsoever. It adds a handful of cruisers to her list of available targets and all of the tier VI and VII battleships as well. However, Haida can not directly damage the extremities of battleships nor the hulls of American and German heavy cruisers at tier VIII or higher. Against these targets, she's limited to dealing direct damage to superstructures and these areas saturate quickly. Haida must switch to her torpedoes or AP shells to hurt these more heavily armoured behemoths. She's not likely to hurt them with fire. She's a poor fire starter. Her fire chance will fluctuate based on skill choice with as low as 4% per shell and as high as 8% with a combination of Demolition Expert and the two fire-chance increasing signals. This pales behind the 7% to 11% on ships like Blyskawica and Gadjah Mada. Destroyers already struggle to stack fires effectively and Haida is unlikely to tax an opponent's Damage Control Party with the blazes she sets. This makes Inertial Fuse for HE Shells more valuable in my opinion -- better to play to her strengths rather than attempt to prop up a weakness. Haida's strength resides in delivering these meaty hits with her HE shells, bringing all six guns to bear and chewing on their hides. Fires per Minute of Tier VII Destroyers before mitigation from the target is applied. "Upgraded" includes the use of Basic Fire Training, Demolition Expert and both fire boosting signals. Haida is never going to be considered a "good" fire starter. You can invest heavily into increasing her chances to set blazes if you wish, but you're unlikely to make more than a single fire stick per minute on an enemy battleship. Note the extreme difference between Haida's fire starting and Gadjah Mada's. They both use the same 120mm/45 guns but Haida uses a modified HE shell with increased damage at the cost of reduced fire chance. This will turn a lot of players away. The Tribal-class destroyers do not have particularly good firing arcs, which necessitates presenting more of a broadside to engage with all three of her turrets. The strengths and flexibility of the ship's gun coverage was supposed to reside in their B and X turrets. With X-turret removed to make room for a 102mm dual-purpose secondary, this leaves all of the heavy lifting on B's shoulders. Thankfully, they're a broad set of shoulders. Not only does B-turret boast great fire angles , but it can also rotate 360º, giving faster coverage from left to right while Haida is sailing evasive on the retreat. This is good news given the modest 10º/s rotation rate of her weapons. In most engagements, Haida will be able to easily bring four of her guns to bear, but you have to give up a lot of side to fire her Y-turret and that's necessary to really capitalize on this ship's strengths. Of course, stacking said damage presents more of a challenge than it should. Other than her fire arcs, Haida has poor shell ballistics. Up to 7km ranges, they're comparable to American 127mm/38s. I'm aware this isn't a flattering comparison given the flaws of American destroyer-caliber guns. Unfortunately, things get worse after that. British 120mm/45s have worse shell flight times than the Yanks. Seriously. These aren't weapons you'll want to stack Advanced Fire Training on. The shell flight time over distance is just too punitive to land hits against anything further out than 9km. So let's recap: The fire arcs on her main battery are not great. Her shell ballistics for HE and AP are terrible. She has bad AP penetration. The small caliber of her HE shells makes her HE penetration bad too. Her HE shells have a terrible fire chance. Her HE shells hit like a truck, however. Haida can out trade just about any destroyer she comes across, provided you can land the hits. Success with Haida as a gunship thus resides in emphasizing the accuracy and frequency of her HE hits against vulnerable targets and switching over to AP only when citadel opportunities arise. In both of these cases, this clearly involves getting in close -- dangerously so. These are knife-fighting ranges and Haida's artillery would seem to point that she should specialize towards hunting and engaging enemy destroyers, with cruisers and battleships as targets of opportunity. This premise is largely reinforced by her torpedo armament. The Fish Haida only has a single torpedo launcher. You can forget any pretense of playing this destroyer as a torpedo-boat for obvious reasons. While having a quadruple launcher is nice, it also comes with the downside of a downright painful 96 second reload. These two traits combined with a mediocre range of 8km may make her torpedoes seem like a complete write-off but they're not without some very strong merits. When compared to work-in-progress Royal Navy destroyer torpedoes, Haida's fish look amazing being comparable in performance to those off the tier X Daring-class in all aspects but range. Haida's torpedoes individually hit almost as hard as Shiratusyu's and Akatsuki's torpedoes. At 16,767 damage per hit and a 282% base flooding chance, Haida can devour large chunks of the enemy hit points with just a couple of strikes. This sits just behind the 17,233 damage and 287% flooding chance of the IJN fish. Haida is fully capable of one-shotting many of the destroyers she faces with a single torpedo. Haida's torpedoes have a 62 knot speed. They close the distance quickly and are on par with the IJN torpedoes at her tier. Haida's torpedoes are an improvement on the Japanese fish, though, with 200m less detectability and 1.2s less reaction time at 8.4s. Haida may single fire her torpedoes. Admittedly this is very difficult to exploit to its fullest. The potential on paper is devastating. In theory, it should allow you to guarantee more hits per launch when precisely aimed. Similarly, it opens the possibility of stacking flood effects to tax and overwhelm the Damage Control Party of enemy vessels provided you can space the time between hits. Finally, it can be used to bait ships into believing you're out of torpedoes when they dodge the first torpedo only to be caught out when they manoeuvre by the other three. However, these techniques are locked behind a very high skill wall barring the incompetence of your opponents. Make no mistake, while there is a lot of potency in Haida's single torpedo mount, it's not easy to use. I didn't forget about Haida's secondary. The British 102mm/45 is a great mid-tier backup weapon. Its high rate of fire is wonderful and it has a better fire chance that Haida's primary battery. There's the added bonus having great fields of fire, so it's very easy to bring it in on a fight. There are two problems with it, though. The first, it's linked to Haida's AA guns. Enabling one enables the other and with a long reach, this can give Haida's position away prematurely which can get you killed. Second, Haida's secondary is very short ranged -- a mere 4.0km. You're going to have to get in stupidly close to make this work for you, or you're going to have to give up on more advantageous skills and upgrades. In playtesting, I did manage to sink two ships with Haida's stock-secondary, so it's not useless. Like all of Haida's weapon systems, it's simply awkward to use. Summary Trying to deal damage at range will yield poor results. Haida is a knife-fighter. Get her in close. If you haven't yet learned how to stack damage with single-fire torpedoes, now is the time. She has a secondary. Sometimes it will kill stuff. Make sure to brag about it when you do. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : On the whole, Haida's weapon systems are the worst at tier VII. It's not by much. Sims and Minsk are similarly lacking. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Moose Dangerous when crossed, the Haida-Moose is one that plays the role of a forward scout. Her Smoke Generator and Hydroacoustic Search are used defensively but she places herself up on the front lines to make sure her team has vision for as much time as possible. She prefers to keep enemies at arm's reach. If startled, Haida-moose may charge unexpectedly and can be devastating in these limited encounters. However, she's skittish and is just as likely to flee. Her suicidal bull charges are just as dangerous to Haida-Moose herself as the vehicle their opponents are driving. Haida-Moose will win more often, but no more so than any other destroyer. Haida-Moose's contributions to her team are unpredictable and caution should be exercised whenever you encounter one. Defense Hit Points: 15,700hp Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour: 16mm bow and rear quarter and 19mm stern, sides & deck. It's hella weird. See below. Normally for destroyers, the only thing worth talking about is their relative hit point total to one another. Haida comes out alright here. She ranks third overall for hit points among the tier VII DDs which is pretty impressive, what with Z-39 and Leberecht Maass to compete against. Clearly, Haida has been eating too much poutine. The healthy slug of hit points Haida boasts further improves her ability to out-trade enemy destroyers with her high HE DPM. But there's a further oddity with her armour layout. Large areas of Haida's hull and her entire deck are 19mm thick. This can provide some limited amount of defense against small caliber (114mm or less) HE shells, particularly those fired from battleship secondaries. Finally, the vulnerability of her main battery is worth mentioning. Without Main Armaments Modification 1 or Preventative Maintenance, you can expect Haida's main battery guns to be knocked out frequently. Like Blyskawica, her guns mounts are not fully enclosed turrets. Her gun shields are a mere 6mm thick with open backs. It is not uncommon for high explosive shells to disable one or multiple turrets in an engagement. For a destroyer who is reliant upon winning DPM races at close quarters, this can be crippling. Choose your skills and upgrades with this in mind. Hit point totals of tier VII destroyers. For a gunship, Haida is very well setup to bully other tier VII ships. It's only the Germans that outweigh her in this regard, but she easily caps them in damage per minute totals when firing HE shells. Angling will be key for besting their high AP shell damage. Make sure you take Survivability Expert to further boost your hit point totals. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Haida's already close here, but to top German DDs she's going to need much thicker armour, a bloated hit point pool or access to a Repair Party. Agility Top Speed: 36.5kts Turning Radius: 630m Rudder Shift Time: 3.8s Maximum Rate of Turn: 7.5º/s There's a whole lot of "meh" here. Haida's top speed is alright. It's not great, though -- not in a tier populated by the likes of the Leningrad-class (43 knots), Blyskawica (39 knots) and Sims (38.5 knots). Haida is more reliant upon her concealment rather than her flat out speed to control engagement distances. In a running battle, she's at a disadvantage. She's also pretty lackluster with her turning radius. At 630m, you're going to need some advance warning when enemy fish are on their way. You're also going to need a bit of distance from enemy cruisers and battleships in order to dodge effectively. Keep this in mind. Her overall rate of turn is on the low side. Haida's not going to win any prizes for agility. She's comparable to Leberecht Maass in overall agility which isn't a very flattering. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Yeah, this isn't going to happen. It's only thanks to Shiratsuyu and Z-39 that she comes away with a rating at all. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Wolverine Small and scrappy, Haida-Wolverine challenges cap-circle dominance and is eager to fight with other destroyers. Though a solitary hunter, she's a team player and she uses her consumables to get the upper hand when contesting caps and to ensure the enemy never gets the drop on her friends. Haida-Wolverine is looking for a close-range brawl and she's going to use her concealment value to get it. At this tier, you can expect to see her smoke being used more aggressively rather than just an escape tool. Spotting her in a cap circle won't cause her to immediately flee and you're going to have to dig her out with planes, radar or focused fire. Expect some clever use of her consumables and good coordination with team mates. Haida will win a lot more once you're comfortably at this level. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 102mm / 40mm / 20mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 2.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 9.4 / 13 / 36.6 I wish I could just say that Haida's anti-aircraft firepower sucks and be done with it, but there's one more point to cover. Disabling Haida's AA firepower to keep her from being prematurely spotted by aircraft also disables her secondary. Not cool. Haida's AA defense is pretty shoddy, but she's in good company at tier VII. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Not a whole lot. Tier VII AA power is pretty shoddy and no one really pays it much mind anyway. Just showing up with a specialized AA build alone would make her better than most of her contemporaries, but that's true for any of the DDs. Moving on. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range (stock/min): 6.49km / 5.67km Air Detection Range (stock/min): 3.90km / 3.51km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.31km Main Battery Firing Range: 12.3km Detection Consumables: Smoke Generator / Hydroacoustic Search Haida has the best surface detection of any of the tier VII destroyers. It's not even a close contest. Her surface detection is so low, it almost appears that she has the Concealment Modification 1 upgrade built in (we'll see what happens with HMS Cossack!). It's only when Haida is compared to ships at this higher tier that her surface detection appears almost normal. In fact, out of all of the ships she may encounter, Haida ranks 12th out of some 50 rival destroyers for best concealment. Those that out-spot her are primarily IJN destroyers. Few of these destroyers present any kind of threat to Haida. Generally speaking, Haida can outfight anything that out-spots her and she can outspot anything that could be considered a threat, giving her the opportunity to control the engagement. Ten Best Upgraded Concealment Values Between Tiers 5 & 9 5.37km - Kagero (8), Asashio (8) & Harekaze (8) 5.41km - Fujin (5), Kamikaze R (5), Kamikaze (5), Minekaze (5), Mutsuki (5) 5.44km - Yugumo (9) 5.66km - Okhotnik (5) & Chung Mu (9) 5.67km - Haida (7) 5.80km - Benson (8), Loyang (8), Hsienyang (8), Fletcher (9), Black (9) 5.81km - Nicholas (5), Hatsuharu (6), Shiratsuyu (7) 5.94km - Akizuki (8), Z-46 (9) 5.97km - Jianwei (5), Gallant (6) 6.08km - Ognevoi (8) Smoke Generator As good as her surface detection is there will be times where she has to reach for her Smoke Generator. And here's where Haida gets weird. For a destroyer, Haida is unique, deploying the same "creeping smoke" as HMAS Perth or Huanghe. This consumable constantly deploys smoke for one minute and thirty seconds (or up to one minute and forty-seven seconds with the Smoke Generator Modification 1 special upgrade). However, each smoke cloud disappears in ten seconds (nine and a half with the special upgrade). This allows Haida to remain mobile. In order to stay hidden, Haida must maintain a speed of 12.5 knots or less. Haida moves at between 9.0 and 10.4 knots at 1/4 speed, with the latter value being from a combination of a Sierra Mike signal and her Engine Boost consumable. You can flutter the engines up to 1/2 power for brief intervals to get a little more thrust, just be careful not to exceed the 12.5 knots. Combined with her Hydroacoustic Search, while moving in smoke, Haida trivializes the dangers of incoming torpedoes. Haida's smoke is very selfish. She lacks on team play as she cannot effectively cover allies with her consumable without a high degree of coordination. This isn't something I would expect most friendly players encountered in Random or Ranked Battles to know how to do, especially in the heat of combat. Poor understanding of Haida's consumable will only get her allies killed that presumptuously attempt to rely on it in a moment of crisis. It is possible for Haida to provide cover. There are three ways to do it: The ship needs to synch their speed with Haida and sail in close proximity. Haida needs to call out her speed and announce any course corrections. This is best done in division over voice coms. Haida sails in front of a larger ship that needs cover while both ships move at high speed. Haida herself will not be concealed in smoke -- constantly outrunning it, but the friendly ship will be. Both ships park their butt in what amounts to a single puff of continually reissued smoke. Mind those incoming torpedoes. Haida's mobility with her smoke is very welcome in situations where the battle progresses and you need to redeploy. Haida can accelerate out of her smoke and bring it with her, allowing her to setup in a second location and continue making aggressive plays. The catch is that even when she's not spotted, Haida broadcasts her position. The palls of moving smoke are hard to miss. You cannot count on taking anyone but the most distracted players unawares this way. Speaking of awareness... Hydroacoustic Search Haida is the first ship to be released with what appears to be the new Royal Navy destroyer Hydroacoustic Search consumable. Haida was the test-bed for this new consumable and it's proven to be quite powerful. At first blush, it doesn't look like it, though. The range appears too short to be used offensively and like her Smoke Generator, Haida's Hydroacoustic Search appears very selfish, being only able to spot torpedoes in her immediate vicinity. However, the duration of this consumable more than makes up for any lack of range, providing Haida (and her team) with increased situational awareness. This facilitates Haida's presence up on the front lines. The longer she can remain there confidently, the more her team benefits. Her torpedo detection may seem small, but it provides Haida with all of the time she needs to manoeuvre. The 2.13km range can be modified with Vigilance if a player desires, bringing her torpedo detection range up to 2.66km. For a destroyer, none of these values present much in the way of concern. Short of point blank drops (aerial or otherwise), Haida should have no problems avoiding torpedoes in any given situation so long as her Hydroacoustic Search is running. If she's upgraded with Hydracoustic Search Modification 1, the run time of her consumable is three minutes and forty-six seconds which is an enormous window of relative immunity to torpedo attack. However, there's one more way of putting Haida's Hydroacoustic Search to use -- and that's on the attack. While her Hydroacoustic Search picks up enemy vessels just 1.12km beyond standard auto-detection range, this buffer is more than enough for Haida to abuse. Whether its creeping up on enemies hiding in their own smoke or slipping into range with her own, Haida is stealthy enough to pull it off. What's more, her guns have a tiny stealth bloom in smoke of 2.31km, giving Haida 800m of stealth-firing window to begin hammering targets without being seen in return. For a destroyer with such a high DPM, this is often all that's needed to doom an enemy DD (or a low health cruiser). With the long duration of Haida's Hydroacoustic Search, these attacks don't need to be rushed. You can take your time ensuring you get the proper setup, outlasting enemy Surveillance Radar or even German destroyer Hydroacoustic Search, letting you take them unawares. Crappy Weapons, God Tier Concealment Haida's excellent Vision Control largely explains why her weapon systems are of poor quality. Were her guns or torpedoes any better, she'd be overpowered. Seriously. Summary: Her Smoke Generator is selfish, but it's at least very flexible. Her Hydroacoustic Search's duration is its best feature. It's amazingly comfortable. Haida is stealthy as all get out.. She has no right being this sneaky, especially when firing her guns from smoke. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : The only way Haida is giving up her crown here would be if another destroyer was added with similar concealment levels with American-style smoke and either Surveillance Radar or a cruiser's Hydroacoustic Search. They'd have to downtier Loyang. Hinterland Who's Who: Haida Cobra-Chicken Psychotically aggressive with seemingly little to no sense of self-preservation. Haida Cobra-Chicken will wreck you and poop on your corpse. Unlike the reckless bull-charge of Haida-Moose, Haida Cobra-Chicken's hatred for you is calculated despite appearances. You can think you're safe, hiding in smoke or behind cover, but she'll come and get you. She'll come and get you and you won't see her coming until she's hissing in your face. She doesn't care if you're a destroyer or HMS Belfast. God help you if she migrates into the cap you're contesting. The existence of any enemies on her territory is met with extreme aggression until they're dead or driven off. Haida Cobra-Chicken will abuse her concealment to make seemingly reckless plays to pick off enemies at point blank ranges. She'll knife fight not only with destroyers but cruisers and battleships when opportunities arise. Most of her kills will happen inside of 4km ranges and you'd never expect this level of aggression from something so derpy looking. Enemy radar and hydro is only a temporary deterrent and, like an aggressively swung umbrella, it can only keep enemies safe for so long. Her consumables are used to close the distance unseen, abusing vision to bring hot, poutine-flavoured death to people who dismissed her out of hand. She'll then make her escape to go back to nesting upon her cap circle until the next fool trespasses on what's rightfully hers. The test environment for Haida was about as nightmarish as it gets. All of her balance testing was done amidst the release of the American cruiser line. It was not uncommon for between one third to half of the enemy team having access to Surveillance Radar. If Haida could thrive in that environment, she can make it anywhere. A DeWolf in Sheep's Clothing Haida is a skill-hungry ship. You're going to feel starved for skill points, with so many viable and competitive choices, you're going to feel stretched thin. I played several different builds over the course of play testing and it's the one below that I found worked best for me. Start with Priority Target. This lets you know when it's time to get out of Dodge. Next take the no-brainer, Last Stand at tier two. At tier 3, take Survivabiliy Expert to increase your hit point total. This saved me more times than I care to admit. And then move up to tier 4 to take Concealment Expert. Cuz, duh. From here, it comes down to improving the quality and quantity of her HE direct damage. Basic Fire Training comes first. Haida primarily picks on destroyers and this will help ensure her dominance. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will facilitate doing direct damage to cruisers and battleships. And finally Adrenaline Rush will further increase her DPM. There are lots of other viable skills, but they are, in my opinion, less worth while than the ones selected. Still, I highlighted skills that are reasonable substitutions. Here's why they didn't make my cut: I value information more than I do a better RNGesus roll. So Preventative Maintenance is less valuable to me than Priority Target. Haida can't out turn her turrets, so Expert Marksman is more for comfort than a necessity. Smoke Screen Expert can be a viable choice if you plan to division often with Haida. This will help your allies cuddle in your smoke screen. Haida doesn't set fires well. Demolition Expert can help pad her up to Sims-levels of fire starting, but it's bit of a waste. Vigilance is a good skill if you intend to division often. It also has some value in competitive for team play. Radio Location isn't really necessary if you focus on dominating capture points. Eventually they'll have to come to you. Besides, Haida isn't quite fast enough to put this to the best use. ... and finally... If you have access to the special upgrades for smoke and hydro, then Superintendent isn't necessary. Most games will end by the time you've used 3 charges. Still, for those marathon, nail-biter games, this could be nice to have. So get those special upgrades. Spend that coal! Final Evaluation I have been horribly stressed while following the development of Haida. It was really hard not to let bias take over my wants and wishes for Haida. I'm Canadian. Haida is my ship. It's likely the only Canadian vessel I'm ever going to see in World of Warships. I wanted her to be good. Worse, I recognized that I wanted her to be perceived as a good ship. I was excited about her. I wanted others to be excited along with me, even if I understood this was foolish and damaging to any review I might do. More than anything else, I feared Haida would end up bland and uninteresting. I could stomach her underperforming. If she was fun to play, I could forgive a lot. As someone who writes reviews, this is incredibly dangerous and I hope I've been successful in reigning this in. If you feel yourself cautious about this ship based on this review, then I've been successful. If you're overcome by hype, please, please, please, stop reading this and go find another review of Haida before your money explodes recklessly out of your wallet and into Wargaming's coffers. Haida that we've been given is a destroyer-hunter. She specializes in close-range knife fights where her high damage output overwhelms her opponents in short order. Contrary to American destroyers, she doesn't do this grace of excellent gun handling, phenomenal fire arcs and fast-firing weapons. Instead she relies on stealth to get in close, mitigating the weaknesses of her poor arcs and shell flight times to deliver several high damage hits before her opponent can react. If a fight opens up at range, she can still maintain a DPM advantage over select lolibotes, but her superiority falls away quickly. It's ill advised to attempt to pursue all but the most badly damaged vessels. Her ideal engagement distances are within 7km and she can be absolutely devastating at closer ranges. I cannot stress this enough: Haida's ideal engagement range is at distances that would be suicide to any other vessel. What is most remarkable about her is that she not only pulls it off, she excels in this environment.With her tiny surface detection, her access to a weird creeping Smoke Generator and an even weirder Hydroacoustic Search, she is well suited to not only closing into these ranges and engaging the enemies, but doing so without giving herself away. These close-range engagements are key to her success and not just with enemy destroyers. The closer you are, the easier it is to land hits, not only with her guns but with torpedoes too. Though Haida is limited to just a single torpedo-launcher, her individual fish are incredibly hard hitting. Haida deals nearly as much damage with her four torpedoes as Sims does with eight. Haida lacks the overwhelming alpha strike normally associated with close-range torpedo attacks, however. You can't count on being able to land Devastating Strike on capital ships. There's little chance of her ever nuking anything but a lower-tier battleship down from full health short of a lucky detonation. Thus attempts at these suicide rushes will, at best, cripple a target and leave you open to reprisals. This does work devastatingly well against cruisers, however, provided you can survive the gamut of Hydroacoustic Search and Surveillance Radar pickets that will be trying to sniff you out. Haida is a weird destroyer, borrowing elements from Kidd, Loyang and Perth with just enough Fujin in there to make you blink. I have found Haida to be a wonderful fit for me and I played the absolute Hell out of her during testing with over 150 games in her final iteration. But therein, I must stress caution. I remember my first dozen games played and it was a steep learning curve. Haida and I fought one another until things clicked and I didn't like her during this learning period. For some of the other testers I've spoken to, this kind of connection never happened. Enjoyment in Haida remained elusive for them and it could happen to you too. Your own mileage can (and will inevitably) vary. Would I Recommend? I suspect Haida will be a source of frustration for many players. This will come from three distinct areas. Players that want to like her but can't make her work for them. I sympathize, really. She's not an easy destroyer to play. I suspect there will be a number of people that pick her up, hit the wall and relegate this ship to a port queen. Players that end up with a Haida on their team that doesn't push. For a ship with so many tools available to facilitate contesting capture points and spotting, few things will be as more infuriating as seeing a Haida that plays passively and hides in the back in their own smoke. Players that end up with a well-played Haida on the enemy team. This is the only thing that's going to be worse than a bad Haida on your team is a good one on the enemy team. While the skill floor is high on Haida, in the right hands she's an absolute monster. She's well set up to bait radar, survive and then double back and do all sorts of mean things to your team. Without coordination and/or aggression, putting her down is difficult. It's not going to be fun watching your destroyers melt to preventable losses like sitting in their own smoke. It pays to keep Haida's strengths in mind -- she is not an easy destroyer to play. Please don't take just my word for it. Check out some of the other reviews on HMCS Haida before taking the plunge. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No. Haida doesn't have the raw alpha strike needed to contend with charging bots in Co-Op. You can make her work, but you'd be much better suited with Leningrad, Sims, Blyskawica, Z-39 or any of the tech tree ships. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. In the chaos of Random Battles, Haida shines. She'll earn you lots of credits and experience. There are two downsides to keep in mind, though. There's no Commonwealth tech tree and there's never likely to be any Commonwealth tech tree. Haida has very little utility as a trainer until you max her commander to 19 skill points and farm elite commander XP which can then be distributed elsewhere as needed. She's not easy to use. While a given players' mileage will vary, Haida can seem very lackluster to those unwilling or unable to play aggressively. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. Haida is well suited to Ranked Battles where destroyer duels and selfish plays are heavily rewarded. She will struggle towards the end-game of matches, however, when there are just larger ships left. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. Haida is a ship steeped in history having seen a lot of combat in WW2 and Korea. In addition, she's a museum ship. She's the last of the surviving Tribal-class destroyers and the first Tribal-class and first Canadian vessel added to World of Warships. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. I love this ship. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. In Closing I owe a lot of thanks yous for this one. Chobittsu went above and beyond helping provide artwork for this review. Many of my Canadian readers stepped forward with suggestions and support, eagerly anticipating this review. Finally, Pigeon_of_War at Wargaming has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to help make HMCS Haida a reality. He has been wonderful for listening attentively to feedback from the North American community regarding including Haida in World of Warships. On a more personal note, he's been very attentive at addressing my concerns about this ship during its development. I can't thank him enough. And that's it! I'm done! Haida's published and Hell-month is over. I've been working non-stop since mid-May on reviews. Thunderer, Kronshtadt, Monaghan, Salem, Massachusetts and now Haida -- six weeks straight of reviews with little more than a couple days off. I can finally breathe and enjoy summer. I dunno when the next review will be -- probably not for a fortnight. If you're looking for me, I'll be pool side, soaking up some summer sun before the Canadian snows come again on Tuesday. Thank you all for reading. If you enjoy my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon. P.S. There's no codes or clues in this review! Spare your eyes! Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.
  17. The following is a review of HMS Gallant, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of July 19th, 2017. 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 - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  18. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Ashitaka

    The following is a review of Ashitaka, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of November 30th, 2017 No butt jokes here.. Quick Summary: A battlecruiser with great speed, amazing broadside firepower but garbage AA values, poor armour protection and some serious shell penetration issues. Cost: Bundles begin at $41.99 including a port slot. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.14.0, November 30th, 2017 Closest in-Game Contemporary Amagi, tier VIII Japanese Battleship Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Back in January of 2017, Amagi and Nagato received a significant quality of life buff. Their stock hull was being removed from the game. Now they would only need to research a single hull to upgrade their vessel. These ships were horrible to grind while stock -- not only did they have poor anti-aircraft armaments and long rudder shift times like other stock vessels, they were also forced to use guns with worse penetration values. Some players lamented that it was a shame to lose the distinct models. Indeed, their designs were quite recognizable. Wargaming made plans to return these ships as premiums, with Mutsu representing a modified A-Hull Nagato and Ashitaka representing Amagi. In both cases, these ships are downtiered in an attempt to balance their poor characteristics compared to their sister ships. Short of the gun layout and handling, Ashitaka is night and day different from Amagi in terms of overall performance. They may be related, but they're very different craft. Liking one will not guarantee you like the other. PROs Heaviest main battery broadside firepower at her tier. 410mm guns are capable of overmatching the bows of any ship tier VII or lower. Fast, with a top speed of 30 knots Reasonably good rate of turn at 4.0º/s Straight forward game play -- no gimmicks, just gunnery. Option of purchasing the Makoto Kobayashi camouflage with its improved economic bonuses. CONs Weak belt armour, with only 254mm of protection. Long (31.0s) reload on her main battery guns. Poor penetration values on her AP shells. Large turning circle of 870m. What anti-aircraft firepower? Enormous surface detection range. Wargaming has succeeded in seriously pissing me off. I'm going to try and remain objective here, but if a little more snark comes through this review than intended, you'll have to forgive me. This review is being put together under exceedingly short notice. A special thanks to KJar, Lert, Pigeon_of_War and the Wiki-staff for keeping me sane through this crunch time. Options Depending upon the bundle purchased, Ashitaka comes with two different camouflage patterns. This mirrors the release of Battleship Kii in September of 2017. Otherwise, there are no surprises here. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard non-American battleship options. Premium Camouflage: Ashitaka's default camouflage is the standard Type 10. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Makoto Kobayashi -- Ashitaka camouflage provides 100% bonus experience gains, -50% to the post-battle service costs, +20% bonus credit earning, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. For your upgrade choices, it's more straight forward than ever. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control Modification 1. After that, there's no point on taking anything other than Aiming System Modification 1. And cap it all off with Damage Control Modification 2. There are no Special Upgrades worth installing on Ashitaka at this time. Firepower Primary Battery: Ten 410mm rifles in an A-B-X-Y-Z configuration. A&B turrets along with Y&Z turrets are superfiring. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 140mm guns in casemates and four 120mm guns in single deck mounts. It's hard to argue with the problem solving capabilities of ten 410mm naval rifles. On paper, Ashitaka has the largest main battery armament of any of the tier VII battleships, outshining the ten 356mm armed King George V-class battleships. The broadside firepower that Ashitaka dispenses will end worlds. This is a ship that faces puny little Omaha, Emerald and Königsberg-class cruisers, for crying out loud. If you can catch a cruiser with all ten of these guns, there will be nothing left of them but a bad smell. This similar weight of firepower can be downright disastrous for destroyers too. Even a couple of overpenetrating hits will gut a lolibote and leave them regretting their life decisions. I am sure you could all smell the 'but' coming. These aren't your Amagi's 410mm guns. Well, they are -- they're just not using the same AP shell. Like Battleship Mutsu before her, Ashitaka makes use of the 410mm AP/APC Type 88 shell instead of the Type 91 shell found on battleships Nagato, Amagi and Kii. Let's take a look at what differences this entails: The kick in the pants that everyone will focus on are her penetration issues. With her lower Krupp rating, Ashitaka's shells not only lack penetration power, they're also more likely to shatter against thicker armour plate. In practice, Ashitaka's AP shells behave very similarly to the 356mm shells of the King George V-class, keeping comparable penetration power up to about 15km. Beyond that, Ashitaka's performance begins to fall noticeably behind. So let's go back to gloating about kicking the butts of Omaha, Emerald and Konigsberg-class cruisers for a moment. The other side of the coin here is that she'll also be trying to penetrate the armoured belts of Izumo, Iowa and Friedrich der Große-class battleships at range. You can imagine how well that's going to go over. Veterans of the Royal Navy battleship line -- true veterans; the ones that were playing HMS Warpsite and HMS Hood before the rest of the fleet showed up, will well understand the challenges presented here and know the work around. Ashitaka needs to aim for the upper belt and hull of enemy battleships at range to inflict damage. Similarly, she needs to abandon the idea that she can inflict citadel hits on any battleship that's same tier or higher at anything beyond 12km. Going for these upper hull shots can still yield some impressive damage totals, but it takes practice and patience to adjust your gunnery habits. Ashitaka's slower reload time makes any bounces and ricochets feel especially punitive, however, and it can be an exercise in frustration. Even good aim will not always avail you -- these are battleship caliber guns after all, with battleship dispersion and 1.8 sigma. Unlike the tech tree Royal Navy battleships, Ashitaka doesn't have the increased penetration to make spamming HE an attractive counterpoint to trying to bullseye ships with AP. These are issues that have plagued HMS Warspite, Hood, and Mutsu. Players should know what to expect by now. DPM and Penetration values for AP shells. AP penetration values are taken from Wargaming's own Armada videos. Ashitaka, Nelson and Colorado penetration values are a best estimates using available data. Backing up the mixed performance of Ashitaka's main battery guns is a heavy secondary gun battery of equally mixed performance! Hooray! This comes with a 7km range and a 10-gun broadside. However, you're not going to want to specialize too heavily into this armament. The rate of fire on Ashitaka's weapons are on the slow side. What's more, the 140mm casemate guns which form the lion's share of her firepower shoot an AP shell, not HE. Boo-urns. Still, these guns will surprise you. I stuck a secondary-specialized commander into Ashitaka and quickly hoovered up a pair of Close Quarter Expert medals for killing a Farragut and Atlanta. So it's not like they don't have their uses. Summary: Her guns aren't as bad as their penetration values might otherwise indicate. Her slow reload doesn't help matters, though. Her secondaries look more threatening than they actually are. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 17.28km Air Detection Range: 13.71km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 14.41km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 16.9km Main Battery Firing Range: 19.88km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: Last out of nine battleships Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: Tied for 37th out of 39 battleships with Friedrich der Große and Amagi. You're visible from space. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 120mm / 25mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.5km / 3.1km AA DPS per Aura: 10 / 74.9 No. Just... just, no. I cry every time. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 30.0knotsTurning Radius: 870mRudder Shift: 14.9s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.0º/s Tier VII is a fun tier for battleships. This where most of the nations find their running legs (except 'Murica, who shows up late for the war again). The average top speed at this tier is 27.8 knots, buoyed on the high end by Hood and Gneisenau at 32 knots and held back by Colorado at a mere 21 knots. This makes Ashitaka's 30 knot top speed look very attractive. It allows her a great deal of flexibility not often enjoyed by mid tier battleships. She can easily keep up with the flow of battle and redeploy as needed. She is unfortunately cursed with the second largest turning circle at her tier, with only Hood's 910m being worse. The next closest is Gneisenau at 830m. This isn't a ship that answers her rudder quickly. Her rotation rate is on the slow side, though she is better than the slugs Nagato and Nelson which truly drag their heels due to their lower top speed. Still, Ashitaka is going to struggle to dodge incoming fire with anything less than a 7 second aim time. Varying her speed as well as her heading is going to be needed to attempt to avoid long distance volleys and even then she's not going to pull it off easily. DurabilityHit Points: 59,400Maximum Citadel Protection: 254mm +70mm turtleback Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25% Hull armour protection. There is an absolutely tiny strip of 203mm armour on the bottom of the 254mm belt well beneath the waterline. While Ashitaka's durability isn't good, it's not as bad as it could be. Ashitaka is about 1,000 hit points (or about 2%) shy of the average total at her tier now that Colorado has been propped up to acceptable level, so this isn't terrible. The real concerns are her armour values. Ashitaka is a wet dream for any light cruiser using Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. The whole expanse of the ship from bow to stern, with the exception of her belt and gun turrets, is kerosene soaked HE pr0n, never exceeding 25mm in thickness. She's such a large target with little in the way of superstructure to get in the way of the fall of shells. Cruisers (and even some destroyers) will trip over themselves to be the next in line to shoot you. As guns increase in size, it doesn't get much better. Her belt armour caps out at 254mm at the waterline tapering to a 203mm thickness beneath the surface. Unlike Nagato, she does not have an extended belt stretching to cover her bow, though she does have one towards her stern where the armour thins over her steering gears to a 'mere' 229mm. This makes it difficult for her to angle against incoming battleship shells without risking them overmatching her thin prow and hammering into her magazine. Oh, that's worth mentioning -- Ashitaka's citadel raises up over the waterline beneath her A & B turrets. What's more this raised area is entirely composed of her forward magazine; because reasons. This means that any citadel hits punching into your bow are likely trying to cook off your ammunition. Time will tell if Ashitaka pops more often than other battleships. The only spot of good news is that most of her armour protection against AP dive bombers is too thin to arm the fuse. The exception to this are the 70mm turtleback areas that will arm the bombs and result in Ashitaka taking full out citadel hits from the attack. This should be rare, however. But given her poor anti-aircraft firepower, it's not like the enemy carriers are going to be lacking surviving aircraft to give it another go. Tightening up Amagi's A-Hull The one consolation with Ashitaka -- skills don't make her subsystems a whole lot better. This means you can focus on a survivability build with a clear conscience. Here's your first 10 skill points: Start with Priority Target. Grab Adrenaline Rush to try and hack at that 31s reload time. Take Basics of Survivability. Finish it up with Fire Prevention. For your next nine points, take Concealment Expert so you're only visible from low orbit instead of across the solar system. Grab either Superintendent or Vigilance (your choice). And finally take Expert Marksman to get your guns twirling faster. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Ashitaka doesn't reinvent the wheel. Protect your citadel. Fire pew pews at the enemy. The only real bump in the road is learning to make use of the lower penetration on her AP shells. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Ashitaka has speed and firepower. That's recipe enough for skilled players to cause a lot of havoc. However, there's only so far skill will take you on Ashitaka. She's too big to hide. She can't effectively angle against most battleship opponents. This leaves you with out-trading your opponents and for that, you're reliant upon your aim and RNGesus. If she had a single universal ammo type, I could drop this down to 'low'. Mouse's Summary: Ten guns really does solve a lot of problems. So does having a good top speed. It's just a shame about all that other stuff... Ashitaka isn't a good battleship. Firepower solves a lot of problems in World of Warships, and Ashitaka has a healthy helping of that. Were her guns firing the Type 91 AP shell found on Nagato, Kii and Amagi, I don't think there would be any real debate on her viability as a battleship. As it is, the Type 88 shells have a reputation -- one I feel is slightly exaggerated and undeserved. While they are obviously somewhat lacking, they are not unserviceable. It's the inconsistency of their performance which causes them to be so demonized. And let's be fair -- battleship reloads are long and each volley already feels like a roll of the dice. A series of shatters at the wrong time will feel downright punitive and that's an understandable deal breaker for some. So while I may wish for better shells, that leaves me to take a frank appraisal of everything else she has to offer. Her range is adequate. Her gun handling isn't terrible. Her accuracy is okay. Her secondaries are fun but forgettable. She's fast -- I like fast ships. Fast ships provide flexibility and flexibility wins games. Her concealment and durability have a lot to be desired though. Are these last two elements combined with her shells enough to condemn her to wallow with the likes of Huanghe, Krasny Krym and Oleg? I honestly don't believe so. Ashitaka isn't a trashbote. She's not good -- I think we can all agree she's not incredibly advantaged. She pays very dearly to have access to ten 410mm guns at tier VII, so dearly I would struggle to recommend her, even though I know she can and will perform in the right hands. Ashitaka's armour and durability need to be weighed against her offensive power. She's fragile for a battleship, admittedly -- but is she so fragile she can't survive long enough to deal reasonable amounts of damage? We've looked at her guns and her armour. Top tier, she can bully with the best. Her armour's proof enough against 356mm guns or smaller. But she does not up tier well. It's funny, but t I think the A-Hull Amagi was better. At least she had 32mm of bow armour. Would I Recommend? Ashitaka "becomes worthwhile" with the Makoto Kobayashi camouflage. Now, I was reluctant to describe it this way as it prompts players to fork out an additional sum in order to prop up an otherwise flagging premium. However, it would not be fair to fail to mention the merits. With this camouflage, she joins the ranks of Kii, Prinz Eugen and Missouri as an incredibly profitable premium ship. Missouri still wins out, but Ashitaka will make bank for those looking for a credit earning ship. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. In the close-range encounters typically found in Co-Op and Operations, Ashitaka thrives. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. I'll give her a pass here. For the money, you could take Kii or Mutsu -- one being cheaper and the other arguably more effective against everything within her matchmaking spread. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. What are you, nuts? No. Go away. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. The Makoto Kobayashi camouflage adds a fun collector's element to this ship. Yeah, I could see people justifiably wanting her for that if they were a fan. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? No. Go away. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  19. The following is a review of Cheshire, the tier VIII British heavy cruiser. This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes. To the best of my knowledge, the performance and statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.3.1. Please be aware that the ship may change in the future. Quick Summary: A stealthy, but terribly squishy British heavy cruiser with a small battery of powerful 234mm guns. PROS AP shells can overmatch 16mm worth of armour, including the extremities of many lower-tier cruisers and destroyers. Good AP penetration and improved auto-ricochet angles. Excellent HE penetration, capable of directly damaging most battleship decks. Good gun handling with 10º/s gun rotation rate. Excellent AA firepower. No, really. Yeah, I'm surprised too. Stealthy, with a surface detection as low as 9.5km. British "portable dry dock" Repair Party, healing up to 40% of her health per charge before modifiers. CONS Only six main battery guns, greatly reducing her alpha-strike and DPM. Her "stepped" citadel presents a shell-trap for large caliber battleship AP shells. Only modest gun fire angles, leaves her vulnerable to return fire from AP shells. Mediocre range on main battery guns for so vulnerable a ship. Torpedoes are short ranged at 8km. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual/ CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme This ship doesn't do anyone any favours, new players least of all. Like the tier VII Pensacola of years prior, Cheshire is a lemon that will punish you for simply choosing to shoot your guns at the wrong time. As players become more familiar with the foibles of the British heavies, Cheshire (and her sister Albemarle) will become primary targets for the farming of easy Devastating Strike medals. For veterans, as appealing as the on-paper potential for this ship appears, in practice she's just too fragile to really feel worthwhile. You can do better in almost any other ship where skills like angling, island use, etc will serve you much better. Options Consumables There's nothing much out of the ordinary here short of her god-tier healing potion. Keep in mind that all consumables will be the premium version soon so I'm just listing those values. Cheshire's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with a 60s reset timer. It's active for 5 seconds and has unlimited charges. Her Repair Party heals back up to 40% of her health base per charge over 20 seconds. She starts with two charges with a reset timer of 80s. You have the choice between two consumables in her last slot. Both consumables start with three charges base. Her Defensive AA Fire is active for 40s, increasing sustained DPS by 50% and explosion damage by 300%. It has an 80s reset timer. Her Hydroacoustic Search is active for 100s. It detects torpedoes at 3.5km and ships at 5km. It has a 120s reset timer. Upgrades Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. In your second slot, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is optimal if you can afford it. Obviously this dictates that you'll be eschewing using Defensive AA Fire but that's okay. This will set you back 17,000 Coal . Otherwise, default to Engine Room Protection. Aiming System Modification 1 is really the only upgrade worth taking in slot three. You have a choice in slot 4 depending on how you like to play. If you prefer island humping, then Propulsion System Modification 1 is preferable to improve your acceleration from a standstill. Otherwise, Steering Gears Modification 1 is your best bet. ER MAH GERD choice in slot 5!? Well, it's not really. Concealment System Modification 1 is still optimal. But, for the sake of argument, let's look at Ship Consumables Modification 1 and how it affects her consumables: With this, her Damage Control Party will now last 5.5 seconds. Yawn. Cheshire's Hydroacoustic Search will increase from 100s to 110s (or to 132s if you have Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 installed). This is nice. It's not game changing, but it's nice. Her Defensive AA Fire increases from 40s to 44s ... which doesn't really help. The duration of Defensive AA Fire was never the issue, but rather the damage it does. And here's the juicy bit: Her Repair Party adds another 2 ticks worth of healing -- or between 4% and 4.8% of her total health depending on if you're using the India Delta signal or not. This amounts to an additional 1,700 to 2,040hp per charge used with an upper maximum of 6,120 additional hp with three charges blown. So, is that worth giving up Concealment System Modification 1? Heck no. But Ship Consumables Modification 1 isn't terrible. It's just that Concealment System Modification 1 is (still) too damn good. Captain Skills Cheshire isn't a very skill-hungry boat. For the first 10 skill points, take the usual suspects. Your choice of a tier 1 skill -- I prefer Priority Target to let me know when my doom is nigh. Adrenaline Rush is optimal at tier 2. Through my play-testing, I used Superintendent as my skill of choice at tier 3, thinking I would get to make use of my Repair Party's extra heal. And to no one's surprise, Concealment Expert rounds things off at tier 4. Pick and choose your favourites for your remaining points. Camouflage Cheshire has two camouflage options: Type 10 and Victorian White camouflage. They both provide identical bonuses: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% experience earned. I do like the camouflage schemes for Cheshire. She's a nice looking ship. Firepower Main Battery: Six 234mm/50 guns in 3x2 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondaries: Sixteen 113mm/45 guns in 8x2 turrets with four mounted each side in superfiring forward and rear positions. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2×4 launchers with one on each side mounted in the hull beneath the first funnel. Celebratory Pew-Pews Let's start with Cheshire's secondaries because they're largely forgettable. They are decent for cruiser secondaries. However, given that Wargaming has yet to implement any cruiser with kick-butt secondaries 'decent' doesn't matter. At least they have 19mm of penetration, so they're capable of directly damaging anything she faces. Their high rate of fire does spit out a lot of shells. But without phenomenal range or improved accuracy, they're just window dressing. I did kill a Dallas with one, so that was fun. The muzzle blasts off of Cheshire's guns are huge. Are 234mm guns worthwhile? This is the big question at the core of not only Cheshire's worth, but her higher-tiered sisters as well. What's the big deal with large-caliber guns on a cruiser? What can they do that faster-firing (or more plentiful) 203mm guns can't? What are their drawbacks? And finally, are they any good? In theory, a larger caliber gun provides inherent benefits over its smaller brethren. These include higher penetration values for both HE and AP shells, including energy retention over distance (which factors both into penetration and ballistics). In addition, the shells will individually cause more damage and have a higher chance of starting fires. The final benefit is that depending on the size of the shells, it's possible for their AP rounds to overmatch key armour values, ignoring ricochet mechanics. These benefits are typically off-set by a smaller number of barrels, a larger dispersion area, a slower rate of fire and worse gun handling. In summary, larger guns make it more likely that individual hits will cause significant damage but with fewer hits overall compared to smaller-caliber guns. Whether or not this exchange is worthwhile depends upon just how much these guns gain versus how much they surrender. For the sake of Cheshire's 234mm caliber weapons, we have a direct same-tier analogue to compare them to in the form of Albemarle's 203mm armament. Alpha versus DPM You would think that larger caliber guns, though fewer in number, would allow you to deliver more devastating volleys. The idea being that while you might not shoot as often, the fewer salvos hit harder. I wish that were the case. Let's take Albemarle vs Cheshire as an example. Citadel Penetrations (AP): 40,500 Albemarle vs 34,500 Cheshire Citadel Penetration (HE): 29,700 Albemarle vs 23,100 Cheshire Penetration (AP): 13,365 Albemarle vs 11,385 Cheshire Penetration (HE): 9,801 Albemarle vs 7,623 Cheshire Yeah, so that's a wash. A small bump up in gun caliber size does not provide an advantage in damage output on anything but a per-shell basis. So the increased shell damage does not make up for a three-gun deficit (though in theory it could make up for a two-gun deficit). Understandably, with a slower reload, the gap only opens up further. And it's not like Cheshire's reload is particularly slow either. Let me be clear, one of her gimmicks is the accelerated reload on her main battery guns. Drake and Goliath, using the same weapons, have a base reload time of 18 seconds. This can be modified down on these ships with the use of Main Battery Modification 3, providing them with a 15.8 second reload. Cheshire, meanwhile, boasts a 12.5s reload timer which is amazing -- this is a half second faster than Albemarle. So if there's any benefit to be found here, it has to be on how easily it is to make those shells deal damage rather than the damage potential itself. Cheshire's raw damage output values suck, so every hit needs to count. A cruiser with only six heavy guns has crappy DPM. Who knew? AP Performance Cheshire's AP shells are pretty good at ensuring they deal damage compared to 203mm AP shells found on Albemarle. I say 'pretty good' and not 'great'. There are three factors where they hold an advantage over her counterpart. She has high penetration. She has improved auto-ricochet angles. She has overmatch potential against a key structural armour value. ] Cheshire has Baltimore's AP penetration values with Japanese 203mm ballistics. Note that while Cheshire does have slightly improved auto-ricochet angles, they are not on par with Baltimore's. Her AP shells feel less effective overall because of this, even though they have about the same punch over distance. British 234mm AP shells have higher penetration than 203mm guns -- enough that it matters, but not so much where it's an advantage except at very close ranges. Like with HE shells, AP penetration values are important when they cross various functional thresholds -- like being enough to citadel cruisers at very long ranges or having enough to penetrate battleship belt armour at specific distances. Cheshire (and British 234mm guns in general) are capable of both of these things. Albemarle struggles but can still manage the former and is generally unable to do the latter. Understandably, this provides Cheshire with a bit more utility out of her AP shells -- at least in theory. That theory is much harder to put into practice. Punching through battleship belt armour is only possible at suicidal ranges -- well within 7km. At such distances, you're better suited to making use of her torpedoes rather than relying on the bite of her AP shells. I suppose every little bit helps, especially given that not all cruisers are capable of doing so. At least against cruisers, her AP shells are much more reliable, with enough extra penetration to contend with the relative increase in armour thickness due to angling. Of course, this only works up to a point. Curiously, Cheshire's 234mm AP shells have slightly improved auto-ricochet angles, though only slightly -- Cheshire's AP shells automatically ricochet at an angle of 65º instead of 60º though the chance for it to happen still starts at 45º. This runs contrary to the 234mm AP shells found on Goliath and Drake -- so it's something special found only on Cheshire. So it's less likely that Cheshire's shells will slide off before getting a chance to punch in, but only slightly. For example, 203mm AP shells normally have a 50/50 chance of ricocheting at 52º or so. That doesn't happen to Cheshire until about 55º. This a far cry from the American auto-ricochet angles, which on Baltimore run from 60º to 67.5º, This keeps Cheshire's AP from being a universal shell. Still, there are some targets that even angling against Cheshire will not avail them. Her AP shells can overmatch 16mm hull sections; an important armour threshold being found on the extremities and hulls of tier VI and VII heavy cruisers and tier VIII+ very light cruisers. It's also the armour value found tier VI and VII destroyer hull forms, providing the 234mm AP shells a whole range of targets where they need not wait for perfect broadsides in order to be effective. So that's kinda nice, if a bit of a niche superpower that 203mm AP shells can't pull off themselves. I did get a chance to put it to good effect against a Dallas in a brawl during playtesting which was nice -- he couldn't angle against me while I was able to smash shells down the length of his hull even when he angled. But that was one time in all of my play-testing. Matchmaking was part to blame in this -- being continually up-tiered meant that there were fewer targets where Cheshire's overmatch could be used, but even seeing an opponent I could overmatch didn't guarantee that I would have an opportunity to do so. These three elements make Cheshire's AP shells more useful than the AP shells of Albemarle though they don't stray into the potency of American Piercing shells which can be used a lot more often. So British 234mm AP shells are "more gooder" than Albemarle's 203mm AP shells, but I'd argue they're not good enough to make up for that alpha / DPM disparity. HE Performance The big numbers to concern ourselves with here are the thresholds needed to directly damage various parts of tier VIII+ battleships. These thresholds are: 1.) Their extremities (32mm) 2.) The upper hull and amidship deck of British & French battleships (32mm) 3.) The amidships deck of American battleships (38mm), 4.) The amidships deck of German battleships 50mm 4.) The amidships deck of Japanese battleships (57mm) 5.) The amidships deck of Soviet battleships (60mm). There is one thing, and one thing only to get excited over in regards to Cheshire's HE performance and that's her improved HE penetration. Cheshire has 59mm of base HE penetration as opposed to the 39mm she would be expected to have. This crosses an important (albeit, not crucial) threshold, allowing her to directly damage the amidship decks of many battleships along with the infamous extended armoured prows of Soviet ships. This, to me, creates a target preference for Cheshire . Specifically, she's better suited to hammering any vessel with extensive deck armour which includes most high-tier battleships (with the exception of the French and British) than most 203mm armed heavy cruisers. Cheshire is capable of stacking direct damage here where other cruisers will have their damage partially mitigated by shells that stray onto these thicker armoured sections. As nice as this is for Cheshire, it's a bit of a booby prize. While it does allow her to damage a wider variety of targets, when it comes to that DPM disparity mentioned previously, this advantage only comes into play in those select circumstances. HE penetration is a binary after all -- you can either penetrate or your shells shatter. There's no advantage to having more than you need. There's no point to Cheshire's 59mm of HE penetration when she's shooting up a destroyer or light cruiser. Thus, the only way her 234mm HE shells keep up with Albemarle's 203mm guns is through farming damage off of select battleships. That's really it. I've included the FPM of heavy cruisers using IFHE for the sake of comparison when trying to encroach upon Cheshire's massive penetration values (don't do this, it's silly). Overall, Cheshire is not a bad fire starter for a heavy cruiser. She's not great, mind you,but she's not bad. Cheshire may single fire her torpedoes like other British ships which is nice. I wish she had more range. These weapons are nice and hard hitting and could have done a lot to pad her mediocre gun DPM. But are they worth it? Heck no. Look, 234mm guns aren't terrible but short of pounding high-tier battleships with HE, Cheshire's main battery firepower offers nothing worthwhile. They didn't stand up to a direct comparison to Albemarle's guns and they're no rock stars, so where does that leave these things? Well, not in a good place. This isn't a ship that kills anything quickly, and that can be a real problem if she doesn't have the longevity to farm meaningful damage. To me, this means that the ship better have some miracle or gimmicks buried in the hull itself in order to make it worthwhile. Sadly, these don't materialize in her weapon systems. While Cheshire's six-guns are definitely a hurdle to overcome, I lay a lot of the blame with this ship's performance on her range. Her 16.1km main battery reach and her 8km range on her torpedoes makes maximizing Cheshire's firepower difficult. As you'll see in later sections regarding this ship, she just doesn't stand up to return fire. More range would have provided her with at least the semblance of being able to dodge. At 17.5km or more, I think I would have felt a lot more comfortable in this ship. 10km fish wouldn't have hurt either. In short, Cheshire's firepower is just plain bad. Her main battery guns can't keep up. Her torpedoes are too short ranged to be used in any role save that of desperation and cruiser secondaries are (still) not worth it. Like London, Cheshire's fire arcs aren't particularly good but at least they're consistent. For those wondering, "good" entails being able to fire 30º off the long axis of the ship, allowing the ship to fire while still giving her the best chance to take advantage of auto-ricochet mechanics. Still, Cheshire's 10º/s gun traverse is sexy. Verdict: Awful because she only has six guns. Also her torpedoes are too short ranged, but mostly because she only has six guns. Defense Hit Points: 42,500 Minimum Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm extremities with 30mm plating and deck amidships. Maximum Citadel Protection: 152mm belt armour Torpedo Damage Reduction: 19% With Cheshire's firepower woes, I was really (REALLY) hoping for some miracles in regards to her durability. I was an early optimist until I started playing this damn thing. Lemme show you why: [ Cheshire is a certified chungus. Look at that. Big healthy heals and a pretty chunky hit point pool to boot. Awesome! There's a whole lot to love here -- namely that Repair Party isn't a universal upgrade at tier VIII and just having one is a pretty solid advantage. Having a British "portable drydock" which heals back up to 40% of the ship's health per charge is amazing. In theory, Cheshire is built to outlast most of her contemporaries, which should largely make up for any deficits in her firepower. In theory. Cheshire's 30mm deck stands out -- normally tier VIII heavy cruisers only have 27mm thick decks. This does provide some benefits against small caliber HE shells from destroyers and overmatch protection against battleship caliber AP shells smaller than 429mm. That all falls apart when you realize that her protection scheme is a joke. Her citadel is specifically designed to maximize the number of citadel hits she takes -- I wish I was kidding. It's nigh impossible to angle Cheshire successfully against battleship fire of 380mm caliber or greater. Every incoming salvo is potentially world ending. She practically prints Devastating Strike medals for enemy battleships if they catch her out in the open, which means the best protection she could hope for is a big ol' rock to hide behind. The guilty party here is Cheshire's "stepped" citadel. Not only does this section sit up significantly higher (and let's keep in mind, the rest of Cheshire's citadel already peeks over the waterline), but the upright angles ensure that battleship caliber shells that are slamming down the length of the ship will still smack against the citadel if they're aimed high. Furthermore, it creates a weak point where ships capable of overmatching her 27mm upper hull can STILL dunk shots into her citadel when she's steeply angled where as other cruisers could at least content themselves that their belt armour will keep out the worst of it. And, while Cheshire does have some hull sections that can ricochet up to 381mm AP shells, her soft bow and stern provide openings that even these will get through. This isn't a problem unique to Cheshire, it's shared by Albemarle and to a lesser degree by Goliath. But spreading the pain doesn't make this any more acceptable. Kiting and dodging in open water a fool's errand -- any shots that come in are potentially lethal. When Cheshire is top tier, on the rare occasions where she's facing 356mm armed battleships (or smaller), surprise-surprise, she becomes a little monster. But banking on that kind of Matchmaking is a fool's errand for a tier VIII cruiser. I'm no stranger to playing squishy cruisers, but I'm used to there being some trade-off for it. Maybe the ship has excellent firepower. Maybe her consumables are amazing. Maybe she has excellent agility and speed to facilitate dodging. Maybe her Repair Party could come off cooldown very quickly? I dunno, I would expect something for all of Cheshire's woes. So here's the bad news. That 'hump' of Cheshire's stepped citadel is her Achilles' heel. It's too easy to hit and it makes angling in this ship next to impossible against high penetration AP shells. Oh, those thick citadel decks will also guarantee that AP bombs wreck you thoroughly. Verdict: Her Repair Party is amazing. Too bad she can't survive long enough to take advantage of it. Agility Top Speed: 34kts Turning Radius: 720m Rudder Shift Time: 10.5s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.8º/s On the whole, I have to give Cheshire decent marks here. Her top speed is respectable for a cruiser. Her turning radius isn't horrible. Her rate of turn is acceptable. The only real glaring flaw is her rudder shift time and even that's not irredeemable. Don't get me wrong, she could certainly be better -- but she's not terrible. The only thing that I wish she had was better acceleration, especially given her love of island-humping. That can be partially corrected by taking Propulsion Modification 1 but that would preclude her from fixing her rudder shift time with Steering Gears Modification 1. I certainly value the former over the latter given the current meta. Given Cheshire's firepower and durability problems, "respectable" agility just doesn't cut it. In of itself, Cheshire's agility would be fine for a heavy cruiser -- even good, but with everything else stacked against this ship, it's just not enough. I would kill for her to have British light cruiser improved engine power -- to make taking shelter behind islands easier or to facilitate dodging. I would love it if she was even two knots faster, to make running down destroyers or dodging in open water feel a bit more viable, but it's just not there. Man, I've gotten to re-use this graphic three times now. All the time saved makes me very happy. VERDICT: She's not terrible, but she doesn't stand out here in a good or bad way. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 7 explosions for 1,470 damage per blast Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 168dps at 90% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 2.5km): 228dps at 90% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 249dps at 85% accuracy Cheshire has some truly monstrous levels of AA firepower -- it's enough to grant her near immunity to tier VI carriers. This, of course, translates to merely inconveniencing tier VIII and X aircraft carriers. Cheshire will shoot down a lot of planes. Given that she's not starved for commander skill points, you could even go so far as to spend a few towards boosting her AA performance further if you were so inclined. This ship has to be good at something, after all. With apologies (still) to the colour-blind. Cheshire has arguably the best AA firepower of any tier VIII vessel. Unless it was show-stopping levels of air-defense, you couldn't sell me a premium based on its AA firpower, though. Verdict: Really good. Like, "make tier VI carriers cry" levels of good. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.1km/9.51km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 7.51km/6.08km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 7.5km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.1km Cheshire has good surface detection values. They're not great, but they're good. Any cruiser capable of dropping their concealment below the 10km range is really nice and I can't complain here at all about Cheshire's concealment values. Had this been paired with benefits anywhere else, such as agility, durability, firepower, good consumables, etc, I would probably be singing this ship's praises, but here we are. Cheshire doesn't interact well with smoke -- her 7.5km detection range when opening fire is scarcely better than her improved surface detection so she can't dare follow destroyers in to take advantage of their advanced smoke screens. Again, this further relegates this ship to humping islands and hoping against hope that she's an unappealing target. Verdict: Good, but not enough to save the ship. Final Evaluation I'm not going to mince words here. I hate this ship. I hate playing it. I'm glad this review is over. I'm not touching it again until Wargaming does something to improve her lot. Cheshire offers nothing, nothing of value. Her 234mm guns with their improved HE penetration could have been a very interesting armament but their performance stops well short of that mark. This ship needs more range, more agility and/or a faster reload before I would consider her to be a worthwhile investment. Even in co-op battles, while it's certainly possible to do well, you're not really gaining anything over taking out Albemarle instead. Yes, you might be able to get a few more HE penetrations on high-tier battleships, but you could get the same if you just stuck to peppering superstructures or the bows with 203mm guns. While overmatching the snoots of charging tier VI and VII bot-cruisers with AP shells is entertaining, it's not worth the price paid to acquire this ship. I'm sorry I didn't get this review out sooner. Keep well clear of this failure. Conclusion Reviewing Cheshire has been really taxing. My enjoyment of World of Warships was severely compromised with having to keep coming back to this damn thing. It's bad enough to play a bad ship, but it makes every little frustration just that much more poignant. Anyway, it's over, finally. I'm going to go do something else for a bit to recharge my batteries.
  20. The following is a review of Duca degli Abruzzi, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of April 27th, 2018. The markings on her bow are caution stripes: "Danger, contents under pressure and may explode if penetrated". Quick Summary: A fast but fragile light cruiser that lacks in hitting power. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.2 to 0.7.4. March 1st through April 27th, 2018. PROS: Extended waterline belt armour of 30mm allows her to pull off some surprising close-range bounces. Decent anti-torpedo protection for a cruiser. Her torpedoes have excellent range of 12km. Very fast with a top speed of 35 knots. Good rate of turn of over 6.3º/s. Decent stock 11.2km surface detection range. Abruzzi has access to both Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive AA Fire at the same time. Access to the Repair Party consumable (!). CONS Enormous, vulnerable citadel sitting high over the water's surface. She eats citadels from battleships for days. I actually have some live footage of Abruzzi gobbling up a bowl full of citadel hits. Seriously, just when you think she couldn't possibly pack in another citadel hit, she goes and surprises you. Small main battery for a tier VII cruiser with only ten 152mm rifles with mediocre DPM. Low AP shell penetration values. Poor fire chance on her HE shells making her incredibly dependent on a commander with at least 10 to 14 skill points to inflict reasonable amounts of damage. Her torpedoes are very slow at 51 knots and she doesn't have enough of them. Short of having access to Defensive Fire, her AA firepower and range are both terrible. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Welcome to Hell. Duca degli Abruzzi is not a ship for inexperienced commanders. Owing to her fragility and poor attack power, she's going to punish novices. Veterans who know how to use and abuse concealment, cover and WASD hax can generate some decent numbers, but these tricks will only save you until a battleship casually swats you for all of your health. While Abruzzi can perform, it's a lot of (unnecessary) work. Her components break down as follows: - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship Her guns under perform and so do her torpedoes. She's vulnerable as all get out to sudden deletion if a battleship even looks at her. Abruzzi's AA firepower is terrible, even with Defensive Fire. Her only good points are her agility and her Repair Party consumable, but the latter is shackled to a citadel that explodes if you look at it funny. She's fast and she has decent handling -- not the best at her tier, but one of the best overall. Her concealment and vision control (Refrigerator) is okay but she's nowhere near the best at it within her tier. Candy-cane striping won't save this ship. Options One of the defining characteristics of the Italian cruisers is their consumables. Other cruisers are forced to choose between Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive Fire, if they're given a choice at all. Abruzzi and d'Aosta have access to both at the same time, giving them more flexibility, but at the cost of lacking any form of specialization, such as extra range on German Hydroacoustic Search or an extra charge of American Defensive Fire. However, Abruzzi must choose between Defensive AA Fire and her Spotter Aircraft which is an uncomfortable choice. Unlike most tier VII cruisers, she has access to Repair Party. Overall, Abruzzi's options are "safe". They're convenient rather than competitive, differing from the game-winning combinations of Smoke Generator and Radar of Belfast, for example. Consumables: Abruzzi has access to four consumable slots. Abruzzi's Damage Control Party is standard. Hydroacoustic Search is also standard in her second slot. or In her third slot, you must choose between Defensive Fire and a Spotter Aircraft. Abruzzi rounds out her consumables with Repair Party. This is a tier IX cruiser version of the consumable, healing back up to 14% of her maximum health over 28 seconds. She can queue up 33% of damage to her citadel, 50% of any penetrating hits and 100% of flooding, fire, ram and over penetration damage. Camouflage: Abruzzi uses Type 10 Camouflage. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to repair costs, 3% reduced surface detection range and increases dispersion of incoming fire by 4% Upgrades: Abruzzi has four upgrade slots with standard cruiser options. There are no Special Upgrades worth considering for this ship. Take Main Armaments Modification 1 for your first slot. or or Damage Control Modification 1 for your second slot. Alternatively, Steering Gears Modification 1 is a good choice given how frequently her rudder breaks. It's almost chronic with this ship. If you have access to Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 and no better ship to put it on, it's not out of place here. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal for your third slot. Don't bother with AA Guns Modification 2 -- you can't salvage her AA power. or Steering Gears Modification 2 is arguably the best of the fourth-slot options. Alternatively, if you want to improve her mitigation of fire damage for the sake of maximizing your Repair Party consumable, you may take Damage Control Modification 2. Offense Primary Battery: Ten 152mm naval rifles in a 3-2-2-3, A-B-X-Y arrangement. Secondary Battery: Eight 100mm guns in 4x2 turrets with one facing forward and the other backward on each side. Torpedo Launchers: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers with one to each side between the funnels. Abruzzi's guns are terrible. Her AP shells have bad penetration performance. Her HE shells are anemic with low damage and low fire chance. She only has 10 guns compared to the 12 guns found on all other tier VII light cruisers. She does not have an accelerated reload / normalization / autobounce angles to facilitate doing damage despite these disparities. Her fire arcs are bad. Generally speaking for mid-tier cruisers, 152mm guns are the best gun caliber in the game currently. They sit in this wonderful spot where taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells gives them tremendous damage output. While this skill is considered mandatory, their high explosive (HE) shells benefit so much from it that the four point cost seems a bargain. With the boosted penetration provided by this skill, they can spam HE against any targets they encounter and gradually tear them apart. Though they pay for this bonus with a slight dip in fire-setting efficiency, the trade off is largely considered worthwhile to emphasize their enormous damage-per-minute (DPM) potential. Would that Abruzzi also benefited. Abruzzi's fire angles are almost amazing, but her X-Turret ruins everything. She effectively turns Abruzzi into an 8-gun cruiser most of the time. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) should still be considered mandatory for Abruzzi. And yes, she does enjoy the same spike in penetration power which lets her hammer tier VIII and IX cruisers and capital ships for damage with this skill. However, she does not have the DPM of her contemporaries. Abruzzi's damage per shell is comparable and so is her rate of fire but she has less guns. Abruzzi's base fire chance per shell is also terrible and IFHE just makes it appalling. She sets less fires on average than the other tier VII cruisers which will light half again as many as Abruzzi will over time. The damage-stack from these damage-over-time effects are critical for burning down larger enemies and Abruzzi is left wanting in this regard. This might not be terrible if her AP shells were more reliable, but they're not. They suck, frankly. Unlike German cruisers which also suffer from anemic HE shells, Abruzzi does not have improved AP damage to compensate. Abruzzi's AP rounds are run of the mill, comparable in damage to Belfast's shells but with even worse penetration. Seriously. Abruzzi has the worst AP penetration of any of the 152mm light cruisers at tier VII+. They're even worse than the penetration values on Duca d'Aosta's guns at tier VI. For whatever reason, Abruzzi's AP shells have horrible shell drag and lower Krupp value than the other Italian premium cruiser. You're going to have to rely on HE shells to do the heavy lifting. Abruzzi is largely incapable of landing citadel damage against enemy cruisers at ranges at 9km and beyond. Source: proships.ru/stat/ships/ Which brings us back to how awful her HE shells are. There's nothing redeemable about these weapons at all. Bad damage. Bad rotation speed. Bad fire setting. You're going to need a 14pt commander (with Concealment Expert and IFHE) just to make her gunnery not be a painful sack of [edited]. The cardinal sin of Abruzzi's main battery armament, however, is their poor fire angles -- especially on X turret. You're already in the hole when it comes to DPM races and the wonky arc of fire on X-turret is just the king pisser. However, anytime you open fire with X-turret (or even with Y-turret), you open yourself up to taking massive amounts of damage in reprisals and this will quickly spell the end of your ship. And don't think your torpedoes can save you... While Abruzzi's guns are objectively worse than Duca d'Aosta, at least they both share the same torpedo armament. These are super long ranged (for a cruiser) and super slow (for anyone). With only a pair of triple launchers, they don't hit especially hard and short of point blank launches, it's difficult to land more than a single hit on anything. In short, her torpedoes aren't going to save her damage output. They reload reasonably fast, so drop them whenever you can safely. You never know -- you might actually hit something at long range. Summary: ThoughAbruzzi is a 10-gun cruiser, she's effectively an 8-gun cruiser because of her poor fire arc on X-turret. Given the poor performance of AP shells and bad arcs, she's functionally worse than Duca d'Aosta at tier VI most of the the time. Her torpedoes are water mines. Drop them regularly in the vague direction of the enemy and cross your fingers. You may get lucky. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : My vote would be to give her 1/4 HE penetration. This would free her up from being shackled to IFHE which would also give her an artificial boost to her fire chance. Defense Hit Points: 32,500 Maximum Citadel Protection: 30mm + 130mm Minimum Bow, Deck & Stern Armour: 16mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 16% Allow me to illustrate Abruzzi's single biggest issue in regards to her survivability: At least she can't be citadelled by HE shells. The entire thing is internal. That's her citadel. It runs half the length of the ship. It sits high over the water line. There's not enough armour to keep enemy AP shells out but more than enough to make sure that when they penetrate, they stay in. Abruzzi's armour scheme is designed to foil AP shells from other cruisers and, to it's credit, it doesn't do a terrible job at this. At close range, provided you can keep the ship angled, your machine spaces and magazines are proof against AP fire from just about any cruiser you may encounter. This is largely due to her extended waterline belt, which is 30mm thick and cannot be overmatched by anything a cruiser will throw at you. In order to take advantage of this, though, Abruzzi needs to close the distance so that shell trajectories remain flat and attempts to citadel her must pass through this belt protection. Of course, this all falls apart when there's a battleship somewhere on the map. And those Battleships will murder- Abruzzi so hard you'd think they were trying to manifest Slaanesh. Now let's talk about her Repair Party. Abruzzi has one! Urra! Normally this would be enough to propel a ship up the durability ranks. However, it really doesn't do that much good here. Abruzzi does not have any issues when facing destroyers and cruisers, which is largely where her Repair Party will prove functional. In this regard, she feels very tanky, able to recover from small-caliber AP and HE penetrations and shrugging of fires like they were nothing. This is what elevated her from to , btw. Abruzzi can be an annoying ship to take out if you can't citadel her. In fact, she can be downright trollish in this regard, particularly against enemy cruisers and destroyers. Fires are of little concern which eases the taxation of your Damage Control Party. This is good given Abruzzi's unfortunate habit of losing her rudder. To this end, Last Stand isn't a bad investment to keep it functional during its frequent breaks -- this will let your Damage Control Party be on hand to address blazes and floods where your Repair Party can top off any lost health. The flip side of this is that her Repair Party all but guarantees Abruzzi will be at full health when a battleship does deign to bless you with the presence of their 283mm+ AP shells. Then her consumable avails you not as your innards get sprayed over the surface of the ocean in a thunderclap of 'sucks to be you'. Abruzzi hands this medal out a lot. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Where to start? Without her Repair Party consumable, I rate Abruzzi as being less durable than Atlanta and Flint -- two light cruisers with almost 5,000 less hit points. Her biggest flaw is the height of her citadel. Lowering that would help tremendously. It needn't be submerged entirely, but Abruzzi is little more than an experience pinata for battleships at the moment and there's very little she can do about it. Image courtesy of gamemodels3d.com, showing the extended, 30mm waterline belt of Abruzzi. This belt can frustrate battleship and cruiser attempts to citadel you at point blank range if you angle aggressively. Good luck with that, though. Agility Top Speed: 35.0 knotsTurning Radius: 680mRudder Shift: 8.9s Maximum Turn Rate: 6.3º/s at 4/4 speed Abruzzi's best characteristic is her speed and handling. Still, she does not stand out in any one aspect of her agility. She is not the fastest ship at tier VII -- Shchors is faster and Myoko is just as quick. She does not have the smallest turning radius. That distinction lies firmly with Atlanta and Flint. Her Rudder Shift is on the slow side, but Indianapolis, Algérie and Belfast are worse. She's right in the middle of the pack when it comes to bringing her bow about, with a rate of turn that sits comfortably in the middle. Yet as an overall whole, she stands apart. She combines straight line speed of the Soviet and Japanese cruisers with the American rates of turn. This flexibility is welcome for such a fragile vessel. Opponents will tend to underestimate the lead time necessary to catch Abruzzi when she's going flat out at range. In addition, she can dodge with the best of them. I have nothing but praise for Abruzzi's handling and only wish the rest of the ship was so comfortable. Test run at 4/4 speed. Nothing unexpected here. Abruzzi's turning circle isn't abnormally large and she loses the usual 20% speed in a turn like most cruisers. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Be British. Fiji is remarkably agile, quick to accelerate and handles beautifully. Fiji's speed in a turn is greater than Algérie's in a straight line. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 26.4 / 46.4 / 18.2 Abruzzi's raw anti-aircraft firepower is terrible -- it's the worst of the cruisers at her tier by a large margin. If Defensive Fire wasn't so good, I would pan her AA guns as all but useless and label this ship as fodder for CVs as much as she is battleships. As it is, her anti-aircraft defense is for personal defense only and it cannot be relied upon the do anything other than bruise incoming aircraft squadrons. They will drop ordnance. Your consumable will merely scatter it. There's nothing here really worth improving. Save your skill points and upgrade slots. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : A whole lot of buffs to range and firepower, or some stupid gimmick. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 11.16km Air Detection Range: 7.65km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.53km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 5.16km Main Battery Firing Range: 15.06km Abruzzi has decent concealment when fully specialized with a stealth build. However, she does not have the tools or ability to dominate stealth. Even at her own tier, she's bested by the British cruisers, Fiji and Belfast. She also sits behind Atlanta and Flint. This list grows longer when you look within her matchmaking spread, including more British cruisers and even some of the Japanese heavies like Atago. Combined with her speed, stealth and Hydroacoustic Search consumable, on paper she makes a decent potential destroyer and light cruiser hunter. She should also be able to dictate engagement ranges against most opponents. However, Abruzzi cannot safely engage enemies while in the line of fire of enemy battleships. She has two means of defense against fire from these large capital ships -- be behind hard cover, or be far enough away that she can avoid their shot. Engaging battleships at the extent of her normal range does not give her enough time to realistically dodge. While her torpedoes may be safely launched from stealth, they travel too slowly to have a realistic chance of delivering many hits without luck and experience. This just leaves island humping, lobbing shells over hard cover as the only appreciable way for Abruzzi to engage battleships. This is a good skill to learn as it will serve you well with higher tiered American cruisers. However, Abruzzi's fragility will make the pains of learning this lesson far more acute than it needs to be. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Abruzzi loses out big to three other premium ships that all have much better vision control -- Belfast, Flint and Atlanta. Belfast reigns best overall with good concealment and her broken combination of consumables that allows her to utterly dominate stealth and detection at tier VII. Behind her, Flint and Atlanta are also stealthier than Abruzzi and bring either smoke or radar respectively to the table. I would even rate Fiji better than Abruzzi, even though the British tech tree cruiser has a larger surface detection range. Smoke is invaluable and negates any range issues this ship may have had. Duca, Duca, Goose Performance in Duca degli Abruzzi is heavily dependent on having a commander with enough skill points. The two big hurdles are acquiring first 10 skill points and then your 14th skill point. One could argue your 17th is equally important too. Follow along and try out your own builds with ShipComrade's Captain Skill Calculator. Start with Priority Target. Don't skimp out on this one -- it's almost a must with this ship. If it ever ticks over to "2" and there's a battleship in the vicinity, it's time to stop firing and hide. You have a choice at tier 2. Last Stand is helpful -- Abruzzi's steering gear in particular is prone to breaking. If you feel brave enough to manage your Damage Control Party without it, then Adrenaline Rush should be your port of call as the optimal skill to pick at this tier. Next up, Superintendent is the best skill at tier 3 to get you an extra charge of Repair Party (and everything else). The order in which you spend your next eight points is irrelevant. In either case, you'll spend four and then immediately wish you could spend four more. Concealment Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells are both defining skills for Abruzzi, with the former making play easier (but never forgiving) and the latter facilitating damage dealing (while never making her good at it). Drop back down to tier 3 and pick up Demolition Expert for your 17th skill point. And finally round out your selection with whichever skill you skipped at tier 2 the first time through or Expert Marksman to improve your gun traverse. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: It's an uphill battle to tally a decent damage total. It can be done, but man, you're going to have to work at it. Abruzzi will make you think that she's a lot tougher than she is. You might have a nice streak of games where your Repair Party lets you tank effectively. But just as likely, you may have a not-so nice streak of games where you get deleted. This ship really encourages passive play as a result. You're doing small amounts of chip damage over time, skulking at the periphery and trying to be the least appetizing target you can be. I don't like this ship. Ship Jesus help me, I really tried to enjoy my time in her. I would like to imagine that I'm a patient player. Abruzzi tested my limits. I can stomach glass cannons -- Atlanta is one of my favourite ships in the game, for example. Abruzzi has the 'glass' part down, but she's really lacking the cannon element. I have already gone on at length about her firepower deficiencies. With her X-turret being so badly positioned, Abruzzi is no better armed than Duca d'Aosta much of the time. So she's stuck with tier VI firepower (and admittedly weak tier VI firepower) through much of her engagements. This should indicate that she's meant to be a bit of a tank, but she's just a victim when facing anything other than cruisers or destroyers which makes me have a sad. Abruzzi isn't the first cruiser (or even the first premium cruiser) that gargles on battleship AP shells so expertly that dreadnoughts can't help but whip their guns out her way. Testing Abruzzi has taught me that if I see her on the enemy roster while I'm in one of my battleships that I should make her a priority target -- not because she's a threat, but that because like Pensacola and the Omaha-sisters before her, I'm likely to be rewarded with a super-easy kill. As knowledge of Abruzzi's citadel weakness become more widespread, this problem will prove chronic and I feel bad for those players who find this instant deletion frustrating. I will admit, in those situations where Abruzzi can engage cruisers and destroyers without battleship interference, she's a lot of fun to play. However, those engagements aren't commonplace. The first you'll often note about battleship attentions is losing most (if not all) of your health. Suffice to say, Abruzzi and I were not a good fit for one another. I am sure some people will enjoy her and even rack up some impressive games with her. Performance wise, I was able to do the same, but the amount of work needed wasn't to my liking. Abruzzi only really punishes you against battleships -- in most other respects, she's alright and certainly not broken. It's just the passive game play needed to make her perform isn't competitive and I don't find it very fun. A string of three good games in Abruzzi. I was alarmed. Thankfully the fourth game sets things straight as I got casually deleted by a battleship from 16km away before I could manage 14,000 damage. Good games are possible, but terrible games will happen too no matter how skilled you are. Would I Recommend? At the time of writing, Duca d'Aosta is available across all servers both in the stores and within the tech tree for 4,700 doubloons. Controversial as Duca d'Aosta is, she's a much better purchase than Abruzzi for someone looking for an Italian light cruiser. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Meh. I want to say 'no', but she will probably be alright in scenarios. Co-op will be hit or miss. She will struggle to hit the top of the team lists -- she just doesn't output damage fast enough. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. No, no, no, no, no. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No, there are much better premiums you could bring for competitive game modes like Ranked Battles. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. She is gorgeous -- there's no denying that. She was also built in steel and survived the war, so there's that going for her too. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Blech. No. 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. Conclusion Two months I have been working on this review, on and off. Most of it was written by mid-March but then word came down that the test-build for Abruzzi was going to be upgraded with a Repair Party consumable. I held my breath hoping it would salvage this ship from a looming Garbage evaluation. It did -- which says a lot about the power level of a Repair Party when it's not commonly available to most other ships. It just didn't save this ship for me. This is one of those ships I'm not likely going to want to come back to. This is why it was so satisfying to animate blowing it up. Thank you all for reading. As this is being written, I am just shy of halfway through my updated Prinz Eugen review, crunching through Defense and AA graphics. I suspect she may be pushed to the back-burner to get an evaluation of Z-39 done, but we'll see. Maybe I can push through a miracle or two this weekend. I do want to push out Prinz Eugen sooner rather than later in thanks to my supporters on Patreon. Their patronage helps keep me fed and the lights on and I'm grateful to anyone that can help this way. Until next time! Someone suggested I market LWM Bobble Heads. I dunno, they kinda freak me out. Appendix
  21. The following is a review of Orkan, the tier VIII Polish destroyer serving in World of Warships under the Pan European flag. She has been provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes. This is the release version of the vessel, with all statistics discussed in this article current as of patch 0.9.3.1. Please be aware that her statistics may change in the future. Quick Summary: An M-class destroyer superficially similar to Lightning from the British destroyer line. She has decent main batteries but a gutted torpedo armament and no smoke. She makes up for this lack with access to radar and heals. PROS Guns can rotate 360º with excellent forward fire angles. Good fire-starter with a high fire-chance per shell and decent rate of fire. Torpedoes are long ranged, very fast with a short reload timer. Very small turning circle radius. Access to Surveillance Radar & a limited Repair Party. CONS 120mm guns interact poorly with the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill, limiting their penetration. Awkward rearward firing angles. Single torpedo launcher with fluffy bunny kisses instead of actual torpedoes. Only a modest 35 knot top speed. Crappy AA firepower. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Orkan isn't easy to play. I cringe at the thought the various pitfalls the destroyer presents for novice players. She has no Smoke Generator, providing no 'get out of jail' card when detected early. Furthermore, while she can launch attacks undetected, her torpedoes aren't going to be particularly potent. And finally, destroyer hunting in cap circles is stupid-dangerous, even with Surveillance Radar. For experts, you need only look at Orkan's guns and consumable list to see the potential in this ship. She is a tough destroyer with Surveillance Radar. In a team-setting, this is ridiculously very powerful, even if, pound for pound, she's found wanting in other areas. Options Consumables Orkan's consumable load out is weird. With the coming changes to consumables in World of Warships, I'm going to future-proof myself and talk only about the premium versions. Do note that as of patch 0.8.3.1, there are still the non-premium versions available with 50% longer reset timers and one charge fewer. At least her Damage Control Party is what you would expect for a destroyer. This is active for 5 seconds with unlimited charges and a 40s reset timer. Next up, we have her Engine Boost. Again, this isn't unexpected and provides the usual 8% speed increase to Orkan over 120s with a 120s reset timer. She begins with three charges. Now we're getting interesting. Orkan has a Repair Party in her third slot. This heals up to 10% of her health over 10s. She starts with three charges and an 80s rest timer. Finally, Orkan has a Surveillance Radar consumable. Yes, really. This has a 7.5km ship detection range for 20 seconds. She starts with three charges and it has a 120s reset timer. Upgrades There's nothing too surprising here -- you're going to want to spend some Coal on Special Upgrades from the Armory if you can afford it. I do wish there was more competitive variety in Orkan's upgrade choices, but the meta is what it is. Main Armaments Modification 1 remains optimal in slot one. If you're particularly salty about detonations and you're hoarding your Juliet Charlie signals for game modes that matter, you can go for Magazine Modification 1 instead. In your second slot, take the Special Upgrade: Surveillance Radar Modification 1. This is the ultimate team-play upgrade extends her radar's uptime from 20s to 24s which really helps with making enemy lolibotes poop themselves in terror all the more thoroughly. If you can't do that or the idea of enemy destroyers soiling themselves disgusts you, take the Engine Boost Modification 1 Special Upgrade instead. Otherwise, default to Engine Room Protection. I'm sorry to say that Aiming System Modification 1 remains optimal in slot three. You can spring for Torpedo Tubes Modification 1 as an alternate if you want. This reduces the reaction time of enemy ships by approximately 0.3s (or 0.8s when combined with Torpedo Acceleration). Propulsion System Modification 1 is best in slot four, though Orkan will admittedly spend less time parked anywhere without her own smoke. Still, if you're humping islands, the extra get up and go is nice, especially with her rudder shift time being perfectly reasonable, even without Steering Gears Modification 1. Finally, to no one's surprise, Concealment System Modification 1 remains dominant in slot five. If you want to try and make her a super-wigglebutt, you could always spring for Steering Gears Modification 2, but she doesn't have the speed or rate of turn to make this feel especially worthwhile. Commander Skills The first ten skill points for Orkan are what you would expect for a destroyer. Depending on your preference, start with either Priority Target or, if you're capable of seeing through time, Preventative Maintenance. Next, take Last Stand at tier two. At tier three, Survivability Expert is key. You'll need the extra health. And finally, grab Concealment Expert. Optimal skills are listed in red circles. For the yellow diamond skills, pick one or the other. The generally useful skills are listed in green squares. Note that your mileage for individual skills will vary a lot. For example, Vigilance is nice to have but she is not on par with the potency of skills such as Torpedo Armament Expertise. For your next nine points, other than grabbing Superintendent, the rest of the skills should be as your prefer. During testing, I preferred Demolition Expert and Basic Fire Training to round out my build, but there are many combinations you can play with depending on your play style. Camouflage Orkan comes with Type 10 Camouflage providing the usual Tier IX bonuses. They are: 3% reduction in surface detection. 4% increase to the dispersion of enemy gunnery. 10% reduction in post-battle service costs 50% increase to experience points earned. Orkan's camouflage is more functional than pretty. Firepower Main Battery: Six 120mm/50 QF Mk XI guns in 3x2 turrets with an A-B-X layout. Secondary Battery: One 102mm/45 gun mounted forward and beneath X-turret. Torpedoes: Four torpedo tubes in a single launcher. Alright, harsh reality time. Orkan's weapon systems suck. Her 120mm/50 guns suck. Her torpedoes suck. Her secondary gun sucks. There, now that I've effectively scared off and/or annoyed those who can't be bothered to read a full review, allow me to go into detail about why this largely doesn't matter and how to get the most out of these weapon systems. Adoptive Abuse When it comes to HE penetration, 120mm guns are the red-headed stepchild of World of Warships. No other gun was damaged so thoroughly by the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells rework than these weapons. Her 25mm IFHE penetration value doesn't open offer a lot of targets -- a select number of cruiser extremities and a carrier hull section here or there. Thus the IFHE skill isn't worth investing into. Orkan, like other 120mm armed ships, has to manage with only 20mm worth of penetration. This is just barely enough to damage the hulls of destroyers and very-light cruisers along with the superstructures of other ships. Despite Orkan having some pretty solid theoretical HE DPM, realizing those numbers is another story. I'm keeping this super simple and not doubling up on the French boats with their burst potential through their Main Battery Reload Booster. Orkan's DPM looks pretty respectable -- just remember that her HE output is largely limited to picking off superstructures alone due to her crappy HE penetration. Fortunately, the ship itself is styled as a lolibote disciplinarian and she's well suited to paddling their butts. 20mm of penetration is more than enough to spank those lolibote cheeks raw. Her forward firing angles are gorgeous and are coupled with 360º turret rotations. It's easy keeping guns on target with an aggressive attack angle while knife fighting. Her modest range, while a drawback when fighting larger ships, is perfect for this leather & lace combat style against other destroyers, helping ensure she can go dark quickly once the enemy destroyer sinks or smokes up. It's worth mentioning the minor increase in alpha damage Orkan boasts over Lightning. Though the two ships share the same guns and the same shells, Orkan's AP and HE shells each deal 50 damage more than Lightning. To me, this really cements Orkan's role as a destroyer hunter -- it's just that little bit extra DPM that can clinch destroyer on destroyer engagements. Often in these fights, it's a matter of making the enemy ship flinch first and having even a minor advantage in damage output can make all of the difference. I would have liked a little faster gun rotation speed, but that's just me being greedy. Their 20º/s rotation rate is more than sufficient. These hilarious, one-sided encounters against destroyers are almost good enough to make you forget how poorly the guns fare against larger targets. Thankfully, they're good fire setters -- especially if you haven't compromised them by taking IFHE (don't). Once you factor in enemy fire resistances, she has good odds for being able to light three to four fires inside of 60 seconds against a high tier target (roughly one fire every 15 seconds). Using her guns this way to pressure an already taxed opponent is arguably the best way for Orkan to farm big damage totals. If you want direct damage, you'll have to focus on superstructures or switch over to AP shells when you have enough broadside to make the hits stick. There are problems with shooting up big targets, of course. I've already mentioned Orkan's HE penetration woes, but there's also her modest range. It's a little too short to bombard targets safely, leaving her no room to dodge. It's scarcely 250m greater than an optimized secondary armament on ships like Bismarck or Massachusetts. Advanced Fire Training can help but then that compromises her survivability when knife fighting (along with being expensive, skill point wise). Furthermore, while Orkan's forward gun angles are gorgeous, her rearward firing angles are lame, echoing the problems found on a lot of other British destroyers. Lastly, there's also her floaty ballistics to consider once the range exceeds 10km or more. Overall, Orkan's main battery firepower is heavily specialized and you can feel it. While wonderful for abusing other underage boats, it's awful against large ships. It forces your to pray to the Church of RNGeebus and there will be some encounters where using your guns at all will be a complete loser move. This isn't a ducky-bote or a Friesland where you can pop smoke and confidently spam. Orkan doesn't let you do that, so you have to take care when using her guns. [ Inertial Fuse for HE Shells really plays havoc with an individual destroyer's ability to set fire. Some destroyers are hit so badly by the change, they're unable to claw back their base fire setting ability even with all of the other bonuses applied. Simply put: If you see more green than yellow in this graphic, then IFHE might not be a good idea. Launching Lovey Lagomorphs Like Haida and Cossack, Orkan has only a single quadruple torpedo launcher. Though her rabbits are fast and they reload quickly, scoring hits with such a limited number of fish isn't as easy as it is with multiple tubes. Furthermore, without the ability to single fire bunnies (she has the normal wide/narrow spreads), landing multiple hits per salvo is harder still. This might not be so bad given just how fast these torpedoes travel. Stock, Orkan's bunnies reach their 12km max range in less than a minute, so it's possible to keep up a near perpetual spam of fish. This constant barrage can help tax Damage Control Parties of larger vessels which opens them up to further prey from Orkan's fire-setting guns. The problem lies with their striking power. Y'see, Orkan's torpedoes don't explode when they hit things. I mean, they do, but instead of big beefy explosions, they make squeaky toy sounds. Or they make those annoying cutesy-kissy noises while they pucker and slobber all over your hull. 10,000 damage hits are really a best case scenario. It's not uncommon to see sub-8,000 damage from these sea-hares when facing even modest anti-torpedo protection. You're going to need to spam a whole lot of fish to see the results you want. So Orkan may be able to fire her tubes often and their travel time is nice and quick, but the individual hits she does land don't do a whole lot. This might not be so bad if she had two launchers but she's only got the one. The Sick Joke And Orkan gave up her second torpedo launcher for this stupid thing: You're not likely to get much use out of this damn thing. Not only does it not have enough penetration to damage most targets it faces, it's range and fire angles will keep it out of the fight. If you actually manage to kill someone with her secondary, that's deserving of being on a highlight reel. Summary So yeah, Orkan's weapons suck if they're taken outside of their designed role -- namely spanking over-extending lolibotes. Great guns for knife fighting other destroyers, crappy at everything else short of praying to RNGeebus for some nice fires. Individually, her torpedoes suck, but you can make up for that somewhat by spamming them. Get on the flank and let your adorable bunnies gnaw their way into the hearts of your opponents. Her single secondary gun is a sick joke. Verdict: Poor marks, mostly due to her gun caliber of all things. She suffers from a lot of the same firepower problems as Cossack or Haida, but without powerful alpha from torpedoes to make up for it or smoke to make sustained gunnery easier. Durability Hit Points: 15,700hp Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm Most of what I have to say here has to do with Orkan's Repair Party. She's otherwise middling. Her armour scheme holds no surprises nor does she have any weird saturation mechanics like French destroyers. Her hit point total is pretty average, just a couple hundred shy of Lightning's own. With the addition of the Pan European destroyer tech tree, Repair Party consumables become an ever more common sight among destroyers. Orkan's own isn't terribly inspiring, being akin to that found on high-tier British destroyers rather than Pan European ones. The best that could be said about it is that it works fast, needing just 10 seconds to recover 10% of her health. Still, she has one and a lot of the competition doesn't. Ostensibly this should provide her with more endurance over the course of the match, but that's predicated on her not taking significantly more damage than the competition. Without a Smoke Generator, Orkan is often forced to spend hit points to accomplish what other destroyers manage through concealment. Spend them wisely. One quarter of the tier VIII destroyers now have a Repair Party. Verdict: Orkan's tough, but maybe not tough enough. Agility Top Speed: 35 knots Port Turning Radius: 590m Rudder Shift Time: 3.7s 4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 7.7º/s Orkan is pretty decent overall here. She has a small turning radius, a nice rudder shift time and a good rate of turn. If she was a little faster, she'd be excellent. At least she has access to an Engine Boost consumable to make up for her average top speed of 35kts. Still, for a destroyer lacking a Smoke Generator, she can't run and gun as effectively as the high-speed Soviet and French destroyers. Be stupid-careful when firing from open water. Keep those poor rearward gun fire angles in mind. Running down other Lolibotes may be difficult too, so make careful use of her Surveillance Radar when it comes time to scatter the roaches from their smoke cover. [ Despite being similar to Lightning, Orkan doesn't have the British-destroyer improved engine performance which largely limits her rate of turn to more normal levels. Verdict: Fairly decent except for her modest top speed. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 2 for 1260 damage per blast. Long Ranged (up to 5.2km): 35dps at 100% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 2.5km): 35dps at 100% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 70dps at 95% accuracy I remind you, you gave up a torpedo launcher for this. I'm not going to waste too much time here. Orkan doesn't have great anti-aircraft firepower. Her lack of a Smoke Generator means she also loses out on one of the few semi-reliable damage mitigation tools available to destroyers when bothered by airplanes. She's an easy target, incapable of reliably protecting herself from carriers. Verdict: Gimme back my second torpedo launcher. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 7.52km / 5.91km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.25km / 2.63km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 2.69km sea / 2.4km air Main Battery Firing Range: 11.61km Let's review: Of her baseline features, the most remarkable element about her is her firepower and that's a mixed bag. While her main battery appear capable, she's held back by artificial in-game constraints which limits her HE performance to either bullying soft targets or setting fires to bigger ones. Her nice gun handling and fire arcs are contrasted with a disappointing range and poor HE penetration. Her torpedoes are similarly mixed in terms of performance mostly owing to her half-sized armament. Once you look at her agility, durability and AA power, it's all middling were it not for her Repair Party propping up her hit point pool. And there's the rub. Orkan's consumables define the ship. Her concealment values are, once again, nothing to get excited about. Her surface and aerial detection ranges sit on the disappointing side of "meh". It's enough to just-barely ambush lower-tiered destroyers and out-spot some of the larger Soviet, French and German gunships of higher tiers, but there's a long list of ships that are more stealthy. Orkan isn't like Haida or Cossack where she boasts ready concealment advantages over most other destroyers she faces, facilitating ambushes and disengagements. So it's left to her consumables to make or break Orkan as a ship. Without a Smoke Generator, the training wheels on this destroyer are ripped off. So forget about the prospect of easy gunnery. And let's not forget that she's only spitting out half the torpedoes of other Pan European destroyers, so that's not helping matters. Thankfully, she has Surveillance Radar. I hope I don't have to spend too long convincing anyone that this consumable on a destroyer is a real game changer. Orkan transforms from a middling gunship to a dangerous destroyer-hunter -- her radar consumable literally defining the role of the ship. Used properly, Orkan is well suited to upsetting the play of enemy destroyers (and some light cruisers besides), especially in a coordinated division. This is Orkan's primary selling feature, in my opinion -- the ability to scatter the roaches hiding in their own smoke. The relatively short duration of her radar does not guarantee kills, however. Using Surveillance Radar Modification 1 is highly recommended. Verdict: The whole ship is saved by her radar consumable. Final Evaluation Orkan is a Surveillance Radar delivery system, let's be honest here. This ship lives and dies by this gimmick. To be fair, it's a pretty good gimmick -- enough to turn some heads and probably prompt some impulse purchases just on the basis of the chaos this particular consumable promises to deliver. Hsienyang from the Pan Asian line may be able to do something similar, but when it comes to hunting enemy lolibotes, Orkan has the better guns, torpedoes and durability for it. Where Orkan shines is as a cap-bully. Push a cap, wait for it to be contested and then blow radar to make the enemy lolibote regret their life choices. Bonus points if you wait for them to blow smoke so you can take advantage of their screen to cover yourself while you blow them apart. This kind of game play is pretty fun -- I had a blast doing something similar in Haida, though that requires a lot more suicidal aggression which suits me much better. Still, it's all kinds of hilarious watching how people react when they're radar lit. Most panic. Some freeze. Some offer up their butts in submission to the spanking -- you can almost taste the rage-quit. I almost feel bad for these players. Between rockets and radar, it's hasn't been a good scene for destroyers over the last year. Orkan appearing on the team roster presents another very dangerous threat for destroyers to consider before pushing any cap. Any ship that forces people to change how they play is powerful in of itself. As powerful as Surveillance Radar is, Orkan doesn't hold much appeal for me. This is saying a lot from a self avowed teaboo. You'd think I'd be slobbering all over this M-class destroyer, especially when she paddles butts as well as she does. My reasoning is pretty simple, if not terribly fair: I love playing Haida and Atlanta -- two ships that largely fill the same roles as Orkan but (to me) are so much more fun to play. Again, I'm fully aware that these ships are a poor comparison for Orkan, but to me, they feel similar and I can't divorce myself from that sentiment. Orkan's not going to get a whole lot of play from me because I have (and love) those other ships. Is Orkan good? Well, Surveillance Radar on a destroyer is good. That's really all you need to know. Conclusion I hope you're all keeping safe. Please look out for one another.
  22. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Z-39

    The following is a review of Z-39, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of May 13th, 2018. (Still) Not T-61. Quick Summary: An under-armed tier VIII destroyer crammed in at tier VII but it kept it's tier VIII bonuses. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.4 to 0.7.4.1, May 4th to 13th, 2018. PROS Massive hit point pool of 19,600hp. Large caliber HE shell with excellent fire chance per hit and good penetration potential. Good AP shell penetration for a destroyer. Decent personal AA defense. Access to Hydoracoustic Search like all German Destroyers. With upgrades, she's one of the stealthiest destroyers at tier VII. Has several tier VIII destroyer bonuses, including: 5th upgrade slot. Improved fire resistance coefficient. Longer range and duration time of her Hydroacoustic Search Longer smoke duration for her Smoke Generator CONS Horrible DPM output, especially with HE shells against destroyers. Her torpedoes don't hit very hard. AA DPS is short ranged and restricted to fragile small & medium caliber AA guns. Feels very clumsy with a large turning circle and modest top speed. Enormous aerial detection range of over 4km. Stuck with a German Smoke Generator with their reduced smoke duration times. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Z-39 is a German destroyer with training wheels. She has excellent concealment and an enormous hit point pool -- two traits that will make her much more forgiving in the hands of inexperienced commanders. The only hiccough here is her clumsy handling, but her Hydroacoustic Search should ease dealing with any manoeuvrability issues in regards to torpedoes. For experts, Z-39 is a German destroyer but with surprisingly good (!) concealment for her tier. This opens up all sorts of game play opportunities not normally available to German DDs which she can use and abuse to great effect. Her systems break down as follows: - 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. Z-39 has the concealment and the durability at her tier which is all kinds of crazy. Her firepower is is on the low side of saved only by the large caliber of her guns which opens up gunnery possibilities not normally available to destroyers. Otherwise, it would be . Her anti aircraft defense is unremarkable. Her handling is about as as you would expect for a large, German destroyer and compares poorly to her contemporaries. What we have with Z-39 is a destroyer that has the ability to control engagements with its superior concealment and detection tools and her ability to endure punishment far greater than normally possible for a tier VII destroyer. This helps make up for her mediocre firepower. Note that she's not fast or agile enough to unilaterally dictate engagement distances. Options Consumables: There are two consumables worth noting on Z-39. Despite being a tier VII destroyer, Z-39 has tier VIII versions of these consumables. German Smoke Generators produce individual clouds that do not last as long as other nations. For tier VII German destroyers each cloud lasts 65s seconds. On Z-39, her smoke lasts 69 seconds. This is still less than the standard at tier VII which is 85 seconds for most destroyers and 121 seconds for American DDs. Once again, Z-39's Hydroacoustic Search has improved duration and range over her tier VII counterpart. Her hydro picks up torpedoes from 3.12km (up from 2.97km) and ships at 4.44km (up from 4.2km). Camouflage Z-39 comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to repair costs, 3% reduced surface detection range and increases dispersion of incoming fire by 4% Upgrades The big surprise for Z-39 is that she has access to a 5th upgrade slot at tier VII. In your first slot take Magazine Modification 1. You're a destroyer with a lot of hit points. Don't let a sudden detonation undermine that. Alternatively, if you like to live dangerously, you can take Main Armaments Modification 1. If you have access to it, the special upgrade Hydracoustic Search Modification 1 is optimal for your second slot. Without it, take Propulsion Modification 1. Speed is life for a destroyer. Aiming System Modification 1 is best for your third slot. However, the special upgrade Smoke Generator Modification 1 is also a good choice if available. Take Propulsion Modification 2 in your fourth slot for more get-up-and-go when parked in your smoke. And finally, round things off with Concealment Modification 1. Firepower Main Battery: Four 150mm rifles in 3 turrets with a twin-gun turret on the bow and X-Y turrets in single, superfiring mounts. Torpedo Armament: Eight torpedoes in 2x4 launchers mounted down the center line. Z-39's gunnery is weird. She uses enormous 150mm rifles -- the largest weapons currently found on destroyers. Her guns are also laid out in a strange arrangement with a 2-1-1, A-X-Y superfiring layout. None of this makes her gunnery feel novel, however, and it's often a struggle to make Z-39's artillery perform as needed. The DPM Deficit The biggest obstacle with getting Z-39 to perform is overcoming the challenges in getting her damage numbers up. While she does boast the largest guns among destroyers at her tier, they are slow firing with a 7.5 second reload time. Unlike Blyskawica which also shares a long, 6.5 second reload, she doesn't have a lot gun barrels with a mere four. These also have pretty sluggish gun handling for a destroyer and their large size precludes them from maximizing the effects of Expert Marksman. Combine this with impotent performance of her HE damage for a large-caliber gun and she cannot keep pace with the throughput of the other destroyers. She is the worst for potential HE DPM and third from the bottom for AP DPM. Embarrassingly, even Shitarsuyu puts out more HE shell damage than Z-39. This is made worse in that Z-39's guns cannot have their rate of fire upgraded with Basic Fire Training which only widens the gap further. Her fire setting ability is similarly balls, even though she has a great fire chance per shell. She just doesn't throw enough munitions downfield fast enough to make her particularly good at taxing Damage Control Parties to make multiple fires stick. If it weren't for her beefy hit point pool, taking this ship into a fight with enemy destroyers would be a fool's errand. Z-39's firepower woes can't be blamed on her gun angles, at least. They're not great, but they're not terrible. Stickin' It In Z-39's guns aren't though. While they lack in a knife fight, Z-39's guns are not missing out in penetration potential. Her AP shells boast up to 100mm of penetration up to ranges just shy of 10km. Most other destroyers can scarcely manage that at 5km to 7km. The comparison gets better with HE shells. While German destroyers do not enjoy the 1/4 HE pen found on German battleships and cruisers, Z-39 still fares better than her contemporaries. Their large-caliber can be upgraded with the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells commander skill to damage the extremities of any ship she encounters. Most destroyers are unable to hurt the bow, deck and stern of tier VIII+ battleships even with this skill. Z-39 has a larger range of targets she can directly damage with the right upgrade choice. Z-39 may not output damage as quickly as other lolibotes, she's better equipped to stack damage reliably against a larger number of targets. At Least She's Not Minsk Z-39's torpedoes are as unexciting as her guns. However, given the spotty torpedo performance of the other destroyers at tier VII, having some mediocre workhorse torpedoes isn't a bad thing. Indeed, Z-39's fish have a lot going for them. They have good range unlike the painfully short reach of Minsk or one of the two armaments for Sims. She uses quadruple launchers instead of the triples like Blyskawica. She has two launchers instead of the single launcher found on Cossack. They're fast too, unlike the sluggish wallow of those found on Mahan, and the second armament for Sims. The only area where Z-39's torpedoes are truly found wanting is their hitting power. At 14,400 damage per, they're simply uninspiring. And that well describes her torpedoes. A much more meaty 16k damage per hit would really make these weapons stand out. As it is, they're functional but they're not show stoppers. They're sufficient unto the task and nothing more. Summary: Her guns are pretty terrible for taking on enemy destroyers but alright for padding a bit of damage on anything else. This said, don't be shy of slapping lolibotes around with them. Her torpedoes are okay. Not bad. Not great. Just okay Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Z-39 only escaped a evaluation because Sims & Minsk exist and I'm still not entirely convinced that Z-39's firepower bests either one of them. Defense Hit Points: 19,600hp Maximum Protection: 30mm faceplate on A-turret Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour: 19mm Destroyer defense and durability is pretty easy to measure. It really boils down to the following three questions: Does the ship have any weird durability related consumables like Repair Party? Does the ship have any weird superfluous hull armour that any of the other destroyers lack? How many hit points does it have in comparison to the other destroyers at her tier? The answers are no, no and lots more than those puny, wimpy boats. Z-39 is a thunderchunker that, with Survivability Expert, can boast nearly 10,000 more hit points than some of its tier VII competitors (to say nothing of tier V and VI DDs). This more than makes up for the DPM deficit on her main battery guns and allows her to easily bully almost any other same-tier destroyer. On top of this, some of those tier VIII bonuses carried on here. Datamining revealed that Z-39 kept her improved fire resistance coefficient. This is really a minor bonus all told, but it does mean that she comes baked in with 6% improved fire resistance over other tier VII destroyer. It is a good day to be giant man. Hit Point totals of tier VII destroyers, including the WiP HMS Cossack. Note the bar in purple represents the 2,450hp gained through using the commander skill, Survivability Expert. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Something would have to be released with weird (better) hull armour plating, a Repair Party or more hit points than Z-39. Agility Top Speed: 36.0 knots Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 4.5s Maximum Rate of Turn: 7.0º/s While Z-39's agility is her worst quality, I rate it as less of a weakness than her temperamental main battery firepower. Still, it would be a mistake to underestimate the impacts here. Z-39 isn't just slow for a tier VII destroyer, she's slow for a destroyer within her Matchmaking spread. Her Engine Boost consumable should be reserved for getting her out of the trouble. She'll struggle to dictate engagement distances otherwise. Her turning radius is appalling for a destroyer. Combined with her modest top speed, this makes her really sluggish in a turn. Just to make things worse, her gun traverse is only 1.0º/s faster than her maximum rotation speed. This makes her gun handling feel even worse and you'll be reaching for your rudder to help with bringing your guns on target. Expert Marksman can only correct this by 0.7º/s owing to the larger caliber of Z-39's guns. Z-39 handles like a bus. It's a good thing she has Hydroacoustic Search to give her more time to prep for torpedo beats. Without it, she'd be a blind bus. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : At a minimum, a 38 knot top speed to at least bring her up over the average for a tier VII destroyer. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 37mm / 20mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 3.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 46.4 / 20.4 While not up to American (or later Soviet) destroyer standards, Z-39 has an impressive anti-aircraft suite. This is largely owing to the excellent performance of the twin 37mm Flak LM/42 mounts of which Z-39 boasts four. This destroyer can put out a surprising amount of AA DPS into the air, which is a welcome change from most DDs which are generally little more than victims to air predation. There are a couple of downsides to Z-39's AA protection, however: First, Z-39 has an enormous aerial detection range of 4.38km. This outstrips the range of her AA gunners by 700m. While this does mean that you can keep Z-39's AA defenses active without worrying about giving away her position, it does mean she gets spotted by aircraft without any ability to retaliate if her range isn't upgraded with AA Guns Modification 2 or Advanced Fire Training. Secondly, Z-39's entire AA defense is built around small and medium caliber AA guns which are excessively fragile, particularly when she takes HE damage. Only a few HE strikes are needed to end her AA defense entirely. Overall, it's not worth specializing into AA firepower with Z-39. At best, you can hope to shoot down a couple of enterprising aircraft in the opening stages of the match, particularly if they're lower tiered planes. But it would be a mistake to expect anything more from her defenses. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Dual purpose guns are a must to form a backbone of longer range AA defense. Refrigerator Surface Detection Range: 7.74 km Air Detection Range: 4.38 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.08km Concealment when Firing in Smoke: 3.31km The only thing keeping Z-39 from dominating Vision Control at tier VII is the looming threat of HMS Cossack. What makes Z-39 so powerful is the combination of her enormous hit point pool and concealment. Thanks to access to her 5th upgrade slot where she can install Concealment Modification 1, Z-39 is one of the stealthiest tier VII destroyers in the game. The only destroyers that are more stealthy are Shirtatsuyu with a 5.8km surface detection range and the still-under-development HMS Cossack with a 5.7km surface detection range when each ship is fully upgraded. This 400m gap means less when you account for Z-39's Hydroacoustic Search consumable. This allows her to all but dominate vision where smoke and torpedoes are concerned. She again only comes up second with HMS Cossack's own hydro which, while not as long ranged, is long-lasting. It's a close competition between these two premiums for dominance in vision control at tier VII and Z-39 will hold primacy at least until HMS Cossack's release. A word of caution for all this praise, however. As nice as Z-39's concealment is when she's top tier, it falls apart when she's not. Every single tier VIII and IX destroyer has better surface detection than Z-39 with the exception of the German and Soviet tuba-players and lolibotes. Unlike the lower tiered boats that can out spot you, just about all of these will fight back and embarrass you. So this advantage goes right out the window. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Cossack (and possibly Haida's) release. From A to Z Optional Skills in green & purple. There's a bit of flexibility when it comes to choosing Z-39's skills. However, you want to begin with a solid foundation. Feel free to try out some builds of your own with ShipComrade's Skill Calculator. Start with Priority Target. You're still a destroyer, so Last Stand is of paramount importance. Take Survivability Expert at tier 3 to bump up your hit points. And finally take Concealment Expert at tier 4. I highly recommend taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells as your fifth skill -- this opens up a large range of gunnery targets for Z-39, including all cruisers and battleships at tier VIII+. You can opt out of doing this if you wish, but her damage potential will suffer. For optional skills, I recommend Adrenaline Rush and Superintendent to round out your last two skill choices, but you have options here depending on what role you envision your destroyer using. If you wish to try to tax the Damage Control Party of enemy ships, then dropping IFHE for Demolition Expert and Torpedo Armament Expertise is a viable option. I would round this out with Superintendent for added smoke. Vigilance is a more passive skill choice but your battleships will thank you for the increased torpedo detection range you will provide, especially when your Hydroacoustic Search is active. Expert Marksman is, overall, a weak choice but it will increase the comfort of handling Z-39 while under manoeuvres. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: For such a wet-noodle when it comes to firepower, Z-39 doesn't struggle to stack damage. There's something to be said about being the toughest little tyke in the kiddy pool. The bonuses she kept on from her time as a tier VIII test ship make her feel just that little bit more special. As far as gimmicks go, this is more refreshing than simply seeing a Repair Party or Torpedo Reload Booster used to correct an under-performing ship. Stealth and size both? Just who the Hell does she think she is? HMS Conqueror? I was genuinely shocked at how well this destroyer plays. It really surprised me. I took one look at her four 150mm guns with their odd placement and slow traverse and dismissed her something I wouldn't enjoy playing. It seemed like a distraction until something better (namely T-61) came. Suffice to say, Z-39 changed my opinion. and I'm glad she has. Let me add a few sobering words -- Z-39 is amazing when top-tier but her luster fades when facing higher tiered ships. It's common for a vessel to lose a bit of flair when Matchmaker slaps you around. However, Z-39's advantages -- namely concealment and her hit point total, don't amount too much when facing higher tiered ships. The stealth that makes her remarkable at tier VII is on the poor side for a tier VIII ship. Her beefy hit point total more than makes up for her ... well, let me be kind in saying "limp" main battery performance amounts to little when dueling with ships with enough hit points to challenge her. There's a reason, after all, that Wargaming elected to drop her from tier VIII to tier VII. Z-39 brings up the question of power creep. She's arguably one of (if not the) best destroyers at her tier. When she can guarantee to receive protected Matchmaking, such as in Ranked Battles, it's hard to argue against her merits. On the one hand, this is welcome for all the wrong reasons: the German destroyer tech tree has been utterly lacking in any form of premium for training purposes. I'm glad to see this gap filled. On the other hand, I am looking at Blyskawica with an air of pity as she becomes just that much less special. Z-39 herself is going to be power creeped with HMS Cossack (and possibly HMCS Haida) coming on the horizon which threaten to undermine her vision control dominance. This begs the question on how stable the meta is at tier VII for destroyers. Tier VII has long been red-headed step child tier for lolibotes. Like most vessels, destroyers tend to get larger as you climb in tiers and their surface detection balloons as they go. At tier VIII this gets mitigated by the Concealment System Modification 1 upgrade. With concealment being such an integral aspect of so many destroyers, their tier VII brethren suffer greatly when up-tiered. To this end, I loathe the 5th module upgrade slot for creating this artificial performance cliff. It doesn't just affect destroyers but cruisers and (to a lesser degree) battleships. So while Z-39 is a good tier VII destroyer, destroyers at tier VII are generally not good unless top-tier. This must moderate my opinion somewhat and I caution anyone new to the game that is as yet unaware of this stigma. Would I Recommend? I think the most relevant question would be if Z-39 is worth it or should a player wait for T-61, the other German premium destroyer. T-61 remains a Work in Progress -- subject to change if Wargaming so wishes while Z-39 is finalized in her current form. The two destroyers are very different beasts. As I write this, T-61 is the best destroyer at tier VI and not by a small margin. She's a torpedo destroyer primarily, but her guns aren't terrible. What makes her so memorable is her lack of overall weaknesses and the fast reload on her heavy torpedo armament. T-61 currently up-tiers better than Z-39, only feeling uncomfortable when she faces tier VIII opponents. Naturally, play style preferences may dictate one ship being preferable over the other, but in terms of relative power level, Z-39 is comparable to T-61, tier for tier. It's all a matter of personal choice. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Destroyers are a bit of an odd duck in PVE modes. Alpha strike and concealment are of paramount importance as the bots always know where you are (though they won't fire at you until you're spotted). Z-39 has the hit points to tough out attacks and her quad torpedo launchers hit hard enough to best most bots. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. Z-39 is a thug. Top tier, it doesn't feel fair going up against enemy DDs. She's tough enough to be a threat to any destroyer within her matchmaking spread. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. The combination of stealth, Hydroacoustic Search and deep health reserves makes Z-39 a solid contender for competitive modes. The only down sides, really, are her poor striking power. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. No. Z-39 was built in steel and served during WW2. Her career didn't see any action against enemy surface ships, however, which kinda limits her appeal. She did survive the war and ended up serving briefly with the United States and France. For Fun Factor Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. She's a bully with all the tools you could ever want in a German destroyer. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. In Closing This is Premium Ship Review number 99. I'm pretty sure I know what number 100 will be. It's amazing to me that I'm reaching this number at all, especially given the hurdles on getting here. I have a pretty good idea on what number 100 is going to be given the number of premiums Wargaming has dropped on my lap for testing and the small windows I have to review them. The next review should be up within the next week and a half. I would like to thank my patrons on Patreon for their continued support. Their contributions help make putting time into these reviews possible. Even the small donations make a world of difference, so thanks to everyone that tosses in even a few bucks. Thank you all for reading! Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews. For a list of my other reviews, please visit this thread. Destroyers and Cruisers are linked on post #2. Battleships and Aircraft Carriers are on post #3.
  23. The following is a review of Indomitable, the tier VIII British Aircraft Carrier. This ship was provided to me for free by Wargaming for review purposes. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.0. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Well, this won't be popular. Seriously, what a way to tank my readership numbers -- reviewing an aircraft carrier of all things. I can already hear the furious keyboard mashing of the rework-haters preparing to repeat oft-rehearsed mantras and soundbites. Well, whether social media likes it or not, Indomitable is a premium that Wargaming is charging money for and it should be reviewed. Players should have access to as much accurate information about her as possible. So here I am. Don't hate the facts. Hate the feels. Welcome to 2020, everyone! Quick Summary: A carpet-bombing nightmare. Her planes are super fast and super tough but she gets so few of them. The game play is quick, monotonous and heavily RNG based. PROS Armoured flight deck. Her aircraft are very fast. Enormous aircraft health pools. Her bombers are very easy to use. Bombers are good at starting fires. Accelerated reset timers after attack runs, allowing for faster repeat-strikes. Very fast patrol fighters, excellent at intercepting enemy air groups. CONS Enormous, high-water citadel. No torpedo planes whatsoever. Tiny hangar capacity and slow regeneration of aircraft. Strike groups are very small and easily wiped out when caught by flak or fighters. Low agility on aircraft. They're only fast in a straight line. Her bombers have very poor energy retention. Low penetration on bombs and rockets limits their ability to stack direct damage. Success is heavily RNG based, banking on fires to burn down targets or a good drop pattern to pulverize destroyers. You can setup everything correctly and still fail. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging/ Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low/ MODERATE/ High/ Extreme Indomitable isn't terribly complex -- she's arguably one of the easiest aircraft carriers in the game to learn. If she could automatically avoid flak, fighters and negate the effects of AA, I'd give her a "simple" rating but she's not quite there. There's not much else to Indomitable beyond proper target selection. Few of the high-skill CV tricks work here. Indomitable has a shorter immunity window than other carriers so sling-shotting provides less returns that it would for other carriers. Fast recall doesn't work either. This limits "high skill play" to pre-dropping planes and knowing which ships you can damage directly with her low-penetration attacks. Options Ship Consumables Aircraft carrier consumables are fixed and activate automatically. Indomitable's Damage Control Party is activated anytime she takes critical damage. This includes taking floods, being set on fire, taking critical damage to her steering gears or engines. This is active for 60 seconds with a 90 second reset timer. It has unlimited charges. Her CAP Fighters (combat air patrol fighters) are activated anytime Indomitable is spotted. Once launched, these will patrol for TEN MINUTES (600s) if they're not destroyed or they aren't required to intercept. The four fighters (five with the Direction Center for Fighters commander skill) orbit Indomitable at a range of 1km and engage enemy aircraft that slip within 3km of their current position. Each aircraft is capable of shooting down a single plane. This consumable has four charges and a 40s reset timer. Aircraft Consumables Indomitable's two squadrons each have consumables with her fighters being slightly improved to compensate for the lack of torpedo bombers. The Engine Cooling consumable restores the carrier's boost meter to full over the course of five seconds. In addition, while it's active, boosting will not drain the meter. Each squadron has two charges and they reset over 80 seconds. Indomitable's Patrol Fighters come with an extra charge compared to most of the other tier VIII carriers. She starts with four charges instead of three. This gives Indomitable a total of eight charges compared to the nine the other carriers enjoy. These fighters fight on station for 60 seconds with a five second reset timer after the planes depart. Upgrades Take Air Groups Modification 1 in your first slot to accelerate aircraft return & recovery time. Next, take Aircraft Engines Modification 1 to give you more boost time. You have a choice in slot three. Attack Aircraft Modification 1 will give you an additional 2 seconds of time to fire your rockets in an attack run. If you patently hate your rockets (or don't see an additional 2 seconds as useful), then AA Guns Modification 1 should be your fallback. You have the choice between increasing the hit points of your attack aircraft or bombers here. Pick whichever one you're more reliant upon. I personally prefer Bombers Modification 2 over Attack Aircraft Modification 2. Let's not kid ourselves: Flight Control Modification 1 is hella important for a carrier with such limited hangar capacity as Indomitable. Concealment System Modification 1 will help keep your carrier alive (somewhat), but Indomitable's surface detection isn't so appalling that she needs much help. Commander Skills I'd like to be able to tell you that you should take a unique, Indomitable-only commander build but it's really not necessary. Focus on aircraft survivability skills primarily, increasing boost time, regeneration time, health and protection versus AA power. After that, do whatever. Demolition Expert is probably the only must-have that you might otherwise skip on some carriers. Camouflage Indomitable comes with Type 10 Camouflage providing the standard bonuses for a tier VIII premium: 3% reduction to surface detection. 4% increase to enemy dispersion. 10% reduction to post-battle service costs. 50% increase to experience earned. Provided you've completed the necessary collections, you have two palette options for Indomitable. This is the alternate camouflage colours. Both are nice. The Planes Indomitable's most telling trait isn't what she can do, but rather what she can't. She does not have access to any torpedo bombers and is thus entirely reliant upon her attack aircraft and bombers to carry the day. The former are pretty forgettable, leaving most of the heavy lifting to Indomitable's bombers. For a ship with already pared down game play options, having success largely stacked onto the shoulders of a single aircraft type makes for hella-dull game play. Like more than a few recent ships, Indomitable's fortunes are tied directly to her matchmaking. I cannot stress this enough: She lacks penetration. The more well armoured her opponents, the more reliant she is upon RNG to stack hits on the few squishy areas that remain or to start fires. This has the potential to severely limits her damage output. There's a world of difference between nearly every hit causing damage and only a choice few. At her core, Indomitable is little different than an HE-spamming heavy cruiser or British battleship. Her preferred means of damage comes from landing penetrating hits, but in a pinch, fires will do. She manages this by fast-cycling her aircraft. Indomitable greatly reduces travel times compared to her contemporaries, taxing Damage Control Parties and repeat-striking exposed ships until they are burned or bombed to death. Her preferred targets are the squishy and the battleships. The former she can hurt directly, the latter she can burn. However, she is deathly allergic to strong, combined AA auras. Thus, most cruisers are off the menu, making Indomitable's already limited gameplay incredibly myopic. Burning battleships leads to three things: big numbers, Witherer medals and lots of raging in chat. This kind of triple-stacked positive reinforcement will all but guarantee that most Indomitable players will ignore objectives, dismiss targets of importance and focus instead upon farming battleship tears. What else did you expect from a demented Sky-Conqueror? Hangar Capacity Attack Aircraft Capacity: 12 Aircraft Attack Aircraft Regeneration: 115s per Bomber Capacity: 8 Aircraft Bomber Regeneration: 117s per Indomitable's hangar is ... well, crappy to say the least. The only positive here is that she holds more aircraft than she otherwise should. With her squadrons a mere four bombers and six attack aircraft in size, I would expect her to house six bombers and nine attack aircraft in her hangar if she conformed to CV norms. However, Wargaming "balanced" her by letting her carry double the size of her squadrons instead. Indomitable's aircraft regeneration is painfully slow to boot. This isn't a terribly forgiving aircraft when it comes to mistakes. At best, she can regenerate a maximum of 11 of each aircraft type over the course of a twenty-minute match and that's only the theoretical maximum. In practice count assume you're getting one aircraft of each type back every two minutes provided you're using both types regularly. There's no way in Hell any of these carriers will reach their theoretical maximum capacity. Regeneration of aircraft only occurs when there's empty room in the hangar. The moment the hangar is full, typically from returning aircraft, regeneration stops and any remaining progress is lost. Bombers Aircraft Type: de Havilland Sea Hornet Ordnance: Six 250lb general purpose bomb Group Size: Four aircraft per squadron with two aircraft per attack flight Hit Points: 2,590hp per Aircraft Min/Cruising/Boosted Speed: 157kts/182kts/217kts Easy to Use, Easy to Praise Indomitable's bombers are amazing. They are fast. They are tough. Her bomb aiming reticule isn't punitive with a short and forgiving aim-time. She dumps a ton of ordnance allowing her to land big alpha strikes or ensure a hit on even a small target. She's capable of starting multiple fires per run. It doesn't take five years for her bombs to drop either. British carpet-bombers are little more than over-glorified rocket aircraft in terms of their ease of use. Indomitable may not have torpedoes, but her bombers pretty much make up for this lack -- they truly are excellent. Let's start with the basics. This is what she uses to aim: Photoshop composite showing the size and shape of Indomitable's fully aimed bomb reticule. Aircraft are moving from the bottom of the screen to the top. Reference-Mahan™ for scale. Indomitable drops twelve bombs over this small area and it takes no time at all for this marker to settle to the narrowest aim. Bomb drop times are about 3.5 seconds, so this necessitates quite a bit of lead. However, if you can predict ship movements properly, it's possible to score multiple hits even on a Just-Dodging™ lolibote or cruiser. They've a very gentle learning curve which makes it easy to score some big numbers provided you pick the right targets. All of Indomitable's bombers have a reduced recovery period. This allows her to launch repeat strikes faster than most of her contemporaries, however it makes her remaining planes more vulnerable to AA fire after the drop. It should be noted that Indomitable, like Implacable, cannot fast-recall her bombers immediately after an attack. The ease of use continues with the aircraft's survivability. These things are fast and they're tough. With full upgrades, it's possible to get their hit points just shy of 3,000hp (and exceed it with the new legendary commander). These aircraft can literally outrun some of the fighters they come up against, making them capable of leading them on merry chases forever and a day. Similarly, their high speed and durability trivializes modest AA defenses and get through with few (if any) casualties. Indomitable's bombers are tough as nails, but it pays to invest in every health upgrade you can afford to give them. These aircraft will be your mainstay damage dealers, so do everything you can to keep them intact. Complications I only have two general areas of complaint with Indomitable's bombers -- penetration and their agility. I'll start with the latter mostly because it was a Hell of a lot of work to isolate. Agility wise, Idomitable's bombers are great in a straight line. However, they're as awkward and uncoordinated as Wargaming's PR and marketing departments. Indomitable's bombers require a RIDICULOUS amount of room to come about. While boosted, their turning circle radius is a whopping 1,700m! Even at normal speed, it isn't much better requiring 1,200m. The aircraft are slow to respond to commands and feel sluggish compared to the American or Implacable's bombers. These are not winning any agility prizes. No, I don't know why so many aircraft had similar agility. Lexington and Enterprise make sense (they're the same aircraft, after all) but the others? No clue. Happy coincidence, I guess. If you elect to make follow up attack runs with Indomitable's bombers, don't try and turn about immediately. Power through the ship's AA bubble before you begin coming about. It's ridiculously easy to overshoot targets with Indomitable's bombers. Her agility woes continue, though. While it looks like she shares parity with Graf Zeppelin's Ta-152s, this isn't the case. The German bombers are faster, having both a higher boosted speed (+40kts vs the +35kts of Indomitable's bombers) and better energy preservation besides. Graf Zeppelin (and most, if not all other carriers) can ride and flutter their throttle to extend the use of their plane's boost consumable. When Indomitable let's go of the W-key, her planes bleed all of the extra speed like they hit a brick wall. What energy preservation? Deceleration from boosted speed is a linear-loss. The longer aircraft can preserve speed, the better. The consumable has 20 seconds of active time and a 40 second reset timer. These both can be increased by 10% with an upgrade. Players may flutter the boost-power, stretching out its duration. Indomitable can't do this at all, losing everything almost instantly. Even her Attack Aircraft preserve speed better. Lert recklessly took his finger off the boost button while playtesting Indomitable's bombers. I wish I could take credit for this one, but this is all Chobittsu. As for Indomitable's HE bomb penetration, it's not terrible. It's simply not high enough to make it a universal threat against all targets. When she's top tier, the monstrous potential of what could have been is unleashed -- there are few ships at tiers VI and VII that have protection schemes to defend against 32mm of penetration. Indomitable wrecks all comers with her fast-cycling planes. Against tier VIII+ battleships and carrier, Indomitable's HE penetration starts feeling sub-standard. Shatters abound and her alpha-strike potential plummets. Neither of these two issues damns Indomitable's bombers. They're merely minor complications. 32mm of penetration is PRETTY good, but it's not good enough to hurt everything she comes across. I've left the AP bomb comparison out of this as their damage output is hella wonky, with impressive citadel hits, the occasional penetration or horrible over-penetration damage. HE bombs by contrast are pretty reliable in terms of their binary -- either a penetrating hit or the bomb shatters for zero damage until saturation kicks in. The Genuine Problem So let's recap: Indomitable has fast, tough planes. They're not especially agile and they don't preserve speed very well. Furthermore, Indomitable can't afford to take many losses -- she doesn't have the regeneration to recoup from mistakes being made. Screw up against flak, fighters or misjudge the potency of an AA-wall and you're in trouble. Finally, they do good direct damage against tier VI and VII targets, but struggle against tier VIII+ battleships and some aircraft carriers. In short, Indomitable's bombers over-perform against lower-tiered targets but they fall back into an unhealthy behaviour against higher tiered enemies. With AA power increasing, higher-tiered cruisers are generally off the menu. She can't afford running the gauntlet of taking even one or two casualties per attack run. Thus, Indomitable's design encourages players to focus on stacking fires against isolated, modest-AA defended battleships -- namely Japanese and German designs though any will do if there's a lack of available targets. Fire resistance cuts these values in half against tier X targets and by roughly 1/4 against tier VI targets. Indomitable tends to average 1-2 fires per attack-flight drop against most battleships. This game play is infuriating to suffer. Her bombers can outrun many fighters and outlast modest AA fire coming from a single battleship. A target 25km away will face repeat strikes from even a single flight every 50 seconds -- those fires will begin to stack and there's little to nothing they can do to stop it. They can't hide. They can't run. Their only hope is to be rescued by fighters fast enough to catch Indomitable's bombers and this isn't guaranteed or to find themselves under the combined AA umbrella of several allies. To the Indomitable player, the damage numbers this generates are incredibly rewarding. Big numbers. Lots of medals. All but guaranteed kills. Fun and Engaging 101. Why hunt cruisers and destroyers when battleships are such easy farms? Yes, Indomitable's bombers are capable of wrecking cruisers. Yes, they're perfectly suitable for nuking lolibotes, but why bother when you can Sky-Conqueror your way to the top of the experience pile? Sure, you might win more if you actually helped out your team and took out targets that mattered, but that's not going to help you average over 100k to 200k damage every match, now will it? Summary: Indomitable's bombers are powerful, versatile, fast and deadly. It's too bad all you're going to use them for is farming fire damage off battleships. Attack Aircraft Aircraft Type: de Havilland Sea Hornet Ordnance: Eight RP-3 60lb HE No1 Mk1 per aircraft Group Size: Six aircraft per squadron with two aircraft per attack flight Hit Points: 2,100hp per Aircraft Min/Cruising/Boosted Speed: 158kts/188kts/228kts I don't like Indomitable's attack aircraft. Well, I don't like attack aircraft in general and while I'm sure that bias carries over here, Indomitable's aircraft feel of poor quality compared to her bombers. They're fast, sure -- and that's probably the best thing about them. They have other positive traits, such as a good health pool, faster reset-timer between attacks and a decent fire-chance per rocket hit. However, we still need to be aware of Indomitable's lack of torpedo planes. Unlike her bombers, Indomitable's attack aircraft don't take up any of the slack. They don't exactly need to given the general cancerous awesomeness of her bombers. ("I'm sorry, son, you have cancer. The awesome kind of cancer.") And that's really the problem: most of the jobs you would delegate to attack aircraft are performed better by Indomitable's bombers. Thus Indomitable's rockets lack purpose. The only reason to take them out is when you're running low on bombers. Let's look at these aircraft in more detail: Survivability I'm not going to lie -- the survivability of Indomitable's Attack Aircraft is pretty damn good. This shouldn't be any surprise after her bombers. She hasless exposure time to damaging effects and more health to tank through it. While this doesn't make her aircraft invincible by any means, it does all but guarantee that her planes will survive long enough to deliver an attack provided you don't drive into a flak explosion or fighter swarm. It's the speed of her aircraft that are the real superstars. At 188kts cruising speed, she covers 5km every 10 seconds. This accelerates not only her ability to deliver strikes but also to return the limited number of aircraft to which she has access. Indomitable's Sea Hornets have the same hit point pool as Implacable's Seafires which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but whatever. Indomitable has not only the fastest attack aircraft at tier VIII, but some of the fastest attack aircraft in the whole game. The same problems that plagued her bombers are repeated here. She doesn't have the reserves to tough-out taking sustained casualties. As resilient as her individual aircraft are, every loss hurts. Indomitable has an absolute maximum of twenty-five (25) attack aircraft to play with over the course of the game with more realistic numbers sitting closer around sixteen to twenty depending on frequency of use and game duration. Losing a mere eight aircraft in quick succession severely limits her ability to deliver-repeat strikes without a pronounced wait on aircraft return times. Her attack aircraft agility sucks too but it isn't as much of a disparity gap as it was with her bombers: Unlike ships, if you want to improve both the rate of turn and turning radius for aircraft, hit the brakes. With her airbrakes, Indomitable's Attack Aircraft have a 30.6º/s rotation rate and 790m turning radius. Don't boost -- that just makes everything worse. The horrible agility and twitchy aim marker makes lining up shots with Indomitable's rockets difficult unless you start VERY far out. Any kind of manoeuvring will throw off your lead Indomitable's attack aircraft have a very short recovery timer after a run. This allows Indomitable to make repeat-attacks faster than her contemporaries, however it limits the range of her sling-shot immunity from AA fire. In addition, her Sea Hornets cannot make a fast-recall like other attack aircraft. Ordnance As controversial as rockets are, Indomitable's are pretty forgettable. Their individual damage values are decent and their fire chance per hit is good. However, their flight fires only a modest 16 per salvo limiting their effectiveness. It's not that these weapons are terrible, they're simply average while those of many other aircraft carriers are much better or at least more interesting. On paper, the stats of Indomitable's individual rockets are pretty good. Comparison of the tech-tree carrier rocket-ordnance including the shape of their attack reticle. Comparison of the premium carrier rocket-ordnance and the shape of their attack reticles. Protecting the Lolibotes Indomitable's rockets were nerfed repeatedly over the course of her development to limit their effectiveness against destroyers. They had their damage reduced and dispersion worsened. Only half of Indomitable's rockets will ever land towards the center of the target marker, greatly limiting the maximum amount of damage possible in a single run unless hitting a chunktacular-sized vessel. Photoshop composite showing the size and shape of Indomitable's fully aimed rocket reticle. Aircraft are moving from the bottom of the screen to the top. Reference-Mahan™ for scale. The orientation of this aiming reticle makes it harder to land hits against small targets like destroyers compared to the perpendicular drop pattern of American FFAR and HVAR rockets. The 27mm of penetration on Indomitable's rockets repeats her improved performance parameters against tier VI and tier VII targets of all types. When Indomitable is top tier, there isn't anything her rockets are incapable of preying upon, delivering reliable damage against cruisers and battleships and supplementing her bombers well. When facing tier VIII+ ships, the number of targets reduces. In theory, she should still be quite effective against cruisers and some carriers, however, the level of anti-aircraft firepower from most of these ships at tier VIII+ precludes them from being viable targets until the very end of a match. If these ships absolutely must die, then certain her rockets are preferable to use over her more valuable bombers -- the larger effective health pool of six rocket planes versus four bombers will tough out AA better, but the casualties will cost Indomitable dear. While not essential for putting down the hurt on most vessels, higher penetration allows for more damage to a greater range of targets. With Indomitable's rocket penetration being kinda meh, it puts more of a burden on her bombers to carry her performance when dealing with high-tier battleships. Against ideal, soft targets, her damage caps out at 11,088hp per attack assuming they all hit and penetrate... which they won't. Effective fire resistance of most target ships will reduce the odds of stacking blazes. Indomitable's rockets are a poor choice for starting fires unless you can make repeat strikes. It's only against targets with very weak AA power where this is even remotely feasible. These are yet even more reasons that Indomitable's rockets should generally be relegated to pounding soft targets. Summary: Indomitable's rockets are okay. They feel pretty good when she's top tier. Make sure to use and abuse them when tier VI and VII targets are present as this takes some much needed strain off her bombers. Just remember: Her bombers are better and will do the same job more effectively. Fighters It's not uncommon for ships to use different types of aircraft for Combat Air Patrol (carrier defense) and Patrol fighters (summoned by squadrons). All of the tier VIII American carriers use Corsairs for CAP while they use a mix of Corsairs, Hellcats and Bearcats for patrol summons between Lexington, Enterprise and Saipan respectively. Indomitable is no different, making use of the same Seafires as Implacable for CAP and recruiting a wave of Sea Hornets for patrol duties. The latter are MUCH faster -- some of the fastest fighters in the game while the former are some of the slowest CAP fighters at tier VIII. Thankfully you can all but guarantee that whatever planes are coming towards your carrier will fly right into your Seafires so their speed is less of an issue. Indomitable uses Implacable's Seafires for her combat air patrol defense around the carrier. These orbit at a range of 1km around the ship and engage enemy aircraft that slip within 3km of their position. The flight size can be modified by taking the Direction Center for Fighters skill. Indomitable starts with four charges of CAP fighters but you may increase this to five if you take Superintendent (but why would you?). Nothing can outrun Indomitable's summoned Patrol Fighters. Once they lock on, casualties are all but guaranteed. Praying to RNGesus Indomitable is the great equalizer. Forget skill -- it will only take you so far with this ship. The layers of RNG are stacked pretty high with her performance. While timing and target selection matter, you can do everything right and still do poorly because your rockets scattered oddly or you didn't set that fire when it was optimal to do so. Fires and dispersion make all of the difference in Indomitable -- it's what separates a good game from a poor showing. You'll need between five and eight permanent fires to score a Witherer's medal -- that's five to eight fires pushed past an enemy battleship's Damage Control Party. If the numbers aren't coming up, there's not much you can do to stack damage quickly against higher tiered battleships. Similarly, bad bomb or rocket scattering can make even a perfectly lined shot fall flat. Conversely, a well timed triple (or quadruple!) fire and suddenly you're a rockstar. This is why I rag on Indomitable's low penetration and also why I say this ship patently over-performs when facing a glut of tier VI and VII targets. Lower-tier AA power largely doesn't matter, but more importantly she can partially bypass RNGesus. She's no longer reliant upon fires for her damage totals and can stack the hurt directly. I would have gladly traded some of Indomitable's alpha-strike and fire setting potential for better penetration or more accurate drops. It would have taken some of the lottery-feels out of her successes. This is what's so infuriating about playing with and against Indomitable. You're forever hoping RNG screws over your opponent. You don't need to get good in Indomitable, you just need to get lucky. The Ship Carrier hulls aren't worth noting until they're being shot at. There's really only one carrier currently in the game that rewards you for taking control of the hull and that's Graf Zeppelin. For every other CV in the game, the hull is just where your planes are stored. It's a box of hit points you try to keep as close to the action as possible while remaining hidden. Durability Hit Points: 51,400hp Maximum Citadel Protection: 114mm belt Minimum Hull Armour: 19mm to 21mm Flight Deck Armour: 25mm to 76mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 28% Aircraft carriers are not known for their durability. British carriers have an marked flaw with their high-water citadels. Indomitable's citadel pokes up well over the waterline with a noticeable 'hump' beneath her conning tower. Taking hits to her machine spaces is tragically commonplace, even from incidental pot-shots. It's not all doom and gloom, however. Indomitable has good anti-torpedo defense for a carrier. She also boasts an armoured flight deck. The latter element provides some immunity to HE attacks and can ricochet poorly aimed (or poorly dispersed) long range AP fire. This only applies to the central part of the deck, however. Her bow and stern are still highly vulnerable to both HE and large caliber AP shell over-matching. Still, it's nice to see this historical element do it's job versus HE bomb attacks, allowing Indomitable to shrug off sniping attempts from dive bombers. Except AP bombs. Oh lordy, does she hate AP bombs. Damage over time (DoT) effects have very little impact on aircraft carriers and Indomitable is no exception. This is in part due to their long-duration, automatically deploying Damage Control Party which activates the moment critical damage is done and provides a 60 second immunity window. In addition, fires and floods simply don't last as long as they do on other types of ships and deal less damage. Maximum Fire Damage per Ship Type: Destroyers & Cruisers: 9% over 30 seconds. Graf Spee: 13.5% over 45 seconds. Battleships & Large Cruisers: 18% over 60 seconds. Aircraft Carriers: 2% over 5 seconds. Maximum Flood Damage per Ship Type: Destroyers & Cruisers: 10% over 40 seconds. Graf Spee: 15% over 40 seconds. Battleships & Large Cruisers: 20% over 40 seconds. Aircraft Carriers: 7.5% over 30 seconds. Thus attempting to stack DoTs to bring down a carrier is a fool's errand, really. Even if you do get past their Damage Control Party, the returns just really aren't worthwhile. This was ostensibly designed to mitigate the effectiveness of aircraft carriers sniping one another. The result of this is to make direct damage the only effective way of sinking the ship itself. Indomitable is super squishy. The best thing about her protection scheme is her armoured deck which can shrug off HE hits that avoid striking its extremities. However, her enormous, high-water citadel means that it's always (ALWAYS) worth a battleship's time to fire Hail Mary shots from across the map at her if she's spotted. Heavy cruisers should do the same. Citadel hits from the extremes of range are painfully commonplace. Agility Top Speed: 30.5kts Listed Turning Radius: 970m Rudder Shift Time: 13.0s 4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 3.2º/s Well, this section's going to be hella brief. Aircraft carrier agility is a cruel joke. They can barely manage to maintain 2/3s of their forward momentum when you touch their rudder. The only thing that's ever considered good about their agility is their top speed. Indomitable is downright mediocre in this regard, barely managing to exceed 30 knots. Running away means sailing straight lines or risk being overtaken by even the pedestrian velocities of some of the tier VIII battleships. It's not like her autopilot is going to do her any favours either. They're all pretty terrible but Kaga gets the special loser-points for being so slow. I do get a laugh that Indomitable can turn inside her own aircraft. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 13.5km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 10.61km Air Detection Range: 10.58km Indomitable's surface detection range is decidedly average for a tier VIII carrier though her aerial detection is a bit on the high side. That "Minimum Surface Detection Range" is a pipe dream -- you're not going to use Concealment System Modification 1 so Indomitable's surface concealment tends to cap out at around 11.79km Secondaries Secondary Battery: Sixteen 113mm/45 rifles in 8x2 turrets with four on each side of the ship. Her turrets are not superfiring and arranged on platform-wings jutting out from the front and rear of the flight deck. Graf Zeppelin, this carrier is not. Indomitable's secondaries are a mere afterthought. These dual purpose weapons work better as anti-aircraft mounts than anti-surface weapons and they don't win any prizes for the former. I took her out and tried to have her sink a stationary Reference-Mahan™ at a range of 4km with secondary fire only. It took over 230 shells fired (that's two and a half minutes worth of shooting) to sink the darned thing and that's largely owing to some lucky fires. Don't waste your time with these. If you squint, you can make out the secondaries fore and aft on their isolated platforms. Unless a target is completely broadside, you're not bringing all four turrets onto a target. Indomitable has an 8° blindspot directly forward and an 18º blindspot to the rear where an enemy ship can sit with impunity. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: Four for 1,330 damage per blast. Long Ranged AA: ~88dps at 5.8km Medium Ranged AA: ~228dps at 3.5km Short Ranged AA: ~366dps at 2.0km I kinda wanted to rag on Indomitable for her AA not being up to scratch, but looking at the numbers, she's alright'. Indomitable's AA firepower is based around point defense, with the majority of her AA limited to engaging aircraft just before or during an ordnance launch. This isn't ideal -- I'd prefer to see a lot more teeth in her 3.5km batteries as per Implacable but whatever. Ranking wise, I'd put her tied with Graf Zeppelin overall which is just ahead of Saipan, Shokaku and Kaga. Most of Indomitable's AA defense comes from her multitude of 20mm Oerlikon mounts. Seriously, those things are scattered everywhere. It's pretty impressive. Aircraft Carrier Summary I've got to give Indomitable's hull failing marks. The carrier's purpose is to keep out of harm's way and cycle aircraft. Indomitable isn't terrible at the former -- she doesn't win any prizes, though. She's pretty darned awful at the latter. Unremarkable AA power, agility and concealment. Below average durability due to high vulnerability to AP citadel hits. Her armoured deck is nice but it rarely comes into play short of being attacked by other carriers or long-range HE spam. Hangar capacity is stupid-small with very long aircraft recovery times. Laughable secondaries. Final Evaluation I was expecting this ship to be released with patch 0.8.2. The early rework was Hell for me. Not only was I trying to familiarize myself with the new CV systems, I was trying to make myself expert on Indomitable on a short time frame. I put in over 100 games in this ship between patches 0.8.0 and 0.8.0.3. This was when the changes to AA power and aircraft performance were almost constant. I fully expected Indomitable to be released with the British Aircraft Carrier tech-tree; if not with Hermes, Glorious and Implacable in patch 0.8.1, then surely with Audacious in patch 0.8.2. There was never enough time. But those deadlines came and went. More changes occurred and the data I had collected faded to frustrating obsolescence. Indomitable was hit with a few small evolutionary changes for patch 0.8.3 and I put in almost another 100 games, updating my notes. This was especially hard to do with my health struggles at the time, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't behind the curve with the carrier rework. And then nothing happened. Indomitable disappeared. She went back into the vault even as the rework continued. What followed was a series of dramatic changes to her performance but with no follow-up testing. Indomitable lost one of her most defining features -- the ability to have her aircraft exceed 250 knots. I didn't get to play test her through this. Anti-aircraft firepower became ridiculously powerful only to see-saw back towards a much more modest state we have currently. I didn't get to play test her through these changes either. Indomitable was placed upon the back burner. Ark Royal ended up being released instead -- a much better and more interesting premium carrier in my opinion. Indomitable made a reappearance late in 2019, hidden among all the fuss and fluff of the then upcoming (and highly anticipated with much positivity!) Puerto Rico build. I still didn't get to play test her during this time and expressed some pretty firm concerns that she might have lost her pizazz. Y'see, with all of the games I had played with her previously, I had actually found some enjoyment in the rampant fire-setting sadism that Indomitable provided. Looking back, I think this might have been some abusive transference. I was in pain. Keeping track of the CV rework was similarly a pain. So, sharing the hurt around seems entirely in character and reasonable. The kinder, gentler and more fluffy Mouse of today doesn't do that. I don't need to farm Witherer medals in Indomitable anymore -- the hurt has gone away. I don't need to terrorize poor destroyers and battleships with her planes to spread hate for the CV rework. I have Ark Royal for that. Whatever charms Indomitable once held have long since faded. She's pretty boring to play. Don't get me wrong -- she can generate the numbers so long as you're okay with farming useless damage off battleships. Getting those big numbers, farming Witherer medals and hoovering up the hate in chat is amusing too. But she's definitely not a great performer. I think Wargaming is understandably gun-shy about releasing a carrier premium that's anywhere close to "good" these days. Graf Zeppelin is never allowed to be good ever again and Indomitable stands proudly beside that train wreck as a whole bucket-load of meh. At least both of them are interesting design concepts, I'll give 'em that much. There's always a chance that if Indomitable under-performs that she'll get buffed in the future, but I don't honestly see that coming in any significant way. Here we are almost a year after my testing of Indomitable began, near unto the one year anniversary of the CV-rework. I wish I could go back and tell myself to go lie down and take a few months off. The final product that Indomitable became isn't worth the attention. I'm not sure the rework is either. Would I Recommend? Generally speaking? No, if only because Ark Royal is a thing. Not only does the tier VI premium come at a lower price point, she's much more interesting and fun to play. It's a shame because Indomitable looks gorgeous. The potential is also there but in practice her game play is so repetitive and infuriating. Indomitable is arguably the weakest (or at least, the most inconsistent) of the tier VIII premium carriers. As a co-op boat, she's an especially poor choice. It takes time to stack fires -- time is at a premium in such encounters. Conclusion Thank you all so much for reading. The next reviews will be short and sweet, each covering the new Pan Asian clones Wukong, Bajie and Siliwangi. Look for them soon!
  24. 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.
  25. The following is a review of Smolensk, the tier X premium Soviet light cruiser kindly provided to me by Wargaming. Please be aware that though this represents the release version of the ship, her statistics may change in the future. To the best of my knowledge, these stats are accurate as of patch 0.8.8. Someone thought it would be a good idea to release a tier X version of USS Flint but with Soviet flavour-crystals. Players in the know are disinclined to drink the red Kool-aid -- and with good reason. If you're hoping that I was going to feed the drama llama and tell you everything is fine with Smolensk, I'm sorry to disappoint. Smolensk is an unapologetically powerful premium and continues the 2019 Stalinium trend. I should call Smolensk by her proper appellation: a "Reward Ship". This distinction is hella-important. Reward ships can still be directly nerfed after-release. Barring extraordinary circumstances, a premium cannot. This is, of course, adding to the feelings of frustration within certain circles of the community -- knowing that Wargaming could apply corrections to Smolensk but hasn't. I'm personally not getting my hopes up. So let's take a look at this calamity and why Smolensk has so many people sipping Tang. PROS Troll armour scheme, with 30mm hull amidships, 50mm citadel roof and a thin armoured belt which prompts frequent AP ricochets and over-penetrations. Armed with sixteen (!) rapid-fire Soviet 130mm guns that upgrade well with commander skills. Has the ability to make players give up on life and/or rage quit simply by bringing them under fire. Speaking of fire, she's good at setting it. Good accuracy and shell ballistics for a light cruiser. Downright trollish protection scheme. Excellent concealment. It's so good that she can hide her over-performance from spreadsheets. Fast and agile. Good anti-aircraft firepower. Has access to a Smoke Generator. CONS Super squishy with a tiny hit point pool, pathetic armour and zero anti-torpedo protection. Speaking of squish, her citadel is exposed over the waterline and just begging to be groped by AP shells. When things go wrong, they go wrong quickly. Short ranged guns and torpedoes. But you can fix the former and you don't necessarily need the latter (nice as they are to have). Poor HE and AP penetration for a tier X cruiser (not that this matters, really, but someone would complain if I didn't put it here). It's Soviet, so it's not allowed to be good. Smolensk is an HE spamming, torpedo-armed light-cruiser with smoke. In theory, she's soft and fragile. In theory. In reality, she's hard to spot, she's hard to hit, and when you do hit her, you can't guarantee good damage numbers. The Details You Need to Know There are four main elements you need to know about Smolensk. Weapons Main Battery: Sixteen 130mm/57 guns in 4x4 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Ten torpedo tubes in 2x5 launchers with one mounted on each side in wing mounts straddling the rear funnel. Smolensk has destroyer-caliber guns. This presents a few problems but, as we'll see, these are problems that are largely irrelevant. These imagined difficulties are: Smolensk is short ranged. She only has a modest fire-chance per shell compared to 152mm+ armed cruisers. She has low damage per shell compared to 152mm+ armed cruisers. Her AP penetration and HE penetration are poor. Smolensk starts with a mere 13.8km reach. This is near-suicidal range for a cruiser at tier X, but Smolensk has two ready fixes. Between the Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 upgrade and the Advanced Fire Training commander skill, Smolensk's range can be modified to 16km or 16.6km respectively. The choice between these two options lets players pick one of the two without taxing their ability to boost Smolensk's DPM or set fires. Combine the two (often at the expense of reload) and you have a reach of 19.2km. These options more than undermine any deficiencies in the reach of her guns. Furthermore, unlike some other destroyer-caliber armed cruisers, Smolensk's guns are comfortable to use up to ranges of 15km and have better ballistics than British or American 152mm. Shell flight times estimations (in seconds) of most of the tier X cruisers. These were taken from the in-game client with guns trained broadside. Smolensk's 130mm guns have shell flight times similar to Des Moines and Salem at very long ranges -- much improved over the more floaty ballistics of American and British 152mm guns. At ranges less than 10km, they're more akin to Henri IV's 240mm guns. Speaking of damage output and setting fires: It's true that Smolensk's AP and HE shells are found wanting in terms of raw damage output and fire chance compared to the 152mm, 203mm and 240mm guns of her competitors. However, the sheer volume of fire and her improved accuracy more than make up for any perceived deficit here. Furthermore, Smolensk can directly increase her rate of fire with Basic Fire Training -- something the other cruisers at tier X cannot, stacking this on top of Main Battery Modification 3. In addition, she takes less fire-chance penalty for using the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill than her contemporaries. This just leaves the issue of penetration, and this isn't one that can be corrected. Even with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, Smolensk is incapable of damaging areas of armour thicker than 27mm with her high-explosive rounds. Her AP shells are similarly anemic with less than 100mm of penetration at ranges greater than 8km. However, her low penetration is largely a non-issue. Smolensk is more than capable of aiming for weak spots, and when you're tossing out that many shells, you're bound to hit something squishy sooner or later. Her AP shells are still able to chew through mouthfuls of an enemy ship's hit points if they present their broadside. She need merely aim at their softer hull sections like the bow, stern or upper hull. And for those tougher nuts out there, her fire setting will burn them to the waterline before long. Whatever perceived flaws Smolensk has with her guns are laughable, easily corrected if they were something that needed correcting in the first place. The sheer volume of fire her sixteen guns put out is nightmarish -- driving off and intimidating opponents. Softer hulled ships vanish in just a few seconds, allowing even this soft-skinned ship to out-trade select opponents. And if that weren't enough, she has decent torpedoes to stove the face in of anyone that comes sniffing near her smoke screens. These are just the stock DPM values. This is before the influence of captain skills, before upgrades, before consumables and before special upgrades. This also doesn't account for penetration or accuracy or what have you. I could have made this graph stupidly complicated with seventeen different combinations of applied bonuses and caveats to damage output but I think this already illustrates all it needs to: Smolensk spits out a lot of shells. Don't be in their way. There is no way I didn't screw something up here or leave something off. But, you know what? I'ma roll with it. You can increase Smolensk's fire chance even further by using the Adrenaline Rush commander skill and take some damage, but I think covering 34 different combinations is plenty, thank you very much. Keep in mind that these are base fire-per-minute values, not counting enemy fire resistance. In practice, the actual value will be about 40% to 50% of what's listed here. Oh no, Smolensk might "only" be able to start one fire every other salvo. What a joke. Smolensk doesn't miss -- only players do. (180 shells fired at 15km locked onto a stationary enemy Fuso without camo. Smolensk was equipped with Aiming System Modification 1). If you're paying attention, then with that optimal fire build I just illustrated above, you should be starting a fire almost every 5 to 6 seconds. Consumables Speaking of smoke screens, there are two consumables here worth noting. Smolensk, like all tier X cruisers, has access to a Repair Party consumable. There's nothing out of the ordinary with her having one, but given the frustrations of landing hits on this ship (and good quality hits at that), it's presence is noteworthy. The real ship-defining consumable here is Smolensk's Smoke Generator. There aren't many cruisers with HE shells with a Smoke Generator and with good reason. Iwaki Alpha, Belfast, Mikhail Kutuzov, and Flint aren't exactly biword for balance. If it weren't for Perth and Huanghe providing some (occasionally) good press, this combination would deserve it's automatic derision. Still, Smolensk is moving the needle towards the direction of "never again" in my opinion (she says, then HMS London gets previewed). What's funny to me is that there were steps made to try and reign in Smolensk's Smoke Generator. Mikhail Kutuzov, the retired tier VIII Soviet premium cruiser uses the same Smoke Generator as tier VIII Soviet Destroyers. It would stand to reason that Smolensk would use the tier X version but she doesn't. She uses the same tier VIII version as Kutuzov. The difference here is that Smolensk's smoke "only" lasts for 89 seconds as opposed to the 97 seconds it could have been. r/There was an attempt... Smolensk's Smoke Generator combines with her excellent surface detection, getting down as low as 10km. Stack this onto her flexible gun range and she's a hard cruiser to find when she doesn't want to be seen. Aircraft carriers won't do the spotting here -- her aerial detection range is the same reach as her long-range AA bubble. That just leaves blasting her with radar, waiting for her to open fire or getting suicidally close. For destroyers, closing the distance is high-risk. Getting counter-spotted inside of 10km of Smolensk is a great way to get yourself sent back to port in a hurry. For anyone else, there's those torpedoes to worry about and that ridiculous DPM. Short of radar, a well played Smolensk is only seen when she wants to be seen, and that's only when she's pulling the trigger. Protection Hit Points: 32,400 Minimum Bow & Deck Armour: 16mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 16mm bow/stern + 100mm transverse bulkhead (70mm belt broadside) Torpedo Damage Reduction: Nope.jpg Armour so bad, it's good. Her conning tower and the forward faces of her turrets are 100mm thick -- just enough to prompt the occasional ricochet or shatter smaller caliber AP shells. Smolensk has an exposed citadel, but she's surprisingly resistant to broadside citadel damage from battleships. Her citadel roof is 50mm thick and will auto-ricochet any battleship shells attempting to penetrate it from a range of 21km or less (even then, good luck). So only shots aimed directly at her waterline (or just beneath) count. At 70mm, Smolensk's belt isn't thick enough to fuse AP shells greater than 420mm in caliber. There was some great work done on Reddit by U/R_radical (link here, please give it some well deserved love) which I followed up on for my own tests. The grossly simplified version is this: République, Thunderer, Ohio, Georgia, Musashi, Yamato and Kremlin are physically incapable of landing citadel hits against the flat broadside of Smolensk if the shells don't strike water before entering the ship. They need to hit angled surfaces to increase the relative thickness of Smolensk's belt in order to fuse. It gets worse, though. Smolensk has a narrow beam -- there just isn't enough room when striking Smolensk's flat broadside for most battleship shells with their 0.033s fuse timer to explode inside the ship. The shells have to be slowed down first and air drag doesn't really begin to be enough of an effect until you get to ranges of around 15km or more. For some battleships with high velocity shells like Roma, you're looking at ranges closer to 20km. Inside that distance, short of shells dunking beneath the water first, their AP rounds will pass clean through resulting in over penetrations despite hitting the bullseye of her machine spaces. Thus, battleships have to wait until Smolensk is angled in order to have a chance at landing penetrating and citadel hits. The size of these angles varies with range, but even at a distance of 15km, Yamato is looking at needing Smolensk to be angled out at least 30º from a flat broadside before she gets that magical combination of thick enough armour to arm her fuse AND enough space along her shell path to land a citadel hit. My own tests with Lert necessitated a 37º angle before we got lucky with Musashi's 460mm AP shells. If that wasn't enough, Smolensk still has a few tricks to play. Her 30mm will also autobounce any AP shells smaller than 429mm that strike it at too acute of an angle. And finally, if you think smashing shells through her fragile snoot will finally yield those big damaging hits, be aware that her upper transverse bulkhead is 100mm thick -- there's no overmatching that if the shell comes in too steeply as Smolensk angles away. The net effect to all of this confusing math is that Smolensk's armour is downright troll when battleships shoot at her. Over penetrations abound. Citadel hits are rare. Auto-ricochets happen just often enough to make you want to pull your hair out. Thanks to her Smoke Generator, hits alone are uncommon for slow-firing ships. If this analysis seems battleship-biased, you're right. That's because cruisers have no problems at all ripping apart Smolensk if they catch her. Smolensk has a tiny hit point pool -- a mere 0.9 Viribus Unitis (VU) worth -- which also means poor returns on her Repair Party consumable. While outright trading with Smolensk is generally a bad idea because of her monstrous DPM, the occasional pot shot from cruisers will yield big numbers when they slap this little Soviet monster. Do your poor battleships and destroyers a favour if you get the chance. Venezia and Puerto Rico are works in progress and still subject to change. Smolensk's HP total is awful. If skill points weren't at such a bloody premium, it would be worth spending three of them on Survivability Expert. The bonus 3,500hp (almost 11%) would make her equal to 1 VU. This is a totally important standard unit of measure for a cruiser, or so the constant whining about the new Austro-Hungarian battleship would have me believe. Agility Top Speed: 35 knots Reverse Speed: -13.6 knots Rudder Shift Time: 8.2 seconds Turning Circle Radius: 750 meters Maximum Rate of Turn: 5.7º/s at 4/4 speed Compared to other mid-to-high tier Soviet cruisers, Smolensk is hella agile. Krasny Krym, Murmansk and Makarov are the only ships that handle better (and I would question giving Makarov that honour). Krasny Krym manages it because she's a tier IV design. Murmansk and Makarov are borrowed ships from other nations. It's the smallest slights which sting the most. I think I might have stomached Smolensk's inclusion better had she not trespassed here. She doesn't handle like a Soviet cruiser and this irks me to no end. Allow me to explain. I've spent forever twirling boats. I've got a pretty good base understanding of how ships move in this game and I'm forever expanding that knowledge. I've come to recognize patterns and trends, not only between the different ship types but also within a given nation. Japanese cruisers are fast, American cruisers have small turning radii, British cruisers break the laws of physics, and so on and so forth. I must stress that these are trends -- not hard fast rules. Still, patterns exist and I don't think they're coincidental. The Soviet cruiser line is one of contrasts. Their low tier cruisers are ridiculously agile -- some of the most agile cruisers in the game. However at tier V, they transition to very fast ships with enormous turning circles. Barring borrowed and up-tiered designs (and Mikhail Kutuzov), Soviet cruisers pay for their sleek hull forms with poor handling. Smolensk doesn't. For a Soviet cruiser, she is bloody nimble. She's fast. Her rudder shift time is good. Her turning circle radius isn't appalling. And it's this last part where I take issue. I expected her to have a turning radius at the 820m mark or greater -- something like Chapayev or Shchors. This would scale back her rate of turn down from 5.7º/s to 5.2º/s or less -- still decent but definitely more in line with the Soviet light cruisers as a whole. And let me be clear: I'm aware I'm unfairly gate-keeping which ships are allowed to be agile. There's no hard-fast rule that says Soviet cruisers must handle like a pregnant yak in a mud-wallow. The Sverdlov-class doesn't. None of their low tier ships do either. It kinda makes sense that a small, anti-aircraft cruiser like Smolensk would be a wiggly little thing. Colbert is. The Atlanta-class is. Their radii are much tighter than what Smolensk can boast. Compared to those two, Smolensk is pretty chunktacular. In fact when you put her alongside these other AA cruisers, her turning radius is downright Soviet. Still, even with this minor disparity, this is one more thing Smolensk is hella-good at. She's got the firepower. She's got the stealth. She's got the smoke. She's got the speed. She even has the durability despite being worth 0.9 VU. Her AA power is excellent (specifically when you also account for her aerial detection). And now, with this, she's super agile too. She's hard to hit in the hands of a good player. It's bad enough that she's a small target and one that's hard to dig out of smoke. With her great range improvements, she can play the open water game and Just Dodge™ her way to victory when islands and smoke aren't an option. I suppose with all of the time I've spent with twirling ships, it explains why this is the final straw for me. It's kinda absurd, when I think about it, but when have feels ever made sense? I hate you, Smolensk and your cute, twirly butt. Placed against her peers at tier X, Smolensk comes out looking very good. She's behind Colbert, Minotaur, Venezia and Des Moines, but only when the American uses her Legendary Upgrade. Venezia and Puerto Rico are works in progress and still subject to change. Everything Else Just so I can say that I didn't leave it out: Camouflage & Refrigerator Smolensk's camouflage is the standard Type 20 Camouflage. This provides: 3% reduction of detectability by sea 4% increase of dispersion of shells fired by the enemy attacking your ship. 50% reduction of cost of the ship's post-battle service. 20% increase to credits earned per battle. 100% increase experience earned per battle. Smolensk's economy doesn't appear out of the ordinary, being comparable to the other tier X reward ships Bourgogne, Thunderer, Stalingrad, etc. Base Surface Detection: 12.78km Aerial Detection: 7.41km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 10.04km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 5.91km Main Battery Firing Range: Between 13.8km (stock) up to 19.21km Nothing further to add here that hasn't already been discussed above. Smolensk is smol and a sneaky danger-noodle. Anti Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts (3.5km to 6km): 8 explosions for 1,890 damage per blast Long Ranged AA Guns (6km): 167.6 damage every 0.32s Medium Ranged AA Guns (3.5km): 186.2 damage every 0.32s Short Ranged AA Guns (3.1km): 58.6 damage every 0.34s Smol-bote with biggish AA. It's important to note that with Concealment Modification 1 and Concealment Expert, Smolensk's aerial detection range is a mere 21mm (yes, millimeters) longer than her long-range AA power. Don't ask your CV to try and spot this thing -- they'll get shredded. Smolensk can bloody stealth-snipe aircraft. Final Evaluation From KC Green's fantastic Gunshow comic. I bloody hate this ship. I've hated working on this review all month. I've rewritten this damn thing so many times, never happy with the tone, never happy with the message. Even now I'm not sure I've properly communicated how frustrating it is to face off against a well-played version of this thing. I don't want to water down this sentiment (which I have so many times before) by mathing out the odds of actually meeting a competent Smolensk player or how, yes, it's technically possible to counter it with X, Y and Z. I don't like facing this ship for the same reasons that I cringe when I see a Flint, Belfast or Kutuzov on the enemy roster. In the end, it doesn't matter if the enemy Smolensk is good or not. My sentiments about the match are already soured. I consider myself a patient person and the presence of a Smolensk taxes even me. I am someone who can stomach playing against carriers. I enjoy my troll-ships. However, even I have my limits. I don't like playing Smolensk. It feels grossly unfair. It feels the same way as playing Belfast, Kutuzov or Flint. She has all of the advantages and few match-ups are unfavourable (short of derping into a Shimakaze torpedo like I did one game). The deeper I looked into Smolensk, the more concerned I became. There's a lot going on here -- a perfect storm of potential and so many different combinations to analyze that it's easy to see why Smolensk not only can be a piece of garbage in one player's hands and an absolute beast in another. If you don't have Smolensk yet, I dunno what to tell you. On the one hand, I don't want to play against your new ship. On the other, I know that there's a risk you could miss out. She's a bona fide reward ship -- not sold for cash money so nerfs are possible. What you invest in now might not be the ship we have six months from now. If you're hoping to preserve this sense of superiority, then she might not be worth the investment. This changes if she's eventually sold for cash. As a tier X ship, I see that as unlikely. This might change come Black Friday through Christmas, though. Wargaming does like to bundle everything together and ring the dinner bell. This is also the first year where we've had a veritable glut of tier X reward ships available. Once cash changes hands, Smolensk's performance is locked in. The only recourse from then on is to hope she becomes rare. And if that happens, if you haven't got her already, you're unlikely to ever get her. To Hell with it: If you don't have her yet, get her ASAP. Play her often. Play her so often that it chokes the matchmaker. T-59 this momo and have popularity necessitates re-evaluating her performance and availability. I don't see Smolensk surviving either change-free or remaining freely available, though who knows what kind of timeline this is on. She's that good. She's that annoying. How to Balans the Spreadsheets Recommended Upgrades There's a lot to unpack with the upgrades of high-tier ships, but it's generally simple. You want to build Smolensk for agility and gunnery. Everything else is secondary to this. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1 in your first slot. In your second slot, take the corresponding Special Upgrade for either Defensive AA Fire or Hydracoustic Search -- whichever consumable you tend to favour using. Barring that, default to Steering Gears Modification 1. You're going to be doing a lot of gunnery at range so Aiming Systems Modification 1 is a good investment (if only because the other upgrades are crap). If you prefer to play Smolensk more static -- hiding in smoke and behind islands, take Propulsion Modification 2 in your fourth slot. Otherwise, take Steering Gears Modification 2 for better open water agility. Similarly, if you prefer open-water play and feel confident with your ability to dodge, Steering Gears Modification 3 will serve you well. Otherwise take Concealment Modification 1 to make hiding easier. Between the two best options here, Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 is the preferred choice, extending Smolensk's range. This puts less of a strain on her commander skill options (the effects here can be replicated with Advanced Fire Training). If you've 4 skill points free, then by all means, take the range-skill instead and default to Main Battery Modification 3 for the increased reload speed. Or, you could get all the range and combine the two -- but at least one range upgrade is needed. Recommended Skills There's a bit of a balancing act going on here. You need to have at least one range-upgrade for Smolensk (need is a strong word, but trust me, it makes all the difference). So if you haven't taken Gun Fire Control Modification 2 then you have to select Advanced Fire Training for example. So let's look at the worth of individual skills rather than the total package: At tier 1, there are three skills worth considering. Priority Target and Incoming Fire Alert are the first pair and tend to be mutually exclusive -- take one, not both. The former gives you more information. The latter gives you more critical and specific information. The last skill that's worthwhile here is Preventative Maintenance, but it's definitely sub-optimal compared to the other two for Smolensk. At tier 2, Last Stand is highly recommended. While not on Destroyer levels of fragility, Smolensk's rudder gets shot out often and near misses from large caliber HE shells can (and will) knock out her engines. Adrenaline Rush is also a great skill if you have the leftover points to spend on it. Jack of All Trades is handy for reducing consumable reset timers, particularly when the action is heated and in combination with the November Foxtrot signal and premium consumables to further drop their cool down. Similarly, Smoke Screen Expert is nice for the extra room to move around, especially if you plan to be sharing your smoke with a friend. At tier 3, there's a glut of choices here. Superintendent is arguably the best of the lot for the extra heal and extra charge of Smoke Generator. Basic Fire Training and Demolition Expert also play to Smolensk's best strengths. Beyond this, there are skills that are simply "nice to have" but hardly an efficient use of points including Vigilance and Torpedo Armament Expertise. The tier 4 skills are contentious and, frankly, are largely a matter of personal taste. Advanced Fire Training is all but mandatory in the absence of Gun Fire Control Modification 2 (how many times have I said that now?). Concealment Expert is amazing for its points cost, improving not only her survivability but opening up the door to ambushing aircraft with Concealment Modification 1, yet I wouldn't consider this skill required. Probably the best investment is Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, opening the door for Smolensk to directly damage the extremities of all heavy cruisers within her matchmaking. But even this isn't mandatory if you just want to make battleships burn. Finally, for the truly eclectic, there's Radio Location for those who fancy themselves as destroyer hunters in the late-game. Green = All but Mandatory. Yellow = Highly recommended. Red = Situational. Note this only applies to normal commanders. Special commanders, with their baked in bonuses, changes things. Last Bits And here I told myself this was going to be a short review. The amount of prep-work for this review was insane. I started mapping the dispersion of cruisers (ugh!), tested battleship AP fuses, did more work on torpedo damage, played with AA, did even more twirling, never mind all of that dirty, DIRTY play testing. You'll note a lack of an Angry YouTuber jpeg at the end of this article. That's deliberate. Some of my readers get too hung up on the soundbite at the end rather than the message as a whole. They might return at some point, but I'm retiring them for the time being. Thank you for reading.
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