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Found 21 results

  1. The following is a review of Brandenburg, the tier VIII premium German battleship, was sponsored by my patrons on Patreon who helped me afford this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.11.4. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. The purpose of this review is to support the players, not the company behind the product. Isn't Brandenburg just a better Odin? That was my initial thought when I heard Brandenburg's announcement. I appreciated that they were different animals, with Brandenburg being derived from concept work leading to the Bismarck-class. However, it's hard not to see parallels between the two. I was worried that Brandenburg would make her obsolete. Then I remembered that Odin was already obsolete upon release and stopped feeling bad. WELCOME TO MY REVIEW OF BRANDENBURG! ♫ I started this review on March 20th, 2022. I had a lot of tier VIII battleships in my backlog, so I was using Atlântico's upcoming (at the time) release this as an excuse to try and clear out some of these neglected vessels. My usual turn around time for a review is about two weeks so long as I do absolutely nothing else during that time period. Updating my tier VIII battleship database would speed up the review process for subsequent ships by a few days. With this in mind, I was certain I could get a couple out before unlocking Atlântico. Brandenburg was the first one up and I planned to queue up Borodino and Constellation afterwards. It was going to be a hellish six weeks, sure, but knocking out four reviews in that time would be so worth it, at least so long as nothing went wrong. And oh boy did things go wrong. I got immediately sidetracked by projects like: ... pointing out all of the bad copy in Wargaming's premium shop and Armory. ... working on that AA catalogue I started back in January. ... putting time in to work on some related art projects with @Chobittsu. ... continuing to play with submarine damage models and depth charge mechanics. ... surviving COVID. So ... yeah, it's been a trip. I'm terrible at planning. I set myself some outrageous goals that don't allow for any leeway should things go wrong. I then proceed to beat myself up for not being able to fold space and time itself to meet said deadlines. Before we get started... You're going to notice a slight change with some of the graphs in this review. I experimented with trying to cut down the bloat that's ever increasing in World of Warships. There are thirty-one tier VIII battleships in World of Warships presently with more on the way. Rather give everyone eye-strain trying to compare them all in individual graphics, I cut things down to the tech tree battleships plus the other German premiums. This reduces the count down from thirty-one to twelve which is a lot more manageable. Now I'm not entirely happy with this and I recognize the flaws. For one, it shapes impressions. A given premium might stack really well against the tech tree ships but still be a poor offering compared to its peers. For another, these graphics have proven to me to be a quite helpful snapshot about the meta at a given point in time. Missing data points will make that harder to track in the future. Finally, it feels like I'm wussing out. I'm sure I could make thirty-one data points fit, gosh darn it, if I just tried a little harder! Oh well, what's done is done. Just thought you all should know. Please leave me some feedback on your thoughts and ideas. PROS Dispersed, heavy armour scheme and full icebreaker bow. Thick turtleback citadel. Good gun handling. Surprising accuracy for a twelve-gun armament with 1.8 sigma. Powerful secondary battery with improved accuracy, good fire arcs, long range and 1/4 HE penetration. Good top speed of 32.5 knots and fast rate of turn. She has torpedoes! CONS Small hit point pool for a tier VIII battleship which also compromises healing. Poor anti-torpedo protection. Short ranged at 18.5km. APPALLING FIRE ANGLES. [edited] ME, THEY'RE BAD. Small calibre AP shells lack overmatch potential and penetration. Unlike most other high-tier German battleships, she lacks Hydroacoustic Search. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme What happens when you take a brawling battleship, give it bad guns and chain it to a small hit point pool? You get a YOLO disaster waiting to happen again and again and again. Brandenburg is a bad battleship for inexperienced players. Her guns seem trollishly designed to punish new players. Her bad AP performance and her bad fire angles force inexperienced players to flash their broadsides and get themselves killed. Without a big hit point pool, they die in a hurry. The only bit of saving grace here is that at least she comes with a German battleship protection scheme, but even that seems flawed. This thing is fast too, so it's easy to over-extend and get sent back to port for being the easiest thing to shoot at. Experienced players can do a bit of flexing with Brandenburg, showing off their in-game knowledge on where it's best to change up ammo, how to optimize her with commander skills and when and how to brawl. I'm not saying she's going to be a successful ship because of this -- Brandenburg, like a lot of 2021 ship releases, punishes players for trying to play her as designed. It's just that an expert player can get a bit more out of her. Options Nothing too surprising here, other than what's missing. Brandenburg doesn't have access to Hydroacoustic Search. Otherwise, you'll have to choose whether or not to specialize in brawling, but that's an easy choice to make. If you want to win, you'll avoid brawling. If you want to be cool, brawling is the only acceptable answer. Now, you're not some kind of sensible LOSER, are you!? Options Brandenburg's Damage Control Party is perfectly normal for most battleships. It comes with unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. It's active for 15 seconds. In slot two, you get a standard Repair Party for a battleship. It heals back up to 14% of the ship's health over 28 seconds, queuing 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It has an 80s reset timer and starts with four charges. In Brandenburg's third slot, it's choice time with either a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The Spotter Aircraft comes with four charges, increases her main battery range by 20% for 100s and has a 240s reset timer. Her Catapult Fighter launches 3 aircraft which stay on station, orbiting the ship at a range of 3km for 60s. It comes with three charges and has a 90s reset timer. Upgrades Let's go down the list! Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Damage Control System Modification 1 goes into slot two. It's choice time. If you're cool, you'll take Secondary Battery Modification 1. If you're smart, you'll take Aiming Systems Modification 1 instead. You're not one of those smart people are you? Let's hope not. Damage Control System Modification 2 is the better choice at slot four. You can take Steering Gears Modification 1 if you prefer, just be aware that fires are going to hurt all the more. And because I know you're super cool, you're going to compromise your fire setting in the commander skills section in order to build for secondaries, right?2 Finally, grab Concealment System Modification 1 because Wargaming still hasn't gotten around to giving us a competitive alternative in slot five, making it a non-decision for most ships. It's just a dumb 2M credit tax at this point. Commander Skills There are obviously two commander skill builds I'll champion. The first is the basic survivability build. Memes aside, this is hands down the optimal build for Brandenburg as it emphasizes fire resistance. But that's boring. A brawling build for Brandenburg plays up to the novelties (and stereotypes) of the German battleship line. As a less than optimal build, there's a lot more leeway on what you pick and choose for your backup skills -- the idea being that you're already compromising on optimization, so you may as well just try out some fun and weird combinations. Still, the general idea is to emphasize your secondary strengths. Beyond the obvious Manual Secondary Battery Aiming and Long Range Secondary Battery Shells you want to look at grabbing either Demolition Expert or Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (or both). The latter-most skill is contentious given that it compromises the fire setting of your entire armament. It's really only worthwhile if you intend to throw Brandenburg into brawls on the regular with high-tier battleships (though it does help with high tier cruisers too, especially with amidship hits). So you may want to hold off on IFHE. Boooooring. Tasty! Camouflage Brandenburg was sold with two camouflage options, Type 10 and German Eagle. They provide identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. This is the only screenshot I took of Brandenburg's German Eagle camouflage and it's terrible (the screenshot, not the camouflage). The camo was only available in a bundle when the ship was initially sold and I have not seen it made available since. I didn't pick it up at the time and it seems I've missed out. Brandenburg's base Type 10 camouflage is a striking black, white and grey. It's quite handsome. I am not a fan of the alternative palette for her Type 10 camouflage. You can unlock this via completing portions of the German Navy Collection under your Profile tab. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 305mm/56 guns in in 4x3 turrets with an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Twelve 150mm/55 guns in 6x2 turrets and twenty 105mm/65 guns in 10x2 turrets. The large calibre guns are set on the main deck with the 105mm guns superfiring on one deck higher. The secondaries are divided evenly down each side. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers mounted behind the funnel on either side of the ship. Brandenburg has crappy guns, but she gets a lot of them and they're reasonably accurate. Gun Calibre, Penetration & Reload Time Brandenburg has small calibre guns for a high-tier battleship. Her 305mm weapons are the same as those found on Odin. For 305mm guns, her shells have good ballistics and penetration, but that's only for a 305mm gun. You're not contesting battleship belt armour at battleship engagement distances with her AP rounds, for example. You're also missing out on overmatching anything greater than 19mm with her AP rounds. Her individual hits aren't particularly powerful and her HE shells suffer from the usual German affliction of dealing less damage per hit than similar shells of their calibre. It's the quantity of shot that's supposed to make up for all of this, but even here, Wargaming pulled their punches. This is a recycled graphic pulled from my Odin review. Odin and Brandenburg have identical AP penetration performance. These numbers are approximate and pulled from wowsft.com. Brandenburg's AP penetration isn't great. She largely loses the ability to contest battleship belt armour outside of 12km if there's even a bit of angling going on. You want to throw AP shells as much as possible with Brandenburg, even against soft targets. Unlike other nations, her anemic HE shell damage is so much lower than her AP shells that they're only competitive when her HE is guaranteed to deal full penetrating damage. If a target has been partially saturated, her overpenetrating AP rounds will put out more hurt. This limits the optimal use of HE rounds to the following situations: (1) Against targets you cannot hurt at all with AP. (2) You're trying to start fires. Even against submarines at periscope depth, Brandenburg's AP will deal more damage. The only catch here is that Brandenburg's AP shells just don't have the bite needed to work against heavy armour. So you're forced to HE and suck up the damage disparity. Allow me to elaborate. For the longest time, I have held that 30 seconds is the standard reload time of battleship guns. This isn't necessarily true, but it's been an unspoken standard for a number years. So much so, that you could safely predict that any new battleship being added to the game would have it. Wargaming has begun to deviate from this standard. This largely began with the Soviet battleship line. Where once the odd ship with a weird reload added a little variety to a tech tree line, we're seeing slow or faster reloads defining and entire swathe of releases. Still, I find myself trained to look for a 30 second reload on any new battleship Wargaming adds. When the number is greater or lesser, it shapes my perception of its intended performance. For ships to match the 30 second reload output with a smaller armament (be it number of guns or smaller in calibre), I expect to see a faster reload. If an armament is especially large or hard hitting, then I expect to see a slower. So let's look at where Brandenburg's armament and reload sits: 22.5 seconds - Zieten with 3x2 406mm 23.0 seconds - Odin with 3x3 305mm 25.0 seconds - Famous & Historical Monarch with 3x3 381mm, Vanguard with 4x2 381mm 26.0 seconds - Bismarck & Tirpitz with 4x2 380mm 26.5 seconds - Brandenburg with 4x3 305mm 28.0 seconds - Gascogne with 2x4 380mm 28.6 seconds - Chamapgne with 2x3 406mm 30.0 seconds - Amagi & Kii with 5x2 410mm, North Carolina, Alabama & Massachusetts with 3x3 406mm, Constellation with 4x2 406mm, Richelieu with 2x4 380mm, Roma & AL Littorio with 3x3 381mm and Atlântico with 5x2 381mm 31.0 seconds - Borodino with 2x3 406mm 33.0 seconds - Ignis Purgatio & Ragnarok with 5x2 410mm, Vladivostok & Lenin with 3x3 406mm, Flandre with 3x3 380mm 34.0 seconds - Vittorio Veneto with 3x3 381mm 40.0 seconds - Kansas with 4x3 406mm This looks reasonably competitive, at least until you account for all of the flaws with her shells. I'm still balking that they didn't give Odin the same 20 second reload as Scharnhorst and Brandenburg's 26.5 second reload feels like more of the same mistreatment. Brandenburg isn't a particularly hard-hitting ship. Or rather, her guns just don't scale well against higher tiered targets and other battleships. Overall, her 26.5 second reload time isn't a flaw, per se, but it's not a strength either. It seems carefully measured to ensure she's reliant upon her other weapon systems. More on that later. Brandenburg's potential AP DPM looks great. But this doesn't account for the woes of dispersion, penetration, firing angles, auto-ricochet checks, etc. The POTENTIAL is there, sure, provided you've got an opponent willing to make things easy for you. Short of picking on lower-tiered cruisers or inside of brawling scenarios, the potential is difficult to realize. Like most German battleships, her HE shell DPM falls off the rails. I'd like to make a big deal about her improved HE penetration but Brandenburg's 76mm penetration just isn't impressive when compared to the 68mm being tossed around by most of the American, Soviet and Japanese battleships at this tier. So yeah, Brandenburg has good HE penetration for a 305mm armed battleship but that's only for a 305mm armed battleship. When stacked against the 406mm guns or the 1/4 HE penetrating 380mm/381mm guns from the Royal Navy and other German ships (and nevermind the Italian SAP shells), Brandenburg's HE looks crappy. It would be a struggle to call any of the tier VIII battleships "good" fire starters. King George V is pretty much the gold-standard of this for mid-tier battleships and she comes out just shy of 10 fires per minute before you account for things like accuracy (cut that number down to a third) and fire resistance (reduce it again to two thirds its initial value). Once reality sets in, you're looking at about two to three fires per minute for KGV. Apply the same approximates to Brandenburg and you come out at nearly two. This is probably the most reliable way for her to attempt to stack damage against enemy battleships. But unlike the British, don't expect a whole lot of direct damage to accompany Brandenburg's HE spam. There are tricks to make these guns work. HE spam is one such way. Your direct damage numbers will suffer, sure, but they won't suffer as badly if you simply stuck to AP rounds the whole time. You can try the whole "aim higher" with AP, hoping to bullseye the upper hull and superstructure of enemy battleships at range, but dispersion will troll you outside of near brawling ranges, so that's not entirely reliable. Brandenburg's guns are just not fun to use and you have to overcompensate a whole heck of a lot to get those numbers to stack. Gun Handling & Accuracy While Brandenburg's reload time is only ever going to be decent, her accuracy isn't as bad as I was expecting for a twelve-gun armed ship. 1.8 sigma isn't terrible. In fact, for a ship with as many guns as she has, it's higher than I thought it would be. Coupled with American battleship dispersion and a twelve-gun broadside, she isn't as likely to get trolled by RNG(eebus) as ships with fewer guns or worse sigma. This ultimately comes down to feels -- Brandenburg's salvos feel reasonably accurate even if their dispersion describes her as being only average. It's rare that a well aimed shot isn't going to yield at least a handful of hits. Brandenburg is good at putting warheads on foreheads at least so long as you ensure that all twelve guns are firing. And this is the other issue -- getting all of those guns firing. And maybe this helps explain some of my gripes with her reload. Brandenburg's arcs are HORRIBLE. For those unaware, I have a bias against crappy firing angles. Outside of PVE situations, Brandenburg when she fires all twelve of her guns. She's unable to angle correctly against return fire while doing so, which opens her up to taking some pretty bad hits in return. As you'll see in the Durability section, Brandenburg doesn't have a lot of hit points and she cannot afford to trade them away for the modest returns another six guns bring. Without a fast(er) reload on her guns and without good firing angles, her DPM suffers appreciably. So that paper DPM value shown before falls even further into the toilet. One of my standard dispersion tests. This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso bot. Brandenburg is using Aiming System Modification 1, while the Fuso is completely stock and without camo. Shots are coming in from right to left with the Fuso effectively bow tanking. At 1.8 sigma and German dispersion, Brandenburg's gunnery feels "average", at least until you remember she has twelve guns and a quick(ish) reload. Volume of fire lends a sense of accuracy all on its own and Brandenburg ends up feeling more accurate than she actually is, even with a full secondary build. The HORROR. Main Battery Gun Summary Brandenburg has crappy guns, but she gets a lot of them and they're reasonably accurate. I wish I could say she had good fire angles or that they reloaded fast enough for that not to matter, but they don't. I found these guns to be incredibly frustrating to use, especially when facing same tier or higher opponents. The AP doesn't hit hard enough. And even when you do land some good hits that don't ricochet or shatter, they just don't do enough damage. Every time I reached for HE, it felt like I was giving up and begging for fires that usually didn't come. Brandenburg's gunnery takes a long time to stack appreciable damage. Brawling battleships are cool It's a good thing she's a brawler. She's designed to supplement her damage by creeping into secondary range (where possible) and spraying enemy ships down with a torrent of cruiser and destroyer-calibre HE. Up close, the deficiencies of her 305mm AP penetration falls away too and they become a lot more threatening. She's fully capable of blowing out the machine spaces of any enemy battleship with a vulnerable citadel and her twelve gun broadside ensures that it will hurt. The threat of her torpedoes makes even other heavy weight brawlers take notice. This is where she belongs. This is where she demands respect. And for a German battleship, her secondaries are contenders for the best out of all of them with better firing angles and more DPM and FPM than most. Combined with improved German secondary accuracy, 1/4 HE penetration and more guns than other German battleships, Brandenburg has some of the best brawling armaments at her tier. Check it out: Some notes to keep in mind: Massachusetts, Atlântico and Brandenburg have the same DPM when brawling, kiting or firing broadside. Zieten has the same DPM when brawling or kiting. Before you get too excited and run out and buy a Flandre or Kii, I remind you that DPM charts are not the be-all, end all. The majority of Flandre's damage comes from 100mm secondaries that only have 17mm of penetration and no improved accuracy (Gascogne has this same problem). A lack of improved accuracy also plagues Kii on top of having only a range that caps out at just shy of 10km with all buffs. Brandenburg combines good range, good penetration and good potential damage on top of solid firing arcs. She's the total package. The only thing we could ask for more would be a further improvement on her already improved "German" secondary accuracy or upgrading her 105mm to 128mm like Odin so that she can pen battleships without needing IFHE. Spreadsheets are not cool So Brandenburg has better secondaries than the other tier VIII German battleships, right? That's what the numbers say? Good, cuz I couldn't tell. Seriously, this is one of those cases where my notes on how a ship felt to play did not reflect the data I collected afterwards. I should explain -- my process for writing these reviews is to play the ship, take notes while doing so and then as questions come up, look at the ship's stats to try and understand where the feels are coming from. At no point in my play testing of Brandenburg did her secondaries stand out in any appreciable way from other German battleships I've played. I seriously thought her secondaries were bog-standard for a German brawler. It was only as I put together the graphics for this section that I said "wait, hold up" -- she has more DPM and better fire angles? Huh! So why didn't it come up? You'd think counting an extra pair of 105mm would have tipped me off. While I was conscious of them, they weren't anything to get terribly excited about. I liken it to the extra 100m Odin has on her secondary range. It's nice but it's not game changing. It was the same case for her firing angles. They're good, sure, and better than most of the other German battleships. But there's still that ugly deadzone straight ahead. Ultimately, this blasé attitude says a lot about how situational brawling is. In PVP, good brawls are so uncommon that they're an event when they finally happen. Thus, it's hard to get a good sense of value out of a secondary armament. This goes double when you've invested in them so heavily between skills, upgrades and consumables. And this is what it came down to: Brandenburg's secondaries didn't feel appreciably better than those of Tirpitz or Odin. So it was hard to care about them when the awesome experiences just didn't happen. So yeah, Brandenburg has good secondaries. But as far as I'm concerned, that trait is shared by all other German battleships so it's not a stand-out feature, so don't look at me singing Brandenburg's praises for her secondary potential as a selling feature of this ship over other German premiums. They all perform very much alike in this regard -- their potential is there, but it's so terribly situational. The pain and suffering that went into making this. Brandenburg was originally launched with bugged, asymmetrical secondary arcs on her forward-most 105mm guns. Those on her starboard side could fire up to 20º off her stern while the port side could only fire 30º off her stern. I've highlighted this difference with the two arrows in the graphic above. This was corrected with patch 0.11.4 with her port side now mirroring her starboard side (they can both shoot 20º off her stern now). Brandenburg's secondary arcs are okay. They're not great. At least she can bring all of her weapons the bear 30º off either her bow or stern, so you can use those to help ensure you're auto-ricochet safe in a brawl. I was going to ramble on about her torpedoes, but I think I can just summarize them here. Brandenburg's fish are short ranged but pack a comfortable punch, perfect for delivering a crippling blow in a brawl. The four she launches per side will not guarantee a kill on an enemy battleship unless they're already mauled, so keep that in mind. Her fire arcs are decent, able to launch 30º off her bow and just over that off her stern for a total of a 119º firing arc per side. Like other German battleships, her torpedoes are pretty fragile and have a habit of getting destroyed if she takes a lot of HE fire, so make sure they're still operable before committing to a joust. Summary Brandenburg may have crappy guns but she has good secondaries backed by short-range torpedoes. Firepower wise, she sucks if you can't get her into a brawl. If you can, Brandenburg's numbers jump tremendously. While you can all but guarantee this each and every time you take her out to a Co-Op battle, it's harder to ensure in PVP. I don't rate Brandenburg's firepower very highly. It's alright. When the stars align, it can be good. But you're setting yourself up for disappointment in PVP outside of those rare games where your enemies make the mistake of letting you brawl. VERDICT: Situational. Unreliable. Inconsistent. Durability Hit Points: 58,800 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 145mm / 50mm to 80mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 350mm belt plus 110mm to 120mm turtleback plus 45mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 23% Third from the bottom. A German juggernaut Brandenburg is not. Remember how players made a big stink about Odin's lack of health? Well, if you weren't around at the time, Odin was largely panned by the community for her tiny (52,800) hit point pool. Brandenburg has just 6,000 more. That's not a lot. That's like two more penetrating hits from battleship AP, and given Brandenburg's crappy fire angles, those penetrating hits are coming sooner rather than later. Brandenburg's hit point pool would be dead average for a tier VII battleship. And that's bad. That's very bad. Thus, Brandenburg suffers a lot of the same problems as Odin -- namely, not having enough HP left over to successful brawl when the opportunity finally arises in the mid to late game. Brawls always cost HP. Brawls can cost a lot of HP. And if you've already bled a lot of your initial health, it can be hella disheartening to not have the staying power to actually enjoy a good scrap. What might have been a game winning situation is now just a spiteful act of defiance before you're sent back to port. Even setting brawling aside, with the teething problems of her main battery guns, Brandenburg is just plain bad at trading. She doesn't have the health to spare to exchange body blows. This is partially mitigated by what appears to be a traditional German battleship protection scheme. Brandenburg has dispersed armour, including a full length 60mm icebreaker bow, thick upper hull and deck armour that will troll most HE (and some SAP!) thrown her way. This just leaves her (admittedly huge) superstructure and the tiniest portions of her bow and stern vulnerable and makes her largely proof against AP shells when angled. As for her citadel? I have ... mixed feelings... about Brandenburg's citadel protection. It's geometry is weird. It comes to a narrow point towards the bow. This creates some odd angles reminiscent of Yamato's octagonal citadel -- Brandenburg has similar "cheeks" that can theoretically yield citadel hits even when the ship is angled. Now, ostensibly, her turtleback should mitigate this. Unfortunately, I took a massive double-citadel hit early on when testing Brandenburg. Granted, these came from long range fire and double-granted, it was my fault for flashing that much side in the first place (gawd, I hate her firing angles). But given the tiers at which Brandenburg operates, most of what's going to be thrown at you from other battleships will be at long range so I got incredibly gun-shy after this. I couldn't play Brandenburg with the same confidence I could with other German premiums. I fully accept that this could have been an exception; an anecdote that biased me towards keeping a sharp eye out for repeat occurrences in a way I might not have otherwise fussed over. But it's definitely coloured my experiences. I'm aware that the odd citadel hit can (and do) happen with other German battleships so I dunno why this one shook me up as much as it did. I blame her fire angles. I'm always going to scapegoat her fire angles. Brandenburg feels squishy for a German battleship and I don't like that. Brandenburg has a dispersed armour scheme and odd citadel geometry I'm still torn if the latter is a blessing or curse.. Her citadel's 180mm tip is very thin. Combined with her icebreaker bow, this ship is incredibly difficult to citadel directly from the front when perfectly nosed in. However, that same tapering tip does make her more vulnerable when angled, in a similar manner to Yamato's infamous "cheeks" (though nowhere near to that extreme). Losing 25,000 health in a single salvo and these aren't even citadel hits. VERDICT: Squishier than her pedigree would otherwise suggest. Agility Top Speed: 32.5 knots Turning Radius: 820 meters Rudder Shift Time: 15.7 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.6º/s at 24.3kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 6.0º/s Brandenburg (8) joins the SoDak-twins (2), Constellation (10) and Champagne (12) as one of the best turning ships at this tier. This is largely thanks to her high top speed. Brandenburg has a great top speed, a decent (but not good) turning circle radius and a rudder shift time on the poor side of average. These latter traits obfuscate what is, in fact, a quite agile vessel as far as battleships go. Speed corrects a lot of issues with agility, especially when they're only held back by "average" values elsewhere. Brandenburg's good top speed and modest turning circle radius translates to one of the best rates of turn for not only the tier VIII battleships, but most battleships in the game. Let's talk more about speed. It is a tremendous advantage. Not only does it allow you to get where you need to be faster, a greater range of speed makes it harder for opponents to properly guess your ship's momentum and lead appropriately. It also allows for a greater degree of control while kiting opponents which is arguably one of the most effective solo damage-farming techniques in the game. Being able to control engagement distances is a duel-winning strategy (though not necessarily a match winning one). In one game I managed to run down not one but two destroyers that strayed too close. Despite fleeing after being lit, they were unable to open up enough distance to get themselves out of spotting range before my secondaries chewed them to bits. Brandenburg's speed ostensibly makes it easier for her to commit to a brawl and use her secondaries and torpedoes, though there's a catch here. While speed is powerful, it can also be dangerous. If you're not careful, you can find yourself over-extending and making yourself an easy target for enemy focus fire. It's important to temper Brandenburg's potential with caution. She doesn't have a lot of health and it doesn't last long under concerted enemy attention. Mind that throttle. Vary your course and speed and beware blind corners. Please keep in mind that I'm comparing Brandenburg's agility to other tier VIII battleships and battleships as a whole. Brandenburg's handling still sucks compared to a cruiser. She does not compare well to Warspite's handling either. You're not going to be able to juke incoming fire or easily thread the needle and dance to torpedo beats. Finally, you can forget about Just Dodging™ air strikes. Still, Brandenburg's handling is very comfy. Good marks here. VERDICT: One of the best at her tier. Under attack from a Kagero and an Asashio. It's a losing battle from the start, but Brandenburg's agility at least frustrated the two destroyers, completely avoiding four salvos before finally being taken down by a fifth. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 6 + 2 explosions for 1,400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.2km. Long Ranged (up to 5.2km): 192.5 dps at 75% accuracy (144dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km): 511dps at 70% accuracy (358dps) DPS Aura Ranges Total DPS by Range Effective Damage vs 186.2knot Aircraft Alright, let me try and talk about this without being snarky or going on a huge rant. Some facts: Brandenburg's large calibre AA is short ranged at only 5.2km. Brandenburg has the best AA values among all of the tier VIII German battleships. In terms of effective sustained AA DPS, Brandenburg sits just behind Kansas and slightly ahead of Kii, putting her solidly in the upper third for sustained damage output among tier VIII battleships. She generates a lot of flak for a tier VIII battleship, though not enough to make her stand out. The individual hits from her flak are fairly average for a tier VIII battleship. Because of her short main battery gun range, she is unlikely to be using a Catapult Fighter over her Spotter Aircraft. She does not have access to Defensive AA Fire, not no tier VIII battleship has that presently. Where my snark and rants will stem comes from the fact that as good as this all looks on paper, it's not enough to keep her safe. A hale and whole Brandenburg is an inconvenient target for tier VI carriers as the attrition rates will erode their hangar capacity eventually. Against higher tiered carriers, short of them obliging you by faceplanting into flak bursts repeatedly, Brandenburg cannot inflict casualties quickly enough to compromise their hangar capacity, never mind stop individual strikes. Her presence will not dissuade a CV on her own and owing to her short range, she is not a particularly good asset to help protect others. As such, when she is not top tier, she is a ready victim to air attack. She might pad her experience and credits earned with some air kills, but you cannot trust Brandenburg's AA defences to do anything to protect the ship in the current meta. And that's really all AA is for as far as surface ships are concerned: printing credits and xp in compensation for letting CVs have their way with you. VERDICT: Brandenburg is better at squeezing out rewards for being [edited]-slapped by aircraft than most at her tier. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.2km / 12.73km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 11.22km / 9.09km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 12.78km Maximum Firing Range: 18.46km Hydroacoustic Search. Bismarck has it. Odin has it. Zieten has it. Tirpitz (and her clone) does not. Neither does Brandenburg. This consumable has increased value as Wargaming works towards completing submarines in World of Warships. This comes not only for the ability to spot incoming torpedoes but also for detecting submarines that might be lurking nearby. German secondaries are excellent anti-submarine weapons provided their target is spotted and can be shot at. The general inaccuracy of these weapons isn't nearly as much of a problem as it is against destroyers when shells only have to land nearby to score damage. Thus lacking a Hydroacoustic Search is notable. As far as surface detection goes, Brandenburg's alright. She just barely manages to squeak into the top third within her matchmaking with her concealment. It's neither a tremendous help nor a significant hindrance. It's comfortable enough to be a non issue for most game play though you'll be hard pressed to turn it into a reliable advantage. Given her relative fragility compared to other German battleships, I would have preferred her to be a bit more sneaky, but as it is, her concealment is workable. I feel her lack of a Hydroacoustic Search more than whatever is going on with her surface detection. If I've counted, calculated and transcribed everything correctly (and I'm almost certain I have not), Brandenburg sits tied for 39th out of 110 battleships within her current matchmaking. This is sorted by columns, so 1-37 in the first column, then 38 to 75 in the second, 76 to 110 in the third column. VERDICT: Meh. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike from 0.5km to 10km (plus part of the bomb drop column) Number of Salvos: 2 Reload Time: 30 seconds Aircraft: Two Blohm & Voss BV 138C with 2,000hp each Drop Pattern: 3 bombs each dropped evenly over 1.1km column Maximum Bomb Damage: 2,800 Fire Chance: 21% Bomb Blast Radius: 300m Submarine game play is still ever changing. This section largely serves as a snapshot of how ASW worked at the time this article was published. No doubt further changes will occur before submarines get finalized. That said, Brandenburg and tier VIII German battleships in general have the best anti-submarine warfare load-out of their peers presently. Bismarck, Zieten and Odin sit at the top of the pile, combining the best air-dropped depth charges with great secondaries and Hydroacoustic Search to mitigate the influence submarines have on their game play. Brandenburg and Tirpitz have to make do without the consumable to spot fish and occasionally help sniff out subs. Now this doesn't make any of the German battleships good submarine hunters by any means -- it just means they're the best equipped battleships at their tier to fight back against submarines should they be called upon to do it. I've spent some time mapping out depth charge pattersn -- both from ships and aircraft and I'll probably publish an article a little later showing the coverage at a particular tier. VERDICT: She has the best battleship launched air strike at her tier combined with good secondaries. U-190 got too close to Brandenburg and pays the price. Final Evaluation I like Odin better than Brandenburg and I like Scharnhorst better than Odin. I think that sums up my feels about these "large cruiser" armed battleships. Short of dusting off snowflakes or whatever I'm required to test in the future, I'm not taking Brandenburg out. I don't like her guns. That's really all there is to it. Why would I want to play a ship where my primary way of interacting in the game is such a miserable experience? I mean it's a doubled-stacked turd sandwich with bad gun performance and bad fire angles. Blech. Brandenburg is just Odin-Two. The biggest difference between them is that Odin has Hydroacoustic Search and Brandenburg has more guns. There are other differences than that obviously. Brandenburg has more guns, more secondaries with better firing arcs but worse penetration. Brandenburg is faster and has better AA power and just enough more HP to fool you into thinking she might be a better experience overall. Odin is more stealthy and her guns fire faster and with much more comfortable gun laying. So pick your poison. I'm not convinced either ship is worthwhile. My honeymoon period with Odin has long since past -- as I feared in my review of her years ago, once her torpedoes became common knowledge and players became more familiar with her gimmicks, success became increasingly volatile. That volatility is alive and well with Brandenburg's game play too. It's that same feast-or-famine that so many brawling battleships struggle. It's hard to appreciate a vessel whose fortunes are so closely tied not only to what tiers matchmaker places you in but what kinds of ship you end up facing. The presence of a single carrier or a glut of torpedo boats or a brace of submarines and Brandenburg faces an uphill battle. And like most tier VIII premium battleships, facing tier Xs is never comfortable. Still, if you can manage to get her into brawls and win those scraps, her performance is fantastic. How frequently you can make that happen will dictate your success in this ship. If you can't tell, I couldn't make that happen often enough to put a smile on my face. So no thank you, Mister Brandenburg, you are not the ship for me. Of course, all of these complaints apply only to PVP game modes. In Co-Op, Brandenburg is a thug. Her guns still suck butts in there, unable to overmatch as the bots suicide charge, but at least her secondaries and fish can rip them open and help pad her numbers. Brawling in that game mode is guaranteed, so her success is all but guaranteed. Still, if you're going to buy a tier VIII German premium battleship, just buy Tirpitz. In Conclusion This one ballooned out of control. I spent way too much time fussing over getting a better understanding of AA and ASW mechanics that sidetracked me down several week-long exploratory tangents. I mean, I'm happy that I understand ASW and AA much better than I did at the onset and it's nice to be able to put into context how Brandenburg (and other future ships) will slot into this developing meta. But stack on some other projects and RL issues and the content drought really bugged me. I dunno which ship I'm going to review after this. I'm kind of "battleshippped out" at the moment. Maybe I'll poke Maya. We'll see. Speaking of other projects, you may have noticed that I changed avatars in my graphics. @Chobittsu did a wonderful job putting together this cute Fantasy Dwarf ship's captain per my request. Animating a bouncy version of her as a forum avatar is one of many things on my to-do list. Thank you all for reading and thank you so much for your continued support. ♥
  2. S_Dinkleberg_

    Sub Torp Auto slot 3

    From my personal experience with Subs so far when its a tier 8 or higher at the top of the match the subs are set to regular torpedo's instead of homing. I would guess this mechanic should be a duplicate of picking an ammo type for other ships, whereas it is currently not working correctly.
  3. Looking to use the doubloons coupon I got, was debating on 2 ships, Kidd or the Cossack. Was interested to see what peoples thoughts on them that have both or either. I know they both are good cap contesters, one because of the sustain, the other due to firepower and hydro. Any other tier 8 premium ships suggestions would also be welcomed, other than sky cancer of course. Thank you for any help or insights you may provide fellow captains. Happy sailing!
  4. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Fen Yang

    o The following is a review of Fen Yang, the tier VIII premium Pan Asian destroyer. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.0. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: An Akizuki-class destroyer with improved AP shells instead of improved HE shells commonly found on the Akizuki-class. She has weird, battleship & carrier-only deep-water torpedoes. Finally, she comes with a Defensive AA Fire consumable. PROS Large, 19,700 hit point pool. Improved auto-ricochet angles on her AP shells. Good fire setting ability. Comfortable gun fire arcs and nice gun handling. Good anti-aircraft firepower defence for a destroyer. Her Smoke Generator has two additional charges. Access to the Defensive AA Fire consumable. Suck it, duckies! CONS Shockingly slow 5.2 second main battery reload. Only has 17mm of HE penetration, making her unable to directly damage tier VIII+ destroyer hulls and battleship superstructures. Her guns are VERY skill hungry. Single torpedo launcher (with crappy fire angles) that can only damage carriers and battleships. Slow and clumsy. Large surface detection range. Horrible premium for training Pan Asian captains. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Fen Yang presents too many challenges to make her a comfortable ride for novice players. Her ammunition is temperamental. Her concealment sucks. She's slow. She has only a single torpedo launcher. She's very reliant on a 'proper' skill build to pad her strengths and mitigate weaknesses. Her saving grace is that she has a nice consumable suite to help correct some of these deficiencies, but even they require some knowledge to make them effective. New players beware. Fen Yang's gameplay largely revolves around being an angry smoke cloud and spitting hot death at anything that comes within range. Expert players will be rewarded with smart ammunition choices, making bold plays to get torpedo angles on targets and knowing which destroyers they can out gun. Options Consumables Fen Yang comes stocked with a glut of consumables. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer with unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 40 second cooldown. Fen Yang uses a standard Pan Asian Smoke Generator, identical to the ones found on Siliwangi and Hsienyang also at tier VIII. It comes with a 30 second emission time, 100 second reset timer and each cloud of smoke lasting 70 seconds. She has five charges to start. Her Engine Boost consumable is also standard for a destroyer, providing an 8% boost to engine speed for 120 seconds with a 120 second reset timer. It starts with three charges. Next up we have her Torpedo Reload Booster. When activated, it reloads her torpedoes in 5 seconds. It has a 160 second reset timer and starts with three charges. Finally, she has access to the Defensive AA Fire consumable. When activated, it provides an X increase to sustained DPS and Y increase to flak explosion damage for 40 seconds. It has four charges to start and an 80 second reset timer. Upgrades As far as upgrades go, there's not a whole lot of choice to worry about here. Main Armaments Modification 1 is optimal in your first slot. If you want to stem the tide of Fun and Engaging™ mechanics, then take Magazine Modification 1 instead if you don't want to dip into your supply of Juliet Charlie signals to mitigate detonations. The special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1 is the best choice in slot two if you can afford it. It will set you back 17,000 from the Armory. If you cannot, default to Engine Room Protection. Aiming System Modification 1 is the only upgrade worth considering in slot three, and that's not saying much. Fen Yang loves camping smoke, so Propulsion Modification 1 is the best choice here for the extra pep in her engines when moving from a dead-stop. You can take Steering Gears Modification 1 instead if you prefer a more open-water play-style but it's the lesser choice. Finally, and perhaps to no one's surprise, Concealment System Modification 1 is still the best (and overpowered) option in her fifth slot. Don't even look at the other options. Skills You have to decide how often you're going to reach for Fen Yang's AP rounds before you settle on a commander's skill build. The primary difference will be if you decide to invest in Inertial Fuse for HE Shells or not. Generally speaking, IFHE will yield better numbers overall and it makes the ship much easier to play. But for the connoisseur, being all snooty and tossing mostly AP will necessitate a different build. Your core build for destroyers has changed with Priority Target no longer being a 1pt skill. Most of the tier I skills are pretty situational, but you can default to a "safe" (but not quite optimized) 10 points that look like this: Start with Preventative Maintenance. Take Last Stand. Next comes Survivability Expert. Finish it off with Concealment Expert. From here you have 11 points to spend. The default, no-brainer build is: Inertial Fuse for HE Shells Main Battery & AA Specialist Extra-Heavy AP Shells This gives a comfortable mix of improved HE penetration, better AP shells, and improved main battery DPM, allowing her to engage all targets she comes across with her guns. This leaves three skill points to be spent how you wish. Superintendent is the obvious choice, giving her an extra charge of all of her consumables. Adrenaline Rush is useful for propping up her low DPM. However, I found myself instead reaching for Priority Target (I love this skill too much) and Consumables Specialist. Alternatively, you could drop Inertial Fuse for HE Shells and take Pyrotechnician. This would give you four points to spend which could be put towards extra range (Main Battery & AA Expert) or increased rate of fire while spotted (Fearless Brawler). It is early yet in the 0.10 patch cycle, though. I am sure my preferences on skills will evolve as we all get more comfortable with the new skill system. This was the build I settled upon as being most comfortable (and ultimately brainless) for playing Fen Yang. This is a very specific build for this ship providing little overlap with other Pan Asian DDs, greatly limiting this ship's effectiveness as a tech-tree commander trainer. Camouflage Fen Yang has two camouflage option. The first is the standard Type 10 Camouflage. There is also the Lunar New Year - Fen Yang camouflage as a cosmetic option (which I like because it glows). Both versions provide the identical bonuses of: A 3% reduction in surface detection ranges. A 4% increase to the dispersion of enemy gunfire. A 10% reduction to post-battle service costs. A 50% increase to experience earned. It may not be realistic or historical but her Lunar New Year camo sure is pretty. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 100mm/65 guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedoes: Four tubes in a 1x4 launcher mounted on the centre-line. All four of Fen Yang's A & B gun turrets can fire 31º off her stern and her X & Y turrets can fire 30º off her bow. This is pretty good. You could be forgiven for imagining this ship providing you with hawt, ducky-action. Sadly, Fen Yang does not duplicate Akizuki's cork-screwing gunnery ability. Fen Yang may be an Akizuki-class destroyer but she does not replicate Akizuki's gunnery. I will say this again so it's crystal clear: FEN YANG DOES NOT HAVE AKIZUKI'S GUNNERY She has a 5.2 second reload, NOT 3 seconds like Akizuki She has 17mm of HE penetration, NOT 30mm like Akizuki In fact, other than gun handling, Fen Yang's main battery performance is a complete departure from Miss Ducky. DPM numbers can be terribly misleading as they don't account for things like accuracy, penetration and ricochet mechanics. Always take such numbers in context and with all of the facts possible. High Explosive Let Down Down the rabbit-hole we go. Starting us off, Fen Yang's HE shells are a far-cry from those of Akizuki. This is, in part, to compensate for her sloppy reload time, giving her a bigger punch and better fire starting on a per-shell basis. While these individual hits are bigger (and fierier -- I can't believe that's an actual word) she does not hold a candle to Akizuki's damage-per-minute or fire setting ability once you factor in the differences in their reload. Fen Yang's HE damage output is comparable to (in more than one way) to HMS Lightning, the tier VIII British destroyer. Her fire setting is better, but we'll get to that. Overall, her raw numbers aren't terrible but for a ship-class that's known to be a potent gunship this represents an enormous performance gap. Of course, with Fen Yang, her HE deficit goes beyond just raw DPM numbers. While her slow reload isn't enough to damn her HE performance, the lack of penetration on her HE shells certainly does. At 17mm, Fen Yang cannot directly damage the hulls of other tier VIII+ destroyers nor the superstructures of tier VIII+ battleships. The shells will simply shatter. While taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells helps, bumping her penetration up to 21mm this comes at the further expense of the only thing really good about her HE rounds which is that respectable fire setting. So just to make her useful with her HE rounds against all targets, she has to kill the one thing she has going for her. To make this worse, Fen Yang's boosted 21mm of penetration is a far cry from Akizuki's 30mm of base value, to say nothing of the 37mm she accomplishes with IFHE. In short, while Akizuki's HE shells are ubiquitous, capable of comfortably damaging just about any opponent she comes across, Fen Yang's HE shells barely pass muster. Unmodified, use them to engage lower-tiered destroyers and light cruisers. You can also have them set fires on battleships, just be aware that they will not be doing much direct damage. Fen Yang's HE shells are incredibly situational and only get promoted to "meh" with a lot of skill points spent. For those who only speak Angry YouTuber: "They're useless." Note that there are two versions of Le Fantasque and Le Terrible. Those marked with an asterix (*) are using their Main Battery Reload Booster for 15 seconds of 60 seconds. Fen Yang has some very respectable fire setting potential, especially when fully gussied up for the role. Of course, this precludes her from stacking direct damage with her shells, so the trade off isn't a good one. Taking IFHE drops her fire setting to about 6.5 fires per minute, assuming you take all of the other buffs described here. Maybe AP Can Save Her! Fen Yang is designed instead to be an AP spammer. Dust off your shiny, new Extra-Heavy AP Shell skill, because here we go. With all of the problems plaguing her HE shells, Fen Yang's AP shells are a breath of fresh air. Like her HE rounds, they have improved damage performance over those found on Akizuki's. Again, the deficit in reload times means that even with this improved damage-per-hit, she cannot rival the overall damage output of the Japanese ducky-bote, assuming every shot hit and did damage. However, this gap narrows considerably with Fen Yang's improved auto-ricochet angles. Akizuki's AP shells have a chance to begin ricocheting at 45º and automatically fail this check at 60º or more. Fen Yang has the same angles found on "American Piercing" AP rounds found on their heavy cruisers, with ricochet checks not beginning until 60º with the automatic failure occurring at 67.5º. Her AP shells are thus less likely to slide off her target if they hit at a sharp angle which can (but doesn't necessarily guarantee) better performance in fighting scenarios. The extra damage and improved auto-ricochet angles are nice, but they do not make Fen Yang's AP rounds a universal shell. They still require a minimum of 17mm worth of steel to arm their fuses or they will over-penetrate and deal minimal damage. This precludes them from being effective against the broadside of lower-tiered light cruisers and destroyer hulls, along with the superstructures of lower-tiered battleships. Such targets need to be angled at a minimum of 20º for the relative thickness of the steel to be great enough for Fen Yang's AP fuses to arm. Against such opponents, she must reach for her HE shells. Finally, there's her raw penetration to consider. As high-velocity as Fen Yang's 100mm rounds are, their Krupp value is poor leading to lower penetration values. This means it's just one more think to keep track of when engaging targets; knowing which ones are vulnerable to AP and which are vulnerable to HE. Finally, as good as her auto-ricochet angles are, a target coming in too steeply will automatically bounce everything you throw at her. Without HE to fall back upon, Fen Yang simply cannot damage those targets. This is made worse by the specific ineffectiveness of her torpedoes which we'll get into. So while Fen Yang's AP shells are more use than on your typical destroyer, they are not without the usual problems facing lolibote pea-shooters. Fen Yang's torpedo arcs are pretty bad, only able to hit targets 55º off her bow or 63º off her stern, necessitating her giving her full broadside to launch. Feels and Fish Ignoring all other comparisons, Fen Yang's gunnery is barely adequate right out of the box. The inability of a main battery gun at tier VIII being unable to penetrate 19mm worth of steel without IFHE is inexcusable. The improvements made to her shells, both AP and HE do not make up for this deficit and she's an uncomfortable gunnery platform as a result. Wargaming is clearly trying to minimize the number (or effectiveness) of angry smoke clouds dispensing hailstorms of bullets. Honestly, I would have preferred losing access to a Smoke Generator in order to keep that vaunted 3 second reload of the Akizuki-class. Oh well. You can (and probably should) spend a lot of commander skill points to improve their performance. Extra-Heavy AP Shells is one such investment. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, Main Battery & AA Specialist, and Adrenaline Rush are all but must haves. And let's not forget Main Battery & AA Expert, Pyrotechnician and even Fearless Brawler being capable investments too. It's far too easy to break the bank on skill combinations here and I profess having not found one with which I was 100% comfortable. Can Fen Yang's guns work? Sure. Is she a powerful gunship? Meh. She's far from optimized and she doesn't fill a niche that was lacking in any regard. What you have here is a worse ducky-bote. This leaves a lot of heavy lifting to be performed by her torpedo launchers. As you can guess, with but a single launcher, this is a pretty tall order, but Wargaming went on to decide this wasn't good enough and Fen Yang had to experience torpedo hard-mode. Her fish are the deepwater type but what's more, they're incapable of hitting not only destroyers but cruisers too. I say again: FEN YANG'S TORPEDOES CAN ONLY HIT BATTLESHIPS & CARRIERS. Hooray! (Please note the sarcasm). It almost makes you wish she didn't have them at all so her guns could be a little better. So not only does Fen Yang have selective targeting on her HE rounds, her torpedoes do too! If you get charged by a cruiser or other destroyer, fighting your way out is really, REALLY challenging. Summary Fen Yang's weapons are best described as "not good". Her guns demand a huge investment in skill points to bring them up to speed, making her a very poor commander trainer for your other Pan Asian destroyer captains. With the right upgrades & skills, she's a gunship worth respecting but she can never be the fearsome "do not touch!" threat a full-health Akizuki presents. Fen Yang's weapon systems are just too fussy to ever be endearing. Even Asashio's limited arsenal is more compelling -- at least she does one thing stupidly well. Fen Yang's weapons are very middle-of-the-road, at least once you get around to souping them up. But right out of the box? Hard pass. Blech. VERDICT: Her guns aren't good until you invest pretty deeply with commander skills. Her torps are never good unless a battleship is being an absolute moron. Durability Hit Points: 19,700 Minimum Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm It's not terrible! There's not a lot to go over here. Fen Yang has a nice chunk of hit points for a tier VIII destroyer. That's good. It's not excellent, though. She doesn't have improved armour beyond the 19mm base structural plate. Furthermore, she lacks a Repair Party consumable to recover health which becomes increasingly commonplace among destroyers at higher tiers. Thus, while she is setup to trade health at an advantage against many opponents, her durability isn't idiot-proof. Spending her hit points recklessly will greatly compromise her effectiveness. It's worth keeping her main battery DPM deficit in mind when going toe to toe with other gunships. Watch their health. Watch your health. If you start shattering HE rounds or ricocheting AP shells, even with a head start on HP, you can still lose. VERDICT: Pretty good. Heals would be nice, but I can't say bad things about her here. Agility Top Speed: 33 knots Turning Radius: 730m Rudder Shift Time: 4.5s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.9º/s Fen Yang sucks absolute monkey butts here. She is not only slow for a destroyer, she handles more like a chubby cruiser. That's pretty damning. If you split hairs, she has better energy preservation and thus a better rate of turn than Akizuki, but you'd never know it from day to day play. Treating Fen Yang like a destroyer will get you killed. Propulsion Modification 1 is a must-have if you intend to stay in smoke for any duration, with the acceleration needed to help avoid inevitable washes of torpedoes sent to scrub you out of cover. Her Engine Boost consumable is best used for emergencies -- for dodging fish or trying to control engagement distances when an enemy you can't fight gets too close. She's too fat of a destroyer (and a gunship besides) for Swift in Silence to be a reasonable investment, which is a shame given that she could really use the extra speed. Fen Yang is not a comfortable ride, agility wise. I'm being lazy, but I'm saving myself a couple of hours worth of work here by not redoing this graphic from my Z-35 review. Look all the way to the bottom. Fen Yang turns just slightly better than Akizuki but otherwise keeps her turning radius. Look at the difference between Benson and Loyang. It's like that -- just a nubbin on the end of Akizuki's pale green sadness. VERDICT: Horribad. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 4+1 explosions for 1,400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 112dps at 100% accuracy (112dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 133dps at 100% accuracy (133dps) Defensive AA Fire: Very yes! Dauntless dive bombers from a stock-Lexington get a little too close to Fen Yang's angry smoke cloud. Fen Yang has good AA defence for a tier VIII destroyers. It's not just good, it's great even, besting a good number of cruisers out there. When you weight her sustained AA DPS by range, she's at the top of the pile among tier VIII destroyers. What's more, she also has a respectable amount of flak explosions (five of 'em) and finally she has Defensive AA Fire -- something that's been long overdue on an Akizuki-class destroyer given their design role. So why am I not more happy about this? Fen Yang's AA defence is comparable to that of USS Kidd; just slightly better. As has been painfully demonstrated in videos and memes since, even Kidd's solid AA defence does not keep her safe. Fen Yang may be able to fend off bot-driven carriers in Co-Op mode (and this is a great way to farm AA kills for missions, by the way), it's a different story against players. Yes, tier VI aircraft carriers will have a hard time making repeated runs against Fen Yang. Yes, she can make it expensive for tier VIII carriers as well. But let's not kid ourselves: This will not keep her safe from a determined opponent. They can (and will) still drop on you. If they can line up an attack on you, you're taking damage. The only defence is to Just Dodge™ or blow smoke and hide. Blasting at planes from smoke will net some nice damage so the carrier's planes are not likely to stick around. With the extra charges she has on her Smoke Generator this is one of the better uses for it. I miss the AA picket-ship role, I really do. I was hoping that the skill rework might give this a big shot in the arm but it just didn't materialize. Fen Yang's AA is almost good enough. Almost. VERDICT: She could have been made interesting here. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 7.76km / 6.1km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.55km / 2.88km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 14.2km Maximum Firing Range: 12.46km to 14.95km To no one's surprise (I'm sure), Fen Yang's surface detection range is pretty crappy. She matches Akizuki here, so it's not like this is beyond the norm. She is tied for 18th place out 23 tier VIII destroyers in terms of concealment which is pretty bad. Her 6.1km minimum surface detection range sits almost in the middle of the 5.37km found on the five Japanese torpedo-destroyers and the appalling 7.07km of Kiev, though this Soviet ship is an extreme outlier with the French destroyers coming in at 6.43km and 6.65km, showing that Fen Yang is a significant chungus. This deficit of concealment is further magnified if the Fearless Brawler skill is taken to try and pad her poor reload rate on her guns, giving her an (at best) 6.4km surface detection range. Fen Yang's lack of heals and her general lack of agility makes taking the skill Fearless Brawler a significant risk. It's an expensive skill and Fen Yang is not best suited to firing out in the open. You can make it work, but this is down more to the idiocy and complacency of your opponents than the brilliance of Fen Yang's own design. This is not a ship that dodges very well, given her pedestrian speed and clumsy handling. Trading health with a larger ship while spotted just doesn't make a whole lot of sense, especially not when her guns have reasonable ballistics to make use of islands (at least at range) and her plentiful Smoke Generator charges should preclude her from the necessity of being spotted in the first place. Pan Asian smoke may not last as long as the smoke from other nations, but she gets more charges to compensate -- up to six with Superintendent. There's an argument to be made that she'll be out-spotted anyway by just about any destroyer she faces, to say nothing about the predations of aircraft braving her AA power. There is a maximum of a 30 second gap between the last cloud generated by her Smoke Generator dissipating and the consumable being ready again which may prompt an open water fight. Fen Yang is going to be lit by Surveillance Radar, to say nothing about the occasional close-range knife fight by an enterprising destroyer or charging cruiser. Ultimately, Fen Yang punishes, rather than rewards getting in close. Her torpedoes are ineffective against ships that are likely to charge her hiding places. Her guns, while not incapable of fending off snoops, aren't the powerhouses her ship's class would suggest. Regardless if she's going to be out-spotted or not, keep back. This ship does not take well to being up front. VERDICT: Poor and inflexible, saved only by her smoke. Firing AP shells from smoke. Fen Yang's bread and butter. Watch those blind return-fire shots. Final Evaluation For those wondering, here is the list of all of the differences between Fen Yang and Akizuki: This was my early draft of the review from back in early January. Slap on a title, add a few snarky lines and call it done. I'm not sure that the full review is an improvement. You'll note that there are some differences between Fen Yang's final performance stats and those listed here, including changes to her range and ballistics. Such is often the case when composing these reviews, with last-minute changes between the final test version and the released version of the ship being commonplace. Thus, the final main battery gun range difference between the two ships is a whopping 3m in Akizuki's favour. There are some over-specialized premium ships that are defined by what they can do. Take everyone's favourite destroyer that single-handedly wiped out the battleship meta (HA!): Asashio. Despite all of the limitations placed upon this ship, she's known for being an excellent battleship-killer. She's known not for her weaknesses, but for that one insurmountable strength. The same goes for other specialist destroyers like Haida, Friesland or Kamikaze. You don't dwell on the slow speed of Black's torpedoes, for example. You focus on the (Balans'd™) combination of her Smoke Generator and Surveillance Radar consumables. The doesn't happen with Fen Yang. The closest she comes to that kind of comparison is with her AA-firepower. And it speaks to the horrible surface ship versus aircraft carrier meta that this isn't something worth celebrating. This was something worth celebrating in the past; take HMS Hood as an example, where her AA ridiculousness was meme-worthy. But we have not yet seen a premium of this type since the CV rework in 0.8.0. I do not like Fen Yang. I won't say she's terrible. She certainly can perform, but she'll make you work for it. She is to Akizuki what Belfast '43 is to Belfast. She leaves you asking the question: She might have been rescued with better AA firepower. She could have been saved by preserving Akizuki's rate of fire, even if this had come at the expense of smoke or torpedo performance. However, I think her cardinal sin is that Fen Yang doesn't work even as a commander trainer. The role of premium ships has changed with patch 0.10.0. Commanders can now have four builds at the same time, one for each ship type. Thus, you could conceivably buy a premium cruiser and use it to train a battleship commander as the skills you select for optimum (or fun) performance on the premium ship would not limit the performance of the battleship. But Fen Yang is a premium destroyer and, barring the tier I Chengan, there aren't any other Pan Asian tech tree ships that aren't destroyers. With Fen Yang demanding such a specific set of skills to unlock even an acceptable baseline level of performance which have little overlap with other Pan Asian lolibotes, she is worthless as a commander skill trainer. She misses the mark in so many ways, but this really bugged me. There's a lot of fail here. Fen Yang misses the mark. I cannot recommend her to anyone. If you want a good Pan Asian destroyer, Loyang is still top of the pile all of these years later. Gallery This are a few of the screenshots of Fen Yang I took making this review either that didn't end up in the review itself or that had words written all over them. For use as thumbnails on YouTube or what have you.
  5. ST. 0.10.6, new ships - Development blog BETA (worldofwarships.com) This ship is now in testing, and I like the concept....but the tier is wrong. The Oregon City class was an upgrade to the Baltimore Class. The ship that is described in the Dev Blog is at best a side-grade, with worse (non-historical) reload, worse radar range, and worse rudder shift. Plus, it is quite similar to the USS Wichita which is already available for doubloons at T8. Why not make this ship similar to the pre-US cruiser line split USS Baltimore (which was a T9 CA) and make the USS Rochester the first T9 premium non-super cruiser? There are already more than enough T8 premium cruisers already in the game, and certainly too many for the USN with the USS Congress is on its way as well soon. T9 needs non-super cruiser premium ships. Give us a premium CA with a war record at T9. She is a fitting replacement for the recently removed USS Alaska.
  6. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Z-35

    The following is a review of the German premium destroyer Z-35. She was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to me. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.11. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. The Type 1936B destroyers bear a cursory resemblance to the American Fletcher-class. Tthe German and American ships are both large destroyers with five (roughly) five-inch guns in single turrets and two torpedo launchers, with Z-44 duplicating the quintuple mounts of the Fletcher-class while Z-35 makes do with quadruple mounts instead. However, the Type 1936B-sisters do not share the versatility of the American Fletchers, instead opting to specialize heavy towards a singular aspect. In Z-35's case, her strengths are so straight forward and unassuming, they''re easy to miss. Her smoke reloads quickly. Her guns fire 0.6 seconds faster than they should. That's it. That's Z-35. But these two things matter and they matter more than you might imagine as you'll see. Quick Summary: A heavy German gunship destroyer with five, rapid-firing 128mm guns but short-ranged torpedoes. She comes with a British destroyer Short-Burst Smoke Generator and a German destroyer Hydroacoustic Search. PROS Good chunk of hit points at 19,100hp. Good forward firing arcs. High DPM, especially with her AP shells. Boasts 32mm of HE penetration even before Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. Decent fire setting. Has a British destroyer Short-Burst Smoke Generator with lots of charges and a short reset timer. CONS Very (VERY) commander-skill hungry. Short ranged torpedoes. Slow turret traverse rates and poor rearward firing arcs. Sluggish rate of turn and large turning radius. Short-ranged AA firepower with no flak. Large surface detection range. No access to an Engine Boost consumable, limiting her top speed. Has a British destroyer Short-Burst Smoke Generator where her individual smoke clouds do not last very long. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / DIFFICULT Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH/ Extreme Of the two Type 1936B destroyers, Z-35 is the less inexperienced-player-friendly of the pair. She's fat, she's not as fast, and using her weapon systems at the wrong time will get you spotted and killed. She doesn't scout well. She's too easily spotted trying to take cap circles and she's not agile (or fast) enough to book it out of Dodge when things go pear shaped. Her huge chunk of health evaporates fast during these missteps. Oh, and carriers just love to chew on you. For veterans, Z-35 ticks the usual German destroyer boxes but with some British-destroyer flavour added in. The fast cool-down of her Short-Burst Smoke Generator opens the door to some slippery shenanigans that can infuriate your opponents. Good map knowledge and knowing which islands you can use to bombard enemies from cover helps immeasurably and saves those precious smoke charges. Finally, while difficult, it's possible to use her as a forward scout, providing vision for your team and screening for enemy destroyers. Options Consumables There are two items of note here. The first is Z-35's Smoke Generator. The second is her lack of an Engine Boost consumable. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. This has unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 40 second reset timer. Z-35 borrows a Short-Burst Smoke Generator from the British tech tree destroyers. This has 6 charges and only a 70 second reset timer. However, it only generates smoke for 10 seconds and each cloud lasts a mere 40 seconds. Like with British destroyers, the individual smoke clouds generated have larger dimensions than normal smoke (600m instead of 450m). The Hydroacoustic Search she mounts in her final slot is standard for a tier VIII German destroyer. It's active for 100 seconds and over that time it spots torpedoes at 3.5km and enemy ships at 5.0km. It starts with three charges and has a 120 second reset timer. Upgrades In your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is optimal. However, if the thought of being detonated incenses you (and you do not have a ready stock of Juliet Charlie signals), then you can take Magazine Modification 1. The Special Upgrade, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is best in slot two if you can afford it. It will set you back 17,000 from the Armory and will increase the consumable's action time from 100 seconds to 120 seconds. If that's not available to you, default to Engine Room Protection. I recommend Main Battery Modification 2 in her second slot to improve her gun handling. This will increase her gun rotation rate from 8º/s to 9.2º/s (up to 11.7º/s if you also add Expert Marksman). Otherwise default to Aiming System Modification 1. Propulsion System Modification 1 is your best choice in slot four. Z-35's Short Burst Smoke Generator does not generate many clouds so you have a lot less room to hide in. Improved acceleration is recommended.. If you prefer a more open-water style of play, then Steering Gears Modification 1 is better. To no one's surprise, Concealment System Modification 1 is still optimal in slot five. Steering Gears Modification 2 is a poor substitute but it has some (minor) viability when paired with Steering Gears Modification 1. Commander Skills After taking the mandatory survivability skills, prioritize skills hat will improve or facilitate Z-35's gunnery. Start with your choice of tier 1 skills. I prefer Priority Target but Preventative Maintenance and Incoming Fire Alert are reasonable choices. If you end up with 1 skill point leftover at the end, do not double up on Priority Target & Incoming Fire Alert -- always pair them with Preventative Maintenance instead. Next, grab the three skills highlighted with yellow circles: Last Stand, Survivability Expert and Concealment Expert. These are the mandatory destroyer skills that should be present on all of your lolibote commanders. After this, pick any of the red-square skills to your taste. Basic Fire Training should be considered all but mandatory but in the end it's up to you. There are lots of different viable builds for Z-35 and there simply are not enough commander skill points to go around. Finding what works for you may take some experimentation. She reminds me very much of HMCS Haida in this way. I found Radio Location to be especially helpful in Z-35. She's often out-spotted by enemy destroyers so this at least helps give a vector towards the skulking little monster. Camouflage Z-35 comes with Type 10 Camouflage providing the usual tier VIII premium-ship bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% to experience gains. I'm not a fan of either of Z-35's camo palettes. They look dull and dingy. Firepower Main Battery: Five 128mm guns in 5x1 turrets in an A-B-P-X-Y superfiring configuration Torpedoes: Eight torpedo tubes in 2x4 launchers mounted ahead and behind the rear funnel. Z-35's forward torpedo launcher has a 40º to 119º arc off each side (79º total). Her rear launcher has a 41º to 129º arc (88º total). Yes, her arcs are slightly better than Z-44's. That will be a running theme. Forgettable Fish Let's start with Z-35's torpedoes because they're largely a non-entity. This is owing to the combination of their short range (6km) and Z-35's limited concealment (6.11km minimum surface detection range). Short of using smoke, island-cover or racing ahead of a fast-moving target to dump fish in their path, Z-35 is not launching her torpedoes from stealth. This largely limits them to a weapon of desperation -- either yours or the enemy's. These torpedoes clone those found on Z-44 save for range and reload. Z-35's 90 second timer is about what you would expect for a quadruple launcher and echoes the reload on other German destroyers like Z-39, Z-23 and Z-46. Part and parcel of this cloning was the anemic warheads found on Z-44's fish. To put down a full health battleship, you'll need both launchers, so don't skimp out. Overall, these weapons are largely forgettable. They are just too short ranged to make regular use out of them, though it's always exciting when you do. Great Things About Her Guns Z-35 is armed with five of the German 128mm/45 guns. These weapons are the same guns you first take up at tier VI T-61 and Ernst Gaede. They are defined by their excellent AP shell damage which is comparable to a 152mm round fired from a light cruiser. This improved AP damage comes at the expense of that of her HE shells which are downright wussy by comparison. While AP shells always deal more damagethan HE for all ships, the ratio here is a 2:1 difference which is really high. Nost range from about 1.4 to 1 (IJN 100mm, Soviet DDs) down to around 1.2:1 (American & Pan Asian destroyers) with some extremes going lower still. Thus, it's to Z-35's advantage to make use of her AP shells whenever possible, though that's seldom straight forward. The issue is two fold. Both problems boil down to the maximum and minimum amount of armour Z-35's AP shells are effective against. First, they're lacking in penetration even for a destroyer. She can't even managing to best 100mm of steel at 5km. On the flip side of things, her AP shells still need to strike a minimum armour value in order to properly fuse -- 21mm to be exact. Without hitting that her shells simply overpenetrate and her damage output drops below that of her HE shells. Thus her AP shells exist in this narrow band of utility. They don't have enough penetration to citadel cruisers (except in very extreme cases) and their fuses aren't sensitive enough to properly arm on the broadside of destroyer hulls or battleship superstructures. There's no helping the former short of getting suicidally close -- and at those ranges, your fish are a better option anyway. The latter can be worked around. Good ol' Pythagoras tells us that the 19mm worth of plate found on high-tier destroyer hulls and battleship superstructures becomes 21mm thick when angled at approximately 35º from the perpendicular (lower tiered destroyers and battleships necessitate even steeper angles). So switch over to her AP shells as enemies begin nosing in. Just make sure to switch back to HE if they angle in too steeply or show broadside again. Though Z-35's HE shells are anemic on damage per hit, they have excellent HE penetration. She's able to penetrate up to 32mm of steel right out of the package which allows her to direcly damage the extremities (and some hulls) of tier VIII+ battleships. Few other destroyers can manage this and those that can have to rely upon using the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill which damages their fire-setting. This means against those big ol' thunderchunkers, Z-35 tends to do more damage on per hit basis that contemporary destroyers despite the deficit on damage per shell as hits that stray from their superstructures still have a chance of dealing damage. Thus she can still farm some numbers while attempting to spread fires on the other sections of the hull. It is worth noting that once a hull section is blackened, switch back to AP shells even if they will overpenetrate. A saturated (0.165x) HE hit from Z-35's guns does 248 damage while an overpenetration from her AP shells does 300. There is a lot of this jockeying back and forth to keep Z-35's damage output optimal. Where Z-35 stands apart from other German destroyers is her rate of fire. She doesn't have the usual 4 second reload -- instead her's is only 3.4 seconds. A 0.6 second difference may not seem like much but it's a 15% increase to her rate of fire. With her five guns, Z-35 puts out 88 rounds per minute, allowing her to keep up to but not quite match Z-46's and Z-52's six-gun, 4 second reload with 90 rounds per minute (at least until they equip Main Battery Modification 3 and leave Z-35 in the dust). So it's fair to say that Z-35 has almost tier IX gun damage. Let's call it tier VIII+. Look up, look waaaay up and welcome to Z-35's castle made of excellent AP performance. Her HE DPM isn't bad which is surprising given the lacluster damage of her individual shells. A Little Bit Pear Shaped... There are three ... well, let's call them "soft problems" with Z-35's guns. They're not crippling flaws by any means, but they are problems you'll have to address in order to make this ship perform. This first is their ballistics. German 128mm/45 guns have comparable ballistics to British 113mm/45 guns found on Jutland and Daring. This is better than the American 127mm/38 trebuchets but just slightly worse than the 120mm Bofors found on the Pan European destroyers like Frielsand. There are three shell flight time incriments I like to look at when I'm analyzing a ship: Four seconds, eight seconds and twelve seconds. Four seconds is about the maximum lead time that I can confidently bullseye a fast moving, evasive target like a destroyer with (almost) every shot regardless of how they throw themselves about. Z-35's shells reach 6.5km or so in 4 seconds. Inside of this mark is her ideal knife-fighting range. An eight second lead time is that sweet spot for standard engagement distances. Most of my shells will hit, even if the target is under manoevres. But with this much shell flight time, active dodging becomes an issue and hits are not guaranteed. For Z-35 an 8 second lead time takes her to 10.5km. This is the distance she can comfortably spray down cruisers and battleships from cover. Once I hit a twelve second lead, I'm really only going to hit the target if they're moving predictably and even then I might have to range in a few shells before connecting. For Z-35, this is only reached if you use the Advanced Fire Training (AFT) commander skill to let her reach this 13.5km distance. This is the upper limit of where she's effective so generally speaking, you can do without boosting her range and just stick with her base 12.12km reach. AFT gives her a maximum reach of 14.54km but that's just wasted space she can't effectively use as it takes her shells over 13 seconds to reach this distance. The second issue Z-35's guns face is gun traverse rates. 8º/s is alright but at full speed, she turns at just over 7º/s. When guns traverse this slowly relative to their ship rate of turn, the temptation becomes to use the rudder to keep guns on target. Dodging gets sacrificed to maintain a rate of fire. This can (and will) get you killed on occasion. Between the Expert Marksman commander skill and Main Battery Modification 2 upgrade, Z-35's gun handling improves from 8º/s to 11.7º/s. It's still not ideal (I would prefer 12º+ for a dedicated gunship) but it can be made to work. Such a build is expensive, however, especially for a ship that's already starved for commander skills. Mitigating this issue requires a lot of forethought in planning your angles of attack. I'm an impulsive idiot, though, so I've found upping my gun rotation rate works better for me. The final piece of the puzzle is her fire arcs -- specifically her rearward firing arcs. Forward, they're gorgeous, with only her Y-turret being a bit of a loser, failing the manage my covetted 30º off the bow fire angle. Four of her guns can manage 25º, just like Z-44, which is super comfy. Rearward things get bad. Her two forward turrets can only engage targets 54º off her stern which is horrible. Engaging with these turrets makes Z-35 an easy target for return fire which will get you mauled in short order. Sacrifcing two turrets in order to kite effectively is a poor trade, especially in knife fighting situations against other lolibotes. She is much better on the attack than on the defensive -- keep that in mind when setting up your attack runs. Z-35 has much better fire arcs than her sister, Z-44 with slightly better arcs on A & B turret but MUCH better arcs on Y. Z-35 has excellent forward fire arcs but pretty crappy to the rear. Her gun rotation of 8º/s is pretty bad, though. Practical Application Making the most out of Z-35 is all about exercising patience. She's too fat to contest a cap circle in the opening minutes of a match. As soon as there's opposition and they have any kind of support, she needs to vacate. During the opening minutes of the match, Z-35's gunnery is best used sparingly. What she's looking for are easy targets to hose down with a mix of HE and AP shells while avoiding reprisals from radar cruisers and carriers. Shooting and scooting from behind islands and smoke cover is her bread and butter until things begin thinning out. Only then, with her hit points preserved, can she begin hunting down lolibotes, where she can out-trade them with her rapid-fire guns and large hit point pool. The modest damage destroyers generate against larger targets belies it's efficacy in turning the outcome of a game. It's intimidating and frustrating to be hosed down from an angry smoke cloud or island. Light a fire or two and most battleships will give up the fight, even if you've only scratched their paint up until this point. Picking on cruisers, especially ones that can't heal, is riskier given the possibilities of Surveillance Radar or simply using their faster-reloading guns to take enterprising shots into your smoke. Still, the rewards are great if you can pull it off, especially against cruisers that can't heal. But it's ambushing destroyers where she really shines -- especially when she can make use of her Hydroacoustic Search to flush them out at close range and tear them apart in short order with her rapid-fire guns. That's always so satisfying. Fully upgraded toward setting blazes, Z-35 is a respectable fire setter. That's not something you can say about her tier IX counterpart, Z-44. VERDICT: Great guns. Crappy fish. Durability Hit Points: 19,100 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 19mm / 13mm / 19mm / 19mm In a straight up fight, Z-35's glut of hit points is bloody intimidating. Combined with the high DPM, she'll come out the better in most trades, even with most of the same-tier gunships. It's only in a protracted engagement, over the course of many minutes that she falls behind those destroyers equipped with a Repair Party. Similarly, this advantage in hit points falls away when up against higher tiered opponents with their larger hit point pools and even more efficient heals. The solution is, of course, to put those little bastards down quickly making optimal use of her AP and HE shells. However, given Z-35's shoddy ballistics and modest speed (see below), encounters with other destroyers are seldom decisive. She's too fat to get close barring the enemies already hiding in their smoke. Her ballistics are too floaty to guarantee hits at range and her ammunition too temperamental. Thus it becomes a case of spending her hit points wisely in such encounters and keeping in mind that some ships will claw back the health you've taken from them... which unfair as you totally went out of your way to steal those hit points in the first place. These graphs are getting a little too cluttered. I think I'm going to have to start paring them down and only selecting a few key ships. Agility Top Speed: 36.5kts Turning Radius: 670m Rudder Shift Time: 4.4s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 7.1º/s at 30.8kts And here, Z-35 doesn't fare so well ... This is a shame, because it had been pretty good up until this point. The disappointment she creates here isn't owing to a single thing but rather all of them working in combination. Her top speed is decent. 36.5 knots is more than reasonable. She's certainly not competing with the likes of the Soviet and French speed demons, but that's not a flaw in of itself. Her rudder shift time is fine. It could be better but it's not terrible. And finally, her turning circle radius is a bit on the large side, but alone isn't enough to damn her. But when you put this together, Z-35 handles like a fat, ill-tempered duck. She's anything but nimble and she ends up feeling more like an agile light cruiser than a destroyer. She can wiggle and dodge, sure, but it's not as comfortable as other destroyers. Her 7.1º/s rate of turn is close to that found on cruisers like Perth and Murmansk. Things get weirder when you look at her consumables. When I saw Z-35 had a Short-Burst Exhaust Smoke Generator, I got excited that we might see a German destroyer with British destroyer energy preservation -- you know, to facilitate stopping and starting in her tiny smoke screens. Well, a simple twirling test dismissed that notion. Then I thought, perhaps she will have improved acceleration. To this end, I compared her to Farragut, the tier VI American tech-tree destroyer that shares the same top speed. But Farragut reaches 36.5 knots a full second faster than Z-35, so that didn't pan out either. The last thing I checked was if Z-35 stopped faster (cuz I dunno, maybe it was a thing to help with braking into her own smoke?). Again Farragut achieves this a full second faster. The only thing these tests confirmed was that Z-35 is a chonker and she does have any special agility gimmicks. Taking Propulsion Modification 1 is thus highly recommended. It's the only extra grunt you'll get in her engines short of equipping a Sierra Mike signal. What Z-35 does have is an agility deficit and this goes beyond her modest-to-poor base stats. Without access to an Engine Boost consumable, she doesn't have that on-demand speed that's so helpful for destroyers for extracting themselves from bad situations (to say nothing of capitalizing on opportunities). Functionally, this reduces her flexibility to that of the Japanese torpedo-boats of this tier. Anything else can, with the touch of a button, out-strip her in straight-line speed. This limits Z-35's ability to control engagement distances. This, on top of her rearward fire-angle woes makes her a very poor choice when it comes to kiting opponents. Z-35 can gun but her run needs a lot of work. Pretty crappy. At least Z-35 isn't ducky-bad. VERDICT: Forget any hidden agility bonuses. She's as bare bones as she looks and she looks chonky. Anti-Aircraft Defence Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 122.5dps at 100% accuracy (122.5dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 42dps at 95% accuracy (39.9dps) I crack the joke in my Z-44 review that all she can do is Just Dodge™. I thought it worth explaining why I'm generally dismissive of most destroyer AA defence. It comes down to two main reasons: They don't generate enough DPS. It's against their best interest to keep their longer-ranged AA batteries active until the last minute. The first one is pretty obvious. If you're not doing enough damage to shoot down so much as a single plane, there's nothing stopping the carrier from coming back again and again. Even if a destroyer does have enough DPS to shoot down an aircraft, they have to do so at a rate that taxes the regeneration of the carrier significantly or the carrier can simply absorb the losses and (once again) keep coming back. This problem compounds with destroyers keeping their AA disabled. Because of their only modest AA values relative to the hit points of individual aircraft, their best defence is to remain unspotted for as long as possible. To this end, destroyers will only activate their AA guns when planes wander into their aerial detection range. This further reduces the amount of time they have to shoot down aircraft. For example, to shoot down just one upgraded (health + armour) F4F Wildcat from a tier VI Ranger's attack-aircraft squadron, Z-35 needs anywhere between 4 seconds (absolute best circumstances with perfectly timed focus fire against a full-sized squadron) and 9.2 seconds (just base DPS, no focus fire) to shoot down one (1) aircraft assuming all of her guns are in range and intact. Things get worse when you face tier VIII and tier X aircraft. And that's the other thing, with Z-35's AA firepower based on medium and small calibre mounts, even a cursory smattering of HE damage will break many, if not most, of these weapons. A single HE rocket strike facilitates any follow up strikes. It gets easier and easier for the carrier the more damage she does. The only way to succeed here is not to get engaged at all. In order to stand a reasonable chance of discouraging predation, your little destroyer has to be shooting down three or more aircraft per squadron and that's largely beyond the capabilities of most tier VIII destroyers. Z-35 isn't the DPS front-runner. So Just Dodge™. You might shoot a few planes down. They will probably be summoned fighters. But don't kid yourself to think you have anywhere near enough AA protection to make a carrier think twice. Even the best performing AA-destroyers at this tier struggle, to say nothing of the rest of the plebes. VERDICT: Just Dodge™. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 7.92km / 6.22km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.7km / 3.0km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 2.99km Maximum Firing Range: From 12.12km to 14.54km Fat Z-35 is one heckin' chonker. To other ships, she's spotted just as easily as Z-23 and Harugumo. You're not sneaking up on much of anything. On the occasion the enemy lolibote doesn't spot you first, the margin of distance between your surface detection and that of your enemy is so small that you'll scracely have the reaction time to capitalize upon it. It's only the ships out there with the worst concealment that she can effectively out-spot and keep lit without giving herself away, assuming you went with a full concealment build. The list of ships she outspots by a distance by 400m or more is painfully short. Le Terrible (+430m) Mahan (+450m) Aigle, Guépard, Maass, Minsk, Blyskawica, Udaloi (+540m) Marceau (+760m Kiev (+850m) Paolo Emilio (+910m) Tashkent (+1,170m) Mogador (+1,280m) Kléber (+1,540m) Khabarovsk (+1,640m). You'll note that many of these ships include those that can exceed 40 knots. Even if Z-35 spots them first, there's no guarantee she can effectively play keep away if they're trying to sniff her out. Similarly, when Z-35 is detected first, she's not guaranteed to have enough speed to be able to run down those that are lighting her. She is generally ill-suited to hunting down destroyers for this reason., at least without a lot of help. Taking Radio Location as a commander skill is highly recommended as it lets you know the vector towards the nearest ship. This will, at times, allow you to plot more effective intercepts, especially with working map knowledge and how enemy destroyers like to take advantage of different locations. It also helps with using her other consumables efficiently, warning when using her Short-Burst Smoke Generator or Hydroacoustic Search are best held on standby. There are only ever bandaid solutions to correct for Z-35's large surface detection. Patience, caution, Radio Location all help but they're not a perfect fix. Keep this flaw in mind. Squid Ink Thankfully, Z-35 will (almost) always have her Short-Burst Smoke Generator on hand. The reload of this consumable is very short -- 70 seconds from the last smoke cloud's discharge. The delay between Z-35's last smoke cloud being issued and the consumable coming off cool-down is a mere 20 seconds. This can be further reduced with signals and commander skills, dropping the delay down to just 13.2 seconds (63.2 second reset timer) allowing Z-35 to become especially slippery. While her individual cloud may last only 40 seconds, the value of (almost) always having her smoke ready again when she needs it cannot be underestimated. It's this consumable which "fixes" her bad concealment. It also helps keep her alive with her smoke not allowing her to stay parked in one place for long without being spotted again. This can (and will) frustrate enemy torpedoes launched from long range to try and flush you out, sparing you some use of your Hydroacoustic Search. Gunning from smoke is Z-35's bread and butter, though efforts should be made to spare its use when possible. Assuming it takes Z-35 two minutes to make initial contact from the start of the match, she can blow through all six of her intiial smoke charges by the 10-minute mark of the game. It's surprisingly easy to run out. Superintendent helps, of course, but you can spare yourself the three commander skill points by having a list of islands in your head that you know you can make ready use, allowing you to bomabard enemies from relative safety. This can always be supplemented with a squirt of smoke if the firing angles change. Not a Cheese-Eating Surrender-Monkey With her great smoke and her poor concealment and awful kiting fire-angles, she is not well suited to blasting enemies from open water. As lolibotes go, Z-35 is a pretty damn easy target to bullseye for cruisers and battleships, even when she's attempting to make herself wiggly. Her (relatively) short engagement distances compound this. Her 36.5 knot top speed, her 7.1º/s rotation rate and her inflexible gun arcs means that her movements are limited and often predictable. A Z-35 that starts blasting out in the open is asking for trouble and is usually forced to squirt smoke to bail herself out when enemies start looking her way. Granted, this can be a pro teamplay move in order to distract the Reds but it's generally lumped in the "not a good idea" or "get yourself sent back to port stupidly fast" category of thought-processes. Stick to island cover. Use your smoke. Success & Lolibote Hugs Z-35 generally espouses standard German destroyer game-play because of her concealment woes. Don't push cap circles too early. Bombard targets from smoke. And, when opportunity permits, push on any destroyers hiding in smoke to flush them out with her powerful Hydroacoustic Search. This is, in my opinion, Z-35 at her most rewarding -- catching enemy destroyers unawares and ripping them apart with a hail of her rapid-fire 128mm weapons. Her awesome forward fire angles make this so heckin' comfortable. So long as you time your approach right and use their own smoke to prevent her friends from seeing you once you've finally got them lit, the pay-off is huge. You can then "borrow" their smoke afterwards and put shells in their friend's faces if there's any within reach, or simply go back and cap now that the enemy destroyer screen is thinned out. Z-35's stealth game is very nuanced. She's ill-suited to taking big risks, being (generally) unable to run if things go pear shaped (and they will). But, with careful husbandry of her vision control assets and some general patience for finding the right opportunities, she plays a mean game. Z=35 may have crappy stealth but she has good vision control. Getting the most out of it comes is locked behind a pretty high skill wall, making her unfriendly towards new players. But in the right hands, she's a beast. Island? Check. Enemy battleship inside of 11km? Check. Smoke at the ready? Check. This is Z-35 101. VERDICT: Far better than her crappy surface detection range would suggest. Final Evaluation I don't think I could have been any more dismissive of Z-35 if I tried. A big, fat German gunship with useless torpedoes? How boring. Why would anyone want to spend money on this thing when they could get something novel like T-61 or T-44? The simple answer is reliability. Z-35 is a workhorse. She's no show-pony. There's no glitz, no glamour. There's no fancy gimmicks. Hell , I even overlooked the quirk of her Smoke Generator on my first couple of play throughs. It wasn't until I noticed that it always seemed to be at the ready that I clued in (you would have thought the different icon would have tipped me off, but I'm an idiot, what can I say?). Z-35 is simply effective. That is not something you can say about her sister, Z-44, whose fortunes largely hinge upon the stupidity of her opponents. She's analogous to (and largely performs a similar role) to the IJN Ducky Botes like Akizuki, Kitakaze and Harugumo. It's hard to argue against their efficacy. Now being effective doesn't necessarily translate to being fun. A ship being good goes a long way towards that, let's not kid ourselves, and Z-35 definitely has one foot in the stirrups there. Where this ship excels, what truly makes her special, is how much control she gives to the player. Success with Z-35 doesn't hinge on having good team mates. She can do her own spotting even in her own smoke, picking on battleships made visible by the blast of their own guns. She's not beholden to there being gaps in the enemy lines in order to farm damage the way Z-44 and other torpedo destroyers are. Her tool-set gives her enough versatility that you can set yourself up to succeed and the ship's performance changes noticeably with different builds, lending this sense of customizability that feels so rewarding. You can make this ship your own, both through style of play and upgrades. So far, pretty high praise, no? Now the caveats Tier VIII matchmaking is junk. Tier IX is the new tier VII and Z-44 spits on Z-35's matchmaking. Z-44 enjoys fewer games with aircraft carriers in it -- a factor that greatly changes the quality of life for destroyers, I think we will all agree. For Z-35, the presence of carriers is normal, being bracketed by tier VI and tier X CVs within the matchmaker, to say nothing of those that populate her own tier. It's so commonplace that I sat up and took notice in my play sessions when there wasn't a carrier present, and thanked my lucky stars RNGeebus had smiled on me. Similarly, for pure economy reasons, tier VIII feels long in the tooth. Why earn 400,000 credits a match when you could earn so much more by playing a tier IX premium instead? It's also hard to feel like Z-35 is somewhat lacking in game play variety. In my heart I know this is a falsehood -- the manner in which she has to approach each match is varied depending on the opponents she faces. Some games she has to be especially slippery, dodging active hunters and farming what little damage she can as opportunities permit. On others, she gets to play a forward scouting role, pushing the enemies screens back. My perception no doubt comes from the lack of torpedoes which is so very much a staple of destroyer game play for me. This combines with the necessity of patience to make Z-35 work. I'm not patient in my game play. It's an uncomfortable fit for me and when every match starts with a delayed waiting period, they end up feeling similar. I'm sure this is all in my head. Overall, I'm very pleased with Z-35 but I can't recommend her. The skill floor is a little too high. If you're a veteran destroyer player with a solid understanding of stealth and gunship tactics, go for it.. Otherwise, respect this ship and keep clear. Conclusion Thank you all so much for reading. Thank you very much to my patrons for their continued support. I had originally planned to review both Z-35 and Z-44 together in the same article in the same manner as my Belfast & Belfast '43 review or that of Siegfried and Ägir. However, time was not permitting. It is easier for me to separate the two of them rather than constantly lacing a narrative between the two ships. This is clearly a case of "if I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter". If you stumbled upon this review and are looking for her sister ship, you can find the link here. Go have a read before you pull the trigger on either ship. I really like this screenshot. My new pooter makes things pretty.
  7. The following is a review of Azur Lane Littorio, the tier VIII Italian battleship. This ship has been provided to me by Wargaming for evaluation purposes -- I did not have to pay for this thing. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are current as of patch 0.9.6.1. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. So first some bias warning: Wargaming has pissed me off with AL Littorio. You're going to see a lot of negativity in this (blessedly short) review. The worst part is that I'm partially muzzled with NDAs on explaining why I'm mad with Wargaming. I have to be very careful here, but I'll tip-toe and disclose as much as I am able. Weeks and weeks ago, I was play-testing the tier VIII Italian Battleship Impero. Impero, like all test ships, was a Work in Progress -- with any and all of her performance characteristics subject to change at Wargaming's whims. She appeared superficially as a clone of Roma, the tier VIII Premium Italian Battleship but she was armed with SAP shells instead of HE Shells, she had improved agility but her reload was three seconds longer. Finally, she had access to an Italian cruiser Exhaust Smoke Generator. While I cannot comment on how she performed, there was nothing out of the ordinary with receiving a test ship with new and novel game play features. What was out of the ordinary was the trio of mistakes Wargaming would make regarding Impero. The Three Blunders MISTAKE THE FIRST: Impero was called "Impero (AL Littorio)" in Wargaming's internal documentation. When I first saw this, the hype was real. I do so enjoy crossovers. But internal documents are internal documents and subject to NDA so I wasn't going to spread this far and wide. "But how is this a mistake?" you ask. Well, dear reader, according to Wargaming, Impero wasn't meant to be labelled such. MISTAKE THE SECOND: Wargaming accidentally leaked a Supertest announcement: So the above oops was unfortunate but it might not have been so bad if it didn't contain this second element. When new ships are issued to testers, Wargaming messages the individual testers. This contains not only the itemized list of everything that has been credited to accounts, but it also provides links where feedback can be submitted. In or around the second week of April, this message (found below) was sent out accidentally to non-testers. Now Wargaming's "typo" was spread far and wide: MISTAKE THE THIRD: Wargaming failed to notify anyone that Impero was not AL Littorio. With the leak, Community Contributors could now discuss the upcoming Azur Lane crossover. While Impero's performance was (and remains) strictly off the table, her name was now tied to Impero's stats because of this leak. If Wargaming intended to separate the association between the two, they missed their early opportunity to do so with clear communication. This is when you start seeing me include AL Littorio instead of Impero in graphs and charts like this one for Odin's review back in early June: The "AL Littorio" is actually what Impero used to do. Impero, as designed during this test phase, doesn't exist anymore. For the current AL Littorio performance, look at Roma on this chart. The only problem, of course, is that Wargaming didn't think to correct all of the "AL Littorio" feedback they were receiving in place of Impero's. Now I stress that what abilities Impero had were all transitory -- Wargaming could change her however they wished, throwing everything out on a whim. But this does not diminish the fact that Impero's performance was tied to the AL Littorio name in the hearts and minds of testers, to say nothing of the attentive members of the community who were following her development through what snippets they could acquire. Divorcing the notion that AL Littorio and Impero were one in the same should have been high up on the priority list, but apparently this miscommunication slipped through the cracks. It wasn't until the official announcement on the Japanese World of Warships / Azur Lane collaboration stream that this fact came to light in the most jarring way possible. Who doesn't love getting important information from a third party source? AL Littorio was not getting Impero's performance. She was just going to be a Roma-clone in almost every respect. Mouse's Mistake So I have found myself the perpetrator of spreading misinformation. What's extra-frustrating is that the new "lack of preview" system the Community Contributor program has in place is meant specifically to mitigate this sort of thing from happening, but it went and happened anyway. While I reported Impero's performance accurately at the time, it was under the label of AL Littorio which is patently false. Let me be crystal clear: AL Littorio is not Impero. AL Littorio does not get Impero's SAP shells instead of HE shells. AL Littorio does not have Impero's 33 second reload. AL Littorio does not have Impero's Exhaust Smoke Generator. AL Littorio does not have Impero's improved agility. AL LITTORIO CLONES ROMA'S IN-GAME PERFORMANCE IN EVERY WAY THAT MATTERS. AL Littorio is a boring ol' clone of Roma in all respects but one: you can't buy a Makoto Kobayashi "Beer Can" camouflage for AL Littorio and received (much) improved economic gains. So... lesson learned: Going forward, I'm not going to include any test-ship data in any of my graphs and charts, pertinent though they may be to the community discussions going on at the time. Hopefully this will nip any of these miscommunication SNAFUs on Wargaming's part in the bud. I hate to leave stuff out but at the same time, it's not worth having my readers misled. For my part in this whole mix-up, I am truly sorry. I cannot properly express how mad I feel. The lack of clear information from Wargaming, the air of deliberately misleading me through withheld information, pisses me off to no end. I feel very much disrespected, especially when it came to light that, according to the game files, Impero is AL Littorio after all. I was jerked around -- there's no other word for it. I wasn't worth communicating to regarding Wargaming's intentions for the project. No one saw fit to make sure that I was being properly informed. They effectively put the onus on me to fact-check them on EVERYTHING they disclose, no matter how inane. To say that my trust in them is horribly shaken would be an understatement. And best of all, they pulled another Graf Zeppelin / German Destroyer swapperoo -- changing everything at the last minute without telling the CCs first. So not only am I very much a part of the whole spreading of misinformation, I wasn't given the opportunity to undo the damage in a timely manner. The NDAs on these ships have only just been lifted with the ships going on sale with the big ol' butt added on that Impero's performance is still off the table. Yay. Now, as I have said, Wargaming is free to change test-ship performance however they like. They MUST be allowed to try out new things. Sometimes this results in some real gems making it to the live client. For example, Haida's success story could not have come to pass without this level of experimentation. However, for every Haida there are ships like Duke of York where the concept gets axed at the eleventh hour, potentially never to see the light of day again (we STILL don't have a ship that matches the original Duke of York's play style). While I suspect the information collected with Impero may end up shaping the Italian battleship line in some shape or form, Impero's test-ship game play isn't replicated in AL Littorio. I must stress that this is only a suspicion that Impero's performance may re-emerge with the Italian tech-tree battleships. I do not begrudge Wargaming's need to change test-ships. However, if they want me to produce content about these ships, they must appreciate that jerking me around does not make for a happy Mouse. Roma in 2020 Roma hasn't changed much since I first reviewed her two and a half years ago. She's a ship I very much want to like but she's held back by two elements that are difficult to overcome. For those unfamiliar with Roma, her performance summarizes to the following PROS and CONS: PROs Dispersed armour layout with thick upper hull, amidships deck armour and an extended belt, all resistant to HE damage. Good 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, especially for guns of her caliber. Good concealment with a 14.9km surface detection range which can be reduced down to 11.7km. CONs Soviet-style high-water citadel. Short ranged for a tier VIII battleship at 18.1km. Horrible dispersion on her main battery guns. Her high-velocity, high-penetration AP shells consistently over-penetrate cruisers. Her 381mm AP shells cannot overmatch 27mm+ hull sections found commonly on many cruisers within her matchmaking. Awful HE performance with low alpha strike, poor fire chance and mediocre module damage. Large turning radius, mediocre ship rotation rate. Roma are AL Littorio are flanking battleships. The idea is that they're able to get into a forward position and hammer the enemy with crossfire. However, this is where those aforementioned problem-elements come in. The first is that their guns are horribly inconsistent. Their gunnery dispersion is just horrid -- behaving just often enough to give you hope that you can land hits on a crucial shot only to troll you when you need them to behave. Out of all of the ships in the game I have so far mapped dispersion for, Roma has the worst I've seen. It's really bad. Adding to this gunnery inconsistency is the double-feature of struggling to land anything but over-penetrating hits on the flat broadside of cruisers. Roma' and AL Littorio's AP shells are simply too fast and have too much penetration -- they punch clean through cruisers rather than exploding within them unless targets are pretty far away (12km to 14km depending on the chubbiness of the ship in question). Finally, her 381mm caliber means that they can't overmatch the 27mm hull sections found on many tier VIII+ cruisers. American and German cruisers that bow in can bounce their AP for days. Their HE shells are terrible so they don't pick up the slack. The second issue is one of being too easily detected. Back when I first reviewed Roma, carriers were largely a non-issue. Now they're commonplace. Assigning "concealment" as a battleship's strength is a bit of a hard sell when aircraft can undo this even accidentally, without actively trying to keep Roma lit. This means taking up forward or flanking positions is a no-go and simply guarantees you'll be focus fired. AL Littorio and Roma aren't without their merits, though. The punch on their guns really is phenomenal. You can reliable citadel most battleships up to maximum range (provided their citadels are exposed and they're giving you a broadside to shoot at). Their armour layout is super tanky, lacking just the full-on ice-breaker bow to make it perfect. Unlike Soviet ships, they're not shackled with horrible surface detection and agility either, so provided no one's looking, they can redeploy effectively. All things told, AL Littorio and Roma are balanced Mehbotes. I just wish their gunnery was more interesting. Final Evaluation So AL Littorio is Roma with an Azur Lane camouflage. She is a worse Roma, as a matter of fact -- as I said, you can't fork out money to get Roma's beer-can camouflage. AL Littorio is only worthwhile if: (a) you want Roma and (b) you don't have Roma and (c) you never intend to buy Roma's Makoto Kobayashi camouflage because you're allergic to fun and pope hats.
  8. 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/
  9. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Roma

    The following is a review of Roma, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. As far as I am aware, this is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of January 12th, 2018. However, things may change before release. GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes. Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal. Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task. OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. Quick Summary: A fast, sneaky battleship with excellent gun handling on its nine 381mm rifles. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: Patch 0.6.15.1 to January 1st through 12th, 2018. PROs Has an extended belt which reaches halfway up the prow. Excellent gun handling with fast turret traverse. Phenomenal muzzle velocity and energy retention, giving her fast shell flight times over distance. Great AP penetration power over range. Good concealment with a 14.9km surface detection range which can be reduced down to 11.2km. CONs Citadel sits well above the waterline. Short ranged for a tier VIII battleship at 18.1km. Her guns misbehave, with poor dispersion values, overmatch problems and overpenetration after overpenetration. Awful HE performance with low alpha strike, poor fire chance and mediocre module damage. Anti-aircraft firepower is short ranged with only modest DPS. Large turning radius, mediocre ship rotation rate. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme The ease of her game play is facilitated by her excellent gun handling and good concealment values which will make her more forgiving to novice players. However, her raised citadel and gun accuracy will cause them problems. The combination of high concealment, speed and firepower will be of interest to Veterans and the power of these traits must not be overlooked. Roma's citadel and her smaller-caliber AP shells will hold her back from being a true monster, though. Roma is not a complicated battleship to play. She has no gimmicks to espouse. The summation of her various traits is as follows, with a more thorough breakdown found below in the larger sections. GARBAGE - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. MEH - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.GUD - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.BEST - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Roma is no up-scaled Giulio Cesare. Her guns are average and she has mediocre durability and agility. She has no gimmicks to speak of. The only thing she does well is hide and her AA power is hot garbage With all of these disparate traits, she probably doesn't look very appealing. So how the heck did I reach a "Gudbote" conclusion? Well, let's look into that... Options Like the Japanese premium battleships Kii and Ashitaka, Roma is receiving a special camouflage designed by Makoto Kobayashi. This is not just a skin, but a full on geometry change for the ship, including the infamous "beer can" where her rangefinders would be. It will likely be available through the larger bundle packages when you buy the ship through the online store. Consumables: Roma's Damage Control Party is standard for a non-American / Japanese battleship with a 15s active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer depending on which version you purchase. Her Repair Party is also standard, healing back 14% of her maximum health over 28s. Finally, her Spotter Aircraft is normal. You can swap this out for a Float Plane Fighter which provides 57 DPS and boasts 1,590hp. She has higher DPS than Japanese or American float plane fighters and more hit points than Japanese, American or British fighters. Premium Camouflage: There are two available: The default, Standard Type 10 camouflage provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. The Makoto Kobayashi - Roma camouflage provides 100% bonus experience gains, -50% to the post-battle service costs, +20% bonus credit earning, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. When I first saw this alternative camouflage scheme, I thought it looked ridiculous. However it has really grown on me. The amount of small detail is spectacular. Plus, it looks like Roma is wearing a hat. I like it when not-people things wear hats. Ergo, I like this camo. Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard battleship options. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control Modification 1. In your third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. It's not worth trying to upgrade her AA Guns or Secondaries. Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal for her fourth slot. You may be tempted to take Steering Gears Modification 2 but this will not significantly improve her agility . Finally, take Concealment Modification 1 in your final slot. This will reduce her surface detection down to 13.04km with camouflage before Commander Skills or 11.22km with camouflage and Concealment Expert Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 381mm rifles in three turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm rifles in four turrets, Twelve dual-purpose 90mm rifles in single turrets. Roma's main battery guns will deceive you. You're going to imagine them as being far more effective than they truly are. The deceptive veil she'll cast over your eyes has three layers; namely gun handling, shell flight time and penetration. They will cloud your vision and make you less aware of two flaws -- one minor but one pronounced -- the latter of which has the potential to greatly sour your enjoyment of this ship, no matter how comfortable her earlier lies may have felt. Beautiful Lie #1: Gun Handling The first beauty-mark you'll note is Roma's turret traverse rate and she may win you over with just this aspect. Her gun handling is simply gorgeous with her turrets rotating at 6º per second (a mere 30 seconds for 180º). This is 50% faster than the 4º per second rotation of ships like Kii, North Carolina and Monarch and a whole degree per second faster than Bismarck and Tirpitz. Thanks to this, laying her guns on target is a breeze and there's no chance of her aim slipping off target even while under heavy manoeuvres. In brawls, Roma can easily track enemies even on close approaches. Her forward fire angles are similarly wonderful. They almost hit the highly sought after (but so seldom realized) 30º-off-the-bow benchmark which defines truly excellent fire arcs. Her X-turret can engage enemies 31º off her forward centerline, allowing Roma to take very aggressive bow-on attack angles and necessitating only the slightest touches of a rudder to unload all nine guns. In short, Roma's gun handling is fun. You will never feel like you're fighting with this ship to bring your weapons to bear. Beautiful Lie #2: Shell Flight Time Roma has one of the fastest muzzle velocities of any tier VIII battleship, making gunnery a delight. What's more, her shells preserve this energy beautifully over distance which in turn leads to lower shell flight times. She can put a shell out to 10km in less than five seconds and one out to 15km in less then eight. This is something which Bismarck, Amagi, Monarch and North Carolina cannot boast. In the time it takes North Carolina to throw a shell out to 17km, Roma can bullseye a target at 20km. Her short lead times greatly cuts into the reaction time enemy ships have to evade your shells, even at range. Beautiful Lie #3: Penetration The high velocity of Roma's shells translates to great kinetic energy. It's the preservation of said energy over distance which makes Roma's penetration values so frightening. She doesn't have the same raw penetration power at point blank ranges of the Japanese 410mm shells. However, at ranges greater than 10km, Roma takes primacy, outstripping every other battleship with her energy retention. She has comparable and better penetration at 20km than Bismarck and Monarch (respectively) have at 15km. Roma is thus a threat at all ranges, capable of stacking damage even against thick hided battleships within reach of her weapons. These three traits will deceive you into thinking she's well set up to land damaging hits against enemy vessels. Her guns can snap onto a target quickly. Her muzzle velocity makes leading said targets easy, allowing you to catch targets before they're able to dodge or angle. Her penetration power all but guarantees that any hits you land will be damaging ones. That's all well and fine in theory, but in practice, problems arise. Roma boasts good fire arcs forward thanks to the excellent sweep of her X-turret. Her rearward arcs are terrible, forcing you to expose far too much of your broadside. Anytime you fire to your rear, you risk taking catastrophic damage. Harsh Truths No one can take away the awesomeness that is Roma's turret traverse rate and shell flight time. Let me be clear: few battleships have as smooth and comfortable a rotation and short lead times of their main battery as this Italian beauty. However, not everything about her guns lends to good performance. Roma's fire angles are the first let down. It's true, her forward fire angles are wonderful. However, rearward, it's a completely different story. Firing from A or B turret while on the retreat will get you sunk in a hurry. This isn't a problem unique to Roma, but few battleships can be punished as readily as Roma when they over angle due to her high water citadel (more on that later). I've found it preferable to use (and abuse) Roma's concealment if forced to retreat. At close range, her high muzzle velocity can also be a detriment. With the standard 0.033s fuse timer, Roma's shells risk blowing clean through more lightly armoured cruisers, especially at short ranges. To test this, I used a Reference-Omaha™ and found that Roma must be at least 13.3km out in order to land citadel hits on a target showing her flat broadside, provided the shells didn't strike water first. North Carolina can manage the same at 5.0km, owing to her lower muzzle velocity and steeper angle of her shell fall. This is a problem that extends beyond Reference-Omaha™ and it can be infuriating to catch a cruiser broadside with perfectly aimed (and dispersing) AP shells only to watch them all over penetrate a Chapayev or Edinburgh. Being unable to overmatch the bows of select cruisers just exacerbates matters. This leads me to stare down the problems Roma has with AP penetration with her 381mm rifles. She cannot overmatch the 27mm extremities found on many heavy cruisers at tier VIII+. It's surprising how much of an issue this causes. A properly angled American or Japanese heavy cruiser can simply bounce her AP shells for days with the appropriate stance. When combined with the fuse problems mentioned above, Roma must juggle different optimal fire ranges when engaging different targets. To penetrate small, lightly armoured vessels like Nurnberg-class, French or Royal Navy light cruisers you need distance. You may have to wait until the target angles slightly before sending your shells off. For tier VIII+ heavy cruisers, you need to catch them broadside or risk seeing your volleys bounce ineffectively. Roma's dispersion with Aiming Systems Modification 1 installed. 180 shells fired, salvo by salvo at 15km, locked onto a stationary Fuso. One of Roma's more pronounced gunnery weaknesses is her poor dispersion. This isn't so much a trait of her 1.8 sigma, but more of her long vertical dispersion axis which you can see here causing tremendous levels of overshooting and undershooting the target by a whole ship length to either side. This is approximately 50% larger than comparable area of battleship Alabama and Massachusetts which cannot mount any dispersion modification. The Big Fail: Dispersion and HE. Roma's most telling flaw with her guns is her dispersion. The Italian battleships of the Regia Marina use German dispersion patterns. In this regard, Roma's gunnery is most akin to Bismarck with one extra gun barrel and 4 seconds longer on her reload. The high velocity of her guns causes many shots to land long or short. Couple this with the wider base horizontal dispersion than any other battleship group in the game, and Roma's German dispersion leads to a lot of wonky shell groupings. It's not like Roma can simply reach for HE and solve her penetration issues either. Roma's HE shells deal a low amount of damage at 5,100 maximum per shell. That's 1,683 per penetrating hit and 852 damage per saturated penetrating hit. These values do not compare well to the 1,200 damage done by one of Roma's over penetrating AP shells. Her fire chance is abysmal at a mere 24%. She doesn't even have an especially large module-damage radius. For all this lackluster performance, she doesn't even get to enjoy the German bonus HE penetration. You largely want to avoid having to resort to these shells unless circumstance deem it necessary. Relying on Roma's HE shells too often will see her damage potential plummet. In summary Roma's gunnery is inconsistent -- more so than many other battleships. While it is easy to bring her guns on target with her fast traverse and anticipate their manoeuvres with her high muzzle velocity, Roma is unreliable at landing solid, damaging hits. This is very frustrating for a ship where the gunnery otherwise feels very comfortable. Her dispersion forces you suffer the whims of RNG. Even when you line up the perfect shot, over penetrations and ricochets will abound and her HE shells are downright anemic. Roma has two secondary gun types and neither is effective. They lack range, with a 5.0km base reach. In addition, one mount does not fire fast enough and the other is too small in caliber. The most dramatic of the pair are her 152mm rifles, mounted in triple gun turrets, two per side flanking B and X turret respectively. They are incredibly slow firing with a horrendous 12.0 second reload and they use AP ammunition. The best thing that could be said about this particular mount is that the muzzle blast is enormous and your opponents may mistake it for you firing your main battery guns in a brawl and expose their sides, thinking themselves safe to fire back. Roma's 90mm guns fire much more quickly with a 4.0s reload. Though they fire HE, their fire chance isn't particularly good. What's more, their small gun caliber makes them ineffective at dealing direct damage enemy ships. Even most destroyers in her matchmaking spread can boast enough armour to foil the penetration value of her HE shells. Short of peppering superstructures, these guns aren't going to do much in the way of direct damage themselves. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will increase her penetration enough to allow her to directly damage destroyers and some light cruisers with these guns, but that's a heavy investment for questionable gains. In general, it is not worth sinking upgrades, consumables or skills into Roma's secondaries. Conclusions It's hard to call any of Roma's weapon systems "good". Roma's 381mm guns do not enjoy the rate of fire bonus found on Monarch, Tirpitz and Bismarck. Maybe if she had that phenomenal rate of fire or some accuracy tweak, I could shower them with praise with good conscience. However, with a piss-poor HE shell and forgettable secondaries, Roma is reliant upon her main battery AP shells to carry the day. Fortunately, they're sufficient to the task. And maybe that's the best way to define Roma's AP gunnery: It's comfortable and it's sufficient. She won't win any prizes but she'll hold her own. Summary: Roma's gunnery feels so comfortable. Her gunnery performance is spotty. They seem to do really well against battleships (up until they angle) but against cruisers, it's a lot more inconsistent depending on angle, ship type and range. Her secondaries aren't worth specializing into. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Roma's dispersion can be very unkind. A buff to her sigma value would alleviate this. An alternative solution would be shaving a second or two off her reload time. With so many misunderstandings about the reload time of the Littorio-class, I suppose we should be glad that Wargaming kept it to a mere 30 seconds. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 30.0 knotsTurning Radius: 810mRudder Shift: 15.6s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.2º/s Tier 8 Battleship speed, turning radius and rate of turn. Roma doesn't excel in any one area nor does she have any glaring weaknesses. Roma is on the good-side of average for manoevrability for a tier VIII battleship. Her top speed is okay but there are faster ships. Her rate of turn is alright, but she's not exactly agile like the South Dakota-class sisters. Her turning circle isn't terrible, though its certainly not great. Overall, her handling is best compared to Bismarck -- a ship that isn't lacking overall in comparable agility but not a ship anyone would dare say has "good" manoeuvrability. The reason Roma feels so agile is probably due to her gun traverse. At 6º per second, it's rare that you ever need to use your rudder to accelerate bringing your guns to bear onto a new target. It's impossible for this ship to out turn her turrets, so there's little strain on her handling to keep her weapons singing. The best trait about her here is her top speed. 30 knots, while unremarkable at high tiers, is the benchmark I want to see. Anything less is an obvious flaw. Roma has the flexibility to go where she's needed and she's fast enough to make pursuit and escape possible when required. This also allows her to make better use of her concealment to better position herself. Most important of all, Roma's manoeuvrability is sufficient to protect her vulnerable citadel while still maintaining a steady rate of fire with all nine of her guns. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Roma already sits on the cusp of being 'GUD', she would just need a little help. An extra knot of speed, getting her turning radius below 800m or increasing her rotation rate by another two tenths of a degree per second would each tip her over the edge to something quite remarkable. Fortunately, you can pull this off yourself with the use of a Sierra Mike signal. Rate of Turn There are several factors which affect how quickly a ship comes about. The most significant are the ship's forward momentum and the size of her turning radius. As a ship slows down, their turning radius changes, but not always for the better. To make things more complicated, different ships also preserve speed better in a turn. When it comes to changing your heading, maintain speed whenever possible. If you want a tighter turning circle, slow down to 3/4 engine power -- but be aware that your ship will not manoeuvre as quickly. Steering Gears Modification 2 reduces Roma's rudder shift time from 15.6s down to 12.5s. However, this does not appreciably affect her turning values. This upgrade can be seen as more of a placebo than a practical bonus. When attempting to measure the gains made, some of the results fell within the margin of error of my own reaction time -- meaning that a good night's sleep or a cup of tea had more effect on the timed rate of turn than whether or not Roma had this module installed. With torpedo and shell reaction times often being less than 8 to 10 seconds, having this module installed will not help you. You would be better served by having a cup of coffee. Thus, I strongly recommend installing Damage Control Modification 2 in your fourth upgrade slot instead. None of the values found on Roma were far from what was expected. Her measured turning radius was slightly higher than that found in port and she bled the usual 25% maximum speed with her rudder hard over. 360º Rotation Rate (Ship Maximums): 1/4 speed (7.3 knots): 1.0º/s rotation, ~1099m turning radius 1/2 speed (13.8 knots): 2.5º/s rotation, ~851m turning radius 3/4 speed (18.6 knots): 3.6º/s rotation, ~800m turning radius 4/4 speed (22.4 knots): 4.2º/s rotation, ~829m turning radius 90º Rotation Rate (Stock): 1/4 speed: 1.0º/s rotation for 90.7s 1/2 speed: 2.3º/s rotation for 39.0s 3/4 speed: 3.2º/s rotation for 28.5s 4/4 speed: 3.6/s rotation for 25.0s 90º Rotation Rate (Steering Gears Modification 2) 1/4 speed: 1.0/s rotation for 90.6s 1/2 speed: 2.4º/s rotation for 38.4s 3/4 speed: 3.3º/s rotation for 27.4s 4/4 speed: 3.7º/s rotation for 24.2s Roma sits upon the cusp of greatness where her agility is concerned, but she falls short. You're not likely to notice though -- you'll be too enamored with how well her turrets traverse. DurabilityHit Points: 65,400 Maximum Citadel Protection: 375mm + 40mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: 38% Let's start with the bad news: Roma wears a really short skirt. While I appreciate that she wants to show off her lines, her citadel is left exposed over the water's surface by a not-insignificant margin. The exact height of her citadel is easy to see: it's directly behind her 375mm armoured belt. Veterans of the American battleship line that played the ships before the citadels were lowered in early 2017 will remember well what this entails. Roma can and will suddenly explode in a horrendous space-kablooie when she's caught broadside. There's nothing you can do about it but [edited]. There's another piece of not-so-great news. Her A-Turret barbette also seems to be part of the citadel, comprising a rounded 210mm bulge to her transverse bulkhead. This gives shells that might have skipped over a flat surface another bite at the apple if they catch this rounded surface. It's just another little quibble to sour Roma's armour protection. Alright, with that out of the way, let's talk about the good stuff: Her main deck is 45mm thick. This is proof against 152mm HE spam. Hooray! She has a 130mm extended forward armoured belt. When she angles, can foil even 460mm shells. Rejoice! Her upper hull is 70mm thick. This is proof against HE from 420mm or smaller unless it's British BB or German BB & CA thrown. This will also provide you with some very comfortable bounces when you angle just right. Her torpedo damage reduction is pretty darned good, so to speak. At tier VIII, torpedo defenses are either amazaballs (Amagi, South Dakota sisters) or they suck moose balls (everyone else). Roma's in the good half of the dichotomy. Her deck armour profile is a bit of a mixed blessing when it comes to armour piercing bombs, however. In testing, American AP bombs just didn't seem to be able to stack damage quickly. Without heals, it took over 20 bomb hits to sink her from American planes. Graf Zeppelin's (admittedly still in testing) bombs weren't automatic world-enders, but she could reliably sink Roma with two squadrons. On the whole, if it weren't for Roma's citadel situation, she'd have a great armour profile. As it is, it's only okay. Roma face tanks like a boss, particularly at medium ranges (between 8km and 14km) but when things go wrong, she comes apart in a hurry. Roma's armour, including details of her citadel. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Lower her bloody citadel. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 90mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 114 / 128.4 / 54.4 The graph on the left shows the raw AA values per aura range of the AA mounts of tier 8 Battleships. The graph on the right applies a formula {AA DPS x ( Range - 1.0km )} to calculate the overall effectiveness of the ship's AA power. This weights longer ranged weapons as being much more valuable as planes will linger within their effect longer. Weapons with less than a 2km range are only really effective if the enemy aircraft carrier parks planes on top of you. If there's one good thing you could say about Roma's anti-aircraft firepower, it would be that it's at least better than that found on Tirpitz. Roma's AA rating sits squarely in between the German premium and Amagi, and this isn't a good place to be. Worse, it's not like Roma's anti-aircraft guns are a straight up improvement over the performance of the German premium -- she just has more of them. Roma's large caliber, 90mm guns are hands down inferior to the 105s that Tirpitz uses. They have 500m less range and they do less DPS over all, which makes the effective AA defense worse were it not for Roma's 37mm autocannons and Tirpitz's near lack of medium caliber guns. It takes a rather heavy investment to get Roma's anti-aircraft firepower anywhere near effective in terms of range, and it's downright impossible to make it effective in terms of damage done. With Advanced Fire Training and AA Guns Modification 2, you can increase the reach fo her 90mm guns from 4.0km up to 5.76km but they'll never have the punch to make anything but a stock tier VI aircraft carrier balk. Taking a Float Plane Fighter can add a very helpful disruption effect to an incoming wave which can save your ship, but it's so short lived and difficult to rely upon. Roma doesn't have the agility to easily dodge air dropped torpedoes, nor does she have the armour profile to spare her the nightmare of being one-shot by German AP dive bombers. Roma, when isolated from allies, is easy prey for an enemy aircraft carrier and she must be played with this weakness in mind. Evaluation: GARBAGE What it would have needed to be MEH: Roma really needs more range. The 4.0km reach of her large caliber, dual purpose guns does her no favours. Alternatively, it would take a huge DPS boost to make her AA power competitive which is a much more significant change. None of Roma's AA mounts are especially durable. Even her dual purpose AA guns can only boast 800hp with her 37mm and 20mm guns having only 200. A few HE hits will strip her of most of her AA power. Vision Control Base Surface Detection Range: 14.94km Air Detection Range: 13.35km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.22km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 13.68km Main Battery Firing Range: 18.12km Detection Consumables: Spotter Aircraft / Float Plane Fighter Short of the famous and historical HMS Monarch, Roma is the stealthiest battleship within her matchmaking spread. What's perhaps more frightening is that she's stealthier than almost half the cruisers she faces, even when they're rigged for full concealment. Tier VI and VII cruisers are especially vulnerable with 11 out of 24 ships unable to hide from Roma and another 7 unable to hide if they don't have a full concealment build. When top tier, especially against inexperienced commanders, Roma becomes truly a monster. Without spotting aircraft or a destroyer screen, she can move about the battlefield at will, confident she can outfight anything that detects her. Let me stress this: Without aircraft or destroyers, Roma is quite capable of being the stealthiest ship on the playing field. Unlike the famous and historical HMS Monarch, Roma has the speed to better exploit this concealment. And it's here, with this combination of speed and concealment where Roma becomes a truly frightening vessel. Novice players take note: these are traits that expert players exploit to win matches. The longer a match goes on, the more powerful this advantage of speed and stealth becomes. It gives Roma time to heal, to flank, to secure objectives or escape. She can dictate engagement distances, abuse cover and surprise enemies. This is the game changer for this ship. This is what glosses over all of her other mediocre ratings and propels her towards excellence. Now this all said, this is a very difficult advantage to exploit properly and it can be outright negated by aircraft (especially given Roma's poor AA rating) and destroyers. Proper use of her aircraft consumable (with the skills to support it) will help her control vision and make lurking around islands less dangerous. But, it's knowing when to keep her guns singing and when it's best to hold your fire that really defines Roma's use and abuse of her concealment. Evaluation: GUD What it would have needed to be BEST : Monarch has a smaller surface detection range and similar consumable options. The alternative to making her sneakier than Monarch would have been to provide her with some detection consumable like Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar which is bloody unlikely. I think we can all be happy that Roma's concealment is as amazing as it is. Nursing the Twins For Roma, a survivability build is best after grabbing your concealment skills. Start with Priority Target unless you've seen the oracle and you already know the future. Then you can go for skills like Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft instead for your first choice. Next up, we want Adrenaline Rush to increase her sluggish rate of fire. After that, you have your choice of Basics of Survivability or Superintendent depending on how much you hate fire damage. Finally, grab Concealment Expert to level up Roma to her final form. For your next 9pts, I strongly recommend Fire Prevention, whichever tier 3 skill you skipped and your choice of Expert Marksman (cause why not?), Jack of All Trades or High Alert. Now get out there and murder your brother. Tier for tier, Giulio Cesare is the better of the two Italian Battleships. However, the Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camouflage combined with Roma's higher tier will make her the better potential earner. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: Concealment and comfort define this ship. I stress that Roma's high water citadel will be a deal breaker for some. As cool as Roma's secondaries and AA batteries look, they're pretty darned useless. Roma's scorecard looks a little better than my first evaluation once you peel back the layers and take a closer look. Her great concealment might functionally be the best within her Matchmaking spread thanks to her speed. Similarly, her agility is also reasonably good, just not quite enough to make her remarkable. This synergy between speed, gun handling and concealment has all the hallmarks of a competitive ship. Her gunnery and durability are the let downs, though. Her weapons are inconsistent -- prone to bouts of greatness and then some frustrating droughts of non-performance until you figure out her penetration. Knowing what ships you can and cannot handle at which ranges mitigates some of this lack, but only just. Contrarily, her secondaries, like her AA guns are garbage no matter what you do.. Then there's that citadel of hers -- that fly in the ointment that will preclude her from ever being the darling of the competitive scene. In Randoms, with proper positioning, it's not really a big deal, but when it lets you down, it lets you down hard. Roma is so much fun to drive it's hard to dismiss her out of hand, even despite these setbacks. My own experiences in Roma were decidedly mixed. It took me a while to figure her out. Once I accepted I was throwing around what amounted to a squishy, nine-gun Bismarck with no secondaries, things got a little better. To say my performance in her was inconsistent would be an understatement. The number of losses I suffered during the latter half of play testing wasn't fun, however this was broken up by some ridiculously high performing games. Boiled down, Roma is a medium-range brawler. Her gun accuracy and armour profile both excel if she can hold this range -- just on the cusp of her detection radius, and hammer the enemy over and over and over again. Ideally you want to sneak to a vantage where your opponents can't help but give up their side to either you or their allies. If they choose to face you, tank them and do the best you can to hurt them back -- it's not going to be easy with those 381mm guns. If they choose to face your allies, tear them a new one until they smarten up and fall back. The final question is if this is a role that's asked for in the current meta. She's not a brawler like Bismarck or Tirpitz, a DPM juggernaut like Amagi, and she doesn't werf the flammen like the famous, historical battleship Monarch. Roma encroaches upon the flanking meta espoused by the American battleships. She's certainly faster than North Carolina or the South Dakota sisters. She's also more stealthy. However, she lacks the AA power to afford her autonomy when enemy aircraft carriers are in play. -- not that they're out there that often. It's still difficult to call just based on that. Things change when you look at her tiering. Top tier, she's an absolute monster. She would easily hold my pick for one of the best battleships for clubbing lower tiered vessels and this in of itself should say something. That comfort and control pays dividends and her armour maximizes in these encounters where shell penetration may not be enough to seriously threaten Roma's raised citadel. She uptiers alright against tier IX ships, but like all tier VIIIs, she really struggles in tier X matches. If I could guarantee she would never see tier X games, I could slap an "OVERPOWERED" label on her and be done with it, but no such luck. As it is, I'm inclined to say Roma has earned her laurels. Would I Recommend? Some caveats must be exercised here. The Italian Regia Marina is solely comprised of premium ships at the moment. Between the battleships Roma and Giulio Cesare there are also the light cruisers Duca d'Aosta and the upcoming Duca degli Abruzzi. If you had to choose one and only one, Giulio Cesare is still the front runner performance wise, even at tier V. Roma does not displace her. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? We have no tier VIII scenarios (yet), but Roma's a decent ship to take against bots. Her AP shells struggle a little against cruisers at the point blank ranges which so often result. Her running costs are 35,438 credits including the 10% discount provided by her camouflage (this drops to 19,688 credits with Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camo) while you can make around 100k on a decent win. Skip those premium consumables. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. She's a tier VIII premium, so economy wise, she'll do you just fine. The increased earnings will also make her a wonderful trainer. Note if you have the Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camouflage, her earning dividends just got that much better. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. I have to give her a firm pass here. Between her high water citadel, 381mm teething issues and poor AA power, she's not ideal. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. What are you, new? It's not only the first Littorio-class battleships it's Roma. Even as a port queen, she's gorgeous to look at. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Hells to the yeah. Roma doesn't always behave, but when she does... In Closing That about wraps it up for Roma -- arguably the most anticipated premium of 2017. Hey, stop looking at your calendar! She's here and she's not terrible; that's a win. I keep a list of premium ships that I enjoy playing; that I reach for whenever I just want to play World of Warships and unplug my brain from all of this analytical nonsense. These are ships that I play simply for the love of the game. I think it's high praise when a new premium ousts one of the old guard and muscles in on this list. Roma isn't there yet -- we're fighting, truth be told. She's got a long ways to go if she thinks she can earn her keep. I'm very happy with the balanced state of Roma. I'm very happy to have this review done. The next review coming up will be Musashi, the tier IX Japanese battleship that's causing all kinds of controversy. Roma and Musashi both came off of the content-embargo on the same date, but I had no warning about the latter. You can expect this next review in about a week's time with an undue level of snark laced throughout. A very special thank you to Lert for his continued editing efforts and to my patrons on Patreon. With as much time and energy I devote to these reviews, I cannot afford to do it alone anymore. Your continued support means the world to me and allows me to keep my head down and working hard with less worry. Thank you for reading and for all of your feedback, criticism and fun gifs too! My current ten favourite ships. Top Row: Fujin, Atlanta, De Grasse, Prinz Eugen, Atago. Bottom Row: Scharnhorst, Nelson, Harekaze, König Albert, Warspite. Will Roma or Musashi earn a spot? Tune in next week! iChase put together a wonderful little history piece for those who want more Roma in your Roma review!
  10. So Zerra recently posted a video going on about the effect the IFHE and armor rework was going to have on tier 7 light cruisers, especially Belfast and Atlanta, and how they are going to be useless. I could not follow him. I already knew Atlanta was going to be in the minority of ships still needing to run IFHE after the rework via @Notser, but there were so many numbers being thrown around I couldn't follow it. I know something in my gut told me the math was off, but I couldn't put my finger on why. Does anyone have any answers on this?
  11. lordholland4293

    Tier 8 operation

    What does everyone thing about tier 8 operations and what would you like to see. Even though wargaming doesn't care about them.
  12. This thread is about two specific topics both rolled into one. I had the opportunity to tune into the fight for flagship tournament today and I would like to express my gratitude to a return to nostalgia and a second chance at redemption, which I will explain later. @Femennenly You wanted shout outs so here is mine. First things first, watching the streams today, there was some fun games and good plays. I also learned a lot about positioning and hope to apply it to my own gameplay. The Fight for Flagship tournament could serve several purposes; 1. Improve interest (indirectly) to the Research Bureau as tier 8 ships looked fun to play again. 2. Return to a Supremacy League style format that I used to watch. This was in my opinion the best of all competitive formats. Nostalgic soup! The option to have bans was also a nice touch. 3. Stagnation...by making one of the tournament formats something in other than tier 10...this also helped to be a bit more refreshing...again thank you. As for redemption, I would like to nominate @Quadrilus to be a Community Contributor. Quad assisted in putting together a great tournament and wrote a very length rule guide...which was refreshing and unique to other game modes I have seen. I do believe at one time he was being considered for a CC position but for some reason was not selected. I would strongly ask that you reconsider. He is critical to the community and a value added. In conclusion, give Fight for the Flagship tenure as a return to Supremacy League and give Quad a second chance at becoming a community contributor. Everyone deserves a fair shot at redemption...lets get him into the program!
  13. Goal of the proposed change: Create a manageable balance between the Tier 8 and 10 Carrier Aircraft and the AA/Flak at Tier 8, 9 and 10. Make it easier to balance the Aircraft and AA/Flak at Tier 8, 9 and 10 by limiting the variations. Reason for the proposed change: Tier 10 Carrier Aircraft to a degree seem to be still able to inflict crippling damage to Tier 8, Tier 9 and 10 ships, even those that have some of the best AA/Flak in the game. At the same time Tier 8 Carriers mostly play between 55 to 70% of their matches at Tier 10. The AA/Flak concentrations of Tier 9 and 10 ships can be so severe that playing at Tier 9 and 10 is too player unfriendly for Tier 8 Carriers. This proposal is meant to address both issues, in other words to equally help Destroyers, Cruisers, Battleships and Carriers at Tier 8, 9 and 10. Proposed change: Decrease the effectiveness of all Tier 10 Carrier Aircraft by lowering the BASE Hit Points of all Tier 10 Aircraft to a maximum of 1200 for Rocket Bombers and 1400 for Torpedo and Dive Bombers. That lowering would include Tier 10 Aircraft on Tier 8 Carriers (including Premium Carriers). These maximum numbers can be raised by Commander Skills and Upgrades like is now also the case but they would still remain CONSIDERABLY below the current Tier 10 Aircraft base Hit Point levels. Introduce a NOMINAL and EFFECTIVE AA/Flak Damage Per Second and Damage CEILING level for Tier 9 and 10 ships. The NOMINAL AA/Flak DPS and Damage CEILING level for Tier 9 and 10 ships indicates the theoretical maximum values the ship has. The NOMINAL AA/Flak DPS and Damage CEILING CAN BE RAISED by Commander Skills and Upgrades. The EFFECTIVE AA/Flak DPS and Damage CEILING level for Tier 9 and 10 ships indicates what effective maximum values the ship can use in combat. The EFFECTIVE AA/Flak DPS and Damage CEILING CANNOT BE RAISED by Commander Skills and Upgrades. The EFFECTIVE AA/Flak DPS and Damage CEILING for Tier 9 and 10 ships would be equal to the NOMINAL AA/Flak DPS and Damage CEILING of the highest base AA/Flak rated Tier 8 ship (for example the Tier 8 Battleship MASSACHUSETTS). The EFFECTIVE AA/Flak DPS and Damage ceiling would be used by all Tier 9 and 10 ships till the point is reached where so many AA/Flak mounts of a Tier 9 or 10 ship are destroyed that the NOMINAL CEILING is lower than the EFFECTIVE CEILING. In that case the EFFECTIVE CEILING is no longer used, but the damage reduced NOMINAL CEILING is used instead. It all sounds a lot more difficult than it actually is. Here are two examples of how this works out: For the Tier 10 Carrier MIDWAY: the F8F Bearcat Rocket Fighter (Tiny Tims) HP would be lowered from 1660 HP to 1200 HP, the BTD Destroyer Torpedo Bomber HP would be lowered from 2050 HP to 1400 HP, the BTD Destroyer Dive Bomber HP would be from 2160 HP to 1400 HP. A Tier 10 MINOTAUR with Commander Skills and Upgrades has a NOMINAL AA/Flak DPS and Damage ceiling of 100. The EFFECTIVE AA/Flak DPS and Damage ceiling of that MINOTAUR would be only 77 (equal to base of MASSACHUSETTS). So the AA/Flak DPS and Damage would be EFFECTIVELY only at 77 and not at 100. The MINOTAUR would keep that 77 EFFECTIVE ceiling until her AA/Flak mounts would be destroyed to a point where the NOMINAL AA/Flak DPS would be below 77. When the NOMINAL CEILING due to damage drops below the EFFECTIVE CEILING the NOMINAL CEILING is used instead. So if the MINOTAUR loses so many AA/Flak mounts that her NOMINAL CEILING drops from 100 to 56, then the EFFECTIVE CEILING would also drop to 56. It is advisable to combine this "AA/Flak and Carrier Aircraft proposal for Tier 8-10" with the "Fighter Patrol Squadron Consumable proposal" that is described in another topic.
  14. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Asashio

    The following is a review of Asashio, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of April 15th, 2018. Abandon all hope, all ye of heavy displacement. Quick Summary: A stereotypical high-tier Japanese destroyer with specialized, 20km-range deep water torpedoes that make battleship players wet themselves with terror and unicum rage on the Forums and Reddit. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch and Date Written: 0.7.3, April 9th to 15th, 2018 PROS: Powerful torpedo armament. Enormous damage potential per torpedo hit at 20,967hp per unmitigated strike. Highest flooding chance in the game at a base value of 436% per torpedo hit. Her fish are fast (67 knot), long ranged (20km) and stealthy (900m detection) Excellent gun fire angles. When rigged for concealment, she can get her surface detection down to 5.37km. Access to a Torpedo Reload Booster consumable without sacrificing her Smoke Generator (!). Easy to learn and she makes scoring big damage totals trival. CONS Smallish hit point pool of 15,100hp. Slow firing guns with a 7.1s reload time. Sluggish turret traverse at 6.9º/s (26.1s for 180º). Torpedoes can only engage battleships and aircraft carriers (!!) Laughable AA defense. Slow for a high tier destroyer with a top speed of 35.0 knots. Matchmaking significantly affects the ability to influence a match in a positive way. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Asashio is a paradox. She is, simultaneously, one of the easiest and the most difficult destroyers in the game to play. This is a destroyer where a novice can score huge damage totals. It's also a destroyer where veterans are challenged to use every trick in their arsenal to get a win. Unlike other "easy to learn, difficult to master" ships, Asashio doesn't present a high skill curve. She presents a wall. Asashio's over specialized torpedo armament is terrible -- effectively limiting your tool kit so much that you cannot effectively engage two-thirds of the enemy roster. While she easily farms damage and kills on battleships, influencing the overall outcome of a close match is near insurmountable without a hell of a lot of skill and game knowledge. Thus, there are two tiers to Asashio game play and some players simply are not skilled enough to make her work in these situations. - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Most of Asashio's ratings aren't up for debate. She is the at stealth at her tier, bar none. Nothing is sneakier though some do have competitive Vision Control. Her anti-aircraft firepower is so as to be laughable. While she rates in both agility and durability, she only just manages to eke out these evaluations. She's on the very low-end for both and the introduction of another agile or another tough ship would knock her down into the rating. Where the debate will reside, if anywhere, is how to categorize her offensive capabilities. No one would argue that among the tier VIII destroyers, she has the firepower against battleships. At the same time, her firepower against cruisers and destroyers is downright . I give her the evaluation as a result -- a middle-ground compromise though her in-game performance may fluctuate wildly based on target availability. Options Consumables: Asashio has four consumable slots. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. In her second slot, she has a standard Japanese Smoke Generator. This has a 28 second emission time and each cloud lasts for 89 seconds. Asashio's Engine Boost is standard. And finally, she rounds out her consumables with a Torpedo Reload Booster. This reloads her torpedoes in 8 seconds like Kagero, Harekaze and Yugumo. Unlike many other IJN destroyers, you'll note that Asashio does not have to choose between this consumable and her Smoke Generator. Upgrades: Five slots, standard destroyer upgrades. In your first slot, take Magazine Modification 1. You're a destroyer. You explode violently often. Next up, take Propulsion Modification 1. Speed is life for a destroyer and this will help keep your engines in the game. or Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal, providing a small improvement to your dispersion and accelerating the rotation rate of your torpedo tubes. Alternatively, you can try to correct her sluggish turret traverse with Main Battery Modification 2 at the cost of her already abhorrent rate of fire. Propulsion Modification 2 is generally preferred in slot number four. This gives improved acceleration from a dead stop. Asashio will spend some time parked within her own smoke and the extra pep in her engines is welcome. This is a no-brainer for most. Concealment Modification 1 will help her reach her maximum level of concealment. Black becomes green. Blue becomes black. White turns to more-different white. Thanks, Yamamoto collection! Camouflage: Asashio comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides a 10% reduction to repair costs, a 50% bonus to your experience gains, a 3% reduction in surface detection and a 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Similar to Atago, this camouflage starts off with a blue pattern, but you can change it to green if you've completed the Yamamoto Uniform collection. Firepower Main Battery: Six 127mm rifles in 3x2 turrets in an A-X-Y superfiring configuration. Torpedo Armament: Eight torpedoes in 2x4 launchers. Asashio has a singular designed purpose: to make the two principal warring factions on the World of Warships Reddit, the BBabies and the DD-Mafia, down-vote each other into oblivion. Wargaming knows that by doing this they can eliminate their two most vocal detractors, or at least keep them distracted long enough to finally get around to balancing Aircraft Carriers without interruption. TORPEDOES Asashio will slaughter your battleships without remorse and there's not much you can do to stop her. Asashio's tools of destruction are a pair of quadruple torpedo launchers mounted amidships. These have excellent fields of fire, a horribly long reload and they break often when you look at them funny. All of this is pretty standard fare for Japanese destroyers. What makes Asashio so special is that she effectively mounts the equivalent tier X, Shimakaze warheads two tiers lower. They are blisteringly fast, ridiculously long ranged and have enough striking power to end worlds. Wargaming has "balanced' this (ha!) by modifying them into a Deepwater variant -- because zero reaction time is what makes facing torpedoes fun and fair. This Deepwater thing has two components. First, it limits the number of targets that can be hit. Destroyers and Cruisers need not fear Asashio's torpedoes at all. She's utterly incapable of striking them. She is instead limited to damaging aircraft carriers and battleships. Given the logistical nightmare of encountering an aircraft carrier in the modern meta, Asashio therefor has a rather myopic fixation on nuking dreadnoughts. You can allay any fears you may have had about poor Asashio's success rate with landing hits, though. The second part of Deepwater torpedoes is their tiny surface detection. Asashio's fish are only spotted at a range of 0.9km. With the added nerf to aerial detection, her torpedoes can safely run their full track with little fear of being seen until it's too late. Short of preëmptive WASD hax, battleships do not have enough time to avoid Asashio's attacks if they wait until they're spotted which all but guarantees hits for well-aimed strikes. Even stacking anti-torpedo skills and modules does little to help. It's only those battleships with the Hydroacoustic Search consumable that have any hope of belatedly dodging Asashio's fish, and even then, Vigilance is almost a must. You have no real hope of trying to dodge Asashio's torpedoes in a battleship if you're only reacting the moment you spot them. Only those battleships with the Hydroacoustic Search consumable can afford complacency. Duke of York (tier 7), Bismarck (tier 8), Friedrich der Große (tier 9) and Großer Kurfürst (tier 10) are only ever safe while their consumable is active, however. The Two Layers of Stupid Asashio double-stacks the stupid with two scoops of insanity. Mindfuc ... er, "Vigorous Sexing of the Brain" the First: Asashio has a 20km range with her torpedoes. Alright, so Asashio has ridiculously long ranged fish. The implications of this are pretty horrifying when you stop to think a moment. With her 112s reload (which reduces down to 100.8 seconds with Torpedo Armament Expertise), Asashio is making her first cross-map launch before anyone has finished deploying. This means that in the opening minutes of a match, from the moment they are spotted, battleships must anticipate incoming torpedoes. Most battleships have scarcely moved beyond their starting location by this time and may only be taking their first speculative, long-range shots at their counterparts. There is unlikely to be any effective torpedo detection screen between them and this first salvo from Asashio, so battleships must begin evasive manoeuvres within the first two minutes of a match or risk taking torpedo hits. The travel time for Asashio's 67 knot torpedoes is less than two minutes to their maximum range. Battleships must make course adjustments with this 100 second reload timer in mind -- every minute and a half, change course and heading. The other element Asashio's ludicrous reach allows for is taking advantage of the Torpedo Acceleration skill without losing significant amounts of range. Asashio with Torpedo Acceleration now has 72 knot torpedoes at up to 16km, further reducing reaction times. This greatly increases their threat and this does very little to limit their practicality in long-range engagements. The only salve to all of this is that the gaps between torpedoes at very long ranges are huge. It is unlikely that more than a single torpedo will hit per launcher at ranges of 15km or more, even if they're perfectly aimed with a narrow spread. Asashio players that insist on trying for these Hail Mary shots will not prove very effective in the long run. But, of course, Wargaming thought of this, which leads us to... Vigorous Sexing of the Brain the Second: Asashio has access to the Torpedo Reload Booster consumable. If you thought there was any pretense of making this fair, Asashio can double-up on her torpedo drops every four to six minutes, allowing her to go Super-Saiyan and turn into a blonde-haired Shimakaze for a moment. Within 9 seconds, she can dump a full sixteen (!) torpedoes, dispensing a veritable "wall of skill" for battleships to face. At long-range, this increases the likelihood of landing multiple hits -- though usually no more than four on a single target. But that's not the real danger presented by this consumable. It's far more deadly when used to space out torpedo hits so that they land in between uses of the battleship's Damage Control Party. It's all but guaranteed that if one of Asashio's torpedo hits causes flooding that battleships will immediately patch this up. By waiting a mere 10 or so seconds to launch their second wave of torpedoes after the first, any follow-up hits are likely to stack the dreaded damage over time effect. And if you thought your anti-torpedo defenses on your Yamato-class battleship would keep you safe, I have news for you... Asashio Doesn't Care Whatever pretty little torpedo defense you think your battleship has, Asashio doesn't care. She's blessed with the highest flooding chance in the game. Even when facing targets with the best torpedo damage reduction and striking them directly on their anti-torpedo bulge, she is still likely to open them up to sea water and cause critical flooding. You know you're dealing with a monster when some of the best-protected ships in the game can't prevent flooding two-thirds of the time. This makes follow-up strikes much less of a gamble. Even a lone torpedo can doom a battleship to slowly hemorrhage up to 60% of their hit points. The inclusion of Torpeedo Reload Booster to Asashio's arsenal is that much more dangerous because of this fact. It's a damn good thing that her torpedoes don't override the damage mitigation provided by TDS as well or we'd have words. Asashio has the best flooding chance in the game currently. Even with maximized TDS, most battleships are very likely to take flooding critical hits. Even Kagero's torpedoes don't compare. Großer Kurfürst, Friedrich der Große, Lion, Iowa, Missouri, Kii, Nagato, Ashitaka, Dunkerque, Tirpitz, Bismarck, Monarch, Gneisenau, Scharnhorst, King George V, Duke of York, Mutsu, Warspite, Queen Elizabeth, North Carolina, Nelson, Bayern, Lyon, Hood, and Normandie have zero chance of preventing Asashio from flooding them. The absolute minimum torpedo defense system a battleship requires (before upgrades) to prevent flooding is a 28% reduction. Less than that and your TDS is trash. Torpedo Summary Asashio has some great torpedoes. They're so good in fact they outright negate most defenses battleships can take to mitigate them. Unless your battleship has a minimum of 28% base torpedo protection, Damage Control Modification 1 does nothing to increase your chances to mitigate flooding. Target Acquisition Modification 1 and Vigilance will not give enough warning to help avoid Asashio's torpedoes. Only Hydroacoustic Search does. Asashio's torpedoes are, by design, a hard counter to battleship play. It's too bad that's all they're good for. GUNS! To the detriment of many a team reliant upon Asashio doing more than farming damage off battleships, Asashio's guns will be a mere afterthought. Short of Akizuki, no other Japanese destroyer is as dependent upon her main battery armament for her success as Asashio. With her torpedoes so heavily specialized, proper management of her guns is absolutely critical for helping your team win. Ignoring or dismissing them will cost you many games. You cannot (and must not) ignore destroyers and cruisers in favour of making battleships poop themselves with rage. Like it or not, you're going to have to use your guns in Asashio if you want to succeed. For such a critical weapon system, they suck moose balls. Her gun armament is almost identical to that of a fully upgraded Kagero or an A-Hull Harekaze. The only difference is range where Asashio enjoys an extra 1.6km reach. While this does give her a larger surface detection bloom when she opens fire, the extra distance is quite welcome given the different targets you will have to attack with these guns. While they have excellent ballistic arcs and shell performance, they are utterly lacking in rate of fire and damage output. Their traverse rate is horribly sluggish. You cannot and will not enjoy firepower superiority over anything short of select lower-tier IJN destroyers, and then only if your guns are already facing in the right direction. Yet, you will be repeatedly asked (and expected) to take on the likes of Bensons, Fletchers and Khabarovsks in Asashio if you want to win. The nightmare scenario for Asashio is to find herself in end-game of a close match facing a hale and healthy cruiser or destroyer. To this end, aggressive plays with her guns are often a necessity early on in engagements where friendly ships can help secure a kill or drive off enemies. However, these attacks are not without their risks and attempting them at the wrong time against the wrong target will simply make you look foolish. Make use of smoke and every cheap tactic you can imagine. Join fights late to preserve your own hit points and take pride in whatever licks of damage you can get in. You don't want to have to do this on your own late in a game. Asashio's guns are utterly ill-suited for the heavy lifting that's asked of them, but they're all you've got so make the most of it. Asashio isn't outgunning any of her contemporaries without help. So this is the part where I'm supposed to tell you that disparity of the two weapon systems creates some semblance of fairness. I'm not gonna. The asymmetry of the power level between Asashio's guns and torpedoes does make an interesting case study on the subject. My own opinion is that Asashio is decidedly lopsided -- downright comically so. This is a ship whose success can largely be attributed to team Matchmaking. If there's a lot of battleships on the enemy team and not many destroyers, you'll have a great game and likely come out as MVP if you time and aim your fish correctly. When it's not, most players will fail their teams utterly and it's really not their fault. In this regard, Asashio is best compared to HMS Conqueror, the tier X Royal Navy battleship. Armed with twelve 419mm guns spamming nothing but HE shells, Conqueror often tops the team lists and gives the illusion of being an absolute rock-star. No enemy battleship can stand against Mega-Zao (thank you, Flamu, for that wonderful name). Similarly, no battleship stands any kind of chance against Asashio. Facing either of these monsters is not fun. However, they won't win as many games as their ridiculous damage totals indicate they should. Short of an early Devastating Strike or gutting several battleships at once, Asashio's influence is surprisingly limited. I cannot stress this enough, and it will be difficult for some players to reconcile -- Asashio's armaments are as controversial and heavy-handed as Royal Navy battleship HE. They will seem to contribute far more to team success than they actually do. For some players that are just looking to get some big damage numbers, Asashio will be a dream boat. For those where winning is more important, Asashio is a liability if Matchmaker is unkind. The more I played Asashio, the more I began to appreciate and value gun-kills over torpedo kills. I loved the challenge of contesting and battling over cap circles. My torpedoes farmed some easy damage, credits, experience and complete missions (often with trivial levels of difficulty), but the real battle was taking on and besting enemy destroyers and cruisers with her artillery. For high-end play in this ship, it's all about how and when to use her guns rather than maximizing her torpedoes which I find delightfully ironic. This isn't easy and this isn't for everyone. If you prefer, you can just mindlessly dump fish into battleships at the cost of objectives and winning. It's what everyone is expecting you to do. Summary Asashio's torpedoes are brainless easy-mode. Asashio's torpedoes will not win you games. You're going to have to use your guns if you want to win. Often a lot. And it's not always going to work out for you. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : I was really on the fence with this one. I almost bumped her up from a rating, so it's not going to take much to upgrade. Faster firing guns alone would probably do it. If her torpedoes became even more versatile she'd be so broken it's not even funny. Defense Hit Points: 15,100hp Maximum Protection: 20mm gun turrets. Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour:19mm Red bars are not to numerical scale (just to feels scale). For those without feels: You're an inhuman monster. Evaluating destroyer durability is pretty straight-forward. At tier VIII, there's only one destroyer with a gimmick and that's USS Kidd with her Repair Party. All of the other destroyers conform to the norms found at tier VIII, with 19mm worth of armour covering the hull and deck and 13mm superstructures. Thus comparing them is simply a matter of looking at hit point totals and lining them up from best to worst. Kidd wins out with the third highest overall hit point pool and her mutant healing powers. Asashio doesn't come out well in this line up, truth be told. She's not as as Harekaze and she even beats out Loyang, but it would be a mistake to think that she's in a good place. She's just not strong enough to trade with enemy destroyers at her tier. All of those problems with her guns compound because she's just not tough. In order to have any chance of staying alive, it's imperative that you invest in Survivability Expert to give Asashio an additional 2,800hp. While you're likely to meet opponents who have the same skill, in those encounters where you bump into someone without, this can make all the difference. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Kidd's Repair Party or 5,000 more hit points. Asashio is nowhere close to being in this category. Agility Top Speed: 35.0 knots Turning Radius: 640m Rudder Shift Time: 3.6s Maximum Rate of Turn: 7.0º/s How to have not-terrible agility at tier VIII: Stand next to ducky. Bonus points if it's a static bot. This works well for tier VII battleships too, though they must stand next to Colorado. All jokes about Akizuki aside, Asashio's agility is not in a good place. Her 35 knot top speed is slow for a destroyer. Once outliers are removed, 35 knots is among the slowest top speed you'll find within her Matchmaking spread. She's not alone at this value, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Fubuki and Shinonome at tier VI, Mahan at tier VII, Kagero at tier VIII and Black at tier IX. Combined with her large(ish) turning radius of 640m and Asashio doesn't come about particularly quickly. She's no slug, but she's definitely no American DD. This package of traits is nothing new. Most IJN destroyers share the same combination of lackluster traits which makes them vulnerable to being run down by enemy gunships and it complicates avoiding aircraft. This is definitely one of Asashio's weaknesses, but it's not an exaggerated or crippling weakness to be sure. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Asashio is only because Akizuki is also a tier VIII destroyer. She's right on the cusp of being . To get her out of the doldrums, she would really need something special here, like an extra five knots of speed at the very least and more perks besides. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 25mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 3.1km AA DPS per Aura: 10 Please note the sarcasm. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Not allowed. This is the fulcrum upon which all Asashio balance is based. Honest and for true. I mean it for realsies, guys. Refrigerator Surface Detection Range: 6.84 km Air Detection Range: 3.78 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.37km Concealment when Firing in Smoke: 2.55km Asashio is not only the stealthiest destroyer at her tier, she's the stealthiest destroyer within her Matchmaking spread. While she is matched by Kagero and Harekaze for surface detection, Asashio squeaks out a smaller aerial detection on top of this. Now this is really splitting hairs, given that it's a paltry 60m, but still. For a destroyer that boasts upwards of a 14.63km stealth-launching window for her torpedoes, her surface detection range looks like complete overkill, but it's not. It's one of the few tools that gives Asashio any pretense of supporting her team, should her player be so inclined. Like IJN destroyers, Asashio has the stealth advantage and can usually spot enemy destroyers before being spotted in return. The safety window for doing this is tiny in some cases and always full of risk. Short of tripping over some of the biggest thunder-chunkers masquerading as fellow lolibotes (Khabarovsk, I am looking at you), there's often not time enough to turn away before being seen in return. Given Asashio's weakness to winning one versus one engagements, it's imperative to capitalize on these early encounters when there are still friendly guns around to provide backup. Don't be shy of sacrificing a few hit points to help ensure that an enemy lolibote gets wrecked. Don't be so quick to reach for your Smoke Generator either -- try to force the enemy to smoke up first and keep providing eyes for your team. As wonderful as Asashio's dominance of stealth is, she doesn't have everything her own way. She cannot scrape off enemy aircraft to save her life which can easily keep her perma-spotted. In addition lots (and lots) of radar / sonar equipped ships would love to trip over a vulnerable Asashio. Once they get on your butt, you're in for a rough time. Evaluation: What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : This is much closer than it looks, with Loyang being an easy contender for the best at her tier and Harekaze & Kagero sharing functionally the same concealment. While Asashio dominates in stealth, Loyang combines reasonable concealment with her totally-not-overtuned-in-the-slightest Hydroacoustic Search with its extended range. How to Help Control the Battleship Overpopulation Asashio makes a great trainer for higher tiered IJN destroyer commanders, though she may not be ideal for lower tiered ones. The following is the ideal build for Asashio. Feel free to follow along using ShipComrade's Captain Skill Calculator to try out various test builds. Start with Priority Target. This skill has lesser value in IJN destroyers (if you're seen, it's pretty safe to assume everyone is shooting at you), so I would value Preventative Maintenance with equal weight here. You're still a destroyer, so Last Stand has the highest value at tier 2. Next up, take Torpedo Armament Expertise. This will drop your reload time from 112 seconds to 100.8 seconds. For your 10th skill point, Concealment Expert shouldn't surprise anyone. And finally, double back to tier 3 and take Survivability Expert to boost up your hit points from 15,100 to 17,900. After this, it becomes a question of choosing between some high value skills between your six remaining skill points. At tier 2, Torpedo Acceleration is of the highest value, with Adrenaline Rush and Expert Marksman following in order. At tier 3, Basic Fire Training is of higher value than Superintendent. At tier 4, Radio Location is invaluable for influencing vision control. Between these six skills, distribute your six remaining points as you choose. During play testing, I used a 15 point commander that took Torpedo Acceleration. Development Version 1.0 She began life in late December of 2017. Her first iteration was little more than a Kagero-clone in terms of game play. The reactions to her announcement were... well, they were to be expected. Version 2.0 Fast forward to early February and we received a new version of Asashio. She acquired her now infamous Deepwater Torpedoes and her Torpedo Reload Booster no longer competed with her Smoke Generator. I had a lot of fun playing this version of Asashio. I admit, I gave her a big ol' thumbs-up during my first few times out in her and she kept right on delighting me. The honeymoon I was having with her was short-lived, however. A week later and I began having concerns that she was a little overtuned as it was far too easy to damage battleships, though I admit this view was narrowly focused. Not all the other testers were enjoying the same level of success. Version 3.0 Two weeks after version 2.0, we received the third and what would prove to be the final version of Asashio. She received a slight increase in the surface detection of her torpedoes. This change would not significantly affect her performance. This brought her gun handling and rate of fire to the same level as Kagero. This opened up the possibility of engaging lower tiered IJN destroyers in uneven gun fights. It was clear that Wargaming wanted a battleship hunting monster and that was the ship Asashio was to become. My views would mellow out over time, however... Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: Asashio won't break the game. When you look at her analytically, she's not a very competitive destroyer all told. The current battleship-heavy meta empowers her. She's only as good as the persistence of that environment. Asashio, by her very design, will polarize opinions. She is very good at being simultaneously a battleship assassin and a punching bag for cruisers and gunship destroyers. This is a ship built upon the principle of no counter-play, exaggerating the old paper-rock-scissors design of 2015. Dreadnoughts that are alone and/or exposed or those that are sailing predictably at long-range are going to get punished and punished hard. One on one, they also stand no chance. Similarly, there is very little Asashio can do to an enemy gunship destroyer or cruiser that wants her booty when she's caught without support. She is, in all aspects, a comical exaggeration of the IJN destroyer stereotype, for good and for ill. I do not see her being much different from a less versatile version of an old-timey Shiratsuyu or a similarly myopic Kamikaze-sisters that's all about the battleship damages. Really, boiled down to the sum of her parts, Asashio is a trashbote that is poorly equipped to play objectives, but at least she'll wreck something. This makes evaluating her fun. Let's use the Angry Youtuber scale for this. I know, I know, I'm getting this review format slightly out-of-order, but indulge me: GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes. Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal. Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task. OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely On the one hand, you've got the obvious Battleship perspective: To Battleship Players: Asashio is the end of all things. Game balance and fun as we know it is doomed. Uninstall now. The good times are over. Despite Asashio's predation techniques already being present in the Pan Asian destroyer line, this time it's super-cereal because it's now in the hands of an IJN destroyer that couldn't fight their way out of a wet shoe-box. At the other extreme, we have the perspective of someone who abhors the current BB-heavy meta: The Return to Eden. This is the destroyer those BBabies deserve. Now you can punish those BBabies for having the nerve, nay the audacity to dare enjoying that ship type and game play. They're about to Get Balanced™ in the most extreme way possible. It's doubly delicious that it's coming from an IJN destroyer, whose tech-tree line has suffered the ignominy of being nerfed over and over and over again while battleships have only ever received buffs! Don't fact check that last part! For anyone else, she's just another IJN destroyer but with gimped torpedoes. Asashio is about as terrifying as a cute little bunny. Most ships in the game can counter her easily with a simple count of three (counting to five is right out). Still, you've got to give her mad props for flying about and decapitating BBabies. Asashio is not well designed. In the hands of the masses, I predict she will hoover up some ridiculous damage totals but her win rate is going to suck. She should mirror Shimakaze in many respects. Most players will enjoy her -- she'll do some nice damage but short of being in the hands of a unicum, her influence on the overall outcome will be dictated by what Matchmaker hands to her. It's a fallacy to think that she will greatly influence the meta. Battleships are already loathe to push if they even smell a destroyer ahead of them. Few take the time to differentiate the threat between ship classes, treating all destroyers as if they had the ability to catastrophically end them suddenly. Similarly, assuming that Asashio will unnecessarily punish any battleship that does have the audacity to push is also fallacy. ALL destroyers (and all cruisers and other battleships) will always focus on the closest battleship. It's already chronic on how many players will focus on the ease of stacking damage against battleships over more critical (and perhaps closer) targets. Asashio does not change this. What Asashio does do is exaggerate these bad habits. I grant you: she's not well designed. But at least she does this because she has to rather than by the fault of the player. Would I Recommend? Asashio absolutely trivializes a lot of requirements for missions and campaigns. She's also going to be a great ship for people that are trying to unlock achievement badges for destroyers and Japanese ships. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? No, I wouldn't. The mirrored team building in Co-Op means it's possible for you to end up in matches with only a single target for your torpedoes. This makes it hard for her to earn XP and Credits. Similarly, if there was ever a Scenario which didn't have a plethora of enemy battleships to target, Asashio would suck hard and not in the sexy way. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Very yes on toast. This is where she belongs and she'll reward you well. Devastating Strike, Witherer, High Caliber and LIquidator medals will come easy. You may struggle to achieve Confederate medals however, unless Matchmaker REALLY likes you. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. Please don't bring this on my team in Ranked. I'll forgive you if somehow the meta is something other than destroyers this season. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes, Asashio is a storied vessel with not only an extensive service record, but a sad and honourable end. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? I enjoy this ship a lot, though I do so with some mild pangs of guilt. They're only mild, though, so I wouldn't call the affliction serious enough to stem any recommendation. In Closing I had a lot of fun putting this one together. I've hoped you enjoyed reading it. This is one ship where I would love to look over Wargaming's shoulder an analyze the meta-data as it comes in after it gets a general release. There have been all sorts of predictions on how she will perform and what influence she will have on the game. Being able to see which side of the debate is vindicated by official stats would be interesting. My thanks go out to my Patrons on Patreon. Dozens of hours of work were put into the review you just read including time spent play testing, writing and doing graphics. Working around my schedule to get these out on time is difficult and the financial support provided by my patrons facilitates this. Every dollar helps. So thank you all -- not just those who donate, but those who read and enjoy these reviews. It means a lot to me. Appendix A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews. For the complete list of my other reviews, please go here:
  15. Hey guys, im running low on credits and decided to get a T8 premium ship to grind them out, the problem is i dont know what ship to get that will give me consistent good battles and credits, so far i have heard good things about Alabama and Atago so i dont know which one of these to get, any other ships are welcome for suggestion aswell! Edit: Hey guys! thanks for all the replies, i have read every comment and despite many people recommending ships like Scharnhorst and Tirpitz due to my experience with German Battleships, i have decided to get Atago, i have seen a couple of videos of it and looks very fun, the concealment, access to health repair party and great torps are very appealing to me. Reasons for not getting scharnhorst or Tirpitz is because i dont really want another close range Brawler battleship, Bismarck and Kurfurst are really fun but i do want to explore other game styles aswell. Thanks again for all the help, i didn't expect this many people to reply and help me out, what a great community! P.S: dont say Missouri 😂
  16. Muy buenas a todos, hace unos días jugue una partida con HSF harekaze con todos los bonos de creditos puestos, cuenta premium, etc. ¿La cantidad de creditos que saque es la normal con cualquier otro tier 8 montando los mismo bonos de creditos?
  17. Today I am going to showcase my experience in the Tier 8 Royal Navy Destroyer, the Lightning. Overall a decent ship, but my experience in it was "something different" compaired to other ships I have played.
  18. I have been playing T8-10 and I think the players in the weekends are casual and squishy, while those during the weekdays (even weekday evenings) are significantly stronger. Is this my confirmation bias or do you also observe it this way?
  19. I enjoyed playing ranked battles then there is last season. Last season at tier 8 was brutal, I started and ended season at just 2 ranks a part and had no fun. Win 1 and loss 2, Win 1 and lost 8, there was no joy of being stuck at more or less same rank. I am not the greatest player but should not have been so hard to get 2 ranks. I wanted to end at least rank 10 which before last season did in 20-30 matches moving up 10-15 ranks a season but took me 40+ to move just 2. Wargaming please do something to make playing ranked fun again because current season is repeating last one. I loved playing tier 7 ranked so maybe do that again?
  20. CommandantObvious

    Inertia Fuse on T8 Cleveland

    I have been playing the new T8 Cleveland for a while now but have been wondering if anyone has advise on using inertia fuse shells or not. 152mm guns are recommended to take it so I been playing with it since I got it (my Atlanta captain has found his non-premium ship lol). If not IFHE then what other 4pt trait? Thinking Advanced Firing training, but wanted to hear other thoughts.
  21. Leyendas Navales: Bismarck Si alguien hiciese una encuesta en todos los países del globo cual es el barco de guerra más conocido el Bismark sería probablemente el ganador. Fue el barco orgullo de la marina de Hitler. La representación del resurgido poderío Alemán. Y en su primera misión de combate logró hundir al Hood el orgullo de la marina británica pero fue hundido él mismo por los británicos tras una colosal cacería. Historia: Desarrollo: Esta icónica clase comenzó su desarrollo a comienzos de la década del 30 con estudios sobre un acorazado con 35000 toneladas de desplazamiento estándar. En principio iba a estar armado con cañones de 330mm pero cuando los franceses comenzaron su programa de rearme naval y se vislumbro a los Richelieu armados con cañones de 380mm Alemania se vio compelida a igualar la potencia artillera de quien veía como su potencial adversario. Dado que Alemania carecía de bases de ultramar se previó que tuviese gran alcance para embarcarse en la guerra de corso.Diseño: La disposición de 8 cañones en 4 torretas era heredada del Bayern. Esto hacía al diseño más pesado y con una ciudadela más larga pero ofrecía otras ventajas. La idea era minimizar las posibilidades que un tiro con suerte elimine mucho del potencial ofensivo del barco. Otra ventaja es que las torretas dobles podían mantener una velocidad de disparo ligeramente superior a las más complejas torretas triples o cuádruples. El tratado anglo alemán permitía el uso de cañones de 405mm, pero lo alemanes se decantaron por los 380mm por que ya tenía experiencia y podían ser terminados más rápido.A diferencia de la tendencia mundial de que la secundaria fuese de doble propósito, los alemanes mantuvieron una secundaria anti destructores y otra para función antiaérea. Esto se debe a numerosas razones. Una de las más importantes es que los alemanes temían más a los ataques de destructores que a los ataques aéreos. Otro factor era que las cureñas de los cañones antiaéreos pesados alemanes no lograban la estabilización en 3 ejes para hacerlos realmente efectivos en su rol antiaéreo. Esto de tener dos tipos de secundarias implicaba un gran peso agregado.Los motores eran turbinas engranada que impulsaban tres hélices. Este sistema fue criticado por que teóricamente debilitaba el casco. Sin embargo le daban al Bismarck unos muy buenos 30 nudos. Un problema no correctamente valorado es que el barco no podía girar bien sin usar los timones (o sea con diferentes velocidades en las hélices). Un detalle, quizás, pero que se mostraría fatal. En la gran interrogante de que priorizar: velocidad, protección o armamento los alemanes siempre se inclinaron por blindaje. Ellos visualizaban que el combate se daría en las nebulosas aguas del mar del norte o del atlántico norte y protegieron a su barco pensando en un combate a cortas distancias. El Bismarck asignaba el 40% de su peso total a blindaje. Una proporción nunca igualada por otro barco. Así se destaca su impresionante protección vertical. El blindaje de cintura protege el 70 % de la línea de flotación del barco con 320mm de espesor. Mucho más largo que cualquier otro acorazado. Por encima de esta el blindaje es de 145 mm. Y por debajo de la línea de flotación una franja más bien angosta (de altura) de 170mm. La protección horizontal no era tan espectacular. La cubierta superior tenía un grosor de 50 mm, aumentando a 80 mm en torno a las torretas. La cubierta subsiguiente es de 20mm. Y tras esta viene la cubierta blindada principal con un grosor de 95mm. La protección horizontal se conecta la vertical a través de una cubierta inclinada con un grosor de 120mm. El Bismarck también se rebeló como una plataforma de tiro muy estable gracias a que se lo hiso proporcionalmente más ancho que otros barcos de la época. Tras las pruebas se le cambió la proa recta por una más inclinada llamada "proa atlántica". Esto lo beneficiaba para mantener la proa un poco más seca, especialmente en mares gruesos. Historial de Servicio: La razón de la fama del Bismarck es su única, dramática y épica singladura. La operación Rheinübung tenía como objetivo permitir que los buques mayores de las Kriegsmarine burlaran el bloqueo ingles y una vez en el atlántico destrozar el sistema de convoyes aliado, ahogando a Gran Bretaña. En principio la idea era que participasen el Bismarck y el Prinz Eugen (crucero pesado clase Hipper) desde el Báltico y los crucero de batalla clase Scharnhorst desde la costa francesa. Pero estos dos sufrieron daños que no le permitieron participar. El Tirpitz por otro lado no estaba completamente listo para la batalla. Lutjens, el almirante a cargo de la operación, pidió demorar la incursión hasta poder sumar a este u otro barco pero Raeder, el almirante a cargo de toda la marina alemana, no lo permitió pues sabía que una vez comience "Barbarroja" la marina solo iba a ser comparsa de todo el esfuerzo bélico. Rheinübung entonces fue lanzado con solo su pinza norte el 18 de Mayo de 1941. Era clave poder mantener en secreto que los dos barcos se aventurarían al atlántico pero sin embargo cuando cruzaban el estrecho del kattegat fueron descubiertos por los Suecos, y estos informaron a los ingleses. Ambos barcos se reunieron en un fiordo noruego, donde fueron avistados por el reconocimiento aéreo ingles, y el 22 partieron hacia el atlántico. Los ingleses conocedores de lo que tal barco podría hacer a sus líneas de suministros movilizaron a la mayor parte de la flota para cubrir los posibles accesos del mar del norte al atlántico. De todas las posibles ruta la más al norte y lejana era la del "Estrecho de Dinamarca" que separa Islandia de Groenlandia y su pack de hielo. Aquí fue donde los encargados de la vigilancia de esta zona , los cruceros Suffolk y Norfolk detectaron a la fuerza alemana y se pusieron a seguirlos con cuidado de siempre mantenerse fuera del alcance de los cañones del acorazado. El seguimiento era para coordinar la congregación de las unidades más pesadas inglesas que se habían movilizado para cazar el acorazado alemán. Los más cercanos eran el crucero de batalla "Hood" y el acorazado "Prince of Wales". Así por la mañana del siguiente día estos aparecieron y dio comienzo la batalla del estrecho de Dinamarca. El Prince of Wales era una acorazado moderno, pero todavía no estaba debidamente asentado, fue rápidamente lanzado al servicio para esta operación. De hecho todavía tenía operarios civiles trabajando a bordo. El Hood por el contrario era un crucero de batalla botado en la primera guerra mundial y bastante modernizado para enfrentarse a cualquier barco moderno. Era el orgullo de la marina británica y su navío más famoso. Pero para este momento adolecía de un problema: su débil blindaje de cubierta.El almirante ingles sabiendo la debilidad de su barco a los tiros lejanos previó acercarse con la oscuridad y montar una batalla de corto alcance. Sin embargo no pude realizar esto y la batalla comenzó al amanecer a una distancia de 24 km. Los ingleses poseían artillería más poderosa pero la debilidad en la cubierta del Hood los obligaba a acortar distancia. Este fue el plan de Holland pero a los 6 minutos de comenzada la refriega un proyectil perforante del Bismarck penetro la débil cubierta superior del Hood y detonó en la santabárbara de las antiaéreas. Esto hizo que surgiera una columna de fuego continua, como un volcán de pirotecnia para que luego una poderosa explosión partiera al barco en dos. Solo 3 de los 1418 hombres a bordo sobrevivieron. El "Prince of Wales" siguió el combate por si solo pero fue alcanzado y perdió mucha de su capacidad artillera. Alcanzo al Bismarck pero este seguía disparando con toda su potencia intacta. Así que su capitán decidió romper el contacto y alejarse. En el Bismarck el jubiló invadía a la tripulación después de tan resonante victoria. El capitán quería perseguir y rematar al Prince of Wales pero el almirante Lutjens lo prohibió pues tenía órdenes de evitar combates. su objetivo era el comercio.Al comprobar los daños se enteraron que los tiros del "Prince of Wales" habían dañado el suministro de combustible. Esto obligó a Lutjens a abandonar la misión y llevar al Bismarck a algún puerto. Se decidió por la Francia ocupada. Los ingleses no se amilanaron por esto y siguieron firmes congregando todo barco disponible para detener al coloso alemán. El Suffolk y el Norfolk siguieron en la estela de la formación alemana pero ahora con el maltrecho "Prince of Wales" como refuerzo. mientras tanto Lutjens amago con encarar a los cruceros para permitir al "Prince Eugen" escaparse y cazar en solitario. El portaviones "Victorious" se encontraba a menos de 200km y lanzo un ataque nocturno con torpederos swordfish a las 10pm. Un solo torpedo golpeo al barco, pero su protección anti torpedo aguantó. A las 3 am un giro inesperado del Bismarck le permitió escaparse del contacto ingles. Estos se dispersaron y buscaron hacia el norte pero el Bismarck había enfilado al este, a Brest. Cuando los ingleses volvieron a encontrar el barco este ya había escapado del cerco que formaba la principal fuerza inglesa bajo el almirante Tovey. La última esperanza de detenerlo antes de que llegue a Brest era la fuerza H que venía desde el sur. Este tenía al portaviones "Ark Royal" que lanzo a sus swordfish. Estos primeros casi hunden a un aliado al confundir al crucero "Sheffield" con el Bismarck. Pero luego fueron rearmados y con un tiempo pésimo enfilaron hacia el alemán. El Bismarck al recibir el ataque de los Swordfish comenzó a maniobrar para esquivarlos y fue impactado en los timones cuando un giro lo dejo apuntando hacia el enemigo que hasta ese momento no podía alcanzarlo. El daño en los timones fue crítico. Los intentos de maniobrar el barco con las hélices fallaron y el barco quedo condenado. Por la noche varios destructores atacaron con torpedos pero fallaron. La mañana del 27 de mayo comenzó la batalla final. Los acorazados "Rodney" y "King George V" se abatieron sobre el Bismarck cuya capacidad de combate estaba muy mermada. La inclinación del barco debido a los daños sufridos afectaba su puntería, y la incapacidad de maniobrar y la lentitud (solo podía hacer 11 nudos) lo hacían un blanco fácil. Luego los cruceros Dorshetshire y Norfolk se unieron a la refriega. Tras 30 minutos de combate todas las armas del Bismarck habían sido silenciadas. El Rodney se acerco para fusilar al barco alemán a quemarropa. Sin embargo, pese a estar fuera de combate hacía rato, y mucho más bajo en el agua debido lo inundado que estaba, el barco se negaba a hundirse. Los barcos ingleses debieron retornar a puerto por estar cortos de combustibles y se dio la orden de que el Dorshetshire lo liquidase con torpedos. uno de estos impacto increíblemente contra la superestructura del barco. Mientras tanto en el barco se dieron cuenta que continuar la batalla era inútil y se colocaron cargas de demolición para evitar fuese tomado como presa por los ingleses. Este fue el final para el barco. Los ingleses levantaron a algunos marinos del mar pero la alarma de ver submarinos en la zona (falsa alarma resulto ser) los llevo a detener el rescate. Sobrevivieron poco más de 100 marineros de los 2200 que embarcaba el Bismark. En el Juego. El Bismarck fue precedido en nuestros mares por el Tirpitz. Si bien son similares hay diferencias. La más obvia es que no tiene torpedos. Posee sin embargo hidroacustic scanner. Este equipamiento le permite luchar contra el terror de todo capitán de acorazados: los destructores invisibles. El Bismarck es un "brawler", un peleador de combates cercanos. No me malentiendan, tiene un buen alcance, por lo que puede responder al fuego eficientemente a casi cualquier distancia. Pero donde sus características comienzan a brillar es en distancias inferiores a 10km. Sus secundarias son temibles y bien equipadas pueden llegar a este rango. Esto unido con el equipo hidroacústico le permiten contrarrestar bastante a los destructores y sus torpedos. Más aun el gigante es sorprendentemente ágil por lo que es improbable que una oleada lejana lo impacte. El otro factor que lo beneficia para el combate cercano es su impresionante blindaje. A los 315mm de cintura se le agrega el caparazón de tortuga inclinado lo cual hace muy difícil conseguir ciudadelas contra el gigante alemán. Este le permite recuperar puntos de vida después de un combate al no recibir ciudadelas. Entre los puntos débiles podríamos citar que su potencia artillera es inferior a la de sus contemporáneos, especialmente el Amagi. Que no posee los torpedos de su hermano. y Que la antiaérea si bien es buena es muy frágil y los HE de los cruceros rápidamente la reducen.
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