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Found 22 results

  1. 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!
  2. 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
  3. The following is a review of Smolensk, the tier X premium Soviet light cruiser kindly provided to me by Wargaming. Please be aware that though this represents the release version of the ship, her statistics may change in the future. To the best of my knowledge, these stats are accurate as of patch 0.8.8. Someone thought it would be a good idea to release a tier X version of USS Flint but with Soviet flavour-crystals. Players in the know are disinclined to drink the red Kool-aid -- and with good reason. If you're hoping that I was going to feed the drama llama and tell you everything is fine with Smolensk, I'm sorry to disappoint. Smolensk is an unapologetically powerful premium and continues the 2019 Stalinium trend. I should call Smolensk by her proper appellation: a "Reward Ship". This distinction is hella-important. Reward ships can still be directly nerfed after-release. Barring extraordinary circumstances, a premium cannot. This is, of course, adding to the feelings of frustration within certain circles of the community -- knowing that Wargaming could apply corrections to Smolensk but hasn't. I'm personally not getting my hopes up. So let's take a look at this calamity and why Smolensk has so many people sipping Tang. PROS Troll armour scheme, with 30mm hull amidships, 50mm citadel roof and a thin armoured belt which prompts frequent AP ricochets and over-penetrations. Armed with sixteen (!) rapid-fire Soviet 130mm guns that upgrade well with commander skills. Has the ability to make players give up on life and/or rage quit simply by bringing them under fire. Speaking of fire, she's good at setting it. Good accuracy and shell ballistics for a light cruiser. Downright trollish protection scheme. Excellent concealment. It's so good that she can hide her over-performance from spreadsheets. Fast and agile. Good anti-aircraft firepower. Has access to a Smoke Generator. CONS Super squishy with a tiny hit point pool, pathetic armour and zero anti-torpedo protection. Speaking of squish, her citadel is exposed over the waterline and just begging to be groped by AP shells. When things go wrong, they go wrong quickly. Short ranged guns and torpedoes. But you can fix the former and you don't necessarily need the latter (nice as they are to have). Poor HE and AP penetration for a tier X cruiser (not that this matters, really, but someone would complain if I didn't put it here). It's Soviet, so it's not allowed to be good. Smolensk is an HE spamming, torpedo-armed light-cruiser with smoke. In theory, she's soft and fragile. In theory. In reality, she's hard to spot, she's hard to hit, and when you do hit her, you can't guarantee good damage numbers. The Details You Need to Know There are four main elements you need to know about Smolensk. Weapons Main Battery: Sixteen 130mm/57 guns in 4x4 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Ten torpedo tubes in 2x5 launchers with one mounted on each side in wing mounts straddling the rear funnel. Smolensk has destroyer-caliber guns. This presents a few problems but, as we'll see, these are problems that are largely irrelevant. These imagined difficulties are: Smolensk is short ranged. She only has a modest fire-chance per shell compared to 152mm+ armed cruisers. She has low damage per shell compared to 152mm+ armed cruisers. Her AP penetration and HE penetration are poor. Smolensk starts with a mere 13.8km reach. This is near-suicidal range for a cruiser at tier X, but Smolensk has two ready fixes. Between the Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 upgrade and the Advanced Fire Training commander skill, Smolensk's range can be modified to 16km or 16.6km respectively. The choice between these two options lets players pick one of the two without taxing their ability to boost Smolensk's DPM or set fires. Combine the two (often at the expense of reload) and you have a reach of 19.2km. These options more than undermine any deficiencies in the reach of her guns. Furthermore, unlike some other destroyer-caliber armed cruisers, Smolensk's guns are comfortable to use up to ranges of 15km and have better ballistics than British or American 152mm. Shell flight times estimations (in seconds) of most of the tier X cruisers. These were taken from the in-game client with guns trained broadside. Smolensk's 130mm guns have shell flight times similar to Des Moines and Salem at very long ranges -- much improved over the more floaty ballistics of American and British 152mm guns. At ranges less than 10km, they're more akin to Henri IV's 240mm guns. Speaking of damage output and setting fires: It's true that Smolensk's AP and HE shells are found wanting in terms of raw damage output and fire chance compared to the 152mm, 203mm and 240mm guns of her competitors. However, the sheer volume of fire and her improved accuracy more than make up for any perceived deficit here. Furthermore, Smolensk can directly increase her rate of fire with Basic Fire Training -- something the other cruisers at tier X cannot, stacking this on top of Main Battery Modification 3. In addition, she takes less fire-chance penalty for using the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill than her contemporaries. This just leaves the issue of penetration, and this isn't one that can be corrected. Even with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, Smolensk is incapable of damaging areas of armour thicker than 27mm with her high-explosive rounds. Her AP shells are similarly anemic with less than 100mm of penetration at ranges greater than 8km. However, her low penetration is largely a non-issue. Smolensk is more than capable of aiming for weak spots, and when you're tossing out that many shells, you're bound to hit something squishy sooner or later. Her AP shells are still able to chew through mouthfuls of an enemy ship's hit points if they present their broadside. She need merely aim at their softer hull sections like the bow, stern or upper hull. And for those tougher nuts out there, her fire setting will burn them to the waterline before long. Whatever perceived flaws Smolensk has with her guns are laughable, easily corrected if they were something that needed correcting in the first place. The sheer volume of fire her sixteen guns put out is nightmarish -- driving off and intimidating opponents. Softer hulled ships vanish in just a few seconds, allowing even this soft-skinned ship to out-trade select opponents. And if that weren't enough, she has decent torpedoes to stove the face in of anyone that comes sniffing near her smoke screens. These are just the stock DPM values. This is before the influence of captain skills, before upgrades, before consumables and before special upgrades. This also doesn't account for penetration or accuracy or what have you. I could have made this graph stupidly complicated with seventeen different combinations of applied bonuses and caveats to damage output but I think this already illustrates all it needs to: Smolensk spits out a lot of shells. Don't be in their way. There is no way I didn't screw something up here or leave something off. But, you know what? I'ma roll with it. You can increase Smolensk's fire chance even further by using the Adrenaline Rush commander skill and take some damage, but I think covering 34 different combinations is plenty, thank you very much. Keep in mind that these are base fire-per-minute values, not counting enemy fire resistance. In practice, the actual value will be about 40% to 50% of what's listed here. Oh no, Smolensk might "only" be able to start one fire every other salvo. What a joke. Smolensk doesn't miss -- only players do. (180 shells fired at 15km locked onto a stationary enemy Fuso without camo. Smolensk was equipped with Aiming System Modification 1). If you're paying attention, then with that optimal fire build I just illustrated above, you should be starting a fire almost every 5 to 6 seconds. Consumables Speaking of smoke screens, there are two consumables here worth noting. Smolensk, like all tier X cruisers, has access to a Repair Party consumable. There's nothing out of the ordinary with her having one, but given the frustrations of landing hits on this ship (and good quality hits at that), it's presence is noteworthy. The real ship-defining consumable here is Smolensk's Smoke Generator. There aren't many cruisers with HE shells with a Smoke Generator and with good reason. Iwaki Alpha, Belfast, Mikhail Kutuzov, and Flint aren't exactly biword for balance. If it weren't for Perth and Huanghe providing some (occasionally) good press, this combination would deserve it's automatic derision. Still, Smolensk is moving the needle towards the direction of "never again" in my opinion (she says, then HMS London gets previewed). What's funny to me is that there were steps made to try and reign in Smolensk's Smoke Generator. Mikhail Kutuzov, the retired tier VIII Soviet premium cruiser uses the same Smoke Generator as tier VIII Soviet Destroyers. It would stand to reason that Smolensk would use the tier X version but she doesn't. She uses the same tier VIII version as Kutuzov. The difference here is that Smolensk's smoke "only" lasts for 89 seconds as opposed to the 97 seconds it could have been. r/There was an attempt... Smolensk's Smoke Generator combines with her excellent surface detection, getting down as low as 10km. Stack this onto her flexible gun range and she's a hard cruiser to find when she doesn't want to be seen. Aircraft carriers won't do the spotting here -- her aerial detection range is the same reach as her long-range AA bubble. That just leaves blasting her with radar, waiting for her to open fire or getting suicidally close. For destroyers, closing the distance is high-risk. Getting counter-spotted inside of 10km of Smolensk is a great way to get yourself sent back to port in a hurry. For anyone else, there's those torpedoes to worry about and that ridiculous DPM. Short of radar, a well played Smolensk is only seen when she wants to be seen, and that's only when she's pulling the trigger. Protection Hit Points: 32,400 Minimum Bow & Deck Armour: 16mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 16mm bow/stern + 100mm transverse bulkhead (70mm belt broadside) Torpedo Damage Reduction: Nope.jpg Armour so bad, it's good. Her conning tower and the forward faces of her turrets are 100mm thick -- just enough to prompt the occasional ricochet or shatter smaller caliber AP shells. Smolensk has an exposed citadel, but she's surprisingly resistant to broadside citadel damage from battleships. Her citadel roof is 50mm thick and will auto-ricochet any battleship shells attempting to penetrate it from a range of 21km or less (even then, good luck). So only shots aimed directly at her waterline (or just beneath) count. At 70mm, Smolensk's belt isn't thick enough to fuse AP shells greater than 420mm in caliber. There was some great work done on Reddit by U/R_radical (link here, please give it some well deserved love) which I followed up on for my own tests. The grossly simplified version is this: République, Thunderer, Ohio, Georgia, Musashi, Yamato and Kremlin are physically incapable of landing citadel hits against the flat broadside of Smolensk if the shells don't strike water before entering the ship. They need to hit angled surfaces to increase the relative thickness of Smolensk's belt in order to fuse. It gets worse, though. Smolensk has a narrow beam -- there just isn't enough room when striking Smolensk's flat broadside for most battleship shells with their 0.033s fuse timer to explode inside the ship. The shells have to be slowed down first and air drag doesn't really begin to be enough of an effect until you get to ranges of around 15km or more. For some battleships with high velocity shells like Roma, you're looking at ranges closer to 20km. Inside that distance, short of shells dunking beneath the water first, their AP rounds will pass clean through resulting in over penetrations despite hitting the bullseye of her machine spaces. Thus, battleships have to wait until Smolensk is angled in order to have a chance at landing penetrating and citadel hits. The size of these angles varies with range, but even at a distance of 15km, Yamato is looking at needing Smolensk to be angled out at least 30º from a flat broadside before she gets that magical combination of thick enough armour to arm her fuse AND enough space along her shell path to land a citadel hit. My own tests with Lert necessitated a 37º angle before we got lucky with Musashi's 460mm AP shells. If that wasn't enough, Smolensk still has a few tricks to play. Her 30mm will also autobounce any AP shells smaller than 429mm that strike it at too acute of an angle. And finally, if you think smashing shells through her fragile snoot will finally yield those big damaging hits, be aware that her upper transverse bulkhead is 100mm thick -- there's no overmatching that if the shell comes in too steeply as Smolensk angles away. The net effect to all of this confusing math is that Smolensk's armour is downright troll when battleships shoot at her. Over penetrations abound. Citadel hits are rare. Auto-ricochets happen just often enough to make you want to pull your hair out. Thanks to her Smoke Generator, hits alone are uncommon for slow-firing ships. If this analysis seems battleship-biased, you're right. That's because cruisers have no problems at all ripping apart Smolensk if they catch her. Smolensk has a tiny hit point pool -- a mere 0.9 Viribus Unitis (VU) worth -- which also means poor returns on her Repair Party consumable. While outright trading with Smolensk is generally a bad idea because of her monstrous DPM, the occasional pot shot from cruisers will yield big numbers when they slap this little Soviet monster. Do your poor battleships and destroyers a favour if you get the chance. Venezia and Puerto Rico are works in progress and still subject to change. Smolensk's HP total is awful. If skill points weren't at such a bloody premium, it would be worth spending three of them on Survivability Expert. The bonus 3,500hp (almost 11%) would make her equal to 1 VU. This is a totally important standard unit of measure for a cruiser, or so the constant whining about the new Austro-Hungarian battleship would have me believe. Agility Top Speed: 35 knots Reverse Speed: -13.6 knots Rudder Shift Time: 8.2 seconds Turning Circle Radius: 750 meters Maximum Rate of Turn: 5.7º/s at 4/4 speed Compared to other mid-to-high tier Soviet cruisers, Smolensk is hella agile. Krasny Krym, Murmansk and Makarov are the only ships that handle better (and I would question giving Makarov that honour). Krasny Krym manages it because she's a tier IV design. Murmansk and Makarov are borrowed ships from other nations. It's the smallest slights which sting the most. I think I might have stomached Smolensk's inclusion better had she not trespassed here. She doesn't handle like a Soviet cruiser and this irks me to no end. Allow me to explain. I've spent forever twirling boats. I've got a pretty good base understanding of how ships move in this game and I'm forever expanding that knowledge. I've come to recognize patterns and trends, not only between the different ship types but also within a given nation. Japanese cruisers are fast, American cruisers have small turning radii, British cruisers break the laws of physics, and so on and so forth. I must stress that these are trends -- not hard fast rules. Still, patterns exist and I don't think they're coincidental. The Soviet cruiser line is one of contrasts. Their low tier cruisers are ridiculously agile -- some of the most agile cruisers in the game. However at tier V, they transition to very fast ships with enormous turning circles. Barring borrowed and up-tiered designs (and Mikhail Kutuzov), Soviet cruisers pay for their sleek hull forms with poor handling. Smolensk doesn't. For a Soviet cruiser, she is bloody nimble. She's fast. Her rudder shift time is good. Her turning circle radius isn't appalling. And it's this last part where I take issue. I expected her to have a turning radius at the 820m mark or greater -- something like Chapayev or Shchors. This would scale back her rate of turn down from 5.7º/s to 5.2º/s or less -- still decent but definitely more in line with the Soviet light cruisers as a whole. And let me be clear: I'm aware I'm unfairly gate-keeping which ships are allowed to be agile. There's no hard-fast rule that says Soviet cruisers must handle like a pregnant yak in a mud-wallow. The Sverdlov-class doesn't. None of their low tier ships do either. It kinda makes sense that a small, anti-aircraft cruiser like Smolensk would be a wiggly little thing. Colbert is. The Atlanta-class is. Their radii are much tighter than what Smolensk can boast. Compared to those two, Smolensk is pretty chunktacular. In fact when you put her alongside these other AA cruisers, her turning radius is downright Soviet. Still, even with this minor disparity, this is one more thing Smolensk is hella-good at. She's got the firepower. She's got the stealth. She's got the smoke. She's got the speed. She even has the durability despite being worth 0.9 VU. Her AA power is excellent (specifically when you also account for her aerial detection). And now, with this, she's super agile too. She's hard to hit in the hands of a good player. It's bad enough that she's a small target and one that's hard to dig out of smoke. With her great range improvements, she can play the open water game and Just Dodge™ her way to victory when islands and smoke aren't an option. I suppose with all of the time I've spent with twirling ships, it explains why this is the final straw for me. It's kinda absurd, when I think about it, but when have feels ever made sense? I hate you, Smolensk and your cute, twirly butt. Placed against her peers at tier X, Smolensk comes out looking very good. She's behind Colbert, Minotaur, Venezia and Des Moines, but only when the American uses her Legendary Upgrade. Venezia and Puerto Rico are works in progress and still subject to change. Everything Else Just so I can say that I didn't leave it out: Camouflage & Refrigerator Smolensk's camouflage is the standard Type 20 Camouflage. This provides: 3% reduction of detectability by sea 4% increase of dispersion of shells fired by the enemy attacking your ship. 50% reduction of cost of the ship's post-battle service. 20% increase to credits earned per battle. 100% increase experience earned per battle. Smolensk's economy doesn't appear out of the ordinary, being comparable to the other tier X reward ships Bourgogne, Thunderer, Stalingrad, etc. Base Surface Detection: 12.78km Aerial Detection: 7.41km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 10.04km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 5.91km Main Battery Firing Range: Between 13.8km (stock) up to 19.21km Nothing further to add here that hasn't already been discussed above. Smolensk is smol and a sneaky danger-noodle. Anti Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts (3.5km to 6km): 8 explosions for 1,890 damage per blast Long Ranged AA Guns (6km): 167.6 damage every 0.32s Medium Ranged AA Guns (3.5km): 186.2 damage every 0.32s Short Ranged AA Guns (3.1km): 58.6 damage every 0.34s Smol-bote with biggish AA. It's important to note that with Concealment Modification 1 and Concealment Expert, Smolensk's aerial detection range is a mere 21mm (yes, millimeters) longer than her long-range AA power. Don't ask your CV to try and spot this thing -- they'll get shredded. Smolensk can bloody stealth-snipe aircraft. Final Evaluation From KC Green's fantastic Gunshow comic. I bloody hate this ship. I've hated working on this review all month. I've rewritten this damn thing so many times, never happy with the tone, never happy with the message. Even now I'm not sure I've properly communicated how frustrating it is to face off against a well-played version of this thing. I don't want to water down this sentiment (which I have so many times before) by mathing out the odds of actually meeting a competent Smolensk player or how, yes, it's technically possible to counter it with X, Y and Z. I don't like facing this ship for the same reasons that I cringe when I see a Flint, Belfast or Kutuzov on the enemy roster. In the end, it doesn't matter if the enemy Smolensk is good or not. My sentiments about the match are already soured. I consider myself a patient person and the presence of a Smolensk taxes even me. I am someone who can stomach playing against carriers. I enjoy my troll-ships. However, even I have my limits. I don't like playing Smolensk. It feels grossly unfair. It feels the same way as playing Belfast, Kutuzov or Flint. She has all of the advantages and few match-ups are unfavourable (short of derping into a Shimakaze torpedo like I did one game). The deeper I looked into Smolensk, the more concerned I became. There's a lot going on here -- a perfect storm of potential and so many different combinations to analyze that it's easy to see why Smolensk not only can be a piece of garbage in one player's hands and an absolute beast in another. If you don't have Smolensk yet, I dunno what to tell you. On the one hand, I don't want to play against your new ship. On the other, I know that there's a risk you could miss out. She's a bona fide reward ship -- not sold for cash money so nerfs are possible. What you invest in now might not be the ship we have six months from now. If you're hoping to preserve this sense of superiority, then she might not be worth the investment. This changes if she's eventually sold for cash. As a tier X ship, I see that as unlikely. This might change come Black Friday through Christmas, though. Wargaming does like to bundle everything together and ring the dinner bell. This is also the first year where we've had a veritable glut of tier X reward ships available. Once cash changes hands, Smolensk's performance is locked in. The only recourse from then on is to hope she becomes rare. And if that happens, if you haven't got her already, you're unlikely to ever get her. To Hell with it: If you don't have her yet, get her ASAP. Play her often. Play her so often that it chokes the matchmaker. T-59 this momo and have popularity necessitates re-evaluating her performance and availability. I don't see Smolensk surviving either change-free or remaining freely available, though who knows what kind of timeline this is on. She's that good. She's that annoying. How to Balans the Spreadsheets Recommended Upgrades There's a lot to unpack with the upgrades of high-tier ships, but it's generally simple. You want to build Smolensk for agility and gunnery. Everything else is secondary to this. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1 in your first slot. In your second slot, take the corresponding Special Upgrade for either Defensive AA Fire or Hydracoustic Search -- whichever consumable you tend to favour using. Barring that, default to Steering Gears Modification 1. You're going to be doing a lot of gunnery at range so Aiming Systems Modification 1 is a good investment (if only because the other upgrades are crap). If you prefer to play Smolensk more static -- hiding in smoke and behind islands, take Propulsion Modification 2 in your fourth slot. Otherwise, take Steering Gears Modification 2 for better open water agility. Similarly, if you prefer open-water play and feel confident with your ability to dodge, Steering Gears Modification 3 will serve you well. Otherwise take Concealment Modification 1 to make hiding easier. Between the two best options here, Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 is the preferred choice, extending Smolensk's range. This puts less of a strain on her commander skill options (the effects here can be replicated with Advanced Fire Training). If you've 4 skill points free, then by all means, take the range-skill instead and default to Main Battery Modification 3 for the increased reload speed. Or, you could get all the range and combine the two -- but at least one range upgrade is needed. Recommended Skills There's a bit of a balancing act going on here. You need to have at least one range-upgrade for Smolensk (need is a strong word, but trust me, it makes all the difference). So if you haven't taken Gun Fire Control Modification 2 then you have to select Advanced Fire Training for example. So let's look at the worth of individual skills rather than the total package: At tier 1, there are three skills worth considering. Priority Target and Incoming Fire Alert are the first pair and tend to be mutually exclusive -- take one, not both. The former gives you more information. The latter gives you more critical and specific information. The last skill that's worthwhile here is Preventative Maintenance, but it's definitely sub-optimal compared to the other two for Smolensk. At tier 2, Last Stand is highly recommended. While not on Destroyer levels of fragility, Smolensk's rudder gets shot out often and near misses from large caliber HE shells can (and will) knock out her engines. Adrenaline Rush is also a great skill if you have the leftover points to spend on it. Jack of All Trades is handy for reducing consumable reset timers, particularly when the action is heated and in combination with the November Foxtrot signal and premium consumables to further drop their cool down. Similarly, Smoke Screen Expert is nice for the extra room to move around, especially if you plan to be sharing your smoke with a friend. At tier 3, there's a glut of choices here. Superintendent is arguably the best of the lot for the extra heal and extra charge of Smoke Generator. Basic Fire Training and Demolition Expert also play to Smolensk's best strengths. Beyond this, there are skills that are simply "nice to have" but hardly an efficient use of points including Vigilance and Torpedo Armament Expertise. The tier 4 skills are contentious and, frankly, are largely a matter of personal taste. Advanced Fire Training is all but mandatory in the absence of Gun Fire Control Modification 2 (how many times have I said that now?). Concealment Expert is amazing for its points cost, improving not only her survivability but opening up the door to ambushing aircraft with Concealment Modification 1, yet I wouldn't consider this skill required. Probably the best investment is Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, opening the door for Smolensk to directly damage the extremities of all heavy cruisers within her matchmaking. But even this isn't mandatory if you just want to make battleships burn. Finally, for the truly eclectic, there's Radio Location for those who fancy themselves as destroyer hunters in the late-game. Green = All but Mandatory. Yellow = Highly recommended. Red = Situational. Note this only applies to normal commanders. Special commanders, with their baked in bonuses, changes things. Last Bits And here I told myself this was going to be a short review. The amount of prep-work for this review was insane. I started mapping the dispersion of cruisers (ugh!), tested battleship AP fuses, did more work on torpedo damage, played with AA, did even more twirling, never mind all of that dirty, DIRTY play testing. You'll note a lack of an Angry YouTuber jpeg at the end of this article. That's deliberate. Some of my readers get too hung up on the soundbite at the end rather than the message as a whole. They might return at some point, but I'm retiring them for the time being. Thank you for reading.
  4. The following is a review of Massachusetts, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 20th, 2018. Over a year in development. Thanks 'bama. Quick Summary: A South Dakota-class battleship which trades a bit of concealment for more agility. She's the first American battleship with respectable secondaries. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: Patch 0.6.15.1 to 0.7.5.1, January 13th, 2018 until June 20th, 2018. Yes, really. She had a long development cycle. PROs Excellent anti-torpedo protection with a 46% damage reduction. 50% faster reset timer on her Repair Party consumable, allowing her to recover damage more quickly. Low velocity 406mm shells have good overall dispersion area and her AP shells hit like trucks. Improved secondaries compared to Alabama with 2.5km additional range, 50% faster rate of fire and 40% increased accuracy. Excellent anti-aircraft firepower. Very agile for a high tier battleship -- even more so than Alabama -- with a great rate of turn. CONs Very vulnerable to cruiser-caliber HE fire with the majority of the ship having only 32mm of protection. Main battery is short ranged at 18.3km base. Main battery dispersion is a bit wonky with 1.7 sigma. Secondary guns are small caliber and struggle to deal direct damage to most targets. Horribly slow for a tier VIII battleship at 27.5 knots. Large surface detection range for an American battleship at 16.6km base. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Since the lowering of the citadels of high tier American battleships, they've become much more forgiving to play. They're not as brainless as British or German battleships, but they're still a comfortable ride. Any player of any skill level can pick one up and do reasonably well with them. Massachusetts is only a little more difficult (but only slightly) due to her temperamental main battery dispersion. For Veterans, Massachusetts' poor sigma value and mediocre concealment will prevent her from becoming the darling of many. She's a medium-range brawler that falls apart up close. Her overall carry potential is limited. However, she does allow players to make use of island terrain in the same manner as an American light cruiser to lob her secondary shells at targets they cannot hit with their main battery (which is a nice trick). Jousting and brawling skills will also help here. - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Massachusetts looks like a rather mediocre and safe offering and that's not far from wrong. While there are remarkable aspects about it, Massachusett's firepower merits only a rating. As good as her secondaries are, they are only a situational weapon. That doesn't make up for the deficiencies with her main battery. With the lowering of the American citadels, their biggest weakness was safely moderated. They're still among the most fragile of the tier VIII battleships. Thankfully, Massachusetts has a Repair Party bonus which puts her solidly in the category. Where the South Dakota-class really shines is in their Agility and Anti Aircraft firepower. Both merit a evaluation. Finally, for Vision Control, Massachusetts has a disappointing surface detection and sits in the bottom half for her tier. She only gets a score here. Options Massachusetts has a couple of oddities to be aware of. First, she's an American Battleship. This has three effects: Her Damage Control Party has a 20 second active period instead of 15 second of other battleships. She does not get access to Aiming System Modification 1 in her third upgrade slot. Instead, she gets access to Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 in her third upgrade slot. Furthermore, Massachusetts has a unique Repair Party consumable with a faster reset timer Consumables: Consumable wise, you have the choice between a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. This latter consumable offers 53 additional DPS. Massachusetts Repair Party has an accelerated reset timer of 60 seconds for standard and 40 seconds for her premium version. This is half the standard timer for other versions of this consumable. Upgrades The big question presented with your consumable options are as follows: You can largely correct her range deficiency by equipping Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1. This will boost her range back up to 21.2km (compared to 21.1km on a stock Alabama) and your Spotter Aircraft consumable can boost it further. The most appealing and gimmicky choice is to emphasize her secondaries and take Secondary Gun Modification 2. Her accuracy with her secondaries will be boosted to 68% greater than most other ships. Finally, in the question of defense, you must choose between fire damage reduction with Damage Control Modification 2 and further emphasizing her good agility with Steering Gears Modification 2 for her 4th slot. In addition, you have a choice between emphasizing the durability of your already-tough main battery armaments with Main Armaments Modification 1 or doubling the hit points of your secondaries with Auxiliary Armaments Modification 1 in your first slot. Camouflage Massachusetts comes with Type 10 Camouflage. During testing this was in the style of Measure 22 historical pattern but is set to change when the ship goes live. This provides: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. During playtesting, Massachusetts used the Measure 22 camouflage (blue hull, grey superstructure). To my understanding, this is being replaced on live when she gets released with the black and grey scheme shown on the World of Warships devblog. Ye be warned, says I. Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 406mm rifles in three turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twenty 127mm rifles in 10x2 turrets, Massachusetts is the fifth American battleship in World of Warships armed with 406mm/45 Mark 6 naval rifles. Colorado, North Carolina, Alabama and Alabama ST all make use of these guns and many players should be familiar with their performance. Generally speaking, these are accurate weapons with comfortable dispersion but they pay for this with lower muzzle velocity. They have longer shell flight times over distance than other battleships. Their heavy shells don't lack for penetration power, however, preserving energy well. They also hit like trucks. Official penetration values of American 406mm/45 Mk 6 Guns, taken from World of Warships Armada videos published by Wargaming. At the time of writing this, Massachusett's guns have the hardest hitting AP shell at tier VIII. They do 500hp more damage per shell than their closest competitor, the IJN 410mm guns found on Amagi and Kii. They far outstrip the 381mm/380mm guns of the Bismarck-class, Monarch, Richelieu, Gascogne and Roma. With nine guns and a 30s reload, Massachusetts is easily one of the hardest hitting battleships at her tier. Massachusetts falls behind the other American battleships for two reasons, however. She has the worst shell grouping out of all four previously mentioned battleships. She is also short-ranged. With a maximum reach of 18.3km stock, Massachusetts is one of the shortest ranged battleships at her tier, besting only Monarch and Roma. The impact of this flaw is mixed. It can largely be alleviated by taking the American upgrade, Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1, which resets her maximum range back up to Alabama levels. This is a less than ideal solution given Massachusetts secondaries which compete for attention with Secondary Gun Battery Modification 2 in the same upgrade slot. The alternative is to make use of her Spotter Aircraft consumable to temporarily boost her range when needed. This range deficit isn't terrible when the ship is top tier, but on some of the larger maps and against higher tiered opponents, this lack really begins to hurt, especially when compounded by her low top speed and surface detection radius. The second issue compounds on this problem, however. Massachusetts has the worst sigma value of any of the aforementioned American battleships with a 1.7 value compared to the 2.0 of North Carolina and 1.9 of Alabama, Alabama ST and Colorado. Her guns, while still boasting good performance, are overall less reliable. It's unlikely Massachusetts will ever be the darling of the competitive scene because of these flaws. On a per salvo basis, most players will struggle to see the difference between Massachusetts' accuracy and that of Alabama. Over the course of several matches this will be far more telling. Massachusetts will average less damage from her main battery due to shells straying from the center of her reticle. Massachusetts' claim to fame in game is that while she has the same 127mm/38 secondary armament as other high tier American battleships, they aren't nearly as lame. These guns are 40% more accurate and reload 50% faster while having 2.5km additional range over those on North Carolina, Alabama and Alabama ST. The range and rate of fire are easy to appreciate -- these are straight up buffs that any player can wrap their minds around. The accuracy buff is a little more challenging, however, and is worth examining further. Secondary dispersion buffs are multiplicative. There are four buffs available in the game currently for tier VIII secondary guns. In ascending order, they are: Secondary Signal: 5% dispersion improvement. 3rd Slot Main Battery Upgrade: 5% dispersion improvement. 3rd Slot Secondary Battery Upgrade: 20% dispersion improvement. 4th Tier Commander Skill: 60% dispersion improvement. Thus, Alabama and North Carolina could reduce their dispersion area down to 30.4% of its normal size with all upgrades and skills applied. Massachusetts, by contrast, can reduce hers down to 18.24% of Alabama's dispersion radius. As fun as these big numbers appear, it really doesn't mean anything without seeing it applied. To this end, I ran tests to compare secondary accuracy with the assistance of the WGNA Forums community (thanks, guys!). Only misses were recorded and then not all of them (there's splash render issues at that much zoom). It took about 20 to 30 hits to sink Mahan, including a fire. Not only does it take Massachusetts less shots fired to sink Mahan, thanks to her faster reload, it takes her less time too. In this demonstration, it took the stock Alabama roughly 4 minutes to sink the destroyer. Her fully upgraded self took less than 66 seconds to do the same. Massachusetts did it in less than 24 seconds. Hopefully that puts it into better perspective. Massachusetts secondaries are awesome at shredding enemy lolibotes. Even intervening terrain doesn't automatically keep an enemy ship safe. These are the same guns Atlanta uses, so their high arcs are legendary. If an enemy ship is hugging their island waifu and lobbing shells at you, your secondaries can hit them back and force them to back off. However there are three main problems with these guns. Her 127mm/38s lack penetration. They can only deal direct damage to areas of 21mm of armour thickness or less. This limits them to damage select cruisers and destroyers or the superstructures of more protected ships. If you take the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells you can increase their penetration to 27mm which will allow them to punish all cruisers within their matchmaking spread and lower tiered battleships. There is a catch to this though. Secondaries tend to aim for the waterline of enemy ships. At very close ranges, this will cause Massachusetts' secondaries to shatter against the thick belt of battleships and cruisers, mitigating some of her damage output. With Massachusetts' improved accuracy, she's very good at hitting the belt armour at close range so they tend to work best at distances of 5km+ against larger targets. Her 127mm/38s are terrible at setting fires. Though these guns have excellent reload rate, each hit only has a 5% chance base to start a fire. They cannot be relied upon to tax the Damage Control Party of enemy vessels. Each fire they do set should be seen as a bonus, not an inevitability. Their predictive aim is lacking. You'll find at the extremes of her range (distances greater than 9km) that these guns struggle to hit small targets that are constantly manoeuvring. This is probably owing to the long flight time of shells out to these distances. Any enemy lolibote would have to be out of her gourd for trying to get Massachusetts-senpai to notice her. Surprisingly, this extends to larger ships as well. Lert and I sat down and conducted some raw Bismarck vs Massachusetts tests. At 6km with both ships fully upgraded into secondary builds, Massachusetts out performed and sank Bismarck every single time (!). Bismarck just doesn't stand a chance against Massachusetts' damage output. Even with each ship destroying a couple of secondary guns per trial, Massachusetts won conclusively. Now that's all in theory, mind you. The reality of Random Battles (or Ranked) has so very often demonstrated that secondaries are a completely situational weapon. For every game where they perform phenomenally, there will be games where they contribute less than 1,000 damage. The question then becomes if Massachusetts' improved secondaries are worth the cost of the sigma and range difference from her sister ship, Alabama. I'm not convinced it is. It's certainly novel, but I wouldn't ever call it a fair trade. Massachusetts has less than ideal fire angles. Unmasking her X-Turret is just asking to get her penetrated through the front. Despite her secondaries, Massachusetts isn't ideally setup for brawling as you'll see in the Defense section below. Summary: 1.7 sigma hurts. Secondaries are surprisingly devastating. Unfortunately you can't always use them. Do you like to gamble? Her firepower is very RNG dependent between bad sigma and her secondary performance. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Amagi and North Carolina jockey for the top spot. Massachusetts would have needed better dispersion on her main battery and her improved secondaries to take this position. DefenseHit Points: 66,300Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm + 310mm + 16mm roof Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: 46% Massachusetts' durability is a bit of a mixed bag. THE GOOD: She has awesome torpedo defense -- one of the best in the game behind Alabama (49%), Musashi (55%) and Yamato (55%). I suppose you could call this good news for a battleship that's meant to be up on the front lines by design, not that I'd recommend eating fish if you can help it. Her citadel is fully submerged. All of the high tier American battleships (including Alabama) had their citadels lowered in early 2017. Massachusetts carries this same trend forward, making her much harder to get her machine spaces blown out. Awesome turret face armour. Massachusetts has 457mm turret faces and barbettes. The sloping on her turrets can bounce battleship caliber shells for days until you're in point blank ranges. Her Repair Party has a short reset timer. Massachusetts' Repair Party comes off cool down in half the time. She's better able to take advantage of multiple charges of her consumable when needed which increases the value of the Superintendent skill. It's easy for her to cycle through the maximum of five charges in a given match, giving her access to a larger health pool per game on average. THE BAD: Her citadel roof is 16mm. So if an enemy battleship shell does manage to penetrate her belt at a shallow angle, she doesn't have roof armour thick enough to cause their shell to ricochet -- it will simply overmatch and deliver a citadel hit. This is devastating, especially at close range. This only applies to the areas over her machine spaces (her magazines are better protected), but her machine spaces are huge. Cruisers love to burn her. With only 32mm or less everywhere except her turrets, barbettes and belt, Massachusetts is highly vulnerable to cruiser-caliber HE shells. With the right captain build, any 150mm+ armed cruiser can hit her over and over and over again for massive amounts of direct damage, never mind the resulting fires. THE UGLY Her secondaries are fragile. Remember those secondaries? Y'know, the gimmick that's the big selling feature of this ship? Yeah, those. They pop easy. Like most secondaries, they are not particularly well armoured and if Massachusetts gets spammed by HE shells or British cruiser AP, she's going to lose these turrets quickly. There's not a whole lot you can do to protect them, either. At best, you can use Auxillary Armaments Modification 1 in your first slot to double their hit point total (from 800hp to 1,600hp) but that's not going to save them forever if they get taxed. Overall, Massachusetts' protection scheme is best suited to medium range (10km to 16km) engagement distances in World of Warships. This gives her a chance to use some of her vaunted agility to help dodge incoming fire (ooh, a segue!). Up close, she becomes too vulnerable to brawl effectively if she gives up her sides. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Massachusetts would need quite a bit to bump her out of the doldrums of mediocrity here. She's far removed from being and little more than a bad citadel placement away from . Bow tanking is still as effective as ever so long as the enemies oblige you by throwing anything smaller than 460mm rounds in your face. Here Massachusetts outplays a tier X Großer Kurfürst, bouncing her 420mm AP shells in a brawl and using her superior agility to keep on the Kurfürst's flank while never giving up her own. If they catch your side, you're dead stupidly quick. Agility Top Speed: 27.5 knotsTurning Radius: 710mRudder Shift: 15.7s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.5º/s Massachusetts is the most nimble battleship of her tier. It's a shame she wasn't faster. Her flexibility is limited. Once she commits to a given part of the map, there's little chance of flexing somewhere else, never mind dictating engagement distances. For a ship with a lot of secondaries, this is a shame -- you're only ever going to bring them to bear if someone makes a mistake (that someone may have been you). Due to whatever quirk it is that dictates energy preservation in a turn, Massachusetts holds onto an extra couple tenths of a knot over her sister ship when her rudder's hard over. Combined with her small turning radius, Massachusetts can change her heading faster than any other tier VIII battleship and giving her comparable handling to a high tier Soviet cruiser but with a much tighter turning radius You can see now why I lament her lack of speed -- she could have been the complete package. Massachusetts is a bit of a sluggabutt when it comes to initiating a turn, however. Her sloppy rudder shift time leaves a lot to be desired, even if it is around the norm for a tier VIII battleship. In order to take advantage of her high rate of turn, it's recommend to equip the Steering Gears Modification 2 upgrade, though this will come at a severe cost to her fire damage mitigation. Given that you're likely going to be eschewing fire prevention skills anyway to upgrade her secondaries, this isn't a bad investment. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : More speed. 27.5 knots just doesn't cut it if you want to be the best. Alternatively, shave off 50m from her turning radius. That will get people to sit up and take notice and steal the crown from Gascogne. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 151 / 238.5 / 120.5 Out of the seven American battleships at tier VIII+, Massachusetts has the least DPS but her effective AA DPS is better than Alabama and Alabama ST's and sits just behind North Carolina. Massachusetts is a powerful anti-aircraft platform. Her heavy secondaries are a mixed blessing as far as her AA defense goes. She's more likely to have skills like Basic Fire Training and Advanced Fire Training which will emphasize her AA power further but her upgrade slots will likely be filled with secondary-specific or range boosting modules rather than AA Guns Modification 2. This upgrade is necessary to truly solidify American battleship AA defense and without it, the range gap is enough to allow aircraft to make their drops. Still, Massachusetts presents a thorny target most CV players would rather avoid. Her dispersed AA guns makes her overall defense less vulnerable to being knocked out by cursory HE shells and it takes a sustained bombardment to suppress them fully. Her small and medium caliber AA guns are nicely dispersed, making them more difficult for single volleys of battleship caliber HE from Royal Navy battleships to neuter her AA power (they may have to shoot you twice instead). Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : More firepower or more range -- something to make her stand apart from the likes of North Carolina & Kii. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 16.56km Air Detection Range: 12.18km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.43km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 16.01km Main Battery Firing Range: 18.27km Detection Consumables: Spotter Aircraft / Float Plane Fighter So now we get to the bad news. Massachusetts has a big butt (and I cannot lie). While none of the American battleships are contending for a top spot in terms of concealment at tier VIII, Massachusetts is definitely the worst of the bunch. North Carolina's stock concealment is 900m better, for example. For a short ranged battleship with secondaries as her gimmick, more concealment would have been preferable, not less. It's only thanks to the failures of Amagi and Kii that Massachusetts has any pretense of mediocrity. As it stands, she hangs out with the chubby Richelieu and Gascogne in the bottom half, just behind Tirpitz in overall badonkadonk size. The only spot of good news is that her aerial detection range is excellent and can be reduced down to just over 9.4km after all upgrades, which gives her a little more flexibility while moving into position. One of the fun tricks you can pull off with Massachusetts involves taking advantage of smoke mechanics. Secondaries won't give away your position in smoke the same way as main battery guns will. So you can park Massachusetts in friendly smoke and let her secondaries go to town. It's hilarious. It's not terribly effective, mind you, but hilarious. Just make sure your friend has Hydroacoustic Search to spot those incoming torpedoes well in advance. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Lose 900m off her stock surface detection range or give her access to a game-breaking consumable like Missouri. No more Drama Llama There's only one skill build worth considering for Massachusetts despite what common sense will tell you: That's to go all out on her secondaries and never look back. No, this build isn't optimal, but it's FUN, damn it. MAN-otaur approved. Seriously, though, if you want a good build, take Superintendent to maximize her awesome Repair Party consumable. Build the rest as you will. Final Evaluation The story of Massachusetts in World of Warships begins with Alabama. Alabama was originally going to be for Supertesters only as a reward ship for those who had performed exemplary service in this volunteer role. The masses like you and I, were going to get her equivalent in the form of Massachusetts -- not-quite a clone with small differences here and there (slightly more agile, slightly less stealthy and a different small & medium caliber AA suite). But it wasn't meant to be. The community blew up and Alabama was released to the masses and Massachusetts suddenly found herself with an identity crisis. I've had my hands on this ship since December of 2017 and she's been in the works since at least August of that same year. This ship has gone through several different iterations with development accelerating towards late Spring of 2018 (which undid a lot of my previous work). I'm pleased with the final result, but there's a caveat: This is one Hell of a fun ship to play but she's not good. Secondary built ships are seldom optimal. Their gimmick is just too situational to top more well rounded ships. Massachusetts gives up a lot to be a secondary monster. As much fun as her pew pews are, they're not going to win many games in of themselves and she's not an ideal platform upon which to base such weapons. Bismarck, Gascogne and Tirpitz could have told you as much. These ships are all reliant upon a combination of factors to keep them relevant and competitive, between turtleback armour, amazing speed, torpedoes, agility, rapid fire guns and/or Hydroacoustic Search. Massachusetts weighs in among these brawlers with arguably the best secondaries of the bunch and a Repair Party that's available in half the time. She has nice agility and good AA power. But she's too slow. She's too easily spotted. This isn't enough to take the top spot from the brawlers. If people were hoping for another Tirpitz, we got what amounts to another Kii instead. So if she's not top dog among the brawlers, where does this leave her? Her artillery is only ever going to be okay with 1.7 sigma, so she's not going to compete with the likes of Alabama, North Carolina or Amagi. Even Kii arguably outshoots her with her ten guns to Massachusetts' nine. She's only ever going to be a mediocre artillery platform. And it's not like the combination of the two unlocks some new paradigm either. No, Massachusetts isn't good. She's not terrible either and her game play is fun and different from anything else in the American battleship line. That's good enough for me. I'm glad to see this final chapter of Alabama-gate come to a close on a relatively positive and interesting note. Would I Recommend? So if you could only have one high tier premium American battleship, which should be it be? Missouri, Alabama or Massachusetts? Not that she's available anymore, but Missouri is the defacto winner. Surveillance Radar and her broken, overpowered economy is just too good to pass up on. Out of the two remaining ships, Alabama is superior. She's well rounded if offering very little that's different compared to North Carolina. What Massachusetts offers is unique game play. That's it, really. She'll earn the same amount as Alabama, but you'll have to work harder for the same gains. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Very yes. Bots will rush you without hesitation, bringing them into secondary range. That's exactly where Massachusetts wants 'em. Easy mode! Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. Massachusetts works well in Random Battles. She's great for farming Close Quarters Expert achievements. Team up with a smoke laying friend for extra hilarity. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. I'd give Massachusetts a pass here. Alabama is superior to Massachusetts and North Carolina bests them both. If you want to bring a brawler, dust off Bismarck or Tirpitz. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. She earned 11 Battle Stars in WW2 and is preserved as a museum ship. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. Secondary spec'd battleships are derpy fun. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirel In Closing This has been one Hell of a busy month. I'm still not caught up on everything that needs doing, though I'm happy to say that I am making gains on my work pile. This review is getting published five days sooner than I thought I might with only minimal corner cutting. So yay! Next up will be a review of HMCS Haida, due out before July 1st. Happy Canada Day to you all! If you enjoy my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon. Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. Miss Mouse has her review of Smolensk up on Shipcomrade. It's funny as hell. Here's the link. As a proud Smolensk owner, can confirm.
  9. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Dunkerque

    Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed in this post reflect the version of the ship as she appeared during the testing period. These are subject to change before release. The following is aimed at new(ish) players looking to find a little more information about various ships from events, for premium currency or for real-world cash. The goal is to allow players to make an educated decision before parting with their time and money and to find premium vessels that suit their chosen style of play, whether that is competitive, cooperative, or simply for fun. The idea here is to elabourate on information not commonly available through reading statistics and provide some (heavily) biased anecdotal evidence to encourage or dissuade you from making your purchase. The usual disclaimers apply: everyone knows the Matchmaker clearly loves me because I spend money so that's why I occasionally get really good games, not because I have any particular skills of note. Other articles in this series: Ships for Doubloons: Atlanta, Texas, Tachibana, Atago, Ishizuchi, Diana, Aurora,Murmansk, Molotov, Mikhail Kutuzov, Emden, Tirpitz, Campbeltown, Warspite, Blyskawica Limited Release Ships: Fujin, Kamikaze, Katori, Yubari, Gremyashchy, Krasny Krym, Imperator Nikolai I, Anshan, Lo Yang, Smith, Sims, Marblehead, Indianapolis, Arizona, Saipan, Scharnhorst, Dunkerque Gift & Reward Ships: Albany, Arkansas, Flint, Iwaki, Mikasa, Arpeggio of Blue Steel Ships: Kongo, Kirishima, Haruna, Myoko Condensed Reading: Mouse's Quick Summary of Premium Ships Without further ado: The Tier 6 French Battleship Dunkerque "Battlecruiser 2: Revenge of the Battlecruiser" Quick Summary: A lightly armed and armoured battlecruiser with eight 330mm guns mounted between two quadruple turrets on the bow. The ship is fast, her reloads are quick and her muzzle velocity is excellent. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of writing this article. Patch & Date Written: 2016.07.30 & 2016.08.12, Patch 0.5.9 to 0.5.9.1 Closest in-Game Contemporary: Molotov Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Despite the superficial similarities to the Izumo, the Dunkerque has much more in common with the play style of the Soviet premium cruiser, Molotov. Both are fast, fragile vessels with more speed than agility. Yet they both rely on engaging enemies at range with hard hitting alpha strikes from high-muzzle velocity weapons. Both are unable to conceal themselves. They are gunship support vessels, relying on clever use of speed and turning to keep themselves safe from reprisals. PROs: All of her guns are mounted on the bow, making it easy to maximize firepower. Fast turret rotation of 5' degrees per second. Good rate of fire with a 28 second reload. Excellent muzzle velocity on shells of 870 & 885m/s between AP & HE. Good HE performance with 4800 alpha strike and 35% chance of starting a fire. Excellent range of 18.2km which can be extended with a float plane. Secondaries have a 5.0km range Fast with a top speed of 29.5 knots. CONs: All of her guns are mounted on the bow. She is unable to fire to the rear. Turrets are very vulnerable at close ranges. Losing one halves her firepower. Ship ripple fires 4 guns at a time. Lowest alpha strike and Armour Piercing DPM of any of the tier 6 Battleships. Very weak belt armour and citadel protection of only 225mm. Small secondary gun battery compliment with highly restricted arcs. Poor overall AA defense. Sluggish handling, with a large turning circle of 730m. Very large surface detection range of 16.4 km. The first of the French Navy warships has arrived in the form of the Dunkerque. This all-bow mounted gun design will be something we see repeated in the Richelieu-class and may become something the French ships are known for. Once more into the breach. Today Lert and I will be looking at the first French warship to join World of Warships -- the Dunkerque. She's an odd ship, a true Battlecruiser in my opinion and she needs to be played as such to get the most out of her. I had a lot of success with her right out of the gates though speaking with other contributors, this wasn't something that was universal. This prompted a long discussion about her merits and flaws and I'm happy to share them with you today. Lert will be joining me, providing a voice of moderation to my more emotionally enthusiastic descriptors. You can find his contribution in the separated (and ostracized!) Lerboxes. Take it away, grumpy-kitty-man! The Lertbox Once again LWM has graciously allowed me some space in her review to post my own thoughts about an upcoming premium ship. This time a ship that I had some trouble getting my head around, but which after a dozen battles or so finally started to 'click'. It's the first French ship in the game, and it offers a unique and unprecedented playstyle. But then, it wouldn't be properly French if it didn't have some quirks to set it apart, would it. For this review I will be comparing her to Fuso, New Mexico and Warspite. Options There are no surprises with the Dunkerque. If you were hoping for some unique French flavour to be found in her consumables or modules, I didn't find any present here. The only option she has unique to Battleships at tier 6 is the option of swapping out her Spotting Aircraft for a Catapult Fighter, but that's hardly enough to get excited about. She does not get access to the Artillery Plotting Room 1 Modification. That remains American only.Her Damage Control party conforms to the standard we've seen so far for German and Russo-Soviet Battleships. This provides a 15s immunity window and a 120s / 80s reset timer. Similarly, her Repair Party is also standard, restoring up to 14% of her maximum base HP per charge. Consumables: Three slots Damage Control Party Repair Party Your choice of a Spotting Aircraft or Catapult Fighter. Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard options. Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Firepower Primary Battery: 330mm in 2x4 turrets mounted in an A-B superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: 130mm in 2x2 turrets in wing mounts, and 3x4 turrets on the stern. The most defining feature of the Dunkerque is the layout of her primary battery. She has only two turrets but they sport four guns each. At 330mm, these are the smallest caliber weapons found on a Battleship at tier 6. You could be forgiven for expecting them to have a bunch of excellent traits to justify her matchmaking weight. The Bad News Let's get the bad news out of the way. The Dunkerque is not going to be wracking up big damage totals as quickly as her peers. She's an eight-gun Battleship with a lot of short comings in terms of firepower. The Dunkerque is competing head to head with twelve-gun, Super-Dreadnoughts like the New Mexico-class, Fuso-class and the Arizona. The Bayern and Warspite may also only have eight guns, but their shell caliber is much larger at 380mm. While the Dunkerque has an accelerated reload to help prop up her DPM, this isn't any faster than the Fuso's. At 28s per volley, she doesn't really gain any ground n the DPM race. The Dunkerque's armour piercing DPM weighs in at a theoretical maximum of 166,300hp, while the twelve gun Dreadnoughts all top well over 215,000hp. Even the Jutland veterans manage over 175,000hp with their eight guns. To put this into perspective, the tier 5 Kongo with a 30s reload manages 163,200hp. The Really Bad News On paper, her secondary compliment looks like it can take up some of the slack from her primaries. With a total of sixteen 130mm rifles mounted in some impressive looking turrets, they have an excellent range for their tier of 5km. However, the angles at which they can fire are horrid. All of the quad-mounts are facing the stern and will only engage enemies once they clear well past 40' off the bow of the Dunkerque. This is hardly ideal with her primaries all mounted forward. It's best to forget any pretense of her secondaries helping at all. This leaves only a pair of 130mm rifles off each side (each in a dual mount) that will attack enemies coming from the front. The Really, REALLY Bad News I was hoping to see the Dunkerque's 330mm turrets modeled with their historical compartmentalization when it came to taking damage. Without going into too much detail, the big quad-mounts were divided into two pairs of guns so that a single hit to the turret wouldn't deprive their ship of half their firepower. If modeled correctly in World of Warships, while the ship would have two turrets, it would take four separate critical strikes to knock out all of her guns. Except it isn't present here. I heard rumours to the effect that the game engine couldn't handle half of the turret being knocked out at a time. I don't know the truth of this rumour but it sounds feasible enough. Hopefully this could be remedied in the future, the same way AA mounts couldn't be mounted on turrets previously. As it stands, the Dunkerque's 330mm turrets can and will be knocked out wholesale by single hits. Though effectively immune to 203mm batteries head on up to (and including) point blank range, even the 283mm rifles off of the Scharnhorst are capable of catastrophically damaging the Dunkerque's turrets. As you'll want to be facing bow on to enemies to minimize her profile, your gun mounts often take the brunt of the punishment. Don't be surprised if you lose a turret. Don't be surprised if you lose both turrets if you end up in close-range encounters with enemy Battleships. The main batteries of the Dunkerque are not compartmentalized. Critical hits will temporarily damage or destroy the entire turret, not two guns at a time. Why Can't I Quit You? Yet for all of these faults (and some minor ones besides), the Dunkerque's gun batteries perform very well. The first thing you'll notice is that she has rather fast turret traverse. At 5' per second, she'll complete a 180' rotation in 36 seconds -- except that she never really has to complete a 180' rotation. With all of her guns mounted on the bow, adjusting fire takes mere moments. Tracking targets or acquiring a new one is a breeze. And let's emphasize this. All of her guns are on the bow. Short of wiggling your tush at the enemy, you can always fire all eight guns at a target. This is something the other Battleships can't boast -- not without risking exposing themselves to return fire and getting spanked. The Dunkerque can point her snout right at the enemy and confidently unload all eight barrels with every reload cycle. My feeling is that while she may not have the same theoretical DPM as her competition, it's far easier to maximize the DPM of the Dunkerque than say the Fuso, Arizona or New Mexico. And it gets better. Her shell grouping is downright fantastic. Unlike recent German Battleships, the Dunkerque's dispersion is very kind. On paper, she has the same linear value as the German warships, however the concentration of all four guns in close proximity combined with what appears to be a very favourable sigma variable means that her shells seem to stick together in flight and land in tight clusters. You can (and should) equip Aiming Systems Modification 1 to further capitalize on this great accuracy. With very little flight time from her high velocity shells, you can try taking pot shots at even elusive targets like dodging cruisers and slippery little destroyers with surprising levels of success. At 9,700 damage per AP shell, this is punchy enough to really thoroughly gut a target that you hit. While it pales compared to the 380mm of the Bayern or Warspite, it's less than 1000hp behind the New Mexico and Arizona. This is enough to make a cruiser suffer a significant emotional event when you disembowel him with a single hit. With her accuracy, it's rare that it's lone shells that strike the target in this manner. With some good aim, you will readily print yourself some Devastating Strike medals. Against heavily armoured or angled targets, you can reach for her fantastic HE shells. With 35% per shell to start a fire, the Dunkerque's HE volleys are something to be respected, especially with their 28s reload. Stacking fires is childishly easy and you can force higher tiered Battleships to turn away when sufficiently scalded. The Lertbox Artillery: Dunkerque has eight 330mm rifles, in two quadruple turrets mounted up front. While historically these turrets were subdivided into two groups of two barrels per turret separated by a thick armored bulkhead, in-game this is not the case. These turrets behave as two quad-barrel turrets, and getting one turret knocked out means you lose half your firepower. Further bad news comes in the form of having the lowest theoretical DPM in class and tier, significantly behind Warspite even. Finally, their dispersion is nothing to write home about either. Fortunately that's where the bad news ends. Dunkerque turrets have the best traverse time in class and tier, and the guns reload the quickest of the four battleships in this comparison. Also, because of the way the guns are mounted, the shells leave the ship in a nice tight cluster which negates a part of her bad dispersion. Finally, despite all the major caliber guns being up front, this French fighting lady has remarkably generous 'over the shoulder' shooting angles. Still her low alpha damage and low DPM means Dunkerque loses this category. New Mexico comes third, with a powerful set of 14" /50 guns, but the range and dispersion let her down. Warspite comes second in this category with the power of a heavy 15" and very accurate punch, but the sheer range and volume-of-fire of Fuso gives the fighting Geisha the win here. Dunkerque: 1 pt Warspite: 3 pts New Mexico: 2 pts Fuso: 4 pts Secondary firepower: On paper Dunkerques secondary battery is not bad with a total of sixteen 130mm guns, but the way they're mounted mostly in the rear gets in the way; the arcs are just horrible and superstructure often gets in the way, precluding the secondary turrets from acquiring targets. Plus, the use of quad turrets means that a single hit to a secondary turret can seriously cut into your backup firepower. Warspite shares the same 5km base secondary range that Dunkerque has, but boasts a more intelligent layout of her eight 102mm and eight 152mm guns. New Mexico has the familiar mid-tier american 127mm guns divided into anti-surface and dual-purpose guns, but they only reach out to 4km base. Fuso brings to bare an impressive set of eight 127mm guns and a further fourteen 152mm cannons. She wins this category, despite these guns only having a range of 4km. Dunkerque: 1 pt Warspite: 3 pts New Mexico: 2 pts Fuso: 4 pts Summary: Great gun handling with a fast turret rotation and good range. Easy to maximize firepower and keep all eight barrels singing. Only modest alpha strike potential from AP. HE is decent. Lowest potential DPM. Guns are very accurate with excellent shell grouping. The potential of her secondaries are limited by poor gun arcs. Losing a gun halves her firepower. Ill suited to brawling other Battleships. The Dunkerque can make a very dangerous opponent for destroyers that get too close. While her secondary armament is light and poorly arranged, her main battery is very easy to bring to bear. With good HE shells, excellent accuracy and tight shell grouping, enterprising destroyers can find themselves taking several penetrating hits at a time. This poor Minekaze made this discovery to her cost as did the Kiev the Dunkerque sank moments before with the same trick. ManeuverabilityTop Speed: 29.5 knotsTurning Radius: 730mRudder Shift: 14.0s The Lertbox And this is where the good news begins. Dunkerque is the most mobile and agile out of these four ships. Despite having the second largest turing circle, her high top speed and par rudder shift means she feels very agile, and can flex across the map far better than the other ships. And now the bricks: Warspite is second despite a relatively pedestrian top speed, but the best turning circle of the four and par rudder shift. Fuso comes third with a fair-to-middling top speed, but it's her turning circle that lets her down, combined with the fact that Dunkerque will easily race past. New Mexico is last, at this tier a 21 knot top speed just doesn't cut it anymore. Dunkerque: 4 pts Warspite: 3 pts New Mexico: 1 pt Fuso: 2 pts The Dunkerque has a really good top speed. And it will get you killed on occasion. At 29.5 knots, she's the fastest of the tier 6 Battleships. This isn't by a small margin either with a 4.5 knot advantage over her closest competitor. This exceeds all of the 7 Battleships as well with the exception of the Scharnhorst against which she can claim near parity. It's important to keep the engagement range up in the Dunkerque when there are enemy Battleships present. The flip side to this is that you do want to get closer to cruisers and the occasional destroyer to ensure their demise. It's very tempting in the Dunkerque to find yourself a good gunnery position and then cut the engines. Bow onto the enemy, with your finger on the rudder for little adjustments, you can easily seesaw back and forth at 1/4 to 1/2 ahead and then alternate with reverse to throw off the aim of your opponents. Players of the North Carolina will recognize this maneuver. With all of your firepower mounted on your forward decks, it's easy to see the merits of not moving if you don't have to. Smart opponents will punish you for this though. As a Battlecruiser, her speed is supposed to be her armour and there will be times you will need to open up the throttle. While her straight-line speed is excellent, her handling is best described as poor. With a similar turning radius and rudder shift to the Fuso, she doesn't corner well or quickly. The one consolation is that she will not out turn the traverse of her guns. Still, when engaging enemies at the limits of her range, even this poor agility can throw off the desperate return-fire of your opponents. The Dunkerque pursues a fleeing Cleveland-class cruiser through the narrows of the Two-Brothers archipelago at nearly 30 knots. DurabilityHit Points: 52,600Citadel Protection: Up to 225mm.Bow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 25mm each.Torpedo Damage Reduction: 27% The Lertbox Here again Dunkerque shows herself to be a ship of extremes. She is by far the softest of the four ships on trial here, possessing the lowest hit-points, the thinnest armor and the second worst torpedo belt. But it's worse than that. While on paper her armor should be better than that of Kongo at tier 5, in practice it feels a lot worse. Dunkerque can't tank hits to save her life. Kongo's armor is troll. Dunkerque's armor is paper. Anything more than 20 degrees off a bow-on position, and Dunkerque's armor starts falling apart versus 14" AP, with 15" AP and bigger just being able to sail clean through the tin foil and into the gooey bits inside. New Mexico is the other extreme. Tough, tanky, hard to take down. She is followed by Warspite which retains her troll armor and good hit-point pool, despite her healing potion having been nerfed before. Fuso takes up third place. Despite being the healthiest of the four ships, she has the second thinnest armor and a lot of holes in it you can exploit when she's angled to your fire. Dunkerque: 1 pt Warspite: 3 pts New Mexico: 4 pts Fuso: 2 pts So ... 225mm of belt armour. That about summarizes the fragility of the Dunkerque. Think of the Dunkerque like a tier 6 Kongo and you get a better appreciation of how much damage she'll take from various sources. You can bounce battleship shells off her belt with some angling and the 25mm of bow armour is proof against most 356mm rounds thrown at you. The landscape of tier 6 battles is changing, however. 380mm will soon be the new normal, found on the Bayern as well as the Warspite. Like the 410mm guns found at tier 7, these can and will overmatch the 25mm sections of your bow and deck and result in penetrating hits, regardless of the angle. It's worth speaking again about the vulnerability of her turrets. The casemates have a maximum of 225mm of armour, which makes them rather vulnerable to Battleship caliber shells. Thankfully, the front face is rather small -- little taller than the gun barrels themselves and the roofs of the turrets are sloped. However, torpedo strikes hitting the bow or midships can also knock them out as the blast damages the barbettes or ammunition magazine. She has poor torpedo mitigation so be very conscious of this. Sitting stationary, bow onto the enemy is just asking to get plastered by these large caliber shells or long range torpedoes. This is where the speed of the Dunkerque becomes key and you'll need to keep the distance open to give yourself time enough to shift and dodge incoming fire -- or at least minimize the damage it will do. Concealment & Camouflage16.9km Surface Detection, 12.0km Air Detection You're not hiding this ship. Battleships generally have poor concealment. However, there's poor concealment and then there's poor concealment. In her matchmaking spread (from tier 5 through to tier 8) only two Battleships have a larger surface detection range, and that's the Fuso & Nagato. The Colorado comes close at 16.7km. Why is her poor concealment a big deal? The Dunkerque will usually be one of the first ships spotted. Short of having a Fuso beside you, you can count on being the first target lit on your team. This means that every gun on the enemy team will be pointing at you from the onset and you need to take defensive measures immediately until more of your team engages and fire disperses among your allies. The hail-mary shots from every Battleship will be heading your way early on in the match, so take care. Her large surface detection range also makes it easy for stealth-gunships -- those boats that can sit in open water and fire without being spotted, to pick out the Dunkerque. Short of clever use of terrain, you'll never be sneaking up on anyone. The Lertbox Warspite wins, New Mexico second, Dunkerque third, Fuso last. It's as simple as that. Dunkerque: 2 pts Warspite: 4 pts New Mexico: 3 pts Fuso: 1 pt Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 130mm, 37mm, 13.2mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.2km, 3.0km, 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 54dps, 12dps, 40dps Time for some more bad news: The Dunkerque has rather poor anti-aircraft defense. As a Battleship scuttled in 1942, she never received the upgraded AA armaments that became commonplace later on. Think of her like the Arizona ... but worse, which is definitely saying something. She does have some good range with her 130mm dual-purpose secondaries and they're pretty punchy for their tier but her smaller caliber weapons really let her down in either DPS or range. You could attempt to bolster her poor numbers by heavily investing into anti-aircraft buffs -- most notably, Basic Fire Training, Advanced Fire Training & Manual Fire Control for AA Armament from your Captain skills. This would boost her 130mm DPS from 54dps to 130dps at 6.2km against targets that you manually select.. Still, even coming in the 650hp pulses every 5 seconds, the Dunkerque will not be likely to shoot down more than a plane or two before competent CV players complete their attack runs. This will murder any planes that loiter around her and is worth considering. You can also prop up her flagging AA power with the choice to use her Catapult Fighter instead of a Spotter Aircraft. I have found these to be very handy in helping relieve some pressure off my Dunkerque, but these aircraft never last long in the face of a concerted attack. Still, this is a pretty heavy investment to nudge her AA rating from "poor" to barely acceptable. Still, when working with other warships, you can surprise yourself by racking up a good number of air-kills this way. The Lertbox Dunkerque's AA is just a hair above 'terrible'. She has the lowest DPS at all ranges out of the four ships on trial here. Warspite's is better, but only just. Fuso manages to beat them both, by a very small margin, but the clear winner here is New Mexico. Not that this surprises anybody... Dunkerque: 1 pt Warspite: 2 pts New Mexico: 4 pts Fuso: 3 pts The Dunkerque burns after being struck by American dive bombers. She was unable to shoot down any of the attack planes as they made their approach, but she shoots down two before they escaped with the help of her Catapult Fighter. Overall Impressions Mouse' Summary: Interesting guns, both in gun layout and performance but hampered by low overall DPM. Prefers to engage at range and very vulnerable in a brawl. Poor armour protection. Losing a gun halves her firepower. Good speed, poor agility and impossible to hide. Meat on the table for enemy CV attacks. The Lertbox Adding up the numbers: Dunkerque amassed 10 points Warspite gathered 18 points New Mexico scrounged 16 points Fuso tallied 16 points So, Warspite is the best and Dunkerque is hopelessly outclassed? I'm sure LWM will consider half of that statement undeniable truth and to anyone trying to play Dunkerque like a typical battleship the second half would ring true as well. Dunkerque can work, in the hands of a skilled player who understands her intricacies and follies, and in certain situations. But in the hand of the average player, this French ship will fold and collapse like a house of cards. She also really doesn't hold her own against tier 7 and 8 battleships. Dunkerque is a showpony. Warspite, New Mexico and Fuso are workhorses. If you drive Dunkerque like she was made out of glass, you can make her work. 'Play her like Molotov' you'll hear people say. I'm more tempted to say 'play her like a tank destroyer in WoT'. Park her next to a rock to protect your flank, keep your bow pointed at the enemy and let the rest of your team go first - because if you get focused, you die, and quickly so. Present the smallest target, keep map features between you and any flanking enemy, and Dunkerque might even reward you with her unusual play style. Objectively, there's not a lot to like about the Dunkerque. She pays a very big price for having all of her firepower easily accessed upon her snout. Bad armour, bad handling, bad camouflage, bad anti-aircraft guns, bad secondaries ... bad, bad, bad. So why the heck do I love her? I think it's a simple case of the comfort level that comes with the ease of use of her guns. Unlike other Battleships, I never found myself fighting with her guns. They turn well (and they never have to turn much). And the shots go where you point them. There's little to none of this wonky fire where shells go flying everywhere, so it gets pretty easy to stack appreciable damage with her. And for that, I think I was willing to forgive a whole lot. When you compare her gun handling to other Battleships, it's hard to find one that has the same combination of good turret traverse with good accuracy and a good range and a non-punitive reload. Playing the Dunkerque was relaxing for me, like lying on the beach at Marseilles. Her carry potential really isn't there, let's be honest. She specializes in murdering cruisers and when those targets dry up, she's a little out of her element. Though she's classified as a Battleship, she's truly a Battlecruiser at heart. Her guns can out-range and out-muscle any cruiser she might face. And she's got the speed to out run the Battleships she can't outfight. It's a bit of a delight to see that this original design brief for a Battlecruiser is alive and well in the Dunkerque... even if it is a little underwhelming overall. If this style of play doesn't appeal, I would keep clear of her. Would I Recommend?Yeesh, this is going to be a tough one to recommend. For Random Battle Grinding: Mouse: Maybe? You'll get your money's worth here. Her accuracy and gun handling will make farming the damages (and thus the credits and experience) easy enough. At tier 6, you're not going to recoup tons of credits. Also, keep in mind that as a Battleship, you're likely going to be running with at least one premium consumable, so that's going to eat into your earnings. I found her a delight to play, but she doesn't have tremendous carry potential. So that in turn is going to hurt those looking to pad their win rates. She can do very well, but like the Molotov, you need to do well early with overwhelming ad strategically placed damage to effect a win. Lert: No. She requires a silken touch and a captain who pays constant attention. Plus, she gets her face pushed in by tier 7s and 8s. For Competitive Gaming: Mouse: No. I wouldn't recommend the Dunkerque for things like Team or Ranked Battles. She takes damage too easily and losing one turret to a single torpedo or volley of shells will really set your team back. There are much better ships at her tier. Lert: Oh hell no. For Collectors: Mouse: She's the first French ship in the game. That's novel enough for many to grab her. She didn't have an illustrious career, so that tarnishes her worth, but at least she's a historical vessel. Lert: Yeah, sure. Dunkerque offers something no other ship in the game offers so far. For Fun Factor: Mouse: I would pick her up for this alone. Her guns are a joy to use -- so much so that I am willing to forgive a whole lot of her flaws. I'll be putting a lot of play time into the Dunkerque. Lert: Maybe. She can be rewarding if you treat her right, but is very unforgiving of mistakes. In defense of the base, this badly damaged Dunkerque pursues and destroys an enemy Myoko-class cruiser. While the IJN warship is faster than the Dunkerque in a straight line, she made the mistake of turning to launch torpedoes which allowed the French ship to keep within close range and finish her with two salvos of her 330mm rifles. Outfitting your Dunkerque Recommended Modules There's thankfully few surprises here. It's an absolute necessity that you equip Main Armaments Modification 1. You need to do everything you can to prop up your main battery. If you lose even one, you're in very rough shape. Take Aiming Systems Modification 1 for your second slot. None of the others are worthwhile. For your third option, I take Damage Control System Modification 1. I keep hoping they'll make these choices more interesting for Battleships, but until they do, this module is the only one worthwhile. And for your fourth option, you have a choice. I would strongly recommend Damage Control System Modification 2 to reduce the amount of time a fire burns. You can opt to take Steering Gears Modification 2 to reduce her rudder shift time from 14.0s down to 11.2s. Recommended Consumables As a Battleship, taking a premium Damage Control Party is always a sound investment. This reduces her reset timer to 80s from 120s which can be the difference between life and death when fires and flooding begin stacking. You can expect a lot of pressure from aircraft attacks, especially when facing higher tiered CVs so proper use of this consumable to mitigate damage is imperative. There's less need to take a premium version of her Repair Party. I usually favour doing so with my Battleships for the shorter reset timer (80s from 120s). The extra charge is nice but often not needed. For your third slot, you have the choice on which to take. Both are rather good options. Her Catapult Fighter helps with her AA defense. They also have a long air-time which can help with spotting incoming torpedoes. Alternatively, her Spotter Aircraft plays to the strengths of her main battery and it's unlikely you will ever play a game without an opportunity for very long range shots. Recommended Captain Skills The Dunkerque uses a fairly standard set of Battleship skills for her tier. The first skill I would grab for the Dunkerque is Basics of Survivability. Your secondaries are poorly placed and your AA power is overall lacking to make Basic Fire Training a first choice, but it's decent enough for a follow-up. For your second skill, take Expert Marksman. This will reduce the time it takes your guns to rotate 180' from 36s down to 31.6s. At tier three, there's always the debate. Superintendent gives your Repair Party an extra charge. I would only take this if you're good at disengaging with the Dunkerque to give yourself time to use all of the charges. Vigilance is very handy for helping spot torpedoes, especially with her poor handling where every second counts. Lastly, High Alert is probably your best choice to give you a faster reload on your Damage Control Party. At tier 4, Advanced Fire Training should be considered the best choice. Your AA guns and secondaries will reach out to 6.2km (with Aiming Systems Mod 1). This can set you up to take Manual Fire Control for AA Armament and make her dual purpose 130s really put the hurt on attack craft and maybe bluff your way out of being picked on. This will preclude you from being able to take a tier 5 skill, however. At tier 5, Jack of All Trades is your best choice. This reduces the reset timer on all of your consumables which is helpful. Concealment Expert looks nice, but combined with camouflage this will only reduce your surface detection range to 14.1km which is better but not really amazing.
  10. The only real change to the Gremyashchy since I first reviewed her was the inclusion of camouflage for premium ships. And she looks rather dashing her in her off-white scheme. Quick Summary: A Soviet Gnevny-class destroyer with improved agility, concealment , torpedoes and HE rounds. Patch & Date Written: 0.5.16.0 - December 25th, 2016 Cost: Originally only sold individually or as a part of a pre-order bundle in Spring of 2015. During Christmas of 2016, many players reported acquiring them through the "Santa's Secret Stash" promotion. Closest in-Game Contemporary Anshan, Tier 6 Premium Pan-Asian DestroyerDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique I got quite upset, once upon a time, when various players reported that the Anshan was effectively a tier 6 Gremyashchy. I made it a personal mission to dispel this illusion, perhaps a little too vehemently. The two ships do share a lot of similarities, but the Anshan is a far cry from the second coming of the Gremyashchy. While superficially similar, the Asian destroyer doesn't have the same agility, high explosive shells or stealth capabilities of the pre-order vessel. PROs Good muzzle velocity and flat shell trajectory with her 130mm rifles with an impressive 11.9km range. Excellent AP performance with a high alpha strike of 2,500 per shell. Quite capable of stacking citadels upon cruisers that leave their broadside exposed at medium to close ranges. Better HE performance than any contemporary Soviet Destroyers, with 1,900 alpha strike and a base 9% to start fires with each hit. This makes her one of the best fire starting Destroyers in the game. Very good torpedoes with an 8km range and 14,400 maximum damage. Tiny turning circle of 510m and short rudder shift time of 2.7s Excellent concealment values while firing, giving her a 1.0km stealth firing window even without premium camouflage or Captain Skills. CONs Very low armour values of 10mm along nearly the whole length of her hull. British 152mm AP shells will easily overmatch this preventing her from being able to angle against it. Horrible gun traverse, with a 5° per second turret rotation (36s for 180°). The ship easily out turns them. Poor fire angles on her #3 turret. Torpedoes are slow at 55 knots. Large surface detection range for a tier 5 destroyer at 7.0km base. The sun sets on 2016. I'm very curious to see how much the game will change in 2017 and what effect it will have on the various premium ships I've looked at over the last year. Nothing has really changed on the Gremyashchy since I first reviewed her. However, the game has changed around her over the last year. Soviet and British cruisers have joined the ranks. So too have German Battleships and another handful of Japanese Destroyers. The module system got tweaked and Captain Skills were overhauled. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, Matchmaker changes pit the Gremyashchy more and more against what could be considered more fair opposition for this relic of the past. To be certain, the Gremyashchy is a fossil. Like the Warspite, she's a snapshot of World of Warships from an earlier time, representing norms that no longer exist. She used to be a middle-road destroyer with worse gunnery and brawling ability to the USN Nicholas and significantly worse torpedoes to the IJN Minekaze. She couldn't hold a candle to these two rival destroyers in their chosen areas of excellence and this made her seem a bit of a poor choice overall -- so much so that many players passed up the chance to purchase her when she was available. I cannot stress this enough: The Gremyashchy was often overlooked in favour of the Yubari and Sims at the time. Those that saw her merits loved her, but she was so often dismissed. With the typical attrition of the player base over time, the Gremyashchy has become an increasingly rare sight until recently. While it remains possible to earn a Gremyashchy through a Super Container, the 2016 Christmas Promotion, "Santa's Secret Stash" has yielded a significant number of these ships to the player base. This is by no means guaranteed, of course. The more premium ships a player owned already, the more likely they were to draw this ship as the loot containers seemed loathe to duplicate vessels already owned. While some seemed to acquire her with ease, others have gone through a long frustration of receiving anything but. To this end, I thought it prudent to revisit the Gremyashchy and express what all the fuss is about. Options The Gremyashchy is very predictable when it comes to her options. All of her consumables and module slots are standard for her nationality. There's nothing out of the ordinary here. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost Module Upgrades: Three slots, standard destroyer options.Premium Camouflage: Tier 2 to 5 Standard. This provides 30% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Firepower Primary Battery: Four 130mm rifles in four turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Torpedo Armament: Six 533mm torpedoes in 2x3 dorsal launchers. Let's start with Torpedoes. Like the Molotov, the Gremyashchy is armed with a weapon system of a comparable Soviet ship several tiers higher than it. While the Molotov gets the same guns as the tier 9 Dmitri Donskoi, the Gremyashchy gets a similar torpedo armament of the tier 8 Tashkent. If this raises a few alarm bells; it should. The Tashkent's torpedoes are terrible for a tier 8 ship. All joking aside, the Gremyashchy has torpedoes that now compete very closely to its tier 5 counterparts, but this wasn't always the case. To best understand the Gremyashchy's weapon systems and why they're considered so overpowered, you have to look at her competition when she was first introduced. Her only contemporaries at the time were the Minekaze and Nicholas, but these ships were very different at the time of their inception. Let's start by comparing their torpedo armaments from the Closed-Beta era. Values were pulled from World of Warships Closed Beta, around Patch 0.3.1.3 While it's perhaps common knowledge that the Minekaze was a better torpedo ship when compared to the Gremyashchy, it's important to appreciate just how much better the Minekaze was. While both ships had comparable hitting power with individual torpedoes, the Minekaze fired her torpedoes 50% faster than the Gremyashchy. Her fish moved at higher speeds regardless of which armament she elected to use. With her 1.1km surface detection range advantage over the Gremyashchy, she could get closer to her prey to help guarantee hits or sit way back and never risk detection with her 10km torpedoes. The Nicholas' torpedoes were designed for close quarters brawling. Let's look at how things have changed. Note the drop in reaction times. Tier 4 and 5 is always a kick in the teeth for novice Battleship Captains that don't appreciate that you need to dodge torpedoes long before they're spotted. The Minekaze has fallen a long way since Closed Beta. While she retains a blistering rate of fire, that's about all she can now claim. When we look at the Gremyashchy, she appeared to only be a modest torpedo boat in Closed Beta. However, it would be hard to argue that she's not one of the most attractive torpedo platforms at tier 5 currently, with only the Kamikaze, Mutsuki and T-22 being comparable or better. It should be noted that her torpedo armament does not stand head and shoulders over her competition, but that it merely remains competitive. She has the slowest torpedoes at tier 5 and one of the largest surface detection ranges. This requires her to launch torpedoes from further out, making it more likely for her to miss from minor course adjustments of her prey. The Gremyashchy doesn't have better torpedoes than any of her tier 5 counterparts. However, she is no longer outdone by them to any significant degree like she was when she was introduced. Now let's take a look at her Guns. Main BatteryThere are only a couple of downsides to the Gremyashchy's guns. The first is the most obvious: She has horrible gun traverse rates. Needing 36s to complete a 180° rotation, this can feel downright punitive until Captain Skills or modules are used to accelerate it. Still, even with all of the boosts available, the Gremyashchy can and will out turn her guns with even the smallest adjustments of her rudder. This will often get novice Gremyashchy players in trouble as they'll abstain from conducting any maneuvers at all while under fire, leading to predictable deaths from enemy gun and torpedo fire. The second setback is a minor one. Her #3 rifle has her fire angles impaired by a pair of 12.7mm machine gun mounts. This can only rotate forward to 53° while her #4 can reach as far forward as 30°. These drawbacks aside, it's hard to see the Gremyashchy's main battery as being anything but superior to her contemporaries at tier 5. In fact, it's not until you stack her against tier 7 ships that her performance begins to wane. Like her torpedoes, this again wasn't always the case. The Nicholas used to be a much better close-range gunnery platform to the Gremyashchy, back before the changes to AP and HE shells around 0.3.1 and through to 0.3.1.3. This saw AP and HE switch places in terms of primacy where destroyer shooting was concerned and the Nicholas never really recovered. After 0.3.1.3 in Closed Beta, the Gremyashchy began standing on par with the Nicholas or exceeding her and she's never really looked back since. Currently at tier 5, the Gremyashchy has the best AP shell, the second best HE shell behind only the premium Kamikaze-class Destroyers. Yet she's the best fire starter at her tier. On top of this, she has the excellent ballistic arcs found on the IJN ships yet without the range limitations. The Gremyashchy has a 1km reach advantage over the Nicholas and T-22 and only falls behind them in terms of rate of fire. It gets worse when you compare her to the lead of her class. She dodged the 0.5.2 nerf that shaved 300hp off of Soviet HE shells and dropped their fire chance from 9%,which the Gremyashchy retains, to 7% (this was later buffed back up to 8%). On top of this, she doesn't suffer the 2.0km additional surface detection range "tax" added to all Soviet 130mm Destroyer caliber guns. This allows her to stealth fire from the surface while stock at a range of 10.9km or greater. Once combined with Captain Skills and camouflage, this stealth-window gets absolutely insane. Summary Perhaps now you can start to see the issue with the Gremyashchy. She has not only an excellent main armament but she also has an excellent torpedo armament. No other destroyer at her tier mixes these two systems to the same effect. She doesn't meet any serious challengers to this kind of balanced mix of main battery & torpedo armament until the tier 7 Destroyers and she can almost keep up with those! Best overall gun performance at her tier. Highly competitive torpedo armament. Capable of using both weapon systems from concealment while stock. The only real downside is her sluggish turret traverse. Arguably the equivalent of a modest tier 7 destroyer in terms of firepower. The Gremyashchy's guns are horribly overpowered with ridiculous stealth characteristics. However, don't overlook her torpedoes. They are phenomenal in their own right. While leaning on only a single weapon system will still net you great games, using the right combinations of AP, HE and Torpedoes will allow you to utterly dominate in a given match. Maneuverability Top Speed: 37.0 knots Turning Radius: 510m Rudder Shift Time: 2.7s If you were hoping to see some form of moderation appear here, you're out of luck. Back in patch 0.3.1, the Gremyashchy had her turning circle kicked down from 630m to its current 510m. This was countered by a 6.0s rudder shift time, but clearly that didn't stick. So now she enjoys the best of both worlds and it's not like every other destroyer can say the same. She has the tightest turning circle at her tier and a very competitive rudder shift time. It should be noted that this agility comes with the price of being quite apt at out turning her turret traverse. While this may be frustrating, remember short of lining up a kill shot, it's always preferable to focus on evasion over doing damage in a destroyer. She's not the fastest destroyer (that honour goes to the Minekaze at 39.0 knots) but her own top speed is competitive enough to keep pace with everything she might face. Durability Hit Points: 13,100 Maximum Protection: 13mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 10mm It probably comes as no surprise that the Gremyashchy is lightly armoured. What may surprise some of my readers is that she's more lightly armoured than most other destroyers at her tier -- and this can be a real problem thanks to the inclusion of the Royal Navy cruisers. It takes a minimum of 11mm of armour to be able to bounce the 152mm AP shells that the British cruisers fire. Though the Gremyashchy has these values along her deck and turret faces (as do all destroyers), she does not have them along her hull. This makes it impossible for her to angle against incoming AP fire from British warships and attempt some lucky ricochets -- something that all of the other destroyers can. This may seem like a small weakness, but it's worth keeping in mind. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 7.0km Air Detection Range: 3.6km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.1km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +3.9km (vs 11.9km gun range) This is the last piece of the puzzle which describes exactly why Wargaming will not sell the Gremyashchy anymore. She doesn't suffer from the same concealment penalties that have afflicted Soviet and German Destroyers. The original concealment penalty calculation when firing guns is 0.03 times the shell diameter. Soviet Destroyers add an additional 2.0km to this range and German Destroyers add 3.5km. Not so the Gremyashchy. The result is that while stock, she has a 1.0km stealth firing window (1.2km with her camouflage) when using her main battery. When Captain Skills are thrown into the mix, this can allow the Gremyashchy to sit just beyond 10km of an enemy and pour fire into her without risking detection. Keep in mind, at these ranges she can potentially citadel a light cruiser with her AP rounds or accurately place HE shells on each separate section of a Battleship to maximize fires. This is also close enough to continue pelting an enemy destroyer with a reasonable chance of landing shells on target even when they evade. Short of Wargaming overhauling the stealth-firing mechanics for the game as a whole (such as changing the stealth firing penalty to shell diameter * 0.04 or higher) , the Gremyashchy will always be overpowered in this regard. A mid-tier CV's worst nightmare: An alert Gremyashchy within gun range. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 76mm / 37mm / 12.7mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 3.0km / 3.2km / 1.2kmAA DPS per Aura: 4 / 23 / 17 For a mid-tier Destroyer, the Gremyashchy's anti-aircraft firepower is rather decent. It's not great by any means. I wouldn't trust it to shoot down anything before it made its attack run, but it may bruise any planes sent to linger around her in order to keep her spotted. Most of the time, though, you're best to just leave this turned off. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme The potential for this ship is enormous. Like many destroyers, she's not quite user-friendly enough that just anyone will be able to take her out and score big each and every time. Without an appreciation for stealth mechanics, without respecting ammunition choices and proper consumable management, the Gremyashchy will fail to deliver. The tools are all there, don't get me wrong, but a novice can still easily mishandle this little monster. But in terms of raw carry potential? The sky's the limit. If you see one of these ships on the enemy team, take any opportunity to delete it as of paramount importance. In the right hands, there are some ships on your team that do not stand a chance -- full stop. Slow "brick" Battleships are meat on the table. Light Cruisers without long-range detection consumables like Radar or Aircraft are horribly vulnerable. A Gremmy player that knows how to ride the knife edge of detection, that keeps map awareness up and juggles shell management like a boss will give any team a very, very bad day. Pray you can detonate the fiend. Mouse's Summary: What weaknesses? Seriously... Good guns, good torps, good stealth, good concealment, good agility... Need I go on? Let's hope that any changes to stealth firing in the future also affect the Gremyashchy, or she's only going to get worse. In her current state, she belongs at tier 7. Studying the Gremyashchy is fascinating. In writing this review, I spent a lot of time looking up her original stats from back in Closed Beta. This is no easy feat. Wargaming no longer appears to host the Patch Notes from those times on the North American or European Servers and a lot of changes were undocumented. It was only through reviews and replays that I could get a clear image of what she was compared to what she is now. A lot of the information was piecemeal. It was difficult enough to find what I wanted for the Gremyashchy and down right impossible to also find Minekaze and Nicholas data from the same patch. Changes were rampant back between patches 3.1 to 3.1.3 with a see-saw of gunnery statistics as the primacy of AP was diminished and HE became dominant. It has to be said that the Gremyashchy came out of Closed Beta in a very healthy state. This isn't something all Premiums can boast (I'm looking at you, Atlanta). But it wasn't just the changes to Closed Beta that put the Gremyashchy on top. It's been the continued refinement (some might describe it as an erosion) of the balance at tier 5. The 3.5km surface detection penalty while firing on German Destroyers looks downright punitive in the current meta. It makes the 2.0km surface detection penalty on the Soviet Destroyers look downright manageable. The Minekaze is a hollow shell of her former self. And if rumours are to be believed, the Kamikaze-class will no longer be made available for purchase in the future. It's clear the environment at tier 5 is becoming all the more forgiving for the Gremmy as serious competition is being shackled by more moderated stats. I seriously considered measuring the Gremmy not against the tier 5s but against the tier 7 destroyers. It was shocking to see just how close she came to the likes of the Leningrad. While she's lacking on DPM, as she is presently, I do think she could slot in at tier 7 provided stealth gunnery does not change in the future -- yes, I think she's that powerful. It would be a tough sell which is why I wussed out and decided to instead focus on her Closed Beta statistics. Cross drop? No problem. The Gremmy's agility makes dodging fish look easy. Would I Recommend? Like the Imperator Nikolai I, there's only two ways presently to acquire the Gremyashchy. The first is to find her in a Super Container earned through the daily experience grind. The more Premium ships you own, the more likely you are to finally get one, so that's pretty cool. I can only imagine how awesome it would feel to get her this way ... and how frustrating it must be if you've pinned your hopes on this. The other option is with the Christmas 2016 sale where players could buy different sized loot containers. I wish there was some actual data on the odds of earning a rare ship through this promotion. There are a lot of anecdotal experiences that can be found on Reddit or the official forums. It seems that similar to Super Containers above, the more Premium Ships a player owns, the more likely they are to acquire a Gremyashchy. But this is by no means certain. Anyone hoping to beat the odds should be careful with their coin. Getting the Gremyashchy, while it seems to be possible, may not be likely. For Random Battle Grinding The Gremyashchy is a PUB stomping monster. She's a perfect choice for someone looking to help train their Soviet Captains, to earn a few extra credits or simply to farm awards like Kraken Unleashed. I cannot recommend her enough for this. For Competitive Gaming If you have the option of using the Gremyashchy in some form of competitive arena, then she's an excellent choice. For Collectors Meh? For many of us in the West, the Gremyashchy has more value as a rare-ship in this game than for her historical achievements. She is one of the few Soviet Warships that saw surface action in WWII, engaging German Destroyers. For Fun Factor She's one of my most played ships for a reason. I just wish I didn't feel so dirty afterwards... How to Equip your Gremyashchy There should be no real surprises here. Recommended Modules As a tier 5 ship, there's only three module slots to contend with. For your first slot, take Magazine Modification 1 to reduce buzz-killing, horrendous kablooies. You have a choice for your second slot between Aiming Systems Modifaction 1 and Main Battery Modification 2. Which you take largely depends on the Concealment rating of your Gremmy. If you specialize her through your Captain Skills for range and stealth, the former will be more valuable as you will not need to maneuver your ship as often. Without them, then the latter is the better choice. This will keep your guns on target longer and offsets any loss to your DPM as a result. Guess what? The third slot modules are still terrible. Take whichever one you like. Recommended Consumables As a destroyer, I strongly recommend taking a premium version of your Smoke Generator. This will add an extra charge, but more importantly, it will also reduce the reset timer to 80s from 120s. It's up to you if you want to use premium versions of the other two consumables. I personally use a premium Damage Control Party, but most games it's largely superfluous. Those few times it has come in handy, it's more to bail out my own stupidity than any necessity predicated by ship performance. Recommended Captain Skills The big choice with the Gremyashchy is whether to push for Concealment bonuses right away or to linger in the lower tiered skills for more quality of life improvements. Here's how it breaks down. At the first tier, Basic Fire Training is your best choice. This bumps up her rate of fire to 13.2rpm. There's no surprise that as a destroyer, you'll want Last Stand first and foremost. However, you'll also (desperately) want Expert Marksman. And lastly, Torpedo Armament Expertise is also highly coveted to reduce that reload timer, but consider this a tertiary skill. At tier 3, Superintendent is still the best choice, if only for the extra charge on your Smoke Generator. At tier 4, there are two skills worth considering. Advanced Fire Training may seem like the obvious choice. This will increase your range up to 14.3km and boost your stealth firing window from 1.2km (with camouflage) to 3.6km. However, with discipline, you can just as easily manage without it and take Demolition Expert instead to increase your fire chance to 12% per shell. If you didn't double up on tier 4 skills, then Concealment Expert is the best choice at tier 5. Without Advanced Fire Training, this increases your stealth firing window with torpedoes AND guns to 1.9km. With Advanced Fire Training, your gun window opens up to 4.3km which is stupidly overpowered. For more articles in this series, please visit: LittleWhiteMouse's Mega Ship Review Guide
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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/
  14. Cossack is a stealthy British gunship destroyer armed with eight 120mm/45 naval rifles and a single bank of four, high-tier torpedoes. She is defined by her good concealment values and awkward firing arcs. Cossack also has access to the Engine Boost consumable while maintaining improved British acceleration and energy preservation. Game play wise, Cossack is very similar to Lightning with an overlap in consumables and commander skill choices. Wargaming has set her price tag at 9,600 doubloons. This is the second Tribal-class destroyer introduced into World of Warships following the release of HMCS Haida earlier this year. She is less remarkable than her sister-ship but that's largely owing to the unforgiving environment in which she plays. Cossack contends with being up-tiered more often than her Canadian counterpart and higher tiered matches are far more radar intensive. Moreover, at tier VII Haida has a defined role -- she's a lolibote-molester. This role is generally lacking among the other tin-cans at tier VII which makes Haida stand out. Cossack doesn't share this same kind of defined specialty. She's more of a generalist scout or gunship -- roles that are replicated by other destroyers at her tier. Thus, Cossack is a workhorse, one gunship among many. She gets the job done in a tough environment which is worth noting, though she is not deserving of any acclaim in this regard. PROS Good DPM performance on her guns and excellent chance at starting fires. Powerful torpedoes for a gunship which may launched individually. Improved engine performance with increased acceleration and energy preservation in a turn while also having access to the Engine Boost consumable. Ridiculous rate of turn, throwing herself about at almost 9.0º/s! Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 5.48km. Access to a long-lasting British Hydroacoustic Search consumable. CONS Poor fire angles on all weapons. Terrible gun ballistics -- worse than American 127mm/38s. Limited to a single torpedo launcher. Her anti-aircraft firepower is effectively non-existent. Poor quality Smoke Generator consumable with short emission time and duration. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Cossack is not a forgiving ship to play. For a novice player, she has many strikes against her. She struggles to do damage, hamstrung with restrictive fire sectors on all of her weapons and poor performing guns. A deep skill build is necessary to allow her to do direct damage with her artillery against larger opponents and the range of targets she can engage is limited. Having a single torpedo launcher does her no favours either. She is at her best at what amounts to point-blank ranges. At high tiers this is a range where you will get killed in short order for making a mistake. Cossack has the speed, stealth and agility enough to make her attractive to a veteran but her engagement range, optimized for short-distances and limited attack power are a severe mark against her carry potential. Still, she has a diverse toolkit that will earn her some devoted supporters. – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Cossack's damage output and durability are best described as average. While she does have her strong points, a combination of drawbacks with her guns keeps Cossac from outperforming her peers. Her low hit point total similarly holds her back. She gets a rating in both categories. Her anti aircraft firepower is virtually non-existent and she earns a evaluation as a result. It's arguably worse than the IJN torpedo boats which is saying something. Where Cossack stands apart truly is her agility and stealth. She takes primacy from Lightning in terms of flexibility and speed. It's a closer contest for Vision Control, but she wins out against Loyang. She's the in both categories among tier VIII destroyers. Options Cossack's options are almost all standard for a British destroyer. Cossack like (new) British destroyers cannot make use of the Propulsion Modification 2 upgrade as she already has an improved version built in. Consumables Cossack's Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. It has unlimited charges, a 60s/40s reset timer and a 5s active period. Cossack uses a British destroyer Smoke Generator. This has 5 charges base and a 90s/70s reset timer (it's not just you, that number is stupid-weird). It emits smoke for 10s and each cloud lasts for 40s. Unlike other (new) British destroyers, Cossack has access to Engine Boost. This is a standard destroyer-version of the consumable providing an 8% speed increase with 2 charges base, an 180s/120s reset timer and a 120s active period. Cossack uses a British destroyer Hydroacoustic Search. This has 2 charges base, a 180s/120s reset timer and a 180s active period. It detects torpedoes and ships at a range of 3.00km. Upgrades Cossack should equip Magazine Modification 1 into its first upgrade slot. If you like to live dangerously, then Main Armaments Modification 1 is fine. In your second slot, the special upgrade, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is optimal. If you do not have access to it, then the next upgrade you should reach for is the special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1. If you're lacking that, then default to Propulsion Modification 1. Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal for slot 3. The only reasonable choice in your fourth slot is Steering Gears Modification 2. Similarly, the only reasonable choice in your fifth slot is Concealment Modification 1. Camouflage Cossack comes with Type 10 Camouflage. For 2,000 doubloons you may purchase Royal Navy - Cossack as a cosmetic swap. Both camouflages provide: 50% bonus experience gains 10% reduction to maintenance costs 3% reduction in surface detection 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Cossack comes with Type 10 Camouflage in mottled grey. I personally think she looks prettier in Royal Navy - Cossack in green, black and grey, but that's only for players with deep pockets. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 120mm/45 guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Four torpedo tubes in a 1×4 launcher mounted amidships. The 120mm/45s that Cossack uses for her main batteries have a lot of problems at tier VIII. While perfectly serviceable at tier VII with ships like Jervis and Gadjah Mada, against the upgraded opposition faced at higher tiers they're nowhere near as competitive on a per-gun basis. This is largely owing to penetration issues due to gun caliber but there are other things to remark. They have a modest rate of fire, damage per shell and poor ballistics. The mountings on HMS Cossack are poorly situated with limited fire arcs and a lackluster traverse rate. Their only real strength is a high fire chance per shell. Her saving grace is that she has a lot of guns -- quantity has quality all of its own. However, the competition is fierce at tier VIII and even armed with eight rifles Cossack struggles finding the edge she needs. Destroyer AP shells are highly circumstantial in their utility. Most simply do not have the penetration or damage output to make them worth chancing the risk of a bounce using except in specific circumstances. Still, when a broadside is offered, switching to AP provides a much improved damage increase -- especially if your target is already burning from fires set. HMS Cossack's poor penetration values limit the range at which she can make these exchanges successfully, with her ability to citadel enemy cruisers falling off at 4km and her ability to reliably penetrate the extremities of battleships dropping off between 9km and 11km.1 Cossack's HE damage potential looks impressive, though it's important to cross reference it with her penetration values. The chart on the right shows the armour value the respective guns can best while the extremity armour on the bottom lists the prevalence of different armour types for the bow and stern. The number in brackets is the (current as of 0.7.9) number of ships with these armour values. There is a long list of targets she is incapable of damaging directly which will necessitate her making the attempt with AP shells instead. The arcs of fire on A and Y turret are terrible, contrasting the excellent arcs on B and X. On top of this, B-turret may rotate 360º which facilitates keeping it engaged even while Cossack manoeuvres. It's thus very easy to keep six guns on target most of the time but especially difficult to keep all eight firing. Bringing all eight guns to bear makes her an easy and predictable target due to the limited fields of fire on her foremost and rearmost turrets. Sacrificing a turret makes Cossack's gunnery no better than a tier VII destroyer. Cossack doesn't have the DPM advantage to be able to best contemporary gunship destroyers. The race is very close. Once you factor in the hit point totals and detection consumables, the margins get even smaller. Against anything higher tier, Cossack comes out the worse for it. This said, Cossack does have the muscle to bully anything smaller than herself short of HMCS Haida. She can play the role of a destroyer hunter provided she can ensure the detection, hit point and DPM advantage, but she has nowhere near the primacy in these categories at her tier. Against larger vessels, Cossack's guns are a mixed bag. Her ability to deal direct damage is compromised with her poor penetration values but she's an excellent fire starter. Note that this is largely owing to volume and accuracy of fire -- Cossack must be cycling all eight of her guns onto a target and landing with most of her hits to be a credible threat this way. Where Cossack truly excels is her potential to set fires. This is especially true of she eschews the use of IFHE in her commander skill build and elects to just focus on Demolition Expert instead. While this is unlikely to ever give a hale and healthy cruiser pause, it is very effective against battleships. Note, in practice these values are approximately halved when striking ships and represent only the raw fire starting potential. Thus, against a Montana, Cossack with a DE build could expect to set about 4 to 5 fires per minute. Be warned, though, the efficiency of focusing on fires leaves a lot to RNG. Cossack's performance will not be consistent. The final issue facing Cossack's gunnery is one of range and detection. She has adequate reach but she suffers from horrible ballistics. British 120mm/45 guns have worse shell arcs than American 127mm/38s. Cossack has similar gunnery challenges to Loyang, Hsienyang, Kidd and Benson without their fast rate of fire to facilitate aim correction. Cossack is greatly endangered by the prevalence of Surveillance Radar within her matchmaking tier where her short engagement range is more likely to bring her within reach of this consumable. Furthermore, her Smoke Generator does not allow for long bouts of gunnery within the safety of concealment. Cossack must contend with much of her gunnery being done while she is vulnerable to return fire if she cannot make use of island cover. Thus, Cossack must be opportunistic. Whatever ability she has to bully other destroyers falls away as she faces same or higher tiered opponents. Her guns can terrorize lower tiered vessels, including battleships but they lack the caliber needed when facing higher tiers. Throw in the usual challenges of radar in this matchmaking spread and a pattern emerges: The power and flexibility of Cossack's guns varies considerably upon the hand which she's dealt by Matchmaking. Cossack's torpedo launchers have much better rearward arcs than forward. Like her guns, Cossack is going to have to give up her full broadside to be able to fire her torpedoes at a target. Cossack's torpedoes are decent individually, but she has too few of them and bad firing arcs to boot. Cossack has HMS Daring's torpedoes but at tier VIII instead of tier X, which looks nice on paper but that single launcher holds her back. The saving grace of Cossack's torpedo armament is her ability to fire them one at a time. While getting good accuracy with single-launch torpedoes is locked behind a skill wall, once mastered it helps greatly with making up for the lack tubes. For a gunship, Cossack has better individual torpedoes than those found on the Soviet, American or German destroyers. However, like with her guns, she places a distant second to Akizuki, lacking both striking power and being unable to keep up with her damage output Furthermore, Cossack's individually more powerful torpedoes in no way makes up for having only one launcher. Like Cossack's guns, her torpedoes perform much better when she's top tier than bottom. Their 10km range is fairly standard (and an improvement on the 8km on Lightning's), however as Surveillance Radar becomes more and more prominent in higher tiers, this reach just doesn't provide the same level of safety. Ideally, a player should be able to combine Cossack's torpedoes with her excellent fire setting to stack damage over time effects on a given target. In practice, this is much easier said than done. Their limited arcs makes finding opportunities to use them difficult, especially in a pinch. When the stars align (or skill prevails), Cossack can doom an enemy vessel in short order by overtaxing their Damage Control Party between fires and floods and score herself an easy kill. However, these will be rare events rather than commonplace. As discussed, use of Cossack's gunnery and torpedoes are both steeped in challenges. One of the drawbacks of British torpedoes is their large detection range. While not quite on the same level as Japanese destroyer torpedoes, this does limit their effectiveness. Summary: The potency of her guns varies considerably based on the tier of the target she faces. Her gunnery performance is inconsistent. Her torpedoes are individually excellent but they're difficult to use, locked behind a higher skill wall. Cossack must present a lot of broadside to cycle her weapons which can make her unfortunately predictable. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Cossack never quite gets her act together to seriously contest the Japanese gunships for their primacy at this tier. Yeah, I'm as shocked as you are that Japan now dominates the destroyer firepower meta at tier VIII. I always thought it would have been the Soviets, but here we are. Defense Hit Points: 15,200hp Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm The Lolibote with a redundant name sure looks OP when you lay out the maximum effective hit point total of the tier VIII destroyers like this. However, making perfect use of all four charges of her Repair Party happens so seldom. Still, she's way tougher than Cossack. Cossack has nothing going for her in this category. She has a downright middling hit point total and no fun quirks to her armour profile. This is a destroyer where you will have to manage any gunfire trades carefully to preserve your health. Her DPM advantage is not so high that she can afford to simply slug away at an enemy lolibote and hope to come out the better. The Survivability Expert skill, which ups her to an even 18,000hp should be considered mandatory lest she fall behind the staying power of other gunships. Veterans who are familiar with the play style of Loyang and Benson will no doubt be able to relate to the need to properly spend their hit points when making gunship attacks. The difference between Cossack and these American-based gunships is her worse Smoke Generator performance which limits her ability to make escapes when things go pear shaped. Cause they will. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Cossack is in the bottom half of the vast tier VIII destroyer population. It's going to take a lot to move her up in rank -- namely another 5,000 hit points or a Repair Party consumable. Agility Top Speed: 36.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 610m Rudder Shift: 3.6s Maximum Turn Rate: 8.9º/s There's a lot to cover here. Let's hope I can put it in some semblance of good order without melting the brains of my readers. Your take away should be this: Cossack is far more agile than her in-port stats might otherwise indicate. She comes about quickly. She accelerates fast. She doesn't lose speed in a turn. Stay with me here, this graph isn't as scary as it looks. In purple, we have the sustained 4/4 speed of the tier VIII destroyers with their rudder hard over. This is how fast these destroyers can move while wiggling, dodging and coming about. In green is their nominal maximum speed -- for Cossack and Lightning, that's 36 knots. In blue, we have their engine boost speed. What makes Cossack so remarkable is that her maximum speed and turning speed pretty much overlap AND she access to an Engine Boost. This makes her a much harder target to hit, akin to a fast Soviet destroyer in terms of her forward momentum but with the added bonus that she can change her heading much more quickly. Cossack doesn't have the straight-line speed of some of her contemporaries. However, she's functionally faster than many of them. Like destroyers from the Royal Navy tech tree, Cossack preserves almost all of her speed while under manoeuvres. Most destroyers bleed off between 15% and 18% of their top speed while wiggling and dodging. Cossack loses less than 2%. In addition, Cossack comes about almost as nimbly as USS Sims -- one of the most agile mid-tier destroyers in the game, and at a higher sustained speed. For enemies trying to pick her off at range, Cossack presents the dual challenge of a ridiculously high top speed with an nimble target, giving the best traits of both American and Soviet lolibotes in a single package. It doesn't stop there. From a dead stop, Cossack accelerates as much as 25% faster than a similar destroyer equipped with Propulsion Modification 2. From a dead stop, Cossack is quick to get moving again, helping her avoid sudden threats like incoming torpedoes or being lit by Surveillance Radar. Cossack gets the best of both worlds when it comes to upgrades; she enjoys better acceleration than she would have receive with Propulsion Modification 2 and she gets the improved rudder shift time of Steering Gears Modification 2. Unlike other Royal Navy destroyers, Cossack gets all of this without sacrificing access to Engine Boost. Combined with a Sierra Mike signal, she can get her speed up to 40.8kts for these brief spells while keeping all of the aforementioned bonuses to her handling. While ships like Kiev and the upcoming Le Terrible can outpace her in a straight line, Cossack wins out in overall handling and flexibility in combat situations. She trivializes dodging incoming fire and dancing torpedo beats. Paper stats won't tell the whole story. If you looked at a combination of Cossack's top speed, turning radius and rudder shift time, she'd look deceptively mediocre. The engine power of the Royal Navy destroyers and their energy preservation means that they perform on an entirely different level from the other lolibotes, making Cossack far more nimble than her stats otherwise indicate. Her Engine Boost consumable adds even more flexibility than even Lightning can boast, making Cossack the most agile destroyer at her tier.[/caption] Summary Boosted acceleration. Little to no loss of speed in a turn. Cossack can rocket-butt with Engine Boost unlike other British DDs. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Loss of her Engine Boost consumable would be enough. This is a closely contested category at tier VIII with Lightning being hot on Cossack's heels with better rate of turn and a smaller turning radius. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 40mm / 12.7mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 2.5km / 1.2km AA DPS per Aura: 12.9 / 4.2 Hahaha, no. Cossack has no large caliber AA guns to speak of. Even cursory HE damage is likely to strip her of all of her remaining defensive weapons. Enemy aircraft carriers should feel completely safe in having their planes loiter over Cossack and friendly carriers should abstain from dragging enemy aircraft near Cossack. She'll be of no help. ... except I did. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Cossack only barely ekes out the worst AA rating at tier VIII. Asashio is only marginally better with less DPS but more range. In theory, it wouldn't take much to nudge Cossack up the ladder, but don't ever assume this would make her evaluation passable here. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 6.97km Air Detection Range: 3.90km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.48km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.48km Main Battery Firing Range: 11.89km Detection Consumables: Smoke Generator / Hydroacoustic Search There's a whole lot of weirdness crammed into Cossack's refrigerator. She is currently the rated tier VIII destroyer in terms of stealth and detection, however this is a title she doesn't claim easily. There are three elements which define her concealment: her surface detection range, her Hydroacoustic Search and her Smoke Generator. Surface Detection Spotting distance delta (in meters) between HMS Cossack and the destroyers within her matchmaking spread when fully upgraded for concealment. This chart is restricted only to those destroyers within +/- 500m spread of Cossack's optimized stealth rating. Note that a distance of at least 200m is necessary to have a plausible chance of a reactionary advantage over an opponent and more is preferable. There are few destroyers that can challenge her concealment rating. Cossack is one of the stealthiest destroyers not only at her tier but also within her matchmaking spread. Only the Kagero-class sisters (Kagero, Asashio, Harekaze) have an improved stealth rating as low as 5.374km to Cossack's 5.476km. In open water with every other match-up, Cossack will detect enemies before she herself is seen. Generally speaking, when Cossack is top tier, she will dominate scouting. It's only when she faces tier IX opponents that things get harried, with detection ranges being close enough that Cossack is likely to trip over an enemy destroyer without enough time to react. Surveillance Radar, always the bane of destroyers (and gunship destroyers especially), is a very real and especially prevalent threat to Cossack's well being. When she's bottom tier, Cossack faces several ships with radar that meet or outstrip their surface detection range. There is very little counterplay she can exercise against ships armed with this consumable short of having advanced knowledge of their approximate location. Keep a wary eye on team rosters and behave accordingly. Hydroacoustic Search HMS Cossack comes with a Royal Navy Destroyer safety blanket -- her Hydroacoustic Search. In the radar-heavy environment in which she plays, this lacks the offensive utility found on HMCS Haida and it's largely reserved for simply sniffing out torpedoes. Still, it is possible for Cossack to unmask ships hiding within smoke screens while using her consumable, however she needs to get even closer than her Canadian counterpart to do it. This tactic is largely inadvisable given Cossack's difficulties in getting away once detected but it can be pulled off in a pinch, especially in late game scenarios where an enemy destroyer lacks support. Exploit that three minute duration -- she can outlast the longer ranged (and easier to use) consumables found on Loyang and German destroyers. Outside of these very specific instances, Cossack's Hydroacoustic Search is better used defensively -- giving her the time necessary to avoid incoming torpedo strikes. In most games, this will largely be its purpose. Vigilance is a helpful skill in this regard for team play purposes if you can afford it. Still, this consumable provides a degree of flexibility to the ship that expert players can exploit and to underestimate or dismiss it would be a mistake. Cossack belongs up on the front lines, projecting vision forward for her team and sniffing out early torpedo threats. Smoke Generator There's a big ol' "but" looming over Cossack's superior vision control. She may have great surface detection. She may have a very handy detection consumable that keeps her safe from torpedoes and can be used offensively in a pinch. Butt, her Smoke Generator stinks. Shackled to the same terrible smoke consumable as the British destroyers in the tech tree, Cossack is held back by its low emission and duration times. She doesn't make many smoke clouds for one. What smoke she does make doesn't last nearly long enough to be comfortable, undermining both Cossack's survivability and her ability to deal damage. When used offensively, Cossack can only park in smoke for 40 seconds at a time. With American battleships boasting up to 20s worth of immunity with their Damage Control Party, Cossack isn't going to seriously contest her opponent's ability to put out fires. This necessitates other tactics to get the most out of the potential damage output of her guns. Borrowing the smoke from another ship is one way such as in a division. She can also take a page from American cruiser and destroyer game play and use island cover to lob her shells at enemies that cannot see her but her lack of reach makes this difficult. Finally she can simply elect to fire from open water and risk trading her hit points. I would hardly call this ideal given her low hit point total. Defensively, her smoke is also found wanting. At top speed in a straight line, Cossack drops all of three (count 'em) smoke clouds. If you install the special upgrade, Smoke Generator Modification 1 you get one more puff. That's it -- hardly worth the coal investment. Cossack's consumable is not so much a smoke screen as a squid's ink-squirt. If Cossack has been firing her guns, she may not being able to create enough smoke to block line of sight to multiple opponents (which will make you wonder why you even bothered). Fortunately, if you cut your speed the moment you activate her consumable, Cossack will come to a stop inside the last cloud. Don't wait on the throttle though -- you need to be decelerating the moment you begin laying down your rings. At least Cossack's smoke reset timer isn't punitive. The delay between dissipating and the availability of her next charge can be as little as 20 seconds with the correct commander and signal combination. With up to seven charges available, Cossack simply needs to hold her fire for brief intervals before setting up for another round of shooting. Patience and careful planning can almost make up for all of her consumable's shortcomings. Closely Contested Cossack is an excellent scout. Few destroyers at tier VIII can sit as comfortably on the front lines, broadcasting back enemy positions for their team as Cossack can. In addition, her forward position helps protect her allies from long range torpedo salvos which become quite commonplace within her matchmaking. This isn't a safe place to be, however, and Cossack lacks reliable smoke from her toolkit to give her a sense of security. Cossack may be one of the stealthiest ships at her tier and one of the best destroyers for controlling vision for her team. However, this is very little room for error. Summary Great open water concealment. Hydroacoustic Search combined with her great acceleration and handling makes enemy torpedoes launched at range a non-threat. Her smoke smells like butts. At least she gets a lot of quick-reloading charges. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Top spot among the tier VIII destroyers is heavily contested. The Japanese torpedo ships have the best raw concealment values. Loyang has arguably the best combination of detection consumables though her surface detection is too big to take the crown. Cossack wins out on primacy despite the flaw of her Smoke Generator, but not without contention. Keeping Oskar from becoming a Sam Skills rated by their utility in descending order from purple, to blue, to green, to red. For the colourblind, they're also rated by hearts. Cossack's initial skill choices are fairly standard for a gunship. Start with Priority Target. Next take Last Stand at tier 2. Survivability Expert is optimal at tier 3. And finish off your 10th point with Concealment Expert. Basic Fire Training should be a must on anyone's list after that and Adrenaline Rush is also optimal. From there, spend your last four points as you will. Final Evaluation I'm not one to blame matchmaking. However, Cossack's fortunes are more firmly tied to matchmaking than many other ships I've played in recent memory. I think it's largely owing to how Cossack performs when she up-tiers. To be absolutely clear, Cossack is a beast when she's the top of the pile. There are very few opponents she cannot engage comfortably and it's only those vessels at her own tier which give her pause. However, Cossack doesn't feel anywhere near as comfortable when she has to go up against tier IX and X opponents. This isn't a problem unique to Cossack, but it is more pronounced in her case. Her guns have a very limited menu of appetizing targets when she faces same or higher tiered opponents. It's not that she can't deal damage when bottom tier, it's simply more of a challenge than for other destroyers. She reminds me very much of most tier V battleships, where they can feel like real powerhouses in those rare times that matchmaking favours them and victims otherwise. Your mileage in Cossack will vary based upon not only where your placed on the Matchmaking roster but what's on the enemy team. So long as she's facing enemy destroyers and cruisers with soft squishy bits she can pelt with her pew pews, you're going to have a great time regardless of her tier. If you suddenly find yourself facing down tier VIII+ American and German heavy cruisers, a heavy battleship lineup or Japanese ducky-destroyers, life's going to be a lot more difficult. Fortunately, Cossack still has a role when she can't be the big dog. When she's no longer able to deal direct damage easily, she excels at simply putting eyes on targets and pressuring cap circles. It's difficult to dislodge an RNDD that has setup shop around a given cap short of using concerted air power or a constant barrage of radiation from Surveillance Radar to drive them back. Cossack won't come out of said matches with much to show for it other than a win if everything goes right, unfortunately. I do like Cossack, but she doesn't inspire the same kind of awe her sister ship, Haida did for me. There's a lot to enjoy with this ship. Few feels as comfortable as she does when top tier and even in those uptiered matches, she can serve you well provided you meet the right opponents. However, in those games where there's nothing but hard targets, the pickings get mighty slim. I dunno why, but I'm a fan of Cossack's alternative camouflage. I wish it didn't cost 2,000 doubloons to make my ship look pretty, but oh well. Would I Recommend? Cossack was originally made available through the Royal Navy event which ran in the last quarter of 2018. Wargaming assigned her a cost of 50 Guineas with players able to earn up to 48 Guineas over three patches. It's not you -- the math doesn't add up. The assumption is that players will have to pay for the difference with a Guinea setting you back around $1 USD. Otherwise, players may acquire her for the equivalent cost of 9,600 doubloons + the price of a port slot. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No. Cossack does alright in Operation Dynamo, but her contribution is very one-sided with being largely limited to engaging the torpedo boats. Her AA power is virtually non-existent. Co-Op isn't kind to gunship destroyers, particularly those with only modest hit point pools and limited torpedo options. Random Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes with a butt. Cossack doesn't play much differently than the other Royal Navy destroyers and her skill choices overlap nicely (especially with captains for Icarus, Jervis, Jutland and Daring). The only issue is that earnings get a might bit slim of matchmaking doesn't love you. For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. There are better choices, namely Loyang and Akizuki. For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. Now you too can own a memento of the ship that predicated the early invasion of Norway! Slap on a Hotel Yankee signal, board some enemies and cause an international incident! For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Yes. While I'd rather play Haida, that's my own Canadian bias speaking. Cossack is a fun ship though be warned, she is a tier VIII destroyer. That comes with all of the hangups that tier VIII destroyers face. What's the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE- The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes. Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal. Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task. OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely In Closing Is it over? I think it's over! Cossack (and Haida) have been on books since January of 2018 -- that's over nine months of work that has gone into reviewing her and her sister ship with too many different versions between them. As you can imagine, there was a lot of information to keep track of with her performance changing so regularly. While I'm happy the two ships aren't terrible, I'm very (very) glad to be able to stop worrying about Cossack for a while. I want to thank my readers and fans who helped keep me sane over these months and an especially well deserved thanks to my Patrons on Patreon who helped keep me fed. I won't have to dig her out again until there's another tier VIII destroyer to review for a comparative study. But that won't happen for another ... Aww, sh-- ...! Appendix (1) Penetration data courtesy of Proships.ru (https://www.proships.ru) and World of Warships AP Calculator (https://mustanghx.github.io/ship_ap_calculator/).
  15. 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/
  16. 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/
  17. 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.
  18. 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:
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. Poopin' rainbows. Quick Summary: A fragile anti-aircraft cruiser with radar and armed with sixteen 127mm rifles and short-ranged torpedoes. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.1. February 3rd, 2017 Cost: 9,000 doubloons. Closest in-Game Contemporary Flint, Tier 7 USN Cruiser Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Flint is an Oakland-subclass of the Atlanta-class cruiser, so it stands to reason that the two ships would be very similar. Flint has an upgraded medium-range anti-aircraft suite. She loses out on the two wing turrets found on Atlanta giving her a maximum of a twelve-gun broadside. Flint's superiority is very firmly set by her torpedoes which have a reach out to 9.2km. Lastly, the two ships trade out their third consumable, with Flint having a USN Smoke Generator instead of Atlanta's Radar. PROs Armed with sixteen, rapid fire 127mm rifles in eight turrets dispensing up to168 rounds per minute from a fourteen gun broadside. Turret traverse is blinding-quick at 25º per second. Able to fire over intervening terrain quite easily. Her main battery customizes incredibly with the 0.6.0 Captain Skills. Her torpedoes are very fast and very hard hitting for a cruiser of her tier. Powerful anti-aircraft armament, with unlimited charges of her Defensive Fire consumable. With a full AA-upgrade build, she has some of the best AA-power in the game, tier for tier. She has access to the USN Radar consumable. CONs Tiny hit point pool of 27,500hp. Her machine-spaces citadel sits over the waterline and has a maximum of 89mm of protection. Her bows are overmatched by 203mm guns or larger. Her turrets get temporarily disabled easily. Painfully short ranged at 11.1km stock. Very poor ballistics, with shells being launched into low orbit even at modest ranges. Poor penetration values on her AP and HE shells. She struggles to do damage to tier 8+ Battleships. Torpedoes are pathetically short ranged at 4.5km. Large surface detection range of 11.0km. My last review of Atlanta was over a year ago and there have been some rather significant changes to the game in that time. Atlanta has been graced by some better fortunes, including one direct buff and many smaller, indirect buffs caused by differences in new mechanics and systems. This time last year, she was an overspecialized oddity, unable to perform in the manner players wanted and expected her to perform. She remained a favourite to eccentrics and experts and downright punitive to novice players. Atlanta's fame (or infamy) has waned considerably over the year. She is no longer commonly available, having been removed as a permanent fixture from the online store. She is also gone from the in-game tech-tree where she could be bought with doubloons. Though far from rare, it is likely that as the game matures she may become a more uncommon sight. This said, her game play style has been diluted somewhat by the inclusion of USS Flint, an Oakland-subclass of the Atlanta-class cruiser. Flint shares many characteristics with Atlanta but with the benefits of better torpedoes and a smoke generator -- two fixes for the Atlanta-class many fans of her were clamouring for. We received different fixes for Atlanta instead of questionable effectiveness. This does raise the question if Atlanta is now worth purchasing for those who do not have her, especially given her limited availability. Hopefully this review will address said concerns. Atlanta subscribes to the original Wargaming design for premium vessels in World of Warships, where candidates were to be selected from ships that didn't fit in the tech tree. These "weird" vessels included ships like Kitakami and Tone. Options Atlanta's Defensive Fire is special. Unlike other ships, she has unlimited charges of this consumable. Its other characteristics, including reset timer, duration and intensity remain the same. Atlanta is also one of the few tier 7 ships with Radar. This has an 8.49km range, 25s duration and two or three minute reset timer depending if you took the premium version or not. Consumables: Damage Control Party Defensive Fire or Hydroacoustic Search Radar Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard USN Cruiser options.Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy Firepower Main Battery: Sixteen 127mm rifles in 8x2 turrets with an A-B-C-P-Q-X-Y-Z arrangement. A-B-C and X-Y-Z are superfiring, with all three turrets capable of shooting unobstructed directly forward or aft respectively. P and Q are wing turrets mounted just ahead of X-turret and behind the torpedo launchers. This gives the ship a fourteen gun broadside. Torpedo Armament: Eight tubes between 2x4 launchers. One is mounted to each side of the ship behind the rear funnel. Let's start with Atlanta's torpedoes; they are terrible. While individually hard hitting at 16,663 damage per and fast at 65 knots they are pathetically short ranged at 4.5km. This limits their utility to ambush scenarios and acts of desperation. In order to properly make use of Atlanta's torpedoes, your opponent has to have made a serious mistake. In such scenarios, a broadside of all four fish will be catastrophic and your opponent deserves the punishment these can dish out for being so horribly out of position. In close range brawls with enemy cruisers, a broadside of her AP shells is often more reliably devastating than her torpedoes. That's really all that needs to be said about these weapons. Main Battery Atlanta has arguably the most entertaining main battery armament in the game. There are few guns as interesting as the USN 127mm/38 rifles in World of Warships. They are not without their controversies either. With 0.6.0 they received a significant buff in regards to how they interact with select Captain Skills and the variety of builds centered around improving these weapons is diverse. But let's start with looking at their raw performance before we worry about how we can modify them. Common Captain Skills taken by Atlanta players to buff their Main Battery. Few ships benefit so greatly from Captain Skills as the Atlanta. From left to right: Basic Fire Training, Advanced Fire Training, Demolition Expert, Inertia Fuse for HE Shells, Adrenaline Rush and Expert Marksman. Not all of these skills should be considered optimal or even necessary. The 127mm/38 rifles found on Atlanta are similar to, but not an exact match to the weapons found on the USN Destroyers. They fire the same shells, with the same relative range, ballistic qualities, alpha strike, penetration values and fire chance to her line's destroyers. However, Atlanta doesn't enjoy the same rate of fire found on vessels like Mahan, Farragut or Sims. Farragut, at tier 6, fires 15 rounds per minute -- a value matched by Mahan at tier 7. Sims gets this volume of fire as high as 18.2 rounds per minute while Atlanta has to make do with 12. For those wondering, this isn't historical and has been reduced for balance reasons. Atlanta may appear to have the equivalent broadside to three USN Destroyers combined, once you factor in her reload time, this works out closer to two. And this brings us to our first two Captain Skills. Rate of Fire Atlanta reloads every 5s giving her fourteen gun broadside a potential rate of fire of 168 rounds per minute. There are two ways to increase this. As a destroyer-caliber weapon, Atlanta enjoys full benefits of Basic Fire Training which drops her reload down to 4.5s and increases her rate of fire up to just over 186rpm. As if that weren't enough, you can also take Adrenaline Rush which increases her rate of fire as your ship takes damage. At half health, this drops Atlanta's reload by another half second, increasing it to 210rpm. Let's look at some real-world examples. Assuming penetrating hits from her HE shells (594 damage per), a full 14 gun volley (8,316 damage per) yields the following. Against saturated areas, the damage will be half this. At 168rpm: 99,792 damage. At 186rpm: 110,494 damage. At 210rpm: 124,740 damage. This is contingent on being able to land hits with that level of accuracy and penetrate vulnerable areas. Like all guns, Atlanta's rifles are exceedingly dangerous up close. Landing with ten or more shells per volley is easy enough inside of 7km ranges. However, even veteran Atlanta players only land between 29% and 35% of their hits overall which much of the accuracy disparity coming from her poor ballistic qualities at range. Range and Ballistics One of Atlanta's biggest weaknesses is her lack of reach relative to her surface detection. Stock, Atlanta's guns can theoretically hit targets up to 11.1km away while she's detected from the surface from 11.0km. This 100m buffer for such a fragile ship forces her to be placed in harms way anytime she pulls the trigger. Taking the skill, Advanced Fire Training extends her reach up to 13.3km. Between camouflage and skills, it's possible to get her surface detection down to 9.4km. In theory, this opens the tiniest of stealth fire windows (less than 100m) but in all practical sense, Atlanta cannot engage targets and stay hidden without the use of cover. This is further compounded by the appalling ballistic qualities of her shells. At her maximum range, her shells are taking a full second per kilometer of distance traveled. This leads to horrible lead times. Depending on game resolution, some players may be prevented from using the maximum zoom when ranging their shells as their targets will be well off screen. This can make targeting specific sections of ships very difficult This is a necessary skill when facing off against heavily armored targets which her HE shells can struggle to damage.Penetration and Fire Atlanta has one of the lowest average damage per game values of any tier 7 cruiser. Stock, Atlanta's high explosive shells can penetrate a maximum of 20mm of armour. Aside from destroyers and some light cruisers, her shells just don't have the penetration power to directly affect vessels short of their superstructures. So while her guns may murder a destroyer with some alacrity, when facing against cruisers and battleships, Atlanta was often on her back foot. Atlanta's AP shells can be truly monstrous when properly applied. However, their penetration values due to their low muzzle velocity and poor ballistics arcs prevents them from being used efficiently outside of 7km ranges. Inside this distance, Atlanta is more than capable of blowing out the citadel of heavy cruisers or hammering the upper hull or extremities of a Battleship with her AP shells and wracking up enormous damage totals quickly. It's not uncommon for Atlanta to deliver seven to ten citadel hits against a broadside cruiser inside of knife fighting range. This can deal a whopping 29,400 AP damage if you can land 14 out of 14 shells as citadel hits. For this reason, Atlanta's torpedoes are often forgotten in the heat of a brawl as her AP can be more than sufficient to put down an enemy cruiser. Outside of this range or against even slightly angled targets, her AP performance becomes quite anemic. For this reason, the ship has often lived and died by her high explosive shells. In the past, this forced Atlanta Captains to rely on the fire potential of her weapons to inflict damage against larger capital ships. As a flamethrower, she was quite good at this in theory but in practice, this was never sufficient. Her individual shells have a poor base fire chance at 5% per hit. Demolition Expert can nudge this number up to 7%. However, this plugs into a larger formula: [Fire Resistance Coefficient x ( 1 - [Damage Control Modification 1 - [Fire Prevention ) x ( [Projectile Base Fire Chance + [Demolition Expert + [signals - [inertial Fuse for HE Shells) = Fire Chance Fire Resistance Coefficients vary, from 0.8668 for a stock tier 5 to 0.5671 for a fully upgraded tier 9 vessel. This makes the chances of stacking fires much easier against lower tiered targets than higher tiered, which is ironic given that Atlanta can often deal more damage directly to lower tiered targets than needing fires to prop up her damage totals. Here are some real world examples: Atlanta with Demolition Expert facing an upgraded Kongo with Damage Control Modification 1 (0.8335) x [1-(0.05) - (0) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0) = 5.54% per shell Atlanta with Demolition Expert facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0) = 3.37% per shell Combine this with Basic Fire Training on the Atlanta (186rpm) and a 30% accuracy and you're looking at 3.1 fires per minute against the Kongo and 1.9 fires per minute against the Iowa. Based on these numbers, an Atlanta should be able to easily stack a fire or two past Kongo's Damage Control Party and disengage. Against an Iowa or similar tier 9 Battleship, it's questionable whether any fires will stick at all if the target Captain manages their consumable properly. Dueling with either Battleship for longer than a minute greatly increases the changes of reprisals from the now-annoyed battleship from which Atlanta is unlikely to survive, so it's important to stack fires in a limited time frame and disappear. Without the ability to do damage quickly to larger targets and her own poor survivability when such ships elect to shoot back, it's perhaps no wonder that Atlanta's average damage has been so low. There is a ray of sunshine, however. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells All light cruisers have benefited massively from this skill and it has been a real game changer. For Atlanta, this increases her HE penetration from 20mm to 27mm allowing her to now damage the extremities of tier 6 and 7 battleships and all cruisers within her matchmaking spread. With this skill, now Atlanta can drop those theoretical 8,314 damage, 14 penetrating hit HE volleys against most of her opponents. Only tier 8+ Battleships retain an immunity to her shells with the exception of their superstructures. This skill isn't without its trade-offs, however. It's an expensive investment for one, requiring the sacrifice of one or more beneficial Captain Skills. In addition, it damages her already poor base fire chance by a whole 3%. It's this latter trade off which can really hurt as her (in)effectiveness against tier 8+ Battleships plummets even further. Let's look at our Iowa example again. Atlanta with Demolition Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0.02) + (0) - (0.03) = 1.92% per shell And if you can no longer afford Demolition Expert: Atlanta with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells facing an upgraded Iowa with Damage Control Modification 1 and Fire Prevention (0.5671) x [1-(0.05) - (0.1) x [(0.05) + (0) + (0) - (0.03) = 0.96% per shell Once again, assuming Atlanta is using Basic Fire Training and attaining 30% accuracy, this works out to 1.1 fires per minute with Demolition Expert and 0.5 fires per minute without. So it becomes a question of a trade off. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells greatly increases Atlanta's lethality against same tier or lower tiered battleships but worsens her performance against those found at tiers 8 and 9. Conclusions: Few ships have their performance defined so significantly by Captain Skills as Atlanta. With her torpedoes being a mere afterthought, how a player customizes and elects to use Atlanta's main batteries will largely define their level of success with this ship. There is no build that is optimal against all targets and some that are superfluous or even damaging to Atlanta's damage output depending on the ship type engaged. A player must decide well in advance what kinds of ships she wishes to specialize against and build her Atlanta accordingly. One of Atlanta's more infamous traits is the awful shell flight times. At maximum range (13.3km) it's possible to begin firing a fourth volley volley before the first has hit the target. This makes lead times downright punitive and adjusting fire difficult. Maneuverability Top Speed: 32.5 knots Turning Radius: 610m Rudder Shift Time: 8.4s Atlanta's top speed of 32.5 knots isn't particularly exciting. It's sufficient for her task as an escort cruiser, but she doesn't have the speed necessary to challenge evasive destroyers. Perhaps more pressingly, she is also lacking in sufficient speed to outrun fast Battleships that may seek to engage her, such as Bismarck, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau or Iowa and she has no chance of outpacing Soviet and Japanese cruisers. So while not slow or inflexible, some care needs to be taken when planning Atlanta's course lest she find herself out of position or over extended. This is a problem common to all USN Cruisers. Ship rotation times from starting at maximum speed and rudder hard over. Each ship was run through the course five times (except Flint and Atlanta which were run for ten to confirm their similarities) and the average taken. Deceleration is the time taken for a ship to reach it's lowest speed in a turn. The two most important factors for determining ship rotation speed is the radius of her turn combined with the average speed while turning. Smaller turning circles and higher average speed will result in faster rotation rates. The tier 7 and tier 8 American cruisers are all very similar to one another in their performance, but Atlanta and her sister, Flint, are hands down the most agile of all of the mid tier USN Cruisers with between a 0.5s and 1.0s advantage in turning 90º. Atlanta's handling is almost identical to other vessels found in the American cruiser line. This similarity between mid-tier USN Cruisers makes for easy skill transference from one ship to the next. If you can torpedo beat in a New Orleans, you'll find Atlanta answer similarly to her rudder. Atlanta's turrets have no difficulties tracking targets, even with her rudder hard over. They traverse at a rate of 25º per second compared to the 6.3º per second she turns at full speed, allowing Atlanta to quickly acquire targets and engage new threats from one side of the ship to the other even while under heavy maneuvers. This makes the Captain Skill, Expert Marksman, much less valuable for Atlanta than on other USN Cruisers. Atlanta is rather agile and can be a real bothersome target for destroyers. Durability Hit Points: 27,500 Citadel Protection: 89mm of belt armour Min Bow & Deck Armour: 13mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: None. Over the last year, Atlanta has enjoyed a considerable buff to her turret durability. Patch 5.5 from April 26th, 2016, all small caliber weapons had their hit points increased as much as 2.6 times what they had been. Prior to this, Atlanta's turrets had 1,500 hit points each while she now enjoys 4,000 hit points per. Previously, it was a rare occurrence for Atlanta to survive a battle without losing some of her main battery. Now it's rather uncommon for Atlanta to permanently lose any of her weapons. However, much of what was previously said about Atlanta's durability still holds true.Atlanta is one of the worst protected cruisers in the game, making her truly a glass cannon. She has a pittance when it comes to her hit point total. Her armour layout is laughable with 89mm of belt armour. Her large citadel has a section that sits above the surface running beneath the twin superstructures, from the bridge to the wing turrets. Her bow has only 13mm worth of protection, making it possible to overmatch it with 180mm guns found on the Kirov, Molotov and Dmitri Donskoi, never mind the larger caliber guns found on heavy cruisers and battleships. There are few HE shells not capable of landing penetrating damage on Atlanta, no matter where they strike her. In short, an exposed Atlanta is very likely to become a dead Atlanta. It's imperative to make use of her concealment and agility to stay alive. Hug islands and use them to block incoming fire. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 11.0 km Air Detection Range: 6.4 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.4km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +3.8km (vs 11.1km gun range) For such a fragile and short ranged vessel, Atlanta is shackled with an enormous surface detection range. She is utterly incapable of engaging enemy targets with her torpedoes without giving her position away. It's only when either her main battery range or her concealment is upgraded that she can ambush surface targets with her guns. Even with a full investment into concealment and range modifiers, Atlanta cannot stealth-fire from open water and remains dependent upon friendly smoke or island cover to stay concealed. At best, Atlanta can get her surface detection range down to 9.4km which is still punitive for a ship of her size and range. She's unable to sneak up on destroyers and, unlike HMS Belfast, her surface detection range exceeds that of her radar, giving destroyers time enough to begin evading before Atlanta can light them up with her consumable. It is worth mentioning that Atlanta, with her radar consumable, can make better use of borrowed smoke clouds than some other ships. When divisioned with smoke-laying vessels, Atlanta can help provide eyes for herself and allies while remaining obscured within the smoke clouds. Though her radar has a very short duration, this can tip the balance in some engagements to let this fragile vessel exploit concealment mechanics within the game to her advantage and decide the local fight. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 28mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.1km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 121 / 27 / 29 Atlanta used to have the best anti-aircraft armament at tier 7 without contest She has been partially eclipsed by her sister ship, Flint, which has a modernized suite of weapons which replaces Atlanta's 28mm 'Chicago Piano' mounts with the famous (and more reliable and powerful) 40mm Bofors. This gives Flint a better punch at medium to close range while Atlanta dominates at a distance. When combined with Captain Skills and module upgrades, Atlanta competes very well with her sister. The image below breaks down how Atlanta's anti-aircraft power can be modified. * Bonuses are multiplicative, not additive. Note that all DPS values are approximate with some weird rounding occurring (which is why the tool-tip in port is weird when you begin stacking bonuses). This table can be used to calculate partial bonus stacks. For example, a 127mm mount (121dps) with Basic Fire Training (x1.2) Priority Target (x1.1) and Defensive Fire (x3) bonuses would generate an average of 479dps. The maximum output of Atlanta in an optimal situation would be a combined total of 1,215dps. Fully specialized and in an optimal situation, Atlanta puts out 1054 / 118 / 42 dps (a combined total of 1,215 dps) at ranges of 7.2km / 5.0km / 2.9km. Flint manages a combined total of 793 / 392 / 62 dps (a total of 1,247dps) at the same range intervals. No other ships at her tier come close to Atlanta as her sister-ship. With Atlanta's anti-aircraft firepower focused on her 127mm rifles and their 7.2km range, she makes a much better anti-aircraft escort over Flint and bests just about any other cruiser in the game, tier for tier. Atlanta's anti-aircraft advantages do not stop with just raw damage. Her aerial detection range is only 6.4km. If she keeps gun silent and switches off her AA guns, she can ambush incoming aircraft squadrons by sailing into their path to intercept them. By keeping her AA guns silent up until they're all in range, she gives the CV player no warning of her presence and can devastate a concentrated attack wave before the CV player can react. In addition, her and her sister Flint are the only ships in the game with unlimited charges of their Defensive Fire consumable. Specialized in this role, Atlanta becomes a 7.2km no-fly zone which any CV player is fool to test, no matter what their tier. But don't kid yourself. Without this specialization, without Defensive Fire specifically, you're only going to damage attack craft waves, not rout them. Any carrier wishing to delete you will be more than capable of doing so. In her element and unconcerned. Overall ImpressionsSkill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / DifficultSkill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Atlanta is not a friendly ship for beginners. Her weapons are too short ranged with a very temperamental damage output. Her surface detection range is too large and she has no easy-escape tools. She is far too fragile to account for any mistakes. While it's terribly fun to hold down your left mouse button and poop out rainbows of 127mm high explosive rounds, the efficacy of doing so is highly suspect at best. You can't deal damage quickly with Atlanta unless you get in close and without proper forethought, that will simply get you killed before accomplishing anything of note. The influence a well played Atlanta can have on a game is telling, but it depends entirely upon her Captain / Consumable / Module build. She's a good support ship, however the decision on how to support your team will largely dictate the spheres of influence you can perform. When Atlanta is caught out of position (which, let's admit, occurs almost continually in this ship), her ability to affect the outcome of the match falls away to nothing. Mouse's Summary: One of the oldest premiums in the game. She's also one of the most unforgiving ships in the game. The recent buffs were nice... sort of. I wanted Atlanta to get what Flint has. Despite all of her troubles, Atlanta is a riot to play. What a difference a year makes. Here's the long list of changes that occurred directly or indirectly to Atlanta between February 2016 and 2017. Her main battery durability was buffed, increasing her hit points 2.6 times. She no longer loses her turrets constantly (HOORAY!). The Situational Awareness skill was given out for free. Her AP shell normalization was changed from 8º to 10º. This means that if her shells strike at a 10º angle to the flat broadside of a ship, her shells will treat it as 0º and calculate as if they had struck flush. She received Radar. The new Matchmaker system places her at top tier very frequently. The Captain Skill changes have benefited Atlanta greatly, with easier access to quality of life improving skills like Concealment Expert and the introduction of Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. In addition, many players can't easily afford fire-mitigation skills like they used to. Atlanta has seen both feast and famine. During Closed Beta, when AP shells were dominant, she was as powerful as she has ever been. The changes to AP and HE shells nerfed her considerably, but she still had a lot of functionality with asymmetrical carrier Matchmaking and how common carriers were during Open Beta. There was almost always need for an AA escort and Atlanta filled that role nicely. Once deployment symmetry became a thing when the game was released in September of 2015, Atlanta's popularity began to severely wane. Now in 2017, it's the increase in smoke generators, specifically those of the British Cruisers, that have breathed new life into USS Atlanta. She has a purpose now -- an ability that's always welcome when there's an enemy that needs digging out. It's sad to say, but she gets more use out of that than she does her Defensive Fire consumable. Inertia Fuse for HE Shells has restored some of the bite Atlanta once enjoyed back in Closed Beta. While her upgraded HE shells don't have quite the same ubiquity as AP did back in the day, the average damage that Atlanta is dealing out has been on the rise in the last six months. Looking at a two-week snapshot of her performance ranks her 6th overall for damage output among tier 7 cruisers. It's still not a good performance, but it's definitely better than has been for the last year. Atlanta isn't back to her glory days from Closed Beta. Would I Recommend?Atlanta is a weird ship. She's not something you invest in because you think she's good. You do it because you want something unique. While it is possible to earn an equivalent through Ranked Battles in the form of USS Flint, Atlanta's analogue is likely to be out of reach for much of the player base. For Random Battle Grinding Atlanta isn't going to make it easy on you to earn rewards like High Caliber, Confederate or Kraken Unleashed. While she or any premium will earn a fair amount of experience and credits, Atlanta is difficult to make perform to make such numbers consistent. There are definitely better investments. So no. For Competitive Gaming No. There are much better ships to bring in a competitive environment than Atlanta. She's too fragile and if caught out of position, she has no get-out-of-jail cards to play. For Collectors Yes. They saw lots of action early in WWII and enjoyed success and tragedy (Google the Sullivan brothers and have tissues handy). For Fun Factor Very yes on toast. Her guns are hilarious. Staying near islands is imperative for the longevity of your Atlanta. Use it to set up attacks and cover your escape. Atlanta is not an easy ship to play. She's not like the British Cruisers or premiums like Mikhail Kutuzov or Flint where you can pop an easy smoke consumable and trump any attempts to engage you. Outfitting AtlantaAtlanta can be one of the most complicated premium ships to equip in the game presently. It's important to decide on a role for your Atlanta first. From there you may select Captain Skills and equip consumables which best support the role that you've decided upon. Modules: All of my builds for Atlanta include the same module choices. Main Armaments Modification 1, AA Guns Modification 2, Damage Control Modification 1, Steering Gears Modification 2. There's some pretty simple reasons for this. In slot 1, you can take Magazine Modification 1 if you're really paranoid about detonations. If you're intending to take Atlanta into a competitive environment, this choice should be moot as you should be using Juliet Charlie signals instead to mitigate detonations. Personally, detonations don't bother me. Atlanta does pop a little bit more than other cruisers, so keep that in mind. In slot 2, you may be wondering about the viability of Aiming Systems Modification 1. Skip it. At maximum range, and by that I mean 13.3km from Advanced Fire Training, ASM1 provides an eight meter dispersion reduction. Yep. That's it. Eight whole meters. It's 6.9m at 11.1km. Whoo. Exciting! Take the AA mod. You'll get more use out of it. All of the choices in slot 3 are terrible for the Atlanta. Take what you want. In slot 4, Propulsion Modification 2 is also a fair choice. However, Steering Gears Modification 2 will shave almost half a second off of a 90º turn going at full speed. Core Skills: Despite the 0.6.0 Captain Skill overhaul making several builds viable, there remain some skills that are optimal for Atlanta. They re included in all of the builds below. Your tier 1 skill for Atlanta should be Priority Target. Knowing when you're targeted and when you're not will save your ship and allow you to pull off some rather audacious feats. None of the other tier 1 skills is as useful. At tier 3, Basic Fire Training is the second essential. This increases your main battery rate of fire by 10% and your AA dps by 20%. Few ships gain so much as Atlanta from this skill. Bombardment Build This build focuses upon doing damage to larger ships -- specifically cruisers and tier 6 and 7 battleships. The idea is to keep her guns singing as often as possible and to use intervening terrain to keep safe. Because you're expected to be shooting almost non-stop, stealth abilities are less of priority. This build, grace of taking skills which improve her gunnery, also makes a passable anti-aircraft cruiser but this isn't our focus. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Defensive Fire II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1000000000000011000010100010100019 This build is all about maximizing the performance of your guns against these targets. Basic Fire Training and Adrenaline Rush increase your rate of fire. Inertia Fuse for HE Shells allows you to land damaging hits against the plethora of 25mm armoured sections found on ships of your chosen targets. Demolition Expert helps mitigate some of the lost fire-potential. Variant: Swap Inertia Fuse for HE Shells for Concealment Expert. This changes the build from doing direct damage to relying on fire damage to affect your targets. This will generally result in increased survivability but you'll pay for it with lower damage totals. Destroyer Hunter The idea here is to sneak up as close as possible to destroyers and annihilate them at close range. She's built for stealth. This ship is rather vanilla when it comes to the performance of her weapons against larger targets, but such is the price you pay for being a specialized hunter. Keep your anti-aircraft guns disabled until you absolutely need them. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Hydroacoustic Search II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1000000000000011000011000000001119 The first thing that should stand out is that this will keep your Atlanta shorter ranged than other builds. This will also impair her anti-aircraft power somewhat. Radio Location is used to assist with finding the little blighters. Concealment Expert is used to reduce the range at which you're spotted to give destroyers less time to react. In addition, you will have to go gun silent to evade return fire from larger capital ships. Superintendent provides an additional charge of your Radar and Hydroacoustic Search consumables. You'll use Radio Location to home in on the destroyers until you're spotted. If haven't uncovered the destroyer within 20 seconds of being lit, activate your Radar to light the destroyer and be ready to evade any return fire. Last Stand is there to help keep you alive when your rudder gets shot out as you try to evade. The destroyers will shoot back and they always seem to hit your rudder and set you repeatedly on fire. The last thing you want to be doing is spinning in circles. Anti-Aircraft Escort As the name suggests, this build focuses on protecting friendly ships from air attack. This is hardly an optimal build in the current Random Battle meta -- carriers are not as commonplace as they once were. However, few can argue against Atlanta's efficiency as an AA-platform with this build. Consumables: Damage Control Party II, Defensive Fire II, Surveillance Radar II Captain Skills: http://shipcomrade.com/captcalc/1100000001000000000010000000110119 Everything pushes towards increasing Atlanta's AA range and DPS. Basic Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Armament boost your DPS directly while Advanced Fire Training provides the range. Concealment Expert provides some survivability while also helping prevent you from being spotted early by surface ships. This can allow you to better intercept an inbound bomber stream and ambush them. Jack of All Trades is used to reduce the reset timer of your Defensive Fire consumable so that it will always be ready when the next attack wave comes in.
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