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  1. The_Potato_Smasher

    Ship Opinions: Des Moines

    World of Warships Ship Opinions Des Moines : Super Heavy Thunderchunker (This is the first ship opinion that I am writing. As such, I will be including a lot of things that may make me look smart, as it agrees with the rest of the playerbase, or look really stupid, because I don’t agree.) Des Moines was one of the two original Tier 10 cruisers introduced into the game, the other one being Zao. Since then, it’s gotten power-creeped, powered up, and power-crept again, but who cares about that. Des Moines is one of the best Tier 10 cruisers in the game, out-gunning everything it cannot outrun, and outrunning everything it cannot outgun ( despite the fact that Bourgogne moves faster than this thing, go figure), making this gunship one of the biggest thunder chunkers in the game. So then, let’s take a look. Let us start with the whole “Gunship” thing. Des Moines has a couple of things that set it apart from the competition at tier 10. First off, it has that signature Super-Heavy AP, which means that, not only does it receive better penetration angles, but the penetration is preserved at range, meaning that this ship can reliably hit ( and penetrate ) almost anything at ranges out to 12 kilometers. After that, however, the shell velocity begins to drop quite rapidly, leading to a plunging fire trajectory that makes hitting things quite difficult. However, that difficulty in hitting things is made up for by the other thing : a reload time of 5.5 seconds. Yup, you read that right, 5.5 seconds. Des Moines has the fastest reload of all heavy cruisers in the game, even Henri IV with reload booster active can barely match it. The closest ship to this thing in terms of raw DPM is the Hindenburg, and even that thing struggles to keep up, even with two rounds of buffs that dropped its reload to 9.8 seconds stock. DM’s raw AP DPM sits at 490,909 DPM, while Hindy sits at 433,469. Add the module and AR on top of that, and DM packs a massive 695,575 AP DPM. That’s with friggin 203s. Smolensk and Colbert both pack way more, admittedly, but they both have puny 5 inch artillery systems that benefit from Basic Firing Training, not to mention Honore’s AR Boost for Colbert. So then, DM is indeed the best of the actual cruisers in the game ( I say “actual cruisers” because Smolensk and Colbert are more akin to floating gatling guns with a citadel than anything else). One weakness here comes in the form of literally no torpedo armament to back up her main guns. But seriously, with these guns, who cares? The next part is the survivability. DM falls a slight bit short of the competition here, for the most part. Her most glaring weakness is the 27mm bow that all tier 10 battleships ( save Bourgogne ) can overmatch with impunity. She does have a 30mm deck to bounce most plunging fire shots, but that’s just a small consolation when Republique or Yamato slams you from halfway across the map. Also, with just 50,600 HP, she has less than Goliath, Hindenburg, Moskva, and Henri IV. However, Both Goliath and Henri have pretty terrible plating (16mm and 25mm,respectively), Moskva is the size of a Battleship (literally is a battleship), and Hindenburg is basically an angry floating bus with guns and torpedoes (well,not really, but you get the point). Point is, Des Moines is not really the easiest target at typical cruiser engagement ranges. Des Moines closest rival in this regard is the other original tier 10 cruiser, the Japanese Zao. But Zao has 10k less HP (though a troll armor scheme helps it out a bit). So here, DM is in a class of its own. I won’t even mention Salem’s characteristics here because I actually wanted to compare the tech tree ships, rather than the premiums. Now we come to the fun part (not): the AA. Des Moines, being American, has literally the most brutal AA defense of all the heavy cruisers, outstripping Hindy, Goliath, and Henri by a good margin, even rivaling the DP-gunned Worcester and Minotaur ( then again, this really isn’t much of a talking point, thanks to WeeGee screwing us over with the AA so that carriers at least “had a chance” to make a strike). Des Moines AA numbers, on paper, make the competition look like a total joke, thanks to the ever-prevalent 40mm Bofors and 20mm Oerlikon cannons that litter the decks of all high tier American boats, which gives them brutal AA defenses that make most carriers instantly regret their life choices ( its worse when you get AA jumped by a Gearing). In reality, the reworking of the AA defenses makes these numbers somewhat irrelevant, even more so because of the fact that Wargaming butchered DFAA entirely. Then again, when have they not butchered anything at some point or the other. Moving on. Next is handling and concealment. This is where DM humiliates some ships entirely, and some humiliate it. Let’s quickly get one thing out of the way: you ain’t winning any drag races in this thing (sorta, we’ll get there in a moment). Henri, Zao, and Moskva will outrun you, thanks to various reasons. The light cruisers out-turn you by a good margin, and the stock acceleration is actually quite poor. Only Hindy and Worcester are slower, and by just half a knot. HOWEVER There is one ace in the hole that DM has over the other cruisers, and that is it’s legendary module. You know, that module that makes every single damn DD in the game go purple with rage when they send torps to a DM they thought wasn’t paying attention, when actually it was, and it gunned the throttle and took off like a shot, and all the torps miss entirely. Yup, same one. The module cuts acceleration time by 50%, decreases the rudder shift by 20%, and only takes 10% of your radar uptime. Downside, you either pick run and gun, or your DPM with Main Battery Mod 3. If you combine this module with the 4th slot Propulsion Module, and the 5th slot Steering Gears Module, you accelerate to 27 knots in 8 seconds, to 33 knots in 12 seconds, and your rudder shift time drops to a hair under 7 seconds. That is one of those things that make all types of players go red and purple in the face when going against this thing. Henri can now only dream of this kind of bullshittery, and all others can only watch with envy ( if you find yourself confused about Henri IV, read the changelogs). Another great thing is the fact that, if properly equipped, DM can drop its concealment to just 10.9km. There are only three tech tree ships that can beat that: the Zao, with 9.9km, the Worcester, with 9.7, and Mino, with its frankly stupid 9.1km. Goliath sits at just 100m worse, and all the others are over 12km, with Moskva being the worst, at 14.3km. So, it's agile and stealthy. Nifty. Also, I almost forgot to mention her consumable loadout. Pretty bog-standard for American heavy cruisers here, nothing special. I recommend hydro and radar, but it’s your choice at the end of the day So there we go. Is it still the OG thunder-chunker we know and love (or hate)? Absolutely. The addition of the Worcester and many other cruisers that out-gun it by a significant margin (in terms of how much crapgets thrown on the wall until something sticks) have threatened it with irrelevance, but it’s still not irrelevant. In fact, it has become more relevant than ever, threatening these super-powered ships that make their mark with constant HE spam, with the powerful, swift broadsword that is American AP, delivered by the graceful hand that is the Des Moines rapid fire rifle. She is still the original thunder-chunker, a true testament to classic, tried and true design, and never-aging prowess. She truly is, the biggest and baddest of them all. (Wait, there’s a bigger one!? ARE YOU FRIGGIN KIDDING ME!?!?)
  2. World of Warships Ship Opinions Number 13 : Iowa One hell of a Bad-[edited]Battleship People say that the old ways are gone. That the people who play these old school machines are being complete and utter turds. Well, those people are more incorrect than anyone else out there, my friends. These people are not only some of the most experienced players out there, they’re also total badasses. And the ships they drive are badass rides as well, the best example being the Iowa. Iowa has been powercrept in recent months and years with the introduction of larger and harder hitting battleships, such as Georgia and Sovetsky Soyuz, but she’s still an amazing ship nonetheless. She’s fast, stealthy, durable, and most of all, she packs one hell of a haymaker with those massive 16 inch guns. Still, she has a lot of faults that are sort of difficult to overlook and ignore in typical gameplay. So then, is she still good, is she better, or is she just another Graf Zeppelin? Let’s take a look Armor: All or Nothing, baby Pros: 38mm deck shatters all light cruiser HE, Meaty HP pool, can bow-tank for days, Improved Heal and Damage Control Cons: 32mm bow can be overmatched by Musashi, HP pool and armor pales in comparison to FdG, Soyuz and Musashi, Lion has a far better heal, waterline citadel Iowa is hands down one of the highest endurance battleships at her tier. Her armor follows the all or nothing armor scheme, which means 32mm extremities and all of her major armor components compressed into her 320mm belt ( though she has a waterline citadel that leaves her vulnerable when broadside). Her armor scheme also gives her a large immunity zone to AP shell hits at ranges from 12 to 17 kilometers, thanks to a 38mm deck that also shatters all light cruiser HE shells and a good number of heavy cruiser shells at her tier as well ( with the exception of Roon and Drake ). But that’s where the problems start. You see, Iowa doesn’t have a unique armor scheme like Friedrich der Grosse or Sovetsky Soyuz, where those two have angled armor belts that allow them to bounce almost everything hurled in their direction. Her bow is entirely 32mm, which means that, while she’ll tank pretty much every single Tier 9 AP shell in history, Iow can be overmatched by Musashi straight through the nose (thankfully, at Tier 9, it’s only Musashi that can do that). However, should she take damage, Iowa can easily migitate it, thanks to an improved repair party consumable that heals back a good chunk ( 0.66% / second ) of her 79,000 point HP pool, as well as a boosted Damage Control party that lasts longer than all others at her tier. However, the Lion has a far superior Repair Party consumable that recovers 2% / second, which, admittedly, is the best in the game. Overall, Iowa scores pretty high here. If she had more HP, she’d be one of the best battleships in the game tier for tier, but she doesn’t, so we’ll leave it at that. Rating: Good Armaments: “Boom” Pros: Colossal Alpha Strike, Unique upgrades give her insane accuracy and Yamato beating range, Super-Heavy AP shells have excellent energy retention and penetration Cons: Long shell flight times, Lackluster secondaries, Musashi has better Alpha, Alsace boasts better DPM American Battleships in general are renowned for their Hiroshima-grade artillery capabilities, and Iowa is no different. Her 9 406mm/50 Mark 7 cannons, mounted in 3 Three-gun turrets, have long firing ranges courtesy of American Fire Control and Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1, excellent accuracy courtesy of a 1.9 sigma rating and Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2, and a massive alpha strike of over 120,000 damage that can blow anything out of the water, thanks to the same Super-Heavy Mk8 AP shell that the North Carolina and Montana, which also means excellent energy retention and armor penetration even at longer ranges. That being said, the shells are quite slow, requiring an excessive amount of lead at longer ranges that can let opponents play a game of “Just Dodge” and win. There are other problems as well. Her secondaries are lackluster compared to the likes of FdG and Izumo ( though the latter is debatable ), with just 6.0km of range base and a relatively low rate of fire, which makes them only good for taking out detected destroyers within their range. Also, her guns might be amazing, but there are other battleships that outperform her in some regards. The Musashi, for starters, boasts a much higher Alpha strike of nearly 135,000 damage, compared to 120,000 damage. The Alsace also boasts higher DPM than the Iowa ( though that's because of the fact that she has 3 more barrels than the Iowa, not because of a larger caliber gun ). She certainly outperforms the Sovetsky Soyuz and Friedrich Der Grosse, but not those two in their respective regards. Overall, Iowa certainly has been outclassed in firepower, but she still holds on to enough of her past self ( and the fact that she makes cruisers wet their pants the moment they see her ), to earn her ranks Rating: WTAF AA: Holy mother of BOFORS, that’s a lot of flak Pros: Durable AA mounts, brutal short and long range AA, HELL-RIPPING Medium Range AA Cons: The Lion called, he wants an AA-mount sandwich for lunch. Iowa’s AA is so brutal that carriers prefer to avoid her entirely. Her long range and short range AA numbers are comparable to or better than that of the Friedrich der Grosse, but her medium range AA is so powerful that any plane that it touches gets instantly vaporized. Tier 8 carriers have nightmares about this thing day-in and day-out, and Tier 10 carriers will balk at attacking her when she’s made her presence known. Add to this the typical American auxiliary mount durability and the proper commander skills and upgrades, and she’s one hell of an AA platform. The only problem is that HE spamming BBs and cruisers such as Lion and Seattle exist, and they will chew through those mounts faster than I chew through my dinner ( which is pretty damn fast ) If they didn’t exist, I would give her a WTAF rating. As seeing that they exist, it’s merely a “good”. Still, holy mother of Bofors, that is one hell of an AA defense. Rating: Good Maneuverability: Historical accuracy Pros: Fastest Battleship in the game, decent turning radius. Cons: Engine Boost BBs exist, bleeds speed in a hard turn, slow-[edited]rudder. There are BBs, there are fast BBs, and then there’s Iowa. Iowa holds the title of the fastest non-gimmick battleship in the game, with a top speed of a blistering 33 knots. Add Sierra mike and she does 34.6 knots, which is patently absurd for something so large as this thing. Admittedly, Alsace and Georgia are faster than this thing, but those two make use of an overclocked engine boost to do it. Otherwise, the next fastest ship is the Georgia, which is basically an Iowa with 18 inch guns. There are other problems besides speed, however. Iowa has a rather large turning circle compared to the North Carolina that precedes her, at 920 meters, and while this isn’t bad for Tier 9, the in-port stats don’t tell everything. As LittleWhiteMouse so kindly pointed out in her review of the Bajie, the Iowa’s radius is actually larger due to the fact that she has rather poor inertial retention in a turn, which translates to a rather slow turning speed as well. Adding to this is a pathetically slow rudder of 17.1 seconds, which makes turning around a hassle compared to the other battleships at her tier. Overall, it’s only acceptable at this point. She’s fast, but not agile. Rating: Acceptable Stealth: Good Pros: Sub-13km stealth when fully rigged, decent aerial detection Cons: Not as stealthy as some of the other ships at her tier. I won’t really dive into much here about Iowa’s stealth. Fully rigged, Iowa can hit 12.7km of stealth, which is fairly impressive for such a large Battleship. Her aerial detection of 9.23km when fully rigged is also fairly good, which means carriers actually have a hard time trying to find her, should they choose to go looking for her ( not that they want to find her, anyways). There are few ships at this Tier that beat her, including the Lion and Sovetsky Soyuz, with all other comers being far worse than she is. However, her stealth isn’t enough to warrant a WTAF rating here, but it’s not an “acceptable”. It’s good, for the most part, and that flies just fine with me. Rating: Good Ergonomics Playing Iowa immediately calls to mind the infamous Missouri. Missouri was essentially an Iowa, but with the Surveillance Radar consumable, better AA, and what was then the stupidest credit earning coefficient ever seen on a ship to that point. Iowa, however, is not like that. They may be sister ships, but Iowa is a tech tree ship, which means lowered credit earnings than her premium sister, as well as higher fitting out costs and repair bills. But that said, both ships are also equally difficult to master ( because they’re sister ships, no duh ), with plenty of experience required to function in combat as a part of a team. However, the experience is rewarding when, after months of training and experience accumulated, you finally enter a game and proceed to hard carry while smashing your own damage record ( and the jaws of several cruisers ) to pieces along the way. That’s just how “worth it” it is. Rating: Acceptable Fun Factor Like I said with the Leander, I’ll sum it up in a few words. Or not Iowa is perhaps one of the most fun battleships I ever played. It’s high speed, powerful guns, and insane AA give it flexibility more akin to a cruiser, which makes it that much more fun to play. Like I said, you will smash open whatever comes across your path like it’s a nut. And you’ll have one damn big grin across your face the whole time Rating: WTAF Verdict Armor: 4 / 5 Armaments: 5 / 5 AA: 4 / 5 Maneuverability: 3 / 5 Stealth: 4 / 5 Ergonomics: 3 / 5 Fun Factor: 5 / 5 Overall Score: 28 / 35 ( Exceeding ) General Writer Verdict: While the Iowa might appear to be overperforming, she’s actually fairly well balanced in all aspects, as all American Battleships are. I have nothing to say here. Iowa was a true blast to play, and it made me feel like myself again, a true BB main with the spirit of a musketeer and the vengeance of Flamu. The Bayern versus Queen Elizabeth test will come tomorrow, and I will also be accelerating the number of reviews I make per week for the next month, from 2 or 3 to 5 or 6, due to the fact that the coronavirus has shut down my school district until April 13. Welp, that’s all folks Peace!