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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Premium Ship Review #102: Monaghan

    The following is a review of Monaghan, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 8th, 2018. Cue crowd singing: "Monaghan! Monaghaaaan! Monaghaaaaaan! MONAGHAN!" (Mono...! Doh!) Quick Summary: An AA-specialized Farragut that has the option for being outfitted as a gunship or torpedo-specialist. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Can be won through the American Cruiser Collection crates. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.5. May 30th to June 8th, 2018. PROS Option of two different armament load-outs -- a gunship or a torpedo-destroyer. Gunship destroyer has solid DPM on her main battery. Long fuse timers on her AP shells make them excellent at citadelling cruisers at point-blank ranges. Torpedo destroyer has access to quintuple torpedo launchers with tier VIII fish and has a Torpedo Reload Booster too. Good AA power for a tier VI destroyer with access to Defensive Fire. Fast and agile. CONS Horrible ballistic arcs on her 127mm/38 main battery. Very long range on her main battery which increases her surface detection while firing her guns. Gunship destroyer has short ranged torpedo armament. Torpedo destroyer only has two guns mounted on the bow, making her largely unable to defend herself. Her tier VIII torpedoes are slow at 55 knots. Large surface detection range. Does not have access to the American Smoke Generator. (!) Defensive Fire and Torpedo Reload Booster are mutually exclusive. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Monaghan appears deceptively simple on the surface. She's a Farragut-class destroyer -- a destroyer even relatively new players can get access to even with only a week's worth of casual play. This will suffice to familiarize most inexperienced players with the first hull option. The second, however, is more reminiscent of the tier V Japanese Mutsuki. I would not recommend Monaghan for novice players that haven't already got a handle on these two types of game play lest they frustrate themselves. Monaghan's play style is immediately familiar to Veterans. However, her torpedo-specialist build will feel awkward given the size of her surface detection range. Here's the break down of her components: - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Whichever hull option you choose, Monaghan will have either guns or torpedoes. This hurts her overall Firepower performance with her overspecialization leaving her with a rating. Her Vision Control (Refrigerator) and Defense are unremarkable while her Agility is . Her Anti-Air is weird, having the potential to be the at her tier, but only if you specialize deeply into it. Monaghan only really excels in one place, and that's the potential (not the initial value) of her anti-aircraft guns. Most of the time, you're not going to want to bother with touching them anyway. On the whole, the ship rates only a rating in the categories where it matters. Ye be fairly warned, says I. Options Monaghan is two premium ships in one. She has two armament choices between her A-Hull (four guns, eight torpedoes, or "four-eight") and her B-Hull (two guns, ten torpedoes, or "two-ten"). The former is a gunship, with short-ranged torpedoes that best performs as an anti-destroyer role with spotting and harassing of larger ships as secondary role. The latter is a torpedo destroyer, woefully under-armed to perform any kind of interdiction against enemy lolibotes. She can scout as a secondary role, but she must give way to any enemy opposition in between her torpedo reloads. Consumables: Monaghan's consumables are odd. Her Damage Control Party and Engine Boost are standard for an American destroyer, but her Smoke Generator is not. You also have a choice in your 4th slot on which consumable to take between Defensive AA Fire and a Torpedo Reload Booster. Be warned, running this ship can get hella expensive. Normal American Destroyer Smoke Generators have a longer emission time. In addition, their smoke clouds last longer than either Russian, British, French or Japanese destroyers. For whatever reason, Monaghan doesn't get access to the American consumable and has to make use of the ghetto one instead. This has a 20 second emission time and each cloud lasts 81 seconds. By contrast, Farragut's smoke has a 26 second emission time and each cloud lasts for 118 seconds. Boo-urns. Monaghan defaults to a Defensive AA Fire consumable in her fourth slot. This has a 30 second action time and it increases the damage done by her 127mm/38 and 40mm Bofors by a 4x multiplier. You can swap this for a Torpedo Reload Booster. This will reload all of her torpedo tubes in 30 seconds. Camouflage Monaghan comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to repair costs 3% reduced surface detection range 4% increased dispersion of incoming fire Upgrades For Monaghan's upgrades, they're mostly standard for a destroyer. Start with Magazine Modification 1 to reduce your detonation chance. If you like to live dangerously or you intend to be using a Juliet Charlie signal most of the time, then Main Armaments Modification 1 is superior. Take Propulsion Modification 1 in your second slot. Speed is life for a destroyer. In your third slot, you have a choice. Take AA Guns Modification 2 if you intend to specialize her as an anti-aircraft ship. Otherwise, stick with Aiming Systems Modification 1. Finally, take Propulsion Modification 2 to increase Monaghan's acceleration. Firepower A-Hull Main Battery: Four 127mm/38 in four turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. A-Hull Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers mounted amidships B-Hull Main Battery: Two 127mm/38 in two bow-mounted turrets in an A-B superfiring configuration. B-Hull Torpedo Options: As A-Hull above or ten tubes in 2x5 launchers mounted amidships Both versions of Monaghan use the infamous American 127mm/38. It's renown comes from it's excellent rate of fire, gun handling and good shell damage with both AP and HE. Its infamy comes from horrible ballistics and terrible fire setting properties on a per-shell basis. Mongahan's range with these guns borders on ridiculous, rivaling even USS Sims for maximum reach which is a mixed blessing (though primarily a liability). With sufficient numbers of these weapons, Monaghan becomes a fierce prospect in a knife fight. Without, she's a victim. USN 127mm/38 guns are some of the most interesting destroyer weapons in the game. They are plagued by horrible shell flight times which makes them lob shells in "rainbow arcs" at even modest ranges. Yet somehow they are among the best AP shell throwers -- rivaling even Soviet 130mm -- with their ability to devastate cruisers at point blank ranges with citadel hits. These are weapons you need to be in close to make operate efficiently, particularly in an anti-destroyer role. There, with her fast reload, a four-gun Monaghan can shred opponents in short order. Four-Eight Monaghan Monaghan's four-eight configuration is a near-identical load-out to that found upon a C-Hull Farragut. This is the knife fighting variant of Monaghan, designed to excel in close quarters combat. Her short range torpedo launchers necessitate using ambush tactics to put them to use outside of suicidal brawls with larger ships. On paper, four-eight Monaghan is only outgunned by contemporary destroyers Aigle and B-Hull Farragut. In practice, she's an excellent contender for one of the better cap-point bullies at her tier, but this performance falls away quickly when facing higher tiered opponents. Outside of knife fights, this version of Monaghan begins to struggle. The horrible ballistic arc on her 127mm/38s, while facilitating catapulting shells over obstacles like islands, makes gunnery against anything but slow and predictable targets almost impossible at range. Monaghan can seldom take advantage of her phenomenal reach. However, she still must suffer the additional spotting range every time she opens fire. Without Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, her ability to directly damage tier VI and VII battleships is limited to superstructure hits. Even with the skill, she cannot hurt the extremities of tier VIII battleships wiht her HE shells. Her short-range torpedoes are limited to ambush uses which are most easily deployed around islands. Four-Eight Monaghan's torpedoes are limited to the short-ranged, Mark 12 torpedo. With a full concealment build, it is possible (if only just) for Monaghan to launch these weapons from concealment. You have only a 210m window of opportunity to do this and it's best done by sailing just in front of an enemy ship and dropping her fish into their path with the hopes that they sail into them. This tactic is easily foiled by any form of detection consumable, however. This version of Monaghan's armament does not up-tier well. Not only must she contend with other gunships with better DPM and larger hit point pools, some are stealthier besides. In higher-tiered matches, engagement ranges increase and the amount of island cover decreases -- two banes for a close quarters specialist like four-eight Monaghan. Opportunities to use her torpedoes outside of knife fights melt away when she's bottom tier. The prevalence of Surveillance Radar and longer-ranged Hydroacoustic Search further compounds the difficulty of making her short-ranged weapons work. Four-Eight Monaghan peaks early, often having its most dramatic moments when top-tier and early on in matches. Two-Ten Monaghan The Two-Ten Monaghan gives up any pretense of being a gunship destroyer (or even being able to adequately defend itself) to turn into a torpedo specialist. I must stress this is an option -- you may still equip the two quadruple launchers with the short-ranged torpedoes if you wish, but that would be a mistake. Her access to the quintuple launchers firing tier VIII fish is probably the reason most players have any interest in this destroyer in the first place. First, the bad news: if your Two-Ten Monaghan gets tracked down by another destroyer, you're dead. In theory, you may be capable of outfighting a Mutsuki, but that would be a closer battle than anyone would want to reasonably admit. Monaghan sacrifices of any pretense of competency with artillery to get access to the following: Those are Benson's upgraded torpedoes and ten of them between two launchers. While they're pretty meh at tier VIII, they're hella powerful at tier VI. Even one of those slammed down the throat of an enemy lolibote at tier VI and VII will kill them good. Only a scarce few German destroyers (and Aigle) are able to suppress their gag reflex and manage to hold on after getting one of those shoved in their faces. These fish are not without their flaws, however. They are slow -- their 55 knot speed means that it takes almost 62 seconds for the torpedoes to reach the end of their run at 9.2km. If they're spotted anywhere along their course, even at close to their 1.1km detection range, they're quite easy to dodge. In addition, their flood chance is only on the better-side of average for a tier VI destroyer. It's comparable to that found on the IJN torpedo boats. Finally, being quintuple launchers, they have an appalling two-minute reload timer. I strongly recommend looking at Torpedo Armament Expertise for any commander dedicated to sailing Monaghan. All of these flaws can largely be forgiven when you account for Monaghan's Torpedo Reload Booster consumable. Before you get too excited (because you skipped the Options section and didn't read it there first), this isn't the lightning-quick, 8 second torpedo reload consumable found on Japanese destroyers. Monaghan isn't capable of deploying a twenty-torpedo wall of skill. Her consumable accelerates the reload to 30 seconds. Those of you with a touch of evil in them will have realized that this is just long enough for an enemy that got hit by your first wave of torpedoes to go "Oh, shoot, I'm flooding!", activate their Damage Control Party and have it go back on cooldown before your second wave hits. Hilarity and Liquidator medals ensue. That's Monaghan in a nutshell really and why people will want her. You can turn a Farragut-class destroyer into what amounts to a Mutsuki with a consumable that allows her to double-dip fish into unsuspecting enemies sailing in straight lines. As good as this sounds, it barely keeps pace with ships like Fubuki or Shinonome. If you map out the maximum number of torpedoes that can be fired over ten minutes, Monaghan puts out 70 torpedoes compared to 72 of Fubuki and 81 of Shinonome (Fubuki needs another 8 seconds to get out her next 9). Monaghan just doesn't quite keep up with these torpedo specialists, especially given the versatility of three triple launchers and the massive Japanese warheads on their torpedoes. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Of her two builds, the Two-Ten Monaghan is closer to boasting a rating but even that's a long ways off. She's not as good of a torpedo destroyer as Shinonome or T-61 for example. In Monaghan's gunship build, she doesn't stand up to Farragut (B-Hull) and Aigle. Defense Hit Points: 13,900hp Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour: 16mm Remember when destroyer durability was relegated to just hit point totals? It's nice being back at a tier where it's just about hit points again and not wonky armour schemes or Repair Party consumables. Compared to Farragut, Monaghan has a fine ol' slug of hit points. Skills like Suvivability Expert will help, adding another 2,100hp putting her just shy of Gaede. This is especially handy in her Four-Eight build where she's expected to trade hit points in gun duels with enemy destroyers. In the grand scheme of things, though, she's decidedly average for a tier VI destroyer -- neither fragile nor tough. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Monaghan would need another 2,000 hit points to be any kind of contender here. Agility Top Speed: 36.5kts Turning Radius: 560m Rudder Shift Time: 3.4s Maximum Rate of Turn: 8.4º/s Monaghan is almost identical to Farragut in terms of her agility, with only a minor disparity in her rudder shift time to differentiate the two. What defines Monaghan (and Farragut's) agility the most is their small turning radius of 560m. American destroyers have always been incredibly agile with tight turning circles and Monaghan are no different. She's only outdone by HMS Gallant in this regard at her tier. Monaghan also boasts a decent top speed which helps her progress through her turns faster while also giving her the option of dictating engagement distances against slower ships, like Japanese destroyers. Overall, Monaghan handles beautifully. This is arguably one of her best traits and it makes her super-comfortable in knife fights. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Rejoin the British Empire, you rebel. Gallant has a tighter turning circle and nearly as much speed which makes her more nimble by far. Anti-Aircraft Defense A-Hull AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 20mm A-Hull AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 2.0km A-Hull AA DPS per Aura: 22 / 28.8 B-Hull AA Battery Calibers: 127mm/ 40mm / 20mm B-Hull AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km B-Hull AA DPS per Aura: 6 / 49.8 / 21.6 It's time to celebrate mediocrity! Monaghan, regardless of her configuration, has the potential to have the best anti-aircraft firepower at her tier. Lemme preface this by saying that stock, she doesn't have the best anti-aircraft firepower among the tier VI destroyers. That honour belongs to Hatsuharu (of all things) which really puts everything into perspective. Monaghan does take upgrades well -- specifically, she takes Defensive Fire well and, on paper, she looks like she may be a competent anti-aircraft picket ship. With her consumable blazing and every upgrade stuffed down her throat, Monaghan puts out some decent killing power. But at what cost? Let's be real: If you're using the Two-Ten Monaghan, you're going to want Torpedo Reload Booster instead of Defensive Fire in your final consumable slot. Upgrading her for anti-aircraft firepower is a waste of points and upgrades that could be better spent on emphasizing her torpedo performance. It's only the Four-Eight Monaghan where taking Defensive Fire makes any kind of sense and even then, I'm not entirely convinced you wouldn't be better served sticking with the Torpedo Reload Booster anyway. If you do go this route -- if you go full hog and bathe Monaghan in all of her anti-aircraft potential, then you get comparative killing power to a mid-tier British cruiser while Monaghan's Defensive Fire is active. Unlike a British cruiser, you will have the added bonus of a disruption effect. This can be hella-annoying for enemy CVs; especially for inexperienced aircraft carrier commanders not expecting this from a mid-tier destroyer. They may even make the mistake of trying it twice, not recognizing that you're the one scattering her drops. Throughout this, you shouldn't expect to swat down entire waves of aircraft. You're likely only to bruise them unless the squadrons linger. Still, this can be a nice supplementary source of credits and experience if you want to go this way. Just keep in mind what you're giving up. So Monaghan has great AA power -- AA power you're unlikely to ever exercise to its full potential because there are better choices out there. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Don't take Defensive Fire. If you don't, then Hatsuharu is better. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 7.2km Air Detection Range: 3.48km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.29km A-Hull Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.68km B-Hull Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.43km Main Battery Firing Range: 12.51km Much ado has been made that Monaghan has better surface detection range than the lead of her class, Farragut. This is accurate. It's entirely irrelevant, mind you, but it is accurate. Monaghan is a total cow when it comes to being stealthy which is really not what you want to be when you're a gunship that specializes in close-range knife fights. It's even less desirable in a torpedo-destroyer that can scarcely defend itself from a Japanese destroyer, never mind a competently played hunter. While Monaghan is able to stealth fire her fish in both configurations, her large detection range is a nuisance. Her guns make it worse. Her main battery range is an alarming 12.51km but most of this range is already useless given the horrible shell flight times. So not only do you have useless range, it also allows Monaghan to be spotted from a long ways away when she has to pull the trigger. Where this gets just downright idiotic is that this range weakness compounds if you have the audacity to try and specialize Monaghan towards her AA power -- y'know, one of the selling features of the ship? Yeah, tacking-on Advanced Fire Training to boost the range of your AA power also boosts her 127mm/38 guns to have a reach of 15km. So she's a stupid, fat cow with a bullhorn screaming at the Reds to shoot at her. And for whatever reason, Monaghan doesn't even get access to the improved American Smoke Generator consumable. Instead she has to make do with the same one found on Soviet, British, French and Japanese destroyers. This means less smoke made and your smoke clouds don't last nearly as long as other American destroyers -- because reasons. Ugh. Monaghan's only saving grace is that she's not German. Or tier VII. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She needs to get her surface detection below 6km with upgrades. Genuine Bona Fide Electrified Six-Tier Monoghan There are two builds to consider with Monaghan. First off, though, a caution: A full anti-aircraft build just generally isn't worth it for this destroyer. Her Two-Ten hull doesn't have enough AA DPS situated in her 127mm/38s to be worth upgrading with Manual Fire Control for AA Guns and Advanced Fire Training is a loser-skill option that will only make it easier for enemy ships to spot you when you're engaged in gunnery battles which is bad news for both hull types. For both builds, start with Priority Target and then pick up Last Stand at tier 2. Tier 3 is where all of the choice begins and where the two ships diverge. For the Two-Ten Monaghan, take Torpedo Armament Expertise to accelerate your reload. The Four-Eight Monaghan should look at Survivability Expert or Basic Fire Training for their first tier 3 skill. Grab Concealment Expert at tier 4 next for both builds. For your next nine skill points, you're spoiled for choice. The Four-Eight Monaghan should look towards skills that help with gunnery. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will help damage battleships. So too will Demolition Expert. However, Superintendent is very useful for the extra smoke charge which, in long games, will allow you to sit still and bombard enemies with less worry about being damaged. With any points leftover, take Adrenaline Rush or wherever you wish. The Two-Ten Monaghan should look to skills like Survivability Expert, and Superintendent as a matter of course. Any leftover points can go where the player wishes, though I would highly recommend trying to squeeze in Radio Location so you can be where other destroyers aren't. Final Evaluation Harekaze 2.0 this is not. You're getting the choice of playing a Mutsuki or 4/5ths of a Farragut How many people use the C-Hull on their American DDs anyway? Am I the only one that avoids it? Two different armament options!? Sign me up! That was my initial thought when I heard that Monaghan could swap between two very different builds. This got me all kinds of excited. I loved the change in game play styles offered when you can equip different weapon types. This is part of what makes Harekaze and Mogami so much fun, in my opinion. Yet for whatever reason, Monaghan just hit a sour note with me. I never found my earlier excitement stoked further with compelling game play. I find this incredibly strange given the enjoyment that can be found in torpedo destroyers and gunships respectively. It took me a while, but I think the issue that makes me feel 'meh' (foreshadowing!) about Monaghan is her surface detection range. I guess the Japanese destroyers have spoiled me. If I'm running with so few guns, I want to get close to ensure torpedo hits. But Monaghan's too fat to get that close and unlike the higher tiered American destroyers, she doesn't have the self defense armament to protect herself if she gets spotted by a picket ship. Once you factor in the slow running speed of her torpedoes, this extra launch distance really makes landing those hits difficult. Benson, with Concealment Modification 1 can get a whole 500m closer to fire off her fish and she's generally not worried if she's lit by another destroyer beforehand. As for her Four-Eight hull, well -- I have never found the C-Hull variants of the American destroyers particularly compelling. Give me the choice between more dakka versus surface ships or more dakka versus planes, I am going to choose the former every time. So Four-Eight Monaghan feels just under-gunned for me. Her extra concealment over Farragut helps a bit here -- I mean, you can choose to turn away, rather than engage some of the bigger, scarier boats but I'm still left wanting more. Oh well. Monaghan isn't terrible, she's just not for me. The variety offered by this ship is a good thing. Would I Recommend? This isn't a ship I would get for myself. If I won it in a crate, hooray! It would still most likely sit in my port unused barring use in some occasional Daily Mission. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Monaghan can spit out a lot of damage very quickly with her massive torpedo walls. So long as you can survive closing with bots, you should be able to derp fish at point blank range up their nose and score some big damage in Co-Op. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. Monaghan makes a great trainer for either your gunship destroyer captains or if you've specialized some of your high tier American destroyers commanders to emphasize throwing torpedoes instead. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Monaghan doesn't have a competitive edge over ships like Shinonome, T-61 or Aigle. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. Monaghan earned 12 battle stars in her service during WW2, including fighting at Pearl Harbour. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? No. This one surprised me, but I just couldn't get into this ship. You would think with two hull options, the variety would appeal, but we just never clicked, Monaghan and I. Your mileage may vary, though. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. In Closing This took longer than I had planned. I caught the summer flu that's been going around locally and that cost me a few days. My next review will be USS Salem, the tier X American cruiser. Expect it around the week of June 18th. Thank you all for reading. If you enjoy my work and find it useful, please consider sponsoring me on Patreon. Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.
  4. Premium Ship Review: Z-39

    The following is a review of Z-39, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of May 13th, 2018. (Still) Not T-61. Quick Summary: An under-armed tier VIII destroyer crammed in at tier VII but it kept it's tier VIII bonuses. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.4 to 0.7.4.1, May 4th to 13th, 2018. PROS Massive hit point pool of 19,600hp. Large caliber HE shell with excellent fire chance per hit and good penetration potential. Good AP shell penetration for a destroyer. Decent personal AA defense. Access to Hydoracoustic Search like all German Destroyers. With upgrades, she's one of the stealthiest destroyers at tier VII. Has several tier VIII destroyer bonuses, including: 5th upgrade slot. Improved fire resistance coefficient. Longer range and duration time of her Hydroacoustic Search Longer smoke duration for her Smoke Generator CONS Horrible DPM output, especially with HE shells against destroyers. Her torpedoes don't hit very hard. AA DPS is short ranged and restricted to fragile small & medium caliber AA guns. Feels very clumsy with a large turning circle and modest top speed. Enormous aerial detection range of over 4km. Stuck with a German Smoke Generator with their reduced smoke duration times. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Z-39 is a German destroyer with training wheels. She has excellent concealment and an enormous hit point pool -- two traits that will make her much more forgiving in the hands of inexperienced commanders. The only hiccough here is her clumsy handling, but her Hydroacoustic Search should ease dealing with any manoeuvrability issues in regards to torpedoes. For experts, Z-39 is a German destroyer but with surprisingly good (!) concealment for her tier. This opens up all sorts of game play opportunities not normally available to German DDs which she can use and abuse to great effect. Her systems break down as follows: - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Z-39 has the concealment and the durability at her tier which is all kinds of crazy. Her firepower is is on the low side of saved only by the large caliber of her guns which opens up gunnery possibilities not normally available to destroyers. Otherwise, it would be . Her anti aircraft defense is unremarkable. Her handling is about as as you would expect for a large, German destroyer and compares poorly to her contemporaries. What we have with Z-39 is a destroyer that has the ability to control engagements with its superior concealment and detection tools and her ability to endure punishment far greater than normally possible for a tier VII destroyer. This helps make up for her mediocre firepower. Note that she's not fast or agile enough to unilaterally dictate engagement distances. Options Consumables: There are two consumables worth noting on Z-39. Despite being a tier VII destroyer, Z-39 has tier VIII versions of these consumables. German Smoke Generators produce individual clouds that do not last as long as other nations. For tier VII German destroyers each cloud lasts 65s seconds. On Z-39, her smoke lasts 69 seconds. This is still less than the standard at tier VII which is 85 seconds for most destroyers and 121 seconds for American DDs. Once again, Z-39's Hydroacoustic Search has improved duration and range over her tier VII counterpart. Her hydro picks up torpedoes from 3.12km (up from 2.97km) and ships at 4.44km (up from 4.2km). Camouflage Z-39 comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to repair costs, 3% reduced surface detection range and increases dispersion of incoming fire by 4% Upgrades The big surprise for Z-39 is that she has access to a 5th upgrade slot at tier VII. In your first slot take Magazine Modification 1. You're a destroyer with a lot of hit points. Don't let a sudden detonation undermine that. Alternatively, if you like to live dangerously, you can take Main Armaments Modification 1. If you have access to it, the special upgrade Hydracoustic Search Modification 1 is optimal for your second slot. Without it, take Propulsion Modification 1. Speed is life for a destroyer. Aiming System Modification 1 is best for your third slot. However, the special upgrade Smoke Generator Modification 1 is also a good choice if available. Take Propulsion Modification 2 in your fourth slot for more get-up-and-go when parked in your smoke. And finally, round things off with Concealment Modification 1. Firepower Main Battery: Four 150mm rifles in 3 turrets with a twin-gun turret on the bow and X-Y turrets in single, superfiring mounts. Torpedo Armament: Eight torpedoes in 2x4 launchers mounted down the center line. Z-39's gunnery is weird. She uses enormous 150mm rifles -- the largest weapons currently found on destroyers. Her guns are also laid out in a strange arrangement with a 2-1-1, A-X-Y superfiring layout. None of this makes her gunnery feel novel, however, and it's often a struggle to make Z-39's artillery perform as needed. The DPM Deficit The biggest obstacle with getting Z-39 to perform is overcoming the challenges in getting her damage numbers up. While she does boast the largest guns among destroyers at her tier, they are slow firing with a 7.5 second reload time. Unlike Blyskawica which also shares a long, 6.5 second reload, she doesn't have a lot gun barrels with a mere four. These also have pretty sluggish gun handling for a destroyer and their large size precludes them from maximizing the effects of Expert Marksman. Combine this with impotent performance of her HE damage for a large-caliber gun and she cannot keep pace with the throughput of the other destroyers. She is the worst for potential HE DPM and third from the bottom for AP DPM. Embarrassingly, even Shitarsuyu puts out more HE shell damage than Z-39. This is made worse in that Z-39's guns cannot have their rate of fire upgraded with Basic Fire Training which only widens the gap further. Her fire setting ability is similarly balls, even though she has a great fire chance per shell. She just doesn't throw enough munitions downfield fast enough to make her particularly good at taxing Damage Control Parties to make multiple fires stick. If it weren't for her beefy hit point pool, taking this ship into a fight with enemy destroyers would be a fool's errand. Z-39's firepower woes can't be blamed on her gun angles, at least. They're not great, but they're not terrible. Stickin' It In Z-39's guns aren't though. While they lack in a knife fight, Z-39's guns are not missing out in penetration potential. Her AP shells boast up to 100mm of penetration up to ranges just shy of 10km. Most other destroyers can scarcely manage that at 5km to 7km. The comparison gets better with HE shells. While German destroyers do not enjoy the 1/4 HE pen found on German battleships and cruisers, Z-39 still fares better than her contemporaries. Their large-caliber can be upgraded with the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells commander skill to damage the extremities of any ship she encounters. Most destroyers are unable to hurt the bow, deck and stern of tier VIII+ battleships even with this skill. Z-39 has a larger range of targets she can directly damage with the right upgrade choice. Z-39 may not output damage as quickly as other lolibotes, she's better equipped to stack damage reliably against a larger number of targets. At Least She's Not Minsk Z-39's torpedoes are as unexciting as her guns. However, given the spotty torpedo performance of the other destroyers at tier VII, having some mediocre workhorse torpedoes isn't a bad thing. Indeed, Z-39's fish have a lot going for them. They have good range unlike the painfully short reach of Minsk or one of the two armaments for Sims. She uses quadruple launchers instead of the triples like Blyskawica. She has two launchers instead of the single launcher found on Cossack. They're fast too, unlike the sluggish wallow of those found on Mahan, and the second armament for Sims. The only area where Z-39's torpedoes are truly found wanting is their hitting power. At 14,400 damage per, they're simply uninspiring. And that well describes her torpedoes. A much more meaty 16k damage per hit would really make these weapons stand out. As it is, they're functional but they're not show stoppers. They're sufficient unto the task and nothing more. Summary: Her guns are pretty terrible for taking on enemy destroyers but alright for padding a bit of damage on anything else. This said, don't be shy of slapping lolibotes around with them. Her torpedoes are okay. Not bad. Not great. Just okay Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Z-39 only escaped a evaluation because Sims & Minsk exist and I'm still not entirely convinced that Z-39's firepower bests either one of them. Defense Hit Points: 19,600hp Maximum Protection: 30mm faceplate on A-turret Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour: 19mm Destroyer defense and durability is pretty easy to measure. It really boils down to the following three questions: Does the ship have any weird durability related consumables like Repair Party? Does the ship have any weird superfluous hull armour that any of the other destroyers lack? How many hit points does it have in comparison to the other destroyers at her tier? The answers are no, no and lots more than those puny, wimpy boats. Z-39 is a thunderchunker that, with Survivability Expert, can boast nearly 10,000 more hit points than some of its tier VII competitors (to say nothing of tier V and VI DDs). This more than makes up for the DPM deficit on her main battery guns and allows her to easily bully almost any other same-tier destroyer. On top of this, some of those tier VIII bonuses carried on here. Datamining revealed that Z-39 kept her improved fire resistance coefficient. This is really a minor bonus all told, but it does mean that she comes baked in with 6% improved fire resistance over other tier VII destroyer. It is a good day to be giant man. Hit Point totals of tier VII destroyers, including the WiP HMS Cossack. Note the bar in purple represents the 2,450hp gained through using the commander skill, Survivability Expert. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Something would have to be released with weird (better) hull armour plating, a Repair Party or more hit points than Z-39. Agility Top Speed: 36.0 knots Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 4.5s Maximum Rate of Turn: 7.0º/s While Z-39's agility is her worst quality, I rate it as less of a weakness than her temperamental main battery firepower. Still, it would be a mistake to underestimate the impacts here. Z-39 isn't just slow for a tier VII destroyer, she's slow for a destroyer within her Matchmaking spread. Her Engine Boost consumable should be reserved for getting her out of the trouble. She'll struggle to dictate engagement distances otherwise. Her turning radius is appalling for a destroyer. Combined with her modest top speed, this makes her really sluggish in a turn. Just to make things worse, her gun traverse is only 1.0º/s faster than her maximum rotation speed. This makes her gun handling feel even worse and you'll be reaching for your rudder to help with bringing your guns on target. Expert Marksman can only correct this by 0.7º/s owing to the larger caliber of Z-39's guns. Z-39 handles like a bus. It's a good thing she has Hydroacoustic Search to give her more time to prep for torpedo beats. Without it, she'd be a blind bus. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : At a minimum, a 38 knot top speed to at least bring her up over the average for a tier VII destroyer. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 37mm / 20mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 3.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 46.4 / 20.4 While not up to American (or later Soviet) destroyer standards, Z-39 has an impressive anti-aircraft suite. This is largely owing to the excellent performance of the twin 37mm Flak LM/42 mounts of which Z-39 boasts four. This destroyer can put out a surprising amount of AA DPS into the air, which is a welcome change from most DDs which are generally little more than victims to air predation. There are a couple of downsides to Z-39's AA protection, however: First, Z-39 has an enormous aerial detection range of 4.38km. This outstrips the range of her AA gunners by 700m. While this does mean that you can keep Z-39's AA defenses active without worrying about giving away her position, it does mean she gets spotted by aircraft without any ability to retaliate if her range isn't upgraded with AA Guns Modification 2 or Advanced Fire Training. Secondly, Z-39's entire AA defense is built around small and medium caliber AA guns which are excessively fragile, particularly when she takes HE damage. Only a few HE strikes are needed to end her AA defense entirely. Overall, it's not worth specializing into AA firepower with Z-39. At best, you can hope to shoot down a couple of enterprising aircraft in the opening stages of the match, particularly if they're lower tiered planes. But it would be a mistake to expect anything more from her defenses. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Dual purpose guns are a must to form a backbone of longer range AA defense. Refrigerator Surface Detection Range: 7.74 km Air Detection Range: 4.38 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.08km Concealment when Firing in Smoke: 3.31km The only thing keeping Z-39 from dominating Vision Control at tier VII is the looming threat of HMS Cossack. What makes Z-39 so powerful is the combination of her enormous hit point pool and concealment. Thanks to access to her 5th upgrade slot where she can install Concealment Modification 1, Z-39 is one of the stealthiest tier VII destroyers in the game. The only destroyers that are more stealthy are Shirtatsuyu with a 5.8km surface detection range and the still-under-development HMS Cossack with a 5.7km surface detection range when each ship is fully upgraded. This 400m gap means less when you account for Z-39's Hydroacoustic Search consumable. This allows her to all but dominate vision where smoke and torpedoes are concerned. She again only comes up second with HMS Cossack's own hydro which, while not as long ranged, is long-lasting. It's a close competition between these two premiums for dominance in vision control at tier VII and Z-39 will hold primacy at least until HMS Cossack's release. A word of caution for all this praise, however. As nice as Z-39's concealment is when she's top tier, it falls apart when she's not. Every single tier VIII and IX destroyer has better surface detection than Z-39 with the exception of the German and Soviet tuba-players and lolibotes. Unlike the lower tiered boats that can out spot you, just about all of these will fight back and embarrass you. So this advantage goes right out the window. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Cossack (and possibly Haida's) release. From A to Z Optional Skills in green & purple. There's a bit of flexibility when it comes to choosing Z-39's skills. However, you want to begin with a solid foundation. Feel free to try out some builds of your own with ShipComrade's Skill Calculator. Start with Priority Target. You're still a destroyer, so Last Stand is of paramount importance. Take Survivability Expert at tier 3 to bump up your hit points. And finally take Concealment Expert at tier 4. I highly recommend taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells as your fifth skill -- this opens up a large range of gunnery targets for Z-39, including all cruisers and battleships at tier VIII+. You can opt out of doing this if you wish, but her damage potential will suffer. For optional skills, I recommend Adrenaline Rush and Superintendent to round out your last two skill choices, but you have options here depending on what role you envision your destroyer using. If you wish to try to tax the Damage Control Party of enemy ships, then dropping IFHE for Demolition Expert and Torpedo Armament Expertise is a viable option. I would round this out with Superintendent for added smoke. Vigilance is a more passive skill choice but your battleships will thank you for the increased torpedo detection range you will provide, especially when your Hydroacoustic Search is active. Expert Marksman is, overall, a weak choice but it will increase the comfort of handling Z-39 while under manoeuvres. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: For such a wet-noodle when it comes to firepower, Z-39 doesn't struggle to stack damage. There's something to be said about being the toughest little tyke in the kiddy pool. The bonuses she kept on from her time as a tier VIII test ship make her feel just that little bit more special. As far as gimmicks go, this is more refreshing than simply seeing a Repair Party or Torpedo Reload Booster used to correct an under-performing ship. Stealth and size both? Just who the Hell does she think she is? HMS Conqueror? I was genuinely shocked at how well this destroyer plays. It really surprised me. I took one look at her four 150mm guns with their odd placement and slow traverse and dismissed her something I wouldn't enjoy playing. It seemed like a distraction until something better (namely T-61) came. Suffice to say, Z-39 changed my opinion. and I'm glad she has. Let me add a few sobering words -- Z-39 is amazing when top-tier but her luster fades when facing higher tiered ships. It's common for a vessel to lose a bit of flair when Matchmaker slaps you around. However, Z-39's advantages -- namely concealment and her hit point total, don't amount too much when facing higher tiered ships. The stealth that makes her remarkable at tier VII is on the poor side for a tier VIII ship. Her beefy hit point total more than makes up for her ... well, let me be kind in saying "limp" main battery performance amounts to little when dueling with ships with enough hit points to challenge her. There's a reason, after all, that Wargaming elected to drop her from tier VIII to tier VII. Z-39 brings up the question of power creep. She's arguably one of (if not the) best destroyers at her tier. When she can guarantee to receive protected Matchmaking, such as in Ranked Battles, it's hard to argue against her merits. On the one hand, this is welcome for all the wrong reasons: the German destroyer tech tree has been utterly lacking in any form of premium for training purposes. I'm glad to see this gap filled. On the other hand, I am looking at Blyskawica with an air of pity as she becomes just that much less special. Z-39 herself is going to be power creeped with HMS Cossack (and possibly HMCS Haida) coming on the horizon which threaten to undermine her vision control dominance. This begs the question on how stable the meta is at tier VII for destroyers. Tier VII has long been red-headed step child tier for lolibotes. Like most vessels, destroyers tend to get larger as you climb in tiers and their surface detection balloons as they go. At tier VIII this gets mitigated by the Concealment System Modification 1 upgrade. With concealment being such an integral aspect of so many destroyers, their tier VII brethren suffer greatly when up-tiered. To this end, I loathe the 5th module upgrade slot for creating this artificial performance cliff. It doesn't just affect destroyers but cruisers and (to a lesser degree) battleships. So while Z-39 is a good tier VII destroyer, destroyers at tier VII are generally not good unless top-tier. This must moderate my opinion somewhat and I caution anyone new to the game that is as yet unaware of this stigma. Would I Recommend? I think the most relevant question would be if Z-39 is worth it or should a player wait for T-61, the other German premium destroyer. T-61 remains a Work in Progress -- subject to change if Wargaming so wishes while Z-39 is finalized in her current form. The two destroyers are very different beasts. As I write this, T-61 is the best destroyer at tier VI and not by a small margin. She's a torpedo destroyer primarily, but her guns aren't terrible. What makes her so memorable is her lack of overall weaknesses and the fast reload on her heavy torpedo armament. T-61 currently up-tiers better than Z-39, only feeling uncomfortable when she faces tier VIII opponents. Naturally, play style preferences may dictate one ship being preferable over the other, but in terms of relative power level, Z-39 is comparable to T-61, tier for tier. It's all a matter of personal choice. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Destroyers are a bit of an odd duck in PVE modes. Alpha strike and concealment are of paramount importance as the bots always know where you are (though they won't fire at you until you're spotted). Z-39 has the hit points to tough out attacks and her quad torpedo launchers hit hard enough to best most bots. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. Z-39 is a thug. Top tier, it doesn't feel fair going up against enemy DDs. She's tough enough to be a threat to any destroyer within her matchmaking spread. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. The combination of stealth, Hydroacoustic Search and deep health reserves makes Z-39 a solid contender for competitive modes. The only down sides, really, are her poor striking power. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. No. Z-39 was built in steel and served during WW2. Her career didn't see any action against enemy surface ships, however, which kinda limits her appeal. She did survive the war and ended up serving briefly with the United States and France. For Fun Factor Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. She's a bully with all the tools you could ever want in a German destroyer. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. In Closing This is Premium Ship Review number 99. I'm pretty sure I know what number 100 will be. It's amazing to me that I'm reaching this number at all, especially given the hurdles on getting here. I have a pretty good idea on what number 100 is going to be given the number of premiums Wargaming has dropped on my lap for testing and the small windows I have to review them. The next review should be up within the next week and a half. I would like to thank my patrons on Patreon for their continued support. Their contributions help make putting time into these reviews possible. Even the small donations make a world of difference, so thanks to everyone that tosses in even a few bucks. Thank you all for reading! Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews. For a list of my other reviews, please visit this thread. Destroyers and Cruisers are linked on post #2. Battleships and Aircraft Carriers are on post #3.
  5. 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
  6. 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:
  7. Premium Ship Review: Gascogne

    The following is a review of Gascogne, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of February 16th, 2018. Gosh, it disturbed me to see you, Gascogne, stuck in development Hell. Every ship here wanted to be you, Gascogne, knowing how well you would sell. There's no ship in port as balanced as you. Your guns have all of the range. When released folk will forget Richelieu, though balance is subject to change. Quick Summary: A fast, agile battleship with lackluster striking power. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: Patch 0.7.0.1 to 0.7.2, January 24th, 2018 until February 22nd, 2018. PROs Fast resetting Repair Party consumable allows her to recover damage quickly. High muzzle velocity coupled with good energy preservation maintains her penetration power even at range. Fast main battery reload at 28 seconds. Secondaries have a 7.0km base range. Ridiculously fast for a battleship with a 32.0 knot top speed. Has access to an extended duration Engine Boost consumable to make her even faster. Excellent rate of turn for a battleship at 4.4º/s Beauty and the Beast memes. CONs Nearly the entirety of this ship is vulnerable to light cruiser HE fire. Her 380mm guns suffer from low DPM and cannot overmatch 27mm bows of select heavy cruisers. Awful main battery gun dispersion, particularly on the vertical axis. Poor gun layout combined with bad firing angles which significantly hurts her damage output. Her secondaries either fire too slowly or don't have enough penetration to do direct damage. Ineffective anti-aircraft firepower. Large turning radius of 850m. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Gascogne isn't a battleship for novice players. Her firepower is lacking and to increase its potency, you have to take big risks which will only get inexperienced gamers punished. Veterans will appreciate the flexibility provided by her handling, but again, those issues of firepower and a general lack of concealment will greatly reduce her overall potential. She summarizes to the following: BAD - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. FAIR - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.GOOD - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.BEST - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Let's get the obvious out-of-the-way -- a premium battleship with 'bad' anti-aircraft firepower? That's nothing new. Moving on. Good defense and great agility is very promising. However, her bad firepower rating might be a show stopper. Options Gascogne has three quirks with her options. The first and second are in regards to her consumables and the third is a selection of camouflage options. Consumables: Gascogne has access to the Engine Boost consumable and her Repair Party is non-standard. Gascogne's Damage Control Party is standard for a non-American / Japanese battleship with a 15s active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer depending on which version you purchase. Her Repair Party is has half the reset timer of a normal battleship -- only 60s / 40s depending on the version taken. It is otherwise standard, healing back 14% of her maximum health (8,848hp) over 28s. Her third consumable is a catapult aircraft. She defaults with a Spotter Aircraft. Her Float Plane Fighter does 63dps with 1,550 hit points. This gives her the highest DPS of any of the catapult aircraft at her tier. Finally, in her fourth slot, she has an Engine Boost consumable. This is unique, providing the same 8% increase in speed as destroyer, but lasting for three minutes instead of two. This has a three-minute / two-minute reset timer. Premium Camouflage: Gascogne has three camouflage patterns. The first is Type 10 Camouflage. This is Gascogne's default camouflage which comes with the ship. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. The second is The Maid of Orleans - Gascogne. Earned through The Gold of France campaign, this camouflage is a cosmetic swap of her original camouflage, with a bust of Joan of Arc on the prow. It provides identical bonuses to Type 10 Camouflage. There is one last camouflage found in the early promotional material for Gascogne. According to Wargaming, this camouflage is only available at the time of purchase. I am told it provides the same bonuses as the Type 10 Camouflage listed above. Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard battleship options. As of patch 0.7.1.1, Gascogne could not mount the Engine Boost Modification 1 special upgrade. I was unable to test for this on the 0.7.2 Public Test Server, so keep an eye out. There aren't any other special upgrades worth considering. Recommended Upgrades: No One Shoots Like Gascogne Primary Battery: Eight 380mm rifles 2x4 turrets mounted fore and aft. Secondaries : Nine 152mm rifles in 3x3 turrets mounted down the centerline, sixteen 100mm rifles in 8x2 turrets with four to a side. Gascogne is a Richelieu-class battleship with (arguably) worse gun placement. Her high velocity 380mm guns come with inherent weaknesses, including poor shell dispersion, frequent over penetrations with her AP shells, and an inability to overmatch the bows of select heavy cruisers. Moving a turret to the rear reduces her forward firepower to just four guns when bow tanking. Unlike the Bismarck-class sisters which suffer from many of these same problems, she does not have their accelerated reload nor the powerful secondaries to pad her numbers. Thus, Gascogne and Richelieu share the unfortunate distinction of having the worst Firepower rating among the tier VIII battleships currently. A Spot of Redemption Gascogne will really make you work for your damage totals. However, her main battery isn't entirely without merit. She has a faster reload time. Her guns are high velocity with excellent energy preservation. In addition, Gascogne enjoys one of the better sigma values at tier VIII with a 1.9 rating. Fast Reload Times - What a difference a measly two seconds can make. I liken Gascogne's gunnery a lot to that of Mikasa. If that makes you scream in terror, it should. While Gascogne has twice as many gun barrels as Mikasa, she has the same number of turrets. Game play wise, you're only firing twice of per volley, so if your aim is off, that's a long way before your next speculative shot. Shaving two seconds off Gascogne's reload makes wonky dispersion or poorly aimed attacks feel less punitive. That's less time you need to wait before correcting your mistakes. It also makes it more likely that your guns will be ready when windows of opportunity open for those short periods of time -- like catching an enemy vessel broadside in a turn. Note that with Adrenaline Rush, at 50% health you can get Gascogne's reload time down to 25.2 seconds. If you're using the Legendary Commander, Jean-Jacques Honoré, that drops down to 24.5 seconds which is very sweet. High Muzzle Velocity & Energy Preservation - Aiming at distant targets with Gascogne's guns are a breeze. She has excellent lead times. Her "comfort zone", where shell lead times are less than 7.5 seconds, extends all the way out to 14.5km. This has the combined effect of making long-range gunnery comfortable while also preserving enough penetration power to make her a threat against enemy battleships at these ranges too, despite her smaller gun caliber. AP Shell Flight time estimations (in seconds) drawn from the client firing perpendicular to the ship's heading. Gascogne has some of the highest shell velocities found on battleships in-game. At tier VIII, she's bested only by Roma. This makes long-range gunnery more comfortable -- at least in terms of leading a target. Penetration value estimations courtesy of www.proships.ru. While Gascogne does not boast the highest raw penetration values, she preserves her penetration characteristics better over range, giving her the equivalent striking power to IJN and USN battleships at ranges greater than 15km. 1.9 Sigma Value - Gascogne has the best shell grouping out of any of the battleships using German horizontal dispersion values. This is a significant improvement to her accuracy, which is again a godsend when you're only firing with two turrets. This gives her a marked advantage over Richelieu. During Gascogne's development cycle, her sigma upgraded from 1.8 (in yellow) to 1.9 (in blue). The former is now the equivalent of what you would find on Richelieu. 180 shots fired at 15km, locked onto a Fuso. Ships were equipped with Aiming System Mod 1. So, Gascogne has good shell groupings, dropping most of her shells where you aim. Her penetration power is sufficient to damage anything you strike and shell lead times make snapping off shots a breeze. So what are the downsides? Undermining For all the good those three positive traits give, they are largely undone when you check them more closely. Let's hit them in reverse order -- going from bad to worse. 1.9 Sigma Value - Having her shell grouping tightened up with an improved sigma value is welcome. However, it's just not enough. Gascogne uses German battleship horizontal dispersion which is the widest among dreadnoughts. Worse, her high shell velocity gives her tremendous vertical dispersion as well. Expect a lot of frustrating shots sailing well over a target or splashing well short. Royal Navy or American battleships are at least more likely to still strike the superstructure or maybe dunk a shot beneath the waterline. That happens much less often here. Gascogne's buffed sigma is good, it's doesn't really address the glaring fault of these guns in terms of precision. During Gascogne's development cycle, her sigma upgraded from 1.8 (in yellow) to 1.9 (in blue). The former is now the equivalent of what you would find on Richelieu. 180 shots fired at 15km, locked onto a Fuso. Ships were equipped with Aiming System Mod 1.Two extremes. When compared to the gunnery of one of the American South Dakota-class battleships -- a vessel that cannot mount any dispersion upgrades I hasten to add -- Gascogne's precision issues become readily apparent. She is far more likely to overshoot or undershoot a target, even when a shot is well-aimed. High Muzzle Velocity & Energy Preservation - On top of causing issues with vertical dispersion, the excellent shell velocity of Gascogne's guns will ensure that when you strike a soft target, you're going to see over penetrations far more often than you would like. Gascogne is unreliable at damaging the citadels of cruisers within her matchmaking spread at ranges inside of 8km. It's not uncommon to see nothing but over penetrations over and over and over again. Fast Reload Times - As nice as Gascogne's 28 second reload is, it doesn't compare well to the 26 second reload of the Bismarck-sisters or the 25 second reload of the famous and historical HMS Monarch. I will spare you digging out your calculators and simple show you this:Gascogne has one of the worst potential damage-per-minute totals out of any of the tier VIII battleships. Eight guns, even with her accelerated reload, doesn't let her keep pace with the nine-gun armed vessels she faces. It's sobering that Roma with a 30 second reload keeps pace with or bests her in terms of damage output. Gascogne's problems are further exacerbated by gun arrangement, overmatch issues and HE performance. But there's more... Alright, so those are my points of contention with the 'benefits' of Gascogne's guns. They're more like consolation prizes than outright bonuses. Her guns have terrible horizontal and vertical dispersion, so here, have 1.9 sigma so they only feel kinda wonky. She doesn't have great DPM so here, have a 28 second reload so you think her guns can put out more damage -- but that's still not going to let you keep up to even the German battleships. Leading targets is easy with these high velocity guns, just be careful where you point them. If you aim at a cruiser that's too close, you'll just over penetrate. Would that these were the only flaws with Gascogne's guns. But there's more. You have two turrets. This causes two problems. The first is minor -- you cannot fire ranging shots as effectively as you could with a battleship with more turrets. The second is more telling: Gascogne is more vulnerable than most other battleships when it comes to suffering critical and catastrophic damage to her guns. Losing one turret not only reduces half your firepower, it also forces you to manoeuvre if you want to continue firing in that direction. Gascogne's guns are only 380mm. The obvious issue here is that Gascogne's shells do overall less damage than the 406mm and 410mm guns found on American and Japanese vessels on a shell by shell basis. I've already addressed the DPM difference, but the more telling issue is one of overmatch mechanics. This is the ability to outright ignore thin armour plates regardless of angling and punch clean through into the squishy bits beyond. Gascogne's guns cannot overmatch the 27mm bows of American and German heavy cruisers at tier VIII+ like 406mm armed vessels can. This allows these cruisers to bow-tank Gascogne's AP shells with relative impunity. Gascogne's HE shells are 'meh'. There are three factors to look at when evaluating the quality of HE shells for a battleship. 1.) Do they inflict a lot of damage? 2.) Do they have high penetration? 3.) Do they have a high chance of starting a fire? From these three, simple questions we can evaluate how good each nation's HE shells are and if they're a reasonable alternative to the ship's AP shells when situations dictate. This works out to the following grid: Gascogne's HE is comparable to American battleship HE with low damage relative to her peers but with decent fire setting properties. This makes it alright for harassing enemy battleships but hardly ideal for using against cruisers and not worth swapping for against destroyers (at least until Wargaming tweaks the AP penetration model). Combined with the overmatch issues described above, Gascogne really struggles against same or higher tiered American and German cruisers that angle well against her. Gascogne has bad forward firing angles. This is the final spit-in-the-eye for Gascogne's gunnery. While her A-turret has excellent firing angles (300º or better is ideal), her X-turret falls short with only 288º. Gascogne must show a lot of side to fire all eight of her weapons which makes her vulnerable to return fire from enemy battleships. Functionally, Richelieu's better gun layout will allow her stack damage faster than Gascogne, even with the latter's accelerated reload, in most combat situations where the ships are under fire. Start making jokes: Gascogne has better firing arcs to the rear. When all is said and done, Gascogne's gunnery is all kinds of "meh". Gascogne's main battery gun arrangement wouldn't have been out of place on tier VII vessel. More than any other facet of the ship, this holds Gascogne back. She is a worse gunnery platform than Bismarck and only slightly better than the Bismarck-class' predecessor, Gneisenau. Almost Amazing But enough bellyaching about the main battery guns. Let's get to something exciting! Gascogne's secondary armament looks very impressive at first glance, especially with that 7.0km base range. Her range isn't on par with the Bismarck-sisters, but combined with the broadside weight of homogeneous HE fire they dispense, it's hard not to look at her battery in a positive light. Her 152mm/55s are the same guns found on De Grasse, boasting a phenomenal 12% base fire chance per hit. Her 100mm guns dispense 15rpm each with a 6% fire chance. Unfortunately, short of lighting fires, Gascogne's stock secondaries are generally useless -- incapable of landing significant direct damage of any kind against the majority of targets she faces. Gascogne's 100mm guns are too small in caliber, with only lower tiered destroyers and some light cruisers being vulnerable. Their inability to damage any armour greater than 16mm neuters their damage output. As her 100mm guns form the bulk of her volume of fire, Gascogne's potential damage is gutted. Her 152mm batteries do have better penetration of 24mm, but they only shoot five times per minute. Coupled with shoddy accuracy, it's unlikely for these larger caliber guns to fire enough rounds to land enough hits for them to count. An investment in upgrades, skills and consumables may seem like the solution. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells upgrades her 100mm and 152mm guns to 21mm and 32mm of penetration at the cost of dropping their fire chances from 6% and 12% down to 5% and 9%. Basic Fire Training increases the rate of fire of her 152mm guns from 5rpm to 6rpm. Her 100mm jump from 15rpm to 18rpm. These seven skill points are already a steep price to correct a highly situational weapon system. In fact, a fully optimized secondary build on Gascogne will cost her one upgrade slot, one signal and 15 skill points which is entirely too dear for the returns. More modest builds, such as simply emphasizing fire-setting aren't as expensive, but aren't as effective either. The bonus penetration found on the larger caliber German battleship secondary mounts isn't present here, and that requires paying a significant cost to equate. Secondary builds are fun, don't get me wrong, but they're hardly optimal and Gascogne's secondaries do not boast the same stopping power as those on Bismarck or Tirpitz. This will come at the expense of greatly reducing Gascogne's survivability which isn't generally worth compromising. A secondary build for Gascogne is only truly optimal in Co-Op battles where the fights are almost guaranteed at point-blank range and long-term longevity isn't a concern. Conclusions So, what does this huge information dump all mean? The TL:DR is the following: Gascogne's weapon systems have a lot of issues. It doesn't matter if you're looking at her primary or secondary gun battery -- they're far from perfect. While it's possible to get either one to perform in ideal circumstances, you would be better served by the weapon systems on any other battleship, including Richelieu. The best that could be said about Gascogne's guns is that at least they're comfortable to use. Summary Her guns don't shoot fast enough, hit hard enough or with enough precision. Her secondaries are a red herring. They're too small in caliber to be effective and will suck up massive amounts of commander skills and modules to make them passable. What's worse, they'll get you killed (see below). Gascogne's weaponry is almost good enough. Almost. I wanted to like it but I can't. Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: She would need better gunnery than Roma -- so a further improvement of rate of fire and/or dispersion groupings. Tanks Those Beauts like GascogneHit Points: 63,200Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm + 320mm + 50mm Turtleback + 50mm magazine wall Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 35% If Gascogne's durability has a cardinal sin, it's her vulnerability to high explosive damage. Gascogne's entire deck has no more than 32mm of armour protection. Her upper hull is similarly exposed. For light cruisers with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (which is pretty much all of 'em), farming damage off Gascogne is a dream. That's the bad news. The good news is that, overall, Gascogne has very good citadel defense with over 450mm of steel protecting her machine spaces and magazines from AP shells. It's only at very close ranges -- inside of 8km -- where Gascogne's citadel protection falls apart. If you give up broadsides in brawling range, you'll die quickly. Dummy. Gascogne's citadel protection doesn't prevent her from taking standard penetration damage, however. While she face tanks with the best of them (barring worry about losing a gun mount), Gascogne's belt is "only" 320mm thick. Few battleships will struggle to punch clean through her belt and stack penetration damage, even if the shells are later foiled by her citadel wall and turtleback. Even many AP slinging cruisers will rejoice at the 32mm plate covering the majority of the ship and hoover up impressive damage totals if you fail to angle against them properly. The last AP attack she needs to contend with are the bombs from American and German aircraft carriers. While it's possible to citadel Gascogne with bombs from either ship, they're unlikely. In my tests, she couldn't be deleted by a run of all the dive bombers the carrier could send out at once, necessitating at least one reload cycle to finish the job. There's one last feature that tips the scales and makes her one of the tougher battleships at her tier. Gascogne's Repair Party has half the normal reset timer of other battleships. While other battleships might struggle to make use of four (never mind five) charges of their consumable even under fire, Gascogne has little difficulty using hers. With an India Delta signal, Superintendent and a premium version of Repair Party, Gascogne can access up to 53,500 extra hit points in half the time of other battleships. Gascogne is much less vulnerable to damage over time effects such as fire and flooding. In addition, enemies that struggle to deal damage quickly will only play to Gascogne's strengths, allowing her to recover up to 10,700 hit points as often as every 68 seconds. This image should largely illustrate everything you need to know about Gascogne's armour profile. Her citadel sits at the waterline, yet shells that manage to clip her turtleback get normalized down towards her machine spaces and magazines, resulting in citadel hits. Given the energy necessary to best the amount of steel present, this tends to only occur at close ranges. Evaluation: GOOD What it would have needed to be BEST: Gascogne would need better citadel and/or hull protection without nudging her into AP-bomb one-shot territory. Increasing her deck and upper hull protection to 35mm would help immeasurably and keep her out of overmatch territory from Yamato-class 460mm guns while simultaneously defeating 152mm HE shells with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. Or Stomps Around Wearing Boots Like Gascogne Top Speed: 32.0 knotsTurning Radius: 850mRudder Shift: 15.3s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.4º/s at 4/4 speed Gascogne is my top pick for the most agile battleship at tier VIII. It's not a title that she wins without some contention, however. The South Dakota-class battleships give her a very good run for her money and a player's personal taste may overrule my own preferences. There are four areas where I evaluate a ship's agility: Speed, Turning Radius, Rudder Shift Time and Rate of Turn. There would be more but I haven't had time to begin cataloguing ship acceleration and deceleration yet. These are not weighed equally. I put very little value in Rudder Shift Time, for example, using it only as a tie breaker if needs be when two ships are near identical in all other categories. Speed Gascogne and Richelieu are the fastest battleships at their tier, besting even the previous front running Bismarck-class sisters. She outpaces the South Dakota-class battleships by 4.5 knots. What's more, access to their Engine Boost consumable makes any speed comparison between Gascogne and any other non-French battleship a joke. She can hit upwards of 36.3 knots with her consumable and a Sierra Mike signal! As of patch 0.7.2 nothing is faster and nothing can pretend to compete with her. Gascogne has the power to out pace enemies, dictate engagement distances and redeploy as needed. She is not held back by the size of maps at higher tiers, giving her an enviable degree of flexibility. As a final advantage, activating her Engine Boost consumable increases her rate of turn, giving Gascogne a minor boost to agility when she needs it most and exceeding the rate of turn of Alabama and Massachusetts. Gascogne can kite enemies like a boss -- opening up engagement ranges and re-engaging only when it suits her. Even destroyers need to be going flat-out to close the distance. If your enemies are doing anything other than in a straight-line pursuit, Gascogne will out pace them. Rate of Turn Up until the addition of Richelieu and Gascogne, the South Dakota sisters were unchallenged with their agility at tier VIII. While some of the contenders remain works in progress as of this article's publishing, it's unlikely that we will see a significant change to the combatants. Gascogne does not best Alabama or Massachusetts for her rate of turn at full speed. Instead she all but matches both sisters which is a feat unto itself. This is all grace of her phenomenal top speed which allows her to power through her turning circle and come about quickly on demand. Under the effects of Engine Boost, she overtakes them both, squeaking out primacy. Turning Radius Where the South Dakota sisters dominate is in their tiny turning radii. Gascogne suffers an 850m turning radius, the same unwieldy turning circle as found on the Bismarck-class while Alabama and Massachusetts enjoy a mere 710m turning radius. It's only due to Gascogne's high speed that she can navigate through this large turning circle with any kind of grace. She cuts through corners quickly, not because she makes sharp turns but because she has power enough to muscle through manoeuvres that would cause other ships to founder. To be clear: this is a marked weakness that mars an otherwise excellent agility characteristic. If a given player values small turning circles more, then Gascogne's status as the most agile ship within her tier is debatable. I'm confident with giving her the title, however. As bad as this 850m value is, it's not the worst at her tier with Amagi and Kii being appreciably weaker. This 'middle of the pack' standing pads my evaluation of her somewhat, but there's no denying that Gascogne loses out big time to Alabama and Massachusetts in this regard. Rudder Shift Time Rudder Shift is a loser-stat and a red herring where agility is concerned. It might have mattered more if there was a significant variety between the tier VIII battleships, but the difference and the effect of this difference is so minimal as to be downright forgettable. Rudder Shift at tier VIII start with Monarch's 15.0 seconds with ten other ships all sitting within 1.0 seconds. Even the outliers Amagi and North Carolina are only 2.3 seconds away from the front-runner which isn't terribly significant given the minimal impact Rudder Shift has on ship agility. At 15.3 seconds, Gascogne isn't the best, but she needn't be. She could be the worst here and it wouldn't matter. Dreambote Gascogne handles like a dream. She's fast. She turns well. She doesn't out turn her turrets (though it's a close thing -- grab Expert Marksman if you can). For all the frustrations with Gascogne's gunnery, the ship herself sails beautifully. Dodging enemy attacks, dictating engagement ranges and even out running destroyers isn't beyond her. Evaluation: BEST What it would have needed to be GOOD: Neither the SoDaks or Gascogne can claim an easy win in the Manoeuvrability category. Gascogne has speed and rate of turn, but a larger turning circle. Alabama and Massachusetts have rate of turn and small turning radii, but lack in straight line speed. What a player prioritizes will largely dictate what they feel is 'best'. I feel that speed provides more flexibility. In my opinion, the South Dakota-class battleships would need to lose another 50m off their turning radii or gain another two and a half knots of speed before I would reconsider giving them the award for the most agile battleship at tier VIII. Rate of Turn Late in the game, with her high top speed, Gascogne is just as flexible as a cruiser for securing distant capture points. She's Especially Good at Refrigerating Base Surface Detection Range: 16.74km Air Detection Range: 13.775km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.57km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 15.4km Main Battery Firing Range: 24.77km Those cute song lyrics are a lie: She's not especially good at refrigerating. Her concealment values are on the poor-side of average for a tier VIII battleship and it's only grace of thunderchunkers like Amagi and Kii at tier VIII that she's spared a worse evaluation. What's more, her aerial detection range is also on the large side, being just behind the Bismarck-sisters which bottom out that category. Gascogne isn't so tough that you can afford to spare skimping on concealment upgrades and skills. Evaluation: FAIR What it would have needed to be GOOD : Fewer Royal Cheeses. Gascogne is a little chubby. Oh My, Don't You Fly Near Gascogne! AA Battery Calibers: 155mm/ 100mm / 37mm / 25mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 3.1km / 3.0km AA DPS per Aura: 79.3 / 96.8 / 50.4 / 18.4 Gascogne's anti-aircraft firepower is almost decent but she falls short. She has a lot of positive traits going for her. Her range is good. She has a lot of large-caliber AA guns which are more resistant to damage, while simultaneously giving her the potential to extend their effect with skills like Manual Fire Control for AA Guns. However, the efficiency of her individual mounts is lackluster and she suffers from disparate ranges within her medium-caliber AA-cover. They fail to put out as much DPS as more efficient AA emplacements like quadruple 40mm Bofors or twin 20mm Oerlikons. Even her large-caliber guns are disappointing in this regard. Take Effective AA power with a pinch of salt. It's calculated with the two assumptions. (1) Any AA DPS with a range of less than 2km has little value as torpedo planes will rarely stray into this range. (2) There value of longer ranged AA power progresses in a linear fashion. Frankly, this is a very simplistic model (calculated by { AA DPS x [ weapon range - 1km } ) and doesn't reflect the true efficacy of a ship's relative AA power. It is meant merely to stress that ships which emphasize longer ranged AA power are more dangerous to attack craft than those with their DPS focused on short-ranged defense. I promise to one-day math this all out for realsies, waste dozens of hours figuring it all out and then probably discover this shorthand wasn't that far off. The result is an AA coverage that appears promising on the surface but is worse than Amagi's or Roma's. Gascogne's AA power is only marginally better than Tirpitz (and even that is debatable). Deep investment into AA skills can help prop some of these flagging numbers, giving her the equivalent AA DPS to a stock Alabama. This can make her an unappetizing target for tier VI and some tier VII aircraft carriers. It can even do well enough in PVE modes vs bots. However, will not dissuade same-tier or higher CVs in Randoms or Ranked. Gascogne is an easy mark. Most of Gascogne's AA firepower is divided between her large caliber, dual-purpose mounts and her 37mm/70 auto-cannon turrets. The latter are as fragile as other medium and small caliber mounts, so don't count on them surviving after you take a few HE hits. Evaluation: BAD What it would have needed to be FAIR: Gascogne would need an AA suite comparable to Richelieu's modernized armament. This thing got beaten out by Roma, for crying out loud. Your Four Dozen Eggs to Help You Get Large Gascogne has two primary builds worth considering. One is optimal. The other is more of a joke, really, but it's fun so I've elected to include it. The optimal build also works well for the French Legendary Commander, Jean-Jacques Honoré. Survivalist Build & Jean-Jacques Honoré Manly Build View from Gascogne's prow as a Bismarck-class battleship succumbs to her secondary fire in the Hermes mission. A heavy secondary build works beautifully in this encounter. Unfortunately it won't serve you nearly as well in any PVP encounters. The Final Evaluation of this Barge Mouse's Summary: This is a great ship until you look at her guns. Then it becomes an 'okay' ship. Sailing this ship is a lot of fun. She handles beautifully and the extra level of control provided with Engine Boost is welcome. Her Repair Party gimmick is subtle. I like it a lot. During early testing, I absolutely hated this ship. Long hours were spent ranting at wiki-staff, Pigeon_of_War, other CCs and Lert about how much this ship was displeasing me. It all came down to her guns. I really struggled to get any kind of consistency out of this vessel and I felt terribly discouraged. Things improved, albeit slowly. This final iteration of Gascogne feels comfortable, which says a lot for how far the ship's gunnery has come. Gascogne still struggles in the firepower department but at least it no longer felt like I was actively fighting against all of her negative traits to get any damage done. It's still a strange dichotomy to me that a ship can feel so comfortable yet under perform. Balancing Gascogne came with the price of introducing another new gimmick. Her improved Repair Party is subtle, though, and I doubt there will be (much) outrage in the community over it. Anyway, I made Gascogne work for me and by the end of it, I was actively enjoying my time in her. Gascogne really feels like a baby Bismarck that trades durability and firepower for speed and agility. While she's no slouch when it comes to protection, she doesn't have the German god-tier AP-shell defense. Her secondaries are noisy rather than effective (unless you go for a Manly commander build) and while her AA is worse, at least she's not instant-gibbed by AP dive bombers. Gascogne is a good ship. She's fun to sail and she doesn't introduce an element of power creep into the game with her inclusion. It's unfortunate she's unlikely to be contender for the competitive scene, but we can't win 'em all. Gascogne is a total rockstar in the new Hermes scenario. Would I Recommend? Oh, if only I could see the camouflage statistics for Gascogne's third camo scheme. As I write this on February 22nd, I still haven't seen the camouflage itself. While Wargaming has said that it will not have any economical bonuses baked in -- making them superior to the other two camouflage patterns, I remain unconvinced until I see it for myself. Note that an economic bonus would make Gascogne more appealing -- particularly for grinding credits or commander experience in Random Battles. It would also make Gascogne more expensive too. Based on everything I have seen so far, Dunkerque remains the better commander trainer for French battleships. Gascogne isn't terrible, but she's not advantageous. At the price points asked, Dunkerque is the better bang for your buck for a French battleship trainer. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Very yes on toast. If you're a big PVE fan, Gascogne is a riot to play. As ever, be careful about loading up on too many premium consumables as it will affect your earnings in straight Co-Op modes. In the Hermes event, Gascogne is a beast especially with a full (and I do mean full) secondary build. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Eh. I might be more receptive if one of her camouflage patterns had better economic incentives, but it doesn't. As it stands, Dunkerque is a steal and is arguably more interesting, game play wise. She won't have quite the same returns, but for her lower price point, she out competes Gascogne. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No, no, no, no, no. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Nope. Other than a repository for fun camouflages, she's not worth it. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? It surprises me to say "yes" here. Gascogne had a very long development cycle and many of her earlier iterations were simply frustrating. Wargaming really went the extra mile to make this ship enjoyable. She may not be the most competitive ship, but she is fun to sail. 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 Okay, this review took way too long to write. Between all of the different iterations of the ship, I ended up putting in more than 15 hours of playtesting and sciencing. Writing for Gascogne felt like a full time job and there always seemed to be more that needed to be done. Thankfully, I did manage to decompress every now and then, hiding in Final Fantasy 14 or playing Corgi Fleet over the long weekend here in Canada. I had a bit of a computer-scare this past month when my solid-state drive decided to die. This had my operating system installed upon it and replacing it cost me dear. It was a stark reminder for me how fragile my old rig is and how ill prepared I am to replace it should it give up the ghost. More than ever, I'm thankful to my supporters on Patreon for what assistance they provide. If the lights do go out, their patronage will at least get me back online sooner. It's still a dream to be able to create content full time. I would seriously love nothing more than to inform and entertain and be able to pay the bills while doing so, but that dream is still a very a long way off. In the meantime, there are more ships to review. Cossack, Massachusetts and Abruzzi look to be the front runners of the new premiums, with Graf Zeppelin getting finalized soon too. Expect the next full review in two to three weeks time. Thank you all for reading. ♥ My current ten favourite premium ships. Top Row: Fujin, Atlanta, De Grasse, Prinz Eugen, Atago. Bottom Row: Scharnhorst, Nelson, Harekaze, König Albert, Warspite. Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.
  8. 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.
  9. Premium Ship Review: Roma

    The following is a review of Roma, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. As far as I am aware, this is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of January 12th, 2018. However, things may change before release. GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes. Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal. Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task. OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. Quick Summary: A fast, sneaky battleship with excellent gun handling on its nine 381mm rifles. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: Patch 0.6.15.1 to January 1st through 12th, 2018. PROs Has an extended belt which reaches halfway up the prow. Excellent gun handling with fast turret traverse. Phenomenal muzzle velocity and energy retention, giving her fast shell flight times over distance. Great AP penetration power over range. Good concealment with a 14.9km surface detection range which can be reduced down to 11.2km. CONs Citadel sits well above the waterline. Short ranged for a tier VIII battleship at 18.1km. Her guns misbehave, with poor dispersion values, overmatch problems and overpenetration after overpenetration. Awful HE performance with low alpha strike, poor fire chance and mediocre module damage. Anti-aircraft firepower is short ranged with only modest DPS. Large turning radius, mediocre ship rotation rate. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme The ease of her game play is facilitated by her excellent gun handling and good concealment values which will make her more forgiving to novice players. However, her raised citadel and gun accuracy will cause them problems. The combination of high concealment, speed and firepower will be of interest to Veterans and the power of these traits must not be overlooked. Roma's citadel and her smaller-caliber AP shells will hold her back from being a true monster, though. Roma is not a complicated battleship to play. She has no gimmicks to espouse. The summation of her various traits is as follows, with a more thorough breakdown found below in the larger sections. GARBAGE - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. MEH - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.GUD - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.BEST - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Roma is no up-scaled Giulio Cesare. Her guns are average and she has mediocre durability and agility. She has no gimmicks to speak of. The only thing she does well is hide and her AA power is hot garbage With all of these disparate traits, she probably doesn't look very appealing. So how the heck did I reach a "Gudbote" conclusion? Well, let's look into that... Options Like the Japanese premium battleships Kii and Ashitaka, Roma is receiving a special camouflage designed by Makoto Kobayashi. This is not just a skin, but a full on geometry change for the ship, including the infamous "beer can" where her rangefinders would be. It will likely be available through the larger bundle packages when you buy the ship through the online store. Consumables: Roma's Damage Control Party is standard for a non-American / Japanese battleship with a 15s active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer depending on which version you purchase. Her Repair Party is also standard, healing back 14% of her maximum health over 28s. Finally, her Spotter Aircraft is normal. You can swap this out for a Float Plane Fighter which provides 57 DPS and boasts 1,590hp. She has higher DPS than Japanese or American float plane fighters and more hit points than Japanese, American or British fighters. Premium Camouflage: There are two available: The default, Standard Type 10 camouflage provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. The Makoto Kobayashi - Roma camouflage provides 100% bonus experience gains, -50% to the post-battle service costs, +20% bonus credit earning, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. When I first saw this alternative camouflage scheme, I thought it looked ridiculous. However it has really grown on me. The amount of small detail is spectacular. Plus, it looks like Roma is wearing a hat. I like it when not-people things wear hats. Ergo, I like this camo. Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard battleship options. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control Modification 1. In your third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. It's not worth trying to upgrade her AA Guns or Secondaries. Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal for her fourth slot. You may be tempted to take Steering Gears Modification 2 but this will not significantly improve her agility . Finally, take Concealment Modification 1 in your final slot. This will reduce her surface detection down to 13.04km with camouflage before Commander Skills or 11.22km with camouflage and Concealment Expert Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 381mm rifles in three turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm rifles in four turrets, Twelve dual-purpose 90mm rifles in single turrets. Roma's main battery guns will deceive you. You're going to imagine them as being far more effective than they truly are. The deceptive veil she'll cast over your eyes has three layers; namely gun handling, shell flight time and penetration. They will cloud your vision and make you less aware of two flaws -- one minor but one pronounced -- the latter of which has the potential to greatly sour your enjoyment of this ship, no matter how comfortable her earlier lies may have felt. Beautiful Lie #1: Gun Handling The first beauty-mark you'll note is Roma's turret traverse rate and she may win you over with just this aspect. Her gun handling is simply gorgeous with her turrets rotating at 6º per second (a mere 30 seconds for 180º). This is 50% faster than the 4º per second rotation of ships like Kii, North Carolina and Monarch and a whole degree per second faster than Bismarck and Tirpitz. Thanks to this, laying her guns on target is a breeze and there's no chance of her aim slipping off target even while under heavy manoeuvres. In brawls, Roma can easily track enemies even on close approaches. Her forward fire angles are similarly wonderful. They almost hit the highly sought after (but so seldom realized) 30º-off-the-bow benchmark which defines truly excellent fire arcs. Her X-turret can engage enemies 31º off her forward centerline, allowing Roma to take very aggressive bow-on attack angles and necessitating only the slightest touches of a rudder to unload all nine guns. In short, Roma's gun handling is fun. You will never feel like you're fighting with this ship to bring your weapons to bear. Beautiful Lie #2: Shell Flight Time Roma has one of the fastest muzzle velocities of any tier VIII battleship, making gunnery a delight. What's more, her shells preserve this energy beautifully over distance which in turn leads to lower shell flight times. She can put a shell out to 10km in less than five seconds and one out to 15km in less then eight. This is something which Bismarck, Amagi, Monarch and North Carolina cannot boast. In the time it takes North Carolina to throw a shell out to 17km, Roma can bullseye a target at 20km. Her short lead times greatly cuts into the reaction time enemy ships have to evade your shells, even at range. Beautiful Lie #3: Penetration The high velocity of Roma's shells translates to great kinetic energy. It's the preservation of said energy over distance which makes Roma's penetration values so frightening. She doesn't have the same raw penetration power at point blank ranges of the Japanese 410mm shells. However, at ranges greater than 10km, Roma takes primacy, outstripping every other battleship with her energy retention. She has comparable and better penetration at 20km than Bismarck and Monarch (respectively) have at 15km. Roma is thus a threat at all ranges, capable of stacking damage even against thick hided battleships within reach of her weapons. These three traits will deceive you into thinking she's well set up to land damaging hits against enemy vessels. Her guns can snap onto a target quickly. Her muzzle velocity makes leading said targets easy, allowing you to catch targets before they're able to dodge or angle. Her penetration power all but guarantees that any hits you land will be damaging ones. That's all well and fine in theory, but in practice, problems arise. Roma boasts good fire arcs forward thanks to the excellent sweep of her X-turret. Her rearward arcs are terrible, forcing you to expose far too much of your broadside. Anytime you fire to your rear, you risk taking catastrophic damage. Harsh Truths No one can take away the awesomeness that is Roma's turret traverse rate and shell flight time. Let me be clear: few battleships have as smooth and comfortable a rotation and short lead times of their main battery as this Italian beauty. However, not everything about her guns lends to good performance. Roma's fire angles are the first let down. It's true, her forward fire angles are wonderful. However, rearward, it's a completely different story. Firing from A or B turret while on the retreat will get you sunk in a hurry. This isn't a problem unique to Roma, but few battleships can be punished as readily as Roma when they over angle due to her high water citadel (more on that later). I've found it preferable to use (and abuse) Roma's concealment if forced to retreat. At close range, her high muzzle velocity can also be a detriment. With the standard 0.033s fuse timer, Roma's shells risk blowing clean through more lightly armoured cruisers, especially at short ranges. To test this, I used a Reference-Omaha™ and found that Roma must be at least 13.3km out in order to land citadel hits on a target showing her flat broadside, provided the shells didn't strike water first. North Carolina can manage the same at 5.0km, owing to her lower muzzle velocity and steeper angle of her shell fall. This is a problem that extends beyond Reference-Omaha™ and it can be infuriating to catch a cruiser broadside with perfectly aimed (and dispersing) AP shells only to watch them all over penetrate a Chapayev or Edinburgh. Being unable to overmatch the bows of select cruisers just exacerbates matters. This leads me to stare down the problems Roma has with AP penetration with her 381mm rifles. She cannot overmatch the 27mm extremities found on many heavy cruisers at tier VIII+. It's surprising how much of an issue this causes. A properly angled American or Japanese heavy cruiser can simply bounce her AP shells for days with the appropriate stance. When combined with the fuse problems mentioned above, Roma must juggle different optimal fire ranges when engaging different targets. To penetrate small, lightly armoured vessels like Nurnberg-class, French or Royal Navy light cruisers you need distance. You may have to wait until the target angles slightly before sending your shells off. For tier VIII+ heavy cruisers, you need to catch them broadside or risk seeing your volleys bounce ineffectively. Roma's dispersion with Aiming Systems Modification 1 installed. 180 shells fired, salvo by salvo at 15km, locked onto a stationary Fuso. One of Roma's more pronounced gunnery weaknesses is her poor dispersion. This isn't so much a trait of her 1.8 sigma, but more of her long vertical dispersion axis which you can see here causing tremendous levels of overshooting and undershooting the target by a whole ship length to either side. This is approximately 50% larger than comparable area of battleship Alabama and Massachusetts which cannot mount any dispersion modification. The Big Fail: Dispersion and HE. Roma's most telling flaw with her guns is her dispersion. The Italian battleships of the Regia Marina use German dispersion patterns. In this regard, Roma's gunnery is most akin to Bismarck with one extra gun barrel and 4 seconds longer on her reload. The high velocity of her guns causes many shots to land long or short. Couple this with the wider base horizontal dispersion than any other battleship group in the game, and Roma's German dispersion leads to a lot of wonky shell groupings. It's not like Roma can simply reach for HE and solve her penetration issues either. Roma's HE shells deal a low amount of damage at 5,100 maximum per shell. That's 1,683 per penetrating hit and 852 damage per saturated penetrating hit. These values do not compare well to the 1,200 damage done by one of Roma's over penetrating AP shells. Her fire chance is abysmal at a mere 24%. She doesn't even have an especially large module-damage radius. For all this lackluster performance, she doesn't even get to enjoy the German bonus HE penetration. You largely want to avoid having to resort to these shells unless circumstance deem it necessary. Relying on Roma's HE shells too often will see her damage potential plummet. In summary Roma's gunnery is inconsistent -- more so than many other battleships. While it is easy to bring her guns on target with her fast traverse and anticipate their manoeuvres with her high muzzle velocity, Roma is unreliable at landing solid, damaging hits. This is very frustrating for a ship where the gunnery otherwise feels very comfortable. Her dispersion forces you suffer the whims of RNG. Even when you line up the perfect shot, over penetrations and ricochets will abound and her HE shells are downright anemic. Roma has two secondary gun types and neither is effective. They lack range, with a 5.0km base reach. In addition, one mount does not fire fast enough and the other is too small in caliber. The most dramatic of the pair are her 152mm rifles, mounted in triple gun turrets, two per side flanking B and X turret respectively. They are incredibly slow firing with a horrendous 12.0 second reload and they use AP ammunition. The best thing that could be said about this particular mount is that the muzzle blast is enormous and your opponents may mistake it for you firing your main battery guns in a brawl and expose their sides, thinking themselves safe to fire back. Roma's 90mm guns fire much more quickly with a 4.0s reload. Though they fire HE, their fire chance isn't particularly good. What's more, their small gun caliber makes them ineffective at dealing direct damage enemy ships. Even most destroyers in her matchmaking spread can boast enough armour to foil the penetration value of her HE shells. Short of peppering superstructures, these guns aren't going to do much in the way of direct damage themselves. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will increase her penetration enough to allow her to directly damage destroyers and some light cruisers with these guns, but that's a heavy investment for questionable gains. In general, it is not worth sinking upgrades, consumables or skills into Roma's secondaries. Conclusions It's hard to call any of Roma's weapon systems "good". Roma's 381mm guns do not enjoy the rate of fire bonus found on Monarch, Tirpitz and Bismarck. Maybe if she had that phenomenal rate of fire or some accuracy tweak, I could shower them with praise with good conscience. However, with a piss-poor HE shell and forgettable secondaries, Roma is reliant upon her main battery AP shells to carry the day. Fortunately, they're sufficient to the task. And maybe that's the best way to define Roma's AP gunnery: It's comfortable and it's sufficient. She won't win any prizes but she'll hold her own. Summary: Roma's gunnery feels so comfortable. Her gunnery performance is spotty. They seem to do really well against battleships (up until they angle) but against cruisers, it's a lot more inconsistent depending on angle, ship type and range. Her secondaries aren't worth specializing into. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Roma's dispersion can be very unkind. A buff to her sigma value would alleviate this. An alternative solution would be shaving a second or two off her reload time. With so many misunderstandings about the reload time of the Littorio-class, I suppose we should be glad that Wargaming kept it to a mere 30 seconds. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 30.0 knotsTurning Radius: 810mRudder Shift: 15.6s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.2º/s Tier 8 Battleship speed, turning radius and rate of turn. Roma doesn't excel in any one area nor does she have any glaring weaknesses. Roma is on the good-side of average for manoevrability for a tier VIII battleship. Her top speed is okay but there are faster ships. Her rate of turn is alright, but she's not exactly agile like the South Dakota-class sisters. Her turning circle isn't terrible, though its certainly not great. Overall, her handling is best compared to Bismarck -- a ship that isn't lacking overall in comparable agility but not a ship anyone would dare say has "good" manoeuvrability. The reason Roma feels so agile is probably due to her gun traverse. At 6º per second, it's rare that you ever need to use your rudder to accelerate bringing your guns to bear onto a new target. It's impossible for this ship to out turn her turrets, so there's little strain on her handling to keep her weapons singing. The best trait about her here is her top speed. 30 knots, while unremarkable at high tiers, is the benchmark I want to see. Anything less is an obvious flaw. Roma has the flexibility to go where she's needed and she's fast enough to make pursuit and escape possible when required. This also allows her to make better use of her concealment to better position herself. Most important of all, Roma's manoeuvrability is sufficient to protect her vulnerable citadel while still maintaining a steady rate of fire with all nine of her guns. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Roma already sits on the cusp of being 'GUD', she would just need a little help. An extra knot of speed, getting her turning radius below 800m or increasing her rotation rate by another two tenths of a degree per second would each tip her over the edge to something quite remarkable. Fortunately, you can pull this off yourself with the use of a Sierra Mike signal. Rate of Turn There are several factors which affect how quickly a ship comes about. The most significant are the ship's forward momentum and the size of her turning radius. As a ship slows down, their turning radius changes, but not always for the better. To make things more complicated, different ships also preserve speed better in a turn. When it comes to changing your heading, maintain speed whenever possible. If you want a tighter turning circle, slow down to 3/4 engine power -- but be aware that your ship will not manoeuvre as quickly. Steering Gears Modification 2 reduces Roma's rudder shift time from 15.6s down to 12.5s. However, this does not appreciably affect her turning values. This upgrade can be seen as more of a placebo than a practical bonus. When attempting to measure the gains made, some of the results fell within the margin of error of my own reaction time -- meaning that a good night's sleep or a cup of tea had more effect on the timed rate of turn than whether or not Roma had this module installed. With torpedo and shell reaction times often being less than 8 to 10 seconds, having this module installed will not help you. You would be better served by having a cup of coffee. Thus, I strongly recommend installing Damage Control Modification 2 in your fourth upgrade slot instead. None of the values found on Roma were far from what was expected. Her measured turning radius was slightly higher than that found in port and she bled the usual 25% maximum speed with her rudder hard over. 360º Rotation Rate (Ship Maximums): 1/4 speed (7.3 knots): 1.0º/s rotation, ~1099m turning radius 1/2 speed (13.8 knots): 2.5º/s rotation, ~851m turning radius 3/4 speed (18.6 knots): 3.6º/s rotation, ~800m turning radius 4/4 speed (22.4 knots): 4.2º/s rotation, ~829m turning radius 90º Rotation Rate (Stock): 1/4 speed: 1.0º/s rotation for 90.7s 1/2 speed: 2.3º/s rotation for 39.0s 3/4 speed: 3.2º/s rotation for 28.5s 4/4 speed: 3.6/s rotation for 25.0s 90º Rotation Rate (Steering Gears Modification 2) 1/4 speed: 1.0/s rotation for 90.6s 1/2 speed: 2.4º/s rotation for 38.4s 3/4 speed: 3.3º/s rotation for 27.4s 4/4 speed: 3.7º/s rotation for 24.2s Roma sits upon the cusp of greatness where her agility is concerned, but she falls short. You're not likely to notice though -- you'll be too enamored with how well her turrets traverse. DurabilityHit Points: 65,400 Maximum Citadel Protection: 375mm + 40mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: 38% Let's start with the bad news: Roma wears a really short skirt. While I appreciate that she wants to show off her lines, her citadel is left exposed over the water's surface by a not-insignificant margin. The exact height of her citadel is easy to see: it's directly behind her 375mm armoured belt. Veterans of the American battleship line that played the ships before the citadels were lowered in early 2017 will remember well what this entails. Roma can and will suddenly explode in a horrendous space-kablooie when she's caught broadside. There's nothing you can do about it but [edited]. There's another piece of not-so-great news. Her A-Turret barbette also seems to be part of the citadel, comprising a rounded 210mm bulge to her transverse bulkhead. This gives shells that might have skipped over a flat surface another bite at the apple if they catch this rounded surface. It's just another little quibble to sour Roma's armour protection. Alright, with that out of the way, let's talk about the good stuff: Her main deck is 45mm thick. This is proof against 152mm HE spam. Hooray! She has a 130mm extended forward armoured belt. When she angles, can foil even 460mm shells. Rejoice! Her upper hull is 70mm thick. This is proof against HE from 420mm or smaller unless it's British BB or German BB & CA thrown. This will also provide you with some very comfortable bounces when you angle just right. Her torpedo damage reduction is pretty darned good, so to speak. At tier VIII, torpedo defenses are either amazaballs (Amagi, South Dakota sisters) or they suck moose balls (everyone else). Roma's in the good half of the dichotomy. Her deck armour profile is a bit of a mixed blessing when it comes to armour piercing bombs, however. In testing, American AP bombs just didn't seem to be able to stack damage quickly. Without heals, it took over 20 bomb hits to sink her from American planes. Graf Zeppelin's (admittedly still in testing) bombs weren't automatic world-enders, but she could reliably sink Roma with two squadrons. On the whole, if it weren't for Roma's citadel situation, she'd have a great armour profile. As it is, it's only okay. Roma face tanks like a boss, particularly at medium ranges (between 8km and 14km) but when things go wrong, she comes apart in a hurry. Roma's armour, including details of her citadel. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Lower her bloody citadel. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 90mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 114 / 128.4 / 54.4 The graph on the left shows the raw AA values per aura range of the AA mounts of tier 8 Battleships. The graph on the right applies a formula {AA DPS x ( Range - 1.0km )} to calculate the overall effectiveness of the ship's AA power. This weights longer ranged weapons as being much more valuable as planes will linger within their effect longer. Weapons with less than a 2km range are only really effective if the enemy aircraft carrier parks planes on top of you. If there's one good thing you could say about Roma's anti-aircraft firepower, it would be that it's at least better than that found on Tirpitz. Roma's AA rating sits squarely in between the German premium and Amagi, and this isn't a good place to be. Worse, it's not like Roma's anti-aircraft guns are a straight up improvement over the performance of the German premium -- she just has more of them. Roma's large caliber, 90mm guns are hands down inferior to the 105s that Tirpitz uses. They have 500m less range and they do less DPS over all, which makes the effective AA defense worse were it not for Roma's 37mm autocannons and Tirpitz's near lack of medium caliber guns. It takes a rather heavy investment to get Roma's anti-aircraft firepower anywhere near effective in terms of range, and it's downright impossible to make it effective in terms of damage done. With Advanced Fire Training and AA Guns Modification 2, you can increase the reach fo her 90mm guns from 4.0km up to 5.76km but they'll never have the punch to make anything but a stock tier VI aircraft carrier balk. Taking a Float Plane Fighter can add a very helpful disruption effect to an incoming wave which can save your ship, but it's so short lived and difficult to rely upon. Roma doesn't have the agility to easily dodge air dropped torpedoes, nor does she have the armour profile to spare her the nightmare of being one-shot by German AP dive bombers. Roma, when isolated from allies, is easy prey for an enemy aircraft carrier and she must be played with this weakness in mind. Evaluation: GARBAGE What it would have needed to be MEH: Roma really needs more range. The 4.0km reach of her large caliber, dual purpose guns does her no favours. Alternatively, it would take a huge DPS boost to make her AA power competitive which is a much more significant change. None of Roma's AA mounts are especially durable. Even her dual purpose AA guns can only boast 800hp with her 37mm and 20mm guns having only 200. A few HE hits will strip her of most of her AA power. Vision Control Base Surface Detection Range: 14.94km Air Detection Range: 13.35km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.22km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 13.68km Main Battery Firing Range: 18.12km Detection Consumables: Spotter Aircraft / Float Plane Fighter Short of the famous and historical HMS Monarch, Roma is the stealthiest battleship within her matchmaking spread. What's perhaps more frightening is that she's stealthier than almost half the cruisers she faces, even when they're rigged for full concealment. Tier VI and VII cruisers are especially vulnerable with 11 out of 24 ships unable to hide from Roma and another 7 unable to hide if they don't have a full concealment build. When top tier, especially against inexperienced commanders, Roma becomes truly a monster. Without spotting aircraft or a destroyer screen, she can move about the battlefield at will, confident she can outfight anything that detects her. Let me stress this: Without aircraft or destroyers, Roma is quite capable of being the stealthiest ship on the playing field. Unlike the famous and historical HMS Monarch, Roma has the speed to better exploit this concealment. And it's here, with this combination of speed and concealment where Roma becomes a truly frightening vessel. Novice players take note: these are traits that expert players exploit to win matches. The longer a match goes on, the more powerful this advantage of speed and stealth becomes. It gives Roma time to heal, to flank, to secure objectives or escape. She can dictate engagement distances, abuse cover and surprise enemies. This is the game changer for this ship. This is what glosses over all of her other mediocre ratings and propels her towards excellence. Now this all said, this is a very difficult advantage to exploit properly and it can be outright negated by aircraft (especially given Roma's poor AA rating) and destroyers. Proper use of her aircraft consumable (with the skills to support it) will help her control vision and make lurking around islands less dangerous. But, it's knowing when to keep her guns singing and when it's best to hold your fire that really defines Roma's use and abuse of her concealment. Evaluation: GUD What it would have needed to be BEST : Monarch has a smaller surface detection range and similar consumable options. The alternative to making her sneakier than Monarch would have been to provide her with some detection consumable like Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar which is bloody unlikely. I think we can all be happy that Roma's concealment is as amazing as it is. Nursing the Twins For Roma, a survivability build is best after grabbing your concealment skills. Start with Priority Target unless you've seen the oracle and you already know the future. Then you can go for skills like Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft instead for your first choice. Next up, we want Adrenaline Rush to increase her sluggish rate of fire. After that, you have your choice of Basics of Survivability or Superintendent depending on how much you hate fire damage. Finally, grab Concealment Expert to level up Roma to her final form. For your next 9pts, I strongly recommend Fire Prevention, whichever tier 3 skill you skipped and your choice of Expert Marksman (cause why not?), Jack of All Trades or High Alert. Now get out there and murder your brother. Tier for tier, Giulio Cesare is the better of the two Italian Battleships. However, the Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camouflage combined with Roma's higher tier will make her the better potential earner. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: Concealment and comfort define this ship. I stress that Roma's high water citadel will be a deal breaker for some. As cool as Roma's secondaries and AA batteries look, they're pretty darned useless. Roma's scorecard looks a little better than my first evaluation once you peel back the layers and take a closer look. Her great concealment might functionally be the best within her Matchmaking spread thanks to her speed. Similarly, her agility is also reasonably good, just not quite enough to make her remarkable. This synergy between speed, gun handling and concealment has all the hallmarks of a competitive ship. Her gunnery and durability are the let downs, though. Her weapons are inconsistent -- prone to bouts of greatness and then some frustrating droughts of non-performance until you figure out her penetration. Knowing what ships you can and cannot handle at which ranges mitigates some of this lack, but only just. Contrarily, her secondaries, like her AA guns are garbage no matter what you do.. Then there's that citadel of hers -- that fly in the ointment that will preclude her from ever being the darling of the competitive scene. In Randoms, with proper positioning, it's not really a big deal, but when it lets you down, it lets you down hard. Roma is so much fun to drive it's hard to dismiss her out of hand, even despite these setbacks. My own experiences in Roma were decidedly mixed. It took me a while to figure her out. Once I accepted I was throwing around what amounted to a squishy, nine-gun Bismarck with no secondaries, things got a little better. To say my performance in her was inconsistent would be an understatement. The number of losses I suffered during the latter half of play testing wasn't fun, however this was broken up by some ridiculously high performing games. Boiled down, Roma is a medium-range brawler. Her gun accuracy and armour profile both excel if she can hold this range -- just on the cusp of her detection radius, and hammer the enemy over and over and over again. Ideally you want to sneak to a vantage where your opponents can't help but give up their side to either you or their allies. If they choose to face you, tank them and do the best you can to hurt them back -- it's not going to be easy with those 381mm guns. If they choose to face your allies, tear them a new one until they smarten up and fall back. The final question is if this is a role that's asked for in the current meta. She's not a brawler like Bismarck or Tirpitz, a DPM juggernaut like Amagi, and she doesn't werf the flammen like the famous, historical battleship Monarch. Roma encroaches upon the flanking meta espoused by the American battleships. She's certainly faster than North Carolina or the South Dakota sisters. She's also more stealthy. However, she lacks the AA power to afford her autonomy when enemy aircraft carriers are in play. -- not that they're out there that often. It's still difficult to call just based on that. Things change when you look at her tiering. Top tier, she's an absolute monster. She would easily hold my pick for one of the best battleships for clubbing lower tiered vessels and this in of itself should say something. That comfort and control pays dividends and her armour maximizes in these encounters where shell penetration may not be enough to seriously threaten Roma's raised citadel. She uptiers alright against tier IX ships, but like all tier VIIIs, she really struggles in tier X matches. If I could guarantee she would never see tier X games, I could slap an "OVERPOWERED" label on her and be done with it, but no such luck. As it is, I'm inclined to say Roma has earned her laurels. Would I Recommend? Some caveats must be exercised here. The Italian Regia Marina is solely comprised of premium ships at the moment. Between the battleships Roma and Giulio Cesare there are also the light cruisers Duca d'Aosta and the upcoming Duca degli Abruzzi. If you had to choose one and only one, Giulio Cesare is still the front runner performance wise, even at tier V. Roma does not displace her. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? We have no tier VIII scenarios (yet), but Roma's a decent ship to take against bots. Her AP shells struggle a little against cruisers at the point blank ranges which so often result. Her running costs are 35,438 credits including the 10% discount provided by her camouflage (this drops to 19,688 credits with Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camo) while you can make around 100k on a decent win. Skip those premium consumables. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. She's a tier VIII premium, so economy wise, she'll do you just fine. The increased earnings will also make her a wonderful trainer. Note if you have the Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camouflage, her earning dividends just got that much better. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. I have to give her a firm pass here. Between her high water citadel, 381mm teething issues and poor AA power, she's not ideal. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. What are you, new? It's not only the first Littorio-class battleships it's Roma. Even as a port queen, she's gorgeous to look at. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Hells to the yeah. Roma doesn't always behave, but when she does... In Closing That about wraps it up for Roma -- arguably the most anticipated premium of 2017. Hey, stop looking at your calendar! She's here and she's not terrible; that's a win. I keep a list of premium ships that I enjoy playing; that I reach for whenever I just want to play World of Warships and unplug my brain from all of this analytical nonsense. These are ships that I play simply for the love of the game. I think it's high praise when a new premium ousts one of the old guard and muscles in on this list. Roma isn't there yet -- we're fighting, truth be told. She's got a long ways to go if she thinks she can earn her keep. I'm very happy with the balanced state of Roma. I'm very happy to have this review done. The next review coming up will be Musashi, the tier IX Japanese battleship that's causing all kinds of controversy. Roma and Musashi both came off of the content-embargo on the same date, but I had no warning about the latter. You can expect this next review in about a week's time with an undue level of snark laced throughout. A very special thank you to Lert for his continued editing efforts and to my patrons on Patreon. With as much time and energy I devote to these reviews, I cannot afford to do it alone anymore. Your continued support means the world to me and allows me to keep my head down and working hard with less worry. Thank you for reading and for all of your feedback, criticism and fun gifs too! My current ten favourite ships. Top Row: Fujin, Atlanta, De Grasse, Prinz Eugen, Atago. Bottom Row: Scharnhorst, Nelson, Harekaze, König Albert, Warspite. Will Roma or Musashi earn a spot? Tune in next week! iChase put together a wonderful little history piece for those who want more Roma in your Roma review!
  10. Premium Ship Review: HMAS Vampire

    The following is a review of HMAS Vampire, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of December 5th, 2017. The Hickey giving Lolibote. Quick Summary: A destroyer-hunter with decent guns and a terrible torpedo armament. Cost: Earned through a four-part mission. Destroy 20 ships. Win 7 battles. Earn 25,000 experience. Deal 750,000 damage. Alternatively, it may be bought in a bundle $26.29 USD, including a port slot, commander, flag, doubloons, upgrades and 14 days of premium time. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.14.0, December 1st through 5th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary Clemson, Tier IV American Destroyer Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique High praise, indeed, but misleading. Vampire closely resembles Clemson in the gunship / destroyer hunter role. Both ships bring a surprising amount of main battery firepower at their respective tiers. Neither ship could be counted as steatlhy. Neither ship could be described as exceedingly agile or quick at their tier. Their similarities largely end there. PROs Good hit point pool for a tier 3 destroyer at 9,500. Excellent gunship performance with high DPM for its tier. X-turret can rotate 360º making it easy to shift fire from port to starboard when charging the enemy. Torpedoes can be launched individually. Gains no surface detection when firing guns in smoke. Uses an American Smoke Generator consumable with longer emission and duration times. CONs Guns are small caliber, unable to directly damage extremities of battleships with HE shells. Poor shell ballistics. Only a single triple torpedo launcher, greatly limiting her alpha-strike potential. Torpedoes are slow, short ranged with a large surface detection range for their low speed. Poor overall concealment. It's been a long time since we've had a helping of low-tier ships. The last entry-level premium to hit World of Warships was the Russian cruiser, Oleg, back in February of 2017, which I admit I didn't receive very enthusiastically. Vampire thankfully changes this. On paper she doesn't look terribly exciting. She's a four-gun destroyer with a limited torpedo armament. I am happy to say that she surprised me. Options Ah, low tier ships. They're so much easier to review because there's little weirdness down at these tiers. HMAS Vampire still surprises, though. She uses the American Smoke Generator, which has an increased emission time (23s vs 20s) and increased duration on the individual clouds she creates (109s vs 69s). Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost Module Upgrades: Two slots, standard destroyer upgrades Premium Camouflage: Standard Type 9/10. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Be careful of loading up on too many premium consumables at low tiers, however. You earn less credits and experience at tier III than you do with a tier VIII premium, for example, and the 22,500 credit resupply price tag of these consumables can eat into your rewards significantly. I would prioritize them in order of Damage Control Party first, then Smoke Generator and leave off Engine Boost altogether. Here's your quick and dirty upgrade guide: Take Magazine Modification 1 in your first slot. Mitigate those Fun and Engaging explosions. Follow this up with Propulsion Modification 1 for your second. Speed is life in a destroyer. This will help keep it intact. Special Upgrades! HMAS Vampire isn't compatible with any special upgrades, so don't worry about it. Firepower Primary Battery: Four 102mm/45 rifles in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedo Armament: Three tubes in a 1x3 launcher mounted down the centre line behind the funnels. I admit that it took me a few games to finally figure out what I was supposed to be doing with HMAS Vampire. I stubbornly wanted to use her as a torpedo boat and this ship fought me the whole way. I had dismissed her main battery armament out of hand when I saw their performance stats. Combined with her anemic torpedo armament, she was a destroyer with few apparent charms. In truth, she's a gunship destroyer, well suited to hunting down enemy destroyers and harassing enemy cruisers. Vampire will help your team dominate capture points and annoy the Hell out of larger vessels. The combination of tools she has to accomplish this are as subtle as they are interesting and they took me by surprise. Before I sing the praises of Vampire's main battery guns, let's get their flaws out of the way. These are very telling and must not be ignored as they will largely dictate the successes you can enjoy with these weapons. Poor HE and AP penetration values. Poor fire starting qualities. Poor ballistic arcs over long distances. Penetration So let's talk about penetration (lewd!). You'll be reliant upon HMAS Vampire's HE shells as her AP shells just don't have the bite at range, leading to a lot of bounces and ricochets. Even if a cruiser gives up their broadside, your AP shells will struggle to citadel them outside of 5km ranges. Protected cruisers are all but immune to citadel hits from her. Testing revealed the following values as the upper limits of their penetration which worked out to the following: 100mm @ 3.6km - Equivalent citadel protection of most protected cruisers. 76mm @ 5.3km - Citadel protection of most scout-cruisers and destroyer-leader cruisers. 50mm @ 7.8km - Extremities of battleship belt armour 32mm @ 10.2km - Adequate to damage most "soft" areas on cruisers, battleships and aircraft carriers. Short of suicidal ranges to blow out the citadels of cruisers, the only time you should take AP shells is to hammer battleships in their upper hulls and extremities. Even this damage will fall away if the ship begins to angle. Her reliance on AP shells to hurt battleships comes from the lack of penetration on HE shells. Vampire can only penetrate areas of 16mm worth of armour or less with her HE. Low tier battleships have a minimum of 19mm worth of armour protection outside of their superstructures, ensuring that almost everything thrown at them by Vampire will shatter without effect. This can be mitigated with a commander using Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, which props up her penetration to affecting areas of up to 21mm. Now that talking about penetration has got you all hot and bothered, let's turn up the heat and talk about fire. Vampires like fire, right? Fire Starting Wrong. She's terrible at this. It's almost like Vampires were allergic to fire or something. HMAS Vampire has a 5% chance to start fires per shell hit. Given her limited Matchmaking, we can easily calculate her fire chances per shell. Right click and "View Image" to enlarge. HMAS Vampire's fires per minute versus ships between tiers 2 (purple), 3 (green) and 4 (red) both stock, with fire prevention upgrade (Damage Control Mod 1), skills (Fire Prevention) and a combination of the two. HMAS Vampire will never be a stellar firestarter, unlikely to ever exceed 4.0 fires per minute, even with the assistance of Basic Fire Training, Demolition Expert and Adrenaline Rush. While it's possible to farm some damage via fires, this will not be where the majority of her damage comes from -- this goes doubly so if you take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells to help you damage battleships directly. You can hope that some battleship will mismanage their Damage Control Party but she's really going to struggle to hurt those big ships with her guns. Ballistics They're worse than the USN 127mm/38s that we all know and love. Don't bother with learning Advanced Fire Training -- your lead times are over one second per kilometer at those ranges. If you keep engagement distances under 7km, you'll have 5 second lead times which is more than manageable, even against fast moving lolibotes. AND NOW THE GOOD STUFF... HMAS Vampire's guns have poor ballistics, poor fire starting and their penetration values are found wanting -- so what (if anything) is good about them, you may ask? Two things, really: Solid DPM Excellent fire angles Damage per Minute Vampire's damage per minute is solid. When you compare her to her contemporaries, she comes out looking very good even when bottom tier. This is important. When you come across enemy destroyers, you want to have your guns singing right from the start. Let other players fumble trying to get their torpedoes away -- you should be taking the early lead in getting damage out. Unchecked, Vampire will quickly overwhelm another destroyer. Damage per Minute (x103) with HE shells with main battery guns for tier 2 & 3 destroyers (in red) and 3 & 4 destroyers (in purple). As a destroyer hunter, HMAS Vampire is very well equipped to outgun other lolibotes, even when bottom tier. She's capable of keeping pace with even such vaunted gunships as the American Clemson-class. Players should endeavour to increase their firepower with Basic Fire Training to help overwhelm opponents quickly. Them firing curves What makes Vampire so good at fighting off would be slayers are her forward fire angles. On the attack, she can bring A, B and X turret to engage enemies a mere 7º off her bow. Y turret can join in at 30º. This makes her extremely dangerous in the pursuit, allowing her to maintain 75% of her firepower in a chase without letting opponents open up the distance. But it gets better. X-turret can rotate 360º. This mitigates her sluggish turret traverse of 10º/s and it allows Vampire to zig-zag while approaching enemies and have three guns once again singing within 2 seconds of beginning the turn. Thus, HMAS Vampire can dodge while maintaining a high volume of fire -- far more so than any of the other destroyer she faces, at least so long as she's on the attack. If you surrender the initiative and you're forced to retreat, the 294º and 284º arcs of the forward guns are less than impressive. Provided you can force your lolibote opponents onto their back foot, Vampire will win out on most DPM races. And this is a good thing because her torpedoes are downright unfortunate. I like to imagine Vampire's torpedoes have a primary job -- to sweep enemy smoke screens clear of camping destroyers. Beyond that, any damage they do is just icing on the cake. Vampire's torpedoes aren't easy to use. They're slow. They have a large surface detection range relative to their speed. They don't reload quickly. And, for such limited armament, they don't hit especially hard either. HMAS Vampire has a single triple torpedo launcher. While her torpedoes may be fired individually, her combined volley of three fish doesn't have enough of a high damage yield to seriously threaten a full health battleship. Once you factor in damage mitigation and saturation effects to the extremities, Vampire is incapable of effectively destroying a hale and healthy battleship in a single salvo. She must give way to battleship and rely on damage over time effects or slowly chipping away at Dreadnoughts to bring them down. Summary: Excellent destroyer hunting guns, especially for twisting and dodging knife fights. Decent at harassing cruisers and aircraft carriers with a combination of fish and guns. Really struggles to do damage to battleships. DurabilityHit Points: 9,500Maximum Protection: Up to 10mm Hit point totals of destroyers when Vampire is top tier (green) and bottom tier (blue). There's not a whole lot to talk about here. Vampire has a healthy slug of hit points for a tier III destroyer but she's unremarkable when stacked up against tier IV destroyers. She's still a destroyer, with all of the inherent vulnerabilities therein, such as no armour, exposed magazines and a propensity to take module damage from loud noises half a kilometer away. Survivability Expert is a skill worth considering, though, adding 1,050 hit points to Vampire's totals (an 11% boost) given her role as a destroyer hunter. This would put her hit point total just shy of Shenyang's at 10,550. The combination of the extra hit points and her DPM can mean all of the difference. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 34.0knotsTurning Radius: 520mRudder Shift: 2.5s Maximum Turn Rate: 8.5º per second. Vampire won't win any prizes for her agility at tier III. When top tier, she's just slightly faster but noticeably less manoeuvrable than her opponents. When bottom tier, she's just slightly slower but with comparable agility to all of her contemporaries. Mediocrity truly defines her in this category, with no traits that truly stand out, but without any telling weaknesses either. An Orion gets ambushed by Vampire. Three, single fired torpedoes stack on top of each other's wake. With a fire already burning, this dreadnought is unable to stop the resulting flooding. This is one of the few ways Vampire can take down larger ships with any kind of haste, but it requires careful setup. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 6.48km Air Detection Range: 2.97 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.66km Main Battery Firing Range: 10.11m Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.0km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 4th out of 6 destroyers Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: Tied for 14th out of 19 Destroyers For a low tier destroyer, HMAS Vampire has a large surface detection range. She's not Clemson-bad, but she shares the larger surface detection radius of Shenyang. When stalking other lolibotes, this can be a real issue as she can have as much as 900m to sprint through to find the ship that's spotting her. If this sneaky opponent is staking you out for her bigger friends, the last thing you'll want to do is extend further. The only consolation is that low tier maps are small and claustrophobic with all of their island cover. Your reliance on open water stealth is of less importance provided you can slip from island to island to get closer. An interesting quirk of Vampire's guns is that they do not penalize her at all when she fires from smoke. Her surface detection when firing in concealment is no different from her automatic detection range (2.0km). But speaking of her weapons, it's only with a full concealment build (Concealment Expert + Camouflage) that Vampire can get sneaky enough to dump her fish without being spotted. She has less than 400m window from which to do this, but hey, it's something. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 40mm / 20mm / 13.2mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 2.5km / 2.0km / 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 11.4 / 3.4 / 8.2 That Vampire has any anti-aircraft firepower at all should be considered amazing -- many low tier premiums do without entirely. It's safe to say that her AA-power isn't good, but at least it's present. You might shoot down a plane through the course of a game -- especially if an enemy CV attempts to keep you spotted. Neither Langley or Hosho can afford to lose many aircraft, so every kill will help. At least, that's what you need to tell yourself while your guns shoot ineffectively at enemy aircraft. The Lolibote and the Damned Seeing as the British Commonwealth doesn't have a techtree, you can really spoil yourself and custom build a commander specifically for HMAS Vampire. This may have some overlap with HMAS Perth and any future releases Wargaming brings out of haidaing down the line. Your first 10pts should look like this: Start with Priority Target. Next take Last Stand. Basic Fire Training should be your next choice to get your DPM up on your guns. Finish it off with Concealment Expert. Your job is to protect your big friends from the predations of enemy lolibotes. To this end, take the following skills: Vigilance - not only to spot torpedoes aimed at you, but also to sniff out Deepwater torpedoes for your big friends behind you. The more warning you give them, the more time they have to figure out what WASD does (also, the more hilariously epic your facepalm will be when they die to them anyway despite having been spotted 5km out). Survivability Expert - Some lolibotes, like Clemson and Shenyang, like to fight back. Teach them who the apex predator really is. Besides, you know you'll be using this skill with the next British Commonwealth destroyer. ♥ Demolition Expert - To give her fangs more bite when only larger prey remains. No means no! Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Vampire is a challenging bote for a novice destroyer player. Her torpedoes such and her mainstay is the ever-so-dangerous destroyer knife-fight and firing from smoke at larger ships. You have to have good reflexes, solid gunnery skills and at least basic knowledge of concealment to make her work. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Veterans will find Vampire a very comfortable fit, rewarding them for using an abusing concealment, being able to snipe with her single-fire torpedoes and bullying capture points. She's held back in her carry potential by the lack of a high-alpha strike and her issues with concealment. Mouse's Summary: -bote. Proof positive that you don't need consumable gimmicks to make an interesting, fun ship. Enjoy making Pan Asian destroyers cry. Vampire chews on enemy lolibotes until they're dead. As a destroyer predator, Vampire is arguably the best in this role at her tier. There's a very real need in low tier games for a destroyer-hunter role -- it's one of the reasons Clemson is so adored by those who have discovered her potential in this regard. In fact, Vampire could be compared quite reasonably with Clemson -- both ships bring a surprising amount of main battery firepower to any engagement at their tier which makes enemy lolibotes cry. Recent changes to the meta with the introduction of the Pan Asian destroyer line has only amplified this need. I cannot stress how important a job this is. Take one look at the destroyer lineup in tiers II through IV. Umikaze, Wakatake, Isokaze, Longjiang, Phra Ruang, V-25, Clemson -- these are all seal clubbing dream-boats. They are overpowered little devils. Vampire may be named after a monster, but the list above list are the real fiends. When playing Vampire, you get to be the hero that saves those poor, innocent baby seals from these nightmares, especially when they're crewed by veterans. Vampire trumps the torpedo boats and gives even Clemson something to worry about Can a ship that preys upon overpowered ships avoid the label herself? I'm convinced Vampire does. While she may be well designed for winning knife fights against enemy destroyers, her attack power versus battleships is lackluster. She does alright against cruisers -- though she's very reliant on smoke to engage them with any degree of safety. I'm very excited about this ship. She has no real gimmick, she offers solid game play with a definite purpose and she demonstrates good performance. I hope we see more ships like her in the future. Would I Recommend? HMAS Vampire can be earned for free if you're willing to put the time in to do so. This mission ran on the North American server from December 5th through 20th and was a four-part mission. You needed a tier IV ship at a minimum and had to accomplish the following in subsequent steps in any battle mode of your choosing. Sink 20 enemy vessels. Win 7 battles. Earn 25,000 experience. Deal 750,000 damage. She's well worth putting the time into acquiring -- especially if you'd normally be playing anyway. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No. Vampire really lacks the hitting power you want to contend with bots in Co-Op. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Honestly? No. Low tier premiums do not have good credit or experience earning coefficients in of themselves. The British Commonwealth line does not have a tech tree associated with it either. About the only thing she'd really be good for, then, is farming signal flags. I had a lot of success hoovering up Confederate and Kraken Unleashed medals with this ship, but understand your own performance level. If these medals are rare for you, Vampire may make them a little less rare. Maybe. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. Stat pad to your heart's content with Vampire. She's a strong ship and a perfect little chariot to hunt would-be seal clubbers in Pan Asian and Japanese torpedo ships. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. HMAS Vampire had earned five battle honours by the time of her loss in 1941. There's a lot of history in this little boat. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Very yes. She's very comfortable and fun to play. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Premium Ship Review: Huanghe

    The following is a review of Huanghe, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. To the best of my knowledge, this is the release version of the ship and the stats are current as of November 30th, 2017. Red River, Yellow River, Red River, Yellow River, Red River, Yel -- ow, I just bit my tongue. Quick Summary: A British light cruiser with Soviet guns, a Japanese destroyer torpedo reload consumable and a Commonwealth cruiser's smoke generator. She's fragile, agile and tiny. Cost: $26.49 USD with a port slot. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.13.1 to 0.6.14.0 November 16th, 2017 to November 30th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary Perth, Tier 6 British Commonwealth Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Huanghe is an Arethusa-class light cruiser -- a design that came immediately after the Leander-class. There are a lot of obvious similarities between the two, with the Arethusa being a less expensive alternative, allowing the Royal Navy to get more ships for the equivalent cost. In game, the ships appear similar but their performance values are vastly different. They don't share the same guns, torpedoes, armour, consumables or handling characteristics, with Perth being arguably better built in almost every case. PROs Excellent gunnery performance with great ballistics, high fire chance and good AP penetration. Accelerated rate of fire of 8.57 rounds per minute. Extremely agile with a faster rate of turn than some IJN Destroyers (!) Small surface detection, capable of being reduced to 8.14km. Powerful anti-aircraft firepower for her tier. Equipped with the equivalent of Propulsion Modification 2 for free. Has the option of taking a Torpedo Reload Booster. Comes with HMAS Perth's Smoke Generator, with a 90s emission time, allowing her to stay mobile while remaining concealed. CONs Exposed citadel over the waterline, capable of being penetrated by all German and British battleship HE. FUN AND ENGAGING! Her magazines are not housed in her citadel with as little as 32mm of armour protecting them. She has an absolutely tiny hit point pool for a cruiser at 24,100hp. Small main battery armament of only 6 guns. Terrible main battery range of 13.2km which cannot be extended. Torpedoes may only fire in a thin spread with no option for wide or single fire. No Defensive Fire consumable. No aircraft consumable to assist her in detecting enemies while hiding in her own smoke. This review is being published a little later than I would like. It's been a difficult testing period, frustrated by more limited access to this ship than I would like. The wait to publish hinged on confirming final release details -- looking for issues that were noted during the testing period and seeing whether or not they were corrected when she went live. These were tidbits that wouldn't be covered in patch notes or described on third party datamine sites, such as her handling, torpedo spreads or which modules she was compatible with. I didn't get access to the ship until after she had been put up for sale, which is why this is being published now instead of prior to release as I would prefer. Anyway, here we are a day late. Let's hope this review isn't a dollar short. Options Huanghe is weird when it comes to her options. This is, I think, symptomatic of her troubled development cycle as different gimmicks were tried and tested and a hodge-podge of abilities emerged in an effort to balance her. Let's go through them. First, Huanghe counts as a British cruiser for the purposes of her upgrades. As such, she cannot take Propulsion Modification 2 as it's already installed for free. Second, she may take a Torpedo Reload Booster. She's the first cruiser to have access to this traditionally Japanese destroyer consumable. This reduces the reload time of her torpedo tubes to 8 seconds. This has a six minute reset timer for the standard consumable and a four minute reset timer for the premium version. Third, her Smoke Generator is odd, mirroring that found on the tier VI British Commonwealth cruiser, HMAS Perth. This comes with three charges by default and has a 90 second emission time, with each cloud only lasting for 10 seconds. This allows Huanghe to continue to creep forward at 1/4 speed and remain concealed while she moves. The reset timer on her consumable is 240s / 160s depending on if you take the free or premium version. Consumables: Damage Control Party Hyroacoustic Search or Torpedo Reload Booster Smoke Generator Module Upgrades: Four slots. British cruiser upgrades. Premium Camouflage: Standard Type 10. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Huanghe's upgrade choices will deviate somewhat from standard Light Cruiser equipment. Take Magazine Modification 1 in your first slot. Huanghe's magazines are not located in her armoured citadel and they have as little as 32mm worth of armour protecting them. She's as vulnerable to detonations as Perth and Leander are to HE shells of 152mm caliber or larger. If you prefer to live dangerously, you can take Main Armaments Modification 1, but don't come crying to me when you get your ship blown out from under you by a stray 152mm HE shell. In your second slot, you have a choice. You should probably take Propulsion System Modification 1 to protect your engine. However, it's your rudder that will get knocked out most frequently. For that, take Steering Gears Modification 1. For your third slot, take AA Guns Modification 2 for the increased range. Huanghe is a very short ranged cruiser, so it's difficult to justify Aiming Systems Modification 1 as it only reduces her maximum dispersion by a mere 8.7m (from 124m to 115m). And in your fourth slot, take Steering Gears Modification 2. Special Upgrades Huanghe is compatible with the following Special Upgrades. Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 replaces Propulsion System Modification 1 in your second slot. This increases the action time of your consumable to 110 seconds. Smoke Generator Modification 1 replaces AA Guns Modification 2. This increases the active time of your Smoke Generator from 90 seconds to 117 seconds, but shortens their duration from 10 seconds to 9.5 seconds. Both of these consumables are excellent choices for Huanghe. If you have access to them (and no better ships to place them upon), I would highly recommend installing each. Firepower Primary Battery: Six 152mm/57 in three turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Eight 100mm/70s in four turrets mounted behind the funnels Torpedo Armament: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers straddling the rear funnel. A lot of justified disdain will be aimed squarely at Huanghe's main battery. Let's get them out of the way. Huanghe has only six 152mm rifles at tier VI. This is appalling and regardless of what other merits I list here, there's no getting around just how terrible this is. Huanghe's lack of sufficient main battery firepower really holds her back. Are we all clear on this? I'm saying Huanghe's guns are bad. This "badness" is tempered by a few positive traits, that while welcome, they are insufficient to redeem the overall lack of firepower. These traits are: Huanghe uses Soviet 152mm/57 rifles instead of Royal Navy 152mm guns. These are the same guns found on Budyonny, Shchors, Mikhail Kutuzov & Chapayev. These guns have excellent ballistic arcs, great AP penetration and a high fire chance per shell hit which exceeds those found on the equivalent (premium) Royal Navy armament. Huanghe has an increased rate of fire with her guns to help offset her low DPM and overall fire-setting abilities. She reloads in 7.0 seconds flat as opposed to 7.5s of her Soviet counterparts. Yep, that's it. She's using Soviet guns instead of British and they have an increased rate of fire. In practical terms, this means Huanghe does more damage on a per-gun basis than Perth, Belfast or Leander which is definitely a plus. You'll set more fires, land more citadel hits, and generally be more accurate. However, this does not offset the disparity of losing out two rifles. Perth and Leander both struggle to kill even soft targets quickly and Huanghe amplifies this weakness. I wish I could say that was the end of the bad news, but it gets worse. Huanghe does not have access to the Spotter Aircraft consumable enjoyed by her British and British Commonwealth contemporaries. This means she's capped with an awful 13.2km main battery range with no way to fire beyond that. She also doesn't have very good fire arcs, with her C-turret only capable of engaging enemies 37º off her bow. Her rearward arcs are better, but still not great, with all three turrets capable of putting shells on targets 33º off her stern. If there's one area where Huanghe's guns are at least not-terrible, it's fire starting. She can be a respectable firebug -- almost on the same level as a nine-gun Galissonniere if she specializes for it (and I do stress "almost"). This will come at the expense of direct damage, though. Huanghe would need to sacrifice taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells to do it which is almost a must have for all 152mm HE throwing cruisers. I'm repeating myself, but let me be absolutely clear: Huanghe's main battery firepower sucks moose-balls. Not just moose-balls, but hairy and sweaty moose balls. It all comes down to her not having enough guns. Good as they are individually, they can't make up for the fact they're overtaxed for damage output. You're welcome for that moose-visual. Huanghe, on paper, has better overall DPM and fire starting abilities than ships like Aoba and Molotov. What these graphs do not describe is the ease at which this firepower is put to use. Molotov can engage enemies at long distances. Aoba's 203mm guns aren't reliant upon commander skills to ensure her HE shells penetrate. Huanghe is best compared with HMAS Perth and Leander in regards to her damage output -- all three are painfully short ranged. However, all three are capable of maximizing their DPM for short periods of time when they can setup their smoke. Her torpedo armament doesn't make up for the faults of her guns. Huanghe has a pair of triple launchers off each side of her ship. If you're hoping she'll get some world-ending fish to compensate for the problems with her guns, Huanghe will let you down. The good news is that these aren't Deepwater torpedoes -- they can engage any target she faces. The bad news is that these aren't Deepwater torpedoes -- they don't hit especially hard, move particularly fast, have great range or good concealment. Huanghe can't even launch these torpedoes from stealth. What's more, Haunghe's torpedoes appear to have been implemented haphazardly. It's as if they copy and pasted the British torpedo launchers, removed the British single-fire option and then forgot to replace it with the wide spread after the fact. This means Huanghe is limited to a narrow spread and a narrow spread only. It becomes almost laughable that Wargaming baits players to take a Torpedo Reload Booster to prop up Huanghe's firepower. This is the first time this consumable has been made available outside of the Japanese destroyer line. In order to take it, a player must surrender access to her Hydroacousic Search consumable. This gimmick might have more weight and appeal if Huanghe had an impressive torpedo armament -- something with more launchers or more teeth. The ability to double dip with another helping from her triple launchers doesn't strike me as terribly appealing. I can imagine some scenarios where it might change the outcome of a given match, but on the whole it's highly situational for an armament that's already lacking in versatility. In my play testing, I never came across an opportunity where I could have made good use of it. In short, redemption isn't found in Huanghe's torpedo armament. Summary: Garbage-tier firepower. Yeah, there are some redeeming qualities. No one could argue otherwise. But on the whole? Garbage. With all of this poo-pooing of Huanghe's firepower, do not make the mistake of thinking she's utterly incapable of dealing damage. That's not the message I'm trying to deliver. She's not going to put out as much damage as comparable ships, or do so as reliably. More fool you if you underestimate her. Are you regretting purchasing her yet? DurabilityHit Points: 24,100Maximum Citadel Protection: 70mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 16mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: None Everything here is also terrible. Huanghe puts on a whole new level of 'suck' when it comes to defining mid-tier cruiser durability. She makes Omaha look tough. Within her matchmaking spread, there is no cruiser with less hit points. The closest is Königsberg with 24,300hp -- a ship that's already known for capsizing and exploding violently when a loud noise occurs in the next grid-square over. Every other ship has a more significant advantage in health. It's well within the math for some tier VII and VIII battleships to delete Huanghe outright with no more than a pair of citadel hits. It's not like things get any better when you look at her armour scheme. Huanghe shares a similar protection scheme to the preceding Leander-class upon which the Arethusa-class was based, albeit having a weaker scheme overall. This comes with a few quirks: She has a small citadel, composed of only her engine spaces which sits slightly over the waterline. Her citadel wall extends to the exterior of the ship, making them potentially vulnerable to HE citadel hits. Her magazines lie outside of the armoured citadel directly beneath her guns and well submerged. So the only ray of sunshine is that people may miss your citadel when they think it extends further forward and back than it actually does. If you're lucky, you'll take some overpenetrating hits there which will keep you in the game just a little longer. As damning as this assessment is, let's be real: few light cruisers could ever make the claim of being reasonably protected. What's likely to kill an Arethusa-class would be just as traumatic and world-ending to a Nurnberg or Leander. Heavy cruisers will bully you. Battleships will savage you. And, even destroyer-caliber guns can be painful if you have to suffer their attentions for long. But this is worth looking into more closely. Yes, a Leander or Nurnberg may appear on the surface to be as fragile but Leander can heal. Nurnberg or Budyonny can sit back at 14km+ and use that extra range to give them more time to dodge. Huanghe can't. She has to tough it out and 'tough' is something she does not do well. Really, though -- don't expect to live long under fire. Death comes quickly and suddenly to Huanghe -- and it's your own damn fault for buying her. Shame on you. Though Huanghe's durability would have you wanting to hiding around friendly battleships in the second line, her range dictates that she must go forward into harm's way to score any damage. This is a common problem associated with all British cruisers. They get around this vulnerability by making use of a Smoke Generator and good concealment values -- traits Huanghe boasts as well. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 33.0knotsTurning Radius: 570mRudder Shift: 6.7s Maximum Turn Rate: 7.1º per second. Alright, I can almost forgive you for forking out the cash for Huanghe for her agility. If she had a little more speed, she'd put many destroyers to shame. As it is, she out performs all other cruisers with her ability to dodge and twirl. She can even out turn several IJN destroyers. It's strange, but she does this without the funny turning-acceleration quirks found in the Royal Navy cruiser line. Huanghe doesn't preserve speed in a turn the way Leander, Belfast or Minotaur does. She does have the equivalent of Propulsion Modification 2 installed -- her initial acceleration from a dead stop is very comfortable. She just doesn't get all the Royal Navy manouevrability quirks. The only thing she really lacks is a little more grunt in her engine and I could ignore all of the miserable, eye-bleeding terrible aspects of her durability. She's just not fast enough to dictate engagement ranges against anything other than a standard-type battleship and that's a big fly in the ointment. At 33 knots, she's not terrible in this regard, but I would have been much more excited to see her exceed 34.5 knots. At least at this speed she could conceivably run down a destroyer she caught flat footed and out pace any battleships she might face without much issue. I dunno, maybe I'm just being greedy. But after the disappointment of her guns and torpedoes, can you really blame me? Manoeuvrability ratings of the tier 6 cruisers. Note that De Grasse and La Galissonniere have access to the Engine Boost consumable which increases their top speed by 15% for 3 minute intervals. Huanghe's ability to turn and throw herself about is on par with many destroyers she faces. She's only lacking in a good top speed to really allow her to enjoy the same level of flexibility. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 9.54km Air Detection Range: 5.97 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 8.14km Main Battery Firing Range: 13.18km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 4.2km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 1st among 14 cruisers. Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 1st among 43 cruisers Huanghe's concealment also redeems her somewhat, but again it's not without its flaws. This is the sneakiest cruiser within her matchmaking spread and not by a small margin either. When fully specialized, she enjoys as 450m advantage over Perth and a 600m advantage over Leander and Belfast. The closest non-British cruiser comes in with New Orleans with nearly a 1km gap and everything else is considerably worse from there. As good as this looks, let's be realistic -- it's not enemy cruisers that you need to worry about spotting you; it's destroyers and aircraft carriers. We'll speak about the latter in the next section, but let's discuss destroyers for a moment. Huanghe is looking at needing to sprint across as much as a 2.7km gap in order to illuminate what's detecting her, all the while being under fire from the lolibote's big friends in the back. Given her 33 knot speed, it's just not feasible for her to cover this distance unless the destroyer makes a stupid mistake. As good as her concealment is, she can't perform the role of a forward scout even though her main battery range precludes her from skulking in the second line and firing from a distance. You're going to need to use cover to stay undetected to move into engagement ranges -- at least until the herd thins out. Thankfully, she brings her own concealment with her. Smoke Generator Huanghe has the same consumable found on HMAS Perth. While each smoke cloud lasts a mere 10 seconds, it continues to dispense smoke for a minute and a half. While Huanghe's Smoke Generator is in use, she may remain mobile and keep concealed while she does so, though she is normally limited to between 1/4 and 1/2 speed (12.5 knots). This allows her to foil the usual traps of air dropped and ship launched torpedoes aimed at smoke clouds as she slowly crawls away. Allied ships may also make use of this smoke, though doing so is much more difficult and it requires a conscious effort to match speed and heading. Huanghe has less tools to provide her vision beyond her smoke than HMAS Perth, though. While both use the same Hydroacoustic Search consumable, HMAS Perth has the extra advantage of a Spotter Aircraft to assist with detecting enemies. This lack would be damning were it not for the changes in smoke detection while firing. Any enemy battleships that opens fire within 10.5km of Huanghe is visible for twenty seconds and she can use that to give herself something to shoot at. This is a bit of a double edged sword, however, with Huanghe herself being visible within 4.2km within her own smoke when she shoots beyond it. This makes it risky to charge cap circles early on (a challenge she shares with Perth), especially if there are larger craft looming behind the lolibotes that have also rushed the control point. Even with these challenges, Huanghe's smoke is meant to redeem all of the other weaknesses so far described. She may have low DPM, but her smoke allows her to cycle her guns aggressively to take better advantage of their reload time for short periods. Her fragility may be masked behind concealment. Her difficulties in disengaging with her modest top speed can be corrected by hiding in smoke until she can put an island between her and her enemies. This is a huge burden for one consumable to bear, and I'm not certain it entirely corrects the deficiencies found so far within Huanghe. Still, it's not hard to see how powerful Huanghe can be in the right circumstances through clever use of her concealment and smoke. Opening moves on an Epicenter match. Though Huanghe shares a lot of traits in common with destroyers, it would be a mistake to play her as one. You're a support ship, not a front line scout or knife-fighter. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 78 / 73.6 / 28.8 Huanghe doesn't approve of your planes. One of this ship's most surprising characteristics is her anti-aircraft firepower. She uses a modern Soviet anti-aircraft suite -- a combination of dual purpose 100mm guns and 37mm automatic cannon to make the life of any planes within her sphere of influence miserable. It can be a rude shock for carriers that loiter around Huanghe's moving smoke cloud, hoping to spot her when the consumable wears off, only to have their air groups shredded. This is something HMAS Perth could never do. In terms of raw damage, Huanghe sits behind only Cleveland at tier VI in terms of her anti-aircraft firepower, which is no mean feat. Unfortunately, she does not get access to Defensive Fire. This was one of the casualties of Huanghe's long development cycle -- she used to have Defensive Fire and in this role, she could play an excellent support vessel. However, she had to surrender this for her Smoke Generator in one of the updates, so it was a fair trade off. Huanghe's anti-aircraft firepower will never truly be a dominating threat to enemy carriers and remains merely a nuisance that will cause them a few casualties, but it cannot stop attacks from being made. From HuangMeh to HuangGud Like all 152mm HE throwing cruisers at mid tiers, Huanghe's performance is really locked behind getting access to 14pt commander. While she can perform reasonably well before this, it's the ability to direct damage to all targets that makes her come into her own. Give the skills which optimizes her performance, she becomes a poor choice for training Pan Asian destroyer commanders, unfortunately. Here's what your first 10pts should look like: Take Priority Target. Follow this up with Adrenaline Rush. Your DPM needs all the help it can get. Next, take Demolition Expert. Setting fires is the only thing you're good at. And finally take Concealment Expert. The big skill you're racing towards is Inertial Fuse for HE Shells which should be your 14th skill point. This gives her the ability to directly damage large areas of any battleship she might face, along with some of the heavy cruisers when she's bottom tier. Your final 5pts should be placed between Vigilance (which stacks with Hydroacoustic Search to better spot torpedo threats while you're creeping along in smoke) and either Expert Marksman to buff your horrible turret traverse or Last Stand if you're sick of having your rudder shot out. An inefficient, entirely situational build for hilarity's sake is an anti-aircraft build. Drop Demolition Expert and take Basic Fire Training instead. Load up on Advanced Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns and complete the set with Preventative Maintenance. This is hardly a good build, but at least you'll shoot down a lot of planes. Oh, it's going to be like that, is it? Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Huanghe isn't going to do novice players any favours. She's a British light cruiser without a Repair Party that has to sneak in even closer to do damage. That's a recipe for disaster. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Properly managed, Huanghe can pull her own weight -- you just need to really flex those carrying muscles to do it. This makes for an interesting challenge for those inclined. Getting those Soviet 152mm up close opens up the opportunity for all kinds of hilarity, especially against enemy cruisers that are probably not used to getting their citadels shot out from smoke 12km away. However, her overall lack of firepower holds her back. Mouse's Summary: Perth-lite. Same Perth flavour with half the effectiveness! I kid, Huanghe isn't that bad. She's just not as good as Perth. I can already tell there's going to be a counter-culture movement that absolutely loves this ship... Can destroyer-levels of agility, the smoke generator of HMAS Perth along with good values for her AA firepower and concealment make up for garbage levels of firepower and durability? I was full ready to slap a 'Garbage' label on Huanghe and wash my hands of her. I don't care if she has good AA firepower -- that's a window dressing; it doesn't define a ship as being good or bad. Destroyer levels of twirling are nice but without speed to dictate engagement distances, it's a half measure. Her stealth is good, but not good enough especially in light of her weapon ranges. These arguments all strongly point towards a wholesale condemnation of this ship, but there's one thing and only one thing giving me pause. It's her damned Smoke Generator. Without it, this would be cut and dry: slap a trashbote label and move on. But, I cannot ignore how powerful this is when played well. It allowed me in play testing to rip the throat out of several ships that, on paper, had me dead to rights based on firepower, speed and durability. Yet, I must remind myself that a bad ship is still fully capable of doing damage and even sinking another. This isn't a game like World of Tanks where a disparity in power levels can mean outright immunity to a lesser-vehicle's attacks. I cannot outright dismiss the successes I did enjoy with this ship, but I must weigh them in context. Perhaps it's simply best to separate the two. Huanghe is a trashbote with a good Smoke Generator. So ask yourself: What you want to play with? Is it the trashbote, or is it the Smoke Generator? Because if it's the latter, HMAS Perth will be back around in the shops sometime soon... Would I Recommend? I'm forced to ask myself: "Why would you buy this?" If you're looking for comparable game play, HMAS Perth is superior in almost every regard. For trainer for the Pan Asian destroyer line, there are better choices. Loyang is one of the most competitive destroyers at her tier and Anshan comes in at a similar price tag with added economic bonuses baked in to boot. Huanghe is a premium without a purpose... PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Also no. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Very no. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Very no on toast. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Actually, yes. Be advised: Mouse has a soft spot for lame-[edited]ships, like the pre-buff Atlanta, Albany and Prinz Eugen. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion. Her Smoke Generator gets a Gudbote, though.
  13. The following is a review of Loyang, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. These stats are current as of November 16th, 2017. The classic spy. Quick Summary: A C-Hull Benson-class lolibote with less hit points (for some reason), two torpedo options and access to an improved version of the Hydroacoustic Search consumable. Cost: Sold in bundles starting at $33.99 USD including a port slot. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.13.0 to 0.6.13.1, November 9th, 2017 to November 16th, 2017 Closest in-Game Contemporary Benson, Tier 8 American Destroyer Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Loyang is USS Benson which was transferred to the Republic of China Navy in 1954. In game, she closely resembles a C-Hull Benson-class destroyer with some changes. She has 800 less hit points. Maybe it's harder for her to get cheeseburgers in Taiwan? Loyang has access to Hydroacoustic Search. Benson has 40m more main battery firing range than Loyang (seriously?) Her optional Mark 31 torpedoes are 13 knots faster than Benson's upgraded Mark 15 Mod 3 torpedoes at the cost of 2.5km worth of range. PROs Armed with four USN 127mm/38s with their super-twirly turret rotation and ridiculous rate of fire. Access to two different torpedo armaments. Uses standard torpedoes, not the deep-water variants of the Pan Asian line. Fast, agile, and very, very responsive. Stealthy as all get-out, with a great surface detection range. Decent AA firepower values for a destroyer. Uses an American Smoke Generator, with longer emission time and longer lasting clouds. Loyang's Hydroacoustic Search has a fearsome 5.4km range for peeping on enemy ships and lasts for a minute and a half. CONs Small hit point pool of 14,600hp. Armed with four USN 127mm/38s with their horrible gun ballistics and anemic fire chance per shell. Her first torpedo armament is very slow with anemic warheads Her second torpedo armament is dangerously short ranged with painfully long reload. Without Defensive Fire, her anti-aircraft firepower just doesn't cut it when you're cornered by a carrier. It's been a long time since I last looked at Loyang. I first reviewed her when she was released, almost two full years ago and so much has changed with the game in that time. We've seen a minor and a major skill overhaul, an upgrade module overhaul, the death of open water stealth-firing, changes to concealment in smoke and a direct buff to Loyang as well. It's well worth looking at her again. Looking Back... Loyang was originally released back in patch 0.5.3 back in February of 2016. With patch 0.6.6 in early June of 2017, Loyang received a series of buffs which upgraded the performance of her short-ranged torpedoes and the acquisition range of her Hydroacoustic Search consumable. Acquisition Range of Torpedoes: from 2.52 to 3.75km Acquisition Range of Ships: from 3.48 to 5.43km Torpedo Range of "533 mm Mk15 mod. 0": from 6.0 to 6.7km Same great C-Hull Benson-flavour, with only 14,600 hit points. Options You are spoiled for choice with Loyang. First off, you have the choice between two torpedo armaments. The one that's quick and dangerously short ranged while the other one is safer, slower and marshmellow squishy when it strikes (seriously, it should make a squeaky-toy sound when it hits). Next you have your choice of three different consumables for your third slot. Her Damage Control Party and Engine Boost is standard for a lolibote. Loyang uses an American Smoke Generator. This is improved over the standard version of other nations. It has a longer emission time (28s versus 20s) and each cloud lasts longer too (124s vs 89s). Loyang's Defensive Fire is again standard for a destroyer. This has a shorter active period than a cruiser's (30s instead of 40s) but it multiplies the damage of her 127mm and 40mm guns by four instead of three as it would for a large vessel. But it's her Hydroacoustic Search consumable which really deserves special attention. This is the equivalent of a German tier VII cruiser's version of the consumable in terms of range, though it has a shorter duration of 90 seconds. It will spot ships at 5.43km and detect torpedoes at 3.75km. Having Loyang near a contested cap circle is a nightmare for the enemy team as she'll easily light up all of the ships hiding in smoke for her allies to tear apart while she can remain safely hidden within her own smoke. I dunno -- it seems kinda pervy to me -- like Loyang is some peeper hiding in the bushes with a pair of binoculars and streaming the whole thing on her smartphone. The poor lolibotes have no idea she's about to spy on them when they're at their most vulnerable until it's too late. Really, you should be taking Hydroacoustic Search. This is what makes Loyang special... and a criminal. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost or Defensive Fire or Hydroacoustic Search Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard destroyer upgrades Premium Camouflage: Standard Type 10. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. When equipping Loyang, be sure to take premium versions of all of your consumables. Yes, this is expensive. Yes, this is going to eat into your earnings. Unless you're playing co-op against bots, pull the trigger here. You'll need them. Loyang's upgrades are pretty standard fare for a destroyer. Take Magazine Modification 1 in your first slot. Next, equip Aiming Systems Modification 1. This doesn't provide a real boost to your guns accuracy (the gains are minuscule) but it does provide a nice rotation speed increase to your torpedo armament which is nice. Alternatively, you can take AA Guns Modification 2 here, but Loyang isn't known for her AA power. In your third slot, take Propulsion Modification 1. Fourth comes Propulsion Modification 2. And finally, take Concealment System Modification 1 in your final slot. Special Upgrades! At the time of publication, Loyang has access to five Special Upgrades, but only one is worth considering. Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 changes the active period of her consumable from 90s to 108s. This replaces Propulsion Modification 1. If you do not have access to this consumable, you are missing out as it makes Loyang all the more dangerous to her enemies. They are typically found within Supercontainers. Before you buy this ship, it's worth checking your account inventory in port to see if you have earned one of these to immediately equip it to this ship. Firepower Primary Battery: Four 127mm/38 rifles in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedo Armament: Ten tubes in 2x5 launchers straddling the rear funnel. Choice of either Mark 15 Mod 0 or Mark 31 torpedoes. Loyang's guns really emphasize how much you're going to need to outplay your opponents make this ship work. Truth be told, she's under armed as far as gunnery is concerned with only four Mark 30 USN 127mm/38 rifles. While these guns have excellent handling and can dispense almost eighteen rounds per minute, this won't be enough to keep up with other destroyers if it comes down to a slugging match. Do these graphs look familiar? They've been requisitioned from my USS Kidd review. USN 127mm/38s Mark 30s are a common weapon used across many ships (including no less than four premium ships currently) so data in these graphs will get some mileage. Loyang sits in the middle of the pack for damage output. Her shell flight time precludes her from trying to engage destroyers at long range. She cannot out-muscle enemy destroyers in gunnery duels, not without a plan. Fortunately for Loyang, her preferred hunting ground is cap circles where enemies often oblige you by staying close and making terrible mistakes. Loyang isn't very tough and she doesn't hit especially hard. But what's important is that she hits hard enough -- often enough to prompt them to use smoke. Loyang's secret weapon is the combination of her Smoke Generator and her Hydroacoustic Search. Regardless of which destroyer smokes up first, Loyang can activate her second consumable and continue to spot enemy destroyers. The range of Loyang's Hydroacoustic Search will nearly span the diameter of many cap circles leaving enemy lolibotes no where to hide from this Peeping Penelope. If they foolishly try and continue to contest the cap, Loyang has all of the time in the world to tear them apart. This combination of an American Smoke Generator duration combined with what amounts to a German Hydroacoustic Search consumable allows Loyang to sit comfortably in smoke, unafraid of ambushes from torpedoes and cycle her guns to her heart's content. This can really help her attempt to pad her damage stats by bombarding enemy battleships at medium ranges. Given the low fire chance of her shells, this time is greatly appreciated. Without her consumables to support her, Loyang's gunnery feels lackluster. To this end, premium consumables help considerably -- providing an extra charge and reducing the reset timers of each. When her consumables run dry, Loyang is easily outgunned by just about any destroyer she may encounter due to the combination of poor ballistics, only middling DPM and her own small hit point pool. Torpedoes Loyang gives you the option of using one of two different torpedo armaments. One is fast, short ranged and reasonably hard hitting. The other is slow, long ranged and downright tender and nurturing when it comes to touching enemy ships with their tiny warheads. One of these armaments has a ton of street cred -- I'll let you decide which. Mark 31s. Live fast. Die young. Leave a beautiful corpse. Mark 15s. Magical baby bunny kisses from the sea Stats wise, the MANLY METAL DEATH FISH OF JUSTICE are no harder hitting than Benson's upgraded torpedoes. They also share the same reload time with Benson's upgrade. With the prevalence of Surveillance Radar, float plane aircraft and Hydroacoustic Search among Loyang's manly prey, making proper use of these torpedoes presents a very high risk and it's no wonder only the most brutal and cunning Loyang commanders elect to use this armament. This is an armament suitable for giant-mans. Instead, most choose to wuss out and use the Happy Marshmellow Springtime Friendship torpedoes (yay!). These are identical to Benson's stock (baby) torpedoes with a comfortable range but anemic warhead that hits for less than 10,000 damage per strike against large targets. The flooding chance on these fish is worse by a large margin too. While they're easier to land hits on target, the chance for doing catastrophic damage is greatly reduced. What did you expect of a torpedo armament suitable only for tiny-baby-mans? Flooding chance per torpedo hit against tier VIII Battleships with Damage Control Modification 1 installed. These apply only to hits which strike their anti-torpedo bulges amidships. Hits that strike unprotected ships (or the bow or stern) have a 89.3% chance of causing flooding for the Manly Metal Death Fish of Justice while the Happy Marshmellow Springtime Friendship Torpedoes (yay!) have a 60.8% chance. Once you've unlocked a 10pt Commander, either one of these torpedo armaments may be launched from concealment. The question really becomes how close do you dare get to the enemy? There's no doubt that the stock Benson-torpedoes are much safer and easier to use, even if they are wanting in their damage totals. The 'upgraded' torpedoes are just too short ranged to be effective outside of ambushes and suicide strikes. You're just so very likely to be spotted before you get a chance to use the shorter-ranged fish which will often end in disaster. Loyang has more of a dependence upon her torpedo armament to stack up impressive damage totals, however, it would be a mistake to think of her primarily as a torpedo-based destroyer like some of the Japanese ships. Summary: vs USN 127mm/38s, we meet again. Her guns by themselves won't let you win knife fights. You're going to have to play smart. Deep Water Torpedoes Loyang does not use the deep-water torpedoes of the Pan Asian Destroyer line. Unlike her sister ships within the tech tree, she's capable of engaging all types of enemy ships with her fish instead of merely being limited to larger vessels. The down side is that her Loyang's torpedoes are more easily spotted (and thus easier to avoid) than the other Pan Asian lolibotes. A large portion of Loyang's effective damage is going to be done just like this -- sitting in smoke, cycling her guns as quickly as she can. Her USN 127mm/38s are not the hardest hitting of guns, with terrible ballistics and horrible fire settings properties. Given enough time, however, they can stack up some respectable damage totals, especially when supplemented by the torpedo style of your choice. DurabilityHit Points: 14,600Maximum Protection: 19 to 20mm *Hsienyang is still in testing and her statistics many not be final. There's not a whole lot of good news here. Loyang has the second lowest hit point total among the tier VIII destroyers. This puts her on lower footing than even some tier VI and VII destroyers, such as the German Ernst Gaede, the upcoming T-61 premium (still a work in progress) and Leberecht Maass along with the Soviet Leningrad-class destroyers. This should further emphasize how important it is for Loyang to use every tool she has at her disposal to outplay enemy gunships rather than simply trying to trade fire with them. It's almost an imperative that you invest three commander skill points into Survivability Expert to bump Loyang's totals up to a more competitive 17,400hp. Fighting in and around cap points is exceedingly dangerous and not for the faint of heart. Loyang is well equipped to bring vision into these control points and bully enemy destroyers out of them. However, when radar-packed ships appear, even she needs to beat a hasty retreat. Compared to the other gunship destroyers at tier VIII, Loyang is fragile and she doesn't stand up to such abuse very well at all. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 38.0knotsTurning Radius: 570mRudder Shift: 2.7s Maximum Turn Rate: 8.5º per second. In all respects, Loyang has the exact same agility as USS Benson, right down to their rate of turn. She shares the title of being, hands down, the most agile destroyer at her tier. This doesn't quite make her the most agile ship within her matchmaking spread, though. She still pales compared to 9.2º/s rotation rate and the 38.5 knot speed of USS Sims. Loyang should be used carefully to try and control engagement distances -- whether that is keeping out of the range of Surveillance Radar armed cruisers or sprinting the distance between itself and a newly raised Smoke Generator cloud to light the occupant with your Hydroacoustic Search. Rivals: USS Kidd When it comes to being tough, few tier VIII destroyers can boast the kind of durability that USS Kidd has. For those who have been living under a rock, USS Kidd has access to a Repair Party consumable -- currently, she's the only tier VIII destroyer with this ability. All told, this functionally gives her upwards of 30,724 hit points under perfect circumstances. This isn't the only trick up Kidd's sleeve -- she also has excellent anti-aircraft firepower for a destroyer. Unlike Loyang, she doesn't give up access to Defensive Fire for her gimmick, keeping her a credible threat and nuisance to enemy aircraft carriers. Kidd risks supplanting Loyang's supremacy in the competitive scene. At the time this is being written, we haven't seen another season of tier VIII Ranked Battles, but there's a lot of excitement to see how this new tier VIII destroyer will fare. In a straight up match, Loyang may be able to bully or even destroy Kidd in the short term provided she falls for Loyang's usual peek-a-boo tricks. What Kidd wants to do is get a few licks in with every such encounter and then break contact. In this manner, she can turn the fight into one of attrition -- one that she will win given enough swings. Her five-gun firepower will out muscle the four of Loyang and her ability to recover from damage done is likely to overwhelm to peeper. Like Loyang, Kidd is a difficult destroyer with which to be successful. While Kidd trivializes dealing with enemy aircraft, her offensive firepower is lacking with only half of a torpedo armament. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 7.38km Air Detection Range: 3.60 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.80km Main Battery Firing Range: 11.55km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.7km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: Tied for 5th with Benson & Kidd, sitting behind the Kagero-sisters. Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: Tied for 6th out of 36 places. Like USS Black, Loyang is a creepy pervert that likes to peek in on ships hiding behind their blinds. Loyang didn't invest in the deluxe, top of the line binoculars the way Black did with her Surveillance Radar, opting instead for a handsome, German-engineered Hydroacoustic Search she bought on sale. However, unlike the lonely German destroyers, Loyang has the short ranged surface detection to get very close to her targets before she's spotted -- almost within the same range of her Hydoacoustic Search consumable which makes her nearly as good as Black at catching her prey unawares. Fully specialized for stealth, Loyang's surface detection range is 5.8km compared to the 5.4km range of her hydro. Loyang can sneak right up to point blank range against enemy destroyers, initiate a knife fight and when they smoke up, continue keeping them spotted for all of the world to see. Unlike Black's victims, Loyang can keep said targets lit for up to one minute and 48 seconds with the right upgrades, which is insane. She can even do this through her own smoke. What's more, her Hydroacoustic Search has the dual function of lighting up torpedoes too, so the vain flailing by the enemy lolibote to try and cover herself with a spread of fish goes all for naught. This gets especially funny if you can pull it off against larger targets like Mikhail Kutuzov or British & Commonwealth Cruisers. Just beware of enemy radar ships. Loyang blends well into the crowd too, with a competitive surface detection that matches Black, Benson, Kidd and Fletcher. This is bested only by a couple of Japanese Destroyers -- Kagero and Harekaze. She's an excellent agent to contest and push on capture points, putting pressure on enemy destroyers that have the misfortune of crossing her path. Her Hydroacoustic Search is best foiled by simply opening up the distance. However, this very act often surrenders the cap circles her enemies had originally come to take in the first place. The only reliable ways of pushing Loyang back when she takes root is with Surveillance Radar or another larger ship engaging her with Hydroacoustic Search. Aircraft can pressure her too, but she'll simply hide in smoke until the control point is secured before sneaking away like the criminal voyeur she is. Finally, opponents can try and charge her and close the distance -- hoping to weather the torrent of fire her 127mm/38s will spit out before they can close to 2.7km and dodge any MANLY or Friendship fish she might spit out to deter their reckless advance. Loyang patrols around the border of a capture circle as the Reds begin to secure it. She has spotted a smoke cloud at the far side of the capture point and readies torpedoes to try and snipe the enemy lolibote before giving away her presence, ready to move in to prevent them from capturing the area uncontested should her fish miss. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 42.8 / 22.6 / 14.4 Loyang shares USS Black's vulnerability to aircraft. Both ships sacrifice their Defensive Fire consumables to gain access to their detection consumables instead. While Loyang could, in theory, forgo taking her Hydroacoustic Search to gain a strong measure of anti-aircraft defense, this would be surrendering one of her greatest advantages. As a matter of course, players should rightly assume that Loyang's defenses against aircraft will be lackluster and that she shares the same vulnerabilities to aircraft predation as German and Japanese destroyers. Just think of aircraft carriers as the neighbourhood watch, keeping an eye out for dirty peepers like yourself. Rivals: HSF Harekaze In terms of accessibly, Harekaze is a better premium destroyer than Loyang. Using Harekaze is straightforward. She's a torpedo destroyer with decent guns. If your goal in your premium destroyer is to play it safe, stand off and dump fish into big-dumb-battleships, then Harekaze is hands-down preferable to Loyang in this regard. She's capable of some gunnery action too, though this is often locked behind taking the proper commander skills to make these weapons sing. Loyang is the better premium destroyer between the two, but there's a very high skill threshold to unlock her potential in this regard. This doesn't preclude novice and casual players from having some success with her. Her Happy Marshmellow Springtime Friendship torpedoes (yay!) are still capable of putting out decent numbers, but this play style would be better served with a destroyer that would reward such play more, like Harekaze. Loyang's full potential is only unlocked in the thick of the action -- hunting down enemy destroyers and unmasking lurking cruisers. This is a very dangerous game to play and it's not for the inexperienced. Players lacking the situational awareness, map knowledge and tactical acuity to pull this off will not find Loyang a comfortable fit. In this regard, Harekaze is more ubiquitous and better suited to the population at large than the Pan Asian destroyer. Posting your Treasures on Instagram Your first ten skill points are going to look like standard fodder and fare for a gunship destroyer. Begin with Priority Target to know when it's time to disengage. Don't let yourself get blindsided in a knife fight when a new challenger joins unexpectedly. Next, the old destroyer standby, Last Stand is imperative to keep your engine and steering gears operational when they inevitably get knocked out. Cause they will. Often. Take Survivability Expert (3pts) to nudge your hit points up to 17,400. This will make you more of a credible threat in a knife fight when your Hydroacoustic Search consumable is down And finally grab a nice big, roomy trench-coat & fedora in the form of Concealment Expert to complete your super-sneaky look. Your next nine points are yours to spend as you see fit, with high value skills including Radio Location (4pts), Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (4pts), Superintendent* (3pts), Vigilance (3pts), Demolition Expert (3pts), Basic Fire Training (3pts), Torpedo Armament Expertise.(3pts) and Adrenaline Rush (2pts) * A Not so Super Superintendent Mouse, why aren't you recommending Superintendent for Loyang in the first 10 skill points? Surely, having up to four charges of your oh-so powerful consumable combination would be best? It's funny what happens when you sit down and do the math. Loyang's Smoke Generator dispenses smoke for 28s and it takes 160s for the reset timer to expire. This gives us 188s -- or a little over three minutes, per charge. Her Hydroacoustic Search is even worse, with upwards of a 108s active period and a 120s reset timer. This adds up to 228s or almost four minutes between charges. When you lay out the time between charges, you can calculate how long a match needs to run to make use of all four charges. 00:00 - Both consumables used. (Base charge) 03:08 - Smoke Generator is available and used again. (Base Charge) 03:48 - Hydroacoustic Search is available and used again. (Base Charge) 06:16 - Smoke Generator is available and used again. (Premium Charge) 07:36 - Hydroacoustic Search is available and used again. (Premium Charge) 09:24 - Smoke Generator is available and used again. (Superintendent Charge) 11:24 - Hydroacoustic Search is available and used again. (Superintendent Charge) Note, these times are assuming you're using them immediately when they become available. Any lapse in the action and this delays even further. This may not look too bad -- most games are going to last 12 to 15 minutes or so, but this isn't including the delay before the first time you're going to need to use your consumables. It often takes as much as three to four minutes before you'll be prompted to use your first cloud of smoke. never mind reaching for Hydroacoustic Search. Where Superintendent will come into play are hard carries -- where the game is coming right down to the wire after nearly 20 minutes of play and you're milking every last drop of performance out of your destroyer. For most players, these situations are going to be especially rare and you really need to be realistic with how much you're willing to prepare for outside occurrences like this. You will definitely get more mileage out of skills that you use more regularly. You can rig your Loyang into a torpedo boat if you wish. This will make her easier to play. However, to get the most out of her, you're going to have to go destroyer hunting and that's a far riskier venture. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult As far as American-style destroyers go, Loyang is forgiving. At her simplest, Loyang can stand off at the edge of her Happy Marshmellow Springtime Friendship torpedo (yay!) range and just lob fish and hope to score a few hits. This is far enough away that she can turn and run from radar armed vessels and her hydro will also keep her mostly safe when she does have to fight other destroyers. Your team mates may curse the wasted potential of this ship, but it will get the job done. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Loyang is well loved by players with an eye on the more competitive meta. As far as Randoms go, she's arguably the most powerful of the tier VIII destroyers, contending only with the USS Kidd for primacy. In the hands of an expert, she can control vision, bully capture points, dig out cruisers and destroyers hiding in smoke and still manage to put out reasonable levels of damage herself. Her only real weaknesses are radar-equipped cruisers, aircraft and being caught between Smoke Generator resets by more powerful gunships. Mouse's Summary: I spy with my hydro-eye... Does anyone actually use the MANLY METAL DEATH FISH OF JUSTICE? I mean, I totally see why people don't. I'd want to give people seaborne magical baby bunny kisses too. Loyang is HMS Belfast in lolibote form. I exaggerate, but only a little. Loyang is a trapbote in the same vein as the infamous British premium. She forces enemy players to re-evaluate the manner in which they normally play. Rushing headlong into a cap -- already a risky venture, becomes downright suicidal if Loyang is present. A team that exploits the advantages Loyang can setup is well placed to take an early lead; especially if they can uncover an enemy unfamiliar with the threat Loyang presents. I cannot stress this enough: The ability to dominate the vision game early on and catch ships unaware is overpowered. Loyang surrenders two things to pull this off: hitting power and defense. Though she's built and billed as an American-based ship, she cannot fend off enemy aircraft. She also sits with a hit point deficit compared to every other gunship at tier VIII. What's more, having only four guns to the standard five puts her on the back foot when it comes to knife fighting. Her torpedoes are similarly cropped, with either short-ranged or anemic fish (player's choice). Thus, while Loyang is still capable of stacking the hurt, she doesn't hit as hard and she cannot last as long in a straight up fight. Wargaming would call this balance. Personally, I'm not sure if they pushed her back far enough. The only thing that keeps me from condemning her outright as overpowered comes from the not-unsubstantiated rumours that the Pan Asian destroyer line will have access to the Surveillance Radar consumable at high tiers, so we may be about to see a proliferation of this meta. Loyang is one of the best destroyers at her tier, bar none. In the hands of a purple player, she's an absolute nightmare to face for the enemy team. I suppose the only saving grace is that while she's gentle enough for a casual player to score some damage and maybe secure a cap, she's not so forgiving with mistakes. Knife fighting in capture points is a recipe for disaster for inexperienced players and it will just get you sent back to the port in a hurry if you try and pull it off. This speaks a lot to the wasted potential of this destroyer in the 'wrong' hands (I hate to use that term). There's just a vast gulf between what she can do and what she will do in a given match depending upon who is using her. Effectively, this means that your mileage with Loyang will vary considerably -- almost as much as with USS Kidd. I do believe Loyang is the easier to use destroyer between the two of them. You can stand off, build her to drop baby bunny kisses every 97 seconds and hope to get lucky with stacking floods. This really makes her more accessible and perhaps better than Kidd overall as a premium for the community because of this ease of use. However, I caution players that in this lower-skill threshold, Loyang isn't rewarding. You would be better served buying yourself a Harekaze instead if this is the style of play you want to espouse. So, are you hungry for a destroyer that will make you a better player? Loyang is a powerful ship that will challenge you and reward you for patience as well as aggressive plays -- just don't think that it will necessarily be easy. (Economic) Rivals: Anshan If you're looking for a trainer for the Pan Asian destroyer line, why should you get Loyang when you could get Anshan instead? Anshan is a dream premium, to be sure. She's a Gnevny-class destroyer but without the Gnenvy-class weakness of short ranged torpedoes. The 8km range on her fish is perfectly serviceable, giving this lolibote a wonderful bit of balance between her guns and torpedo armaments. Within her own tier, she's a perfectly competitive ship, well balanced against her peers. The real icing on the cake for those looking to use her as a trainer is her premium camouflage bonus. Anshan's premium camouflage earns double the free experience gains on top of the usual premium camouflage bonuses. This makes her better suited for use as a trainer than Loyang -- allowing you to better amass free experience for use of unlocking modules to accelerate progression through the tech tree. Loyang can't really compete this way short of earning more base experience grace of her higher tier. However, the gains between the tier disparity aren't so much that this will undo Anshan's free experience bonus. Where Loyang stands above Anshan is her ubiquity in other game modes. Loyang, at tier VIII, is better positioned for the competitive arenas. For players looking to graduate towards more aggressive, high skilled play, Loyang is the premium to choose. If you are looking to find a good trainer for the Pan Asian line and you've no interest in competitive battles, Anshan is the better purchase. She's less expensive and the free experience gains will serve you well. Would I Recommend? Loyang has had new life breathed into her import with the release of the Pan Asian destroyers. She can now assist with training up commanders and assisting the transfer of captains from one ship to the next. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Very yes. Bots are dumb. Loyang has sufficient hitting power to punish them and their inevitable headlong charge. The combination of her Smoke Generator and her Hydroacoustic Search will allow her to let the bots get in close before shoving torpedoes up their nose. In this manner she can be quite profitable. Just don't go ham on buying premium consumables -- it will eat into your profits. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Again, very yes. Loyang is arguably the best premium tier VIII destroyer in the game when it comes to ruling the roost in Random Battles. Her combination of smoke, torpedoes, hydro and stealth is almost Belfast-worthy (almost). For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes with a but. American-style destroyers with their good manoeuvrability, concealment and super-long smoke time have always been highly sought after in competitive environments. The addition of USS Kidd, however, may have supplanted Loyang here. While still an excellent choice, if enemy aircraft carriers are prevalent then Kidd becomes more advantageous, if only just. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. She's a destroyer that was built in steel. In USN service, she earned four battle stars. Her service with Taiwan appears to have been largely uneventful. I dunno, I could take it or leave it. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? If I say 'yes', does this brand me as a lewd? What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  14. Premium Ship Review: USS Kidd

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

    The following is a review of HMS Nelson, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of August 14th, 2017. The Walking Dead. Quick Summary: A slow Royal Navy battleship with all of her guns mounted forward on her bow. Her repair party consumable can allow her to come back from the dead twice over. Cost: 375,000 free experience. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.9. August 10th through 14th, 2017 Closest in-Game Contemporary Imperator NIkolai I, Tier IV Russian Battleship Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Whoa, no one panic! Nelson is not the second coming of the Nikolai. She simply shares a very similar gun layout and achieves a similar state of resilience (though admittedly through different means). They also share the affliction of having a very high citadel which means they both fold like a deck of cards if someone catches their side with battleship AP. Finally, like Nikolai, Nelson's big weak spot is her bow. While the Russian battleship really only has to worry about shells punching through the upper part of her snout, Nelson's entire bow can be easily overmatched by most of her contemporaries, but this is a common affliction to all tier VII Battleships. PROs Powerful Repair Party consumable, restoring up to 40% of the ship's hit points per charge. Good armour protection versus American AP Bombs. Good 1.9 sigma value which helps tighten up her dispersion. Flexible gun layout, able to switch fire from port to starboard very quickly. Short fuse timers on her AP shells, leading to less over penetrations. Ridiculous HE performance, with 101mm of penetration, high alpha strike and a 46% chance of starting fires per shell. CONs She feels blind with no consumables to aid with spotting (plane, radar, hydro) Citadel sits high over the waterline. Lackluster penetration values, comparable to HMS Warspite at tier VI. Slow turret traverse of 4.0º per second Anti-aircraft firepower is concentrated in short range (and excessively fragile) batteries. Nelson is slow with a maximum speed of 24 knots. Large surface detection range of 15.3km. HMS Nelson is the last of the so-called "Big Seven Battleships" to find their way into World of Warships. These were the battleships of the United States, Japan and Great Britain that were allowed to be armed with 16" guns under the Washington Naval Treaty after World War One to put an end to the naval arm's race. They consisted the Nagato-class, represented by Nagato and Mutsu, the Colorado-class of three ships, Colorado, Maryland and West Virginia and Nelson-class with Nelson and her sister ship, HMS Rodney. Of these seven vessels, the Nelson-class are certainly the standouts where design is concerned. There's no denying that their silhouette is very distinctive. When play-testing her, I received many comments about her looks (often derisive, but a few people had the right of it and called her 'awesome looking'). I can say that her play style is as distinctive as her appearance. Let's get into the hows and wherefores of their performance in game. Options Nelson has access to an improved version of the Repair Party consumable. This restores 1,188hp per second for 20 seconds, healing up to 40% of the ship's hit points per charge. However, this only comes with two charges as opposed to the usual three for battleships. Nelson queues damage in the similar manner as other Royal Navy battleships. She uses the same Damage Control Party of other Royal Navy Battleships (except Warspite) with a 15 second active period. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard Battleship options. Premium Camouflage: Type 10, tier VI+ standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. For your upgrades, you'll be picking standard battleship options. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. You're going to be tanking a lot with your bow and turrets, so your guns take a lot of abuse. In particular, her B turret gets disabled and destroyed frequently. In your second slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is your best choice. Nelson's horizontal dispersion is not as good as previous Royal Navy premium battleships, so the extra accuracy is sorely needed. Her anti-aircraft guns and secondaries are not worth upgrading. In your third slot, take Damage Control System Modification 1. This will boost your torpedo damage reduction up to 21%. And in your fourth slot, you have a choice. Steering Gears Modification 2 will reduce your rudder shift down to 11.9s. Alternatively, you can take Damage Control System Modification 2 to reduce fire and flooding damage if that's your preference. Special Upgrades The only special upgrade that has any sort of application on HMS Nelson is Damage Control Party Modification 1. When applied to HMS Nelson, this would increase the active period of her consumable from 15 seconds up to 21 seconds without affecting the reset timer. This competes with Main Armaments Modification 1 in HMS Nelson's first upgrade slot. Given the amount of abuse her main battery takes, this special upgrade isn't worth applying. Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 406mm rifles in 3x3 forward facing turrets in an A-B-C layout on the bow with B superfiring over A. Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm rifles in 6x2 turrets and six 120mm rifles Nelson's approximate penetration values for her AP shells are 550mm at 5km, 450mm at 10km and 350mm at 15km. Like Dunkerque, Nelson is largely defined by the layout of her primary gun battery. She mounts all nine of her guns ahead of her superstructure. Veterans who have played Izumo and are concerned about her gun handling can rest easy -- Nelson's gunnery is very comfortable; more akin to the Soviet tier IV Battleship, Imperator Nikolai I than the tier IX Japanese vessel. Her A & B turrets have excellent fields of fire with a 300º and 322º firing arc respectively. C is more limited, but still easy to use. It can engage enemies 25º to 137º off its side for a total combined field of fire of 224º. In most engagements, you'll be primarily making use of A & B turret with C being used to take opportunistic shots where possible. Nelson's turret rotation may not be fast at 4º per second (45 seconds for a 180º rotation), but with these guns all being forward facing, it's very easy to shift fire left to right as needed. Overall, Nelson's gun placement makes gunnery enjoyable. Even firing over the shoulder isn't too difficult. Nelson's accuracy, however, is a bit of a mixed bag. Her shell groupings are rather tight with a 1.9 sigma value, however she does not have the vaunted Royal Navy battleship shell dispersion seen previously on HMS Warspite and HMS Hood. Her linear horizontal dispersion appears to be the same as USN Battleships. This is still better than French and German vessels, but it's hardly enviable. As a result, when firing Nelson's guns, you can be blessed by a string of really tight shell groupings and then suffer some really wonky strays. Nelson's AP shells aren't terribly inspiring but her HE shells are phenomenal. The latter does not replace the former, however. Nelson's AP shells have almost identical penetration over distance to HMS Warspite's 381mm guns, while having a shorter- fuse timer as seen on HMS Hood. This is perfectly adequate (and even ideal) for bullying any cruiser within her matchmaking spread, but it's a different story where battleships are concerned. Her 406mm gun caliber ensures she can overmatch the bows of any cruisers she encounters, as well as the bows of battleships at tiers VII and below. Unfortunately, her ability to land citadel hits against enemy battleships has largely fallen away by ranges of 12km except for the softest skinned targets such as Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. Landing reliable penetrations becomes questionable outside of 14km. These ranges drop further when Nelson is bottom tier or she's shooting at thick skinned dreadnoughts. Closing the distance isn't always the best option with HMS Nelson. While this does greatly enhance the penetration powers of her 406mm guns, the backup provided by her secondaries is less than inspiring. Nelson's secondary gun complement is divided between 120mm dual-purpose guns in single mounts and six, large twin-gunned 152mm turrets. They are better positioned than those on Dunkerque, but these guns are still poorly laid out to support an attack. The volume of fire they put out is also less than stellar. Her 152mm guns fire a mere five rounds per minute with their AP shells. Her 120mm fire twelve rounds per minute with HE and a great 8% fire chance per hit, but these are largely rear facing and cannot begin engaging an enemy until they're alongside Nelson. Nelson does not appear to use the same dispersion model as Warspite and Hood. Her 1.9 sigma value keeps her groupings tight, however. Nelson's main battery HE shells are something to behold. They boast 6,900 alpha strike per shell, 101mm of penetration, and a 46% fire chance. The list of ships that Nelson can citadel with her HE shells is long -- long enough that a player might be tempted to think that spamming HE shells is an optimal way to play this battleship. While each penetrating hit does land an impressive 2,277 damage, this number quickly falls away as areas become saturated. This leaves her impressive fire starting ability to take over damage dealing which can be hit or miss on focused targets that already have blazes set. Nelson's AP shells should be relied upon as the principle damage dealer for this vessel, with HE used as situational backup. Nelson's HE shells are best used opportunistically, such as when an enemy battleship angles in at a distance, or as a one-off to help support a friendly CV by knocking out masses of AA guns in a single volley. The enormous 39.2m blast area of her shells will cause extensive module damage against any target she strikes, even if they fail to penetrate. These shells have a larger and harder hitting explosion than anything short of the Yamato, Lion and Conqueror. This can leave a formidable AA armament in tatters. It may also force ships to reach for their Damage Control Party consumable to repair disabled engines and steering gears, leaving them vulnerable to follow-up fires. It can even set off the magazines of destroyers and cruisers with the concussive force alone. An Iowa-class battleship can be stripped of all (yes, all) of it's small and medium caliber AA gun mounts in as little as two to three volleys of Nelson's guns. Peppering a few preliminary HE shells around like this in the early stages of a match can go a long way towards helping your CV allies out, especially before closing into more effective AP shell range. Just don't forget to prioritize nailing those cruisers with AP when you see them. Between gun handling, AP and HE performance, Nelson's firepower is incredibly forgiving. A novice player could, in theory, spam HE constantly and still amass some pretty respectable damage totals provided they survived long enough. They would definitely lose out to a Nelson commander who varied their ammunition choices, however. Rivals: Battlecruiser HMS Hood HMS Nelson is the second tier VII premium British battleship in the game, with HMS Hood preceding her by a few months. The two ships are so very different in design and game play as to be almost laughable. Nelson is a slow, enduring and relentless. Hood is fast, flexible and fragile. Nelson is victimized by aircraft and Hood is a nightmare target for enemy carriers. Both struggle when facing tier IX ships. It's HMS Nelson's gunnery which sets her ahead of HMS Hood, in my opinion. Nelson deals damage reliably -- something the British flagship cannot claim, even with its (much) improved accuracy. With the coming of the rest of the Royal Navy line, I wonder if we'll see HMS Hood get some minor tweaks and buffs to bring her into line with the rest of the British ships. Only time will tell. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 24.0knotsTurning Radius: 750mRudder Shift: 14.9s Maximum Turn Rate: 3.71º/s Nelson is slow. 24.0 knots is almost acceptable. Almost. Nelson is a full knot slower than Nagato which is already a ship that struggles somewhat with agility. This limits Nelson's flexibility and her survivability. She cannot control engagement distances. She cannot escape by outrunning her opponents or the reach of their guns. These problems compound when she faces tier VIII and tier IX opponents where not only are most ships faster than her, the map sizes make her low speed especially punitive. It's only when Nelson is top tier that her low top speed is less of a liability as she faces more of the standard-type American battleships and the distances she needs to cover are further reduced by the smaller maps. Now don't get me wrong -- this isn't Arizona-slow. And while she does have a three knot advantage over Colorado, she does not get Colorado's special speed preservation in a turn. Like most battleships, Nelson bleeds off 25% of her velocity when she's under manoeuvres, slowing down to 18.0 knots with her rudder hard over. If you're applying WASD hax as you should, you'll often see your speed struggling to get over 20 knots and this can feel like a real crawl when you're trying to get into position or you're trying to get away. Nelson is a pig in a turn. Nelson's only saving grace is that she rotates 0.1º/s faster than a Nagato, which isn't saying much. The good news is that she's incapable of out turning her turrets, even with their slow rate of rotation. The bad news is that while she may answer her rudder quickly, the effect of her rudder just isn't substantial enough to throw the ship about. This makes her very vulnerable to torpedo and aircraft attacks. DurabilityHit Points: 59,400Citadel Protection: 32mm anti-torpedo bulge + 356mm belt. Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 19% Armour layout of Nelson's belt, turrets and citadel. The only additional protection is a 32mm outer hull and upper deck not shown. At first glance, Nelson has horrible durability for facing off against enemy battleships. She has a citadel that sits so high over the water line, you would think she was a copy-paste job of the old Iowa and Montana-class battleships. What's worse, she's tier VII so her enormous bow is only 25mm thick. It gets overmatched by all AP shells larger than 356mm which includes the guns of all tier VII+ battleships with the exception of Scharnhorst. While she does boast some decent armour values, with up to 356mm of belt armour and a 305mm transverse bulkhead on her citadel, they are both heavily overtaxed trying to protect her vitals. The sad reality is that it's this 305mm bow plate which is HMS Nelson's achilles heel. Even with perfect angling (approximately 25º to 26º) bow on to the enemy, this plate just cannot stand up to any guns that can overmatch her bows. Bayern, HMS Hood and Queen Elizabeth need to get close to citadel her through the bow like this. They can only do so at ranges of 12.0km or less. Warspite and Mutsu can pull it off at at 13.0km. Things jump up considerably from there. Colorado can do so reliably from 18.0km. Everything else can do so at ranges in excess of 20km. When under fire from enemy super dreadnoughts, angle as best you can, know your ranges and hold your breath. In short: She eats citadels for days and then begs for a second helping when facing enemy battleships with 380mm guns or larger. Things don't get much better in regards to soaking up torpedoes. HMS Nelson has terrible torpedo protection with only a 19% reduction that can be boosted to a mere 21% with Damage Control System Modification 1. While this is better than that of HMS Hood, at least HMS Hood begins her turns faster. I lost this ship more often to torpedoes than any other damage source. Sometimes it was my own dumb fault. In others, the lack of damage mitigation simply overwhelmed the modest hit point pool of this battleship. Finally, there's the issue of her turrets. I have not been able to isolate why it happens so frequently, but HMS Nelson has her main battery guns disabled very often. B-turret seems especially susceptible. This is strange given the thick armour of her turret faces (406mm) and her barbettes (356mm). My guess is that shells are striking her barbettes or catching the softer sides of the turrets and prompting the critical damage rolls. Whatever the reason, you can expect to have one of your guns temporarily disabled at least once in a match. Yet for all of the deficiencies and even her modest hit point total, Nelson is quite easily capable of being the toughest ship afloat at her tier. This is all thanks to her Repair Party consumable. Unlike most battleships that recover up to 14% of their maximum hit points over 28 seconds, Nelson recovers up to 40% over 20 seconds. Yes, you read that right. This works out to 23,760 hit points that Nelson can heal with each charge of her Repair Party consumable. Nelson will, time and again, appear to be on her last legs only to spring back, hale and healthy and itching for a fight. Adding a India Delta increases this value up to 48% (or 28,512hp) per charge. With Superintendent, this provided HMS Nelson with a theoretical maximum damage total of 173,448 hit points needed before she sinks, provided her consumable is used optimally. I cannot stress this enough. Warspite, a ship known to be a tough little monster, would call receiving 80,000 damage before sinking a good match. This works out roughly 1.5 times her starting health. For Nelson, that number sits around 150,000 damage -- in excess of 2.5x her health pool. You can delay the enemy team simply grace of being a damage sponge they cannot sink quickly. This makes Nelson an absolute beast when it comes to facing enemy cruisers. She can soak the bombardment and the resulting fires for days and deny them any progress with a touch of a button. The only thing that keeps this from being disgustingly overpowered is the aforementioned tendency for Nelson to eat citadel hits. Her Repair Party consumable only queues 10% of citadel damage into the healing pool, while 60% of normal penetrations and 100% of flooding, fire, ramming and over penetrations make it into the queue. Her consumable also shares the long reset timer of other battleships. Large alpha strikes or masses of sustained damage can (and will) sink this ship in between cooldowns. Finally, she only gets two base charges of her Repair Party as opposed to the usual three. Overall, Nelson is incredibly resilient to fire damage because of this consumable. She simply laughs it off and heals all of the damage back, undoing the burn stacked by cruisers, destroyers and dive bombers without issue. This makes this vessel particularly well suited to farming up Fireproof and Dreadnought awards. Nelson is a zombie. If you do not put her down properly, she will keep coming back from the dead. Head shots, in the form of citadel hits or mass torpedo strikes, are the only way to ensure she goes down for good. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 15.30km Air Detection Range: 12.36km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.76km Main Battery Firing Range: 18.21km Min Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 2nd out of 7 Min Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 19th out of 37 Wargaming has hyped that the Royal Navy battleships at tiers VII+ will have great surface detection stats. That's not present here. Within her own tier, when all of the ships are rigged for stealth, she sits 500m behind King George V and ahead of the Scharnhorst-sisters by 300m or so. In a cross-section of all of the battleships she may face, she's decidedly average, sitting right in the middle of the pack. Regardless if she's top tier or bottom, there are potentially battleships that she'll spot first and others that will be more stealthy. Concealment for a slow warship helps keep them alive. When Nelson silences her guns, her surface detection range goes down to 12.8km with a full stealth build. This can allow her to sneak up on unsuspecting targets until she gets within a more optimal firing range or angle. Sadly, she does not have the speed to really allow her to take advantage of this. Short of one-time ambushes or picking on distracted enemies, it will be very difficult to sneak up upon wary targets. It should be noted that Nelson is a terrible ship for doing her own spotting. She's effectively blind without any consumables to help her in detecting enemy ships, aircraft and torpedoes. Skills like Vigilance become increasingly important for her as a result, especially when it comes to navigating around islands or through channels. Nelson's concealment is alright. It's not a real telling strength, but it's not a liability either until she's uptiered. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 120mm / 40mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.5km / 2.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 36 / 119 / 126 (133 in 0.6.10) Do not let the big DPS numbers fool you. Nelson's anti-aircraft firepower isn't as healthy as it looks. It boils down to two issues. Nelson's AA firepower lacks range. Nelson's AA firepower is concentrated in a small number of fragile mount-clusters. Nelson doesn't boast the best range with her anti-aircraft firepower. The 4.5km reach on her dual-purpose mounts is disappointing but would workable if they did more damage. Unfortunately, the majority of her strength is located in her small and medium caliber mounts. Nelson's 40mm pom-poms only reach out to a range of 2.5km and her 20mm guns reach out to 2.0km. This largely limits her anti-aircraft firepower to self defense actions only and she cannot provide fleet support, even when specialized with AA Guns Modification 2 and Advanced Fire Training. The small firepower total from her 102mm guns ensures that Manual Fire Control for AA Guns just isn't worthwhile. But it gets worse. Her anti-aircraft defense is easily knocked out by even small amounts of HE fire. Nelson only has six of the octuple pom-pom mounts. Losing one reduces her medium range AA firepower by 19.8dps, and four of these guns are mounted in pairs along the long axis of the ship, making them easy prey for bombs and HE spam. Things don't get any better with her 20mm Oerlikons. She has thirty five scattered across the surface of the ship (with two more being added in 0.6.10). However, they are packed closely together in large groups which reduces their survivability. For example, ten of these reside in a tight cluster on her bow in front of A-turret. Any HE salvos will usually knock out these small caliber mounts in handfuls, quickly decimating Nelson's AA effectiveness. The only real ray of sunshine is that Nelson has fairly decent protection against American AP Bombs. Tests have shown that only a rare drop with all bombs hitting will cause anywhere close to 10,000 damage. More often than not this sat at a considerably lower total. Preliminary tests with Graf Zeppelin's AP bombs were much more damning, however, but these are still in the development phase and very much a work in progress. In summary: Nelson has pretty good raw AA values, but this is only useful for self defense and it will not hold up over the course of a battle. Taking even minor HE damage can quickly gut the potency of her flak. While the ship is pristine, she'll put up a good fight against aircraft, but their short range means that the enemy will still drop their ordnance. With luck, you'll simply make it expensive for them to do so. Dive Bombers do not present Nelson with that much of a threat, even if they're armed with AP Bombs. She's able to heal back any resulting damage with ease. Torpedo bombers are another matter, however. Nelson's anti-aircraft firepower isn't up to the task of keeping her safe. Nevermind the Manoeuvres HMS Nelson is a little weird when it comes to choosing her skills: short of her core skills, she just doesn't care. Optimizing HMS Nelson really doesn't go beyond ensuring she has Superintendent and Concealment Expert. After that, do what you want. There are three general builds which will likely end up popular. Of these three, a Survivability Build is optimal. Next comes a general anti-aircraft build (minus Manual Fire Control for AA Guns which is all but useless for her). This second build will be pretty similar to low-tier (and very high tier) Royal Navy battleship builds. Finally, you can specialize towards spamming HE like a derp cause it's hilarious. The core for all three builds is as follows: At the first tier, Preventative Maintenance is the optimal choice, but only if your own situational awareness is elevated to such a degree that you can track threats when spotted. If not, then Priority Target should be your default choice. At tier two, take Adrenaline Rush. As you take damage, your DPM will increase. Note that with the huge jumps back and forth with Nelson's hit point pool, the gains from this skill vary considerably. Alternatively, you can take Expert Marksman for better gun handling, though Nelson isn't hurting here much. At tier three, take Superintendent. This will increase the number of charges of your Repair Party by one. And finally, at tier four, take Concealment Expert. You're a big ship, but you're not Fuso-Fat. This will help keep you alive and give you more time to use your Repair Party. You can place the next nine points where you wish. Survivability Build This is, in my opinion, the best way to build up Nelson. Reach for skills that will keep you in the fight longer and improve your damage output. High Alert, Basics of Survivability, Vigilance, and Fire Prevention are all great skills for this, so pick and choose your favourites. Make sure you take Preventative Maintenance too if you took Priority Target as your first skill. Your guns are going to get knocked out a lot. Anti-Aircraft Build Be aware that while Nelson has some pretty potent looking AA DPS numbers, her anti-aircraft firepower will only ever be for self-defense purposes and not fleet support. In addition, it's incredibly fragile and easily knocked out by even a small volume of HE fire. While the ship is pristine, she can be a thorny target for carriers but she's never going to be considered a "good" flak platform. If you wish to go this route, take Basic and Advanced Fire Taining for a total of 7pts. High Alert or Expert Marksman (or Adrenaline Rush if you opted for the other) are your best choices for the remaining two points. HE Spammer Now, for the player that wants to derp around with HE shells, let's talk about specific HE-boosting skills. DO NOT take Demolition Expert. The difference between 46% and 48% fire chance just isn't worth the investment. This is too expensive a skill for too little gain. Expert Loader might actually find some use, though, when you need to smarten up and reach for your AP shells. Now let's talk about Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. HMS Nelson is fully capable of damaging any ship within her matchmaking spread with HE without any need for taking this skill. This includes battleships and the armoured deck of carriers like Taiho. Her penetration is so high, she can citadel almost half of the cruisers in her matchmaking spread. Doing so provides a big boost to Nelson's damage totals, but this is a harder shot to land than with AP shells. Here's the list of cruisers HMS Nelson can citadel stock with HE: France: De Grasse, Charles Martel, St.Louis United Kingdom: Emerald, Leander Soviet Union: Kirov, Murmansk, Krasny Krym, Molotov, Shchors, Chapayev, Mikhail Kutuzov United States: Omaha, Marblehead, Pensacola, Atlanta, Flint, Indianapolis Japan: Furutaka, Aoba, Mogami, Ibuki Others: Perth. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells only opens up small sections of battleships to penetration damage and none of them large enough to be worth it (with the exception of HMS Hood and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya which each have large sections of their upper hull that becomes vulnerable). It does nothing to help you with aircraft carriers or destroyers. Where it does come into use is against cruisers. Taking the skill adds the following ships that HMS Nelson can now citadel: France: La Galissonniere, Algerie, United Kingdom: Fiji, Belfast, Edinburgh, Neptune Soviet Union: Budyonny United States: Cleveland, New Orleans Japan: Myoko, ARP Myoko, ARP Ashigara, ARP Haguro, ARP Nachi, Eastern Dragon, Atago, ARP Takao You'll note the absence of German cruisers and the Italian premium, Duca d'Aosta. The spaced armour around their citadels prevents HE from penetrating their machine spaces (though the modules themselves can still be damaged by the shockwave). Note that all of the French ships listed above are also largely immune but they were included because of small sections directly beneath their turrets that will allow HE to citadel them. Landing citadel hits with HE is different than landing them with AP shells. HE shells detonate immediately upon contact with any surface. Thus, you need to bulls-eye the outer citadel wall to land these high-damage hits. On some of these vessels, the amount of surface area is painfully small -- sometimes only a sliver over the waterline. The only consolation is that HE shells don't concern themselves with angle at all. Whatever surface upon which they first make contact is the one affected by the attack, so you can do some rather rude things to select ships that might otherwise bounce AP shells. I must stress, however, that as fun as it may sound to citadel cruisers with HE shells no matter how they angle, Nelson can do this with AP shells most of the time anyway. AP shells also do more damage. As hilarious as it is to make Belfasts cry when you not only carve out most of their hit points with an HE volley but also blow apart their modules and set fires, your four skill points could be better spent elsewhere. You don't really need any special skills if you want to be an HE spammer in this ship. Feel free to toss your Belfast Captain in here if you want, though. Jack Dunkirk The Legendary Commander, Jack Dunkirk, makes a rather good Royal Navy Battleship captain. His Smoke Screen Expert bonus is wasted upon these Dreadnoughts, however, but the bonuses he provides to Jack of All Trades and Expert Marksman makes him very appealing for ships like Nelson. Remember, so long as the commander build includes the skills Superintendent and Concealment Expert, Nelson is largely forgiving. So, if Jack has skills specialized for one of your cruisers, he can still train in Nelson with only a small dip in expected performance. Boom, baby! Nelson using HE in the opening stages of a match, bombarding an enemy Scharnhorst at 17km. By her fourth salvo, Nelson had destroyed both of the Scharnhorst's torpedo tubes, set three fires and crippled her anti-aircraft battery. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Nelson is really going to punish novice players. They're going to make mistakes and Nelson is going to slap them around for it. Her armour needs a subtle touch to be angled properly. Spamming HE doesn't generate great damage numbers. Her AP will bounce a lot at long ranges. She's too slow and too big to easily extract herself from trouble situations or to position herself where she's needed most. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme In the hands of an expert, Nelson becomes a different beast altogether. She just will not die. Proper management of her Repair Party will have her coming back from the dead twice over, ensuring that her team can have a near full-health battleship late in the game, even after tanking a ton of damage. Similarly, proper ammunition use can pay enormous dividends. Her carry potential is limited by her slow speed and lack of vision control, however. Mouse's Summary: She's like a zombie. Without a headshot to put her down for good, she keeps rising from the grave. Her HE shells are a hella fun to use, but it's a mistake to rely on them heavily. You'll kick yourself for every time you have HE loaded and some dumb cruiser or battleship suddenly offers up her broadside. She does not up-tier as well as Nagato, Gneisenau or Scharnhorst. This ship is so much fun. So I know the big question on everyone's mind: Can you spam nothing but HE shells and make this thing work? The answer is 'yes'. You won't do as much damage as you would if you fired AP shells, but it's entirely possible for you to just spit out walls of HE shells instead of anything else and rack up some decent damage and kill totals. The catch is always going to be that you could have done more damage if you fired AP instead. In close matches where the outcome is neck and neck, the lost opportunities to land AP citadel hits may well end up costing you the game. The wiki-editors and I challenged one another to try playing some matches where we shot nothing but HE. Topping 120,000 damage was more difficult than a mix of AP and HE, but it was possible, especially with stacking fires. So, go ahead and spit out nothing but flaming death onto your opponents if you want, just be aware that your damage (and win rate) will take a small hit as a result. This ship seems to be designed to farm salt from the enemy. Between the fires she can set and the absolutely trollish heals, she'll make the enemy want to focus you down hard and fast (lewd!). It's absolutely mean what you can do with her HE shells. See that Scharnhorst / Gneisenau / Tirpitz that's trying to brawl your friends? It would be a shame if someone tore off their torpedo tubes, wouldn't it? Or how about that North Carolina that thinks itself immune to air attack from your tier VII Kaga division mate? It would be a shame if someone stripped them of all of their close and medium range AA power. This is the kind of nonsense that Nelson's HE allows you to do better than other battleships at her tier and it's a very fun shakeup of the usual game play. For all of these tricks and hilarity HE can offer, her AP is still just so much better. Why butcher a New Orleans' AA firepower when you can just blow their citadels out of the water instead? While it's fun to congratulate yourself for a 5-shell, 11,385 damage high explosive volley, this is still less than a single AP shell citadel hit (barring fires of course). There are right times to fire HE, do not get me wrong, but AP should really be the staple of your damage totals in this vessel. Nelson is a good ship, but she's not great. She's got three big flaws in my opinion: Her citadel is too high. She's blind. She's too slow. That high water citadel is going to be a deal breaker for some. When you're up against someone that really knows how to aim (or simply in a tier IX battleship), her weak spots are all but impossible to protect. This all but negates the awesomeness of her Repair Party consumable. And speaking of negating her Repair Party, torpedoes have a habit of doing this too. She has no tricks to help her spot these warheads or their source before it's already too late -- destroyers can pester you with impunity. Given the island humping meta that's so essential to master, Nelson really feels the pinch when she can't send up a plane to take a quick peek on what's going on around the corner. Finally, she is slow. And, I think the worst thing about Nelson's slow speed is that she's not slow enough that many players will see it for the flaw that it is. Nelson will get caught out on occasion and it will cost you games -- not a lot of them, but enough to impact her overall performance. Her big gimmick, though, is damage management. I put an India Delta signal on my Nelson and I took no small amount of pleasure announcing in all chat, "Watch my hp," as my poor, battered dreadnought jumped from 1/3rd of her hit points remaining back up to a hale and healthy 5/6th remaining. The outrage was delicious. I even made a Belfast player complain Nelson was OP when I denied him a kill by healing up from 1,200hp to almost 30,000. Pulling this off requires careful management of your concealment and positioning, disengaging from the thick of the fighting to lick your wounds and then returning to the fray as fast as your slow speed will allow. If it weren't for those three aforementioned flaws, Nelson would be overpowered as all get out. As it is, she's an excellent competitor for any veteran player and she will challenge you to find balance between ammunition choices, fighting at the head of the pack and withdrawing to conduct repairs. Rivals: Battleship USS Missouri HMS Nelson is the second premium vessel to be made available for free experience. The first was USS Missouri, the tier IX American battleship. Missouri's price tag weighs in at a hefty 750,000 free experience -- double that of HMS Nelson. So the question becomes: if you had to choose one, which one would you get? Obviously, if a player prefers one nation's game play over another, that will bias them in favour of a given vessel, but in terms of raw utility, it's hard to argue against the American juggernaut. Missouri has an enormous credit-earning coefficient baked into the ship. She trivializes the earning of credits, with even a poor game netting players in excess of 200,000 to 300,000 credits. Players that own Missouri have posted battle results screens showing them earning over 1.5M credits in a single match. No other premium vessel in the game is as profitable. HMS Nelson simply cannot compete with her on that level. Would I Recommend? Nelson can only be acquired (so I'm told) by spending 375,000 free experience. At a 1 doubloon to 25xp conversion rate, this works out to a cost of $63.25 USD for this ship if you had to buy the 15,000 doubloons necessary at full price. Weigh this against the cost of Scharnhorst, another tier VII premium battleship which weighs in at $42.99 including the port slot (which you'll have to pay extra for with Nelson). PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Battleships almost always do well in Co-Op battles. Nelson does alright, though be aware that things can get a bit tight on coin if you run with premium consumables and you don't have a premium account. We haven't seen any tier VII scenarios yet, so it's difficult to say if she'll meet their requirements well or not. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. If you're not going to get USS Missouri, then hells to the yeah. If nothing else, Nelson will print Fireproof and Dreadnought medals like you will not believe. She's not a bad Arsonist and Witherer farmer either if you want to derp around with HE shells. She's a great trainer for your Belfast Captains in this regard (even if there are going to be some wasted skills here and there). She also works well for training your RN Battleship commanders given that she accepts most builds with a shrug of her shoulders. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Nelson will rock people's socks in Ranked Battles. A fire slinging, super-healing, bow-tanking battleship? Unless she's put down quickly, she's just going to keep coming back and driving the enemy team nuts. When she's not on your team, you're going to hate it when your team mates waste ineffective firepower on her. She gets my vote. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. I would have preferred HMS Rodney -- Nelson's sister ship has a much more storied history. While HMS Nelson served throughout WWII, her exploits mostly involved catching 4 torpedoes and 3 naval mines through the course of her career. She saw little to no surface action, being too slow to catch the Scharnhorst-sisters and too far away to participate in engaging Bismarck. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Depending on your play style and your tolerance for derp, Nelson is either going to be the most fun you can have in a battleship with your pants on or a lackluster mehbote that does nothing for you. I have a high stupid-tolerance, so I say yes. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  16. The following is a review of Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of July 27th, 2017. You don't wanna know how many times I misspelled that. Quick Summary: An ugly-as-sin Soviet battleship with twelve 305mm guns, surprisingly good anti-aircraft firepower and a unique Damage Control Party consumable. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.8. July 24th, 2017 until July 27th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary Imperator Nikolai I, Tier IV Russian Battleship Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique The Gangut-class of Battleships, to which Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya belongs, precedes the Imperator Nikolai I through the Imperatrista Mariya-class of battleships, making the two ships two generations removed from one another. The two ships look very similar, though Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is quite obviously a more modernized (and ooglay) looking ship that shares the same design philosophy. Overall, Imperator Nikolai I is slower, tougher, with easier to use artillery. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is faster (but not much faster), with a quicker reload and comes with much better anti-aircraft firepower. Tier for tier, Nikolai is the better boat, hands down. I don't think anyone's surprised. PROs Unique Damage Control Party consumable, with an accelerated recovery time (30s/20s) between uses. Excellent waterline protection for bow tanking. Powerful broadside with twelve 305mm rifles, creating large alpha strikes & good DPM. Except for tiny sections of the bow and stern, her main hull and deck are all but immune to cruiser-caliber HE shells. Good anti-aircraft firepower for her tier. Small surface detection range for a battleship of 13.68km. Gangut butt is best butt. CONs Damage Control Party has a finite number of charges per match. Small hit point pool of 42,500. Poor overall protection with 225mm belt armour, 203mm turret faces and 10% torpedo damage reduction. Awkward gun placement combined with a slow turret traverse makes gun handling feel frustrating. Her 305mm lack penetration power, especially when facing tier VII ships. Pathetic secondary gun battery. Short ranged AA firepower and unable to benefit from Manual Fire Control for AA Armament. Feels rather blind without a spotter aircraft or float-plane fighter. This is one of those warships that I've been eagerly awaiting to join the game. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is the lead ship of the Gangut-class Battleships. She's actually the Gangut-herself, renamed by the Soviets after the Revolution. She appears in this game in her full modernization received by 1944/1945. This means she's a contemporary to the British Dreadnought-class battleship gussied up and shoe horned in a tier V. Colour me amused. Let's take a look under the hood. Options Like all battleships that aren't American or Japanese (or Warspite), Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's Damage Control Party has a 15s active period where it will not only remove any critical hits from damaged modules (as well as putting out fires and stopping floods), it will also prevent such damage from being reapplied so long as the consumable is active. Where this ship differs is with this consumable's reset timer. Normally, battleships suffer up to a two-minute cooldown between uses. This can be reduced to a minute and twenty seconds with the premium version. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has a thirty second reset timer, standard. The premium version drops this down to a mere twenty (!) seconds. And you're going to want the premium version of the consumable -- stock, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya can only use this consumable three times. Taking the premium version will not only accelerate her reset timer, it will also provide an additional charge. This can be further boosted with the Superintendent commander's skill to bring the total up to five. Her Repair Party is standard for most Battleships, healing back 14% of her maximum HP over 28s. Oktryabrskaya Revolutsiya has the option of an alternative premium camouflage. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Module Upgrades: Three slots, standard Battleship options. The Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya does not get access to the American Artillery Plotting Room 1 upgrade. Premium Camouflage: Oktyabrskaya has the option of two different camouflages. Her default camouflage is Type 9, tier II to V standard. This provides 30% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Alternatively, you can purchase (for 1,000 doubloons) Krasny Oktyabr - Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. This is a cosmetic camouflage in the same vein as the USS Texas' Stars and Stripes camouflage. This provides the same bonuses as the stock camouflage. The optional Krasny Oktyabr camouflage does not provide any additional bonuses over the default camo and can be purchased for 1,000 doubloons. For upgrades, select the following: In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. This will help keep your guns active and will better allow you to face-tank incoming rounds. Your turrets will be disabled frequently and this will help mitigate this. In your second slot, take Aiming Systems Modification 1. Oktyabrskaya is a Soviet Battleship and she needs all of the dispersion help she can get. Alternatively, if you want to play with something sub-optimal, you can play up to her AA strengths and use AA Guns Modification 2 to help boost their range. This really helps if your Captain also has Advanced Fire Training. This can make tier IV and V carriers cry though be aware she'll never hold a candle to USS Texas. Do keep in mind this is highly situational in its use, it will not protect you against tier VI+ CVs and you do suffer a small performance hit for taking this upgrade instead of the aiming modification. In your final slot, take Damage Control System Modification 1. This will bump your torpedo damage reduction up from 10% to 13%. Firepower Primary Battery: Twelve 305mm rifles in an A-P-Q-X configuration. Secondary Battery: Ten 120mm rifles in casemates with six forward facing and four rear facing emplacements. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has marginally worse shell penetration compared to Scharnhorst which weighs in at 455mm / 363mm / 289mm respectively. This sits much further behind the 356mm guns found on New York and Texas with their values of 575mm / 467mm / 381mm and even the poor penetration values of HMS Hood at 491mm / 406mm / 337mm. This explains some of the difficulty this ship experiences when uptiered, especially against German and American Battleships. When this happens, choose soft targets or be flexible with your ammunition types. Let's start with her secondaries: They're terrible. By late WW2, the Soviet Army had already cannibalized six of her sixteen original secondary gun mounts for use in the defense of the Siege of Leningrad. This leaves Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya with a mere ten gun mounts for self defense and these guns are not up to the task. They are mounted in casemates down the sides of the ship, with three facing forward and two aft per side. In theory you could get five guns to engage an enemy ship, but that's seldom the case. Usually it's only three. They have many problems. We can forgive their lack of range. 4.0km is pretty typical for low to mid tier battleships. What's less forgivable is their horrid rate of fire at a mere 7.0rpm. We'd expect this of larger caliber guns as the alpha damage (and increased penetration) from individual hits would make up for the disparity in DPM. However, Oktyabrskaya Revolutisya's secondaries are a mere 120mm in size, dealing a pathetic 1,700 alpha damage and being capable of penetrating 19mm of armour or less. The only redeemable quality is their high chance to set fires per hit at a respectable 8% which, some will rightly argue, is a very sizable perk. Still, with the low volume of fire coming off the ship, any blazes will be a surprise. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya uses the same guns found Imperator Nikolai I but with improved characteristics in range (16.8km versus 14.1km), rate of fire (1.88rpm versus 1.67rpm) but worse overall shell groupings (1.8 sigma versus 2.0 sigma). Their weapon performance is otherwise identical . While these are formidable weapons in the limited matchmaker enjoyed by Nikolai at tier IV, the maps upon which Nikolai plays are small, the engagements ranges short, the action close and her opponents soft skinned. They really start to feel long in the tooth when regularly facing the demands found at tiers VI and VII that Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya faces. These are not bad weapons. For 305mm rifles, they have very high damage potential. Her AP shells are the hardest hitting of any of the twelve-inch guns with 8,600 alpha strike. The improved rate of fire over Nikolai combined with the twelve rifles enables Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya to compete well with the damage output of her peers. She is quite capable of deleting any cruiser withing her matchmaking spread from nearly any angle and at anywhere within her range, or biting big 9,000 to 12,000 chunks out of a battleship, even without any citadel penetrations. These guns aren't without their issues, however. First, they are not as well situated as Nikolai's guns. One of the notable strengths of Imperator Nikolai I is her ability to quickly reacquire targets on either side of the ship grace of having her A, P and Q batteries all forward facing. This made it very easy for her to brawl and face tank. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's P turret is rear facing, reducing her ability to shift her fire from port to starboard and back with anything resembling alacrity. It's not uncommon for P turret to be horribly out of position and unable to fire, or the ship needing the use of rudder to bring all of her guns on target. With a glacial rate of rotation of 56.3s for a 180º turn, this problem is exacerbated. This is, singly, the most frustrating aspect about this ship. Combined with this, her X turret has limited fields of fire and can only engage targets 39º off her bow. Opening fire with her X-turret opens this ship up to reprisals, so make sure you time your fire correctly. That ticks off problems two, three and four. Problem number five is one of penetration. As mentioned previously, these guns perform brilliantly on Imperator Nikolai I with the close-range encounters she typically faces. With Oktyabrskaya Revolutisya's ability to extend the weapon reach another 2.7km, the deficiencies in shell penetration become much more pronounced. These are not high-penetration guns and their performance drops below 400mm worth of penetration at about 7km, precluding her from reliably landing citadel hits on enemy battleships beyond this range. She loses the ability to reliably challenge battleship belt armour at 11km. Like other low-penetration battleships such as HMS Hood and Scharnhorst, it's important to shift fire from attempting citadel hits to instead aim for the upper hull of enemy dreadnoughts at these ranges. Otherwise, you'll find a lot of shells shatter, scatter and bounce off armoured belts. Her high explosive shells are passable but unremarkable. They do enjoy a high chance to start fires per shell at 33% and this can be a reasonable alternative when facing hard targets. This shouldn't be the default ammunition selected when facing an angled ship, however. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya can overmatch up to 20mm of bow armour which includes all cruisers within her matchmaking spread as well as all tier IV and V battleships. Here's the final fly in the ointment: Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's main battery has only 203mm worth of armour and a maximum of 150mm of barbette protection. Her guns take penetrating hits often. Even with Main Armaments Modification 1 and Preventative Maintenance, critical hits are common place and catastrophic turret destruction isn't a rare occurrence. The closer Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya gets to the enemy, the more often her turrets end up taking a lot of the abuse thrown at her. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has guns that are meant for brawling, but they're not quite ideally suited for such. Her guns are vulnerable for a battleship. The combination of poor turret placement, traverse times and fire angles increases the challenge too, and you can forget about her secondaries helping out. Still, it's hard to argue with twelve rifles that put out more potential damage than ten 356mm guns. Summary: Gun handling is very poor and cannot be significantly improved. Range is decent, firepower is good, penetration is fine at close to medium ranges. Challenging battleships outside of 10km requires careful aim or switching to HE. Her secondaries suck moose balls. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya allows us to now plot the progression of Soviet Battleship dispersion over distance. It appears to be similar to American Battleship dispersion but with very slightly improved accuracy over distance and slightly worse accuracy at closer ranges. This places the Russians behind the Japanese and British for battleship accuracy and ahead of American and German Battleships and probably the French. We'll need another French battleship in game before that can be made conclusive. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 23.0knotsTurning Radius: 630mRudder Shift: 12.6s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.3º per second. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is faster than a brick. Hooray! At a maximum speed of 23 knots (23.2 knots on a good day) she's not much faster, though. In practice, if you're taking the appropriate WASD anti-torpedo hax counter measures in mind (or just helping her sluggish turrets track targets), she's usually sailing at less than 20 knots. Like most battleships, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya loses about a little more than a quarter of her maximum speed while under manoeuvres. With her rudder hard over, she'll bleed down to 17.2 knots and she will not recover this speed quickly. This isn't a very flexible ship and on larger maps, she struggles as much as Warspite does to get from A to B. For a rate of turn, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya measures up rather well. She's not as agile as HMS Warspite -- arguably one of the fastest turning mid to late tier Battleships, but she does alright. At 4.3º per second, she's halfway between Warspite's 4.5º and the 4.0º per second rotation of New Mexico. Her 630m turning circle is comfortable, as is her 12.6s rudder shift time. Both allow her to slip between islands and slide between torpedo runs with ease. Be advised that as a tier V ship she cannot improve her rudder shift in any way. The only downside is that her turrets cannot keep up. They rotate at a mere 3.2º per second, and even Expert Marksman will not correct this, capping them out at 3.9º per second. Players will be tempted to use their rudder to accelerate the rotation of their guns -- a problem compounded by the need for P & X turret to rotate a minimum of 180º to engage targets on the other side of the ship. Given the problems Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has with her armour scheme, the inevitable over angling this causes can lead to the ship's destruction in short order. As you'll see in the next section, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya excels at tanking but from one direction (and one direction only). This places a burden on her movement expectations. You need to very carefully consider your lines of engagement. Her guns will not allow her to quickly acquire a secondary target coming from an unseen quarter and her armour will not stand up to abuse. Over extend, and you're dead. Allow someone to get your flank and you're dead. Careful positioning is the only way to counter this and she's not fast enough to allow you to recover from these mistakes. DurabilityHit Points: 42,500Citadel Protection: 225mm belt + 38mm turtleback + 19mm citadel wall Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm (50mm to 125mm waterline protection) Torpedo Damage Reduction: 10% The major external armour values of Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's protection scheme (rear architecture visible in insert). Note that while her armour isn't thick overall, having a little bit of armour almost everywhere provides some interesting quirks where HE and AP penetration are concerned. Her major weak spot is the 19mm 'beak' of her bow. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya will deliver a lot of mixed messages when you begin to analyze her survivability. She's a story of contrasts. It's best summarized by a quick lists of pros & cons The Good - Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has an armour design of a first generation dreadnought where the armour is spread out across the whole vessel. The armour isn't as thick around her vitals as it will become with more modern designs, but this does provide the following benefits: Short of her superstructure and tiny weak spots on her bow and stern, she is largely immune to direct damage from destroyer and cruiser-caliber HE shells. Only the Yorck can damage her reliably with HE. Even Inertial Fuse for HE Shells does not provide 152mm armed cruisers with enough penetration to regularly land damaging hits. The entirety of her waterline, from bow to stern is covered by a minimum of 50mm worth of armour with most of it being at least 125mm. She will bounce almost everything thrown at her when she angles properly. She can absolutely shut down attempts to stack damage over time effects on her with her short cooldown Damage Control Party. The Bad - The big flaw about having armour spread out everywhere is that it's not especially thick where you need it most. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's citadel protection is the worst at her tier with a maximum of 282mm worth of protection between the three layers of armour over her machine spaces. She is extremely vulnerable to taking citadel hits when she does not angle properly. Her turret faces are extremely thin for a battleship at a mere 203mm thick. Even sloped back as they are (40º) this provides no more than 265mm worth of protection against shots at point blank range. Her barbettes are worse at only 150mm thick. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya takes frequent critical hits to her guns, even from cruiser-caliber shells. She has almost no torpedo protection. Her Damage Control Party can run out. She has the lowest hit point total among battleships at her tier. So, she's a tough battleship that seems to shrug off AP and HE shells without issue one minute and, with one mistake, she's a sinking wreck the next. She can seem very forgiving but she punishes players dearly for their misplays. The end is usually quite abrupt. One of the culprits for this feast and famine durability is her low hit point total. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is not a very large vessel. Not only can she survive less damage overall, this also reduces the amount of returns she sees from her Repair Party. Her healing consumable can only recovery 5,950hp per charge. The two most likely culprits of Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's demise are torpedoes and AP shells. 'Well DUH,' you might say, but Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya takes battleship AP and torpedo vulnerability a step further than most battleships. Over angling is deadly to this battleship, with her belt armour at 31º only increasing to a relative thickness of ~435mm. This is well inside the penetration values of the American and Japanese 356mm guns at 10km or less and can result in the Oktryabrskaya Revolutsiya taking heavy damage from volleys. This is an affliction similar to the one affecting Kongo -- veterans of this ships should be well familiar with this frustration. Texas and König are more forgiving of angling mistakes, grace of the raw thickness of their belt armour which can present a formidable obstacle. Proper management of Oktyabrskya Revolutsiya's angles of approach is key. Never, ever give up her sides. Fortunately, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's armour scheme is proof against most heavy cruiser fire. Even the high penetration, high Krupp values of the USN 203mm from Pensacola and Indianapolis cannot citadel her outside of 5.0km ranges, even against her flush broadside. This ship has very little in the way of torpedo protection, taking near full health strikes from any fish that strike her hull. She starts with only a 10% damage reduction while König, Kaiser, New York and Texas boast a minimum of 22% and as much as 31%. Citadel protection of the tier V Battleships, including the WiP Iron Duke. * Hits penetrating torpedo bulges but not into the ship itself do not strip hit points from a vessel. To this end, the thickness of the belt armour is paramount for preventing ships from taking penetration damage. This explains why ships like Kongo still feel "soft skinned" even though she has similar levels of citadel protection to other battleships. Note that the angle turtleback armour is measured from the vertical, so 90º would be a horizontal piece of steel. Turtleback armour isn't the be-all, end-all for citadel protection. Burying the citadel deep beneath the waterline seems to do more for keeping these vulnerable areas safe. Where Otkyabrskaya Revolutsiya really stands apart from all other Battleships is her Damage Control Party. As previously mentioned in the options section, this has an accelerated reset timer of 30s/20s depending on the stock or premium version. With the skills High Alert, Jack of All Trades and the signal flag November Foxtrot, you could theoretically get this reset timer down to 16 seconds (that's a hell of an investment for a mere four second gain). On paper it would appear to give this Russian battleship near immunity to damage over time effects. However, the limited number of charges on the consumable precludes that. In my experience, it's better to keep to the same habits you would use with other battleships. Do not activate Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's Damage Control Party until there are two fires or a flood present. This will prevent you from running out of charges too early on in a match. You have the option of accelerating the use of the consumable when it will save you, but be cautious of over use. When I played this ship, I always began with five charges available and I only ran out during one match. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 13.68km Air Detection Range: 9.8km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.41km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.83km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 1st Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 3rd Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is one damn stealthy battleship. Only Imperator Nikolai I has less stock surface detection range. Arkansas Beta can out match her grace of its ship-defining access to extra upgrade slots that lets her potentially use Concealment Modification 1. But other than that, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is always going to see enemy battleships before they see her. This is a good thing for this vessel as this not only shores up her survivability, but it also lets her undermine one of the weaknesses of her main battery. She can close the distance and get close to her optimal firing range and not have to suffer the issues of her penetration. I do question how exactly Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is justified as being so stealthy. I mean, she's got a large enough superstructure to make Fuso say: "Whoa, that's a bit excessive, don'tcha think!?" Maybe the lookouts get blinded by the hideousness of this ship that they fail to relay her position? Well, that's certainly one way of staying undetected. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 76mm / 37mm / 12.7mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 3.5km / 3.5km / 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 21 / 103 / 47 For a tier V battleship, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya has good AA defense. It's not exceptional, however. She stands above all of her contemporaries with the notable exception of the American premium, USS Texas. She actually shares the Lone Star State's AA flaw with her anti-aircraft guns being limited to self defense ranges. Her DPS weighs in at just shy of half the overall firepower of the American vessel and is comparable to HMS Warspite's totals while being a full tier lower. This is a very respectable sum and can form the basis of an efficient self defense umbrella should a player elect to increase this further. Basic Fire Training and Advanced Fire Training along with the upgrade AA Guns Modification 2 will round out Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's AA total at approximately 207dps with the majority of that firepower reaching up to 5.1km. She does not possess anti-aircraft mounts big enough to benefit from Manual Fire Control for AA Armament, so this skill should be avoided. Short of taking the November Echo Setteseven signal, this is the limit of the pre-game improvements that can be made. Left on it's own, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's anti-aircraft firepower is okay -- enough to bruise carrier squadrons up to tier V and make it far too expensive for tier IV carriers to make continued attack runs against you. The heavy specialization will make her a similarly prickly target for tier V carriers, draining their flight hangars of strike aircraft. However, she cannot make her anti-aircraft firepower strong enough to dissuade tier VI+ carriers, never mind provide her with the illusion of being safe from their predation. As word gets out about her Damage Control Party, it's possible that focus from enemy carriers will drop off. Carriers cannot stack damage over time effects on Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. Dive Bombers start fires? Put them out. Within twenty seconds after it's active period ends it will be available again to stop any follow-up floods. It often takes carriers that long to line up their second attack run so the risks of receiving stacked damage effects is very low. Short of dealing massive alpha strikes, picking on Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya with combined air strikes just isn't worth the time and effort. A Tale of Two Builds Let's not mince words. Here's the optimal build for Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. Here's what you take for your first 10pts: From the first tier, Preventative Maintenance is the best choice. However, if you find yourself struggling not only with situational and map awareness, but risk assessment, then Priority Target becomes more valuable. From tier two, take Expert Marksman. This will increase your turret rotation up to 3.9º per second. This is still terrible, but it's a damned sight better than it was. At tier three, take Superintendent. This doubles up to give you an extra charge of both Damage Control Party and Repair Party. You should still be taking the premium version of both of these consumables, by the way. This skill doesn't substitute the premium consumable, it only supplements it. And finally, take Concealment Expert at tier four. This plays to Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's strengths and lets you get into and out of trouble so much easier. From here, pick up Adrenaline Rush to boost your rate of fire as you take damage. This should be followed up with Basic Fire Training and Advanced Fire Training to boost your good AA power. Carriers are much more commonplace at low tiers, so you will get good use out of these skills, though they have diminishing returns when facing tier VI and VII aircraft carriers. The standard battleship survivability skills have much less value due to Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's Damage Control Party. However, a reasonable alternative to the AA build is to keep Adrenaline Rush but take Basics of Survivability and Vigilance instead. The former will reduce the damage taken from single-fires (which you should normally let run their full course) and Vigilance will give you a bit more warning on torpedoes. This is handy given her preference to be up front. With the one point leftover, double back and grab Priority Target or Preventative Maintenance -- whichever one you skipped out on at tier one. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult I still have concerns that the management of the charges on Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya's Damage Control Party will present a skill-barrier for casual players who pick up this ship. Having five charges through the use of Superintendent and the premium version of the consumable is very comfortable. Three would not be. There's the added problems of her bad traverse and her squishy-as-an-Omaha (I exaggerate) citadel. Yeah, I can see a lot of inexperienced players being frustrated with this ship. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme This ship is rather inflexible. While she has the firepower to really carry a match, she's missing that element of speed to take her carries to the penultimate level. Most of the usual battleship tricks apply to this ship. The gimmick of her Damage Control Party is another parlor trick she can play against her opponents. Mouse's Summary: You're probably going to hear a lot of negative press about this ship facing higher tiered ships. Look, if you're normally intimidated by facing ships two tiers higher, then yeah, keep clear. However, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya can easily punch over her weight class. Seriously. Her guns are good. Her stealth is good. Her durability is good. You can make that work. Speaking of her guns -- treat them like Scharnhorst's AP shells and you'll do just fine. It's twelve Scharnhorst guns every 32 seconds as opposed to nine every 20s. The biggest hurdle in this ship is overcoming the awful traverse and placement of P-turret. Seriously, you're going to want to use your rudder to accelerate it's turn. Just don't do it. I dunno how many times this caused me to over angle and get me sunk. I loved playing this ugly ship. It's amazing how many problems you can solve with 5.65 tons of Stalinium. Every thirty-two seconds, there's another problem solved. Despite the teething issues I had with her gun traverse, this is a fun ship to play. She's as unsubtle as she looks. She hits like a truck, she tanks like a truck, and she looks like something a truck ran over. There was only one problem I really had with her: She doesn't brawl well. Imperator Nikolai I brawls with the best of them, so I thought it natural to give it a go in Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. Imagine to my surprise to find out she had issues here. Don't get me wrong -- she's an absolute rockstar from the moment you set your sights on your prey and during the opening stages. She bow tanks with the best of 'em and her 305mm guns really put down the hurt. She just can't seem to finish the fights she starts. Everything on the approach will be just fine, but it's that key moment when your ship's paths cross alongside one another that everything goes to Hell. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya eats citadel hits like an Omaha in these engagements. It's like one moment she's a big ol' battleship and the next she's some wussy German light cruiser with an allergic reaction to loud noises. If you can survive that crossover, you should be okay. Her best-butt is pretty tanky. Just don't over angle. But it's surviving that crossover that's really going to be the clincher. I've only managed it once in all of my test games. It made me have a sad. Overall, this ship is a great addition to the meta. She's strong without being unfair. She's got flaws that can be exploited and I appreciate that not only from the challenge playing her well but also in anticipation of playing against her in the future. This battleship will make cruisers and gunship destroyers cry for the ease at which she shrugs off their fire damage. She'll frustrate CVs by negating their damage over time effects. Yet, torpedo boats will laugh at the ease at which they dispatch her small hit point pool and lack of torpedo protection. Enemy battleships that learn her weaknesses can bully her for days. I am very much looking forward to this ship being made widely available. Would I Recommend? Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is tier V and that's going to be a huge strike against her for many players. This tier is the first one out of the kiddy-pool, so to speak, and she shoulders an undue amount of Matchmaking burden to populate tier VI and VII matches. Tier V faces higher tiered opponents often in Random Battles -- maybe too often in the views of some players. Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya isn't ideal for such fights, but she can certainly hold her own and she can certainly perform. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? She does splendidly in PVE Battles, so I would recommend her for Co-Op and Scenario Players. Most battleships tend to do well here and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya is no exception. In Scenarios, she might be a bit slow, both on straight-line speed and gun traverse to respond to threats quickly, so make sure you evaluate the needs of the mission before blindly taking this ship out. She's good for applying direct firepower and tanking from one direction (and one direction only). Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. It's harder to recommend her here, so I'm going to give her a pass. Lemme explain why: First, she's not a big credit earner. Anything below tier VI really struggles in that department, so that's out. Two, the experience gains for a truly excellent game will struggling to exceed 1750 base experience. This in turn means lower captain training. Three, she has some pretty specific needs for a Captain that do not gel well with the current Soviet tech tree, so she's a bad trainer. The one thing she is good at is achievements. She farms High Caliber, Confederate and Dreadnought achievements like a champ. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. She'll pad your win rate in Random Battles if you're confident with facing higher tiered opponents. She clubs seals like no one's business on top of that. If Wargaming opens up Ranked Battles for tier V, she'd be a good choice. The mix of firepower, durability, agility and AA power are all welcome. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. I still have very fond memories of sinking the Marat in IL-2 Sturmovik. This one is a no brainer for me, but I have a history with this class of ships. Some of you might not. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? If you can get past her awful turret traverse, then heck yeah, she's a lot of fun. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  17. Premium Ship Review: HMS Gallant

    The following is a review of HMS Gallant, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of July 19th, 2017. Are you excited? I'm excited! More Royal Navy ships! Whoo! Quick Summary: A small, agile destroyer with an uninspiring main battery. She has a heavy torpedo armament with the ability to launch each fish individually, but she's held back by poor launch angles. Cost: Bundles started at $21.99 USD with a port slot. Patch and Date Written: June 8th, 2017 to July 18th, 2017, Patch 0.6.6 to 0.6.7.1 Closest in-Game Contemporary Gaede, Tier VI German Destroyer Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique As much as I would like to compare these to the Polish Grom-class, Gallant shares a lot in common with Ernst Gaede, the tier VI German Destroyer, especially when the German ship is armed with its (admittedly awful) 128mm guns. Am I foreshadowing bit? PROs Gallant has an 8% chance per shell to start fires and the highest Fires per Minute chance of any Tier VI DD. Powerful torpedo armament doing 15,433 damage per hit, with 8.0km range and 61 knot top speed. Torpedoes may be dropped individually in the same manner of Royal Navy cruisers. Tiny turning circle of 540m with excellent rudder shift time of 3.0s. Second best surface detection range at her tier of 6.8km. Small target -- less than 100m long. CONs Small hit point pool of 12,000hp. Weak main battery armament of four 120mm guns and low DPM. Short 10.2km range and clumsy firing angles on #4 turret. Worse shell ballistics than the American 127mm/38s with even more "float". Horrible fire angles on her torpedoes with a maximum forward fire angle of 68º off the bow. High learning curve with making optimal use of her torpedoes. An absolute laughable lack of any credible AA power. HMS Gallant surprised me when she was announced to be coming to World of Warships. As fighting vessels go, she was in the thick of the action in the early part of the war but she didn't participate in any major surface engagements as far as I could tell. It made me wonder why we were seeing Gallant represent the G-class destroyers in World of Warships when there were examples such as Glowworm which saw surface action against capital ships to draw from. Everything began making sense when the Dunkirk Scenario was unveiled. She's not the first British premium destroyer released in the game (that honour goes to HMS Campbeltown at tier III), nor is she first British-built destroyer in the game (that distinction goes to ORP Blyskawica). What she does provide, however, is a glimpse of what the British destroyer line may end up being in the future. It remains to be seen how many of the features on HMS Gallant will become standard to the British destroyers. Sharkbait_416 of the World of Warships wiki team has volunteered to join me in this review. He'll be providing a look into HMS Gallant's history and his impressions of the ship. Take it away! The Sharktank HMS Gallant, hull pennant H59, was a G-Class destroyer of the Royal Navy, launched on August 26, 1935. With the outbreak of WWII in 1939, Gallant began operating in the North Sea, primarily tasked with escort and patrol duties. Throughout the course of these duties, Gallant participated in rescue operations which saved the crews of multiple stricken ships, such as SS British Councillor, SS Santos, and HMS Princess Victoria. On May 25, 1940, Gallant was detached from North Sea operations to partake in Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Allied forces from Dunkirk. On May 26, Gallant arrived in the channel. On May 27, Gallant and HMS Vivacious were notified that ORP Blyskawica was tasked to meet them. The Admiralty wanted the three ships to enter the port of La Panne to evacuate RAF personnel. However, Blyskawica was unable to locate the two British ships. The next day, Gallant embarked troops and transported them to Dover. Gallant made a second trip to Dunkirk on May 29, embarking more troops. Prior to arriving at Dover, Gallant was attacked by Luftwaffe dive-bombers. Despite suffering slight damage, Gallant managed to return to Dover under her own power. In total, Gallant rescued 1,466 personnel from the beaches of Dunkirk. In June 1940, Gallant assisted in the search for Scharnhorst and Gneisenau but was unable to locate the two German ships. In July, Gallant was tasked for duty in the Mediterranean, where she joined Allied forces to assist in operations in the West Mediterranean Sea. On October 20, 1940, Gallant used depth charges to assist in sinking the Italian submarine Lafolè. On November 27, Gallant fought in the Battle of Cape Spartivento as a part of Force B. While supporting convoy operations in the Straits of Sicily off Pantellaria, Gallant hit a mine on January 10, 1941. The force of the explosion tore the bow from the ship, killing 65 crewmen and injuring 15. The remainder of the ship was towed stern-first to Malta. Gallant began undergoing repairs, continuing into 1942. On April 5, 1942, a bombing raid resulted in a near miss that severely damaged Gallant. Due to extensive damage, Gallant was declared a constructive total loss. Gallant was used as a blockship in St. Paul’s Bay and scrapped in 1953. Rerences: http://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/4391.html & http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-10DD-25G-HMS_Gallant.htm Picture courtesy of Wikipedia. Options Gallant uses the same Smoke Generator consumable as the Japanese and Soviet Destroyers. This differs from Campbeltown, the other British premium, whose Smoke Generator echoes that found on American Destroyers. On the USN DDs. the emission time is longer and so is the duration of each individual cloud. This isn't the case on HMS Gallant. So, everything is standard here. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard cruiser upgrades Premium Camouflage: Type 10, tier VI+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Remember to equip as many premium consumables as you can reliably afford on a per-match basis. The module options you'll be using are the standard fare for destroyers. In your first slot, take Magazine Modification 1. Seriously, don't take take Main Armaments Modification 1 unless you're going into Ranked and taking Juliet Charlie signals -- you're more likely to have your entire destroyer blown out from underneath you before you permanently lose one of your weapon mounts to direct damage. This way you can mitigate some of those detonations. In your second slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is the way to go. Note, if you're playing the Dunkirk Scenario, you want to take AA Guns Modification 2 for the extra range. It's useless otherwise, but you WILL NEED IT in the scenario if you're trying for 5 stars. Don't skimp out on this. In your third slot, take Damage Control Modification 1. The other two are terrible (not that DCM1 is much better). And finally, in your fourth slot, take Propulsion System Modification 1. If you have access to Super Upgrades, there's only one really worth considering and that's Engine Boost Modification 1. This would replace your Damage Control Modification 1 upgrade in your third slot. Firepower Primary Battery: Four 120mm rifles in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedo Armament: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers rear mounted down the centerline of the ship. Gallant's gunnery is pretty close to terrible. They may have decent gun handling and a nice krupp rating on her AP shells, but almost everything else is awful. Her 120mm guns are the smallest caliber at her tier and an armament we would expect on tier IV destroyers, not VI. Understandably, on a per-shell basis, they have some of the worst alpha strike qualities, besting only German 128mm HE shells. With her four guns, this makes her volleys rather anemic. But there's worse to come: The ballistic arcs on her 120mm/45 guns are worse than the American 127mm/38s. While Gallant has better muzzle velocity than Farragut's weapons, the shells are lighter and lose speed more quickly. At ranges greater than 5.0km, Farragut's 127mm/38s have better shell flight times over distance. Gallant's shells take 8.62s to hit targets at 10km compared to Farragut's 8.31s with HE shells. Gallant's range normally caps out at 10.2km, so this slow shell time to distance cannot be seen in full measure without Advanced Fire Training. With it, you'll see shell flight times of approximately 1 second per km traveled at ranges in excess of 10km. This makes Gallant's guns utterly ill-suited to engaging anything short of a slow turning Battleship or Carrier at range. You can largely forget about making use of AP except at stupidly close ranges where you'd be better of dumping fish into them instead. To engage enemy destroyers, she needs to be close -- ideally no more than 7km to 8km at most before the lead times greatly inhibit accuracy. And more often than not, she will not want to engage enemy destroyers in the first place. Gallant has two saving graces where her guns are concerned. She has a decent (but not great) rate of fire. With a 5.0 second reload, she can put out twelve rounds per gun. So while she may not be able to compete with any of her peers on a per-volley basis, she can out-muscle Japanese destroyers in a protracted gunnery duel through sheer volume of fire. On paper, she should also be able to compete with Ernst Gaede, the German tier VI, however in practice this often proves to be a fool's errand. Gaede's guns have better ballistic arcs and, more importantly, a lot more health. The second saving grace is more memorable. Gallant has a very high chance to set fires per shell. At 8% per hit, when coupled with her four guns and rate of fire, Gallant becomes the best potential fire starter at tier VI. While this will not help her against enemy destroyers, it does speak to a specialization which favours making the lives of enemy Battleships quite miserable. Overall, Gallant is only a better overall gun platform than Fubuki and Hatsuharu which is pretty poor marks. She edges out Shinonome too, but only just. She needs to force a slug fest to out perform the IJN premium. The reliable 6-gun alpha strikes are quite valuable as they can often decide a duel against a mid to low health enemy destroyer, forcing them to back off even if they have a DPM advantage. It's Gallant's ability to set fires which really redeems these guns. Without it, her main battery would be utterly lamentable. The worst part is that Gallant's guns feel very comfortable to use -- so much so that you might grossly over estimate how well they perform. They turn decently. Their rate of fire is nice. They cause lots of fires. This got me into a lot of trouble when it came to dueling with other destroyers. I'd feel I had the advantage only to see just how uneven a contest it actually was when I got myself butchered. Do not make this mistake. Gallant's guns aren't good. They're not terrible, but they can cause you more problems than they'll solve. Gallant largely redeems the poor qualities of her guns with her torpedo armament. They aren't without their (oh-so minor) faults. For a torpedo specialist, her range of 8.0km is decent but not enough to make captains of the Japanese destroyers sit up and take notice. Their 1.3km detection range gives opponents nearly eight seconds to react which is alright, but not great. The same could be said of their 61 knot top speed which is perfectly adequate but, again, nothing special or worth celebrating. But here's where things get exciting: Gallant has the same launch options as British cruisers. To be clear, the two fire options for Gallant are a narrow spread or to fire off her torpedoes individually. She does not have the wide-spread option found on other destroyers. It's this single fire option which is so desirable. This greatly increases the flexibility of Gallant's torpedo armament, whether this be dropping more complex patterns for opponents to dodge or holding fish in reserve when a target may think themselves safe from harm. On paper, the advantages of Gallant's single fire torpedoes are many. In practice? Many of these advantages are locked behind an admittedly difficult set of player skills, acquired only from experience and the lessons learned from lots of mistakes. Veterans of British cruisers will have a leg up on the competition here. Gallant's torpedoes are individually hard hitting at 15,433 damage and with eight tubes, Gallant's potential damage for a full launch exceeds all ships with the exception of Shinonome and Fubuki which launch nine. Even so, Gallant's torpedoes hit harder individually than Shinonome, so she's not far behind these Japanese torpedo specialists. The are a couple of serious flaws with her torpedoes. They have a punitively long reload of 96s for one, even for a quad launcher. This is common to launchers with more tubes, and Gallant loses out so significantly to the other torpedo-specialists with shorter reloads on their triple launchers with Shinonome having only a 73s reload while Fubuki and Hatsuharu make due with 76s. The second drawback are the awful firing arcs of Gallant's launchers. They only have a 55º launch arc with a rearward bias. The furthest forward they can target is nearly 70º which is appalling and can really hurt Gallant in close quarter brawls or when navigating through islands. This limited fire sector also means she can't use her torpedoes defensively very well, as she has to present her broadside to dump them into the water. So for all of their good hitting power, Gallant cannot launch her fish often and when she can, you may find yourself fighting the fire arcs of her launchers in order to do so. Summary: Her torpedoes are powerful. Single fire torpedoes are awesome, but it's going to take some practice to make them work. The limited fire arcs of her torpedoes can be immensely frustrating. The only thing saving Gallant's guns from being a complete write off is their good rate of fire and high fire chance. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 36.0knotsTurning Radius: 540mRudder Shift: 3.0s Maximum Turn Rate: 8.6º per second. Gallant is rather average for a tier VI destroyer when it comes to her top speed, though all of the destroyers with the exception of the Gnevny-class (including Anshan) slot in and around 35.5 to 36.5 knots. What she does have is great handling, however. She answers her rudder very quickly and can throw herself about in the water like no one's business. She's only held back by he modest top speed. She keeps over 30 knots in a turn, though just barely, and this limits her maximum rate of turn to 8.6º per second. DurabilityHit Points: 12,000Maximum Protection: 16mm Gallant's 12,000 hit points sits on the low side of average at her tier. She has more hit points than Farragut or Hatsuharu but less than the Gnenvy-class and Fubuki-class ships which make up more than half the destroyer population at tier VI. Gallant is tiny as far as ship length goes, but sadly she's also rather tall. This combines to make her a comfortable target to shoot at, unfortunately. Gallant does not have the DPM or accuracy over range to afford trading fire with other gunships. This is a risky venture even when she's top tier against tier V gunships like Podvoisky, Nicholas and Okhotnik. Only do so from a position of extreme advantage if you have to at all. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 6.84km Air Detection Range: 3.36 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.97km Main Battery Firing Range: 10.18km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 2nd Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 16th of 34. Gallant has a decent concealment rating. Properly specialized with a 10pt Captain and with her Premium Camouflage, Gallant will get her surface detection range down to just a hair beneath 6.0km. The only ship at her tier that bests her here is Hatsuharu with a 5.8km surface detection range. This is good news for an under-gunned destroyer that struggles to trade blows with any of her contemporaries. Perhaps most impressive is her small aerial detection range which is better than any of the other destroyers at her tier. As a tier VI destroyer, Gallant sits in that unfortunate 'sweet spot' shared with tier VII destroyers where their concealment seems decent until measured up against the ships she faces. She's larger than most of the tier V destroyers she faces, and while she's much more stealthy than tier VII DDs, she finds herself out done by tier VIII gunships like Lo Yang, Benson and Akizuki -- all of which can make her life miserable in short order. It's a rare game where she'll ever be the stealthiest thing out on the water. Gallant is really built for this short-ranged attack. Her torpedoes give her a 2.0km stealth firing window which is enough room to comfortably manoeuvre. Sadly, this does fall within the range of radar equipped ships that begin appearing at tier VII. Skirting too close to the edge of her launch window also puts her dangerously close to the 5.58km range of Hydroacoustic Search on tier VIII German Cruisers It pays to take a moment to study team rosters and identify problem ships lest you trip over them at inopportune moments. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 12.7mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 4 No. That small cloud of smoke is about to get really crowded with air dropped torpedoes in a moment. Pageantry and Gallantry Thanks to the Dunkirk scenario, there are going to be another build to consider for HMS Gallant, optimizing for achieving 5 stars in the scenario. For now, let me cover the basics for Random and Ranked Battles. As ever, we start with a core build of 10 skill points. Begin with Priority Target to increase your situational awareness when you no longer have concealment. Next, take the destroyer standby, Last Stand to give you passable engine power and rudder shift when these modules get damaged. You have a choice at the next tier. Torpedo Armament Expertise should be taken if you want to emphasize your torpedo rate of fire. Alternatively, take Demolition Expert to supplement your already excellent fire starting qualities on your guns. Do not double up on these at this stage. Finally, take Concealment Expert to get your surface detection down to 5.97km with camouflage installed. Here are the next skills to consider: Tier 1, Preventative Maintenance. For those who hate Priority Target, this can be taken as an alternative. This reduces the likelihood of critical damage occurring to any of your modules (except the Magazine). Tier 2, Jack of All Trades. This is handy for those players that like dropping smoke for their allies. Tier 2, Expert Marksman. This will increase your gun rotation rate from 10º per second up to 12.5º. Tier 2, Smoke Screen Expert. Are you a bro that drops smoke for your big friends in Ranked? Be an even bigger bro with bigger smoke! Tier 2, Adrenaline Rush. This is a long running favourite of many players. It increases your rate of fire of guns and torpedoes as you take damage. At 50% health, this shaves off almost 10s from your torpedo reload and increases your rate of fire from 12.0rpm to 13.2rpm. Always handy. Tier 3, Survivability Expert. This will increase Gallant's hit points from 12,000 to 14,100hp. Note that this won't give you advantage enough to reliably outgun other gunships that are at the same health you are, but it does provide more of a buffer. This can be especially handy in Ranked Battles. Tier 3, Basic Fire Training. Bump up that rate of fire from 12rpm to 13.2rpm. Don't worry about what it does to your AA power. It's not relevant in these game modes. Tier 3, Vigilance. Spot those torpedoes early for your big friends. Tier 4, Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. You can bump up her effective HE penetration from 19mm up to 25mm with this skill. This is enough to stack direct damage against any capital ship you face in Ranked Battles, provided you don't hit the armoured belt, as opposed to being stuck trying to hit the superstructure. Tier 4, Advanced Fire Training. I would recommend against taking this one, but it does have it's uses. This bumps up your maximum range from 10.2km up to 12.2km. Keep in mind your shell flight time is almost 1s per kilometer at those ranges. Tier 4, Radio Location. Like high tier IJN Destroyers, sometimes it's nice to know where the things you don't want to face in a gunfight are likely to be. I personally would recommend the following builds: Random Battles: Core skills (Demolition Expert and Torpedo Armament Expertise both for a total of 13pts). Then take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells and Adrenaline Rush. Ranked Battles: Core skills (Torpedo Armament Expertise or Demolition Expert, not both to start). Then take Survivability Expert. Spend the last six points where you will based on your play style. For cap control, take Basic Fire Training and Adrenaline Rush. For support, lean closer to Vigilance and Smoke Screen Expert. Finally we come to the scenarios. For Dunkirk, you want to emphasize your AA power (silly, I know, but you'll need it). Your core skills look like this: Take Preventative Maintenance first. No surface ships will be targeting you with their main batteries. Next, take Last Stand. The artillery will knock out your engines and steering gears on occasion. After that, take Basic Fire Training to buff your AA power. Then take Advanced Fire Training to buff your AA range up to a "massive" 1.44km. This build is pretty useless for outside of the scenario, but what are you going to do? This "AA Build" only works because of the funny low-health values of planes in this specific scenario, so don't hold any illusions this has any worth outside of it. Some other useful skills include: Tier 2, Jack of All Trades, to help bring your smoke generator off cool down faster. Tier 2, Smoke Screen Expert, to give your allied ships more cover when you drop your smoke. Tier 3, Vigilance, to spot those torpedoes sooner. That's it. This is such a specialized build, I really doubt anyone will have the spare Captain to do it, but maybe you have more doubloons available than sense? When in doubt, you can always suicide-torp battleships at close range. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Gallant is very much like IJN Destroyers where she requires just a little more understanding of destroyer game play to make her perform. She isn't utterly dependent upon her torpedoes for doing damage, but without a good grasp of how best to optimize them, inexperienced players will find this ship frustrating. The good news is that her guns are quite comfortable to play with. The bad news is that her guns will get her into more trouble than not which is a formula for disappointing many consumers. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Gallant will challenge players to really master aiming their torpedoes manually without the use of the leading marker. This is a new skill for some players to learn and it will only improve their overall game play. This bumps up her carry potential somewhat in the hands of a true expert. Her guns are also quite serviceable in the right circumstances, but knowing when to fight and when to cut your losses is something that comes only with experience (or spider sense). The Sharktank HMS Gallant can be a thorn in the side of the enemy team throughout a match if played properly. My overall impression is that she is very good at one thing—launching torpedoes from concealment. Her single-fire torpedo launchers enable her to achieve more hits than the wide-spread setting. This is exceptionally useful in launching torpedoes at ships that are bow-on, such as those charging a smoke screen. However, this may also result in missing all torpedoes if they are improperly aimed. Gallant benefits from excellent maneuverability and a tight turning circle, which enables her to weave and dodge incoming fire if spotted. Much like the British cruisers, Gallant is most effective when maintaining her concealment, whether it be in a smoke-screen or skirting her detection range. Her mediocre HP pool and poor gun performance mean that direct engagements with cruisers and other destroyers are not recommended unless in self-defense. Her abysmal anti-aircraft armament rating means that an enemy carrier may freely fly squadrons of planes over the Gallant, keeping her spotted. To have a great battle, it is imperative to pick-and-choose engagements wisely. Because of this, Gallant truly excels when she has a commander that is specialized with Concealment Expert. This provides Gallant with a 2-kilometer stealth-firing window for torpedoes, and ample range for maneuvering and repositioning while avoiding detection. Gallant’s playstyle is very appealing, but it is important that players have a solid understanding of spotting and detection mechanics in-order to utilize Gallant to her maximum potential. She is not the type of ship that can outgun an enemy destroyer in the beginning of the game after charging into the objective. Instead, patience and smart tactics will result in players being rewarded with opportunities to take advantage of Gallant’s primary strength, her torpedo armament. In summary, I feel that Gallant is a strong torpedo boat, but suffers from being situational, especially in matches with aircraft carriers. It requires a patient and vigilant captain who takes note of the positions where enemy ships were last spotted to predict their movements. These predictions are essential in maintaining concealment and succeeding in carrying out ambush style attacks on enemy ships, a tactic that Gallant excels at. Mouse's Summary: Gallant plays closer to an IJN DD than a Soviet or USN Destroyer Single fire torpedoes are nice .. but only if you can aim. They'll be a detriment otherwise. Her guns feel more comfortable to use than her torpedoes, but her torpedoes are more powerful than her guns. Like IJN Destroyers, she becomes more deadly the longer she can survive into the match. If you die early, you're not getting the most out of this ship. Stay alive. Then she'll shine. HMS Gallant is a pretty uninspiring premium. Her gimmick resides solely in her ability to drop single-fire torpedoes. Should the future British Destroyer line have this ability too, short of them having some flaw (like no HE shells), Gallant isn't going to age well. Her guns are okay, but she doesn't have enough of them and they don't hit hard enough. Her torpedoes are really good, but they didn't blow me away. Specializing a ship around their torpedo armament really makes their performance flirt with feast or famine -- either you have jaw dropping, amazing games or you strike out and muddle through with a pittance of rewards. It frustrated me to no end that her guns are comfortable to use and (generally) suck while her torpedoes are not comfortable to use and (generally) rock. If only I could bring the latter to bear more often without finding myself beached or making myself a bigger target for guns / torpedoes / airplanes. If only the former wouldn't let me down when I find myself going toe to toe with anything more shooty than a Fubuki. For all of the average components that make up HMS Gallant, she's not without her charms. The sum of her parts creates a versatile ship that, while vulnerable to enemy destroyer gunships (and aircraft -- but all destroyers suffer equally there), can still manage to be a thorn in the side of the enemy fleet. Success with this ship hinges on how well a player can make her torpedoes perform. And she's got most of the right tools for facilitating that. She's not slow. She's pretty stealthy. She handles like a dream. She's got enough guns to defend herself. In theory, Gallant should work for most players. I wasn't inspired, however. Gallant didn't romance me the same way some other premiums have -- even the lackluster ones. Is that a flaw of the ship? I think so. I couldn't get excited for this ship. Time will tell if I'm proven wrong and the community embraces this one as one of their own. Would I Recommend? PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Mouse: The big question is how will she do in the Dunkirk scenario? Well, she combines elements of both freely available destroyers. Gallant has the fast gunnery of Anthony and the Smoke Generator of Cyclone, so she'll do alright against the Schnellboots but she'll really struggle to shoot down aircraft unless you've built her with AA pew pews in mind. In regular PVE play, treat her like an IJN Destroyer and you'll do alright. Sharkbait_416: Yes; I would recommend Gallant for PVE battles. At Tier VI, Gallant has minimal service costs. She maintains a fair margin of profitability in well-played PVE battles, but premium consumables should be avoided to maximize income. Gallant fares well against bots due to her concealment. She can provide support to teammates, such as a smoke screen, while also engaging enemy ships with her single-firing torpedo launchers. However, her main battery guns are of a small caliber and suffer from long shell flight times, which makes hitting small and agile targets, such as PT boats, difficult. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Mouse: It all comes down to how well you think you can perform with your torpedoes. Personally, I would give Gallant a pass here. While she's perfectly adequate when top tier, she's really going to struggle when bottom tier in the same manner as Fubuki and Shinonome. If that's your cup of tea or you can stomach being the (severe) underdog, then go nuts, my friend. Sharkbait_416: Yes; I highly recommend Gallant for random battle grinding. She truly shines with a 10-point commander that is specialized with Concealment Expert. With this skill, Gallant has a 2-kilometer stealth-firing window for her torpedoes. Those who are familiar with single-firing torpedo launchers may be able to hit a target with every torpedo in the salvo. Good concealment and high-damage potential equate to a ship which is highly rewarding for those grinding for XP and rewards. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Mouse: Is Gallant better than the other tier VI destroyers for Ranked Battles? She's not better than Anshan or Shinonome, but I would say she's better than Gaede or Farragut in this environment. I'll give her a green-light here, but you'd be much better off with Shinonome or Anshan if you can your hands on them. Sharkbait_416: No; although Gallant is very powerful due to her torpedoes, she is easily countered by aircraft. Additionally, she is not very competitive in a fair fight with other destroyers of the same-tier, due to a smaller pool of hit points and poor gun performance. As much as I like her, Gallant is situational in competitive gaming scenarios. Generally, I would advise players to choose another ship for competitive gaming unless they are extremely competent in maintaining concealment, dodging incoming gunfire, and avoiding overextension on the map. Still, an aircraft carrier can easily ruin Gallant’s match by keeping her spotted with squadrons of aircraft. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Mouse: Eh. HMS Gallant has some story to her, but my initial reaction when I heard this ship was coming was "why not Glowworm?". I suppose if you want to own a little piece of Dunkirk memorabilia then snag her up. Sharkbait_416: Yes; Gallant served the Royal Navy honorably. Throughout the course of her service history, she saved the lives of nearly 1,500 personnel and sailors. Though she may not have the fame of other ships in the Royal Navy, Gallant served in numerous operations and escorted multiple convoys before being mined in the Mediterranean Sea. With her addition to the game coinciding with the Dunkirk Scenario, players can recreate her heroic actions in saving over 1,466 personnel from the beaches of Dunkirk in May 1940. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Mouse: Nope, I did not enjoy my time with Gallant. Her torpedoes are frustrating to use. Her guns aren't. Her guns suck though and her torpedoes don't. How to frustrate Mouse 101. Sharkbait_416: Yes; Gallant is very fun to play. As mentioned above, a captain specialized with Concealment Expert provides Gallant with a 2-kilometer stealth firing window for her torpedoes. Her single-fire launchers allow for the possibility of hitting every torpedo in a salvo. Gallant does best in battles with a high number of battleships and no aircraft carriers. In such games, Gallant can inflict serious casualties on the enemy team. It’s very satisfying to watch a single-file line of 8 torpedoes swim toward a battleship, knowing the unsuspecting battleship is in for a world of hurt! What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  18. The Defiant. A very special thanks to KillJoy1941 and x2_Weekends for making this review possible. Quick Summary: A large, fast, hard hitting destroyer with a seven gun broadside and 8km torpedoes. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.1 through to 0.6.7.1 March 5th to July 15th, 2017. Cost: 4,800 doubloons. Closest in-Game Contemporary Leningrad & Minsk, Tier VII Soviet Destroyers Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique It wasn't until the Royal Navy (and British Commonwealth) destroyers joined World of Warships that we began to see a match to Blyskawica's pedigree. At best she could previously be compared with some of the Soviet ships, like Leningrad and Minsk, which are fast gunship platforms but still far removed from this Polish beauty. She is the first British-built destroyer in the game after all, with a resemblance that most closely matches the famous Tribal-class destroyers. To this end, I had a want to compare her to HMS Gallant. However,even with Gallant joining the ranks, Blyskawica's play style still resembles the Soviet Destroyers far more than any other ships presently in the game. I fear it won't be until we see the Tribals that we'll have anything close (if even then). PROs Very large hit point pool for a tier VII destroyer at 15,500hp. Her hull and deck are 16mm thick -- capable of auto-bouncing British Cruiser 152mm AP shells when properly angled. Armed with a seven 120mm rifle broadside, providing a powerful alpha strike per volley. Excellent fire starter with the highest fires per minute of any tier VII Destroyer. Long ranged for a destroyer with a 12.0km reach on her main battery with good shell ballistics to these ranges. Can fire her torpedoes from concealment. At a top speed of 39.0 knots, she's quite fast for a mid-tier destroyer. CONs Blyskawica is a very large target for a destroyer with a prominent superstructure and funnel. Her 120mm guns have a 6.5s reload time, hurting their DPM output. Bad firing angles on her #4 turret. Low individual shell damage and poor penetration values on AP shells. Her torpedoes have only modest performance with 14,400 damage and a 57 knot top speed. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower. Sluggish handling for a destroyer with a 5.8s rudder shift time and 610m turning circle. She is one of the least stealthy destroyers in the game. No other Polish ships in the game, limiting her use as a Captain Trainer. I've wanted to come back to revisit Blyskawica and update her review for a long time. When Wargaming let it be known that they intended to change how concealment works and greatly reduce the impact of firing from stealth in open water, I put plans to update this review on hold. I had to wait not only for this game-changing patch to come down but also to wait and see if any buffs would be provided to compensate for its loss. No such gifts and goodies have materialized, so it's probably safe to say that Blyskawica's current self is stable for the time being. Thus, here is the long overdue reprise of this review. Lert will be joining me to provide his take on this iconic destroyer released in World of Warship's first year. The Lertbox When Mouse approached me to write a Lertbox for Blyskawica I jumped at the chance. This little Polish firecracker has been one of my favorite ships in the game ever since she was gifted to me for my birthday in 2016. She is my most played destroyer with two and a half times as many battles as the runner up. I've trained her captain from three points to eighteen, and she has almost a million XP on her. To say I like the ship is like saying that the sun is a wee bit warm. At first I considered writing a "Why Blyskawica is the best ship of its type in tier" style Lertbox like I did for Bogatyr, however I just can't honestly argue that she is the best destroyer in tier. Mahan is a better knife fighter, Shiratsuyu and Akatsuki are better torpedo boats, Leningrad and Minsk are faster - but then I realized: none of those ships are as well-rounded as the Polish cavalrist. Options No surprises here. Poland doesn't appear to have any specialties when it comes to its consumables -- at least among the destroyer variety. Consumables Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard Destroyer options. Premium Camouflage: Tier VI+ Standard (Type 10). This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy You'll want to shell out the extra credits to afford the premium versions of Blyskawica's Damage Control Party and Smoke Generator consumables. These will set you back 22,500 credits each and are well worth the investment. While this destroyer excels at firing from range, you'll be on the receiving end of damage often -- so often, in fact, that you will want to protect yourself with faster repairs of crippled systems and a quicker reload time of smoke. Note, if you're going to use the rare Engine Boost Modification, do invest in the premium version of that consumable too. For your modules, Blyskawica is pretty standard. In your first slot, Magazine Modification 1 is the best choice. She detonates as regularly as other destroyers and this will help mitigate that. If you're using Blyskawica competitively, then equip Main Armaments Modification 1 and don't skimp out on the Juliet Charlie signals to prevent detonations. You can do this latter configuration in Randoms if you prefer, just be aware you could lose your ship to a magazine explosion with some frequency if you are not running the signal. For your second slot, take Aiming System Modification 1. This will tighten her dispersion by 7m at 12km or 9m at her modified maximum range of 14.4km. Honestly, this isn't much but you're dependent on tight shell groupings to really take advantage of Blyskawica's alpha strike ability with her gun volleys. The added bonus of faster traversing torpedo tubes makes it worth while -- especially compared to the other modules you could place in their stead. The third slot for Destroyers is still pretty terrible. The new Engine Boost Modification 1 which provides a 50% increase to the duration of her Engine Boost consumable is probably the most interesting. If you don't have access to that (it only comes from Supercontainers and promotions), take whichever one you want. Their gains are minimal. For your fourth slot, you've a choice. Steering Gears Modification 2 will reduce your rudder shift time from 5.8s down to 4.6s. Alternatively, Propulsion Modification 2 is an excellent option\ (and the one I prefer myself). See the Manoeuvrability section below for the impacts of Steering Gears Modification 2 on ship turning time. Firepower Main Battery: Seven 120mm/50 rifles between four turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring arrangement. The forward most turret is a single mount. The other turrets have two guns each. Torpedo Armament: Six tubes between 2x3 dorsal launchers. Main Battery Tier VII Rankings (out of seven) 15,400 AP Alpha Strike: 1st 11,900 HE Alpha Strike: 1st 142.153 AP DPM: 5th (B-Hull Mahan 1st with 157,500) 109,846 HE DPM: 5th (B-Hull Mahan 1st with 135,000) 0.49 Fires per Salvo: 1st 5.17 Fires per Minute: 1st 12.0km Range: 3rd (Sims 1st with 12.9km) I both love and hate Blyskawica's guns. On a per shell basis, Blyskawica has some of the weakest guns at her tier. This should probably be expected given their caliber. Blyskawica fires 120mm shells while everyone else is using 127mm or larger. Their saving grace is that they aren't dual purpose weapons, but dedicated anti-shipping naval rifles. They have great muzzle velocity and shell flight times, but her shells individually do little damage and reload slowly. Range and Ballistics One of the best features of Blyskawica's weapons is their shell flight characteristics. Her 12.0km stock range can be upgraded to 14.4km with the tier 4 skill, Advanced Fire Training. Her range is behind only the American premium Sims and the Soviet Minsk. Unlike Sims, Blyskawica has an excellent 900m/s muzzle velocity, giving her slightly less than a 9s lead time to targets out to 12km. This makes hitting targets at range quite comfortable -- something that only the Soviet destroyers can similarly boast. Other destroyers simply do not have the range or their shells have a lot of "float" at these distances. This makes Blyskawica a bit of a long range specialist among destroyers and she's most comfortable engaging enemies at arm's reach. Fields of Fire and Gun Handling It's a good thing Blyskawica's guns have such good reach and flight characteristics out to range. Up close, her gun handling and fire arcs cause problems. Her gun fire arcs break down as follows: A Turret: 276º front B Turret: 294º front X Turret: 300º rear Y Turret: 270º rear This provides an average field of fire of 285º per turret. When you compare this to similar A-B-X-Y gun mounts on destroyers (ignoring the P mounts between the funnels which area always restricted), you really start to see how often these gun are occluded despite their ideal placement. Here's the average fields of fire for the other tier VII destroyers with these same turrets: Mahan and Sims (4 turrets): 300º Shiratsuyu (2 turrets): 300º Akatsuki (3 turrets): 293.3º Leberecht Maass (4 turrets): 285.5º Leningrad & Minsk (4 turrets): 284.5º Blyskawica's only saving grace is that she concentrates all seven of her guns within these modest sets of firing arcs. The Leningrad-class, Shiratsuyu and Mahan all have an extra turret with heavily restricted fire arcs to add onto this average to bring the number down further. Blyskawica's gun traverse isn't terrible, but it's not good either. Her guns rotate at 10º per second. This is far better than those of the Soviet or Japanese destroyers (which lurch at a paltry 6º per second) but a far cry from the American rotation speeds of 15º and 34º per second off the Mahan and Sims respectively. She won't ever out turn her turrets in the manner that Soviet and Japanese destroyers will, but in an intense knife fight, you'll struggle to keep guns on target. The Tier 2 Captain Skill, Expert Marksman can be used to help ensure her guns are brought back on an opponent quickly while Blyskawica dodges enemy fire, but it's not like she needs the skill to keep her guns fixed while manoeuvring. Damage, Rate of Fire and Shell Penetration Each shell has a 2,200 AP and 1,700 HE alpha strike. This is slightly better and worse than the USN 127mm guns and only slightly behind the IJN 127mm rifles found on Shiratsuyu and Akizuki. Individually these shells don't do a lot of damage. With a 6.5s reload, it's not like she's going to win any DPS races. However, Blyskawica does have her own trump card. Her seven rifles can deal a larger alpha strike in a single volley than any of her contemporaries. A salvo of Blyskawica's guns does a full 25% more damage than Leningrad or Minsk. She puts out 3,927 HE damage per penetrating volley -- enough to strip between a quarter to a third of the hit points of almost any destroyer she faces. So while she may not fire fast, when she does land hits, they are potentially devastating. There's only one fly in the ointment. With 120mm shells, Blyskawica's HE penetration is limited to affecting areas of armour that are 19mm or less. While this is more than sufficient to bully destroyers and harass British Cruisers, it does leave her lacking when it comes to facing Battleships of tier VI or higher. She may also struggle against specific heavy cruisers -- especially those at tier VIII+. When facing these targets, they often have large sections completely immune to her HE shells and short of stacking hits against their superstructure, Blyskawica's damage totals against these ships falls away quickly. There are two solutions, of course. The first is to switch to armour piercing ammunition when confronted with these targets. This can yield some surprising bursts of damage, but only at close range. Blyskawica's penetration values on her AP shells is very lackluster and you can find them bouncing and shattering off of even thinly armoured plate at modest distances. The alternative is to invest four skill points into Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. This allows Blyskawica to penetrate up to 25mm worth of armour, removing the shell immunity from all of her targets short of tier VIII+ Battleships and select cruisers, though it does hurt her chance to start fires. This is a precious asset to hamper. The buffs to the prow of select cruisers, bumping them up to 27mm worth of armour further diminishes the value of this skill for Blyskawica such that it's very difficult to recommend. One of Blyskawica's greatest strengths is her ability to set fires. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells damages this ability significantly -- she never quite recovers primacy among tier VII destroyers, even if you use Demolition Expert to prop her numbers back up. Fire Chance Blyskawica is the best fire starter of the tier VII destroyers. The combination of her large number of guns with a high fire chance per shell gives her the lead in this regard, but this can be padded further with two Captain Skills. Basic Fire Training increases her rate of fire and Demolition Expert to increase the raw chance of starting a blaze. This is one of the most significant ways Blyskawica can pad her damage numbers against targets like Nagato or Iowa that are largely immune to the direct harm of her guns. This has the added benefit of keeping pressure on your target's Damage Control Party, making her more vulnerable to flooding or fires set by your team mates. The question becomes if it's worth trading off the chance of setting fires to open up direct damage opportunities against tier VI and VII battleships with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. Know that this harms your fire chances significantly., especially given that you may have to give up Basic Fire Training or Demolition Expert to afford it. In my opinion, when it comes to engaging capital ships, destroyers should hit and run and not dabble with illusions of providing sustained bombardment to wear down their foes. It provides too many opportunities for reprisals on a ship that should rely on stealth and speed to stay alive. To this end, I prefer Blyskawica specialized to set blazes rather than deal direct damage. Torpedoes In contrast to her guns, Blyskawica's torpedoes are a bit of a let down. They're not terrible, per se, but they certainly aren't anywhere close to good. Heck, they're not even interesting. There are three major flaws with Blyskawica's torpedoes that make them so lackluster. They are slow. They are not long ranged. She cannot do a lot of damage. Her fish travel at 57 knots which is shy of the minimum of 60+ knots you want to see on any ship that relies on their torpedoes to do a significant portion of their damage. It takes her torpedoes in excess of 53 seconds to reach the end of their running distance. A torpedo traveling 62 knots would cover this five seconds faster. This disparity in speed over running distance makes landing those long range hits difficult. The more time goes by, the more likely your target will dramatically change course, reducing the use of the aiming predictor to land hits reliably on target. At 8.0km, Blyskawica's torpedoes do allow this large destroyer to launch her fish from concealment, but only just. At best, Blyskawica can count on a 1.3km stealth firing window to engage her targets. This limits the use of her torpedoes to direct attacks only rather than having any use as an area denial weapon. This 8.0km range makes the risks of being spotted so close to potential prey items near catastrophic. This is easily inside radar range of even tier VII ships and well within the reach of terrifying German secondary gun batteries. Individually, her torpedoes don't hit especially hard either. At 14,400 damage, Blyskawica's torpedoes sit on the low side of average at tier VII. However, she only mounts six torpedo tubes versus the minimum of eight found on every other contemporary destroyer. So while salvos from other tin cans (short of a Sims) are likely to be catastrophic against all target types, Blyskawica has to often make due with simply mauling a hale and healthy target with her strikes. This limits Blyskawica's ability to outright delete select targets and usually necessitates falling back on her guns to try and finish off what she started. Summary Blyskawica should be thought of as a gunship that has workable torpedoes. She isn't a knife fighting destroyer like the Sims or Mahan and she needs to open up the range and use her better ballistic arcs to out trade the Americans. She doesn't have the DPM of the Soviet destroyers so she needs to force a knife fight where the Soviets will struggle to bring their guns to bear. This makes any gun fights with Blyskawica interesting and rewarding when you can use your ship's advantages and out play your opponents or infinitely frustrating to forever be caught out of your element. Her torpedoes are functional but not exciting by any means and make a good backup weapon to prey upon larger ships when their little friends have been thinned out. Versus Mahan You have the speed advantage over the American and more comfortable gunnery at range. The Mahan has better DPM, turns better and arguably has better torpedoes. However, when properly played this duel should be a gunnery duel from beginning to end. Keep the Mahan at range and wiggle, but keep a wary eye out for stray torpedoes. As long as you keep the battle at around 9 ~ 11 km, his torpedoes shouldn't be a threat and your comfortable gunnery should beat out his DPM. It won't be easy landing reliable hits if he's waggling his aft like he should, but with his gunnery hitting you will be even more problematic. With your speed you should be able to dictate the engagement and keep him right where you want him. In this engagement it's probably in the Mahan's best interest to go dark and try to escape. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 39.0 knots Turning Radius: 610m Rudder Shift Time: 5.8s Maximum Rate of Turn: 8.2º per second. Blyskawica feels like a big destroyer -- she's sloppy in a turn. Though she answers her rudder quickly enough, she feels like she slides a lot,owing to her large, 610m turning circle and the 5.8s rudder shift she possesses. There's not much that can be done to alleviate this bloated feeling when it comes to Blyskawica's handling. Adding Steering Gears Modification 2 provides only a 0.15s gain on a 90º turn, improving her rotation rate by a mere 0.06º/s to 7.56º/s over this turning angle. The closest analogue to Blyskawica's rate of turn is found in the Soviet Minsk and Leningrad. It's not until Blyskawica decelerates to her optimal turning speed of 32.8 knots that she really bites into the water. Blyskawica will reach this speed under full power in about 19 seconds of hard manoeuvres, though it can be reached faster by adjusting her engines. Overall, Blyskawica responds poorly to sudden threats, yet she comes into her own over the course of a protracted series of wiggles and dodges. This creates a frustrating duality: enemy torpedo salvos are incredibly dangerous to Blyskawica while incoming fire from larger vessels can seem just as easy to avoid in this Polish ship as other destroyers. Part of the reason enemy torpedoes are so dangerous is her good speed. At 39.0 knots, Blyskawica doesn't win any awards for being the fastest ship out there (that is firmly held by the Soviets for now), but she's no sluggard. She can easily control engagement distances, closing the range or kiting as needed. However, this great speed can get her into trouble quickly -- such as finding herself with torpedoes ahead and being unable to manoeuvre into the gaps or tripping over the scouting elements of the enemy fleet. Vigilance is a very valuable skill for players who like to contest cap circles early in their Polish destroyer to provide more reaction time to this threat. Versus Leningrad & Minsk And now the trickiest theoretical duel. These Russian ships have a slight DPM advantage and a less-than-slight speed advantage. Their turning circle is greater but their additional speed means that they're almost as fast through a turn as you are. Their gunnery is as comfortable at range as yours is, and their concealment is near identical to yours when neither is firing. One minor advantage you have is that their DPM relies on fast ROF rather than large volleys, meaning that they have less time between volleys to concentrate on steering. With their superior speed they can close the distance quickly or disengage when the duel is going sour. I have to be honest here, dueling Leningrads (and since 6.2, Minsks) has always been a problem for me in Blyskawica. You have the gunnery to beat them up, but only if they allow it, and hitting such a speedy target isn't easy. Meanwhile, they can give just as hard as they can receive. Blyskawica's saving grace in this theoretical duel is her faster turret traverse, allowing you to keep your guns on the Russian boat while throwing your ship around more. Still, this isn't a duel where you can press your advantages and force your strengths on their weaknesses, this is a duel where the superior driver wins. Not the superior boat. Blyskawica may be a large destroyer, but she's so very small compared to proper cruisers, like Cleveland. Ideally, she should be working closely alongside support gunships like Cleveland, Shchors and Yorck, providing second-line artillery fire to supplement the heavy hitters once the enemy destroyer threat is neutralized. When needed, she can redeploy as a scout or to drop smoke for her team mates to help control vision. Durability Hit Points: 15,500 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 16mm Blyskawica is a large destroyer with a lot of health to match. At 15,500hp, she has the second highest hit point pool at her tier, outdone only by the enormous Leberecht Maass. Given her DPM disparity with her guns, this advantage in hit point should be put to good use when knife fighting with enemy destroyers. It also doesn't hurt to play to this advantage by padding it further with Survivability Expert. Taking this skill adds another 2,450hp to Blyskawica's total, bringing it up to 17,950hp which makes trading with American and Soviet destroyers much more tenable. Players should be aware that Blyskawica has a very large forward powder magazine, meaning almost any HE hits taken from behind her A turret right to her bridge are likely going to be damaging the magazine and prompting those dreaded detonation rolls. Her rear magazine is long and slender but slightly less exposed. Unfortunately, both lockers reside well over the waterline and catastrophic explosions in this ship should not be unexpected, especially if someone is boneheaded enough not to run with Magazine Modification 1 in their destroyer. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 7.7 km Air Detection Range: 3.8 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.8km Within her matchmaking spread Blyskawica is one of the least stealthy tin cans available This problem is further compounded by her tier. Destroyers at tier VIII have access to Concealment Modification 1 which further reduces their surface detection range, putting Blyskawica at a further spotting disadvantage when facing stronger opponents. You can almost always count on being seen first when engaging enemy lolibotes with a mere 3 exceptions (Mahan, Kiev, and Tashkent) . It cannot be understated how much of a drawback this is for tier VII destroyers and Blyskawica specifically. Given Blyskawica's long range gunnery, players should pay close attention to their minimap and mind which ships will be able to spot her when she fires. Dealing the killing blow on an enemy destroyer may keep Blyskawica imperiled by vessels further afield that are still within her gunnery range. This goes doubly so if a player elects to use Advanced Fire Training. The good news is that unlike many of the large Soviet Destroyers, Blyskawica is capable of launching her torpedoes from concealment without issue. Once the enemy scouts are taken care of, she can make use of her modest concealment to make attack runs on larger ships. Just be wary of spotter aircraft. Versus Shiratsuyu You have the speed and the gunnery advantage, he has his imposing walls of skill. Remember though that Blyskawica is a big boat, especially compared to Japanese torpedo boats, and thus he'll probably spot you before you spot him. Often times the first sign that a Shiratsuyu is in the area is the torpedo wall approaching your ship at speed, forcing you to put on your best torpedo beats to survive. If the situation allows, turn to hunt him down with your significantly superior speed. When he's lit, give him that biblical beating that he deserves with your far superior gunnery. Be aware however that he might have another set of torpedoes ready for you when you do find him, with his torpedo reload boost consumable he can have a second set of eight torpedoes ready a mere five seconds after firing the first. This duel comes down to your skill in avoiding torpedo walls. In a gunnery duel Shiratsuyu doesn't stand a chance unless Blyskawica is near death already. Press that advantage. This graph shows the lowest possible surface detection range of the respective ships using commander skills, upgrades and camouflage of all of the ships in Blyskawica's matchmaking spread. Notice the upward trend in spotting distance from tier V through to VII and the sudden drop at tier VIII and IX. This really damages the competitiveness of tier VII.Minekaze Group includes: Minekaze, Fujin, Kamikaze, Kamikaze R, MutsukiFubuki Group includes: Fubuki, Shinonome, GnevnyBlyskawica Group includes: Blyskawica, Leberecth Maass, Minsk Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 40mm / 13.2mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 3.5km / 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 22 / 14 For a ship that was historically renown for having the best AA firepower for a destroyer at the time of her construction, Blyskawica's anti-aircraft firepower in World of Warships is pretty terrible. To be fair, the anti-aircraft defense she famously provided for a British town was done with a more modernized armament than what we see in World of Warships. She has no large-caliber anti-aircraft artillery (her main battery is not dual purpose) and thus she struggles to fight back against enemy planes. How to Bring the Thunder! Wait, no, that one sank... Blyskawica has her own dedicated Captain with no other Polish ships (yet) added to the game. This means there's no excuse not to optimize your build to maximize her efficiency. Your core skills should be the following: Take Priority Target as your first skill. Next, take the good ol' destroyer standby: Last Stand. After that, you have your choice of two skills: Demolition Expert or Basic Fire Training. I'm of the opinion that the former is preferable to the latter on your first pass but you will want both eventually. Take one and move on. Finally, take the second destroyer must-have: Concealment Expert. After you've doubled back to grab the other third tier skill, it's time to look at other options. Here are the most common skills associated with Blyskawica and the merits and flaws of each: Tier 1: Preventative Maintenance. A lot of players prefer taking this skill over Priority Target, but the gains aren't what they appear to be. The incapacitations described in the skill refer to the temporary disabling of modules, or the "critical hits" that can affect main battery, torpedoes, steering gears and engines. As the hit point pool of these modules depletes, the odds of a critical hit increase. Preventative Maintenance tweaks those odds. So if, a shell has a 20% chance to knock out your ship's steering gears when struck, this skill would reduce that down to 14%. The exact numbers for the critical hit chance per module is not known at this time. Tier 2: Expert Marksman. This is a handy skill for Blyskawica, especially for players that like to wiggle and dodge while returning fire. This increases her turret rotation rate up to 12.5º per second, a full 4º per second faster than her maximum ship rotation rate, making it much easier to keep your guns fixed on target during evasive manoeuvres. Tier 2: Adrenaline Rush. It's hard to argue with a soft boost to the reload rate of your guns and torpedoes as you take damage. This can make all of the difference in a close fight. However, on some games, you just won't get a return on your investment. Tier 3: Survivability Expert. This skill is worth its weight in gold in competitive environments, boosting Blyskawica's hit point total up to a massive 17,950hp. If you're planning to take her into Ranked Battles, this is a solid investment. Tier 3: Torpedo Armament Expertise. I'm not convinced Blyskawica's torpedoes are good enough to warrant this investment. Some may, and that's up to their play style choice. Tier 3: Vigilance. If you fancy contesting capture circles and bullying lesser gunships with Blyskawica but (like me), you find yourself quite embarrassingly getting your bow blown off by enemy fish, this can help make you look less like a scrub (like me). Note, the get-gudders out there won't need this one. Tier 4: Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. This is the oh-so controversial skill. This increases the armour that Blyskawica can damage with HE shells from 19mm to 25mm, which effectively allows her to directly bombard all tier VII and lower battleships and most (but not all) heavy cruisers she encounters. This comes at the expense of what is an excellent chance to set fires. It's really up to the player to decide how they want to stack their damage. Tier 4: Advanced Fire Training. This will boost Blyskawica's gunnery range from 12km to 14.4km. She has the shell ballistics to make landing hits at this range comfortable, especially against large capital ships. The increased surface detection range may make contesting cap circles early on more risky, but the advantages of a larger stand-off range while engaging enemy ships is a definite plus. Tier 4: Radio Location. If you fancy yourself a nightmare for all things IJN, this is a fun (if expensive) skill to have. My own suggestion would be the following builds. Long Range Fire Starter: Core skills (including both Basic Fire Training and Demolition Expert). Advanced Fire Training and Adrenaline Rush. Cap Circle Duelist: Core skills (Basic Fire Training but no Demolition Expert). Vigilance, Survivability Expert, Expert Marksman, Preventative Maintenance. Blyskawica has the second largest surface detection range at tier VII behind only Mahan. Out of all of the ships she faces in her matchmaking tier, she is only more stealthy than three other vessels: Mahan, Tashkent and Kiev. Out of all destroyers from tiers V through X, she is tied for 37th place with four other ships among 45 vessels. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Destroyers are one of the more challenging classes to play effectively in World of Warships, particularly as you climb into the higher tiers where the threats keep multiplying. Radar ships being appearing at tier VII with premiums like Belfast, Atlanta and Indianapolis and are outright commonplace by tier VIII. Radio Location becomes a common skill among IJN destroyers. And to top it all off, you're playing at a tier that has the highest average of improved detection rate of any of the destroyers in the game, with Blyskawica being one of the largest overall. Good luck! Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / ExtremeBlyskawica will reward you with all of the usual tricks and plays expert Destroyers have crafted and honed, yet her unforgiving surface detection range makes the knowledge of these skills all the more important. She can perform beautifully, especially with long range gunnery harassing larger ships, but the risks are great and only experience will let you know when they outstrip the rewards. The Lertbox I love this ship. It speaks to the quality of the ship that she has an answer for almost every situation, be it long range bombardment of battleships, outrunning cruisers, laying down some decent torpedoes or bullying destroyers on at least equal footing. Only against planes does she have a weakness, and Leningrads / Minsks are the bane of her existence. That said though, when I was play-testing Minsk and Leningrad, I always reached back to Blyskawica when the testing was done. In my opinion she's just a more well-rounded ship than either Russian offering. Make no mistake: other Tier VII destroyers are better at some things. Shiratsuyu and Akatsuki are better torpedo boats, but Blyskawica is good enough. Mahan is a better gun boat, especially up close, but Blyskawica is good enough. Leningrad and Minsk are faster and more flexible in a tactical sense, but Blyskawica is good enough. While each of the other offerings might be better in certain situations, I'm hard pressed to think of one where Blyskawica can't compete. And that flexibility, that ability to handle almost any situation and make a strong showing makes this Polish Winged Hussar my favorite tin can in the game. Mouse's Summary: Surface Detection range for tier VII Destroyers sucks. Blyskawica has super fun guns and only "meh" torpedoes. I cannot, for the life of me, pull my win rate out of the gutter on this ship. Blyskawica, more so than almost any other destroyer in the game, was adversely affected by the removal of stealth-firing in 0.6.0. She could boast upwards of a 4km stealth-firing window -- one that was exceeded by ships like Sims, but with a difference. Blyskawica had the ballistic arcs to make firing from this range rather elementary. She used to be able to rain shells down with impunity on larger targets once the escort screen of enemy destroyers were clear. Only enemy aircraft could foul this up, and then only just. Radar ships, even the vaunted super-reaching radar of the Soviet Cruisers, couldn't unmask a Blyskawica with Advanced Fire Training, intent on pummeling larger surface ships to death. While she didn't have the shell caliber sufficient to land direct damaging hits to many parts of the capital ships she faced, she could light fires aplenty and that worked beautifully... well, beautifully for Blyskawica. It was annoying as Hell for the person on the receiving end. Since the changeover, she's done alright. She's not a dominant force within her tier. The changes to stealth firing really made her large surface detection range matter more. Advanced Fire Training, has become a double-edged sword rather than a play-style choice. She still provides excellent harassing gunnery support -- perfect for chasing off IJN Destroyers that get too close or lending firepower to help punish capital ships that find themselves out of position. However, Blyskawica's star has dimmed somewhat with the loss of her gimmick. This should be expected of a generalist, especially one that has lost the one thing that made her special. As Lert is fond of pointing out, Blyskawica's specialty is that she doesn't overspecialize in any one thing. She's fast, but she's not the fastest ship. She's a gunship but she's not a DPM or knife fighting monster. She has decent torpedoes but not a good torpedo armament. I love Blyskawica, I really do. She's a "cursed" ship for me -- one that I don't play often enough and when I do, I end up losing. A combination of (really) stupid mistakes with the usual small-sample size of games played means that I haven't (yet) rescued my win rate from the dregs on this boat. I still recognize her as a good ship, but it would be a lie if I said she was still very competitive in Random Battles. I think this may be more symptomatic of the problems with tier VII destroyers on the whole, however. They sit right at the crossroads -- destroyers get larger as they climb in tiers, thus increasing their overall surface detection range. At tier VIII, this reaches a critical point and Wargaming have opted to provide the Concealment Module to bring their surface detection range back down to competitive levels. While I don't think Blyskawica needs buffs to be viable, I wouldn't mind seeing some small tweak here or there. I think that says a lot about the state of this ship currently. Would I Recommend? PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Mouse: Like all destroyers in PVE Battles, Blyskawica does have to contend with bots that always know where she is (even when she's not spotted). If you can get over this hurdle and adjust your play appropriately, she's a great contender. We have not seen any scenarios where Blyskawica can be used. I was personally hoping to see her eligible for the Dunkirk mission (she was there, after all!). Otherwise, I would keep clear. Lert: With the bots target prioritization being what it is, driving any destroyer is difficult. However, Blywkawica's lack of stealth compounds the problem. Be aware of these factors when considering her for PvE. If this didn't scare you away, she can be a rewarding drive. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Mouse: Honestly? I kinda have to give Blyskawica a bit of a pass here. She can do well, don't get me wrong, but tier VII destroyers have it rough. She's alright when top tier, but she's been hurting as mid and bottom tier far more so than she once did. The lack of stealth firing really hurts, but not as much as being one of the easiest destroyers in the game to detect and with only medium range torpedoes. Lert: Yep! In case Mouse and me haven't made it clear yet there aren't many situations where Blyskawica falls short and at the tier she makes a decent amount of credits too. The only fly in the ointment is that she's the only Polish ship in the game so she isn't really suitable for captain training. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Mouse: Blyskawica has always stood out as a great Ranked Battle ship. She's right up there with Sims as one of the go-to vessels at tier VII to run amok. The removal of stealth firing has knocked some of the wind out of her sails, but she's still a strong ship in this environment. Lert: Oh yes. That same flexibility counts here as well, but it's her speed and comfortable gunnery that sets her apart and makes her an ideal choice for competitive play. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Mouse: All Canadians should own this ship. She's the official sister ship to HMCS Haida for good reason. The two ships served alongside each other in multiple operations. Blyskawica has an amazing amount of history to her. Lert: Yes. She's a beautiful and storied ship that survives as museum. She's a legend in her own country and helped save a British town from German air attack during the war. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Mouse: If nothing else, Blyskawica is a very fun ship to play. She has unique gunnery not seen on other ships. She's got better gun handling than the Soviets while offering a similar style of play which just makes her all around more comfortable. Lert: She's my favorite destroyer in the game, by far. Do you really expect me to answer anything but a resounding 'yes' here? 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. I wish the same could be said about tier VII as a whole for destroyers. Tier VII is GARBAGE tier for destroyers.
  19. Premium Ship Review: Iwaki Alpha

    The Gerkin of Armaggedon. The Doomsday Baby Dill. The original Deathpickle. Quick Summary: A Super-Saiyan Tenryu with a smoke generator, stealth-firing torpedoes, and guns that can be upgraded to some of the most accurate weapons found in the game. Acquisistion: Iwaki Alpha was awarded to testers in March 2015 for those players who had played 100 matches during the Closed Alpha period. It has not been made available since short of the rare press account. Patch and Date Written: Patch 0.6.7. June 30th to July 11th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary Tenryu, Tier III Japanese Light Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Iwaki is a theoretical upgrade with improved engine and weapon performance of the Tenryu-class. She's better armed and much faster than Tenryu, on top of which she has a whole load of gimmicks which sets her even further apart. PROs With upgrades, Iwaki has some of the most accurate guns in the game with good fire arcs. Powerful torpedo armament with a 10km range and 16,267 alpha strike. Very fast with a top speed of 35.0 knots. Tiny turning circle of 580m and a 3.8s rudder shift time giving her amazing agility. Good surface detection range of 10.1km stock, allowing her to potentially fire torpedoes from stealth. Equipped with four upgrade slots at tier IV. Has a Smoke Generator consumable. CONs The entire midsection, from keel to deck is a citadel. Exposed, unprotected magazines vulnerable to HE fire in the bow and stern. Tiny hit point pool of 18,600hp. Slow stock turret traverse. Short ranged main battery of 10.2km Poor forward torpedo arcs. Short ranged AA defense with only modest DPS totals. This one has been on the books for a long time. You don't know how excited I am to be able to cross this one off my list. Short of providing a review for a Kitakami (and I don't know how I'm going to get access to one of those), I will have finally cleared my backlog of older premiums to review. Hooray! Part of the problem with reviewing this ship was getting my hands on one. I am a Closed Beta Tester. I joined the game about two to three weeks after Alpha Testing concluded, so playing one of these (without breaking the EULA) was really tough. Thankfully, I finally given access through a temporary Press Account provided by Wargaming and played as many games as I could in her in the time allotted (sadly, no Kitakami on the account -- otherwise you guys would have got a two-fer). While I could have easily theory-crafted this review earlier, I really wanted to have some hands on experience with the ship before commenting. Now, just to ensure that I'm not all sparkly-eyed about the one ship I cannot have, I made sure to drag in the surliest gentleman I could find to assist me with this review. Their credentials include having Iwaki Alpha forever. So, rest assured they are blasé about the ship to counter balance my flappy-armed, super-bouncy enthusiasm. You all know him and his grumpy puss: Lert! He's (finally!) back in his box and provided us with some insight on the Deathpickle. The Lertbox I protest! I am not a gentleman! It's been a while since I did one of these, hasn't it? The subject of today's review is the Alpha reward ship. Iwaki is a theoretical upgrade on the Tenryu platform and is better than it in every respect. You know, as one might expect for a ship a tier higher. For this Lertbox I will be trying a variation on what I normally write. As the chances of Iwaki ever being released again in any form are slim to non-existent, I will be describing what you might do when you face one in a same-tiered cruiser, rather than how to defeat a same-tier ship while driving an Iwaki. I will be describing this encounter from the viewpoint of the three most popular cruisers by battles played over the past two weeks, which at the time of writing this are Duguay-Trouin, Phoenix and Kuma. The remaining tier 4 cruisers are quite similar in many respects to these three, so I believe this to be a decent cross-section of ships to compare Iwaki to. Poor lambs. They didn't stand a chance. Options Iwaki Alpha has four upgrade slots at tier IV instead of the usual two. Normally this isn't available until tier VI. On top of this, she has access to the IJN module, Aiming Systems Modification 0 which provides a huge list of upgrades, including buffs to the traverse speed of her guns and torpedoes and a 40% reduction to her shell dispersion (!). Last, but definitely not least, she has access to a Smoke Generator consumable. This is a special version with only a 15s emission time as opposed to the normal 20s found on destroyers. The smoke lasts longer than normal tier IV destroyer smoke, having a full duration time of 80 seconds instead of 73 seconds. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Module Upgrades: Four slots, with access to Aiming Systems Modification 0 in slot one. Otherwise standard tier VI cruiser upgrades. Premium Camouflage: Tier II to V Standard (Type 9). This provides 30% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. As a fun little aside, Iwaki Alpha's camouflage is noteworthy because it was the one of the first (if not the first) camouflaged ships available in the game. This originally didn't provide any bonuses and effectively was a unique skin. It earned the ship the moniker of "the Pickle" with all sorts of descriptors tied to this (Death Pickle being the one I heard most often). Little did we know that almost all IJN ships would soon be able to paint themselves to match. You must install Aiming Systems Modification 0 immediately on Iwaki Alpha. You'd be a fool not to. When you slap it on there, her stats change in the following manner: Her main battery traverse changes from 8.49º per second to 10.23º per second. Her torpedo traverse changes from 25º per second to 30º per second. Her main battery dispersion drops from 103m at 10.2km to 62m. In your second slot, I strongly recommend Aiming Systems Modification 1. This takes the aforementioned stats and drops them even further. Her main battery dispersion drops down to 58m at 10.2km. Her torpedo traverse increases again to 36º per second. In slot three, take whatever you like. I prefer Damage Control System Modification 1 but it's really up to you. The gains are minimal for any of the upgrades for this entry. In your final slot, I highly recommend Propulsion System Modification 2. You're going to be sitting in your smoke often enough that it's handy to give yourself a head start when you need to get moving once again. Firepower Primary Battery: Five140mm rifles in single turrets in an A-P-Q-X-Y configuration. Torpedo Armament: Six tubes in 2x3 center line launchers mounted on either side of the funnels Iwaki Alpha gets the same torpedo armament as Furutaka but a full tier lower. These fish are phenomenal and what's more, the platform on which they're launched has a big trick up it's sleeve. An Iwaki Commander with Concealment Expert can get her surface detection down to 8.6km, giving her a 1.4km stealth launching window with her torpedoes. The general lack of spotting aircraft means that these torpedoes are unlikely to be detected until they close with their prey. While they are visible at 1.5km, opponents at low tiers are often unaware anti-torpedo tactics and attempt to dodge at the very last minute. The only flaw with Iwaki as a torpedo ship are the horrible forward fire arcs of her launchers. This is limited to a little over a 45º arc approximately 80º off her beam with a rearward bias. Veterans of the IJN Heavy Cruiser line will be familiar with this kind of limitation. Like with all IJN Cruisers, swinging the ship around to let loose a broadside of torpedoes will often just get your ship blown out from under you if you attempt it against a wary opponent while spotted. Such attempts are an easy telegraph of the coming torpedo attack and any veterans slumming it down at tier IV will have their eyes open for such an opportunity. When these torpedoes do hit, they hit hard and with one of the largest module-damaging explosions at her tier (only rivaled by Battleship caliber HE -- though these do not have as much penetration power). This puts every ship they strike at tremendous risk of not only sinking from multiple hits, but single hits are quite capable of one-shotting even a Battleship with a magazine detonation. The torpedo defense of lower tiered dreadnoughts just isn't up to scratch and these catastrophic hits are far more commonplace at this tier with ships like Iwaki being one of the culprits. Iwaki is armed with an unimpressive number (5) of unimpressive guns (the IJN 140mm rifle) with unimpressive range (10.2km). It's made worse that you're only ever bringing four guns to bear. These are the same weapons on Tenryu and Kuma. Overall, they have rather lousy ballistics, low shell damage and very bad penetration values. What you're left with is a cruiser that really struggles when facing other capital ships. This armament is more than sufficient to bully destroyers but they are not up to scratch to let you go toe to toe with other cruisers, even when she's top tier. The best feature these guns can boast is a very high fire chance -- base 10% per shell. Battleships will learn to hate and fear you, especially when you bombard them from smoke and set them ablaze from stem to stern. There is a ray of sunshine, though. Thanks to her module options, namely Aiming Systems Modification 0 and Aiming Systems Modification 1, Iwaki can have the lowest horizontal dispersion value found on any capital ship in the game. Aim properly and you'll hit your target almost every time -- it's really quite nice. This can (generally) make up for the lower number of guns she sports, particularly when you get the drop on an enemy ship. However, once they find the range to you, short of some epic butt wiggling or hiding in smoke, they will out trade you every time. The Lertbox Duguay-Trouin vs Iwaki: The Frenchman has an advantage in hit points and firepower, but most other categories go to the Iwaki. The Japanese ship has better speed, accuracy, armor, stealth, torpedoes and agility, not to mention her smoke. However, you have a very comfortable five kilometer buffer where you can hit her while she can't hit you back. The problem is that you won't be able to see her without someone else spotting her until it's too late and she's in range. Once you have her spotted though, keep your angles in mind and make your overwhelming firepower count to try and delete her as quickly as you can. Aim for center mass shots, but keep your angles in mind because you're softer than your opponent and her 140mm guns will hurt you badly if you show just a bit too much broadside. Once you've smacked her around a bit she's very likely to smoke up and send a surprise package of seafood your way, so be ready to pop your hydro acoustic and push into her smoke to bully her with your firepower. You might try using your torpedoes, but the fast and maneuverable Iwaki is difficult to hit with such slow fish. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 35.0knotsTurning Radius: 580mRudder Shift: 3.8s Maximum Turn Rate: 7.26º per second. Iwaki is a cruiser with destroyer levels of agility. This probably makes some sense as a destroyer leader, and it's not like this agility is misplaced. Without it (and her Smoke Generator), she'd be a victim waiting to happen. Her most impressive feature, by far, is her amazing top speed. She caps out at 35.0 knots which is nearly the fastest ship at her tier, with only the German V-170 being half a knot faster. This allows Iwaki to run down and pursue any prey worth chasing while also being able to open up the distance on anything bigger than her short of a Phoenix-class cruiser. Iwaki has an excellent rate of turn at 7.3º per second that's almost fast enough to out traverse her turrets. Aiming Systems Modification 0 makes this a non-issue as it greatly improves her gun handling -- as if you needed more excuses to equip this. To put her rate of turn into perspective, USS Clemson, the tier 4 American Destroyer has a maximum rate of turn of 8.6º per second which doesn't place Iwaki Alpha that far behind. So not only as she as fast (or faster) than many of the destroyers she faces, she can also evade just as effectively. Were it not for her larger size, she'd be an absolute nightmare for enemy ships to try and hit with guns, bombs, or torpedoes. DurabilityHit Points: 18,600Maximum Protection: 63mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 10mm Iwaki Alpha is a ship that allows for very little margin of error. Generally, it only takes two mistakes to get this ship sent back to the port. The first mistake is letting something shoot at you. The second is letting something hit you with said attacks. Iwaki Alpha is one big floating citadel. She has enough armour to arm the fuses of any AP shells that strike her amidships and not enough armour to repulse anything bigger than destroyer-caliber. Combine this with the painfully short ranges of low tier maps and you've a recipe for disaster. Iwaki melts under fire. Battleships will one shot you. Cruisers can one shot you with a well placed volley. Destroyers will destroy you in as little as two hits of their torpedoes. The good news is that in low tier matches, it's rare you'll encounter anyone that knows how to properly use their AP shells, never mind aim effectively. And that AP/HE disparity at low tiers would be great except Iwaki's powder magazines lie completely outside of her citadel. These are largely unprotected, with no more than 10mm of armour. While this will be too little to arm the fuses of most AP shells, this does leave them open and exposed to high explosive fire, particularly from 305mm battleship caliber shells, bombs and torpedoes so prevalent at lower tiers. Detonations in this vessel are, for a cruiser, quite commonplace, and shouldn't be unexpected. Sadly, Aiming Systems Modification 0 provides no protection from magazine explosions, so brace yourself for experiencing the occasional bout of fun and engaging fireworks displays at the expense of your ship. So this makes for a fun bit of irony. While Iwaki would succumb very quickly to AP fire, the inexperience of your opponents may just get you detonated dramatically instead through the use of derpy HE fire. Ah, justice never tasted so sweet. The Lertbox Phoenix vs Iwaki: You are the bully in this engagement. Bigger guns and more of them, better range, more hit points, better armor, the same speed and Hydro-acoustic to warn you of incoming torpedoes and ferret your opponent out of smoke should she smoke up. When faced with a Phoenix a savvy Iwaki driver might simply choose not to engage, knowing you have the advantage in a direct slug fest. Iwaki doesn't have the speed to close to engagement range, so as long as you keep your distance you should be able to bludgeon her without fear of reprisal. Should she smoke up, close the distance and push in. Use your hydro acoustic consumable to give you an early warning of incoming torpedoes, and simply devastate her with your far superior guns. Of all the tier four cruisers, Phoenix is perhaps the most well equipped to take out an enterprising Iwaki, and a smart Iwaki driver will avoid a direct confrontation. Unfortunately for you, any Iwaki you will encounter will be driven by someone with 2+ years of experience. That's a whole lot of 'nope'. Iwaki will surprise your opponents with how agile she is, but this will only last for so long. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 10.1km Air Detection Range: 4.8 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 8.6km Main Battery Firing Range: 10.2km Iwaki feels like a big ol' fat destroyer and this holds true with her concealment rating. For a while, she was one of the stealthiest cruisers available in the game, though the British cruisers have made this trait considerably more commonplace. Properly specialized, Iwaki can get her concealment below 9km which allows her to use her 10km torpedo range to engage enemy ships from a position of stealth. This can be devastating, especially against the novice Captains that frequent low tier matches. Her concealment is a necessity, however. Iwaki is such a vulnerable ship that her only real defense when things go wrong is to silence her guns and hide. In the claustrophobic environments of low tier maps, this isn't always an option however which can make playing her successfully quite challenging. It's almost a blessing when you face tier V ships as it means you are (likely) to be on a map where her concealment can be used. Her fallback will always be the use of her Smoke Generator. I tried very hard to save the limited number of charges of Iwaki's smoke consumable for aggressive plays rather than defensive -- to set up opportunities to finish off ships with gun fire or to mask a close range torpedo launch, but this wasn't always an option. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 25mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 3.1kmAA DPS per Aura: 31 For anti-aircraft defense, Iwaki has five triple 25mm mounts. This provides some medium range anti-aircraft firepower which might shoot down a plane or two, but that's not really her best defense against enemy air groups. Dive Bombers are your bane, while auto-aimed torpedo planes are only an issue if they set up a cross-drop upon you. Even then, Iwaki's best defense against aircraft will always be her speed, agility and, (if worse comes to worst) her smoke generator. The Lertbox Kuma vs Iwaki: A more even matchup. Both ships follow a very similar design philosophy, that of a small but fast, lightly armed destroyer leader. You have the same guns as Iwaki, but can bring half again as many to bear, and with superior range. With more hitpoints and armor, any direct gunnery duel between an Iwaki and a Kuma should go to the Kuma. Be wary of Iwaki's torpedoes though, they're considerably superior to your own with better range, speed and damage. The Iwaki is slightly faster than Kuma and has a tighter turning circle, but the real difference between these two ships lies in Iwaki's smoke. Here too the same basic advice goes, once Iwaki smokes up, activate hydro, close in and bully for the victory. Adding Omega to your Alpha With her 140mm guns, Iwaki might not optimize perfectly as a trainer for some IJN Destroyer Captain builds. If you've focused on trying to pad the awful performance of he 127mm/50s on your IJN DDs, those skills will do you no favours with Iwaki. Otherwise, she's a good ship to train up commanders for the Japanese cruiser and destroyer lines. Priority Target should be the first skill you grab. Follow this up with Last Stand. Iwaki takes a lot of damage to her engine and steering gears, much like a destroyer. Arguably the best skill at tier 3 is Torpedo Armament Expertise to reduce her reload time down to 68 seconds. And finally, take Concealment Expert to get her surface detection range down to 8.6km. Other useful skills include Adrenaline Rush, Demolition Expert, Vigilance and Radio Location. But when push comes to shove, she can still play her trump card. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Iwaki is an unforgiving ship. She has a lot of advantages, but one misplay is going to get you sent back to the port in a hurry with your citadel blown out or simply overwhelmed by even a small volume of return fire. In the hands of an expert, Iwaki is a predator -- a barracuda among small fry. She's fast, she's agile, she's accurate and she strikes so very, very hard. Setting up these attack runs in the tight confines of low tier maps is a really uphill battle, though. Mouse's Summary: I feel so dirty. I can understand well why veteran alpha testers love this ship. So many baby seals died to bring you this information. The Lertbox Iwaki tops the leader boards for tier four cruisers, but that's more to do with the caliber of people playing her than with any quality of the ship itself. She is a destroyer lead with superb torpedoes, mobility and a smoke consumable, but sacrifices dearly for these advantages with all-round rather mediocre firepower and very low survivability. A savvy Iwaki driver will always seek to avoid a direct confrontation with same-tier cruisers as they all out-gun her, forcing the Iwaki driver to employ wits and strategy to beat her opponents. She truly is a destroyer lead, playing much like a large destroyer with a citadel. Still, with the caliber of players driving her and the specific tool set she brings to the table, an unchallenged Iwaki is a dangerous opponent. This is a ship that flourishes with player skill, and is owned exclusively by very experienced players. PS. If you ever run into MaliceA4Thought driving his Iwaki, murder him with extreme prejudice and tell him I sent you. It'll be funny. This one has been on the books for a long, long time. Iwaki Alpha has aged very well in World of Warships. She was unaffected by the removal of stealth-firing with main battery guns in 0.6.0. The more recent skill overhaul back in the Winter/Spring of 2017 was kind and skills like Priority Target have simplified playing this fragile ship. She did take a hit back in 0.5.3 when Basic and Advanced Fire Training no longer affected her 140mm guns, but the addition of Aiming Systems Modification 0 seems to me like a reasonable trade-off. For as well as she has aged, Iwaki is an increasingly rare sight and she's likely to become largely irrelevant to the low tier meta balance. On the North American server, it's rare that more than 100 games get played in Iwaki Alpha in a given week. There were nearly twenty times as many games played in the Arkansas Beta. This isn't an outlier, either -- other servers report similarly low numbers. On the EU server, the Iwaki Alpha accounts for less than 0.1% of the total game volume played by tier IV vessels in recent times. If you played tier 4 exclusively, you'd have to play 30 to 35 games straight before you were likely to run into one of these ships and that number is only going to drop as time goes on. When it came to prioritizing a review of Iwaki Alpha, this lack of relevance compounded the problems of access. Why waste time talking about a ship no one can get and so few people play? I'm glad I could scratch this one off my list, but it feels entirely academic. Iwaki Alpha is a pink unicorn -- a rare sight that, short of Wargaming incentivizing tier IV game play, is likely to vanish almost entirely over the life of this game. I enjoyed my time playing with this fossil, but how could I not in such an overpowered little monster? Her fragility was meant to keep her balanced but her Smoke Generator largely makes this a non-issue in my opinion. She hits too hard. She's too fast to catch and too stealthy and agile to stay visible for long with gimmicks to facilitate her escape. I felt super powered while playing her. She may be unforgiving, but once you hit your stride? The enemies just don't stand a chance. Angry YouTube Review How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion. Thank you, Lert, for the Dogebote review. I'd have placed her at overpowered.Lert and I differ on the point of her power level. He has more experience with the vessel, having owned it for two plus years. I got to play it over a weekend. What I saw impressed me greatly. Your own mileage may vary.
  20. The following is a review of Enterprise, a ship provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 29th, 2017. It's about time. Quick Summary: An aircraft carrier with enormous hangar capacity and deep fighter reserves. She's held back by low tier aircraft, weird torpedo drop patterns and an overspecialization for nuking German battleships. Cost: $59.99 USD including a port slot. Patch and Date Written: Patch 0.6.6.0 to 0.6.7 June 10th to June 29th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary Kaga, Tier 7 Japanese Carrier Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Enterprise shares a lot in common with Kaga. They both use downtiered aircraft. They both boast huge reserves. Their torpedo planes both have unique drop patterns. Where they differ primarily is their load-outs. Kaga is more strike-aircraft friendly, with more of her reserves and specializing focusing on the use of her torpedo planes and dive bombers. Enterprise has enormous fighter reserves and attack planes that are far less intuitive to use. PROs Enormous hangar capacity of 96 aircraft. Option of using AP bombs which can (easily) land 8,000 damage citadel hits on enemy battleships per bomb. AP Bombs are easy to use with a very accurate auto-drop function. Balanced 2-2-2 flight groups -- a rarity with American carriers. Fast reload time of her aircraft squadrons for an American carrier. Good anti-aircraft defense. Good anti-torpedo protection. Has access to the 6th upgrade slot. Makes German Battleships cry. It's not only a Yorktown-class, it's freakin' CV-6! CONs Aircraft operate in 5-plane squadrons instead of the usual 6 for American carriers. Enterprise's aircraft are all tier VII instead of tier VIII, making her fighters especially difficult to use effectively. Drop pattern of her torpedoes is enormous and clumsy, making it difficult to land more than 1 or 2 hits per drop. AP Bombs have limited reliability against anything other than battleship targets and are all but useless against destroyers. Her hangar reserves have nearly half their capacity dedicated to her under strength fighters. Largish surface and aerial detection ranges. I can't believe it took Wargaming this long -- almost two years past the start of Open Beta to get USS Enterprise into World of Warships. Well, she's finally here. The hype surrounding this ship on the North American server has been extreme. I have received more messages asking me when this review will be out more than any other ship in the past. I'm happy to finally deliver. GrafZeppelinKai from the World of Warships wiki team will be joining me to provide a look into the history of this auspicious vessel. History Lessons with GrafZeppelinKai Design By the 1930s, the USN had been developing their carrier doctrine for over a decade, and has acquired a wealth of knowledge. The previously built Ranger – while the Navy’s first purpose built carrier – was seen as a failure. As such, the new Yorktown-class carriers were built with protection in mind: the Ranger’s greatest shortcoming. Both the main belt and the bulkheads were 4-inches thick. This was deemed sufficient to mitigate damage from 6-inch shells from enemy cruisers. In consequence, the horizontal protection was limited to just 1.5-inches at the thickest. Later in the war, Enterprise would receive torpedo bulges. It had both air-filled and water-filled pockets to absorb and spread out the shock of impact. To simplify design, the aviation facilities were similar to the ones on Ranger. The single hangar was built on top of the hull main deck, whilst the flight deck was built on top of the hangar. The hangar itself was not fully enclosed, with side panels that opened up to the elements. This allowed for aircraft to be warmed up on the hangar deck, and during combat, fires and fumes could be ventilated. Standard to fleet carriers, Yorktown-class had three elevators, and two catapults on the flight deck. Interestingly, she had a third catapult on the hangar deck for reserve use. In total, the Yorktown-class carried 90 aircraft. Originally, her complement favoured dive-bombers as they were used both as scouts and bombers. By late into the war, her complement shifted to majority fighters, as they were the best defence against kamikazes. In order to make them flexible in combat, the Yorktown-class was designed with over 30 knots as a requirement. As such, they were equipped with 9 boilers and 4 turbines that generated over 120,000 shaft horsepower. In speed trials, this allowed for speeds in excess of 32 knots. The Yorktown-class had a plethora of anti-aircraft weapons for defence. For long-ranges, the class was equipped with the new 5”/38 DP guns. In combat they proved to be excellent weapons. For intermediate ranges the ships were armed with the 1.1”/75 guns, known as the ‘Chicago Pianos’. For short ranges, .50-cal machine guns were peppered over the ships. Over the course of the war, the latter two weapon systems were replaced. The machine guns proved to have inadequate stopping power, and the Chicago Pianos had poor handling characteristics. Throughout her service life, Enterprise underwent constant modifications to maintain combat effectiveness. She was equipped with state-of-the-art CXAM-1 radar set before the war in 1940. This gave Enterprise the capacity to detect enemy planes and coordinate her own: a life-saving ability. In 1942 20mm cannons were slowly replacing the .50-cal guns. As well, her hangar catapult was removed and her wooden crash barriers were changed to canvas ones. In 1943, Enterprise received a major refit. Her ‘Chicago Pianos’ were replaced with 40mm cannons, and she received new fire-directors. She was also the first carrier to receive equipment for night-fighter operations, along with a new CIC. Finally she had her torpedo bulges installed. Enterprise’s last refit in 1945 replaced most of her 20mm for more 40mm cannons. USS Enterprise (CV-6) was the second of the Yorktown-class aircraft carriers. She was laid down 16 July 1934 at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia and launched 3 October 1936. Service History Commissioned into the Navy in 1938, Enterprise spent the first few years of her career as a movie star and as a transport; hauling aircraft to various US airbases in the Pacific. In early December 1941 she undertook such a mission when the Japanese conducted their attack on Pearl Harbour. Although she was due in port on December 6th, the same storm that shadowed the Japanese delayed Enterprise’s arrival. While on-route, her scouts did briefly clash with the attack force. Now on wartime status, Enterprise refuelled and rearmed in a record 7-hours and was back out at sea, in her first wartime patrol. Enterprise was the first US ship to sink a Japanese vessel when, on December 10th, she sunk the submarine I-70. Immediately on the offensive, Big E spent the first four months conducting constant raids against the Japanese. In February she attacked the Marshall Islands to deny the Japanese a forward operations base. Between February and March she raided Wake and Marcus Islands to disrupt troop and supply movements. By April of 1942, Enterprise rendezvoused with her sister ship USS Hornet and provided her an escort while she conducted the famous ‘Doolittle Raid’. In June 1942 Enterprise, along with her sister ships headed to Midway Island in order to ambush the oncoming Japanese Fleet. Over the course of one day, Enterprise’s dive-bombers managed to sink Kaga and Akagi, whilst crippling the other two fleet carriers. The Japanese manage to cause some damage; USS Yorktown was sunk. In the end, the balance of power started to shift. By July, Enterprise was committed to the Guadalcanal campaign in the Solomon Islands, undergoing constant patrols. In August, Enterprise came toe-to-toe with a massive Japanese invasion force. Despite heavy damage, Enterprise managed to aid in the sinking of Ryujo. In October of 1942 the Japanese Navy sent another massive force to combat the beleaguered Americans. Despite serious odds, Enterprise was able to secure time desperately needed by the Guadalcanal garrison to reinforce, but at a heavy cost: USS Hornet was lost. Big E was now the only functioning US carrier in the Pacific Theatre; it was now Enterprise vs. Japan. She needed rest but Enterprise’s presence in the Solomon was crucial; crews were pressed to repair her while she was underway between patrols. She continued to guard the Solomon until the summer of 1943 – engaging the Japanese twice more – until she got some required respite when new Essex-class and Independence-class carriers came into commission. Back in duty by November of 1943, Enterprise committed to the “island hopping” campaign to secure the islands of the central Pacific. During the next seven months, she assisted with the invasions of the Gilbert, Marshall, Caroline, and Mariana Islands; working up to the Philippines. During this time, Enterprise was the first carrier to introduce night-fighter operations in the Pacific. Desperate to stem the US near the Marianas, in June 1944, the Japanese confronted the Americans in the largest carrier battle in history. After two gruelling days the IJN lost three carriers and 500 airmen; Japanese Naval Aviation was no more. By October, Enterprise had fought all the way to Leyte, where she contributed her strength to the eponymous battle. By December, Enterprise had fully converted to night operations and spent the next three months raiding the South China Sea. By February 1945, she supported the landings on Iwo Jima. March was spent raiding the Sea of Japan, and Japan itself. She spent the last two months of her war career supporting the Okinawa invasion until a single kamikaze took her out of combat, and the war in May 1945. Her only post-war service was ferrying back American servicemen from overseas. By now the Navy had dozens of newer fleet carriers and summarily, Enterprise was deemed surplus and decommissioned in 1946. Despite attempts to preserve the highest decorated US ship in history, Enterprise’s story came to its melancholic end in 1960 – in the scrapyards. Dive bombers engaging an enemy Bismarck. Options Enterprise comes with the option of what type of bomb to load on your Dive Bombers -- an HE or AP bomb. These are selected from the modules tab and they're selected the same way you would a researched component but without an attached experience cost. Enterprise also has the same number of upgrade slots as a tier 9 or 10 aircraft carrier, giving her one more than Shokaku or Lexington. Consumables: Damage Control Party Defensive Fire Module Upgrades: Six slots, standard aircraft carrier upgrades. Premium Camouflage: Tier VI+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Your build is going to be pretty standard. In your first upgrade slot, take Air Groups Modification 1. You want that extra 10% dps to your aircraft guns. In the second slot, it's Air Groups Modification 2. Don't neglect your fighters -- they're a huge part of playing Enterprise well. In your third slot, take Air Groups Modification 3. This will give your Dive Bombers and Torpedo Bombers comparable hit points to other tier 8 attack craft. In slots four and five, take Damage Control Modification 1 and Damage Control Modification 2. This will give you a little extra fire and torpedo protection. Finally, take Concealment Modification 1 in your final slot to help you sneak about. Air Groups Aircraft Types: Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat, Grumman TBF Avenger, SBD-5 Dauntless Dive Bomber Flight Control Groups: Two fighter, two torpedo plane, two dive bombers. Base Squadron Sizes: Five aircraft for each squadron type. Hangar Capacity: 96 aircraft with 43 fighters, 25 torpedo planes and 28 dive bombers One thing that will immediately stand out with Enterprise is that all of her aircraft squadrons run at five planes instead of the usual six of American carriers. This provides an accelerated reload time of all of her squadrons compared to Lexington, though she still lags well behind Shokaku. Fighters Similar to Kaga, Enterprise is the second premium carrier to use down tiered aircraft. Her fighters are the F6F-5 Hellcat found on the Ranger at tier VII and the stock Lexington at tier VIII. Nearly half her carrier capacity is given over to these fighters which means, down tiered or not, they form a crucial part of Enterprise's designed role. Functionally, she will have a very hard time running out of fighters. Even with upgraded squadrons of six planes each, you will have to lose five full squadrons before the new ones you launch will be below full strength. I'm not saying it can't be done, but you're going to have to go out of your way (or go full potato) to do it. Enterprise really broadcasts how unfriendly a carrier she is to inexperienced players with these fighters. They're slower than contemporary aircraft with less planes per squadron, less HP and less DPS. Enterprise's Hellcats will be outfought by enemy USN fighters (she can almost hold her own against a Shokaku) and they won't kill attack planes fast enough to save a beleaguered ally. Proper use of the strafe mechanic is key and this will really ramp up the learning curve to be successful with this ship. If you struggle to make use of strafing to engage not only enemy attack planes but to out play other fighters, it will be difficult to enjoy a lot of success with her Hellcats. You'll often feel that you're fighting a losing battle to win air superiority with Enterprise, but the presence of your fighters is paramount to pushing your attacks through and chewing up the enemy reserves. Enterprise has the hangar capacity to pull it off, but it will often feel like an exercise in frustration to wrest away air superiority. Torpedo Planes Like Kaga, Enterprise has her own, unique drop pattern with her torpedo bombers. This is done in two lines, with two torpedoes in the front and three in the rear. Casualties come from the rear most aircraft first, starting from the outside and working their way in. Enterprise does not carry very deep reserves of her torpedo planes with a total of twenty-five on board when the match starts. At first glance, Enterprise's torpedo planes are largely disappointing. Their drop pattern is enormous and easily avoided. The torpedoes themselves run a parallel course and do not converge or diverge in the same manner as Japanese or other American carriers respectively. About the best thing that could be said about these torpedoes is that they can cover a large area when it comes to flushing out ships hiding in smoke. However, the large gaps from her individual salvos are mitigated with Enterprise's second torpedo plane squadron. A stacked drop may provide sufficient density in the pattern to make dancing to the torpedo beats a real challenge. This by no means makes Enterprise's torpedo planes "good" -- they're not. But used in this manner, they're at least functional. Wargaming clearly didn't want to make Enterprise outright overpowered with normal USN CV drop pattern with two torpedo squadrons, especially when combined with the outstanding damage potential of her dive bombers (see below). As a result, we have this rather unfortunate drop pattern which on its own isn't very exciting but is no doubt an important balance mechanic. One of the oft spoken downsides to Enterprise's attack planes -- their low hit points, can largely be mitigated by giving her the upgrade Air Groups Modification 3 which isn't available to Shokaku or Lexington. This bumps up Enterprise's 1,510hp torpedo aircraft up to 1,736hp per. This compares very favourably to the 1,710hp found on Lexington's TMB-3s, giving Enterprise's attack planes only slightly less overall survivability due to the 3 knot difference in top speed and having one less aircraft per squadron. In summary, Enterprise's torpedo planes take skill to use effectively. Stock, they're terrible. Once upgraded with the proper module, they have an acceptable level of survivability little different from Lexington's. Individual drops are easy to avoid so it's imperative they be used on either vulnerable targets or that you stack or cross-drop with your squadrons. On a per squadron basis, Enterprise will not be doing as much damage as other CVs with her torpedo bombers and you're unlikely to be able to a delete an enemy ship at will. However, they form an important component of her strike package. Reference Mahan (104m long) for scale. If you find the gaps between Enterprise's torpedoes look punitively large, it's not just you: they're enormous. Enterprise has arguably the most ineffective torpedo drop pattern yet seen in the game per individual squadron. Coordinated drops with both of her squadrons are needed to land an acceptable number of hits per sortie. However, even with such tactics, it will be incredibly challenging to cause catastrophic levels of damage to a target in a single pass. You're going to have to do a lot of work to get the same damage output another carrier might manage with less effort. Dive Bombers Part of the explanation of Enterprise's lackluster torpedo drop pattern resides with the damage potential of her dive bombers. She's the first carrier to be given the option of using armour piercing bombs and it really feels like her damage output has been balanced around their inclusion. As such, Enterprise is one of the first carriers to where dive bombers aren't playing second fiddle to torpedo planes when it comes to damage output. Now, Enterprise may still use HE bombs -- these may be selected in port before starting a match through the list of upgrades available for the ship. These bombs have the same performance as those found on Ranger and Lexington -- she's just dropping one less bomb per sortie with Enterprise's reduced squadron sizes. Things change when she uses her armour piercing (AP) bombs. These weapons cannot start fires. They can ricochet if they strike a surface at less than a 45º angle. Effectively, they count as a 305mm AP shell being dropped vertically onto the decks of her targets. These weapons detonate for up to 8,000 damage each on a successful citadel hit, giving the maximum damage potential for a fully upgraded, six plane squadron at 48,000hp. The auto-targeting area is oblong, almost conforming perfectly with the dimensions of a Bismarck-class battleship. A manual drop reduces this by 10% easily ensuring all bombs will land atop of her decks but I found this to be generally unnecessary -- left to their own devices, the bombers were accurate enough to ensure 2/3s of their ordnance landed against most targets. Citadel hits are commonplace, especially German Battleships, making hit point recovery through their Repair Party consumable from such attacks problematic. Realistically, you can expect between 10,000 to 30,000 damage per bombing run against most battleships. And this is really the best target for Enterprise's AP Bombs -- enemy battleships (especially German ones). The performance of the bombs becomes suspect, at best, against any other targets. They will land nothing but 800 damage over penetrating hits against destroyers. Against cruisers, their performance is a mixed and unreliable. Some targets, like Moskva, are as vulnerable as Battleships. Others, not so much. Enemy Shokaku can only take citadel hits to small sections over her overall length. Lexington takes even less, making it nearly impossible to land anything more than 800 damage hits per AP bomb. Like Enterprise's torpedo planes, her dive bombers greatly benefit from taking the upgrade Air Groups Modification 3, which puts their hit points per aircraft better than those of Lexington, though it's worth keeping in mind that there are less aircraft per squadron giving the flight an overall smaller hit point pool. Air Group Performance A lot of undue fuss will be made about Enterprise's tier VII aircraft, but I've found their tiering to be largely irrelevant for her attack planes. Air Groups Modification 3 gives her comparable survivability for her bomber squadrons. Enterprise's Hellcats are really where the struggle is found and yet she can hold her own against a Shokaku with the proper skill setup. It really comes down to which CV player can better manage her planes. However, it's worth saying that Enterprise cannot stand up to Lexington's Corsairs. When Enterprise takes AP bombs, she's really choosing to specialize in damaging enemy battleships over all other targets. Her wide torpedo salvos already damage her ubiquity in engaging targets like destroyers and the ammunition selection of her dive bombers will remove any pretense of being able to threaten them. Enterprise can deal big damage numbers in a game, but like any ship that focuses primarily on farming damage against enemy BBs, I don't find these damage totals to be nearly as effective as those from other carriers. Enterprise struggles to assist in neutralizing destroyers -- a key component to stealing the initiative from the enemy, especially in early stages of a match when they're often operating beyond the smothering flak umbrella that's so dominant in high-tier game play. This specialization doesn't necessarily make her better at killing enemy battleships than other carriers -- it just gives her a different method of doing it when she takes AP bombs. A battleship would be just as dead from taking a double stack of Shokaku torpedoes chased with dive bomber fires. Summary: Fighters are under-strength, but between an enormous hangar capacity and proper skill setup, she can hold her own against a Shokaku. Good luck against an Air Superiority Lexington, however. AP armed Dive Bombers are a fun gimmick and are very effective against battleships -- not so much against anything else. They are super easy to use, however, and are a good fire and forget weapon. Enterprise's torpedo bombers are much harder to use efficiently because of their enormous and ineffective drop pattern. Stacking the squadrons or using cross-drops is key to ensure hits but she will not output more damage than a Lexington with her torpedo planes or compete with the effectiveness of a Shokaku's torpedoes. Enterprise's fighters have an uphill battle ahead of them in every match. Don't dismiss them out of hand, though. Firepower Secondary Battery: Eight 127mm guns in single mounts, four to each side. Enterprise's secondaries aren't anything special. She has eight single mounts of her 127mm guns, four to a side with four mounted forwards and four aft. They have a 4.5km range and are immediately forgettable. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 32.5 knotsTurning Radius: 1070mRudder Shift: 13.1s Maximum Turn Rate: 3.14º per second. Enterprise truly is a fleet carrier with her decent (but not great) top speed. This will largely keep her out of trouble, at least until her team goes belly up. Like all carriers, her turning circle is enormous which in turn leads to a horrible rate of turn. You're not going to be dodging much in Enterprise, but I don't think anyone really expects her to. DurabilityHit Points: 51,400Maximum Protection: 21mm + 102mm through the bow to a transverse citadel bulkhead. Min Bow & Deck Armour: 21mm extremities, 25mm flight deckTorpedo Damage Reduction: 28% At 51,400hp, Enterprise has the exact same hit point total as Shokaku when she's fully upgraded. This pales compared to the enormous Lexington which has an advantage of an additional 5,900hp. Enterprise is very lightly armoured overall, with her thickest steel plates being found in transverse bulkheads protecting her citadel fore and aft, with most of everything else being sandwiched layered compartments between 19mm and 40mm thick. For HE protection, Enterprise isn't well set up to resist damage. Her flight deck is 25mm. Her flight hangar is armoured at 38mm, but there are large sections of her hull that are 19mm to 21mm thick. One thing she does boast over other carriers is excellent torpedo damage reduction at 28%. With Damage Control System Modification 1, this increases up to 30%. This is the second highest damage reduction for any CV in the game behind only the tier 9 Essex. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 14.6km Air Detection Range: 13.8 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 10.7km Minimum Aerial Detection Range: 10.4km As high tier American CVs go, Enterprise isn't out of the ordinary when it comes to her concealment rating. For surface/aerial detection, Lexington comes in at a whopping 17.5km / 15.0km surface detection range. Ranger came in at 14.2km / 13.3km and Essex at 14.9km / 14.4km, so she's right in the ballpark of what we would expect. The combination of modules and Captain Skills can bring this right down to an acceptable level and it's not like she's going to be up close where the action is anyway. So her stealth rating is not bad, but it's not great either. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 64 / 185 / 180 Enterprise has respectable anti-aircraft firepower, though it is primarily built around personal defense. It pales compared to Lexington's own strength of fire and she's especially lacking in long-range firepower needed to blunt strike aircraft. Enterprise does have the carrier version of Defensive Fire, this may thwart a clumsy carrier-sniping attempt but overall, her anti-aircraft firepower isn't sufficient to keep her safe from multiple strikes. At best, you can hope to make such attempt expensive. An Enterprise captain cannot be complacent. Bad drop. Only two out of six bombs hit this North Carolina due to a hasty aim. Jedi Training Enterprise conforms to most of the skill choices for strike-squadron aircraft carriers for the American navy but with one catch. Your core skill build should be the following for the first 11pts: Take Aircraft Servicing Expert at tier 1. Also take Dogfighting Expert right away before moving up to tier 2. The order isn't particularly important, just take both before moving on. Follow this up with Torpedo Acceleration at tier 2. Next comes Torpedo Armament Expertise at tier 3. And finally take Air Supremacy at tier 4. This all should look pretty normal, especially for players that normally play Japanese carriers. The importance of Dogfighting Expert is paramount for Enterprise. This will bump her fighter DPS when she engages planes from Shokaku or Lexington, bringing it up to a maximum of 68dps when combined with Air Groups Modification 1. Lexington's Corsairs will have 69dps.and Shokaku's Shiden have 77dps. From there, take the usual assortment of skills that help carriers. Concealment Expert should be at the top of the pile. AA guns skills, Advanced Fire Training, Basic Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns are nice but not amazing on Enterprise. Emergency Takeoff is situational -- you're likely dead anyway if it comes to this, but if you have the points to spare, go for it. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Welcome to Hell! To succeed with Enterprise, new players must master fighter strafing. On top of this, they also have to have a good grasp of manual torpedo dropping -- except this is hard-mode manual torpedo dropping, not regular ol' easy-mode of torpedo dropping with Lexington torpedoes. To top it all off, they also have to keep an index of high AA firepower ships in their heads from tiers 8+ otherwise their planes will evaporate when they're not top tier before they drop. This all just to do an acceptable level of damage. For the veteran knowing when it's acceptable to sacrifice planes to make a drop on a high-value target is difficult. Managing Enterprise's reserves to win this war of attrition efficiently is key. Trying to juggle your fighters against forces that can outrun and/or outgun you isn't fun. And finally, getting her ordnance on target is always a challenge, particularly when it's not just sniping dumb, lone battleships. Then comes the question of juggling damage over time effects versus with fires / floods or eschewing that and going for AP bomb drops instead. There's so much to know for small but appreciable gains in performance! Mouse's Summary: This is not a new-player friendly carrier ... and carriers aren't new player friendly to begin with. This is worse. This is an expert's carrier and they may not want to bother with the amount of work needed to make it excel. I'm happy to see they went with what amounts to a historical load-out of Enterprise's air groups. I just wish that had a more positive effect in game play. I totally get why the torpedo drop pattern is enormous. No one wanted to see two carrier flight groups dump double-USN torpedo strikes and make CV-6 overpowered. They're just not that fun to use though. German Battleships: Beware! Enterprise isn't broken. She's not a bad ship either. In the right hands, she can be a very good tier 8 carrier. Her tier 7 fighters, with the right skills and consumables are workable. They're not doing you any favours, but you can make them work. Being downtiered with her attack planes doesn't matter. I personally feel that only having 5 aircraft per squadron is more of an issue than them being tier 7. Access to the 6th module slot largely mitigates this flaw. Her dive bombers are actually a lot of fun. It's very satisfying to drop bombs and see them do as much as 30,000+ damage to an unsuspecting battleship. I'll be honest -- her torpedo planes are not great. It takes two squadrons to do the job of one of Lexington's squadrons. And even then, they don't do the job as well, at least not with a whole lot of cleverness on behalf of Enterprise's player. I understand why they're like that. If they had any tighter of a drop, they'd be too good. So fine, I can swallow that especially given that her dive bombers spit out so much damage on select targets. I think Enterprise's greatest flaw is also her greatest strength. She's built to make battleship lives miserable and short and she's damn good at it. Meta wise, this will make Enterprise will probably end up with some respectable average damage totals because of this preferred enemy type, but I fear that she's not as versatile as other carriers when it comes to engaging other ship types. The argument will be made by some that Enterprise does not up-tier well. This is fine. Neither Lexington or Shokaku. When she's top tier, the lives of ships like Bayern, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Tirpitz and Bismarck are going to be especially bleak if they don't run with air cover protecting them. German Battleships are finally going to be collecting all of those citadel hits they've been dodging since their release, and that makes me smile. I would have to say that, overall, I am pleased with the end product Wargaming has produced. I was doubting for a time that they would be capable of producing a premium aircraft carrier that wasn't polarized between being absolutely worthless and ridiculously overpowered. Enterprise strikes a very good balance, all told (even if she's a nightmare for inexperienced players). I can't say how the consumer will respond -- Enterprise is not the next best and brightest star in the game. She won't be the flavour of the month, not with her current stats. As difficult as this review process was, Enterprise is a welcome addition to the game in her current form. Would I Recommend? Let's clear the air: Enterprise wasn't a fun ship for me to play. I hated playing her. I don't want to play her again. This entire testing period was an exercise in extreme frustration and one of the most negative experiences I've had yet as a Community Contributor. I've tried to remain as objective as I could through this review and not let these bad feels get in the way of covering her merits and flaws objectively. I don't think I was entirely successful in that, and for that I apologize in advance. For PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Mouse: Enterprise isn't going to be a big credit earner in Co-Op battles, though she doesn't have any overhead costs to worry about except repair and rearming fees. She can do just fine against bots. She doesn't have the big "delete anything" punch of Shokaku, though. Still, she's pretty profitable even without a premium account, so I'll give her a green light here. GrafZeppelinKai: I was able to perform well with Enterprise against bots. As I didn't have to worry about enemy fighter strafes and I was able to autodrop my AP bombs, it made micromanaging my aircraft more simpler. I could see this as a benefit for newcomers to CVs. For Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Mouse: Tier for tier, Saipan is the better boat. It's hard to recommend a tier 8 carrier when the tier 7 carrier is just so much better. If you don't have access to Saipan and you're looking for a trainer and credit earner, don't get Enterprise. Get a Saipan. So again, a big nope. The only way I could really justify it here is if you really hate German Battleships and want to pee in their cornflakes. GrafZeppelinKai: She will not be forgiving to newcomers here. Enterprise counters certain targets well and will naturally fall into a specialist role. This means players will have to have a greater understanding of proper target selection; something that only comes with experience. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Mouse: No, Shokaku is better at nearly everything short of landing citadel hits with bombs. GrafZeppelinKai: Although I'm very curious as to see how AP dive-bombers will alter the current meta, I feel her decreased effectiveness in engaging cruisers and destroyers means she isn't as versatile as her tech-tree comrades. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Mouse: Absolutely here. It's the USS Enterprise! GrafZeppelinKai: To quote Pigeon_of_War: “Mother. F***ing. Enterprise!!!” For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Mouse: I didn't like her, but I hate carrier game play, so that probably isn't the most objective answer you're going to get. Her AP Bombs are fun though and I do have to say, it's very cathartic to land regular citadel hits on German BBs with them. GrafZeppelinKai: Although I'm a terrible CV driver, the AP bombs have really intrigued me and I enjoyed learning how to use them. The feeling of watching the enemy hitpoints melt is therapeutic. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  21. Premium Ship Review: De Grasse

    The following is a review of De Grasse, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 9th, 2017. Workhorse Quick Summary: A Jack-of-All-Trades light cruiser, excelling at nothing but being pretty good at just about everything ... except shooting down planes.Cost: Approximately $25 USD.Patch and Date Written: June 6th, 2017 to June 9th, 2017, Patch 0.6.5.1 to 0.6.6 Closest in-Game Contemporary La Galissonnière, tier VI French Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique I'm stepping slightly away from my usual format to compare De Grasse directly to La Galissonniere in each section. De Grasse is largely an improvement over La Galissonnière in nearly every category that matters. PROs Large hit point pool for a tier VI cruiser at 31,200hp. Trollish armour along her citadel against British Light Cruisers Her nine 152mm guns have good fire starting characteristics. Good shell performance for both HE and AP adding to her versatility against all targets. Excellent gun handling with a 12º per second rotation speed and decent shell flight times over range. Decent torpedoes with a 9km range, 60 knot top speed and 14,883 damage. Flexible agility -- able to bump her speed up to 38.5 knots for three minutes with Engine Boost consumable. CONs Her citadel sits high in the water and is very exposed beneath her #2 turret and bridge. She's a large target -- easy to damage with HE Shells. Poor fire angles on her forward guns which makes kiting difficult and dangerous. No spotter aircraft to extend the range of her guns or to assist in aiming into concealment and cover. Disappointing AA DPS despite her good range. Only modest rate of turn, maxing out at about 6º per second. Large surface detection range of 13.3km. I am pretty salty about this ship. Lert had gotten my hopes up about De Grasse after he introduced me to the ship through one of his "A Detailed Look At" articles about the ship itself. This isn't that cruiser. Well, it is, but it's the De Grasse that could have been had WW2 not broken out in 1939. Lemme tell you, this ship had to do a lot of heavy lifting to make me start liking her with this disappointment dogging my review. Thanks a lot, Lert. Fortunately for everyone involved, De Grasse did win me over. Options De Grasse has a lot of consumable slots, but this should become quite familiar for most French cruiser players. The only real choice to make is whether to equip Defensive Fire or Hydracoustic Search. Consumables: Damage Control Party Defensive Fire or Hydroacoustic Search Engine Boost Catapult Fighter Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard cruiser upgrades Premium Camouflage: Tier VI+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. You're not reinventing the wheel when it comes to De Grasse's upgrade choices. For your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is arguably your best choice. Alternatively, if you're allergic to detonations, you can elect to take Magazine Modification 1. This module does help a lot, people. If you hate suddenly blowing up more than your guns being temporarily disabled, it's a good choice. For your second slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal to help tighten up your dispersion at range. Alternatively, you can elect to take AA Guns Modification 2 if you fancy giving her a bit more AA range over gun accuracy. By default, take Damage Control Systems Modification 1 for your third slot. This will give a nice bump to your torpedo damage reduction. If you have it available, the Super Upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1 is an excellent choice in this slot. And for your final slot, Steering Gears Modification 2 is arguably the best for Random Battles. If you team up with smoke-laying allies often, then Propulsion Modification 2 is the better choice to help accelerate you from a dead stop when the smoke expires. Make sure to equip premium consumables as you can afford. The priority should be on Damage Control Party first, followed by Engine Boost, then the others as credits will allow. Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 152mm rifles in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Six 100mm rifles in 3x2, rear facing turrets with one mounted on the centerline Torpedo Armament: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers, one to each side mounted behind the funnel De Grasse is very well armed for a tier VI cruiser, with versatile weapons. French 152mm guns are no slouches. They have comparable shell damage to Soviet 152mm guns while retaining the fire chance of American weapons. Where Krupp, muzzle velocity, shell flight time and penetration are concerned, the French goes round out as being quite average -- never at the bottom of the pile, but never on top either. What holds these weapons back on la Galissonnière is their horrible rate of fire at 6.67rpm. De Grasse doesn't suffer quite this much of a setback, firing at 7.4rpm, though this lags behind ships like Budyonny with 7.5rpm. Combine this with nine guns, a decent range of 16.2km and excellent gun handling (12º per second gun rotation) and you effectively have one of the better gunships at tier VI in terms of raw potential. De Grasse is certainly not the best when measured against her peers. However, she doesn't come out poorly in direct comparisons. She is the third best fire starter at her tier. She comes in the middle of the pack among the 6" armed light cruisers for AP and HE DPM. Approximate HE explosion sizes of tier VI Cruisers (and Dunkerque). Reference Mahan (208m in-game length) used for scale. This gives an idea of the radius in which modules can be damaged by HE shells, including AA guns and weapon mounts, but also including things like the magazine and engine. De Grasse's HE shells, like those of other 6" armed cruisers, do not generate a significant blast size and precise aim is necessary to bulls-eye specific modules in order to disable or destroy them. Budyonny has the best HE shell ballistics among the 6" armed cruisers, with the shortest shell flight times to range. De Grasse's are decidedly average, being closely comparable to German 150mm guns. De Grasse's secondaries are largely forgettable. They have decent rates of fire and a good range of 5.0km but she has only six barrels with which to shoot and only four of those will be brought against a target at a time. For torpedoes, she has two triple launchers with a 90 second reload. These are quite respectable torpedoes, though they're not the heavy hitters found on British or Japanese cruisers. Still, with their 60 knot top speed and 9km range, they have enough reach to cause enemies issues if they're not careful. Regrettably, De Grasse cannot launch them from stealth without the use of allied smoke or an island for cover. This relegates them to an opportunistic weapon. They have better rearward firing arcs than forward. Summary De Grasse is a cruiser designed to fire from the second line, similar to Budyonny, Molotov or Cleveland. She is not meant to be a frontline scout in the same manner as Duca d'Aosta, Perth or Leander. Her guns are excellent harassing weapons, ideally suited to taking bites out of everything she can lay her sights upon. Combined with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells on her commander she can do significant amounts of direct damage to the extremities of all Battleships she will encounter, greatly increasing her threat to these warships. Demolition Expert can help pad her fire starting numbers back up to 11% which will greatly tax the Damage Control Party of these larger vessels. Remember not to neglect her excellent AP shells, though. Inside of ranges of 12km, De Grasse is quite capable of stacking citadel hits against select enemy cruisers that offer her a broadside. There are only a couple of drawbacks to De Grasse's guns. Their range is only a modest 16.2km. This isn't a serious flaw by any means as her speed can help bring her into range when needed. However, De Grasse lacks any float plane aircraft to further increase this reach which limits some of her versatility. This makes her average engagement range sit in around 14km which is well within medium (and even close range) for some Battleships. Proper use of cover is essential to keep her from suffering the predations of these larger warships if she wants to keep her guns singing. The second is rather poor rearward firing angles. While she can bring all of her guns against targets 36º off her bow, she has to swing out a full 45º off her stern to fire them all to the rear. Be very careful while making fighting retreats. De Grasse can brawl in a pinch. Her durability and agility do not make her well suited to this role (see below). However, between her fast turning turrets and the sting of her torpedo armament, she can be a dangerous opponent at these ranges. Fighting at range allows De Grasse to maximize her enormous damage potential while also giving her time enough to dodge return fire. De Grasse versus la Galissonnière De Grasse uses slightly modified versions of the French 152mm naval rifle. In almost every respect that counts, they identical to the guns of la Galisonnière except in three key areas. De Grasse has 300m more range than her tech tree counterpart. The difference in range isn't terribly surprising as this is generally evaluated on a per-ship basis. Still, the premium ship has the advantage. De Grasse's main battery is dual purpose and lends firepower to AA defense. De Grasse uses more modern 152mm, dual-purpose guns circa 1936 versus 1930 for La Galissonnière. De Grasse has a 0.9s faster reload and thus 11% more DPM than la Galissonnière. For secondaries, la Galissonnière has more of them (eight 90mm guns in 4x2 turrets), but De Grasse's weapons do more damage with the same reload rate. They also start more fires and have 500m more range. Each ship can only bring four guns against a single target, providing la Galissonnière the advantage only if she was ever bracketed on both sides by close range, enemy ships, which would let her fire with all eight to De Grasse's six. It doesn't get any better with torpedoes. La Galissonnière can only launch two torpedoes per side to De Grasse's three. This does give la Galissonniere a 30s advantage on reload. Otherwise the torpedoes are identical in terms of speed, damage, range and detection. So, short of being in a prolonged close-range brawl where torpedo reload decides an engagement, De Grasse outclasses la Galissonnière. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 33.5knotsTurning Radius: 690mRudder Shift: 8.8s Maximum Turn Rate: 6.0º per second. De Grasse disappoints in the agility department, at least initially. On the surface, her top speed and turning isn't bad. She manages 33.5 knots in a straight line. This puts her behind ships like Duca d'Aosta, Molotov, Budyonny and Aoba. Touching her rudder will see her speed bleed down to 26.8 knots which makes chasing destroyers a no-go, especially when you have to avoid incoming fire from her allies. At least she handles reasonably well in the turn, doing as much as 6.0º per second rotation rate, though she only manages about 5.3º per second in the first 90º. With De Grasse's Engine Boost consumable, she tops out at 38.5 knots for three full minutes. This is a tremendous advantage when used properly -- especially in the closing minutes of a match when it can allow her to run down destroyers she might not otherwise catch or to move from one end of the map to the other to secure objectives. If you have access to it, the Super Upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1 is an excellent choice for De Grasse, extending this time to four and a half minutes per charge. Add a Sierra Mike signal and you'll see a maximum speed of 40.5 knots. You'll have the enemy destroyers wetting themselves with terror and enemy battleships and cruisers cursing your ability to control engagement ranges with these velocities. De Grasse versus la Galissonnière La Galissonnière comes out favourably against De Grasse in this category, at least in part. The French tech-tree ship has a tighter turning circle by 40m and a 1.1s faster rudder shift right out of the box. However, she is slower than De Grasse by a full 2.5 knots. This lower top speed means that her rotation rate slows down to be comparable to De Grasse overall, despite having a tighter turning circle. So while on paper la Galissonnière appears more agile, in practice the only real advantage she has is the ability to cut in a little tighter on corners. She still needs as much time as De Grasse to complete a manoeuvre. DurabilityHit Points: 31,200Maximum Protection: 100mm + 18mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 16mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: 10% Don't get your hopes up. De Grasse has two good features in regards to her durability (and really only two). The first is her torpedo damage reduction. It's a mere 10%, but that's a far cry more than what a lot of mid tier light cruisers can boast. The second is a related feature. Along her machine spaces, there is a pronounced gap between her belt armour and the citadel itself. This creates a trap of sorts which can cause smaller caliber AP shells with short fuse timers (typically those of British cruisers but including some destroyers) to detonate within this gap, causing the ship no damage. This will award the attacking ship a penetration ribbon, but De Grasse will go onto absorb these shells indefinitely. This really only works against hits that strike De Grasse in the waterline in the section behind her bridge extending back towards her crane. It is not something to be relied upon. These are both small consolation prizes for what is otherwise quite a fragile vessel. De Grasse is a large target. This, in part, explains her large hit point pool but it also creates a large and inviting silhouette for enemy gunnery. This might not be so bad except that she has an equally large citadel with 2/3s of its length being exposed over the waterline. Her real weak spot, however is located beneath her #2 turret extending back to her bridge where her citadel flares outward and abuts against the edge of the hull. This section is easily struck by ships that have her broadside and is especially vulnerable to battleship fire coming head on. Her transverse bulkhead is a mere 60mm thick. Shells that overmatch her bows have only this 60mm plate standing between them and hoovering up all of De Grasse's hit points with a couple of citadel hits. At least her large magazines are fully submerged. De Grasse's weapon mounts and modules get damaged frequently. To this end, Main Armaments Modification 1 is almost a must have to keep them working. In addition, the Captain Skills Preventative Maintenance and Last Stand aren't bad investments either. Two images showing De Grasse's citadel. Much of it resides over the water, but it's the forward section that's most vulnerable, especially to Battleship caliber guns. The image within the image is looking down the long axis of De Grasse and shows the gap between the belt armour (yellow) and the narrow part of her citadel (teal). AP shells with fast fuse timers that penetrate her belt will detonate in this dead-space in between for no damage, but this is largely limited to British cruisers and destroyer AP shells. De Grasse versus la Galissonnière La Galissonnière and De Grasse both are large, vulnerable cruisers. While De Grasse has nearly 4,000 more hit points, la Galissonnière has 5mm more belt armour and 2mm more citadel armour along her long axis. La Galissonnière also has a (marginally) less exposed citadel. These difference don't amount to much, however De Grasse's extra hit points will be more valuable over the long run, if only just. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 13.3km Air Detection Range: 7.7 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.4km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.2km De Grasse shares Cleveland's ignominious distinction of being the most visible cruiser at tier VI -- larger in surface detection than even the monster, Admiral Graf Spee. This is largely what precludes De Grasse from being a good scout. She's spotted far too early and when spotted, it will take her a lot of room to disengage from enemies. Her large size and exposed citadel make her a very inviting target to battleships with itchy trigger fingers in the early stages of a match. It's really ill advised to put De Grasse on the front line until enemies are spotted and engaged. Her large surface detection range makes her decent gun range and her reasonable agility all the more important. Speed must be De Grasse's armour. Holding fire to drop back into concealment will often be a must to keep this ship alive. Husband your Engine Boost consumable until you need it. It can often save your life by helping De Grasse disengage from tight spots, or to sprint from cover to cover. De Grasse versus la Galissonnière La Galissonnière has just as large a surface detection range as De Grasse, but her aerial detection range is 500m smaller. At least in this regard, the tech tree ship can look down her nose at her premium counterpart. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 152mm, 100mm, 37mm, 13.2mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.0km / 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 45 / 9 / 12 For those of us who were hoping to see her anti-aircraft cruiser, postwar design, De Grasse's AA power in World of Warships is doubly disappointing. If anything good could be said about her AA power, it's that it's long ranged. De Grasse's 152mm and 100mm guns both contribute to a 5.0km AA bubble and form the lion's share of the vessel's damage against strike aircraft. The bad news is that she does not follow this up with any appreciable medium or short ranged AA guns of note. It is possible to specialize De Grasse into a fleet-defense anti-aircraft ship, but she's a pale shadow of what she could have been. Cleveland has more AA power in her 40mm Bofors than De Grasse has in her entire compliment of weapons. To make her any sort of credible threat to aircraft, you need to invest heavily into upgrades, skills and maybe even a signal flag to boost her AA power and range in every capacity. Even then, De Grasse will at best be a nuisance and not a show-stopper when it comes to hampering enemy aircraft operations. I am disappoint. Probably the best recourse with De Grasse is not to bother specializing into AA Power to any serious degree (if at all) and instead keep her armed with Defensive Fire. Your mileage may vary given the frequency of encounters against enemy CVs, but this will play up to De Grasse's strength of being able to handle herself in any given situation, if only to make the attack planes flub their drops. De Grasse versus la Galissonnière De Grasse's anti-aircraft firepower is such a disappointment, is it any surprise that this is the one area where la Galisonnière stands ahead? Well, she kinda does anyway. You see, la Galisonnière's 90mm guns cap out at a 4.0km range which really hurts her ability to provide AA defense to friendly ships. Maximizing her reach between skills and upgrades buffs her reach up to 5.8km which isn't terribly useful. Overall, la Galissonnière can really only boast that she has more AA DPS, with most of it relegated to self defense ranges. How to Save 'Murica You could build your De Grasse commander to shoot down aircraft, but it's going to require a very heavy investment to make it anywhere close to worthwhile. These are skill points that could be much better served making her a sleek gunship and late-game destroyer hunter. However, let it never be said that I wasn't thorough. Let's take a look at a couple of Commander Skill options. You're going to want to race to the tier 4 skill right away, so take one from each tier to begin with. Your core 10pt skills for any build should be: Start with Priority Target. Next, take Adrenaline Rush at the second tier. Follow this up with Demolition Expert at tier three. And finally take Concealment Expert at the last tier. For an AA build, you'll want Advanced Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns. Some quick math will tell you that this will use up all but your last point if you follow the core-build as described above. And this really speaks to how sub-optimal the AA build will be for De Grasse. If you want, you can drop Concealment Expert to take one of the two aforementioned AA skills. This will free up more points to grab good follow ups like Basic Fire Training and Superintendent -- the first for 20% more AA DPS and the latter for an extra charge of your Defensive Fire consumable. Just be aware that you've really hurt your damage potential by doing so. A more reasonable choice would be to keep the core build and add onto it Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. Now your tier VI cruiser is a credible threat to tier VIII battleships. Good follow up skills include: Superintendent, Last Stand (she loses her steering gears often when dodging), Preventative Maintenance, Directional Center for Catapult Aircraft, Radio Location and Vigilance. Mix and match to your preferences. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme De Grasse plays very much like Budyonny with a bit of a safety net. On the surface, this isn't very complicated: pick a target, select HE and hold down the left mouse button until it burns to death. Hooray! Bonus points if you don't get your citadel blown out by their return fire. The skill ceiling for De Grasse doesn't max out, however. She's not stealthy enough to take full advantage of a concealment / spotting meta. She has enough armour to angle against most cruisers, but nothing over that. Her exposed citadels really hurt her. This limits some of her carry potential and how far skill will take you. Mouse's Summary: Jack of All Trades, Master of None Very comfortable to play. She burns stuff very nicely. She's still very much a light cruiser. She pops quite suddenly. De Grasse is a great mid-tier cruiser. She's not the best at any one category but she holds up well. She has good DPM, great fire starting, good agility, decent main battery range, good speed, excellent gun handling, a workable reach on her torpedoes and reasonable levels of protection for a light cruiser. There are only two real areas that I can point where she comes out weak -- that's overall AA power (even though her AA auras are nice and big) and her concealment, which isn't terrible but it's not good. So I say again: De Grasse is an excellent mid-tier cruiser. For all of my salt about De Grasse being better than la Galissonnière, she is not overpowered. While it's lamentable that a premium ship is better than the tech tree counterpart within the same nation, she does not inherently unbalance the tier at which she plays. I will say she is a strong contender for being one of the best tier VI cruisers right now. However, she will not displace Cleveland (DPM monster, best AA ship currently). She does not provide the long range, accurate firepower of Molotov or Budyonny. She doesn't have the speed and concealment of Duca d'Aosta or Aoba. She doesn't have the ability to scout and smoke up like Perth and Leander. She does not have the durability and alpha-strike of Graf Spee. De Grasse has a place in the cruiser lineup as a good jack of all trades ship. La Galissonnière never did. Wargaming ensured that when they nerfed her rate of fire to oblivion during development. Her flexibility will not appeal to everyone. For those looking for excellence and primacy, look elsewhere. That's not De Grasse's appeal. Instead, if you like a ship that can handle herself against almost any opponent if you've built her right, then look towards this ship. Take Defensive Fire instead of Hydroacoustic Search even without an AA build and you're going to be nuisance to carriers while still maintaining that awesome damage potential. De Grasse doesn't have a lot of flaws and those she does have aren't crippling. If you're looking to be distracted bells and whistles, you won't find them here. But if you can see past the gimmicks and glitter, De Grasse is one fine ship. Would I Recommend? For PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? I highly recommend De Grasse for PVE modes. Her high fire chance is great for prompting bots to waste their Damage Control Party, often within the first volley. This makes stacking fires upon them very easy and greatly increasing her damage output. Combined with her ability to flex with her Engine Boost, De Grasse is an excellent ship for co-op or operations. Just be careful of loading up on premium consumables as you may end up winning but losing credits. For Random Battle Grinding This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. It's difficult to recommend her here. The only issue with buying De Grasse to train Captains is that all of the high tier French Cruisers are heavy cruisers, so the Captain Skill choices may not mesh up very well. Taken on her own merits for grinding credits and the like, she does alright. However, having four consumables can get expensive if you're the type of player that buys premium versions for each, especially without a premium account. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. De Grasse isn't the best choice for competitive environments. Don't get me wrong -- she can do very well here with her reliable damage output and speed. However, her gimmick (high top speed for a limited time) isn't a trump card the way smoke or amazing anti-aircraft firepower can be in the right circumstances. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. I wouldn't recommend her for collection's sake. While it's nice to have a version of the ship as she was meant to be designed, historically it would have been nicer to see her as-built. For Fun Factor:Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Hells to the yeah. She's a very comfortable ship to drive. If you like making Battleships cry while they burn to death, so much the better. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  22. Premium Ship Review: Alabama

    While steps have been taken to ensure accuracy, Alabama was a work in progress at the time of testing. Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed here are subject to change before release. Average and good at it. Quick Summary: A Fast-Battleship with good handling and speed, excellent firepower and anti-aircraft protection. She suffers from a very large citadel placed high over the waterline. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Probably about the same as a Tirpitz. Patch & Date Written: 0.6.2, March 10th, 2017 Closest in-Game Contemporary North Carolina, Tier 8 American BattleshipDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Alabama feels like a weird amalgamation of the Colorado's ability to turn, North Carolina's guns and Iowa's 0.6.2 fragility. This combines to make a North Carolina that's both more agile and more fragile than you might otherwise be accustomed. PROs: Massive anti-torpedo bulges which provide 49% damage reduction -- the 2nd best value in the game. Powerful, long range guns with a 21.1km reach and good vertical dispersion. Responsive turret rotation at 4.5º per second. Excellent levels of anti-aircraft firepower. Good top speed of 27.5 knots. Small 710m turning circle and fastest turning rate of any of the mid to high tier USN Battleships. Excellent credit earning potential. CONs: Her citadel sits very high over the waterline, extending from beneath the full length of the #1 turret to the #3 turret. Her armour isn't quite as good as advertised. Improper angling will lead to many penetrating and citadel hits. Bow is easily overmatched by Yamato's 460mm rifles. Her aft transverse bulkhead protecting her lower citadel is only 16mm thick. Low muzzle velocity and long shell flight times over range. Finally, the American tech tree has access to a tier 8 premium. On top of that, she's a tier 8 Battleship. Better still, its USS Alabama, a famous museum ship and American icon. The hype is real and if I'm terribly honest, I was dreading having to review this ship. With such high expectations centered around this ship, especially after the debacle in December of 2016 with the announcement that she would be limited to Supertesters only, I feared she couldn't possibly live up to the hype. Well, I needn't have worried. There have been a few pessimistic reviews penned already and the word is out that Alabama is far from perfect. With that, I breathed a sigh of relief knowing I wouldn't be the messenger that risked being shot for delivering such glum tidings as Alabama not being the embodiment of Pax Americana superiority. But, like all things on the internet, people tend to focus on a single issue and blow it ridiculously out of proportion. Let Lert and I show you why you shouldn't believe everything you've heard about the tarnish on Alabama's reputation... The Lertbox Alabama. A Lertbox I've been both looking forward to and dreading to write. Looking forward because I like battleships and I've been wanting to sink my teeth into this one for as long as I've known she was coming. Dreading because after all the Alabama Drama on the forum, people will not accept anything less than an excellent warship as the USN's first Tier 8 premie. It's a good thing than that Alabama is exactly that. For this Lertbox I will be comparing her to Amagi, Bismarck and North Carolina, the three tech tree battleship peers she will be meeting in battle. A southern belle. Options There's nothing out of the ordinary here. Alabama uses the same improved USN Battleship Damage Control Party as other American Dreadnoughts. This has a 20s active period and a 120s/80s reset timer. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Spotter Aircraft / Catapult Fighter Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard USN Battleship options. Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. This is the gorgeous measure-22 camouflage. Alabama has a little more variety when it comes to what modules you'll select for her, and this is largely dependent on how much you want to emphasize her AA firepower. For your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 may seem like the default choice. However, Auxiliary Armaments Modification 1 is also practical for AA-specialized ships. This will help keep your 20mm, 40mm and 127mm mounts operable, especially when you take a lot of HE fire. For your second slot, if you're going AA spec'd, take AA Guns Modification 2 to bump up their range. Consider this ideal for this ship. Alternatively, take Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 to bump up your range from 21.1km to 24.5km. For your third slot, grab Damage Control System Modification 1. This will increase your already amazing torpedo damage reduction from 49% to 50%. In slot number four, I prefer Damage Control System Modification 2 to help mitigate fire damage. You can take Steering Gears Modification 2 if you prefer. This will drop your rudder shift time to 12.3s. And finally, in slot 5, take Concealment Modification 1. This will cut your surface detection range down to 14.1km with your camouflage. Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 406mm/45 rifles in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X configuration. B is stationed in a super firing position over top of A. These have a stock range of 21.1km. Secondary Battery: Twenty 127mm dual purpose rifles in 10x2 turrets along the sides of the ship. There's a comforting familiarity to Alabama's guns. They're reliable, hard hitting and accurate. They are, however, plagued by the usual American gunnery weaknesses. They have a low muzzle velocity and Alabama has no way of reducing the enormous linear dispersion common to all USN Dreadnoughts. Right off the bat, she has comparable dispersion than any of the other high tier American Battleships, with a 1.9 sigma rating. Only Colorado and North Carolina, with a 2.0 value a tier lower, has less vertical dispersion. This helps prevent her shells from overshooting, removing some of the RNG influence of Battleship gunnery. Now, with this said, it would be a mistake to call her guns accurate. Short of the German Battleships, no other ships in the game have as terrible a dispersion value as USN Battleships. This only gets mitigated at tiers 9 and higher, when they can equip Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2. Sadly, (and I was really hoping for this), Alabama does not get access to this module. What Alabama does have is excellent damage potential on her shells. At 13,100 alpha strike, this gives a 500hp advantage over the Amagi's 410mm AP shells and 1,500hp more than the 380mm guns of the Tirpitz and Bismarck. This lets Alabama trade very favourably, especially with two-thirds of her weapons mounted on her bow, letting her angle aggressively and help mitigate return fire. Penetration values for Alabama's 406mm rifles For penetration, she sits well ahead of the German 380mm guns and just behind the 410mm of the Japanese, with better preservation of penetration characteristics at longer range over her IJN counterparts. Her effective penetration values are more than enough to demolish the citadel of just about any cruiser she faces within her engagement range. Inside of 15km, Battleship belt armour is of no-consequence though at these extreme ranges, ricochet is likely. This is in part due to the slow flight time of the USN 406mm shells. With armour piercing, it takes in excess of 10 seconds for Alabama's guns to reach 16km. They're a full second slower to 18km than the IJN 410mm shells and 1.6s slower than the 380mm guns off the Tirpitz and Bismarck. Thus, while it's sometimes frustrating to land hits with Alabama's guns,when she does land her shots, they strike harder than anything from Japan or Germany and they're more than capable of penetrating the targets she does face. Special mention needs to be made in regards to Alabama's gun handling. Her guns traverse a half degree per second faster than North Carolina's at a rate of 4.5º per second. Even in a hard over turn at top speed, Alabama will never out turn her turrets. If you put Mister Seagal on board with Expert Marksman, you can get this rotation speed up to 5.5º per second which is just wonderful. Alabama's secondaries are ... well, they're nothing to write home about. They can't stand up to the awesome batteries of the Bismarck and they're certainly not going to frighten away anything that gets close. Their modest range of 5.0km combined with their 5% chance to start fires per shell definitely hold them back from being anything worth specializing into. Brawling is something you generally want to avoid when sailing Alabama anyway, so at least her armament isn't working at cross purposes with itself. Summary: She has better accuracy than most mid-tier USN Battleships. Only Iowa, Missouri or Montana specialized for reduced shell dispersion are superior. Alabama is less accurate than IJN Battleships but more than German Battleships. Excellent gun handling characteristics, but poor shell ballistics. It's easy to get guns on target but harder to get the shells there. When you do land hits, the good penetration values and high shell damage will make it easy to rack up big damage totals. Her secondaries are meh. Rivals: North Carolina Lert: These ships are so near to each other in performance that it comes down to which one is driven by the better player. The differences between them are for the most part minor. Alabama turns better, North Carolina has better gun range. Alabama has a better close range AA umbrella, North Carolina a better mid-range one. Where the comparison falls apart though is in their citadels. North Carolina's is at the water line, Alabama's extends a deck above. With competent drivers behind the wheels, it's a wash between the two. The differences aren't enough to sway the battle either way. Until you start showing broadsides. Then driving a North Carolina or an Alabama is the difference between taking heavy damage or catastrophic damage. Between these two it comes down to player skill and the circumstances of them meeting rather than differences between the ships. Until you start having to turn. Alabama pursues HMS Fiji around the headland of an island and executes her at point blank range with six of her 406mm rifles. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 27.5 knotsTurning Radius: 710mRudder Shift: 15.3s Alabama stands out as the most manoeuvrable of the high tier American Battleships. While she doesn't keep the small turning circle of the Standard Type battleships (Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona), when compared to Iowa and Montana, she stands miles apart. It's quite surprising that this agility doesn't come at the cost of speed -- Alabama keeps pace with North Carolina and can turn inside her. At range, this ability gives an extra level of protection that is (unfortunately), sorely needed. When it comes to dodging, Alabama is very well equipped. She not only has the best rudder shift time of the high tier American Battleships, but she progresses through her turn far more quickly than even the 640m turning circle of the Colorado. In fact, she has a faster turning time than most of the tier 6 Battleships as well, being bested only by Dunkerque, Warspite and Bayern. She is the most agile of the mid to high tier American Battleships, bar none, and something to celebrate. Her top speed of 27.5 knots is decent, but sadly outstripped by the Bismarck-class and Amagi-class Battleships which can make dictating engagement ranges difficult. Once she's up tiered to face tier 9 ships, this lack of speed only magnifies. Alabama must use her good concealment values to help her disengage and redeploy as needed. Data drawn from running these ships at maximum speed and then placing the rudder hard over and timing their turn. Alabama is the most agile of any of the American Battleships. Pay close attention to how little benefit Steering Gears Modification 2 actually provides. Durability Hit Points: 63,300Maximum Protection: 32mm anti-torpedo bulge + 310mm belt armour Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: 49% Let's start with what's fun and remarkable about Alabama. She has the best torpedo damage reduction in the American tech tree. Alabama is surpassed only by the Yamato for the highest torpedo damage reduction currently in the game. Air dropped torpedoes feel especially anemic, striking for as little as 5000 damage along her armored belt. For as much work as carriers are going to have to do to land hits with their fish against this battleship, her anti-torpedo bulge will quickly teach them to look elsewhere. Sadly, that's about where the good news for Alabama ends as far as her armoured protection goes. Alabama suffers from all the same durability problems that the Iowa-class has had in World of Warships. Her citadel sits well over the surface of the water. This enormous vulnerability runs from just in front of her #1 turret all the way to her #3 turret. Short of her anti-torpedo bulge, there's no further protection beyond her belt armour to keep it safe. At 310mm, this is hardly adequate to repel the kind of firepower that's thrown at her. Alabama doesn't have any other tricks going for her. She has no turtleback, no armour sloping, no layering to keep her machine spaces and magazines safe. She's a painfully easy target to citadel and it will happen a lot to the unwary. I know this is a deal breaker for many, so let me emphasize this again: Alabama has awful citadel protection and she takes citadel hits regularly. You can see the problems readily in the armor viewer. Even her transverse bulkheads are poor. Her upper bulkheads are 287mm from the waterline on up. Beneath that, her forward bulkhead is a mere 156mm. The roof is 154mm. Her rear may as well be an open door at 16mm. Her fragility is further compounded by a tendency to take frequent penetrating hits from AP shells, even when angled. I suspect this is largely caused by shells striking the 32mm hull above the main armoured belt, where the funny contours might prevent auto-ricochet angles when your approach isn't sufficiently acute. In summary, while Alabama has some great anti-torpedo defense, she's a fragile warship. Use her great handling and concealment values to keep her safe. Rivals: Amagi Lert: You're slower, but not by much. Amagi also has better penetration at close and mid range, plus more accurate guns, more DPM through volume of fire and better gun handling. Alabama out-ranges her Japanese counterpart though, and that is an advantage you should take whenever you get the chance. It's a free salvo of damage the Fighting Geisha is unable to answer, unless she has a plane in the sky. While at range make your agility count, you're the most agile battleship in tier by far, making you a difficult target to reliably land solid hits on even for a ship with such comfortable gunnery as Amagi has. Both ships are very tanky against each other's AP fire when bow in, but here the turret layout of Alabama gives her an advantage, Amagi can only bring four barrels a-fore, Alabama six. In order to make her volume of fire advantage count, Amagi has to show a lot more broadside than she should, allowing you a large juicy target for your Mark 8 Superheavy shells. Fighting an Amagi in an Alabama is the same as fighting one in a North Carolina, except you want to show your side even less. Like all high tier American Battleships, Alabama has no business brawling. She can do it, but it puts her at such a tremendous disadvantage. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 16.2km Air Detection Range: 12.1 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.2km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +12.2km (vs 21.1km gun range) Alabama shares the same surface detection range as Missouri, but with the added bonus of being harder to see from the air. This doesn't quite measure up to the North Carolina, which enjoys a 500m advantage over her, but she does hide better than every other tier 8 Battleship. With a full concealment build, she can become downright stealthy with a 12.2km surface detection range and limiting her visibility from the air to a mere 9.4km. With Alabama's large, exposed citadel, she must exploit this to the utmost to keep herself safe. Alabama is a glass cannon. She is best played using her speed to move out to the flanks and catching the Reds in a cross fire. When the enemies turn their attention her way, she can cease-fire and drop back into concealment and redeploy. By playing up to this strength, she can strike from an advantageous position and let her guns go to work. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 151 / 191 / 187 She enjoys all the comforts the later USN Battleships when it comes to anti-aircraft firepower. Her air defense starts with the same battery of twenty 127mm dual purpose secondaries found on North Carolina, Iowa and Missouri. They provide a long reach and excellent alpha damage in five second pulses. When we filter down to her close-range batteries, they differ somewhat from her big sisters. While Alabama has the lowest AA power of the high tier American Battleships, it would be foolish to label it as anything other than excellent. Alabama's reach and firepower stands head and shoulders above her closest competitor, the Bismarck, with a full 117dps more than the German behemoth. She shreds enemy aircraft squadrons with alarming levels of ease and is a real asset when it comes to fleet defense from attack craft squadrons. This can (and should) be exemplified even more with modules and Captain Skills to increase their range and lethality. Properly specialized and manually targeting incoming squadrons, Alabama can get her average DPS up to well over 900, with almost half of that at a 7.2km range. Alabama's tighter turning circle and her anti-torpedo defense must not be forgotten. Against torpedo aircraft, no other Battleship is as well protected as Alabama. Enemy carriers will quickly learn to look elsewhere to farm damage. Throughout play testing, I was regularly shooting down in excess of 20 aircraft per game when carriers were present. This greatly increases the experience gains Alabama can earn. The average DPS of the high tier American Battleships and a comparison of tier 8 Battleship AA levels, divided by weapon ranges. Rivals: Bismarck Lert: She's tougher than you. You hit harder than her. She'll want to close in. You'll want to fight at range. Fortunately your turret angles are generous enough to keep all your barrels on your teutonic adversary without showing too much side. Try to keep her at range. Lure salvos into your armor belt while still inviting auto-bounces. This is a situation where Bismarck's 15" guns are simply not up to the task. Meanwhile your 16" super-heavies will nibble off more hit-points than you're losing. Unfortunately 'keep at range' is easier said than done as Bismarck is faster than you. In inevitable close range engagements it's imperative you use your superior agility to avoid showing a broadside, as even Bismarck's 15" guns can rip your citadel asunder. Try to keep a higher than 45 degree angle to the German warship, inviting those bounces off your armored belt, and retaliate with your own massive guns. You fire the biggest, baddest AP shells in tier, and while your opponent is difficult to citadel, a salvo of Mark 8 406mm shells into her side will still tear off bleeding chunks of hit-points through normal pens. Roll Tide! As an American Battleship, there are a few different skill builds that are viable for Alabama. They summarize generally to three main types, emphasizing particular strengths. Anti-Aircraft Firepower Concealment Survivability All of these builds will begin with taking Priority Target. This is, in my opinion, the strongest of the tier 1 skill for Alabama. It will let you know when you've got the attention of the Red team and when it's time to start putting that agility and concealment to work. For the Anti-Aircraft Firepower and Concealment build, your skill choice will be almost identical until tier 4. For the former, make sure you take modules that help boost your AA firepower. To this end, taking AA Guns Modification 2 in your second upgrade slot is key. I would also strongly recommend adding Auxillary Armaments Modification 1 to your first slot to help the survivability of your AA mounts. For the Concealment build, you can take whichever modules you want, except for Concealment Modification 1 which is mandatory. At tier 2, you have the choice between Adrenaline Rush and Expert Marksman for your second skill. Alabama is less dependent on buffs to her turret rotation, making Expert Marksman less of a necessity. But if you're using the Steven Seagal Captain, the bonus it provides makes it absolutely worthwhile. At tier 3, Basic Fire Training will increase your AA firepower by 20%. At tier 4, the Anti-Aircraft Firepower build should take Advanced Fire Training to further increase your guns reach up to 7.2km for your 127mm/38s. Next, they should take Manual Fire Control for AA Armament. This will maximize your AA firepower. For the Concealment build, take Concealment Expert instead at tier 4 and follow it up with Advanced Fire Training to add some reach to your AA guns. You'll have 5 skill points remaining at this stage. Spend them where you wish. Good skills to consider are: High Alert, Superintendent, Basics of Survivability and Vigilance. Concealment Expert for the AA build and Manual Fire Control for AA Armament for the Concealment build aren't bad choices either. If you're using the Steven Seagal Captain, then Expert Loader is also worth considering. Skip it otherwise. Sample Concealment & AA Builds Having your Cake and Eating it Too (Steven Seagal, Concealment & AA Hybrid) AA Build Concealment Build (No fires to increase detection) The Survivability build differs somewhat from these other two and there are many variations to consider. Make sure you take Damage Control Party Modification 1 & 2 in slots three and four of your modules. At Tier 2, take High Alert as your second skill to reduce the time on your Damage Control Party. At tier 3, you'll want Basics of Survivability. This will cut the duration of fires down to 43s. Basic Fire Training will get your AA firepower up to very impressive levels. Survivability builds greatly benefit from doubling up on skills. Jack of All Trades reduces the reset timers on your Repair Party and Damage Control Party. Superintendent gives you an extra charge of your Repair Party. Vigilance helps spot incoming torpedoes. Basic and Advanced Fire Training gives Alabama the necessary teeth to keep safe from aircraft. These skills are optimal. Concealment Expert will help keep you safe from harm. Finally, Fire Prevention helps reduce the chance of fires being set while also reducing the maximum number of blazes that can be set from four to three. Here are some sample variations of the Survivability Build: Fire Prevention and AA Power All of the Tier 3 Skills Consumables Buff Brave but foolish. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / ExtremeWhen patch 0.6.3 comes around, Alabama will be a bit of a dinosaur. Montana and Iowa will get their high-water citadels lowered and Alabama will be a relic of times gone by. For this reason, Alabama is a difficult ship to recommend for novice players. Her high citadel is going to punish recklessness. Once you're out of position, your game is going to end very quickly. As a result, Alabama will encourage novice players to avoid combat and snipe at very long-range. This will greatly reduce her efficacy. The only good news, really, is that whatever hits she does land can rack up some impressive damage totals. In the hands of more experienced players, the sky is really the limit. Like North Carolina, Alabama can dish out ridiculous amounts of punishment while supporting her team with impressive anti-aircraft firepower. Where North Carolina relies on pure stealth, Alabama provides agility to help mitigate damage. Her fragility will hold her back from ever truly dominating in some situations. The Lertbox Keep enemy battleship shells away from your flat, unangled side. As long as you can do that, Alabama will reward you. New players and players unused to USN battleships will struggle with Alabama. People who love North Carolina and Iowa will be able to make her sing and dance. She has a wonderful combination of agility and firepower with sufficient speed to move around the battlefield. Plus, she has that late war USN AA suite that we all love. Yeah ok so she's soft in the side, but I'll forgive her this foible. Alabama may not be newb friendly. But she's good. She's damn good. Mouse's Summary: Alabama is defined by five characteristics. Hard hitting guns, excellent AA power, great torpedo defense, good agility and that damned citadel height. Scoring enormous damage totals in this ship isn't hard. Getting yourself sunk because you made a stupid mistake isn't hard either. Alabama can't seem to help being a drama llama, now can she? When Wargaming originally announced she would be a reward ship for her Supertesters, the resulting poop storm was downright biblical. The early reviews from certain parties have blown new life into the turd tornadoes twirling around this ship. I'm not surprised. With the level of hype surrounding her, Alabama had to be perfect. Only small flaws would have been permissible. When I was doing my first pass for this review, only one glaring flaw stood out, and that's her citadel. This is the flaw upon which everyone has similarly latched on. For many players, it's a deal breaker. No matter what strengths the ship had, with a vulnerable citadel, some players just cannot warm up to her. And do you know what? That's a perfectly legitimate sentiment to have. I empathize completely with this revulsion and I know why some players will wash their hands of her right from the word go. Alabama isn't a battleship with training wheels. I also think that it's a completely reasonable flaw for the ship to have from a balance point of view. Lower her citadel and Alabama becomes a very, very powerful ship. She's already almost as agile as Bayern, with North Carolina's great guns and AA firepower combined with Yamato's torpedo defense. And people want her buffed!? Look, she's going to torpedo beat between fish, swat down planes, dodge long-range fire and drop diesel trains on the heads of anything she catches broadside. She needs a weakness somewhere. I'm exaggerating, but only a little. Lowering her citadel wouldn't make her immune to damage to her machine spaces, of course. It's not like she would suddenly gain German Battleship levels of durability. However, it would make her hands down better than North Carolina -- no question at all in my mind. She's harder to hit, just as punchy and harder to damage with fish. If that's the ship you needed to have to make Alabama an instant-buy, well, so be it. But be honest with yourself when you're writing off Alabama for that one (admittedly quite glaring) weakness. I had some phenomenal games in Alabama. I don't see that changing going forward. However, she doesn't have the optimal strengths of Bismarck. She's not the be-all, end-all tier 8 premium some players needed her to be. Alabama is delightfully average in many ways, with a great balance of features that made her a real treat. She just has that one weakness and I've always loved a challenge. Would I Recommend? Alabama competes with two other American premium battleships that bracket her tier: Arizona at tier 6 and Missouri at tier 9. Missouri is a troublesome ship for some players to afford, locked behind the wall of 750,000 free experience, while Arizona is an easier purchase but suffers due to the Matchmaker which often puts tier 6 at the middle or bottom tier. Truthfully, Missouri is the better ship to grab, especially after 0.6.3 when her citadel gets lowered. This doesn't make Alabama bad, but she cannot challenge Missouri for primacy. For Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Mouse: Alabama is an excellent credit earner, but she doesn't hold a candle compared to Missouri. If Missouri isn't available, then Alabama holds her own quite nicely, making around 350,000 credits before premium for a 2,000 base experience game. With her great AA power, shooting down even a handful of planes can greatly increase the amount of experience gained in a match, letting Alabama top the experience charts much more often than she might otherwise. Lert: Yeah. She's a tier 8 premium, and a very good one at that. Wear that Zulu flag and watch the credits roll in. Wear a dragon flag and a Zulu Hotel on watch that captain fast-track through training. In earning potential she's every bit a match for Tirpitz, Atago and Kutuzov, and second only to Missouri. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Mouse: Alabama will always suffer her citadel poorly in competitive environments. Using her speed and agility combined with her AA power, she's a good asset to the team. However, if she's ever caught out, she's a ready target for the enemy team. She is the less optimal choice when compared to ships like Bismarck or North Carolina. Lert: At first I was going to answer a tentative 'yes' here, seeing how comfortably she plays and how she compares to North Carolina. But honestly? You're likely still better off with a Bismarck. You'll give up firepower and agility for sheer brutish toughness, flexibility and secondaries. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Mouse: It's the Lucky A. Yes. What's wrong with you? Lert: Yes. While Alabama herself didn't do much of note during her service she still exists as a museum ship. Plus, she's the only South Dakota class currently in the game. For Fun Factor:Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Mouse: Very yes. I enjoyed my time very much sailing her... so much so that I'm giving North Carolina a bit of the stink eye. Alabama has good agility, great gun handling, punchy guns and who doesn't like making enemy carriers cry? Lert: Yes. Alabama is a comfortable and enjoyable ship to drive. Until you overestimate your turn and end up losing 2/3 of your health to some well placed battleship AP into your overexposed citadel. If you're the kind of person who can suck it up when that happens and admit it was your own mistake to show so much side, Alabama is a fun and rewarding ship to play.
  23. Premium Ship Review Okhotnik

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

    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 provi