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Found 28 results

  1. The following is a review of the American Destroyer USS Hill, kindly provided to me by Wargaming. To the best of my knowledge, this represents the release version of the ship. Be aware her statistics may change in the future. Of the two ships that are new (Benham was released too), Hill has the less remarkable debut. She takes her cue from Nicholas but don't misconstrue: the comparison of the two becomes askew when their differences are run through. With this in mind, let us cut into this review: (enough of the rhymes, whew!) PROS Armed with 5 rapid fire guns with good damage output. Good gun handling and fire arcs on most of her mounts. Heavy torpedo armament of nine torpedo tubes. Good top speed of 37.5 knots. Agile with a good 560m turning radius and a high rate of turn. CONS Only a modest hit point total for a gunship. Bad ballistics on her guns. Horrible forward fire angles on her middle turret. Torpedoes are painfully short ranged at 5.5km with limited arcs per launcher. Enormous surface detection range of 7.38km Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual/ CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH/ Extreme Hill is a typical mid-tier American destroyer. While she's easy enough to play when top tier, as soon as she steps out of the kiddy pool, she'll prove to be a challenge for novice players to wrestle. Her short range torpedoes, the poor ballistics of her guns, her enormous surface detection and modest hit point pool do not lend themselves well to the inexperienced. Veterans can make good use of her, though. Map knowledge can help mitigate her torpedo range and allow her to capitalize on island terrain. Her smoke is excellent and can be used and abused. Finally, her excellent agility makes her a potent knife fighter. – 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. Hill is reliant upon her guns to keep her firepower competitive. While they have great potential damage output, their ballistics really hold them back. Her torpedoes are too short ranged and too slow to be of much help. Hill's defense and agility have nothing wrong with them -- they just don't top the charts among the other tier V destroyers. Agility wise, she handles very well, but there are simply other destroyers at this tier which handle better. Anti-aircraft firepower remains a work in progress. Hill has a solid foundation here and should rank among the better tier V destroyers for AA power. What that will actually mean remains to be seen. We'll have to wait until the dust settles. Hill is visible from space. It's unfortunate. Her stealth sucks. Options Hill stands out in two areas. First, she lacks access to Defensive AA Fire. This isn't unusual in of itself, however the consumable is commonplace on upgraded American destroyers, so it's absence is worth noting. Second, Hill has access to two permanent camouflage patterns. Consumables The only consumable of note with Hill is the use of the American Smoke Generator with a longer emission time (30s vs 20s) and duration (115s vs 77s). Upgrades Upgrade wise, Hill is pretty standard. Start with Magazine Modification 1. If you don't mind detonations you can swap for Main Armaments Modification 1. Propulsion Modification 1 is the only consumable really worth considering in your second slot. Your third slot is a little weird with neither being especially good for a low tier destroyer. AA Guns Modification 1 gives your AA a bit more teeth against novice CV players. Alternatively, you can take Aiming Systems Modification 1 though this really is only useful for increasing your torpedo tube traverse. I've been playing tier VI+ destroyers for a while and I had forgotten how accustomed I was to the acceleration provided by Propulsion Modification 2. Hill, as a tier V destroyer, can't equip it and this has gotten me killed far too often. Ugh. So embarrassing. Camouflage Hill has access to two camouflage options, the standard Type 9 and the Master of the Water World. They are effectively cosmetic swaps of one another, providing the same bonuses. If Hill doesn't come with the second camouflage, it may be purchased for 2,000 doubloons. +50% experience gains -10% to post-battle costs. -3% to detectability by sea. +4% to enemy dispersion. The alternative palette swap for her base camouflage can be unlocked through completing the American Cruiser collection. I quite like the alternative palette. It reminds me of Easter. Firepower Main Battery: Five 127mm/38 guns in single turrets in an A-B-P-X-Y configuration with A-B and X-Y superfiring. P-turret is mounted between the two funnels (unfortunately). Torpedoes: Nine tubes in 3x3 launchers with a wing mount to each side and one mounted on the center line. American 127mm/38s, We Meet Again These are the staple of the American destroyer line from tier V+. They are characterized by the following: Dual Purpose. High rate of fire. Good gun traverse speeds. Low muzzle velocity and horrible ballistics. Poor fire chance per HE shell. As you climb in tiers, their rate of fire tends to improve and that's about it. It shouldn't be a surprise then that Hill's rate of fire isn't that impressive compared to some of the later offerings in the tech tree. Hill dispenses 12.5 rounds per minute (rpm) per gun, giving her a broadside of 62.5rpm before any upgrades. This is on the slow side, with most American destroyers with 127mm/38s spitting out a minimum of 15rpm per gun at tiers V and VI and jumping up to 18.18rpm by tier VII. She compensates for this deficit by mounting five guns, at least allowing her to keep pace with Nicholas at her own tier. The usual caveats with DPM charts apply. This only describes the potential damage output of these guns and it doesn't account for things like how easy it is to bring guns onto a target (traverse, fire angles), how easy it is to hit a target (dispersion, ballistics) or how easy it is to deal damage (penetration). But you're all smart enough to know that, right? This is sorted by HE shells for the simple reason that they get spat out more often. Gremyashchy has the most useful AP shells at this tier and is the most likely to do something effective with them. Hill just barely keeps ahead of Nicholas in terms of potential damage output but only if she can bring all of her guns to bear. Thankfully many of the low tier destroyers have gun angle issues, so it's a pretty close contest. To make the best use of Hill's guns, she generally has to get close. The ballistic arcs on the 127mm/38s is notoriously bad, making attacking ships at anything beyond stupidly-close ranges a challenge. The one benefit to this is that she's quite capable of lobbing shells over intervening terrain (or team mates) without issue, so she's quite apt at taking advantage of island cover. Still, when it comes to engaging enemy destroyers, she's going to need to grab them by their belt buckle which isn't always comfortable. For a ship reliant upon knife fighting to secure kills, at least her gun traverse is fast enough to keep up no matter how she wiggles or dodges (and she's good at the wiggles). On the whole, Hill's guns are pretty darned good, second only to Gremyashchy's guns for overall performance, but that's mostly owing to Gremyashchy's AP shells being so good. Hill's forward fire angles are pretty good except for her P-turret. This shouldn't really surprise anyone given that the darned thing is sandwiched between her two funnels. As a consequence, if Hill wants to top the DPM charts at tier V, she has to expose her full broadside in order to do it. She has much better fire angles to the rear which makes for better kiting performance. Keep this in mind when parking in smoke. It's better to turn away from your opponent and angle your butt towards them. Not only will you have an easier time bringing all five guns to bear, you can also prep for a quick getaway. Short Range Torpeedus I'm spotted here as I drop my torpedoes at this König. Anyone taking bets on if he attempted to dodge? Low tier American torpedoes suck. There. I've said it. They're short ranged, slow and they don't hit very hard. The one advantage they do have is that American destroyers have a lot of them. Hill doesn't quite pack as many, with only nine compared to Wickes, Clemson's and Nicholas' twelve launchers. One of the (additional) issues I had with Hill's torpedoes was the limited arcs. They can't aim at anything less than 50º off her bow and her center-line launcher can barely reach anything to her rear. Like with her P-turret on her guns, you've got to give up a lot of broadside to be able to put your swimmers into the water. Her fish are at least more versatile than low-tier Soviet torpedoes but that's not saying much. If you want to make use of Hill's fish, you're going to have to rely on close range ambushes or suicide-torping a target at point blank range. Just be aware that some of the higher tiered ships will have enough hit points to tank taking repeated hits and make you look like an idiot when your tubes are empty. You're not going to get much use out of them in higher tiered matches which makes her all the more reliant on her guns. Summary I dare say that Hill is almost under-armed. Bad fire angles keep her from being able to use all five her guns reliably. Her torpedoes are almost no help outside of top-tier matches. For a tier V boat, I guess that's good enough but this ship isn't winning any prizes. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Better fish or a higher rate of fire on her guns. It shouldn't be any surprise that Gremyashchy tops the charts here with the Kamikaze-sisters hot on her heels. Defense Hit Points: 12,100hp Minimum Bow & Deck Armour: 10mm Hill has two huge flaws. The biggest is definitely her surface detection. The second is her modest hit point total. For a gunship, Hill's hit points are kinda meh. While Survivability Expert is all but mandatory for destroyers, it's doubly so in Hill's case. She's too fat to hide and she's going to have to trade hit points in most encounters in order to deal damage (barring island humping and hiding in smoke). I mean, her hit point total isn't terrible, but it's uninspiring for a gunship, barely scraping together 12k to her name. 13,100 hp - Nicholas, Gremyashchy 12,700 hp - Podvoisky, Okhotnik 12,500 hp - Jianwei 12,100 hp - Hill 11,300 hp - Mutsuki, T-22 11,200 hp - Acasta 11,100 hp - Fujin, Kamikaze R, Kamikaze 10,900 hp - Minekaze A thousand extra hit points here could have easily changed Hill from a decent ship to an excellent one. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : A thousand more hit points would do it. Agility Top Speed: 37.5 knots Turning Radius: 560m Rudder Shift Time: 3.1s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 8.6º/s One of the best things about Hill is that she has a low-tier lolibote's agility. She's got that smol lolibote wiggle in her tush with a rate of turn that's oh-so tight...! ♥ Azur Lane's Ark Royal was drawn by HM & Tomodachi and misappropriated for this review. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : While Hill does have that smol-bote sway, most of the other tier V destroyers have it too. Minekaze is the princess of this tier when it comes to agility and Hill is way down the list. This just kinda illustrates the flaw in a ranking system. Hill may not be the best, or even the close to the best in this category, but she still boasts some amazing handling. To top Minekaze she'd need more speed while preserving all of her other characteristics. Anti-Aircraft Defense Long Ranged (5.8km-1.8km): 190 damage every 4.5 seconds and 1 explosion at 560 damage. Short Ranged (1.8km to 0.1km): 50 damage every 1.96 seconds. Look, AA defense and aircraft survivability is going to be all over the map between now (0.8.5.1) and the next few patches (0.8.7 at least). There's not much point in reviewing a ship's given AA power at the moment. Don't buy a ship based on its AA power for the foreseeable future. Ugh, six more weeks of volatility. To the tune of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck", in memory of destroyer game play from patches 0.8.0 to 0.8.4. The pendulum has swung hard in favour of AA power in 0.8.5. Hill's AA defense is very comfortable against tier IV CVs at the moment, but will it last? Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Access to Defensive AA Fire. Of course this is all irrelevant anyway given how volatile AA power continues to be. Hill's in a good spot right now. We'll see if that continues. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 7.38km Air Detection Range: 2.85km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.44km Detection Range when Firing in Smoke: 2.75km Main Battery Firing Range: 11.35km (13.62km with Advanced Fire Training) Let's look at some numbers. I've listed all of the destroyers that Hill can face, ranking them by their upgraded surface detection. I've applied camouflage (3% surface detection reduction) and the Concealment Expert (10% surface detection reduction) to all of these ships and Concealment Modification 1 (a further 10% surface detection reduction) on Z-39 cuz she's hella balans. Now, it's important to keep in mind that the lower tiered destroyers -- specifically those at tiers IV and V (and even some VIs) might not be running with full concealment builds so take these numbers with a pinch of salt. Dangerous gunship opponents which are stealthier than Hill are highlighted in red. Those dangerous gunships she can out-spot are highlighted in green. When Hill is Top Tier (Tier IV & V opponents) 5.34km - Isokaze 5.41km - Minekaze, Mutsuki, Fujin, Kamikaze R, Kamikaze 5.50km - V-170 5.66km - Shenyang, Wakeful, Okhotnik 5.69km - T-22 5.81km - Nicholas 5.97km - Acasta, Jianwei 6.11km - Gremyashchy 6.13km - Clemson 6.44km - HILL 6.76km - Podvoisky Hill doesn't come out looking too good when she's top tier, but that's okay. She can effectively outgun most of her opponents here with only the American and Soviet destroyers being any real threat to her in a gun duel. Engaging torpedo destroyers successfully isn't too much of a problem here because the maps are so claustrophobic that you can abuse map borders and islands to cage them in. Still, Hill wins no prizes here. When Hill is "Mid" Tier (Tier V & VI opponents) One of the other possible matchmaking oddities for tier V is that they can end up just facing opponents one tier higher with nothing beneath them. This results in the following list of opponents: 5.41km - Minekaze, Mutsuki, Fujin, Kamikaze R, Kamikaze 5.66km - Okhotnik 5.69km - T-22 5.81km - Nicholas, Hatsuharu 5.97km - Acasta, Jianwei, Gallant 6.11km - Gremyashchy 6.13km - Fubuki, Shinonome, Gnevny, T-61, Fushun 6.29km - Monaghan, Anshan 6.44km - HILL 6.60km - Farragit. Ernst Gaede 6.76km - Podvoisky, Aigle There's a lot more dangerous opponents now, but Hill thankfully out-spots many of the new ones including the tier VI ships Aigle, Farragut and Gaede. Still, the Soviet and Pan Asian additions are worth minding. When Hill is Bottom Tier (Tier V, VI and VII opponents) Big surprise -- there's a lot of scary opponents two tiers higher. 5.41km - Minekaze, Mutsuki, Fujin, Kamikaze R, Kamikaze 5.66km - Okhotnik 5.67km - Haida 5.69km - T-22 5.81km - Nicholas, Hatsuharu, Shiratsuyu 5.97km - Acasta, Jianwei, Gallant 6.08km - Z-39 6.11km - Gremyashchy 6.13km - Fubuki, Shinonome, Gnevny, T-61, Fushun, Gadjah Mada 6.29km - Monaghan, Anshan, Jervis 6.44km - HILL , Akatsuki 6.60km - Farragut, Ernst Gaede, Sims, Leningrad 6.67km - Mahan 6.76km - Podvoisky, Aigle, Leberecht Maass, Blyskawica As you can clearly see, Hill's concealment doesn't do it any favours. Thankfully, her stealth is JUST good enough to keep her nose clean in higher tiered matches, though she barely has any reaction time between spotting some of those dangerous gunship opponents before being detected in turn. To be comfortable, I'd generally want a minimum of 250m worth of difference between the detection ranges of two ships to allow players time enough to make a decision whether to engage or begin retreating. This is not enough time to prevent being spotted in the first place (a 30 knot ship covers 250m in 3 seconds) but it can give you enough of a head start to make a decision. Hill is a big girl with all of the challenges that brings. This is, in my opinion, what really holds her back from being a "good" ship. She doesn't have the stealth to sneak up on much and her guns are reliant upon her closing the distance (to say nothing of her torpedoes). Worse, the extra range on her guns makes her visible from further out. This range is mostly useless given the horrible ballistics on her guns. This is probably her biggest weak point overall. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Hill's stealth rating is pretty terrible. It could be worse, but let's not go there. King of the Hill Hill accepts a standard American destroyer captain build and shouldn't give anyone any issues with skill compatibility. Your first 10 skill points should look like this: Start with Priority Target. Next take Last Stand. I really hope Wargaming does something about this skill. It's mandatory on all destroyers. Survivability Expert is next at tier 3. This will add another 1,750hp to your total which can give you the edge over the other low-tier gunships that haven't taken this. Concealment Expert rounds things off. As you double back through the line, take skills which emphasize her gunnery. Basic Fire Training is a great choice. Superintendent is nice too because it gives you another charge of smoke that you can use to camp out and spray down larger ships without being seen (just watch out for fish). Adrenaline Rush is always worth the points. Over the Hill To appreciate Hill you need to take a close look at Nicholas, the tier V American tech-tree destroyer. If you listen to the peanut-gallery, they'll tell you the two of them are very close. They're technically correct (the best kind of correct) despite the two ships having an enormous laundry-list of differences. While Hill and Nicholas share the same guns (127mm/38s) and torpedoes (Mark 11s) the soft-stats of the ships differ wildly. But don't you fret: this doesn't affect performance much. Let's get into the list: Where Hill is Better than Nicholas: + Hill has 5 guns to Nicholas' 4. + Hill has an 11.3km range to Nicholas' 10.9km. + Hill has better main battery firing angles than Nicholas. + Hill has better long-range AA firepower. + Hill has a top speed of 37.5kts to Nicholas' 37kts. + Hill has a 560m turning radius to Nicholas' 600m radius. + Hill turns at 8.6º/s, Nicholas turns at 7.9º/s. + Hill has premium economy, Nicholas does not. + Hill has TWO permanent camouflage options, Nicholas doesn't have access to any. Where Hill is Worse than Nicholas: - Hill has 12,100hp to Nicholas' 13,100hp. - Hill's hull armour is no thicker than 10mm, Nicholas has 13mm amidship decks and a 15mm hull. - Hill reloads in 4.7s, Nicholas in 4.0s. - Hill has three triple torpedo launchers, Nicholas has four. - Hill has worse torpedo fire angles than Nicholas. - Hill has worse short-range AA firepower. - Hill has has a larger surface detection of 7.38km to Nicholas' 6.66km - Hill has a larger aerial detection of 2.85km to Nicholas' 2.45km. - Hill is visible in smoke from 2.75km compared to Nicholas' 2.49km. - Nicholas can swap her Engine Boost for Defensive AA Fire. Now if you take a look at that list, you're probably going: "Hey, Mouse, those two ships aren't alike at all." Well, duh, no kidding. When you get into the nitty-gritty, it becomes a stretch to say that Hill shares much in common with Nicholas without a huge number of big ol' fat buts attached. This said, only a big ol' fat butt would try and lord over the differences like they really amounted to much. Boil it all down and the differences between the two comes to this: Nicholas is more survivable, being tougher and more stealthy. Hill is more agile. Overall, they're pretty damn close. They're both American destroyers sharing the same weapons, after all. Let's describe Hill on her own merits: Hill has good guns, good agility but terrible torpedoes and horrible concealment. Without a huge slug of hit points, it would be a stretch to call her "good". Her design is perfectly adequate when she's top tier, especially in the claustrophobic maps she finds herself in during those matches. She's especially effective at running down other destroyers with her rapid fire guns and using her agility to dodge attempts to torpedo her. However, Hill does not up-tier well at all. She's too fat. She's too fragile. She's too short ranged to hit hard enough to keep up with stronger opponents. This summation fits Nicholas to a T which is probably why the two destroyers are viewed so similarly. Of the two, I'd argue that Nicholas is the better boat, if only for the extra health and slightly better concealment. However, the reality is that Hill will perform better than Nicholas as a whole due her being a premium ship. You can put your tin foil hats away -- Hill's greatest strength is that she's likely to have a high skill-point captain commanding her. Nicholas, on the other hand, is hardly the darling of the American destroyer line and unlikely to have a commander exceeding 10 skill points at the helm. While there may be a few veterans about holding onto a Nicholas they've invested heavily into, she's overshadowed by Clemson and Farragut. Thus, Hill is likely to appear to be the better boat once stat-tracking gets some numbers to play with, even if Nicholas is objectively the better ship when you analyze her systems. So, yeah. Hill's alright -- I don't like her, but she's alright. She's a decent gunship destroyer when top-tier, for example. However, we have to pretend that Nicholas doesn't exist to reach that assessment. I'd much rather have one of the Kamikaze-sisters, Gremyashchy or Okhotnik if it came down to choosing a tier V premium and I'd still take Nicholas over Hill in a heartbeat. She doesn't really have a "point" compared to Nicholas other than simply offering more of the same in premium form. The huge stack of minor differences between her and her tech tree counterpart make her just different enough to be just that -- different for difference's sake. None of the tier V tech-tree destroyers are particularly fun to play, in my opinion, so take my saltiness over Hill with a pinch of ... well, even more salt. If you like Nicholas and want a mid-tier American trainer, then Hill is great news for you. Otherwise, Hill isn't worth playing, let alone paying for. Would I Recommend? There's a couple of ways of getting Hill. She was given away provided players completed a series of missions during patch 0.8.5. Alternatively you could just throw money at Wargaming if this was too much work. For PVE Battles? No. Gunship destroyers, especially ones with short ranged fish, aren't really a good choice for PVE battles. For Random Battle Grinding? No. There are better trainers and credit farmers out there for the US Destroyer line (Kidd comes to mind). For Competitive Gaming? Hells no. Take Nicholas instead if you're going to take a tier V American destroyer. There are much MUCH better choices at tier V for something like Ranked Sprint. For Collectors? No. Hill didn't exist in steel. The only real reason to want to collect her is that she had the potential of being free. For her Fun-Factor? No. I didn't enjoy playing Hill at all. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it! And WG said that players don't care about cosmetics. HA. Art Credits The Mouse Paper-doll was designed and drawn by Chobittsu (and is super fun to play with). Ark Royal was drawn by HM & Tomodachi. In Closing I was originally going to glue this together with Benham and also talk about the loot boxes all in a single article. Well, that quickly bloated to a monstrosity that would make my Haida review look brief, so I've elected to cut it up. Benham will be the next ship reviewed and it should be out within the next week. For those who can't wait that long: Benham is good. She's fun, even, if you like torpedo destroyers. She reminds me vaguely Harekaze -- a good mix of gunnery and torpedoes. I'm not sure she's worth busting your butt over on the grind, but there it is. Thank you all for reading.
  2. Updated November 7th, 2018 Jean Bart is an upgraded Richelieu-class battleship with improved anti-aircraft firepower and equipped with the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. Unassuming at first glance, she is overpowered in the right situation. Jean Bart annihilates opponents that make mistakes like few other warships can. When capitalizing on these situations, she is without equal. Jean Bart punches much harder than her smaller-caliber battleship guns would suggest. This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming. Please be aware that there are some differences to this ship as of the original publication date. To the best of my knowledge, these stats are accurate as of November 7th, 2018 and represent the release version of the ship. Jean Bart has been made available for 228,000 Coal in the Arsenal as well as being sold directly in the premium shop. PROS Main Battery Reload Booster gives her the ability to brutally punish ships that make mistakes within her line of fire, be it with repeated citadel hits or stacking fires. Entire battery is bow-mounted, making it easy to maximize her firepower on the attack. Heavy secondary gun battery with a fast rate of fire from her 100mm guns. Excellent anti-aircraft firepower -- some of the best found on battleships in the game. Good overall agility for a tier IX battleship. CONS Tiny hit point pool for a tier 9 battleship at 69,000hp. Exceedingly vulnerable to light cruiser-caliber HE spam. Armed with only eight 380mm guns with low damage output. Unable to overmatch the extremities of tier VIII+ German and American heavy cruisers. Majority of her secondaries are incapable of dealing direct damage to most targets. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Jean Bart is an easy battleship to play and quite forgiving. If her guns were of a larger caliber, I'd consider her skill floor to merely be 'Simple' As it is, players must have working knowledge of which ships her AP shells can overmatch and which they cannot which forces players to think ahead with their ammunition choices. As easy as Jean Bart is to slip on, she scales very well with player skill. Few battleships reward careful target selection and ammunition choice like Jean Bart. This is a ship where daring plays and proper consumable use make all the difference. Jean Bart feels very much overpowered in the right hands yet provide only a middling performance to the uninitiated. – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Musashi outperforms Jean Bart firepower wise, giving the French battleship a rating. Jean Bart has a low hit point total like HMS Lion but lacks her improved Repair Party consumable. She has a defense. Jean Bart has the agility and anti-aircraft firepower at her tier. Her concealment is only . Options Jean Bart doesn't offer much in the way of surprises. While there is room for some customization, she's fairly predictable. Her big gimmick is access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. Consumables Jean Bart uses a standard French Damage Control Party. This has a 15s active time and a 120s / 80s reset timer. She has unlimited charges. Her Repair Party is also standard for a French battleship and begins with 3 charges. She heals back up to 14% of her health over 28s with a 120s / 80s reset timer. She queues up to 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of any other damage type. Jean Bart comes with a Main Battery Reload Booster with 3 charges. This cuts down her main battery reload time by 50% for 20s with a 180s / 120s reset timer. Finally, she has access to the Engine Boost consumable with 2 charges. This increases her speed by 8% for 180s and it resets within 180s / 120s. Upgrades Jean Bart should begin by taking Main Armaments Modification 1 in her first slot. Optimally, take the special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1 in her second slot. If you do not have access to one, then default to Damage Control System Modification 1. In your third slot, Jean Bart forces a choice on players. Optimally, you should increase the accuracy of your main battery with Aiming Systems Modification 1. However, that's totally boring. If you're feeling MANLY (and stupid), take Secondary Gun Modification 2 to boost your secondary range and show those lolibotes and inferior battleships who their daddy is.But maybe an Aircraft Carrier once touched you in a naughty place. Maybe you're super salty about that. If that's the case, you can always go for AA Guns Modification 2 to increase their range. This will make CV players hate you. And while other players may scoff that your build is sub-optimal, they'll all respect you deep down for making a CV player cry. Things get pretty boring from here on out. Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal in your fourth slot with the amount of HE that's thrown about. Steering Gears Modification 2 is a distant second place in terms of optimization, but if it makes you happy, who are we to judge? Take Concealment Modification 1 for your 5th slot. It's too good compared to the other option. And finally, take Main Battery Modification 3 for your final slot. Camouflage Jean Bart comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This predictably provides: 100% bonus experience gains 20% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 380mm/45 guns in 2x4 turrets in an A-B superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Nine 152mm guns in 3x3 turrets facing the rear and twenty-four 100mm guns in 12x2 turrets arranged in superfiring configurations with three facing forward and three facing rear on each side of the ship. Jean Bart has some of the firepower at her tier. For a battleship armed with only eight, bow-mounted 380mm guns and a small-caliber secondary battery, this is a bold claim. However, for much of Jean Bart's development cycle, she was disgustingly overpowered and there were very real concerns about her performance. Wargaming has scaled her firepower back, but I'm not sure they did it to the degree necessary to ensure balance at tier IX. As it stands now, Jean Bart has the ability to punish opponents like no other battleship in the game. Underestimate her at your peril. Jean Bart firing 180 shells, locked onto a stationary enemy Fuso without camouflage at 15km. She has the same horizontal dispersion pattern as German and Italian battleships. French 380mm guns are well known for their high shell velocity and energy retention. While this does assist in preserving penetration power over distance, this does have the side effect of causing many shells to overshoot or undershoot their target. Penetration values courtesy of the World of Warships AP calculator (link provided in the Appendix). Jean Bart (and Alsace) have the worst battleship penetration at tier IX. However, it would be a mistake to call her penetration "bad". She is capable of landing penetrating hits on enemy battleships at all but extreme ranges. Unassuming Armament Jean Bart's main battery uses the same 380mm guns found on the tier IX battleship Alsace and her tier VIII sister ships, Gascogne and Richelieu. These weapons are characterized by their admittedly large dispersion area, high shell velocity and energy retention, good penetration and middling damage. The precision of her shell fire has been tuned to be identical to Gascogne at 1.9 sigma making her gunnery feel comfortable and rewarding careful aim. While the high velocity of her shells and dispersion pattern does lead to the occasional wonky spread of shells, on the whole these weapons behave themselves better than the infamously temperamental weapons found on battleship Roma. 380mm guns already feel long in the tooth by tier VIII, to say nothing for tier IX. Unable to overmatch the bows of German and American heavy cruisers, their performance is often found wanting. Jean Bart compensates for this with having an accelerated reload of 26s. While this may seem impressive at a glance, it is the same reload timer found on the Bismarck-sisters a full tier lower and it's less than Monarch's 25s with nine rifles also at tier VIII. Still, Jean Bart's firepower is superior to these other ships grace simply of her gun arrangement. Having all of her weapons mounted on her bow facilitates their use which, combined with the higher precision of her guns, allows her to output more damage than any of these lower-tiered rivals. Still, she should not be able to compete with the likes of the Iowa-sisters, Lion or Alsace. And yet, she not only competes with them -- she puts them in their place. Jean Bart wins no prizes for her stock DPM values, but that's not where her strength lies. The Dreaded Box o' Gimmicks Wargaming has produced the horror or horrors in Jean Bart by giving her access to the consumable Main Battery Reload Booster. Originally dispensed to the French cruiser line, Jean Bart is the first (and probably not the last) battleship armed with it. Understand that this, more than any other trait, is what makes Jean Bart so formidable. When her consumable is properly managed, Jean Bart is game breaking. When it isn't, she's an up-tiered Richelieu with good AA power. The Main Battery Reload Booster is still new, so let's start with an explanation of how the version found on Jean Bart works. This should hold true for other ships, but in case it gets grandfathered in with nerfs, this will serve as a handy reference. While active, it doubles the speed at which Jean Bart reloads her main battery. It does not halve the time it takes for a shell to be reloaded. This is an important difference. Allow me to show what I mean: I've redone this damn chart nine ten eleven TWELVE FREAKIN' times. The most recent change to this consumable occurred with patch 0.7.10. While the booster is active every second spend reloading counts as two seconds. What the booster does not do is simply halve the reload time -- ie, turning the cycle time down to 13s for any shells being reloaded during the consumable's active period . There's no way to cheat the system and fire an extra shell at a fully halved reload by timing the consumable use carefully. The benefits of Jean Bart's consumable apply immediately and only for the duration that it's active. The benefits of her consumable stack with the gains made from the Main Battery Modification 3 upgrade and the Adrenaline Rush commander skill. The numbers here get truly frightening, with a Jean Bart at 50% health being able to cycle her guns as quickly as every 10s with her consumable active. For an enemy vessel caught within a turn, this is devastating as Jean Bart is capable of putting repeated volleys downrange before they can turn away or make it into cover. And it's here where this unassuming battleship becomes overpowered. Jean Bart's all-forward gun placement makes her arcs feel very comfortable -- at least until you have to start running. Be very careful of unmasking her B-turret when you do. This will open her up to taking some hard hits from over angling. Devastating Strikes & Burninations on Demand The all-forward gun arrangement on Jean Bart means that her guns are almost always going to be at the ready when a target of opportunity arises. Her Main Battery Reload Booster guarantees she'll have the right shells loaded. Moreover, her consumable makes it very likely she'll be able to take two bites of the apple before they're able to correct their mistake. It cannot be understated how disgustingly powerful this consumable is in the right hands. Jean Bart may not have the same raw damage output of her peers over time, but she has all of the tools, between gun arrangement, precision, penetration and reload time to make her guns far more devastating in the short term. This emphasizes a battleship's strengths -- overwhelming alpha strikes. Jean Bart is better equipped to deal them more often than any of her contemporaries. It goes beyond landing AP volleys on exposed broadsides. Jean Bart is just as capable of stacking fires with her HE shells in short order with the use of her consumable. If an enemy battleship blows their Damage Control Party, Jean Bart's fast rate of fire will deliver upwards of 24 shells inside of 33 seconds. Even with the modest (for a battleship) fire chance, Jean Bart can match the Royal Navy for infuriating stacks of blazes. Duly warned be ye, says I. Almost excellent - Except they totally suck Jean Bart's secondaries suck moose-balls. She boasts a similar secondary load out to her sister Gascogne but she has even more 100mm guns. This looks terribly impressive on paper. They have a good range. Her smaller caliber guns have a phenomenal rate of fire of 20rpm which more than pads their uninspiring 5% base fire chance. And, really, that's all their good for -- setting fires. They can only directly damage areas of 16mm of armour or less -- that's not even enough to contest the hull of tier VIII+ destroyers she faces. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will enable her to the penetrate up to 21mm but that's a damn heavy investment. You can go this manly route if you wish. It's hardly optimal, even if it is hilarious. Jean Bart's armour scheme does not hold up well in a brawl (see below) so this is a heavy gamble. Still, with her Main Battery Reload Booster, she can be a formidable opponent in close quarters if you like to live dangerously. Summary Main battery is unassuming. Secondaries suck unless you invest heavily into them. And opportunist par excellence, Jean Bart can capitalize upon opponent mistakes like no other battleship thanks to her reload consumable. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : An increase in gun caliber would do it, even without the accompanying increase in shell damage. Jean Bart is contesting Musashi for the top spot. Her guns are that good. Defense Hit Points: 69,000hp Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm torpedo bulge + 330mm belt + 50mm turtleback + 50mm citadel wall. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 32% Jean Bart holds the distinction of being the most vulnerable of the tier IX battleships. However, she doesn't rank last because of some crippling flaw. Her armour protection is sufficient. Her consumables aren't broken in any way. It's really just a deficit of hit points combined with a vulnerability to HE shells that puts her in last place. Jean Bart's hit point total are not those of a tier IX battleship. With healing scaling directly with a ship's base hit points and lacking the portable dry-dock of the Royal Navy, Jean Bart starts off the Durability-race with an immediate disadvantage, but she's not so far behind as to no longer be competitive. While she doesn't have deep reserves of health to absorb damage (or the healing potion to recover from it), her citadel protection scheme isn't lacking. She has decent anti-torpedo defense, for example, sitting at a modest, but respectable 32% damage reduction (and a far cry better than most of the other tier IX battleships, I might add). Her citadel placement is very-French. Her magazines and machine spaces sit just beneath the waterline, protected by a 50mm turtleback and a reverse-sloped belt. Combined, Jean Bart is all but immune to citadel hits at a distance. However, the steep grade of her turtleback lets her down at point blank ranges. Like Alsace, Gascogne, Richelieu and République, she is exceedingly vulnerable in a close-range brawl to broadside citadel shots from large caliber AP shells. On the whole, Jean Bart stands up well to AP fire and torpedo hits. Against high explosive fire, her defense scheme fails utterly though. Jean Bart's citadel protection is complicated, formed up of no less than four layers, two of which aren't pictured here. The first is her 32mm anti-torpedo bulge (not shown). Then shells strike her upper (330mm) or lower (250mm) belt, though the latter will usually necessitate plunging through water first, further reducing penetration. After that, her 50mm turtleback (not shown) gets in the way. Finally, there's her citadel wall which is between 30mm overt he machine spaces and up to 50mm over her magazines. Jean Bart doesn't sport the weakness of a thin citadel roof allowing for overmatching like some Royal Navy battleships, boasting 50mm on top of her 150mm deck protection. Note this last part differs from her sister, Richelieu which has 170mm of deck protection over her magazines but only a 40mm citadel deck. The entirety of Jean Bart is covered in deliciously squishy 32mm of armour that just loves to give up hit points. The only exceptions are her bridge, main battery and anti-torpedo bulges and that's hardly enough to guarantee a large number of shell-shatters. Jean Bart is exceedingly vulnerable to 150mm+ HE fire buffed with the Inertial Fuse for HE shells commander skill. German cruisers and battleships secondaries can exact a costly sum too This flaw isn't unique to Jean Bart, with American and British battleships sharing a similar fear of HE spam. However, when you factor in Jean Bart's lower hit point total and lack of a British mega-heal, this weakness becomes more pronounced. You're going to want to make American light cruisers die quickly. Make sure you have your Main Battery Reload Booster handy when an opportunity comes up to delete one of those mother truckers. One a side note, her 32mm armour also gets undone by 460mm AP shells from Musashi and Yamato. So there's that too. ] This is why light cruisers (and ducky destroyers) love Jean Bart. Anything that's teal is fair game for ships that can muster up 32.5mm of penetration or more with their HE shells. The brown section along her hull represents her anti-torpedo bulge which will absorb HE hits without taking damage. Finally, Jean Bart enjoys relative immunity to American AP bombs. They lack the penetration sufficient to punch through the multiple layers of armour protecting her citadel. Graf Zeppelin can land the occasional citadel hit but, by and large, she struggles in the same manner as American dive bombers. Jean Bart will still take a healthy amount of damage from these attacks -- overpenetrations will be rare, but at least she won't be deleted outright. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Jean Bart would need a truckload more hit points, a special Repair Party consumable or deck and upper hull armour sufficient to stave off HE attacks from light cruisers. Agility Top Speed: 30.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 850m Rudder Shift: 16.0s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.1º/s Am I really going to talk about the manoevrability of the tier IX thunderchunkers again? Look, none of the tier IX battleships could ever be described as agile. The best that could be said is that some of them have the straight line speed when they care to exercise it. However, we all know that the current meta doesn't let battleships stretch their legs until later in the engagement. Thus those without aren't held back by any means and even Musashi's stately 27 knots is more than capable of keeping up with the pace of battle. Jean Bart isn't the fastest battleship at her tier. With her Engine Boost consumable operating, she can make 32.4kts which is still slower than the Iowa-class sisters. She can't boast the tighter turning radius or better rudder shift time of HMS Lion. What she can claim is to have a good rate of turn, keeping pace with Lion and Alsace. Where Jean Bart claims primacy (and I admit, this claim is tenuous), is the combination of all of her traits. She is not the fastest, but at least she's not the slowest either. She's at least faster than Lion which is arguably one of the frontrunners in this competition. She doesn't have the tightest turning radius, but it's only 20m behind that of the Lion and 40m better than her next closest competitor. Her rudder shift time isn't the fastest, but it's the second best at her tier. Jean Bart matches the best two battleships at her tier for rate of turn. ... and finally, she has the Engine Boost consumable. Engine Boost has always been the trump card of the French warships when it comes to contests of agility. With it, Jean Bart leaves Lion in her wake, not only figuratively but literally as well. She can come about faster. She can control engagement ranges more effectively. With Lion bested, Alsace is her only remaining competitor and Jean Bart's tighter turning radius and rudder shift time makes that a no-contest. Of course, besting Lion and Alsace doesn't make Jean Bart good in this category. In my opinion, none of the tier IX battleships are. But Jean Bart is at least the best of the sorry lot. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Loss of her Engine Boost alone would do it. When it's on cool down, she's no better than Lion. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 152mm / 100mm / 57mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 4.5km AA DPS per Aura: 202.5 / 357 Raw DPS numbers (the graph on the left) can be deceiving. Range is an important factor with anti-aircraft defense and Jean Bart has this is in spades with all of her gun mounts. The graph on the right incorporates range into an equation to better evaluate the overall effectiveness of a ship's AA suite. This is calculated by taking the gun's range less 1km and multiplying it by DPS. While not an absolute measure by any means, it is indicative of the relative AA power of the ships in question. Jean Bart has god-tier anti-aircraft firepower. The only battleship in the game that tops her for effective AA cover is the personal rocket-powered umbrella of HMS Hood, and that's only when Her Majesty's ship is activating her Defensive AA Fire consumable. What makes Jean Bart's AA so effective is the combination of solid DPS numbers combined with her minimum of a 4.5km range. Fully upgraded, she's an absolute monster, outstripping even République and Montana for the potency of her flak. Like most battleships, most of her AA firepower is found in her medium caliber AA guns. Jean Bart's 57mm weapons don't stand up to HE any better than a 40mm Bofors nest, so she can be stripped of most of her threat to aircraft with the gentle caress from a Cockbote. Thus your AA power is inversely proportionate to the amount of HE fire you've taken. Given the current meta at high tiers, that's not going to be very high for very long. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : A Cockbote serenade. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 16.38km Air Detection Range: 14.16km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.30km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 15.05km Main Battery Firing Range: 24.52km Jean Bart's concealment should be seen as "adequate" and nothing more. With the proper concealment build, she shares a surface detection rating with the Bismarck-sisters. She could certainly do worse. Few battleships reward concealment better than Jean Bart. As it is, even her middling concealment value risks making her overpowered. The most obvious use for her surface detection is to drop back into stealth when under fire. Jean Bart doesn't have the deep hit point reserves of other tier IX battleships, and having the ability to disengage at will is a useful trick. However, it's not this defensive ability that risks making Jean Bart an overpowered monster. It's her ability to use it offensively. No other battleship rewards an ambush play-style as much as Jean Bart. With her fast reload, good penetration and her Main Battery Reload Booster, having Jean Bart magically appear when you're at your most vulnerable is a nightmare scenario. This is where she scales so well with player skill -- those with the map knowledge and the willingness to push in order to set up ambushes get rewarded handsomely. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Losing a kilometer or two of surface detection off her base range would do it. How to Make Roma Look Inadequate There are three main builds that are effective for Jean Bart. The Baby Bunny Build is the ol' battleship standby. Go for survivability increase skills including Concealment Expert, Superintendent, Basics of Survivability and Fire Prevention. The Salty About CVs build makes Jean Bart the scourge of the skies. Grab anything that boosts your anti-aircraft batteries like Basic and Advanced Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns. Finally, there's the dubiously effective (but exceedingly Manly) Secondary Build. You'll want all the fixings at tier 4 including Advanced Fire Training, Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. You can choose between Expert Marksman and Adrenaline Rush at tier 2 depending on if you intend to brawl or not. Final Evaluation Jean Bart seems like such an unassuming design. Who would have thought that an upgraded, up-tiered Richelieu-class would be on my watch-list for one of the most over performing releases of this year? I don't doubt that like Musashi, she's going to fly beneath some players' radar. There will be those that simply do not appreciate the imbalance that Main Battery Reload Booster provides, even when shackled to such unassuming weapons as a mere eight 380mm rifles. To this end, I predict that Jean Bart will become the darling of those few that know how to time their shots and don't use it simply for a flat DPM increase. I do foresee Jean Bart causing issue with some of the more veteran players. Grace of her abilities, this is a ship that by her very design punishes people that try and flex. Lord knows I won't dare turn a ship broadside within 15km of her unless I know her consumable is on cool down. While I would like to think that her gunnery may correct some of the popularity of certain American light cruisers, her ballistics just aren't designed for that. In short, Jean Bart is just going to reinforce the passive meta, albeit without the same obvious ability as ships like Asashio. The final bit of upset Jean Bart may deliver is still far off in the future. She is the best anti-aircraft platform found among the current battleships. With the aircraft carrier rework still months away, it remains to be seen what kind of upset she can deliver to the future version of this game mode For now, keep an eye on this ship. She has comparable earning levels to Musashi and Kronshtadt, which is better than most tier VIII premiums (barring the use of Makoto Kobayashi camo). I still haven't been told how she's going to be made available (seriously). If it's for free experience or coal, you cannot go wrong with this ship. She's too good. Would I Recommend? Seeing as I don't know how she's being made available, take this section with a pinch of salt. She could very well be the next steel-ship to reward Ranked Battle players. She may only be available for free experience or coal. Wargaming has not directly sold any tier IX+ premiums yet, so it's doubtful she'll appear in the premium shop or for doubloons. We'll have to wait and see. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Meh. While shooting down aircraft is hilarious in co-op, the propensity for enemy bots to charge bow in makes her 380mm guns feel inadequate. Go for a MANLY build or don't bother. It would be super cool if she could be used in Operation Hermes, though. I'm still poking Wargaming about that one. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. The chaos of Random Battles serves Jean Bart and her god-tier consumable well. She earns a healthy wage too, which doesn't hurt either. For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Unlike in Randoms, it's less likely that your opponents are going to pull a stupid to make Jean Bart's Main Battery Reload Booster pay huge dividends. The more serious the competition, the less appealing she'll become. Plus Missouri has radar. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. She looks gorgeous and she's got a fair bit of history to her. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Very yes on toast. After the first time you obliterate some poor sap coming about, you'll never be able to let go. What's the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE- The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes. Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal. Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task. OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely If I have to do this again, I'm getting out the crayons. In Closing Updated for October 23rd, 2018. Jean Bart was finalized shortly before this article was originally published. Three days later, they announced she was going back into testing because of concerns she was over performing. Frustrating as this could have been, the changes have been simple to account for. Jean Bart still risks being overpowered, but the circumstances are far more specific now. She's still a highly competitive ship, but without the clear cut dominance she could demonstrate with alarming reliability in randoms. Wargaming has been mum on what's coming out next. With the Aircraft Carrier rework choking the airwaves, it's a bit of a toss up. Le Terrible was finalized almost two weeks ago however I have not had access to her in order to be able to finish my review, so she's on hold for the time being. I'm mostly done reviewing Prinz Eitel Friedrich too, so it's a race to see which one gets the greenlight first. Thank you all for reading! Appendix World of Warships AP Calculator (n.d.) https://mustanghx.github.io/ship_ap_calculator/
  3. West Virginia is a slow brick with the biggest, baddest guns you're likely to find this side of tier VI -- at least until the upcoming Russian battleship tech tree. I want to thank Wargaming for providing me access to this ship. This is the release version of the vessel and all of the statistics discussed here are current as of November 30th, 2018. Be aware that Prinz Eitel Friedrich's statistics discussed in this article are still a Work in Progress and are subject to change. PROS Armed with 406mm guns with excellent damage, penetration and overmatch ability. That's it. That's all she's got. No, I'm not making this up. That one "Pro" is the reason that decides if you want this ship or not. CONS Small hit point pool of 50,200hp. Highly vulnerable to HE spam. Very slow and no improved energy preservation while turning. Bad anti-aircraft defense. Large surface detection range of 16.4km base. Overview Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Standard-type battleships are some of the simplest ships to play in World of Warships. West Virginia 1941 (WV41) makes this even easier by all but eliminating complicated decision-making for novice players. She's too slow to flex once she's committed to an engagement. Her AP shells are so good that you don't need to consider changing ammo types. She's going to get her bows overmatched by most of the battleships you'll face so don't worry too much about manoeuvres. You're also a ready victim of aircraft attack, so why bother stressing about it? Yep, dirt simple. Of course if you want to try-hard WV41 will reward you for it. She's got enough belt armour and agility to tank effectively. Her gunnery is wonderful so picking the right targets pays off huge. While she is slow, if you fancy yourself a master strategist then knowing just how and where you need to go to have the most influence will make all the difference. – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Her main battery guns are the about her. Her handling and anti-aircraft firepower are just plain . Her defense and concealment are passable, earning a rating. Options The only thing of note with WV41's options are her two camouflage patterns. Consumables WV41's Damage Control Party is standard for an American battleship. This has unlimited charges, a 20 second active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard, healing back up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds. This has a 120s / 80s reset timer. Finally, she has a Spotter Aircraft. There's nothing unusual here, with a 100s active period and a 360s / 240s reset timer. It starts with 3 base charges. Upgrades We're looking at the usual suspects for mid-tier American battleships with the exception of any anti-aircraft modifications. Like Arizona, WV41 doesn't have the AA power worth upgrading. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control Modification 1. Fires are a big concern for USN Battleships. After that, it's Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1. This will get your main battery range up from 16.06km to 18.63km. For your last slot, Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal for helping mitigate Fire damage. However, if you prefer, you can take Steering Gears Modification 2 to help with her sluggish handling. It's not going to do much, but every bit helps. Camouflage By default, WV41 1941 comes with Type 10 Camouflage. Alternatively, you can purchase W. Virginia 1941 as a cosmetic swap for 3,000 doubloons. Both types have identical bonuses, providing: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. The big difference is how they sound. Yes, the W. Virginia 1941 camouflage has a custom horn! http://shipcomrade.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/West_Virginia_shiphorn_2.wav WV41's default camouflage pattern can be swapped for an alternative palette for those who have completed the second-medals section of the American Cruisers Collection. This changes the blue disruption pattern to a pale grey. For 3,000 doubloons, you can unlock the W. Virginia 1941 camouflage in red and brown. While this has the same economic bonuses, you do get a cute horn to toot Firepower Main Battery: Eight 406mm/45s in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Eight 127mm/25s on the deck and and Ten 127mm/51 mounted in casemates. Right, West Viginia 1941's main battery guns are the only good thing about this ship. I'm going to avoid doing Wargaming's hype-job for them by gushing overmuch about how good these guns are. This said, WV41's guns are easily the best battleship-caliber weapons available at tier VI. They're so good you're going to pay for it in almost every other facet of this vessel. If what we go over here in her Firepower section doesn't wow you, then this isn't a ship worth paying for. The Unnecessary I don't want to waste too much time on WV41's secondaries. There's not much going for them. They have a 4km range. They reload in 4.5 seconds. She fires a maximum of four guns (not turrets -- guns) per side. There's no potential here. Obligatory, ugly stats-dump. One of these days, I'll figure out a way to make this look pretty. Sorry, Mutsu WV41 is armed with the same naval rifles as Colorado at tier VII -- and here they are shoe-horned in a full tier lower. She inherits these weapons in full, and not having to suffer with inferior ammunition choices. The few differences summarize to the following: Main Battery Range - Colorado has 2.77km more base reach with her main battery for 18.83km vs 16.06km (or 21.84km vs 18.63km with upgrades). Sigma - Colorado has 0.1 sigma more than WV41 for 1.90 versus 1.80. Standard dispersion test. 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso without camouflage. Colorado and WV41 have identical dispersion areas -- the only difference is how often shells cluster towards the center of your aiming point (as determined by sigma). Warspite, equipped with Aiming Systems Modification 1 has been included as she represents the gold-standard of what precision looks like among battleships at this tier. Penetrate All the Things With WV41's precision and dispersion being considered "average", her guns need to make up some ground to make this vessel worthwhile. Where she does this is in her penetration power. This she has in spades. WV41 has the best AP penetration among tier VI battleships, hands-down. With more than 450mm worth of penetration at 18km, she has enough to penetrate broadside battleship belt armour of anything she might face. Furthermore, the large-caliber of her shells allows her to overmatch 27mm worth of hull plating. WV41 will punish any cruiser within her matchmaking spread while also being able to do the same to tier VI and VII battleships, regardless of angling. This just leaves tier VIII battleships able to bow-tank her. In answer to this, WV41 must reach for her HE shells. She has no special quirks with her HE shells, so use them only when needed. They have 67mm worth of penetration which is more than enough to bruise any opponents pulling off these shenanigans. Unlike other tier VI battleships, WV41 is far less reliant on HE shells than most, so having only mediocre shells here isn't a drawback. Provided you aim well and dispersion doesn't troll you, WV41's AP shells have more than enough penetration to handle almost any target you might face. Let's take a look at some of the raw stats: These are the top 5 battleships at tier VI for AP penetration as of patch 0.7.11. Penetration values are approximate and courtesy of proships.ru (link in the Appendix -- give them some love). Generally speaking, battleships at this tier are forced to choose between having good penetration or the ability to overmatch. WV41 is unique at tier VI for having both. Go figure, bigger shells hit harder. WV41 tops the charts on a per-shell damage basis at tier VI, with one of her hits dealing 18% to 20% more damage than a comparable 356mm shell. This number is important to keep in mind when you account for potential damage output. WV41's precision, penetration and overmatch mechanics make individual damaging hits more likely in many (but not all) situations compared to her peers. They're not God-Tier Good as WV41's guns are, they're far from perfect As any veteran Roma commander will tell you: There's such a thing as too much penetration. It's possible to blow clean through the machine spaces of some cruisers without causing a citadel hit. Thankfully, this is largely limited to point-blank range engagements against the lightest armoured cruisers. WV41 doesn't couple of her enormous penetration levels with high muzzle velocity. Where they're really lacking, in my opinion, is reach. I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to tell you this early that mounting such potential on a standard-type hull is going to cause issues and she struggles to keep up with the flow of battle. WV41's fire angles are only alright. You have to expose a fair bit of side to get her full salvos off. This isn't too bad when she's top-tier. However, when she's at the bottom of the pile, the enormous levels of penetration present makes a mockery of your belt at anything but near autobounce-angles. This problem with being bottom tier compounds with her range. Again, it's perfectly acceptable when she's top-tier, but the large maps she has to navigate when she's facing tier VIIs and tier VIIIs makes me wish she had closer to Colorado-levels of reach. Finally, the last fly in the ointment is this: She only has eight guns. You really need to maximize the opportunities provided by your high-penetration and overmatch potential to make your advantages count. If you're facing opponents that are constantly sailing broadside at medium-close ranges, you would have been better served with a larger battery of smaller-caliber weapons. WV41's theoretical damage output isn't bad at all for an eight-gun warship at tier VI. It's considerably better when you factor in the gimmicks that make dealing said damage easier -- namely her high penetration and her overmatch potential. WV41 has to rely on said advantages to differentiate herself from the twelve-gun heavy hitters which use volume of fire to make something stick. Most of these suffer from 1.60 sigma or less which makes any pretense of precision dubious. WV41's fire arcs are average and on the poor side of average at that, especially when kiting. Her gun handling benefits greatly from Expert Marksman if you have the skill points to spare. You don't need it, but you'll want it. Summary Her guns deliver heavy damage, but they're not flashy. Their big deal is that they penetrate all of the things. Her secondaries suck, but no one's surprised. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Worse sigma, a longer reload, slower gun traverse, etc. Defense Hit Points: 50,200 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 343mm belt + 45mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% I told you: You're going to pay a lot of concessions to have 406mm main battery guns on a tier VI ship. This is the first of many areas where WV41 only manages to be so-so. An Aside about HE Damage Mitigation At tier VI, Fuso here is the gold standard for HE resistance, ticking all five five boxes including a fully reinforced main deck and upper hull. This gives her the best chance of shattering and absorbing HE spam from most CLs, CAs and DDs. Note that on the whole, these bonuses only provide some small amount of protection. Cleveland is still going to melt your face off. Let's talk a minute about HE damage mitigation from cruisers and destroyers. In general, there are five components to look for when evaluating how well protected a battleship is against small and medium caliber HE. The idea is that a ship has either spaced-compartments to absorb the shot or she has heavier armour than normal in a given place. This reduces the surface area where HE shells can land a damaging hit. Extended Waterline Belts must be above the surface to have any value, reducing the amount of target area on the bow and stern. These are typically found on German and lower tiered battleships. Imperator Nikolai I stands out in this regard. An Anti-Torpedo Bulge can have some merit provided it extends upwards to cover parts of the hull that would otherwise be vulnerable. The Queen Elizabeth-class are a great example of this, with bulges that extend forward far enough to help protect part of their bow. Armoured Bridge help foil HE shells from otherwise damaging your super-squishy superstructure. They typically have armour as thick as (or thicker than) the ship's belt which is a no-no for all calibers of HE. Reinforced Hulls and Reinforced Decks come with three distinctions -- no mitigation, partial mitigation and full mitigation. No mitigation speaks for itself. The plating is no thicker than the extremities and cruisers will hoover up damage here for days. Partial is thick enough to repulse some small and medium caliber HE shells, typically those of destroyers. Full mitigation will repulse 152mm shells buffed with IFHE or even some heavy cruiser shells. Note that some ships will only have a small part of their main deck reinforced -- pay close attention to the amount of area covered. The Bismarck-class is a good example of this. The Colorado-class relies on raw armour thickness to repel AP shells. Not much of her plate has any appreciable angle which would further increase its relative thickness. So while her 343mm belt looks solid, you'd get more mileage out of the sloped belts of some of the later USN battleships like the South Dakota, North Carolina and Iowa-class battleships which have better protection for comparable thickness. Given her 25mm extremities and deck plating, WV41 is dangerously vulnerable to AP overmatch mechanics from 380mm guns or larger and most HE shells she'll face. Armour Protection WV41's protection scheme is alright if only just. She relies on raw armour thickness to carry the day and there are glaring holes in her defenses which are easy to exploit. Her 25mm extremities and deck are vulnerable to overmatch mechanics and HE spam. She has poor anti-torpedo defense and no spaced armour around her belt. Her internal citadel wall is only a third as thick as the other standard-types at her tier. Finally, she has one of the lowest health pools at tier VI, barely scraping together 50,000 hit points. There are two reasons WV41's durability is considered adequate and the first isn't exactly flattering. The protection schemes of a lot of the tier VI battleships are found wanting. The other two standard-types are the only ones that could claim to have decent anti-torpedo protection, for example. Vulnerability to overmatch mechanics and HE is a chronic problem at this tier, with only a few ships boasting sections of upper hull or deck greater than 25mm. The list of problems among tier VI super-dreadnoughts goes on, with citadel height, hit point disparity and module vulnerability all plaguing ships to various degrees. So at least WV41's in good company. WV41's second saving grace is that her belt and citadel armour is good enough. When top-tier and with a bit of range or angling, she can avoid the worst from incoming AP shells. The high penetration of her own guns means that her opponent's protection scheme matters much less. If it comes to outlasting tier VI and VII opponents, WV41's defense is sufficient unto the task, allowing you to trade fire effectively. It falls apart against tier VIIIs, though. With her low hit point total, WV41 is second-to-last for effective HP among her peers. This is yet another way WV41 pays for those awesome guns and the cost is getting pretty steep. According to the Devs, WV41 (like other USN Premiums) is NOT slated to get the proposed Repair Party Buff coming to the American battleship line. I predict they'll rescind this statement. Repair Party You can't talk about American battleships without talking about this consumable. The lead of WV41's class, Colorado, has an improved Repair Party that heals back 18.48% of her health over 28 seconds instead of 14%. The entirety line of researched American battleships is getting said buff if the Work in Progress changes go through. The premium battleships are not, WV41 included. In this way, WV41 is being "Mutsu'd". While the Japanese premium was gutted by her poor shells, WV41 really feels the lack of Colorado's regeneration. Her hit point pool feels even smaller without it, and it's already pretty small. To put it another way, I was genuinely shocked when Wargaming told me that WV41 was not currently slated to be getting her Repair Party buffed in 0.7.12. It feels out-of-place. If she does eventually get it, it will be a welcome addition. Summary: Her armour is "okay". Her hit point total is not. Her anti-torpedo protection is unsightly compared to the other standard-types. Overmatch and HE are your bane. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : New Mexico's new Repair Party. Agility Top Speed: 21 knots Port Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 13.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Turning Rate: 3.6º/s WV41 chasing Colorado in a turning radius test. You'll note how the gif "pops" as WV reaches the 9 o'clock position and skips to the 6 o'clock position while Colorado's circle is complete. She's that much slower than Colorado. This test confirmed WV41's port-stats as accurate. However, it did provide proof that Colorado doesn't turn as well as advertised. The lead-ship has a 710m turning radius, not 640m, so WV41 has a slight leg up there. Standard-type battleships are notoriously slow. WV41 somehow manages to be even slower. Yes, really. Wargaming has artificially boosted the engine power of some of the American battleships in a similar way to Royal Navy cruisers and destroyers. For normal battleships, they lose up to 25% of their maximum speed while under manoeuvres. Thus, a 30 knot battleship will drop down to about 22.5 knots in a sustained turn. New Mexico and Colorado both lose less speed in a turn than they should -- much less in Colorado's case; a mere 9%. Not so WV41. WV41 is entirely normal when it comes to manoeuvrability penalties, joining Arizona in this sorry-state. Thus WV41's 21.1 knot top speed falls down to 15.9 knots in a turn. Unless you're sailing in a perfectly straight line, this ship struggles to maintain 18 knots with any consistency. Unlike Arizona, WV41 has a larger turning radius of 670m instead of 640m. The combination of this slow speed and larger turning radius makes WV41 positively glacial when it comes to her rate of turn and arguably the worst-handling of any of the American battleships in the game. The gone ray of sunshine is that she can't out turn her turrets. So yay? So WV41 isn't getting anywhere fast. You can be fatalistic or proactive with this. The former is pretty brainless -- you're not fast enough to flex, so pick a path and accept whatever happens beyond your range as being outside of your control. Blame teams for your losses and decry WV41 as a trashbote because of it. The latter means work -- a lot of work. Develop your situational awareness. Keep a ready eye on the minimap and have a keen sense of predicting the flow of battle. Flex well in advance and give yourself time to intercept key threats. It's exhausting but you can work around this deficiency. The larger the map, the more work this is -- perhaps more work than it's worth. Summary Blame Lert for inspiring this image. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's the worst of the worst here. It would take a lot to redeem her. She'd need a turning radius smaller than 640m or better energy preservation in a turn to overtake Arizona. That still wouldn't improve her standing. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Gun Calibers: 127mm/ 76.2mm / 12.7mm AA Aura Ranges: 4.2km / 3.5km / 1.2km AA DPS per Aura: 58.4 / 11.2 / 30.4 There's more bad news here. WV41's AA power sucks. It's worse than Arizona's, it's that bad. Do I need to elaborate more than that? What's this nonsense? "Effective AA DPS"? On the eve of the Aircraft Carrier rework, stressing over current AA mechanics just isn't worth while. Be glad WV41 isn't being sold on the premise that she has good AA. That might end up not meaning much in a few short months. This chart shows the relative power level of given AA armaments based on not only the amount of damage their mounts put out but also how far they can reach to keep enemy planes under fire. Thus ships which concentrate their firepower into long-range will get a higher rating than one that focuses on medium or short. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Technically she deserves a "" at least going by the metric that she's not the worst or second worst at her tier. However, AA power at tier VI is almost across the board with only a few battleships that have enough to give any CV pause. I'm not pulling any punches here. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 16.42km Air Detection Range: 14.68km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 13.70km Detection Range when Firing in Smoke: 15.9km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.06km (18.63km with APRM1) While it cannot be accurately said that WV41 pays for the power of her guns with a lack of concealment, this definitely isn't one of her strong points. Her concealment is on the bad side of average, sitting just above Dunkerque and Mutsu by 500m, but well behind just about everything else. A full stealth build is highly recommended -- use and abuse what little ability to hide that she has. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Losing two or three kilometers off her surface detection range. Taking Me Home WV41's skill choices are stupidly easy. With no real anti-aircraft firepower worth upgrading and secondaries that may as well shoot spit balls instead of HE shells, that just leaves a survivability build as the only real option here. Start with Priority Target. If you prefer, you can take Preventative Maintenance instead, but it's not optimal. Adrenaline Rush is your second skill choice. Take Basics of Survivability next. Finally, to round out your 10th skill point, choose between Fire Prevention and Concealment Expert. You'll be taking both, so the order is up to you. You'll take the other one for your 14th point. At 17pts you should take Superintendent. Note, if WV41 had the buffed Repair Party the other USN Battleships will be getting, you'd take this before Basics of Survivability and the two skills would trade places in order of priority. Oh well. And finally, round things off with Expert Marksman. If you prefer, you can take Jack of All Trades or High Alert instead. Final Evaluation Unless a ship is particularly novel, I'm not a fan of having to put in extra work to get a ship to perform. West Virginia 1941 is one such vessel. Her guns truly are phenomenal at tier VI. The rest of her, though? Well, it's all poor-to-average at best. There's a trap in such an evaluation though -- just because something measures up 'okay' compared to what else is out there, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's 'okay' on the whole. WV41's concealment is a good example of this. For a tier VI battleship, it's decidedly average. In order to be functionally competitive based on everything else, it's woefully inadequate. The same could be said for her AA power and agility. A case could even be made that her durability is similarly lacking. Those awesome guns have cost her dear. Her firepower up-tiers well even if the rest of her does not. WV41's weaknesses are scarcely noticeable when she's facing tier V and VI ships. This is largely owing to map sizes being so much more comfortable to her 'stately' waddle and modest range. Top-tier, she's truly a monster and you can really feel that this is what she was balanced for. She's on the tipping edge of being too powerful to be a tier VI ship. She's a solid contender for Ranked Battles. If Wargaming were to buff her with Colorado's agility and New Mexico's upcoming Repair Party improvements, she'll give Warspite a run for her money as the best choice in this limited competitive scene. The Random Battles queue won't let you play as top-tier all the time, however, so you have to contend with how WV41 stacks up against higher-tiered opponents. Provided you can get in range with her guns and not get focused, she performs well. The challenge, which is darn well near insurmountable at times, is getting into firing position, keeping up with the flow of battle, and being able to disengage when things get too hot. WV41 compounds the problems facing the Colorado-class as a whole by exaggerating the weaknesses that defined the class. Colorado is slow. WV41 is slower. Colorado isn't very durable. WV41 is weaker still. Colorado isn't flexible. WV41 is even shorter ranged. If a situation makes Colorado struggle, then WV41 founders. I'm not going to tell you this is a good ship. It isn't. I will tell you that her guns are good -- excellent, even. They're unfortunately mounted on an interwar, standard-type hull. In my opinion, the ship's worth playing for her guns alone. However, I wouldn't go so far as to say that the experience of firing her guns is worth paying for. My opinion here will probably change if she gets some small improvements, like that Repair Party buff. Would I Recommend? It's maybe a little presumptuous of me to say, but this isn't the ship that anyone asked for. Almost universally, if someone wanted West Virginia to show up in World of Warships, they wanted to see her late-war rebuild. Her story is a compelling one. She is a phoenix that rose from the ashes of Pearl Harbor and went on to avenge not only herself, but the United States Navy too. On top of that, her late war build is so much more interesting in terms of game play. What-if debates have gone back and forth on what tier she would end up and with what gimmicks to make her competitive. I don't think we'll see West Virginia 1944 anytime soon, though. If Wargaming rushed, they could have her out sometime in 2019, but I just don't think she's high priority. After all, they have West Virginia 1941 to sell. West Virginia 1945's anti-aircraft armament. My body is ready. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes for Co-Op, no for Scenarios. WV41 excels in Co-Op. You can count on the bots to always come charging blindly at you which mitigates her weaknesses. In Scenarios, her speed and lack of AA power is a big liability. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. No. While she's a beast when top-tier, it's a roll of the dice to get that kind of favourable Matchmaking. If you could guarantee it? Absolutely, she's all kinds of fun when she's kicking in the teeth of her contemporaries. For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Yes. Oh look, guaranteed top-tier Matchmaking. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. No. I'm waiting for West Virginia 1944. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes, surprisingly. I enjoyed playing WV41. I do love my standard-type battleships. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it! In Conclusion My goodness, I managed to get a review out on time over the holidays! That's one at least. The next ship to be reviewed is Bourgogne, the tier X French Battleship. I wasn't going to prioritize her initially, but news of Wargaming giving players the opportunity to acquire Steel outside of Ranked and Clan Battles has bumped her up my list. Hopefully I'll have her review out by this time next week. Dreadnought and Charleston remain in my backlog. Prinz Eitel Friedrich looks very close to being released too, so stay tuned! Appendix Armour penetration data was pulled from: http://proships.ru/stat/ships/
  4. The following is a review of Azuma, the tier IX Premium Japanese Super Cruiser kindly provided to me by Wargaming. Please be aware that though this represents the release version of the ship, her statistics may change in the future. To the best of my knowledge, these stats are accurate as of patch 0.8.2. If you have any questions regarding any changes to this ship after subsequent patches, please feel free to contact me. Okay, this is getting ridiculous. I really don't know what to call these things. I'm defaulting to "Super-Type A" cruiser for Azuma because that's what my sources said the Japanese called her, but I reiterate that we really could use a catch-all term to describe these kinds of ships in World of Warships. Between Stalingrad, Alaska, Kronshtadt, Graf Spee and now Azuma and now with Yoshino on the horizon, we've got enough of these ships that they could use a name. PROS Large health pool of 58,350hp. Excellent range of 19.1km on her main battery guns. Good alpha strike and penetration for a cruiser. Increased penetration on her secondaries. Good long-range anti-aircraft firepower. Decent top speed of 34 knots. Extra charge of her Repair Party consumable with a faster reset timer. CONS Octagonal citadel which sits high over the water. Relatively thin armoured belt for a large cruiser. Large target and vulnerable to HE shells and AP overmatch with few sections thicker than 25mm. Takes increased damage over time effect damage like a battleship. Most of her continuous AA DPS is located in 1.9km range small caliber guns. Enormous 920m turning radius and poor rudder shift time. Large surface detection range. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL/ Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme Azuma's pretty new-player friendly. This is largely owing to her range and speed which allows her to camp the back, dump HE shells at a distance and generally frustrate their own team by being a non-entity. But hey, at least this is easy to do. Skilled players can bring Azuma closer and do a bit of tanking, but not much. While her guns are perfectly capable of pressuring the enemy, she doesn't have an extensive toolkit to facilitate carries, nor the damage output to make them balk. Using and abusing her belt armour and anti-torpedo voids allows for some trollish moments, but these are exceptions rather than the rule. Skill will only take you so far. – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. The "fair" evaluation belies the power of Azuma's guns. They're just not as good as those found on Alaska or Kronshtadt. While she has a lot of hit points and great heals, her citadel vulnerability holds her back on Defense. Similarly, she has great speed but her turning radius is so large as to push her into "bad" territory in regards to her agility. Her AA power is alright but she's too large to earn anything other than a "bad" value in Vision Control. Options Oh goodie, a tier IX cruiser. There's going to be a lot to talk about when we get to her upgrades. Consumables Azuma's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with a 5s active period and a 90s / 60s reset timer. This has unlimited charges. In your second slot, the default choice is Defensive AA Fire. As per usual, this doubles the firepower from her 100mm AA guns (both sustained DPS and damage from flak bursts) for 40s and starts with two charges base. This has a 120s / 80s reset timer. Alternatively, you can swap out Defensive AA Fire for Hydroacoustic Search in slot two. This has two charges base and a 100s active period. This extends her torpedo detection to 3.5km and ship acquisition to 5.0km. This has a 180s / 120s reset timer. In slot three, she has a Spotter Aircraft. This increases her range by 20% for 100s. For Azuma this gives her a reach of 22.9km / 26.6km depending on upgrades used. She has three charges base and this has a 360s / 240s reset timer. Finally, she has a Repair Party in slot four. This heals back up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds, queuing 50% of penetration damage, 33% of citadel damage and 100% from all other damage types. She starts with an extra charge base for three total. In addition this has a much faster reset timer with a 60s / 40s cool down. Upgrades There's a lot of choices to be made with Azuma's upgrades however they're not too complicated when you break them down: Your first choice is whether to emphasize main battery performance or anti-aircraft firepower. If you select main battery firepower, choose if you want to do this through firing at range or emphasizing her rate of fire. In terms of survivability, choose if you want to reduce damage over time effects or attempt to dodge fire by improving her rudder shift time. You can mix and match if you so choose, but it's generally optimal to pick a specialization and go full hog down that route. The best performance build will stress DPM and concealment over AA power and dodging. There's also one stupid choice: see if you can spot it. In your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is preferred for most builds. You can take Spotter Aircraft Modification 1 if you really want to stress her range advantages. Special Upgrades are best in your second slot. Take either Defensive AA Fire Modification 1 or Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 for whichever consumable you prefer. If you can't afford the special upgrades, default to Damage Control Modification 1. Unless you're specializing for AA firepower, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is your best choice. For the latter, take AA Guns Modification 1. If you're only intending to use Azuma in Co-Op, then man up and take Secondary Guns Modification 1. Totally worth it. Now we start to get into defensive choices. If you want to focus on agility, take Steering Gears Modification 2 & 3 in slots 4 and 5. Otherwise take Damage Control Modification 2 and Concealment Expert. Finally, slot 6 lets you punctuate your specialization. Main Battery Modification 3 emphasizes DPM. Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 boosts her range. AA Guns Modification 2 improves her AA firepower. Camouflage Azuma comes with Type 10 - Azuma camouflage. This provides the usual 3% bonus concealment from surface targets, 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion, 20% reduction to post-battle service costs and100% bonus to experience gains. Default camo is grey and more-darker grey. You can unlock the green and grey camouflage through completing the "Uniform Items" of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection. You can tell this is a pre-8.2 screenshot from the gun screens on her forward AA nests. Those are her old 40mm guns and did not make it to the live version. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 310mm guns in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 100mm/65 guns in 8x2 turrets. For a large cruiser, Azuma's firepower is odd. Every other large cruiser I've played, AP shells are the default. They're the shell I wanted to use. When playing Alaska, Kronshtadt and Stalingrad, I hunted for targets that would let me capitalize on their AP performance. And here's where Azuma differed. I defaulted to using HE when sailing her -- rather, I felt like Azuma's guns encouraged me to default to her HE shells. I told myself that my reasons for doing so were elementary. Azuma does not have the god-tier ballistics and penetration values of the Soviet large cruisers which lets them easily citadel battleships at most engagement ranges. Similarly, she lacks the improved auto-bounce angles found on Alaska which helps reduce the number of AP shell ricochets. Finally, Azuma has improved HE damage (as do most Japanese ships). However, these feel like excuses rather than justified defense at my myopic ammunition preference. Putting Azuma's main battery firepower under the microscope shows that, true to her Large Cruiser pedigree, dynamic ammunition choice is not only encouraged but also necessary to enjoy success. She's reliant upon AP and HE, no matter how comfortable the latter will make her feel. Azuma has comparable DPM output with her HE to Dmitri Donskoi but with better HE penetration (and worse accuracy). I'm keeping this graph simple -- so no bonuses have been accounted for. The only weirdness you need know is that when Saint Louis activates her Main Battery Reload Booster, she has comparable DPM to Buffalo over 60s. This assumes the improbabilities of 100% hit rate and no fire resistance on enemy ships. Actual fire output of these ships is much lower, with fire resistance at tier X cutting the fire chance effectively in half. Tack on the accuracy issues with Azuma and she's not taxing anyone's Damage Control Party by herself without a lot of luck. Again, I am not confusing things further by including Saint Louis' Main Battery Reload Booster. Mega-Zao she is not Azuma's HE shells hit like trucks. However, for a cruiser she's not particularly good at starting fires nor is her damage per minute inspiring. The best that could be said about Azuma's HE shells is that when you're not firing AP, you're not hemorrhaging as much lost damage output as you might in other large cruisers. At least, she doesn't have the inherent weakness of her contemporaries where they struggle to deal significant damage per volley against destroyers. However, this is all assuming you can land hits regularly. While Azuma's HE shells are safe, her AP shells decidedly are not. She lacks the god-tier penetration values from Kronshtadt's high velocity railguns. She doesn't have Alaska's oh-so forgiving improved autobounce angles either. Unless Azuma can line up shots on perfect broadsides, it's all too common to see her AP shells ricochet or shatter against targets. This is 180 shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso without camouflage. Azuma and Alaska were both equipped with the Aiming System Mod 1 dispersion mod. Contrary to what's advertised, Azuma's guns performed more accurately for me than their datamined stats indicated they should. Alaska's and Azuma's horizontal dispersion should be close to comparable. Borrowed from my Alaska review to save time. These are the approximate penetration values of the large cruisers compared to the best-performing 203mm armed heavy cruiser at tier IX, USS Buffalo. Azuma's penetration is comparable to Alaska's, being slightly better over range but not by enough to get excited over. Go Fly a Kite Azuma's fragility keeps her from safely fighting on the front lines (see the Defense section below). She's largely relegated to firing from the second line, keeping her distance from her opponents in order to protect her vulnerable citadel. This works to the further detriment of her AP shells, eating away at their penetration value with increased distance. Thankfully, she's well setup for this role. Not only does she have excellent reach, she has a good top speed and her gun fire arcs are perfect for kiting opponents. Azuma has some excellent fire angles for kiting. Her turret traverse isn't so great. She starts with 5º per second, but once you add on Main Battery Modification 3, she starts being able to out turn her turrets. Taking Expert Marksman to combat this is recommended. Bolted-on Duckies I don't like wasting a lot of time talking about cruiser secondaries. It's so rare they do anything of value. However, Azuma's secondaries bug me a lot because they could have been amazing. She uses the same 100mm/65 caliber guns found on the Japanese gunship destroyers Akizuki, Kitakaze and Harugumo. These have the same ridiculous 20rpm rate of fire and more importantly, they also have their increased 25mm penetration. While I giggled for joy at the prospect of a fully secondary specialized cruiser (including taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells to be able to blast stupid battleships) there are two flaws with this: Brawling with Azuma tends to end messily with your ship exploding in a horrendous, greasy kablooie. Azuma's secondaries only have a 5km base range. This just isn't enough reach in high tier matches to be effective. We'd really want to see a 6km to 7km base range, minimum. Without reach and with Azuma's exposed citadel, there just aren't many opportunities to make use of what could have been a very fun addition to this ship. Outside of co-op, it's just not a viable choice. Summary Azuma's guns aren't bad. They're more accurate than I thought they'd be. They have great range. Her HE shells do a nice chunk of damage. Her AP shells and her fire chance aren't terrible but they are disappointing, especially when compared to previous outings with Alaska and Kronshtadt. Kite, kite and kite some more. Look for opportunities to use AP, but you're probably going to be stuck with HE. You're not going to get to use her secondaries often, which is a shame. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Azuma needs to be able to compete with Alaska and Kronshtadt on equal footing. Kronshtadt has DPM and penetration advantage. Alaska has her improved autobounce angles and similar accuracy to Azuma. Azuma's HE performance isn't quite good enough to keep pace with these two. Defense Hit Points: 58,350 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 25mm anti-torpedo bulge + 195mm transverse bulkhead. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% Azuma has less health than Alaska but with her extra charge of her fast-reloading Repair Party consumable, Azuma has more potential HP. This is nice and all, but I would take Alaska's citadel placement and belt armour over Azuma's extra potential health any day. Extra health only counts when you can avoid exploding suddenly (and often). It should be noted that Azuma, like other large cruisers, takes damage over time effects (fires, floods) like a battleship, resulting in more damage. Much ado has been made about Azuma's durability. For a cruiser, she's pretty tough. She has a thick belt. She has anti-torpedo bulges. She has a lot of hit points and even a mildly improved Repair Party. Unfortunately, Azuma isn't a regular cruiser -- she's one of those hybrid large / battle cruiser type deals like Alaska and Stalingrad. So let's put this into context: For a cruiser, Azuma's protection scheme is great. Any complaints about her not being good are just being nit-picky. Azuma is very durable when compared to Ibuki or Seattle or what have you. It's only with a narrow focus on other large-cruisers (and battlecruisers) that her level of durability falls apart. Let's start listing the fails... Her citadel is raised above water. It's easy to hit. She doesn't have much citadel protection. Azuma's citadel protection is limited to a 178mm belt covered by a 25mm anti-torpedo bulge. So not only is she easy to hit, there's not a lot of armour preventing shells from punching into her vitals. This is easily within the scope of AP penetration for some 203mm armed Heavy Cruisers. Her citadel is octagonal (sorta). This is arguably the worst geometric shape you could choose for a citadel (short of a stretched oval). It all but guarantees a relatively flat surface for shells to penetrate into no matter how she angles. So now angling isn't an effective countermeasure to mitigate citadel hits. Her external hull armour doesn't exceed 25mm. Small and medium caliber HE loves farming damage off Azuma. It's not like Azuma isn't without merit, though. She has an enormous chunk of hit points for a cruiser, which is nice. In addition, the 25mm armour over her belt counts as an anti-torpedo void and it eats HE shells for zero damage. In addition, AP shells which shatter or ricochet off her internal belt also count for zero damage even if they penetrate her outer 25mm bulge. This bulge isn't an especially large target, unfortunately. Furthermore, she has a turtleback that's 125mm thick which will cause a lot of internal ricochets. Her final durability bonus is her improved Repair Party. She begins with 3 charges instead of 2 like most cruisers, giving her a maximum of 5 with a premium version of the consumable coupled with Superintendent. To facilitate this further, her reset timer is cut in half, with a 60s / 40s cool down depending if you're using a premium version or not (use a premium version!). The extra charge generally gives Azuma more effective hit points than Alaska provided you use it perfectly. Azuma's waterline anti-torpedo bulge counts as spaced armour and will eat HE shells for no damage. Similarly, AP shells that punch through her there don't automatically cause penetration damage and must contend with her belt behind it. Unfortunately, you won't have more effective health than Alaska because Azuma eats citadel hits for breakfast. While she can recover from citadel hits like other cruisers (queuing up 33% of citadel damage done) that doesn't do you any good if you get deleted outright. Thus, as great as that extra potential HP is, it's more likely that because of these catastrophic hits, you either won't survive long enough to make use of all of the charges or you simply won't be able to recoup enough HP to make up the difference. So that's all pretty damning for a ship type people equate with a baby battleship. It's really much better to think of Azuma like a standard heavy cruiser. If you wouldn't try tanking it with Ibuki, you shouldn't try tanking it with Azuma. Given her size, large turning radius and lack of concealment (see below for that), this has the unfortunate effect of pushing Azuma back from the front lines to keep her safe. I'm reminded of Abruzzi. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : It's telling just how exposed Azuma's citadel is that she doesn't automatically take a : rating here. She's close, though. Better external armour, something that would let her autobounce 380mm guns, for example, would help a lot. Agility Top Speed: 34.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 920m Rudder Shift Time: 13.9s Estimated 4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 4.6º/s Azuma's fast. Speed helps Azuma overcome some of her other manoeuvrability ills. To be clear, Azuma handles like a battleship, albeit a fast one. Her turning radius is appalling and she comes about about as quickly as a South Dakota-class battleship. Her rudder shift time is comparable too. For a ship with such a large, exposed citadel, even at her best, she exposes her broadside for far too long to ever be considered safe. In short, rely on Azuma's speed. It's arguably one of her best features. It allows her to dictate the engagement range against her opponents and flex where opportunities arise. If Azuma is far enough back, it also gives her better chances of dodging incoming fire. If you're beginning to notice a kiting theme, there's a reason... Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : It's that 920m turning radius which holds her back. Drop it down to even 820m and Azuma's easily one of the better cruisers at tier IX, agility wise. Anti-Aircraft Defense Long Range: 8 explosions at 1,470 damage each and 255dps from 5.8km to 1.9km Short Range: 519dps from 1.9km to 0.1km Right, it's theory-crafting time. I don't like doing this, but I don't have much choice in the matter. I only got to play Azuma's finalized AA armament on the 0.8.2 test server. I'm not terribly confident with my AA assessment here as the test server is the test server (with tier 10 carriers that couldn't drop torpedoes successfully on a stationary ship). The big difference was that Azuma shed her 40mm twins she had for much of the live-server testing, losing her medium caliber aura and replaced some of her triple 25mm guns with twins. So let me touch upon briefly what was and theory-craft what she has now. Azuma's current AA layout on top and the layout used during play testing on the bottom. Twin 100mm in red, twin 40mm in pink, enclosed 25mm triples in green, open-air 25mm triples in yellow, twin 25mm in blue. Maybe we'll see the old AA version on Yoshino. Azuma's AA DPS is ALMOST good. ALMOST. Her large caliber guns are great. They don't have the 6.9km reach to make them amazing, but they put out a huge chunk of sustained damage starting at 5.8km -- more damage than anything else at tier IX other than Neptune which is wonderful. Unfortunately, Azuma lacks any medium caliber AA guns, so her large caliber have to carry the weight as planes close. This gives her some of the worst mid-range AA DPS until her small caliber guns can pick up the slack. At close range, Azuma's damage output is again wonderful but it's a mistake to think that short-ranged DPS is going to do much in a given match unless your CV opponent is a complete tater-bot and likes to do flyovers without dropping ordnance for some reason. Maybe (MAYBE!) you might inconvenience them by shooting down aircraft that complete an attack run. Maybe. I wouldn't count on that ruining their day, though, unless you're facing a tier VIII CV that's already heavily taxed on aircraft recovery. Going back to Azuma's long range AA firepower, she throws out an average of 8 explosions with a meaty 1,470 damage per blast. These unfortunately have no impact on aircraft that are on their attack runs (with the exception of Hakuryu's torpedo bombers, because they're special -- maybe this got fixed in 0.8.2). This largely relegates them to being used to protect other ships rather than seeing to her own defense. The final take-away here should be that without Defensive AA Fire active, Azuma's only going to mildly inconvenience carriers. Lacking a catapult fighter, she will look like an inviting target, so expect regular attention. 404'd. Medium Caliber AA not found. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : A lot. It would have to start with a catapult fighter and then we can talk options. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 15.12km Aerial Detection: 10.73km Minimum Surface Detection: 11.88km When Firing in Smoke: 11.73km When Firing in Open Water: 19.09km to 26.57km Azuma really drops the ball when it comes to Vision Control. Not only is she fat (without the ph), she lacks Surveillance Radar found on Alaska, Stalingrad and Kronshtadt. She's just not that helpful at projecting vision. Her dependence on Defensive AA Fire to keep her safe also makes taking Hydoacoustic Search a risk. Combine the deficiencies of her agility and defense and it's all too easy to relegate Azuma to a back-of-the-pack support sniper. The further back you park Azuma, the more likely you're going to have to depend on her HE shells to do all of the heavy lifting and the more boring she becomes. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's going to need a lot of help here. Go West Azuma meshes very well with Japanese battleship commander skills. In particular, fire mitigation combined with Superintendent are optimal. This isn't the only option, of course. You can opt for more specialized builds, including anti-aircraft or, (if you're a complete nutter) a secondary build if you prefer co-op. Take the skills in green first and then double back with those in yellow. This will help mitigate damage over time effects for Azuma. Final Evaluation It feels kind of redundant to write one of these when it feels like the community has already largely condemned the darned thing before I publish. The amount of commiserations I received when people learned I was play testing Azuma just goes to show the kind of uphill battle Wargaming faces with trying to get people to spend money on this ship. Azuma isn't obviously powerful, thus she's been relegated to the mehbote pile, already dismissed. On the one hand, it's nice that my job is done for me: the player base is cautious and they're not going to throw money recklessly at Wargaming over the newest shiny on offer. On the other hand, it concerns me how many times I've heard the same inaccuracies about the ship repeated over and over. Azuma isn't a bad ship. Unfortunately, because she's not optimal, people will call her garbage (or whatever expletive substitute they prefer) and that's just not accurate. Azuma's flaw isn't that she's weak. Her flaw is that she's inconsistent, dependent on her citadel not blowing up and relying on fire damage from her HE spam to pad out her numbers. Some times things will go amazing. There will be those players who swear by her. Contrarily, there will be those who will damn her outright because of real or imagined flaws. For all my grumbling, Azuma's on my "forget" pile too. Once I'm done with this review, I'm not going to be playing her. She's not a ship I enjoyed outside of derping around co-op. You could argue this is owing to her power level. She's middling. While she does present a fun challenge to do well in, she's more work than she's worth, in my opinion. It was hard to feel that she presented me with the tools needed to outplay my opponents. Giving it my all didn't yield much improved results over just hoping nobody shot at me. That's not a formula for a fun time, in my opinion, but your own mileage may certainly vary. The most damning thing I could say about Azuma is this: I know I have a contrarian streak. When a ship gets bad-mouthed while still in development, I'm usually inspired try and find some limited element about their performance to champion. I came up empty on Azuma. Believe me, I looked hard too, driven by this inner snootiness to laud some useless factoid that could redeem her in my eyes. That way I could dangle it over the masses. You all might have damned her but I was going enjoy her as only the upper-crust of top-hat wearing, be-monocled World of Warships connoisseurs could. Except, I couldn't. I didn't like playing this boat. Instead of supping with the elitists where we all play eclectic premiums, I'm going to have to choke on some base experiences with the commoners and play Giulio Cesare like a bloody peasant. Screw you, Azuma. Would I Recommend? Azuma comes with a 1M free experience price tag, the same as Alaska. If you were to pay for it using the 1 doubloon for 25 free experience cost, you're looking at a price tag of $164.24 USD. I'm not of the opinion this is worth it (especially when there are tricks to farm up free experience at a reasonable rate), but to each their own. For PVE Battles? How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Azuma does very well in Co-op. You can even get away with that aforementioned secondary build and pad out your damage in close quarters (cuz bots are dumb). For Random Battle Grinding? This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. Azuma works well enough for training Japanese battleship and cruiser commanders, with comparable skill overlaps. For Competitive Gaming? Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Taking any ship with an enormous, vulnerable citadel into competitive is a loser move. It's on par with stapling your upper lip to your computer desk and standing up suddenly -- it's so bad, it's painful to watch and people will beg you not to do it (and some sickos will encourage you to do it anyway). For Collectors? If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. No. Azuma, though an interesting "what if" ship, it doesn't have the collector's appeal for me. For her Fun-Factor? Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? No. If I'm going to sit in the back and spam HE at things (with the occasional AP shell to prove I'm not a complete scrub), I'll play Conqueror. At least she has a fun hotto doggu theme song. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it! In Closing For my next review, I will be reviewing... well, this is where I would be saying something witty in light of it being April Fool's. I dunno, Thunderer Two? Famous and Historical Monarch? I don't have two brain cells to rub together at this point. I'm going to try and finish talking about the premium carriers. The next part, rocket aircraft, is due out this week and dive bombers should be the week after. Then I just need to talk about the ship's hulls and that will finish off Saipan, Graf Zeppelin, Enterprise and Kaga. After that I think I'm well overdue for a long vacation.
  5. The following is a review of USS Charleston, the tier III American cruiser. This ship was not provided to me by Wargaming. I purchased it all by myself. Lemme tell you, it was a real pain trying to get access to it too. Seriously, this damn thing initially had a limited release-run given away to new players. However, no one I talked to had any idea how these players were selected because it wasn't just any-old new players that were receiving her. Now compound this with trying to get ME access and it was a bloody mess. This was back in November. We're now creeping up on March and stats are changing every other patch. It's hard to keep track. Anyway, this should be considered current with patch 0.8.0.3 from the end of February 2019. Be aware that her stats may change in the future. Charleston is designed to be a new player's first taste of a premium vessel. She's ostensibly the tier III St.Louis tech tree ship painted blue -- about as safe a purchase you could make short of gift-wrapping a Bogatyr... ...except they did gift-wrap a Bogatyr in 2017 and it was a steaming pile. Granted Oleg is much better now but that's only because they carpet bombed some key ships at tier III with nerfs to make her more palatable. Don't get me wrong: Oleg still sucks, but at least you're not actively hating yourself after the ride. But this review isn't about Oleg. This is about Charleston, the Noo Bloo Saint Loo. PROS Enormous hit point pool for a tier III cruiser. Massive broadside of eight 152mm guns. Easily able to shift fire from port to starboard. Good range of 12.5km. It's a premium St.Louis -- one of the most reliable and powerful cruisers, tier for tier, in the game. CONS Slow with a top speed of 22 knots. Only 1.8 sigma on her guns as opposed to 2.0 for most cruisers. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower with no flak bursts. Very large surface and aerial detection for a tier III cruiser. It's a premium St.Louis -- she's not offering you anything more than you'd find in the tech tree. Overview Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme St. Louis has a faster rudder shift time over Charleston. This is the only performance difference between the two that I've been able to find. That's it. You can add on some economic differences and her permanent camo but all other metrics are identical. Protected cruisers are some of the simplest ships to play in World of Warships. They're not my first choice for teaching players the basics -- you'll learn how to aim and maybe how to dodge torpedoes but that's about it. It's only with an appreciation of higher-end player-skills, such as exploiting terrain, engagement distances and target selection that players can differentiate themselves in terms of performance with Charleston. As such these ships are only really useful for instructing the absolute basics of gunnery and navigation yet nothing else. Charleston is defined by her huge slug of hit points and her solid damage output. This gives her a BEST and GOOD rating in Defense and Offense respectively. Her agility and anti-aircraft firepower are scarcely worth noting. She has some of the worst surface and aerial detection at her tier, though, making her BAD overall for concealment and vision control (which I'm still calling Refrigerator because of Lert). – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Options There's not much to say here so we'll skip the usual format. Charleston has one consumable - a Damage Control Party. She has two upgrade slots. The first should be filled with Main Armaments Modification 1 and the second should be player's choice, though I'd default to Steering Gears Modification 1 in an effort to keep your rudder intact. With all of the HE shells being thrown about, it's likely to break often. There's no wrong choice here though. And her camouflage is standard Type 10 Camouflage, providing the usual 50% experience gains on top of a 10% reduction to service costs. Enemy dispersion is increased by 4% when shooting at her and her surface detection range drops by 3%. Two camouflages in one. If you complete the 'American Cruisers' collection, you unlock an alternate palette for Charleston, turning her from blue to off-white. New players won't have access to this for a loooong time, so if you see a white Charleston, it's probably me or another a seal clubber. Make sure to say 'hi' before you show us no mercy. Firepower & Defense Main Battery: Fourteen 152mm rifles with one on the bow, one on the stern and twelve in casemates divided evenly on either side of the ship. Secondary Battery: Eighteen 76.2mm rifles in nine casemates per side. Hit Points: 29,500 Maximum Citadel Protection: 102mm belt + 76mm turtleback Minimum Bow and Deck Armour: 6mm I'm smooshing these two sections together with good reason. The St. Louis-class cruisers are some of the best "battleships" at their tier with a combination of good survivability and excellent firepower. Charleston loves it when enemy ships are dumb enough to try and trade fire with her. There are few ships she can't bully. Lemme show you why: Why You Bully Me? Bogatyr is listed here using her upgraded 130mm guns instead of her stock 152mm. The St.Louis-class doesn't quite top the DPM charts at tier 3, but it gets close enough. Don't worry about Kolberg. The apparently monstrous damage output of her guns is tempered by horrible ballistics and terrible penetration. She needs all of the help she can get. "The Best Battleship at tier III" doesn't quite hold water when you compare her effective hit points to an actual battleship. I stuck South Carolina in here to show the starting point of tier III battleships (I could have gone a little lower by using her stock hull, but whatevs). Don't get me wrong, the St. Louis-class has a enormous chunk of HP for a tier III cruiser, but it doesn't compare to an actual dreadnought's. Thankfully, most dreadnoughts won't be running with all of the potential recovery perks ... well, unless someone's seal clubbing. Moreover, short of meaty citadel hits, battleships cannot keep up with Charleston's damage output. When you look at those two charts, it readily becomes apparent that Charleston is well setup to out trade just about any other cruiser she comes across. It's only some of the Russian cruisers that present any sort of competition. This is facilitated by a lack of precision for her guns. Charleston, like St. Louis, has only 1.8 sigma compared to the nominal 2.0 sigma found on other cruisers. You generally won't feel the difference unless you're trading at long range. Even then, taking on a full health St.Louis-class isn't advised unless it's meant to be a game-winning play. Anything that crosses Charleston is going to come out gutted. Turning fights into slug-matches is exactly the American heavyweight's forte. With guns spread evenly down each side, switching fire from left to right is a snap, mitigating the dangers of close-range ambushes so commonplace on the claustrophobic, low-tier maps. Charleston rewards you for firing and manoeuvring, turning about to foil enemy fire and torpedo spreads. IFHE Need Not Apply The armour profile of low tier ships will appear strange to anyone more comfortable with higher tiered matches. Cruisers have almost no protection whatsoever. Contrarily, most battleships have dispersed armour schemes -- making them simultaneously incredibly bouncy while still having very convenient holes to play with. The extremities of battleships within Charleston's matchmaking spread do not exceed 19mm making the need for anything more than the 25mm of penetration from her HE shells largely superfluous. However, these same battleships have decks and upper hulls far exceed this armour value, with large areas with armour so thick that even with the IFHE skill, Charleston wouldn't inflict any damage. Charleston's armour piercing rounds are a bit of a mixed bag. While they are some of the most effective cruiser AP shells at their tier, their penetration performance drops off quickly over range. Most cruisers within her matchmaking spread have less than 100mm of citadel protection, making her AP shells effective at blowing out machine spaces at ranges up to 8km or so. This range is generally a good rule of thumb for engaging battleships with AP as well provided they're offering up a flat broadside. Aim for the upper hull you'll see more reliable damage than trying to find the few squishy spots with her HE. Of course, you could elect to ignore AP entirely and simply hope to set the ship on fire. While this will work (sorta), it's leaning on the hope that your opponents will mismanage their Damage Control Party. Charleston is only a passable fire starter. In this manner she pales compared to the Russian ships at this tier and it's probably the only fault of her weapons. Compared to her tier mates, Charleston is only a modest firebug. Again, Bogatyr is listed here with her 130mm guns. Her own protection scheme demands respect from AP slinging ships. She has an impressive combination of a 102mm belt and 76mm turtleback -- more than enough armour protection to keep out most cruiser-caliber AP shells even at point blank ranges. What's more, there's a hidden 51mm sloped plate that runs the mid-line of the ship from bow to stern, preventing overmatch from any large caliber AP shells trying to strike through her citadel roof. This doesn't give her any kind of immunity to citadel damage from battleships -- they'll happily blow out your machine spaces if you give them a chance. Her defense falls apart in the face of HE spam, however. While her 102mm external belt will shatter its share of incoming rounds, the 6mm and 13mm of external structural plate on the rest of the ship will give away penetration damage like no one's business. Best Battleship In the end, Charleston is very well armed and very well protected for a cruiser. She has comparable firepower to the Bogatyr-class cruisers with a better protection scheme and a bigger chunk of hit points. Given the teething troubles of battleships at low tiers, she stands a good chance of giving novice dreadnought players nightmares. You don't quite have the Russian flame throwers going for you, but you've got everything else on your side. Oh, she also has secondaries but they suck. Charleston's citadel protection is excellent for a cruiser. The rest of her armour is very soft. On the plus side, poorly aimed battleship AP shells will over penetrate. On the negative side, everyone spams HE at low tiers... Summary Tough for a cruiser because of her trolly armour vs AP shells and big hit point pool. Her durability does not compare to an actual battleship, though, and she's highly vulnerable to HE of all gun calibers. Very solid damage output. She's only passable fire starter for a cruiser. She's not bad, but she's not a flamethrower. Firepower Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : I'd have given it to her if she could have topped the fire-setting at her tier along with her solid DPM. Defense Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : The St.Louis-class is pretty safe here. Something bigger and fatter would have to come along -- or something middling with a decent heal and a half decently covered citadel. That's why Caledon didn't make the mark -- her machine spaces are too exposed. Agility Top Speed: 22 knots Port Turning Radius: 450m Rudder Shift Time: 8.5s Maximum Rate of Turn at 4/4 Engine Power: 6.1º/s Low tier cruisers are all wigglebutts. Charleston is in great company here with most low tier cruisers able to turn about at 6º/s or more. Charleston's gun traverse is fast enough to keep up with said manoeuvres which makes her feel very comfortable to play. This contrasts with some of the Russian gunships which are in bad need of some WD40 on their gun mounts. Charleston's relatively slow speed isn't much of a handicap. Lower tier maps are very small. Her 22 knot top speed is more than sufficient to provide her the ability to flex as needed or keep up with the pace of battle. So, other than "twirling Charleston = very yes", the only other element of note is her rudder shift time. It's slower than that of St. Louis which shifts all the way from port to starboard in 6.4s. Charleston's is two seconds slower. That's it. That's the big ol' difference between the two boats. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : More speed. Her turning radius is fantastic but speed would make all of the difference here. Anti-Aircraft Defense Short Range: 27dps between 0.1km and 0.7km Lemme just dig up a quick jpeg to summarize my feels on Charleston's AA firepower. It's the same one I used on Varyag's review and I think it's appropriate: The difference is, of course, Charleston actually has AA guns while a good third of the tier III cruisers don't. It's a shame that doesn't mean much. A handful of 7.62mm machine guns aren't going to do anything to deter a tier IV aircraft carrier from making repeated runs against Charleston. Her AA isn't worth specializing into. Your ship is an ideal, squishy target for repeated rocket and dive bomber strikes. Your terrible armour profile means they'll have no problems stacking damage. Your only hope to shoot anything down is for an already on-fire aircraft to attempt an attack run on you -- so it's owing more to the enemy CV misplaying than your own AA Defense. There are two consolations I can offer. First, as of patch 0.8.0.3, it takes forever for a tier IV aircraft carrier to kill anything. Second, most of the other cruisers also have crappy AA so it's not like you're the juiciest target around. Those CVs WILL kill you, though, if given enough time. So don't make it easy on them. Go hug a Wyoming if they're bothering you. Charleston getting bombed by Langley's dive bombers. Note that tracer firing at the aircraft overhead with a single ineffective "pew". This says a lot about the effectiveness of low-tier anti-aircraft firepower and none of it good. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Not much actually. This speaks to how terrible most of the AA firepower is at tier III. She'd just need a couple of medium caliber mounts to toss out some explosions and BAM, she might even be the best at her tier. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 10.98km Air Detection Range: 5.1km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.59km Detection Range when Firing in Smoke: 5.04km Main Battery Firing Range: 12.5km You don't need to know much else about Charleston's concealment other than this graph. She's chubby, sharing a surface detection range close to some of the low-tier battleships. She's going to be one of the first targets spotted by the enemy team, whether that be with surface ships or aircraft. Note these aerial detection ranges are new with patch 0.8.0.3 representing a 20% reduction. Charleston previously had a larger aerial detection range of 6.3km. I don't know yet if this change will be permanent. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Greatly reduce that aerial detection or shave off a couple hundred meters off her surface detection. Playin' the Blues Charleston is pretty forgiving when it comes to what skills you stick on her. A lot of them simply don't benefit her in any real capacity. To this end, there's only a few skills that are particularly good for her while the rest are kinda meh. Priority Target (tier 1) - Letting you know when it's time to get wiggly because ither a lot of ships are looking at you or when a hidden destroyer just switched from guns to torpedoes and back again. Adrenaline Rush (tier 2) - Increased rate of fire is always good. Demolition Expert (tier 3) - More fire! Maybe. Vigilance (tier 3) - Help you dodge the attacks of those few destroyers that can launch from stealth. Maybe. Concealment Expert (tier 4) - Make yourself less of a target. Final Evaluation It's a blue St. Louis with worse rudder shift that you can buy for 15,000 Coal. What more do you want from me? Okay, okay, okay. The tier III meta is one of the more interesting ones found in World of Warships, even if it's rather simplistic. All of the battleships can overmatch each other, but the prevalence of extended waterline belts makes bouncing AP shells through angling viable. There are almost no vision-projecting consumables but destroyer torpedoes are either too short ranged or the maps so claustrophobic that it's a challenge to remain hidden. The variety of cruisers is amazing. They have everything from armoured cruisers to scout-cruisers to destroyer leaders. Some of the cruisers have durability that almost rivals battleships. Fire and HE shells are a universal threat to all ships. It's unfortunate that low tiers are slapped with the (admittedly justified) label of being a kiddy pool. I wonder if we'll ever see a tier III Ranked Sprint season? For veterans of the game, it may be a bit of a shocker, but the St. Louis-class (including Charleston) are no longer the heavyweight champions at their tier. The nerfs the class received brought them back into line, with attacks to their sigma and rate of fire. Tier III is a much more comfortable contest now with Aurora and Bogatyr being close competitors with the American giants. Varyag and Oleg are still unfortunate, but they're not so far behind that they're not viable (just don't spend money on them). Charleston's champion-status is also more hotly contested now with some strong battleships to face. Gone are the days where she could easily out pace and out range a Kawachi or South Carolina and win the crown. She now contends with more balanced opposition in the form of Nassau, Bellerophon and Turenne (and unbalanced opposition in the form of König Albert). For me, I have two issues with Charleston. The first is that she's a low-tier premium. She's great for having fun, derping around in small maps and against (generally) novice opponents and hunting down other seal clubbers. However, being low tier, she's not great for earning credits and she doesn't earn nearly as much experience as higher tiered premiums. The second is that she offers absolutely nothing different compared to St. Louis except that slower rudder shift. So the take away is this: If you earn her for free, awesome and grats to you. If you have to pay coal for her, you can probably hold off unless you must-must-must collect 'em all. There's nothing wrong with Charleston. She's a great ship. We know this because she's already present in the tech tree under the name St. Louis. Would I Recommend? Eh, unless you're swimming in coal, I'd hold off. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Charleston kicks butt against bots. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. No. While she does well in Random Battles, if you're trying to grind credits or captain experience, there are much better choices out there. Save up your coal and get an Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya instead. For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Do you know why? You can't play in the King of the Sea Tournament with Charleston. Did you know you can register for that right now? IT'S SHAMELESS PLUG TIME! For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Meh. She was built and steel and served during the first quarter of the 20th Century, including some escort roles in WW1. She didn't see combat, however, with most of her cruises being political in nature. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. It's a St. Louis-class cruiser. It's hella fun. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it! Don't worry, kids. That's just ketchup. Maybe. In Closing Shut up. It's still technically "next week". I'm on time. Really. Ugh. I'll have another due out in a few days time, I hope. It's 75% written. I just have ... like ... all of the graphics to do. Which reminds me, I should get started.
  6. The following is a review of HMS Exeter, the tier V Premium British Heavy Cruiser kindly provided to me by Wargaming. Please be aware that though this represents the release version of the ship, her statistics may change in the future. To the best of my knowledge, these stats are accurate as of patch 0.8.1. If you have any questions regarding any changes to this ship after subsequent patches, please feel free to contact me. The developers and I don't always see eye to eye. The balancing of Haida, for example, involved a lot of upset even if it had a happy ending. Before that, seeing Duke of York butchered and ground up into a pile of bland mediocrity was heart breaking -- particularly from her original state of such a choice cut of fun and unique game play. I was numb to the dismemberment of Prinz Eitel Friedrich where they sliced away everything that made her enjoyable; this kind of thing had just happened too often for me to be moved. But something snapped in me with this most recent, tasteless offering from Wargaming. I am in a rage regarding HMS Exeter and all of the wasted potential of this design. I couldn't scream loud enough that what they had was brilliant -- it was simply at the wrong tier. Exeter was finally the Royal Navy Light Cruiser (RNCL) captain-trainer we've been desperately waiting for since October of 2016. She had such fun crossover potential with Leander and Graf Spee, including making historical divisions. Such opinions and promise were discarded, however. Wargaming needed a moldering pile of mediocrity to offer up as a hand-out. Exeter was earmarked as that victim. Worse, they didn't warn me that this was the case. So not only did I expend a lot of energy trying to preserve what appeared to be an ideal vessel, my time was wasted because Wargaming was already locked in on a course long before balancing had even begun. They simply didn't elect to tell me and stonewalled suggestion after suggestion. As it turns out, I'm not sure they even got the balance right. But what should we expect for a project that was designed to be a failure (by my own metrics) before it began? The following review borrows heavily from the preview article I wrote for Exeter in early January in order to save time. I didn't get any warning on this one and I had to cut corners where possible to get this review out while it was still relevant. I had less than 12 hours notice she was finalized and released and the warning didn't even come from Wargaming. My apologies if some of the sass appears re-used. If you can't already tell: The bias is strong on this one. PROS Large effective hit point pool combined with access to a Repair Party. Heavily armed with six 203mm rifles. Powerful torpedoes for her tier with an 8km range, the ability to single fire them and hard hitting warheads. Excellent acceleration and rate of turn. Very stealthy with a surface detection as low as 9.6km when fully upgraded. CONS Her armour is very squishy with 13mm extremities. Terrible citadel protection and a high-water citadel to boot. Slow rate of fire with a 15 second reload leading to terrible sustained DPM. Poor fire arcs on her main battery guns. Torpedoes can only fire wide or individually (why is this a thing?) Turning radius is larger than advertised and her top speed is lacking. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL/ Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / EXTREME For the novice player, Exeter is okay. She's a little unforgiving with her squishy armour and her slow rate of fire. Even gunship destroyers can prove quite dangerous if not handled correctly. In the hands of an expert, however, the sky is the limit. Exeter has some of the best concealment, the best AA defense, the best agility and the best overall durability of any of the tier V cruisers. The only thing holding her back are her weak armour profile and low DPM, both of which can be mitigated. Oh yeah, Exeter is totally balanced. That 15s main battery reload will keep her in line. She has the best AA Firepower too currently but that's highly volatile at the moment and subject to change with the CV rework ongoing. – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Options Exeter has only one surprise. For anyone that has seen a preview of Exeter, she no longer has access to a Smoke Generator. It did not survive her test builds. Consumables Exeter’s Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser. This has a 5 second active period and a 90s / 60s reset timer with unlimited charges. Like other British cruisers, Exeter has a Repair Party. The duration and healing rate are standard for this consumable, healing up to 14% of the ship’s hit points over 28 seconds. This comes with 2 charges base and a 120s / 80s reset timer. She queues up to 50% of penetration damage and 10% of citadel damage. Exeter’s Hydroacoustic Search mirrors other tier V cruisers with a 3km torpedo detection and 4km ship detection radius. This is active for 100s with a 180s / 120s reset timer and 2 charges base. Her Catapult Fighter launches 2 aircraft which are active for 60s. They orbit at 3km with a 135s / 90s reset timer. Exeter starts with two charges base. Upgrades The only option worth taking in the first slot is Main Armaments Modification 1. In your second slot you have a choice whether to add extra protection to your engines or rudder. Propulsion Modification 1 would be my first choice. If you're dead in the water, you're not going to survive long. Steering Gears Modification 2 isn't a terrible choice, though, but less optimal than the disaster the former helps mitigate. As ever, optimizing your guns is the best choice. Aiming Systems Modification 1 will see the biggest performance increase for Exeter. However, if you're salty about CVs, then AA Guns Modification 1 isn't a bad choice. The relative short ranges at which Exeter fires isn't punitive on gun dispersion anyway. Camouflage Exeter uses Type 9 – Exeter Camouflage. This provides the usual 50% bonus to experience gains, a 10% reduction to repair costs, a 3% concealment bonus and a 4% increase to enemy shell dispersion. Exeter has an alternate camouflage scheme in off-white and blue you can unlock by completing the second part of the "Naval Aviation" collection. The original is quite dark. Firepower Main Battery: Six 203mm/50 guns in 3×2 mounts in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Eight 102mm/45 guns in 4×2 mounts with two turrets per side straddling the funnels in a forward-firing arrangement. Torpedo Tubes: Six tubes in 2×3 launchers rear facing straddling the foremost funnel Exeter has a modest set of weapon systems. They're not without their flaws. However, their drawbacks aren't enough to damn this ship, particularly when coupled with Exeter's strengths in agility and concealment. Lemme do a quick jpeg dump and we'll go over things in more detail. The first thing to know is that you're not winning any trading matches with Exeter. She has a small number of main battery guns and a long reload to boot. If Exeter cannot land citadel hits, her tier mates can tear her apart before her second heal becomes available. These are shell flight times and penetration estimations for Exeter's 203mm AP shells. The energy of Exeter's AP shells drops off quickly due to a high shell-drag coefficient which saps their speed. Still, while Exeter's AP penetration isn't high it's still more than enough to challenge the belt armour of any cruiser she might come across. She's fully capable of landing citadel hits against most cruisers up to her maximum range. Exeter's torpedoes are excellent for her tier. They do have a weird quirk where they can only launch wide / single as opposed the narrow / single of other Royal Navy cruisers and destroyers. ] Exeter's gun arcs leave a lot to be desired, especially when she's forced to kite. At least her guns rotate quickly. Her torpedo arcs are comfortable, though. Alright, so what did we learn? Exeter has low sustained damage output with her main battery guns. Her AP shells are serviceable. She's fully capable of landing citadel hits against just about any cruiser she comes across at any range provided she has their broadside. Her torpedoes are excellent but she can't fire them from stealth. I didn't mention her secondaries but that should tell you a lot. She has four barrels per side and they have a 4km range with a high rate of fire. They're not worth specializing into. That's all you need to know. The picture painted here is a ship that relies on alpha strike, ambushes and hit and run tactics to best her opponents.. Exeter is well set up to accomplish this largely owing to her agility and concealment -- two areas in which Exeter excels. Getting to within 10km of a cruiser enables her to land citadel hits reliably. Furthermore, her Repair Party makes taking such risks far more forgiving. Thus you have a ship that's fully capable of dictating engagement ranges and optimize the performance of her weapons. If things go pear shaped, she's likely to survive long enough to take a second bite of the apple or disengage as needed. Exeter doesn't have everything her own way, however. RNG can (and will) flub perfectly aimed shots on occasion. Exeter's 203mm AP do not enjoy any improved auto-ricochet bonuses, meaning angling against her is super-effective. Fouling up her first shot can spell disaster if your opponent responds to the threat of your sudden appearance. Furthermore, Exeter is only a modest fire starter, this again throttled by her low volume of shells. Against larger vessels, Exeter needs time to whittle them down -- time she may not have. Her triple torpedo launchers do not deal enough damage to allow her to a sink a full health battleship making suicide charges downright comedic. Facing destroyers, her long reload often means she only gets a single volley off at them before they disappear. This is rarely enough to finish off enterprising lolibotes operating in her vicinity. If you screw up an ambush, Exeter looks pretty foolish, especially if you over-commit. Thus, if you struggle to land citadel hits and you can't make use of her fish, Exeter's performance is a slow, steady burn. Use island cover to lob shells at approaching targets. Take what pot shots you can at exposed enemies and then retreat. Preserve her hit points and take little nibbles as they become available. Underestimate her at your peril, however. Her individual torpedoes are monstrous. Her AP shells are fully capable of catastrophically ending a cruiser that exposes themselves and her HE volleys can thoroughly gut a destroyer caught unawares. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Give her back her 12s reload and fix the fire aspects of her torpedoes to narrow / single. Alternatively, give her a Smoke Generator so she can park her butt and cycle her weapons with near impunity. Defense Hit Points: 29,400 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 13mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 13mm extremity / deck + 72mm transverse bulkhead Torpedo Damage Reduction: 4% [ Exeter's deck amidships has two layers. The top deck counts as superstructure with only 10mm worth of protection. It's the lower deck where the torpedoes reside that has 19mm of protection which carries through to the upper hull. The one nice thing about her light armour layout is that short of hits to her citadel, most battleship rounds will simply over-penetrate. Exeter is an overstuffed hit point piñata made of wet tissue paper. Her bane is high explosive shells of nearly every gun caliber she faces. Most Royal Navy battleships are capable of blowing out her citadel with HE shells and scattering her machine parts across the surface of the ocean in a sloppy mess of fire and regret. Even gunship destroyers are dangerous and can take her apart in short order if ignored. Be especially wary of taking damage to her steering gears and engines -- they'll get knocked out often. It's smart to invest in Last Stand for your commander. Said armour is ironically quite good at holding out against AP shellsm though. Most calibers of AP shells will fail to fuse if they don't strike Exeter's 19mm hull or belt armour, resulting in over-penetrations. Furthermore, her 13mm bow is fully capable of autobouncing up to and including 180mm AP. Of course being "quite good" does not mean "impervious to". Exeter can and will be suddenly deleted by battleship caliber AP shells from any angle. Similarly, 203mm AP shells are a nightmare, especially if they're coming off an American heavy cruiser as they too can overmatch her bows and foil most of her attempts to angle her belt against them. Her main battery guns are especially vulnerable and likely to break when tanking said hits. None of this is new for low-tier cruisers, though. Exeter does differ from the norm in three areas, however. Her citadel is a small(ish) target. She has a lot of hit points. She has access to a Repair Party consumable. Points one and two are simply "nice". It's the last piece which makes Exeter obscene. It catapults her from "meh" status to blatantly overpowered. None of the other cruisers at her tier have anything close to Exeter's longevity. Before I say anything nasty about it's inclusion, it's time to abruptly let this section be. Provided Exeter doesn't get herself outright deleted by any given attack, she's pretty darned resilient. You're unlikely to be able to draw on the full 19,757hp her Repair Party can conjure but an extra 5,000hp to 10,000hp is more than reasonable, easily making her the toughest tier V cruiser by effective hit point total. This (in my opinion), combined with her stealth, agility and the relative small target of her citadel makes her overpowered. Emerald, being a travesty against humanity, gets away with having a Repair Party without catching any flak for it. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Give Furutaka a Repair Party. Agility Top Speed: 32.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 650m (720m actual) Rudder Shift Time: 8.4s Estimated 4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 6.7º/s Exeter's agility stats sit upon a throne of lies. This isn't anything new. Royal Navy cruisers (and destroyers) are almost all terrible fibbers when it comes to their handling characteristics. This is owing to their improved engine power which says "screw you, physics!". Thus Exeter agility has all sorts of fun and infuriating quirks like dragster-style acceleration, ridiculous energy retention in a turn and the ability to make 180º turns more dramatically than Wargaming discussing their "we won't nerf premiums" policy. Exeter has almost identical manoeuvrability characteristics to Nürnberg, the tier VI German cruiser which has the same 32 knot top speed and a 720 meter (actual) turning radius. However, when you compare them side by side you get the following: Exeter accelerates ridiculously fast -- better than you would see with Propulsion Modification 1 that's available on tier VI+ ships. She reaches a speed of 10 knots inside of 5 seconds, 20 knots in 8 seconds and 30 knots in less than 12 seconds. Nürnberg with the upgrade hits these same 10 / 20 / 30 knot benchmarks in approximately 8 / 14 / 27 seconds respectively. Exeter preserves almost all of her speed in a turn. Normal cruisers turn a 80% of their 4/4 engine speed. Exeter turns at 98.8% of her 4/4 engine speed (31.6 knots). Nürnberg, by contrast, decelerates down to 25.5 knots in a sustained turn. Exeter thus maintains a top speed more often than other ships, especially while under manoeuvres. While she lacks the straight line speed of Furutaka or Emile Bertin, she can be effectively just as quick in combat situations while ducking and dodging. Maintaining higher speed in a turn increases the rate at which a ship comes about. Thus Nürnberg's modest 5.4º/s rotation rate is dwarfed by Exeter's own 6.7º/s. So Exeter's performance far exceeds what her in-port stats will tell you. She may not have the raw power of her contemporaries, but she's no slouch. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : This should say a lot. There's a lot of agile cruisers at tier V. Fast ones too. Exeter handles beautifully with that improved engine power but there are times I miss the raw speed you can find on ships like Emile Bertin. Speed is life for fragile ships, after all. Anti-Aircraft Defense Long Range: 2 explosions at 560 damage and 52dps from 5.8km to 2.5km Medium Range: 2 explosions at 420 damage and 86dps from 2.5km to 0.9km Short Range: 22dps from 0.9km to 0.1km Catapult Squadron: 2 Aircraft Exeter doesn't have an extensive AA gun battery. Her dual purpose 102mm guns are in red, her 40mm pom-poms in yellow and her 12.7mm machine guns in blue. At least it's symmetrical. Remember how Exeter hates HE Shells? You can add "getting stripped of most of her AA-guns from a single hit" onto the list of reasons why. Let's start with the following disclaimer: Until the CV rework concludes, do not base and purchase decisions on a premium ship's anti-aircraft performance. All of the stats discussed here are still subject to change. Exeter is arguably the best anti-aircraft support-cruiser at tier V. While she lacks the raw sustained DPS totals, she has a combination of diverse AA assets which make her more of a threat than the sum of her parts. What I found quite effective was proper use of (and specializing into) Exeter's Catapult Fighter. This didn't form the backbone of my AA defense, but it spiked its effectiveness as readily as one would expect a Defensive AA Fire consumable to do at higher tiers. This is largely owing to the smaller air groups found at tiers IV and VI (especially the former). To this end, taking the captain skills Direction Center for Fighters and Superintendent is highly encouraged. The former increases the number of fighters to three and the latter provides an additional charge. Exeter completely shuts down tier IV dive bomber and torpedo bomber waves with her upgraded fighters -- it's really not fair. It's not like Exeter's regular AA values are lacking -- she simply doesn't have the OMG! hitting power you might expect from a "good" AA cruiser. Instead, Exeter makes do with modest DPS levels, a couple of flak bursts per AA aura and good range. All of these upgrade well with affordable options. AA Guns Modification 2 upgrade doubles the number of explosions she generates to up to four for her long and medium range auras -- nominally spawning 3. Finally, the more expensive (but arguably worthwhile) Manual Fire Control for AA Armament increases her sustained DPS values by a combined bonus of 50% to the reinforced sector. Altogether, Exeter punches far harder than your opponents might expect a tier V cruiser capable. She has the base toolkit needed to keep herself safe and make aircraft carriers cry if you've the inclination to use it. It should say something about low-tier AA that Exeter has enough flak to make tier IV aircraft carriers regret engaging her. Her DPS isn't enough to shoot something down on the first pass, but it will start taking the squadrons apart on the second. In addition, her long range flak bursts are particularly helpful when reinforcing an ally. Specializing heavily into her AA yields some nice results. Don't forget to deploy your catapult fighter to make those attack runs even more costly. Evaluation: IRRELEVANT Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 10.98km Air Detection Range: 7.08km Minimum Surface Detection: 9.59km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 6.06km Detection Range when Firing in Open Water: 14.27km Exeter hides well. For a tier V cruiser, her concealment is pretty good. She has the same surface detection as USS Flint at tier VII. Most of the tier IV ships have the potential to be better, but they're unlikely to be harbouring a commander with Concealment Expert or any kind of camouflage unless they're a Death Pickle (Iwaki Alpha to those of you who don't remember a time before applicable camo). At her own tier, only Emerald is better. Huanghe, Leander and Perth all best her at tier VI. Belfast tops her at tier VII. Of course, Exeter lacks the Smoke Generator that these other ships I named enjoy. It's not like she couldn't use smoke if she has access to it. Her detection range in while in smoke is around 6.1km -- usable but by no means idiot proof. Of course, giving Exeter access to her own smoke as a tier V ship would have been lunacy. She's already powerful enough without it. Still, it is a shame to see that she doesn't mirror Royal Navy cruiser consumables in this regard. As for the rest, Exeter's Hydroacoustic Search is well received -- especially with on as many claustrophobic maps as she plays upon. Similarly, when she's top tier, there aren't very many destroyers that can stealth fire their torpedoes. Thus the charges of her consumable are seldom taxed and you can save it for actively hunting ships trying to hide in smoke, stripping them of their cover. Yep, on the whole Exeter does pretty well for herself in the ol' Refrigerator department. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Quite a bit. Emerald is more stealthy and has smoke. I'm not even sure convincing Wargaming to replace Emerald with something else would do it. I mean, the most likely candidate is the Arethusa-class and that's even sneakier. No Miracle for Dunkirk Sooooo... about that Royal Navy cruiser trainer we've all been hoping for. Yeah, you're going to have to stick with Cossack or like... I dunno, Vanguard or something for a little while longer. Exeter isn't quite the ideal ship for optimizing for Royal Navy light cruiser builds -- especially if you're training up one of the Dunkirk brothers and are hoping to maximize their benefits of their bonuses. Here's where you should put your first 10 points: Start with Priority Target. Grab Last Stand at the second tier. Follow this up with Superintendent at tier three. And finally grab Concealment Expert at tier four. From here there are a bunch of skills worth examining. My personal preferences led me to take Direction Center for Fighters, Adrenaline Rush, Expert Marksman, and Manual Fire Control for AA Armament. This is hardly optimal but it does make her more comfortable while also giving her AA firepower some nice teeth. Final Evaluation I championed for Exeter's addition to World of Warships all the way back on August 8th, 2017. I certainly wasn't the first, but that was the date that I took ownership of my own interest and began pushing hard for her inclusion. She came up repeatedly with my talks with Wargaming over the following months, including a more formal proposal when Pigeon_of_War asked for suggestions in March of 2018. Let me be clear: I'm not taking credit for Exeter being added to the game -- I merely stress how much I wanted this vessel to appear in World of Warships. I wasn't quite Haida-levels of rabid for Exeter, but it was close. When I made my suggestions, my earliest estimations was that she could show up at tier V, bare bones with nothing in the way of gimmicks. I later amended this to tier VI with the possibility of up-tiering her to VII if they wanted to give her the usual combination of British consumables. So when Exeter arrived, I should have been elated. Instead I felt nothing more than frustration. She was placed at tier V with every bell and whistle imaginable, immediately setting off alarm bells that she was going to need nerfs or re-tiering. I theory-crafted from what I saw of her in port stats and wrote about my worries -- especially for the statistics that I couldn't see, like her auto-bounce features and engine power. Play testing confirmed these fears with a big ol' exclamation mark. Sarcasm ensued: From patch 0.8.0 during her original test build on the live server. The fix Wargaming implemented was to reduce her main battery rate of fire from the historical 5rpm down to 4rpm and the pluck her Smoke Generator from her. This ignored the repeated requests and advice from the community and content creators to bump her up to tier VI. Wargaming's changes were supposed to bring her into line and make her an acceptable tier V premium cruiser. This DIDN'T bring her into line. She is not an acceptable tier V premium cruiser. Like the changes that smacked Prinz Eitel Friedrich or Duke of York upside the head, Wargaming's nerfs made these ships less comfortable to play. While they did address performance somewhat, in Exeter's case it was more of an annoyance that a direct hit to her power level. Waiting an extra three seconds for each reload is a nuisance but it's not going to stop Exeter from wrecking face -- certainly not when she's got every other advantage stacked in her favour. Exeter is at a minimum a tier VI ship being stuffed into a tier where she doesn't belong. This is comparable to sticking a tier X battleship at tier IX and nerfing the sigma and AA-power and thinking it won't over-perform. Oh wait, it did. So Exeter's here and she's strong but she's annoying because she doesn't live up to her potential. The ship I very much wanted to see is a bloated powerhouse. I feel scummy for playing her. I'm mad at myself for finding any enjoyment clubbing baby seals with Exeter. My only consolation is that she faces a real challenge when up-tiered. You know there's something wrong when I can look at tier VII opponents in a tier V cruiser and think highly of my chances. It would be a mistake to get too invested into Exeter. She's just going to get nerfed down the line. I mourn the ship that could have been -- the ship this self-admitted teaboo desperately wanted to see. Would I Recommend? There are two ways to acquire Exeter: Paying for her (duh) or unlocking her through the Exeter's Last Stand missions which ran from March 1st 2019 until March 29th, 2019. For PVE Battles? Yes. Bloody shame you can't play scenarios with her. She'd have to be tier VI for that. For Random Battle Grinding? Yes. The baby seals won't club themselves. For Competitive Gaming? Yes. Pay to win, baby! For Collectors? Yes. It's HMS Exeter. She fought in repeated surface actions against more powerful enemies. Her battle against Graf Spee alone makes her collectible. For her Fun-Factor? No. She makes me have a sad, but I'm biased here. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it! From patch 0.8.1. Spot the differences. In Closing In the spirit of the Epic WGNA Forum Meme Thread, March 2019, I am going to preemptively head off any criticism (both constructive and not) with this jpeg. Yes, this even applies to you, super-helpful-person who has nothing but my best interests at heart. You're clearly a monster that deserves nothing but scorn and contempt for pointing out that small typo. This is the new standard for what the acceptable norm is when dealing with any kind of feedback: quoting anime and being a dink. ♥ Thank you all for reading!
  7. Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed in this post reflect the version of the ship as she appeared during the testing period. These are subject to change before release. The following is aimed at new(ish) players looking to find a little more information about various ships from events, for premium currency or for real-world cash. The goal is to allow players to make an educated decision before parting with their time and money and to find premium vessels that suit their chosen style of play, whether that is competitive, cooperative, or simply for fun. The idea here is to elabourate on information not commonly available through reading statistics and provide some (heavily) biased anecdotal evidence to encourage or dissuade you from making your purchase. The usual disclaimers apply: everyone knows the Matchmaker clearly loves me because I spend money so that's why I occasionally get really good games, not because I have any particular skills of note. Other articles in this series: Ships for Doubloons: Smith, Sims,Atlanta, Texas, Saipan, Tachibana, Atago, Ishizuchi, Aurora,Molotov, Mikhail Kutuzov, Emden, König Albert,Tirpitz, Campbeltown, Warspite, Limited Release Ships: Fujin, Kamikaze, Katori, Yubari, Gremyashchy,Leningrad, Diana,Murmansk, Krasny Krym, Imperator Nikolai I, Anshan, Lo Yang, Marblehead, Indianapolis, Arizona, Prinz Eugen,Scharnhorst, Dunkerque, Blyskawica, Belfast Gift & Reward Ships: Albany, Arkansas, Flint, Iwaki, Mikasa, Arpeggio of Blue Steel Ships: Kongo, Kirishima, Haruna, Hiei, Myoko, Ashigara, Nachi, Haguro Non Premiums: Gneisenau, Bismarck, Iowa,Isokaze, Bogatyr Condensed Reading: Mouse's Quick Summary of Premium Ships Without further ado: The Swiss-Army knife of destroyer mutilation. Quick Summary: A stealthy, Light-Cruiser gunship with a large number of consumables and an additional module upgrade slot. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of this review. Patch & Date Written: 0.5.12.1, October 12th & 13th, 2016. Closest in-Game Contemporary: Cleveland, Tier 6 American CruiserDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class/ Similar Role / Unique At her core, the Belfast is a gunship. She has no torpedoes to speak of and she's armed with twelve 152mm rifles. This makes her, at least superficially, quite similar to the Cleveland in terms of play style. But once you add in all of the weird quirks she gets -- like which modules and consumables she can and cannot arm herself with, the Belfast quickly becomes her own beast. Some may want to point to other smoke-launching cruisers like the Kutuzov or Flint but she's much further apart from these ships because of her limited armament which largely dictates her play style. Maybe she'll find a closer analogue when the Royal Navy joins World of Warships in force. But for now, the Cleveland is the closest ship to which we can compare. PROs: Reasonably durable for a cruiser with 35,700hp and 114mm belt armour. The Belfast can stealth-fire with the proper setup of modules and camouflage, even without a 15pt Captain. Fast rate of fire at 8.0rpm and second highest DPM of the current 6" (150mm to 155mm) armed light cruisers. Good AA armament. Depending on your module & skill choices, the Belfast can have as low as a 8.7km surface detection range. Depending on your module choices, the Belfast can have a rudder shift as low as 4.6s. Has access to Radar and Hydroacoustic Search at the same time. She has access to a Smoke Generator with a longer-than-standard smoke duration. She can mount up to five module upgrades. She's currently the only tier 7 with access to this fifth slot. CONs: Very limited ability to deliver high alpha strikes. For a cruiser, she has a low base chance to start a fire at 9% per shell. Slow turret rotation at 7' per second. No torpedo armament. Low top speed for a cruiser, limited to 32.5 knots. Stock rudder shift is on the slow side at 9.6s. No access to Defensive Fire. No access to Propulsion Modification 2. Smoke Generator creates a tiny amount of smoke before shutting down -- enough for up to two smoke cloud Wargaming continues to outdo themselves in the quality of their models and textures. Can it truly be happening? Is the Royal Navy finally going to be joining World of Warships? Wargaming may just be initiating another Royal Navy tease. We've had the Warspite. We've had the Campbeltown. Now we have the HMS Belfast joining the game. This long awaited ship is a delight to see in game. The model is absolutely gorgeous, representing the post-war refits of this historic vessel. With her inclusion we now have a Battleship, Destroyer and Cruiser in the game. What's next? The Ark Royal? Who can say? But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Lert will be joining me today providing a comparison to some of the Belfast's rival cruisers in the Rivals sections. NoZoupForYou will also be joining us to provide his voice talents to our project. I even got them both to fill in the 'Recommendations' section, so enjoy! Thank you, Zoup! The Lertbox Once again LWM has allowed me space to express my thoughts and opinions about an upcoming premium ship, and this time it's a very interesting one. The HMS Belfast is the first premium Royal Navy cruiser, and possibly even the very first Royal Navy cruiser that you can get your hands on. As such, she will set expectations for the Royal Navy light cruiser line, when it comes out. Belfast as she appears in this game is a tier 7 light gun cruiser with a lot of interesting tricks up its sleeve. It's one of ten Town class cruisers, and she appears as she was after her 1959 modernization, which saw her superstructure rebuilt, lattice masts added and her torpedo armament removed. The premium camouflage Belfast carries is her 1969 museum-ship color scheme. Departing from the usual Lertbox style of direct stat comparisons I will write opinion pieces about how she in my experience compares to Cleveland and Indianapolis, the two ships she'll be most likely compared to. Options There's a whole lot of weirdness going on with the options for the Belfast. First of all, she has four consumables but no choices to change them out for something else. You cannot swap out Hydroacoustic Search for Defensive Fire, for example. In fact, she doesn't get access to Defensive Fire at all, which should surprise some people. Her Surveillance Radar is on par with the American version found on the Atlanta and Indianapolis, with an 8.49km range and 25s active period. Her Hydroacoustic Search is also the standard version found on other nations (as opposed to the souped up version found on the German ships). But it's her Smoke Generator that's truly the odd duck. The deployed smoke has a longer duration than most other nations (103s vs 85s) though it still falls short of the American (121s). However, there's only a 7s window to lay smoke clouds, limiting the Belfast to making only one or two "puffs". Another fun bit of weirdness for the Belfast is that she has five upgrade slots instead of the normal four found at tier 7. This extra slot gives her access to the Concealment, Target Acquisition System and Steering Gears modifications which are gain the normal purview of tier 8 and higher vessels. The Belfast seems to trade for this by being unable to equip Propulsion System Modification 2. Beware of sitting stationary in your tiny amount of smoke. Overall, the module upgrade options are phenomenal for the Belfast, allowing you to choose between excellent agility or improved concealment, depending on your preferred style of play. Consumables: Damage Control Party Hydroacoustic Search Smoke Generator Radar Module Upgrades: Five slots. Does not have access to Propulsion Modification 2 for it's fourth slot.Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Firepower Primary Battery: Twelve 152mm rifles in 4x3 superfiring turrets in an A-B-X-Y configuration. Secondary Battery: Eight 102mm guns in 4x2 turrets mounted amidships. If you strip away all of the toys on the Belfast, what you're left with is a no-nonsense gunship. She doesn't have torpedoes, so she's entirely reliant on the performance of her guns. This may look like a crippling flaw as the Belfast has some of the worst alpha strike potential of any 6" armed cruiser from her individual shells. Indeed, the Belfast is largely bereft of any ability to deal large amounts of damage in a single attack. Her weapons do not have great muzzle velocity either leading to a lot of hang time and necessary lead to land hits and precluding her from using AP against enemy cruisers until she's quite close. But this is all compensated for by a good rate of fire. When measured against other Light Cruisers in and around her tier with a similar armament, she comes in second for AP and HE DPM which is nothing to sneeze at. Just always keep her lack of torpedoes in mind when looking at these numbers. Gun performance comparison between 150mm to 155mm armed Light Cruisers The gun handling of the Belfast is reasonably comfortable. Her turret rotation is slower than I would want at 7' per second (25.7s for a 180' rotation). This value is similar enough to some of the Soviet cruisers like the Mikhail Kutuzov and Shchors and better than that of the upgraded Cleveland. It's not fast, but it's passable. Your shell flight time will always be on the long side, however. These are not the high velocity shells found on the Soviet cruisers or the Mogami's 155mm. They share a lot similar flight patterns to the USN Cleveland, so you're going to struggle a bit to hit anything but large or predictably moving ships at range. You can expect to see up to 11s lead times while stealth-firing, which this ship can manage at ranges from 14.5km with Concealment Modification 1 or 13.3km when combined with Concealment Expert. While the ship's range is nothing impressive at her tier, she is sneaky enough to easily get within range to be able to engage targets without risk of early detection. While this looks like good news, it's that low chance to set fires that really hurts the Belfast and precludes her from ever being considered an optimal fire-starting gunship. In the practical sense, when engaging other capital ships, her damage potential falls away if she cannot start sufficient blazes to give enemy Battleships pause. So she's rather RNG dependent in this regard. This is very important to keep in mind as the Belfast can (and will) go up against the more heavily armoured Battleships at tiers 8 & 9 where plating in excess of 25mm will result in zero-damage hits from her high explosive rounds. Still, the 9% fire chance is passable. It can do the job. It's just not optimal, especially when compared to her competitors.. Like all cruisers, her secondary armament is pretty forgettable. It has some good traits, though. She has a 5.0km base range with them and they fire 20rpm. But this isn't like you'll win a war with them. I did finish off a Leningrad with my secondaries, so that was cute. But I wouldn't expect this to be the norm with her. Overall, her guns are very well suited to putting the hurt on lightly armoured ships. Combined with other features, her weaponry seems almost ideally designed to make destroyers balk at being anywhere within 10km of a Belfast. She will also give pause to other cruisers, while being passable (but not ideal) for harassing Battleships in between interdiction missions. I'm not in love with her guns. They are decent though and they do the trick. Just don't expect miracles or fast results. You'll be dodging torpedoes a lot in the Belfast -- mostly because your guns, concealment distance and consumables make you an absolute nightmare for enemy destroyers. Rivals: The Cleveland Let's get the obvious comparison out of the way. At first glance Belfast comes across as an up-tiered Cleveland with added toys. This isn't an unfair assessment, as they share many attributes. Both are 32 knot, agile light cruisers with twelve rapid fire 6" guns. Neither have much armor, but both have a module layout that makes them a bit more survivable than their tier- and class mates like Budyonny, Shchors and the like. Both have a generous bag of hitpoints. Cleveland is more durable though. Her hit points last just a bit longer because of her lower tiering, and her citadel is notoriously difficult to hit reliably. Belfast feels a bit softer when under fire, mostly due to her citadel area being considerably longer than Cleveland's. The Cleveland is more agile with a faster rudder shift and a slightly tighter turning circle. Also, Cleveland gets a defensive fire consumable that Belfast doesn't, making her a nightmare for enemy carrier jockeys. Finally, Cleveland will theoretically light more fires per minute than Belfast. Where Belfast beats out the American fighting lady though is in pure volume of fire, 96 shells per minute verses Cleveland's 90. She has a higher base DPS on her AA, higher DPM on her guns and that very valuable fifth equipment slot which can fit either concealment to make a very stealthy cruiser or rudder shift to make her more agile than Cleveland will ever be. Also, the added value of smoke and radar can not be denied. It might not be fair to compare a tier 7 CL to a tier 6 one, but Cleveland is slated for an up-tiering when the CA / CL split happens, and since Belfast and Cleveland share so many play style elements the comparison holds. Belfast is by far the more versatile ship. Maneuverability Top Speed: 32.5 knotsTurning Radius: 680mRudder Shift: 9.6s The Belfast has a bit of a sluggish rudder shift. That's the bad news. The good news is that she can take two module upgrades to mitigate this, dropping it down as low as 4.6s which is downright awesome. With just the first module, you'll be looking at a 7.7s rudder shift time which is still a bit clunky but manageable. With her fair turning circle, she has a lot of hustle in her bustle. The Belfast doesn't get down to American levels of cruiser wigglyness (Zoup told me this was a perfectly cromulent word), but it's still more than sufficient to throw off the aim of enemies at range if you keep your patterns irregular. So, if you take a module or two to tighten up the response time of her rudder, the Belfast will feel very nimble with her handling. This compensates somewhat for her only modest top speed which is again, downright American in that respect. The 32.5 knots is the same legwork found on the Pensacola, Atlanta, Flint and Indianapolis. This lags well behind the more fleet footed Soviet and Japanese cruisers. As such, it will be impossible to run down all but the most complacent of destroyers. You'll also have a hard time fleeing from a fast Battleship that's intent on closing with you. There are few things more frightening than an Iowa bellowing, "Get in me belly!" while it chases your Belfast. Fire and maneuver is the name of the game with the Belfast -- tossing evasive maneuvers in between salvos. This isn't a ship with which you'll want to ever be caught stationary. Wargaming seems to be going out of their way to discourage this. First, they've removed the option to take Propulsion Modification 2 which would provide her with a lot more startup agility when caught sitting still. Second, her smoke screens are pathetically small requiring her to be at a near dead stop before activating or she risks slipping out of her tiny bank of fog. This makes her an easy target just before deploying her concealment and should make many a Belfast player think twice about using it this way. DurabilityHit Points: 35,700 Citadel Protection: Up to 114mm.Bow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 13mm each.Torpedo Damage Reduction: 4% The armour setup on the Belfast is a bit of a mixed bag. She has 114mm belt armour, which is rather good for a light cruiser, and certainly well above what we might see on her Soviet counterparts. Unlike ships like the Budyonny or Shchors, her citadel is at or below the waterline of the ship. Combine this with her 35,700hp and she's looking rather well protected -- or at least as well protected as a cruiser could be. And that's really the catch, isn't it? You cannot expect the Belfast to repulse Battleship caliber firepower, especially not at tier 7+. They will happily oblige you by emancipating your ship of it's hp poolt with a storm of 380mm+ shells. Don't give them the opportunity if you can at all help it. Use your agility and your stealth as your defense. What this level of armour plate will actually provide is reasonable protection from small-caliber (180mm or smaller) guns trying to throw AP at you. This can be rather commonplace as you close in with enemy destroyers and cruisers that will switch ammunition types if they think they can catch your broadside. Use your rudder, force those bounces off your angled sides. It is fun to note that the Belfast does have some small anti-torpedo bulges, providing a 4% damage reduction. Once you plug in Damage Control System Modification 1, this jumps up to 7%. It's not great by any means, but hey, cruisers should rejoice with any little durability bonuses they can claim. The angled belt armour of the Belfast bounces a 210mm AP round from a German Yorck-class cruiser. This is an uncommon occurence. Even bows on, the Belfast's prow is overmatched by 203mm shells or greater. Be very careful when engaging heavy cruisers at point blank range. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 11.3km Air Detection Range: 8.1 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 8.7km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +4.56km (vs 15.4km gun range) Don't let these numbers fool you. Like her rudder shift time, the Belfast's concealment rating is something you can play with right out of the box with module choices. This is an either-or choice, though. You can either have gorgeous rudder shift or improved concealment rating, as they both take up the 5th module slot. This is very important feature to remember. With Concealment Modification 1 and her premium camouflage, a starting Belfast with a fresh Captain will have a 9.9km surface detection range and nearly a 1km window from which it can stealth fire at enemies from open water. Any Atago player will tell you the wonderful merits of a cruiser that's able to sneak within 10km of an enemy ship. This opens up the door for all sorts of clever play, including interdicting enemy destroyers and sneaking onto caps the enemy thinks are reasonably covered. Once you add a 15pt Captain with Concealment Expert, this range drops down to 8.7km which is just outside of the Belfast's radar range. This can quickly spell the doom for an enemy DD that's not paying attention to enemy team lists. It can find itself with a rapid fire light cruiser at point blank range, hammering it with salvos of 152mm with no easy way to escape. Hydro will sniff out any desperate torpedo drops. Radar will keep them lit even if they attempt to blow smoke. Her concealment allows the Belfast to contest capture points in Domination maps, especially from destroyers that have outstripped their support. In my test games, this became a rather common occurrence. Often happening not just once but twice in several encounters. Even without a 15pt Captain, I was comfortably able to pull off ambushes against lower tiered destroyers, like IJN Minekaze, Mutsuki and Kamikaze-class destroyers that often risked getting within 8km to launch torpedoes. USN and Soviet cruisers that popped smoke and began firing from within the cover of their concealment were simply ringing the dinner bell for my Belfast to come feast. Good times. This same concealment rating is also the Belfast's best armour when facing off against enemy cruisers. She has one of (if not the) best concealment ratings for her tier bracket. When you don't want to fight something, silence your guns and turn away. You're almost like an oversized destroyer in this respect. This ability to drop back into stealth is imperative given the rather modest top speed of the Belfast. You'll need to plan your escape at an early juncture if the enemies are pushing your flank aggressively. Lastly, special mention should be made towards the Belfast's Smoke Generator consumable. It's ... well, it's odd. It does not create a lot of smoke, but the smoke that it does leave down lasts longer than that of the Soviet or IJN ships. You have a little over a minute and forty seconds worth of concealment from the Belfast's smoke but you're not likely to get more than two smoke clouds out when you activate the consumable. It seems that Wargaming intends that the Belfast's smoke to be used primarily on the defensive rather than offensive role. This is further paid evidence to with her lack of the Propulsion Modification 2 -- slowing to a stop in your own tiny smoke screen is all well and fine, just be aware that you're not going to be able to get up and go in a hurry afterwards. Rivals: The Indianapolis Ah, the other tier 7 premium cruiser with a gimmick, this being radar in the Indianapolis' case. Here the difference is that the Belfast is a light cruiser and Indianapolis a heavy cruiser, armed with very potent 203mm guns. These USN 8" rifles have a very unique attribute: they are better at defeating angled opponents by virtue that they have a wider angle to work with before autobounce starts becoming a thing. This makes the American 203mm AP very dangerous to soft cruisers like Belfast. In a pure gun duel, I would imagine a smart Indianapolis drive to defeat an equal-skilled Belfast driver. The Belfast can't run away from the Indianapolis, so any duel between them comes down to using the environment and concealment versus gunnery skills, and the best the Belfast can do is try to not get shot too much. But these ships don't fight in a vacuum, and 1v1 fights are rare. Indianapolis' radar has proven itself a very useful piece of equipment, and Belfast gets access to an equally potent one. But where Indianapolis has to choose between hydro and defensive fire in one slot and radar and a fighter in the other, Belfast gets to use hydro, smoke and radar at the same time. It's hard to say which is the 'better' ship. They serve distinct roles. Indianapolis is better at putting the hurt on battleships and annoying carriers, Belfast is better at ferreting out destroyers, both can put the hurt on cruisers. But where Belfast might rely on a combination of HE spam, fire-hosing and some AP damage, Indianapolis can get away with relying on AP more. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 102mm / 40mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5kmAA DPS per Aura: 72 / 140 The Belfast does not get access to the Defensive Fire consumable. This isn't a matter of having to choose between it and Hydroacoustic Search -- it's simply not an option at all. This immediately precludes the Belfast from being a dedicated anti-aircraft escort, which is a bit of shame because she has some rather impressive anti-aircraft firepower. When you compare her to the other tier 7 cruisers, her AA DPS is quite respectful -- the second highest overall. 224dps - Flint 212dps - Belfast 207dps - Pensacola 202dps - Indianapolis 182dps - Yorck 177dps - Atlanta 153dps - Shchors 151dps - Myoko Of course, there's a lot more to AA gunfire than raw DPS. Having it concentrated in the large caliber AA guns is important for a start. This is what makes the Atlanta and Flint so dangerous -- having enormous 127mm dual-purpose batteries. The Belfast does alright here, having 5.0km reach on her 102mm batteries with good DPS. She backs this up with the always reliable 40mm Bofors at a good defensive range of 3.5km. If the Belfast did have access to Defensive Fire, she'd be an absolute monster for enemy CVs. Without it, she's still a target to be respected but she won't be causing any form of disruption to aircraft groups. I was frequently shooting down a half dozen same-tier planes in games where there was an enemy CV present with only Basic Fire Training to improve my ships gunners. To this end, if you fancy playing the role of a makeshift AA escort, keep close to the ships in need of protective cover. Just be aware that you will never reach the same levels of anti-aircraft firepower as Defensive Fire spikes the DPS of the ship in question up tremendously when active, on top of its other benefits. Without Defensive Fire, even Dive Bombers present a serious threat to the Belfast as she has no way of disrupting their drop patterns. Her AA defense is good overall, and you can expect to seriously punish any groups making their attack runs against you. But you're still going to have to weather their drops. Overall Impressions Skill Floor:Simple/ Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling:Low/ Moderate / High / Extreme The Belfast looks complicated, but she's really not. For all of the confusing mess of consumables and modules, the Belfast is, at her core, a light cruiser gunship. It's all about avoiding the attention of warships bigger than you while picking on those that are smaller. Even a novice player can take her into a match, rig her for concealment and do reasonably well farming HE and fire damage off of enemy capital ships at extreme range. The meta for her is making destroyer lives miserable and bullying capture points which is a high-risk, high-reward style of play but one that can quickly decide a match when done correctly. The Lertbox Belfast is perhaps the most versatile ship in the game at this moment, depending on captain skills and equipment fitted. You could go for a ballerina build and bring her rudder shift down to ridiculous levels, or go for a concealment build and have an almost comically sneaky little cruiser. Her AA is formidable even lacking a defensive fire module and properly specced she can function as AA escort, but she can just as easily ferret out destroyers trying to hide inside their smoke screens, while sitting comfortably in her own. She can even lay down a strategically placed puff of smoke to help conceal her team. During playtesting I found that a very effective tactic was to appropriate a friendly smoke screen in or near a cap and popping my own when it started running out, thereby extending the duration of the smoke screen by a considerable margin. Not many people dare attack a smoke screen that threw as many shells as these did, as well as intermittent torpedo fire from the friendly destroyer which laid the original screen. One misses defensive fire and her fire chance is a bit low, but were those present she'd be overpowered at tier 7. I can't stress how potent the combination of hydro, smoke and radar available without having to choose between them is. It's enough to elevate what is basically a very potent tier 6 ship up to tier 7. Mouse's Summary: The Belfast is the Inspector Gadget of warships. You have a gizmo for most situations, especially when facing destroyers. You'll have to pick between awesome rudder shift and awesome concealment. The lack of Defensive Fire and a high-alpha strike attack keeps her from being immediately overpowered. Best played patiently with a slight aggressive streak where DDs are concerned. The Belfast makes me miss a lot of things. I miss Defensive Fire. I miss being able to deliver high alpha strikes. I miss going fast. But if she had access to any one of these things, she'd be overpowered. The Belfast is a very comfortable ship to play. Once you wrap your head around the fact that you're not going to kill any big ships quickly, it gets quite easy. Avoid being spotted by capital ships. Get wiggly when you are spotted. Punish destroyers that over extend. That's about it, really. Where she gets very interesting is all of the wonderful tools you have to make destroyer lives miserable while not quite having the absolute optimum load-out to do so. Out of the ships presently available in the game, it would still be hard to argue that the Belfast is probably the best destroyer hunter out there. And that's what the Belfast truly embodies -- it's the destroyer hunter that we've all been wanting. Radar is fun and all on an Atlanta or a New Orleans, but neither ship can risk getting in close to make use of it to counter the Udaloi, Bensons or Blyskawicas out there that are sitting in their smoke screens and dropping pew pews on our team. The Belfast can risk it. She's got the tools to get in. She's got the tools to quickly isolate and punish the enterprising destroyer. And she's got the tools to get out afterwards. Top on my wish-list to make her even better at destroyer hunting would be a little more speed. It's just not there. Her 32.5 knots means that you're relying on destroyers making mistakes more than actively pursuing them. Hear that, DDs? It's your own darned fault that I'm making a mess of your ships with my Belfast. That the Belfast is so good at putting the hurt on over extended destroyers is likely going to make her a high priority target when word gets out. The mere presence of this rapid fire cruiser near a cap point can lock down any attempts by the Red team to ninja cap. It becomes suicidal for an enemy destroyer to venture anywhere near the Belfast's zone of control without big guns backing her up. This ship may shake up the current Random Battle meta somewhat. It's certainly going to make playing the lone-wolf destroyer much more difficult. The Belfast counters the Minekaze just as readily as she does the Udaloi and I was very happy to see that consistently in play. The only thing that would make me back off from a destroyer would be a Battleship lurking in the area. But if this capital ship was distracted or more than 14km off from my area of engagement, I was still going to eat me some destroyer goodness. When it came to pelting bigger ships with her guns, the Belfast wasn't anything special. She bombards predictably moving capital ships about as well as you can expect. She'll set a fair number of fires but not a whole lot unless your enemy plays dumb. This can make trying to accumulate high damage totals a bit of a challenge, but it's again just a matter of patience and picking your targets. Your enjoyment of the Belfast will largely be determined if you can make these 152mm guns work. Like many light cruisers, you're dependent on fire damage to maximize your output against Battleships. They're perfectly suitable for blowing up enemy light cruisers and destroyers, however. Would I Recommend? Heh, this is one of those ships that I feel like it doesn't matter what I say, people are still going to grab it. It's the first Royal Navy Cruiser available in the game. On top of that, it's a Premium Cruiser leading the release of the Royal Navy Cruiser line, so people will be wanting to grab her for a training analogue for their Captains. To top it all off, she's a museum ship. This is a difficult ship not to recommend, with the only caveat of course being that if you don't like mid-tier cruiser game play, this ship will not sell you on it. ForRandom Battle Grinding: Mouse: The Belfast is a good Random Battle boat. She can cap and defend. She can harass big ships. She can interdict and assassinate destroyers. Her big weaknesses are, of course, competently played Battleships. You'll also have to worry a bit about good carrier and cruiser players, but not nearly as much as the big capital ships trying to delete you. As she's designed to pick on destroyers, she nets quite a healthy sum of credits and experience for even small damage totals off these fragile boats. When pressured by enemy BBs, however, her performance really starts to hurt as I had to go gun silent to avoid getting obliterated. This in turn really affected my rankings and experience gains. The other thing to consider is that if you go premium consumable heavy (and you can go really heavy in the Belfast), you'll eat into your earnings very significantly which will hurt the rate at which you're grinding credits. Lert: Yeah, Belfast is a fun and comfortable, reliable if fragile, very versatile ship. Smacking destroyers around is not only a lot of fun, but nets you a nice amount of credits and XP as well. Zoup: I find the Belfast to be highly enjoyable in random battles. Despite this, I don’t find that I’m putting the amount of damage out that I would like. I attribute this to the fact that the Belfast has a low burn percentage. It isn’t really a ship that you want to go toe to toe with against Battleships unless their attention is already occupied by other ships. Against other CLs, its more than capable though, with HE or AP. The Belfast has a specific mission, and that is to aide your team by being a destroyer’s worst nightmare. And that is exactly what the Belfast is. You get all the normal goodies that come with premium ships and premium ship camo, but the most important thing is that you have a trainer for the RN cruiser line. I don’t see myself playing the Belfast exclusively over and over in randoms, but I will definitely play it often. It’s fun and offers something different from the other ships in the game. For Competitive Gaming: Mouse: The Belfast would have been a very interesting choice in Season 4 of Ranked Battles, when tier 7 was the top. I don't think she would have been capable of toppling the unfortunate meta that resulted in that season, but she certainly has the concealment and spotting tools to have upset the occasional game. Her lack of any high alpha strike limits her somewhat and her fragility would make her a rewarding target that would no doubt get her focused early when lit. Lert: I can only imagine what havoc a ship as versatile as Belfast would've wrought on the tier 7 portion of the previous ranked battle season. It's almost like this ship was made for competitive play. While she lacks the firepower of larger gunned ships, competitive play ensures that there are teammates with said bigger guns ready to pick up the slack, while you concentrate on spotting and intercepting destroyers and other cruisers. Zoup: The jury is out whether or not the Belfast would have succeeded in the Tier 7 battles from previous ranked gameplay. I’m going to go out on a limb though and say that it would make a good competitive ship. For this basis, I am going to point to the Atago and its stealth capabilities. I believe that it’s the 8.7km concealment that will make the Belfast a valuable ranked cruiser if we ever go back to Tier 7. Its stealth combined with hydro and radar allow it to both cap while defending against enemy destroyers. It has the ability to remain hidden from larger ships by use of low surface concealment and smoke. While it may not have torpedoes and the healing capabilities of the Atago, I feel it is ultimately the Atago’s concealment which helps it to excel in ranked gameplay. The same likely will prove true for the Belfast. Only time will tell. For Collectors: Mouse: She's a museum ship. She's also gorgeous. Absolutely, yes. Lert: This is a storied ship that still exists as a museum ship you can visit to this day. How storied, you ask? She participated in the battle that sunk Scharnhorst as well as being part of the escort fleet to the carriers that launched an attack on Tirpitz that saw the latter disabled and immobilized for several months. Though Belfast never fired on Tirpitz, she did on Scharnhorst and it was her fire combined with that of Norfolk and Sheffield that turned Scharnhorst into the waiting jaws of the heavier task force that eventually sank her. Zoup: This one is easy. Absolutely. She’s dead Sexy and I still remember seeing her sitting on the Thames when I vacationed in England back in 2012. She will be a must buy for many. For Fun Factor: Mouse: The Belfast is a very comfortable ship to play. She has the same foibles as most cruisers -- notably the fragility when Battleships are looking at her. So if that doesn't appeal, I would keep away. But as a light cruiser enthusiast, I really enjoyed her. Lert: She's very comfortable and versatile. You can adapt her to almost any role you could conceivably want a light cruiser to play. If you like cruisers, you'll like Belfast. Zoup: You can customize the Belfast to your hearts desire in more ways than most ships. She's fun to play for the ability to live on the edge of danger with her awesome concealment and destroyer destroying capabilities. Care must be taken though. You're still a cruiser. If you hate taking damage or like to show your broadside often, this ship will make you pay for it. This ship plays like a big destroyer that lacks torpedoes. The fun factor is there indeed. The question is: How long will the novelty of the extra module last, or is this what we should expect with the RN Cruiser line as a whole? Outfitting your Belfast isn't complicated as she doesn't specialize for any role other than "make a destroyer's life miserable" very well. You can try and make her an AA cruiser but she'll never really compete with dedicated AA escorts. Outfitting your Belfast Unlike other cruisers, there aren't multiple builds for the Belfast to allow her to accomplish different rolls. Without access to Defensive Fire, she's never going to be a specialized AA escort. This isn't to say you can't try and improve her anti-aircraft firepower -- it's just not going to have the same effect as it might on a Soviet or American cruiser, for example. Recommended Modules The list of modules to equip your Belfast are pretty straight forward. Do keep in mind that she gets five module upgrade options instead of the normal four found at tier 7. For your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is probably the best choice. This will help keep your four turrets in the game. However, as a Light Cruiser, you have to contend with detonations more frequently than a Heavy Cruiser or Battleship. So Magazine Modification 1 isn't a poor choice. I was detonated once during playtesting by a Fuso AP shell without this mod equipped. For your second slot, you have three choices. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is arguably the most optimal. This will tighten your shell fall and give a slight bump to your secondary performance. Anti Aircraft Modification 2 isn't a great choice but it certainly has its merits. This will extend your AA umbrella up to 6.0km which may cause a CV Captain to pull his planes back. I wouldn't count on it though. Lastly, Main Battery Modification 2 will accelerate her turret rotation from 25.7s for a 180's rotation down to 22.3s. This will cost you some of your DPM, bringing your rate of fire down from 8.0rpm to 7.6rpm. For your third slot, Damage Control System Modifcation 1 is the best choice. They're all pretty terrible really. For your fourth slot, Steering Gears Modification 2 is optimal. This will reduce your rudder shift time from 9.6s to 7.7s. And finally for your fifth slot, there are two interesting choices. Concealment Modification 1 is arguably the best choice. This drops your surface detection range with camouflage from 11.0km down to 9.9km. This will also allow you to fire from stealth at a range of 14.5km. Alternatively, if you want to give her destroyer like turning, take Steering Gears Modification 3. This will reduce your rudder shift from 7.7s to 4.6s. Recommended Consumables You don't have any consumable options for the Belfast, short of deciding if you're going to pay for the premium versions or not. Out of these, Damage Control Party is hands down the best one to take as a premium, as it will help mitigate fires and other critical hits. Taking premium versions of Surveillance Radar and Hydroacoustic Search really only come into play when facing multiple destroyers for an extended period of time. This will reduce their reset timers from 3 minutes down to 2 minutes. Keep in mind that stocking up on premium consumables will quickly eat into any earnings you're making and with four consumable slots, if you went all out, that's a 90,000 credit deficit you need to make back each and every game. Recommended Captain Skills From the first tier, Basic Fire Training is the best choice. This will give a boost to your AA firepower as well as accelerating the reload of your secondaries. From the second tier, you have a choice. Expert Marksman is nice for accelerating the turning speed of your main battery. WIth as much maneuver as you will be doing in the Belfast, this can assist with keeping your guns trained on target, or at least hasten bringing them to bear when re-engaging. Alternatively, Last Stand will help keep your ship operable when taking critical hits to the rudder or engine, which happens often enough in Light Cruisers. From the third tier, there are two very good options. Vigilance will help with spotting the torpedoes launched form the Destroyers you will be pursuing. Alternatively, Superintendent will provide an extra charge for three of your four consumables which is also handy -- especially if you're not taking the premium versions. Unlike most cruisers, it's Demolition Expert which is the hands down best choice at tier 4 for Captain Skills. This will bump up your chance to start a fire with your main battery from 9% to 12% which is huge. Advanced Fire Training is reasonable, but be aware that the AA power of the Belfast will forever be held back by her lack of Defensive Fire. This 20% increase to your range can get her reach out to 7.2km with assistance from the Anti Aircraft Modification 2. In addition, this will bump up your secondary gun range to 6km from stock or 6.3km with Aiming Systems Modification 1 which will come in handy when you're using radar and hydro to flush out destroyers. Finally, at tier 5, Concealment Expert is your best choice. This really puts the Belfast's stealth rating at whole other level, dropping her surface detection range to as low as 8.7km and allowing her to fire from stealth at a range of 13.3km.
  8. 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.
  9. 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:
  10. The following is aimed at new(ish) players looking to find a little more information about various ships from events, for premium currency or for real-world cash. The goal is to allow players to make an educated decision before parting with their time and money and to find premium vessels that suit their chosen style of play, whether that is competitive, cooperative, or simply for fun. The idea here is to elabourate on information not commonly available through reading statistics and provide some (heavily) biased anecdotal evidence to encourage or dissuade you from making your purchase. The usual disclaimers apply: everyone knows the Matchmaker clearly loves me because I spend money so that's why I occasionally get really good games, not because I have any particular skills of note. Other articles in this series: Ships for Doubloons: Atlanta, Texas, Tachibana,Atago, Ishizuchi, Diana, Aurora,Murmansk, Molotov, Mikhail Kutuzov, Emden, Tirpitz, Campbeltown, Warspite, Blyskawica Limited Release Ships: Fujin, Kamikaze, Katori, Yubari, Gremyashchy,Krasny Krym, Imperator Nikolai I, Anshan, Lo Yang, Smith, Sims,Marblehead, Indianapolis, Arizona, Saipan, Scharnhorst, Dunkerque Gift & Reward Ships: Albany, Arkansas, Flint, Iwaki, Mikasa, Arpeggio of Blue Steel Ships: Kongo, Kirishima, Haruna, Myoko Condensed Reading: Mouse's Quick Summary of Premium Ships Without further ado: The Tier 7 American Oakland-subclass Anti-Aircraft Cruiser USS Flint "A rose by any other name." Quick Summary: A destroyer with a citadel, complete with destroyer caliber guns, good torpedoes, smoke launchers and almost no armour. Has one of the best anti-aircraft armaments, tier for tier, in the game. Cost: Unavailable for purchase. May only be acquired through accomplishing specific event requirements. Patch & Date Written: 08.02.2016 to 08.15.2016, Patch 0.5.9 to 0.5.9.1 Closest in-Game Contemporary: AtlantaDegree of Similarity:Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class/ Similar Role / Unique The Oakland-class is more of a subclass of the Atlanta, truly. In almost every respect, it's an Atlanta with a couple missing turrets and a more modern set of anti-aircraft armaments. The other differences look minor but are significant. The Flint has better torpedoes than the Atlanta. More importantly, she loses out on radar but gains a smoke generator instead. PROs: Armed with twelve, rapid fire 127mm rifles in six turrets launching shells at 12rpm. The small caliber allows these weapons to benefit from Advanced Fire Training and Basic Fire Training captain skills for improved range and rate of fire respectively. Very fast turret rotation speed of 25'/s. Two quad torpedo launchers off each side with a 9.2km range. Excellent AA power with unlimited charges of her Defensive Fire consumable. Small turning circle of 610m. Good surface detection range of 11.0km. Possesses US-Destroyer smoke launcher with their standard increased smoke-duration and longer set-time. Possesses one of the nicest looking camouflage schemes in the game. CONs: Almost no armour (and certainly little that could be called effective) and tiny hit point pool of 26,600hp. Poor range of 11.1km and unable to stealth fire. Guns lack hitting power except at very close range. Very low muzzle velocity and long hang time on shells -- almost 1s travel time per km at maximum range. Poor HE shell, with only a 5% base chance to start a fire. Only a modest cruiser speed of 32.5 knots -- unable to keep pace with, never mind run down enemy destroyers or outrun pursuing cruisers. Camouflage scheme is a "how to" guide to maximize fire placement on the Flint. The USS Flint's camouflage scheme is very clean looking. I also find it deliciously ironic that the dull grey decals denote the four locations on a ship where each fire can be set. Stylish and considerate! Meet the carrot at the end of the stick. Announced at the start of Season 4, the USS Flint is the current reward ship handed out to players that complete three seasons of Ranked Battles at Rank One. The process works as follows. The first time you hit Rank One, you receive the Jolly Roger 1 flag when the season concludes. The second time, you receive the Jolly Roger 2 flag when the season ends. The third time, you lose your Jolly Roger 2 flag but receive the USS Flint instead. There are no plans to sell the USS Flint so the only way to receive this ship is to hop onto the treadmill and begin your progress towards the finish line. The question is, of course: Is it all worth it? It may seem hard to get excited with what appears to be an Atlanta-clone, but don't let her looks fool you. There's more under the hood than meets the eye and the meta may surprise you. Since her inception, there have been a smattering of reviews that all describe her as overpowered. It only takes a brief glance at stat-tracking sites to see that the Flint is overwhelming the charts. She has deposed the Imperator Nikolai I as the top performing vessel. The Atlanta, meanwhile, sits with an average win rate that's almost a full 20% lower and 30,000 damage behind. For the top 10 worst performing vessels, the Atlanta comes in 10th. What differences between the two ships could make such an impact that between them they cover the extremes of one of the best and worst performing ships in the game? OptionsThe first thing to note is the different options found between the Flint and the Atlanta. The Flint trades the Atlanta's Radar option for a Smoke Generator instead. This is the sole difference found here. Both keep the unlimited charges of Defensive Fire. With all of the pitchfork waving that the Flint is inspiring, it pays to take a closer look at the options found on US ships and compare them to other nations. The amount of smoke generated and its duration is dependent upon tier. In addition, the USN Smoke Generators are better than those of other nations. They release more smoke and stay deployed longer. The Nicholas has better smoke than the Minekaze or Gnevny, for example. At tier 7, USN Smoke Generators fire for 27s and last 121s as opposed to a 20s set time and 85s duration of other nations. This makes the Smoke Generator option more powerful on the Flint than it would be if it was given, say, to a Myoko-class sister ship. Nation-specific bonuses for consumables is nothing new, with German Hydroacoustic Search being the best in the game presently, The American Battleship Damage Control Party are better than those of other nations. Now let's be very clear -- this is a powerful option. It's an uneven trade to take a Smoke Generator rather than Radar. Radar is situational in that it helps you uncover enemies within 8.49km for 25s every four to six minutes, depending on if you use the premium version or not. At best, Radar assists you in dictating the terms of engagement for 25s out of every four minutes. It allows you to counter the efforts of the enemy to engage you on their terms; that of concealment. Smoke, by contrast, when used offensively, allows you to dictate the terms of engagement for 2 minutes out of every 2 minutes and fourty seconds. I say again, there's only a fourty second window between the last puff of smoke and the next one you can deploy. Smoke mitigates one of the biggest weaknesses of the Atlanta-class; the ability to safely engage an enemy. The reach of her guns are closely comparable to her surface detection range. This means that short of using islands for cover, a firing Atlanta is a spotted Atlanta and one that can be easily attacked in return. Smoke changes this dynamic and not in a minor way either. The Flint, with her Smoke Generator, can take the fight to the enemy. With careful use, they can avoid reprisal and set up stacks of damage the Atlanta can only fantasize about. Both ships, when left unchecked, can wrack up impressive damage totals. The Atlanta required clever play to accomplish this. The Flint can do so with the push of a button and cutting its engines. It should also be noted, that unlike the other mid to high tier cruiser which also got a Smoke Generator, the Mikhail Kutuzov, the Flint gets 2 charges of her Smoke Generator and not just a single one like the Soviet Cruiser. Russian bias indeed. I will say that one of my little pet peeves about this is that on Destroyers, the hot keys are T for Smoke, Y for Engine Boost / Defensive Fire / Hydroacoustic Search. On the Flint it's reversed. T for Defensive Fire / Hydroacoustic search, Y for Smoke Generator. I found myself wanting to reach for smoke and instead sent my flak gunners bonkers. "Shh, guys, we need to hide! Fire every gun we have into the air so they won't see us!" Consumables: Three slots. Damage Control Party Defensive Fire (with unlimited charges) or Hydroacoustic Search Smoke Generator 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. The Flint "requisitions" the smoke already laid down by the IJN Minekaze she just sunk and reinforces it with her own to begin laying fire down on an enemy Texas. The Flint is capable of far more aggressive plays than the Atlanta. While the Atlanta could also have borrowed the Minekaze's smoke, the smoke laid down by IJN Destroyers lasts considerably less time than that of the Flint. Firepower Primary Battery: 127mm guns in 6x2 turrets in an A-B-C-X-Y-Z arrangement.Secondary Battery: NoneTorpedoes: 533mm Mk15 Mod3 torpedoes in 2x4 launchers, one on each side amidships. The Flint has low-caliber, dual-purpose armaments, doubling as the ship's long-range anti-aircraft compliment and precluding her from having any secondaries. They have excellent fields of fire, phenomenal gun handling and a fast reload rate of 12rpm in stock configuration. With 25'/s rotation speed, they will track anything you ask them to, no matter how you throw the ship about. They have a high shell arc which can be used to lob their shells over intervening terrain while keeping her safe from reprisals. The sheer volume of fire can quickly spell the end for enemy destroyers that get in close, being hammered by the equivalent of three-USN DDs worth of shell. It should be noted that as these are smaller than 139mm they gain the full benefits of the Captain Skills Basic Fire Training, Advanced Fire Training & Expert Marksman. This is about where the good news ends, however. The 127mm/38 is a Destroyer caliber weapon -- the same guns that are found on the USN Destroyer line starting with the Nicholas and playing up through to the Gearing in one form or another. These guns are infamous in game for their low shell velocity of 792m/s and long flight time over ranges -- often as much as 1s per kilometer traveled. Their range isn't good, reaching a maximum of 11.1km before Captain Skills which can only increase this to 13.3km. With Captain Skills, you can create an absolute tiny window from which to fire from open water undetected (about 100m). Lastly, the shells they fire are rather anemic. The only way to land citadel penetrations on an enemy cruiser is to get very close (within 7km, nominally), and fire directly at the flush broadside. The spam of her HE shells also often nets many multiple-hit, zero damage volleys. With only a 5% chance of fire, she can make for a very fickle and unreliable fire starter. The Captain Skill, Demolition Expert is often considered a must. Even with that, the Flint has to rake the decks with multiple hits to ensure a blaze. Good Flint Captains will then wash the deck from bow to stern, systemically attempting to start fires at each of the four locations on the ship to maximize damage. This is easier said than done with the long flight time of her shells where even small maneuvers can lead to misses. In summary, you have very quick guns and a lot of them, but you're not going to do a whole lot of damage. There are exceptions: lightly armoured targets like destroyers, stacking on ships or hammering AP shells through the broadside of a cruiser at point blank range. The firepower of the Atlanta and Flint are very similar, with the Flint having two less guns per broadside owing to the lack of its wing turrets compared to the lead of her parent class. You need time to make her guns work -- time to set up the perfect ambush or time to burn targets to the waterline. And time is a precious commodity for a fragile ship. Now let's talk about her torpedoes. The Flint, along with the Atlanta, are currently the only USN Cruisers over tier 5 to have a torpedo armament. With her torpedoes, the Flint deviates significantly from the lead of her class. She received the torpedoes that advocates for buffing the Atlanta have long cried out for. For those unaware, the Atlanta is armed with the same torpedoes as the tier 8 USN Destroyer, Benson: the Mk15 mod3. You'll note their range and speed is different -- that's historical. The range of torpedoes could be adjusted by slowing their speed. While the Benson has the slower, long-range setting, the Atlanta has the faster, short ranged version. Those clamoring for a fix would like her fish to match those of the Benson's. Personally, I would rather have the option in game of setting the torpedo speed (and thus the range) before launch, but what can you do? This "fix" was not given to the Atlanta, but it found their way onto the Flint instead. This gives her two quad launchers with 9.2km range. Her fish travel at 55 knots and hit for 16,633 damage per. These are fearsome and need to be properly respected or you can find yourself quickly losing your ship. However, even with this improved 9.2km range, the Flint is incapable of firing from stealth. This exceeds her surface detection range with camouflage and the tier 5 Captain Skill Concealment Expert by 200m, so that precludes firing from stealth unless you are sailing ahead of your target and they will drive into the path of your fish. This Budyonny attempted to rush the smoke of the Flint and caught four torpedoes for her troubles. Though the torpedoes of the Flint are more easily used with their 9.2km range, often it will be point blank shots like this where you make the best use of them. Maneuverability Top Speed: 32.5 knotsTurning Radius: 610mRudder Shift: 8.4s There is no difference here between the Flint and the Atlanta. The Flint has what could be considered "average" USN Cruiser mobility. She handles very comfortably. In the turn she feels more akin to a fat Destroyer, like one of the high tier Soviet incarnations between the Tashkent and Khabarovsk with a comparable turning circle and rudder shift. This is a theme repeated on cruisers like the Cleveland, Indianapolis and Pensacola. Though not lightning fast on answering her rudder, it's responsive enough -- safe and predictable. Where she lacks is the power to sprint. Looking at her guns, the Flint seems ideally suited to hunting down enemy destroyers, but the truth of the matter is that she's not fast enough to do so. There are no destroyers at her tier that are anywhere near slow enough to be unable to disengage from a Flint set on pursuing her. Worse, there are many cruisers that are not only faster, but much faster than the Flint as well. The IJN Heavy Cruisers have speeds that clock in between 34.5 knots and 35.5 knots. This means that if things go wrong, the Flint can't outrun her pursuers. It's worth keeping in mind that some of the Battleships in her Matchmaking spread can reach 33.0 knots. So while she's not a slow ship, she's not fast either. She can easily keep pace with the fleet, but she's going to struggle to outrun any of her contemporaries. It's really only against lower tiered Super-Dreadnoughts or facing enemies that are more inclined to bring their weapons to bear than use their speed where you can dictate the engagement distance in the Flint. DurabilityHit Points: 26,600Citadel Protection: Up to 89mm.Bow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 16mm each.Torpedo Damage Reduction: None. The Flint (and the Atlanta-class as a whole) are Destroyers that suffer from the citadel-penetration mechanic. Like other ships that suffer from this ignoble designation, such as the Yubari, Iwaki and Tenryu, it's just something you have to learn to accept. What defines all of these ships is their paper-thin armour and their low hit point total for their tier. For the Flint, this is magnified. With 26,600hp, she less structural capacity than the tier 3 protected cruiser, the St.Louis. With a minimum of 16mm of armour protecting the ship just about everywhere, you can rest easy that no cruiser AP round will overmatch her armour, but this disappears when you begin facing Battleships. Even bow on, the tiny 283mm rifles from the Scharnhorst can (and will) plow clean through your ship's innards like the armour wasn't even there. Against the Battleships she faces, the Flint can be sunk with as little as 6 penetrating (not even citadel -- just penetrating) hits. Many Destroyers can sink her with as little as two torpedo hits. This fragility is a real downside of the vessel and combined with her short range, her achilles heel. The Flint has to get in close to make use of her weapon systems. But up close, the weapon systems of enemy ships also amplify in effectiveness. The Flint needs to play carefully, wait for the right moment and think not just about doing damage but also how to extract itself after the fact to hide from reprisals. Her Smoke Generator can assist greatly with this. Misuse it and she's easy prey. The weapon systems aboard the Flint are also rather fragile. High explosive shells from destroyers landing in the same area can and will knock out her turrets. Larger caliber guns can manage this in a single shot. Though not as chronic as what the Atlanta used to suffer, don't be surprised if you lose turrets or torpedoes to even what feel like glancing hits. The Flint has so few hit points that even a single torpedo hit, like this one from an enemy Kiev, can be absolutely catastrophic. This stripped more than half the health off of the Flint in a single hit. Two would have sunk her with damage to spare. Concealment & CamouflageSurface Detection Range: 11.0km Air Detection Range: 6.4km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.39km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +3.81km The Flint isn't a large ship and she hides very easily. On any other cruiser, her concealment range would be considered exemplary with the potential to fire concealed on the surface at a range of a mere 13.2km. Unfortunately for the Flint (and fortunately for everyone else), this far exceeds the stock range of her 127mm guns. Upgraded, these weapons can only reach 100m beyond this distance. This also precludes her from being able to launch torpedoes from stealth. When the Flint pulls the trigger, she is seen. And if she's seen, she has to worry about being shot at. However, it's not a complete waste. Due to her short aerial detection range, the Flint is a potential nightmare for carrier players. With the ability to extend the range of her guns to 7.2km, by carefully leaving her AA guns disabled until she is spotted, she can wreak havoc on attack-craft waves. Planes, making an approach on what they believe to be an isolated target suddenly stumble on the Flint escorting alongside. Unmasking her AA guns at that exact moment, even a quick-responding carrier player will find their attack groups shredded. Bullying planes aside, the tragedy for the Flint is that while she has a good surface detection range, it's not good enough to let her easily sneak up on enemy destroyers in the same manner. With a 2 to 3.5km disparity between her own concealment values and those of the ships her armament would make her so adept at hunting at close range, destroyers have plenty of time (and plenty of speed) to reverse course and keep from being detected. The Flint can mitigate this somewhat by chasing a couple of kilometers behind her own destroyers, ready to assist on whatever enemy tin cans they light up. Everything written above could also be said about the Atlanta. But here we take a different path: The Flint has a Smoke Generator. And this changes everything. Though her Smoke Generator can be used defensively, it is much better used in an offensive role. With guns silent, using her good surface detection range, the Flint can silence her engines and coast to a slow stop, deploying smoke as she readies her position (preferably near a spit of headland for some cover). Using the vision provided by the rest of her team, her guns can engage with impunity. This throws every concern about her surface detection range right out the window. It buys the Flint the time she needs to make use of her guns. The treat of her torpedoes can trump anyone fool enough to try and close the distance and unmask her. With a 2 minute duration on her smoke and a 2 minute, 40 second reset timer from the last cloud to be released, the Flint is a potential nightmare for the enemy team. Two Flints working in tandem, with the right combination of premium consumables and Captain Skills, can potentially sit in their own smoke for nearly sixteen minutes straight without ever fearing being detected. Anything lit within 11km of this smoke deserves the rain of 300rpm that will descend upon them. This trick isn't invincible, by any means. Savvy players can still return fire at the root of the shell fountains and score some easy damage. Enemy destroyers are also fully encouraged to drop a heavy volume of fish towards any cloud of smoke that's spitting shells. These Smoke Generators mitigate one of the Atlanta-class' biggest weaknesses: Once spotted, they're too fragile to survive reprisal. In order to shoot, they get lit. The Flint can all but eliminate this risk and fire with full confidence that they can remain unseen for two minute intervals. There should be no surprises here. The Flint's AA power can be downright phenomenal and a near impenetrable wall for mid-tier carriers that send their air groups in one at a time. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 127mm, 40mm, 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km, 3.5km, 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 91 / 90 / 43 Tier for tier, the Flint has one of the best AA armaments in the game with a heavy mix of long and medium range anti-aircraft power. Compared to the Atlanta, she sacrifices some long range hitting power with the loss of four dual-purpose 127mm rifles in exchange for a much upgraded compliment of Bofors and Oerlikon automatic cannons. Upgraded, between modules and Captain Skills, and the Atlanta's anti-aircraft umbrella becomes truly monstrous for a tier 7 cruiser. Where the Flint really shows its laurels as an anti-aircraft cruiser is with her Defensive Fire consumable. She and the Atlanta are the only ships in the game with unlimited charges of this ability. I say again: The Flint has unlimited charges of her Defensive Fire consumable. There is seldom a reason not to use this ability when there are enemy aircraft in the vicinity. Even without specializing into her anti-aircraft abilities, she will still comfortably damage and destroy all but the highest tiered planes with almost laughable ease. Still, a Flint should be wary of aircraft. Good AA power does not grant immunity. If she ends up blind inside one of her smoke screens without spotters, it's possible to sneak aircraft up on her and she can't take many hits before she goes to the bottom. Priority must be kept on torpedo bombers above all others. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple/ Casual / Challenging / Difficult While the Smoke Generator on the Flint helps mitigate mistakes, she is still a very fragile vessel. Her weapon systems are also lackluster and without proper use and target selection, she will not rack up damage easily. Being very short ranged increases the likelihood of something going horribly wrong and preventing the player from surviving a miscalculation. Skill Ceiling:Low/ Moderate / High / Extreme The Flint isn't like other cruisers, which allows you to react to changes and be rather flexible. She requires a lot of forethought to maximize her damage output and survivability. While not on the same level as the Atlanta due to her smoke, playing her carelessly will get her sunk in a hurry. The meta involves picking your moment, knowing where on the maps are best to set up and learning how to bait and evade as needed. She doesn't get an 'extreme' rating because of her smoke launcher safety net which, let's be honest, greatly simplifies matters. Mouse's Summary: Though she has a frightening rate of fire, the challenge with playing this ship comes with setting up opportunities to put her guns to work. They are are very short ranged and against distant or heavily armoured targets, they need a lot of time to whittle down enemies -- time where the enemy could be shooting back, setting up their radar or dumping fish in your direction. If you can manage to keep her guns singing, however, the damage she can stack can be frightening. Though not on par with Battleships, it's very respectable for a cruiser. She can murder destroyers with ease given the chance or any cruiser that strays into point blank range and gives their broadside. The opportunities you get to use her torpedoes aren't common but they provide an enormous boost to your damage totals. Her Smoke Generator greatly facilitates taking an aggressive stance to better make use of her guns and survive afterwards. She remains an incredibly fragile craft and not forgiving at all of mistakes. Again, her Smoke Generator provides a bit of a safety net. Between her smoke screens though, she's exceedingly vulnerable. I'm loathe to call the Flint overpowered. She's an Atlanta with Training Wheels. She's been playing too much Dungeons and Dragons and now she's got wizard powers and can cast Wall of Fog on command. She doesn't always need smoke. If the enemy is distracted (or in this case, too panicked to return fire), you can find a nice rock to hide from their friends and pew pew with impunity. The Flint makes doing everything the Atlanta does easier. Much of this is due to the presence of her Smoke Generator, but not all of it. She has marginally better overall anti-aircraft firepower and there's no arguing that her torpedoes as just outright better. Even with the slower top speed of her fish, a 9.2km range is so much more effective than a 4.5km range. There are effectively two things the Flint allows you to do that the Atlanta does not: Be aggressive. Make mistakes. The first is the reason you'll see that even among the top players, the Flint does more damage on average than the lead of her class. You can single out an enemy, make an approach and the blow your smoke and pew pew until they're either dead or move out of range. The latter is more likely, by the way. Few people are stupid enough to stay within 13km of a death-cloud spitting 127mm shells. If you want a decisive kill with the Flint, you have to get really close before popping that smoke and that's a bit of a gamble. But that's okay because of point number two. When things go pear shaped, the Flint will let you make a mistake and survive. Did you beach yourself while under fire? It's okay, blow smoke and get away. Did you get ambushed by an enemy cruiser you didn't think was going to be there? That's okay. Blow smoke and turn away. Did you get lit by aircraft in front of three Battleships? That's okay. Blow smoke and wait for them to pass or get blown up by your monstrous AA power. The Flint has survived twice as many games as the Atlanta. No wonder she does more damage. Keep in mind that short of Destroyers, the Flint cannot kill anything quickly at range. Her 127mm rounds rely on their fire starting ability to stack damage and when attacking an enemy Battleship, that doesn't happen fast. The sequence usually goes: Shoot until one blaze starts. Adjust fire until the second blaze starts. Battleship will then activate their Damage Control Party, starting a 10s to 30s immunity window. Keep shooting until one or more fires start again and stick. Reap the big damage totals as your prey burns merrily away in multiple locations. It can take as many as 50 hits before a fire starts, statistically speaking -- or roughly 30s of continuous shooting to set your first blaze. Mathematically, it should be rather difficult to set a Battleship on fire, have them put it out and then do it again. But if this is the case, why are the Flint's damage totals proving so effective? Well, one of the main reasons has a lot to do with her short range. The Flint can only attack ships that expose themselves. It's likely that it's never just the Flint that's likely to be shooting at you. There will be other ships too that are hammering the exposed Battleship (or Cruiser). They may have already had to put out a couple of blazes before the Flint's fire hoses begin soaking her in flammable, explody materials. The Flint is the queen of focusing fire -- she's a cleanup hitter looking for weak and vulnerable prey and she's really good at making sure beleaguered and crippled ships burn to death. The Atlanta-class has always been a glass cannon. In fact the Atlanta is generally considered a bad and weak ship. It's hard to swallow that one consumable is all it took to dial her from weak to a domineering presence. But what it has done is turned the Flint from a destroyer with a citadel that Battleships snacked on to a destroyer with a citadel that actually acts like a destroyer and scares the pants off of Battleships. A North Carolina-class battleship charges the smoke cloud of the Flint. She committed to the narrows to avoid a quick death at the hands of the Flint's allied Battleships. Now she faces a slow death at the hands of a tier 7 cruiser. She has to brave a gauntlet of incessant HE spam, stacked fires and dodge waves of torpedoes. This isn't fun, by the way. Well, for the North Carolina it isn't fun (the Flint's having a blast). But the North Carolina can't do anything but hope the smoke dissipates on time (it won't), or that the Flint makes a mistake (she won't) or that she can survive long enough to get lucky with her main battery and blow the Flint out of the water (she doesn't). And that's all dependent if she can dodge the torpedo drop that's incoming (she won't). See, the Flint isn't like your typical lone-wolf destroyers, roaming about on her own. By the very nature of her large size and slower speed, she likes to hang out with other ships. This mitigates one of the weaknesses of gunship destroyers -- they're often easier to isolate. Their high speed takes them well away from their friends. Cruisers and Carriers can trap them within their own smoke then charge their positions with a combination of Radar and Hydroacoustic Search. You can't charge a Flint if she's backed up by the guns and torpedoes of her allies. This is what often makes her so powerful. Yes, she's 'merely' hiding in smoke, but she's inaccessible until you chew through her allies giving her covering fire. You can forget about using Radar or Hydroacoustic Search to unmask her if you can't get close enough to do so safely in the first place. The Flint may seem unduly powerful, but she is so easily countered by a little number -- 12.0km. Get outside of that range and she's all but useless. When she lays smoke, back off. Her smoke charge becomes wasted. And even if she has specialized into Advanced Fire Training for that extra reach, the flight time out to those ranges is 13s or more. WASD and return fire. Better yet, throw fish at her if you have them. It's not easy hitting someone in smoke, but neither is trying to hit an evasive target with over a 13s lead time. Odds are you'll land damaging hits on each other about as frequently and the Flint has less hit points than you do. So when she starts barking, give her space -- clear out the ships around her. Then move in. And this is perhaps the most significant problem, I feel. It's not fun to play against a Flint. Like dealing with torpedo walls or being deleted by overlapping squadrons of aircraft, there are solutions to counter the Flint's poison smoke cloud but it's not fun. Reliably, it requires someone to stick their neck out. And let's face facts. It's going to be rare that: A.) You have someone willing to risk themselves to delete one ship. B.) It will be even more rare that they will always be in the right ship or position to do this. and C.) What are the chances their team will respond correctly and back them up in order to remove the Flint in the first place? The Flint's numbers are over performing. Yes, she is objectively better than the Atlanta. But she hasn't been improved so much as to unbalance things. Her carry potential is entirely dependent on having team mates spotting for her. None of the tricks she's performing haven't already been pulled by Fletchers, and Kievs and other Destroyer gunships, yet now people lose their minds. American-bias at it's finest, if you ask me. The Flint isn't unstoppable. She's just an Atlanta that thinks she's a wizard. And the real magic trick is that everyone believes it. Would I Recommend?Keep in mind, you're not going to be spending quid on this. No amount of money you through at the screen is going to facilitate getting a Flint. She's earned solely by playing through three Seasons of Ranked Battles all of the way to Rank One. My contacts at Wargaming tell me that there are no plans to sell her. Ever. So, knowing that reaching Rank One takes roughly 100 to 400 games (which, including queue times average out to about 15 to 20 minutes each), ask yourself if the Flint is worth 75 to 400 hours worth of game play to acquire. For Random Battle Grinding: The Flint is an excellent training ship for USN DD Captains. She uses all of the same skills, almost of the same tricks and she's got a few others besides (Hydroacoustic Search or Defensive Fire). Right now she's performing phenomenally in Random Battles meaning she's raking in tons of experience for training and loads of credits too. For Competitive Gaming: If Season Five of Ranked Battles is again capped at tier 7, you're going to see these ships appearing. They play very well to the Ranked Battle meta, with being able to facilitate covering Battleships with long lasting smoke and having the added bonus of being an excellent anti-DD weapon. For Collectors: If you're going to slave away at Ranked Battles, don't you want some kind of trophy to show for it? I know I do... #GetBoat. You can bet that this ship will turn a lot of heads over the years if this remains the only way to acquire her. So for bragging rights alone, she's definitely worth while. For Fun Factor: The Atlanta-class is a lot of fun. The Flint is no different. Pooping rainbows and swatting planes from the sky with impunity? Dumping fish into people sailing in straight lines that aren't expecting an American cruiser to have torpedoes? Sign me up. What really makes the Flint overpowered is team work. She cannot sight her own targets outside her own smoke. She can't stay permanently concealed in smoke without a partner. Friends OP. Please nerf. Outfitting your Flint Recommended Modules Like the Atlanta, depending on the role you choose, this can change out the load-out you choose for the Flint. The first slot is best used for Main Armaments Modification 1. Really, it's the best choice and not much has changed since the module overhaul. Yes, you'll detonate more often. No, it's not statistically significant in regards to your win rate or overall performance. Quit your whinin'. The second slot will be the module that you choose to define the roll you're going to take. The best will always be Aiming Systems Modification 1 as this improves the performance of your main battery and makes your torpedoes quicker to aim. You should select this if you're only interested in doing damage. However, if you want to emphasize your AA power, AA Guns Modification 2 is a good choice. This will increase your AA auras by 20% and makes the Flint a real nightmare for carriers as it effectively creates a no-fly zone around your ship. For your third slot, they're all terrible! No, really. Pick whatever you want. I usually take Damage Control System Modification 1. It's not that good, but none of the choices really are. For your final slot, Steering Gears Modification 2 is arguably the best choice. This will reduce her rudder shift time down to 6.7s. With all of the time you'll spend sitting in smoke, Propulsion Modification 2 isn't a bad. It will let you jump start up to 5 knots in a hurry which can be a life saver if you're suddenly under torpedo attack. Recommended Consumables Okay, now we get fun (and maybe a little controversial). First, equip premium versions of your Damage Control Party and Smoke Generator. This is super important as it will reduce the reset timer on each (always handy) but it will also give you an additional charge of your Smoke Generator (bringing the total up to 3). I cannot stress enough how important both of these two options are. If you pinch pennies here, you're greatly reducing the overall ease at which you can play this ship. Maybe you like the challenge. Hats off to you if you do. I would strongly recommend keeping your Defensive Fire consumable over swapping it out for Hydroacoustic Search. First of all, your Defensive Fire consumable has unlimited charges -- it's one of the Flint's advantages and it's a bit of a waste to throw that away. This will also allow you to more easily swat down spotting aircraft intent on keeping you lit for their team, or the invariable desperate torpedo plane strike that will be thrown your way to try and wrest you out of your smoke. This isn't to say that Hydroacoustic Search isn't a bad choice. It will help you survive if you're blinded by smoke or by terrain and you're convinced the enemy is rushing you. This can give you the time needed to evade or get your own fish off to swat your opponents. Neither are bad choices. Both are situational. Recommended Captain Skills Again, like with your modules, your choice of Captain Skills will largely be determined if you want to emphasize gunnery or AA-power. The nice thing is that these builds largely overlap with American Destroyer Captain Skills. For the first tier, Basic Fire Training is really the only one you should be looking at. This will increase her rate of fire to 13.2rpm. It has the added benefit of giving your AA guns some more teeth. At the second tier, Last Stand is your best choice. She is fragile and even near misses from high explosive shells can (and will) knock out your rudder. You can also expect to lose your engines to even destroyer-caliber guns that catch you broadside. At the third tier, Superintendent is an absolute must, regardless of what build you're considering. This provides you with an additional charge with your Smoke Generator. With a premium version of the consumable, this will bring your total charges up to 4. Vigilance is a nice secondary choice, but only consider it as a follow up -- not as a priority skill. Here's where the choice gets difficult.Demolition Expert is arguably one of the most important for the Flint. This increases her fire chance from 5% to 8% per shell and is an enormous performance upgrade, particularly if you want to focus on doing damage to larger capital ships.Advanced Fire Training is better suited to AA-spec'd Captains rather than Gunship Captains. At ranges over 11km, the Flint's shell flight time becomes downright punitive and it's especially difficult to land hits on target. Still the extra range is nice -- this will increase it to 13.3km -- and if you can land the hits, then there's no harm in investing here. The primary purpose of this skill, though, should be considered to boost your AA range. If you already took the AA Guns Mod 2, then this will further it up to a 7.2km maximum range for your 127mm guns. Lastly, Manual Fire Control for AA Guns is reserved once more for AA spec'd Captains. This should only be considered as a follow up for Advanced Fire Training and this will give your 127mm guns a lot of teeth. If you want to have fun, you could take Jack of All Trades at tier 5. This would reduce the reset timer of your Smoke Generators from 160s to 136s -- this would leave only a small 15s window between when your last cloud dissipates and your next charge is available. However, Concealment Expert is arguably the best choice among the tier 5 skills for the Flint, but will only be available to Captains that take a single tier 4 skill (unless you're insane and manage to grind out the 10 million xp for your 19th skill point). Concealment Expert will reduce her surface detection down to 9.4km.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: HMS Nelson

    The following is a review of HMS Nelson, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of August 14th, 2017. The Walking Dead. Quick Summary: A slow Royal Navy battleship with all of her guns mounted forward on her bow. Her repair party consumable can allow her to come back from the dead twice over. Cost: 375,000 free experience. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.9. August 10th through 14th, 2017 Closest in-Game Contemporary Imperator NIkolai I, Tier IV Russian Battleship Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Whoa, no one panic! Nelson is not the second coming of the Nikolai. She simply shares a very similar gun layout and achieves a similar state of resilience (though admittedly through different means). They also share the affliction of having a very high citadel which means they both fold like a deck of cards if someone catches their side with battleship AP. Finally, like Nikolai, Nelson's big weak spot is her bow. While the Russian battleship really only has to worry about shells punching through the upper part of her snout, Nelson's entire bow can be easily overmatched by most of her contemporaries, but this is a common affliction to all tier VII Battleships. PROs Powerful Repair Party consumable, restoring up to 40% of the ship's hit points per charge. Good armour protection versus American AP Bombs. Good 1.9 sigma value which helps tighten up her dispersion. Flexible gun layout, able to switch fire from port to starboard very quickly. Short fuse timers on her AP shells, leading to less over penetrations. Ridiculous HE performance, with 101mm of penetration, high alpha strike and a 46% chance of starting fires per shell. CONs She feels blind with no consumables to aid with spotting (plane, radar, hydro) Citadel sits high over the waterline. Lackluster penetration values, comparable to HMS Warspite at tier VI. Slow turret traverse of 4.0º per second Anti-aircraft firepower is concentrated in short range (and excessively fragile) batteries. Nelson is slow with a maximum speed of 24 knots. Large surface detection range of 15.3km. HMS Nelson is the last of the so-called "Big Seven Battleships" to find their way into World of Warships. These were the battleships of the United States, Japan and Great Britain that were allowed to be armed with 16" guns under the Washington Naval Treaty after World War One to put an end to the naval arm's race. They consisted the Nagato-class, represented by Nagato and Mutsu, the Colorado-class of three ships, Colorado, Maryland and West Virginia and Nelson-class with Nelson and her sister ship, HMS Rodney. Of these seven vessels, the Nelson-class are certainly the standouts where design is concerned. There's no denying that their silhouette is very distinctive. When play-testing her, I received many comments about her looks (often derisive, but a few people had the right of it and called her 'awesome looking'). I can say that her play style is as distinctive as her appearance. Let's get into the hows and wherefores of their performance in game. Options Nelson has access to an improved version of the Repair Party consumable. This restores 1,188hp per second for 20 seconds, healing up to 40% of the ship's hit points per charge. However, this only comes with two charges as opposed to the usual three for battleships. Nelson queues damage in the similar manner as other Royal Navy battleships. She uses the same Damage Control Party of other Royal Navy Battleships (except Warspite) with a 15 second active period. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard Battleship options. Premium Camouflage: Type 10, tier VI+ standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. For your upgrades, you'll be picking standard battleship options. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. You're going to be tanking a lot with your bow and turrets, so your guns take a lot of abuse. In particular, her B turret gets disabled and destroyed frequently. In your second slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is your best choice. Nelson's horizontal dispersion is not as good as previous Royal Navy premium battleships, so the extra accuracy is sorely needed. Her anti-aircraft guns and secondaries are not worth upgrading. In your third slot, take Damage Control System Modification 1. This will boost your torpedo damage reduction up to 21%. And in your fourth slot, you have a choice. Steering Gears Modification 2 will reduce your rudder shift down to 11.9s. Alternatively, you can take Damage Control System Modification 2 to reduce fire and flooding damage if that's your preference. Special Upgrades The only special upgrade that has any sort of application on HMS Nelson is Damage Control Party Modification 1. When applied to HMS Nelson, this would increase the active period of her consumable from 15 seconds up to 21 seconds without affecting the reset timer. This competes with Main Armaments Modification 1 in HMS Nelson's first upgrade slot. Given the amount of abuse her main battery takes, this special upgrade isn't worth applying. Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 406mm rifles in 3x3 forward facing turrets in an A-B-C layout on the bow with B superfiring over A. Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm rifles in 6x2 turrets and six 120mm rifles Nelson's approximate penetration values for her AP shells are 550mm at 5km, 450mm at 10km and 350mm at 15km. Like Dunkerque, Nelson is largely defined by the layout of her primary gun battery. She mounts all nine of her guns ahead of her superstructure. Veterans who have played Izumo and are concerned about her gun handling can rest easy -- Nelson's gunnery is very comfortable; more akin to the Soviet tier IV Battleship, Imperator Nikolai I than the tier IX Japanese vessel. Her A & B turrets have excellent fields of fire with a 300º and 322º firing arc respectively. C is more limited, but still easy to use. It can engage enemies 25º to 137º off its side for a total combined field of fire of 224º. In most engagements, you'll be primarily making use of A & B turret with C being used to take opportunistic shots where possible. Nelson's turret rotation may not be fast at 4º per second (45 seconds for a 180º rotation), but with these guns all being forward facing, it's very easy to shift fire left to right as needed. Overall, Nelson's gun placement makes gunnery enjoyable. Even firing over the shoulder isn't too difficult. Nelson's accuracy, however, is a bit of a mixed bag. Her shell groupings are rather tight with a 1.9 sigma value, however she does not have the vaunted Royal Navy battleship shell dispersion seen previously on HMS Warspite and HMS Hood. Her linear horizontal dispersion appears to be the same as USN Battleships. This is still better than French and German vessels, but it's hardly enviable. As a result, when firing Nelson's guns, you can be blessed by a string of really tight shell groupings and then suffer some really wonky strays. Nelson's AP shells aren't terribly inspiring but her HE shells are phenomenal. The latter does not replace the former, however. Nelson's AP shells have almost identical penetration over distance to HMS Warspite's 381mm guns, while having a shorter- fuse timer as seen on HMS Hood. This is perfectly adequate (and even ideal) for bullying any cruiser within her matchmaking spread, but it's a different story where battleships are concerned. Her 406mm gun caliber ensures she can overmatch the bows of any cruisers she encounters, as well as the bows of battleships at tiers VII and below. Unfortunately, her ability to land citadel hits against enemy battleships has largely fallen away by ranges of 12km except for the softest skinned targets such as Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya. Landing reliable penetrations becomes questionable outside of 14km. These ranges drop further when Nelson is bottom tier or she's shooting at thick skinned dreadnoughts. Closing the distance isn't always the best option with HMS Nelson. While this does greatly enhance the penetration powers of her 406mm guns, the backup provided by her secondaries is less than inspiring. Nelson's secondary gun complement is divided between 120mm dual-purpose guns in single mounts and six, large twin-gunned 152mm turrets. They are better positioned than those on Dunkerque, but these guns are still poorly laid out to support an attack. The volume of fire they put out is also less than stellar. Her 152mm guns fire a mere five rounds per minute with their AP shells. Her 120mm fire twelve rounds per minute with HE and a great 8% fire chance per hit, but these are largely rear facing and cannot begin engaging an enemy until they're alongside Nelson. Nelson does not appear to use the same dispersion model as Warspite and Hood. Her 1.9 sigma value keeps her groupings tight, however. Nelson's main battery HE shells are something to behold. They boast 6,900 alpha strike per shell, 101mm of penetration, and a 46% fire chance. The list of ships that Nelson can citadel with her HE shells is long -- long enough that a player might be tempted to think that spamming HE shells is an optimal way to play this battleship. While each penetrating hit does land an impressive 2,277 damage, this number quickly falls away as areas become saturated. This leaves her impressive fire starting ability to take over damage dealing which can be hit or miss on focused targets that already have blazes set. Nelson's AP shells should be relied upon as the principle damage dealer for this vessel, with HE used as situational backup. Nelson's HE shells are best used opportunistically, such as when an enemy battleship angles in at a distance, or as a one-off to help support a friendly CV by knocking out masses of AA guns in a single volley. The enormous 39.2m blast area of her shells will cause extensive module damage against any target she strikes, even if they fail to penetrate. These shells have a larger and harder hitting explosion than anything short of the Yamato, Lion and Conqueror. This can leave a formidable AA armament in tatters. It may also force ships to reach for their Damage Control Party consumable to repair disabled engines and steering gears, leaving them vulnerable to follow-up fires. It can even set off the magazines of destroyers and cruisers with the concussive force alone. An Iowa-class battleship can be stripped of all (yes, all) of it's small and medium caliber AA gun mounts in as little as two to three volleys of Nelson's guns. Peppering a few preliminary HE shells around like this in the early stages of a match can go a long way towards helping your CV allies out, especially before closing into more effective AP shell range. Just don't forget to prioritize nailing those cruisers with AP when you see them. Between gun handling, AP and HE performance, Nelson's firepower is incredibly forgiving. A novice player could, in theory, spam HE constantly and still amass some pretty respectable damage totals provided they survived long enough. They would definitely lose out to a Nelson commander who varied their ammunition choices, however. Rivals: Battlecruiser HMS Hood HMS Nelson is the second tier VII premium British battleship in the game, with HMS Hood preceding her by a few months. The two ships are so very different in design and game play as to be almost laughable. Nelson is a slow, enduring and relentless. Hood is fast, flexible and fragile. Nelson is victimized by aircraft and Hood is a nightmare target for enemy carriers. Both struggle when facing tier IX ships. It's HMS Nelson's gunnery which sets her ahead of HMS Hood, in my opinion. Nelson deals damage reliably -- something the British flagship cannot claim, even with its (much) improved accuracy. With the coming of the rest of the Royal Navy line, I wonder if we'll see HMS Hood get some minor tweaks and buffs to bring her into line with the rest of the British ships. Only time will tell. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 24.0knotsTurning Radius: 750mRudder Shift: 14.9s Maximum Turn Rate: 3.71º/s Nelson is slow. 24.0 knots is almost acceptable. Almost. Nelson is a full knot slower than Nagato which is already a ship that struggles somewhat with agility. This limits Nelson's flexibility and her survivability. She cannot control engagement distances. She cannot escape by outrunning her opponents or the reach of their guns. These problems compound when she faces tier VIII and tier IX opponents where not only are most ships faster than her, the map sizes make her low speed especially punitive. It's only when Nelson is top tier that her low top speed is less of a liability as she faces more of the standard-type American battleships and the distances she needs to cover are further reduced by the smaller maps. Now don't get me wrong -- this isn't Arizona-slow. And while she does have a three knot advantage over Colorado, she does not get Colorado's special speed preservation in a turn. Like most battleships, Nelson bleeds off 25% of her velocity when she's under manoeuvres, slowing down to 18.0 knots with her rudder hard over. If you're applying WASD hax as you should, you'll often see your speed struggling to get over 20 knots and this can feel like a real crawl when you're trying to get into position or you're trying to get away. Nelson is a pig in a turn. Nelson's only saving grace is that she rotates 0.1º/s faster than a Nagato, which isn't saying much. The good news is that she's incapable of out turning her turrets, even with their slow rate of rotation. The bad news is that while she may answer her rudder quickly, the effect of her rudder just isn't substantial enough to throw the ship about. This makes her very vulnerable to torpedo and aircraft attacks. DurabilityHit Points: 59,400Citadel Protection: 32mm anti-torpedo bulge + 356mm belt. Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 19% Armour layout of Nelson's belt, turrets and citadel. The only additional protection is a 32mm outer hull and upper deck not shown. At first glance, Nelson has horrible durability for facing off against enemy battleships. She has a citadel that sits so high over the water line, you would think she was a copy-paste job of the old Iowa and Montana-class battleships. What's worse, she's tier VII so her enormous bow is only 25mm thick. It gets overmatched by all AP shells larger than 356mm which includes the guns of all tier VII+ battleships with the exception of Scharnhorst. While she does boast some decent armour values, with up to 356mm of belt armour and a 305mm transverse bulkhead on her citadel, they are both heavily overtaxed trying to protect her vitals. The sad reality is that it's this 305mm bow plate which is HMS Nelson's achilles heel. Even with perfect angling (approximately 25º to 26º) bow on to the enemy, this plate just cannot stand up to any guns that can overmatch her bows. Bayern, HMS Hood and Queen Elizabeth need to get close to citadel her through the bow like this. They can only do so at ranges of 12.0km or less. Warspite and Mutsu can pull it off at at 13.0km. Things jump up considerably from there. Colorado can do so reliably from 18.0km. Everything else can do so at ranges in excess of 20km. When under fire from enemy super dreadnoughts, angle as best you can, know your ranges and hold your breath. In short: She eats citadels for days and then begs for a second helping when facing enemy battleships with 380mm guns or larger. Things don't get much better in regards to soaking up torpedoes. HMS Nelson has terrible torpedo protection with only a 19% reduction that can be boosted to a mere 21% with Damage Control System Modification 1. While this is better than that of HMS Hood, at least HMS Hood begins her turns faster. I lost this ship more often to torpedoes than any other damage source. Sometimes it was my own dumb fault. In others, the lack of damage mitigation simply overwhelmed the modest hit point pool of this battleship. Finally, there's the issue of her turrets. I have not been able to isolate why it happens so frequently, but HMS Nelson has her main battery guns disabled very often. B-turret seems especially susceptible. This is strange given the thick armour of her turret faces (406mm) and her barbettes (356mm). My guess is that shells are striking her barbettes or catching the softer sides of the turrets and prompting the critical damage rolls. Whatever the reason, you can expect to have one of your guns temporarily disabled at least once in a match. Yet for all of the deficiencies and even her modest hit point total, Nelson is quite easily capable of being the toughest ship afloat at her tier. This is all thanks to her Repair Party consumable. Unlike most battleships that recover up to 14% of their maximum hit points over 28 seconds, Nelson recovers up to 40% over 20 seconds. Yes, you read that right. This works out to 23,760 hit points that Nelson can heal with each charge of her Repair Party consumable. Nelson will, time and again, appear to be on her last legs only to spring back, hale and healthy and itching for a fight. Adding a India Delta increases this value up to 48% (or 28,512hp) per charge. With Superintendent, this provided HMS Nelson with a theoretical maximum damage total of 173,448 hit points needed before she sinks, provided her consumable is used optimally. I cannot stress this enough. Warspite, a ship known to be a tough little monster, would call receiving 80,000 damage before sinking a good match. This works out roughly 1.5 times her starting health. For Nelson, that number sits around 150,000 damage -- in excess of 2.5x her health pool. You can delay the enemy team simply grace of being a damage sponge they cannot sink quickly. This makes Nelson an absolute beast when it comes to facing enemy cruisers. She can soak the bombardment and the resulting fires for days and deny them any progress with a touch of a button. The only thing that keeps this from being disgustingly overpowered is the aforementioned tendency for Nelson to eat citadel hits. Her Repair Party consumable only queues 10% of citadel damage into the healing pool, while 60% of normal penetrations and 100% of flooding, fire, ramming and over penetrations make it into the queue. Her consumable also shares the long reset timer of other battleships. Large alpha strikes or masses of sustained damage can (and will) sink this ship in between cooldowns. Finally, she only gets two base charges of her Repair Party as opposed to the usual three. Overall, Nelson is incredibly resilient to fire damage because of this consumable. She simply laughs it off and heals all of the damage back, undoing the burn stacked by cruisers, destroyers and dive bombers without issue. This makes this vessel particularly well suited to farming up Fireproof and Dreadnought awards. Nelson is a zombie. If you do not put her down properly, she will keep coming back from the dead. Head shots, in the form of citadel hits or mass torpedo strikes, are the only way to ensure she goes down for good. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 15.30km Air Detection Range: 12.36km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.76km Main Battery Firing Range: 18.21km Min Surface Detection Rank within Tier: 2nd out of 7 Min Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 19th out of 37 Wargaming has hyped that the Royal Navy battleships at tiers VII+ will have great surface detection stats. That's not present here. Within her own tier, when all of the ships are rigged for stealth, she sits 500m behind King George V and ahead of the Scharnhorst-sisters by 300m or so. In a cross-section of all of the battleships she may face, she's decidedly average, sitting right in the middle of the pack. Regardless if she's top tier or bottom, there are potentially battleships that she'll spot first and others that will be more stealthy. Concealment for a slow warship helps keep them alive. When Nelson silences her guns, her surface detection range goes down to 12.8km with a full stealth build. This can allow her to sneak up on unsuspecting targets until she gets within a more optimal firing range or angle. Sadly, she does not have the speed to really allow her to take advantage of this. Short of one-time ambushes or picking on distracted enemies, it will be very difficult to sneak up upon wary targets. It should be noted that Nelson is a terrible ship for doing her own spotting. She's effectively blind without any consumables to help her in detecting enemy ships, aircraft and torpedoes. Skills like Vigilance become increasingly important for her as a result, especially when it comes to navigating around islands or through channels. Nelson's concealment is alright. It's not a real telling strength, but it's not a liability either until she's uptiered. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 120mm / 40mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.5km / 2.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 36 / 119 / 126 (133 in 0.6.10) Do not let the big DPS numbers fool you. Nelson's anti-aircraft firepower isn't as healthy as it looks. It boils down to two issues. Nelson's AA firepower lacks range. Nelson's AA firepower is concentrated in a small number of fragile mount-clusters. Nelson doesn't boast the best range with her anti-aircraft firepower. The 4.5km reach on her dual-purpose mounts is disappointing but would workable if they did more damage. Unfortunately, the majority of her strength is located in her small and medium caliber mounts. Nelson's 40mm pom-poms only reach out to a range of 2.5km and her 20mm guns reach out to 2.0km. This largely limits her anti-aircraft firepower to self defense actions only and she cannot provide fleet support, even when specialized with AA Guns Modification 2 and Advanced Fire Training. The small firepower total from her 102mm guns ensures that Manual Fire Control for AA Guns just isn't worthwhile. But it gets worse. Her anti-aircraft defense is easily knocked out by even small amounts of HE fire. Nelson only has six of the octuple pom-pom mounts. Losing one reduces her medium range AA firepower by 19.8dps, and four of these guns are mounted in pairs along the long axis of the ship, making them easy prey for bombs and HE spam. Things don't get any better with her 20mm Oerlikons. She has thirty five scattered across the surface of the ship (with two more being added in 0.6.10). However, they are packed closely together in large groups which reduces their survivability. For example, ten of these reside in a tight cluster on her bow in front of A-turret. Any HE salvos will usually knock out these small caliber mounts in handfuls, quickly decimating Nelson's AA effectiveness. The only real ray of sunshine is that Nelson has fairly decent protection against American AP Bombs. Tests have shown that only a rare drop with all bombs hitting will cause anywhere close to 10,000 damage. More often than not this sat at a considerably lower total. Preliminary tests with Graf Zeppelin's AP bombs were much more damning, however, but these are still in the development phase and very much a work in progress. In summary: Nelson has pretty good raw AA values, but this is only useful for self defense and it will not hold up over the course of a battle. Taking even minor HE damage can quickly gut the potency of her flak. While the ship is pristine, she'll put up a good fight against aircraft, but their short range means that the enemy will still drop their ordnance. With luck, you'll simply make it expensive for them to do so. Dive Bombers do not present Nelson with that much of a threat, even if they're armed with AP Bombs. She's able to heal back any resulting damage with ease. Torpedo bombers are another matter, however. Nelson's anti-aircraft firepower isn't up to the task of keeping her safe. Nevermind the Manoeuvres HMS Nelson is a little weird when it comes to choosing her skills: short of her core skills, she just doesn't care. Optimizing HMS Nelson really doesn't go beyond ensuring she has Superintendent and Concealment Expert. After that, do what you want. There are three general builds which will likely end up popular. Of these three, a Survivability Build is optimal. Next comes a general anti-aircraft build (minus Manual Fire Control for AA Guns which is all but useless for her). This second build will be pretty similar to low-tier (and very high tier) Royal Navy battleship builds. Finally, you can specialize towards spamming HE like a derp cause it's hilarious. The core for all three builds is as follows: At the first tier, Preventative Maintenance is the optimal choice, but only if your own situational awareness is elevated to such a degree that you can track threats when spotted. If not, then Priority Target should be your default choice. At tier two, take Adrenaline Rush. As you take damage, your DPM will increase. Note that with the huge jumps back and forth with Nelson's hit point pool, the gains from this skill vary considerably. Alternatively, you can take Expert Marksman for better gun handling, though Nelson isn't hurting here much. At tier three, take Superintendent. This will increase the number of charges of your Repair Party by one. And finally, at tier four, take Concealment Expert. You're a big ship, but you're not Fuso-Fat. This will help keep you alive and give you more time to use your Repair Party. You can place the next nine points where you wish. Survivability Build This is, in my opinion, the best way to build up Nelson. Reach for skills that will keep you in the fight longer and improve your damage output. High Alert, Basics of Survivability, Vigilance, and Fire Prevention are all great skills for this, so pick and choose your favourites. Make sure you take Preventative Maintenance too if you took Priority Target as your first skill. Your guns are going to get knocked out a lot. Anti-Aircraft Build Be aware that while Nelson has some pretty potent looking AA DPS numbers, her anti-aircraft firepower will only ever be for self-defense purposes and not fleet support. In addition, it's incredibly fragile and easily knocked out by even a small volume of HE fire. While the ship is pristine, she can be a thorny target for carriers but she's never going to be considered a "good" flak platform. If you wish to go this route, take Basic and Advanced Fire Taining for a total of 7pts. High Alert or Expert Marksman (or Adrenaline Rush if you opted for the other) are your best choices for the remaining two points. HE Spammer Now, for the player that wants to derp around with HE shells, let's talk about specific HE-boosting skills. DO NOT take Demolition Expert. The difference between 46% and 48% fire chance just isn't worth the investment. This is too expensive a skill for too little gain. Expert Loader might actually find some use, though, when you need to smarten up and reach for your AP shells. Now let's talk about Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. HMS Nelson is fully capable of damaging any ship within her matchmaking spread with HE without any need for taking this skill. This includes battleships and the armoured deck of carriers like Taiho. Her penetration is so high, she can citadel almost half of the cruisers in her matchmaking spread. Doing so provides a big boost to Nelson's damage totals, but this is a harder shot to land than with AP shells. Here's the list of cruisers HMS Nelson can citadel stock with HE: France: De Grasse, Charles Martel, St.Louis United Kingdom: Emerald, Leander Soviet Union: Kirov, Murmansk, Krasny Krym, Molotov, Shchors, Chapayev, Mikhail Kutuzov United States: Omaha, Marblehead, Pensacola, Atlanta, Flint, Indianapolis Japan: Furutaka, Aoba, Mogami, Ibuki Others: Perth. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells only opens up small sections of battleships to penetration damage and none of them large enough to be worth it (with the exception of HMS Hood and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya which each have large sections of their upper hull that becomes vulnerable). It does nothing to help you with aircraft carriers or destroyers. Where it does come into use is against cruisers. Taking the skill adds the following ships that HMS Nelson can now citadel: France: La Galissonniere, Algerie, United Kingdom: Fiji, Belfast, Edinburgh, Neptune Soviet Union: Budyonny United States: Cleveland, New Orleans Japan: Myoko, ARP Myoko, ARP Ashigara, ARP Haguro, ARP Nachi, Eastern Dragon, Atago, ARP Takao You'll note the absence of German cruisers and the Italian premium, Duca d'Aosta. The spaced armour around their citadels prevents HE from penetrating their machine spaces (though the modules themselves can still be damaged by the shockwave). Note that all of the French ships listed above are also largely immune but they were included because of small sections directly beneath their turrets that will allow HE to citadel them. Landing citadel hits with HE is different than landing them with AP shells. HE shells detonate immediately upon contact with any surface. Thus, you need to bulls-eye the outer citadel wall to land these high-damage hits. On some of these vessels, the amount of surface area is painfully small -- sometimes only a sliver over the waterline. The only consolation is that HE shells don't concern themselves with angle at all. Whatever surface upon which they first make contact is the one affected by the attack, so you can do some rather rude things to select ships that might otherwise bounce AP shells. I must stress, however, that as fun as it may sound to citadel cruisers with HE shells no matter how they angle, Nelson can do this with AP shells most of the time anyway. AP shells also do more damage. As hilarious as it is to make Belfasts cry when you not only carve out most of their hit points with an HE volley but also blow apart their modules and set fires, your four skill points could be better spent elsewhere. You don't really need any special skills if you want to be an HE spammer in this ship. Feel free to toss your Belfast Captain in here if you want, though. Jack Dunkirk The Legendary Commander, Jack Dunkirk, makes a rather good Royal Navy Battleship captain. His Smoke Screen Expert bonus is wasted upon these Dreadnoughts, however, but the bonuses he provides to Jack of All Trades and Expert Marksman makes him very appealing for ships like Nelson. Remember, so long as the commander build includes the skills Superintendent and Concealment Expert, Nelson is largely forgiving. So, if Jack has skills specialized for one of your cruisers, he can still train in Nelson with only a small dip in expected performance. Boom, baby! Nelson using HE in the opening stages of a match, bombarding an enemy Scharnhorst at 17km. By her fourth salvo, Nelson had destroyed both of the Scharnhorst's torpedo tubes, set three fires and crippled her anti-aircraft battery. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Nelson is really going to punish novice players. They're going to make mistakes and Nelson is going to slap them around for it. Her armour needs a subtle touch to be angled properly. Spamming HE doesn't generate great damage numbers. Her AP will bounce a lot at long ranges. She's too slow and too big to easily extract herself from trouble situations or to position herself where she's needed most. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme In the hands of an expert, Nelson becomes a different beast altogether. She just will not die. Proper management of her Repair Party will have her coming back from the dead twice over, ensuring that her team can have a near full-health battleship late in the game, even after tanking a ton of damage. Similarly, proper ammunition use can pay enormous dividends. Her carry potential is limited by her slow speed and lack of vision control, however. Mouse's Summary: She's like a zombie. Without a headshot to put her down for good, she keeps rising from the grave. Her HE shells are a hella fun to use, but it's a mistake to rely on them heavily. You'll kick yourself for every time you have HE loaded and some dumb cruiser or battleship suddenly offers up her broadside. She does not up-tier as well as Nagato, Gneisenau or Scharnhorst. This ship is so much fun. So I know the big question on everyone's mind: Can you spam nothing but HE shells and make this thing work? The answer is 'yes'. You won't do as much damage as you would if you fired AP shells, but it's entirely possible for you to just spit out walls of HE shells instead of anything else and rack up some decent damage and kill totals. The catch is always going to be that you could have done more damage if you fired AP instead. In close matches where the outcome is neck and neck, the lost opportunities to land AP citadel hits may well end up costing you the game. The wiki-editors and I challenged one another to try playing some matches where we shot nothing but HE. Topping 120,000 damage was more difficult than a mix of AP and HE, but it was possible, especially with stacking fires. So, go ahead and spit out nothing but flaming death onto your opponents if you want, just be aware that your damage (and win rate) will take a small hit as a result. This ship seems to be designed to farm salt from the enemy. Between the fires she can set and the absolutely trollish heals, she'll make the enemy want to focus you down hard and fast (lewd!). It's absolutely mean what you can do with her HE shells. See that Scharnhorst / Gneisenau / Tirpitz that's trying to brawl your friends? It would be a shame if someone tore off their torpedo tubes, wouldn't it? Or how about that North Carolina that thinks itself immune to air attack from your tier VII Kaga division mate? It would be a shame if someone stripped them of all of their close and medium range AA power. This is the kind of nonsense that Nelson's HE allows you to do better than other battleships at her tier and it's a very fun shakeup of the usual game play. For all of these tricks and hilarity HE can offer, her AP is still just so much better. Why butcher a New Orleans' AA firepower when you can just blow their citadels out of the water instead? While it's fun to congratulate yourself for a 5-shell, 11,385 damage high explosive volley, this is still less than a single AP shell citadel hit (barring fires of course). There are right times to fire HE, do not get me wrong, but AP should really be the staple of your damage totals in this vessel. Nelson is a good ship, but she's not great. She's got three big flaws in my opinion: Her citadel is too high. She's blind. She's too slow. That high water citadel is going to be a deal breaker for some. When you're up against someone that really knows how to aim (or simply in a tier IX battleship), her weak spots are all but impossible to protect. This all but negates the awesomeness of her Repair Party consumable. And speaking of negating her Repair Party, torpedoes have a habit of doing this too. She has no tricks to help her spot these warheads or their source before it's already too late -- destroyers can pester you with impunity. Given the island humping meta that's so essential to master, Nelson really feels the pinch when she can't send up a plane to take a quick peek on what's going on around the corner. Finally, she is slow. And, I think the worst thing about Nelson's slow speed is that she's not slow enough that many players will see it for the flaw that it is. Nelson will get caught out on occasion and it will cost you games -- not a lot of them, but enough to impact her overall performance. Her big gimmick, though, is damage management. I put an India Delta signal on my Nelson and I took no small amount of pleasure announcing in all chat, "Watch my hp," as my poor, battered dreadnought jumped from 1/3rd of her hit points remaining back up to a hale and healthy 5/6th remaining. The outrage was delicious. I even made a Belfast player complain Nelson was OP when I denied him a kill by healing up from 1,200hp to almost 30,000. Pulling this off requires careful management of your concealment and positioning, disengaging from the thick of the fighting to lick your wounds and then returning to the fray as fast as your slow speed will allow. If it weren't for those three aforementioned flaws, Nelson would be overpowered as all get out. As it is, she's an excellent competitor for any veteran player and she will challenge you to find balance between ammunition choices, fighting at the head of the pack and withdrawing to conduct repairs. Rivals: Battleship USS Missouri HMS Nelson is the second premium vessel to be made available for free experience. The first was USS Missouri, the tier IX American battleship. Missouri's price tag weighs in at a hefty 750,000 free experience -- double that of HMS Nelson. So the question becomes: if you had to choose one, which one would you get? Obviously, if a player prefers one nation's game play over another, that will bias them in favour of a given vessel, but in terms of raw utility, it's hard to argue against the American juggernaut. Missouri has an enormous credit-earning coefficient baked into the ship. She trivializes the earning of credits, with even a poor game netting players in excess of 200,000 to 300,000 credits. Players that own Missouri have posted battle results screens showing them earning over 1.5M credits in a single match. No other premium vessel in the game is as profitable. HMS Nelson simply cannot compete with her on that level. Would I Recommend? Nelson can only be acquired (so I'm told) by spending 375,000 free experience. At a 1 doubloon to 25xp conversion rate, this works out to a cost of $63.25 USD for this ship if you had to buy the 15,000 doubloons necessary at full price. Weigh this against the cost of Scharnhorst, another tier VII premium battleship which weighs in at $42.99 including the port slot (which you'll have to pay extra for with Nelson). PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Battleships almost always do well in Co-Op battles. Nelson does alright, though be aware that things can get a bit tight on coin if you run with premium consumables and you don't have a premium account. We haven't seen any tier VII scenarios yet, so it's difficult to say if she'll meet their requirements well or not. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. If you're not going to get USS Missouri, then hells to the yeah. If nothing else, Nelson will print Fireproof and Dreadnought medals like you will not believe. She's not a bad Arsonist and Witherer farmer either if you want to derp around with HE shells. She's a great trainer for your Belfast Captains in this regard (even if there are going to be some wasted skills here and there). She also works well for training your RN Battleship commanders given that she accepts most builds with a shrug of her shoulders. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Nelson will rock people's socks in Ranked Battles. A fire slinging, super-healing, bow-tanking battleship? Unless she's put down quickly, she's just going to keep coming back and driving the enemy team nuts. When she's not on your team, you're going to hate it when your team mates waste ineffective firepower on her. She gets my vote. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. I would have preferred HMS Rodney -- Nelson's sister ship has a much more storied history. While HMS Nelson served throughout WWII, her exploits mostly involved catching 4 torpedoes and 3 naval mines through the course of her career. She saw little to no surface action, being too slow to catch the Scharnhorst-sisters and too far away to participate in engaging Bismarck. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Depending on your play style and your tolerance for derp, Nelson is either going to be the most fun you can have in a battleship with your pants on or a lackluster mehbote that does nothing for you. I have a high stupid-tolerance, so I say yes. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  15. 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.
  16. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: USS Kidd

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

    Premium Ship PREVIEW: USS Black

    USS Black is still a work in progress. Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed here are subject to change before release. Hell and fire was spawned to be released. Quick Summary: A reward-version of the Fletcher-class Destroyer with Radar. Cost: Black is not for sale and can only be earned by achieving Rank One in five seasons of Ranked Battles. Patch & Date Written: 0.6.1, February 11th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary: Fletcher, Tier 9 American DestroyerDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique USS Black is a Fletcher-class destroyer but, like most premium ships, she has a few changes to make her stand apart from her sister ships. The changes summarize to the following: Black has access to the USN Radar consumable as an option in her third consumable slot. Her deck armour is 19mm instead of 13mm. The torpedoes she launches are slower, longer ranged and harder hitting than Fletcher's with a faster reload. Black swaps out the two twin-gun 40mm Bofors mounts behind her #2 turret for a pair of twin-gun 20mm Oerlikons instead. She's slower than Fletcher by 1.5 knots. She turns slightly better than Fletcher. PROs Armed with five, rapid fire 127mm rifles. She can fire up to ten 13.7km range torpedoes, doing 21,600 damage each and a with reasonable 96s reload per launcher. Decent anti-aircraft armament for a destroyer, including the option to take Defensive Fire. Excellent handling, including a small 560m turning circle, a 3.0s rudder shift time and 34º per second turret traverse. Good concealment values, dropping down to 5.8km with proper specialization and providing a huge stealth-firing window. USS Black can combine smoke and radar, making her the ultimate spotting & support ship. CONs Her 17,100 hit points are on the low side for a tier 9 destroyer. Horrible gun ballistics which makes gunnery of any target outside of 10km punitive. Her torpedoes are the slowest ship-launched fish in the game at 43 knots, taking a full two minutes to reach maximum range. On the slow side for a higher tier destroyer with a maximum speed of 35 knots. Her consumable "options" aren't really optional. If you take anything other than Radar in her 3rd slot, you're a fool. Doesn't appear to have Missouri's massive credit-earning potential. Here it is. This is the second reward ship for Ranked Battles, requiring primacy in five seasons to unlock her. Even in her preview state, Black has caused a lot of fuss. This seems to be a trend with these reward vessels. This is not likely to ever be a common ship. While it can be argued that over time, more players will have reached rank one in five seasons, the natural attrition of the player base will also see some of these veterans hang up their cap and stop playing. Flint isn't commonplace. Black promises to be even more rare. That doesn't undermine the dangers to the meta that an unbalanced ship can present. Still, the alarm that has met Black's preview statistics has been considerable. While not quite an Alabama Drama Llama in scale, the sky is once again (or is it still?) falling in certain community groups. I stress that what we're seeing presently is nothing more than a preview of the ship and not her final form. Things can change. Hopefully this thorough look into USS Black's current build will provide enough insight to see where changes may or may not be needed. Black shares the same camouflage scheme as USS Flint, the first premium reward ship for Ranked Battles. #GetBoat OptionsBlack has the same options as the Fletcher-class but with the added bonus of getting access to Radar in her third consumable slot. You have to swap out Engine Boost for this. Her Radar is identical to that found on Baltimore and Missouri, with a 9.45km acquisition range for 35 seconds. I firmly believe that Wargaming made a misstep with Black's consumables. Swapping her Engine Boost for Radar is a non-decision with radar being optimal in the majority of situations. A more balanced option would have been to make players of USS Black choose between a Smoke Generator and Radar. Thinking this would balance her is, of course, contingent on believing that a destroyer having radar is acceptable at all. We'll see if this consumable combination survives testing. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost or Defensive Fire or Radar Module Upgrades: Six slots, standard USN Destroyer options.Premium Camouflage: Can I call this tier 9+ standard? It provides the same bonus as the Missouri: A 3% concealment bonus, a 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion and a 100% bonus to experience gains. Firepower Primary Battery: Five 127mm rifles in single turrets in a superfiring A-B-P-X-Y arrangement. P turret is forward facing behind the torpedo launchers. Torpedo Armament: Ten 533mm tubes in 2x5 launchers mounted before and behind the rear funnel. Black is armed with five 127mm/38 Mark 30 naval rifles. These are the same guns first seen on the Benson-class destroyers at tier 8 without any significant improvement in performance. This staple of the USN Destroyer line is known for its tremendous rate of fire and excellent gun handling but also its famously poor ballistic qualities that lead to a very high shell arc over range. So while Black can potentially dish out monstrous levels of damage, landing those hits is considerably more of a challenge than the 130mm of Soviet Destroyers, for example. These weapons are very much par for the course for American destroyers and offer nothing in the way of surprises for veterans of the American destroyer line. By tier 8, destroyer caliber guns begin to lose the arms race versus the armour values found on capital ships. Even upgraded with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, her rounds cannot penetrate tier 8+ Battleships anywhere except their superstructure. Her 127mm guns can only penetrate 21mm of armour without the skill while being able to best up to 27mm of armour with it. This value is important -- it's sufficient to damage the bows and sterns of all cruisers and select deck areas on most of these ships. But it's as a destroyer hunter where these guns excel, provided you can close the range. Their very fast turret traverse rate of nearly 34º per second allows the ship to be thrown into evasive maneuvers while maintaining her gun lock on target. This makes her a very real threat to any rival torpedo or gunship. Like USS Sims before it, Black has what the community has often referred to as "naval mine" torpedoes. Their speed is downright laughable at 43 knots (115.1 meters per second under the game's compressed distances). It takes these torpedoes almost a full two minutes to reach the end of their impressive 13.7km range. With a 96s reload, this allows you to put a second salvo in the water before the first is little more than 3/4s done their first run. The good news is that they have a very short surface detection range of 0.9km. However, given their slow speed, her targets have approximately 7.8s worth of reaction time which is fairly standard. Their real weakness is if they're picked up early. They're so slow that some ships can turn away and even outrun the darned things.Black's torpedoes are, at best, area denial weapons. While possible to ambush someone at point blank range and make their life miserable (and short), more often they're used as a fire and forget series of water-mines, helping push the Reds away from a given area. During testing, there was a bug present where Black's torpedoes weren't doing anywhere close to the right amount of damage. Though listed as capping out at 21,600, their damage was all over the map and never where it should have been. Several of the testers and I took USS Black out into training rooms and slammed fish into various bots, ensuring we got midship strikes with single torpedoes. Strikes against ships without anti-torpedo defenses never got higher than 12,804 damage. Hits to the Yamato's torpedo bulges did 8,368. Yet hits to a Mogami (A-Hull) did 13,093 while hits against the upgraded (C-Hull) did 12,397 damage. This is despite the torpedo bulges for these three respective ships reducing damage by 55%, 13% and 18% respectively. The math doesn't add up. Bug reports were filled out. Did I mention this ship was still very much a work in progress? Black's torpedoes will be a heck of a lot more fun to use when they work properly. Maneuverability Top Speed: 35.0 knots Turning Radius: 560m Rudder Shift Time: 3.0s The Fletcher-class, and by extension USS Black, has great agility. With a tiny turning circle and excellent rudder shift time, Black appears equally well set up to dodge fire as Fletcher. However, it should be noted that she's 1.5 knots slower than her sister ship. But there's more to this ship than that. Black bleeds speed faster than Fletcher does in a turn while maintaining a comparable maximum speed with her rudder hard over. It takes Fletcher approximately 20.4s to drop down to 30.6 knots in a turn while Black will drop to 30.3 knots in roughly 12.9s. This makes the Fletcher "skid" more through the first leg of the turn while Black's hull bites in. Thus, Black has a quarter of a second's advantage in progressing through a 90º turn at top speed and almost two-thirds of a second for full a 360º turn. Though Black has the same rudder shift time and turning radius of Fletcher, Black is slightly more agile in a turn despite their similar stat profile. Who'd have thought? Durability Hit Points: 17,100 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm One of the strange differences between Black and Fletcher is Black's deck armour. It's 19mm on Black versus the 13mm found on Fletcher. This isn't a significant change but it has two highly situational benefits. First, it provides some protection against high explosive shells smaller than 120mm in diameter. HE Shells of this size, without a buff from the tier 4 Captain Skill, Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will simply shatter on impact for no damage. However, this caliber of gun isn't too commonplace within Black's matchmaking spread, being limited to the main battery of the Akizuki and the secondaries off of Russian and German Cruisers (yeah, like those are worth fussing over) and some of secondaries off of German Battleships (okay, THOSE are worth fussing about). Second, 19mm armour provides some defense against AP shells. Anything smaller than the 283mm off the Schanrhorst is unable to overmatch Black's armour. If (for whatever reason) a heavy cruiser decided to shoot AP shells, this creates a chance for the shells to ricochet off her deck if they come in at too shallow an angle. Yes, I know. Neither benefit is going to come into play very often. Overall, Black's hit points are on the low side for a Destroyer -- well behind the German Z-46 and the Soviet Destroyers (including the new ones which are also works in progress). It's only against the Yugumo that she has any advantage. Thus, engaging enemy destroyers isn't without risk -- Black simply doesn't have the big hit point totals to trade fire effectively, especially if she begins to struggle to land hits. This Akizuki didn't have the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill on her Captain. Short of hitting Black's superstructure, she couldn't hurt her with her HE. Had she been shooting a Fletcher, it's possible some of the splashes against her upper hull might have struck the deck and penetrated, but that's very unlikely given their flat trajectory at this close range. Concealment and Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 7.4kmAir Detection Range: 4.0kmMinimum Surface Detection Range: 5.8kmConcealment Penalty while Main Battery Fire: +3.81km (vs 12.9km gun range) Black has excellent concealment values for a tier 9 destroyer, bested only by the Yugumo. When fully kitted out for stealth, she weighs in with a 5.8km surface detection range and just over 9.6km when firing her guns in open water. Without boosting her range with Advanced Fire Training, this gives the ship a 3.3km stealth-firing window with her main battery. It's not unreasonable to see why there's very little need to extend the range of Black's guns, especially given the punitive ballistics at targets more than 10km away. More importantly is how this rather small surface detection range allows Black to shadow enemy ships and keep them spotted. There is no ship currently in the game that is as adept at spotting as Black. By keeping her guns silent, she can creep along, trailing enemy vessels from a safe distance. Should they try and blow smoke, she can make use of her Radar consumable which has a 9.45km range to continue to provide eyes on a beleaguered target. The only answer to such sneaky spotting tactics is to hope that a friendly ship can spot Black and put an end to her shenanigans, usually in the form of aircraft or an enemy vessel also equipped with radar, like a Soviet Cruiser. Black's worth is often measured by how well she can support her team. Black gives you some very powerful tools for controlling vision, with an American Smoke Generator, which provides 127s worth of cover to team mates while at the same time lighting up the enemy. In this way, under ideal circumstances your team can see the enemy and the enemy won't see yours. Black can continue to contribute by dropping her fish without losing her concealment values. Where her torpedoes are concerned, Black has an enormous stealth firing window when specialized for concealment. This is an obscene 7.9km. However, it should be noted that it will take Black's torpedoes 52 seconds to reach a target that's a mere 6km out. That's a long time for a ship not to make any course adjustments, so it's best not to use the lead indicator on the torpedoes and instead go for more of an area-denial approach to hedge your bets. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Gun Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 54 / 34 / 37 It's possible (though admittedly a bit of a waste with Black) to turn this ship into a passable AA escort. It's unlikely that this ship will ever be without some form of buff to its AA firepower, as Captain Skills aimed at improving her firepower will also affect her AA suite. This provides Black with an approximate DPS value per Aura of 64 / 41 / 45 which is rather respectable, especially for a destroyer. However, this isn't going to dissuade tier 9 and 10 air-groups from loitering in your vicinity. It's only with a heavy investment in skills and (for some reason) taking Defensive Fire that Black can make her anti-aircraft armament into a very real threat to enemy attack planes. As this would require you to drop Surveillance Radar, it's really not worth it. Black's AA firepower is enough to dent attack plane squadrons. But like most destroyers, you'll want to keep your AA turned off most of the time. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Playing destroyers in general isn't easy. However, Black is a little more forgiving than most. The Fletcher-class is already one of the better destroyers at tier 9 (and arguably, in the game as a whole). Black provides a set of training wheels in the form of her radar consumable to make life just that little bit easier for an inexperienced player. In the hands of a veteran, the combination of Black's consumables, concealment rating, agility and torpedo armament make her an enormous threat to the enemy team. For players who enjoy the support role, I can think of few ships as exciting as the (arguably overpowered) potential that Black provides. With the monopoly on radar for a ship with such a small surface detection range, Black will inspire many rage-threads in the future, I have little doubt. This ship lives to use and abuse spotting mechanics and strip any pretense of vision control from the enemy in local engagements. Mouse's Summary: Black is a Fletcher-class destroyer with Radar. If you didn't know it already, the Fletcher-class is hella-good in World of Warships. And now it has radar. The most rewarding use of this ship is through the control of vision in an engagement. Spot the enemy and protect your own team with smoke. The torpedo bug annoyed me to no end. Black is still very much a work in progress. Be aware this is a preview, people, not a review. So, this is a rather late preview. It's not a lack of effort, but moreover from a change in preview policies from Wargaming itself. Community Contributors should be getting earlier access to ships. What's more, we should also be providing our content much earlier within development cycle. But this in turn presents a problem: Ships early in their development cycle aren't necessarily well balanced and are likely to undergo a change or two before release. This should explain why I'm saying, over and over, this is a preview. This is why you'll see "Work in Progress" (WiP) watermarks on videos produced by my fellow contributors. It's also why there was a bit of concern about articles like these going into extensive depth about the current statistics of a ship rather than simply a broad overview. My own release was delayed until I got the specific okay to go into the minutia of this upcoming release. Playing USS Black was a real treat for me. First, it's a Fletcher-class and I have a real soft spot for the Fletcher. When I was little, my father had an old DOS-box he liked to keep running long past obsolescence which had a game "Wolfpack" on it. This pit Type VII, IX and XXI U-Boats against American Fletcher-class destroyers. It had a hot-seat PVP mode. My father would always play the Germans and I would get to take my turn as the Fletchers trying to defend my poor freighters and tankers from his predation. This mostly involved me chasing after his pillenwerfer and blowing the snot out of them with copious amounts of depth charges and hedgehog mortars. My father loved lording his gaming superiority over his then eight-year old daughter... USS Black brings back the warm fuzzies of those memories. Instead of chasing down U-Boats, I instead get to chase down enemy ships trying to hide in smoke while screening my own forces. It's a very rewarding style of play and it's such a shame that it's limited currently only to the Black. With that said, it's not without its dangers to the meta of game play. If Wargaming were to make such a combination more commonplace (either through many USS Blacks becoming available within the community or through the addition of Radar to a destroyer-line), combat in and around capture points would certainly chance towards the more passive. The only thing worse about being the first ship spotted is being the only ship spotted and focused by the entire enemy team. I personally think that combining radar AND smoke one a low surface-detection ship is the wrong way to go. I hope to see USS Black have to choose between the two. But who knows? We'll see how her development continues. In Closing As a final reminder, take what you've read in this preview with a pinch of salt. There's plenty to discuss, maybe even a few elements to be concerned about but I would hold off on brandishing torches and pitchforks if you object too strongly about something you see in USS Black. Similarly, don't get too excited or married to the idea of a particular combination of stats if you think this ship is a must-have. Things will change.
  18. HMS Vanguard is the ghost of the Royal Navy battleship tech tree everyone wanted to see. Ostensibly, HMS Vanguard was designed to be a tier VIII version of HMS Warspite. However, Vanguard falls short of this aspiration. For a high-tier Royal Navy battleship, she's surprisingly not idiot-proof, with a vulnerable citadel that needs to be protected with angling and manoeuvres. What's most exciting: Her AP shells are wonderful. Wargaming has offered some concessions to both of the fans of the current Royal Navy battleship line. They included HMS Monarch's excellent high explosive shells to Vanguard's arsenal, ensuring that these two players can continue spamming HE without a guilty conscience while everyone else rolls their eyes. I want to thank Wargaming for providing me access to this ship. This is the release version of the vessel and all of the statistics discussed here are current as of November 15th, 2018. PROS Large hit point pool of 71,700hp. Main battery has a quick 25s reload and excellent gun handling. Has the same dispersion pattern as Warspite, Hood and Queen Elizabeth and boasts 2.0 sigma, making her one of the most precise battleships in the game. Excellent AP and HE performance for a 381mm shell, including good penetration and damage values, rewarding versatile ammunition choice. Very fast rudder shift time for a battleship of 9.7 seconds. Improved Repair Party, queuing and healing back more than standard and with fast reset timer. CONS Exposed, above-water citadel. Absolutely appalling firing angles on her main battery. Main battery is only eight 381mm rifles creating issues with overmatching and DPM. AA defense is for self defense only and is concentrated in 3.5km range, medium caliber mounts that are easily knocked out. Large turning radius of 850m and slow rate of turn exacerbates the issues with her fire angles. Overview The maximum rotation positions of X and Y turret (her rear guns). They are not new-player friendly. They're not even veteran-player friendly. Vanguard's terrible fire angles so utterly dominate her game play, I felt the tremendous compulsion to wear white-lace and beg her to be gentle. These fire angles screwed me over more times than I can count. Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Vanguard encourages players to sail with their broadsides exposed. With her above-water citadel, you can imagine how well she's going to go over with novice players. You know what? Never mind the novices. The veterans are going to find this frustrating too as it limits the amount of firepower she can dish out when trading. She's a battleship that reward cautious, opportunistic play -- which is review-speak for "hide in the back, shoot when you can and don't brawl". – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Vanguard has strengths and weaknesses across the board, giving her a rating in Offense, Agility, Anti-Air and Vision Control. It's only in Defense where she stands out with a rating. Her citadel is very vulnerable for a battleship, however she counters this with a the largest hit point pool at her tier and an amazing Repair Party consumable. Options Aside from Vanguard's Repair Party, there's nothing out of the ordinary to be found here. Consumables Vanguard's Damage Control Party is standard for a British battleship. She has unlimited charges. It has a 15 second action time and a 120s / 80s reset timer. Her Repair Party is improved. See the DEFENSE section below. There's a lot to go over. This starts with 3 charges base. Upgrades Optimization of Vanguard's upgrades will see the usual suspects rear their tired old heads. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next take Damage Control Systems Modification 1. You've got a choice in your third slot. As ever, emphasizing gunnery is best so your first pick here should be Aiming Systems Modification 1. However, if you're salty about CVs, taking AA Guns Modification 2 is an okay choice. It's not great, but it's okay. Damage Control Modification 2 is arguably the best choice for most players in slot 4. You can elect to take Steering Gears Modification 2 to emphasize the strengths of her already quick rudder shift time. Be aware this is harder to make use of optimally even if it can yield higher results -- it's easier to tank damage than it is to dodge it, after all. Finally, take everyone's favourite no-brainer: Concealment Modification 1. Camouflage Vanguard comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 381mm guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 134mm guns in 8x2 turrets. These are superfiring with two forward facing and two rear facing per side. Secondaries Let's start with the small guns. You can largely forget that Vanguard has secondaries. These 134mm guns lack the range, reload time and volume of fire needed to present a credible threat to opponents. This is really unfortunate given their nice shell weight and fire chance. If they had the range or they had the rate of fire, maybe a secondary build would be fun to play around with. Lamentably, it's a mistake to invest anything in upgrading these weapons -- they simply can't do what you need them to. At best they might be able to start a fire on an enemy capital ship that strays too close. However, with Vanguard's high citadel, getting into a brawl is a death sentence, so stay out of secondary range. Main Battery Precision There's so much to like about Vanguard's main battery. First of, there's her precision. Vanguard is a blast from the past, sharing same horizontal dispersion value of the older British premium battleships, including Hood and Warspite. Inside of 12km, she overtakes even the vaunted Japanese battleship accuracy, making her much more adept at picking off close range targets like destroyers. Combined with her 2.0 sigma value, landing hits feels very comfortable, even at long ranges. Standard dispersion test for my reviews -- 180 shells fired at 15km locked onto a stationary target Fuso without camouflage. She was equipped with Aiming Systems Modification 1. Vanguard doesn't quite enjoy the same level of precision as Warspite owing to her faster shell velocity and energy preservation. This gives her a larger vertical dispersion area at all ranges. However, this does lead to improved shell lead times making gunnery easier. Note that Vanguard suffers from a lot of "downward drift" which adds a margin of error to these shell maps as I had to readjust aim with every volley fired. Thus the dispersion area maybe slightly smaller than shown. Shell Performance Vanguard's HE shells don't share the same performance anachronism as her dispersion. They're modern, almost (but not quite) matching HMS Monarch's HE, including her shell damage and penetration. Monarch's have a 1% higher chance to set blazes over Vanguard, though -- don't ask me why. Vanguard doesn't quite match up to the tech tree Royal Navy battleships for fire setting ability. This is good news to me -- it removes some of the brainless quality of HE spam. When you do reach over for her AP shells, you're rewarded with a welcome change from other Royal Navy battleship AP. Like Warspite before her, Vanguard has a longer fuse timer with her AP. This has a few effects. The downside is that she's more likely to overpenetrate soft targets, including broadside cruisers and battleship extremities. The upside is that it provides her AP with increased bite for reaching machine spaces and magazines buried deeper within the core of enemy warships -- especially those with spaced armour protecting their citadels. Vanguard is especially good at punishing broadside battleships at range. Approximate penetration values for Vanguard's AP shells. Vanguard's HE shells are fixed with 95mm of penetration -- not quite enough to punish the few exposed citadels found on high tier cruisers. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will add a few more ships to the roster that her HE can punish, but it's not worth the points investment. Data pulled from World of Warships AP Calculator. Site linked in the appendix. Penetration wise, her AP shells are well setup, having comparable bite to Tirpitz and Bismarck. It pays to keep their caliber in mind, however. Her 381mm shells cannot overmatch the 27mm bows of American and German heavy cruisers. As good as Vanguard's AP shells are, spamming nothing but won't do you any more favours than if you used HE shells exclusively. Switch shells often in Vanguard and she'll reward you. Vanguard's fast 25 second reload facilitates swapping between ammunition while also padding her damage output when it comes time to cycle her guns. Damage output among the tier VIII battleships is very close. Vanguard keeps pace with her fast rate of fire, compensating for her smaller armament. As ever, take these numbers with a pinch of salt -- they do not represent the challenges of getting shells on target or penetrating when they get there. For whatever reason, Vanguard's HE shells only have a 34% base fire chance as opposed to Monarch's 35%. This creates an increased gap in their fire setting potential and makes Vanguard no better of a fire starter than American battleships. Still the increased damage she dispenses makes this more than worthwhile. Before any of you get yourself all hot and bothered about Monarch's fire setting, Cleveland (the gold-standard of tier VIII burnination) can spit out 9.97 fires per minute with the IFHE penalty and no other buffs. The same disclaimers apply for this chart as the others -- this is merely an indicator of performance and does not represent actual in game results. A myriad of factors will always conspire to mitigate a ship's ability to set fires including (but not limited to), target selection, opportunity, shell dispersion, fire resistance, etc. The Deal Breaker All of these strengths are present to pad for one massive weakness: Vanguard's appalling fire angles. Vanguard has a fast rate of fire, great HE shells, fast turret traverse and excellent precision because her fire angles are so bad. It's all meant to be compensation because Vanguard must present a near perfect broadside in order to fire all eight of her guns at a target. This leaves her incredibly vulnerable to reprisals. She is functionally incapable of autobouncing enemy shells while firing her full armament and instead she must rely on her armour thickness to repel shells. At anything but the longest of ranges, this is a fool's errand. Thus, Vanguard often has to sacrifice firepower in order to properly angle against her enemies. This is why her gun performance is so good: she's often forced to fight with only half of her weapons. Wargaming have done everything they can to make it easier to bring the other half to bear when possible. Her gun traverse is quick. Her reload is fast. She answers her rudder quickly too to help swing her butt out to unmask her guns. I'm not going to lie: These bad fire angles are enough to put me off this ship entirely, which is saying a lot given all of the wonderful perks her guns otherwise enjoy. Vanguard has the same (terrible) forward firing angles as the King George V-class battleships. However, her rearward firing angles are worse than the tier VII battleship. No matter how you choose to engage an enemy, when you use all eight of Vanguard's guns, you open yourself up to return-fire and potential citadel damage. Bad firing angles are one of my personal pet-peeves. I can stomach a lot of things, up to and including sluggish gun traverse, but not bad fire angles. This has greatly soured my opinion of this ship. Summary Secondaries are bad. Her main guns perform beautifully provided you can use all of them. Her fire angles will get you killed. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : I almost gave her a rating here -- that's how bad her fire angles are. However, there's just too many perks glued onto her weapons to make that a fair assessment. She'd need a much faster rate of fire before I would consider bumping this up. Or, you know, completely redesign the ship to give her better fire angles. That would work too. Defense Hit Points: 71,700 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 356mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25% Armour Protection The 356mm/343mm armour is replicated again around her rear magazine. Her turret faces are 343mm front, 228mm side, 178mm rear, and 152mm on top with 305mm barbettes. Let's start with the elephant in the room: Vanguard's citadel sits over the waterline. Much fuss will be made over this and rightly so. Only Roma shares this high-water vulnerability and the Italian ship is much better equipped to angle and bounce incoming fire. The net effect is that Vanguard is more likely to take citadel damage than other battleships when someone catches her side. This isn't to say that citadel damage is an exclusive weakness to Vanguard. However, it pays to keep her vulnerability in mind. Her aforementioned firing angles on her main battery guns exacerbates this problem. When Vanguard is firing all eight of her weapons, whatever she's shooting at has an easy target from which to farm damage. What makes Vanguard's fire angles such a liability compared to other battleships has to do with autobounce mechanics. Let's get technical for a moment to explain why. If AP shells cannot overmatch armour, there's an autobounce check. This occurs before any penetration attempts are made. The angle of the shell is compared to the angle of the surface it strikes. Normally, battleship AP shells that hit with an acute angle of 30º or less will auto-ricochet. This is why bow-tanking is so prevalent -- shells simply slide off the ship's bow and deck, unable to bite into the armour. No matter how much penetration a shell has, if it strikes at too shallow of an angle, your ship can avoid damage. Normally, battleship AP shells that hit with an angle of 45º or more cannot autoricochet. Any shells that strike between 45º and 90º to the hull will follow normal penetration mechanics. In between these two values, the auto-ricochet chance scales linearly. For Vanguard, when she fires her all eight guns forward at a 43º angle, any return fire from her target has only a 13% chance of suffering a ricochet. When she fires all eight guns to the rear at a 40º angle, this improves to a 33% chance. Most battleships are capable of firing all of their guns 35º off their bow, allowing them to ricochet shells automatically 2/3s of the time. The steeper they angle themselves, the better this defense. This mechanic is absolutely essential for keeping battleships safe from the monstrous levels of penetration found at higher tiers. Not only does it provide a better chance of automatically deflecting shells, it adds relative thickness to their armour belts. The steeper you angle, the greater the effective thickness. Vanguard's belt has between 503mm and 522mm worth of protection at 43º. However, if she could fire at 35º off her bow, this would increase to 598mm to 621mm. Data pulled from proships.ru (link in the Appendix). Values are approximate, usually with about 5% higher estimates than Wargaming's values published in their Armada series of videos. You can see by these values that at range, Vanguard makes an excellent bully when top tier -- with rare exceptions, she can unmask her X and Y turrets and fire, confident that her belt will be proof against return fire. This falls away when dueling with tier VIII+ opponents. With few exceptions, they all have the raw penetration needed to best her belt while she fires a broadside. Her citadel protection isn't all bad, though. First off, AP bombs can't citadel you. Hooray! Second, shots that land high that attempt to bi-pass her belt and drop down into her citadel have to contend with a 32mm citadel roof. Only Yamato and Musashi's 460mm guns can overmatch this, meaning that any other shell will skip off the top of her machine spaces for only penetration damage. Thus it's only shots fired directly at her waterline which can damage her citadel. The use of Priority Target is almost a must to alert you when enemies are looking your way to give you time to angle in and protect yourself. Vanguard needs time to stack damage -- to find those moments where she can sit broadside and make excellent use of her precision and rate of fire but don't push your luck when you're taking hits. There's one last little point of contention with Vanguard's protection scheme: With the entirety of her deck and extremities boasting no more than 32mm of armour, Vanguard is a juicy target for light cruisers. Expect to burn a lot if they catch you out in the open. Provided you can protect Vanguard's citadel (and that's a pretty big if), she has the largest effective hit point pool of any of the tier VIII battleships. With optimal use of her consumable, her theoretical maximum (less Survivability Expert) effectively doubles her hit point pool. In practice, you're never going to see that kind of number. Repair Party If Vanguard appears a little squishy, she all but makes up for it with her excellent Repair Party consumable. While she doesn't boast the same portable dry-dock found on HMS Lion, Nelson and Conqueror, she has the next best thing. Here's the bonuses she has baked in: Her Repair Party resets quickly. The reset timer on consumable is 90 seconds / 60 seconds for standard / premium. Compare this to the usual 120 seconds / 80 seconds of the normal Repair Party. She queues up 60% of penetration damage. This is admittedly standard for Royal Navy battleships, so Vanguard doesn't stand apart from the rest of the ships in her line. For most other battleships it's 50%. Vanguard queues up 33% of citadel damage. This is huge. While it would best to avoid taking citadel damage of any kind, Vanguard heals up more than the 10% of other battleships. Keep in mind, this also applies to torpedo damage which is the most common form of citadel damage battleships receive. This is especially good in Vanguard's case given her poor anti-torpedo protection. She heals up to 16.8% of her hit points per charge. Normal Repair Party mechanics heal up only 14% over 28 seconds -- or 0.5% per second. Vanguard enjoys a 20% boost over this like Warspite, healing 0.6% per second over the same time period. With up to five charges at her disposal through the use of premium and skills, Vanguard's faster reset timer ensures that she's able to make full use of her health regeneration. Her enormous hit point pool also guarantees big returns as Repair Party scales with a ship's starting hit point total. Summary For all of Vanguard's potential vulnerability with her high citadel, she's well equipped to mitigate and manage said damage. When she's top tier, the vulnerability of her citadel drops down considerably, making her very powerful. Light cruisers are always going to be pain in the butt, though, and beware HE spam from battleships too. Vanguard isn't done yet with her tricks, though, as you'll see in the AGILITY section below. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Can a battleship with an exposed citadel even be considered ? It feels a bit of a stretch to me, but if you can keep her citadel protected, Vanguard is hella tough. That's a pretty big 'if' though when she's not top tier. She may lose her current rating when the North Carolina Repair Party buff goes through. Agility Top Speed: 30.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 850m Rudder Shift Time: 9.7 seconds (!) 4/4 Engine Speed Turning Rate: 4.1º/s The big thing to talk about here is Vanguard's rudder shift time. Now I've harped on rudder shift before -- it's a mean to an end, not an end of itself. Boasting that a ship has a great rudder shift time is like boasting that a ship has great range on its main battery guns -- it's nice to have but it's not a good indicator of a ship's performance. The same applies here. Vanguard answers her rudder quickly and her movements are much more precise as a result, but it would be a mistake to call this ship agile. Vanguard's rate of turn holds her back. 4.1º/s is painfully average for a high tier battleship. She sits well behind ships like the Richelieu-class sisters and the South Dakota-class sisters. This is caused by two things. One, her turning radius is big. Two, she doesn't have any baked in bonuses to help her preserve speed in the turn. The upside to her modest handling (and it's a stretch to call this a benefit) is that she can't out turn her turrets. She starts with a 5.0º/s rotation on her main battery guns and Expert Marksman only widens the gap, making adjusting her fire very comfortable if it weren't for those damned firing arcs. Vanguard's fast rudder shift time is almost good enough to allow her to fire her guns and angle back quickly enough to avoid reprisals. Almost. The simple fact of the matter, going from a 30º aspect to a 43º and back again takes too long. I never managed better than 15 seconds during trials. You might be able to pull this off against an inexperienced opponent but this is owing more to their mistakes rather than the merits of the ship itself. If you want to be able to fire all eight of Vanguard's guns while not getting your citadel blown out, you're going to have to play clever. Now just because Vanguard can't wiggle-wiggle-shoot doesn't preclude her from being able to dodge. This is something she's quite good at and where her rudder shift time makes her deliciously unpredictable. You'll still need range in order to pull this off, but you can pretend to begin unmasking your guns in order to bait shots and then double back on your course to bounce their shells. Similarly, the amount of bounce and twirl in her badonkadonk makes her a real nuisance for destroyers to land torpedoes. Vanguard is all about frustrating gunnery -- both yours and your opponents. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's not a speed demon like the French botes nor wiggling like the SoDaks. She's also not a thunderbutt like Kii, so there's that. I was personally hoping to see her preserve a little more speed in the turn to get her rotation rate up -- that would have done it, but it didn't pan out during testing. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Gun Calibers: 134mm / 40mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.2km / 3.5km AA DPS per Aura: 68 / 413.1 For personal defense, Vanguard's anti-aircraft firepower is excellent -- comparable to the American battleships. However, that's about as far as it extends. Vanguard lacks the weight of fire with her dual purpose guns to be a credible threat to aircraft further out. This precludes any claims of efficiency with Manual Fire Control for AA Guns -- too much of her flak is focused upon her 3.5km 40mm batteries. This adds a second weakness: her medium caliber weapons don't stand up to punishment very well. If you've taken even a light dusting of HE shells, odds are your anti-aircraft firepower is nowhere near as formidable as it once was. So, while you're pristine and perfect, you'll shred planes. It's worth investing in Advanced Fire Training to help boost this further, but that's about as far as improving her anti-aircraft firepower should go. Hey look, I made it through a section without mentioning her awful fire ang -- aw, damn it. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's very close. Were it not for FOUR American battleships all having very similar AA firepower (and Kii besides), she might be able to muscle in and make her presence felt. As it is, she sits in their shadow. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 16.04km Air Detection Range: 13.7km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.04km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.73km Main Battery Firing Range: 20.0km There's not much to go over here. Vanguard's concealment is "sufficient unto the task" and nothing more. She sits in the middle of the pack for surface detection behind Monarch (14.6km), Roma (14.9km) and North Carolina (15.7km) and just ahead of the Alabama-twins (16.2km) and Bismarck-sisters (16.4km). Vision Control consumables are rare at this tier, being limited to Bismarck's Hydroacoustic Search and various spotter and float plane fighters found on select ships. Vanguard doesn't have access to any of them and she ends up feeling blind without them. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : More stealth or a spotting consumable other than an aircraft. Alpha and Omega There's not much to say in regards to the skill choices for Vanguard. You can buff up her anti-aircraft firepower if you're super salty about CVs, but on the whole a generic battleship captain build emphasizing fire resistance would serve you better. Start with Priority Target. Take Adrenaline Rush as your second skill. Follow this up with Basics of Survivability at the third tier. For your 10th point-skill, choose between Concealment Expert and Fire Prevention with your 14th point-skill, take the alternative. With your remaining 5 points to spend, customize as you will. Advanced Fire Training will serve you well if you want a little more teeth to your AA guns -- especially when paired with AA Guns Modification 2 from your upgrades. For your remaining 1pt, take either Preventative Maintenance or Expert Loader. Alternatively, you can mix and match between Superintendent, Expert Marksman, Jack of All Trades and High Alert. Keep those tier 1 skills in mind as filler. Final Evaluation She has two main flaws and only two: Her citadel sits high over the water and her fire arcs suck. If you can mitigate these two weaknesses, this boat is amazing. She's been padded with all of the perks possible to compensate for these challenges. If you can't mitigate them, or you find it frustrating, Vanguard is a steaming pile of doo. "The second coming of Warspite" has such a nice ring to it. So many of us were hoping that the Royal Navy battleship line would have borrowed heavily from Warspite's game design -- namely her gun's precision, sluggish gun handling, good agility and improved heals. Instead we got a pack of flame throwers with cloaking devices and portable dry-docks. Complaining about what became of the Royal Navy battleships is so 2017, though. I had pinned my new hopes that Vanguard would be my baebote #2, echoing a lot of what made Warspite great. She almost got there which is pretty surprising. But let's not sugarcoat things -- Vanguard fell short of the mark. This isn't a tier VIII Warspite. So is Vanguard "good"? Well, yes. Yes, she is. However, there's a big ol' butt attached. She's good but she's also potentially frustrating as all get out. I've grumbled enough about her fire arcs. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, if you can't tell. This right here is what would relegated Vanguard to a port-queen for me. For others, her exposed citadel is going to be a big no-no. Why play a battleship that can get her machine spaces easily blown out when you could play something similar that doesn't have to put up with that nonsense? Her inability to overmatch select heavy cruisers will be a turn-off for others. It will keep her from being a contender in competitive play because of it. Finally, her longer AP fuse timer gives her an increased chance of overpenetrations. There's few things as heart breaking as lining up that perfect shot on a cruiser only to watch your shells sail clean through, inflicting minimal damage. One of the ways a premium ship can get in my bad books is by forcing a player to take extra steps to accomplish the same task as other vessels. Vanguard ticks this box. If Famous and HIstorical Monarch can do what Vanguard does and with less frustration, why bother picking up Vanguard? If the comparison to Monarch is bringing you pause, good. The two ships have very similar play styles with the tech tree ship being idiot-proof. I think this is perhaps the most damning thing that could be said about Vanguard: like Monarch, she's a little dull. Thankfully, Vanguard does borrow just enough from Warspite to spare her being called the second coming of the King George V that never was. I'm just not sure it's enough to redeem the ship in my eyes. Her perks are compelling, but it keeps coming back to those frustrating elements for me. I suppose that says it all right there. Know thyself. If those elements seem like turn-offs to you, then stay away. Otherwise, she'll do you no wrong. Would I Recommend? Vanguard acted as the gatekeeper to the initial offering of HMS Dreadnought. If you wanted the latter you had to also buy the former. Make sure you weigh the merits of both ships before pulling the trigger on a purchase like that. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Bots are dumb. Battleships vs bots is always a good fit. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. No. You are absolutely spoiled rotten for choice when it comes to Royal Navy premium battleships. Warspite, Hood, Nelson, Duke of York and Dreadnought are all on offer. Vanguard does have the advantage of being the highest tier, and thus potentially making the most bank, but you could do almost as well for yourself in most of the others. (I can't believe I'm recommending Duke of York as a reasonable alternative...) For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Get yourself Massachusetts or Alabama instead. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. She's the last Royal Navy battleship ever -- built in steel and she's drop dead gorgeous. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? No. I didn't find her fun to play. However, that's because I'm a whiner when it comes to firing arcs. Maybe your own mileage will be different. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on oh-so scientific, not-sarcastic at all, Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it! In Conclusion It's only a week late. That's unfortunately going to be the status quo going forward as I perpetually play catch-up with releases. Since Dreadnought and Vanguard were ninja-announced last week, Bourgogne has been finalized. In addition Charleston was released without any warning, so there are three new reviews in the queue. What's more, the Black Friday ships, Massachusetts, Tirpitz, Atago and Asashio are on their way out. While Tirpitz and Massachusetts' reviews are still reasonably up to date, the changes to the latter two could warrant a revisit. Given the limited access I'm going to have with Bourgogne, I'll probably be prioritizing that one as my next review unless something else comes up. Thank you all for reading. Thank you very much to everyone that supports me on Patreon for helping me produce this content. Appendix Armour penetration data was pulled from two sites: http://proships.ru/stat/ships/ https://mustanghx.github.io/ship_ap_calculator/
  19. Welcome to part three of my review of Saipan, Enterprise, Kaga and Graf Zeppelin. Since patch 0.8.2, Wargaming considers these ships finalized (barring the occasional bug fix). There's a lot of redundancy in reviewing four carriers one after the other, so to mitigate this, I've decided to evaluate them all at the same time. Rather than a single monumental article, I have broken this up into sections, releasing one a new part every week or so. After an introduction, I covered the torpedo bombers from these four carriers. This week, I'll be looking at their attack aircraft. Here's the series so far. Part One: Introduction Part Two: Torpedo Bombers Part Three: Attack Aircraft (this article!) Basic Parameters So let's start by covering the essentials. Unlike with torpedo bombers, all attack aircraft are spotted at 10km by aircraft or ships. This can be modified as low as 8.1km with all bonuses stacked. Their durability is more varied, however: I'm still trying to reconcile that Seafires are considered more durable than Hellcats, Corsairs or Bearcats. On the whole, attack aircraft are much more fragile than torpedo or dive bombers. They don't benefit very much on their own from the 7.5% health bonus provided by the Attack Aircraft Modification 2 upgrade, with only Implacable and Saipan gaining more than base 120hp provided by the Survivability Expert skill. Still, the two abilities do stack for a more tidy sum, but I couldn't recommend choosing the upgrade over improving Dive Bombers or Torpedo Bombers, depending on the ship in question. Speed Initial aircraft speeds. These can be modified with the Improved Engines and Adrenaline Rush commander skills. These values are important as they form the basis of the speeds of the ship's respective fighter consumables. Summoned fighters travel at the same speed as a boosted attack aircraft. So Graf Zeppelin and Implacable's fighters move at 183kts, for example. From these values you can figure out if your aircraft can outrun pursuing planes. Attack aircraft are generally faster than their dive bomber and torpedo bomber counterparts, but there is a notable exception. Graf Zeppelin's Me-155As are appallingly slow compared to her Ta-152s which manage 181 knots base. Attack aircraft do lack a long-lasting boost. While dive bombers and torpedo bombers enjoy up to 20s worth of extra power to slow or accelerate, attack aircraft only have 5 seconds initially (this can be improved to 6.05s with the Improved Engine Boost commander skill in combination with the Aircraft Engines Modification 1 upgrade). Furthermore, the engine boost on attack aircraft isn't as efficient, providing less speed and slow effects than those on dive bombers and torpedo bombers. However, this is countered by a much faster recharge time and far more responsive acceleration and braking power when this is used. Lastly, while engaging on attack runs, an attack aircraft's boost works at full efficiency. Speed matters so much for an aircraft carrier's planes, moreso than durability. If a plane is fast enough and they have a long enough attack-run time, they can outright negate the threat of flak bursts. In addition, speed also reduces exposure to sustained damage from AA mounts. Finally, speed means there's less travel time both to and from the target, allowing a carrier player to deliver more attacks over time. A given aircraft (and squadron) needs only be "durable enough" to reduce casualties. Anything beyond that is merely wasted window dressing. Contrarily, more speed is always useful. Agility Like with torpedo bombers, a given aircraft's agility is not linked directly to their given speed and is set based upon internal, hidden parameters. Thus while Graf Zeppelin and Implacable's attack aircraft share the same speed, they have different turning radii and thus different rates of rotation. Like torpedo bombers if you want your aircraft to turn faster, slow down. This (greatly!) increases their rate of turn. Measured in degrees per second. The boosted rates of turn had to be estimated because the boost for attack aircraft doesn't last long enough for a complete 360º rotation. Estimations were made by extrapolating the ratio of Enterprise and Graf Zeppelin's attack aircraft turn time data and those of bomber and torpedo bombers. Standard turning radii for tier 8 attack aircraft. When slowed, their radii shrink down to roughly 70% of the values listed here. When boosted, they appeared to balloon up to approximately 180% of these values. Individual Plane Summary Enterprise's Hellcats are, hands down, the most agile of the tier VIII attack aircraft ,combining good speed with a tight turning radius and a ridiculously fast rate of turn. They have modest durability. Graf Zeppelin's Me-155As, while agile, are painfully slow and very fragile. Kaga's Zeroes has a modest rate of turn and turning radius but struggles where her top speed is concerned. They are also very fragile. Saipan's Bearcats have an excellent top speed, a modest rate of turn but an enormous turning radius. They are very tough. If I had to pick a "best individual plane", speed and durability wins the day here with Saipan's F8F Bearcats taking first prize. I don't think particularly high on turning radius and agility -- they're nice to have, but aircraft survivability and travel time mean so much more. Unless the aircraft handled like a there was a hole in their right wing, agility doesn't mean much. Ranking all of the attack planes on their base stats alone at tier VIII we get the following: Saipan's F8F Bearcats Lexington's F4U1 Corsairs Enterprise's F6F Hellcats Shokaku's N1K2 Shiden Kai Implacable's Seafires Kaga's A6M5 Zeroes Graf Zeppelin's Me-155As Our premium ships have some of the best and worst individual aircraft. Ordnance The rockets of the tier VIII carriers are a diverse lot. This is the first time we see larger rockets, including the infamous Tiny Tims. Rockets are effectively a form of HE shell, fired in a massed salvo over a (relatively) small area. The shape of this area and the number of rockets fired change from aircraft to aircraft. Kaga fires a small number of light rockets at a tiny, round target marker. Enterprise fires half again as many at a marker that's wider than it is tall. Graf Zeppelin flips this shape 90º with a very long, yet narrow marker. Her rockets are enormous and much harder hitting. Saipan shares the heavier damage output of Graf Zeppelin and fires fewer rockets still. Her marker is longer than it is wide, but it isn't as narrow as Graf Zeppelin's. One of the key factors dictating what attack aircraft can successfully engage is the penetration value of their rockets. To this end, it's important to keep the following structural armour thresholds in mind: 25mm or less - All superstructures, all destroyers, all light cruisers, any non-American or non-German heavy cruisers, all battleships below tier VIII+. 27mm - As above but now including German and American tier VIII+ heavy cruisers. 32mm - As above but now including all tier VIII+ battleships. 35mm to 60mm - As above but now including many reinforced areas of deck and upper hull of many ships but excluding extended belts which can be as much as 100mm or more. Note this list does not include areas such as belt armour, conning towers or turrets which are often in excess of 100mm. Aircraft carriers are also excluded because they're weird and should be looked at on a case by case basis (I'll get into this more when I cover the CV hulls in a later article). To this end we can thus separate rockets into two distinct categories: Low Penetration Rockets - These have less than 32mm of penetration and are only really effective against lightly armoured ships. They can be used to directly damage superstructures of most ships they face in a pinch, however. High Penetration Rockets - These have 32mm of penetration or greater and can safely engage almost any target they face. The penetration values of rockets largely dictates how effective they can be -- even above and beyond the number of rockets fired, their fire chance or damage per hit. If there's a range of targets they simply cannot engage, their utility drops considerably. Summary Saipan's Bearcats have excellent damage, penetration and fire settings per hit. They carry only three rockets and their aiming marker isn't especially precise and favours attacks running down the length of the ship. Enterprise's Hellcats have poor damage, penetration and abysmal fire setting per hit. Individually, they don't carry a lot of rockets Her aim marker facilitates side-on attacks. Kaga's Zeroes have the worst potential damage output per plane. Their penetration is low and so is their fire chance. They fire a very small number of rockets but their aiming marker is precise and isn't as penalized from launching at odd angles. Graf Zeppelin's Me-155As have excellent damage, penetration and fire setting per hit. She fires a small number of rockets and she needs to attack along the length of a ship to have a chance for her long aim market to land hits. The tech-tree attack aircraft share a similar variety of targeting markers. Shokaku andKaga's markers are comparable, as are Lexington's HVAR and Tiny Tims to Enterprise and Saipan respectively. Implacable's Seafires have a longer reticule than it is wide but not to the same exaggerated degree as Graf Zeppelin. Squadron & Attack Flight Details Once again, it's nomenclature time! Squadron: The group of aircraft that flies together. The player spends most of their time controlling squadrons. Attack Flight: The portion of the squadron which separates to attack an enemy target. Hangar Capacity: The maximum number of aircraft that can be stored on the carrier’s flight deck. Attack Flights Let's hop up from individual aircraft to the next largest functional unit: the Attack Flight. This varies per carrier and dictates the size of their strike package. Shokaku - 3 aircraft for 18 rockets per attack. Kaga - 2 aircraft for 8 rockets per attack. Lexington (HVAR) - 3 aircraft for 24 rockets (!) per attack. Lexington (Tiny Tim) - 3 aircraft for 6 rockets per attack. Saipan - 2 aircraft for 6 rockets per attack. Enterprise - 3 aircraft for 18 rockets per attack. Graf Zeppelin - 2 aircraft for 6 rockets per attack. Implacable - 2 aircraft for 20 rockets per attack. As you can see, this creates wildly different strike potentials between the carriers. The raw damage potential per attack run works out to the following (in order): 48,000 damage - Lexington (HVAR) 47,000 damage - Implacable 39,600 damage - Shokaku 35,600 damage - Graf Zeppelin 34,200 damage - Enterprise 32,400 damage - Saipan, Lexington (Tiny Tim) 17,600 damage - Kaga While all four premium carriers are in the bottom half of this spread, keep their penetration values also in mind. Saipan and Graf Zeppelin's rockets can damage even large targets while Implacable and Shokaku cannot. Lexington's HVARs set the bar really high, admittedly. Potential damage is curbed not only by penetration but by accuracy as well. Depending on target size, the angle at which you engage a target can change results enormously. For example, when engaging a stationary Reference Mahan™ in the Training Rooms, the Tiny Tim rockets off Saipan and Lexington generated contrasting results from one another despite launching the same ordnance with identical (or near enough) target markers. Saipan landed more parallel hits but Lexington landed more perpendicular. This is largely owing to small sample sizes (only 10 attack runs per carrier, per aspect) but it shows the kind of RNG trolling that can and will happen when firing rockets, especially against small targets. The only rockets I would call reasonably accurate are the HVAR off Lexington's Corsairs and Enterprise's own Hellcats. Both CVs can land an alarming number of hits provided they attack broadside on. However they have the worst aim time and they don't respond well to constant adjustments during aiming. The aim time of the various attack aircraft varies considerably, with the large Tiny Tim rockets ironically being easiest to lock onto a small, fast moving target. The swarms of rockets off of Enterprise, Implacable or Lexington when she uses HVAR that are oh-so devastating against destroyers are the most difficult to aim at twitchy, stealthy lolibotes.[ This brings up the issue of trying to attack agile and stealthy targets with rockets. For all of their apparent design to engage destroyers, attack aircraft are some of the least suited to sniffing them out and engaging them at close ranges. There isn't enough attack time on attack aircraft to make significant course adjustments against a destroyer that is stealthed with its AA disabled. This will necessitate making a second or even a third pass to line up on the target and it's not likely that the aim marker will be perfectly settled if the destroyer is attempting to go evasive. In this regard, dive bombers are much better. Attack Runs and Flak Generally speaking, attack aircraft are immune to flak explosions while performing their attack runs. There's no need to wiggle and dodge flak bursts while on your final approach. Now I say generally because in testing, very occasionally I would get clipped by a flak cloud but it was so rare that I could never predict why and how it was occurring without any discerned pattern. Do note you are not safe from flak when coming out of an attack run. This is why it's so often preferable to drop any excess planes from your squadron before entering high flak-volume areas. Squadrons Squadron sizes vary enormously. These are arguably more important on rocket aircraft given the attrition rate of these planes over the more durable torpedo and dive bombers. Shokaku - 9 aircraft (3 attack flights) Kaga - 8 aircraft (4 attack flights) Lexington - 9 aircraft (3 attack flights) Saipan - 6 aircraft (3 attack flights) Enterprise - 12 aircraft (!) (4 attack flights) Graf Zeppelin - 8 aircraft (4 attack flights) Implacable - 6 aircraft (3 attack flights) Enterprise really stands out here in the same way Kaga did with torpedo bombers: she simply has so many. Unlike the fragility of the Japanese planes, Enterprise's attack planes are doubling up with not only a lot of aircraft but a fair chunk of health too, having more than half again as many effective hit points within the squadron as the other premium carriers. The size of Enterprise's squadrons come with the same disadvatange it did for Kaga: it makes it harder to avoid flak bursts. For Enterprise (and indeed, for all carriers), it's advised to send unneeded portions of the squadron back to the carrier pre-emptively by having them drop ordnance just after launching. This will save on casualties later. Carrier Capacity Finally before we get to my overall feels for these aircraft, let's touch base on the "unlimited" number of planes each of these carriers can deploy. Enterprise is the hands-down winner here. Though she starts with fewer than Kaga, she regenerates aircraft almost at a 2:1 rate to her Japanese premium counterpart and almost 5:2 compared to Saipan. If you spammed nothing but attack aircraft on Enterprise (because you don't like winning), you could throw away as many as 47 Hellcats over a 20 minute game, not including her deployed fighters (which are also Hellcats). Seriously, spam the blighters -- you're going to have to try in order to lose them all. This is Enterprise's theme -- her fighters are meant to be her strength after all. Flight Control Modification 1 from the 5th upgrade slot is all but a must-have on all carriers for the increased carrier capacity. Summary Kaga's Zeroes surprisingly do not come in the same large squadrons and attack flights as her bombers and torpedo planes. They are very fragile with poor hitting power. She starts with a fair number of them but not-so many that you could confidently throw them away. Saipan's Bearcats come in small, nimble flights and squadrons, perfect for evading flak. The number of attacks per aircraft more than make up for this deficiency. Despite the lack of numbers, her flights and squadrons are comparable in durability to most of the other CVs. Furthermore, they have excellent reaction time for attacking targets suddenly, with quick aim and prep time, but properly setup, they will generate a lot of hits. Enterprise's Hellcats come in monster-sized squadrons. She has deep reserves and can recover aircraft losses quickly. Not only that, but her aircraft (and thus her squadrons) are reasonably tough too. On the downside, it takes them a long time to setup for an attack run and for their aim to settle. Their accuracy is questionable, though. Graf Zeppelin's Me-155As share Kaga's fragility but with improved striking power. The small number of rockets and elongated aim marker limits the number of hits she can land against wary targets. Overall Impressions Attack Aircraft take a back seat to Torpedo Bombers and Dive Bombers in the current meta. Among the premiums, even with "good" Attack Aircraft like those on Saipan and Enterprise, they're often idle until a preferred plane type is depleted. This is a shame in Enterprise's case as she's definitely built to specialize in her fighters, but they just don't have the punch needed to be a universal plane type. The other problem, really, is that for most carriers, dive bombers perform better in the anti-destroyer role than attack aircraft do. Individual hits are meatier. Aiming them is often easier, especially for destroyers that have their AA guns disabled which are trying to hide from the CV. The short attack window and long aim time of some of the rocket types just makes this worse. For the amount of time spent trying to repeatedly line up a rocket attack, you could have a follow up dive bomber strike already on the way. Still, when there's a proper target available, rockets can be a reasonable choice, especially for finishing off low-health targets in a hurry, or just being handy for having a reserve of fighter consumables still to deploy on your own carrier when someone's trying to snipe you. Kaga - A6M5 Zeroes Fragile individual aircraft and fragile flights and squadrons too. Her Zeroes are exceedingly squishy. She doesn't have the exhaustive reserves here either, though they are deeper than normal. Not all that impressive agility wise either with a meh top speed, turning radius and rate of turn. Her striking power is poor with a tiny number of rockets fired and unimpressive damage, penetration and fire chance. Failing marks all around. Kaga's Zeroes suck monkey-butt. They are, hands down, the worst attack aircraft tier VIII and by not a small margin either. Pick a trait and they are average at best and more often than not towards the bottom half (if not at THE bottom). You don't want to have to resort to these if you can help it. Saipan - F8F Bearcats Tough planes. They're surprisingly not operating at a tremendous deficit, durability wise, in terms of their squadrons and attack flights. She lacks reserves, though, and her regeneration is painfully slow. Great top speed and surprisingly agile despite that. Excellent prep and aim time on her rockets. Her rockets are individually excellent but she doesn't fire many of them to guarantee hits against small targets. Still, any hit you do land are going to be pretty meaty and are worth lobbing at destroyers just because. Excellent weapons to finish off low-health targets or to try and tax their Damage Control Party. The only thing that could have made Saipan's Bearcats any better would be the option to swap between Tiny Tims and HVAR rockets the way Lexington can. This lack of versatility doesn't hurt much overall, though. Saipan has arguably some of the best attack aircraft at tier VIII, combining durability, speed and striking power. The only draw back is that you don't get enough and when you start taking losses, you can find yourself quickly deplaned. Beware of fighters. Enterprise - F6F Hellcats Reasonable durability per plane for an attack aircraft. Her enormous attack flights and squadrons exaggerate their apparent durability. Large squadrons are more vulnerable to flak, however, but Enterprise has the reserves to muscle through losses like it was a non-issue. Still, the squads are ridiculously agile with a decent top speed. Shed a few aircraft with by dumping ordnance early and you can correct that squadron size issue. Side on attacks are a must to guarantee hits. You will get a lot of them if you do this. Make sure you attack from a long way out -- it takes a long time for her aim marker to settle. Unfortunately her rockets don't do a lot of damage, start many fires or have much in the way of penetration either. If you can't land a large number of hits, the attack isn't worth it. Enterprise is ostensibly the premium carrier meant to specialize with her Hellcats. They are good attack aircraft. It's just a shame attack aircraft aren't all they're cracked up to be. Their interactions versus destroyers was nerfed heavily and this feels readily apparent when sailing this CV. These should be a selling feature for Enterprise. But how can you get excited over a selling feature that's been nerfed to the point of near irrelevance? Graf Zeppelin - Me-155A Fragile planes, fragile flight, fragile squadron and not a whole lot of reserves. Her planes are painfully slow but they handle nicely at least. Their striking power is pretty good though. It's unfortunate that their aim marker and the small number of rockets they fire makes hitting destroyers so difficult. Oh well. When you do land hits, your targets are going to feel it. I'm not going to lie -- I find Graf Zeppelin's rocket aircraft to be pretty crappy, to be honest. They're not Kaga-bad, at least. For a ship that lacks HE bombs, I would have preferred to see a swarm of a small number of destroyer killers but I'll take baby Tiny Tims. At least they're not Japanese. Summary The big question is this: "Should attack aircraft form up part of my regular plane rotation?" The answer isn't simple but it largely boils down to this: How good are you with your dive bombers and torpedo planes? The better you are with these two types of aircraft, the less you'll ever need to take out attack aircraft. Attack aircraft were meant to counter destroyers but they haven't performed as well in this task since early on in the CV-rework. This task has largely been taken over by dive bombers. Still, there are some attack aircraft with some merits. Saipan has arguably the best rocket aircraft of the tier VIII carriers with Lexington coming in second and Enterprise third. I wish that was something to get excited over, but it's at the point now that a carrier could have crap attack aircraft and I wouldn't count that as much of a flaw. This simply speaks to how much better dive bombers and torpedo bombers are at the moment in the current meta Mouse's Ranking of the Tier VIII Attack Aircraft Saipan Lexington Enterprise Implacable Graf Zeppelin Shokaku Kaga Winner, winner. Conclusion I am so glad I decided to split these reviews up in parts. Now, I should be doing dive bombers next, but with the bug(?) that's affecting dive bomber accuracy still kinda being up in the air, I'm not sure when this next part will be out. I'll have to speak to the devs before I commit to publishing an article like this if everything's simply going to be changed when patch 0.8.3 rolls around. This may necessitate skipping dive bombers for now and covering the hulls of the four carriers next article instead. This article ran longer than I wanted (there was a lot of testing which slowed me down) and it's being published a few days later than promised. I'd expect the next part late next week or early the week after. Hopefully this whole project will be done by early May. Thanks for reading!
  20. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: HMAS Perth

    Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed in this post reflect the version of the ship as she appeared during the testing period. These are subject to change before release. The following is aimed at new(ish) players looking to find a little more information about various ships from events, for premium currency or for real-world cash. The goal is to allow players to make an educated decision before parting with their time and money and to find premium vessels that suit their chosen style of play, whether that is competitive, cooperative, or simply for fun. The idea here is to elaborate on information not commonly available through reading statistics and provide some (heavily) biased anecdotal evidence to encourage or dissuade you from making your purchase. The usual disclaimers apply: everyone knows the Matchmaker clearly loves me because I spend money so that's why I occasionally get really good games, not because I have any particular skills of note. Without further ado: The Facilitating Squid. Quick Summary: A shorter ranged, sneakier Leander-class Cruiser with HE shells and a weird smoke generator consumable. Patch & Date Written: 0.5.13.1, November 2nd & 3rd, 2016 Closest in-Game Contemporary: Leander,Tier 6 British Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class/ Similar Role / Unique The HMAS Perth was a modified version of the Leander-class cruiser. The primary difference was an improved propulsion system. In game, this is easy to see with the different funnel layout with the Perth having two to the Leander's one. Here's a quick summary on how the two ships vary: Hull: The Perth has an improved armour scheme but less overall hit points. Weapons: Perth has access to HE shells. While she has AP, her fuse timers and arming thresholds are nowhere near as forgiving as those found on British cruisers. Her ricochet angles are less generous. The Perth is also shorter ranged. AA Guns: Perth has a mid-war AA armament and lacks 40mm Bofors or Vickers pom-poms. She's quite vulnerable to aircraft attack. Agility: Perth has slightly faster rudder handling. Stealth: Perth is marginally stealthier with a 200m surface detection range advantage over the Leander. Fun Stuff: Perth's smoke generator is unique. PROs: Though she's based on a British cruiser, she has access to HE shells. She has a powerful torpedo armament, capable of doing nearly 62,000 damage per salvo. Torpedoes may fire individually. The Perth is wonderfully agile with a small turning circle of 640m and decent rudder shift time of 7.6s. Very wiggly. She has good concealment, starting with a 9.8km surface detection range with her camouflage. The Perth uses the British spotter aircraft consumable. This lasts for a full three minutes per charge as opposed to just 100s. Her Smoke Generator is active for 90s, generating smoke the entire time. This allows her to lay more smoke clouds than any other ship currently in the game. While the individual clouds don't last very long, this thing poops out smoke for days and allows her to remain mobile while staying concealed. CONs: She cannot be used to train British Captains. The HMAS Perth is the first of the Commonwealth ships which count as a separate nation. She's very squishy, with a small hit point total and insufficient armour to provide any kind of protection from large caliber (203mm+) shells from heavy cruisers or battleships, which can overmatch her bows and deck plating with their AP shells. The Perth does not have access to the special British AP shells. She uses normal fuses and detonators, making her AP perform more akin to standard cruiser guns. These are the same weapons as found on the HMS Belfast. Her HE performance is modest at best with only a 9% chance to start a fire per shell. Short ranged main battery at 12.8km. This makes engaging certain ship types exceedingly dangerous especially at close range. She is incapable of firing her main battery from concealment in open water, even when fully upgraded for stealth. She must make use of her consumables or terrain to be able to attack without being spotted. Her turret rotation speed is on the slow side at 7' per second. The Perth has a poor AA compliment and does not get access to Defensive Fire. Welcome to another Premium Ship Review -- the ever evolving series where the format subtly shifts and guest authors abound. Once again, Lert and NoZoupForYou join me in looking at this newest helping from the dry-docks of the Wargaming devs, the HMAS Perth. Lert will be providing his views in a versus series while Zoup summarizes the Pros and Cons above. Both gentleman offer their recommendations below too so you know you've got a more diverse set of opinions when basing your own decisions on whether to make your purchase. On with the show! The Lertbox Hello and welcome to yet another Lertbox portion in a LittleWhiteMouse review. I've long since given up trying to figure out why she keeps letting me do this, but here we are. Today we'll be talking about the HMAS Perth, a modified British Leander class light cruiser, sailing under the Australian flag. In this game, she's a premium ship for the newly introduced Commonwealth nationality. I will be writing a few short opinion pieces about how Perth compares to Cleveland, Molotov, Nurnberg and Belfast, which I believe to be a decent cross-section of direct competitors. Mouse has already written about how she compares to Leander herself. The Perth shares much in common with the Leander-class, at least superficially. But the manner in which you use her guns and smoke will largely define this new premium vessel. Options, Upgrades & Consumables The Perth doesn't have a lot of options, but she does have an interesting consumable. Her Smoke Generator is unique. It has an enormous up-time, continuing to create new smoke clouds for an astounding 90s. To put this in perspective, this is three times longer than the previous front runner, the American tier 10 Gearing-class Destroyer (30s) and four and a half times longer than standard destroyer smoke generators (20s). The downside to this smoke is that it each cloud she creates only lasts for a mere 10 seconds. This precludes anyone else from trying to park in her smoke while still allowing the Perth to use her consumable offensively. She can do this by cutting her speed down to 1/4 and walking slowly, generating new smoke as she moves. In this manner, she remains unseen for up to 100s which is consistent with most smoke screens. Thus the Perth has a very unique manner in which her consumable is used, allowing her to keep partially mobile. Very fun. In addition, she has access to the British Spotter Aircraft consumable. For any other nation, the normal duration for this consumable is 100s. The Perth's spotter aircraft lasts for 180s -- a full three minutes, just like those of the UK tech tree. Note that between her spotter aircraft (which allows her to fire from concealment in open water) and her smoke generator, the Perth can cycle offensive actions against enemy ships without being spotted. Proper management of these consumables is key to keep out of harm's way. Consumables: Damage Control Party Hydroacoustic Search Spotter Aircraft or Catapult Fighter Smoke Generator Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard 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 Primary Battery: Eight 152mm rifles in 4x2 turrets mounted in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Primary Battery Fields of Fire (AB & XY): Front: 294', 290' Rear: 294', 288' Secondary Battery: Eight 102mm rifles in 4x2 turrets amidships by the rear funnel. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers, one to each side. The Perth is armed with the same 152mm rifles -- and more importantly, the same ammunition as the HMS Belfast. While her gun handling is identical to that of the Leander with a 7' turret rotation speed, it's this difference in ammunition that's quite telling. The Perth does not have access to the "improved" armour piercing shells of the Royal Navy. She has a standard fuse-time, ricochet angles and detonator threshold rather than the more sensitive, deep-biting and fast-exploding shells found on the British Cruisers. You will see a lot of over-penetrations against lightly armoured targets with your AP shells in the Perth and ricochets when they strike at oblique angles. You're forced to make dynamic ammunition choices in the Perth depending on your targets. Like the Belfast, the Perth's HE shells are considered modest at best. While they're superior to the HE shells found on the 150mm rifles of the Nurnberg, they're far and away inferior to the six-inch shells found on the American Cleveland, Japanese Mogami, or the Soviet Budyonny, Shchors, Chapayev & Mikhail Kutuzov cruisers. The real downside to these shells is their low chance of setting fires for a cruiser-caliber shell at 9% per hit. Combined with a smaller number of rifles, the Perth isn't an ideal firebug. DPM values for tier 6 cruisers. The Perth isn't last! But she doesn't have the alpha strike capabilities of the other low-DPM cruisers. Where the Perth's main armament really hurts is their range. She comes with a 12.8km maximum reach which is downright punitive at tier 6. This creates a lot of problems for the ship and greatly reduces her survival chances when facing large capital ships. She has a reliance on two of her consumables to safely engage dangerous opponents: her Smoke Generator and her Spotter Aircraft. With her spotter, her range increases to a more manageable 15.36km. This will allow her to stealth-fire at targets from open water from ranges starting at 14.4km and as low as 13.4km with a 15pt Captain using Concealment Expert. But it's her smoke from which most of her damage can be safely inflicted. It does require a player to keep an eye on its active period and plan an extraction vector before the smoke wears off. Using these two properly can largely mitigate her range deficiency, but each can be countered and leave the Perth dead in the water. While her guns are on the lower scale of muzzle velocities, their short range ensures she's not penalized by very long lead times. Like the Belfast, her AP shells can penetrate up to 118mm of armour at 10km so pick your ammunition types accordingly based on what you're facing. Like the Leander, whatever perceived disparities of the Perth's main battery are propped up by her torpedo armament. The Perth has the same upgraded armament of the Leander with two quadruple launchers off each side, mounted just behind the rear funnel. Like British cruisers, the Perth may fire in a salvo or launch her torpedoes individually. With an 8.0km range and 61 knot top speed, these are wonderfully hard hitting fish at over 15,000 damage per. The only downside to them is their range is a little lacking. Making use of her torpedoes necessitates getting in "danger close" to the enemy. This increases the skill threshold needed to do well in the Perth, maybe beyond the level at which many players will be comfortable. The Perth sits inside a cap circle in the early minutes of a match, smoke deployed and steaming ahead at 1/4 speed. Her guns are hammering the approaching Red Team, lobbing high explosive shells onto the bows of Battleships and cruisers. The Perth can often find herself as a front runner -- taking position of caps and strategic locations to put early pressure on the enemy. Just make sure you have an escape plan in mind before engaging. Your smoke will only last so long. Rivals: vs Cleveland Cleveland boasts more hit-points, a higher RPM, better DPM, more range, a better armor scheme and a better hidden citadel. On the surface, Perth is really the underdog here, and that's how you should approach this theoretical duel. You're not entirely without options, though. Your float plane gives you a nice boost to your range, your smoke is very tactical and can give you an edge and your torpedoes force the Cleveland to stay at range. Both ships boast a similar top speed and agility but Cleveland has four additional guns with roughly the same ROF, and a better fire chance on her HE shells. You're not going to win a direct gunnery duel, but you can use your smoke to conceal yourself, while having your floatplane up to keep eyes on the Cleveland. If she starts getting too close, dissuade her with torpedoes, all the while keeping your fire up. A duel between a Cleveland and a Perth is not an easy fight for the Commonwealth ship, nor is it a foregone conclusion in the Cleveland's favor. Maneuverability Top Speed: 32.5 knotsTurning Radius: 640mRudder Shift: 7.6s She handles like a dream. Once you drop Steering Gears Modification 2 onto the Perth, her rudder shift time drops down to 6.1s. This gives her a destroyer-quality handling making her feel very responsive. She definitely a light cruiser when it comes to her agility -- nice and wiggly. It's easy to reverse course and throw off the aim of ships that are expecting you to move predictably. She also dances to torpedo beats like a champ. Speed wise, it's a bit more mixed. While not terrible, there's nothing impressive about her 32.5 knot top speed. However, unlike other cruisers, I found myself quite often sailing at 1/4 engine power to take full advantage of her smoke generators. Out in the open water, though, her 32.5 knot speed is nice but she's running up against fleet footed ships such as the Scharnhorst-class. While you can be more reactionary with her great handling, don't let yourself get run down by aggressive opponents. Rivals: vs Molotov Molotov has more powerful guns, higher range and a higher top speed, but is decidedly less agile and has a slightly weaker armor profile than Perth. Also, the Russian's torpedoes are short range self-defense ones, not even on the same level as the Australian's exploding fish. Plus, the Molotov does not get smoke, and is visible from much further. Approaching a Molotov requires patience and luck. Your AP will wreck a Molotov from the side, but be aware that she'll do the same to you if given half a chance. Fortunately, Molotov's 180mm AP is not quite big enough to overmatch your bow armor, so neither ship can lolpen the other. I am tempted to say 'Approach the Molotov', but with the Russian ship's far superior speed this is easier said than done. The best way to engage a Molotov is to approach using stealth, then use your torpedoes to funnel him into showing you his broadside, and smacking home a salvo or two of AP. Use your smoke to disengage the now wounded Russian or finish him off in a slugging match. While he has the bigger guns, you have the better agility and both ships have similar DPM so a slugging match tends to go to whoever manages to wound the other first. And as far as that is concerned, Perth holds some pretty strong aces with its concealment, torpedoes and smoke. DurabilityHit Points: 27,100 Citadel Protection: Up to 100mmBow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 13mm (immunity up to 180mm AP shells) There's no way really to sugar coat this: The Perth is really lacking in survability and protection. She's on the low side for her hit point totals for a tier 6 cruiser -- she sits just above the Nurnberg in second last place. But it's really her armour values which let her down. The Perth has 13mm of bow and deck armour. This is sufficient to protect her from Light Cruiser caliber AP fire. Shells up to (and including) 180mm will bounce when she angles but anything larger will easily overmatch her. While she does boast an impressive 100mm belt armour, it's a significant challenge to find ways to put this to work for you. Expect to take frequent module damage and to lose weapon mounts. In short: don't expect the armour of the Perth to hold up under fire. Her citadel, while on the smallish side, has a section that sticks up just over the water's surface which runs from beneath her first funnel to the aft superstructure. While this would be difficult to hammer at close ranges, shells with a slight arc (such as those from a Battleship shooting at 12km out) will easily slam home. This vulnerability becomes especially pronounced due to the short range of the Perth's weapon systems. Like the USS Atlanta, she has to get very close to deal damage -- close enough to be inside the optimal firing ranges of Battleship and Heavy Cruiser caliber guns. It's imperative, therefore, to make good use of her concealment values in conjunction with her consumables and agility to avoid damage. The Perth plays a dangerous game with a New York-class Battleship. Using the island, she approached within 4.0km of the American and crept out using smoke at 1/4 speed to unleash a point blank assault using high explosive shells and individually launched torpedoes. The fish of the Perth can deliver monstrous alpha-strikes, ideal for putting down unwary ships that get too close. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 10.1km Air Detection Range: 6.9km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 8.62km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +4.56km (vs 12.8km gun range) I'm of two minds about the Perth's concealment rating. It's so good, yet at the same time, it's not quite good enough. Right out of the box, the Perth has a 9.8km surface detection range with her premium camouflage. I rubbed my hands with glee when I saw this value and prepared myself to write a "Perth is overpowered" review (that changed when I saw her weapon ranges). The Perth is forever doomed to have a stealth rating that's on the cusp of excellence. She's sneaky enough to navigate from point A to B without being spotted, but she's not sneaky enough to engage enemy targets with her weapon systems without giving her position away. Perhaps I shouldn't be too critical. Ships like the Molotov would give up their left propeller shaft for this kind of stealth, but this lack of range really hurts the Perth and makes her challenging to play -- at least until you factor in her consumables. The gimmick of the Perth is her smoke generator, which is the complete opposite of the one found on the Belfast. The Belfast suffers from performance issues when it comes to her smoke, being able to (at best) create two clouds before her generators give up the ghost. These clouds will last for 103s, so it gives this higher tier British cruiser plenty of time to park her butt and pew pew to her heart's content. However, they're not going to provide significant cover for friendlies, nor are they going to be of much use in trying to escape. The Perth, by contrast, can create a maximum thirty-one clouds of smoke when moving at full speed with a signal flag to improve her engine performance. Individually, these clouds only last for 10s which makes them useless for parking inside. The Perth must keep moving while laying down smoke. So too must any friendly ship looking to take advantage of this. The values work out to the following: Forward Speeds 10 clouds @ 1/4 speed (8.1 knots). Maximum of 2 clouds active -- usually just 1. 18 clouds @ 1/2 speed (16.3 knots). Maximum of 3 clouds active -- usually just 2. 30 clouds @ 3/4 speed (24.3 knots). Maximum of 4 clouds active -- usually just 3. 30 clouds @ 4/4 speed (32.6 knots). Maximum of 4 clouds active -- usually just 3. 31 clouds @ 4/4 speed + signal (34.1 knots). Maximum of 4 clouds active -- usually just 3. The Perth herself cannot make more than 1/4 speed and remain hidden within her smoke. Any ships wishing to enjoy concealment with her have to be right up on her stern. Being more than a ship length back will mean that they may end up being detected intermittently as one cloud dissipates around them as each new cloud is laid down. It's possible for the Perth to provide smoke cover for larger ships by matching their speed as best she can and dropping smoke immediately in front while following their path. This will preclude her from taking advantage of her smoke herself if this requires her to move over 12.5 knots, but it's a tactic worth keeping in mind. Still, I would not expect most of her allies to appreciate the nuances of her smoke and I can foresee the Perth's smoke generator causing friendlies some grief as they try to take advantage of it only to have it disappear around them. Players of the Perth will need to communicate directly, "Make 1/4 speed and follow me close while I lay smoke" to ensure that their team gets the most out of their consumables. I must say I was disappointed to see that her premium camouflage was of the standard type found on tier 6+ ships. While I am hoping that this will be changed before release (and fed such information back to Wargaming), I am not holding my breath. The HMAS Perth counts as a Commonwealth ship and not a British ship, she's useless as a Captain Trainer. To this end, I would have preferred to see some additional effect found on the Perth's camouflage, such as the Anshan's bonus free-experience modifier or even a Captain Training bonus such as the one found on the German Prinz Eugen. Moving at full speed while deploying smoke, the Perth is able to provide concealment for this Gneisenau as she opens fire without the German Battleship having to slow down. Unlike destroyers, she can maintain this level of concealment for over a minute and a half. This can be up to four and a half times longer than normal smoke. This is much easier for a Battleship to remain within than trying to stop suddenly to take advantage of a cloud dropped in her path. With this setup, the Perth can still provide vision for the Gneisenau against enemy Battleships at range without worrying about being seen herself so long as she keeps her guns silent, while protecting her allied BB from return fire. Rivals: vs Nurnberg The German tier 6 cruiser is a DPM monster firing very fast shells with a very flat arc. She has a vicious set of torpedoes reaching only two km less than Perth's. In a straight-up duel, she'll pummel Perth and take home the win. She's about as fast as the Commonwealth ship too, and not that much less agile. Plus, she has a far better range on her guns. The only benefits you have is better concealment, longer range torpedoes, smoke and better agility. So how to fight a Nurnberg in a Perth? Use destroyer tactics. Use concealment. Use islands. Ambush her with your torpedoes. Use your hydroacoustic search to warn you of return torpedo fire. Harass her when she's distracted, then pop smoke sneak off into stealth when she turns her guns on you. Use your longer range torpedoes to funnel her, try to force her to make a mistake. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 102mm, 20mm, 12.7mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km, 2.0km, 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 38 / 7 / 11 Access to Defensive Fire: Not available. There's not a lot of good news here, but let's start with what's available. The Perth has the same dual-purpose 102mm rifles found on the other mid-to-high tier British cruisers. These have some rather nice teeth, being both long ranged (5.0km) and doing a fair amount of DPS per mount (9.5dps). These lack some of the hitting power found on other dual-purpose turrets, such as the American 127mm (15.17dps) or the German 128mm (12.36dps), but they'll do -- especially for a mid tier ship. Where the Perth is let down is the lack of decent medium-caliber AA guns to back this up. Most of the British cruisers will follow up on these 102mm rifles with 40mm Bofors which are a splendid anti-aircraft weapon. But the Perth does not get access to this or even the Vickers 2pdr pom-poms. So while the Perth can deal a good initial slap to enemy aircraft as they wander into range, her umbrella doesn't appreciably increase in damage the closer you get. Overall, this leaves her dangerously vulnerable to enemy aircraft -- particularly dive bombers. She's nimble enough to make attacks by torpedo planes difficult but there's little defense against well aimed dive bombers, especially from ships like the Saipan. Seeing eight Skyraiders angling against you is truly a frightening prospect in the Perth. Keep a wary eye to the skies. You don't have access to Defensive Fire to break up attacks. You're not likely to have a Float Plane Fighter to assist you. If you're caught out by yourself, you deserve what's coming. Rivals: The Belfast Notice how I didn't say 'versus' here, because a Perth versus a Belfast would not be a fair fight. However, many people will compare the two, as both are 'British' premiums, and both are light cruisers. Besides, they're only one tier apart. So on the surface of it they should be comparable, right? Here it's the consumables that define each ship's playstyle and role. Both are 'support ships', yes. But where Belfast is an exemplary destroyer hunter, Perth is less so. She doesn't have radar, limiting her use in that role. Her short gun range is balanced out by the long duration on her scout plane and her hydroacoustic is useful, but she simply doesn't have the tools to counter smoke that Belfast has. Where Belfast is more a ship that pushes aggressively in front of her team and spearheads the advance, Perth is best served escorting larger ships and lending her fire to theirs, giving concealment where necessary. The Perth's worst nightmare: Skyraider Dive Bombers from the USS Saipan. Struck by three bombs, she burns from bow to stern. The Perth has very little in the way of AA defense and enemy carriers should take full advantage of this. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple/ Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low/ Moderate / High / Extreme The HMAS Perth reminds me oh-so much of a French auto-loader from World of Tanks. For those not familiar, these vehicles have, instead of a steady rate of fire, an ammunition drum that allows them to dispense an enormous amount of damage in short order. They then have to suffer through a very long reload timer as the magazine gets replaced. During this time period, they are defenseless. Many players die in this interim, managing only to dispense the 4 to 6 rounds in their first drum before burning up in a greasy fireball. The Perth has a similar affliction. I'm convinced any player will be able to make decent use of her up to and including the duration of her active smoke generator. What will separate the successful players from the non-successful will be how they play the Perth during this cool down period when they have no smoke and the enemies want them dead. If they have over extended and didn't plan an extraction path, they'll be stuck with the 10,000 to 30,000 damage they managed while their smoke was up and then get sent back to port. Maybe they'll get a flag capture in. Maybe they'll take out an enemy destroyer or get lucky with their first drop of torpedoes. But it won't be consistent. For those that plan ahead, the sky becomes the limit. This is the real trick with this vessel. She has a rather high skill ceiling. She can be used to support friendlies so long as you're daring and sociable. Her torpedoes give her the chance to do some frightening damage against enemy capital ships and she's a very real threat to enemy destroyers. As the teams thin out, the Perth becomes more viable, especially if she's still got her consumables handy. Her stealth rating provides all sorts of advantages, allowing her to ninja caps and support friendlies without being spotted in return. Her smoke can allow her to dictate who gets seen and when. Finally there are her ammunition choices. Earning Witherer medals isn't beyond the scope of the Perth with clever use and combinations of her single-fire torpedoes and high explosive shells. The Lertbox Perth is an escort ship. Not a ship to fight others in a straight gun fight in. She doesn't have the super AP that Leander gets, she doesn't have the radar and volume of fire that Belfast gets, she doesn't have the raw DPM that Nurnberg gets or the alpha smash and speed that Molotov gets. What she does have are solid but unremarkable guns, solid but unremarkable speed, solid but unremarkable torpedoes and a very interesting smoke screen. If you're okay with letting other people have the limelight and supporting your team from the shadows, there are worse alternatives than Perth. But she's not a good ship for glory-hounds, and her carrying potential is limited. She's not a bad ship, just not a very remarkable one with big shiny features. Mouse's Summary: The Perth is a squid. She squirts all of the ink. She's a challenging ship to use to influence the game. While she can remain hidden, her offensive power is a bit lacking outside of her beautiful torpedoes barring recklessness on the part of the enemy. As a support ship, she can selflessly use her smoke to cover larger ships without them having to slow down for well over a minute. Coordinating with team mates is key. This can be quite powerful when used correctly but may be outside the scope of pick up matches in Random Battle games. The Perth is super squishy against anything outside of enemy destroyers and some light cruisers. You're not going to win duels if you trade blows. Let's get to the meat of the matter: The Perth is going to be a difficult ship to love -- which is weird, because I liked the Leander when I played her. While delighted to see the British Commonwealth represented in the game (and hoping this means the HMAS Australia and HMCS Haida are on the horizon) I am very frustrated to see that British Captains cannot be trained on this vessel. I held my breath and hoped to see some further motivator applied to her camouflage to make the Perth an immediate must-have such as bonus credit earning or experience gains -- you know, something to buff her appeal. There wasn't anything during testing. When I asked my contacts at Wargaming, they didn't believe that there would be any immediate alternative camouflages when she was released. So take that into consideration. Game play in the Perth didn't enamour me early on either. On the surface, the Perth doesn't have a lot of teeth. She only has the eight guns and that mediocre AP and HE fire from the Belfast. Well, maybe that's not fair: I do love her torpedoes. While they don't have the range or hitting power of the IJN, they are something nice and I really missed having those when I played the Belfast. Success in the Perth comes down to proper management of your consumables. Assuming you're using premium consumables (and you'll want to use premium consumables), you've got 1 minute and 40 seconds of concealment from smoke with a 2 minutes and 40 seconds of down time while it resets. Use this time to open up the range and then activate your spotter aircraft. This will provide you with 3 minutes to continue dropping shots on target. Wiggle your tush to dodge any return fire if you can't get out to stealth range. Once this cools off, you'll be once again ready to use smoke for another minute and 40 seconds worth of killing. Your plane will be back online in 4 minutes. So you'll want to yo-yo between medium-close to medium-long range to take advantage of your consumables and keep your weapon systems active while avoiding reprisals. It's kind of a fun dance to do when you're doing it right. But misstep and everything goes to poop. The Perth isn't like the HMS Belfast where you're absolutely dominant against one particular class. She's not as good of a destroyer hunter, though she is capable enough in the right hands. She's certainly got sufficient DPM to put the hurt on any underage ship that lets her within 7km. But like the Belfast, the Perth really begins to struggle when facing other light cruisers or heavier ships. Then it becomes absolutely necessary to properly cycle smoke, especially if you can't get off an ambush with your fish. Where she really shines is when you can coordinate with one of your team mates, preferably in another cruiser and let them make use of your smoke while you do the same. A simple message like, "My smoke's ready. Slow to 1/4 and keep within 0.5km of my stern," is usually enough to allow another player to take full advantage. Teamwork is OP in World of Warships after all. So what's all this mean? Is the Perth a bad ship? Well, no. She can perform. She can support. You're just going to have to work harder at it than say, the Molotov or Belfast. She's not going to be an easy ship to recommend though. One of the neat side effects of the Perth's smoke is that it ships begin sailing in close formation to take advantage of it. This ends up looking really cool. Here, the Perth leads a Fiji-class cruiser as they engage enemy Battleships without being spotted in return. Would I Recommend? The Perth is a difficult ship to recommend because it's pretty unforgiving. I maintain that anyone should be able to do some damage, maybe even sink a ship on occasion in her so long as they use their smoke consumable properly. She's going to frustrate a lot of opponents who don't anticipate her continuing to move when her smoke is laid down instead of puffing a couple of clouds and parking stationary within it. How players manage the transition between smoke clouds with largely determine their success rate. Those who like the Leander will probably enjoy the different take on the same class that is the Perth. I had a great time testing this ship. ForRandom Battle Grinding: Mouse: Eh, no. First and foremost, the Perth cannot be used as a trainer short of her own dedicated Captain. There are no other Commonwealth ships. In addition, she's premium consumable-hungry. I can't stress enough the importance of taking at least two, maybe even all four slots as premium versions, so this will eat into her credit earning potential. So for credit earning and captain training, she gets two strikes.When it comes to earning experience or completing missions, my feelings are mixed. My damage totals usually sat between 40,000 and 90,000 in the Perth. I only managed a single 2000+ base experience game, with most sitting between 1,100 and 1,300 on a win. This often wasn't enough to top the team roster on the results screen. To be fair, I did win far more than I lost. Still, I would pass on her specifically for those interested in finding a ship to grind for experience, training, credits, signals or mission rewards. Lert: No. There are other ships out there with better characteristics for grinding. She can't train British captains, her credit earning potential is on par with other tier 6 ships and she doesn't earn more XP than them either. Zoup: For me, I can't imagine myself using this ship too often in battles. In many ways, its quite similar to the Atlanta. Sadly, its not a lower tiered version of the Atlanta because it lacks the fire-starting capabilities of the Atlanta, along with the rate of fire. I enjoy the Atlanta despite its shortcomings and lack of range. The lack of range for the Perth hinders it significantly, in my opinion and at Tier 6, the Molotov offers a much better premium option than the Perth. For Competitive Gaming: Mouse: Let me be honest: there are better ships for this. She doesn't have great hitting power short of taking advantage of the bumbling incompetence of your enemies. And while the Perth can be used as a support vessel, it's of a very limited fashion. She'll be forever vulnerable to dive bombers and she's super squishy. Her smoke, while amazing, kind of makes her a one-trick pony. You have to risk a lot to get the Perth to perform and any competitive team will punish you for the slightest misstep.Lert: I would say no. Her mediocre speed, low gun range and lack of primary firepower hold her back in a way that a decent set of torpedoes and interesting smoke can't really balance out. Zoup: I could possibly see the Perth being used in competitive gaming as a high risk high reward ship for capturing points. It's torpedoes have the range to provide denial of swaths of sea and if DDs wander to close, it will give them a bad day. The problem is once its spotted, if any large ships focus fire, the Perth won't last long. Highly skilled players will likely make use of the Perth in ranked, but I doubt it will be a go-to ship. For Collectors: Mouse: Hells yeah. Commonwealth represent! Lert: It's the first Commonwealth ship in the game, and worth nabbing for that reason alone. Time wil tell what other Commonwealth ships will eventually make it into the game. She's also a storied ship, having fought at Java Sea and survived, only to be torpedoed and sunk at Sunda Strait. Zoup: I think the ship is collectable. It's the first Aussie ship in the game and has a very noted history to it. With that, it meets the criteria for a collector ship. There is a market for it. More so than some of the previous premiums, like the Lo Yang. Though popular, I doubt the Lo Yang was purchased for its service history. So yes, I think the Perth will be collected. For Fun Factor: Mouse: I really had a lot of fun in this ship. I think it was because it prompted some of my team mates to work in close support with one another to make use of her wonky smoke. But that stayed with me. There was also the fun of using torpedoes and fires to really put the hurt on enemies. Yeah, it was a blast. Of course, I do like the Atlanta, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt. If you enjoyed the Leander? The Perth will suit you. If you didn't? Best to steer clear. Lert: Maybe? She's a support ship, not a glory-hound. She does a thankless job, and is adequate at it. If this is something that appeals to you, then yes. Perth won't let you down. Zoup: Meh. It's not great, but it's not bad. It can be fun, but it's not always fun. It's nice having a lot of smoke, and you can shred ships that get too close. However, it works both ways, and ships will shred you as well. Like I mentioned earlier, this is a risk and reward ship. You have to be deliberate. If you are playing too deliberate, you aren't having as much fun as you could be. The Leander with the Perth off her rear port quarter. These two ships share many similar characteristics but the differences in their ammunition is the most telling. They work very well in support of one another, shortening the window in which they have no cover from smoke. Outfitting your Perth Recommended Modules The Perth has four module upgrade slots. Given her poor AA values, there's not much point in trying to prop it up. This leaves a single, optimal build for the Perth. For your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is your best choice. From experience, I can say that she loses weapon mounts frequently. I had my torpedo tubes destroyed several times and my guns temporarily knocked out regularly. Alternatively, if you're horrified by the possibility of being detonated, Magazine Modification 1 will help you considerably. I was not detonated in my test games with the Perth but you never know... For the second slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 provides its usual benefits. This is less useful on a cruiser than a Battleship, however. A good alternative is Main Battery Modification 2. This accelerates her turret rotation by almost a full degree per second at the cost of her reload speed. As the Perth will be throwing herself about often in order to dodge fire, this can help keep guns on target. For your third slot, as ever, Damage Control System Modification 1 is the only really vaguely decent one. Hint-hint, Wargaming. For the fourth slot, take Steering Gears Modification 2. This will improve your rudder shift time from 7.6s down to 6.1s. As the Perth is rarely (if ever) stationary, this depreciates the value of Propulsion Modification 2 so I would avoid it. Recommended ConsumablesThe Perth can be a very premium-consumable hungry vessel. The merits of taking a premium Damage Control Party are pretty self evident. You don't have a lot of hit points to spare and even a single fire can eat away at far too much of that precious health (especially if there are dive bombers hunting you). Taking a premium version of her Smoke Generator is also a pretty obvious move. This increases the charges from 2 to 3. More importantly, this reduces the reset timer from 4 minutes down to 2 minutes and 40 seconds, which is huge.Of the other two consumables, it's a little more open ended. To keep the Perth's guns singing at range, it may be worthwhile upgrading her Spotter Aircraft to reduce the reset timer from a punitive 6 minutes down to 4. This will allow you to easily use it three times within a match as opposed to just twice. On most other ships I couldn't recommend this with a straight face, but on the Perth? It's quite valuable. I would avoid taking a Float Plane Fighter of any description. You'll need the extra range well over the small boost to AA defense the fighter might provide. Lastly, there's Hydroacoustic Search. This is a very situational consumable so you can probably afford just the standard version if you find your credit costs are running high. The premium version reduces the reset timer from 3 minutes down to 2 minutes. Recommended Captain Skills The choices for the Perth's Captain Skills are fairly straightforward. As she's the only ship within her own nationality (go, Commonwealth!), you don't have to worry about these skills pairing up nicely for an alternate vessel. From the first tier, it's actually difficult to recommend Basic Fire Training because of her poor AA values. Still, this does provide a little bit of help and it's certainly the strongest choice at this tier. This will provide a boost to her secondaries too and the Perth does end up in sub 5km fights often enough. From the second tier, both Expert Marksman and Last Stand have a lot of value. The latter is obvious enough -- your engine and steering gears are almost as vulnerable in the Perth as they would be in a destroyer. The former provides a 10% boost to your turret rotation speed, changing a 180' rotation from 25.7s down to 23.4s. This really helps given how much you'll be throwing the ship about. If you've taken Main Battery Modification 2, this will combine to reduce her turret rotation to 20.6s for a 180' turn or 8.74' per second. From tier three, grab Superintendent right away. This provides an extra charge of your Smoke Generator. Note that you should keep an eye on your play style before taking this skill. If you're using the premium consumable already and not running out on your matches, then there's no point on taking this. Alternatively, Vigilance is a great skill for helping spot torpedoes early. At tier four, Demolition Expert is wonderful. This will increase your chances to start fires from 9% to 12% per shell. Beauty! And finally, at tier 5, Concealment Expert is the most valuable. This will reduce your surface detection range from 9.8km down to 8.6km. Keep in mind this will not allow you to stealth fire either your torpedoes or your main battery from open water. Alternatively, Jack of All Trades is interesting because it reduces the reset timer on your Smoke Generator, from 2 minutes and 40s with premium to 2 minutes and 16 seconds. For more articles in this series, please visit: LittleWhiteMouse's Mega Ship Review Guide A special thank you to NikoPower for providing access to the Perth, PigeonofWar for answering my questions and to Lert and Zoup for their contributions to the article. Also, a big thanks for the support offered by KJar, Argh_My_Liver, EroSun, MagisterAurelius and "Large Handsome Dog" (you know who you are). They helped keep me sane while trucking through the writing process. Lastly, a very special thanks to AfroSquirrel for that one game we ended up together in testing that was super fun to play.
  21. 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!
  22. The following is aimed at new(ish) players looking to find a little more information about various ships from events, for premium currency or for real-world cash. The goal is to allow players to make an educated decision before parting with their time and money and to find premium vessels that suit their chosen style of play, whether that is competitive, cooperative, or simply for fun. The idea here is to elaborate on information not commonly available through reading statistics and provide some (heavily) biased anecdotal evidence to encourage or dissuade you from making your purchase. The usual disclaimers apply: everyone knows the Matchmaker clearly loves me because I spend money so that's why I occasionally get really good games, not because I have any particular skills of note. Without further ado: Workhorse. Quick Summary: An almost-stock Fubuki-class Destroyer but with three, slow firing turrets instead of two. Her torpedo armament has an 8.0km range. Patch & Date Written: 0.5.15, December 1st, 2016 Closest in-Game Contemporary: Fubuki,Tier 6 Japanese Destroyer Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class/ Similar Role / Unique The Shinonome is the sixth ship of the Fubuki-class. Veterans of the IJN line will recognize her three-turret layout as being that of the A & B Hull Variants when the ship was a tier 8 destroyer. Her torpedoes are much more powerful due to their longer range over the stock Fubuki. Otherwise, she's very similar to her tier 6 stock-counterpart with only small differences here and there. PROs Armed with six 127mm rifles -- yay, old-school Fubuki is back! (Or is it!?) Guns have a flat arc with a high velocity shell that makes aiming up to maximum range a simple feat. Armed with three triple torpedo launchers which allows for all sorts of tactical options when it comes to torpedo runs. Good individual torpedoes with 14,600 alpha strike, an 8.0km range and 63 knot top speed. CONs Short reach on her main battery of 9.0km and very poor gun handling with a 6'/s rotation. Slow rate of fire (6.67rpm) with the new shell damage, resulting in only modest to poor DPM. Large turning circle for a destroyer at 640m and only a modest top speed of 35.0 knots. Almost no AA power. The Shinonome is a reward ship, joining the ranks of vessels like the Flint, Kamikaze R and Emden. With patch 0.5.15, any player can earn her by completing a series of missions through the campaign system. Overall, the campaign difficulty is quite low, with only two real hurdles to overcome. First, the missions require a tier 8 to 10 vessel. Second, completing the campaign takes a lot of time. Players can, if they so choose, simply repeat the same missions over and over at each stage. This lets them cherry pick the easiest missions, though this is where a lot of the time requirement comes in. Alternatively, they can attempt more challenging missions to speed up the process, but these may take multiple attempts to achieve. So acquiring the Shinonome becomes a question of inevitability rather than outright difficulty. The timing of the Shinonome's arrival is quite fortuitous as it overlaps the revamp of the IJN Destroyer tech tree. For players without any form of premium vessel, the Shinonome would arm them with a premium trainer ideally suited to helping them redistribute their Captains to the new vessels they would be adding to their ports. But would she be any good as a training ship? Could she perform? Did Wargaming give away a beautiful gem of a ship like the Kamikaze R or is the Shinonome more forgettable? Leading the way. IJN Destroyers make good scouts with their low surface detection range compared to the other ships they face. Sadly, they're rather undergunned for dealing with any enemy destroyers they encounter. The Shinonome is no different, despite having six guns to the usual four of IJN tin cans at her tier. The real struggle that most DDs encounter is in the opening minutes of match where so many of their number are culled early. Options There are no surprises to be found here. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard destroyer options.Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Firepower Primary Battery: Six 127m rifles in 3x2 turrets. One on the prow, two on the stern in a superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Nine tubes in 3x3 launchers mounted dorsally. Let me be a little different with this review and start with her torpedoes. As a Fubuki-class destroyer, the Shinonome comes with a very heavy torpedo armament that's guaranteed to make Battleship players poop themselves with rage and terror. She comes with three triple launchers, all mounted dorsally with good fields of fire. These tubes reload in a minute and twelve seconds each, making it very easy to keep a constant cycle of fish in the water. Sounds all pretty nice so far, doesn't it? Well, read on. The Shinonome uses the stock torpedoes found on the Hatsuharu and Fubuki. These do 14,600 damage each with a 63 knot speed and 1.6km detection range. These aren't as hard hitting as the upgraded tier 6 torpedoes found on the IJN ships which cap out at 16,267 damage, but they are faster. But what makes these fish memorable is their range. Unlike the stock torpedoes on the Fubuki and Hatsuharu which are limited to 6.0km, the Shinonome's fish reach out to a very serviceable 8.0km without any reduction in speed or damage for the upgrade. So short of missing out on a bit of alpha strike, you can perceive the Shinonome as having a nice compromise between the faster stock fish and the longer ranged upgraded torpedoes they eventually unlock. They even match well against the Anshan's, being faster, hitting marginally harder and reloading more quickly. I've found them to be a quite comfortable fit. The real danger of these torpedoes is just how many she can fire at a time. The Fubuki-class can dump two launchers worth and hold her third in reserve. Firing only these six still gives her parity with every other destroyer at her tier short of the Farragut. The flexibility of being able to hold back her third launcher is incredibly powerful. It opens up all sorts of opportunities to catch unwary ships with a blindside of fish when they think themselves safe for having avoided two full spreads already. Without going into length, a complacent enemy might commit to a turn to avoid the first salvos only to be struck by the third. Or they may assume that all of the fish have been launched only to be caught out by a surprise point blank ambush with the last launcher. The only real downside is that the Fubuki can make her torpedoes better than the Shinonome through the use of the Captain Skill Torpedo Acceleration. This would change the 10km, 59 knot Fubuki torpedoes into 8km, 64 knots torpedoes with their more powerful warhead. While the Shinonome would still enjoy a faster rearm process for her fish, it's hard to argue that these stealthier, faster and harder hitting Fubuki torpedoes aren't an improvement. Still, I am very pleased with the Shinonome's torpedo armament. It's quite powerful and unique. The Shinonome may seem like a fun throwback when it comes to her guns, at least for veterans of the IJN line. Players of the original Fubuki will recognize the weapon layout as that of the class before 0.5.15 if you used the A or B-Hull rather than the anti-aircraft C-Hull variant. I was more elated to see this than perhaps I should have been. Not only was her gun layout preserved but so too was her rate of fire. To say that her gun performance is rather lackluster is a bit of an understatement. * includes the use of the Advanced Fire Training Captain Skill where necessary. Gun performance values for tier 6 Destroyers. This lower rate of fire is combined with the nerfed shell performance from 0.5.15 which reduced HE damage per shell from 2,100 to 1,800. Her base fire chance is also reflective of the new shells at 7% per hit as opposed to 9%. While this does put her ahead of the Hatsuharu and Fubuki in terms of raw DPM and Fires per Minute (FPM), she lags considerably behind the Ognevoi, Anshan and the Farragut. In addition, she doesn't have that much of a lead on the IJN Destroyers. I was personally hoping to see the Shinonome with a Hatsuharu or at least a Fubuki's rate of fire. But being stuck at 6.67rpm instead of 7.5rpm or 8rpm is a big disappointment. This is compounded by the stereotypical poor gun handling of the mid tier IJN Destroyers. The guns take 30s to rotate 180' so you can forget brawling. The final nail in the coffin for me in regards to her guns is the 9.0km range. Their only saving grace comes from the good ballistics of her shells. Like all IJN 127mm Destroyers, her guns are very high velocity with very flat trajectories. This makes accuracy not much of a problem and it's more than sufficient to slap a prospecting hunter in the face. They can also be used sufficiently to finish off wounded prey if you're still in the vicinity after dumping your awesome fish. The Shinonome encounters a Hatsuharu inside a squall. Her primary battery allows her to battle from a position of superiority against other same-tier IJN Destroyers. Rivals: Hatsuharu The Hatsuharu doesn't come off looking to good in comparison to the Shinonome. Her torpedo armament is worse. She might have better rate of fire, but with only a 20% increase in reload speed compared to the 33% increase in available guns on the Shinonome, the Hatusharu falls well behind in that regard. Well, at least she has better range than the Shinonome. Sort of. That 300m is hardly decisive. About the only place where the Hatsuharu is hands down superior to the Shinonome is in regards to her agility and concealment. The Hatusharu is faster and she handles better. She's also got a 300m stealth advantage over the premium ship. Both of these traits are nice but when it comes to outright performance, I've got to give the laurels to the Shinonome in this comparison. Maneuverability Top Speed: 35.0 knotsTurning Radius: 640mRudder Shift: 3.2s The Shinonome nearly clones the Fubuki when it comes to her agility. This puts her on the slow side for a tier 6 destroyers, with a largish (but not unprecedented) turning circle and a rudder shift that lags behind the lead of her class by 0.7s. So while not terrible, the Shinonome doesn't have good handling either. She can and will out turn her sluggish turret traverse and you will find yourself tempted to touch the rudder to correct your aim or to speed up bringing your guns to bear. I find this to be largely a mistake as it can lead to all sorts of navigational problems, including often fatal beachings. DurabilityHit Points: 12,900 Bow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 12mm The Shinonome has less armour than the Fubuki, believe it or not. A few millimeters of missing armour plate aren't going to make a whole lot of difference, though. Any gun in the game can penetrate your bows with HE shells, so it's not like you'll enjoy any form of immunity to any kind of attack short of bouncing 152mm AP shells tossed into your face at point blank range. Her hit point pool is decent, though a far cry from the 15,500hp found on the Ognevoi or the 14,400 of the Anshan. Still this is on par with the Fubuki and it's higher than that found on any other USN or IJN destroyer at tier 6. This isn't really enough to make trading DPM with her main armament feasible, but it can provide a buffer to make picking on a damaged ship more worth risking. Rivals: Ognevoi & Anshan These ships are faster than you, tougher than you, with better DPM. These ships from the Soviet Block have the muscle to bully you off of objectives and drive you away from making attack runs on their big friends. They're anything but stealthy, however. And while their guns look more impressive, they're not that much better at slinging high explosive shells than you are. Properly equipped (with boosted hit points) and with the advantage of getting the first volley, you might be able to out trade these ships with your Shinonome. But beware if they switch over to armour piercing shells. They'll pull away on damage. Still, the only real contender for the Shinonome is the Premium Anshan, which preservers the gunship qualities of the Ognevoi but adds a potential 8km torpedo armament. This pales compared to the three triple launchers of the Shinonome, though. You can also console yourself that the Anshan has similarly poor gun handling, so neither one of you is going to want to adjust your heading while trading blows. Like a sick game of chicken, the first one to make a mistake or to veer away loses. Aware that she would be horribly outgunned and outclassed by the Akizuki, the Shinonome makes use of an island to keep out of line of sight of the fearsome IJN gunship. Pick your battles! Concealment and Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 7.0km Air Detection Range: 3.8km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.11km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +3.81km (vs 9.0km gun range) With her large hit point pool, it's perhaps not surprising that the Shinonome is a big boat. Her 7.0km surface detection range, while not so troublesome when the Fubuki was tier 8, is a little more problematic at tier 6. Thankfully she goes up against the likes of the Ognevoi (7.7km), Farragut (7.6km) and Anshan (7.2km). She really begins to hurt when up-tiered (as all sub tier 8 destroyers do) which face enemy tin cans that have access to Concealment Modification 1 which provides them with an immediate detection advantage. Still, her 7.0km is serviceable. Right out of the box with her premium camouflage, she has a 6.8km surface detection range, giving you a very comfortable 1.2km concealment window from which to deploy your torpedoes against larger ships. Fully upgraded, you can get the Shinonome's surface detection range down to 6.1km. This does open up a tiny opportunity to stealth fire from open water if her Captain takes Advanced Fire Training. Don't think that this will redeem her gunnery, however, as it's only a 900m window. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 12.7mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 4 Hahaha! No. Turn this travesty off and leave it off. You've got more hopes of Wargaming implementing mid-air collisions than getting the Shinonome to shoot something down. Rivals: Farragut The Farragut contrasts the Shinonome greatly. Faster, more agile, with nimble guns that unleash a blistering rate of fire -- out of all of the tier 6 Destroyers the Shinonome might encounter, the Farragut is her worst nightmare. Armed with up to five 127mm rifles which cycle once every four seconds, she can stack the hurt in a hurry and disable weapons and systems under her incessant volley. With a pair of quadruple torpedo launchers with a 6.4km range, you have to be wary of where and when you turn when a Farragut engages. You're not going to out trade a Farragut. In a straight line, you're not going to outrun her either. Your best bet is to point your stern into their faces and run, firing back with your four rifles. If she wants to keep up, the Farragut will have to go bow on and only be able to reply with two. But no Farragut should be fool enough to fall for that trick for long. Disengage when you see a full health Farragut prowling near you. You've got a very small stealth advantage over her. Use it and look for greener pastures. After encountering a Lo Yang inside of 6km, the Shinonome blows smoke and heads out to open sea after dumping fish. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme As an IJN Destroyer, the Shinonome is a pretty forgiving boat. While she struggles with her guns, it's just hard to argue the point that being able to spit out nine torpedoes from three launchers doesn't facilitate hitting targets and doing damage. I would say that the baseline difficulty for the Shinonome is higher than that of the Fubuki. Her extra guns are nice but not enough to provide a solid deterrent to would be aggressors. 10km torpedoes are easier to use than 8km torpedoes, if only from a survivability perspective. Efficacy remains up for debate. It's this same torpedo armament which in the hands of an expert player become a real nightmare. Three triple launchers provides a whole measure of control that's all too dangerous in the right hands. Combined with stealth and agility, a Shinonome, like a Fubuki, that's left unchecked into the later stages of a match can quickly spell the end for an unwary team that has lost their vision. Mouse's Summary: The Shinonome looks less impressive than she is. It's easy to get caught up on how she's not-quite a Fubuki. Her gun armament will disappoint many who are expecting great things from it. She's no gunship. Overall, she's a good workhorse premium, with no flash or pizazz. I was initially disappointed in the Shinonome. While I was working on trying to figure out a way to summarize her for people that asked me what she was like, I found it easiest to compare her to what people knew. She's a stock Fubuki, with three turrets instead of two. She reloads more slowly. She has 8km torpedoes instead of 6km. That really doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement. In fact, it sounds downright lackluster. But that's undermining just how good the Fubuki is at tier 6 and how the Shinonome, as a Fubuki herself, does just fine as a result. I am delighted that they included this ship as a reward vessel accessible to anyone with a tier 8+ ship and time to grind out the Campaign Missions. This will give players who don't normally have access to premium content, and who might be newer and have missed out on previous promotions, a chance to grab a trainer and credit earning ship to assist them in playing World of Warships. The Shinonome will work well for anyone that's looking to help retrain their Captains, especially with the changes to the IJN Destroyer line. The only unfortunate part is that the time needed to complete the campaign may make their own acquisition of the Shinonome so delayed as to be moot for this purpose. Oh well, she'll be ready the next time she's needed. The Shinonome is a workhorse. Like the Kamikaze-class before her when the Minekaze still reigned king, she does not look that impressive compared to her non-premium counterpart. Don't let that fool you. You don't drive the Shinonome to be fancy or to be noticed. She's there to get the job done, and she's got all of the right tools to assist you in doing so from start to finish. Rivals: Fubuki The Fubuki outclasses the Shinonome in everything but main battery firepower. But let's be thorough and go over the specific differences compared to the upgraded ship. In parenthesis, the Fubuki will be first, Shinonome second. The Fubuki is better armoured (16mm bow vs 12mm) The Shinonome has a larger main battery (4 guns vs 6) The Fubuki reloads faster (8s vs 9s) The Fubuki is longer ranged (10.0km vs 9.0km) The Fubuki has better torpedoes (16,267 damage, 59 knots, 10km range, 1.5km detection vs 14,600 damage, 63 knots, 8km range, 1.6km detection) The Fubuki has better AA DPS (19 vs 4) The Fubuki has better Rudder Shift Time (2.5s vs 3.2s) The Fubuki is an excellent destroyer at tier 6 -- arguably one of the most powerful destroyers at her tier and certainly in contention for being one of the most powerful destroyers tier for tier in the game (provided we pointedly ignore the Gremyashchy). That the Shinonome compares so closely to this strong destroyer really speaks well for this premium ship. The Fubuki and Shinonome. The Fubuki has the busier camouflage scheme between the two of them. Visually, they are quite similar though still distinct. The Shinonome is easily identified not only the number of turrets but by their style, which are slender and boxy. Would I Recommend? The Shinonome is a free ship (for now). The only way to acquire her is to put in time to the Campaign and unlock her through the step by step process of completing Missions. Time is precious, and it's ultimately up to the individual how to spend their precious hobby hours. With this in mind, here are my recommendations: For Random Battle Grinding: Yes, she's worth it. As I said earlier, she a stable, reliable work horse. The Shinonome is perfect for helping grind out your IJN Destroyer Captains and she's no slouch for your cruiser Captains either. She synergizes well with most of the Captain Skills you could want for either the gunship or torpedo boat line for the destroyers. Do keep in mind that as a tier 6, she will be facing against higher tiered opponents more often than not. It will be rare that you're not facing off against tier 7 opponents at the very least. Make use of her concealment, sneak those caps where you can and put fish into their big stuff to gradually accumulate the experience and credits you need. Stay away from anything with radar. For Competitive Gaming: It's harder to recommend her here. The Fubuki is better. Still, she can be pressed into performing if needs be. Like I said, it's hard to argue with the merits of three triple launchers. Personally, she wouldn't be the destroyer I would reach for. For Collectors: The end of the historic Shinonome is a mystery. Even the whereabouts of her remains haven't yet been confirmed. Like the Arizona, she didn't have a wartime career and is more famous for the events surrounding her sinking than in any action in which she participated. For Fun Factor: For Captains who love their IJN Destroyers, the Shinonome is a good fit. She doesn't have any gimmicks to make her stand out. But if you like Fubuki-style game play and wish you could make a few more credits and experience while enjoying that style, then the Shinonome is a great investment. She will not convince someone who does not like Destroyer game play, particularly Japanese destroyer game play, to change their colours however. Outfitting your Shinonome Recommended Modules There shouldn't be any surprises in this section. For your first slot, I strongly recommend Magazine Modification 1 for all destroyers. This turns detonations from an uncommon (but jarring) occurrence to a statistical outlier. You will take gun hits in your destroyers and they can and will result in the complete annihilation of your vessel with some frequency (as much as 1 game in 20). This will reduce this down to almost 1 game in 67 at most. If you feel like living dangerously, or if you intend to always equip Juliet Charlie signals, then Main Battery Modification 1 isn't a bad choice. Just don't complain when someone asplodes your boat. For your second slot, it's a no brainer. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is best. The third slot options are still pretty terrible. Take whichever one you like. I usually go with Propulsion Modification 1 in the vain hopes that my engine might bust less often. It doesn't seem to be working. Finally, for your fourth option, Propulsion Modification 2 is handy, particularly if you find yourself accelerating and decelerating to take advantage of smoke. For aggressive players that like to ninja caps, this is definitely the best option. Steering Gears Modification 2 isn't bad, but this only nets you a 0.64s gain on your rudder shift which is hardly noticeable. Recommended Consumables The Shinonome isn't too pricey when it comes to maintaining her consumables. Due to her decent stealth window, you can eschew the use of a premium Damage Control Party if you wish. The 60s reset timer on the standard version is normally sufficient for a vessel that doesn't intend to use her guns that often. The same can't be said for your Smoke Generator. Don't skimp out on that and spend the 22,500 credits to increase the number of charges you get and to reduce the reset timer from four minutes down to two minutes and forty seconds. I wouldn't bother with a premium Engine Boost consumable. Its use is highly situational. You can just hold onto it until you really need it. Recommended Captain Skills With the way the IJN Destroyer tree has branched, it's not uncommon to see some skill choices that seem less optimal for select destroyer types. The Akizuki has very specific demands, for example. To this end, they may not mesh up perfectly with the Shinonome. Here's the skills I recommend for her optimal performance. For your first skill, Basic Fire Training is best. This will bump up her anemic reload rate from 9s to 8.1s. Next, grab Last Stand to keep your engine and steering gears operational after taking damage. Torpedo Armament Expertise is very powerful on the Shinonome, reducing her reload from 72s per launcher down to 65.7s and should probably be acquired on a subsequent pass through the list. Lastly, Expert Marksman is alright, but it won't suddenly make the guns amazing. I would skip it personally. At tier three, Superintendent is probably the best choice. This will give you an extra (and welcome) charge of your Smoke Generator and Engine Boost consumables. At tier four, you have three reasonable choices. Advanced Fire Training seems like the optimal choice, increasing your gun range from a pathetic 9.0km to 10.8km which is much more versatile. Alternatively you can reach for Demolition Expert to nudge the fire chance of this ship from 7% to 10% per shell which is respectable. However, I feel that Survivability Expert is probably best for the Shinonome, bumping her hit points up to 15,300. And finally, at the last tier, Concealment Expert remains too good of a choice to pass up for Destroyers. For more articles in this series, please visit: LittleWhiteMouse's Mega Ship Review Guide
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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