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Found 12 results

  1. West Virginia is a slow brick with the biggest, baddest guns you're likely to find this side of tier VI -- at least until the upcoming Russian battleship tech tree. I want to thank Wargaming for providing me access to this ship. This is the release version of the vessel and all of the statistics discussed here are current as of November 30th, 2018. Be aware that Prinz Eitel Friedrich's statistics discussed in this article are still a Work in Progress and are subject to change. PROS Armed with 406mm guns with excellent damage, penetration and overmatch ability. That's it. That's all she's got. No, I'm not making this up. That one "Pro" is the reason that decides if you want this ship or not. CONS Small hit point pool of 50,200hp. Highly vulnerable to HE spam. Very slow and no improved energy preservation while turning. Bad anti-aircraft defense. Large surface detection range of 16.4km base. Overview Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Standard-type battleships are some of the simplest ships to play in World of Warships. West Virginia 1941 (WV41) makes this even easier by all but eliminating complicated decision-making for novice players. She's too slow to flex once she's committed to an engagement. Her AP shells are so good that you don't need to consider changing ammo types. She's going to get her bows overmatched by most of the battleships you'll face so don't worry too much about manoeuvres. You're also a ready victim of aircraft attack, so why bother stressing about it? Yep, dirt simple. Of course if you want to try-hard WV41 will reward you for it. She's got enough belt armour and agility to tank effectively. Her gunnery is wonderful so picking the right targets pays off huge. While she is slow, if you fancy yourself a master strategist then knowing just how and where you need to go to have the most influence will make all the difference. – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Her main battery guns are the about her. Her handling and anti-aircraft firepower are just plain . Her defense and concealment are passable, earning a rating. Options The only thing of note with WV41's options are her two camouflage patterns. Consumables WV41's Damage Control Party is standard for an American battleship. This has unlimited charges, a 20 second active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard, healing back up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds. This has a 120s / 80s reset timer. Finally, she has a Spotter Aircraft. There's nothing unusual here, with a 100s active period and a 360s / 240s reset timer. It starts with 3 base charges. Upgrades We're looking at the usual suspects for mid-tier American battleships with the exception of any anti-aircraft modifications. Like Arizona, WV41 doesn't have the AA power worth upgrading. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control Modification 1. Fires are a big concern for USN Battleships. After that, it's Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1. This will get your main battery range up from 16.06km to 18.63km. For your last slot, Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal for helping mitigate Fire damage. However, if you prefer, you can take Steering Gears Modification 2 to help with her sluggish handling. It's not going to do much, but every bit helps. Camouflage By default, WV41 1941 comes with Type 10 Camouflage. Alternatively, you can purchase W. Virginia 1941 as a cosmetic swap for 3,000 doubloons. Both types have identical bonuses, providing: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. The big difference is how they sound. Yes, the W. Virginia 1941 camouflage has a custom horn! http://shipcomrade.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/West_Virginia_shiphorn_2.wav WV41's default camouflage pattern can be swapped for an alternative palette for those who have completed the second-medals section of the American Cruisers Collection. This changes the blue disruption pattern to a pale grey. For 3,000 doubloons, you can unlock the W. Virginia 1941 camouflage in red and brown. While this has the same economic bonuses, you do get a cute horn to toot Firepower Main Battery: Eight 406mm/45s in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Eight 127mm/25s on the deck and and Ten 127mm/51 mounted in casemates. Right, West Viginia 1941's main battery guns are the only good thing about this ship. I'm going to avoid doing Wargaming's hype-job for them by gushing overmuch about how good these guns are. This said, WV41's guns are easily the best battleship-caliber weapons available at tier VI. They're so good you're going to pay for it in almost every other facet of this vessel. If what we go over here in her Firepower section doesn't wow you, then this isn't a ship worth paying for. The Unnecessary I don't want to waste too much time on WV41's secondaries. There's not much going for them. They have a 4km range. They reload in 4.5 seconds. She fires a maximum of four guns (not turrets -- guns) per side. There's no potential here. Obligatory, ugly stats-dump. One of these days, I'll figure out a way to make this look pretty. Sorry, Mutsu WV41 is armed with the same naval rifles as Colorado at tier VII -- and here they are shoe-horned in a full tier lower. She inherits these weapons in full, and not having to suffer with inferior ammunition choices. The few differences summarize to the following: Main Battery Range - Colorado has 2.77km more base reach with her main battery for 18.83km vs 16.06km (or 21.84km vs 18.63km with upgrades). Sigma - Colorado has 0.1 sigma more than WV41 for 1.90 versus 1.80. Standard dispersion test. 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso without camouflage. Colorado and WV41 have identical dispersion areas -- the only difference is how often shells cluster towards the center of your aiming point (as determined by sigma). Warspite, equipped with Aiming Systems Modification 1 has been included as she represents the gold-standard of what precision looks like among battleships at this tier. Penetrate All the Things With WV41's precision and dispersion being considered "average", her guns need to make up some ground to make this vessel worthwhile. Where she does this is in her penetration power. This she has in spades. WV41 has the best AP penetration among tier VI battleships, hands-down. With more than 450mm worth of penetration at 18km, she has enough to penetrate broadside battleship belt armour of anything she might face. Furthermore, the large-caliber of her shells allows her to overmatch 27mm worth of hull plating. WV41 will punish any cruiser within her matchmaking spread while also being able to do the same to tier VI and VII battleships, regardless of angling. This just leaves tier VIII battleships able to bow-tank her. In answer to this, WV41 must reach for her HE shells. She has no special quirks with her HE shells, so use them only when needed. They have 67mm worth of penetration which is more than enough to bruise any opponents pulling off these shenanigans. Unlike other tier VI battleships, WV41 is far less reliant on HE shells than most, so having only mediocre shells here isn't a drawback. Provided you aim well and dispersion doesn't troll you, WV41's AP shells have more than enough penetration to handle almost any target you might face. Let's take a look at some of the raw stats: These are the top 5 battleships at tier VI for AP penetration as of patch 0.7.11. Penetration values are approximate and courtesy of proships.ru (link in the Appendix -- give them some love). Generally speaking, battleships at this tier are forced to choose between having good penetration or the ability to overmatch. WV41 is unique at tier VI for having both. Go figure, bigger shells hit harder. WV41 tops the charts on a per-shell damage basis at tier VI, with one of her hits dealing 18% to 20% more damage than a comparable 356mm shell. This number is important to keep in mind when you account for potential damage output. WV41's precision, penetration and overmatch mechanics make individual damaging hits more likely in many (but not all) situations compared to her peers. They're not God-Tier Good as WV41's guns are, they're far from perfect As any veteran Roma commander will tell you: There's such a thing as too much penetration. It's possible to blow clean through the machine spaces of some cruisers without causing a citadel hit. Thankfully, this is largely limited to point-blank range engagements against the lightest armoured cruisers. WV41 doesn't couple of her enormous penetration levels with high muzzle velocity. Where they're really lacking, in my opinion, is reach. I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to tell you this early that mounting such potential on a standard-type hull is going to cause issues and she struggles to keep up with the flow of battle. WV41's fire angles are only alright. You have to expose a fair bit of side to get her full salvos off. This isn't too bad when she's top-tier. However, when she's at the bottom of the pile, the enormous levels of penetration present makes a mockery of your belt at anything but near autobounce-angles. This problem with being bottom tier compounds with her range. Again, it's perfectly acceptable when she's top-tier, but the large maps she has to navigate when she's facing tier VIIs and tier VIIIs makes me wish she had closer to Colorado-levels of reach. Finally, the last fly in the ointment is this: She only has eight guns. You really need to maximize the opportunities provided by your high-penetration and overmatch potential to make your advantages count. If you're facing opponents that are constantly sailing broadside at medium-close ranges, you would have been better served with a larger battery of smaller-caliber weapons. WV41's theoretical damage output isn't bad at all for an eight-gun warship at tier VI. It's considerably better when you factor in the gimmicks that make dealing said damage easier -- namely her high penetration and her overmatch potential. WV41 has to rely on said advantages to differentiate herself from the twelve-gun heavy hitters which use volume of fire to make something stick. Most of these suffer from 1.60 sigma or less which makes any pretense of precision dubious. WV41's fire arcs are average and on the poor side of average at that, especially when kiting. Her gun handling benefits greatly from Expert Marksman if you have the skill points to spare. You don't need it, but you'll want it. Summary Her guns deliver heavy damage, but they're not flashy. Their big deal is that they penetrate all of the things. Her secondaries suck, but no one's surprised. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Worse sigma, a longer reload, slower gun traverse, etc. Defense Hit Points: 50,200 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 343mm belt + 45mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% I told you: You're going to pay a lot of concessions to have 406mm main battery guns on a tier VI ship. This is the first of many areas where WV41 only manages to be so-so. An Aside about HE Damage Mitigation At tier VI, Fuso here is the gold standard for HE resistance, ticking all five five boxes including a fully reinforced main deck and upper hull. This gives her the best chance of shattering and absorbing HE spam from most CLs, CAs and DDs. Note that on the whole, these bonuses only provide some small amount of protection. Cleveland is still going to melt your face off. Let's talk a minute about HE damage mitigation from cruisers and destroyers. In general, there are five components to look for when evaluating how well protected a battleship is against small and medium caliber HE. The idea is that a ship has either spaced-compartments to absorb the shot or she has heavier armour than normal in a given place. This reduces the surface area where HE shells can land a damaging hit. Extended Waterline Belts must be above the surface to have any value, reducing the amount of target area on the bow and stern. These are typically found on German and lower tiered battleships. Imperator Nikolai I stands out in this regard. An Anti-Torpedo Bulge can have some merit provided it extends upwards to cover parts of the hull that would otherwise be vulnerable. The Queen Elizabeth-class are a great example of this, with bulges that extend forward far enough to help protect part of their bow. Armoured Bridge help foil HE shells from otherwise damaging your super-squishy superstructure. They typically have armour as thick as (or thicker than) the ship's belt which is a no-no for all calibers of HE. Reinforced Hulls and Reinforced Decks come with three distinctions -- no mitigation, partial mitigation and full mitigation. No mitigation speaks for itself. The plating is no thicker than the extremities and cruisers will hoover up damage here for days. Partial is thick enough to repulse some small and medium caliber HE shells, typically those of destroyers. Full mitigation will repulse 152mm shells buffed with IFHE or even some heavy cruiser shells. Note that some ships will only have a small part of their main deck reinforced -- pay close attention to the amount of area covered. The Bismarck-class is a good example of this. The Colorado-class relies on raw armour thickness to repel AP shells. Not much of her plate has any appreciable angle which would further increase its relative thickness. So while her 343mm belt looks solid, you'd get more mileage out of the sloped belts of some of the later USN battleships like the South Dakota, North Carolina and Iowa-class battleships which have better protection for comparable thickness. Given her 25mm extremities and deck plating, WV41 is dangerously vulnerable to AP overmatch mechanics from 380mm guns or larger and most HE shells she'll face. Armour Protection WV41's protection scheme is alright if only just. She relies on raw armour thickness to carry the day and there are glaring holes in her defenses which are easy to exploit. Her 25mm extremities and deck are vulnerable to overmatch mechanics and HE spam. She has poor anti-torpedo defense and no spaced armour around her belt. Her internal citadel wall is only a third as thick as the other standard-types at her tier. Finally, she has one of the lowest health pools at tier VI, barely scraping together 50,000 hit points. There are two reasons WV41's durability is considered adequate and the first isn't exactly flattering. The protection schemes of a lot of the tier VI battleships are found wanting. The other two standard-types are the only ones that could claim to have decent anti-torpedo protection, for example. Vulnerability to overmatch mechanics and HE is a chronic problem at this tier, with only a few ships boasting sections of upper hull or deck greater than 25mm. The list of problems among tier VI super-dreadnoughts goes on, with citadel height, hit point disparity and module vulnerability all plaguing ships to various degrees. So at least WV41's in good company. WV41's second saving grace is that her belt and citadel armour is good enough. When top-tier and with a bit of range or angling, she can avoid the worst from incoming AP shells. The high penetration of her own guns means that her opponent's protection scheme matters much less. If it comes to outlasting tier VI and VII opponents, WV41's defense is sufficient unto the task, allowing you to trade fire effectively. It falls apart against tier VIIIs, though. With her low hit point total, WV41 is second-to-last for effective HP among her peers. This is yet another way WV41 pays for those awesome guns and the cost is getting pretty steep. According to the Devs, WV41 (like other USN Premiums) is NOT slated to get the proposed Repair Party Buff coming to the American battleship line. I predict they'll rescind this statement. Repair Party You can't talk about American battleships without talking about this consumable. The lead of WV41's class, Colorado, has an improved Repair Party that heals back 18.48% of her health over 28 seconds instead of 14%. The entirety line of researched American battleships is getting said buff if the Work in Progress changes go through. The premium battleships are not, WV41 included. In this way, WV41 is being "Mutsu'd". While the Japanese premium was gutted by her poor shells, WV41 really feels the lack of Colorado's regeneration. Her hit point pool feels even smaller without it, and it's already pretty small. To put it another way, I was genuinely shocked when Wargaming told me that WV41 was not currently slated to be getting her Repair Party buffed in 0.7.12. It feels out-of-place. If she does eventually get it, it will be a welcome addition. Summary: Her armour is "okay". Her hit point total is not. Her anti-torpedo protection is unsightly compared to the other standard-types. Overmatch and HE are your bane. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : New Mexico's new Repair Party. Agility Top Speed: 21 knots Port Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 13.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Turning Rate: 3.6º/s WV41 chasing Colorado in a turning radius test. You'll note how the gif "pops" as WV reaches the 9 o'clock position and skips to the 6 o'clock position while Colorado's circle is complete. She's that much slower than Colorado. This test confirmed WV41's port-stats as accurate. However, it did provide proof that Colorado doesn't turn as well as advertised. The lead-ship has a 710m turning radius, not 640m, so WV41 has a slight leg up there. Standard-type battleships are notoriously slow. WV41 somehow manages to be even slower. Yes, really. Wargaming has artificially boosted the engine power of some of the American battleships in a similar way to Royal Navy cruisers and destroyers. For normal battleships, they lose up to 25% of their maximum speed while under manoeuvres. Thus, a 30 knot battleship will drop down to about 22.5 knots in a sustained turn. New Mexico and Colorado both lose less speed in a turn than they should -- much less in Colorado's case; a mere 9%. Not so WV41. WV41 is entirely normal when it comes to manoeuvrability penalties, joining Arizona in this sorry-state. Thus WV41's 21.1 knot top speed falls down to 15.9 knots in a turn. Unless you're sailing in a perfectly straight line, this ship struggles to maintain 18 knots with any consistency. Unlike Arizona, WV41 has a larger turning radius of 670m instead of 640m. The combination of this slow speed and larger turning radius makes WV41 positively glacial when it comes to her rate of turn and arguably the worst-handling of any of the American battleships in the game. The gone ray of sunshine is that she can't out turn her turrets. So yay? So WV41 isn't getting anywhere fast. You can be fatalistic or proactive with this. The former is pretty brainless -- you're not fast enough to flex, so pick a path and accept whatever happens beyond your range as being outside of your control. Blame teams for your losses and decry WV41 as a trashbote because of it. The latter means work -- a lot of work. Develop your situational awareness. Keep a ready eye on the minimap and have a keen sense of predicting the flow of battle. Flex well in advance and give yourself time to intercept key threats. It's exhausting but you can work around this deficiency. The larger the map, the more work this is -- perhaps more work than it's worth. Summary Blame Lert for inspiring this image. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's the worst of the worst here. It would take a lot to redeem her. She'd need a turning radius smaller than 640m or better energy preservation in a turn to overtake Arizona. That still wouldn't improve her standing. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Gun Calibers: 127mm/ 76.2mm / 12.7mm AA Aura Ranges: 4.2km / 3.5km / 1.2km AA DPS per Aura: 58.4 / 11.2 / 30.4 There's more bad news here. WV41's AA power sucks. It's worse than Arizona's, it's that bad. Do I need to elaborate more than that? What's this nonsense? "Effective AA DPS"? On the eve of the Aircraft Carrier rework, stressing over current AA mechanics just isn't worth while. Be glad WV41 isn't being sold on the premise that she has good AA. That might end up not meaning much in a few short months. This chart shows the relative power level of given AA armaments based on not only the amount of damage their mounts put out but also how far they can reach to keep enemy planes under fire. Thus ships which concentrate their firepower into long-range will get a higher rating than one that focuses on medium or short. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Technically she deserves a "" at least going by the metric that she's not the worst or second worst at her tier. However, AA power at tier VI is almost across the board with only a few battleships that have enough to give any CV pause. I'm not pulling any punches here. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 16.42km Air Detection Range: 14.68km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 13.70km Detection Range when Firing in Smoke: 15.9km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.06km (18.63km with APRM1) While it cannot be accurately said that WV41 pays for the power of her guns with a lack of concealment, this definitely isn't one of her strong points. Her concealment is on the bad side of average, sitting just above Dunkerque and Mutsu by 500m, but well behind just about everything else. A full stealth build is highly recommended -- use and abuse what little ability to hide that she has. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Losing two or three kilometers off her surface detection range. Taking Me Home WV41's skill choices are stupidly easy. With no real anti-aircraft firepower worth upgrading and secondaries that may as well shoot spit balls instead of HE shells, that just leaves a survivability build as the only real option here. Start with Priority Target. If you prefer, you can take Preventative Maintenance instead, but it's not optimal. Adrenaline Rush is your second skill choice. Take Basics of Survivability next. Finally, to round out your 10th skill point, choose between Fire Prevention and Concealment Expert. You'll be taking both, so the order is up to you. You'll take the other one for your 14th point. At 17pts you should take Superintendent. Note, if WV41 had the buffed Repair Party the other USN Battleships will be getting, you'd take this before Basics of Survivability and the two skills would trade places in order of priority. Oh well. And finally, round things off with Expert Marksman. If you prefer, you can take Jack of All Trades or High Alert instead. Final Evaluation Unless a ship is particularly novel, I'm not a fan of having to put in extra work to get a ship to perform. West Virginia 1941 is one such vessel. Her guns truly are phenomenal at tier VI. The rest of her, though? Well, it's all poor-to-average at best. There's a trap in such an evaluation though -- just because something measures up 'okay' compared to what else is out there, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's 'okay' on the whole. WV41's concealment is a good example of this. For a tier VI battleship, it's decidedly average. In order to be functionally competitive based on everything else, it's woefully inadequate. The same could be said for her AA power and agility. A case could even be made that her durability is similarly lacking. Those awesome guns have cost her dear. Her firepower up-tiers well even if the rest of her does not. WV41's weaknesses are scarcely noticeable when she's facing tier V and VI ships. This is largely owing to map sizes being so much more comfortable to her 'stately' waddle and modest range. Top-tier, she's truly a monster and you can really feel that this is what she was balanced for. She's on the tipping edge of being too powerful to be a tier VI ship. She's a solid contender for Ranked Battles. If Wargaming were to buff her with Colorado's agility and New Mexico's upcoming Repair Party improvements, she'll give Warspite a run for her money as the best choice in this limited competitive scene. The Random Battles queue won't let you play as top-tier all the time, however, so you have to contend with how WV41 stacks up against higher-tiered opponents. Provided you can get in range with her guns and not get focused, she performs well. The challenge, which is darn well near insurmountable at times, is getting into firing position, keeping up with the flow of battle, and being able to disengage when things get too hot. WV41 compounds the problems facing the Colorado-class as a whole by exaggerating the weaknesses that defined the class. Colorado is slow. WV41 is slower. Colorado isn't very durable. WV41 is weaker still. Colorado isn't flexible. WV41 is even shorter ranged. If a situation makes Colorado struggle, then WV41 founders. I'm not going to tell you this is a good ship. It isn't. I will tell you that her guns are good -- excellent, even. They're unfortunately mounted on an interwar, standard-type hull. In my opinion, the ship's worth playing for her guns alone. However, I wouldn't go so far as to say that the experience of firing her guns is worth paying for. My opinion here will probably change if she gets some small improvements, like that Repair Party buff. Would I Recommend? It's maybe a little presumptuous of me to say, but this isn't the ship that anyone asked for. Almost universally, if someone wanted West Virginia to show up in World of Warships, they wanted to see her late-war rebuild. Her story is a compelling one. She is a phoenix that rose from the ashes of Pearl Harbor and went on to avenge not only herself, but the United States Navy too. On top of that, her late war build is so much more interesting in terms of game play. What-if debates have gone back and forth on what tier she would end up and with what gimmicks to make her competitive. I don't think we'll see West Virginia 1944 anytime soon, though. If Wargaming rushed, they could have her out sometime in 2019, but I just don't think she's high priority. After all, they have West Virginia 1941 to sell. West Virginia 1945's anti-aircraft armament. My body is ready. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes for Co-Op, no for Scenarios. WV41 excels in Co-Op. You can count on the bots to always come charging blindly at you which mitigates her weaknesses. In Scenarios, her speed and lack of AA power is a big liability. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. No. While she's a beast when top-tier, it's a roll of the dice to get that kind of favourable Matchmaking. If you could guarantee it? Absolutely, she's all kinds of fun when she's kicking in the teeth of her contemporaries. For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. Oh look, guaranteed top-tier Matchmaking. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. No. I'm waiting for West Virginia 1944. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes, surprisingly. I enjoyed playing WV41. I do love my standard-type battleships. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it! In Conclusion My goodness, I managed to get a review out on time over the holidays! That's one at least. The next ship to be reviewed is Bourgogne, the tier X French Battleship. I wasn't going to prioritize her initially, but news of Wargaming giving players the opportunity to acquire Steel outside of Ranked and Clan Battles has bumped her up my list. Hopefully I'll have her review out by this time next week. Dreadnought and Charleston remain in my backlog. Prinz Eitel Friedrich looks very close to being released too, so stay tuned! Appendix Armour penetration data was pulled from: http://proships.ru/stat/ships/
  2. 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/
  3. 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.
  4. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Asashio

    The following is a review of Asashio, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of April 15th, 2018. Abandon all hope, all ye of heavy displacement. Quick Summary: A stereotypical high-tier Japanese destroyer with specialized, 20km-range deep water torpedoes that make battleship players wet themselves with terror and unicum rage on the Forums and Reddit. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch and Date Written: 0.7.3, April 9th to 15th, 2018 PROS: Powerful torpedo armament. Enormous damage potential per torpedo hit at 20,967hp per unmitigated strike. Highest flooding chance in the game at a base value of 436% per torpedo hit. Her fish are fast (67 knot), long ranged (20km) and stealthy (900m detection) Excellent gun fire angles. When rigged for concealment, she can get her surface detection down to 5.37km. Access to a Torpedo Reload Booster consumable without sacrificing her Smoke Generator (!). Easy to learn and she makes scoring big damage totals trival. CONS Smallish hit point pool of 15,100hp. Slow firing guns with a 7.1s reload time. Sluggish turret traverse at 6.9º/s (26.1s for 180º). Torpedoes can only engage battleships and aircraft carriers (!!) Laughable AA defense. Slow for a high tier destroyer with a top speed of 35.0 knots. Matchmaking significantly affects the ability to influence a match in a positive way. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Asashio is a paradox. She is, simultaneously, one of the easiest and the most difficult destroyers in the game to play. This is a destroyer where a novice can score huge damage totals. It's also a destroyer where veterans are challenged to use every trick in their arsenal to get a win. Unlike other "easy to learn, difficult to master" ships, Asashio doesn't present a high skill curve. She presents a wall. Asashio's over specialized torpedo armament is terrible -- effectively limiting your tool kit so much that you cannot effectively engage two-thirds of the enemy roster. While she easily farms damage and kills on battleships, influencing the overall outcome of a close match is near insurmountable without a hell of a lot of skill and game knowledge. Thus, there are two tiers to Asashio game play and some players simply are not skilled enough to make her work in these situations. - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Most of Asashio's ratings aren't up for debate. She is the at stealth at her tier, bar none. Nothing is sneakier though some do have competitive Vision Control. Her anti-aircraft firepower is so as to be laughable. While she rates in both agility and durability, she only just manages to eke out these evaluations. She's on the very low-end for both and the introduction of another agile or another tough ship would knock her down into the rating. Where the debate will reside, if anywhere, is how to categorize her offensive capabilities. No one would argue that among the tier VIII destroyers, she has the firepower against battleships. At the same time, her firepower against cruisers and destroyers is downright . I give her the evaluation as a result -- a middle-ground compromise though her in-game performance may fluctuate wildly based on target availability. Options Consumables: Asashio has four consumable slots. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. In her second slot, she has a standard Japanese Smoke Generator. This has a 28 second emission time and each cloud lasts for 89 seconds. Asashio's Engine Boost is standard. And finally, she rounds out her consumables with a Torpedo Reload Booster. This reloads her torpedoes in 8 seconds like Kagero, Harekaze and Yugumo. Unlike many other IJN destroyers, you'll note that Asashio does not have to choose between this consumable and her Smoke Generator. Upgrades: Five slots, standard destroyer upgrades. In your first slot, take Magazine Modification 1. You're a destroyer. You explode violently often. Next up, take Propulsion Modification 1. Speed is life for a destroyer and this will help keep your engines in the game. or Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal, providing a small improvement to your dispersion and accelerating the rotation rate of your torpedo tubes. Alternatively, you can try to correct her sluggish turret traverse with Main Battery Modification 2 at the cost of her already abhorrent rate of fire. Propulsion Modification 2 is generally preferred in slot number four. This gives improved acceleration from a dead stop. Asashio will spend some time parked within her own smoke and the extra pep in her engines is welcome. This is a no-brainer for most. Concealment Modification 1 will help her reach her maximum level of concealment. Black becomes green. Blue becomes black. White turns to more-different white. Thanks, Yamamoto collection! Camouflage: Asashio comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides a 10% reduction to repair costs, a 50% bonus to your experience gains, a 3% reduction in surface detection and a 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Similar to Atago, this camouflage starts off with a blue pattern, but you can change it to green if you've completed the Yamamoto Uniform collection. Firepower Main Battery: Six 127mm rifles in 3x2 turrets in an A-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedo Armament: Eight torpedoes in 2x4 launchers. Asashio has a singular designed purpose: to make the two principal warring factions on the World of Warships Reddit, the BBabies and the DD-Mafia, down-vote each other into oblivion. Wargaming knows that by doing this they can eliminate their two most vocal detractors, or at least keep them distracted long enough to finally get around to balancing Aircraft Carriers without interruption. TORPEDOES Asashio will slaughter your battleships without remorse and there's not much you can do to stop her. Asashio's tools of destruction are a pair of quadruple torpedo launchers mounted amidships. These have excellent fields of fire, a horribly long reload and they break often when you look at them funny. All of this is pretty standard fare for Japanese destroyers. What makes Asashio so special is that she effectively mounts the equivalent tier X, Shimakaze warheads two tiers lower. They are blisteringly fast, ridiculously long ranged and have enough striking power to end worlds. Wargaming has "balanced' this (ha!) by modifying them into a Deepwater variant -- because zero reaction time is what makes facing torpedoes fun and fair. This Deepwater thing has two components. First, it limits the number of targets that can be hit. Destroyers and Cruisers need not fear Asashio's torpedoes at all. She's utterly incapable of striking them. She is instead limited to damaging aircraft carriers and battleships. Given the logistical nightmare of encountering an aircraft carrier in the modern meta, Asashio therefor has a rather myopic fixation on nuking dreadnoughts. You can allay any fears you may have had about poor Asashio's success rate with landing hits, though. The second part of Deepwater torpedoes is their tiny surface detection. Asashio's fish are only spotted at a range of 0.9km. With the added nerf to aerial detection, her torpedoes can safely run their full track with little fear of being seen until it's too late. Short of preëmptive WASD hax, battleships do not have enough time to avoid Asashio's attacks if they wait until they're spotted which all but guarantees hits for well-aimed strikes. Even stacking anti-torpedo skills and modules does little to help. It's only those battleships with the Hydroacoustic Search consumable that have any hope of belatedly dodging Asashio's fish, and even then, Vigilance is almost a must. You have no real hope of trying to dodge Asashio's torpedoes in a battleship if you're only reacting the moment you spot them. Only those battleships with the Hydroacoustic Search consumable can afford complacency. Duke of York (tier 7), Bismarck (tier 8), Friedrich der Große (tier 9) and Großer Kurfürst (tier 10) are only ever safe while their consumable is active, however. The Two Layers of Stupid Asashio double-stacks the stupid with two scoops of insanity. Mindfuc ... er, "Vigorous Sexing of the Brain" the First: Asashio has a 20km range with her torpedoes. Alright, so Asashio has ridiculously long ranged fish. The implications of this are pretty horrifying when you stop to think a moment. With her 112s reload (which reduces down to 100.8 seconds with Torpedo Armament Expertise), Asashio is making her first cross-map launch before anyone has finished deploying. This means that in the opening minutes of a match, from the moment they are spotted, battleships must anticipate incoming torpedoes. Most battleships have scarcely moved beyond their starting location by this time and may only be taking their first speculative, long-range shots at their counterparts. There is unlikely to be any effective torpedo detection screen between them and this first salvo from Asashio, so battleships must begin evasive manoeuvres within the first two minutes of a match or risk taking torpedo hits. The travel time for Asashio's 67 knot torpedoes is less than two minutes to their maximum range. Battleships must make course adjustments with this 100 second reload timer in mind -- every minute and a half, change course and heading. The other element Asashio's ludicrous reach allows for is taking advantage of the Torpedo Acceleration skill without losing significant amounts of range. Asashio with Torpedo Acceleration now has 72 knot torpedoes at up to 16km, further reducing reaction times. This greatly increases their threat and this does very little to limit their practicality in long-range engagements. The only salve to all of this is that the gaps between torpedoes at very long ranges are huge. It is unlikely that more than a single torpedo will hit per launcher at ranges of 15km or more, even if they're perfectly aimed with a narrow spread. Asashio players that insist on trying for these Hail Mary shots will not prove very effective in the long run. But, of course, Wargaming thought of this, which leads us to... Vigorous Sexing of the Brain the Second: Asashio has access to the Torpedo Reload Booster consumable. If you thought there was any pretense of making this fair, Asashio can double-up on her torpedo drops every four to six minutes, allowing her to go Super-Saiyan and turn into a blonde-haired Shimakaze for a moment. Within 9 seconds, she can dump a full sixteen (!) torpedoes, dispensing a veritable "wall of skill" for battleships to face. At long-range, this increases the likelihood of landing multiple hits -- though usually no more than four on a single target. But that's not the real danger presented by this consumable. It's far more deadly when used to space out torpedo hits so that they land in between uses of the battleship's Damage Control Party. It's all but guaranteed that if one of Asashio's torpedo hits causes flooding that battleships will immediately patch this up. By waiting a mere 10 or so seconds to launch their second wave of torpedoes after the first, any follow-up hits are likely to stack the dreaded damage over time effect. And if you thought your anti-torpedo defenses on your Yamato-class battleship would keep you safe, I have news for you... Asashio Doesn't Care Whatever pretty little torpedo defense you think your battleship has, Asashio doesn't care. She's blessed with the highest flooding chance in the game. Even when facing targets with the best torpedo damage reduction and striking them directly on their anti-torpedo bulge, she is still likely to open them up to sea water and cause critical flooding. You know you're dealing with a monster when some of the best-protected ships in the game can't prevent flooding two-thirds of the time. This makes follow-up strikes much less of a gamble. Even a lone torpedo can doom a battleship to slowly hemorrhage up to 60% of their hit points. The inclusion of Torpeedo Reload Booster to Asashio's arsenal is that much more dangerous because of this fact. It's a damn good thing that her torpedoes don't override the damage mitigation provided by TDS as well or we'd have words. Asashio has the best flooding chance in the game currently. Even with maximized TDS, most battleships are very likely to take flooding critical hits. Even Kagero's torpedoes don't compare. Großer Kurfürst, Friedrich der Große, Lion, Iowa, Missouri, Kii, Nagato, Ashitaka, Dunkerque, Tirpitz, Bismarck, Monarch, Gneisenau, Scharnhorst, King George V, Duke of York, Mutsu, Warspite, Queen Elizabeth, North Carolina, Nelson, Bayern, Lyon, Hood, and Normandie have zero chance of preventing Asashio from flooding them. The absolute minimum torpedo defense system a battleship requires (before upgrades) to prevent flooding is a 28% reduction. Less than that and your TDS is trash. Torpedo Summary Asashio has some great torpedoes. They're so good in fact they outright negate most defenses battleships can take to mitigate them. Unless your battleship has a minimum of 28% base torpedo protection, Damage Control Modification 1 does nothing to increase your chances to mitigate flooding. Target Acquisition Modification 1 and Vigilance will not give enough warning to help avoid Asashio's torpedoes. Only Hydroacoustic Search does. Asashio's torpedoes are, by design, a hard counter to battleship play. It's too bad that's all they're good for. GUNS! To the detriment of many a team reliant upon Asashio doing more than farming damage off battleships, Asashio's guns will be a mere afterthought. Short of Akizuki, no other Japanese destroyer is as dependent upon her main battery armament for her success as Asashio. With her torpedoes so heavily specialized, proper management of her guns is absolutely critical for helping your team win. Ignoring or dismissing them will cost you many games. You cannot (and must not) ignore destroyers and cruisers in favour of making battleships poop themselves with rage. Like it or not, you're going to have to use your guns in Asashio if you want to succeed. For such a critical weapon system, they suck moose balls. Her gun armament is almost identical to that of a fully upgraded Kagero or an A-Hull Harekaze. The only difference is range where Asashio enjoys an extra 1.6km reach. While this does give her a larger surface detection bloom when she opens fire, the extra distance is quite welcome given the different targets you will have to attack with these guns. While they have excellent ballistic arcs and shell performance, they are utterly lacking in rate of fire and damage output. Their traverse rate is horribly sluggish. You cannot and will not enjoy firepower superiority over anything short of select lower-tier IJN destroyers, and then only if your guns are already facing in the right direction. Yet, you will be repeatedly asked (and expected) to take on the likes of Bensons, Fletchers and Khabarovsks in Asashio if you want to win. The nightmare scenario for Asashio is to find herself in end-game of a close match facing a hale and healthy cruiser or destroyer. To this end, aggressive plays with her guns are often a necessity early on in engagements where friendly ships can help secure a kill or drive off enemies. However, these attacks are not without their risks and attempting them at the wrong time against the wrong target will simply make you look foolish. Make use of smoke and every cheap tactic you can imagine. Join fights late to preserve your own hit points and take pride in whatever licks of damage you can get in. You don't want to have to do this on your own late in a game. Asashio's guns are utterly ill-suited for the heavy lifting that's asked of them, but they're all you've got so make the most of it. Asashio isn't outgunning any of her contemporaries without help. So this is the part where I'm supposed to tell you that disparity of the two weapon systems creates some semblance of fairness. I'm not gonna. The asymmetry of the power level between Asashio's guns and torpedoes does make an interesting case study on the subject. My own opinion is that Asashio is decidedly lopsided -- downright comically so. This is a ship whose success can largely be attributed to team Matchmaking. If there's a lot of battleships on the enemy team and not many destroyers, you'll have a great game and likely come out as MVP if you time and aim your fish correctly. When it's not, most players will fail their teams utterly and it's really not their fault. In this regard, Asashio is best compared to HMS Conqueror, the tier X Royal Navy battleship. Armed with twelve 419mm guns spamming nothing but HE shells, Conqueror often tops the team lists and gives the illusion of being an absolute rock-star. No enemy battleship can stand against Mega-Zao (thank you, Flamu, for that wonderful name). Similarly, no battleship stands any kind of chance against Asashio. Facing either of these monsters is not fun. However, they won't win as many games as their ridiculous damage totals indicate they should. Short of an early Devastating Strike or gutting several battleships at once, Asashio's influence is surprisingly limited. I cannot stress this enough, and it will be difficult for some players to reconcile -- Asashio's armaments are as controversial and heavy-handed as Royal Navy battleship HE. They will seem to contribute far more to team success than they actually do. For some players that are just looking to get some big damage numbers, Asashio will be a dream boat. For those where winning is more important, Asashio is a liability if Matchmaker is unkind. The more I played Asashio, the more I began to appreciate and value gun-kills over torpedo kills. I loved the challenge of contesting and battling over cap circles. My torpedoes farmed some easy damage, credits, experience and complete missions (often with trivial levels of difficulty), but the real battle was taking on and besting enemy destroyers and cruisers with her artillery. For high-end play in this ship, it's all about how and when to use her guns rather than maximizing her torpedoes which I find delightfully ironic. This isn't easy and this isn't for everyone. If you prefer, you can just mindlessly dump fish into battleships at the cost of objectives and winning. It's what everyone is expecting you to do. Summary Asashio's torpedoes are brainless easy-mode. Asashio's torpedoes will not win you games. You're going to have to use your guns if you want to win. Often a lot. And it's not always going to work out for you. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : I was really on the fence with this one. I almost bumped her up from a rating, so it's not going to take much to upgrade. Faster firing guns alone would probably do it. If her torpedoes became even more versatile she'd be so broken it's not even funny. Defense Hit Points: 15,100hp Maximum Protection: 20mm gun turrets. Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour:19mm Red bars are not to numerical scale (just to feels scale). For those without feels: You're an inhuman monster. Evaluating destroyer durability is pretty straight-forward. At tier VIII, there's only one destroyer with a gimmick and that's USS Kidd with her Repair Party. All of the other destroyers conform to the norms found at tier VIII, with 19mm worth of armour covering the hull and deck and 13mm superstructures. Thus comparing them is simply a matter of looking at hit point totals and lining them up from best to worst. Kidd wins out with the third highest overall hit point pool and her mutant healing powers. Asashio doesn't come out well in this line up, truth be told. She's not as as Harekaze and she even beats out Loyang, but it would be a mistake to think that she's in a good place. She's just not strong enough to trade with enemy destroyers at her tier. All of those problems with her guns compound because she's just not tough. In order to have any chance of staying alive, it's imperative that you invest in Survivability Expert to give Asashio an additional 2,800hp. While you're likely to meet opponents who have the same skill, in those encounters where you bump into someone without, this can make all the difference. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Kidd's Repair Party or 5,000 more hit points. Asashio is nowhere close to being in this category. Agility Top Speed: 35.0 knots Turning Radius: 640m Rudder Shift Time: 3.6s Maximum Rate of Turn: 7.0º/s How to have not-terrible agility at tier VIII: Stand next to ducky. Bonus points if it's a static bot. This works well for tier VII battleships too, though they must stand next to Colorado. All jokes about Akizuki aside, Asashio's agility is not in a good place. Her 35 knot top speed is slow for a destroyer. Once outliers are removed, 35 knots is among the slowest top speed you'll find within her Matchmaking spread. She's not alone at this value, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Fubuki and Shinonome at tier VI, Mahan at tier VII, Kagero at tier VIII and Black at tier IX. Combined with her large(ish) turning radius of 640m and Asashio doesn't come about particularly quickly. She's no slug, but she's definitely no American DD. This package of traits is nothing new. Most IJN destroyers share the same combination of lackluster traits which makes them vulnerable to being run down by enemy gunships and it complicates avoiding aircraft. This is definitely one of Asashio's weaknesses, but it's not an exaggerated or crippling weakness to be sure. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Asashio is only because Akizuki is also a tier VIII destroyer. She's right on the cusp of being . To get her out of the doldrums, she would really need something special here, like an extra five knots of speed at the very least and more perks besides. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 25mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 3.1km AA DPS per Aura: 10 Please note the sarcasm. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Not allowed. This is the fulcrum upon which all Asashio balance is based. Honest and for true. I mean it for realsies, guys. Refrigerator Surface Detection Range: 6.84 km Air Detection Range: 3.78 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.37km Concealment when Firing in Smoke: 2.55km Asashio is not only the stealthiest destroyer at her tier, she's the stealthiest destroyer within her Matchmaking spread. While she is matched by Kagero and Harekaze for surface detection, Asashio squeaks out a smaller aerial detection on top of this. Now this is really splitting hairs, given that it's a paltry 60m, but still. For a destroyer that boasts upwards of a 14.63km stealth-launching window for her torpedoes, her surface detection range looks like complete overkill, but it's not. It's one of the few tools that gives Asashio any pretense of supporting her team, should her player be so inclined. Like IJN destroyers, Asashio has the stealth advantage and can usually spot enemy destroyers before being spotted in return. The safety window for doing this is tiny in some cases and always full of risk. Short of tripping over some of the biggest thunder-chunkers masquerading as fellow lolibotes (Khabarovsk, I am looking at you), there's often not time enough to turn away before being seen in return. Given Asashio's weakness to winning one versus one engagements, it's imperative to capitalize on these early encounters when there are still friendly guns around to provide backup. Don't be shy of sacrificing a few hit points to help ensure that an enemy lolibote gets wrecked. Don't be so quick to reach for your Smoke Generator either -- try to force the enemy to smoke up first and keep providing eyes for your team. As wonderful as Asashio's dominance of stealth is, she doesn't have everything her own way. She cannot scrape off enemy aircraft to save her life which can easily keep her perma-spotted. In addition lots (and lots) of radar / sonar equipped ships would love to trip over a vulnerable Asashio. Once they get on your butt, you're in for a rough time. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : This is much closer than it looks, with Loyang being an easy contender for the best at her tier and Harekaze & Kagero sharing functionally the same concealment. While Asashio dominates in stealth, Loyang combines reasonable concealment with her totally-not-overtuned-in-the-slightest Hydroacoustic Search with its extended range. How to Help Control the Battleship Overpopulation Asashio makes a great trainer for higher tiered IJN destroyer commanders, though she may not be ideal for lower tiered ones. The following is the ideal build for Asashio. Feel free to follow along using ShipComrade's Captain Skill Calculator to try out various test builds. Start with Priority Target. This skill has lesser value in IJN destroyers (if you're seen, it's pretty safe to assume everyone is shooting at you), so I would value Preventative Maintenance with equal weight here. You're still a destroyer, so Last Stand has the highest value at tier 2. Next up, take Torpedo Armament Expertise. This will drop your reload time from 112 seconds to 100.8 seconds. For your 10th skill point, Concealment Expert shouldn't surprise anyone. And finally, double back to tier 3 and take Survivability Expert to boost up your hit points from 15,100 to 17,900. After this, it becomes a question of choosing between some high value skills between your six remaining skill points. At tier 2, Torpedo Acceleration is of the highest value, with Adrenaline Rush and Expert Marksman following in order. At tier 3, Basic Fire Training is of higher value than Superintendent. At tier 4, Radio Location is invaluable for influencing vision control. Between these six skills, distribute your six remaining points as you choose. During play testing, I used a 15 point commander that took Torpedo Acceleration. Development Version 1.0 She began life in late December of 2017. Her first iteration was little more than a Kagero-clone in terms of game play. The reactions to her announcement were... well, they were to be expected. Version 2.0 Fast forward to early February and we received a new version of Asashio. She acquired her now infamous Deepwater Torpedoes and her Torpedo Reload Booster no longer competed with her Smoke Generator. I had a lot of fun playing this version of Asashio. I admit, I gave her a big ol' thumbs-up during my first few times out in her and she kept right on delighting me. The honeymoon I was having with her was short-lived, however. A week later and I began having concerns that she was a little overtuned as it was far too easy to damage battleships, though I admit this view was narrowly focused. Not all the other testers were enjoying the same level of success. Version 3.0 Two weeks after version 2.0, we received the third and what would prove to be the final version of Asashio. She received a slight increase in the surface detection of her torpedoes. This change would not significantly affect her performance. This brought her gun handling and rate of fire to the same level as Kagero. This opened up the possibility of engaging lower tiered IJN destroyers in uneven gun fights. It was clear that Wargaming wanted a battleship hunting monster and that was the ship Asashio was to become. My views would mellow out over time, however... Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: Asashio won't break the game. When you look at her analytically, she's not a very competitive destroyer all told. The current battleship-heavy meta empowers her. She's only as good as the persistence of that environment. Asashio, by her very design, will polarize opinions. She is very good at being simultaneously a battleship assassin and a punching bag for cruisers and gunship destroyers. This is a ship built upon the principle of no counter-play, exaggerating the old paper-rock-scissors design of 2015. Dreadnoughts that are alone and/or exposed or those that are sailing predictably at long-range are going to get punished and punished hard. One on one, they also stand no chance. Similarly, there is very little Asashio can do to an enemy gunship destroyer or cruiser that wants her booty when she's caught without support. She is, in all aspects, a comical exaggeration of the IJN destroyer stereotype, for good and for ill. I do not see her being much different from a less versatile version of an old-timey Shiratsuyu or a similarly myopic Kamikaze-sisters that's all about the battleship damages. Really, boiled down to the sum of her parts, Asashio is a trashbote that is poorly equipped to play objectives, but at least she'll wreck something. This makes evaluating her fun. Let's use the Angry Youtuber scale for this. I know, I know, I'm getting this review format slightly out-of-order, but indulge me: GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes. Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal. Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task. OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely On the one hand, you've got the obvious Battleship perspective: To Battleship Players: Asashio is the end of all things. Game balance and fun as we know it is doomed. Uninstall now. The good times are over. Despite Asashio's predation techniques already being present in the Pan Asian destroyer line, this time it's super-cereal because it's now in the hands of an IJN destroyer that couldn't fight their way out of a wet shoe-box. At the other extreme, we have the perspective of someone who abhors the current BB-heavy meta: The Return to Eden. This is the destroyer those BBabies deserve. Now you can punish those BBabies for having the nerve, nay the audacity to dare enjoying that ship type and game play. They're about to Get Balanced™ in the most extreme way possible. It's doubly delicious that it's coming from an IJN destroyer, whose tech-tree line has suffered the ignominy of being nerfed over and over and over again while battleships have only ever received buffs! Don't fact check that last part! For anyone else, she's just another IJN destroyer but with gimped torpedoes. Asashio is about as terrifying as a cute little bunny. Most ships in the game can counter her easily with a simple count of three (counting to five is right out). Still, you've got to give her mad props for flying about and decapitating BBabies. Asashio is not well designed. In the hands of the masses, I predict she will hoover up some ridiculous damage totals but her win rate is going to suck. She should mirror Shimakaze in many respects. Most players will enjoy her -- she'll do some nice damage but short of being in the hands of a unicum, her influence on the overall outcome will be dictated by what Matchmaker hands to her. It's a fallacy to think that she will greatly influence the meta. Battleships are already loathe to push if they even smell a destroyer ahead of them. Few take the time to differentiate the threat between ship classes, treating all destroyers as if they had the ability to catastrophically end them suddenly. Similarly, assuming that Asashio will unnecessarily punish any battleship that does have the audacity to push is also fallacy. ALL destroyers (and all cruisers and other battleships) will always focus on the closest battleship. It's already chronic on how many players will focus on the ease of stacking damage against battleships over more critical (and perhaps closer) targets. Asashio does not change this. What Asashio does do is exaggerate these bad habits. I grant you: she's not well designed. But at least she does this because she has to rather than by the fault of the player. Would I Recommend? Asashio absolutely trivializes a lot of requirements for missions and campaigns. She's also going to be a great ship for people that are trying to unlock achievement badges for destroyers and Japanese ships. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No, I wouldn't. The mirrored team building in Co-Op means it's possible for you to end up in matches with only a single target for your torpedoes. This makes it hard for her to earn XP and Credits. Similarly, if there was ever a Scenario which didn't have a plethora of enemy battleships to target, Asashio would suck hard and not in the sexy way. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Very yes on toast. This is where she belongs and she'll reward you well. Devastating Strike, Witherer, High Caliber and LIquidator medals will come easy. You may struggle to achieve Confederate medals however, unless Matchmaker REALLY likes you. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Please don't bring this on my team in Ranked. I'll forgive you if somehow the meta is something other than destroyers this season. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes, Asashio is a storied vessel with not only an extensive service record, but a sad and honourable end. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? I enjoy this ship a lot, though I do so with some mild pangs of guilt. They're only mild, though, so I wouldn't call the affliction serious enough to stem any recommendation. In Closing I had a lot of fun putting this one together. I've hoped you enjoyed reading it. This is one ship where I would love to look over Wargaming's shoulder an analyze the meta-data as it comes in after it gets a general release. There have been all sorts of predictions on how she will perform and what influence she will have on the game. Being able to see which side of the debate is vindicated by official stats would be interesting. My thanks go out to my Patrons on Patreon. Dozens of hours of work were put into the review you just read including time spent play testing, writing and doing graphics. Working around my schedule to get these out on time is difficult and the financial support provided by my patrons facilitates this. Every dollar helps. So thank you all -- not just those who donate, but those who read and enjoy these reviews. It means a lot to me. Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews. For the complete list of my other reviews, please go here:
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Cossack is a stealthy British gunship destroyer armed with eight 120mm/45 naval rifles and a single bank of four, high-tier torpedoes. She is defined by her good concealment values and awkward firing arcs. Cossack also has access to the Engine Boost consumable while maintaining improved British acceleration and energy preservation. Game play wise, Cossack is very similar to Lightning with an overlap in consumables and commander skill choices. Wargaming has set her price tag at 9,600 doubloons. This is the second Tribal-class destroyer introduced into World of Warships following the release of HMCS Haida earlier this year. She is less remarkable than her sister-ship but that's largely owing to the unforgiving environment in which she plays. Cossack contends with being up-tiered more often than her Canadian counterpart and higher tiered matches are far more radar intensive. Moreover, at tier VII Haida has a defined role -- she's a lolibote-molester. This role is generally lacking among the other tin-cans at tier VII which makes Haida stand out. Cossack doesn't share this same kind of defined specialty. She's more of a generalist scout or gunship -- roles that are replicated by other destroyers at her tier. Thus, Cossack is a workhorse, one gunship among many. She gets the job done in a tough environment which is worth noting, though she is not deserving of any acclaim in this regard. PROS Good DPM performance on her guns and excellent chance at starting fires. Powerful torpedoes for a gunship which may launched individually. Improved engine performance with increased acceleration and energy preservation in a turn while also having access to the Engine Boost consumable. Ridiculous rate of turn, throwing herself about at almost 9.0º/s! Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 5.48km. Access to a long-lasting British Hydroacoustic Search consumable. CONS Poor fire angles on all weapons. Terrible gun ballistics -- worse than American 127mm/38s. Limited to a single torpedo launcher. Her anti-aircraft firepower is effectively non-existent. Poor quality Smoke Generator consumable with short emission time and duration. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Cossack is not a forgiving ship to play. For a novice player, she has many strikes against her. She struggles to do damage, hamstrung with restrictive fire sectors on all of her weapons and poor performing guns. A deep skill build is necessary to allow her to do direct damage with her artillery against larger opponents and the range of targets she can engage is limited. Having a single torpedo launcher does her no favours either. She is at her best at what amounts to point-blank ranges. At high tiers this is a range where you will get killed in short order for making a mistake. Cossack has the speed, stealth and agility enough to make her attractive to a veteran but her engagement range, optimized for short-distances and limited attack power are a severe mark against her carry potential. Still, she has a diverse toolkit that will earn her some devoted supporters. – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Cossack's damage output and durability are best described as average. While she does have her strong points, a combination of drawbacks with her guns keeps Cossac from outperforming her peers. Her low hit point total similarly holds her back. She gets a rating in both categories. Her anti aircraft firepower is virtually non-existent and she earns a evaluation as a result. It's arguably worse than the IJN torpedo boats which is saying something. Where Cossack stands apart truly is her agility and stealth. She takes primacy from Lightning in terms of flexibility and speed. It's a closer contest for Vision Control, but she wins out against Loyang. She's the in both categories among tier VIII destroyers. Options Cossack's options are almost all standard for a British destroyer. Cossack like (new) British destroyers cannot make use of the Propulsion Modification 2 upgrade as she already has an improved version built in. Consumables Cossack's Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. It has unlimited charges, a 60s/40s reset timer and a 5s active period. Cossack uses a British destroyer Smoke Generator. This has 5 charges base and a 90s/70s reset timer (it's not just you, that number is stupid-weird). It emits smoke for 10s and each cloud lasts for 40s. Unlike other (new) British destroyers, Cossack has access to Engine Boost. This is a standard destroyer-version of the consumable providing an 8% speed increase with 2 charges base, an 180s/120s reset timer and a 120s active period. Cossack uses a British destroyer Hydroacoustic Search. This has 2 charges base, a 180s/120s reset timer and a 180s active period. It detects torpedoes and ships at a range of 3.00km. Upgrades Cossack should equip Magazine Modification 1 into its first upgrade slot. If you like to live dangerously, then Main Armaments Modification 1 is fine. In your second slot, the special upgrade, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is optimal. If you do not have access to it, then the next upgrade you should reach for is the special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1. If you're lacking that, then default to Propulsion Modification 1. Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal for slot 3. The only reasonable choice in your fourth slot is Steering Gears Modification 2. Similarly, the only reasonable choice in your fifth slot is Concealment Modification 1. Camouflage Cossack comes with Type 10 Camouflage. For 2,000 doubloons you may purchase Royal Navy - Cossack as a cosmetic swap. Both camouflages provide: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Cossack comes with Type 10 Camouflage in mottled grey. I personally think she looks prettier in Royal Navy - Cossack in green, black and grey, but that's only for players with deep pockets. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 120mm/45 guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Four torpedo tubes in a 1×4 launcher mounted amidships. The 120mm/45s that Cossack uses for her main batteries have a lot of problems at tier VIII. While perfectly serviceable at tier VII with ships like Jervis and Gadjah Mada, against the upgraded opposition faced at higher tiers they're nowhere near as competitive on a per-gun basis. This is largely owing to penetration issues due to gun caliber but there are other things to remark. They have a modest rate of fire, damage per shell and poor ballistics. The mountings on HMS Cossack are poorly situated with limited fire arcs and a lackluster traverse rate. Their only real strength is a high fire chance per shell. Her saving grace is that she has a lot of guns -- quantity has quality all of its own. However, the competition is fierce at tier VIII and even armed with eight rifles Cossack struggles finding the edge she needs. Destroyer AP shells are highly circumstantial in their utility. Most simply do not have the penetration or damage output to make them worth chancing the risk of a bounce using except in specific circumstances. Still, when a broadside is offered, switching to AP provides a much improved damage increase -- especially if your target is already burning from fires set. HMS Cossack's poor penetration values limit the range at which she can make these exchanges successfully, with her ability to citadel enemy cruisers falling off at 4km and her ability to reliably penetrate the extremities of battleships dropping off between 9km and 11km.1 Cossack's HE damage potential looks impressive, though it's important to cross reference it with her penetration values. The chart on the right shows the armour value the respective guns can best while the extremity armour on the bottom lists the prevalence of different armour types for the bow and stern. The number in brackets is the (current as of 0.7.9) number of ships with these armour values. There is a long list of targets she is incapable of damaging directly which will necessitate her making the attempt with AP shells instead. The arcs of fire on A and Y turret are terrible, contrasting the excellent arcs on B and X. On top of this, B-turret may rotate 360º which facilitates keeping it engaged even while Cossack manoeuvres. It's thus very easy to keep six guns on target most of the time but especially difficult to keep all eight firing. Bringing all eight guns to bear makes her an easy and predictable target due to the limited fields of fire on her foremost and rearmost turrets. Sacrificing a turret makes Cossack's gunnery no better than a tier VII destroyer. Cossack doesn't have the DPM advantage to be able to best contemporary gunship destroyers. The race is very close. Once you factor in the hit point totals and detection consumables, the margins get even smaller. Against anything higher tier, Cossack comes out the worse for it. This said, Cossack does have the muscle to bully anything smaller than herself short of HMCS Haida. She can play the role of a destroyer hunter provided she can ensure the detection, hit point and DPM advantage, but she has nowhere near the primacy in these categories at her tier. Against larger vessels, Cossack's guns are a mixed bag. Her ability to deal direct damage is compromised with her poor penetration values but she's an excellent fire starter. Note that this is largely owing to volume and accuracy of fire -- Cossack must be cycling all eight of her guns onto a target and landing with most of her hits to be a credible threat this way. Where Cossack truly excels is her potential to set fires. This is especially true of she eschews the use of IFHE in her commander skill build and elects to just focus on Demolition Expert instead. While this is unlikely to ever give a hale and healthy cruiser pause, it is very effective against battleships. Note, in practice these values are approximately halved when striking ships and represent only the raw fire starting potential. Thus, against a Montana, Cossack with a DE build could expect to set about 4 to 5 fires per minute. Be warned, though, the efficiency of focusing on fires leaves a lot to RNG. Cossack's performance will not be consistent. The final issue facing Cossack's gunnery is one of range and detection. She has adequate reach but she suffers from horrible ballistics. British 120mm/45 guns have worse shell arcs than American 127mm/38s. Cossack has similar gunnery challenges to Loyang, Hsienyang, Kidd and Benson without their fast rate of fire to facilitate aim correction. Cossack is greatly endangered by the prevalence of Surveillance Radar within her matchmaking tier where her short engagement range is more likely to bring her within reach of this consumable. Furthermore, her Smoke Generator does not allow for long bouts of gunnery within the safety of concealment. Cossack must contend with much of her gunnery being done while she is vulnerable to return fire if she cannot make use of island cover. Thus, Cossack must be opportunistic. Whatever ability she has to bully other destroyers falls away as she faces same or higher tiered opponents. Her guns can terrorize lower tiered vessels, including battleships but they lack the caliber needed when facing higher tiers. Throw in the usual challenges of radar in this matchmaking spread and a pattern emerges: The power and flexibility of Cossack's guns varies considerably upon the hand which she's dealt by Matchmaking. Cossack's torpedo launchers have much better rearward arcs than forward. Like her guns, Cossack is going to have to give up her full broadside to be able to fire her torpedoes at a target. Cossack's torpedoes are decent individually, but she has too few of them and bad firing arcs to boot. Cossack has HMS Daring's torpedoes but at tier VIII instead of tier X, which looks nice on paper but that single launcher holds her back. The saving grace of Cossack's torpedo armament is her ability to fire them one at a time. While getting good accuracy with single-launch torpedoes is locked behind a skill wall, once mastered it helps greatly with making up for the lack tubes. For a gunship, Cossack has better individual torpedoes than those found on the Soviet, American or German destroyers. However, like with her guns, she places a distant second to Akizuki, lacking both striking power and being unable to keep up with her damage output Furthermore, Cossack's individually more powerful torpedoes in no way makes up for having only one launcher. Like Cossack's guns, her torpedoes perform much better when she's top tier than bottom. Their 10km range is fairly standard (and an improvement on the 8km on Lightning's), however as Surveillance Radar becomes more and more prominent in higher tiers, this reach just doesn't provide the same level of safety. Ideally, a player should be able to combine Cossack's torpedoes with her excellent fire setting to stack damage over time effects on a given target. In practice, this is much easier said than done. Their limited arcs makes finding opportunities to use them difficult, especially in a pinch. When the stars align (or skill prevails), Cossack can doom an enemy vessel in short order by overtaxing their Damage Control Party between fires and floods and score herself an easy kill. However, these will be rare events rather than commonplace. As discussed, use of Cossack's gunnery and torpedoes are both steeped in challenges. One of the drawbacks of British torpedoes is their large detection range. While not quite on the same level as Japanese destroyer torpedoes, this does limit their effectiveness. Summary: The potency of her guns varies considerably based on the tier of the target she faces. Her gunnery performance is inconsistent. Her torpedoes are individually excellent but they're difficult to use, locked behind a higher skill wall. Cossack must present a lot of broadside to cycle her weapons which can make her unfortunately predictable. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Cossack never quite gets her act together to seriously contest the Japanese gunships for their primacy at this tier. Yeah, I'm as shocked as you are that Japan now dominates the destroyer firepower meta at tier VIII. I always thought it would have been the Soviets, but here we are. Defense Hit Points: 15,200hp Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm The Lolibote with a redundant name sure looks OP when you lay out the maximum effective hit point total of the tier VIII destroyers like this. However, making perfect use of all four charges of her Repair Party happens so seldom. Still, she's way tougher than Cossack. Cossack has nothing going for her in this category. She has a downright middling hit point total and no fun quirks to her armour profile. This is a destroyer where you will have to manage any gunfire trades carefully to preserve your health. Her DPM advantage is not so high that she can afford to simply slug away at an enemy lolibote and hope to come out the better. The Survivability Expert skill, which ups her to an even 18,000hp should be considered mandatory lest she fall behind the staying power of other gunships. Veterans who are familiar with the play style of Loyang and Benson will no doubt be able to relate to the need to properly spend their hit points when making gunship attacks. The difference between Cossack and these American-based gunships is her worse Smoke Generator performance which limits her ability to make escapes when things go pear shaped. Cause they will. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Cossack is in the bottom half of the vast tier VIII destroyer population. It's going to take a lot to move her up in rank -- namely another 5,000 hit points or a Repair Party consumable. Agility Top Speed: 36.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 610m Rudder Shift: 3.6s Maximum Turn Rate: 8.9º/s There's a lot to cover here. Let's hope I can put it in some semblance of good order without melting the brains of my readers. Your take away should be this: Cossack is far more agile than her in-port stats might otherwise indicate. She comes about quickly. She accelerates fast. She doesn't lose speed in a turn. Stay with me here, this graph isn't as scary as it looks. In purple, we have the sustained 4/4 speed of the tier VIII destroyers with their rudder hard over. This is how fast these destroyers can move while wiggling, dodging and coming about. In green is their nominal maximum speed -- for Cossack and Lightning, that's 36 knots. In blue, we have their engine boost speed. What makes Cossack so remarkable is that her maximum speed and turning speed pretty much overlap AND she access to an Engine Boost. This makes her a much harder target to hit, akin to a fast Soviet destroyer in terms of her forward momentum but with the added bonus that she can change her heading much more quickly. Cossack doesn't have the straight-line speed of some of her contemporaries. However, she's functionally faster than many of them. Like destroyers from the Royal Navy tech tree, Cossack preserves almost all of her speed while under manoeuvres. Most destroyers bleed off between 15% and 18% of their top speed while wiggling and dodging. Cossack loses less than 2%. In addition, Cossack comes about almost as nimbly as USS Sims -- one of the most agile mid-tier destroyers in the game, and at a higher sustained speed. For enemies trying to pick her off at range, Cossack presents the dual challenge of a ridiculously high top speed with an nimble target, giving the best traits of both American and Soviet lolibotes in a single package. It doesn't stop there. From a dead stop, Cossack accelerates as much as 25% faster than a similar destroyer equipped with Propulsion Modification 2. From a dead stop, Cossack is quick to get moving again, helping her avoid sudden threats like incoming torpedoes or being lit by Surveillance Radar. Cossack gets the best of both worlds when it comes to upgrades; she enjoys better acceleration than she would have receive with Propulsion Modification 2 and she gets the improved rudder shift time of Steering Gears Modification 2. Unlike other Royal Navy destroyers, Cossack gets all of this without sacrificing access to Engine Boost. Combined with a Sierra Mike signal, she can get her speed up to 40.8kts for these brief spells while keeping all of the aforementioned bonuses to her handling. While ships like Kiev and the upcoming Le Terrible can outpace her in a straight line, Cossack wins out in overall handling and flexibility in combat situations. She trivializes dodging incoming fire and dancing torpedo beats. Paper stats won't tell the whole story. If you looked at a combination of Cossack's top speed, turning radius and rudder shift time, she'd look deceptively mediocre. The engine power of the Royal Navy destroyers and their energy preservation means that they perform on an entirely different level from the other lolibotes, making Cossack far more nimble than her stats otherwise indicate. Her Engine Boost consumable adds even more flexibility than even Lightning can boast, making Cossack the most agile destroyer at her tier.[/caption] Summary Boosted acceleration. Little to no loss of speed in a turn. Cossack can rocket-butt with Engine Boost unlike other British DDs. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Loss of her Engine Boost consumable would be enough. This is a closely contested category at tier VIII with Lightning being hot on Cossack's heels with better rate of turn and a smaller turning radius. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 40mm / 12.7mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 2.5km / 1.2km AA DPS per Aura: 12.9 / 4.2 Hahaha, no. Cossack has no large caliber AA guns to speak of. Even cursory HE damage is likely to strip her of all of her remaining defensive weapons. Enemy aircraft carriers should feel completely safe in having their planes loiter over Cossack and friendly carriers should abstain from dragging enemy aircraft near Cossack. She'll be of no help. ... except I did. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Cossack only barely ekes out the worst AA rating at tier VIII. Asashio is only marginally better with less DPS but more range. In theory, it wouldn't take much to nudge Cossack up the ladder, but don't ever assume this would make her evaluation passable here. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 6.97km Air Detection Range: 3.90km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.48km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.48km Main Battery Firing Range: 11.89km Detection Consumables: Smoke Generator / Hydroacoustic Search There's a whole lot of weirdness crammed into Cossack's refrigerator. She is currently the rated tier VIII destroyer in terms of stealth and detection, however this is a title she doesn't claim easily. There are three elements which define her concealment: her surface detection range, her Hydroacoustic Search and her Smoke Generator. Surface Detection Spotting distance delta (in meters) between HMS Cossack and the destroyers within her matchmaking spread when fully upgraded for concealment. This chart is restricted only to those destroyers within +/- 500m spread of Cossack's optimized stealth rating. Note that a distance of at least 200m is necessary to have a plausible chance of a reactionary advantage over an opponent and more is preferable. There are few destroyers that can challenge her concealment rating. Cossack is one of the stealthiest destroyers not only at her tier but also within her matchmaking spread. Only the Kagero-class sisters (Kagero, Asashio, Harekaze) have an improved stealth rating as low as 5.374km to Cossack's 5.476km. In open water with every other match-up, Cossack will detect enemies before she herself is seen. Generally speaking, when Cossack is top tier, she will dominate scouting. It's only when she faces tier IX opponents that things get harried, with detection ranges being close enough that Cossack is likely to trip over an enemy destroyer without enough time to react. Surveillance Radar, always the bane of destroyers (and gunship destroyers especially), is a very real and especially prevalent threat to Cossack's well being. When she's bottom tier, Cossack faces several ships with radar that meet or outstrip their surface detection range. There is very little counterplay she can exercise against ships armed with this consumable short of having advanced knowledge of their approximate location. Keep a wary eye on team rosters and behave accordingly. Hydroacoustic Search HMS Cossack comes with a Royal Navy Destroyer safety blanket -- her Hydroacoustic Search. In the radar-heavy environment in which she plays, this lacks the offensive utility found on HMCS Haida and it's largely reserved for simply sniffing out torpedoes. Still, it is possible for Cossack to unmask ships hiding within smoke screens while using her consumable, however she needs to get even closer than her Canadian counterpart to do it. This tactic is largely inadvisable given Cossack's difficulties in getting away once detected but it can be pulled off in a pinch, especially in late game scenarios where an enemy destroyer lacks support. Exploit that three minute duration -- she can outlast the longer ranged (and easier to use) consumables found on Loyang and German destroyers. Outside of these very specific instances, Cossack's Hydroacoustic Search is better used defensively -- giving her the time necessary to avoid incoming torpedo strikes. In most games, this will largely be its purpose. Vigilance is a helpful skill in this regard for team play purposes if you can afford it. Still, this consumable provides a degree of flexibility to the ship that expert players can exploit and to underestimate or dismiss it would be a mistake. Cossack belongs up on the front lines, projecting vision forward for her team and sniffing out early torpedo threats. Smoke Generator There's a big ol' "but" looming over Cossack's superior vision control. She may have great surface detection. She may have a very handy detection consumable that keeps her safe from torpedoes and can be used offensively in a pinch. Butt, her Smoke Generator stinks. Shackled to the same terrible smoke consumable as the British destroyers in the tech tree, Cossack is held back by its low emission and duration times. She doesn't make many smoke clouds for one. What smoke she does make doesn't last nearly long enough to be comfortable, undermining both Cossack's survivability and her ability to deal damage. When used offensively, Cossack can only park in smoke for 40 seconds at a time. With American battleships boasting up to 20s worth of immunity with their Damage Control Party, Cossack isn't going to seriously contest her opponent's ability to put out fires. This necessitates other tactics to get the most out of the potential damage output of her guns. Borrowing the smoke from another ship is one way such as in a division. She can also take a page from American cruiser and destroyer game play and use island cover to lob her shells at enemies that cannot see her but her lack of reach makes this difficult. Finally she can simply elect to fire from open water and risk trading her hit points. I would hardly call this ideal given her low hit point total. Defensively, her smoke is also found wanting. At top speed in a straight line, Cossack drops all of three (count 'em) smoke clouds. If you install the special upgrade, Smoke Generator Modification 1 you get one more puff. That's it -- hardly worth the coal investment. Cossack's consumable is not so much a smoke screen as a squid's ink-squirt. If Cossack has been firing her guns, she may not being able to create enough smoke to block line of sight to multiple opponents (which will make you wonder why you even bothered). Fortunately, if you cut your speed the moment you activate her consumable, Cossack will come to a stop inside the last cloud. Don't wait on the throttle though -- you need to be decelerating the moment you begin laying down your rings. At least Cossack's smoke reset timer isn't punitive. The delay between dissipating and the availability of her next charge can be as little as 20 seconds with the correct commander and signal combination. With up to seven charges available, Cossack simply needs to hold her fire for brief intervals before setting up for another round of shooting. Patience and careful planning can almost make up for all of her consumable's shortcomings. Closely Contested Cossack is an excellent scout. Few destroyers at tier VIII can sit as comfortably on the front lines, broadcasting back enemy positions for their team as Cossack can. In addition, her forward position helps protect her allies from long range torpedo salvos which become quite commonplace within her matchmaking. This isn't a safe place to be, however, and Cossack lacks reliable smoke from her toolkit to give her a sense of security. Cossack may be one of the stealthiest ships at her tier and one of the best destroyers for controlling vision for her team. However, this is very little room for error. Summary Great open water concealment. Hydroacoustic Search combined with her great acceleration and handling makes enemy torpedoes launched at range a non-threat. Her smoke smells like butts. At least she gets a lot of quick-reloading charges. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Top spot among the tier VIII destroyers is heavily contested. The Japanese torpedo ships have the best raw concealment values. Loyang has arguably the best combination of detection consumables though her surface detection is too big to take the crown. Cossack wins out on primacy despite the flaw of her Smoke Generator, but not without contention. Keeping Oskar from becoming a Sam Skills rated by their utility in descending order from purple, to blue, to green, to red. For the colourblind, they're also rated by hearts. Cossack's initial skill choices are fairly standard for a gunship. Start with Priority Target. Next take Last Stand at tier 2. Survivability Expert is optimal at tier 3. And finish off your 10th point with Concealment Expert. Basic Fire Training should be a must on anyone's list after that and Adrenaline Rush is also optimal. From there, spend your last four points as you will. Final Evaluation I'm not one to blame matchmaking. However, Cossack's fortunes are more firmly tied to matchmaking than many other ships I've played in recent memory. I think it's largely owing to how Cossack performs when she up-tiers. To be absolutely clear, Cossack is a beast when she's the top of the pile. There are very few opponents she cannot engage comfortably and it's only those vessels at her own tier which give her pause. However, Cossack doesn't feel anywhere near as comfortable when she has to go up against tier IX and X opponents. This isn't a problem unique to Cossack, but it is more pronounced in her case. Her guns have a very limited menu of appetizing targets when she faces same or higher tiered opponents. It's not that she can't deal damage when bottom tier, it's simply more of a challenge than for other destroyers. She reminds me very much of most tier V battleships, where they can feel like real powerhouses in those rare times that matchmaking favours them and victims otherwise. Your mileage in Cossack will vary based upon not only where your placed on the Matchmaking roster but what's on the enemy team. So long as she's facing enemy destroyers and cruisers with soft squishy bits she can pelt with her pew pews, you're going to have a great time regardless of her tier. If you suddenly find yourself facing down tier VIII+ American and German heavy cruisers, a heavy battleship lineup or Japanese ducky-destroyers, life's going to be a lot more difficult. Fortunately, Cossack still has a role when she can't be the big dog. When she's no longer able to deal direct damage easily, she excels at simply putting eyes on targets and pressuring cap circles. It's difficult to dislodge an RNDD that has setup shop around a given cap short of using concerted air power or a constant barrage of radiation from Surveillance Radar to drive them back. Cossack won't come out of said matches with much to show for it other than a win if everything goes right, unfortunately. I do like Cossack, but she doesn't inspire the same kind of awe her sister ship, Haida did for me. There's a lot to enjoy with this ship. Few feels as comfortable as she does when top tier and even in those uptiered matches, she can serve you well provided you meet the right opponents. However, in those games where there's nothing but hard targets, the pickings get mighty slim. I dunno why, but I'm a fan of Cossack's alternative camouflage. I wish it didn't cost 2,000 doubloons to make my ship look pretty, but oh well. Would I Recommend? Cossack was originally made available through the Royal Navy event which ran in the last quarter of 2018. Wargaming assigned her a cost of 50 Guineas with players able to earn up to 48 Guineas over three patches. It's not you -- the math doesn't add up. The assumption is that players will have to pay for the difference with a Guinea setting you back around $1 USD. Otherwise, players may acquire her for the equivalent cost of 9,600 doubloons + the price of a port slot. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No. Cossack does alright in Operation Dynamo, but her contribution is very one-sided with being largely limited to engaging the torpedo boats. Her AA power is virtually non-existent. Co-Op isn't kind to gunship destroyers, particularly those with only modest hit point pools and limited torpedo options. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes with a butt. Cossack doesn't play much differently than the other Royal Navy destroyers and her skill choices overlap nicely (especially with captains for Icarus, Jervis, Jutland and Daring). The only issue is that earnings get a might bit slim of matchmaking doesn't love you. For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. There are better choices, namely Loyang and Akizuki. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. Now you too can own a memento of the ship that predicated the early invasion of Norway! Slap on a Hotel Yankee signal, board some enemies and cause an international incident! For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. While I'd rather play Haida, that's my own Canadian bias speaking. Cossack is a fun ship though be warned, she is a tier VIII destroyer. That comes with all of the hangups that tier VIII destroyers face. What's the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE- The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes. Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal. Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task. OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely In Closing Is it over? I think it's over! Cossack (and Haida) have been on books since January of 2018 -- that's over nine months of work that has gone into reviewing her and her sister ship with too many different versions between them. As you can imagine, there was a lot of information to keep track of with her performance changing so regularly. While I'm happy the two ships aren't terrible, I'm very (very) glad to be able to stop worrying about Cossack for a while. I want to thank my readers and fans who helped keep me sane over these months and an especially well deserved thanks to my Patrons on Patreon who helped keep me fed. I won't have to dig her out again until there's another tier VIII destroyer to review for a comparative study. But that won't happen for another ... Aww, sh-- ...! Appendix (1) Penetration data courtesy of Proships.ru (https://www.proships.ru) and World of Warships AP Calculator (https://mustanghx.github.io/ship_ap_calculator/).
  8. 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.
  9. HMS Vanguard is the ghost of the Royal Navy battleship tech tree everyone wanted to see. Ostensibly, HMS Vanguard was designed to be a tier VIII version of HMS Warspite. However, Vanguard falls short of this aspiration. For a high-tier Royal Navy battleship, she's surprisingly not idiot-proof, with a vulnerable citadel that needs to be protected with angling and manoeuvres. What's most exciting: Her AP shells are wonderful. Wargaming has offered some concessions to both of the fans of the current Royal Navy battleship line. They included HMS Monarch's excellent high explosive shells to Vanguard's arsenal, ensuring that these two players can continue spamming HE without a guilty conscience while everyone else rolls their eyes. I want to thank Wargaming for providing me access to this ship. This is the release version of the vessel and all of the statistics discussed here are current as of November 15th, 2018. PROS Large hit point pool of 71,700hp. Main battery has a quick 25s reload and excellent gun handling. Has the same dispersion pattern as Warspite, Hood and Queen Elizabeth and boasts 2.0 sigma, making her one of the most precise battleships in the game. Excellent AP and HE performance for a 381mm shell, including good penetration and damage values, rewarding versatile ammunition choice. Very fast rudder shift time for a battleship of 9.7 seconds. Improved Repair Party, queuing and healing back more than standard and with fast reset timer. CONS Exposed, above-water citadel. Absolutely appalling firing angles on her main battery. Main battery is only eight 381mm rifles creating issues with overmatching and DPM. AA defense is for self defense only and is concentrated in 3.5km range, medium caliber mounts that are easily knocked out. Large turning radius of 850m and slow rate of turn exacerbates the issues with her fire angles. Overview The maximum rotation positions of X and Y turret (her rear guns). They are not new-player friendly. They're not even veteran-player friendly. Vanguard's terrible fire angles so utterly dominate her game play, I felt the tremendous compulsion to wear white-lace and beg her to be gentle. These fire angles screwed me over more times than I can count. Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Vanguard encourages players to sail with their broadsides exposed. With her above-water citadel, you can imagine how well she's going to go over with novice players. You know what? Never mind the novices. The veterans are going to find this frustrating too as it limits the amount of firepower she can dish out when trading. She's a battleship that reward cautious, opportunistic play -- which is review-speak for "hide in the back, shoot when you can and don't brawl". – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Vanguard has strengths and weaknesses across the board, giving her a rating in Offense, Agility, Anti-Air and Vision Control. It's only in Defense where she stands out with a rating. Her citadel is very vulnerable for a battleship, however she counters this with a the largest hit point pool at her tier and an amazing Repair Party consumable. Options Aside from Vanguard's Repair Party, there's nothing out of the ordinary to be found here. Consumables Vanguard's Damage Control Party is standard for a British battleship. She has unlimited charges. It has a 15 second action time and a 120s / 80s reset timer. Her Repair Party is improved. See the DEFENSE section below. There's a lot to go over. This starts with 3 charges base. Upgrades Optimization of Vanguard's upgrades will see the usual suspects rear their tired old heads. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next take Damage Control Systems Modification 1. You've got a choice in your third slot. As ever, emphasizing gunnery is best so your first pick here should be Aiming Systems Modification 1. However, if you're salty about CVs, taking AA Guns Modification 2 is an okay choice. It's not great, but it's okay. Damage Control Modification 2 is arguably the best choice for most players in slot 4. You can elect to take Steering Gears Modification 2 to emphasize the strengths of her already quick rudder shift time. Be aware this is harder to make use of optimally even if it can yield higher results -- it's easier to tank damage than it is to dodge it, after all. Finally, take everyone's favourite no-brainer: Concealment Modification 1. Camouflage Vanguard comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 381mm guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 134mm guns in 8x2 turrets. These are superfiring with two forward facing and two rear facing per side. Secondaries Let's start with the small guns. You can largely forget that Vanguard has secondaries. These 134mm guns lack the range, reload time and volume of fire needed to present a credible threat to opponents. This is really unfortunate given their nice shell weight and fire chance. If they had the range or they had the rate of fire, maybe a secondary build would be fun to play around with. Lamentably, it's a mistake to invest anything in upgrading these weapons -- they simply can't do what you need them to. At best they might be able to start a fire on an enemy capital ship that strays too close. However, with Vanguard's high citadel, getting into a brawl is a death sentence, so stay out of secondary range. Main Battery Precision There's so much to like about Vanguard's main battery. First of, there's her precision. Vanguard is a blast from the past, sharing same horizontal dispersion value of the older British premium battleships, including Hood and Warspite. Inside of 12km, she overtakes even the vaunted Japanese battleship accuracy, making her much more adept at picking off close range targets like destroyers. Combined with her 2.0 sigma value, landing hits feels very comfortable, even at long ranges. Standard dispersion test for my reviews -- 180 shells fired at 15km locked onto a stationary target Fuso without camouflage. She was equipped with Aiming Systems Modification 1. Vanguard doesn't quite enjoy the same level of precision as Warspite owing to her faster shell velocity and energy preservation. This gives her a larger vertical dispersion area at all ranges. However, this does lead to improved shell lead times making gunnery easier. Note that Vanguard suffers from a lot of "downward drift" which adds a margin of error to these shell maps as I had to readjust aim with every volley fired. Thus the dispersion area maybe slightly smaller than shown. Shell Performance Vanguard's HE shells don't share the same performance anachronism as her dispersion. They're modern, almost (but not quite) matching HMS Monarch's HE, including her shell damage and penetration. Monarch's have a 1% higher chance to set blazes over Vanguard, though -- don't ask me why. Vanguard doesn't quite match up to the tech tree Royal Navy battleships for fire setting ability. This is good news to me -- it removes some of the brainless quality of HE spam. When you do reach over for her AP shells, you're rewarded with a welcome change from other Royal Navy battleship AP. Like Warspite before her, Vanguard has a longer fuse timer with her AP. This has a few effects. The downside is that she's more likely to overpenetrate soft targets, including broadside cruisers and battleship extremities. The upside is that it provides her AP with increased bite for reaching machine spaces and magazines buried deeper within the core of enemy warships -- especially those with spaced armour protecting their citadels. Vanguard is especially good at punishing broadside battleships at range. Approximate penetration values for Vanguard's AP shells. Vanguard's HE shells are fixed with 95mm of penetration -- not quite enough to punish the few exposed citadels found on high tier cruisers. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will add a few more ships to the roster that her HE can punish, but it's not worth the points investment. Data pulled from World of Warships AP Calculator. Site linked in the appendix. Penetration wise, her AP shells are well setup, having comparable bite to Tirpitz and Bismarck. It pays to keep their caliber in mind, however. Her 381mm shells cannot overmatch the 27mm bows of American and German heavy cruisers. As good as Vanguard's AP shells are, spamming nothing but won't do you any more favours than if you used HE shells exclusively. Switch shells often in Vanguard and she'll reward you. Vanguard's fast 25 second reload facilitates swapping between ammunition while also padding her damage output when it comes time to cycle her guns. Damage output among the tier VIII battleships is very close. Vanguard keeps pace with her fast rate of fire, compensating for her smaller armament. As ever, take these numbers with a pinch of salt -- they do not represent the challenges of getting shells on target or penetrating when they get there. For whatever reason, Vanguard's HE shells only have a 34% base fire chance as opposed to Monarch's 35%. This creates an increased gap in their fire setting potential and makes Vanguard no better of a fire starter than American battleships. Still the increased damage she dispenses makes this more than worthwhile. Before any of you get yourself all hot and bothered about Monarch's fire setting, Cleveland (the gold-standard of tier VIII burnination) can spit out 9.97 fires per minute with the IFHE penalty and no other buffs. The same disclaimers apply for this chart as the others -- this is merely an indicator of performance and does not represent actual in game results. A myriad of factors will always conspire to mitigate a ship's ability to set fires including (but not limited to), target selection, opportunity, shell dispersion, fire resistance, etc. The Deal Breaker All of these strengths are present to pad for one massive weakness: Vanguard's appalling fire angles. Vanguard has a fast rate of fire, great HE shells, fast turret traverse and excellent precision because her fire angles are so bad. It's all meant to be compensation because Vanguard must present a near perfect broadside in order to fire all eight of her guns at a target. This leaves her incredibly vulnerable to reprisals. She is functionally incapable of autobouncing enemy shells while firing her full armament and instead she must rely on her armour thickness to repel shells. At anything but the longest of ranges, this is a fool's errand. Thus, Vanguard often has to sacrifice firepower in order to properly angle against her enemies. This is why her gun performance is so good: she's often forced to fight with only half of her weapons. Wargaming have done everything they can to make it easier to bring the other half to bear when possible. Her gun traverse is quick. Her reload is fast. She answers her rudder quickly too to help swing her butt out to unmask her guns. I'm not going to lie: These bad fire angles are enough to put me off this ship entirely, which is saying a lot given all of the wonderful perks her guns otherwise enjoy. Vanguard has the same (terrible) forward firing angles as the King George V-class battleships. However, her rearward firing angles are worse than the tier VII battleship. No matter how you choose to engage an enemy, when you use all eight of Vanguard's guns, you open yourself up to return-fire and potential citadel damage. Bad firing angles are one of my personal pet-peeves. I can stomach a lot of things, up to and including sluggish gun traverse, but not bad fire angles. This has greatly soured my opinion of this ship. Summary Secondaries are bad. Her main guns perform beautifully provided you can use all of them. Her fire angles will get you killed. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : I almost gave her a rating here -- that's how bad her fire angles are. However, there's just too many perks glued onto her weapons to make that a fair assessment. She'd need a much faster rate of fire before I would consider bumping this up. Or, you know, completely redesign the ship to give her better fire angles. That would work too. Defense Hit Points: 71,700 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 356mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25% Armour Protection The 356mm/343mm armour is replicated again around her rear magazine. Her turret faces are 343mm front, 228mm side, 178mm rear, and 152mm on top with 305mm barbettes. Let's start with the elephant in the room: Vanguard's citadel sits over the waterline. Much fuss will be made over this and rightly so. Only Roma shares this high-water vulnerability and the Italian ship is much better equipped to angle and bounce incoming fire. The net effect is that Vanguard is more likely to take citadel damage than other battleships when someone catches her side. This isn't to say that citadel damage is an exclusive weakness to Vanguard. However, it pays to keep her vulnerability in mind. Her aforementioned firing angles on her main battery guns exacerbates this problem. When Vanguard is firing all eight of her weapons, whatever she's shooting at has an easy target from which to farm damage. What makes Vanguard's fire angles such a liability compared to other battleships has to do with autobounce mechanics. Let's get technical for a moment to explain why. If AP shells cannot overmatch armour, there's an autobounce check. This occurs before any penetration attempts are made. The angle of the shell is compared to the angle of the surface it strikes. Normally, battleship AP shells that hit with an acute angle of 30º or less will auto-ricochet. This is why bow-tanking is so prevalent -- shells simply slide off the ship's bow and deck, unable to bite into the armour. No matter how much penetration a shell has, if it strikes at too shallow of an angle, your ship can avoid damage. Normally, battleship AP shells that hit with an angle of 45º or more cannot autoricochet. Any shells that strike between 45º and 90º to the hull will follow normal penetration mechanics. In between these two values, the auto-ricochet chance scales linearly. For Vanguard, when she fires her all eight guns forward at a 43º angle, any return fire from her target has only a 13% chance of suffering a ricochet. When she fires all eight guns to the rear at a 40º angle, this improves to a 33% chance. Most battleships are capable of firing all of their guns 35º off their bow, allowing them to ricochet shells automatically 2/3s of the time. The steeper they angle themselves, the better this defense. This mechanic is absolutely essential for keeping battleships safe from the monstrous levels of penetration found at higher tiers. Not only does it provide a better chance of automatically deflecting shells, it adds relative thickness to their armour belts. The steeper you angle, the greater the effective thickness. Vanguard's belt has between 503mm and 522mm worth of protection at 43º. However, if she could fire at 35º off her bow, this would increase to 598mm to 621mm. Data pulled from proships.ru (link in the Appendix). Values are approximate, usually with about 5% higher estimates than Wargaming's values published in their Armada series of videos. You can see by these values that at range, Vanguard makes an excellent bully when top tier -- with rare exceptions, she can unmask her X and Y turrets and fire, confident that her belt will be proof against return fire. This falls away when dueling with tier VIII+ opponents. With few exceptions, they all have the raw penetration needed to best her belt while she fires a broadside. Her citadel protection isn't all bad, though. First off, AP bombs can't citadel you. Hooray! Second, shots that land high that attempt to bi-pass her belt and drop down into her citadel have to contend with a 32mm citadel roof. Only Yamato and Musashi's 460mm guns can overmatch this, meaning that any other shell will skip off the top of her machine spaces for only penetration damage. Thus it's only shots fired directly at her waterline which can damage her citadel. The use of Priority Target is almost a must to alert you when enemies are looking your way to give you time to angle in and protect yourself. Vanguard needs time to stack damage -- to find those moments where she can sit broadside and make excellent use of her precision and rate of fire but don't push your luck when you're taking hits. There's one last little point of contention with Vanguard's protection scheme: With the entirety of her deck and extremities boasting no more than 32mm of armour, Vanguard is a juicy target for light cruisers. Expect to burn a lot if they catch you out in the open. Provided you can protect Vanguard's citadel (and that's a pretty big if), she has the largest effective hit point pool of any of the tier VIII battleships. With optimal use of her consumable, her theoretical maximum (less Survivability Expert) effectively doubles her hit point pool. In practice, you're never going to see that kind of number. Repair Party If Vanguard appears a little squishy, she all but makes up for it with her excellent Repair Party consumable. While she doesn't boast the same portable dry-dock found on HMS Lion, Nelson and Conqueror, she has the next best thing. Here's the bonuses she has baked in: Her Repair Party resets quickly. The reset timer on consumable is 90 seconds / 60 seconds for standard / premium. Compare this to the usual 120 seconds / 80 seconds of the normal Repair Party. She queues up 60% of penetration damage. This is admittedly standard for Royal Navy battleships, so Vanguard doesn't stand apart from the rest of the ships in her line. For most other battleships it's 50%. Vanguard queues up 33% of citadel damage. This is huge. While it would best to avoid taking citadel damage of any kind, Vanguard heals up more than the 10% of other battleships. Keep in mind, this also applies to torpedo damage which is the most common form of citadel damage battleships receive. This is especially good in Vanguard's case given her poor anti-torpedo protection. She heals up to 16.8% of her hit points per charge. Normal Repair Party mechanics heal up only 14% over 28 seconds -- or 0.5% per second. Vanguard enjoys a 20% boost over this like Warspite, healing 0.6% per second over the same time period. With up to five charges at her disposal through the use of premium and skills, Vanguard's faster reset timer ensures that she's able to make full use of her health regeneration. Her enormous hit point pool also guarantees big returns as Repair Party scales with a ship's starting hit point total. Summary For all of Vanguard's potential vulnerability with her high citadel, she's well equipped to mitigate and manage said damage. When she's top tier, the vulnerability of her citadel drops down considerably, making her very powerful. Light cruisers are always going to be pain in the butt, though, and beware HE spam from battleships too. Vanguard isn't done yet with her tricks, though, as you'll see in the AGILITY section below. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Can a battleship with an exposed citadel even be considered ? It feels a bit of a stretch to me, but if you can keep her citadel protected, Vanguard is hella tough. That's a pretty big 'if' though when she's not top tier. She may lose her current rating when the North Carolina Repair Party buff goes through. Agility Top Speed: 30.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 850m Rudder Shift Time: 9.7 seconds (!) 4/4 Engine Speed Turning Rate: 4.1º/s The big thing to talk about here is Vanguard's rudder shift time. Now I've harped on rudder shift before -- it's a mean to an end, not an end of itself. Boasting that a ship has a great rudder shift time is like boasting that a ship has great range on its main battery guns -- it's nice to have but it's not a good indicator of a ship's performance. The same applies here. Vanguard answers her rudder quickly and her movements are much more precise as a result, but it would be a mistake to call this ship agile. Vanguard's rate of turn holds her back. 4.1º/s is painfully average for a high tier battleship. She sits well behind ships like the Richelieu-class sisters and the South Dakota-class sisters. This is caused by two things. One, her turning radius is big. Two, she doesn't have any baked in bonuses to help her preserve speed in the turn. The upside to her modest handling (and it's a stretch to call this a benefit) is that she can't out turn her turrets. She starts with a 5.0º/s rotation on her main battery guns and Expert Marksman only widens the gap, making adjusting her fire very comfortable if it weren't for those damned firing arcs. Vanguard's fast rudder shift time is almost good enough to allow her to fire her guns and angle back quickly enough to avoid reprisals. Almost. The simple fact of the matter, going from a 30º aspect to a 43º and back again takes too long. I never managed better than 15 seconds during trials. You might be able to pull this off against an inexperienced opponent but this is owing more to their mistakes rather than the merits of the ship itself. If you want to be able to fire all eight of Vanguard's guns while not getting your citadel blown out, you're going to have to play clever. Now just because Vanguard can't wiggle-wiggle-shoot doesn't preclude her from being able to dodge. This is something she's quite good at and where her rudder shift time makes her deliciously unpredictable. You'll still need range in order to pull this off, but you can pretend to begin unmasking your guns in order to bait shots and then double back on your course to bounce their shells. Similarly, the amount of bounce and twirl in her badonkadonk makes her a real nuisance for destroyers to land torpedoes. Vanguard is all about frustrating gunnery -- both yours and your opponents. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's not a speed demon like the French botes nor wiggling like the SoDaks. She's also not a thunderbutt like Kii, so there's that. I was personally hoping to see her preserve a little more speed in the turn to get her rotation rate up -- that would have done it, but it didn't pan out during testing. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Gun Calibers: 134mm / 40mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.2km / 3.5km AA DPS per Aura: 68 / 413.1 For personal defense, Vanguard's anti-aircraft firepower is excellent -- comparable to the American battleships. However, that's about as far as it extends. Vanguard lacks the weight of fire with her dual purpose guns to be a credible threat to aircraft further out. This precludes any claims of efficiency with Manual Fire Control for AA Guns -- too much of her flak is focused upon her 3.5km 40mm batteries. This adds a second weakness: her medium caliber weapons don't stand up to punishment very well. If you've taken even a light dusting of HE shells, odds are your anti-aircraft firepower is nowhere near as formidable as it once was. So, while you're pristine and perfect, you'll shred planes. It's worth investing in Advanced Fire Training to help boost this further, but that's about as far as improving her anti-aircraft firepower should go. Hey look, I made it through a section without mentioning her awful fire ang -- aw, damn it. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's very close. Were it not for FOUR American battleships all having very similar AA firepower (and Kii besides), she might be able to muscle in and make her presence felt. As it is, she sits in their shadow. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 16.04km Air Detection Range: 13.7km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.04km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.73km Main Battery Firing Range: 20.0km There's not much to go over here. Vanguard's concealment is "sufficient unto the task" and nothing more. She sits in the middle of the pack for surface detection behind Monarch (14.6km), Roma (14.9km) and North Carolina (15.7km) and just ahead of the Alabama-twins (16.2km) and Bismarck-sisters (16.4km). Vision Control consumables are rare at this tier, being limited to Bismarck's Hydroacoustic Search and various spotter and float plane fighters found on select ships. Vanguard doesn't have access to any of them and she ends up feeling blind without them. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : More stealth or a spotting consumable other than an aircraft. Alpha and Omega There's not much to say in regards to the skill choices for Vanguard. You can buff up her anti-aircraft firepower if you're super salty about CVs, but on the whole a generic battleship captain build emphasizing fire resistance would serve you better. Start with Priority Target. Take Adrenaline Rush as your second skill. Follow this up with Basics of Survivability at the third tier. For your 10th point-skill, choose between Concealment Expert and Fire Prevention with your 14th point-skill, take the alternative. With your remaining 5 points to spend, customize as you will. Advanced Fire Training will serve you well if you want a little more teeth to your AA guns -- especially when paired with AA Guns Modification 2 from your upgrades. For your remaining 1pt, take either Preventative Maintenance or Expert Loader. Alternatively, you can mix and match between Superintendent, Expert Marksman, Jack of All Trades and High Alert. Keep those tier 1 skills in mind as filler. Final Evaluation She has two main flaws and only two: Her citadel sits high over the water and her fire arcs suck. If you can mitigate these two weaknesses, this boat is amazing. She's been padded with all of the perks possible to compensate for these challenges. If you can't mitigate them, or you find it frustrating, Vanguard is a steaming pile of doo. "The second coming of Warspite" has such a nice ring to it. So many of us were hoping that the Royal Navy battleship line would have borrowed heavily from Warspite's game design -- namely her gun's precision, sluggish gun handling, good agility and improved heals. Instead we got a pack of flame throwers with cloaking devices and portable dry-docks. Complaining about what became of the Royal Navy battleships is so 2017, though. I had pinned my new hopes that Vanguard would be my baebote #2, echoing a lot of what made Warspite great. She almost got there which is pretty surprising. But let's not sugarcoat things -- Vanguard fell short of the mark. This isn't a tier VIII Warspite. So is Vanguard "good"? Well, yes. Yes, she is. However, there's a big ol' butt attached. She's good but she's also potentially frustrating as all get out. I've grumbled enough about her fire arcs. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, if you can't tell. This right here is what would relegated Vanguard to a port-queen for me. For others, her exposed citadel is going to be a big no-no. Why play a battleship that can get her machine spaces easily blown out when you could play something similar that doesn't have to put up with that nonsense? Her inability to overmatch select heavy cruisers will be a turn-off for others. It will keep her from being a contender in competitive play because of it. Finally, her longer AP fuse timer gives her an increased chance of overpenetrations. There's few things as heart breaking as lining up that perfect shot on a cruiser only to watch your shells sail clean through, inflicting minimal damage. One of the ways a premium ship can get in my bad books is by forcing a player to take extra steps to accomplish the same task as other vessels. Vanguard ticks this box. If Famous and HIstorical Monarch can do what Vanguard does and with less frustration, why bother picking up Vanguard? If the comparison to Monarch is bringing you pause, good. The two ships have very similar play styles with the tech tree ship being idiot-proof. I think this is perhaps the most damning thing that could be said about Vanguard: like Monarch, she's a little dull. Thankfully, Vanguard does borrow just enough from Warspite to spare her being called the second coming of the King George V that never was. I'm just not sure it's enough to redeem the ship in my eyes. Her perks are compelling, but it keeps coming back to those frustrating elements for me. I suppose that says it all right there. Know thyself. If those elements seem like turn-offs to you, then stay away. Otherwise, she'll do you no wrong. Would I Recommend? Vanguard acted as the gatekeeper to the initial offering of HMS Dreadnought. If you wanted the latter you had to also buy the former. Make sure you weigh the merits of both ships before pulling the trigger on a purchase like that. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Bots are dumb. Battleships vs bots is always a good fit. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. No. You are absolutely spoiled rotten for choice when it comes to Royal Navy premium battleships. Warspite, Hood, Nelson, Duke of York and Dreadnought are all on offer. Vanguard does have the advantage of being the highest tier, and thus potentially making the most bank, but you could do almost as well for yourself in most of the others. (I can't believe I'm recommending Duke of York as a reasonable alternative...) For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Get yourself Massachusetts or Alabama instead. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. She's the last Royal Navy battleship ever -- built in steel and she's drop dead gorgeous. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? No. I didn't find her fun to play. However, that's because I'm a whiner when it comes to firing arcs. Maybe your own mileage will be different. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on oh-so scientific, not-sarcastic at all, Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it! In Conclusion It's only a week late. That's unfortunately going to be the status quo going forward as I perpetually play catch-up with releases. Since Dreadnought and Vanguard were ninja-announced last week, Bourgogne has been finalized. In addition Charleston was released without any warning, so there are three new reviews in the queue. What's more, the Black Friday ships, Massachusetts, Tirpitz, Atago and Asashio are on their way out. While Tirpitz and Massachusetts' reviews are still reasonably up to date, the changes to the latter two could warrant a revisit. Given the limited access I'm going to have with Bourgogne, I'll probably be prioritizing that one as my next review unless something else comes up. Thank you all for reading. Thank you very much to everyone that supports me on Patreon for helping me produce this content. Appendix Armour penetration data was pulled from two sites: http://proships.ru/stat/ships/ https://mustanghx.github.io/ship_ap_calculator/
  10. Poopin' rainbows. Quick Summary: A fragile anti-aircraft cruiser with radar and armed with sixteen 127mm rifles and short-ranged torpedoes. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.1. February 3rd, 2017 Cost: 9,000 doubloons. Closest in-Game Contemporary Flint, Tier 7 USN Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Flint is an Oakland-subclass of the Atlanta-class cruiser, so it stands to reason that the two ships would be very similar. Flint has an upgraded medium-range anti-aircraft suite. She loses out on the two wing turrets found on Atlanta giving her a maximum of a twelve-gun broadside. Flint's superiority is very firmly set by her torpedoes which have a reach out to 9.2km. Lastly, the two ships trade out their third consumable, with Flint having a USN Smoke Generator instead of Atlanta's Radar. PROs Armed with sixteen, rapid fire 127mm rifles in eight turrets dispensing up to168 rounds per minute from a fourteen gun broadside. Turret traverse is blinding-quick at 25º per second. Able to fire over intervening terrain quite easily. Her main battery customizes incredibly with the 0.6.0 Captain Skills. Her torpedoes are very fast and very hard hitting for a cruiser of her tier. Powerful anti-aircraft armament, with unlimited charges of her Defensive Fire consumable. With a full AA-upgrade build, she has some of the best AA-power in the game, tier for tier. She has access to the USN Radar consumable. CONs Tiny hit point pool of 27,500hp. Her machine-spaces citadel sits over the waterline and has a maximum of 89mm of protection. Her bows are overmatched by 203mm guns or larger. Her turrets get temporarily disabled easily. Painfully short ranged at 11.1km stock. Very poor ballistics, with shells being launched into low orbit even at modest ranges. Poor penetration values on her AP and HE shells. She struggles to do damage to tier 8+ Battleships. Torpedoes are pathetically short ranged at 4.5km. Large surface detection range of 11.0km. My last review of Atlanta was over a year ago and there have been some rather significant changes to the game in that time. Atlanta has been graced by some better fortunes, including one direct buff and many smaller, indirect buffs caused by differences in new mechanics and systems. This time last year, she was an overspecialized oddity, unable to perform in the manner players wanted and expected her to perform. She remained a favourite to eccentrics and experts and downright punitive to novice players. Atlanta's fame (or infamy) has waned considerably over the year. She is no longer commonly available, having been removed as a permanent fixture from the online store. She is also gone from the in-game tech-tree where she could be bought with doubloons. Though far from rare, it is likely that as the game matures she may become a more uncommon sight. This said, her game play style has been diluted somewhat by the inclusion of USS Flint, an Oakland-subclass of the Atlanta-class cruiser. Flint shares many characteristics with Atlanta but with the benefits of better torpedoes and a smoke generator -- two fixes for the Atlanta-class many fans of her were clamouring for. We received different fixes for Atlanta instead of questionable effectiveness. This does raise the question if Atlanta is now worth purchasing for those who do not have her, especially given her limited availability. Hopefully this review will address said concerns. Atlanta subscribes to the original Wargaming design for premium vessels in World of Warships, where candidates were to be selected from ships that didn't fit in the tech tree. These "weird" vessels included ships like Kitakami and Tone. Options Atlanta's Defensive Fire is special. Unlike other ships, she has unlimited charges of this consumable. Its other characteristics, including reset timer, duration and intensity remain the same. Atlanta is also one of the few tier 7 ships with Radar. This has an 8.49km range, 25s duration and two or three minute reset timer depending if you took the premium version or not. Consumables: Damage Control Party Defensive Fire or Hydroacoustic Search Radar Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard USN Cruiser options.Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy Firepower Main Battery: Sixteen 127mm rifles in 8x2 turrets with an A-B-C-P-Q-X-Y-Z arrangement. A-B-C and X-Y-Z are superfiring, with all three turrets capable of shooting unobstructed directly forward or aft respectively. P and Q are wing turrets mounted just ahead of X-turret and behind the torpedo launchers. This gives the ship a fourteen gun broadside. Torpedo Armament: Eight tubes between 2x4 launchers. One is mounted to each side of the ship behind the rear funnel. Let's start with Atlanta's torpedoes; they are terrible. While individually hard hitting at 16,663 damage per and fast at 65 knots they are pathetically short ranged at 4.5km. This limits their utility to ambush scenarios and acts of desperation. In order to properly make use of Atlanta's torpedoes, your opponent has to have made a serious mistake. In such scenarios, a broadside of all four fish will be catastrophic and your opponent deserves the punishment these can dish out for being so horribly out of position. In close range brawls with enemy cruisers, a broadside of her AP shells is often more reliably devastating than her torpedoes. That's really all that needs to be said about these weapons. Main Battery Atlanta has arguably the most entertaining main battery armament in the game. There are few guns as interesting as the USN 127mm/38 rifles in World of Warships. They are not without their controversies either. With 0.6.0 they received a significant buff in regards to how they interact with select Captain Skills and the variety of builds centered around improving these weapons is diverse. But let's start with looking at their raw performance before we worry about how we can modify them. Common Captain Skills taken by Atlanta players to buff their Main Battery. Few ships benefit so greatly from Captain Skills as the Atlanta. From left to right: Basic Fire Training, Advanced Fire Training, Demolition Expert, Inertia Fuse for HE Shells, Adrenaline Rush and Expert Marksman. Not all of these skills should be considered optimal or even necessary. The 127mm/38 rifles found on Atlanta are similar to, but not an exact match to the weapons found on the USN Destroyers. They fire the same shells, with the same relative range, ballistic qualities, alpha strike, penetration values and fire chance to her line's destroyers. However, Atlanta doesn't enjoy the same rate of fire found on vessels like Mahan, Farragut or Sims. Farragut, at tier 6, fires 15 rounds per minute -- a value matched by Mahan at tier 7. Sims gets this volume of fire as high as 18.2 rounds per minute while Atlanta has to make do with 12. For those wondering, this isn't historical and has been reduced for balance reasons. Atlanta may appear to have the equivalent broadside to three USN Destroyers combined, once you factor in her reload time, this works out closer to two. And this brings us to our first two Captain Skills. Rate of Fire Atlanta reloads every 5s giving her fourteen gun broadside a potential rate of fire of 168 rounds per minute. There are two ways to increase this. As a destroyer-caliber weapon, Atlanta enjoys full benefits of Basic Fire Training which drops her reload down to 4.5s and increases her rate of fire up to just over 186rpm. As if that weren't enough, you can also take Adrenaline Rush which increases her rate of fire as your ship takes damage. At half health, this drops Atlanta's reload by another half second, increasing it to 210rpm. Let's look at some real-world examples. Assuming penetrating hits from her HE shells (594 damage per), a full 14 gun volley (8,316 damage per) yields the following. Against saturated areas, the damage will be half this. At 168rpm: 99,792 damage. At 186rpm: 110,494 damage. At 210rpm: 124,740 damage. This is contingent on being able to land hits with that level of accuracy and penetrate vulnerable areas. Like all guns, Atlanta's rifles are exceedingly dangerous up close. Landing with ten or more shells per volley is easy enough inside of 7km ranges. However, even veteran Atlanta players only land between 29% and 35% of their hits overall which much of the accuracy disparity coming from her poor ballistic qualities at range. Range and Ballistics One of Atlanta's biggest weaknesses is her lack of reach relative to her surface detection. Stock, Atlanta's guns can theoretically hit targets up to 11.1km away while she's detected from the surface from 11.0km. This 100m buffer for such a fragile ship forces her to be placed in harms way anytime she pulls the trigger. Taking the skill, Advanced Fire Training extends her reach up to 13.3km. Between camouflage and skills, it's possible to get her surface detection down to 9.4km. In theory, this opens the tiniest of stealth fire windows (less than 100m) but in all practical sense, Atlanta cannot engage targets and stay hidden without the use of cover. This is further compounded by the appalling ballistic qualities of her shells. At her maximum range, her shells are taking a full second per kilometer of distance traveled. This leads to horrible lead times. Depending on game resolution, some players may be prevented from using the maximum zoom when ranging their shells as their targets will be well off screen. This can make targeting specific sections of ships very difficult This is a necessary skill when facing off against heavily armored targets which her HE shells can struggle to damage.Penetration and Fire Atlanta has one of the lowest average damage per game values of any tier 7 cruiser. Stock, Atlanta's high explosive shells can penetrate a maximum of 20mm of armour. Aside from destroyers and some light cruisers, her shells just don't have the penetration power to directly affect vessels short of their superstructures. So while her guns may murder a destroyer with some alacrity, when facing against cruisers and battleships, Atlanta was often on her back foot. Atlanta's AP shells can be truly monstrous when properly applied. However, their penetration values due to their low muzzle velocity and poor ballistics arcs prevents them from being used efficiently outside of 7km ranges. Inside this distance, Atlanta is more than capable of blowing out the citadel of heavy cruisers or hammering the upper hull or extremities of a Battleship with her AP shells and wracking up enormous damage totals quickly. It's not uncommon for Atlanta to deliver seven to ten citadel hits against a broadside cruiser inside of knife fighting range. This can deal a whopping 29,400 AP damage if you can land 14 out of 14 shells as citadel hits. For this reason, Atlanta's torpedoes are often forgotten in the heat of a brawl as her AP can be more than sufficient to put down an enemy cruiser. Outside of this range or against even slightly angled targets, her AP performance becomes quite anemic. For this reason, the ship has often lived and died by her high explosive shells. In the past, this forced Atlanta Captains to rely on the fire potential of her weapons to inflict damage against larger capital ships. As a flamethrower, she was quite good at this in theory but in practice, this was never sufficient. Her individual shells have a poor base fire chance at 5% per hit. Demolition Expert can nudge this number up to 7%. However, this plugs into a larger formula: [Fire Resistance Coefficient x ( 1 - [Damage Control Modification 1 - [Fire Prevention ) x ( [Projectile Base Fire Chance + [Demolition Expert + [signals - [inertial Fuse for HE Shells) = Fire Chance Fire Resistance Coefficients vary, from 0.8668 for a stock tier 5 to 0.5671 for a fully upgraded tier 9 vessel. This makes the chances of stacking fires much easier against lower tiered targets than higher tiered, which is ironic given that Atlanta can often deal more damage directly to lower tiered targets than needing fires to prop up her damage totals. Here are some real world examples: Atlanta with Demolition Expert facing an upgraded Kongo with Damage Control Modification 1 (0.8335) x [1-(0.05) - (0) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0) = 5.54% per shell Atlanta with Demolition Expert facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0) = 3.37% per shell Combine this with Basic Fire Training on the Atlanta (186rpm) and a 30% accuracy and you're looking at 3.1 fires per minute against the Kongo and 1.9 fires per minute against the Iowa. Based on these numbers, an Atlanta should be able to easily stack a fire or two past Kongo's Damage Control Party and disengage. Against an Iowa or similar tier 9 Battleship, it's questionable whether any fires will stick at all if the target Captain manages their consumable properly. Dueling with either Battleship for longer than a minute greatly increases the changes of reprisals from the now-annoyed battleship from which Atlanta is unlikely to survive, so it's important to stack fires in a limited time frame and disappear. Without the ability to do damage quickly to larger targets and her own poor survivability when such ships elect to shoot back, it's perhaps no wonder that Atlanta's average damage has been so low. There is a ray of sunshine, however. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells All light cruisers have benefited massively from this skill and it has been a real game changer. For Atlanta, this increases her HE penetration from 20mm to 27mm allowing her to now damage the extremities of tier 6 and 7 battleships and all cruisers within her matchmaking spread. With this skill, now Atlanta can drop those theoretical 8,314 damage, 14 penetrating hit HE volleys against most of her opponents. Only tier 8+ Battleships retain an immunity to her shells with the exception of their superstructures. This skill isn't without its trade-offs, however. It's an expensive investment for one, requiring the sacrifice of one or more beneficial Captain Skills. In addition, it damages her already poor base fire chance by a whole 3%. It's this latter trade off which can really hurt as her (in)effectiveness against tier 8+ Battleships plummets even further. Let's look at our Iowa example again. Atlanta with Demolition Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0.03) = 1.92% per shell And if you can no longer afford Demolition Expert: Atlanta with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0) + (0) - (0.03) = 0.96% per shell Once again, assuming Atlanta is using Basic Fire Training and attaining 30% accuracy, this works out to 1.1 fires per minute with Demolition Expert and 0.5 fires per minute without. So it becomes a question of a trade off. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells greatly increases Atlanta's lethality against same tier or lower tiered battleships but worsens her performance against those found at tiers 8 and 9. Conclusions: Few ships have their performance defined so significantly by Captain Skills as Atlanta. With her torpedoes being a mere afterthought, how a player customizes and elects to use Atlanta's main batteries will largely define their level of success with this ship. There is no build that is optimal against all targets and some that are superfluous or even damaging to Atlanta's damage output depending on the ship type engaged. A player must decide well in advance what kinds of ships she wishes to specialize against and build her Atlanta accordingly. One of Atlanta's more infamous traits is the awful shell flight times. At maximum range (13.3km) it's possible to begin firing a fourth volley volley before the first has hit the target. This makes lead times downright punitive and adjusting fire difficult. Maneuverability Top Speed: 32.5 knots Turning Radius: 610m Rudder Shift Time: 8.4s Atlanta's top speed of 32.5 knots isn't particularly exciting. It's sufficient for her task as an escort cruiser, but she doesn't have the speed necessary to challenge evasive destroyers. Perhaps more pressingly, she is also lacking in sufficient speed to outrun fast Battleships that may seek to engage her, such as Bismarck, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau or Iowa and she has no chance of outpacing Soviet and Japanese cruisers. So while not slow or inflexible, some care needs to be taken when planning Atlanta's course lest she find herself out of position or over extended. This is a problem common to all USN Cruisers. Ship rotation times from starting at maximum speed and rudder hard over. Each ship was run through the course five times (except Flint and Atlanta which were run for ten to confirm their similarities) and the average taken. Deceleration is the time taken for a ship to reach it's lowest speed in a turn. The two most important factors for determining ship rotation speed is the radius of her turn combined with the average speed while turning. Smaller turning circles and higher average speed will result in faster rotation rates. The tier 7 and tier 8 American cruisers are all very similar to one another in their performance, but Atlanta and her sister, Flint, are hands down the most agile of all of the mid tier USN Cruisers with between a 0.5s and 1.0s advantage in turning 90º. Atlanta's handling is almost identical to other vessels found in the American cruiser line. This similarity between mid-tier USN Cruisers makes for easy skill transference from one ship to the next. If you can torpedo beat in a New Orleans, you'll find Atlanta answer similarly to her rudder. Atlanta's turrets have no difficulties tracking targets, even with her rudder hard over. They traverse at a rate of 25º per second compared to the 6.3º per second she turns at full speed, allowing Atlanta to quickly acquire targets and engage new threats from one side of the ship to the other even while under heavy maneuvers. This makes the Captain Skill, Expert Marksman, much less valuable for Atlanta than on other USN Cruisers. Atlanta is rather agile and can be a real bothersome target for destroyers. Durability Hit Points: 27,500 Citadel Protection: 89mm of belt armour Min Bow & Deck Armour: 13mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: None. Over the last year, Atlanta has enjoyed a considerable buff to her turret durability. Patch 5.5 from April 26th, 2016, all small caliber weapons had their hit points increased as much as 2.6 times what they had been. Prior to this, Atlanta's turrets had 1,500 hit points each while she now enjoys 4,000 hit points per. Previously, it was a rare occurrence for Atlanta to survive a battle without losing some of her main battery. Now it's rather uncommon for Atlanta to permanently lose any of her weapons. However, much of what was previously said about Atlanta's durability still holds true.Atlanta is one of the worst protected cruisers in the game, making her truly a glass cannon. She has a pittance when it comes to her hit point total. Her armour layout is laughable with 89mm of belt armour. Her large citadel has a section that sits above the surface running beneath the twin superstructures, from the bridge to the wing turrets. Her bow has only 13mm worth of protection, making it possible to overmatch it with 180mm guns found on the Kirov, Molotov and Dmitri Donskoi, never mind the larger caliber guns found on heavy cruisers and battleships. There are few HE shells not capable of landing penetrating damage on Atlanta, no matter where they strike her. In short, an exposed Atlanta is very likely to become a dead Atlanta. It's imperative to make use of her concealment and agility to stay alive. Hug islands and use them to block incoming fire. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 11.0 km Air Detection Range: 6.4 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.4km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +3.8km (vs 11.1km gun range) For such a fragile and short ranged vessel, Atlanta is shackled with an enormous surface detection range. She is utterly incapable of engaging enemy targets with her torpedoes without giving her position away. It's only when either her main battery range or her concealment is upgraded that she can ambush surface targets with her guns. Even with a full investment into concealment and range modifiers, Atlanta cannot stealth-fire from open water and remains dependent upon friendly smoke or island cover to stay concealed. At best, Atlanta can get her surface detection range down to 9.4km which is still punitive for a ship of her size and range. She's unable to sneak up on destroyers and, unlike HMS Belfast, her surface detection range exceeds that of her radar, giving destroyers time enough to begin evading before Atlanta can light them up with her consumable. It is worth mentioning that Atlanta, with her radar consumable, can make better use of borrowed smoke clouds than some other ships. When divisioned with smoke-laying vessels, Atlanta can help provide eyes for herself and allies while remaining obscured within the smoke clouds. Though her radar has a very short duration, this can tip the balance in some engagements to let this fragile vessel exploit concealment mechanics within the game to her advantage and decide the local fight. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 28mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.1km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 121 / 27 / 29 Atlanta used to have the best anti-aircraft armament at tier 7 without contest She has been partially eclipsed by her sister ship, Flint, which has a modernized suite of weapons which replaces Atlanta's 28mm 'Chicago Piano' mounts with the famous (and more reliable and powerful) 40mm Bofors. This gives Flint a better punch at medium to close range while Atlanta dominates at a distance. When combined with Captain Skills and module upgrades, Atlanta competes very well with her sister. The image below breaks down how Atlanta's anti-aircraft power can be modified. * Bonuses are multiplicative, not additive. Note that all DPS values are approximate with some weird rounding occurring (which is why the tool-tip in port is weird when you begin stacking bonuses). This table can be used to calculate partial bonus stacks. For example, a 127mm mount (121dps) with Basic Fire Training (x1.2) Priority Target (x1.1) and Defensive Fire (x3) bonuses would generate an average of 479dps. The maximum output of Atlanta in an optimal situation would be a combined total of 1,215dps. Fully specialized and in an optimal situation, Atlanta puts out 1054 / 118 / 42 dps (a combined total of 1,215 dps) at ranges of 7.2km / 5.0km / 2.9km. Flint manages a combined total of 793 / 392 / 62 dps (a total of 1,247dps) at the same range intervals. No other ships at her tier come close to Atlanta as her sister-ship. With Atlanta's anti-aircraft firepower focused on her 127mm rifles and their 7.2km range, she makes a much better anti-aircraft escort over Flint and bests just about any other cruiser in the game, tier for tier. Atlanta's anti-aircraft advantages do not stop with just raw damage. Her aerial detection range is only 6.4km. If she keeps gun silent and switches off her AA guns, she can ambush incoming aircraft squadrons by sailing into their path to intercept them. By keeping her AA guns silent up until they're all in range, she gives the CV player no warning of her presence and can devastate a concentrated attack wave before the CV player can react. In addition, her and her sister Flint are the only ships in the game with unlimited charges of their Defensive Fire consumable. Specialized in this role, Atlanta becomes a 7.2km no-fly zone which any CV player is fool to test, no matter what their tier. But don't kid yourself. Without this specialization, without Defensive Fire specifically, you're only going to damage attack craft waves, not rout them. Any carrier wishing to delete you will be more than capable of doing so. In her element and unconcerned. Overall ImpressionsSkill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / DifficultSkill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Atlanta is not a friendly ship for beginners. Her weapons are too short ranged with a very temperamental damage output. Her surface detection range is too large and she has no easy-escape tools. She is far too fragile to account for any mistakes. While it's terribly fun to hold down your left mouse button and poop out rainbows of 127mm high explosive rounds, the efficacy of doing so is highly suspect at best. You can't deal damage quickly with Atlanta unless you get in close and without proper forethought, that will simply get you killed before accomplishing anything of note. The influence a well played Atlanta can have on a game is telling, but it depends entirely upon her Captain / Consumable / Module build. She's a good support ship, however the decision on how to support your team will largely dictate the spheres of influence you can perform. When Atlanta is caught out of position (which, let's admit, occurs almost continually in this ship), her ability to affect the outcome of the match falls away to nothing. Mouse's Summary: One of the oldest premiums in the game. She's also one of the most unforgiving ships in the game. The recent buffs were nice... sort of. I wanted Atlanta to get what Flint has. Despite all of her troubles, Atlanta is a riot to play. What a difference a year makes. Here's the long list of changes that occurred directly or indirectly to Atlanta between February 2016 and 2017. Her main battery durability was buffed, increasing her hit points 2.6 times. She no longer loses her turrets constantly (HOORAY!). The Situational Awareness skill was given out for free. Her AP shell normalization was changed from 8º to 10º. This means that if her shells strike at a 10º angle to the flat broadside of a ship, her shells will treat it as 0º and calculate as if they had struck flush. She received Radar. The new Matchmaker system places her at top tier very frequently. The Captain Skill changes have benefited Atlanta greatly, with easier access to quality of life improving skills like Concealment Expert and the introduction of Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. In addition, many players can't easily afford fire-mitigation skills like they used to. Atlanta has seen both feast and famine. During Closed Beta, when AP shells were dominant, she was as powerful as she has ever been. The changes to AP and HE shells nerfed her considerably, but she still had a lot of functionality with asymmetrical carrier Matchmaking and how common carriers were during Open Beta. There was almost always need for an AA escort and Atlanta filled that role nicely. Once deployment symmetry became a thing when the game was released in September of 2015, Atlanta's popularity began to severely wane. Now in 2017, it's the increase in smoke generators, specifically those of the British Cruisers, that have breathed new life into USS Atlanta. She has a purpose now -- an ability that's always welcome when there's an enemy that needs digging out. It's sad to say, but she gets more use out of that than she does her Defensive Fire consumable. Inertia Fuse for HE Shells has restored some of the bite Atlanta once enjoyed back in Closed Beta. While her upgraded HE shells don't have quite the same ubiquity as AP did back in the day, the average damage that Atlanta is dealing out has been on the rise in the last six months. Looking at a two-week snapshot of her performance ranks her 6th overall for damage output among tier 7 cruisers. It's still not a good performance, but it's definitely better than has been for the last year. Atlanta isn't back to her glory days from Closed Beta. Would I Recommend?Atlanta is a weird ship. She's not something you invest in because you think she's good. You do it because you want something unique. While it is possible to earn an equivalent through Ranked Battles in the form of USS Flint, Atlanta's analogue is likely to be out of reach for much of the player base. For Random Battle Grinding Atlanta isn't going to make it easy on you to earn rewards like High Caliber, Confederate or Kraken Unleashed. While she or any premium will earn a fair amount of experience and credits, Atlanta is difficult to make perform to make such numbers consistent. There are definitely better investments. So no. For Competitive Gaming No. There are much better ships to bring in a competitive environment than Atlanta. She's too fragile and if caught out of position, she has no get-out-of-jail cards to play. For Collectors Yes. They saw lots of action early in WWII and enjoyed success and tragedy (Google the Sullivan brothers and have tissues handy). For Fun Factor Very yes on toast. Her guns are hilarious. Staying near islands is imperative for the longevity of your Atlanta. Use it to set up attacks and cover your escape. Atlanta is not an easy ship to play. She's not like the British Cruisers or premiums like Mikhail Kutuzov or Flint where you can pop an easy smoke consumable and trump any attempts to engage you. Outfitting AtlantaAtlanta can be one of the most complicated premium ships to equip in the game presently. It's important to decide on a role for your Atlanta first. From there you may select Captain Skills and equip consumables which best support the role that you've decided upon. Modules: All of my builds for Atlanta include the same module choices. Main Armaments Modification 1, AA Guns Modification 2, Damage Control Modification 1, Steering Gears Modification 2. There's some pretty simple reasons for this. In slot 1, you can take Magazine Modification 1 if you're really paranoid about detonations. If you're intending to take Atlanta into a competitive environment, this choice should be moot as you should be using Juliet Charlie signals instead to mitigate detonations. Personally, detonations don't bother me. Atlanta does pop a little bit more than other cruisers, so keep that in mind. In slot 2, you may be wondering about the viability of Aiming Systems Modification 1. Skip it. At maximum range, and by that I mean 13.3km from Advanced Fire Training, ASM1 provides an eight meter dispersion reduction. Yep. That's it. Eight whole meters. It's 6.9m at 11.1km. Whoo. Exciting! Take the AA mod. You'll get more use out of it. All of the choices in slot 3 are terrible for the Atlanta. Take what you want. In slot 4, Propulsion Modification 2 is also a fair choice. However, Steering Gears Modification 2 will shave almost half a second off of a 90º turn going at full speed. Core Skills: Despite the 0.6.0 Captain Skill overhaul making several builds viable, there remain some skills that are optimal for Atlanta. They re included in all of the builds below. Your tier 1 skill for Atlanta should be Priority Target. Knowing when you're targeted and when you're not will save your ship and allow you to pull off some rather audacious feats. None of the other tier 1 skills is as useful. At tier 3, Basic Fire Training is the second essential. This increases your main battery rate of fire by 10% and your AA dps by 20%. Few ships gain so much as Atlanta from this skill. Bombardment Build This build focuses upon doing damage to larger ships -- specifically cruisers and tier 6 and 7 battleships. The idea is to keep her guns singing as often as possible and to use intervening terrain to keep safe. Because you're expected to be shooting almost non-stop, stealth abilities are less of priority. This build, grace of taking skills which improve her gunnery, also makes a passable anti-aircraft cruiser but this isn't our focus. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Defensive Fire II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1000000000000011000010100010100019 This build is all about maximizing the performance of your guns against these targets. Basic Fire Training and Adrenaline Rush increase your rate of fire. Inertia Fuse for HE Shells allows you to land damaging hits against the plethora of 25mm armoured sections found on ships of your chosen targets. Demolition Expert helps mitigate some of the lost fire-potential. Variant: Swap Inertia Fuse for HE Shells for Concealment Expert. This changes the build from doing direct damage to relying on fire damage to affect your targets. This will generally result in increased survivability but you'll pay for it with lower damage totals. Destroyer Hunter The idea here is to sneak up as close as possible to destroyers and annihilate them at close range. She's built for stealth. This ship is rather vanilla when it comes to the performance of her weapons against larger targets, but such is the price you pay for being a specialized hunter. Keep your anti-aircraft guns disabled until you absolutely need them. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Hydroacoustic Search II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1000000000000011000011000000001119 The first thing that should stand out is that this will keep your Atlanta shorter ranged than other builds. This will also impair her anti-aircraft power somewhat. Radio Location is used to assist with finding the little blighters. Concealment Expert is used to reduce the range at which you're spotted to give destroyers less time to react. In addition, you will have to go gun silent to evade return fire from larger capital ships. Superintendent provides an additional charge of your Radar and Hydroacoustic Search consumables. You'll use Radio Location to home in on the destroyers until you're spotted. If haven't uncovered the destroyer within 20 seconds of being lit, activate your Radar to light the destroyer and be ready to evade any return fire. Last Stand is there to help keep you alive when your rudder gets shot out as you try to evade. The destroyers will shoot back and they always seem to hit your rudder and set you repeatedly on fire. The last thing you want to be doing is spinning in circles. Anti-Aircraft Escort As the name suggests, this build focuses on protecting friendly ships from air attack. This is hardly an optimal build in the current Random Battle meta -- carriers are not as commonplace as they once were. However, few can argue against Atlanta's efficiency as an AA-platform with this build. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Defensive Fire II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1100000001000000000010000000110119 Everything pushes towards increasing Atlanta's AA range and DPS. Basic Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Armament boost your DPS directly while Advanced Fire Training provides the range. Concealment Expert provides some survivability while also helping prevent you from being spotted early by surface ships. This can allow you to better intercept an inbound bomber stream and ambush them. Jack of All Trades is used to reduce the reset timer of your Defensive Fire consumable so that it will always be ready when the next attack wave comes in.
  11. 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
  12. The only real change to the Gremyashchy since I first reviewed her was the inclusion of camouflage for premium ships. And she looks rather dashing her in her off-white scheme. Quick Summary: A Soviet Gnevny-class destroyer with improved agility, concealment , torpedoes and HE rounds. Patch & Date Written: 0.5.16.0 - December 25th, 2016 Cost: Originally only sold individually or as a part of a pre-order bundle in Spring of 2015. During Christmas of 2016, many players reported acquiring them through the "Santa's Secret Stash" promotion. Closest in-Game Contemporary Anshan, Tier 6 Premium Pan-Asian DestroyerDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique I got quite upset, once upon a time, when various players reported that the Anshan was effectively a tier 6 Gremyashchy. I made it a personal mission to dispel this illusion, perhaps a little too vehemently. The two ships do share a lot of similarities, but the Anshan is a far cry from the second coming of the Gremyashchy. While superficially similar, the Asian destroyer doesn't have the same agility, high explosive shells or stealth capabilities of the pre-order vessel. PROs Good muzzle velocity and flat shell trajectory with her 130mm rifles with an impressive 11.9km range. Excellent AP performance with a high alpha strike of 2,500 per shell. Quite capable of stacking citadels upon cruisers that leave their broadside exposed at medium to close ranges. Better HE performance than any contemporary Soviet Destroyers, with 1,900 alpha strike and a base 9% to start fires with each hit. This makes her one of the best fire starting Destroyers in the game. Very good torpedoes with an 8km range and 14,400 maximum damage. Tiny turning circle of 510m and short rudder shift time of 2.7s Excellent concealment values while firing, giving her a 1.0km stealth firing window even without premium camouflage or Captain Skills. CONs Very low armour values of 10mm along nearly the whole length of her hull. British 152mm AP shells will easily overmatch this preventing her from being able to angle against it. Horrible gun traverse, with a 5° per second turret rotation (36s for 180°). The ship easily out turns them. Poor fire angles on her #3 turret. Torpedoes are slow at 55 knots. Large surface detection range for a tier 5 destroyer at 7.0km base. The sun sets on 2016. I'm very curious to see how much the game will change in 2017 and what effect it will have on the various premium ships I've looked at over the last year. Nothing has really changed on the Gremyashchy since I first reviewed her. However, the game has changed around her over the last year. Soviet and British cruisers have joined the ranks. So too have German Battleships and another handful of Japanese Destroyers. The module system got tweaked and Captain Skills were overhauled. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, Matchmaker changes pit the Gremyashchy more and more against what could be considered more fair opposition for this relic of the past. To be certain, the Gremyashchy is a fossil. Like the Warspite, she's a snapshot of World of Warships from an earlier time, representing norms that no longer exist. She used to be a middle-road destroyer with worse gunnery and brawling ability to the USN Nicholas and significantly worse torpedoes to the IJN Minekaze. She couldn't hold a candle to these two rival destroyers in their chosen areas of excellence and this made her seem a bit of a poor choice overall -- so much so that many players passed up the chance to purchase her when she was available. I cannot stress this enough: The Gremyashchy was often overlooked in favour of the Yubari and Sims at the time. Those that saw her merits loved her, but she was so often dismissed. With the typical attrition of the player base over time, the Gremyashchy has become an increasingly rare sight until recently. While it remains possible to earn a Gremyashchy through a Super Container, the 2016 Christmas Promotion, "Santa's Secret Stash" has yielded a significant number of these ships to the player base. This is by no means guaranteed, of course. The more premium ships a player owned already, the more likely they were to draw this ship as the loot containers seemed loathe to duplicate vessels already owned. While some seemed to acquire her with ease, others have gone through a long frustration of receiving anything but. To this end, I thought it prudent to revisit the Gremyashchy and express what all the fuss is about. Options The Gremyashchy is very predictable when it comes to her options. All of her consumables and module slots are standard for her nationality. There's nothing out of the ordinary here. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost Module Upgrades: Three slots, standard destroyer options.Premium Camouflage: Tier 2 to 5 Standard. This provides 30% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Firepower Primary Battery: Four 130mm rifles in four turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Torpedo Armament: Six 533mm torpedoes in 2x3 dorsal launchers. Let's start with Torpedoes. Like the Molotov, the Gremyashchy is armed with a weapon system of a comparable Soviet ship several tiers higher than it. While the Molotov gets the same guns as the tier 9 Dmitri Donskoi, the Gremyashchy gets a similar torpedo armament of the tier 8 Tashkent. If this raises a few alarm bells; it should. The Tashkent's torpedoes are terrible for a tier 8 ship. All joking aside, the Gremyashchy has torpedoes that now compete very closely to its tier 5 counterparts, but this wasn't always the case. To best understand the Gremyashchy's weapon systems and why they're considered so overpowered, you have to look at her competition when she was first introduced. Her only contemporaries at the time were the Minekaze and Nicholas, but these ships were very different at the time of their inception. Let's start by comparing their torpedo armaments from the Closed-Beta era. Values were pulled from World of Warships Closed Beta, around Patch 0.3.1.3 While it's perhaps common knowledge that the Minekaze was a better torpedo ship when compared to the Gremyashchy, it's important to appreciate just how much better the Minekaze was. While both ships had comparable hitting power with individual torpedoes, the Minekaze fired her torpedoes 50% faster than the Gremyashchy. Her fish moved at higher speeds regardless of which armament she elected to use. With her 1.1km surface detection range advantage over the Gremyashchy, she could get closer to her prey to help guarantee hits or sit way back and never risk detection with her 10km torpedoes. The Nicholas' torpedoes were designed for close quarters brawling. Let's look at how things have changed. Note the drop in reaction times. Tier 4 and 5 is always a kick in the teeth for novice Battleship Captains that don't appreciate that you need to dodge torpedoes long before they're spotted. The Minekaze has fallen a long way since Closed Beta. While she retains a blistering rate of fire, that's about all she can now claim. When we look at the Gremyashchy, she appeared to only be a modest torpedo boat in Closed Beta. However, it would be hard to argue that she's not one of the most attractive torpedo platforms at tier 5 currently, with only the Kamikaze, Mutsuki and T-22 being comparable or better. It should be noted that her torpedo armament does not stand head and shoulders over her competition, but that it merely remains competitive. She has the slowest torpedoes at tier 5 and one of the largest surface detection ranges. This requires her to launch torpedoes from further out, making it more likely for her to miss from minor course adjustments of her prey. The Gremyashchy doesn't have better torpedoes than any of her tier 5 counterparts. However, she is no longer outdone by them to any significant degree like she was when she was introduced. Now let's take a look at her Guns. Main BatteryThere are only a couple of downsides to the Gremyashchy's guns. The first is the most obvious: She has horrible gun traverse rates. Needing 36s to complete a 180° rotation, this can feel downright punitive until Captain Skills or modules are used to accelerate it. Still, even with all of the boosts available, the Gremyashchy can and will out turn her guns with even the smallest adjustments of her rudder. This will often get novice Gremyashchy players in trouble as they'll abstain from conducting any maneuvers at all while under fire, leading to predictable deaths from enemy gun and torpedo fire. The second setback is a minor one. Her #3 rifle has her fire angles impaired by a pair of 12.7mm machine gun mounts. This can only rotate forward to 53° while her #4 can reach as far forward as 30°. These drawbacks aside, it's hard to see the Gremyashchy's main battery as being anything but superior to her contemporaries at tier 5. In fact, it's not until you stack her against tier 7 ships that her performance begins to wane. Like her torpedoes, this again wasn't always the case. The Nicholas used to be a much better close-range gunnery platform to the Gremyashchy, back before the changes to AP and HE shells around 0.3.1 and through to 0.3.1.3. This saw AP and HE switch places in terms of primacy where destroyer shooting was concerned and the Nicholas never really recovered. After 0.3.1.3 in Closed Beta, the Gremyashchy began standing on par with the Nicholas or exceeding her and she's never really looked back since. Currently at tier 5, the Gremyashchy has the best AP shell, the second best HE shell behind only the premium Kamikaze-class Destroyers. Yet she's the best fire starter at her tier. On top of this, she has the excellent ballistic arcs found on the IJN ships yet without the range limitations. The Gremyashchy has a 1km reach advantage over the Nicholas and T-22 and only falls behind them in terms of rate of fire. It gets worse when you compare her to the lead of her class. She dodged the 0.5.2 nerf that shaved 300hp off of Soviet HE shells and dropped their fire chance from 9%,which the Gremyashchy retains, to 7% (this was later buffed back up to 8%). On top of this, she doesn't suffer the 2.0km additional surface detection range "tax" added to all Soviet 130mm Destroyer caliber guns. This allows her to stealth fire from the surface while stock at a range of 10.9km or greater. Once combined with Captain Skills and camouflage, this stealth-window gets absolutely insane. Summary Perhaps now you can start to see the issue with the Gremyashchy. She has not only an excellent main armament but she also has an excellent torpedo armament. No other destroyer at her tier mixes these two systems to the same effect. She doesn't meet any serious challengers to this kind of balanced mix of main battery & torpedo armament until the tier 7 Destroyers and she can almost keep up with those! Best overall gun performance at her tier. Highly competitive torpedo armament. Capable of using both weapon systems from concealment while stock. The only real downside is her sluggish turret traverse. Arguably the equivalent of a modest tier 7 destroyer in terms of firepower. The Gremyashchy's guns are horribly overpowered with ridiculous stealth characteristics. However, don't overlook her torpedoes. They are phenomenal in their own right. While leaning on only a single weapon system will still net you great games, using the right combinations of AP, HE and Torpedoes will allow you to utterly dominate in a given match. Maneuverability Top Speed: 37.0 knots Turning Radius: 510m Rudder Shift Time: 2.7s If you were hoping to see some form of moderation appear here, you're out of luck. Back in patch 0.3.1, the Gremyashchy had her turning circle kicked down from 630m to its current 510m. This was countered by a 6.0s rudder shift time, but clearly that didn't stick. So now she enjoys the best of both worlds and it's not like every other destroyer can say the same. She has the tightest turning circle at her tier and a very competitive rudder shift time. It should be noted that this agility comes with the price of being quite apt at out turning her turret traverse. While this may be frustrating, remember short of lining up a kill shot, it's always preferable to focus on evasion over doing damage in a destroyer. She's not the fastest destroyer (that honour goes to the Minekaze at 39.0 knots) but her own top speed is competitive enough to keep pace with everything she might face. Durability Hit Points: 13,100 Maximum Protection: 13mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 10mm It probably comes as no surprise that the Gremyashchy is lightly armoured. What may surprise some of my readers is that she's more lightly armoured than most other destroyers at her tier -- and this can be a real problem thanks to the inclusion of the Royal Navy cruisers. It takes a minimum of 11mm of armour to be able to bounce the 152mm AP shells that the British cruisers fire. Though the Gremyashchy has these values along her deck and turret faces (as do all destroyers), she does not have them along her hull. This makes it impossible for her to angle against incoming AP fire from British warships and attempt some lucky ricochets -- something that all of the other destroyers can. This may seem like a small weakness, but it's worth keeping in mind. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 7.0km Air Detection Range: 3.6km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.1km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +3.9km (vs 11.9km gun range) This is the last piece of the puzzle which describes exactly why Wargaming will not sell the Gremyashchy anymore. She doesn't suffer from the same concealment penalties that have afflicted Soviet and German Destroyers. The original concealment penalty calculation when firing guns is 0.03 times the shell diameter. Soviet Destroyers add an additional 2.0km to this range and German Destroyers add 3.5km. Not so the Gremyashchy. The result is that while stock, she has a 1.0km stealth firing window (1.2km with her camouflage) when using her main battery. When Captain Skills are thrown into the mix, this can allow the Gremyashchy to sit just beyond 10km of an enemy and pour fire into her without risking detection. Keep in mind, at these ranges she can potentially citadel a light cruiser with her AP rounds or accurately place HE shells on each separate section of a Battleship to maximize fires. This is also close enough to continue pelting an enemy destroyer with a reasonable chance of landing shells on target even when they evade. Short of Wargaming overhauling the stealth-firing mechanics for the game as a whole (such as changing the stealth firing penalty to shell diameter * 0.04 or higher) , the Gremyashchy will always be overpowered in this regard. A mid-tier CV's worst nightmare: An alert Gremyashchy within gun range. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 76mm / 37mm / 12.7mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 3.0km / 3.2km / 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 4 / 23 / 17 For a mid-tier Destroyer, the Gremyashchy's anti-aircraft firepower is rather decent. It's not great by any means. I wouldn't trust it to shoot down anything before it made its attack run, but it may bruise any planes sent to linger around her in order to keep her spotted. Most of the time, though, you're best to just leave this turned off. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme The potential for this ship is enormous. Like many destroyers, she's not quite user-friendly enough that just anyone will be able to take her out and score big each and every time. Without an appreciation for stealth mechanics, without respecting ammunition choices and proper consumable management, the Gremyashchy will fail to deliver. The tools are all there, don't get me wrong, but a novice can still easily mishandle this little monster. But in terms of raw carry potential? The sky's the limit. If you see one of these ships on the enemy team, take any opportunity to delete it as of paramount importance. In the right hands, there are some ships on your team that do not stand a chance -- full stop. Slow "brick" Battleships are meat on the table. Light Cruisers without long-range detection consumables like Radar or Aircraft are horribly vulnerable. A Gremmy player that knows how to ride the knife edge of detection, that keeps map awareness up and juggles shell management like a boss will give any team a very, very bad day. Pray you can detonate the fiend. Mouse's Summary: What weaknesses? Seriously... Good guns, good torps, good stealth, good concealment, good agility... Need I go on? Let's hope that any changes to stealth firing in the future also affect the Gremyashchy, or she's only going to get worse. In her current state, she belongs at tier 7. Studying the Gremyashchy is fascinating. In writing this review, I spent a lot of time looking up her original stats from back in Closed Beta. This is no easy feat. Wargaming no longer appears to host the Patch Notes from those times on the North American or European Servers and a lot of changes were undocumented. It was only through reviews and replays that I could get a clear image of what she was compared to what she is now. A lot of the information was piecemeal. It was difficult enough to find what I wanted for the Gremyashchy and down right impossible to also find Minekaze and Nicholas data from the same patch. Changes were rampant back between patches 3.1 to 3.1.3 with a see-saw of gunnery statistics as the primacy of AP was diminished and HE became dominant. It has to be said that the Gremyashchy came out of Closed Beta in a very healthy state. This isn't something all Premiums can boast (I'm looking at you, Atlanta). But it wasn't just the changes to Closed Beta that put the Gremyashchy on top. It's been the continued refinement (some might describe it as an erosion) of the balance at tier 5. The 3.5km surface detection penalty while firing on German Destroyers looks downright punitive in the current meta. It makes the 2.0km surface detection penalty on the Soviet Destroyers look downright manageable. The Minekaze is a hollow shell of her former self. And if rumours are to be believed, the Kamikaze-class will no longer be made available for purchase in the future. It's clear the environment at tier 5 is becoming all the more forgiving for the Gremmy as serious competition is being shackled by more moderated stats. I seriously considered measuring the Gremmy not against the tier 5s but against the tier 7 destroyers. It was shocking to see just how close she came to the likes of the Leningrad. While she's lacking on DPM, as she is presently, I do think she could slot in at tier 7 provided stealth gunnery does not change in the future -- yes, I think she's that powerful. It would be a tough sell which is why I wussed out and decided to instead focus on her Closed Beta statistics. Cross drop? No problem. The Gremmy's agility makes dodging fish look easy. Would I Recommend? Like the Imperator Nikolai I, there's only two ways presently to acquire the Gremyashchy. The first is to find her in a Super Container earned through the daily experience grind. The more Premium ships you own, the more likely you are to finally get one, so that's pretty cool. I can only imagine how awesome it would feel to get her this way ... and how frustrating it must be if you've pinned your hopes on this. The other option is with the Christmas 2016 sale where players could buy different sized loot containers. I wish there was some actual data on the odds of earning a rare ship through this promotion. There are a lot of anecdotal experiences that can be found on Reddit or the official forums. It seems that similar to Super Containers above, the more Premium Ships a player owns, the more likely they are to acquire a Gremyashchy. But this is by no means certain. Anyone hoping to beat the odds should be careful with their coin. Getting the Gremyashchy, while it seems to be possible, may not be likely. For Random Battle Grinding The Gremyashchy is a PUB stomping monster. She's a perfect choice for someone looking to help train their Soviet Captains, to earn a few extra credits or simply to farm awards like Kraken Unleashed. I cannot recommend her enough for this. For Competitive Gaming If you have the option of using the Gremyashchy in some form of competitive arena, then she's an excellent choice. For Collectors Meh? For many of us in the West, the Gremyashchy has more value as a rare-ship in this game than for her historical achievements. She is one of the few Soviet Warships that saw surface action in WWII, engaging German Destroyers. For Fun Factor She's one of my most played ships for a reason. I just wish I didn't feel so dirty afterwards... How to Equip your Gremyashchy There should be no real surprises here. Recommended Modules As a tier 5 ship, there's only three module slots to contend with. For your first slot, take Magazine Modification 1 to reduce buzz-killing, horrendous kablooies. You have a choice for your second slot between Aiming Systems Modifaction 1 and Main Battery Modification 2. Which you take largely depends on the Concealment rating of your Gremmy. If you specialize her through your Captain Skills for range and stealth, the former will be more valuable as you will not need to maneuver your ship as often. Without them, then the latter is the better choice. This will keep your guns on target longer and offsets any loss to your DPM as a result. Guess what? The third slot modules are still terrible. Take whichever one you like. Recommended Consumables As a destroyer, I strongly recommend taking a premium version of your Smoke Generator. This will add an extra charge, but more importantly, it will also reduce the reset timer to 80s from 120s. It's up to you if you want to use premium versions of the other two consumables. I personally use a premium Damage Control Party, but most games it's largely superfluous. Those few times it has come in handy, it's more to bail out my own stupidity than any necessity predicated by ship performance. Recommended Captain Skills The big choice with the Gremyashchy is whether to push for Concealment bonuses right away or to linger in the lower tiered skills for more quality of life improvements. Here's how it breaks down. At the first tier, Basic Fire Training is your best choice. This bumps up her rate of fire to 13.2rpm. There's no surprise that as a destroyer, you'll want Last Stand first and foremost. However, you'll also (desperately) want Expert Marksman. And lastly, Torpedo Armament Expertise is also highly coveted to reduce that reload timer, but consider this a tertiary skill. At tier 3, Superintendent is still the best choice, if only for the extra charge on your Smoke Generator. At tier 4, there are two skills worth considering. Advanced Fire Training may seem like the obvious choice. This will increase your range up to 14.3km and boost your stealth firing window from 1.2km (with camouflage) to 3.6km. However, with discipline, you can just as easily manage without it and take Demolition Expert instead to increase your fire chance to 12% per shell. If you didn't double up on tier 4 skills, then Concealment Expert is the best choice at tier 5. Without Advanced Fire Training, this increases your stealth firing window with torpedoes AND guns to 1.9km. With Advanced Fire Training, your gun window opens up to 4.3km which is stupidly overpowered. For more articles in this series, please visit: LittleWhiteMouse's Mega Ship Review Guide
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